Cover for No Agenda Show 1534: The Chit
March 2nd, 2023 • 3h 4m

1534: The Chit


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.

Hail Storm
200 Episodes of the Clip Custodian
If you found us during covid, we are still here trying to help you ... war etc all important - what NOT to pay attention to etc
Our kids are in trouble
Over medicated
Under educated
Pampered and groomed by schools
Social media is creating anxiety
‘Bullying laws’ have backfired
China China China
It's ALL about China now!
Tik Tok
Spy Balloon
Russia Weapons
Tik Tok - Problem, Reaction, What's the solution?
Currency Manipulation next?
Not about us brother, about your family and the people you are around. Love THEM by retreating to 1.0x
Andres Speed Listening
Hi gents!
After listening to the latest episode and hearing about variable speed causing people to be short with wife and kids, as well as anxiety. I have changed back to 1x on all. After just a day I can feel the difference, it is interesting.
You bullied me to it! And I am grateful!
Keep up the great work!
Podphaster explanation
When a podcast or yootoob is done properly, I listen at normal speed.
But some people speak so slowly that I fall asleep between every other word, or they constantly repeat themselves, or they ramble on about crap completely unrelated to the topic, or there selling some "curiosity stream" or some shit.
Not every show is about news. Some are about cars, home repairs, economics, history, motorcycles, jeeps, etc.
Do you understand?
Prime Time Takedown UK
Prime Time Takedown US
Prime Time Takedown CA
Great Reset
DHS - Deactivation of the iMessage Service and Archiving of Text Messages
TO: Federal Protective Service Workforce
FROM: Thomas Doran, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation
SUBJECT: Deactivation of the iMessage Service and Archiving of Text Messages
DHS has mandaated that as of Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the Apple iMessage service option on DHS-furnished Apple devices must be disabled. All text messages sent will be handled through cellular carrier Short Message Service (SMS) or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Additionally, all SMS messages sent and received from DHS mobile devices must be archived to meet Departmental guidance on electronic records retention. Disabling the iMessage option on government-furnished devices throughout the Department will ensure compliance with its record-keeping obligations and enable storing text messages to allow them to be accessible via formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigations.
The use of texts for any official business is strongly discouraged. Because SMS/MMS does not support end-to-end encryption, users should not use text to send sensitive or non-public information. A general rule of thumb is to use SMS only to send information you would be comfortable saying in a crowded coffee shop with multiple unknown parties in earshot. Use of MS Teams or other approved applications is encouraged to send any official and/or non-public information. If you believe Teams will not work for you, please reach out Mr. Charles Wall, Information Technology Division Director, to discuss alternatives.
For FPS, each user must disable their iMessage service individually. Users should complete this by close of business Friday, March 3, 2023. The primary difference users will notice is that the background color of messages will be green instead of blue. ICE Office of the Chief Information Officer will be sending an automated message to all users via The Emergency Notification System (ENS) requiring verification of completion by all users.
Follow these steps BEFORE iMessage has been disabled on your iOS Device.
Cleveland 15 min city BOTG
Morning Adam,
Just wanted to reach out regarding your segment on No Agenda regarding the Cleveland 15 minute city proposal.
It is not a major public initiative. This stems from the fact that Dan Gilbert's real estate company, Bedrock, bought a very large downtown property along the river and is floating a proposal to spend a couple billion dollars developing it. To do this, he is trying to get municipal and federal money to rebuild infrastructure around the site (major work would need to be done). He's been putting out a ton of PR to pretend like it's a high concept proposal.
It is just a case of a private entity ginning up support to leverage public dollars so it can defray the construction costs. Nothing more.
Next Pandemic
BotG Report: Covid-flu in Shanghai and China
Dear AC,
Here is the latest.
(1) Officially, China has declared that there is NO more "Covid"
(2) The public is advised that there are MORE contagious viruses and illnesses in the public; H1N1 flu; and pneumonia
Given the official edicts - here are the NEW rules for travel and schools:
(A) there are NO restrictions on who can travel, NO PCR testing required
(B) schools MAY send students home, and entire grade-levels, on the grounds that ONE student is sick with "flu"; whether the child has a "positive" H1N1 test or not.
At my wife's school campus, (here in Shanghai), there are TWO separate buildings, (i) a bilingual primary which is private; and (ii) all-Chinese language primary, which is free for local children. On the Chinese side, grade 5 has eight sections (25 kids each). FIVE of the eight are doing class online, due to "flu" cases.
Across the city, there are NO more throat swab booths. Our local hut was removed from the neighborhood last Saturday, 27 Feb 2023.
I am guessing, but I think that hospitals will NO longer perform any rt-PCR looking for "SARS-CoV-2"; but instead, they will declare any respiratory ailment as "flu."
Ukraine & Russia MIC
Big Tech
Directed Energy Weapons
Vape Wars
Altria Gives up on Juul and Pursues an E-Cig Competitor
I know that you quit vaping before your oral surgery but your formerly kept up with the e-cig industry. And, as usual, the relationship of Altria to e-cigarettes continues to be complicated.
Altria has now basically written of Juul as worthless (a $714 million valuation for the entire company, down from $38 billion at the time of its investment— or a decline in value of over 98%). However it may want to invest up to $2.75 billion in NJOY, an e-cig competitor of Vuse and Juul that has only a 2.8% U.S. retail market share. As part of any deal, Altria would divest their existing 35% Juul ownership stake.
Some of these figures are from the Fox Business link and some are from today’s print edition of the WSJ.
I am still amazed at the allure of the e-cig market to the tobacco companies. These traditional tobacco companies do not want to be viewed as simply a source of annuity payments to shareholders from sales allowed under the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with the states which allowed them to stay in business.
Altria currently has an 8.08% dividend yield on its MO common shares. The 5-year annualized Total Return (dividends paid plus stock price appreciation) for MO is a respectable 5.39%.
Predictive Programming?
Climate Change
Cyber Pandemic
EQ Machine
Earthquake prediction west coast
Dutch earthquake researcher Frank Hoogerbeets - who accurately predicted the Turkey earthquakes now predicts mega earthquake the first week of March possibly on the West Coast of North America
Brexit: What are the Northern Ireland Protocol and Windsor Framework? - BBC News
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 17:48
Image source, Getty ImagesA new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland has been announced.
It builds on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which led to significant disagreements between the UK and European Union (EU).
Why does Northern Ireland need its own Brexit deal?
Trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was easy before Brexit - both were in the EU and shared the same trade rules.
However, when Northern Ireland left the EU, a deal was required to prevent checks being introduced.
That's because the EU has strict food rules and requires border checks when certain goods - such as milk and eggs - arrive from non-EU countries like the UK. Paperwork is also required for other goods.
The land border is a sensitive issue because of Northern Ireland's troubled political history. It was feared that introducing cameras or border posts as part of checks on goods could lead to instability.
Media caption, Watch: Key moments from the PM's NI Brexit deal speech
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU. It became part of international law and came into force on 1 January 2021.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, new checks were introduced.
Rather than taking place at the Irish border, inspection and document checks are carried out at Northern Ireland's ports. This applies to goods travelling from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to Northern Ireland.
The checks apply even if the goods are due to remain in Northern Ireland.
Unionist parties - which support Northern Ireland being part of the UK - say these checks create an effective border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Businesses have also complained the checks mean extra costs and delays.
What is the Windsor Framework?
The new deal is aimed at significantly reducing the number of checks.
Two lanes would be created for goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain:
A green lane for goods which will remain in Northern IrelandA red lane for goods which may be sent on to the EUProducts going through the green lane would see checks and paperwork scrapped.
Red lane goods would still be subject to checks.
Bans on certain products - like chilled sausages - entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain would be removed.
Northern Ireland would also no longer have to follow certain EU rules, for example on VAT and alcohol duties.
What is the Stormont brake?
Under the previous deal, some EU laws still applied in Northern Ireland. However, politicians at Stormont had no way of influencing them.
The new agreement introduces a "Stormont brake". This would allow the Northern Ireland Assembly - which creates laws in Northern Ireland - to object to new EU rules.
The process would be triggered if 30 Northern Ireland politicians from two or more parties sign a petition.
The brake could not be used for "trivial reasons" and would be reserved for "significantly different" rules.
The threshold would be "really high" according to EU law professor Catherine Barnard. "It's a security measure, but one that's not meant to be used very often" she says.
Once the UK tells the EU the brake has been triggered, the rule cannot be implemented.
The process would not be overseen by the European Court of Justice, but the court would still have a final say on whether Northern Ireland is following certain EU rules (known as single market rules).
Will the new deal be accepted?
The deal is almost certain to be accepted by the UK Parliament as opposition parties have indicated they will support it. There also appears to be little opposition among Tory MPs.
It's still unclear whether the new deal will be acceptable to Northern Ireland's largest unionist party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Its opposition was so strong to the current protocol that it has refused to take part in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government unless its concerns are addressed.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said his party would study the deal before delivering a "collective view" on whether to support it.
Apple Blocks Update of ChatGPT-Powered App, as Concerns Grow Over AI's Potential Harm - WSJ
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 17:18
iPhone maker asks email app with AI-language capabilities to set a 17-and-older age restriction
Apple Inc. has delayed the approval of an email-app update with AI-powered language tools over concerns that it could generate inappropriate content for children, according to communications Apple sent to the app maker. The software developer disagrees with Apple's decision.
The dispute shows the broad concerns about whether language-generating artificial-intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, are ready for widespread use.
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Apple Inc. has delayed the approval of an email-app update with AI-powered language tools over concerns that it could generate inappropriate content for children, according to communications Apple sent to the app maker. The software developer disagrees with Apple's decision.
The dispute shows the broad concerns about whether language-generating artificial-intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, are ready for widespread use.
Apple took steps last week to block an update of email app BlueMail because of concerns that a new AI feature in the app could show inappropriate content, according to Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix Inc., and documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
BlueMail's new AI feature uses OpenAI's latest ChatGPT chatbot to help automate the writing of emails using the contents of prior emails and calendar events. ChatGPT allows users to converse with an AI in seemingly humanlike ways and is capable of advanced long-form writing on a variety of topics.
''Your app includes AI-generated content but does not appear to include content filtering at this time,'' Apple's app-review team said last week in a message to the developer reviewed by the Journal.
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The app-review team said that because the app could produce content not appropriate for all audiences, BlueMail should move up its age restriction to 17 and older, or include content filtering, the documents show. Mr. Volach says it has content-filtering capabilities. The app's restriction is currently set for users 4 years old and older. Apple's age restriction for 17 and older is for categories of apps that may include everything from offensive language to sexual content and references to drugs. Mr. Volach says that this request is unfair and that other apps with similar AI functions without age restrictions are already allowed for Apple users.
''Apple is making it really hard for us to bring innovation to our users,'' said Mr. Volach.
An Apple spokesman said that developers can challenge a rejection through its App Review Board appeal process and that it is investigating Blix's complaint.
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So-called generative AI has emerged as one of the most closely watched developing technologies in decades, primarily kicked off by ChatGPT, a chatbot created by OpenAI.
The technology has quickly generated controversy. Following the release of Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search engine powered by ChatGPT, early testers grew concerned with responses generated by the chatbot, including incorrect information as well as seemingly unhinged and angry responses. Microsoft, which has invested billions in OpenAI, defended the Bing upgrade as a work in progress.
Apple's attempt to set an age restriction to help moderate content from a language-model-based AI is an indication the tech giant is closely watching the new technology and the risks it poses. The company has long said it must carefully curate and review what software can be accessed on the iPhone and iPad through its App Store to keep its products private and secure.
Microsoft recently released an updated version of its Bing smartphone app with the ChatGPT functionality to Apple's App Store and Google's Android Play Store. Bing is listed in the iPhone App Store with the 17-and-older age restriction that Apple is asking of BlueMail, while Bing on the Google Play store has no age restrictions. Bing in the App Store already had a 17-and-up age restriction because of the app's ability to find adult content, a Microsoft spokesman said.
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For BlueMail, Apple's rejection came a week after the company submitted the app upgrade for review. Mr. Volach said Apple used a test version of the upgraded app every day before he got a response. BlueMail was able to update its Android BlueMail app on the Google Play app store without any requests for age restriction or further content filtering, Mr. Volach said.
Mr. Volach says Apple is unfairly targeting BlueMail. The app has content filtering, and placing a higher age restriction on the app could limit distribution to potential new users, he said. Mr. Volach also said many other apps that advertise a ChatGPT-like feature listed on Apple's App Store don't have age restrictions.
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''We want fairness,'' said Mr. Volach. ''If we're required to be 17-plus, then others should also have to.''
In the past, Apple has at times discovered an issue with an app that leads the company to apply a new rule more broadly. Initial inconsistency in applying App Store policies'--especially new policies'--isn't uncommon, said Phillip Shoemaker, former senior director of the App Store review team at Apple, who left in 2016.
There are hundreds of individuals reviewing each app, and ''not everyone sees the same thing,'' Mr. Shoemaker said. ''Some are viewing apps faster than others and could be missing things. The inconsistency could be for a variety of reasons.''
Apple was an early entrant in bringing AI technology mainstream with the introduction of the Siri voice assistant in 2011. But to date, Apple appears to have stayed out of the fray of generative AI. At an internal AI conference for company employees last month, sessions were focused on areas such as computer vision, healthcare and privacy, according to internal documents viewed by the Journal.
Earlier this month, on the company's quarterly earnings conference call, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said AI ''is a major focus of ours,'' pointing out AI-enabled features such as crash detection. ''We see an enormous potential in this space to affect virtually everything we do,'' he further stated.
Mr. Volach has had a contentious history with Apple. In 2019, Apple announced a software feature called ''Sign in with Apple,'' which allows users to sign into an app without having to give away personal information such as email. Blix had patented a similar feature earlier. Soon after Apple's sign-in feature was announced, Apple removed the BlueMail app from its Mac app store. At the time, Apple said the removal of the BlueMail app was due to security concerns. Mr. Volach said that there was never a security issue and that Apple eventually ended up approving the app many months later.
The incident prompted Blix to file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in 2019. A federal judge dismissed the company's case, stating that Blix failed to offer evidence of Apple's monopoly power and anticompetitive behavior.
Antitrust lawyer Jonathan Kanter was hired by Blix as legal counsel in its antitrust case against Apple. In 2021, Mr. Kanter took over as head of the antitrust division at the U.S. Justice Department, which is currently pursuing its own antitrust investigation into Apple.
Write to Aaron Tilley at
Merrick Garland Is a Huge Taylor Swift Fan - WSJ
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 17:17
The Attorney General routinely works her lyrics into conversations and legal arguments. 'My favorite song is ''Shake It Off.'''
WASHINGTON '' At a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, senators grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Justice Department's investigation into Ticketmaster, which botched ticket sales for Taylor Swift's coming tour and is dominant in the concert industry.
''Channeling Taylor Swift, I know that 'All Too Well,''' Mr. Garland said, name-dropping the title of one of her songs. ''I'm pretty familiar with Taylor Swift.''
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WASHINGTON '' At a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, senators grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Justice Department's investigation into Ticketmaster, which botched ticket sales for Taylor Swift's coming tour and is dominant in the concert industry.
''Channeling Taylor Swift, I know that 'All Too Well,''' Mr. Garland said, name-dropping the title of one of her songs. ''I'm pretty familiar with Taylor Swift.''
Everyone in the Capital has been talking about Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster, from senators in Congressional hearings to White House officials in public reports and fans holding protest signs on the streets.
Mr. Garland has been talking about her for years. In his home, in his car, and in his wood-paneled office suite on Pennsylvania Avenue, where he has prominently displayed nearly all of her CDs in a curio cabinet. He's a die-hard Swiftie, as her fans are known, and he drops lyrics into legal arguments and discussions all the time.
''My favorite song is 'Shake It Off,''' he said in an interview.
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He tracks Swiftie minutiae and has discovered some Taylor Swift fans on his own staff.
''Since we established our mutual regard for Taylor, references to her work have come up in a few conversations, sometimes hiding in plain sight,'' said Marissa Brogger, his chief speechwriter. ''Recently, I dropped something off for the attorney general to review and he said he would do so swiftly. It took me a second to realize it, but given the attorney general's tendency to be precise in his word choice, I don't think it was an accident.''
Mr. Garland learned of Ms. Swift from his two daughters, who insisted on blasting the singer's self-titled debut and 2008 follow-up album ''Fearless'' while Mr. Garland, then a federal appeals court judge, drove the girls to school when they were young.
''We invented carpool karaoke before it was a thing,'' Mr. Garland said in his office, where the Swift CDs, given to him by his daughters, occupy a special place shared only by Bruce Springsteen's autobiography ''Born to Run'' and a collection of Beatles albums. Now, whenever Ms. Swift releases a new album, the Garland family gathers on the phone to swap notes.
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''My daughter sent me Midnights right away as a CD, which I appreciate is a little prehistoric at this point,'' Mr. Garland said. ''And then she told me the playlist order in which I should listen to the songs.''
(Ms. Swift still'--years into the streaming era'--sells lots of physical albums. She has offered incentives to encourage her loyal fan base to buy them.)
Mr. Garland declined to discuss the Ticketmaster investigation, which predates the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco, during which fans waited in online queues for hours before having tickets disappear from their carts during checkout or the site crashed.
A spokeswoman for Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., which owns Ticketmaster, didn't respond to a request for comment. The company's President Joe Berchtold
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has apologized for the bungled ticket-sale process, and has previously said bots were to blame for the problems.
Did Mr. Garland or anyone in his office get tickets to Ms. Swift's tour during November's debacle?
''That is a delicate question,'' Mr. Garland said, in an apparent reference to Ms. Swift's hit song, ''Delicate.''
Mr. Garland is one of several musically inclined attorneys general.
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William Barr loved the bagpipes and
played them himself in the Great Hall of the Justice Department.
''I always have been a big fan of big Broadway musicals,'' Jeff Sessions said in an interview.
Mr. Sessions confirmed that at least once during a private meeting on policing issues he quoted from Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 opera ''The Pirates of Penzance'''--''When constabulary duty's to be done, to be done, a policeman's lot is not a happy one.''
''The Sound of Music'' provided another source of wisdom.
''One line I used to quote more in the Senate was, as the great economist Julie Andrews sang, 'Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could,''' he recalled.
And Congress and pop culture have intersected in interesting ways before. Frank Zappa, John Denver and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister testified at a 1985 Senate hearing on explicit rock lyrics. People packed the hearing room to get a look. ''I've been a fan for a long time, Mr. Denver,'' then-Sen. Al Gore told the singer.
Things got chillier when Mr. Snider, who had long hair and wore a sleeveless T-shirt, asked if Mr. Gore planned to praise his music too. Mr. Gore conceded he enjoyed Mr. Zappa and Mr. Denver. ''I am not, however, a fan of Twisted Sister.''
In legislative fights, House Republicans have deployed pulp-culture GIFs of celebrities, such as singer Britney Spears, the cartoon character Ariel of ''The Little Mermaid'' and Will Ferrell's ''More cowbell!'' skit from ''Saturday Night Live.''
Well before becoming a parent, Mr. Garland was at the vanguard of popular music. He recalled seeing the little known Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band open for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge in 1974, when he was in college there. ''Nobody I knew had ever heard of Springsteen before,'' he said. ''And it was great.''
Obama White House aide Brian Deese let it slip in a videotaped interview years ago that Mr. Garland was ''reasonably into Taylor Swift.'' That prompted Mr. Garland's clerks to present him with a (mock) tweet from TayTay that said: ''I'm reasonably a big fan of yours too!''
Once, as a judge hearing oral arguments, Mr. Garland tapped Ms. Swift's words to describe how two parties needed to give clear notice before they could get out of signing a contract.
He turned to the clarity of the singer's famous breakup song.
''I said, 'so you're agreeing you have to say you're never ever, ever going to get back together,''' he recalled, ''like ever.''
''It fit very well into the issue of the case,'' he said.
In 2017, when the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington presented a mock trial based on the play ''Twelfth Night,'' Mr. Garland served as a judge in the matter, which was rife with dating drama and confusion. A lawyer representing the character Olivia likened her situation to a Britney Spears hit ''Oops!'...I Did It Again.''
''Your argument seems to be, 'look what you made me do,''' Mr. Garland countered, using Ms. Swift's lyrics to correct her.
Different Swift hits have resonated at various points in Mr. Garland's career, such as when Senate Republicans blocked his path to confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2016. Why is his favorite song, ''Shake It Off?''
''That should be self-explanatory,'' he said.
Write to Sadie Gurman at
Governor Abbott Renews COVID-19 Disaster Declaration In February 2023 | Office of the Texas Governor | Greg Abbott
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 16:11
February 14, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Proclamation
WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, in each subsequent month effective through today, I have issued proclamations renewing the disaster declaration for all Texas counties; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, I have issued a series of executive orders and suspensions of Texas laws aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans, ensuring uniformity throughout the State, and achieving the least restrictive means of combating the evolving threat posed by COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, Executive Orders GA-13, GA-37, GA-38, GA-39, and GA-40 remain in effect with ''the force and effect of law'' under Section 418.012 of the Texas Government Code; and
WHEREAS, ending the disaster declaration would terminate the executive orders that protect Texans' freedom by suspending the power of local governments to require masks, compel vaccinations, and close businesses; and
WHEREAS, I intend to keep these executive orders and suspensions in place until the Legislature can enact laws this session to prohibit local governments from imposing restrictions like mask mandates and vaccine mandates; and
WHEREAS, renewing the disaster declaration in no way infringes on the rights or liberties of any law-abiding Texans; and
WHEREAS, under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties during Texas' successful economic recovery from COVID-19;
NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.
Pursuant to Section 418.017, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.
Under the terms of Executive Orders GA-38, GA-39, and GA-40, all of which remain in effect by virtue of this renewal, local governments are divested of any lawful authority to subject Texans to mask mandates, vaccine mandates, or business-closure mandates. As a matter of state law, COVID-19 cannot justify those local intrusions upon personal liberty.
Pursuant to Section 418.016, any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or any order or rule of a state agency that would in any way
prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster shall be suspended upon written approval of the Office of the Governor. However, to the extent that the enforcement of any state statute or administrative rule regarding contracting or procurement would impede any state agency's emergency response that is necessary to cope with this declared disaster, I hereby suspend such statutes and rules for the duration of this declared disaster for that limited purpose.
In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 14th day of February, 2023.
Secretary of State
View the proclamation.
Top Podcast Executives Talk 2023 Trends: Video, Audio Books and More '' The Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 16:10
As top podcast executives and creators gathered at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn for the Hot Pod Summit on Feb. 23, a question seemed to underlie each conversation: As the industry seeks an injection of new energy amid an advertising market correction and creators experiment with formats like video, what really is a podcast these days '-- and how will people make money?
In various conversations with studio executives and creators, a common refrain were the difficulties of turning a profit on podcasting alone. Even Spotify, which recently revised its podcast leadership (again) and had layoffs and show cancelations in its podcast division, is reevaluating its spending after pouring more than $1 billion into licensing deals and acquisitions in the past few years.
As such, repackaging audio content and seeking out derivatives like film and TV adaptations could be the key to actually making good money in podcasting, especially now that the megadeals of recent years are getting rarer and podcasters are feeling the pressure to seek out more ad dollars from bigger buyers to keep the lights on long term. And all of this isn't even to acknowledge the creative ambitions around podcasting, where creators want to produce expensive, buzzy narrative projects that can have a tangible impact on policy or public conversation but may have a harder time receiving funding and support compared to the more assured successes of cheaper, always-on chat shows.
But the move toward new formats was hard to ignore, especially as Spotify's main presence at a summit for podcast executives was about, well, audiobooks. Featuring Nir Zicherman, the co-founder of the podcast hosting service Anchor who now leads up Spotify's audiobooks business, author Gretchen Rubin and Penguin Random House Audio content executive Dan Zitt, the discussion didn't avoid the blurring lines between podcasts and audiobooks and the multiple business models that could exist within that mix.
''Everybody's scared to call a podcast an audiobook and an audiobook a podcast. But if you really squint, it's harder to differentiate '-- and that is only accelerating over the course of the next few years,'' Zicherman said at the summit, noting that Spotify was seeking to target the ''casual listener'' with its audiobooks offering.
Zitt was even less precious about a delineation between the two. ''Why does there have to be a line drawn at all? This is all audio entertainment to some extent. If there are different models for distributing it, which there are, why not just find the best models to distribute it where people get fairly paid?'' Zitt said. ''I mean, there are podcasts that are basically now taking all 15 episodes, combining them into one, and selling them in the audiobook space, so it's not really like these things are working independently now.''
But the audiobooks debate paled in comparison to the trend du jour: how video can be incorporated into audio creators' workflow and boost business for executives. ''Last year when we were all in this room, we could not stop talking about Spotify,'' The Verge editor Nilay Patel said in a talk with iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne. ''This year, all in this room, we're all talking about YouTube and video.''
Despite podcasting being known as an audio medium, there's been growing interest around the role of video podcasting '-- a format most notably seeing interest from players like Spotify, where top creators including Alex Cooper (Call Her Daddy) and Emma Chamberlain (Anything Goes) now regularly release video podcasts as part of their exclusive partnerships with the company. For Cooper, her video podcasts focus on her weekly guests who sit down to tape an interview at her West Hollywood studio, though the creator released a documentary-style video on abortion last October; Chamberlain, who only recently joined Spotify, has so far released two static videos of her recording her podcast in front of the mic.
The general sentiment is that video podcasts can help drive more views, especially if a podcast host has a notable guest on for an interview, and can more easily be shared and have a chance to go viral on popular social platforms like TikTok. And with more views means more ad impressions and money going into the pockets of creators and executives.
The prevalence of video podcasts on YouTube has seemed to support that bullishness, as some polls have found a growing number of listeners '-- 46 percent, per a January survey from Morning Consult '-- who prefer to watch their podcasts and see YouTube as the preferred platform to do so, over rivals like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
But will video really be what injects new energy into a maturing medium? It's a yes and no, as some Hot Pod audience members who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter say the fervor feels reminiscent of the so-called pivot to video that digital publishers fell victim to in the early 2010s to meet the demands of Facebook. Even YouTube isn't placing all its bets on video podcasting. At the summit, YouTube's head of podcasting, Kai Chuk, said the Google-owned company recognizes that ''podcasting is generally an audio-first medium'' and is implementing new features to better label audio-only podcasts on the service. Appearing onstage, Chuk and Steve McClendon, the podcasting product lead at Google, said that podcasts will be added to the YouTube Music streaming service ''in the near future,'' making the listening experience seem more similar to platforms like Apple and Spotify.
