Cover for No Agenda Show 1548: Dangle Op
April 20th, 2023 • 3h 17m

1548: Dangle Op


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.

War on Weed
Dangle Op
Dangle Op BOTG
You and John, as usual, have done a better job than anyone else at outlining a classic "dangle op".
You put in all the right clips to show--this was a long term "dangle".
And, then used at the time, became appropriate.
But to Whom?
Or as in a more general sense: "Qui Bono?".
In the "old days", we used to use "dangle ops" just against our adversaries. hmmm
The tactics, here, appear to have more to do with bureaucratic score settling than policy.
With some "political" influence as well.
It's not just CYA on Ukraine.
It's not just pushing some form of the RISTRICT ACT.
Or, could be (in part); my experience with the boys at Ft. Meade, and at Langley; (from my times in SW Asia and Southern Africa and Central America in the '80s and early '90s) was to never underestimate their ability to confuse "misson" with bureaucratic advancement.
This "dangle op" is beautiful. It helps to fight (even if not successful) the blowback on RISTRICT Act.
It provides a counter to the Ukraine narrative that is falling apart (at least politically)
DOD gets nailed. White House get nailed.
Who doesn't get nailed?
BPITU - its in the classified discord doc
Journeyman BOTG
In case no one has emailed or messaged you guys yet about the Cyber Transport Journeyman job description, it's pretty much a mid level Cisco and VPN tunnel administrator. They manage the routers and switches, mostly.
They also have full access to the site to site encryptors that make up the SIPRnet(Secret) and JWICS(Top Secret) networks, which are glorified VPNs.
I was in the Air Force as a Cyber Surety Journeyman (Firewall, patching, policy) a
SWAT with leaker kid BOTG
Adam & John,
I heard some law enforcement questions on your last show and thought I would drop you an opinion. I am a former California police officer.
The federal "raid" on the leaker, with the swat team and having the suspect turn around and walk backwards. It seems obvious that the FBI was told to make this a big show of force in an effort to dissuade any future leakers. This was a show of force, pre-planned and intentional. The news being aware was part of it. The tactics of how the suspect was handled is commonly known as a "high risk" or "felony" contact where the cops don't go and engage the suspect, but instead, make them walk backwards to them. The point being, to gauge the suspects level of cooperation and allow the officers the greatest advantage to a potentially dangerous person. Was this necessary? No, especially since this was a non-violent, digital crime; but again, this was a sledgehammer response used specifically to send a message that "they are serious" and "don't try this or this could be you".
John brought up privacy online. While this is still a very rough area of law, and I cannot speak to how big alphabet agencies gather and spy on all data...I can say, that at local law enforcement levels, there is some clearer expectations of privacy for people. Riley v. California established case law with regard to privacy of your cell phone and any data on it. Warshak v. United States addressed emails. Basically, the internet is legally viewed as a town square. If you are doing anything that can be "viewed" from a place where a cop can also be, then there is no expectation of privacy. But if you take steps to obtain privacy, like set up private servers, private message rooms, password protections, encryption, etc. That is viewed much like your cell phone which falls under the 4th amendments protection against unreasonable searches of "persons and effects". But if your "private" messages take place on a third party, they can decide to allow law enforcement unrestricted access if they so choose, and many do.
Bottom line, if the police want to use evidence obtained from private online communications to establish "probable cause" to arrest someone and prosecute them, they had best obtain a warrant or else that evidence will be objected to by the defense lawyer and the government will have an uphill battle justifying why the defendant isn't entitled to 4th amendment protections.
Hope this helps. Any questions of a law enforcement nature, I am always happy to help.
Prime Time Takedown
Big Tech AI
Perhaps AI is an unleash the kraken moment to raise capital in a declining advertising market and possible larger than thought recession
Big Pharma
War on Guns
Climate Change
Pronouns are Rohypnol
But I refuse to use female pronouns for anyone male. Because pronouns are like Rohypnol.
One of the biggest obstacles to halting the stampede over women’s rights is pronoun and preferred name ‘courtesy’. People severely underestimate the psychological impact to themselves, and to others, of compliance.
Pronouns are like Rohypnol to your brain’s defences.
You doubt this absurd claim I just made, obviously. You have the fortitude of mind to be uninfluenced by such trivia, and I have got this wrong. I understand. Bear with.
And try this quick experiment.
1) The cost of USING preferred pronouns yourself:
Have you heard of the STROOP TEST?
It’s a well known “name that colour” psychological phenomenon. A quick and simple experiment where you have to say the colour of the words written in front of you. Simple as that. Except the speed and accuracy of your answers is heavily impacted by any incongruence between the colour you see, and the actual word itself.
Try it HERE, if you like fun interactive tests. It takes less than a minute to complete. Compare the difference in your times between part one and part two of the experiment.
You’ll find you have to consciously fight the conflict of input to your brain each and every time. And it leaves you confused, distracted, slower, frustrated and fatigued.
Forcing our brains to ignore the evidence of our eyes, to ignore a conflict between what we see and know to be true, and what we are expected to say, affects us.
USING preferred pronouns does the same. It alters your attention, your speed of processing, your automaticity. You may find it makes you anxious. You pay less heed to what you want to say, and more to what is expected of you. It slows you down, confuses you, makes you less reactive. That’s not a good thing.
Big Tech Elon Twitter X
Great Reset
Ukraine vs Russia
Unexpected Ozempic Side Effect? Weird Dreams - WSJ
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 17:37
Viral weight-loss drugs trigger vivid, celebrity-filled night visions; buying cabinets from Clint Eastwood
April 18, 2023 9:56 am ETChery McLemore was recently enjoying watching a parade of cows and bulls at a cattle auction with actor Matthew McConaughey. Then he started climbing atop the small pet llama she had brought, and she had to raise her voice to tell him to stop.
''Fine, you can stay with your llama, I'm leaving!'' Mr. McConaughey screamed before storming off.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
Chery McLemore was recently enjoying watching a parade of cows and bulls at a cattle auction with actor Matthew McConaughey. Then he started climbing atop the small pet llama she had brought, and she had to raise her voice to tell him to stop.
''Fine, you can stay with your llama, I'm leaving!'' Mr. McConaughey screamed before storming off.
Then Ms. McLemore woke up.
Her trip to a cattle auction with one of Hollywood's leading men was one of the dreams Ms. McLemore has had since February, when she began taking one of the powerful, new weight-loss drugs that have become viral sensations in recent months.
Ozempic and other similar medications are doing more than helping people tighten belts and fit into old outfits. Many users are reporting bizarre, vivid and eerily realistic night visions that bear no resemblance to their past dreams.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
The Ozempic dreams they have been reporting are downright wacky. Among the plots people have posted on social-media groups: joining the cast of ''The Golden Girls'' and preparing to rob a museum with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
''I am carrying your baby,'' one dreamer recalled telling Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson, who she thought, judging by his reaction, was open to blending their families.
The overnight spectacles are a side effect of drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy from Novo Nordisk A/S and Mounjaro from Eli Lilly & Co.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
The companies originally developed the drugs, which require weekly injections, to treat diabetes, only to discover they were much better than older diet drugs at helping people lose weight, with manageable risks.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Wegovy for losing weight, while diabetes treatment Mounjaro is under review for that use. Ozempic, which has the same main ingredient as Wegovy, is approved to treat diabetes but is widely used for weight loss.
Fueled by celebrity endorsements, use has taken off. On Facebook and other social-media platforms, thousands have traded tips about where to find scarce supplies and how to manage side effects, including sulfur-tasting burps. They also have celebrated ''non-scale victories'' such as buckling a seat belt more easily.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
Strange dreams are another hot topic, prompting some users to start social-media groups dedicated to recalling the strange, colorful details.
The TikTok account ''ozempicdreams'' posts brief videos of text describing dreams submitted by followers, setting them to music to match the mood. ''Spent the night at Home Depot ordering new cabinets and appliances for my kitchen. My salesman, Clint Eastwood, helped me pick out everything I would need,'' read one, accompanied by a sped-up version of the song ''Escapism,'' by the singers Raye and 070 Shake.
Ms. McLemore's Facebook post about her cattle-auction dream drew more than 160 comments, including several admonishing her dream self for not letting the imaginary Mr. McConaughey sit on the little llama in the first place.
Celebrities star in many of the reported dreams. In one woman's, according to a Facebook post, actor Jonah Hill waited tables on a cruise, divulged to the diners that he had changed his name to ''Sundaze'' and planned to quit film acting for a cabaret career.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
Oprah Winfrey rode in a go-kart to rescue an Ozempic user who was playing in a baseball game before a hostile crowd, according to a Facebook post. Another Ozempic dreamer was about to give birth in a bar and wanted actor Will Ferrell, standing nearby, to deliver the baby.
A Novo Nordisk spokeswoman said the company has received reports of abnormal dreams among users of Ozempic and Wegovy, but it doesn't have enough information to establish whether the drugs are causing the dreams.
An Eli Lilly spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports of strange dreams among Mounjaro users.
Dr. Caroline Apovian, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of a weight-loss center at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, suspects the dreams are related to how the drugs work promoting production of a gut hormone that has receptors in the brain.
The drugs might also increase a user's energy expenditure during sleep, which could contribute to vivid dreams, she said.
It also is possible the drugs are helping users' recall dreams they would have had normally but used to forget, said Deirdre Leigh Barrett, a dream researcher at Harvard Medical School and author of ''Pandemic Dreams.''
As for those celebrity guest appearances, Dr. Barrett said, those are unlikely to be specific to the drugs. She said posts on social media about celebrities in strange dreams might be prompting others to respond with similar recollections.
Other medicines have been known to cause strange or vivid dreams. Antidepressants including Paxil and smoking-cessation drug Chantix are associated with abnormal dreams. The drugs' labels advise doctors to consider adjusting the dose if patients experience strange dreams.
Arnetrice Knight, a beauty consultant from Oxon Hill, Md., who has been taking Ozempic for diabetes since January, said she told her doctor about her recent dreams, but the doctor told her it wasn't a problem unless she starts sleepwalking.
Often her dreams involve taking a peaceful drive on a sunny day and having a conversation with her passenger. ''None of it made sense, but it was OK because we were driving and it was nice outside,'' she said.
One night, however, she dreamed she was sitting in a dark house watching TV when the doors disappeared. A creepy figure lurked in the shadows, and she tried to escape. ''It was Stephen King scary,'' Ms. Knight said.
The dreams have been so lifelike, she said, that she wakes up still thinking she is in the dream, before she realizes she's in bed next to her sleeping husband.
Ms. McLemore, a mother of two from Amarillo, Texas, who takes Wegovy, said she typically used to dream about her family, but since taking Wegovy has had slumber meetups with celebrities.
In addition to attending the cattle auction with Mr. McConaughey, she has shopped for shoes with ''Jurassic Park'' actor Jeff Goldblum, seen an eye doctor with the ''Pirates of the Caribbean'' star Johnny Depp and toured North Korea with Minnie Pearl of ''Hee Haw'' fame.
On a camping trip in Yellowstone National Park, Ms. McLemore couldn't agree with her celebrity dream partner on how to set up the tent. ''I hate you, Kathie Lee Gifford!'' she recalled screaming.
Write to Peter Loftus at
Long read: What liberal intellectuals get wrong about transgenderism - Catholic Herald
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 15:39
The populist voter insurgencies of 2016 are complex, but one important aspect of them is the rejection of a seamless liberal order and worldview. Despite its unbearable claims to be the only possible worldview, liberalism has been rejected because it does not work for the majority of people. And just as liberal economics are now being questioned, so are liberalism's cultural and ethical assumptions '' in a way that the highly intelligent liberal Richard Rorty prophesied 20 years ago.
The backlash against liberalism
Liberals have too casually spoken as if being white, male and heterosexual were in itself a cause for suspicion, rather than a condition that white heterosexual males cannot help. So liberals should not be surprised if they now face a backlash from ordinary, not very successful WHMs who have dangerously started to think of themselves as a threatened ''identity''.
This ''whitelash'' may well sometimes take on unpleasant forms of racial prejudice, misogyny, dislike of all Muslims, nationalism, even anti-semitism and so forth. But more commonly it is a reaction to liberals' tendency to obsess over their favourite issues to the neglect of what the majority needs: family, community and work security along with a sense of cultural identity. (An identity that is all the more precious to the less-privileged, and often the key to their survival.) Too often liberals can sound not just as if they do not care about these things, but even as if they should be disparaged.
What is more, it is possible that liberals have too easily assumed that there exists a new consensus over abortion rights, euthanasia rights, gay marriage, transgender issues and positive discrimination (as opposed to formal equal access) for women and racial minorities. In reality, it may well be that a large number of people either reject or have doubts about these things, but feel that it is no longer acceptable to say so. Their real views perhaps emerged anonymously as one aspect of the votes for Brexit and for Trump.
In the face of all this, one can well feel a divided reaction. On the one hand, a fear of mass tyranny and new reasons to feel hesitant about the undiluted virtues of pure democracy. (See my new book The Politics of Virtue, co-written with Adrian Pabst). On the other hand, a certain sense that the voters have grasped several truths. Last year's votes showed an inchoate popular recognition that liberalism has become a violent and elitist global tyranny, that economic and cultural liberalism are really at one (Blair, the Clintons, Cameron) and that we may have modified or abandoned ultimately Christian norms about sex and gender all too casually and with no serious debate. These popular instincts may all be far more intellectually cogent than the vapid conclusions of a thousand postmodern academic seminars.
This point was for me well illustrated by a recent radio phone-in programme where an academic rightly said that ''race'' was a mere European ideological construction, but a listener then asked why, in that case, the academic wanted to validate ''black history'' and ''black studies'' in isolation? Would that not just reinforce the ideological delusion? she naively but perceptively asked. The academic had no serious answer, illustrating the dialectical illiteracy of so many supposed intellectuals today.
Gender assumptions
In what follows I am not denying that there are some people with confused bodies who deserve our every help towards a viable individual solution. Nor that there are others with unfathomable psychological conditions estranging them from their own corporeal manifestation. Perhaps, in extremis, surgery is the only solution for them.
But many people rightly sense that the liberal obsession with the transgender issue has gone beyond merely wanting to help this minority. It has become a whole movement to change our notions of gender. And its preoccupations come across as irrelevant to most people, unjustified in its conclusions, and apparently condemnatory of the normal with which most people identify.
As with the new post-liberalism in general (in both nasty and wise variants), the point is not ''conservatism'' versus ''progressivism''. It is rather a question of essentially liberal novelties tied to an individualist, positivist philosophy which recognises only ''facts'' and ''choice'' as real. To reject this philosophy does not make you a reactionary.
The contemporary liberal worldview, influenced especially by Judith Butler, sharply divides the mere ''fact'' of given bodily sex from the ''chosen'' cultural construction of gender. Bodily appearances of engenderment are no longer seen as manifestations of a psychic-bodily unity, but as meaningless physical circumstances. Real gender is seen as something that our culture has collectively fantasised.
However, more sophisticated exponents of cultural theory, including many feminists, have asked whether nature and culture can be so easily divided. And in reality, liberals cannot sustain an account which denies so much of our experience. Instead, they end up shamelessly muddling nature and culture. Exceptions to the gendered and heterosexual norm are at one moment deemed to be non-negotiably ''given'' as natural, even biological facts (nature), and at the next deemed to be valid individual preferences (culture).
Why liberalism hurts the poor
Liberalism, then, drives the attempt to displace the heterosexual norm '' which leads to the (shockingly illiberal) criminalisation of those who do not endorse either gay practice or gay marriage. But liberalism includes capitalism: in the end, liberalism defines people as simply property-owners, narcissistic self-owners, choosers and consumers. Aquinas thought that our natural orientation to something outside ourselves was fundamental to our being. Liberalism, by contrast, denies the importance of relationships. Thereby it encourages the undoing of community, locality and beauty '' and also marriage and the family.
And there is, naturally, money to be made out of all this. Husbands, wives, children and adolescents (this last an invention of the market) are more effective and exploitable consumers when they are isolated. Fluctuating identities and fluid preferences, including as to sexual orientation, consume still more, more often and more variously in terms of products and services. The fact that the market also continues to promote the nuclear family as the norm is not here to the point '' of course it will make money from both the ''normal'' and the ''deviant'' and still more from their dispute. Ultimately, profits will accrue from reducing the heterosexual norm to the status of just another ''lifestyle choice''.
The populist (as opposed to the well-heeled and ultra-liberal) faction amongst Brexiteers and Trumpists implicitly see all this '' and realise that the marginalising of the family, as of secure labour, coherent community and safe environment, is not in their interests. For, as RR Reno and others have pointed out, the poor or relatively poor simply cannot afford the experimentation with sex, drugs and lifestyle that can be afforded by those cushioned by wealth. Thus the result of sexual liberalism and the decay of marriage as a norm for working people is too often women left on their own with babies, and young men (shorn of their traditional chivalric and regular breadwinning dignity) driven to suicide.
The intellectuals' mistake
I repeat that there are some people who really do have a psychic disparity with their gendered body. They may be a very small minority, but they should be listened to '' and liberalism has certainly helped us to treat them with understanding and compassion.
But we should still consider irremediable psychic disparity with one's gendered body to be a highly rare exception, and normatively one should assume (with the sensus communis of all ages) that gender indeed follows upon biological sex. Otherwise, one is embracing a most bizarre dualism of mind and body or soul and body.
Normatively, we will identify with the indications of our given bodies and be propelled by them towards attraction to ''the other'' body, or alternatively (in the case of gay people) to ''the same''. But this is too much for liberalism, which finds such thought ''essentialist'' and limiting. For liberalism, inner feelings about sexual identity and attraction may imply that I am not really in the ''right'' body, or alternatively that it is my right to choose the body that I ''really'' want. There have also been stories, following the same logic, about people choosing to be disabled, to be of ''another race'' or even another species.
So two controversial points about transgenderism follow from this. First, that we are not talking here about simply the discovery of ''another'' minority condition that demands recognition and emancipation, but rather about a necessary extended footnote to the rendering of homosexuality as the new norm. For once we give equal status to attraction towards ''the same'' as to attraction towards ''the other'', we have already rendered sexual difference a subordinate irrelevance.