Conal Byrne, in his discussion with Patel, also cautioned against creating content specifically for one platform or format. ''To some extent, you kill creativity and true innovation when you start to reverse engineer where assets should be for the content platform that it's going to be distributed on,'' he said. ''In fact, you almost certainly kill true creativity when you hit that moment.''
Reaching that admirable goal of creating for creativity and innovation won't always be the same for each studio and creator; iHeart's massive-reach business model reliant on ads won't necessarily work for a smaller studio prioritizing prestige content and banking on future adaptations to bring in the cash. But the industry will keep experimenting and, just maybe, something will stick.
''Ideas are what we should be investing in and thinking about,'' Kaleidoscope evp Kate Osborn said. ''Because if the conversation is only about, 'Where can I put all of my energy into the thing that's already working,' then we're 15 steps behind what is going to be the future. '... This industry has changed every year for the last 10 years, so if we're only going to cater to the now, then where are we?''
A version of this story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Man is stopped by TSA from boarding Allegiant flight with hidden explosive device | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 16:04
BREAKING NEWS: Man, 40, is in FBI custody after TSA found an explosive device hidden in the lining of his checked bag as it was being loaded onto an Allegiant flight from Pennsylvania to FloridaMark Muffley, 40, faces charges of possession of an explosive at an airport and possessing/attempting to place an explosive on an aircraftThe explosive was concealed in a checked piece of luggage and contained multiple fuses - it triggered an alarm before being loaded onto the planeMuffley was paged over the airport's public system, left the airport, but was arrested at his home in Lansford later that same dayBy Aneeta Bhole For Dailymail.Com
Published: 16:21 EST, 1 March 2023 | Updated: 17:04 EST, 1 March 2023
A 40-year-old Pennsylvania man has been taken into FBI custody after trying to smuggle an explosive device onto an Allegiant flight.
Officials say that the device was concealed inside a checked piece of luggage at Lehigh Valley International Airport and contained multiple fuses, ABC News reported.
Mark Muffley, of Lansford Pennsylvania, was about to take an Allegiant flight from eastern Pennsylvania to Sanford, Florida.
The bag triggered an alarm before being loaded onto the plane, and the TSA found a 'circular compound' hidden in the lining of the baggage, the FBI said.
Mark Muffley, 40, has been taken into FBI custody after trying to smuggle an explosive device onto an Allegiant flight
Muffley, of Lansford Pennsylvania, was about to take an Allegiant flight from eastern Pennsylvania to Sanford, Florida. He's been charged with with possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing, attempting to place, or to have placed an explosive on an aircraft
A 40-year-old Pennsylvania man has been taken into FBI custody after trying to smuggle an explosive device onto an Allegiant flight
Once found, Muffley was paged over the airport's public system to come to the security desk, minutes later, security cameras showed him leaving the airport.
Police, the FBI and bomb experts responded to the airport. An airport spokesperson telling WFMZ that part of the main terminal was closed around 11.15 am while authorities investigated a 'suspicious package.'
The device hidden in the bag's lining was a circular compound, about three inches in diameter.
Its said to have contained a 'granular type of powder concealed' in wax paper and plastic wrap, a criminal complaint stated.
'This granular type of powder is consistent with a commercial grade firework,' the complaint said.
There were also two fuses attached, one of which appeared to be part of the original manufacturing and is used to ignite explosives quickly.
The other fuse was added later, and burns slower than a quick fuse, officials said adding that the powders could ignite from heat and friction posing a 'significant risk' to the plane and passengers.
Investigators also found in the suitcase a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill and two GFCI outlets taped together.
Officials say that the device was concealed inside of a checked piece of luggage and contained multiple fuses
Officials say that the device posed a 'significant risk' to the plane and passengers
The suspicious package was discovered shortly after 11 am on Monday and the west side of the airport's main terminal was shut down 'for precautionary measures.'
The package was removed from the airport and the closed portion of the terminal reopened shortly just before 2pm.
Muffley faces charges of possession of an explosive at an airport and possessing/attempting to place an explosive on an aircraft.
The 40-year-old was arrested at his home in Lansford on Monday night - city and county authorities assisting the FBI with the arrest.
Remarks by Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang During Workshop on ''Next Steps to the Future of Money and Payments'' | U.S. Department of the Treasury
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:59
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you to the organizers of today's workshop for inviting me to speak about next steps to the future of money and payments.[1]
Roughly one year ago, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) calling for a government-wide approach to the responsible development of digital assets.[2] The goal of the EO is to promote responsible innovation, while also mitigating risks to users, the financial system, the economy, and national security. In response, Treasury prepared reports on the future of money and payments; current use cases of crypto-assets and their effects on consumers, investors, and businesses; and an action plan to mitigate the illicit finance risks of these assets. The Financial Stability Oversight Council published a report on the financial stability risks of digital assets and identified regulatory gaps.
Failures of large crypto firms, runs on stablecoins, and substantial investor losses in the past year confirmed many of the concerns raised in the reports. Commingling of customer and firm assets, conflicts of interests, and lack of risk management and other standards contributed to these episodes. These developments reinforce the recommendations that were made for regulators to vigorously enforce existing laws to protect consumers and prevent use of crypto assets for illicit finance, as well as to continuously monitor whether emerging products or services require new regulations. In addition, the reports recommended for Congress to expand regulators' authorities where gaps have been identified, including with respect to regulation of stablecoins.
My remarks today will focus on the future of money and payments and, more specifically, on central bank digital currency (CBDC). Central banks are at the heart of the global monetary system. Central bank money anchors the value of commercial bank money, and provides a risk-free asset for settling interbank transactions. Central bank payment systems serve as the backbone for payment systems more generally. Given the central bank's key roles, changes in the design of central bank money and payments are likely to have profound implications for financial health of consumers and the economy.
CBDC is one of several options for upgrading the legacy capabilities of central bank money. Another is real time payment systems: The Federal Reserve has indicated that it expects to launch the FedNow Service this year, which will be designed to allow for near-instantaneous retail payments on a 24x7x365 basis, using an existing form of central bank money (i.e., central bank reserves) as an interbank settlement asset. In contrast, a CBDC would involve both a new form of central bank money and, potentially, a new set of payment rails. Both real time payment systems and CBDCs present opportunities to build a more efficient, competitive, and inclusive U.S. payment system.
In the United States, policymakers are continuing to deliberate about whether to have a CBDC, and if so, what form it would take. The Fed has also emphasized that it would only issue a CBDC with the support of the executive branch and Congress, and more broadly the public.[3] Even as policy deliberations continue, the Fed is conducting technology research and experimentation to inform design choices so that it is positioned to issue a CBDC if it were determined to be in the national interest.
With that frame in mind, let me describe the steps we are taking to advance work on policy issues posed by the prospect of a U.S. CBDC, and to engage internationally to support responsible development of global CBDCs.
Advancing Work on Policy Issues for a U.S. CBDCTreasury's Report on the Future of Money and Payments[4] called for a Treasury-led interagency working group (CBDC Working Group) to advance work on CBDC. One of the central tasks for the CBDC Working Group is to complement the Fed's work by considering the implications of a U.S. CBDC for policy objectives for which a broader Administration perspective is helpful. To give you a sense of how we are pursuing this work, I will describe our approach to thinking about CBDC options, the policy questions we are attempting to answer, and the kinds of recommendations we hope to develop.
CBDC OptionsAs a digital form of a country's currency, a CBDC would likely have three core features. First, it would be legal tender. Second, it would be convertible one-for-one into other forms of central bank money'--reserve balances or cash. Third, it would clear and settle nearly instantly.[5] Beyond these core features, creating a CBDC would involve many design choices. An especially important decision is whether to have a wholesale CBDC, a retail CBDC or, both. In characterizing wholesale and retail options, we have found it useful to think about how each would differ from central bank reserves '' in particular, whether the core differences relate to ''technological features'' or ''access features,'' i.e., the users that would be able to access the CBDC.
For wholesale CBDC, the basic difference from central bank reserves would relate to technology. For example, a wholesale CBDC could be a tokenized central bank lability, which potentially could support around-the-clock payment activity, atomic settlement of transactions, certain types of programmability, or other benefits. By contrast, the access-related features of a wholesale CBDC may or may not differ from central bank reserves. A wholesale CBDC could be accessible to financial institutions that are currently eligible for central bank accounts, or to a wider range of financial intermediaries. But while policymakers might consider granting access to a wholesale CBDC to institutions not currently eligible for central bank accounts, that decision would be an independent choice, rather than a necessary consequence of having a wholesale CBDC.
Of course, technological differences between a wholesale CBDC and reserves could still have significant practical implications. For example, a wholesale CBDC could support interbank settlement among commercial banks if they were to issue tokenized deposits, or provide a risk-free settlement asset for tokenized securities transactions. A wholesale CBDC might also be used as a backing asset for stablecoins, which could make it easier to transfer value among stablecoins, in addition to supporting greater interoperability and choice. Depending on design, a wholesale CBDC may also enable more efficient cross-border payments by increasing the speed of settlement or through participation in new multilateral platforms for cross-border payments.[6] At the same time, some of the potential benefits of a wholesale CBDC might also be possible through upgrades to existing central bank payment systems, including interlinking systems in different jurisdictions or new multilateral platforms based on these systems.[7]
With retail CBDC, by contrast, the most important difference from central bank reserves is related to access features, not technology features. Unlike central bank reserves, a retail CBDC would be a digital liability of the central bank that is accessible to the general public. In its CBDC discussion paper, the Fed has stated that a potential U.S. CBDC, if one were created, would best serve the United States by being ''intermediated,'' meaning that the private sector would offer accounts or digital wallets to facilitate the management of CBDC holdings and payments.[8] In terms of technology, a retail CBDC might involve a different architecture compared to a CBDC that is intended solely for wholesale use.
A retail CBDC could contribute to a more competitive and innovative payment system; support financial inclusion; and help preserve the singleness of the currency.[9] The extent to which a retail CBDC would promote these objectives would depend on many further design decisions, including decisions about the range of intermediaries that would act as service providers in the CBDC ecosystem, and the requirements to which those intermediaries would be subject. There are also risks of a retail CBDC, including the potential for runs into a retail CBDC that could destabilize private sector lending during stress periods.
Policy Questions for the CBDC working groupAs I mentioned a few moments ago, the CBDC Working Group is intended to complement the Fed's efforts by considering the implications of a U.S. CBDC for policy objectives for which a broader Administration perspective is helpful. These objectives fall into a few main areas.
The first set of objectives relate to global financial leadership, including the global role of the U.S. dollar. This role confers both economic and strategic benefits on the United States. Economic benefits include lower transaction and borrowing costs for U.S. households, businesses and government, while strategic benefits include influence over the architecture of the international financial system.[10] In my view, global demand for the dollar stems from structural factors '' such as our respect for the rule of law, the strength of our economy, and the depth, breadth, and openness of U.S. financial markets '' that are fundamentally independent of whether the United States has a CBDC. Nevertheless, we are thinking about whether a U.S. CBDC, to the extent it has functionality that traditional forms of central bank money lack, could help to preserve the dollar's global role. We are also thinking about whether a U.S. CBDC could help reduce undesirable frictions in cross-border payments or other activities.
The second set of objectives relate to national security. The United States uses sanctions and other financial measures to address national security threats and deny criminals and other illicit actors' access to the U.S. and international financial system. The effectiveness of these tools rests in part on the strength and centrality of the U.S. financial system and the role of the dollar. Some have suggested that the development of foreign CBDCs, including multi-CBDC platforms, could diminish the use of the dollar and effectiveness of our tools in this space. In addition, the U.S. and the global financial system benefit from secure and resilient payment systems that have strong cyber security protections and protect user data. Yet new payment systems, including foreign CBDCs, may be designed without appropriate consideration of cybersecurity and resilience measures. We are assessing the magnitude of these and other potential national security risks, and whether a U.S. CBDC or other tools could help to counter these risks.
The third set of objectives relate to privacy, illicit finance, and financial inclusion. A U.S. CBDC would need to both protect the privacy of users and minimize the risk of illicit financial transactions. In addition, given that the United States has the largest unbanked population among G-7 countries on a per capita basis and that payments are expensive for some users, a potential U.S. CBDC should be evaluated on whether it can promote inclusion and equity in the delivery of financial services.
Across these three interests '' global financial leadership; national security; and privacy, illicit finance, and inclusion '' CBDC design choices are likely to involve trade-offs. As an example, one way of reconciling privacy with illicit finance concerns in a retail CBDC might be to have a tiered structure in which less data are collected for small dollar transactions or small volume accounts. But limits on the amount or number of transactions could make a retail CBDC less useful to end-users.[11] This suggests a three-way trade-off among privacy, countering illicit finance goals, and inclusion. The CBDC Working Group will work to identify trade-offs and possible ways of reconciling objectives, including looking ahead to possible technological advances that could reduce the size of any trade-offs.
Next steps for U.S. CBDCIn the coming months, leaders from Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and White House offices, including the Council of Economic Advisors, National Economic Council, National Security Council, and Office of Science and Technology Policy, will begin to meet regularly to discuss a possible CDBC and other payments innovations. To support these discussions, the CBDC Working Group is developing an initial set of findings and recommendations. These may relate to whether a U.S. CBDC would help to advance the policy objectives described above; the features that a U.S. CBDC would need to advance these objectives; options for resolving CBDC design trade-offs; and areas where additional technological R&D would be useful. Full consideration of these issues for a possible CBDC '' wholesale, retail, or both '' will take some time to complete, but the Working Group plans to provide interim public updates. Also, as recommended in Treasury's Report on the Future of Money and Payments, the Federal Reserve is encouraged to provide periodic public updates as it continues its research and technical experimentation on CBDCs.
Advancing Work on International EngagementIn addition to advancing work on the policy implications of a U.S. CBDC, another purpose of the CBDC Working Group is to engage with allies and partners to promote shared learning and responsible development of CBDCs.
As others have observed, jurisdictions around the world are exploring CBDCs. According to the Atlantic Council's tracker, 114 countries, representing over 95 percent of global GDP, are exploring CBDC. 11 countries have fully launched CBDCs, while central banks in other major jurisdictions are researching and experimenting with CBDCs, with some at a fairly advanced stage. The Bank of England (BOE) and HM Treasury (HMT) recently published a consultation paper assessing the case for a retail CBDC and outlining a proposed technological model.[12] BOE and HMT now are entering the design phase of their work, estimated to take two to three years, after which the BOE and the UK government will decide whether to build a ''digital pound.'' In addition, there are multiple cross-border CBDC pilots, which involve central banks, international organizations such as the Bank for International Settlements, and private financial institutions.
Regardless of whether the United States decides to adopt a CBDC, the United States has an important set of interests in this work. We have an interest in ensuring that CBDCs interact safely and efficiently with the existing financial infrastructure; that they support financial stability and the integrity of the international financial system; that global payment systems are efficient, innovative, competitive, secure, and resilient; and that global payments systems continue to reflect broader shared democratic values, like openness, privacy, accessibility, and accountability to the communities that rely upon them.
To inform global efforts to explore CBDCs, we plan to make contributions in two critical areas: international standard-setting, and technical expertise.
Engagement on standardsInternational standards help promote efficient and sound domestic financial systems and global financial stability. They are both regulatory, like those standards developed by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure, and technical, like those created at the International Organization for Standardization. With respect to payments, these standards support technical, business practice, and legal and regulatory interoperability and alignment. While CBDC-related technical standards such as digital identifiers and messaging formats may sound esoteric, they have important policy implications such as for privacy. Governance standards, including those linked to participation in cross-border CBDC arrangements, are also critically important.
Treasury is working closely with our colleagues at the Fed and in other parts of the U.S. government to ensure that U.S. interests are being effectively represented in standard-setting processes. Fortunately, we are not starting from a blank slate. While CBDCs are themselves new, there are longstanding standards for financial activity, many of which can apply to CBDC no less than they do to legacy systems. Global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards, as set by the Financial Action Task Force, would apply to CBDCs, and the U.S. government is working bilaterally and multilaterally to encourage countries to apply and enforce the standards. We are also actively working with allies and partners to identify where new standards may be needed. Our efforts to shape international standards are a key part of the framework for international engagement on digital assets that Treasury delivered to the President in July pursuant to the Digital Assets EO.
As we develop standards for CBDCs, we recognize that countries may make different design choices based on their policy goals, legacy payment systems, and other differences in national facts and circumstances.[13] Especially in the context of a new technology, there are opportunities to learn from a diverse set of approaches. At the same time, there are significant benefits to supporting the interoperability of new payment systems, including CBDCs.[14] We will continue to work with our allies and partners during our exploration and development of CBDCs with these considerations in mind.
Sharing technology and technical expertiseIn terms of sharing technology and technical expertise with other countries that are developing CBDCs, the Federal Reserve plays a key role. This reflects the Federal Reserve's expertise in developing and running payment systems, as well as the Fed's existing relationships with central banks around the world. Others also have important roles. The National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are leading an interagency process to develop a national R&D agenda for digital assets, including CBDCs. As part of this process, OSTP recently published a request for information that, among other things, sought feedback on technologies that could protect the privacy of CBDC users while also preventing the CBDC from being used by bad actors. As with other new technological innovations, beneficial innovations with respect to CBDC are more likely if we harness the expertise that exists across governments, universities, and the private sector.
ConclusionIn summary, U.S. policymakers are evaluating whether a U.S. CBDC is in the national interest. As part of this effort, Treasury is leading an interagency CBDC Working Group to support the Fed and develop recommendations related to policy objectives for which a broader Administration perspective is helpful: global financial leadership; national security; and privacy, illicit finance, and inclusion. Even as these deliberations continue, we recognize the importance of helping to shape global CBDC outcomes by actively participating in global standard-setting initiatives and by sharing technology and technical expertise with other jurisdictions that are developing CBDCs.
[1] The workshop was organized by The Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center, The Digital Assets Policy Project of the Harvard Kennedy School Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, The MIT Digital Currency Initiative, and Stanford University's Future of Digital Currency Initiative.
[2] Exec. Order No. 14067, 87 Fed. Reg. 14143 (March 9, 2022).
[3] See Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, "Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation" (January 2022).
[4] U.S. Department of the Treasury, ''The Future of Money and Payments'' (September 2022).
[5] Ibid.
[6] It is important to note, however, that frictions in cross-border payments reflect factors - such as differences in technical, business, and regulatory standards across jurisdictions -- that new technology by itself would not automatically overcome.
[7] Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, ''Enhancing cross-border payments: building blocks of a global roadmap'' (July 2020).
[8] In addition to being intermediated, the Fed stated that a potential U.S. CBDC would best serve the United States by being privacy protected, identity verified, and transferable. See Board of Governors, ''Money and Payments,'' in note 3. Some of these principles might also apply to a wholesale CBDC.
[9] Preserving the singleness of the currency would mean ensuring that money used in the U.S. economy is dollar-denominated and convertible at par from one form or issuer to another. On the role of central bank money in supporting the singleness of the currency, see Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, ''The role of central bank money in payment systems'' (August 2003).
[10] See Board of Governors, ''Money and Payments,'' in note 3.
[11] MIT Digital Currency Initiative, ''CBDC: Expanding Financial Inclusion or Deepening the Digital Divide'' (January 2023).
[12] See Bank of England and HM Treasury, ''The digital pound: A new form of money for households and businesses'' (February 2023).
[13] Tobias Adrian, ''Central Bank Independence and the Development of Payments and CBDCs'' (January 2023).
[14] Agustin Carstens, ''Interoperability in payments: for the old and the new?'' (November 2021).
The Lockdown Files
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:36
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Havana Syndrome unlikely to have hostile cause, US says - BBC News
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:21
Image source, Getty Images Image caption, Havana Syndrome was first reported at the US embassy in Cuba in 2016
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
BBC News, Washington DC
US authorities believe it is "very unlikely" that a mysterious illness dubbed "Havana Syndrome" is caused by a hostile foreign power.
Since 2016, US diplomats around the globe have reported feeling symptoms, fuelling suggestions that Russia, China or other countries could be behind it.
While the US now discounts that theory, no other explanation has been given.
The phenomenon gets its name from Cuba's capital, where the first case was detected.
On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released an unclassified assessment reflecting the view of seven government agencies which reviewed more than 1,500 "anomalous health incidents" across over 90 countries.
The victims have included intelligence officers, military and State Department staff and high-level aides to government figures such as Vice President Kamala Harris.
Of the seven participating agencies, five agreed that "available intelligence consistently points against the involvement of US adversaries in causing the reported incidents" and that it is "very unlikely".
Levels of confidence between participating agencies, however, varied. The report noted that two agencies have "moderate-to-high" confidence in the assessment, while three have "moderate" confidence.
"One agency judges it is only unlikely a foreign adversary played a role and has only low confidence in this judgement," the assessment noted.
American personnel that have been struck by "Havana Syndrome" have reported dizziness, headaches and an intense and painful sound in their ears. In addition to Cuba, cases have been reported in Geneva, Berlin and elsewhere.
A previous report released by the US intelligence community in early 2022 determined that while the majority of cases could be explained by natural causes or stress, several dozen remained unexplained and could have been "plausibly" caused by a hidden device.
In a statement, CIA Director William Burns said that the findings "do not call into question the experiences and real health issues that US government personnel and their family members - including CIA's own officers - have reported while serving our country".
In an internal memo obtained by CBS, the BBC's US partner, the US defence department - which was not involved in the seven-agency assessment - also said that the symptoms of Havana Syndrome are "genuine and compelling".
At a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that "the book is never fully closed" when it comes to intelligence assessments.
"An assessment like this is an assessment based on the best information available to us at any particular time," he said, adding that any new information will be factored into future assessments about the disease.
Amid mounting public awareness, in 2021 US lawmakers began passing legislation aimed at supporting victims of the syndrome. The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act was signed by President Joe Biden in October of that year.
State Department guidelines note that staff with confirmed brain injuries from the disease are eligible for over $180,000 (£150,000) each. It is not publicly known how much CIA staff who have fallen victim are eligible for.
UK Considered Mandating Killing of All Pet Cats to Stop COVID '' Summit News
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:16
In yet another confirmation that the U.S. government on the whole has concluded that the coronavirus came out of a lab in China, FBI director Christopher Wray declared Tuesday that the FBI still stands by that assessment.
In an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Wray stated ''the FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.''
Wray explained, ''The FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc., who focus specifically on the dangers of biological threats, which include things like novel viruses, like COVID, and the concerns that in the wrong hands, some bad guys, a hostile nation-state, a terrorist, a criminal. the threats that those could pose.''
The FBI head continued, ''So here you're talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans. And that's precisely what that capability was designed for.''
''I should add that our work related to this continues, and there are not a whole lot of details I can share that aren't classified,'' Wray further stated, adding ''I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here.''
''The work that we're doing, the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing. And that's unfortunate for everybody,'' Wray asserted.
It has been known since 2021 that the FBI had assessed the pandemic origin and concluded with ''moderate confidence'' that the lab-leak theory was most likely.
There has been renewed focus on the origin of the pandemic after the Energy Department (DOE) released a report asserting that a lab leak was responsible for the start of the pandemic.
The revelation has prompted Republicans to call for declassification of the intelligence.
Senator Rand Paul previously noted that over classification is being used to cover up the the lab leak.
As we highlight in the video below, the ''accidental'' lab leak theory was once scorned as a dangerous conspiracy theory by the MSM and Big Tech, with prominent media platforms and individuals ridiculed and banned for circulating it.
How times have changed.
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Pentagon Admits Russia Captured American Weapons in Ukraine | The Libertarian Institute
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:08
American weapons provided to Ukraine have been captured by Russia on the battlefield, a top Department of Defense official told Congress on Tuesday. Over the past year, Washington has provided Kiev with nearly $45 billion in military aid.
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl claimed Moscow was capturing American weapons and selling them on the black market. ''Our assessment is if some of these systems have been diverted it's by Russians who have captured things on the battlefield, which always happens,'' he said.
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine just over a year ago, the Joe Biden administration began providing Kiev with unprecedented weapons transfers. The US has provided Ukraine with $44.3 billion in military assistance from January 24, 2022, to January 15, 2023, according to The Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Kahl went on to assert that ''no evidence'' has surfaced to suggest Kiev was responsible for the weapons finding their way to the black market.
In the early months of the war, CNN reported that the US lacked oversight over the arms sent to Ukraine. A source told the outlet in April, ''we have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero. It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time.''
That same month, Jonas Ohman, founder and CEO of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with military aid in Ukraine told CBS News , ''All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination.''
In May, the Washington Post reported Ukraine is infamous for black market weapon sales. ''The US government is well aware of the country's challenges with weapons proliferation, though it has been vague in describing the precautions it's taking,'' the outlet wrote.
Kahl was confronted by Congressman Matt Gaetz over the weapons ending up in the hands of neo-Nazis. Gaetz cited a 2018 article from Global Times that found American arms were being used by the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia that was absorbed into Ukraine's national guard. Kahl dismissed Gaetz's question by asserting the claim was ''Beijing's propaganda.''
The Azov Battalion has been photographed with Western-made anti-tank weapons. In March, NEXTA tweeted , ''A shipment of NLAW grenade launchers and instructors from #NATO countries arrived in Kharkiv. The Azov regiment was the first to learn about new weaponry.'' The post included photos of Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi patches on their uniforms.
In July, the Stimson Center '' an American organization '' warned US arms could flow to ''avowed neo-Nazis.'' ''[The Azov Battalion's] role in key Ukrainian theatres creates risks that arms could be diverted to Azov troops in contravention of US law,'' the report said.
Kahl claimed the weapons are tracked by Ukraine with scanners provided by Washington, and the data is transferred to American officials at the embassy in Kiev. He added the officials complete some inspections outside of the embassy.
Additionally, Kahl discussed the White House's strategy for its proxy war in Ukraine. He said the Department of Defense does not believe Russian forces will make significant territorial gains in the coming months. ''You may see small portions of territory change hands in the coming weeks and months.'' He told Congress, ''I do not think that there's anything I see that suggests the Russians can sweep across Ukraine and make significant territorial gains anytime in the next year or so.''
He explained that the Biden administration was committed to arming Ukraine, though the timetable for providing fighter jets was at least a year and a half. Kahl added that the price tag to provide Kiev with F-16s was $11 billion and the fighter jet was not one of Ukraine's '' top three priorities .''
Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.
Scientists Now Want to Create AI Using Real Human Brain Cells
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:36
Image: mevin via Getty Images
ABSTRACT breaks down mind-bending scientific research, future tech, new discoveries, and major breakthroughs.
Machine-learning models like the one that powers ChatGPT are generating essays, short stories, and entire podcasts. But scientists are looking into another way of computing that could be just as efficient and powerful, and it's in our brains.
In a new article published on Tuesday in Frontiers, a large international collaboration led by researchers at John Hopkins University (JHU) details how brain-machine technologies are the newest frontier in biocomputing, and provides a roadmap as to how to make it a reality.
As the paper explains, organoid intelligence (OI) is an emerging field where researchers are developing biological computing using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies. These organoids share aspects of brain structure and function that play a key role in cognitive functions like learning and memory. They would essentially serve as biological hardware, and could one day be even more efficient than current computers running AI programs.
''The vision of OI is to use the power of the biological system to advance the field of live sciences, bioengineering, and computer science,'' Lena Smirnova, a researcher at JHU and an author on the paper, wrote in an email to Motherboard. "If we look at how efficiently the human brain operates in processing of information, learning etc, it is tempting to translate and model that to have a system which will work faster and more efficiently [than] current computers.''
For example, the human brain has an incredible capacity to store information: the average noggin can store an estimated 2,500 terabytes, according to the paper. The researchers envision complex 3D cell structures that would be connected to AI and machine learning systems.
''We're reaching the physical limits of silicon computers because we cannot pack more transistors into a tiny chip,'' Thomas Hartung, a researcher at JHU and one of the study's authors, said in a press release. ''But the brain is wired completely differently. It has about 100 [billion] neurons linked through over 1015 connection points. It's an enormous power difference compared to our current technology.''
Researchers have previously combined the biological and synthetic to teach brain cells how to play Pong''''a proof of concept that was conducted by some of the same scientists involved in this initiative. That project involved the creation of a DishBrain system, where researchers created a brain-computer interface, providing neurons with simple electrical sensory input and feedback that allowed them to ''learn'' the game.
However, the new paper sees even bigger applications than getting cells to play video games. For one, brain organoids could have applications in medicine. The authors write that OI research will allow for the exploration of inter-individual neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, and revolutionize drug testing research.
Just as with artificial intelligence, there are ethical concerns, and the researchers acknowledge that. To ensure OI develops in an ethically and socially responsive manner, they propose an 'embedded ethics' approach, where ''interdisciplinary and representative teams of ethicists, researchers, and members of the public identify, discuss, and analyze ethical issues and feed these back to inform future research and work.''This technology is not exactly ready to be deployed tomorrow. However, the researchers position the papers as being a jumping-off point for more research.
''We have functional brain organoids already, since we have an electrophysiological active system, which has synchronous electrical activity and is responsive to chemical and electrical stimuli,'' Smirnova wrote. ''The next step we are working on is to characterize and optimize the system further by demonstrating key molecular and cellular aspects of learning in particular [to] develop a model of long-term learning.''
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Campus Reform | Christian revival spreads to Baylor University
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:24
Students at Baylor University have been gathering nightly since February 19 to pray for spiritual revival in America.President Linda A. Livingstone is 'overjoyed to see students boldly stepping out to encourage this generation of men and women to know the transformative power of the gospel.' Baylor University students are praying for mass spiritual renewal after receiving inspiration from the student-led revival at Asbury University in Kentucky.
Students at Asbury have led a 24-7 worship event in the school's chapel since February 8 that has attracted worshipers from across the country and the world and has sparked a generation-wide call for religious renewal in America across multiple college and university campuses.
In Waco Texas, Harris Creek Baptist Church (HCBC) held a small religious service on campus from 9 PM to 3 AM, and students have continued to organize informal worship events nightly, according to the student newspaper, The Baylor Lariat .
[RELATED: OPINION: What is the point of having Christian universities if they can't have Christian beliefs?]
Photos from February 20 of the event on held in the main square on Baylor's campus have circulated on social media under the hashtag ''#RevivalGeneration.''
Students gathering to pray for revival at Baylor University! ðŸðŸðŸ #RevivalGeneration #asburyrevival #Revival
'-- Paul Worcester (@PaulWorcester) February 20, 2023
Jonathan Pokluda, pastor of the HCBC, said that attending the Baylor revival vigil has ''strengthened'' his heart.
''Being here in Waco, in a university town and with a lot of Gen-Z, I hope God captures their hearts and turns their hearts to him,'' says Pokluda.
Will Bowden, Director of Waco Baptist Student Ministry , told The Baylor Lariat , that he hopes the faculty and administration at Baylor start participating in this student-led movement.
''We have an amazing, God-fearing president at Baylor,'' Bowden acknowledges. ''Her and her husband love Jesus, and they're behind a lot of this as well, so who knows what could happen if faculty get behind it.''
[RELATED: Christ is transgender, dean claims]
Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone told Campus Reform in an exclusive comment that she is ''overjoyed to see students boldly stepping out to encourage this generation of men and women to know the transformative power of the gospel.''
Baylor prides itself on being ''the world's largest Baptist university'' and has a history of revivals.
In 1945, Baylor students hosted a 90-day revival that resembles the contemporary Asbury event.
As Livingstone described it to Campus Reform , '' That effort proved to be the origin of a revival movement that spread throughout Texas, the South, and around the world, launching a dynamic generation of professionals, pastors, and missionaries.''
Since March 2019, student groups have kept that spirit alive by hosting a 72-hour worship event open to the community called ''FM72,'' which students hope will be bigger than ever because the revival started at Asbury.
With students continuing to informally organize until this year's FM72 on March 19, Livingstone notes that Baylor ''facilities remain open and available for students seeking a place for prayer, worship and encouragement as we join together in praying for revival across our country.''
Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.
What you stand for is what defines youConservative students on college campuses are marginalized, threatened, and silenced by threatening students who oppose their views, or radicalized liberal professors or administrators. Campus Reform'--and readers like you'--are pushing back. Progressives would rather threaten you with violence, silence your conservative views, or call for you to be "canceled" from our society if you oppose them. They say your views are dangerous, hateful, fearful, or racist.
They have it all wrong. What we stand for defines us'--it always has.
We can no longer remain silent. It is time for conservatives young and old to unite as a single voice to boldly proclaim what we stand for and oppose the mob.
Will you join with us, select the principles you stand for, and sign your name below?I stand for the preservation of free speech all across our country'--where I'm allowed to express my beliefs without fear of condemnation if my opinion differs from yours.
I stand for protections for conservative students who are illegally being threatened or silenced on college campuses all across our country.
I stand for the federal funding to be pulled from colleges and universities when they silence conservative views or students.
Bird flu: UK could mass vaccinate chickens to prevent avian influenza spreading between humans
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:22
The UK government is actively considering vaccinating the country's poultry flock against bird flu in a bid to curb the worst-ever global outbreak of the virus and prevent it turning into a new pandemic in humans, i can reveal.
In what would be a major change of UK policy, government officials and scientists are looking at overturning a ban on vaccinating tens of millions of birds as the H5N1 virus shows no sign of abating, the leading expert in avian influenza said.
In an interview with i, Professor Ian Brown, who is leading the UK's fight against bird flu, also revealed his concerns over recent developments in the global outbreak.
These include signs that it could evolve to transmit between mammals; the spread of the virus into Central and South America '' which he said puts at risk critically endangered species, including unique birds in the Galapagos Islands and penguins in Antarctica '' and a cluster of human cases in Cambodia, which has led to the death of an 11-year-old girl.
Prof Brown, scientific services director at the government's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), said recent incidents of mass deaths in seals in the Caspian Sea and sea lions in Peru were disconcerting, and if it showed there was transmission between mammals, it would be ''new territory'' for the global fight to stop a pandemic in humans.
Last month the EU announced it was overturning its own prohibition on vaccination of poultry against bird flu, leaving member states free to immunise flocks against the virus.
The i was this week the first national newspaper to be given access to the high-secure APHA facility in Surrey, which is at the heart of the UK's battle against bird flu. During our visit to its labs and fieldwork, an otter which had died from suspected bird flu was brought in for a post mortem '' underlining the fast-paced nature of the situation.
A new technical group of experts and senior officials from the UK Health Security Agency, APHA, and academia is reviewing the risk from bird flu to humans on a weekly basis, i can reveal.
The threat is currently at Level 3 '' meaning there are changes in the virus genome that could lead to mammal-to-mammal transmission. Evidence of mammal-to-mammal transmission would move the risk up to Level 4.
In this scenario, Prof Brown said ''then we have got to be concerned, no question'' for potential human transmission, which would be classed as Level 5.
A Gentoo penguin on the rocks of Portal Point, Antarctica. There are fears penguins so far south could be affected by bird flu (Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket)Last week it emerged the UKHSA is considering introducing lateral flow tests to detect bird flu in humans in case there is a spillover of the virus into people, and is running scenarios for a potential new pandemic.
Prof Brown and his team are working with the World Health Organisation and other global governments and organisations to try to limit the spread.
There have been more than 330 outbreaks of bird flu in UK poultry farms since October 2021, leading to the deaths from disease or culling of millions of birds. Prof Brown said the situation is ''totally unprecedented''.
He added: ''At the moment, the UK is actively reviewing all of its plans for mitigation and prevention of avian influenza. Vaccination [of poultry] is one of them. There is a cross-sector group looking at that.''
But he warned this would not be a ''simple fix'' as it would be costly and biosecurity measures would still need to be in place.
Scientists are wary of vaccinating poultry because it can still allow the virus to transmit within flocks of healthy birds.
Prof Brown added: ''Some sectors in Europe have been really, really badly hit. The French foie gras industry '' the ducks have been massively hit over successive years, to the point where probably it's been brought to its knees.
''So there's been a lot of interest from some sectors saying we need to be able to try and protect our birds better.
''There would be a cost. It wouldn't be a fix that means you could ignore your biosecurity, you vaccinate your birds and everything's fine.''
Last year representatives from the UK turkey industry called for vaccination of poultry to protect their Christmas birds.
There would be safeguards in place to protect consumers about what meat is allowed to enter the food chain.
Prof Brown said European countries would likely decide whether to vaccinate by the end of this month based on the best science available. He added: ''Some sectors are keen to vaccinate, other sectors are not so keen to vaccinate. Our job is to just set the science out and say this is what we know about these vaccines.''
More from Politics For the UK vaccination plan, Prof Brown said: ''Let's just say there's a recognition that everyone's got to work at pace, and nobody's sitting on their hands.
''That represents quite a big change, because vaccination is prohibited in the UK in poultry, so it has to be carefully balanced, but obviously with the changing risk, looking at vaccination as one component of a control programme is obviously prudent.''
The UKHSA/APHA technical group is also looking at potential candidate vaccines for humans if the virus spills over into people, i understands.
However, this would be an easier process than was required with developing a jab against covid, where scientists were essentially starting with a new virus.
Professor Ian Brown, director of scientific services at the Animal and Plant Health Authority in Surrey (Photo: Tom PIlston)H5 strains of avian flu have been around for years, and the WHO has a number of possible vaccines that could be adapted if a particular variant of bird flu took off in humans, Prof Brown said.
''We've got a whole map of potential vaccine candidates here, any of which could be used quickly if there was an emergency,'' he told i at the government facility in Weybridge.
The current outbreak of H5N1 began in the northern hemisphere in October 2021, but unlike previous periods of bird flu, it did not subside after winter, and was sustained by transmission in wild bird populations throughout summer 2022.
Prof Brown said gulls in particular were responsible for spreading the virus from poultry farms to remote sea colonies, with seabirds like gannets being struck for the first time.
Then in another globally unprecedented event, the virus spread into South America last autumn.
He added: ''It spread into wild bird populations last summer, into these seabird populations that never had experienced this disease before. It's an area which is challenging our understanding of the disease.
''My personal concern is that there are quite a lot of really important biodiverse populations of birds [in South America], you wouldn't really want to consider the consequences of this virus getting right into the tip of South America and then potentially into the southern oceans of Antarctica.
''You've got some endangered, really globally important populations of birds down there, some of them penguins, some of the species for instance have a contact structure where they're close together.''
At the APHA site, scientists are investigating tissue from dead birds and mammals as well as monitoring signs of changes in the virus genome that could make it more transmissible between animals and even humans.
They are also researching whether bird flu could be airborne in dust from feathers and faeces shed by poultry in sheds, although Prof Brown said there was currently no evidence of that.
Prof Brown said the strain has a broader host range in wild birds, but it is also producing ''huge quantities of virus'' when it infects poultry.
His team's tests have established that the virus can survive in the environment for as many as six weeks at an ambient winter temperature of 4C, meaning it is hanging around long after a bird has shed it.
In January, Dagestan State University reported the deaths of hundreds of seals in the Caspian Sea with a possible link to bird flu, but there are difficulties getting access to the data, Prof Brown said, because it falls under Russian jurisdiction.
An information sign about seals in Dagestan. In total, 2,500 seals were found dead, about 700 on the coast of the Kirovsky district of Dagestan (Photo: Denis Abramov/Anadolu/Getty)He added: ''While scientifically we would have been able to probably share information with them prior to the Ukraine situation, obviously that's more difficult now.
''I have not personally seen a clear descriptive report that all of these seals were truly dying of H5N1, and that there is enough data to know it was going from one seal to another.''
So far about a dozen cases of avian flu were found in otters and foxes in the UK, all of which died after apparently scavenging on dead bird carcasses as an ''easy food source''.
Prof Brown said: ''These dead wild birds or sick wild birds that are infected with this H5N1 are full of virus, this isn't just a little transient infection in their respiratory tract '' all of their body organs are full of virus, which is why they rapidly die.
''That means when those carnivores eat those birds they're exposed to very very high quantities of virus, and in those circumstances it sometimes enables the virus to bridge more easily from one host population to another one.''
Prof Brown said there was, as yet, no scientific evidence of transmission between wild mammals but his team have been ramping up surveillance and monitoring: ''This was not a dimension people foresaw.''
The cluster of human cases in Cambodia involves a slightly different strain '' or clade '' to the global variant, but it has nevertheless caused ''concern'' for WHO, Prof Brown said.
''To put it in context, we've had five human cases with this current H5N1, and they've all been mild, globally.''
Vetenary pathologist Natalia Furman studying tissue from dead birds to look for viral infection at the Animal and Plant Health Authority in Surrey (Photo: Tom Pilston)Asked how concerned he was about human-to-human transmission, Prof Brown said: ''If it establishes in mammals and goes from one mammal to another, then we have got to be concerned, no question. That's why it's important to do the monitoring, to get the evidence and understand what changes are happening.
''[But] the information exchange for flu is well developed. We're not like in a covid situation where the linkage between any animal reservoir and public health was not in place, flu has been an established system.''
Prof Brown said it was a ''UKHSA question'' to answer whether the UK is prepared for a new pandemic from bird flu, but he added: ''If you ask me are we prepared for a panzootic in animals, in mammals, well, we have good systems. APHA has a wildlife surveillance programme which is looking for all causes of disease and new threats in mammals, so simply flu nicely plugs into the system we've already got.''
Prof Brown said the public could help in the battle by reporting incidents of dead birds and wild mammals to the Defra helpline or on its website, and not to touch any dead wildlife.
The Red Scare 2.0: Russophobia in America Today
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 13:42
The Red Scare and McCarthyism (1984), Judith Baca .I have been wrestling with the issue of Russophobia in the United States for some time now. As someone who cut his academic teeth studying Russian history in college, and who, at an early stage in my development as an adult had the opportunity to live and work in Russia during the Soviet era, I have a deep, yet admittedly incomplete, appreciation for Russian culture, language and history. This appreciation has empowered me to make informed judgments about Russia, its political leadership, and its people, especially when assessing the interactions between Russia and the United States today.
Void of this background, I would expect that I would be susceptible to the Russophobia emanating from the US government and echoed without question by a compliant mainstream American media. With it, I am able to see through the falsehoods and mischaracterizations that appear deliberately designed to warp the sensibilities and logic of Russophobia's intended audience'--the American people.
Recently, I ran across an essay that had been published by the Ambassador of Russia to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, in the Russian newspaper, Rossiyaskaya Gazeta, and subsequently posted on the Russian Embassy Facebook page . The title of the essay, Russophobia as a malignant tumor in the United States , is, admittedly, provocative'--as all good, thought-provoking titles should be. After reading it, it became apparent to me that, in the interest of combating Russophobia, I should help bring the Ambassador's essay to the attention of as many people as possible.
''Russia,'' the essay opens, ''has always venerated and respected the rich cultural traditions of all countries. This is the core of our national identity, mentality, and statehood. Culture must always remain the bridge for strengthening trust between the peoples, however complicated the relations between the states may be.''
There was no ''cancellation of culture'' even during the Cold War. A lesser-known fact is that the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1958 was won by Van Cliburn, an outstanding pianist and U.S. national. His sensational performance in Moscow at the height of the Cold War helped break down barriers and gave hope for finding mutual understanding based on love for classical music.
The story of how Harvey Lavan ''Van'' Cliburn, a tall, curly-haired Texan pianist, conquered Moscow is legendary. By 1958, US-Soviet relations were tense, impacted as they were by the politics of the Cold War. To promote a thawing in relations, the Soviets and Americans proposed a series of cultural exchanges. The Soviets, for their part, convened the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, named after the famous Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky is perhaps best known in the United States for his rousing 1812 Overture , the melodic Nutcracker Suite , once a Christmas staple, and the unforgettable Swan Lake ballet. The premise of the competition was to invite 50 musicians from 19 countries to compete in an international competition designed to highlight Soviet accomplishment in the arts. A distinguished jury, headed by Dmitri Shostakovich, a legendary composer in his own right, was convened to judge the competition.
Cliburn was one of several Americans invited to compete. His rendition of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto, considered one of Tchaikovsky's most popular compositions and, as such, familiar to all, leaving little room for error or misinterpretation, brought the crowd to its feet. Olga Kern, one of Russia's finest classical pianists, said of the performance, ''Van Cliburn won because he played in a grand way. Soaring. It was beautiful; the piano was singing. It sounded so new and fresh. It was incredible.''
Scott Ritter will discuss this article and answer audience questions on Episode 49 of Ask the Inspector . Popular legend has it that Shostakovich was uncertain whether he could award first prize to an American. When the famed Soviet composer approached Nikita Khrushchev for advice, the Soviet leader asked, ''Is he the best?'' Shostakovich replied yes to which Khruschev announced, ''Then give him the prize!''
Van Cliburn returned to America a hero and was given a ticker-tape parade down New York City's Avenue of Heroes, the only musician ever to be so honored. Time Magazine put him on its cover, with the headline, ''The Texan Who Conquered Russia.''
Six months prior to Van Cliburn's achievement, the Soviets had put the world's first satellite, Sputnik, into orbit, an act that left many Americans feeling vulnerable and uncertain. The country still reeled from the Red Scare politics of Senator Joe McCarthy, whose admonition that ''you cannot offer friendship to tyrants and murderers'...without advancing the cause of tyranny and murder'' continued to resonate in certain circles even after his death in 1957.
Van Cliburn's performance did, in fact, help ''break down barriers'' and give ''hope for finding mutual understanding.'' There's no lie in the essay penned by the Russian diplomat.
Van Cliburn performs at the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, 1958.''Cultural cooperation,'' Ambassador Antonov's essay noted, ''helped melt the ice then. Its significance cannot be overestimated also in our days because the universal language of art unites people of different nationalities, whatever is going on in the realm of big politics.''
It was, in short, an historic event, one worthy of continued attention and recognition. And, largely because of the singular accomplishment of Van Cliburn, the International Tchaikovsky Competition went on to become one of the best-known and most respected music competitions in the world.
''The competition,'' the essay observed, ''was excluded from the World Federation of International Music Competitions in 2022 amidst indiscriminate Russophobia.''
This, too, is a true statement. On April 13, 2022, the World Federation of International Music Competitions voted by an overwhelming majority to exclude the International Tchaikovsky Competition from its membership. In a press release the federation declared that ''Many laureates of the Tchaikovsky Competition are among the leading artists of today. However, in the face of Russia's brutal war and humanitarian atrocities in Ukraine, the [federation] as an apolitical organization cannot support or have as a member, a competition financed and used as a promotional tool by the Russian regime.''
In 2003, following the invasion of Iraq by the United States'--an act widely acknowledged worldwide as a blatant act of aggression that violated international law, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, one of six American music competitions are part of a network of some 120 internationally recognized organizations that comprise the federation, and whose collective goal is to ''discover the most promising young talents in classical music through public competition,'' was not excluded by the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
So much for the ''apolitical'' status of the federation. The exclusion by the federation of the International Tchaikovsky Competition is an inherently political act, a clear example of Russophobia. To pretend otherwise is illogical'--but then again, Russophobia (''the fear or dislike of Russia and its people, often based on stereotypes and propaganda''), like all other phobias, is inherently illogical, representing as it does an excessive, extreme, irrational, fear or panic reaction derived from ignorance of the subject in question.
''And yet,'' Antonov declared, ''despite that, representatives of the United States still seek to become laureates and winners of this prestigious contest. The 2023 Tchaikovsky International Youth Competition, by the way, was attended by 128 gifted performers from 14 countries, including the United States.''
Again, not a false statement'--the XI International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians was held in Moscow and St. Petersburg in January 2023. There, 27 young musicians from Russia, China, the Republic of Korea and the United States were selected for participation in the final round. The top two spots were awarded to competitors from China, while the third spot went to a Russian performer. But Americans were there, participating, and that is what matters.
Russian artists are considered among the world's most accomplished, and many of their works can be found in art galleries around the world. And yet, even here, Russophobia has raised its ugly head, as the Russian essay so pointedly notes. ''The anti-Russian 'hate virus' is giving metastases and continues to affect the United States,'' the essay states. ''It has also infected the leading US art galleries that are now trying to outdo each other in their efforts to 'cancel' Russian culture.
''The Metropolitan Museum of Art,'' Ambassador Antonov reports, ''has reclassified great Russian painters Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin as Ukrainians guided by the fact that they were born in Mariupol, Feodosia and Chuguev, which is nothing short of a complete absurdity.''
The Wave (1889), Ivan AivazovskyOnce again, the assertion put forward in the essay is factually correct. ''The Met continually researches and examines objects in its collection in order to determine the most appropriate and accurate way to catalogue and present them,'' a Met spokesperson said, commenting on the reclassification. ''The cataloguing of these works has been updated following research conducted in collaboration with scholars in the field.''
The ''collaboration'' the Met speaks of came in the form of online pressure from someone the Met described as a Ukrainian art historian, Oksana Semenik, whose Twitter account, Ukrainian Art History (@ukr_arthistory) ran a concerted campaign criticizing the Met for incorrectly labelling the works of Arkhip Kuindzhi as Russian. ''All his famous landscapes were about Ukraine, Dnipro, and steppes,'' Semenik tweeted. ''But also about Ukrainian people.''
But, as the Ambassador's essay points out, ''This does not withstand any criticism at least because the artists considered themselves Russians. Just in case: ethnically, Ilya Repin was Russian, Ivan Aivazovsky was Armenian and Arkhip Kuindzhi was Greek. All three were born in the Russian Empire '' when Ukrainian statehood did not exist.''
Kuindzhi was a landscape painter from the Russian Empire of Pontic Greek. When he was born, in 1841, the city of Mariupol was one of the subdivisions of the Yekaterinoslav Governorate of the Russian Empire. The landscapes he painted were, at the time they were produced, depicting Russian scenes, and Russian people. Kuindzhi, by any account, was a Russian artist.
While Ivan Aivazovsky may have been ethnically Armenian, he and all of Russia considered (and considers) him to be an iconic Romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art of all time. Indeed, several of Aivazovsky's works hang in Ambassador Antonov's residence in Washington, DC.
Prior to the reclassification, the Met described Aivazovsky as such: ''The Russian Romantic artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817''1900) was widely renowned for his paintings of sea battles, shipwrecks, and storms at sea. Born into an Armenian family in the Crimean port city of Feodosia, Aivazovsky was enormously prolific'--he claimed to have created some six thousand paintings during his lifetime. He was a favorite of Czar Nicholas I and was appointed official artist of the Russian imperial navy.''
As for Ilya Repin, his father had served in an Uhlan Regiment in the Russian army, and Repin was a graduate of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg.
The Russophobia of the Met did not stop there. As Antonov's essay notes, ''Another example of ignorance by the Met is the renaming of Edgar Degas's 'Russian Dancers' to 'Dancers in Ukrainian Dress'.''
This is true. Moreover, in introducing the work the Met declared, ''In 1899, Degas produced a series of compositions devoted to dancers in Ukrainian folk dress,'' ignoring the fact that Degas himself named the drawings ''Russian Dancers,'' thereby reflecting the reality that he was devoting his drawings to dancers in Russian folk dress.
But historical accuracy is not, apparently, what the Met aspires to. As Ambassador Antonov explains, ''Moreover, a comment added beneath the picture now reads: 'The subject reflects the surge of French interest in the art and culture of Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, following France's political alliance with that Empire in 1894'. Those who came up with this idea did not bother to figure out that it was dancers of the Russian Imperial Ballet on tour in Paris who inspired the French impressionist to create the masterpiece . It is na¯ve to imagine,'' the Ambassador notes caustically, ''that the artist was familiar with 'the great Ukrainian choreographic school'.''
Anatoly Antonov lambasts the decisions of the Met to cancel Russian art history in the name of virtue signaling. ''The American Museum of Modern Art,'' his essay notes, ''has also yielded to the derangement, dedicating a permanent-collection gallery to works by 'ethnic Ukranians'. Titled 'In Solidarity', it features pieces by Kazimir Malevich, Leonid Berlyavsky-Nevelson, Sonia Delaunay-Terk and Ilya Kabakov.''
Kazimir Malevich was an ethnic Pole, born in Kiev in 1879, and widely considered a leading Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist. Malevich's pioneering work had a profound influence on the development of abstract art in the 20th century. His art, and associated politics, ran afoul of Joseph Stalin, and Malevich suffered persecution at the hands of the KGB, before dying in Leningrad in 1935.
The Ukrainian art historian-turned-activist, Oksana Semenik, led an online campaign to have the Met reclassify Malevich as Ukrainian. ''Russian art critics who had access to the KGB archives,'' she tweeted, without referencing either the art critic or the archival material in question, ''note that Malevich answered that he was Ukrainian when asked about his nationality.''
Semenik went on to tweet, ''So, @MuseumModernArt, how about making corrections about his true nationality? It will be a present for his birthday (note: Malevich was born on February 23.)''
Self Portrait, 1910, Kazimir MalevichA modicum of due diligence, however, of the sort one would expect from an institution such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where assiduous accuracy in the pursuit of art history is the norm, not the exception, appears to be lacking in the case of Ms. Seminik.