Secondly, that the contradiction I described earlier is still there: ''transgender'' oscillates between being merely a matter of choice, and being something unchosen, something lodged in a presumed non-pathological soul.
A neurological or corporeal basis for transgender seems unlikely. It is just possible that genuine neurological evidence will alter our perspectives on all this, but so far it is very inconclusive. In any case, the mere discovery of a neurological equivalent to a state of psychic/corporeal confusion is unlikely to show which came first '' the formation of the brain or of a person's psychological responses to social interactions. Arguably, the psychology is more likely to come first, given the known extreme responsiveness of the habits of synapses to our patterns of behaviour.
Unless one could identify an unambiguously physical source at the genetic level for an abnormality of brain functioning, it would be very difficult to presume that transgender has ultimately neurological causes.
If transgender is alternatively considered to be a matter of choice, then one might suppose that collectively we should encourage people to stay in the bodies and psychic guise they were born with, since that is more likely to further social happiness and the perpetuation of the human race '' or more immediately, the continuance of the European legacy (however much one may allow for the conversion and inculturation of incomers). Yet already there are suggestions and practices which demand that gender-neutrality be rendered normative, so that children can eventually choose (but how, with what guidance, with what formed habits?) their own gendered identity mix.
This is to ignore the overwhelming evidence familiar to us all (with no need for dubious accounts of experiments and statistics) for biologically-given gendered behaviour in babies and infants. So educating children this way is a recommendation for liberal tyranny and oppression. Most people rightly think any such educational programme is nuts. They are the intellectuals, and the liberal academics are the lunatics.
And without bodily sexual difference, there would of course be no prompting to the social imagination of gender. This is the very simple point that is na¯vely overlooked as too na¯ve by the Butlerian thinkers. It is dangerous to suggest that any and every claim to be in the wrong body requires the expenditure of scarce health resources, rather than some form of guidance. If we treat gender identity as so easily laid aside, we could lose our bedrock understanding of what human nature is.
The new intolerance
The present is here in some ways less tolerant than the past. As with homosexuality, past cultures did not so readily label transgender tendencies, much less make them all-defining of someone's identity (think of late Victorian broadmindedness here, as in the case of the strange archiepiscopal Benson family). Instead, previous generations allowed that young girls might often be boys and '' a little less readily '' vice-versa. Screeds of nonsense are now written and enacted about gender-bending in Shakespeare as ''subversive'', but the whole point about such ironic games is that they depended on seeing gender as a bi-substantial absolute (ie to be human is to be either male or female, period), while recognising that our deepest spiritual souls transcend gender even as they do not wholly do so.
By comparison, transgender as promoted today is a deadly earnest attempt to abolish gender altogether. Naturally, this promotion is most of all directed towards adolescents and children (rendering our fears, legitimate and not, over child abuse, somewhat hypocritical) by the commercial music industry.
What comes after transgender? Surely no gender at all, but only the lone self, wandering trapped in a labyrinth of endlessly binary forking paths, by which it is more controlled than it can ever be controlling. With gender vanishes sex, save for self-pleasuring, and with both sex and gender vanishes the most fundamental mode of eros and relationality: that between man and woman. Most non-tyrannical human self-government has been built on male-female relationality, as Ivan Illich showed. It also provides the metaphors on which most of religion is founded, from Hinduism to the Wisdom literature of the Bible.
And with this vanishing, reproduction would be more and more removed from the sphere of free and loving relationships and handed over to market forces and state scientific control. Increasingly isolated individuals would still want babies and it would be in the interests of both commerce and the state to provide them with the artificial means to do so and to seek to exert influence over that process and its outcome. This is just what Aldous Huxley predicted in his Brave New World, whose title of course ironically invokes the founding cultural shock of the recognition of sexual difference in Shakespeare's The Tempest. His brave new dystopia is really a world that puts an end to the true human novelty.
It is not surprising if the majority of people feel threatened by transgender obsessions, both for the way in which they themselves are perceived and for the fate of their children and their own way of life. Dimly, perhaps, they also discern the post-humanist direction in which this is all heading. Both the unchurched and Christian dissenters may have now obliquely spoken up for the western and Christian legacy more abruptly and absolutely than the mainline churches.
The cult of transgender is of course but one manifestation of a rejected liberalism, but it is highly symptomatic. And it may well be one of the things that has provoked an altogether unexpected populist reaction. Like so many, I do not admire much of the form this takes. But the people may sense that, in this case as in others, things have gone too far, and they are by no means wrong.
Declassified Guantanamo Court Filing Suggests Some 9/11 Hijackers Were Possibly CIA Assets, Ex-FBI Agents Accuse Agency of Obstructing Investigations
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 15:26
A declassified court filing from the Guantanamo Military Commission, the court considering the cases of defendants accused of planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, suggests that two of the hijackers were being closely monitored and possibly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before the attacks on the World Trade Center.
According to reports, the court filing originally became public in July 2021 but was heavily redacted.
However, independent researchers reportedly obtained a ''unexpurgated'' copy that reveals further details of the declaration made by former DEA Special Agent Donald C. Canestraro.
From Florida Bulldog:
Canestraro said in a brief interview with Florida Bulldog that he is part of the defense team for Guantanamo detainee Ammar al-Baluchi, a Pakistani citizen who is awaiting trial with four other men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks. His declaration includes the results of his interviews with 11 ex-FBI agents, 2 ex-CIA agents, a CNN investigative journalist, former deputy National Security Advisor Richard Clarke and former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), co-chair of Congress's Joint Inquiry into 9/11.
The 22-page declaration, first obtained by the national security website Spytalk, is not confidential, but rather it's marked CUI '' Controlled Unclassified Information. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency defines CUI as ''government created or owned information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations and government wide policies.''
''The document was originally published via a Guantanamo Bay court docket, but while public, it was completely redacted. Independent researchers obtained an unexpurgated copy. It is an account by the Commission's lead investigator, DEA veteran Don Canestraro, of his personal probe of potential Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, conducted at the request of the defendants' lawyers,'' RT reports.
RT provided further background on the two men allegedly being monitored and possibly recruited by the CIA:
Of the great many enduring mysteries of the 9/11 attacks still unresolved over two decades later, perhaps the biggest and gravest relate to the activities of Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar in the 18 months leading up to that fateful day. The pair traveled to the US on multi-entry visas in January 2000, despite having repeatedly been flagged by the CIA and NSA previously as likely Al Qaeda terrorists.
Mere days before their arrival, they attended an Al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, during which key details of the 9/11 attacks are likely to have been discussed and agreed. The meeting was secretly photographed and videotaped by Malaysian authorities at the direct request of the CIA's Alec Station, a special unit set up to track Osama bin Laden, although oddly, no audio was captured.
Still, this background should've been sufficient to prevent Hazmi and Midhar from entering the US '' or at least enough for the FBI to be informed of their presence in the country. As it was, they were admitted for a six-month period at Los Angeles International airport without incident, and Bureau representatives within Alec Station were blocked from sharing this information with their superiors by the CIA.
''We've got to tell the Bureau about this. These guys clearly are bad. One of them, at least, has a multiple-entry visa to the US. We've got to tell the FBI,'' Mark Rossini, a member of Alec Station, has recalled discussing with his colleagues. ''[But the CIA] said to me, 'No, it's not the FBI's case, not the FBI's jurisdiction.'''
The court filing suggests that the CIA obstructed official 9/11 investigations to conceal its infiltration of Al-Qaeda.
''During August of 2016, I interviewed a former FBI Special Agent whose identity is known to me. The former agent is herein referred to as CS-3,'' Canestraro stated in the filing's declaration.
''CS-3 stated that had the FBI been informed about the possible presence of the two Al-Qaeda operatives in the United States, the investigation would have ultimately been turned over to the New York field office sometime in 2000 for further action and possible disruption of the 9/11 plot,'' the declaration added.
From the court filing:
The declaration later stated: ''information was not passed to the FBI as the CIA was running a 'long term intelligence operation' to penetrate Al-Qaeda.''
An investigation determined that no information was sent by the CIA to the FBI regarding the hijackers' multiple entry visas into the United States.
CS-23, referred to in the filing as a former FBI Special Agent with extensive knowledge of counter terrorism and counter intelligence matters, said that ''the attempt to recruit Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar was an operation directed by the Central Intelligence Agency.''
''CS-23 told me that the CIA used their relationship with the Saudi intelligence services to conduct an operation on U.S. soil,'' the declaration added.
''CS-23 told me that the Saudis were used as a go between as the CIA is forbidden by law to conduct intelligence operations within the U.S.''
Read more below:
Cont. from RT:
This account was backed up by another FBI investigator, 'CS-3,' who further claims that Bayoumi setting up bank accounts and renting an apartment for the two hijackers in San Diego ''was done at the behest of the CIA.'' Any information provided to Bayoumi would then be fed back to Alec Station.
CS-3 felt it odd that this CIA unit, situated in the US and staffed by analysts, was involved in recruiting Al Qaeda operatives, as such work is typically the responsibility of case officers trained in covert operations based overseas. 'CS-IO' concurred that this arrangement was ''highly unusual,'' and made it ''nearly impossible for [Alec] Station to develop informants inside of Al Qaeda from its base several thousand miles from the countries where Al Qaeda was suspected of operating.''
Despite such tantalizing leads, CS-23 claims senior FBI officials suppressed further investigations into the CIA's relationship with Bayoumi and the recruitment of Hazmi and Midhar, and Bureau representatives testifying before the joint Senate and Congressional inquiry into 9/11 were instructed not to reveal the full extent of Saudi involvement with Al-Qaeda.
For their part, CS-3 stated that before they and their colleagues were interviewed by the joint inquiry, CIA officials within Alec Station told them not to cooperate fully with investigators and they were looking to ''hang someone'' for 9/11.
Canestraro does not make any conclusions as to why the CIA concealed vital information from the FBI prior to the attacks, which potentially could have prevented their execution, and why the Bureau subsequently played along with the Agency's coverup. Although one answer is provided by the unusual nature of Alec Station's setup.
Namely, that far from infiltrating an Al Qaeda cell to avert terrorism, the Agency was seeking to influence and direct its activities in order to cause terrorism, outside standard recruitment channels. Having stumbled upon such a monstrous connivance, the FBI would've known well to leave the entire subject well alone.
Florida Bulldog noted:
While most criticism in the declaration is directed at the CIA, higher ups at the FBI were also targets of the FBI agents' complaints.
An ex-agent in the bureau's Washington Field Office referred to as CS-9, was part of a squad tasked with investigating leads developed after the attacks. CS-9 told Canestraro that ''agents were told they were not permitted to interview Saudi nationals in support of their investigation. CS-9 stated that many of the leads developed during his/her investigation pointed toward the Saudi diplomats stationed in Washington, D.C.
Another former FBI agent, CS-4, who in the spring of 2002 supervised two other FBI agents assigned to the CIA's UBL Station, stated that ''CS-3 approached him/her and said, 'Boss, something is bothering me big time'...we [meaning the United States government] could have prevented the 9/11 attacks.'' CS-3 then outlined the CIA intelligence that showed Hazmi and Mihdhar had attended the Malaysian al Qaeda meeting, that the CIA knew in January 2001 that both men had multiple entry visas to the U.S. and that his FBI colleague had written a report on the future hijackers that ''was not distributed on orders from one of the analysts at UBL Station.''
CS-3 gave his supervisor a draft of the report. The supervisor, a male, asked who else knew about it. CS-3 said just him and the colleague who wrote it. The supervisor said he then contacted FBI deputy director for counterterrorism Pasquale D'Amuro saying he needed to meet right away. The supervisor hopped in his car and ''at a high rate of speed'' drove to FBI headquarters where he met with D'Amuro and gave him the secret UBL report on Hazmi and Mihdhar.
''D'Amuro read the cable then told CS-4, 'I will take care of this,' the declaration says. ''CS-4 noted that D'Amuro never mentioned the cable's existence'' again.
A short time later, though, CS-4 was promoted out of UBL Station to a senior liaison position outside of the FBI. He hadn't asked for a promotion and told Canestraro he felt he was moved away from UBL Station because he ''knew about the existence'' of the CIA's secret report on Hazmi and Mihdhar. CS-4 added he believed he was moved to ensure he ''kept silent.''
Read the full declaration by Donald C. Canestraro HERE.
DHS Official Has Office Raided, Covered in Crime Scene Tape '' Rolling Stone
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:28
The head of the office that tracks cross-border threats '-- including fentanyl and cartel activity '-- was walked out by security and questioned on Monday, sources tell Rolling Stone
The Department of Homeland Security intelligence official in charge of tracking cross-border threats was escorted from his office on Monday by federal police and security after an afternoon search that left his office sealed with crime tape, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the events.
The official in question is Brian Sulc, executive director of the Transnational Organized Crime Mission Center at DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis in Washington. Sulc has been placed on administrative leave. He is under investigation for an alleged security violation, bringing a personal electronic device inside the secure office, where phones and electronic devices are prohibited. He has not been arrested nor charged with a crime.
At about 4:15 p.m. on Monday, three squad cars from the Federal Protective Service '-- a DHS law-enforcement body tasked with protecting the department and federal buildings '-- drove into DHS's northwest Washington complex with flashing lights. The FPS officers joined security on the third floor of the secure building to search Sulc's office. While they were doing the search, Sulc was escorted out of the building flanked by security and FPS and taken to a different location on the DHS campus for questioning, two sources said.
The office has been sealed shut with crime tape, and evidence seals were placed around the door and across the keyhole so no one can enter.
Sulc is in charge of the office that produces intelligence assessments on border security, the opioid epidemic, and other high-stakes policy issues. Those assessments include intelligence on how fentanyl is crossing into the United States, as well as attempts to identify cartel members and human-trafficking operatives on both sides of the border. They're used to inform policy decisions at the highest levels of DHS and elsewhere in the Biden administration.
''He is a big deal,'' one source with direct knowledge of the search of Sulc's office. ''He does the border, all the big issues and crises. This is why this is all so shocking.''Editor's picks
Sulc is a career official who has held the post since March 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has worked for DHS since September 2008.
Sulc did not respond to emails, calls, texts, or voice messages left on his home and cellphone numbers. His work-cellphone voice mailbox was full, and he did not respond to a LinkedIn message.
Asked about Sulc, a DHS official tells Rolling Stone: ''DHS is committed to ensuring all operational security protocols are followed and is conducting an inquiry into a reported security incident. DHS will not comment on ongoing internal investigations. DHS conducts its national security mission with adherence to the highest standards.''Trending
On Sulc's LinkedIn, he describes the mission center as the lead program that prepares all-source assessments for the DHS secretary, the department's daily intelligence briefings. His profile says in his current role he ''prepares strategic assessments on transnational organized crime, border security and terrorist travel threats for DHS operational and policy components, for senior customers in the intelligence community and state, local, tribal and private sector stakeholders in the homeland security mission.''
Sulc testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security on March 18, 2022, on his office's role in the Biden administration's National Drug Control Strategy team to combat the opioid epidemic. Sulc reports to Ken Wainstein, the DHS Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis. Wainstein reports to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is scheduled to testify Wednesday morning before the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing titled, ''A Review of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security.''
SpaceX Targets 4/20 for Second Starship Launch Attempt
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:14
On Monday, a pesky valve is all that came between SpaceX and the maiden flight of its Starship megarocket. The company is now targeting Thursday morning for a mission that CEO Elon Musk predicts has a 50/50 chance of succeeding.
Astronomers Could Soon Get Warnings When SpaceX Satellites Threaten Their View
SpaceX originally said it required 48 hours to ''recycle'' the rocket in preparation for the second launch attempt but later revised that figure to 72 hours. That 24-hour bump conveniently sets the stage for a potential launch on 4/20'--a cherished date in Musk's calendar.
Starship during the launch attempt on Monday, April 17.Photo: C and J Images
SpaceX will commence with its live broadcast of the second Starship launch attempt at 8:45 a.m. ET on Thursday morning. The 62-minute launch window opens at 9:28 a.m. ET and closes at 10:30 a.m. ET, according to the company's Starship launch page . We'll set up a watch page tomorrow that will include SpaceX's broadcast and a selection of third-party live streams.
The team called off Monday's launch attempt with roughly nine minutes left in the countdown clock. Musk said a frozen valve caused pressurization issues in the Super Heavy booster, forcing the scrub. Aside from that, launch preparations appeared to go smoothly at SpaceX's Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Hopefully SpaceX will have resolved the valve problem by Thursday and the weather in south Texas will continue to cooperate.
For the inaugural launch of Starship, the 394-foot-tall (120-meter) megarocket will attempt to complete a partial orbit of Earth , in a mission that's expected to last for 90 minutes. The Super Heavy booster will fall into the Gulf of Mexico some eight minutes after taking flight, while the Starship upper stage will reach an orbital altitude and travel as far as Hawaii, ending with a violent splash down in the Pacific Ocean roughly 62 miles (100 km) northwest of Kauai.
It's a critically important first test of the fully integrated rocket, which SpaceX will use to transport crews, spacecraft, satellites, and cargo to various locations in the solar system. NASA needs the rocket as well , as the upper stage is slated to serve as the Human Landing System for the Artemis 3 and Artemis 4 missions scheduled for later this decade. The two-stage megarocket, with a booster powered by 33 Raptor 2 engines, will exert an estimated 16.5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and feature a payload compartment bigger than any fairing currently in operation, according to the company.
In March, Musk said Starship has a 50% chance of succeeding on its first mission. This is hardly new territory for SpaceX, a company that takes an iterative approach to product development. Success or failure, SpaceX will learn from this mission and apply the relevant findings in the never-ending effort to create more reliable and increasingly efficient launch vehicles.
Want to know more about Elon Musk's space venture? Check out our full coverage of SpaceX's Starship megarocket and the SpaceX Starlink internet satellite megaconstellation . And for more spaceflight in your life, follow us on Twitter and bookmark Gizmodo's dedicated Spaceflight page .