Far from a simple art historian, Oksana Seminik is what she calls a ''cultural journalist'' whose articles have been published in outlets such as The New Statesman , a British progressive political and cultural magazine with a decidedly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia editorial bias. On April 4, 2022, The New Statesman published an article authored by Oksana Seminik entitled ''I escaped Russian atrocities in Bucha. My neighbors weren't so lucky.''
The account of Ms. Seminik is what it is, and it is important to note that she provides no first-hand observations of so-called ''Russian atrocities.'' What is more interesting is her naming of her partner, Saskho Popenko, and the name of the person who edited and translated the article into English, Nataliya Gumenyuk. Both are journalists working for the Public Interest Journalism Lab, which in 2022 was awarded the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an erstwhile non-governmental organization formed in 1983 during the Reagan administration to assume control of CIA programs operating overseas designed to influence international public-private opinions and policies. The NED is funded by an annual grant from the United States Information Agency, and receives direct tasking from the US Congress regarding specific countries of interest to the United States. Ukraine has been designated as such a country.
In 2015, the NED was banned in Russia under a law targeting so-called ''undesirable'' international organizations.
It is not my position to question the motives of either Ms. Seminik, Ms. Gemenyuk, the Public Interest Journalism Lab, or the NED.
Likewise, Russian domestic policy is a matter for Russia and those impacted by it, including the NED.
However, one cannot pretend to turn a blind eye, as the Met does, to the fact that its most ardent proponent for the cultural cancellation of Russia in the Met is not a simple Ukrainian ''art historian,'' but rather a journalist-activist affiliated with a partisan Ukrainian organization that receives funding from a US government-controlled agency that has a chip on its shoulder against Russia for being evicted as ''undesirable.''
By acting on Ms. Seminik's passions regarding the re-classification of longstanding Russian artists as Ukrainian (something the Kiev Post has described as the ''Decolonization of Ukrainian art''), the Met has allowed itself to become, wittingly or otherwise, a de facto tool of anti-Russian propaganda.
This is not the proper role of a major American cultural institution.
Here I will let the anger and frustration of the Russian Ambassador to the United States to manifest itself without comment:
Judging by the rhetoric of the American art beau monde, Vasily Kandinsky, a native of Moscow, and his works are next in line to be 'ukrainized'. There is a heated discussion on whether the fact that he studied in Odessa is a good reason to treat him as a Ukrainian artist.
Here arises the question for the museum innovators who until recently admired Russian culture: why they has set about perverting historical reality only now? Isn't this sudden ''revelation'' just a banal tribute to political fashion? Anyway, the time will come for the US cultural elite to sober up and be embarrassed of its doings.
Perhaps. But the reality is that what passes for culture today in America is anything but, especially when it comes to all things Russia. Liquor stores have poured ''Russian'' vodka out in protest of the Russian military incursion into Ukraine, ignorant of the fact that many of the brands they were disposing of originated from places other than Russia.
Town officials in Hempstead, Long Island, pour out Vodka in protest against RussiaOther absurdities abound. The Miri Vanna, a well-known Washington, DC-based Russian restaurant, has renamed the famous ''Moscow Mule'' mixed drink (two parts vodka, three parts ginger ale, and a squeeze of lime juice) has become the ''Kyiv Mule,'' and the long-time Russian staple, borscht, has been redefined as ''the masterpiece of Ukrainian cuisine.''
But the culture war against all things Russian has serious connotations as well. The Russia House, an established Washington, DC-based Russian restaurant, was vandalized in the weeks following the Russian incursion into Ukraine, leading the owners to shutter their doors for good (the restaurant, like many others, had temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)
In New York City, the iconic Russian Samovar restaurant came under attack simply because of its name, forcing the owners to fly Ukrainian flags and profess their open support for Ukraine, lest they, too, be subject to attacks that would derail their business.
It is not just Russian culture that is being cancelled in the United States, but Russian people, including those dispatched to the United States by the Russian government for the singular task of improving relations between the two countries. A recent expos(C) published in Politico , entitled ''Lonely Anatoly: The Russian ambassador is Washington's least popular man,'' observes that ''Russia's ambassador to the United States can't get meetings with senior officials at the White House or the State Department. He can't convince US lawmakers to see him, much less take a photo. It's the rare American think tanker who's willing to admit to having any contact with the envoy.''
Ambassador Antonov is not the only Russian official singled out for diplomatic isolation. In March 2022, at the request of the Ukrainian embassy's defense attach(C), the Canadian Embassy orchestrated a vote by the Defense Attach(C)s' Association, a professional and social organization for defense attach(C)s and their spouses whose dean is selected by the Defense Intelligence Agency, to expel Major General Evgeny Bobkin, the Russian Military Attach(C) assigned to the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, from the group.
''It was hard to believe that xenophobia could take roots,'' Ambassador Antonov observed, ''in a state which is supposed to be resting on the principles of cultural and ethnical diversity and tolerance to different peoples. Nevertheless, US politicians not only encourage hatred of everything Russian, but actively implant it in the minds of citizens. In recent years, they have never stopped fabricating baseless accusations to justify tougher sanctions.''
One of the problems confronting the Russian government and people today is the quality of individuals that comprise what passes for ''Russia experts'' in America today. Gone are the days when men such as Jack Matlock, the former US Ambassador to Russia, or Stephen Cohen, the deceased Professor Emeritus of Russian and Slavic Studies who taught at Columbia, Princeton, and New York University, dominated the halls of academia and power. Both men possessed a deep appreciation of Russian history, culture, traditions, language, and politics. Erudite and tough, they articulated for better relations between Russia and the United States.
Today, they have been replaced by people like Michael McFaul, the former US Ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama, and Fiona Hill, a National Security Council ''expert'' on Russia in both the Obama and Trump White Houses. Both McFaul and Hill have expressed a Putin-centric approach when assessing Russia, where everything is explained through an incomplete and narrowly focused concentration on the Russian leader over the Russian nation.
The contrast between the approaches taken by Jack Matlock and Stephen Cohen, on the one hand, and Michael McFaul and Fiona Hill, on the other, could not be more stark; the first argued for bridging the differences through better understanding, and the other for managing differences through containment and isolation.
One promotes peaceful coexistence based upon principles of shared humanity.
The other promotes never-ending conflict fueled by Russophobia.
''Russian culture,'' Ambassador Antonov concludes, ''does not belong only to Russia. It is the world's treasure. We know the Americans as appreciative connoisseurs of true art. Not so long ago tours of the troupes of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres as well as our renowned musicians drew packed houses and were always greeted with a storm of applause. The local audience is apparently longing for Russian performers and art exhibitions.''
''Isn't it time to stop the Russophobic madness?,'' the Russian Ambassador asks.
That, I believe, is the question that defines our times, and our collective fate.
Who among us will be the next Van Cliburn? Who will challenge the modern McCarthyism by refusing to bow to the insane pressures of Russophobia, and decide instead to engage with the Russian people as people, with full respect and admiration for their culture, heritage, traditions, and history? This journey doesn't require a trip to Moscow. Defeating Russophobia begins here at home, simply by choosing not to buy in to the madness promulgated on the part of those who seek to promote conflict by promoting fear generated by ignorance.
When it comes to stopping the madness of Russophobia, there is no time like the present. Because if we allow fear-based prejudice to prevail, there may be no tomorrow.
Oregon bill would pay homeless people $1,000 a month | Fox News
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 23:22
The state of Oregon is weighing a bill to give homeless and low-income people $1,000 a month in universal basic income.
The Oregon legislature is considering a bill to establish a People's Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program through the state's Department of Human Services.
Oregon's bill is the latest in blue states looking to give handouts to people in universal basic income (UBI) programs.
The Oregon legislature is considering a bill to establish a People's Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program through the state's Department of Human Services. (Getty Images / File)
According to Bill Track 50, the legislation would "provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60 percent of area median income."
The bill would require a study on who is receiving the money broken down among a few demographics, including race, veteran status and risk of domestic violence.
Additionally, the bill sunsets in January 2026.
According to Bill Track 50, the legislation would "provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60 percent of area median income." (Getty Images / File)
The $1,000 payments can be used at recipients' discretion, but supporters say it will be used toward rent and other living expenses.
However, that discretion could backfire as some recipients could use the money for other costs like alcohol or drugs.
Oregon is not the first place to consider universal basic income payments.
The $1,000 payments can be used at recipients' discretion, but supporters say it will be used toward rent and other living expenses. (Getty Images / File)
A California city is planning to give universal basic income to transgender and non-binary residents.
Transgender residents in Palm Springs, California, are eligible to receive UBI of up to $900 per month solely for identifying as transgender or non-binary '' no strings attached.
The new pilot program will have $200,000 set aside for allocation after a unanimous vote by the Palm Springs City Council last week.
Houston Keene is a politics writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene
Musk Lays Off Twitter Engineers Working on Advertising, As Ad Revenue Shrinks '-- The Information
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 23:19
| Jan. 5, 2023 10:31 AM PST
Photo: Elon Musk. Photo by Getty Images.
Twitter laid off about 40 data scientists and engineers working on advertising late Wednesday night in what amounted to at least the third round of cuts since mid-December, according to a person with direct knowledge of the layoffs.
The layoffs targeted areas that Twitter's leadership considers to be failing, such as the ads product, and unimportant, such as data science, the person said. Twitter's ad revenue has reportedly plunged in recent months, as advertisers respond to Elon Musk's loosening of rules around content moderation and the general chaos as Musk shakes up the company.
German publisher Axel Springer says journalists could be replaced by AI | Artificial intelligence (AI) | The Guardian
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 21:26
Journalists are at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the CEO of German media group Axel Springer has said.
The announcement was made as the publisher sought to boost revenue at German newspapers Bild and Die Welt and transition to becoming a ''purely digital media company''. It said job cuts lay ahead, because automation and AI were increasingly making many of the jobs that supported the production of their journalism redundant.
''Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it ever was '' or simply replace it,'' CEO Mathias Doepfner said in an internal letter to employees.
AI tools like the popular ChatGPT promise a ''revolution'' in information, he said, and would soon be better at the ''aggregation of information'' than human journalists.
''Understanding this change is essential to a publishing house's future viability,'' said Doepfner. ''Only those who create the best original content will survive.''
Axel Springer did not specify how many of its staff could be cut, but promised that no cuts would be made to the number of, ''reporters, authors, or specialist editors''.
In his letter to staff, Doepfner said media outlets must focus on investigative journalism and original commentary, while divining the ''true motives'' behind events would remain a job for journalists.
Axel Springer is not the first news publisher to toy with the use of AI in its content creation. In January, BuzzFeed announced it planned to use artificial intelligence to ''enhance'' its content and online quizzes.
The published of the UK's Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers is also exploring the use of AI, setting up a working group to look at ''the potential and limitations of machine-learning such as ChatGPT'', the group's chief executive told the Financial Times.
Since its launch in November last year, ChatGPT has amassed more than 100 million users and accelerated a long-predicted reckoning over whether some jobs could be made redundant from artificial intelligence.
The programme can generate highly sophisticated texts from simple user prompts, producing anything from essays and job applications, to poems and works of fiction. ChatGPT is a large-language model, trained by uploading billions of words of everyday text from across the web into the system. It then draws on all this material to predict words and sentences in certain sequences.
However the accuracy of its responses has been called into question. Australian academic have found examples of the system fabricating references from websites and referencing fake quotes.
The use of AI in journalism has proved controversial as well.
Tech website CNET has reportedly been using an AI tool to generate articles that are later scanned by human editors for accuracy before publication. The website acknowledged in January that the program had some limitations, after a report from tech news site Futurism revealed more than half of the stories generated through AI tools had to be edited for errors.
In one example, CNET was forced to issue major corrections to an explainer article on compound interest that contained a number of simple errors.
Reuters contributed to this article
RadioGPT: 'World's first' AI-driven radio station is here
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 19:51
"RadioGPT combines the power of GPT-3 technology with Futuri's AI-driven targeted story discovery and social content system, TopicPulse, as well as AI voice tech to provide an unmatched localized radio experience for any market, any format.''
How does it work?RadioGPT scans Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more than 250k other sources of news and information, to identify which topics are trending in a local market.
It then proceeds to use GPT-3 technology, to produce a script for on-air use while AI voices turn that script into compelling audio.Radio stations are given a choice of AI voices for single-, duo, or trio-hosted shows. The AI can even be trained to sound like their existing personalities' voices.
Introducing Futuri's RadioGPT', the world's first localized radio content powered entirely by artificial intelligence.Read the full press release here:
'-- Futuri (@FUTURIinc) February 23, 2023''As early AI innovators in the broadcast space, it's only natural that we're bringing the incredible power of GPT-3 technology, paired with groundbreaking technology like TopicPulse, to radio,'' said Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig.
''The ability for broadcasters to use RadioGPT to localize their on-air content in a turnkey fashion opens up resources for them to deepen their important home-field advantages in new and unique ways. With RadioGPT, the possibilities are endless. With RadioGPT', there should never be a 'liner card' or 'sweeper-only' air shift again. Now everyone can be live and local.''
US lawmaker introduces bill aimed at limiting Fed's authority on digital dollar
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 19:30
If passed, the legislation could prohibit the Fed from issuing a digital dollar ''directly to anyone,'' as well as bar the bank from implementing monetary policy based on a CBDC.
News Own this piece of history
Collect this article as an NFT
Representative Tom Emmer has introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives that could limit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency, or CBDC.
In a Feb. 22 announcement, Emmer said he had introduced the ''CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act'' in an apparent effort to protect Americans' right to financial privacy. According to the Minnesota lawmaker, the bill could prohibit the Fed from issuing a digital dollar ''directly to anyone,'' bar the central bank from implementing monetary policy based on a CBDC, and require transparency for projects related to a digital dollar.
''Any digital version of the dollar must uphold our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competitiveness,'' said Emmer. ''Anything less opens the door to the development of a dangerous surveillance tool.''
Today, I introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act to halt efforts of unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC from stripping Americans of their right to financial privacy.
'-- Tom Emmer (@GOPMajorityWhip) February 22, 2023If passed in both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, the bill would amend the Federal Reserve Act to limit the Fed's authority with respect to CBDCs. Emmer is the Majority Whip for the House, where Republicans currently hold a majority of seats. Cointelegraph reached out to Representative Emmer's office but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
Many on social media lauded the bill as a step in the right direction. Bitcoiner Dan Held applauded Emmer's actions, with others citing financial privacy as one of the reasons they supported the legislation.
Source: TwitterEmmer introduced a similar bill in January 2022, during the last session of Congress when Republicans held a minority in the House. At the time, the U.S. lawmaker cited ''China's digital authoritarianism'' in limiting the Fed's authority on a digital dollar '-- China had announced its digital yuan would be available to foreign athletes at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and continues to move forward with the project.
Related: US senator calls on SEC's Gensler to answer for 'regulatory failures'
During much of his recent time in office, Representative Emmer has been considered a crypto-friendly lawmaker calling for the government to scale back regulation in order to promote innovation in the industry. In December, he requested Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler appear before Congress to ''answer questions about the cost of his regulatory failures.''
Ford Files Patent For Self-Repossessing Vehicles That Drive Themselves Away If You Skip Your Payments
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 19:28
The prices for new vehicles have been steadily on the rise. These increased MSRPs can lead to higher monthly payments, which in some cases, lead to the vehicle being repossessed by the bank. With some customers unable to meet raised monthly payments, Ford's latest patent could make the repossession process go a lot smoother by cutting the tow truck driver out of the equation.
A patent filed by Ford to the United States Patent Office details a list of ways for the automaker to reclaim a vehicle from customers not making the payments, which includes an automated system that tells the vehicle to drive itself back to the dealership.
RELATED: Expert Tow Truck Driver Repos Car From Guy Who Attempted to Block It In Their Driveway
Titled ''Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle'', the proposed system would be installed on any future vehicle that includes a data connection that would disable the ''functionality of one or more components of the vehicle,'' which would include everything from the engine, the air conditioning, fuel system, and more.
With vehicles equipped with a self-driving feature, or semi-self-driving feature, this system would ''move the vehicle from a first spot to a second spot that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle'... move them from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency.'' Or in the event that the lender decides simply repossessing the vehicle is not financially worth it, it could simply tell the vehicle to drive itself to a junkyard.
While no technology of the sort has been developed on Ford's end, the patent could be merely to protect the idea of a self-repossessing vehicle. Regardless if this will become a reality or not, it does fuel the incentive to keep up with those payments after all.
New TikTok ban bill passes key House committee on a party-line vote
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:46
WASHINGTON '-- The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would grant President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok, the Chinese social media app used by more than 100 million Americans.
The legislation passed the Republican-controlled committee 24-16 along party lines, with unanimous GOP support and no Democratic votes.
Now that it has passed the committee, the next steps will be determined by House Republican leadership, which controls what bills get a vote on the House floor. China policy is a top national security issue for the Republican-held House.
It was not clear Wednesday what a timeline for any TikTok ban might look like, and a spokesman for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., did not respond to questions from CNBC.
The Deterring America's Technological Adversaries, or DATA, Act, would revoke longstanding protections that for decades have shielded creative content, like the short videos on TikTok, from U.S. sanctions.
In its current form, it would also go further than that, mandating that the president impose broad sanctions on companies based in or controlled by China that engage in the transfer of the "sensitive personal data" of Americans to entities or individuals based in, or controlled by, China.
And while the bill would permit the president to obtain national security waivers for specific cases, it is fundamentally built upon a mandate.
Over the course of more than four hours of debate Tuesday on 11 different China-related bills, Democrats and Republicans agreed on nearly every one. But when it came to the DATA Act, Democrats strongly objected, saying it contained overly broad language and accusing Republicans of trying to "jam" it through.
The DATA Act was first introduced in Congress just last Friday. As of Tuesday's committee meeting, the bill had only one sponsor, the panel's newly seated Republican chairman, Texas Rep. Mike McCaul.
Typically, a bill this new with only one sponsor would not move to committee votes just days after it was introduced. But the choice of which bills will advance through a committee is made by each committee's chairman, so McCaul's sponsorship was effectively all the bill needed.
Yet even as Democrats objected, many of them said they did so regretfully, and they would have much preferred to support a version of McCaul's TikTok ban.
"I strongly prefer when you and I work together to figure something out collectively," the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Gregory Meeks, N.Y., said to McCaul, sitting just a foot away from him.
"But I think that this legislation would damage our alliances across the globe, bring more countries into China's influence sphere, destroy jobs here in the United States, and undercut the core American values of free speech and free enterprise," said Meeks.
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline said there was "broad and maybe universal support on this committee to do exactly what this bill attempts to do. But it's incredibly important that it be done right, and that it be done well."
At one point, Cicilline asked McCaul to define a key term in the bill's language that was not spelled out, and he expressed dismay that McCaul wasn't holding hearings on the bill and consulting experts. "I'm not sure why we are being asked to sort of jam this through," said Cicilline.
McCaul countered that Republican and Democratic staff had first met in person to discuss the bill on Feb. 6, and that legislative text was given to Meeks and other Democrats more than a week ago. If the bill seemed rushed, he said, it's because the threat from China was so urgent.
Other Democrats warned that companies which employ thousands of Americans would be swept up in the sanctions and forced to shut down, and that there was currently no plan for what would happen to these workers.
"American companies with no real connection to [China's] malign influence could conceivably be banned from doing business in the United States," said freshman Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles. "I'm concerned about this because of all of the entertainment companies that are in my district who could become collateral damage," she said.
In McCaul's view, and those of his fellow Republicans, Democrats' fears were overblown, and whatever harm the bill might do will be outweighed by its benefits.
"This legislation is the first step in protecting Americans against subversive data collection," he said.
In winning approval from this key committee, the DATA Act effectively jumped ahead of several other high-profile proposals to ban TikTok that were introduced in the House and Senate before this bill was, but which had yet to be taken up by any committee.
McCaul's bill revises a group of rules known as the Berman amendments, which first came into force near the end of the Cold War. At the time, books and magazines from Cuba were being destroyed as part of Reagan-era ban on propaganda.
The Berman amendments, named for their sponsor, Los Angeles-area Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, were an effort to halt the book burning by shielding creative works from executive branch sanctions.
Over time, the Berman amendments were expanded into a broad rule that courts interpreted as prohibiting the government from using sanctions powers to block the import or export of any informational materials, including digital content.
In 2020, TikTok beat back attempts by the Trump administration to block its distribution by Apple and Google app stores by arguing successfully in court that it was covered by the Berman amendments exemption.
McCaul acknowledged that his bill was designed to give the executive branch powers that it does not have under current law.
"The courts have questioned the administration's authority to sanction TikTok," he said. "My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any other software application that threatens U.S. national security."
"It would be unfortunate if the House Foreign Affairs Committee were to censor millions of Americans," TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter told CNBC in an email Monday.
TikTok is no stranger to rough political waters, having been in the crosshairs of U.S. lawmakers since former President Donald Trump declared his intention to ban the app by executive action in 2020.
At the time, TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, was looking to potentially spin off TikTok to keep the app from being shut down.
In September 2020, Trump said he would approve an arrangement for TikTok to work with Oracle on a cloud deal and Walmart on a commercial partnership to keep it alive.
Those deals never materialized, however, and two months later Trump was defeated by Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The Biden administration kept up the pressure. While Biden quickly revoked the executive orders banning TikTok, he replaced them with his own, setting out more of a road map for how the government should evaluate the risks of an app connected to foreign adversaries.
TikTok has continued to engage with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is under the Treasury Department. CFIUS, which evaluates risks associated with foreign investment deals, is scrutinizing ByteDance's purchase of, which was announced in 2017.
The CFIUS review has reportedly stalled, but TikTok still hopes a deal will be approved.
"The swiftest and most thorough way to address national security concerns is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years," Oberwetter told CNBC on Monday.
In the meantime, government officials from the FBI and the Department of Justice have publicly warned about the dangers of using the app, and many states have imposed bans of their own.
On Monday, the Biden administration released new implementation rules for a TikTok ban that applies only to federal government-owned devices, which was passed by Congress in December.
Money began to rain on Trudeau Foundation once Justin took over Liberals, analysis shows | National Post
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:41
The National Post's analysis confirms one in six donors (if academic institutions are excluded) have affiliations with organizations currently lobbying the government
Last Monday, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner and to the lobbying commissioner, asking them to investigate Liberal fundraising practices '-- and in particular, whether people might be using donations to the charitable Trudeau Foundation to gain influence with the government.
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''Given that Prime Minister Trudeau is a former member of the Trudeau Foundation,'' she wrote, ''that his brother Alexandre Trudeau is a current member of the board of directors of the foundation, that the Minister of Industry appoints two directors of the Trudeau Foundation, and that the Foundation has two representatives of the Trudeau family, any efforts by Mr. Trudeau to use his position as Prime Minister to encourage donations may be a violation of the definition of a conflict of interest.''
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A National Post analysis of the Trudeau Foundation's public disclosures has found that gifts to the foundation have increased significantly since Justin Trudeau's April 2013 election as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The amount of money contributed to the foundation by foreign donors has grown each year since Trudeau claimed the party's leadership. Moreover, a significant proportion of the charity's donors, directors and members have ties to companies and organizations that are actively lobbying the federal government.
Whether or not the foundation violates conflict-of-interest laws, its operations represent another challenge to the high ethical standard Trudeau has established for his government. The Open and Accountable Government guide, codified after Trudeau became prime minister in October 2015, specifies that when fundraising or dealing with lobbyists, ''Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must avoid conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest and situations that have the potential to involve conflicts of interest.''
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Article contentCritics say the Trudeau family's ongoing attachment to the Trudeau Foundation could violate those rules, since making a donation might help curry favour with the prime minister's family. The National Post's analysis confirms about 40 per cent of 108 donors, directors and members of the foundation since 2014 '-- or one in six, if academic institutions are excluded '-- have affiliations with organizations that currently lobby the government, which could indeed create the perception of a conflict.
The Trudeau Foundation hosts conferences on what it considers important public policy issues and grants scholarships in memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the late former prime minister and Justin Trudeau's father. Founded in 2001, it attracted controversy in its early years because it is largely funded by taxpayers' money.
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Article contentIndustry Canada '-- not usually a source of funding for academic research in the social sciences and humanities '-- granted the foundation a $125 million endowment in 2002. The foundation's net assets grew 1.2 per cent in fiscal year 2015, closing out the year at $150 million.
Critics raised concerns about public money being used to fund academic research into ideas championed by the late prime minister, especially when the Social Science and Humanities Research Council already gives out similar grants.
''People that might defend the Trudeau Foundation, would they defend a Harper foundation funding with tax money things that Stephen Harper liked? I don't think so,'' said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. ''And they'd be equally right.''
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Article contentAfter the initial controversy, the foundation's operations continued relatively peacefully over the next decade. But as Justin Trudeau's political career advanced, his ties to the foundation became more problematic. He formally withdrew from involvement in the foundation's affairs in December 2014, and Liberal Party of Canada spokesman Braeden Caley told the Post in an email that the party ''has no relationship to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Mr. Trudeau has no involvement with it.''
However, Justin Trudeau's brother Alexandre and the Trudeaus' close family friend Roy Heenan have been on the board since the foundation's inception. The organization's bylaws grant Justin Trudeau, Alexandre Trudeau and Heenan the right to have a say in the appointment of two directors, even though the prime minister no longer exercises that right. Correspondence between the foundation and prospective event sponsors shows the charity listed Justin Trudeau as a member in marketing materials as recently as September 2014, by which time he had been a sitting member of parliament for six years and leader of the Liberal Party for a year and a half.
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Article content Errol McGihon / PostmediaSince Trudeau became Liberal leader in April 2013, gifts to the foundation have increased significantly. Donations went from $172,211 in the 2014 fiscal year to $731,753 in 2016 '-- a four-fold increase. From 2008 to 2013, the foundation had no foreign donations, but it has brought in a growing amount of foreign money in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Foreign donations jumped from $53,000 in the 2014 fiscal year to $535,000 in 2016 '-- a ten-fold increase.
The majority of donors to the Trudeau Foundation also have ties to the foundation itself, with many directors, mentors and scholarship recipients making contributions. Anonymous donations made up less than three per cent of all gifts in 2015, according to information supplied by the foundation.
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Article contentMany of the foundation's donors, directors and members also have ties to corporate Canada and advocacy groups, organizations with an interest in influencing federal policy.
Patrick Pichette, a Canadian who until 2015 was senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Google, and who sits on Bombardier's board of directors, is also a director of the Trudeau Foundation. Correspondence between Pichette and the Trudeau Foundation in 2014, released as part of an access-to-information request, shows he helped secure US$25,000 from Google for sponsorship of a Trudeau Foundation conference.
Google has lobbied federal officials 22 times since Justin Trudeau became prime minister. The company was under investigation by the Competition Bureau for alleged anti-competitive activities at the time Google made the donation in December 2014. The Competition Bureau concluded its investigation without charges last spring.
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Article contentLobbyists are required to file a report with the lobbying commissioner every time they interact with a federal official, regardless of whether the communication is a sit-down meeting or a brief phone call. Critics say enforcement is lax and it's likely the record doesn't fully capture all interactions between companies and the federal government. Nonetheless, those reports show a close relationship. Google only lobbied the Harper government seven times in 2015. Of the 22 times Google lobbied federal officials in 2016 two of those were with Justin Trudeau personally. In September, Google lobbied Justin Trudeau, his chief of staff Katie Telford and his principal secretary Gerald Butts.
Dario Ayala / PostmediaAsked for comment on the perception of conflict of interest raised by the donation, Google spokesman Aaron Brindle responded with a brief emailed statement that did not address the issue. Brindle said the company supports many organizations dedicated to facilitating dialogue on public policy. ''We will continue to support this important work,'' he said.
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Article contentFormer NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie is another Trudeau Foundation director who donated in 2016. She is currently acting vice-president of oceans at World Wildlife Fund Canada, which has lobbied the federal government 29 times since Trudeau became Prime Minister.
In an emailed statement, WWF-Canada said Leslie's donation to the foundation was not a large one '-- $10 per month. The conservation organization said its lobbying of the Trudeau government has been similar to its activity under previous administrations.
Some of Canada's largest corporations '-- including Air Canada, BMO, Suncor and Resolute Forest Products '-- have sponsored Trudeau Foundation conferences since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader. All those companies, which along with Google and Lafarge Canada account for half of all foundation event partners since 2014, are currently registered to lobby the federal government.
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Article content Paul Darrow for the National PostAsked for comment, Suncor, Resolute and Air Canada noted they all sponsored the 2014 conference before Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, with Air Canada sponsoring the 2015 event as well. The theme of the 2014 conference was climate change, an area relevant to their industries. In an email, Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman said the company has not had any face-to-face meetings with anyone from the prime minister's office. Disclosures filed with the lobbying commissioner show Resolute lobbied Jim Carr, minister of national resources, on March 22.
In addition to lobbyists, foreign donors have also been giving more to the foundation in recent years. Chinese national Bin Zhang, who made a $200,000 gift to the charity following a cash-for-access Liberal fundraiser with prime minister Justin Trudeau, has been the focus of heated debate in the House of Commons. The gift, which was first reported by the Globe and Mail, counted as a domestic donation, since it was made by a company registered in Canada.
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Article contentUnder Elections Canada rules, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents can make federal political donations, but foreigners with an interest in Canadian public policy are free to donate to the Trudeau Foundation. Foreign donations to the foundation have increased significantly in recent years.
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605: number of days between Trudeau winning the Liberal leadership and withdrawing from the foundation $25,000: amount of money Google gave the foundation for the 2015 conference, in US dollars $10,000: donation needed to be an event sponsor for the 2015 conference 50: per cent of event partners between 2014-2016 currently registered to lobby the federal government $150 million: foundation's net assets at the end of fiscal year 2015 202: number of Phd scholarships the foundation has given out, 15 at $40,000 each in 2016 $2 million: the size of the foundation's surplus in 2015 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content[/np_storybar]
The foundation attracted no foreign donations from 2008 to 2013, about $53,000 in 2014, $428,000 in 2015, and $535,000 in 2016. According to the charity, the Switzerland-based McCall MacBain Foundation has been responsible for the majority of the increase in foreign donations.
John McCall MacBain, a Canadian businessman, is a founder of the McCall MacBain Foundation and chairman of the Trudeau Foundation. MacBain is the 75th richest person in Canada and has a net worth of $1.37 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine.
He sold his global classified-advertising empire in 2006. Yellow Pages bought the Canadian branch, called Trader Canada, for $760 million. MacBain now lives in Switzerland but comes to Canada regularly to give money to universities and other education-related charities.
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Article contentThe $53,000 foreign donation in 2014 was a single contribution from the McCall MacBain Foundation, with the Switzerland-based foundation giving $428,000 in 2015 and Google accounting for the rest. The McCall MacBain Foundation donated $500,000 in 2016, with the remaining $35,000 coming from four Canadians affiliated with the Trudeau Foundation and living outside Canada, according to the foundation.
The McCall MacBain Foundation did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking why their donations increased and what, if any, contact they had with Trudeau family members, federal cabinet ministers, or other Liberal party members since donating to the Trudeau foundation.
In an email sent on behalf of the charity, Trudeau Foundation executive director Elise Comtois said the rapid growth in overall donations and sponsorships since 2014 can be explained by an increased focus on fundraising since that year, in an effort to make up for sluggish returns caused by historically low interest rates. The foundation's tax returns show significant surpluses of more than $2 million in 2014 and 2015, but the charity said that surplus really only exists on paper. It can't spend the money, Comtois said, without cashing in securities it would prefer not to sell, causing a cash shortfall of $1.2 million in 2015.
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Article content Mike DiBattista / Postmedia Network''Unrealized gain on investments are not 'real money.' They are simply an accounting treatment to reflect the market value of the investments,'' Comtois said. ''In the current historically low interest rate environment, the revenues earned by the endowment are not sufficient to cover the Foundation's expenses.''
Kate Bahen, managing director of the Canadian charity research organization Charity Intelligence, disagreed with the foundation's assertion that its surplus is not ''real.'' The charity's total funding reserves have grown to about $150 million, more than enough to cover its funding commitments even if investment returns take a hit, she said.
''The last thing I would do now is embark on a new fundraising drive,'' Bahen said in an email. ''There is no financial need for donations if the Foundation holds its current course '-- which I believe is having good results. It would remove any risk of reputational damage from innuendo (about) those trying to curry favour with the current Trudeau government.''
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Article contentThe Trudeau Foundation did indeed hire a director of development in June 2015 to help ramp up its fundraising efforts. The same access-to-information request that included the correspondence between Google and the foundation shows the charity was courting sponsorships aggressively in 2014, creating what chief executive Morris Rosenberg called ''a program of sponsorship opportunities inviting corporations to invest in the Foundation's work.''
A chart attached to the package of marketing materials sent to Google on Sept. 4 2014 expanded on those sponsorship incentives, including a section labelled ''Networking opportunities.'' A gift of $50,000 or more entitled a sponsor to convene a private event for up to 25 people, with ''key members of the Trudeau Foundation Society.'' Justin Trudeau, who was Liberal leader at the time, was named along with his brother at the bottom of a list of foundation members.
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Article content Justin Tang / Canadian PressComtois noted in the foundation's statement that Justin Trudeau had not yet formally withdrawn from its affairs at the time the list was sent. ''It is true that we offer sponsors this opportunity (to network), not just with regard to members and directors but also with regard to our scholars, fellows, and mentors. This said, Justin Trudeau has not attended a single Foundation event for 10 years or so.''
Candice Bergen, the Conservative house leader and a vocal critic in the House of Commons of perceived conflicts of interest related to the Trudeau Foundation, told the Post she was troubled by the fact the charity continued to list Justin Trudeau as a member in marketing materials to potential sponsors more than a year after he was elected Liberal leader.
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Article content''The now-Prime Minister has been listed on this foundation all the way into 2014 as a selling feature,'' she said. ''It would stand to reason that people now would be assuming that if they're donating to this foundation that they will see a benefit of having access to people in government.''
Last Wednesday, the office of federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson announced it is reviewing Conservative leader Ambrose's complaint about possible ethical breaches by the Liberals, including Zhang's donation to the Trudeau Foundation.
Duff Conacher, cofounder of the government accountability group Democracy Watch, said the prime minister should be concerned about avoiding any appearance of a conflict of interest, regardless of whether one actually exists. His family ties to the Trudeau Foundation undoubtedly create such an appearance, he said.
''I don't think anyone can justifiably claim that it's a coincidence that the donations have increased since he became leader and increased again since he became Prime Minister,'' Conacher said. ''The question that has to be asked is: Would Justin Trudeau be pleased or gratified by donations to the Trudeau foundation? And I think the answer is yes.''
Amendments to IHR will enable totalitarianism on a global scale '' The Expose
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:31
Breaking News Last week the Working Group for the Amendments to the International Health Regulations met in Geneva. The imposition of authoritarian rules on a global scale would normally attract attention but there has been a near-complete absence of interest from corporate media perhaps giving the impression that concerns surrounding these amendments is yet another ''conspiracy theory'' from a disaffected fringe.
But, as Dr. David Bell explains, the World Health Organisation (''WHO'') is fairly transparent in its machinations. It should therefore be straightforward to determine whether this is a ''conspiracy theory'' or an attempt to implement an existential change in sovereign rights and international relations. We only need to read the draft amendments to the International Health Regulations (''IHR'').
After reading the document it becomes obvious that the proposed new powers sought by WHO, and the pandemic preparedness industry being built around it, are not hidden. The only subterfuge is the farcical approach of media and politicians in many nations who seem to pretend that the proposals do not exist.
Let's not lose touch'...Your Government and Big Tech are actively trying to censor the information reported by The Expos(C) to serve their own needs. Subscribe now to make sure you receive the latest uncensored news in your inbox'...
There are Two Separate TracksJames Roguski published an article yesterday to clarify that there are ''two tracks'' the World Health Organisation are implementing: amendments to the IHRs and the Pandemic Treaty. ''I would like to suggest that everyone stop focusing on the proposed 'Pandemic Treaty' and pay closer attention to the proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations,'' he wrote.
At the end of his article, Roguski provided a list of resources including:
The Top 100 reasons to #StopTheTreaty, #StopTheAmendments, and #ExitTheWHOExit The WHOThe Proposed Amendments to Who's International Health Regulations, And Their Implications for Individual and National SovereigntyBy Dr. David Bell, published by Pandemics Data & Analytics (PANDA) on 16 February 2023
The covid-sceptic world has been claiming that the World Health Organisation (''WHO'') plans to become some sort of global autocratic government, removing national sovereignty and replacing it with a totalitarian health state. The near-complete absence of interest from mainstream media would suggest, to the rational observer, that this is yet another 'conspiracy theory' from a disaffected fringe.
The imposition of authoritarian rules on a global scale would normally attract attention, and WHO is fairly transparent in its machinations. It should therefore be straightforward to determine whether this is all misplaced hysteria, or an attempt to implement an existential change in sovereign rights and international relations. We would just need to read the document. Firstly, it is useful to put the amendments in context.
The changing role of WHOWho's WHO?WHO was set up after the Second World War as the health arm of the United Nations, to support efforts to improve population health globally. Based on the concept that health went beyond the physical and encompassed ''physical, mental and social well-being'', its constitution was premised on the concept that all people were equal and born with basic inviolable rights. The world in 1946 was emerging from the brutality of colonialism and international fascism, the results of overly centralised authority and of regarding people to be fundamentally unequal. The WHO constitution was intended to put populations in charge of their health.
In recent decades, WHO's core funding model has changed. Originally, its support base of core funding was allocated by countries based on GDP, but this has evolved into a model where most funding is directed to specified uses, and much is provided by private and corporate interests. The priorities of WHO have evolved accordingly, moving away from community-centred care to a more vertical, commodity-based approach. This inevitably follows the interests and self-interests of these funders. Understanding these changes is important in order to put the proposed amendments to the existing International Health Regulations (''IHR'') in context. More detail on this evolution can be found elsewhere.
Of equal importance, WHO is not alone in the international health sphere. While certain organisations such as Unicef (originally intended to prioritise child health and welfare), private foundations, and non-governmental organisations have long partnered with WHO, the past two decades have seen a burgeoning of the global health industry, with multiple organisations, particularly 'public-private partnerships' (''PPPs'') growing in influence. In some respects, these organisations are rivals, and in some respects they are partners of WHO.
Notable among PPPs are Gavi '' the Vaccine Alliance (focused specifically on vaccines), and CEPI, an organisation set up at the World Economic Forum meeting in 2017 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and the Norwegian Government specifically to manage pandemics. Gavi and CEPI, along with others such as Unitaid and the Global Fund, include representatives of corporate and private interests directly on their boards. The World Bank and G20 have also increased their involvement in global health, and especially pandemic preparedness. Even though WHO has stated that pandemics occurred just once per generation over the past century and killed a fraction of those who died from endemic infectious diseases, they have nonetheless attracted much of this corporate and financial interest.
WHO is primarily a bureaucracy, not a body of experts. Recruitment is based on various factors, including technical competency, but also country and other equity-related quotas. These quotas serve a purpose of reducing the power of specific countries to dominate the organisation with their own staff, but in doing so they require the recruitment of staff who may have far less experience or expertise. Recruitment is also heavily influenced by internal WHO personnel, and the usual personal influences that come with working and needing favours within countries.
Once recruited, the payment structure strongly favours those who stay for long periods, militating against rotation to new expertise as roles change. A WHO staffer must work 15 years to receive their full pension, with earlier resignation resulting in removal of all or part of WHO's contribution to their pension. Coupled with large rental subsidies, health insurance, generous education subsidies, cost of living adjustments, and tax-free salaries, this creates a structure within which protecting the institution (and thus one's benefits) can far outlive the staffer's initial altruistic intent.
The Director-General (''DG'') and Regional Directors (''RDs''), of which there are six, are elected by member states in a process subject to heavy political and diplomatic manoeuvring. The current DG is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian politician with a chequered past during the Ethiopian civil war. The amendments proposed would allow Tedros to independently make all the decisions required within the IHR, consulting a committee at will but not being bound by it. Indeed, he can do this now, having declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), after just five deaths globally, against the advice of his emergency committee.
Like many WHO employees, I personally witnessed and am aware of examples of seeming corruption within the organisation, from RD elections, to building renovations and importation of goods. Such practices can occur within any large organisation that has lived a generation or two beyond its founding. This, of course, is why the principle of the separation of powers commonly exists in national governance: those making rules must answer to an independent judiciary according to a system of laws to which all are subject. As this cannot apply to UN agencies, they should automatically be excluded from direct rulemaking over populations. WHO, like other UN bodies, is essentially a law unto itself.
WHO's new pandemic preparedness and health emergency instruments WHO is currently working on two agreements that will expand its powers and role in declared health emergencies and pandemics. These also involve widening the definition of ''health emergencies'' within which such powers may be used. The first agreement involves proposed amendments to the existing IHR, an instrument with force under international law that has been in existence in some form for decades, and was significantly amended in 2005 after the 2003 SARS outbreak. The second is a new ''treaty'' that has similar intent to the IHR amendments. Both are following a path through WHO committees, public hearings and revision meetings, to be put to the World Health Assembly (''WHA'') '' the annual meeting of all country members or ''States Parties'' of WHO '' probably in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
The discussion here concentrates on the IHR amendments, as they are the most advanced. Being amendments to an existing treaty mechanism, they only require approval of 50% of countries to come into force (subject to ratification processes specific to each member State). The new ''treaty'' will require a two-thirds vote of the WHA to be accepted. The WHA's ''one country, one vote'' system gives countries like Niue, with fewer than two thousand residents, equal voice to countries with hundreds of millions (e.g., India, China and the USA), though diplomatic pressure tends to corral countries around their beneficiaries.
The IHR amendment process within WHO is relatively transparent. There is no conspiracy to be seen. The amendments are ostensibly proposed by national bureaucracies and collated on the WHO website. WHO has gone to unusual lengths to open hearings to public submissions. The intent of the IHR amendments '' which is to change the nature of the relationship between countries and WHO (i.e., a supra-national body ostensibly controlled by them), and fundamentally change the relationship between people and this centralised, supra-national authority '' is open for all to see.
Proposed major amendments to the IHRThe amendments to the IHR are intended to fundamentally change the relationship between individuals, their countries' governments, and WHO. They place WHO as having rights that override the rights of individuals, erasing the basic principles developed after World War Two regarding human rights and the sovereignty of States. In doing so, they signal a return to a colonialist and feudalist approach that is fundamentally different to that to which people in relatively democratic countries have become accustomed. The lack of major push-back by politicians, the lack of concern in the media, and the consequent ignorance of the general public, are therefore both strange and alarming.
Aspects of the amendments involving the largest changes to the workings of society and international relations are discussed below. Following this are annotated extracts from the WHO document. Provided on the WHO website, this document is currently under revision to address obvious grammatical errors and improve clarity.
Resetting international human rights to a former, authoritarian modelThe Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed upon by the UN in 1948, in the aftermath of World War Two and in the context of much of the world emerging from the colonialist yoke. It is predicated on the concept that all humans are born with equal and inalienable rights, conferred by the simple fact of their birth. The Declaration was intended to codify these rights to prevent a return to inequality and totalitarian rule. The equality of all individuals is expressed in Article 7:
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
This understanding underpins the WHO constitution, and forms a basis for the modern international human rights movement and international human rights law.
The concept of States being representative of their people, and having sovereignty over territory and the laws by which their people were governed, was closely allied with this. As peoples emerged from colonialism, they would assert their authority as independent entities within boundaries that they would control. International agreements, including the existing IHR, reflected this. WHO and other international agencies would play a supportive role and give advice, not instructions.
The proposed IHR amendments reverse these understandings. WHO proposes that the term ''with full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons'' be deleted from the text and replaced with the vague terms: ''equity, coherence, inclusivity.'' The applications of these terms are then specifically differentiated in the text according to levels of social and economic development. The underlying equality of individuals is removed, and rights become subject to a status determined by others and based on a set of criteria that they define. This entirely upends the prior understanding of the relationship of all individuals to authority, at least in non-totalitarian states.
This is a totalitarian approach to society, within which individuals may act only on the sufferance of others who wield power outside of legal sanction; specifically, it is a feudal relationship, or one of monarch-subjects without an intervening constitution. It is difficult to imagine a greater issue facing society, yet the same media calling for reparations for past slavery are silent on a proposed international agreement that is consistent with its reimposition.
Giving WHO authority over member StatesThis authority is seen as being above States (i.e., elected or other national governments), with the specific definition of ''recommendations'' being changed from ''non-binding'' (by deletion) to ''binding,'' in a specific statement that States will undertake to follow (rather than ''consider'') the recommendations of WHO. States will accept WHO as ''the authority'' in international public health emergencies, elevating it above their own ministries of health. Much hinges on what a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (''PHEIC'') is, and who defines it. As explained below, these amendments will widen the PHEIC definition to include any health event that a particular individual in Geneva (the DG of WHO) personally deems to be of actual or potential concern.
Powers to be ceded by national governments to the DG include quite specific examples that may require changes within national legal systems. These include detention of individuals, restriction of travel, the forcing of health interventions (e.g., testing, inoculation), and the requirement to undergo medical examinations.
Unsurprising to observers of the covid-19 response, the proposed restrictions on individual rights, which are at the DG's discretion, include freedom of speech. WHO will have power to designate opinions or information as ''misinformation'' or ''disinformation,'' and require country governments to intervene and stop such expression and dissemination. This will likely clash with some national constitutions (e.g., the USA) but will be a boon to many dictators and one-party regimes. It is, of course, incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but these seem no longer to be guiding principles for WHO.
After self-declaring an emergency, the DG will have power to instruct governments to provide WHO and other countries with resources, including funds and commodities. This will include direct intervention in manufacturing to increase production of certain commodities produced within their borders.
Countries will cede power over patent law and intellectual property (''IP'') to WHO, including control of manufacturing knowhow, of those commodities that the DG considers to be relevant to the potential or actual health problem he/she deems to be of interest. This IP and manufacturing know-how may be then passed on to commercial rivals at the DG's discretion. These provisions seem to reflect a degree of stupidity and, unlike the basic removal of fundamental human rights, vested interests may well insist on the removal of these amendments from the IHR draft. Rights of people should of course be paramount, but with most media absent from the discussion, it is likely that less effort will be applied to reversing provisions that impact human rights, compared to those that threaten commercial interests.
Providing the WHO DG with unfettered power, and ensuring it will be usedWHO has previously developed processes that ensure at least a semblance of consensus, and evidence-based decision-making. Their process for developing guidelines requires, at least on paper, a range of expertise to be sought and documented, and a range of evidence to be weighed for reliability. The 2019 guidelines on management of pandemic influenza are an example, laying out recommendations for countries in the event of such a respiratory virus outbreak. Weighing this evidence resulted in WHO strongly recommending against contact tracing, quarantining of healthy people, and border closures. The evidence had shown that these were expected to cause more overall harm to health in the long term than any benefit gained from slowing the spread of a virus. These guidelines were ignored when an emergency was declared for covid-19 and authority was switched to an individual, the DG of WHO.
The IHR amendments further strengthen the ability of the DG to ignore any such evidence-based procedures. Working on several levels, they provide the DG, and those delegated by him/her, with exceptional and arbitrary power, and put in place measures that make the wielding of such power inevitable.
Firstly, the requirement for an actual health emergency, in which people are experiencing measurable harm or risk of harm, is removed. The wording of the amendments specifically removes the requirement of harm to trigger the DG assuming power over countries and people. The need for a demonstrable ''public health risk'' is removed, and replaced with a ''potential'' for public health risk.
Secondly, as discussed also in the pandemic preparedness documents of the G20 and World Bank, under these amendments a surveillance mechanism will be set up in every country and within WHO. It will identify new variants of viruses, which constantly arise in nature. All of these, in theory, could be presumed to pose a potential risk of outbreak until proven not to. The global workforce running this surveillance network, which will be considerable, will have no reason for existence except to identify yet more viruses and variants. Much of their funding will originate from private and corporate interests that stand to gain financially from the vaccine-based responses they envision to infectious disease outbreaks.
Thirdly, the DG has sole authority to declare any event related or potentially related to health an ''emergency.'' The six WHO RDs will also have this power at a Regional level. As seen with the monkeypox outbreak, the DG can already ignore the committee set up to advise on emergencies. The proposed amendments will remove the need for the DG to gain consent from the country in which a potential or perceived threat is identified. In a declared emergency, the DG can vary the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (''FENSA'') rules on dealing with private (e.g., for-profit) entities, allowing him/her to share a State's information not only with other States but also with private companies.
The surveillance mechanisms being required of countries and expanded within WHO will ensure that the DG and RDs will have a constant stream of potential public health risks crossing their desks. In each case, they will have power to declare such events a health emergency of international or regional concern. This will enable them to issue orders, supposedly binding under international law, to restrict movement, detain, inject on a mass scale, yield IP and know-how, and provide resources to WHO and to other countries that the DG deems may require them. Even a DG uninterested in wielding such power will face the reality that they put themselves at risk of being the one who did not try to ''stop'' the next pandemic, while being pressured by corporate interests with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, and huge media sway. This is why sane societies never create such situations.
What happens next?If these amendments are accepted, the people taking control over the lives of others will have no real legal oversight as they have diplomatic immunity from all national jurisdictions. The salaries of many will be dependent on sponsorship from private individuals and corporations with direct financial interests in the decisions they will make. These decisions by an essentially unaccountable official will create mass markets for commodities, or provide know-how to commercial rivals. The covid-19 response illustrated the corporate profits that such decisions will enable. This situation is obviously unacceptable in any democratic society.
While the WHA has overall oversight of WHO policy, with an executive board comprising WHA members, these operate in an orchestrated way. Many delegates have little depth of understanding of the proceedings, whilst bureaucrats draft and negotiate policy. Countries not sharing the values enshrined in the constitutions of more democratic nations have equal votes on policy. Whilst it is correct that sovereign States have equal rights, the human rights and freedoms of one nation's citizens cannot be ceded to the governments of others, nor to a non-State entity placing itself above them.
Many nations have developed checks and balances over centuries, based on an understanding of fundamental values. These have been designed specifically to avoid the sort of situation we now see arising where one group, which is law unto itself, can arbitrarily remove and control the freedom of others. Free media developed as a further safeguard, based on principles of freedom of expression and an equal right to be heard. Just as these values are necessary for democracy and equality, their removal is necessary in order to introduce totalitarianism and a structure based on inequality. The proposed amendments to the IHR are designed explicitly to do this.
The proposed new powers sought by WHO, and the pandemic preparedness industry being built around it, are not hidden. The only subterfuge is the farcical approach of media and politicians in many nations who seem to pretend that the proposals do not exist or, if they do, will not fundamentally change the nature of the relationship between people and centralised non-State powers. The people who will become subject to these powers, and the politicians who are on track to cede them, should start paying attention. We must all decide whether we wish to cede so easily that which has taken centuries to achieve, to assuage the greed of others.
You can find a copy of the proposed ammendments as well as a summary of significant clauses in the IHR ammendments as prepared by Dr. Bell at the bottom of the original article published by PANDA HERE.
About the AuthorDr. David Bell is a clinical and public health physician with a PhD in population health and background in internal medicine, modelling and epidemiology of infectious disease. Previously, he was Director of the Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in the USA, Programme Head for Malaria and Acute Febrile Disease at FIND in Geneva, and coordinating malaria diagnostics strategy with the World Health Organisation.
Waco Is Now a Pilgrimage Site for the Patriot Movement | Time
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:21
A ntigovernment militias have made ''Waco'' a code word for federal overreach. Even before the fiery end of the 1993 siege at the Branch Davidians' compound south of Dallas, where David Koresh and more than 70 of his followers died, Army veteran Timothy McVeigh visited the site. A Koresh supporter, McVeigh sold bumper stickers reading FEAR THE GOVT THAT FEARS YOUR GUNS and A MAN WITH A GUN IS A CITIZEN, A MAN WITHOUT A GUN IS A SUBJECT. Two years later, McVeigh chose the anniversary of the Waco fire to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
Conspiracist Alex Jones led a fund drive to build a chapel on the site of the compound. ''No more Wacos!'' he shouted. Mike Vanderboegh, cofounder of the Three Percenters militia, warned, ''Waco can happen at any given time. But the outcome will be different next time.'' One of the insurgents arrested after the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots anticipated a battle with police he called ''Waco 2.0.''
Thirty years after the siege that helped inspire today's militias, the site has become a tourist attraction. On a good day, more than a hundred visitors pass through the gates of a property near Waco that Google Maps still labels Branch Davidian Compound. There are families, curiosity seekers, and militia members making pilgrimages to one of the hubs of what many call the patriot movement.
Today's Mount Carmel is a chapel on a grassy floodplain near the corner of Elk Road and Double-EE Ranch Road. The gravel driveway leads past a row of red and green crepe myrtles. Survivors planted eighty-two of the trees in 1994, one for each Davidian who died during the siege. Today there are eighty-one: the current pastor, Charles Pace, chopped down the tree dedicated to David Koresh.