Pronouns are Rohypnol ' Fair Play For Women
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:40
This is a thought provoking article looking at the psychological impact of using preferred pronouns. It was originally posted on Mumsnet and the author received a 7 day ban and the post removed. It was then hosted on Medium and once again taken down. It is important we have access to different ideas and opinions and we all need and deserve the opportunity to come to our own conclusions on issues such as these.
We are happy to host this article as a guest post, with kind permission from the author.
There's a lot of chat around about pronouns right now. Specifically, 'preferred' pronouns. By which is usually meant, the pronouns a person would prefer other people to use when they are the subject being discussed by those people.
'This is how I want you to talk about me'.
Almost without exception, the people who request, or demand, others talk about them using specific pronouns, are asking for pronouns associated with the opposite sex to their own.
A simple politeness. A courtesy.
I've heard many people tell me they don't mind doing this, as a courtesy, although it takes some effort to keep up the mental gymnastics of perceiving one sex, but consistently using pronouns for the other. That's a personal choice, and I respect the reasons why some people make it.
I've also heard many people declaring that anyone who won't comply (usually directed at a woman) is obnoxious, mean, hostile, and unpleasant. 'Misgendering' is hate speech. They say.
But I refuse to use female pronouns for anyone male. Because pronouns are like Rohypnol.
One of the biggest obstacles to halting the stampede over women's rights is pronoun and preferred name 'courtesy'. People severely underestimate the psychological impact to themselves, and to others, of compliance.
You doubt this absurd claim I just made, obviously. You have the fortitude of mind to be uninfluenced by such trivia, and I have got this wrong. I understand. Bear with.
And try this quick experiment.
1) The cost of USING preferred pronouns yourself:Have you heard of the STROOP TEST?
It's a well known ''name that colour'' psychological phenomenon. A quick and simple experiment where you have to say the colour of the words written in front of you. Simple as that. Except the speed and accuracy of your answers is heavily impacted by any incongruence between the colour you see, and the actual word itself.
Try it HERE, if you like fun interactive tests. It takes less than a minute to complete. Compare the difference in your times between part one and part two of the experiment.
You'll find you have to consciously fight the conflict of input to your brain each and every time. And it leaves you confused, distracted, slower, frustrated and fatigued.
Forcing our brains to ignore the evidence of our eyes, to ignore a conflict between what we see and know to be true, and what we are expected to say, affects us.
USING preferred pronouns does the same. It alters your attention, your speed of processing, your automaticity. You may find it makes you anxious. You pay less heed to what you want to say, and more to what is expected of you. It slows you down, confuses you, makes you less reactive. That's not a good thing.
2) The cost of HEARING or READING preferred pronouns from others:Try this next experiment. For a week, re-translate all the transgender articles and comments you find, back to sex-based pronouns, nouns and original names. Rewrite them back to the blunt truth and then read them again. Doing this exercise solely in your mind will do just fine, but editing on a screen is better.
Convert female pronouns back to male; use surnames instead of first names, and convert terms like transwoman back to just 'man'.
Better yet, if you know the original name of the subject, use it, be it David, or Rhys, or Ashton, or Jonathan.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, yes? It shouldn't matter. No-one else will be hurt or affected by this private experiment. It's entirely between you, and your own resilient mind.
(Try not to get banned from anywhere during this experiment)
Read your translated version again.
If those small acts of preferred pronoun compliance are truly meaningless concessions, (although, see above banning potential for contradictory evidence of import) given as a courtesy to others at no cost to you or to other women, then this private exercise will change nothing, cost nothing, affect no-one. You'll walk away thinking, yep, as I thought, fuss about nothing.
Example article extract, corrected to male offender pronouns:
After all, nothing *should* change, should it, simply with the alteration of pronouns and names? You already know the actual sex of the subject you're reading about. Pronouns, male or female, add no incremental information. How can they in any way alter your perception, or influence you when you already know all the facts? They're an irrelevance, the easiest concession to make. Not worth consideration, inconsequential. Right?
Cognitively, you should be immune to the effects of such linguistic cross-dressing. Pronouns are irrelevant, so you concede them easily, because they have no power to influence you, since you already see clearly. Yes?
[And you can confess here, it's OK. You may already think that the minority of women who refuse to comply with pronouns are just awkward buggers, who can't think strategically, don't know when to let it go, probably are extremists. Do themselves no favours, damage their own 'cause', even. Unreasonable.]
But try the experiment. Translate pronouns and references back to male. Insert 'dead-names' or use surnames. (No-one will know but you) Read it a second time. And be honest with yourself.
Do you feel differently, on reading it this way?
Do you react differently?
How's your anxiety?
Are you angrier?
Do you feel more scared?
Is your sense of injustice alerted?
What level have your natural defences armed to?
You may discover that, despite yourself, you have a viscerally different reaction to what is before your eyes.
Same story, same players, same core knowledge.
Different pronouns, different reaction.
They dull your defences. They change your inhibitions. They're meant to. You've had a lifetime's experience learning to be alert to 'him' and relax to 'her'. For good reason. This instinctive response keeps you safe. It's not even a conscious thing. It's like your hairs standing on end. Your subconscious brain is helping you not get eaten by the sabre tooth tiger that your eyes haven't noticed yet.
Oscar probably didn't intend the instinctive female response his words provoked
Incongruent pronouns also make your brain work much harder; not just when you are using them, but when you are receiving them as information. You are working constantly to keep that story straight in your head. Male or female? Which one, again? Concentrate harder. Ignore your instincts, ignore your reaction.
And that's just you. You're already aware of all the pertinent information, already alert, you know the score, no flies on you.
And you're still affected emotionally and instinctively by incongruent pronouns, nouns, and names. Despite your efforts to be immune. You're not immune to this effect. You can know perfectly the actual sex of a male person, and yet you will still react differently if someone calls them she instead of he.
So what then, is the impact on everyone who isn't even aware yet, hasn't fully comprehended yet what's going on?
They change our perception, lower our defences, make us react differently, alter the reality in front of us.
They're meant to. They numb us.
They confuse us. They remove our instinctive safety responses.
They work.
If you do this experiment you may still decide to accept or use female pronouns for male people, perhaps a little wiser, but cognisant of their influence on you and others. That's a choice you may make. At least now you understand that you may be voluntarily suppressing your own natural response. Your eyes are more open.
Maybe you'll continue to mentally translate 'preferred' pronouns and names in your head back to reality, every time, as I do. We give ourselves the best chance to understand the reality of the situation before us. It becomes easier with practice. I want my instincts as intact as possible.
Maybe you shrug. You can live with this little phenomenon. Or it didn't work for you, you don't see it.
But please. Don't judge so harshly those of us who refuse to submit, refuse to comply with preferred pronouns. There are good reasons why we might be doing that, for our own sakes, and for the sakes of others.
I want to be alert. I want others to be alert. I want people to see the real picture, and I want those instinctive reactions that we feel when something is wrong, to be un-blunted, un-dulled by this cheap but effective psychological trick. I feel like I owe this to myself, and I absolutely owe it to other women.
And more than anything, I owe this to girls. I don't want to play even the tiniest part in grooming them to disregard their natural protective instincts. Those instincts are there for a reason. To keep them safe. They need those instincts intact, and sharp.
And that's why I won't use preferred pronouns.
Using Rohypnol on others isn't a courtesy.
By Barra Kerr
Machine Learning Investor Warns AI Is Becoming Like a God
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:36
A serial artificial intelligence investor is raising alarm bells about the dogged pursuit of increasingly-smart machines, which he believes may soon advance to the degree of divinity.
In an op-ed for the Financial Times, AI mega-investor Ian Hogarth recalled a recent anecdote in which a machine learning researcher with whom he was acquainted told him that "from now onwards," we are on the brink of developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) '-- an admission that came as something of a shock.
"This is not a universal view," Hogarth wrote, noting that "estimates range from a decade to half a century or more" before AGI comes to fruition.
All the same, there exists a tension between the explicitly AGI-seeking goals of AI companies and the fears of machine learning experts '-- not to mention the public '-- who understand the concept.
"'If you think we could be close to something potentially so dangerous,' I said to the researcher, 'shouldn't you warn people about what's happening?'" the investor recounted. "He was clearly grappling with the responsibility he faced but, like many in the field, seemed pulled along by the rapidity of progress."
Like many other parents, Hogarth said that after this encounter, his mind drifted to his four-year-old son.
"As I considered the world he might grow up in, I gradually shifted from shock to anger," he wrote. "It felt deeply wrong that consequential decisions potentially affecting every life on Earth could be made by a small group of private companies without democratic oversight."
When wondering whether "the people racing to build the first real AGI have a plan to slow down and let the rest of the world have a say," the investor noted that although it feels like a "them" versus "us" situation, he has to admit that he, too, is "part of this community" as someone who's invested in more than 50 AI startups.
"A three-letter acronym doesn't capture the enormity of what AGI would represent, so I will refer to it as what is: God-like AI," Hogarth declared. "A superintelligent computer that learns and develops autonomously, that understands its environment without the need for supervision and that can transform the world around it."
"To be clear, we are not here yet," Hogarth continued. "But the nature of the technology means it is exceptionally difficult to predict exactly when we will get there. God-like AI could be a force beyond our control or understanding, and one that could usher in the obsolescence or destruction of the human race."
While the investor has spent his career funding and curating AI research '-- even going so far as to start his own venture capital firm and launching an annual "State of AI" report '-- something appears to have changed, where now, "the contest between a few companies to create God-like AI has rapidly accelerated."
"They do not yet know how to pursue their aim safely and have no oversight," Hogarth mused. "They are running towards a finish line without an understanding of what lies on the other side."
While he plans to invest in startups that will pursue AI more responsibly, the AI mega-funder said that he hasn't gotten much traction with his counterparts.
"Unfortunately, I think the race will continue," Hogarth wrote. "It will likely take a major misuse event '-- a catastrophe '-- to wake up the public and governments."
More on apocalyptic AI: A Third of Researchers Think that AI Could Cause a Nuclear-Level Catastrophe
Banning Gas Stoves by Regulation - WSJ
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:31
New Energy Department rules would eliminate most current models.
When progressives can't pass their agenda through the front door in Congress, they sneak it through a regulatory back window. That's what the Biden Administration is doing with gas stoves, as the Energy Department this week proposed new rules that amount to a gradual de facto ban.
A Biden appointee on the Consumer Product Safety Commission ignited a firestorm last month by threatening to ban gas stoves. After criticism from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and others, the CPSC chairman rejected the idea, and White House officials...
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
When progressives can't pass their agenda through the front door in Congress, they sneak it through a regulatory back window. That's what the Biden Administration is doing with gas stoves, as the Energy Department this week proposed new rules that amount to a gradual de facto ban.
A Biden appointee on the Consumer Product Safety Commission ignited a firestorm last month by threatening to ban gas stoves. After criticism from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and others, the CPSC chairman rejected the idea, and White House officials said they didn't support banning gas stoves.
Then why has the Energy Department proposed new efficiency standards that would ban the sale of most gas stoves currently on the market? The stated purpose of the rule-making is to reduce energy consumption and save consumers money. But these benefits are meager. The department estimates the proposed rule would reduce energy use by a mere 3.4% from the status quo, and consumers on average would save $21.89 over a cook-top's lifetime.
Even this assumes the standards are technically achievable without compromising performance. A spokesperson for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers tells us that gas cook-tops would have to be completely redesigned to comply. Burners might have to become smaller and heavy grate designs altered, which would increase cooking times.
Twenty of the 21 gas stove-top models that the Energy Department tested wouldn't comply with its proposed standards. Manufacturers would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars redesigning stoves, if they bother.
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
Those costs would be passed to consumers in higher prices. The Energy Department estimates increased appliance prices will be offset by lower energy bills as well as climate and health benefits. But these benefits are speculative while higher product costs and reduced performance will directly harm consumers.
Making appliances more energy efficient involves trade-offs. Consumers and manufacturers may choose to make them, but they shouldn't be forced. Recall how federal energy-efficiency standards reduced the performance of dishwashers. Machines that once washed and dried dishes in an hour now take two to three, and often still don't get the job done.
Biden officials claim the proposed gas efficiency standards are feasible. But that's what they also say about their stringent fuel-economy mandates, which effectively force manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles. In both cases the Administration is using regulation to impose policies and coerce behavior they can't get Congress to endorse.
The new rules betray that the Administration is trying to eliminate gas stoves by whatever regulatory means possible. The Biden CPSC was preparing to use the Federal Hazardous Substances Act as a pretext to ban them before the public uproar. Richard Trumka Jr.'--the commissioner who floated the ban last month'--claimed that emissions from gas stoves are a ''hidden hazard.'' Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
Advertisement - Scroll to Continue
flogged a dubious study claiming that 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the U.S. are attributable to gas stoves.
The Inflation Reduction Act also includes a $840 rebate to buy electric stoves plus $500 to convert from gas. Yes, Americans, they really are coming for your gas stoves.
Americans now spend MORE on legal weed than on chocolate | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:30
Americans spent more money on legal weed last year than chocolate and craft beer combined after major changes to marijuana laws, a new report has revealed.
Tapped at $30billion by cannabis website MJBizDaily, the monetary measure of legal marijuana sales increased by more than $12million from the year before, when only Washington and Colorado were allowed to shill the smelly stuff.
Since then, another 20 states have followed their western counterparts' example, allowing licensed retailers to sell the drug recreationally - though federal regulators remain split on a more widespread decriminalization.
As these dispensaries continue to surface across the county, the legal cannabis industry has benefited, seeing its market evaluation swell in the past year - a trend authors say is poised to grow in coming years.
In the meantime, the total amount spent by Americans on marijuana products has surpassed sums spent on painkillers and even the confectionary, which draw in $22.8 billion and 18.2billion respectively.
The amount Americans spent on marijuana products annually has surpassed sums spent on painkillers, opioid medication, and craft beer
As dispensaries continue to surface across the US, the legal cannabis industry has benefited, seeing its market evaluation swell by more than $18billion to $30billion in 2022
To measure the industry's worth, MJBizDaily consulted with economists and analyzed several databases - ultimately coming to the conclusion that by 2024, the amount spent on legal weed should increase by another $3.6billion.
By 2028, the firm expects marijuana sales to approach $57billion - a marker that will see it surpass currently waning big tobacco, an industry that drew in $52.7billion from US residents this past year. That comes despite tobacco being legal nationwide, while recreational pot is only allowed in less than half of the country.
The growth outpaces that of steady earner chocolate, which, by the end of 2026, is expected to reach $26billion, according to a recent report from the New York Post.
Moreover, these are just the legal numbers for cannabis, the report repeatedly points out - with the true sum spent annually by pot-smoking Americans likely standing at up to three-times the amount calculated by MJBizDaily.
And as more citizens ditch dealers for increasingly available retailers, the gap between cannabis and other commodities, like craft beer, which only drew in $7.9billion in 2022 per Business Insider, will only continue to lengthen.
The paper remarked about the literal cash crop's increasing prominence in the US states where it is now legal, after older measures only estimated cannabis's illicit American gains.
'Marijuana businesses encompass a range of agricultural, manufacturing and retail operators as well as non-plant-touch ancillary companies such as lighting suppliers and law and accounting firms.
And as more citizens ditch dealers for increasingly available retailers, the gap between cannabis and other commodities, like craft beer, will only continue to lengthen, the report said
Long gone are the days where pot-lovers had to drive to Washington or Colorado, after 20 states followed their western counterparts' example and allowed retailers to sell the drug
Pictured: the opening for the first Big Apple dispensary earlier this year
The paper remarked about the literal cash crop's increasing prominence in the states where it is now legal, after older measures only estimated cannabis's illicit American gains
By 2028, marijuana sales are expected to approach $57billion - a marker that will see it surpass big tobacco, an industry that drew in $52.7billion from US residents this past year
'Some markets also include cannabis events and hospitality businesses, which tend to have an even higher economic impact than other industries.'
The group added that 'the marijuana industry has a large impact on the broader economy, both locally and across the nation.'
'That impact,' the firm said, 'comes directly from the day-to-day needs of workers in the cannabis industry, including spending on life's necessities such as housing, transportation, entertainment and more.
'Taxes collected from cannabis businesses and consumers play a role, too,' the researchers also pointed out in regards to the plant's prospective growth - no pun intended.
That said, in the interim, illicit sales still far outweigh legal ones, with Whitney Economics recently estimating that three-quarters of all marijuana sales in the United States still come in illegal, untaxed transactions.
However, since states like New York and New Jersey have signed off on recreational sales, cannabis use has rocketed by at least 20 percent in those states, a recent report from the University of Minnesota revealed.
In that study, researchers warned of 'negative health and psychosocial outcomes' of the drug that continue to surface as more Americans pick it up.
Lead researcher Stephanie Zellers called for more investigation into the 'complex questions around the public health impacts of legalization' and how greater cannabis use 'translates to changes in health or behavioral consequences.'
These include weed-induced bouts of psychosis or cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a little-known condition caused by long-term cannabis (marijuana) use.
Since states like New York and New Jersey signed off on recreational sales, cannabis use has rocketed by at least 20 percent, per another study. Seen here is a dispensary in New Jersey
The group added that the rapidly burgeoning industry will have - and already has had - 'a large impact on the broader economy, both locally and across the nation'
People who have CHS experience recurring episodes of nausea, vomiting, dehydration and abdominal pain, with doctors largely unsure of a cause.
Meanwhile, experts say legalizing pot has led to a growing acceptance for the plant in recent years, leading many to try it for the first time.
Stress from the COVID-19 pandemic has also driven up the number of users, perhaps contributing to the increase seen since 2021 and 2022.
Meanwhile, marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States. It is currently legal in 22 states, plus the District of Columbia.
12ft | Semi-automatic rifle ban passes Washington state Legislature | AP News
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:10
Removing Paywall
Musk threatens to sue Microsoft over Twitter data being used in A.I.
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:09
Published Wed, Apr 19 2023 6:48 PM EDTUpdated Wed, Apr 19 2023 7:38 PM EDT
Twitter CEO Elon Musk threatened Microsoft with a potential lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming the software giant used his company's data to train its AI."They trained illegally using Twitter data," Musk tweeted. "Lawsuit time."The threat came after Mashable and other publications reported that Microsoft would drop Twitter from its advertising platform.Pavlo Gonchar | Lightrocket | Getty Images
Twitter CEO Elon Musk threatened to sue Microsoft on Wednesday, accusing the software giant of illegally using the social media company's data to train its artificial intelligence model.
Musk's threat by tweet came after Mashable and other publications reported that Microsoft would drop Twitter from its advertising platform, which enables ad buyers to manage all of their social media accounts in one place.
"They trained illegally using Twitter data," Musk tweeted. "Lawsuit time."
Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, often tweets about plans that never come to fruition, and no lawsuit appears to have been filed. Twitter's press line didn't respond meaningfully to a request for comment, and a Microsoft representative declined to comment.
Musk's threat is the latest indication that data ownership is quickly becoming a fraught battleground in the generative AI rush. Big Tech companies are working to develop cutting-edge AI models like OpenAI's GPT, and data owners are seeking to stop them or charge for use of their content.
Microsoft develops its own so-called large language models (LLMs) and sells access to OpenAI's models. Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI last year in an unusually structured deal. Musk was a co-founder of OpenAI before leaving its board in 2018, and has complained recently of the company's move from a nonprofit model to a highly valuable business influenced by Microsoft.
LLMs like GPT require terabytes of data for training, much of which is scraped from websites like Reddit, StackOverflow, and Twitter. Training data from social networks is valuable because it captures informal, back-and-forth conversations.
As these new AI models move from research labs and universities into the corporate world, the owners of the data are starting to make demands.
For example, Reddit said earlier this week that it would charge companies for access to its programming interface used to feed the conversations among Redditors into AI training software. Universal Music Group also said this week that such training of artists' music would represent "both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law" in response to a viral video of a song that claimed to use AI to imitate the rapper Drake.
And stock photo database Getty Images is suing Stable Diffusion, alleging that the company copied its content to train its AI image generator.
Musk said in December that Twitter would "pause" OpenAI's access to its database. He's also announced plans to build his own large language model in one of his companies called TruthGPT.
WATCH: Elon Musk wanted to take charge of OpenAI in 2018
Watch our live stream for all you need to know to invest smarter.
View the full site
Trump Announces Plan to End Homelessness. The Left Will Hate It.
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:03
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday released his plan to address homelessness in the U.S., which he says has contributed to the decline of America's once-great cities.
''The homeless have no right to turn every park and sidewalk into a place for them to squat and do drugs,'' he said in a video statement. ''Americans should not have to step over piles of needles and waste as they walk down a street in a beautiful city -- at least, a once-beautiful city. Because they've changed so much over the last ten years.''
The 45th president argued that the majority should not have to ''suffer'' in these areas because of a ''deeply unwell few.'' If reelected, Trump said he will get the homeless off the streets and given access to the help they need.
''There is nothing compassionate about letting these individuals live in filth and squalor,'' Trump argued.
''For a small fraction of what we spend upon Ukraine, we could take care of every homeless veteran in America,'' he pointed out. ''Our veterans are being treated horribly. Likewise, with all of the money we will save by ending mass unskilled migration, we will have a huge dividend to address this crisis in our own country.''
Urban camping will be banned and those who violate the bans will be arrested, he said, clarifying that the individuals will be given an option to get treatment if they are willing to be rehabilitated.
As for where they will be taken, Trump said ''large parcels of inexpensive land'' will be opened where a range of medical professionals, social workers, and drug rehab specialists will care for the homeless to address their problems.
''For those who are just temporarily down on their luck, we will work to help them quickly reintegrate into a normal life,'' Trump continued. ''For those who have addictions, substance abuse, and common mental health problems, we will get them into treatment. And for those who are severely mentally ill and deeply disturbed, we will bring them back to mental institutions where they belong, with the goal of reintegrating them back into society once they are well enough to manage. It's a tough task, a very tough task.''
He said the plan is better than some of the alternatives being tried'--such as housing them in hotels without addressing their underlying issues.
''This is how I will end the scourge of homelessness and make our cities clean and safe and beautiful once again,'' Trump concluded. ''We will do it. We will bring back America.''
Agenda47: Ending the Nightmare of the Homeless, Drug Addicts, and Dangerously Deranged on American
'-- Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) April 18, 2023
Robert Kennedy Jr. Formally Announces 2024 Presidential Campaign, Vows To End The 'Corrupt Merger Of State And Corporate Power' | The Daily Wire
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:01
Robbert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, on Wednesday formally launched his 2024 Democratic presidential campaign, vowing to end the merger of state and corporate power.
Kennedy is the son of Robert F. Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator assassinated while running for president in 1968. Kennedy teased a 2024 campaign on Twitter last month, asking people to visit his website and contribute.
''I've come here today to announce my candidacy for Democratic nomination for president of the United States,'' Kennedy said at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. ''My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign, and throughout my presidency, will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country.''
Kennedy became the second Democrat to announce a bid for the White House after longtime author, lecturer, and self-help guru Marianne Williamson announced her candidacy last month '-- both seeking to replace President Joe Biden, who said he intends to seek another term but has yet to make a bid official.
''My whole family, including myself, have long personal relationships with President Biden,'' Kennedy said, adding some of whom work in the current administration and ''plain disagree'' with him. ''And they are entitled to their beliefs, and I respect their opinions '-- and I love them back. Is it too much to hope that we could have the same thing for our country? We have a polarization in our country today that is so toxic, so dangerous, than at any time since the Civil War.''
Kennedy said he would focus his presidency on unifying the polarization by discussing common values.
''I'm going to do that by telling the truth to the American people,'' Kennedy said.
Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and a best-selling author, has garnered attention in recent years for his stance against vaccines.
He founded a nonprofit organization called the Children's Health Defense, which on its website shares a vision for a ''world free of childhood chronic health conditions caused by environmental exposures.''
During the pandemic, Kennedy expressed concerns about COVID vaccines, including the suspicion that the death of baseball star Hank Aaron may have been tied to the shots. A medical examiner determined Aaron died of natural causes at age 86.
Kennedy made headlines in 2022 for his comments at an anti-vaccine rally where he accused the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of orchestrating ''fascism.'' Kennedy later apologized for invoking Anne Frank and the Holocaust at that same event, and his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, called the comments ''reprehensible and insensitive.''
Following his announcement, a new national poll from USA TODAY/Suffolk University surveyed 14% of voters who supported Biden in the 2020 presidential race would cast a vote for Kennedy in 2024. Around two-thirds said they would continue supporting Biden, 5% would back Williamson, and 13% remained undecided.
On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump is seeking another term. Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have also entered the 2024 race for the GOP presidential nomination. Others who might join the contest include former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.
Het lukt Nederland maar niet om af te vallen | Trouw
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 08:31
Nog steeds is de helft van de Nederlandse volwassenen te dik. Meer dan een derde heeft matig overgewicht, 15 procent ernstig. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS). Het aantal te zware mensen is de afgelopen jaren nagenoeg gelijk gebleven, terwijl de politiek sinds 2018 ongezond gedrag probeert tegen te gaan. In het preventieakkoord uit dat jaar staat dat het aandeel volwassenen met overgewicht terug moet naar 38 procent of minder.
Bij een BMI tussen de 25 en 30 is er sprake van matig overgewicht, bij een BMI van 30 of hoger gaat het om ernstig overgewicht (obesitas). Overgewicht komt minder vaak voor bij jongeren en vaker bij mannen dan vrouwen. Ook onderwijsniveau is van belang. Van de hoogopgeleiden heeft 42 procent overgewicht, bij laagopgeleiden is dit 62 procent.
Vijf jaar na het preventieakkoord blijft het onduidelijk of voorgenomen maatregelen doorgaan. Verlaging van de btw op groente en fruit is te ingewikkeld en levert weinig gedragsverandering op, concludeerde het kabinet vorige maand. Ook het duurder maken van frisdrank is nog niet gelukt. Een 'suikertaks' moet mensen vanaf 2024 weghouden bij frisdranken, maar of die er komt is onzeker. Het kabinet onderzoekt de mogelijkheden.
De politiek wilde daarnaast afspraken maken met fabrikanten en supermarkten over de hoeveelheid suiker in producten. Volgens onderzoek van Jaap Seidell, hoogleraar voeding en gezondheid aan de Vrije Universiteit, zijn de regels van de overheid zwak, en vertrouwt het kabinet te veel op zelfregulering van de markt.
Waarom niet afvallen? Niet iedereen die overgewicht heeft, vindt zichzelf te zwaar. Van de mensen met matig overgewicht noemt 77 procent zichzelf te dik, becijferde het CBS. Veel van deze mensen doen een poging om af te vallen, ongeveer 30 procent. Maar de meeste pogingen gezonder te leven stranden. Meer dan de helft van de mensen die proberen af te vallen vindt dat moeilijk of heel moeilijk.
Dat komt volgens het CBS vooral omdat het mensen niet snel genoeg gaat; daar worstelt de helft van de mensen mee. Bijna 40 procent vindt het moeilijk gezond te eten als emoties, zoals stress, opspelen. Tanja Traag, onderzoeker bij het CBS, zegt dat emotie-eten lastiger kan zijn voor preventie, en dat diten zo minder goed werkt. Verder geven respondenten aan dat gezond leven moeilijk is door een gebrek aan motivatie of wilskracht, aanleg om dik te worden of de verleidingen van ongezond eten.
Maagverkleiningen In de aanpak van obesitas is vorig jaar wel iets veranderd. Verzekeraars betalen bij een basispakket steeds vaker een programma om leefgewoontes aan te pakken. Bij een gecombineerde leefstijlinterventie (GLI) krijgt een patint twee jaar lang groepsbijeenkomsten en individuele begeleiding door zorgverleners. Het is bedoeld voor mensen met een BMI vanaf 30. Het geldt ook voor mensen met een BMI vanaf 25 met een verhoogd risico op hart- en vaatziekten of diabetes type 2. Ook wordt een medicijn tegen obesitas (liraglutide) nu vergoed uit het basispakket.
Obesitasklinieken zeggen minder vaak maagverkleiningen te doen, omdat mensen met GLI en medicijnen beginnen. Die zorg is goedkoper, en houdt mensen '' als het goed is '' langer gezond.
Vorig jaar berekende de Universiteit Maastricht dat de totale kosten van overgewicht en obesitas in Nederland bijna 11.500 euro per volwassene per jaar bedragen. Dat kost de samenleving ruim 79 miljard euro per jaar.
Lees ook:Oproep herhaald: geen btw op groente en fruit Veertien gemeenten, 33 organisaties en 31 artsen en wetenschappers doen nogmaals een oproep aan het kabinet om geen btw te heffen op groente en fruit.
Hier zou content moeten staan van bijv. Twitter, Facebook of InstagramOm u deze content te kunnen laten zien, hebben wij uw toestemming nodig om cookies te plaatsen. Open uw cookie-instellingen om te kiezen welke cookies u wilt accepteren. Voor een optimale gebruikservaring van onze site selecteert u "Accepteer alles". U kunt ook alleen de sociale content aanzetten: vink hiervoor "Cookies accepteren van sociale media" aan.
FDA Pulls Pfizer and Moderna EUAs, Doesn't Mention "Comirnaty" or "SpikeVax"
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 08:23
Yesterday the FDA abruptly ended the Emergency Use Authorizations for Pfizer's and Moderna's monovalent COVID-19 mRNA inoculations.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent mRNA vaccines to simplify the vaccination schedule for most individuals. This action includes authorizing the current bivalent vaccines (original and omicron BA.4/BA.5 strains) to be used for all doses administered to individuals 6 months of age and older, including for an additional dose or doses for certain populations. The monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the United States.
However, there are two relevant terms missing from their news release: ''Comirnaty'' and ''SpikeVax''.
Comirnaty, readers will recall, is the brand name under which the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA inoculation was granted full FDA approval .
SpikeVax is the brand name under which the Moderna mRNA inoculation was granted full FDA approval .
The Pfizer/BioNTech inoculation was approved on August 23, 202 1.
We are issuing Department of Health and Human Services U.S. License No. 2229 to BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH, Mainz, Germany, under the provisions of section 351(a) of the PHS Act controlling the manufacture and sale of biological products. The license authorizes you to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce, those products for which your company has demonstrated compliance with establishment and product standards.
The Moderna inoculation was approved on January 31, 2022 .
We are issuing Department of Health and Human Services U.S. License No. 2256 to ModernaTX, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the provisions of section 351(a) of the PHS Act controlling the manufacture and sale of biological products. The license authorizes you to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce, those products for which your company has demonstrated compliance with establishment and product standards.
These products are not covered under an Emergency Use Authorization, but have gone all the way through the full FDA approval process.
However, these products are monovalent preparations.
We know Comirnaty is a monovalent preparation because Pfizer describes it as a monovalent preparation .
Original [Monovalent] Vaccines
Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) is an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine that is indicated for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 12 years of age and older. It is approved for use as a 2-dose primary series for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 12 years of age and older. Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine are also authorized for emergency use to provide a third primary series dose to individuals 12 years of age and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise. The formulation for use as a primary series in individuals 12 years of age and older has a gray cap and label with a gray border.
Further, Pfizer's website (which was taken down sometime after April 15, 2023), explicitly stated that no bivalent preparations had received FDA approval (emphasis mine).
Emergency uses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent have not been approved or licensed by FDA but have been authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in individuals aged 6 months and older as appropriate . The emergency uses are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)'Š(1) of the FD&C; Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.
When I visited the website while preparing this article I found it had been redirected to a different website, . The Wayback Machine Internet Archive at has the original website archived as of April 15, 2023.
I attempted to archive the redirected website on the Wayback Machine Internet Archive but it doesn't archive cleanly.
The SpikeVax website is still up, but it uses contradictory language regarding its status as an approved vaccine .
Based on the extant remarks made at the time, SpikeVax appears to also be a monovalent preparation, with Moderna's bivalent preparation being covered under Emergency Use Authorization.
Certainly the FDA's web page on bivalent COVID-19 inoculations did not use either ''Comirnaty'' or ''SpikeVax'' in describing the Pfizer/BioNTech preparations. That page used ''Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent'' and ''Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent'' instead. That page was also taken down some time after April 8, 2023'--that being the latest date the page was archived at the Wayback Machine Internet Archive .
It would appear, then, that neither company's bivalent COVID inoculations were ever granted full FDA approval. Comirnaty and SpikeVax are not bivalent preparations, and neither company's bivalent preparation is Comirnaty/SpikeVax.
This leads to a question: The FDA modified the Emergency Use Authorizations. Where does that leave the FDA Approved mRNA inoculations?
Bear in mind what the FDA news release actually says (emphasis mine):
The monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the United States.
''Authorized'' presumably refers to products covered under Emergency Use Authorization.
Comirnaty and SpikeVax enjoy a status of ''approved''.
Why cancel the Emergency Use Authorization and not address the FDA approved monovalent preparations?
For that matter, why did Pfizer take down their website?
This is relevant because Cominarty has not, for the most part, been available in the United States. BNT162b2'--the label applied to the Pfizer/BioNTech EUA formulation'--is the formulation generally made available in the United States (although it has been reported that nine lots of Comirnaty were shipped and distributed in the United States ).
This already caused Pfizer some heartburn, as Federal District Court Judge Allen Winsor
ruled in December of 2021 that Pfizer's EUA product was legally distinct from Comirnaty.
So long as the EUAs were in effect, in practical terms this was a distinction without a difference. However, the ending of the HHS Public Health Emergency makes that a distinction with a huge difference.
As I commented when Dementia Joe announced that the COVID PHE would end on May 11, ending the PHE notionally should end the EUAs.
Ending the emergency declarations means ending the Emergency Use Authorizations for the dangerous and toxic mRNA inoculations as well as the ineffectual PAXLOVID therapeutic from Pfizer. Ending the emergency declarations means ending Pfizer's feeding at the public trough to push these poisons on people.
As a reader pointed out'-- and as was reported by CNN '--the FDA's position is that ending the PHE did not impair the EUAs.
The US Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that when the Biden administration ends the emergency, existing emergency use authorizations for Covid-19 vaccines, tests or treatments will not be affected, and the agency may continue to issue emergency use authorizations.
''Importantly, the ending of the public health emergency declared by HHS under the Public Health Service Act will not impact FDA's ability to authorize devices (including tests), treatments or vaccines for emergency use. Existing emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for products will remain in effect and the agency may continue to issue new EUAs going forward when criteria for issuance are met,'' the agency said in a statement to CNN.
Since the start of the Covid-19 public health emergency, it ''has allowed the FDA to provide important tools and flexibilities to manufacturers, health care facilities, providers, patients, and other stakeholders,'' according to the statement.
In addition to the public health emergency, HHS has issued two other emergency declarations that provide broader access to medical measures for Covid-19. For instance, the emergency use authorizations for tests, treatments and vaccines are not tied to the public health emergency, but HHS will have to determine when to end the declaration that allows their use.
An HHS Fact Sheet regarding the termination of the PHE makes a similar assertion.
FDA's EUAs for COVID-19 products (including tests, vaccines, and treatments) will not be affected. The ending of the COVID-19 PHE will not affect the FDA's ability to authorize various products, including tests, treatments, or vaccines for emergency use. Existing EUAs for COVID-19 products will remain in effect under Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the agency may continue to issue new EUAs going forward when criteria for issuance are met.
How does Section 564
still apply if the PHE is ending on May 11?
Section 564 establishes the EUA authority as follows (in subsection (a)(1)).
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act [ 42 U.S.C. 262 ], and subject to the provisions of this section, the Secretary may authorize the introduction into interstate commerce, during the effective period of a declaration under subsection (b), of a drug, device, or biological product intended for use in an actual or potential emergency (referred to in this section as an ''emergency use'' ).
Subsection (b) further clarifies the requisite declaration under which EUAs may be authorized.