One Sunday not long ago, a breeze rustled the crepe myrtles' leaves. Dog-day cicadas chirred. Black Angus cattle grazed on the neighbors' ranch across the fence. The church, sporting a fresh coat of paint, looked as clean and white as on the day it first opened its doors in 2000. After almost a quarter century, it was still one of the top tourist attractions in McLennan County. The only sign of decay was the Davidians' cement-lined swimming pool, now half-full of rainwater. Nearby, a placard identified a hole in the ground as the entrance to THE VAULT AREA WHERE MOTHERS & CHILDREN WERE GASSED TO DEATH. This was not a true fact'--the vault had been at ground level, not underground, and about ten yards away, and the mothers and children inside had burned to death, died of smoke inhalation, or been buried as the compound collapsed around them. But the empty space in the earth suited the mood of the place.
Inside the chapel, ceiling fans stirred the heat. A whiteboard cited a verse from Psalm 77: ''I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night . . . Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?'' The board held a map of the Old City of Jerusalem. Today'sDavidians'--thereare a couple dozen in Waco, several thousand scatteredaround Texas and the rest of the world'--stillbelieve they are God's chosen few. Many consider Koresh a false prophet, perhaps the antichrist. Others expect him to rise again in time for the Last Days.
Pastor Pace and his wife, Alexa, greeted visitors. He had a shaved head and a neatly trimmed beard. Her T-shirt read PRAY TO END ABORTION. Pastor Pace had split off from the sect in the 1980s. ''I saw through their delusions,'' he said in a hoarse voice. He returned to lead Waco's diminished flock in 2006. Now seventy-two, he gets around in a wheelchair and has a stainless-steel right leg, the result of a tractor accident that mangled his right foot.
The church's walls held photos of Davidian leaders: Victor Houteff, Ben and Lois Roden, Koresh. Despite his doubts about his predecessor, Pace knows it's Koresh most visitors want to hear about. Posters show Koresh's 1988 mug shot and aerial views of the compound before and after the fire. A memory book holds snapshots of the Davidians who died here in the ATF raid on February 28, 1993 and the fire fifty-one days later. Those too young to be photographed are remembered with cards showing their names and nationalities. Two of the cards read, ''Trauma born baby, American.''
This small chapel stands on the spot of David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound that was stormed and subsequently burned to the gound by the FBI and ATF in April 1993, in Waco, Texas, June 9, 2001.
Shawn Thew'--AFP/Getty Images
The Paces rely on donations. They also sell merchandise: GOD ROCKED FROM WACO T-shirts and postcards showing Koresh playing guitar, Trump flags and shirts emblazoned MR TRUMP YOU ARE MY PRESIDENT 2020''2024. Another shirt reads, PATRIOTS, REMEMBER THE ALAMO? AND FORGET NOT WACO! Posters showed Bill and Hillary Clinton with their fingers to their lips'--Shh!'--and Koresh wielding a rifle over a line directed at President Joe Biden: SLEEPY JOE, WAKE UP OR WACO! COME GET IT!
Pastor Pace works day and night to maintain the church and the grounds, host Sabbath services, and run a website that blames deep-state conspirators for the siege and fire of '93, a subsequent cover-up that led to the murder of Vince Foster, and more.
''Koresh may have been a false prophet, but he was onto something,'' Pace said that day. Partially blind, he had a gray left eye that wandered while his blue right eye fixed a listener in an iron gaze. ''That's why the Clintons couldn't let him live. He knew too much about the human trafficking, pedophilia, and gun-and cocaine-running the Clintons and Bushes were guilty of.'' The Davidians had built their swimming pool, he believed, ''to reclaim a desecrated spot'' after Koresh found evidence of a sex-slavery ring based in the cellar, though Koresh never mentioned such a thing.
''This is all proven,'' said Pace. A website he built for the church,, featured a Star of David logo, posts including ''Why the Deep State Massacred David Koresh and his Followers,'' references to Republicans and ''Demonic-rats,'' and the QAnon hashtag WWG1 WGA (''Where we go one, we go all''). President George H. W. Bush, he said, ''was a pedophile and homosexual. As head of the CIA, Bush built tunnels under the White House. They found fifteen hundred dead children in those tunnels, dead from torture and sexual abuse. When they found out, Donald and Melania Trump cried for hours. And Donald Trump did the right thing: he had Bush arrested for his crimes. George Bush did not die of natural causes in 2018. They executed him for treason. This will all come out in the near future.''
Like Koresh, Pastor Pace knew his Bible well enough to recite much of it from memory. ''Prophecy is real,'' he said. ''I trust in prophecy. That's what has kept me sane, so to speak.'' He was tender with his adult sons, who helped with chores and still found an occasional spent bullet in the acres of grass around the church. Pace said they knew their father might sound unhinged to some, but he was not a hypocrite. He was a believer. He had chopped down the bush dedicated to Koresh ''because God told me to.'' He thanked God for the militia members who come to Mount Carmel from all over the country. ''The Holy Spirit leads them here. The Proud Boys were here, about thirty of them. They say Waco is the Alamo of the modern patriot movement. I told them, 'If David Koresh were here today, he'd be one of you.'''
Adapted from Cook's new book, Waco Rising: David Koresh, the FBI, and the Birth of America's Militias
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Vanguard's CEO Bucks the ESG Orthodoxy - WSJ
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:20
Tim Buckley pulls out of the Net Zero Managers initiative and affirms his fiduciary duty to clients.
Vanguard's Tim Buckley is having a Copernican moment. Like the famous Renaissance polymath who challenged conventional wisdom about celestial movement, the 54-year-old CEO is challenging the asset-management industry's environmental, social and governance orthodoxy.
''Our research indicates that ESG investing does not have any advantage over broad-based investing,'' Mr. Buckley said in a recent interview with the Financial Times. Matching word to deed, his comments came after he had withdrawn his firm from the $59 trillion Net...
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Vanguard's Tim Buckley is having a Copernican moment. Like the famous Renaissance polymath who challenged conventional wisdom about celestial movement, the 54-year-old CEO is challenging the asset-management industry's environmental, social and governance orthodoxy.
''Our research indicates that ESG investing does not have any advantage over broad-based investing,'' Mr. Buckley said in a recent interview with the Financial Times. Matching word to deed, his comments came after he had withdrawn his firm from the $59 trillion Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, an organization that is part of the $150 trillion United Nations-affiliated Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. Both alliances are committed to restricting their investments over time to companies that are compliant with the Paris Agreement's objective of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Mr. Buckley claims the financial world, swept up in climate-change fervor, can't make such commitments without reneging on its fiduciary duties.
Mr. Buckley's assertions would be innocuous if he were a small hedge-fund manager or a climate-change denier. He is neither. Depending on how and when you measure, Vanguard is the largest or second-largest asset manager in the world. Pulling his firm out of the world's largest association of financial institutions dedicated to net-zero goals should have seismic implications. What is it that Mr. Buckley knows that so many others don't?
For one thing, he understands that it's difficult for active managers to beat broad indexes, as most ESG funds promise. ''In investing, you get what you don't pay for,'' as Vanguard founder John C. Bogle observed. ''Intelligent investors will use low-cost index funds to build a diversified portfolio, . . . and they won't be foolish enough to think that they can consistently outsmart the market.''
Mr. Buckley effectively claims that ESG managers are playing the fool and taking their clients' money with them. Fewer than 1 in 7 active equity managers outperform the broad market in any five-year period. Over the past five years, not one relied exclusively on a net-zero investment methodology. Outperforming the market is even more difficult over longer time horizons'--only 1 in 10 over 10 years, and 1 in 20 over 20 years, ever do.
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Last year, tech stocks fell by more than 30% while the energy sector, including oil and gas firms, gained nearly 60%. Yet because of their net-zero pledge, ESG funds continue to overweight the former and underweight the latter. Rather than embrace diversification and own a market-weighted amount of everything, ESG funds practice ''deworsification,'' clinging to a restricted list of companies and hoping for the best.
Mr. Buckley also knows that Vanguard can't promise to be a fiduciary to its clients while also committing to align its assets with the 2050 net-zero target. Signatories to such initiatives effectively commit to reducing their volume of investments in companies not aligned to the Paris Agreement without ever knowing how much of the global economy will be compliant or investable. In other words, being a member of a net-zero alliance requires clairvoyance'--something Mr. Buckley, in good conscience, can't promise. If acts of war or nature force a sudden rethink of the priority given to carbon reduction over energy affordability and reliability, as they've done in the past year, the investment universe would no longer reflect how the real economy operates.
Finally, Mr. Buckley knows that the largest index manager in the world isn't qualified to tell individual companies how to set their ESG priorities. ''It would be hubris to presume we know the right strategy for the thousands of companies that Vanguard invests in,'' he told the FT. ''We just want to make sure that the risks are being appropriately disclosed, and that every company is playing by the rules.''
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Most important, Mr. Buckley understands that progress toward net-zero emissions doesn't depend on how people invest: ''Politicians and regulators have a central role to play in setting the ground rules to achieve a just transition.'' Betting his clients' money on politicians and regulators consistently doing the ''right'' thing would be irresponsible. There is a receding chance the globe will be at net zero by 2050. No one should promise to base his entire investment strategy on such odds.
If Mr. Buckley is right, then hundreds of other financial institutions with trillions of assets under management are wrong. Asset managers who promise to prioritize investment performance should reject shoehorning their clients' capital into an unknown and unknowable future. They should also stop pretending they know more about how to run companies than full-time corporate boards whose sole job is to maximize their shareholders' long-run interests.
Rejecting prevailing beliefs is hard. Al Gore called Mr. Buckley's decision ''irresponsible and shortsighted.'' Freeing the asset-management industry from a prevailing orthodoxy that promises wealth and environmental sanctity while delivering neither requires monumental fortitude.
It took some 360 years before the Vatican formally acknowledged its error in rejecting Copernicus's theory of heliocentrism. Let's hope Mr. Buckley's critics won't wait three centuries before admitting he was right.
Mr. Keeley is CEO of 1PointSix LLC and author of ''Sustainable: Moving Beyond ESG to Impact Investing.''
Jeb Bush says he is 'praising, not endorsing' DeSantis for 2024 election | Washington Examiner
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:19
February 28, 2023 11:53 AM
F ormer Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) clarified that he was not endorsing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for president during a TV appearance but rather expressing his support and appreciation for his work in politics.
Bush appeared in a Fox Nation special stating that DeSantis should run for higher politics and usher in "generational change" into the political landscape, an emerging theme among 2024 presidential candidates and congressional members.
''I was praising, not endorsing," the former governor said to Politico after his comments were taken as an all-out endorsement for DeSantis, who has not yet announced if he intends to run for the White House this cycle.
Bush has supported DeSantis for a long time, as he was the only former governor to attend DeSantis's inauguration in January. In the special, he called DeSantis an "effective governor" and someone who could push Florida to be "a model for the country."
''He's been a really effective governor. He's young," Bush said. "I think we're on the verge of a generational change in our politics '-- kind of hope so. I think it's time for a more forward-leaning, future-oriented conversation."
In this April 25, 2018, file photo, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks on the campus of Brown University. AP Photo/Steven Senne, File
The special drew criticism from supporters of former President Donald Trump, for whom Bush has publicly expressed his dislike. Trump beat Bush in the 2016 primary and has repeatedly disparaged his brother, former President George W. Bush.
Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election late last year, shortly after a large Republican loss during the 2022 midterm elections. DeSantis ended the midterm elections with a large victory for himself and Florida Republicans.
The former president and his campaign have begun launching attacks at candidates, such as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and those who have not stepped into the arena, such as DeSantis.
He recently compared DeSantis to Bush, former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) '-- all conservatives he believes have "not been good for the Republican Party."
Fact check: False claim that Joe Biden was shot
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:15
The claim: Joe Biden has been shotA Feb. 20 Facebook video shows an amalgamation of text, dates and pictures of officials such as former FBI Director James Comey while a narrator speaks.
"Biden Is Shot!" reads the video's caption. "Behind-The-Scenes Executions- Who Will Be Next."
The video garnered more than 600 shares in four days.
Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks
Our rating: FalsePresident Joe Biden has not been shot. Photographic and video evidence proves he has been traveling and speaking publicly.
Biden has made numerous recent public appearancesThe video itself doesn't provide evidence or even mention the claim. Instead, the narrator discusses an array of baseless conspiracy theories perpetuated by QAnon, whose followers believe the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles.
Since the video's publication on Facebook, Biden has made numerous public appearances.
On Feb. 21, he gave a speech in Warsaw to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which was filmed by outlets such as C-SPAN and PBS. He then attended a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Palace, according to footage captured by C-SPAN.
Fact check: Article falsely claims Speaker Nancy Pelosi was arrested for treason
The following day, Biden spoke at the Summit of the NATO Bucharest Nine. The White House shared pictures of the attendees on Twitter and footage of Biden speaking on YouTube.
Biden arrived back at the White House later that evening, according to pictures captured by AFP and the Associated Press.
USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment.
This claim was debunked by PolitiFact as well.
Our fact-check sources:USA TODAY, Feb. 7, 2021, What is QAnon? What to know about the baseless, far-right conspiracy theory connected to Marjorie Taylor GreeneUSA TODAY, Feb. 22, 'Kyiv stands strong': Biden declares Putin 'was wrong,' marking one year of Russia's war in UkraineC-SPAN, Feb. 21, Presidential Remarks on the One-Year Anniversary of Russia's Invasion of UkrainePBS NewsHour (YouTube), Feb. 21, WATCH LIVE: Biden delivers remarks in Warsaw, Poland after making surprise trip to UkraineC-SPAN, Feb. 21, President Biden Meets with Polish President DudaThe White House, Feb. 22, TweetThe White House (YouTube), Feb. 22, President Biden Delivers Remarks at Extraordinary Summit of the NATO Bucharest NineNATO, Feb. 22, NATO Secretary General thanks US and B9 leaders for their strong support for NATO and UkraineAFP, Feb. 22, US-POLITICS-BIDENAssociated Press, Feb. 22, BIDENThank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
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Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:09
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DOES IT TAKE A WAR? - Seymour Hersh
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 15:09
President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, 1961. / NATIONAL ARCHIVESThere is an inevitable gap between what a president tells us about a war'--even a proxy war'--and the reality on the ground. It is true today as Joe Biden struggles for public support for the war in Ukraine, and it was true six decades ago as Jack Kennedy struggled to understand the war he chose to pursue in South Vietnam.
Early 1962 was a critical time for President John F. Kennedy. After his image and leadership had been tarnished by the Bay of Pigs disaster three months into his term, he had decided that he must make a stand in South Vietnam and confront the spread of communism there. The president spent the rest of 1961 secretly increasing American defoliation, bombing, and the number of US troops inside South Vietnam. His fight against international communism was on. His foil was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who had overwhelmed the young president at a summit meeting on June 4, 1961, with his knowledge, toughness, and lack of respect for Kennedy's floundering in Cuba. ''So he just beat the hell out of me,'' the president later told New York Times columnist James Reston.
Nonetheless, America was smitten by the glitz and glamor of Jack and Jackie and their life inside the White House, with parties and social events that brought together the best America had to offer from the worlds of music, the arts, and the academy. So it was that David Herbert Donald, the most prominent Lincoln scholar of his time, found himself asked to give a private briefing in the White House. The small group he addressed'--it numbered no more than twenty'--included longtime friends of the president and some key members of his government. Donald would be the guest of the president and his wife. He was delighted.
Donald, who had won a Pulitzer Prize that year for his work on the Civil War, wrote a long chatty letter to an old friend a few weeks later about his night at the White House. I learned of the meeting during the 1990s while researching a book on the Kennedy Administration. Donald sent me a copy then of the letter, but urged me to publish very little of it in my book. I did what he asked. Donald died in 2009, after decades of teaching American history at Harvard University, and I'd like to think he would have approved of my quoting it at greater length here.
Two Indicted Masterminds of the FTX Fraud Were Clients of Big Law Firm Sullivan & Cromwell
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 15:08
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 1, 2023 ~
Andrew (Andy) Dietderich, Law Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell
On January 17, Sullivan & Cromwell law partner Andrew Dietderich filed a declaration in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware that acknowledged '' after much prodding by the U.S. Trustee '' the more than 20 legal engagements Sullivan & Cromwell had been involved in with Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX Group before it filed for bankruptcy on November 11, 2022. According to the declaration, the law firm's legal work began 15 months prior to the collapse of the firm. (See our previous report, Sam Bankman-Fried, BlockFi and Sullivan & Cromwell: A Viper's Nest of Conflicts and Intrigue.)
This does not look good for the 144-year old law firm because the Securities and Exchange Commission is now charging that FTX was a fraud from the very beginning and Sam Bankman-Fried illegally used FTX customer funds from the very beginning. Making the situation even more dicey for Sullivan & Cromwell, its former law partner, Ryne Miller, was employed as General Counsel at FTX US as this fraud was expanding.
Raising reputational risk not only to Sullivan & Cromwell but also to the federal court system, none of the above information stopped the presiding judge in the FTX bankruptcy case, Judge John Dorsey, from signing an order making Sullivan & Cromwell the lead law firm overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings of the more than 100 companies involved in Sam Bankman-Fried's collapsed crypto house of cards. Sullivan & Cromwell has already billed more than $20 million in legal fees in the bankruptcy case along with more than $239,000 in expenses '' including more than $20,000 for ''Conference Room Dining'' and ''Meals '' Overtime.'' (See Judge John Dorsey Has Effectively Privatized Justice in the FTX Bankruptcy Case.)
The January 17 disclosures to the Delaware Bankruptcy Court by Sullivan & Cromwell revealed that in addition to the 20 legal engagements for corporate entities of FTX or Alameda Research (Sam Bankman-Fried's hedge fund), Sullivan & Cromwell had also done legal work on an individual basis for Sam Bankman-Fried and the Head of Engineering at FTX, Nishad Singh.
Bankman-Fried has now been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on 12 criminal counts. He has pleaded not guilty to the first eight counts and has not yet entered a plea on the additional four counts, one of which is bank fraud. Yesterday, Nishad Singh pleaded guilty to a 6-count criminal indictment. (Two other top lieutenants at Bankman-Fried's crypto empire have been indicted: Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang. Both have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors, as is Singh.)
Sullivan & Cromwell explained in its January 17 filing with the Bankruptcy Court that it had worked for Bankman-Fried from April 14, 2022 to August 5, 2022. The work involved Bankman-Fried's purchase of more than half a billion dollars in the stock of Robinhood Markets (a trading app). Bankman-Fried used loans he took from Alameda Research to purchase the Robinhood stock. Federal prosecutors have charged that Alameda Research was looting FTX customer funds from the very beginning of the creation of FTX in 2019. The U.S. Department of Justice seized the Robinhood stock in early January. The rightful ownership of the stock is the subject of multiple court battles.
Sullivan & Cromwell's January 17 disclosure also revealed that it had worked on an individual basis for Nishad Singh during a period when he was Head of Engineering at FTX. The disclosure explains: ''The work was primarily performed out of the S&C London office and supervised by a partner resident in London. The representation started December 16, 2021 and ceased on August 8, 2022. The work was arranged, and paid for, by Alameda.'' According to the bankruptcy court filing, Sullivan & Cromwell's legal work for Singh concerned ''tax matters and estate planning.''
It doesn't appear that Nishad Singh will have much use for that ''estate planning'' work by Sullivan & Cromwell. Singh signed a forfeiture order with the criminal court in Manhattan yesterday in addition to pleading guilty to the six criminal counts. While the specific properties and assets that he will forfeit have been redacted in the filing, the forfeiture agreement includes anything that is traceable to the six counts of fraud to which he has pleaded guilty.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed charges against Singh yesterday. The SEC's complaint provides far more damning detail than does that of the Justice Department. The SEC writes, for example:
''In 2020 and 2021, Singh executed promissory notes with Alameda totaling approximately $577.5 million. The funds borrowed under the promissory notes (referred to internally at FTX as 'Founders Loans') in Singh's name were generally not intended for Singh's personal use but were instead used by Bankman-Fried for other purposes, including additional venture investments and acquisitions. Singh also borrowed millions to donate to political campaigns and causes, as well as philanthropic causes associated with effective altruism. Some of these donations were funded through a line of credit that Bankman-Fried authorized Singh to provide himself on his personal FTX account. In 2021, Singh also borrowed $10 million in an undocumented loan and provided the funds to friends and family'...Moreover, in September and October of 2022, when Singh was already aware that FTX customer funds had been used by Alameda and that Alameda was unable to repay the debt, Singh withdrew approximately $6 million from FTX for personal use and expenditures, including the purchase of a multi-million-dollar house and donations to charitable causes.''
Estate planning indeed.
Watch live: U.S. House China panel holds first hearing
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 00:28
(The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET. Please refresh the page if the above video isn't playing at that time.)
WASHINGTON '-- A newly formed House committee devoted to examining economic competition between the U.S. and China is holding its first hearing on Tuesday night, capping off a day of maneuvers on Capitol Hill aimed at holding Beijing accountable for recent national security offenses.
The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party was formed in January shortly after Republicans took the majority in the House. Its inaugural event, scheduled for primetime at 7 p.m. ET, comes as lawmakers in the House and Senate renew their focus on China after the U.S. shot down a CCP surveillance balloon earlier this month.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) (C), chair of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, joins Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) (L) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for a news conference following a GOP caucus meeting at the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill on February 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Committee Chair Rep. Mike Gallagher said the hearing will spotlight human rights.
"We may call this a 'strategic competition,' but this is not a polite tennis match," Gallagher, R-Wis., will say in his opening remarks, according to a copy reviewed ahead of the hearing. "This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century '-- and the most fundamental freedoms are at stake."
An example is the U.S. government's targeting of the popular social media platform TikTok. The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced plans Monday to promote legislation giving the president the authority to ban the China-owned app in the U.S. TikTok boasts over 1 billion active users.
TikTok has been in lawmakers' crosshairs since former President Donald Trump proposed using executive powers in 2020 to ban the app over security concerns.
The Biden administration has also sanctioned six Chinese aerospace companies supporting the nation's military balloon program after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon that drifted across the U.S. about a month ago.
Gallagher and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., ranking member of the select committee, called the balloon a "violation of American sovereignty" in a joint statement.
The administration's move prompted the advancement of several bills designed to bolster U.S. national security against China. Seven out of 10 bills passed by the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday addressed China or its neighbor, Taiwan. While they would still need to clear the full House and Senate before becoming law, the volume and speed of the anti-China bills moving through the lower chamber indicate a growing chasm between Washington and Beijing.
The House panel approved the following bills Tuesday:
The "Taiwan Conflict Deterrence Act of 2023," to activate certain sanctions against Chinese leaders and their families if Beijing acts against Taiwan.The "Preventing the Financing of Illegal Synthetic Drugs Act," to study illicit financing in drug trafficking to stop the flow of fentanyl of Chinese origin into American communities.The "Taiwan Non-Discrimination Act of 2023," to require the U.S. to advocate for Taiwan's membership at the International Monetary Fund.The "Chinese Currency Accountability Act of 2023," To require the Treasury Secretary to oppose an increase in the weight of China's currency in the group of currencies influencing the value of Special Drawing Rights.The "China Exchange Rate Transparency Act of 2023," to require the U.S. Director at the IMF to advocate for transparent disclosure of China's exchange rate policies.The "PROTECT Taiwan Act," to require the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Secretary and the Securities and Exchange Commission to exclude Chinese representatives from certain international proceedings if Taiwan is invaded.The "China Financial Threat Mitigation Act of 2023," to require the Treasury Secretary to report on global economic risks from China.The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs also queried witnesses Tuesday on advancing U.S. national security through sanctions and export controls.
"The Chinese government made its aims clear: to dominate advanced technology and global strategic supply chains," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chair of the committee, said in opening statements. "The 'Chinese Communist Party's' civil-military fusion policy erases the line separating commercial and military use of finished goods '' and of the technologies that go into them."
Gallagher will echo these statements during the Tuesday night hearing.
"The CCP laughed at our na¯vet(C) while they took advantage of our good faith," Gallagher will say of previous economic approaches by the U.S. "But the era of wishful thinking is over. The Select Committee will not allow the CCP to lull us into complacency or maneuver us into submission."
Matthew Pottinger, former U.S. Deputy national security adviser; former U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; Yong Ti, a Chinese human rights advocate; and Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, are scheduled to testify at the hearing.
12ft | Tim Keller: How American Christianity Could Grow Again - The Atlantic
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 10:33
Removing Paywall
The Asbury Revival Went Viral. The Event Is Radically Simple. - The Atlantic
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 04:06
At Asbury University, in Kentucky, a student chapel service turned into a revival that has captivated TikTok.
Joanne Imperio / The AtlanticOn February 8, after a regularly scheduled chapel service on Asbury University's campus, in Wilmore, Kentucky, a group of about 20 students lingered and began to worship and pray for one another. The chapel speaker that day, Zak Meerkreebs, had exhorted the students to ''become the love of God by experiencing the love of God,'' and closed with a prayer asking God to ''revive us by your love.'' According to the students, as they stayed and prayed, an unexplainable, surreal peace descended upon the room. As minutes stretched into hours, many students who had gone to class returned to the auditorium when they heard what was going on. They would eventually be joined by faculty, staff, and community members who trickled in to participate in worship and prayer.
In the days since, a stream of pilgrims has made its way to Wilmore. All of the auditorium's almost 1,500 wooden flip seats are occupied; the walls and archways leading into the gathering space are crammed with people hungering to join in. Crowds have congregated in auditoriums and chapels elsewhere in town, singing and praying and reading the Bible. There has been a steady diet of proclamation (both standard preaching and personal testimonies), public confession, prayer (individual and corporate), scripture reading, and singing. People I have spoken with who entered these spaces describe encountering a ''sweet presence,'' ''deep peace,'' or ''the quiet, heavy presence of God.'' A sense of awe prevails. It is, one participant told me, as if ''heaven opened up.''
I live 20 minutes from Asbury and have spent nine days there since the revival began, and I see a paradox at play. The event has gone viral online'--on TikTok, the hashtag #asburyrevival has more than 100 million views and counting. But its appeal is actually its physicality and simplicity. In a time of factionalism, celebrity culture, and performance, what's happening at Asbury is radically humble. And it gives me great hope for the future of American Christianity.