(b) Declaration of emergency or threat justifying emergency authorized use
(1) In generalThe Secretary may make a declaration that the circumstances exist justifying the authorization under this subsection for a product on the basis of'--
(A) a determination by the Secretary of Homeland Security that there is a domestic emergency, or a significant potential for a domestic emergency, involving a heightened risk of attack with a biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agent or agents;
(B) a determination by the Secretary of Defense that there is a military emergency, or a significant potential for a military emergency, involving a heightened risk to United States military forces, including personnel operating under the authority of title 10 or title 50, of attack with'--
(i) a biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agent or agents; or
(ii) an agent or agents that may cause, or are otherwise associated with, an imminently life-threatening and specific risk to United States military forces;
(C) a determination by the Secretary that there is a public health emergency, or a significant potential for a public health emergency, that affects, or has a significant potential to affect, national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad, and that involves a biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agent or agents, or a disease or condition that may be attributable to such agent or agents; or
(D) the identification of a material threat pursuant to section 319F''2 of the Public Health Service Act [ 42 U.S.C. 247d''6b ] sufficient to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad.
As Katherine Watt of Bailiwick News outlined , HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra used a legal shell game to cancel the Public Health Emergency while retaining the PHE powers.
The emergency authorities held by the Health and Human Services Secretary under the Public Health Emergency (PHE) program of the 1944 Public Health Service Act, as established by Congress and President Reagan in 1983 and expanded by Congress and Presidents Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Trump and Biden since then will not expire in May.
Current HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra recently '-- very quietly '-- extended his Public Health Emergency authority and derivative Emergency Use Authorization power, using slightly different wording, through a Federal Register notice effective March 15, 2023.
Specifically, what Secretary Becerra did without any fanfare was to quietly use the latter portion of Subsection (b)(1)(C) above to extend the EUAs in the absence of a PHE.
From the Federal Register Notice .
In light of this, I have now amended the February 4, 2020 determination to recognize the fact that there is ''a public health emergency, or a significant potential for a public health emergency, that affects, or has a significant potential to affect, national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad'' and that involves a biological agent, namely the novel (new) coronavirus (nCoV) first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in 2019 (2019''nCoV, or SARS''CoV''2). (Emphasis added). If the current conditions change such that there is no longer a ''public health emergency'' within the meaning of section 564, the section 564(b)(1)(C) determination would remain in place because I have determined that there is also a ''significant potential for a public health emergency'' under that section. This avoids the need to issue a new determination under section 564 when there is no longer a ''public health emergency,'' but there is still a ''significant potential for a public health emergency'' involving SARS''CoV''2.
Interestingly enough, this change was made after both my article and the CNN article on the ending of the PHE.
Secretary's Becerra makes no mention of this finding in his open letter to US Governors dated February 9 , nor is there any mention of this in any of the news releases by HHS either in March or February .
Thus, even though in his letter to US Governors Becerra states explicitly that the PHE is ending on May 11, he is continuing the PHE sub rosa .
Thank you for your ongoing partnership throughout the COVID-19 response. I write today to inform you that effective February 11, 2023, I am renewing for 90 days the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) as declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act. Based on current trends regarding COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is planning for this to be the final renewal and for the COVID-19 PHE to end on May 11, 2023. Rather than 60 days' notice, I am providing 90 days' notice before the COVID-19 PHE ends to give you and your communities ample time to transition.
In effect, Becerra has extended the FDA authority to issue EUAs for as long as the SARS-CoV-2 virus exists (i.e., indefinitely).
Also, because there is no formal PHE declaration, Becerra appears to have no need to renew the PHE every ninety days.
Which brings us back to the awkward question of where the FDA approved monovalent mRNA inoculations Comirnaty and SpikeVax stand.
By stating that there are no monovalent inoculations ''authorized'', has the FDA also summarily rescinded the approval for Comirnaty and SpikeVax? Because there is a technical legal distinction between ''authorized'' and ''approved'''--i.e., ''authorized'' means under the auspices of an EUA, while ''approved'' means full FDA approval'--arguably Comirnaty and SpikeVax are unaffected by this announcement.
However, the FDA has consistently muddied the waters by maintaining an EUA for both the Pfizer and Moderna formulations despite there being a full FDA approved version of each.
Pfizer and BioNTech are certainly producing their mRNA inoculation under the Comirnaty label. In March the Health Minister of Malaysia stated that over 44 million doses of Comirnaty were administered in that country alone .
A total of 44.8 million doses of Comirnaty (Pfizer) Covid-19 vaccines were administered in the country, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
The Health Minister said the doses were administered between Feb 24, 2021, and Dec 31 last year.
"The adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reporting system under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) recorded a total of 20,153 reports which equates to 450 reports out of every one million doses.
However, for whatever reason, Comirnaty appears to never have been distributed within the United States. Moreover, Comirnaty appears not to have a bivalent formulation. Pfizer has chosen to rely on the EUA mechanism for gaining regulatory approval of both the monovalent and bivalent formulations for the US market. FDA approval was gained, only to be effectively abandoned in favor of the EUA.
With the HHS shell game so that the ending of the COVID Public Health Emergency does not impair the FDA's authority to grant EUAs, and this termination of the EUAs granted for the monovalent mRNA inoculations from both Pfizer and Moderna, coupled with their complete silence on the FDA-approved versions of these same inoculations, the HHS and the FDA are in effect confirming that the more rigorous approval process for new therapeutics is what is really being terminated here. COVID-19 therapeutics in particular, but ultimately therapeutics for any medical condition, can now be authorized instead of approved'--all it takes is a magical ''finding'' by the HHS Secretary that a ''potential'' threat exists. There will be no regulatory hearing. There will be no legislative oversight.
By positioning the bivalent mRNA inoculations as the formulations which will survive the expiration of the PHE declaration, and by asserting the FDA's legal authority to extend the EUAs for those formulations beyond that expiration, the FDA is establishing that, at its whimsy, it will allow Big Pharma to push new drugs out onto the public without even lip service to the clinical trial rigor the approval process nominally imposed on new therapeutics.
The mRNA inoculation is dead. Long live the mRNA inoculation.
Tip Jar On Ko-Fi
I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I'm Blowing the Whistle. | The Free Press
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 22:10
I am a 42-year-old St. Louis native, a queer woman, and politically to the left of Bernie Sanders. My worldview has deeply shaped my career. I have spent my professional life providing counseling to vulnerable populations: children in foster care, sexual minorities, the poor.
For almost four years, I worked at The Washington University School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases with teens and young adults who were HIV positive. Many of them were trans or otherwise gender nonconforming, and I could relate: Through childhood and adolescence, I did a lot of gender questioning myself. I'm now married to a transman, and together we are raising my two biological children from a previous marriage and three foster children we hope to adopt.
All that led me to a job in 2018 as a case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital, which had been established a year earlier.
The center's working assumption was that the earlier you treat kids with gender dysphoria, the more anguish you can prevent later on. This premise was shared by the center's doctors and therapists. Given their expertise, I assumed that abundant evidence backed this consensus.
During the four years I worked at the clinic as a case manager'--I was responsible for patient intake and oversight'--around a thousand distressed young people came through our doors. The majority of them received hormone prescriptions that can have life-altering consequences'--including sterility.
I left the clinic in November of last year because I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ''do no harm.'' Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.
Today I am speaking out. I am doing so knowing how toxic the public conversation is around this highly contentious issue'--and the ways that my testimony might be misused. I am doing so knowing that I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk.
Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so. Because what is happening to scores of children is far more important than my comfort. And what is happening to them is morally and medically appalling.
Reed in her office. (Theo R. Welling).The Floodgates Open
Soon after my arrival at the Transgender Center, I was struck by the lack of formal protocols for treatment. The center's physician co-directors were essentially the sole authority.
At first, the patient population was tipped toward what used to be the ''traditional'' instance of a child with gender dysphoria: a boy, often quite young, who wanted to present as'--who wanted to be'--a girl.
Until 2015 or so, a very small number of these boys comprised the population of pediatric gender dysphoria cases. Then, across the Western world, there began to be a dramatic increase in a new population: Teenage girls, many with no previous history of gender distress, suddenly declared they were transgender and demanded immediate treatment with testosterone.
I certainly saw this at the center. One of my jobs was to do intake for new patients and their families. When I started there were probably 10 such calls a month. When I left there were 50, and about 70 percent of the new patients were girls. Sometimes clusters of girls arrived from the same high school.
This concerned me, but didn't feel I was in the position to sound some kind of alarm back then. There was a team of about eight of us, and only one other person brought up the kinds of questions I had. Anyone who raised doubts ran the risk of being called a transphobe.
The girls who came to us had many comorbidities: depression, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, obesity. Many were diagnosed with autism, or had autism-like symptoms. A report last year on a British pediatric transgender center found that about one-third of the patients referred there were on the autism spectrum.
Frequently, our patients declared they had disorders that no one believed they had. We had patients who said they had Tourette syndrome (but they didn't); that they had tic disorders (but they didn't); that they had multiple personalities (but they didn't).
The doctors privately recognized these false self-diagnoses as a manifestation of social contagion. They even acknowledged that suicide has an element of social contagion. But when I said the clusters of girls streaming into our service looked as if their gender issues might be a manifestation of social contagion, the doctors said gender identity reflected something innate.
To begin transitioning, the girls needed a letter of support from a therapist'--usually one we recommended'--who they had to see only once or twice for the green light. To make it more efficient for the therapists, we offered them a template for how to write a letter in support of transition. The next stop was a single visit to the endocrinologist for a testosterone prescription.
That's all it took.
When a female takes testosterone, the profound and permanent effects of the hormone can be seen in a matter of months. Voices drop, beards sprout, body fat is redistributed. Sexual interest explodes, aggression increases, and mood can be unpredictable. Our patients were told about some side effects, including sterility. But after working at the center, I came to believe that teenagers are simply not capable of fully grasping what it means to make the decision to become infertile while still a minor.
Side Effects
Many encounters with patients emphasized to me how little these young people understood the profound impacts changing gender would have on their bodies and minds. But the center downplayed the negative consequences, and emphasized the need for transition. As the center's website said, ''Left untreated, gender dysphoria has any number of consequences, from self-harm to suicide. But when you take away the gender dysphoria by allowing a child to be who he or she is, we're noticing that goes away. The studies we have show these kids often wind up functioning psychosocially as well as or better than their peers.''
There are no reliable studies showing this. Indeed, the experiences of many of the center's patients prove how false these assertions are.
Here's an example. On Friday, May 1, 2020, a colleague emailed me about a 15-year-old male patient: ''Oh dear. I am concerned that [the patient] does not understand what Bicalutamide does.'' I responded: ''I don't think that we start anything honestly right now.''
Bicalutamide is a medication used to treat metastatic prostate cancer, and one of its side effects is that it feminizes the bodies of men who take it, including the appearance of breasts. The center prescribed this cancer drug as a puberty blocker and feminizing agent for boys. As with most cancer drugs, bicalutamide has a long list of side effects, and this patient experienced one of them: liver toxicity. He was sent to another unit of the hospital for evaluation and immediately taken off the drug. Afterward, his mother sent an electronic message to the Transgender Center saying that we were lucky her family was not the type to sue.
How little patients understood what they were getting into was illustrated by a call we received at the center in 2020 from a 17-year-old biological female patient who was on testosterone. She said she was bleeding from the vagina. In less than an hour she had soaked through an extra heavy pad, her jeans, and a towel she had wrapped around her waist. The nurse at the center told her to go to the emergency room right away.
We found out later this girl had had intercourse, and because testosterone thins the vaginal tissues, her vaginal canal had ripped open. She had to be sedated and given surgery to repair the damage. She wasn't the only vaginal laceration case we heard about.
Other girls were disturbed by the effects of testosterone on their clitoris, which enlarges and grows into what looks like a microphallus, or a tiny penis. I counseled one patient whose enlarged clitoris now extended below her vulva, and it chafed and rubbed painfully in her jeans. I advised her to get the kind of compression undergarments worn by biological men who dress to pass as female. At the end of the call I thought to myself, ''Wow, we hurt this kid.''
There are rare conditions in which babies are born with atypical genitalia'--cases that call for sophisticated care and compassion. But clinics like the one where I worked are creating a whole cohort of kids with atypical genitals'--and most of these teens haven't even had sex yet. They had no idea who they were going to be as adults. Yet all it took for them to permanently transform themselves was one or two short conversations with a therapist.
Being put on powerful doses of testosterone or estrogen'--enough to try to trick your body into mimicking the opposite sex'---affects the rest of the body. I doubt that any parent who's ever consented to give their kid testosterone (a lifelong treatment) knows that they're also possibly signing their kid up for blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, and perhaps sleep apnea and diabetes.
But sometimes the parents' understanding of what they had agreed to do to their children came forcefully:
Neglected and Mentally Ill Patients
Besides teenage girls, another new group was referred to us: young people from the inpatient psychiatric unit, or the emergency department, of St. Louis Children's Hospital. The mental health of these kids was deeply concerning'--there were diagnoses like schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more. Often they were already on a fistful of pharmaceuticals.
This was tragic, but unsurprising given the profound trauma some had been through. Yet no matter how much suffering or pain a child had endured, or how little treatment and love they had received, our doctors viewed gender transition'--even with all the expense and hardship it entailed'--as the solution.
Some weeks it felt as though almost our entire caseload was nothing but disturbed young people.
For example, one teenager came to us in the summer of 2022 when he was 17 years old and living in a lockdown facility because he had been sexually abusing dogs. He'd had an awful childhood: His mother was a drug addict, his father was imprisoned, and he grew up in foster care. Whatever treatment he may have been getting, it wasn't working.
During our intake I learned from another caseworker that when he got out, he planned to reoffend because he believed the dogs had willingly submitted.
Somewhere along the way, he expressed a desire to become female, so he ended up being seen at our center. From there, he went to a psychologist at the hospital who was known to approve virtually everyone seeking transition. Then our doctor recommended feminizing hormones. At the time, I wondered if this was being done as a form of chemical castration.
That same thought came up again with another case. This one was in spring of 2022 and concerned a young man who had intense obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifested as a desire to cut off his penis after he masturbated. This patient expressed no gender dysphoria, but he got hormones, too. I asked the doctor what protocol he was following, but I never got a straight answer.
In Loco Parentis
Another disturbing aspect of the center was its lack of regard for the rights of parents'--and the extent to which doctors saw themselves as more informed decision-makers over the fate of these children.
In Missouri, only one parent's consent is required for treatment of their child. But when there was a dispute between the parents, it seemed the center always took the side of the affirming parent.
My concerns about this approach to dissenting parents grew in 2019 when one of our doctors actually testified in a custody hearing against a father who opposed a mother's wish to start their 11-year-old daughter on puberty blockers.
I had done the original intake call, and I found the mother quite disturbing. She and the father were getting divorced, and the mother described the daughter as ''kind of a tomboy.'' So now the mother was convinced her child was trans. But when I asked if her daughter had adopted a boy's name, if she was distressed about her body, if she was saying she felt like a boy, the mother said no. I explained the girl just didn't meet the criteria for an evaluation.
Then a month later, the mother called back and said her daughter now used a boy's name, was in distress over her body, and wanted to transition. This time the mom and daughter were given an appointment. Our providers decided the girl was trans and prescribed a puberty blocker to prevent her normal development.
The father adamantly disagreed, said this was all coming from the mother, and a custody battle ensued. After the hearing where our doctor testified in favor of transition, the judge sided with the mother.
'I Want My Breasts Back'
Because I was the main intake person, I had the broadest perspective on our existing and prospective patients. In 2019, a new group of people appeared on my radar: desisters and detransitioners. Desisters choose not to go through with a transition. Detransitioners are transgender people who decide to return to their birth gender.
The one colleague with whom I was able to share my concerns agreed with me that we should be tracking desistance and detransition. We thought the doctors would want to collect and understand this data in order to figure out what they had missed.
We were wrong. One doctor wondered aloud why he would spend time on someone who was no longer his patient.
But we created a document anyway and called it the Red Flag list. It was an Excel spreadsheet that tracked the kind of patients that kept my colleague and me up at night.
One of the saddest cases of detransition I witnessed was a teenage girl, who, like so many of our patients, came from an unstable family, was in an uncertain living situation, and had a history of drug use. The overwhelming majority of our patients are white, but this girl was black. She was put on hormones at the center when she was around 16. When she was 18, she went in for a double mastectomy, what's known as ''top surgery.''
Three months later she called the surgeon's office to say she was going back to her birth name and that her pronouns were ''she'' and ''her.'' Heartbreakingly, she told the nurse, ''I want my breasts back.'' The surgeon's office contacted our office because they didn't know what to say to this girl.
My colleague and I said that we would reach out. It took a while to track her down, and when we did we made sure that she was in decent mental health, that she was not actively suicidal, that she was not using substances. The last I heard, she was pregnant. Of course, she'll never be able to breastfeed her child.
'Get On Board, Or Get Out'
My concerns about what was going on at the center started to overtake my life. By spring 2020, I felt a medical and moral obligation to do something. So I spoke up in the office, and sent plenty of emails.
Here's just one example: On January 6, 2022, I received an email from a staff therapist asking me for help with a case of a 16-year-old transgender male living in another state. ''Parents are open to having patient see a therapist but are not supportive of gender and patient does not want parents to be aware of gender identity. I am having a challenging time finding a gender affirming therapist.''
I replied:
''I do not ethically agree with linking a minor patient to a therapist who would be gender affirming with gender as a focus of their work without that being discussed with the parents and the parent agreeing to that kind of care.''
In all my years at the Washington University School of Medicine, I had received solidly positive performance reviews. But in 2021, that changed. I got a below-average mark for my ''Judgment'' and ''Working Relationships/Cooperative Spirit.'' Although I was described as ''responsible, conscientious, hard-working and productive'' the evaluation also noted: ''At times Jamie responds poorly to direction from management with defensiveness and hostility.''
Things came to a head at a half-day retreat in summer of 2022. In front of the team, the doctors said that my colleague and I had to stop questioning the ''medicine and the science'' as well as their authority. Then an administrator told us we had to ''Get on board, or get out.'' It became clear that the purpose of the retreat was to deliver these messages to us.
The Washington University system provides a generous college tuition payment program for long-standing employees. I live by my paycheck and have no money to put aside for five college tuitions for my kids. I had to keep my job. I also feel a lot of loyalty to Washington University.
But I decided then and there that I had to get out of the Transgender Center, and to do so, I had to keep my head down and improve my next performance review.
I managed to get a decent evaluation, and I landed a job conducting research in another part of The Washington University School of Medicine. I gave my notice and left the Transgender Center in November of 2022.
(Theo R. Welling)What I Want to See Happen
For a couple of weeks, I tried to put everything behind me and settled into my new job as a clinical research coordinator, managing studies regarding children undergoing bone marrow transplants.
Then I came across comments from Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who is a high official at the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The article read: ''Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, said that clinics are proceeding carefully and that no American children are receiving drugs or hormones for gender dysphoria who shouldn't.''
I felt stunned and sickened. It wasn't true. And I know that from deep first-hand experience.
So I started writing down everything I could about my experience at the Transgender Center. Two weeks ago, I brought my concerns and documents to the attention of Missouri's attorney general. He is a Republican. I am a progressive. But the safety of children should not be a matter for our culture wars.
Click here to read Jamie Reed's letter to the Missouri AG.
Given the secrecy and lack of rigorous standards that characterize youth gender transition across the country, I believe that to ensure the safety of American children, we need a moratorium on the hormonal and surgical treatment of young people with gender dysphoria.
In the past 15 years, according to Reuters, the U.S. has gone from having no pediatric gender clinics to more than 100. A thorough analysis should be undertaken to find out what has been done to their patients and why'--and what the long-term consequences are.
There is a clear path for us to follow. Just last year England announced that it would close the Tavistock's youth gender clinic, then the NHS's only such clinic in the country, after an investigation revealed shoddy practices and poor patient treatment. Sweden and Finland, too, have investigated pediatric transition and greatly curbed the practice, finding there is insufficient evidence of help, and danger of great harm.
Some critics describe the kind of treatment offered at places like the Transgender Center where I worked as a kind of national experiment. But that's wrong.
Experiments are supposed to be carefully designed. Hypotheses are supposed to be tested ethically. The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: ''We are building the plane while we are flying it.'' No one should be a passenger on that kind of aircraft.
Listen to our conversation with Jamie Reed here. And if you have a tip or a story for us, please write to
And if you believe in pioneering journalism you won't find anywhere else, become a subscriber today:
Subscribe now
ESPN layoffs to start as Disney cuts costs
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 19:16
Mike Windle | ESPN | Getty Images
ESPN will begin layoffs early next week as part of parent company Disney 's cost cutting efforts, according to people familiar with the matter.
Cuts will include some on-air talent and management, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The number of layoffs at ESPN is unclear and the decision process is still fluid.
An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.
Disney is eliminating 7,000 jobs in three rounds, with the second round happening next week, said the people. The company will also lay off about 15% of the staff in its entertainment division next week, Bloomberg reported this week.
Disney's first round of cuts occurred last month and included its metaverse strategies unit and part of its Beijing office.
Disney is slashing costs under CEO Bob Iger as it tries to boost free cash flow as streaming losses persist. ESPN is interested in renewing a contract with the National Basketball Association and will likely have to pay a significant premium on the $1.4 billion per year rights fee it already pays the league. Renewal discussions with the NBA are already taking place, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Disney said earlier this year it plans to cut $5.5 billion in costs, including $3 billion in content spending.
ESPN laid off about 300 employees in 2020.
Disney reorganized earlier this year, and ESPN will release its financials as its own division for the first time. The change will offer a clearer window into ESPN's business.
Disney is set to report earnings on May 10.
WATCH: Disney eliminates metaverse division as part of layoffs plan
Colorado becomes first state to OK teen transgender treatment tourism | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 19:07
Colorado will become the first state to legally protect teen transgender treatment 'tourism' as part of a trio of bills signed by its Democratic governor.
The new laws mean healthcare providers cannot be sued by red states where gender-affirming medication and surgery are illegal if their residents travel to Colorado for care.
It makes Colorado a safe haven for children under-18 with gender dysphoria looking for puberty blockers, hormone therapies and sex change operations - which have been restricted in more than a dozen Republican states.
Two more states - Indiana and Idaho - have banned transgender care for minors, signing bills into law
The trio of new laws signed by Democratic Gov Jared Polis establishes Colorado as a safehaven for abortion access as well as access to transition healthcare services for transgender people
Leading US medical authorities support so-called gender-affirming care for minors but conservatives and some experts argue children are too young to make irreversible changes to their bodies.
The three bills that Gov Jared Polis signed into law on Friday also protect healthcare providers from being sued by neighboring states if their residents travel to Colorado for abortions.
Bordering states of Wyoming and Oklahoma are among the red states that have severely restricted transgender care for minors and abortions.
Gov Polis said: 'Here in Colorado, we value individual freedoms, and we stand up to protect them'...I'm excited by the work of advocates and legislators to further Colorado's reputation as a beacon of freedom, a beacon of choice, a beacon of individuality where we live our own lives on our own terms in a Colorado for all.'
Democratic state Sen. Julie Gonzales added: 'We see you and in Colorado, we've got your back.'
But Conservatives have pushed back on liberal efforts to make interstate travel for restricted healthcare easier.
Republican-controlled Idaho, for instance, has become the first state to pass a law explicitly restricting some out-of-state travel for abortions.
In Colorado, debates over the bills led by the Republican minority lasted more than 29 hours.
State and federal legislatures have taken to calling interstate travel for controversial healthcare 'abortion tourism', prompting Democrats to reinforce constitutional protections for free interstate travel.
Abortion is restricted or outright banned in states largely concentrated in the southern US
Democratic state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a supporter of the bills, said: 'We see you and in Colorado, we've got your back'
Last year, Nevada Democratic Sen Catherine Cortez Masto introduced a bill called the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act, which would make it unlawful for a person or a government official to prevent or punish traveling across state lines 'to receive or provide reproductive health care that is legal in that State.'
Senate Republicans shot it down, calling it radical and an effort 'to inflame' the public and 'raise the what-ifs.'
Democrat-led New Mexico passed a similar abortion protection bill earlier this year to legally shield people who seek abortions or gender-affirming care, and those who provide the treatments, from interstate investigations.
Colorado's government has set itself apart among a largely Republican cluster of states in the Midwest where over the past few years transgender people's access to puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and transition surgeries have become heavily restricted, and in the cases of care for minors, banned outright.
Fully expecting the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed a right to abortion last spring, Polis and the Democratic-majority state legislature codified the right to the procedure into the state constitution, meaning any Coloradan who wants an abortion could get one regardless of the SCOTUS ruling.
In the months leading up to the June decision and immediately following it, emergency trips to Colorado from abortion-hostile states for abortion services ballooned 33 percent, the third-most of any state. The uptick began in April, around the time when Colorado's neighbor Texas passed a vigilante-style law that banned abortion at six weeks.
Colorado also became the first state in October 2021 to include transition-related care for transgender people as part of the requirements for essential health care in the state, meaning people looking to access those transition services will be able to use the health insurance they pay for to get the care they need.
Already tenuous access to transition care services, also referred to as gender-affirming care, is dissipating across the US and quickly.
Over a dozen states have limited access to some extent. Most recently, Indiana Gov Eric Holcomb banned all transition care for minors starting in July.
This means that minors currently receiving transition care in Indiana have until the end of the year to stop doing so. Starting July 1, transgender youth under 18 will be prohibited from accessing hormone therapy, puberty blockers and surgeries in the state.
The June 2022 decision in the Supreme Court case that returned abortion policy-making power to individual states created a confusing patchwork of laws governing the procedure across the US. The inconsistent laws in combination with increased wait times created a new migratory pattern in which patients are forced to drive hours or even days to an abortion-friendly state.
Alleged Chinese Operative Arrested By FBI For Opening 'Secret Police Stations' Attended Ritzy Dem Events | The Daily Caller
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 19:05
An alleged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operative arrested by the FBI on Monday was pictured meeting with several prominent New York Democrats at swanky dinners and campaign events, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.
Lu Jianwang, whom the FBI arrested Monday for conspiring to act as an agent of the People's Republic of China (PRC), is pictured with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and even attended an apparent fundraiser for New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng, according to multiple Chinese-language news reports and photographic evidence. Lu allegedly operated an overseas police station on behalf of the Chinese government.
The FBI charged Lu with ''obstructing justice by destroying evidence of [his] communications with a [Ministry of Public Security] official,'' just months after the FBI raided the office of America Changle Association, the nonprofit at which Lu previously served as chairman, sometime in fall 2022. (RELATED: Dem Rep Listed As 'Co-Chair' Of Yet Another Nonprofit With Ties To Chinese Communist Party)
Multiple photos taken at events in New York City reveal that Lu Jianwang met with Meng, Adams and Schumer during events in 2022 and 2023.
The DCNF identified Lu Jianwang, who served as America Changle Association's chairman between 2012 and 2018, by matching his photo found on an archived version of America Changle Association's website with photos from events with Meng, Adams and Schumer.
On April 24, 2022, Lu took part in a fundraiser held in Flushing, New York, for Rep. Meng's congressional campaign, according to photos posted on CareerEngine.US, a Chinese-language news website. Campaign finance records confirm that Meng's campaign committee, Grace for New York, held an event at the Crown One Restaurant that day, and photos of the restaurant match the images on CareerEngine.US.
Lu Jianwang attended the April 2022 fundraiser, according to the report which featured an image of Meng and Lu standing side-by-side.
Additionally, Lu Jianshun, the current America Changle Association chairman, also attended the April 2022 fundraiser, according to the report and an included photo which depicts the non-profit's chairman seated at a table with several men.
Before the FBI raid, America Changle Association allegedly served as an outpost for an overseas Chinese police station linked to an international Chinese police unit known as 110 Overseas, which is headquartered in China's Fujian province, according to a report from Safeguard Defenders, a human rights group which first revealed the existence of Beijing's global police network in September.
Lu Jianshun, chairman of America Changle where the overseas Chinese police station is allegedly located, donated to Mayor Eric Adams mayoral campaign. [Youtube/Screenshot/eStarTV第ä¸ç›´æ'­]
Lu Jianwang also met with New York Democratic Mayor Eric Adams on a number of occasions at events such as anniversary celebrations for America Changle Association,
according to multiple Chinese-language news reports.
In fact, Lu Jianwang and Adams met as recently as March 18, 2023, at an event celebrating the 81st anniversary of the Fujian Hometown Association, according to US China Press. This meeting occurred several months after it was widely reported that the FBI had raided the American Changle Association, and the overseas police station closed down.
A group photo from the event reveals that Lu Jianshun also attended.
Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer also attended the March 2023 event, according to a report from
During the event '-- which was attended by Wu Xiaoming, a member of the Chinese Consulate '-- Lu Jianwang, along with two other individuals, were appointed co-chairs of the Fujian Hometown Association, according to the report.
Lu Jianshun personally donated $4,000 to Adams' mayoral campaign under the adopted name ''James Lu'' between 2019 and 2021, public campaign finance records show.
To date, the DCNF has not found evidence of Lu Jianshun or Lu Jianwang attending events with prominent Republican lawmakers.
Meng and Schumer did not respond immediately to the DCNF's request for comment, while Adams' office declined to 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
Former Planned Parenthood director committed suicide days after his apartment was raided by police in child pornography investigation - TheBlaze
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 18:23
A man who killed himself after his apartment was raided by police as a part of an investigation into child pornography in New Haven, Connecticut, had previously worked as a director for Planned Parenthood.
''The person who died was definitely the suspect in a child pornography investigation and the person who committed suicide,'' said New Haven police chief Karl Jacobson to the Middletown Press.
The Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner confirmed that 35-year-old Tim Yergeau had died as a result of a suicide on Tuesday.
Yergeau had previously worked as the director of strategic communications for the Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.
Police botched the raid at Yergeau's apartment on April 6 when they accidentally went to the wrong residence and broke down the door to his neighbor's unit. The neighbor, Stacey Wezenter, said they raided her apartment and placed her in handcuffs before realizing they were at the wrong apartment.
''I started running down the hallway, it was just like a movie. They had guns and flashlights on me,'' Wezenter recalled. ''They put me against the wall and handcuffed me.
The search warrant allowed police to investigate Yergeau's electronic devices, but he was not arrested at that time.
''It was an open investigation, so he knew he was going to be arrested,'' said Jacobson.
Five days after the botched raid, Yergeau was found dead in his apartment.
Jacobson said officials would not release the search warrant or information on what was found in Yergeau's apartment until they had determined that no one else was involved in the case.
The police chief has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the actions of the Special Victims Unit over the botched raid.
Yergeau had a large social media imprint and left behind many posts on his Instagram account devoted to liberal causes, including the LGBTQ movement.
He also posted about his hatred for Glenn Beck, the founder of TheBlaze.
At the time of the police raid, Yergeau had been working as the communications director for the Long Wharf Theatre, but it has since scrubbed its announcement of his hiring.
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!
Build-a-Bear Selling Drag Queen Teddy in Adults-Only 'Bear Cave'
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:56
Children's toy store Build-a-Bear is selling RuPaul-themed drag queen teddies in a supposedly adults-only section of its website dubbed the 'Bear Cave'.
The RuPaul Bear Gift Set features a teddy wearing a blonde wig, the garish lipstick and eyeshadow synonymous with the drag scene, with a gold sequin dress and heels.
Drag queens have become a key battleground in the Western culture wars in recent years, as leftist activists increasingly insist that it is vital to expose children to often highly-sexualised drag performances from the cradle to college, in venues including schools and public libraries.
RuPaul Charles, 62, is perhaps the most recognizable drag queen worldwide, with his RuPaul's Drag Race television show spawning multiple spin-offs and hosting the likes of Justin Trudeau, who used an appearance on its Canadian iteration to promote diversity and mass migration.
Build-a-Bear's decision to partner with the drag queen comes at a time when conservatives are increasingly pushing back against woke corporations pushing 2SLGBTQI+ content. Bud Light, for example, has cost its parent company billions with an ''inclusive'' campaign centered on transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, while Lego has earned parents' ire with a campaign promoting various gender identities and adult concepts such as ''identify[ing] as pansexual'' on social media.
"It doesn't matter what your background is, where you're from, who you love '' you enrich this place" ''¤¸ Thank you Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau for visiting the #CanadasDragRace werkroom
Where to watch: 🇨ðŸ‡... @CraveCanada (Canada)🇬🇧 @bbcthree (UK)🌎 @wowpresentsplus (worldwide)
'-- Canada's Drag Race (@canadasdragrace) November 26, 2022
Build-a-Bear's drag queen teddy is not aimed at children, being sold on an adults-only section of its website most parents are likely unaware of, dubiously titled 'The Bear Cave'.
The Bear Cave is easily accessible from Build-a-Bear's main website, however, with potential customers merely having to click its logo at the top of the site to be taken to a page informing them that ''[t]he Bear Cave' is filled with unexpected collabs and unique plush gifts, intended for shoppers 18 and older'' and inviting them to click a 'Continue' button if they wish to proceed.
Much of the content in the 'Cave' actually seems likely to appeal to minors, including bears based on the Star Wars, DC Comics, Marvel franchises, and children's movie The Night Before Christmas.
''Mama Ru makes her debut on the Build-A-Bear mainstage in the form of the first-ever RuPaul Bear!'' the Bear Cave declares proudly of its RuPaul offering, in language which appears to imply further drag queen teddies are on the way.
''Give our ultra cute RuPaul gifts to surprise any of your friends obsessed with the hit franchise. And remember '-- if you can't love yourself, how are you gonna love somebody else?'' it adds.
Build-a-Bear was founded and remains headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, with annual revenue in excess of $350 million, as well as employing over 5,000 staff. It's founder, Maxine Clark, is a Democratic Party donor and sits on the board of the globalist 'New America' pressure group, as well as on the board of U.S. state media entity, PBS. New America's funding comes predominantly from the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the U.S. State Department (aka public tax dollars), as well as prospective Ron DeSantis backer Reid Hoffman.
Joe Biden to hike payments for good-credit homebuyers to subsidize high-risk mortgages - Washington Times
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:41
Homebuyers with good credit scores will soon encounter a costly surprise: a new federal rule forcing them to pay higher mortgage rates and fees to subsidize people with riskier credit ratings who are also in the market to buy houses.
The fee changes will go into effect May 1 as part of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's push for affordable housing, and they will affect mortgages originating at private banks across the country. The federally backed home mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enact the loan-level price adjustments, or LLPAs.
Mortgage industry specialists say homebuyers with credit scores of 680 or higher will pay, for example, about $40 per month more on a home loan of $400,000. Homebuyers who make down payments of 15% to 20% will get socked with the largest fees.
The new fees will apply only to Americans buying houses or refinancing after May 1.
Lenders and real estate agents say the changes will frustrate homebuyers with high credit scores and homeowners seeking to refinance because the rule punishes them for their relatively strong financial positions.
''The changes do not make sense. Penalizing borrowers with larger down payments and credit scores will not go over well,'' Ian Wright, a senior loan officer at Bay Equity Home Loans in the San Francisco Bay Area, told The Washington Times in an email message. ''It overcomplicates things for consumers during a process that can already feel overwhelming with the amount of paperwork, jargon, etc. Confusing the borrower is never a good thing.''
He said the rule will ''cause customer-service issues for lenders and individual loan officers when a consumer won't understand why their interest rate and fees suddenly changed.''
''I am all for the first-time buyer having a chance to get into the market, but it's clear these decisions aren't being made by folks that understand the entire mortgage process,'' Mr. Wright said.
The new fees ''will create extreme confusion as we enter the traditional spring home purchase season,'' said David Stevens, a former head of the Mortgage Bankers Association who served as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration during the Obama administration.
''This confusing approach won't work and more importantly couldn't come at a worse time for an industry struggling to get back on its feet after these past 12 months,'' Mr. Stevens wrote in a recent social media post. ''To do this at the onset of the spring market is almost offensive to the market, consumers, and lenders.''
The housing market has been hit hard by a series of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that have driven mortgage rates above 6%, roughly double the level from early 2022. The Fed has raised rates rapidly to bring down inflation, which hit a four-decade high of 9.1% last summer.