As of this Friday, the university will no longer hold public worship services. ''I have been asked if Asbury is 'stopping' this outpouring of God's Spirit and the stirring of human hearts,'' the university president said in a statement. ''I have responded by pointing out that we cannot stop something we did not start.'' Indeed, the phenomenon has been reported to have spread to other schools, including Samford University, Lee University, and Cedarville University.
The images from Asbury have served a Rorschach-test-like function for onlookers from afar who have projected onto them their own hopes, fears, and past wounds. Some see what could be the seeds of another nationwide Great Awakening, and others see echoes of the crowds of January 6 and the looming threat of Christian nationalism. Many have suggested that these experiences embody simple hyped-up emotionalism and lack the necessary elements for ''true revival,'' whether those are quotas of conversions or minimum standards of preaching time.
What people watching online miss is the sense of divine presence and the unity of purpose that worshippers at Asbury are experiencing. In my discussions with participants, they repeatedly described the sensation of time slipping away and of being filled with love for God and for others. Tom McCall, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, described ''a quiet but powerful sense of transcendence.'' Glimpses of the transcendental nature of the experience can be seen on the faces in the photos, but not grasped.
And so, instead, many onlookers have opted to debate whether what is happening at Asbury is a revival at all. The word revival does not appear in the Bible, but it is often used to describe outpourings of God's Holy Spirit that result in individual and corporate transformation, including personal holiness, greater love of neighbor, and boldness to proclaim the gospel of Jesus. It tends to be used synonymously with outpouring, renewal, and awakening, although many people would nuance these usages based on the scope and impact of any given event.
Asbury University has been careful in its descriptions, favoring ''outpouring.'' James Thobaben of Asbury Theological Seminary is comfortable labeling this a ''revival,'' and President Timothy Tennent of the same institution goes as far as to suggest that it is an ''awakening.'' Almost everyone involved acknowledges that the event's long-term impact is still unknown.
Singing hymns and other religious songs'--what Christians call worship'--has been the central unifying element of this outpouring. Where Asbury's 1970 revival was led and sustained by student testimony, this event is firmly centered on worship'--a mix of piano, guitar, caj"n, and an eclectic chorus of college students. There are no flashy light systems, screens, or celebrity worship leaders. ''It's not even low production'--it's no production,'' Adam Russell, a Kentucky pastor and the director of Vineyard Worship (USA), observed on his podcast.
When a speaker stands before the crowds, no introductions or last names are offered. I've watched world-class biblical scholars usher people to open seats and the university's president introduce himself by saying, ''Hi, my name is Kevin. I work here at Asbury.'' And although scholars and presidents are serving the community, the core of this movement, both its leadership and target audience, is the Gen Z students who have been present since the beginning.
The leaders on the ground have turned away people seeking to co-opt the event. Professional revivalists and Christian celebrities have been welcomed in, but they have not been offered platforms. Christian nationalists who arrived toting their flags have been allowed to enter but told to leave their flags at the door'--this is about Jesus, not America. No AR-15s or individuals dressed in flak jackets are present. Fox News's Tucker Carlson was asked not to come to cover the revival, because it has nothing to do with politics or business. No one wants to pervert or disrupt what God is seemingly doing in this community.
The events in Asbury are unsettling, because they are subversive in ways that are hard to articulate. In our world of 24/7 access, it is almost unheard-of for an event to not try to increase exposure through media. Not until day 12 was a livestream established, and even then only out of necessity, in an attempt to diffuse the crowds that had swamped this small town. Estimates suggest that thousands of participants flooded into Wilmore this past weekend. By Sunday, law enforcement was deflecting incoming traffic to alleviate the strain on the town's infrastructure.
These students have chosen hiddenness and simplicity, selfless hospitality, and a relentless hunger for Jesus. I know this gives me hope for the future, and it should give you hope as well.
Western Leaders Privately Say Ukraine Can't Win the War
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 02:37
The German and French leaders have told Ukraine they must seek peace with Russia in exchange for a post-war defense pact, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
‰lys(C)e Palace where Macron and Scholz told Zelensky to seek peace. (U.S. State Dept.)
By Joe Lauria Special to Consortium News
W estern leaders privately told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine can not win the war against Russia and that it should begin peace talks with Moscow this year in exchange for closer ties with NATO.
The private communications are at odds with public statements from Western leaders who routinely say they will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes until it achieves victory on the battlefield.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported on the private remarks to Zelenksy, said:
''The public rhetoric masks deepening private doubts among politicians in the U.K., France and Germany that Ukraine will be able to expel the Russians from eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014, and a belief that the West can only help sustain the war effort for so long, especially if the conflict settles into a stalemate, officials from the three countries say.
'We keep repeating that Russia mustn't win, but what does that mean? If the war goes on for long enough with this intensity, Ukraine's losses will become unbearable,' a senior French official said. 'And no one believes they will be able to retrieve Crimea.'
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Zelensky at an ‰lys(C)e Palace dinner earlier this month that he must consider peace talks with Moscow, t he Journal reported.
According to its source, the newspaper quoted Macron as telling Zelensky that '' even mortal enemies like France and Germany had to make peace after World War II.''
Macron told Zelensky ''he had been a great war leader, but that he would eventually have to shift into political statesmanship and make difficult decisions,'' the newspaper reported.
A Return to Realism
Macron at the Munich Security Conference last week. (Kuhlmann/MSC)
At the Munich Security Conference last week, Gen. Petr Pavel, the Czech Republic's president-elect and a former NATO commander, said:
''We may end up in a situation where liberating some parts of Ukrainian territory may deliver more loss of lives than will be bearable by society. '... There might be a point when Ukrainians can start thinking about another outcome.''
Even when he was a NATO commander Pavel was a realist in regard to Russia. During controversial NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia's borders in 2016 '-- the first time in 75 years that German troops had retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union '-- Pavel dismissed hype about a Russian threat to NATO.
Pavel, who was chairman of NATO's military committee at the time, told a Brussels press conference that, ''It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing.''
The German foreign minister at the time, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also embraced realism towards Russia, saying: ''What we shouldn't do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance's eastern border will bring security is mistaken.''
Instead of an aggressive NATO stance towards Russia that could backfire, Steinmeier called for dialogue with Moscow. ''We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,'' he said, adding it would be ''fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.'' Under U.S. leadership NATO clearly did not follow that advice, as it continued to deploy more troops to Eastern Europe and to arm and train Ukraine (under cover of pretending to back the Minsk Accords to end the Ukrainian civil war).
Before its intervention in Ukraine, Russia cited NATO's eastward expansion, the deployment of missiles in Romania and Poland, war games near its borders and the arming of Ukraine as red lines that the West had crossed.
After a year of war, Western leaders appear now to be turning to a realist approach. Macron, for instance, at the Munich Security Conference dismissed any talk of regime change in Moscow.
No US Reaction
Left to Right: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at Munich Security Conference. (Schulmann/MSC)
Washington has not commented on the Journal's story about the peace talks-for-arms proposal. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month discussed with The Washington Post arming Ukraine post-war but he did not say that Ukraine should seek peace talks.
''We have to be thinking '-- and we are '-- about what the postwar future looks like to ensure that we have security and stability for Ukrainians and security and stability in Europe,'' Blinken told the conference in Munich.
The proposal to bring Ukraine even closer to NATO than it already is, with greater access to weapons after the war, should be on the agenda at NATO's annual meeting in July, said Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, at the Munich conference.
''The NATO summit must produce a clear offer to Ukraine, also to give Zelensky a political win that he can present at home as an incentive for negotiations,'' a British official told the Journal.
The deal with NATO would not include membership with its Article 5 protection, the newspaper reported. ''We would like to have security guarantees on the path to NATO,'' Zelensky told a press conference on Friday, however.
In the meantime, Macron, according to the WSJ report, said that Ukraine should press forward with a military offensive to regain territory in order to push Moscow to the peace table.
There has been no reaction from Moscow about the proposal. Geo-political analyst Alexander Mercouris, in his video report on Saturday, said Russia would likely be incentivized to continue fighting rather than enter peace talks with the knowledge that Ukraine would be heavily armed by NATO after the war.
''The Russians are never going to agree with something like this,'' Mercouris said. ''They must be saying to themselves that instead of agreeing to this plan, it actually makes more sense '... to continue this war because one of [Russia's] objectives is the total demilitarization of Ukraine.''
What the Western powers are proposing is the opposite, he said. Given that Russia considers it is winning and ''there seems to be a general acknowledgment amongst Western governments that Ukraine can't win this war '... where is the incentive for '... Russia to even consider this plan?''
For Moscow, Mercouris said, Ukraine's demilitarization is an ''absolute, existential matter.'' If Ukraine is going to get even more advanced weapons from NATO after the war as opposed to what it would get ''whilst the war is still underway, then it makes even less sense'' for Russia ''to stop the war and agree to this plan.''
Russia is facing a ''weakening adversary now,'' Mercouris said, and Moscow clearly prefers that to facing a ''strengthened adversary later.''
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe
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What is Green Colonialism? | Earth.Org
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:55
Globally, Indigenous people manage or have tenure rights over at least 38 million sq km in 87 countries or politically distinct areas on all inhabited continents. This represents over a quarter of the world's land surface, and intersects about 40% of all terrestrial protected areas and ecologically intact landscapes. Yet, they are rarely involved in conservation projects, and their rights are often curtailed in favour of industries who deforest land and otherwise harm the environment. However, indigenous communities also regularly have their rights stripped by conservation organisations who are meant to be stewards of the environment. This is called ''green colonialism'' and is far more pervasive than people realise. What is this and how can it be reversed?
What is Green Colonialism?
Green colonialism can take different forms in different settings. Broadly, it occurs when the Global North achieves a high standard of living by exploiting the health, labour and land of the Global South. Green colonialism can also take place within a country; interestingly, as we invest in more renewable energy and other conservation activities, it oftentimes comes at the expense of marginalised communities, like indigenous groups. Intentions are good- a conservation group wants to enshrine a forest as protected so that corporations cannot log it at will, for example. However, there may be an indigenous community that has long relied on the forest for medicine, cultural or hunting purposes that is now no longer able to conduct these activities in the forest anymore, and is often forcibly removed. Another example is when a renewable energy company needs to clear land for wind turbines. If a community is living on the land the company wants to build on, it may acquire permission from the government to remove this community from their land, often by force. This is not to say that these projects shouldn't be embarked upon, but they need to take into consideration the rights of the groups who may be affected by them; ideally they should be included in these projects as indigenous communities have a wealth of knowledge and skills when it comes to preserving ecosystems.
Examples of Green Colonialism
In April 2020 , a new wind power project was announced in Saepmie, the ancestral lands of the indigenous Saami people, who have herded reindeer for centuries. Around 98% of Norway's electricity production comes from renewable energy sources, but the impact that this has had on the Saami livelihoods is readily overlooked. The Oyfjellet wind plant is not the first encroachment the community has faced. Various hydropower plants in their land have reduced pastures and have exposed their herds to a higher risk when crossing unstable ice on water dams. Research has shown that the semi-domesticated reindeer avoid grazing in areas where they can see or hear wind turbines.mA project such as Oyfjellet would disrupt the migration of reindeer, especially in the winter, when they are often weakened and at risk, particularly pregnant mothers and newborn calves.
You might also like: International Day for Biological Diversity 2021: 5 Reasons Why Biodiversity Matters in Our Lives
On paper, the Norweigan reindeer herding act should provide legal protection against the blocking of reindeer migration routes, like in this case, but authorities allowed the construction to move ahead. In fact, the Norweigan government has given out more than 100 other concessions for wind power developments, some of which fall on Saami land.
In June, the herders announced that they were going to court to stop the wind plant. Earlier that month, the Frostating Court of Appeal recognised that a third of the community's winter pastures were destroyed by the construction and ordered 89 million krones (USD$9.4m) to be paid as compensation. The verdict shows that proving that wind energy projects need be stopped to ensure the cultural survival of the Saami is incredibly difficult.
However, by awarding the community compensation for their losses, rather than stopping the operations of the wind plant, the court has put a monetary value on the Saami way of life. It has reinforced the tendency of the Norwegian government and the industry to ''sell'' indigenous rights in the name of development and resource extraction.
Israel/ Palestine
When Israel was declared a Jewish state in May 1948, native trees (such as oaks, carobs, and hawthorns) and agricultural crops (olives, figs and almonds) were uprooted and replaced by European pine trees. These planted pines reduced biodiversity and harmed the local environment. Pines shed leaves that are acidic and prevent the growth of underbrush plants. These trees are also very susceptible to fire because of their resins; indeed, fires are now a common occurrence in the areas in which they were planted. Additionally, the ''Apartheid Wall'' in the West Bank obstructs animal movement, causing a loss of biodiversity.
Additionally, Israel sends trash, including electronic waste, into Palestine. This waste is often recycled by destitute Palestinians in environmentally harmful ways, such as using fire to remove plastic from useful metals, releasing substances that cause illnesses like cancer. Israel has also built an extensive network of roads and other infrastructure, much of which is on land that was previously used by Palestinians for agriculture, pasture or leisure.
Sadly, Israel has confiscated land from Palestinians under the guise of preventing damage to nature. For example, the Palestinian village of Ras Imweis and six adjacent areas were initially confiscated under such an excuse then turned into the settlement of Nahal Shilo. In other instances, Israeli authorities claimed certain stretches of land as ''green areas,'' and then turned them into Jewish settlements two to three years later.
According to an essay by Canadian journalist Naomi Klein, indigenous people from Brazil have often found that some of the most aggressive land grabbing is being done by conservation organisations. A forest will be rebranded as a carbon offset and is designated off-limits to its traditional inhabitants. Farmers and Indigenous people are often physically attacked by park rangers or private security when they try to access these lands.
In August 2010 , the Rimba Raya REDD+ offsetting conservation project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia hit the headlines. Funding for preparing the methodology came from Shell Canada, Gazprom Marketing and Trading and the Clinton Foundation. The project aims to preserve around 80 000 hectares of forest, of which over 47 000 hectares was threatened with conversion to oil palm plantations. It would be paid for throughout its 30-year lifespan through the selling of carbon credits. Environmentalists immediately said that Shell and Gazprom were doing this to offset their operations, such as Shell's tar sand mining in Canada and Gazprom's destructive oil and gas operations off the coast of Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East.
Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Environmental Rights Action (FoE Nigeria) and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, denounced in a joint press release with the Indigenous Environmental Network ''We have suffered Shell's destruction of communities and biodiversity as well as oil spills and illegal gas flaring for decades. Now we can add financing REDD+ for greenwash and profits to the long list of Shell's atrocities.''
Benefits of Indigenous Environmental Stewardship
Indigenous peoples' contributions are vital in designing and implementing solutions for ecosystems. Traditional knowledge and heritage can contribute to environmental assessments and sustainable ecosystem management.
For example, a report produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) found that the indigenous peoples of Latin America are the best guardians of the regions' forests, with deforestation rates up to 50% lower in their territories than elsewhere. Indigenous and tribal territories contain about a third of all the carbon stored in the forests of Latin America and while they have rich culture, knowledge and natural resources, they have little income and access to services.
Besides this, supporting indigenous communities in conservation work would help avoid new pandemics as these are most often the result of the destruction of nature.
How Can We Reverse Green Colonialism?
While we should certainly endeavour to continue adding renewable energy capacity and implement conservation programmes, policy makers and project leaders should do so in collaboration with Indigenous communities, who have been nurturing and defending ecosystems around the world for centuries.
Besides the active participation of Indigenous communities, there is also an urgent need for '' climate justice '' and a ''just transition.'' This acknowledges that climate change has differing social, economic, public health and other impacts on underprivileged or minority groups, like people of colour and Indigenous communities. These inequities need to be addressed through long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Further, paying indigenous and tribal communities for the environmental services of their territories has reduced deforestation in countries including Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Such programmes could be applied elsewhere to attract hundreds of millions of dollars per year from international sources.
While it is positive that the world is embarking on a transition to a greener future, we must do so responsibly, including by respecting the rights of and involving indigenous communities and other marginalised groups in conservation efforts. To do so would be disrespectful and would place these people in harm's way, excluding them from enjoying the sustainable future that so many have worked tirelessly to attain.
Featured image by: Flickr
Greta Thunberg joins protesters campaigning AGAINST a new wind farm in Norway | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:54
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg today joined protesters campaigning against a new wind farm in Norway, labelling it 'green colonialism'.
The protest saw the 20-year-old and dozens of Sami activists block the entrance to Norway's energy ministry to protest against wind turbines that are still in place on reindeer herding land, despite a court ruling.
The activists, mainly teenagers from groups called Young Friends of The Earth Norway and the Norwegian Sami Association's youth council NSR-Nuorat, lay outside the ministry entrance holding Sami flags and a poster reading 'Land Back.'
'We can't use the so-called climate transition as a cover for colonialism,' Thunberg told broadcaster TV2 as she blocked the doors of the ministry in Oslo.
'A climate transition that violates human rights is not a climate transition worthy of the name and we must therefore stand up against the human rights violations that are happening here,' she said.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (right) today joined protesters campaigning against a new wind farm in Norway, labelling it 'green colonialism'
Campaigners from Nature and Youth and the Norwegian Samirs Riksforbund Nuorat block the entrances to the Ministry of Oil and Energy with Greta Thunberg in Oslo, Norway, February 27
The groups are protesting against the continued operation of wind turbines in the Fosen region of western Norway, more than a year after a landmark ruling by the Norwegian Supreme Court.
The court found that the project violated the right of Sami families to practise their culture of reindeer husbandry.
The Sami - an indigenous minority of around 100,000 people spread over the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia - have traditionally lived off reindeer herding and fishing.
In their October 2021 verdict, the 11 judges of the country's highest court unanimously ruled that the expropriation and operating permits for the construction of the 151 turbines were invalid. Representatives of the indigenous Sami minority are demanding that the turbines be demolished.
However, they gave no guidance on what should be done with the turbines, which were already in operation at the time of the ruling. The Norwegian authorities have so far held off taking actions and ordered further assessments.
'It is clear that when a human rights violation has been going on for more than 500 days in Fosen, it is time to put measures in place,' Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen, a Sami musician and activist, told TV2.
On the night between Sunday and Monday, Norwegian police forcibly removed a dozen activists who had been occupying the entrance hall of the ministry of oil and energy for several days.
The Sami protesters wore their traditional costume, often called gakti, inside out as a sign of protest. 'Right now I mostly feel very, very convinced that the Sami at Fosen should get their rights, I feel this very strongly and there are a lot of emotions,' one of the demonstrators, who gave her name as Joni, told Reuters after being removed.
The activists, mainly teenagers from groups called Young Friends of The Earth Norway and the Norwegian Sami Association's youth council NSR-Nuorat, lay outside the ministry entrance holding Sami flags and a poster reading 'Land Back'
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) joined the activists who are are protesting against the continued operation of wind turbines in the Fosen region of western Norway, more than a year after a landmark ruling by the Norwegian Supreme Court
Reindeer herders in the Nordic country say the sight and sound of the giant wind power machinery frighten their animals and disrupt age-old traditions.
'We are here to demand that the turbines must be torn down and that legal rights must be respected,' said Sami singer-songwriter, actress and activist Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen.
The ministry said the ultimate fate of the wind farms is a complex legal quandary despite the supreme court ruling and is hoping to find a compromise.
Petroleum and energy minister Terje Aasland acknowledged Monday that the case was a 'heavy burden' for Sami reindeer herders.
'But even though the Supreme Court has found that the permits granted violate the legal protection of the reindeer herders, it has not made a decision on what will happen' to the turbines, he said.
'That is what we are now trying to determine. Changing the permits in Fosen requires that the issue is sufficiently studied,' he added in an email to AFP.
The building whose entrance was blocked Monday houses several ministries, leading to civil servants from six departments being asked to work from home.
Norway's western Fosen region has a series of six onshore wind farms, that were commissioned in 2018 to 2020. There are 278 wind turbines across the six sites, making it Europe's second larges onshore windfarm (the first being in Sweden).
It more than doubled Norway's capacity for wind power generation.
The Norwegian Supreme Court found that the Fosen wind farm project (pictured in 2021) violated the right of Sami families to practise their culture of reindeer husbandry
The Sami live in Lapland, which stretches from northern parts of Norway through Sweden and Finland to Russia, while a few hundred live in the US and in Ukraine.
They once faced oppression of their culture, including bans on the use of their native tongue, and still face discrimination today.
Today, the nomadic people live mostly modern lifestyles but still tend reindeer, with around 10 percent of the Sami connected to reindeer herding as of 2007.
Today, it is estimated that there are around 80,000 Sami people in total, with Norway being home to the highest number of the indigenous group.
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Ransomware Attack On Food Giant Dole Temporarily Shuttered US Production - Activist Post
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:36
By Tyler Durden
Dole Food is one of the world's largest producers and distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables. An alarming report reveals the company temporarily shuttered all operations across North America after a cyberattack earlier this month.
''Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America,'' Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president at Dole's Fresh Vegetables division, wrote in a memo to retailers on Feb. 10. The memo was obtained by CNN this week.
Dole sent the memo to supermarkets after customers complained about its prepackaged salads, which include salad blends, salad kits, and ready-to-eat salads, being out of stock.
''Our plants are shut down for the day and all our shipments are on hold.
''Please bear with us as we navigate our way and hopefully we will minimize this event,'' the internal memo continued.
William Goldfield, the spokesperson for Dole, confirmed the ransomware incident in a statement released on the company's website on Wednesday.
Dole plc announced today that the company recently experienced a cybersecurity incident that has been identified as ransomware.
Upon learning of this incident, Dole moved quickly to contain the threat and engaged leading third-party cybersecurity experts, who have been working in partnership with Dole's internal teams to remediate the issue and secure systems.
The company has notified law enforcement about the incident and are cooperating with their investigation.
While continuing to investigate the scope of the incident, the impact to Dole operations has been limited.
What's not clear is how long the company had to shutter production. There was no word if the company paid a ransom to hackers.
Add Dole to the growing list of incidents at US food plants. Some folks are convinced the nation's food processing plants are ''under attack'' after a series of fires (read: here & here & here). The FBI warned food plants to be alert for ransomware attacks last year.
Source: ZeroHedge
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Putin will be killed by his inner circle, Zelensky predicts | World | The Times
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:32
President Zelensky has predicted that President Putin will eventually be murdered by his own inner circle, after the Russian leader told his people that they might not survive as a nation if Ukraine won the war.
''There will definitely be a moment when the fragility of Putin's regime will be felt inside the [Russian] state,'' Zelensky said in a Ukrainian documentary. ''And then the predators will devour a predator. They will find a reason to kill a killer.''
Putin's inner circle is made up of hardliners including fellow former KGB officers that he has known for decades. It is unlikely that any of them would move against him because they are obliged to Putin for their own power and influence, analysts say.
President Zelensky made the comments in a new documentary
However, the failures of Putin's army in Ukraine has sparked infighting. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group of mercenaries, and Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruthless Chechen leader, have lashed out on numerous occasions at defence officials over battlefield reversals.
Over the weekend Prigozhin called for Alexei Stolyarov, the son-in-law of Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister, to be press-ganged into Wagner and sent to the front after he reportedly ''liked'' an anti-war post on social media. The Wagner chief also said that his fighters had captured Yahidne, a key village near the town of Bakhmut, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Ukraine disputed the claim.
Although Putin's 23-year-rule was founded on the promise of stability, he is the first Kremlin leader since Joseph Stalin whose rule has featured enemy strikes on Russian territory. At least 25 people have been killed by shelling in the Belgorod region, which neighbours Ukraine, since the start of the war, according to official statistics.
Zelensky has often appealed to Russians in their own language to speak out against the war. ''Unfortunately, they do not hear. There is a wall,'' he said in the new documentary, which is called Year.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has criticised the running of the war in Ukraine
A new opinion poll published by the Moscow-based Chronicles project indicated that almost equal numbers of Russians either fervently support the war (22 per cent) or are deeply opposed to it (20 per cent). The others have no strong feelings either way, it said. ''The problem in Russia isn't fascism, it's indifference,'' said Alexei Miniailo, an opposition activist who founded the polling group. Several dozen people were arrested at modest anti-war protests in Russia on the first anniversary of the invasion.
Zelensky's comments came as Putin sought to depict the war as a battle for Russia's right to exist as an independent state. He alleged that western countries would seek to divide Russia into smaller states if Kyiv emerged triumphant.
''I don't even know if such an ethnic group as the Russian people will be able to survive in the form in which it exists today. There will be Muscovites, Uralites and so on,'' he said in an interview broadcast today by the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin television programme. ''These plans have been set down on paper,'' he added.
Since the start of the war, the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe, a US government agency, and the European parliament have hosted discussions on the ''decolonisation'' of Russia, sparking fury in Moscow. ''Serious and controversial discussions are now under way about reckoning with Russia's fundamental imperialism and the need to 'decolonise' Russia,'' the commission wrote last year.
' Wagner Group chief wages political war with Russian elite
Russia, the largest country in the world, is home to dozens of diverse ethnic groups, from the Yakuts of northeastern Siberia to the Chechens. There have been drives for independence from Moscow in Chechnya and Tatarstan, both regions within Russia, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Putin also said that any future talks on nuclear arms control with the United States should include Britain and France's stockpiles of atomic weapons. The Russian leader announced last week that Moscow was suspending its participation in the sole remaining nuclear pact with Washington.
''The leading Nato countries have declared their main goal as inflicting a strategic defeat on us,'' Putin said. ''How can we ignore their nuclear capabilities in these conditions?''
President Biden last week insisted that Nato was no threat to Russia. ''The United States and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia,'' he said during a speech in Warsaw. ''And millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbours are not the enemy.''
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VIDEO - Thousands rally in Berlin, Paris to call for peace in Ukraine - YouTube
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Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:51
VIDEO - (24) Dr. Simon Goddek on Twitter: "Sean Penn, who discriminated against the unvaccinated, is now urging Biden to send combat planes and long-range weapons to Ukraine: "They need more ammunition, more long-range precision weapons, and yes, fighter
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Dr. Simon Goddek : Sean Penn, who discriminated against the unvaccinated, is now urging Biden to send combat planes and long-range wea'...
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Nigeul : @KanekoaTheGreat Wow gives a fuck what this washed up has been says on anything. Complete Shill.
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VIDEO - Pentagon tells Republicans 'no evidence' that weapons for Ukraine are being diverted - POLITICO
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 15:08
''What we're not seeing is any evidence of significant diversion,'' Kahl told lawmakers. ''Our assessment is if some of these systems have been diverted it's by Russians who have captured things on the battlefield, which always happens, but that there's no evidence the Ukrainians are diverting it to the black market.''