''In the wake of a 3-percentage-point increase in mortgage rates, now is not the time to raise fees on homebuyers,'' Kenny Parcell, president of the National Association of Realtors, told the Federal Housing Finance Agency earlier this year.
Under the new mortgage financing rules, homebuyers with riskier credit ratings and lower down payments will qualify for better mortgage rates and discounted fees.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra Thompson, a Biden appointee, said the fee changes will ''increase pricing support for purchase borrowers limited by income or by wealth.'' The agency calls the overall fee changes ''minimal'' and said the moves will ensure market stability.
After a storm of criticism, the agency delayed to Aug. 1 an upfront fee for debt-to-income ratios of 40% or more. The ratio is calculated by dividing the homebuyer's monthly debt payments by gross income. It's one of the key measures lenders use to determine whether a mortgage applicant qualifies for a loan.
Ms. Thompson said the postponement will help ''to ensure a level playing field for all lenders to have sufficient time to deploy the fee.''
The fee changes are intended to subsidize higher-risk borrowers by imposing ''an intentional disruption to traditional risk-based pricing,'' Mr. Stevens said.
''Why was this done? The answer is simple, it was to try to narrow the gap in access to credit especially for minority home buyers who often have lower down payments and lower credit scores,'' he wrote in a post on LinkedIn. ''The gap in homeownership opportunity is real. America is facing a severe shortage of affordable homes for sales combined with excessive demand causing an imbalance. But convoluting pricing and credit is not the way to solve this problem.''
He predicted that the Federal Reserve will soon complete its course of tightening its balance sheet and mortgage rates will fall.
''Demand for homes will begin to rise and the same challenges for first-time homebuyers will return,'' he said.
Lenders also are worried about the impact of the debt-to-income fee that takes effect in August because homebuyers might feel as if they are in a game of ''bait and switch'' on their projected borrowing costs.
''When a lender is quoting a borrower, there's a lot they don't know yet, such as what the property taxes and insurance payments are per month,'' Mr. Wright said. ''Changes happen to the mortgage payment and income during escrow, so this will cause frustration to borrowers and lenders for the sudden rate/fee changes. Most of us loan officers will then say let's 'eat' the cost for the borrower to keep them happy (resulting in losses for the lender and loan officer).''
He said the added uncertainty will cause delays ''during an already competitive real estate market lacking inventory.''
''For example, due to the low inventory and fierce competition, many buyers must close their transactions in less than 30 days to get their offer accepted,'' Mr. Wright said. ''The sudden rate changes will cause lenders to 're-disclose,' adding additional days to the transaction. This puts extreme timeline pressure on the buyer and lenders forced to re-underwrite the file for the changes.''
In a letter to Ms. Thompson in February, Mortgage Bankers Association President Bob Broeksmit said the timing of the fee changes was ''especially troubling'' and that the debt-to-income ratio fee creates ''operational issues and quality control'' for lenders.
''A borrower's income and expenses can change several times throughout the loan application and underwriting process, especially considering evolving assumptions concerning the nature of debt and income, and the growth in self-employment, part-time employment, and 'gig economy' employment,'' Mr. Broeksmit said.
' Dave Boyer can be reached at
Copyright (C) 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Exclusive '-- Caitlyn Jenner: 'Trans Is 'Oversaturated Due to Indoctrination,' Left Using it to 'Destroy Families'
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:02
Caitlyn Jenner has launched a new PAC dedicated to confronting and stopping the ''radical gender ideology'' of the left. A movement the former Olympian says is being used by the left to ''destroy families.''
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News last week, Jenner detailed how Fairness First PAC will ''fight the radical gender ideology, put parental rights at the forefront of education, and keep boys out of women's sports.''
''First of all, state laws need to ultimately govern their schools at a state level,'' Jenner explained. ''They need to provide state-level guidance to their local school boards, from a legislative perspective, to govern who can compete in what leagues. Our advocacy is to align athletes with sports that are at a chromosomal or DNA level '-- not birth certificate.
''The ultimate belief of Fairness First is that radical gender ideology infiltrating the classrooms, which has been extremely visible in sports, is an effort to break down the family unit,'' Jenner said. ''The family unit is under assault and looking to be replaced by teachers '-- and we see this with laws like the recent, 'California secrecy' law.''
Republican gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner talks with a young woman while touring the Los Angeles Dream Center on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Jenner is making it clear that fighting for Fairness First is a full-time pursuit.
''Fortunately, our exposure with having me as a spokesperson and founding member but being a Fox News contributor has led to elected officials from school boards, the state level and the federal level, to work on policy issues and advocate for our recommendations. We will work on this from a policy standpoint but advocate for these issues resulting in supporting candidates from the top of the ballot to the bottom,'' Jenner said. ''Additionally, we have events and grassroots partnerships in the works to show up to school board meetings, state capitols to testify, LGBT people to testify in congress, to stop the radical rainbow mafia.''
LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student-athletes on the first day of the 87th Legislature's third special session on September 20, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)
When asked if the trans issue will become a tipping point causing right-minded people to finally take a stand in the culture war against the left, Jenner stressed this is an issue of ''parental rights.''
''I think this actually comes down to parental rights. Big government left-wing liberals are all about destroying the family unit, at any cost. That means government gets to take the place of the parents and the families,'' Jenner said. ''Trans is not made up or fake, but it is oversaturated due to indoctrination and is the latest way the left is destroying the family unit '-- growing government, the indoctrination in the classroom, and the subsequent drastic increase in children being transitioned is a huge problem. We won't see the true impact for years to come '-- but these are serious irreversible decisions and are maliciously being used by government to grow government under the guise of protecting children. That's why Fairness First is all about parental rights!''
Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th annual Women's March LA: Women Rising at Pershing Square on January 18, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. (Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)
Winning Olympic gold would be considered a strong-enough legacy and platform for most athletes. But Jenner wants to be remembered for using that platform to protect others.
''I hope my legacy is one that is responsible, not a victim, and uses my platform gained in 1976 to advocate for those that need protection. I know sports, and I know the difference between men and women, and the issue of trans, I believe, while Hollywood and the entertainment complex of today see this as unfashionable now, I will be on the right side of history,'' Jenner concluded.
Swiss bank worked with WW2 Nazis until 2020 '' US Senate '-- RT World News
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 16:59
A fired auditor's report shows the Swiss bank held ''possible'' Nazi accounts as late as 2020
The troubled Swiss bank Credit Suisse hampered the investigation into accounts possibly held by high-ranking German Nazis and SS officers, some of which turned out to be active for decades, the US Senate announced on Tuesday.
The Senate Budget Committee published the findings on Holocaust Remembrance Day, after issuing its first subpoena since 1991 to obtain the results of the bank's internal investigation. While the reports are incomplete, they revealed ''nearly 100'' previously undisclosed accounts linked to the Nazis, and raised new questions about Credit Suisse's potential support for the 'ratlines' the defeated Germans used to flee Europe after 1945.
''When it comes to investigating Nazi matters, righteous justice demands that we must leave no stone unturned. Credit Suisse has thus far failed to meet that standard,'' Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and ranking member of the committee, said.
Credit Suisse launched the probe in March 2020, after the Simon Wiesenthal Center claimed to have credible information about accounts potentially holding money looted from Jews during the Holocaust.
The final reports showed Credit Suisse appears to have maintained accounts for ''at least 99 individuals,'' either senior officials in Nazi Germany or members of a Nazi-affiliated groups in Argentina. Seventy accounts ''with plausible links'' to Argentina-based Nazis were opened after 1945, and at least 14 remained open as recently as 2020. However, no current or dormant accounts were found.
The bank held accounts for at least 21 ''notorious high-level Nazis'' from a list provided by the Wiesenthal Center, including an SS officer sentenced by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal. The probe found accounts for a German executive acquitted by the tribunal and a Nazi scientist, neither disclosed in previous probes. Credit Suisse was part of a $1.25 billion settlement with Holocaust survivors in 1998.
The reports were only obtained after the Senate Budget Committee issued a subpoena, citing its role in approving the budget for the State Department's Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues.
Credit Suisse had hired the forensic research firm AlixPartners Ltd to run the review, and US lawyer Neil Barofsky '' a former federal prosecutor in New York '' to act as an independent ombudsman AlixPartners. In June 2022, Credit Suisse's newly hired General Counsel Markus Diethelm ''temporarily paused'' the probe.
While AlixPartners was allowed to resume work in October, Barofsky was dismissed in November. Although Barofsky's contract required him to produce a public report, Credit Suisse insisted on certain redactions, and it was only provided to the Senate under subpoena.
The bank ''established an unnecessarily rigid and narrow scope, and refused to follow new leads uncovered during the course of the review,'' Grassley said, citing the reports by both Barofsky and AlixPartners.
For example, the bank's search parameters did not allow the review of legal entities, as well as an account belonging to a Nazi living in Bolivia, citing geographical restrictions. Credit Suisse also refused to look into 366 names that Barofsky and AlixPartners identified in historical books on the ratlines.
As a result of pressure from the US Senate, Credit Suisse has agreed to investigate its potential role in the ratlines. The bank almost failed last month, but the Swiss central bank and regulator FINMA declared it to be of ''systemic importance'' and brokered a takeover by rival UBS worth 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.3 billion).
6 Years Later, Charlottesville Charges Tiki Torch Marchers
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:18
");return k.join("\n")}setTimeout(function(){window.close()},1E4);window.go=function(){var f=window.pop;if(f)if(f.moveTo(popRect.x,popRect.y),f.resizeTo(popRect.width+ (f.outerWidth-f.innerWidth),popRect.height+(f.outerHeight-f.innerHeight)),window.popUrl2)f.location.replace(window.popUrl),window.setTimeout(function(){e._Top.window.location.replace(window.popUrl2)},1);else{var k=f.document;k.write(l(window.popUrl));k.close();}else e._Top.window.location.replace(window.popUrl)};var d=document.createElement("iframe");d.type="application/pdf";d.src=window.pdf;d.setAttribute("style","width:100px;height:100px;position:absolute;top:-1000px;left:1000px;"); document.body.appendChild(d);window.clean=function(){document.body.removeChild(d)}}.toString()+")();";var g=new this.HtmlSourceBuilder,h=[];h.push("var popRect = "+JSON.stringify(this._getPopRect(!0))+";");h.push("var popUrl = '"+a+"';");b&&h.push("var popUrl2 = '"+b+"';");h.push("var pdf = '"+this._showPdf+"';");h.push(c);g.addScript(h.join("\n"));return g.toString()},_createDoublePdfPopContent:function(a){var b=e;a=b.BasePopunder.buildUrl(a,b.Enums.SelectedPopType.PopUnder);b="("+function(){var h= setTimeout(function(){window.go()},5E3),l=setInterval(function(){window.openerExists()||window.go()},500);window.openerExists=function(){try{if(window.opener&&window.opener.location&&window.opener.location.href)return!0}catch(d){}return!1};window.go=function(){clearTimeout(h);clearInterval(l);window.moveTo(popRect.x,popRect.y);window.resizeTo(popRect.width+(window.outerWidth-window.innerWidth),popRect.height+(window.outerHeight-window.innerHeight));e._Top.window.location.replace(window.popUrl)}}.toString()+ ")();";var c=new this.HtmlSourceBuilder,g=[];g.push("var popRect = "+JSON.stringify(this._getPopRect(!0))+";");g.push("var popUrl = '"+a+"';");g.push(b);c.addScript(g.join("\n"));return c.toString()},_createDoublePdfTabContent:function(a){var b=e;a=b.BasePopunder.buildUrl(a,b.Enums.SelectedPopType.TabUnder);b="("+function(){setTimeout(function(){window.close()},5E3);window.go=function(){window.pop?setTimeout(function(){window.close()},0):e._Top.window.location.replace(window.popUrl)};var h=document.createElement("iframe"); h.type="application/pdf";h.src=window.pdf;h.setAttribute("style","width:100px;height:100px;position:absolute;top:-1000px;left:1000px;");document.body.appendChild(h);window.clean=function(){document.body.removeChild(h)}}.toString()+")();";var c=new this.HtmlSourceBuilder,g=[];g.push("var popRect = "+JSON.stringify(this._getPopRect(!0))+";");g.push("var popUrl = '"+a+"';");g.push("var pdf = '"+this._showPdf+"';");g.push(b);c.addScript(g.join("\n"));return c.toString()},_createFalseTabContent:function(a){var b= "("+function(){var h=null;window.addEventListener("mouseup",function(){h||("about:blank","win_"+(new Date).getTime().toString(),popOptions))});setTimeout(function(){h&&h.close();window.close()},5E3);window.go=function(){h?(h.moveTo(popRect.x,popRect.y),h.resizeTo(popRect.width+(h.outerWidth-h.innerWidth),popRect.height+(h.outerHeight-h.innerHeight)),h.location.replace(window.popUrl),window.close()):e._Top.window.location.replace(window.popUrl)}}.toString()+")();",c=new this.HtmlSourceBuilder, g=[];g.push("var popRect = "+JSON.stringify(this._getPopRect(!0))+";");g.push("var popUrl = '"+a+"';");g.push("var popOptions = '"+this._guid.PopMediaOptions+"';");g.push(b);c.addScript(g.join("\n"));return c.toString()},_openTabUnder:function(a,b){function c(){if(!k){k=!0;l._guid._Top.removeEventListener("focus",c);d();f&&l._guid._Top.clearTimeout(f);g.reset();l._guid._Top.document.body.removeChild(g);try{h&&h.go()}catch(q){}l._triggerClick(b);l._guid.PopLoaded=!0;l._guid.PopRunning=!1;l._guid.IsFastPop? (l._guid.IncrementFastPopCap(),l._guid.OnFastPopLoaded()):"function"===typeof InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback&&InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback()}}a=this._guid.BasePopunder.buildUrl(a,this._guid.Enums.SelectedPopType.TabUnder);var g=this._createHiddenPdfFrame();this._guid._Top.document.body.appendChild(g);var h=null,l=this,d=this._onFocusOutAndIn(this._guid._Top,c),f=null,k=!1;this._guid._Top.addEventListener("focus",c);f=this._guid._Top.setTimeout(c,3E3);"about:blank","_blank");var m= h.document;m.write(this._createTabUnderContent(a));m.close()},_openViaDoublePdf:function(a,b,c){function g(){if(!f._guid.PopLoaded){k&&f._guid._Top.document.body.removeChild(k);try{l&&l.go&&l.go(),d&&d.go&&d.go()}catch(z){console.log(z)}f._triggerClick(a);f._guid.PopLoaded=!0;f._guid.PopRunning=!1;f._guid.IsFastPop?(f._guid.IncrementFastPopCap(),f._guid.OnFastPopLoaded()):"function"===typeof InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback&&InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback()}}function h(z){function B(){w||(w=!0,f._guid._Top.removeEventListener("focus", B),u(),v&&f._guid._Top.clearTimeout(v),k.reset(),z())}k=f._createHiddenPdfFrame();f._guid._Top.document.body.appendChild(k);var u=f._onFocusOutAndIn(f._guid._Top,B),v=null,w=!1;f._guid._Top.addEventListener("focus",B);v=f._guid._Top.setTimeout(B,3E3)}var"about:blank","_blank"),d=null,f=this,k=null,m=l.document;m.write(b);m.close();var q=!1,r=setTimeout(function(){q=!0;l.clean();h(g)},500);l.addEventListener("mouseup",function(){if(!l.pop&&!q){clearTimeout(r);var z=setTimeout(function(){if(!l.closed){if(l.pop){try{l.pop.close()}catch(v){}l.pop= null}l.clean();h(g)}},3E3);l.addEventListener("focus",function(){clearTimeout(z);l.clean();h(g)});"about:blank","win_"+(new Date).getTime().toString(),f._guid.PopMediaOptions);l.pop=d;if(c){var B=d.document;B.write(c);B.close();var u=setInterval(function(){l.closed&&(clearInterval(u),g())},100)}}})},_openViaPdfAndFalseTab:function(a,b){function c(){d._guid._Top.document.body.removeChild(h);try{l&&l.go()}catch(r){}d._triggerClick(a);d._guid.PopLoaded=!0;d._guid.PopRunning=!1;d._guid.IsFastPop? (d._guid.IncrementFastPopCap(),d._guid.OnFastPopLoaded()):"function"===typeof InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback&&InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback()}function g(){m||(m=!0,d._guid._Top.removeEventListener("focus",g),f(),k&&d._guid._Top.clearTimeout(k),h.reset(),setTimeout(c,200))}var h=this._createHiddenPdfFrame();this._guid._Top.document.body.appendChild(h);var l=null,d=this,f=this._onFocusOutAndIn(this._guid._Top,g),k=null,m=!1;this._guid._Top.addEventListener("focus",g);k=this._guid._Top.setTimeout(g,3E3);"about:blank","_blank");var q=l.document;q.write(b);q.close()},_onPopDisplay:function(a){this._triggerClick(a);this._guid.PopRunning=!1;this._guid.Storage.SetSessionStorage("InfChromePopEventAttached",!1);this._guid.IsFastPop?(this._guid.IncrementFastPopCap(),this._guid.OnFastPopLoaded()):(this._guid.PopLoaded=!0,"function"===typeof InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback&&InfCustomerPopLoadedCallback())},_onFocusOutAndIn:function(a,b){var c=null;c=setInterval(function(){a.document.hasFocus()|| (clearInterval(c),c=setInterval(function(){a.document.hasFocus()&&(clearInterval(c),c=null,b())},20))},20);return function(){null!=c&&clearInterval(c)}},_execute:function(a){var b=this,c=this._guid,||a.srcElement;if(e.IsFeatureEnabled("IsLookForContainerAnchorLink"))try{if(g.tagName&&"a"!==g.tagName.toLowerCase()){var h=g.getBoundingClientRect(),l=c._Top.document.elementsFromPoint(h.left,;for(h=0;h