He added that Ukraine is ''clearly using what we are providing them ... to maximum effect'' and are requesting more weapons.
At the same time, Kahl pushed back on bipartisan calls to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters, the latest flashpoint between President Joe Biden and Congress on the conflict.
The Armed Services session is the first such public hearing devoted to U.S. military support to Ukraine. Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) wants to intensify high-level public oversight of aid to show that weapons and equipment are going where they're intended.
Top Democrats and Republicans are aiming to preserve the bipartisan bloc that's successfully enacted more than $100 billion in emergency aid since Russia launched its full-tilt invasion in February 2022 in a freshly split Congress.
Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch was pressed early by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) on whether his office has found instances of sensitive weapons, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, being lost or diverted.
''We have not substantiated any such instances,'' Storch said.
Democrat John Garamendi of California later pressed Storch: ''You've not found problems of any great significance, is that correct?''
''A lot of these audits and evaluations are pending, but with regard to the areas I've mentioned, we have limited findings, the department has been addressing them, and we're going to continue to look at the issue,'' Storch said. ''So yes, that's correct.''
Republicans who now control the House are contending with a vocal minority that opposes further funding for Ukraine. Proponents of more aid are also navigating a potentially austere funding atmosphere as conservatives push for spending cuts in the coming budget cycle.
Rogers and other defense leaders argue the Pentagon must explain publicly how it tracks equipment as part of that effort.
Kahl told lawmakers that Ukrainian officials provide the Pentagon with information on their inventories and transfer logs. The Defense Department has provided Ukrainians with handheld scanners to send data back to the U.S. Defense officials based at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv have also made site visits.
''They have seen no signs of diversion or that the Ukrainians are not following procedure,'' Kahl said.
Some lawmakers also dinged the administration for refusing to send Ukraine weapons it has requested, such as longer-range artillery or U.S.-made warplanes. Rogers slammed Biden for being ''overly worried'' that sending certain weapons would be viewed as escalatory and said holding back has ''only prolonged the war.''
Kahl later pushed back, arguing the administration weighs what weapons to send based on Ukraine's needs and potential impact on U.S. military readiness rather than concerns over escalation.
He faced bipartisan criticism over Biden's refusal to immediately send F-16s to Ukraine. Biden said last week that Ukraine '' doesn't need F-16s now .''
The Pentagon policy chief said the most optimistic timeline for delivering older F-16s would be ''about 18 months'' while producing newer F-16s would take three to six years to deliver.
''It is a priority for the Ukrainians, but it's not one of their top three priorities,'' Kahl said in an exchange with Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.). ''Their top priorities are air defense systems ... artillery and fires, which we've talked about, and armor and mechanized systems.''
Backers of sending Ukraine the Lockheed Martin F-16s or similar jets, led by Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), released an updated letter on Tuesday to Biden with additional signatures. Sixteen lawmakers from both parties have now signed the letter, first reported by POLITICO .
The panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, defended the administration. He argued the ''best case scenario'' would see some F-16s in Ukraine within eight months to a year.
''We looked at that and we determined that is not a wise use of the resources that are necessary to win the fight,'' Smith said.
''No blank check means no blank check,'' he said. ''It means we don't just send everything that people ask for in the blink of an eye without thinking about it.''
VIDEO - Will TikTok be banned? | DW News - YouTube
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:58
VIDEO - Tens of millions of birds culled, but avian influenza continues to spread ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:56
VIDEO - FDA advisers recommend world's first RSV vaccines, from Pfizer and GSK
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:53
Food and Drug Administration advisers recommended this week that the agency approve two RSV vaccines for older people, one from Pfizer and another from GlaxoSmithKline.
The next step is for the FDA to approve each vaccine, which could take several months, even though the agency usually follows the advisory committee's recommendations. After FDA approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend the shots before they become available to the public. If all of that happens, the shots would be the first vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus to get approved in the U.S.
The FDA advisers' recommendations came in separate meetings on consecutive days. On Tuesday, the Independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 7-4 to recommend Pfizer's vaccine based on its efficacy, with one abstention. The single-dose shot was shown to reduce the risk of illness from respiratory syncytial virus by as much as 86% among people ages 60 and up, according to Pfizer.
A highly-magnified transmission electron microscopic image of the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). E.L. Palmer / CDCThen on Wednesday, the committee's 12 voting members unanimously recommended GSK's vaccine for the same age group based on its efficacy. Trial data published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the shot lowered the risk of symptomatic illness by 83% and of severe illness by 94% in people ages 60 and up.
RSV causes lower respiratory illness, although for most healthy adults the symptoms are mild. In serious cases, however, RSV can lead to bronchiolitis, which inflames airways and clogs them with mucus, or pneumonia.
Older people and infants are particularly vulnerable to such outcomes. RSV kills more than 10,000 people ages 65 or older and around 300 children under 5 every year in the U.S. Cases spiked dramatically among infants this winter, which overwhelmed children's hospitals '-- a reminder of the virus's threat.
Some advisory committee members seemed to have more hesitations about Pfizer's shot than GSK's. Several of the experts expressed concerns that not enough participants in Pfizer's trial got infected with RSV to adequately assess the shot's efficacy.
In terms of its safety, some advisers worried about the Pfizer vaccine's potential association with Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that damages nerve cells and causes muscle weakness or paralysis. One man in Pfizer's trial developed Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome, or GBS, after he received the vaccine, and a woman developed Miller Fisher syndrome, a rare nerve disease related to Guillain-Barr(C).
''It was a 1 in 9,000 risk of GBS, which is concerning,'' said Dr. Hana El Sahly, the FDA advisory committee chair.
The FDA has asked Pfizer to conduct another study to evaluate the risk of Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome after its vaccine is approved.
In GSK's trial, meanwhile, the FDA identified one case of Guillain-Barre potentially related to the vaccine, as well as a higher number of incidences of atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) among vaccine recipients relative to the control group.
''There are some challenges, some possible safety signals, but I think the data warrant a vote of 'yes,''' Dr. James Hildreth, a committee member and the president of Meharry Medical College, said of GSK's shot.
In terms of other side effects, the most commonly reported in GSK's trial were injection site pain, fatigue and muscle pain. In Pfizer's, the most common were fatigue, headache, pain at the injection site and muscle pain, according to an FDA briefing document.
Participants in GSK's trial reported side effects more frequently than those in Pfizer's did.
The race to an RSV vaccineSeveral companies have been racing to secure FDA approval for RSV vaccines.
Eleven RSV vaccines are being actively studied in U.S. trials, according to data from PATH, a nonprofit global health organization.
Moderna has said an RSV shot it developed for older adults could be submitted to the FDA by July. Bavarian Nordic expects to have late-stage trial data for its RSV vaccine, which targets the same demographic, by the middle of the year.
The FDA is also reviewing data from trials of a monoclonal antibody injection designed to protect babies from RSV, which functions similarly to a vaccine. The shot, from Sanofi and AstraZeneca, has already been approved in Europe.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has tested its RSV vaccine in pregnant people to see whether the protection can pass to babies in utero. The company said its data suggests the vaccine reduced the risk of severe illness in infants by 82% through their first 90 days of life and by 69% through six months.
But the FDA committee's vote was limited to the Pfizer vaccine's use for older people. The agency is still reviewing the data for pregnant people, with a decision expected in August.
VIDEO - Wave of poison attacks on schoolgirls alarms Iranians ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:49
VIDEO - Highlights | Merrrick Garland testifies before Senate Judiciary'... '' CITIZEN FREE PRESS
Thu, 02 Mar 2023 14:07
Posted by Kane on March 1, 2023 3:42 pmNEWS JUNKIES -- CHECK OUT OUR HOMEPAGE
Hawley grills Garland on Mar-a-Lago raidShort highlights.
Mike Lee was waiting for this moment:
"DOJ has announced charges against 34 individuals for blocking access to abortion clinics'... There have been over 81 reported attacks on pregnancy centers and only 2 individuals have been charged!"
'-- Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 1, 2023
Ted Cruz doesn't hold back.
Ted Cruz holds nothing back
'-- Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 1, 2023
Merrick Garland says that the DOJ has prosecuted more pro-lifers for peaceful protests at abortion clinics than domestic terrorists firebombing pregnancy resource centers because the pro-lifers are doing it during the day and the centers are being bombed at night.
'-- Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 1, 2023
Josh Hawley:
"FBI says traditionalist Catholics are a terrorist risk and should be monitored. So how many spies and sources do they have in America's churches? Garland won't answer."
'-- Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 1, 2023
Anti-Catholic bias
Full Hearing
VIDEO - Douglas Macgregor: A Ferocious Offensive - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 23:52
VIDEO - Watch Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal | Netflix Official Site
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 22:16
SIGN INShocking tragedies shatter a tight-knit South Carolina community and expose the horrifying secrets of its most powerful family.
Watch the Limited Series NowDirectors Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst ("Fyre Fraud") untangle clues in a saga that dominated headlines.
VideosMurdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal
EpisodesMurdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal
1. Where Is Mallory?42m
Survivors reflect on the shocking boat crash that killed vibrant teenager Mallory Beach '' and the demons that haunted troubled driver Paul Murdaugh.
2. Murders at Moselle51m
In the aftermath of Mallory's death, Alex Murdaugh's damage control raises alarm. Two years later, he is at the center of another horrifying event.
3. No Secrets Are Safe50m
As the deaths of Maggie and Paul make headlines worldwide, past "accidents" spur new accusations, driving Alex to a seemingly desperate act.
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VIDEO - (20) Washington Examiner on Twitter: "The View blames Trump's "Xenophobia" for discrediting COVID lab leak theory. READ:" / Twitter
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 21:28
Washington Examiner : The View blames Trump's "Xenophobia" for discrediting COVID lab leak theory.READ:
Wed Mar 01 18:40:00 +0000 2023
S J : @dcexaminer Any time I'm feeling down about myself, I watch any clip from The View. That USED to make me feel bette'...
Wed Mar 01 21:27:27 +0000 2023
Irredeemable Fringe Dweller DudleyDoo : @dcexaminer That's a hard reach dear gals, really desperate
Wed Mar 01 21:12:06 +0000 2023
Jo : @dcexaminer @TheView @sunny There goes more hate from the evil liberals. Look up the word love and try it sometime.
Wed Mar 01 21:08:20 +0000 2023
Keith Maniac, Online Safety Expert : @dcexaminer "We were so blinded with rage we couldn't think straight!"
Wed Mar 01 21:07:07 +0000 2023
cujo cujo : @dcexaminer I didn't even ever vote for Trump, but he was right.
Wed Mar 01 20:57:24 +0000 2023
MattHasTweets : @dcexaminer Trump was 100% correct
Wed Mar 01 20:56:19 +0000 2023
Sharon Fisher : @dcexaminer You bitches on the view are nasty
Wed Mar 01 20:54:05 +0000 2023
VIDEO - NATO chief visits Finland as it pushes to join alliance I DW News - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:39
VIDEO - (20) Chuck Callesto on Twitter: "JUST IN: China tells Elon Musk to Stop Promoting the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory.." / Twitter
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:28
Chuck Callesto : JUST IN: China tells Elon Musk to Stop Promoting the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory..
Tue Feb 28 14:24:35 +0000 2023
VIDEO - 02/28/23: Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton Gaggle Aboard Air Force One - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:27
VIDEO - Google blocks some Canadian news sites in protest over Bill C-18 - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:24
VIDEO - CDC Confirms That Majority of Fatal Covid Vaccines Were Knowingly Sent to Red States - LewRockwell
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:21
The latest video by Greg Reese.
Last year, we published a report entitled, ''Evidence that US Government Targeted Red States with Deadly Batches of Vaccine'', a story that most outlets ignored.
Private leaked documents from the CDC show a list of expiry dates and only certain lots are included.
The very same lots found to be highly toxic in Paardekooper's database.
This mode of deployment allows government the ability to direct deadly batches into specific populations, such as Red States.
Analysis of the number of dying per 100,000 vaccinated in 50 states shows us that the overwhelming majority of vaccine deaths are happening in Red States.
2nd Smartest Guy in the World on Substack also reported on it and has recently published an update, writing that, ''Now, we have a more robust and far-more damning view of this carefully distributed depopulation scheme.''
Back in October of 2021, The ‰xpos(C) publishes a report on data found in the USA's VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), which reveals that 100% of COVID-19 vaccine deaths had been caused by just 5% of the batches '' batches that can be identified.
And these deadly batches were not distributed evenly. The top 8 states with the highest vaccination death rate, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Tennessee are all Red States.
19 of the top 24 on the list are Red States and California has been the least affected by the deadly lots of COVID vaccine.
''The numbers show that Kentucky has a 1,900% worse vacination death rate than the Democrat-controlled California, suggesting the Republican state received 20 times the amount of deadly batches of COVID-19 vaccine than the Democrat-controlled state received.''
Florida, number 20 on the list of most vaccine deaths per vaccination received three times the amount of deadly batches than California, with its vaccination death rate at 200% higher than California's.
The author points out that these deadly batches would be better classified as ''rapid kill lots'' and ''slow kill lots'', as we are now seeing more evidence that they kill over time.
And the evidence shows that Red States were targeted with the Rapid Kill Shots. This would go along with the United Nations Agenda 2030 plan, which seeks to move the entire population into crowded cities and federalize all of Flyover Country in the name of Climate Change.
They have less than 7 years to accomplish this and they are deadly serious about it. The US Government is in lockstep with the United Nations and they will resort to murder and democide to accomplish their goals of total control.
Many are suggesting that this is what is happening in East Palestine, Ohio right now.
The people of America are under attack by their own government, who is never going to quit until they accomplish their goals or unless they are stopped.
Reprinted with the author's permission.
VIDEO - Lori Lightfoot concedes after failing to qualify for Chicago runoff election - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 17:11
VIDEO - Nigeria opposition dismisses 'sham' election as ruling party's Tinubu takes lead ' FRANCE 24 - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:42
VIDEO - Stew Peters: Twitter's far-right American voice of pro-Russian propaganda ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:41
VIDEO - France's Macron kicks off four-nation Africa tour with Gabon visit ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:38
VIDEO - Dozens killed in Greece's deadliest train crash in decades ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:38
VIDEO - War in Ukraine: Soldiers freeze sperm before going to the front ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:37
VIDEO - Ukraine will join NATO but in 'long- term', says NATO chief Stoltenberg ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:36
VIDEO - Why do world governments fear TikTok '-- and should we? Tech expert Scott Galloway explains | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:34
VIDEO - Jamie Sale on Twitter: "Just the beginning of what's to come" / Twitter
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:32
Lorraine Barlett : @JamieSale Surprise, surprise. What else has been going on in that Devil's chessboard of a country in the past 10 years...
Wed Mar 01 16:08:37 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Teachers Union President Melts Down On Supreme Court Steps | The Daily Caller
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 14:34
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten railed against challenges to President Joe Biden's student loan cancellation plan outside of the Supreme Court Tuesday as oral arguments began for two cases that could put the proposal on ice, video shows.
Students, politicians and activists rallied outside the Supreme Court late Monday night and throughout Tuesday as the high bench heard arguments for two cases that will determine whether or not the Biden Administration's plan to cancel an estimated $400 billion in student loans is constitutional. Weingarten said it is ''not right'' that student loan lenders and corporations oppose canceling student loans when many businesses received aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. (RELATED: Supreme Court May Crush Biden's Student Loan Bailout Dreams)
''And frankly, and this is what really pisses me off, during the pandemic we understood that small businesses were hurting and we helped them, and it didn't go to the Supreme Court to challenge it,'' Weingarten said, according to a video posted by Jake Schneider. ''Big businesses were hurting and we helped them, and it didn't go to the Supreme Court to challenge it.''
Randi Weingarten '-- union cartel boss and Democrats' biggest campaign donor '-- melts down on the steps of the Supreme Court
'-- Jake Schneider (@jacobkschneider) February 28, 2023
The Biden Administration attempted to use the 2003 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act which permits the Department of Education (DOE) to eliminate debt during a national emergency, according to the Associated Press. Former President Donald Trump issued a national emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic which will end on May 11, but the Biden administration maintains that student loan borrowers will still be impacted.
''All of a sudden, when it's about our students, they challenge it. The corporations challenge it. The student loan lenders challenge it,'' Weingarten continued, according to the video. ''That is not right. That is not fair and that is what we are fighting, as well, when we say cancel student debt.''
Jack Fitzhenry, senior legal policy analyst at Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that the HEROES Act ''doesn't provide the authority that the administration claims it does.''
''I expect the argument will center on whether Congress clearly gave the President the power to unilaterally wipe away half a trillion dollars in student loan debt in the HEROES Act,'' Michael Poon, a Pacific Legal Foundation attorney, previously told the DCNF.
The court heard arguments for Biden v. Nebraska, which was brought by a coalition of states that allege the department overstepped its statutory authority, and Department of Education v. Brown, which was filed by two student loan borrowers.
The administration's plan would cancel $20,000 of debt for borrowers who received Pell grants and $10,000 for borrowers who did not.
ATF did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment.
All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter's byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact
VIDEO - Peter Zeihan's Shocking Predictions on China, Russia and the Ukraine war. - YouTube
Wed, 01 Mar 2023 10:36
VIDEO - Taiwan, US to 'bolster military exchanges' amid tensions with China | DW News - YouTube
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:14
VIDEO - EU, UK strike post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland | DW News - YouTube
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:12
VIDEO - Macron to outline France's revamped Africa policy ahead of four-nation trip ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:12
VIDEO - Janet Yellen: America will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes | Latest | English News | WION - YouTube
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:01
VIDEO - Biden's electric dream | Latest World News | WION Climate Tracker | English News | Top News - YouTube
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:01
VIDEO - Tom Elliott looks back at some of the MSM's proudest, most expert-y anti-lab-leak-hypothesis moments ''
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 14:41
We could sit here all day and point and laugh at all the purported Science' followers who sneered at and outright dismissed anyone who so much as wondered if the origin of the deadly global COVID pandemic was a lab leak, but, well, we'd be here all day, and we have to eat at some point.
So let's just turn things over to Grabien's Tom Elliott for a bit. Elliott's been collecting some of the media's greatest hits when it comes to the lab-leak hypothesis that evidently has some legs to it after all. And let's just say if you think the MSM look bad on paper right now, they arguably look even worse on video.
Grab a snack, sit back, and enjoy the show:
MSNBC's @NicolleDWallace: Trump is pushing intel agencies to investigate "conspiracy theory" Covid originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
CNN's @DrewGriffinCNN: ''Zero proof'' behind ''conspiracy theory'' that Covid originated not from nature but a Chinese bio lab
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
ABC's @jimmykimmel: ''[Trump] is also pushing intelligence agencies to find evidence for his theory that the virus was accidentally released from a lab in Wuhan. That's his new angle to feed the wingnuts, treat the virus like it was a conspiracy.''
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
OK, so technically Jimmy Kimmel's not a journalist. But he's effectively regarded by the media as one '-- as well as a policy expert on numerous issues such as health and gun control '-- so we'll allow his inclusion in Elliott's thread.
MSNBC's @JoyAnnReid: "Debunked bunkum" that Covid could have come from a Chinese lab
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
MSNBC's @JoeNBC: Trump's "making things worse" in pushing the "conspiracy theory" Covid originated in a Chinese lab
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
More Scarborough: "@SenTomCotton a couple of days ago [was] spouting a conspiracy theory that the Chinese made this virus up in a lab '... These conspiracy theorists are still saying things that are going to be extraordinarily dangerous for this country"
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
Then MSNBC's @Kasie Hunt: "This question about the Wuhan lab '-- we know it's been debunked, that this virus was man-made or modified or anything like that."
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
CNN's @FareedZakaria: "Tom Cotton '... suggested the virus might have originated in a high security biochemical lab in China '... The far right has now found its own virus conspiracy theory. Pres. Trump, for his part, fuels the fears by emphasizing how the disease came from China"
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
CNN's @DrewGriffinCNN, April 6, 2020: Theory Covid originated from Wuhan Institute of Virology has been "widely debunked"
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
''Widely debunked.'' Man, we heard that a lot, didn't we? It was never really debunked at all, but it was widely denied by the media, and in their minds, that's just as conclusive, if not moreso.
MSNBC's @JHeil: "Clearly the case that Trump is divorced from it facts"; he's pushing a "made up" theory about Covid originating in a Wuhan lab to help his "re-election"
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
NBC's @janisfrayer: China & Peter Daszak tell me that Covid didn't come from China's virology lab in Wuhan
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
Fauci last October was still claiming there's "no evidence" Covid came from the bat-based coronavirus research he was funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 27, 2023
Ah yes. Dr. Anthony Fauci. Elevated to veritable sainthood by our mainstream media.
And there are still so many more where all those came from. And so, so few apologies and mea culpas from any of them.
Join us in the fight. Become a Twitchy VIP member today and use promo code SAVEAMERICA to receive a 40% discount on your membership.
VIDEO - The Vigilant Fox ðŸ...Š on Twitter: ".@TuckerCarlson: The Origins of COVID Was Never a Secret - The People Who Knew Lied About the Truth "Why (did they lie)? To hide the Chinese government's role in mass murder '-- the killing of almost 7 million pe
Tue, 28 Feb 2023 10:51
The Vigilant Fox ðŸ...Š : .@TuckerCarlson: The Origins of COVID Was Never a Secret - The People Who Knew Lied About the Truth"Why (did they'...
Tue Feb 28 01:32:36 +0000 2023
VIDEO - The Project Veritas DEBACLE Goes from Bad to Worse! Viva & Barnes Clip - YouTube
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:35
VIDEO - Thousands rally in Berlin, Paris to call for peace in Ukraine - YouTube
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 16:08
VIDEO - Knightess Duckworth Telegram: on Twitter: "-1/2 Serdar Hussein, head of the Turkish Space Agency, said that "Warrior satellites can send 10-meter rods from space that penetrate 5 kilometers into the ground, causing a 7-8 magnit
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:59
Knightess Duckworth Telegram: : -1/2Serdar Hussein, head of the Turkish Space Agency, said that "Warrior satellites can send 10-meter rods from sp'...
Mon Feb 27 07:04:44 +0000 2023
Future Chinada Internment Resident : @ms_duckworth US has called them Rods of God.
Mon Feb 27 07:15:30 +0000 2023
Knightess Duckworth Telegram: : 2/2by the flash just before the earthquake on the Turkey-Syria border, Feb. 20)Hala Hasan, director of a top sei'...
Mon Feb 27 07:04:46 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Russia claims gains on stalled front line: What's the truth? | DW News - YouTube
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:05
VIDEO - Michael P Senger on Twitter: "CDC Director Walensky falsely tells Congres that there have been ''2,000 pediatric deaths from COVID-19'' and explains that the only reason COVID vaccines were added to the child immunization schedule was so they co
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:04
Michael P Senger : CDC Director Walensky falsely tells Congres that there have been ''2,000 pediatric deaths from COVID-19'' and explain'...
Thu Feb 09 19:27:43 +0000 2023
VIDEO - CDC, FDA and NIH Leaders Testify on COVID-19 Response |
Mon, 27 Feb 2023 15:03
February 8, 2023 2023-02-08T10:00:52-05:00 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, along with leaders from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified on the COVID-19 pandemic response and lessons learned. The lawmakers and leaders engaged on a number of topics, which included preparedness for future health emergencies, the importance of public-private partnerships, data collection and sharing among federal and state governments, combating misinformation and disinformation and public confidence with health-related mandates.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, along with leaders from the Food and Drug Administration'... read more
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, along with leaders from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified on the COVID-19 pandemic response and lessons learned. The lawmakers and leaders engaged on a number of topics, which included preparedness for future health emergencies, the importance of public-private partnerships, data collection and sharing among federal and state governments, combating misinformation and disinformation and public confidence with health-related mandates. close
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Points of InterestFor quick viewing, C-SPAN provides Points of Interest markers for some events. Click the play button and move your cursor over the video to see the . Click on the marker to see the description and watch.
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People in this videoMore People Hosting OrganizationHouse Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on HealthHouse Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and InvestigationsHouse Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Related Video February 2, 2022 House Hearing on COVID-19 Pandemic Price GougingThe House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing on price gouging during'...
September 22, 2021 Health Experts Testify on COVID-19 Impact on ChildrenHealth experts testified about the impact of COVID-19 on children during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce'...
April 28, 2021 House Hearing on Lingering Effects of COVID-19The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the lingering effects of COVID-19. The first panel of witnesses'...
March 17, 2021 House Energy Subcommittee Hearing on Increasing COVID-19 VaccinationsDr. Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testified before a House Energy and'...
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VIDEO - Hopes grow for deal on Northern Ireland protocol as EU's Von der Leyen to meet Sunak ' FRANCE 24 - YouTube
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ABC WNT - anchor James Longman (2) belarus lukashenko visits china (25sec).mp3
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CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - tik tok ban on govt phones (26sec).mp3
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CBS Mornings - anchor Catherine Herridge (2) officials affected response (1min4sec).mp3
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Douglas Macgregor - Who wants this war in Ukraine.mp3
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DW on Tik Tok Legislation.mp3
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EU, UK strike post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland -DW.mp3
FDA advisers recommend world's first RSV vaccines, from Pfizer and GSK NBC News.mp3
France 24 debunking Stew Peters and Zelensky body double.mp3
Google blocks some Canadian news sites in protest over Bill C-18.mp3
Havana syndrome 1 NPR.mp3
Havana syndrome 2 NPR.mp3
Havana syndrome 3 NPR.mp3
Hedges Yelstin gaffe.mp3
ISO Ed Asner.mp3
ISO extra kick.mp3
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Janet Yellen in Ukraine America will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes - WION.mp3
KAMALA Interneet site.mp3
Lavrov - We have information that US built two biological warfare labs in Kiev & Odessa.mp3
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Macron Africa Tour, getting kicked out by China and Russia.mp3
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NATO chief Jens and Finland Prime Puppet Minister - Ukraine in NATO and support ALAIT.mp3
NBC Today - anchor Tom Costello (1) space X launch a success (1min20sec).mp3
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New Dem catch phrase for 2024.mp3
NPR - House panel kicks off bipartisan look at U.S. - China relationship.mp3
NYC protest payout npr.mp3
Poliot Pay jacked up.mp3
Randi Weingarten — union cartel boss and Democrats' biggest campaign donor — melts down on the steps of the Supreme Court.mp3
Sean Penn on Brolf war mongering.mp3
The View blames Trump's Xenophobia for discrediting COVID lab leak theory.mp3
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Wallensky testifies that mRNS COVID vaccines added to children schedule for uninsured children - BULLCRAP.mp3
what is Curry.mp3
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