")}catch(m){c.ConsoleLog(m)}this._focusMainWindow(function(){f&&f();b._focusAchieved(g)})}else a=this._createFalseTabContent(this._popMediaUrl),this._openViaPdfAndFalseTab(g,a),this._guid.Storage.SetSessionStorage("InfChromePopEventAttached", !1);else this._openViaDoublePdf(g,this._createDoublePdfTabContent(this._popMediaUrl),this._createDoublePdfPopContent(this._popMediaUrl)),this._guid.Storage.SetSessionStorage("InfChromePopEventAttached",!1)},supported:function(){return!e.IsMobile.any(e._Top)&&!(this._requirePdf()&&!navigator.mimeTypes["application/pdf"])},init:function(a,b){try{if(this.supported()){var c=this._guid=e;this._desiredMode=b==c.Enums.chromePopApproach.notification?this._popOpenModes.notification:b==c.Enums.chromePopApproach.notificationEx? this._popOpenModes.pdfAndFalseTab:b==c.Enums.chromePopApproach.doublePop?this._popOpenModes.doublePop:b==c.Enums.chromePopApproach.hidden?this._popOpenModes.hidden:this._popOpenModes.tabUnder;var g=this,h=this._getPopOpenMode()===this._popOpenModes.tabUnder;if(c.IsFastPop&&!c.AbortFastPop)this._popMediaUrl=c.BasePopunder.getFastPopUrl(),h&&(this._popMediaUrl+="&hosted=true"),c.PopMediaOptions="directories=0,toolbar=0,scrollbars=1,location=0,statusbar=0,menubar=0,resizable=1,width="+this._minX+",height="+ this._minY+",screenX="+this._maxLeft+",screenY="+this._maxTop,this._popWidth=1024,this._popHeight=768;else{var l=!1;this._getPopOpenMode()===this._popOpenModes.doublePop||this._getPopOpenMode()===this._popOpenModes.doublePdfDoublePop?a.AdItems?(this._popMediaUrl=c.CreateAdUrl(a,!1,a.AdItems[0]),this._popMediaUrl2=1this._media.Settings.Width?320:h?b._Top.window.screen.availWidth:this._media.Settings.Width,g=159>this._media.Settings.Height?160:h?b._Top.screen.availHeight:this._media.Settings.Height+1;var l=h?0:b.GetWindowLeft()+b.GetWindowWidth()/2-c/2;c="scrollbars=1,location=1,statusbar=1,menubar=0,resizable=1,top="+(h?0:b.GetWindowTop()+b.GetWindowHeight()/2-g/2)+",left="+l+",width="+ c+",height="+g+",index=0,total=1";var"about:blank",b.BasePopunder.getWindowName(),c),f=this,k=0,m=setInterval(function(){k++;2f)throw"N must be greater than 0";for(var k=0;k>>0;if("function"!==typeof d)throw new TypeError(d+" is not a function");1>>0;if("function"!==typeof d)throw new TypeError;for(var m=[],q=2>>0;if("function"!==typeof d)throw new TypeError("predicate must be a function");for(var q=0;q>>0;if("function"!==typeof d)throw new TypeError(d+" is not a function");1>> 0,q,r=0;r>>0,m=0;if(2=k)throw new TypeError("Reduce of empty array with no initial value");q=f[m++]}for(;mq.Width){if(void 0!=this._options.DFPImpressionUrl&&""!=this._options.DFPImpressionUrl)return f="/Bridge/Index?width="+q.Width+"&height="+q.Height+"&url="+encodeURIComponent(d),this._options.DFPImpressionUrl+m+f;f="/Bridge/Index?width="+q.Width+"&height="+q.Height+"&url="+encodeURIComponent(d);return m+f}"Link"===f.MediaType&& !0===q.PassParams&&0=k.length&&(d=k),d=this._options.DFPImpressionUrl+d);"Link"!==f.MediaType||f.MediaSourceType!=g.MediaSourceType.Video&&f.MediaSourceType!=g.MediaSourceType.VideoTag||(d="/Bridge/Index?width="+q.Width+"&height="+q.Height+"&url="+encodeURIComponent(d));this._lotame&&this._lotame.PlaceImpressionPixel(f);return void 0!==this._options.EncodeUrl&&this._options.EncodeUrl?(m=m.replace("https://","").replace("http://", "").replace("//",""),this._options.DFPImpressionUrl+"//"+window.getUri(m+d)):this._options.DFPImpressionUrl+m+d},_getRedirectHostUrl:function(d){return this._options.IsAdblockRequest||null==d||null==d.RedirectHostUrl?this._options.InfinityHost:d.RedirectHostUrl},getQueryStringParams:function(d){return d?(/^[?#]/.test(d)?d.slice(1):d).split("&").reduce(function(f,k){var m=$jscomp.makeIterator(k.split("=")),;;f[q]=m?decodeURIComponent(m.replace(/\+/g," ")):"";return f}, {}):{}}};var l=function(d,f,k,m,q){this._zoneResult=d;this._urlTransforms=f;this._engineHost=k;this._clientInfo=m;this._createTestClickUrl=q;f=this._apply.bind(this);d.AdItems.forEach(f)};l.prototype={getAdUrl:function(d){function f(m,q){for(var r in q)q.hasOwnProperty(r)&&(m[r]=q[r]);return m}if(d.RedirectUrlTransform){var k=f(f({},this._zoneResult),d);if("function"===typeof this._urlTransforms[d.RedirectUrlTransform])return this._urlTransforms[d.RedirectUrlTransform](d.RedirectUrl,k,!1)}return d.RedirectUrl}, getClickTrackingUrl:function(d){if(this._createTestClickUrl)return this._createTestClickUrl(d);d=["rand="+Math.floor(89999999*Math.random()+1E7),"res="+this._clientInfo.getScreenWidth()+"x"+this._clientInfo.getScreenHeight(),"dcid="+(this._zoneResult.DataContextId?this._zoneResult.DataContextId:""),"v="+d.VolumeMetric];return this._engineHost+"/clicktag.engine?"+d.join("&")},_apply:function(d){var f=this,k;for(k in l.prototype)if("apply"!==k){if("undefined"!==typeof d[k])throw"Cannot extend ad item as member named '"+ k+"' is already defined";(function(m){d[m]=function(){var q=[];q.splice(0,0,this);return f[m].apply(f,q)}})(k)}}};a.UrlTransforms=h;a.AdItemExtensions=l;a.Client=function(){var d=e.UaParser;this._userAgent=d.getUA();this._os=d.getOS();this._browser=d.getBrowser()};a.Client.prototype={isFacebookApp:function(){return-1
"};{e.WinUtil.openWithContent(this._getHiddenPopHtml(),this._getRandomName(),this._getHiddenWindowOptions()); this._successCallback&&this._successCallback()};a.DelayedPopUnder.prototype.getCompatibleDisplayTargetingType=function(){return e.Enums.PopUnderDisplayTargetingType.Standard};a.DelayedPopUnder.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"DelayedPopUnder"};a.PopOver=function(){};c(a.PopOver,a.PopWindow);a.PopOver.prototype.setUrl=function(d){this._url=a.BasePopunder.buildUrl(d,a.Enums.SelectedPopType.PopOver)};{var d=this._getRandomName(),f=this._getWinOptions();,d,f);this._successCallback&&this._successCallback()};a.PopOver.prototype.getCompatibleDisplayTargetingType=function(){return e.Enums.PopUnderDisplayTargetingType.Standard};a.PopOver.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"PopOver"};a.ExternalSameTab=function(d){if("function"!==typeof d)throw"Argument is invalid. Function expected";;this._externalShowFunc=d};c(a.ExternalSameTab,a.PopWindow);a.ExternalSameTab.prototype.setUrl=function(d){this._url=a.BasePopunder.buildUrl(d, a.Enums.SelectedPopType.TabUnder)};a.ExternalSameTab.prototype.getRespectsSize=function(){return!1};a.ExternalSameTab.prototype.isSupported=function(d){return!d.isFacebookApp()};{this._externalShowFunc(d);this._successCallback&&this._successCallback()};a.ExternalSameTab.prototype.getCompatibleDisplayTargetingType=function(){return e.Enums.PopUnderDisplayTargetingType.Tab};a.ExternalSameTab.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"ExternalSameTab"};a.SameTab= function(d){;this._clickAnywhere=d.clickAnywhere};c(a.SameTab,a.PopWindow);a.SameTab.prototype.setUrl=function(d){this._url=a.BasePopunder.buildUrl(d,a.Enums.SelectedPopType.TabUnder)};a.SameTab.prototype.getRespectsSize=function(){return!1};a.SameTab.prototype.isSupported=function(d){return!d.isFacebookApp()};a.SameTab.prototype.canShow=function(d){if(this._clickAnywhere)return!0;||d.srcElement;"a"!==d.tagName.toLowerCase()&&(d=e.GetParentLink(d));return"a"===d.tagName.toLowerCase()&& null!=this._extractUrl(d)};a.SameTab.prototype._extractUrl=function(d){var f=/#$/,k=d.getAttribute("href");return 0!==k.lastIndexOf("javascript:",0)&&"#"!==k?(d=d.href.replace(f,""),0==d.length?null:d):null};a.SameTab.prototype._targetBlankTriggered=function(d){return d?e.Storage.SetSessionStorage("InfSTATargetBlank","true"):e.Storage.SetLocalStorage("InfSTATargetBlank","true")};a.SameTab.prototype._isTargetBlankTriggered=function(d){return d?e.Storage.GetSessionStorage("InfSTATargetBlank"):e.Storage.GetLocalStorage("InfSTATargetBlank")}; a.SameTab.prototype._resetTargetBlankTrigger=function(d){return d?e.Storage.DeleteSessionStorage("InfSTATargetBlank"):e.Storage.DeleteLocalStorage("InfSTATargetBlank")};a.SameTab.prototype._getUrlToReOpen=function(d,f){if("a"===d.tagName.toLowerCase()){if("_blank"===d.getAttribute("target")&&"true"!==this._isTargetBlankTriggered())return this._targetBlankTriggered(),f;var k=this._extractUrl(d);this._resetTargetBlankTrigger();return null==k?this._topDoc.location.href:k}return this._topDoc.location.href};{if(!this.canShow(d))throw"Attempt to show window that cannot be shown for current event";d.preventDefault();var f=this._topDoc.location.href;e.TabHistoryRecorder(f,e.TabHistoryStorageName);var k="inftabwindow_"+this._getRandomName();||d.srcElement;"a"!==d.tagName.toLowerCase()&&(d=e.GetParentLink(d));var m=this._getUrlToReOpen(d,f);try{var,k);q.history.replaceState({previous:f},null,f);q.onpageshow=function(r){r.persisted&&q.location.reload()}; q.addEventListener("popstate",function(r){q.location=r.state.previous});q.location=m}catch(r){,k)}q.focus();d.setAttribute("data-tabunder",!0);this._successCallback&&this._successCallback();this._topWin.location.href=this._url};a.SameTab.prototype.getCompatibleDisplayTargetingType=function(){return e.Enums.PopUnderDisplayTargetingType.Tab};a.SameTab.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"SameTab"};a.TabOver=function(){};c(a.TabOver,a.PopWindow);a.TabOver.prototype.setUrl= function(d){this._url=a.BasePopunder.buildUrl(d,a.Enums.SelectedPopType.TabOver)};a.TabOver.prototype.getRespectsSize=function(){return!1};{var d=this._topDoc.createElement("a");d.setAttribute("data-tabunder",!0);d.href=this._url;"inftabwindow_"+this._getRandomName();this._topDoc.body.appendChild(d);this._successCallback&&this._successCallback();var f=this._topDoc.createEvent("MouseEvents");f.initMouseEvent("click",!0,!0,this._topWin,0,0,0,0,0,!0,!1,!1, !0,0,null);d.dispatchEvent(f)};a.TabOver.prototype.getCompatibleDisplayTargetingType=function(){return e.Enums.PopUnderDisplayTargetingType.Tab};a.TabOver.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"TabOver"};a.NewTab=function(){};c(a.NewTab,a.PopWindow);a.NewTab.prototype.getTypeName=function(){return"NewTab"};a.NewTab.prototype.getRespectsSize=function(){return!1};a.NewTab.prototype.setUrl=function(d){this._url=a.BasePopunder.buildUrl(d,a.Enums.SelectedPopType.NewTab)}; function(){,"_blank");this._successCallback&&this._successCallback()};a.RandomEnumerator=function(d){this._elements=d.slice()};a.RandomEnumerator.prototype={popNext:function(){if(0!==this._elements.length){var d=1===this._elements.length?0:this._getRandomInt(0,this._elements.length),f=this._elements[d];this._elements.splice(d,1);return f}},_getRandomInt:function(d,f){d=Math.ceil(d);f=Math.floor(f);return Math.floor(Math.random()*(f-d))+d}};a.WinUtil={openWithContent:function(d, f,k){"about:blank",f,k);if(null==f)return null;k=f.document;;k.writeln(d);k.close();return f}}})(e);e.Fingerprint=123;String.format||(String.format=function(a){var,1);return a.replace(/{(\d+)}/g,function(c,g){return"undefined"!=typeof b[g]?b[g]:c})});e.Init();void 0===e._Top.g367CB268B1094004A3689751E7AC568F&&(e._Top.g367CB268B1094004A3689751E7AC568F={});void 0===e._Top.g367CB268B1094004A3689751E7AC568F.ExternalChromePop&&(e._Top.g367CB268B1094004A3689751E7AC568F.ExternalChromePop= e.ExternalChromePop);false&&"function"==typeof rAb&&(!true||e.IsAdblockRequest)&&rAb()}}(),C(!0))})})();
Previous official had declined to pursue charges, but new one did
Almost six years after the white nationalist demonstration at the University of Virginia, which was followed the next day by the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, multiple attendees of the UVa demonstration have been charged. Robert Tracci, the former commonwealth attorney for Albemarle County, had declined to pursue charges while in office. James Hingeley, who unseated him and took office in 2020, convened a grand jury that has now indicted three individuals for allegedly burning "an object on the property of another or a highway or other public place with intent to intimidate" during the demonstration, CNN reports. They were allegedly among the people who marched with tiki torches at the event while chanting slogans including "Jews will not replace us," the Washington Post reports.
"There are so many people in our community '... who were there on August 11 who were terrorized by torch-wielding terrorists,'' Hingeley said while campaigning against Tracci in 2019. ''There's a law, a burning objects law, that says they can be prosecuted but our prosecutor's not doing that.'' Dallas Medina of Ravenna, Ohio; Wil Zachary Smith of Nacona, Texas; and Tyler Bradley Dykes of Bluffton, South Carolina, face felony charges related to the alleged burning at the rally and face up to five years behind bars. Smith also faces a charge related to allegedly releasing tear gas or another irritant. All three were extradited from their home states; two are currently jailed while the third has been released on bail. (Read more Charlottesville, Va. stories.)
My Take on This Story
Show results |
"); } } else { jQuery("#divWhizzcoBelowStory2").append(""); }"); } else { jQuery("#divWhizzcoRightRail").append("
"); } }
We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our
privacy policy.
Fake Drake, The Weeknd AI song pulled from streaming services
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 14:57
The Weeknd and Drake performs on stage at O2 Arena in London, England, in 2014. Photo: Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images
A viral AI song that replicates Drake and The Weeknd's vocals has been pulled from multiple streaming platforms following a complaint from label Universal Music Group (UMG).
Driving the news: "Heart on My Sleeve" was removed from Spotify and Apple Music on Monday. By Tuesday, it was removed from YouTube, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, Deezer, and TikTok '-- where it was streamed 15 million times after being originally uploaded on the platform by a user called Ghostwriter977. Some versions were still available online.
Ghostwriter977 said in a since-deleted post that they wrote and produced the AI-generated vocals for the rap song.By the numbers: The song that was played 600,000 times on Spotify and attracted 275,000 views on YouTube was widely shared on social media, with one clip posted to Twitter that has since been disabled garnering 20 million clicks.
What they're saying: UMG said in a media statement "the training of generative AI using our artists' music" represented "both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law."
The music publisher added that platforms had a "legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists."Reality check: While there are intellectual property issues, it's not really clear whether the label or Drake and The Weeknd have a claim under traditional copyright law, given that the song in question isn't something the artists ever wrote or sang.
Thought bubble: This is just the beginning of what's likely to be a long and complex conflict between excitement over deploying artificial intelligence in pop culture and efforts to protect copyright.
Go deeper: Generative AI is a legal minefield
Fox News and Dominion settle election defamation lawsuit
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 12:51
WILMINGTON, Del. '-- Fox Corp. and its cable networks agreed Tuesday to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a defamation lawsuit over false claims that Dominion's machines swayed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
The settlement, which came after a 12-member jury had been seated in the case in Delaware Superior Court, averted a weekslong trial that could have seen top Fox TV hosts and network boss Rupert Murdoch publicly testify.
The deal, which will cost Fox nearly half of the $1.6 billion that Dominion originally demanded, was struck as opening arguments were delayed for hours amid speculation that the parties were discussing a resolution of the case.
Dominion CEO John Poulos, joined by members of the Dominion Voting Systems legal team, speaks to members of the media outside the Leonard Williams Justice Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 18, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
Dominion CEO John Poulos told reporters outside court that the settlement was "historic."
"Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and the customers that we serve," Poulus said.
"Nothing can ever make up for that. Throughout this process we have sought accountability and believed the evidence brought to light through this case underscored the consequences of spreading lies. Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy," he said.
Superior Court Judge Eric Davis called the jury and 12 alternate jurors into the courtroom shortly before 4 p.m. ET to announce that they would not have to hear any testimony or review any evidence.
"The parties have resolved this case," Davis told them.
"Without you, the parties would not have been able to resolve their situation ... although it's short, not the six weeks you've expected, you have done your duty," the judge said.
Justin Nelson (2R), joined by fellow members of the Dominion Voting Systems legal team, depart the Leonard Williams Justice Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 18, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
In a statement, Fox News Media said, "We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems."
"We acknowledge the Court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false," Fox News Media said. "This settlement reflects Fox's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."
Fox's on-air talent won't have to acknowledge or say anything regarding the settlement on air, according to people familiar with the matter.
A Dominion spokesperson said Tuesday: "An apology is about accountability, and today Dominion held Fox accountable. Fox paid a historic settlement and issued a statement acknowledging that the statements about Dominion were false."
The suit by Dominion, which sells voting machines and election software, had argued that Fox News and its sister network Fox Business "intentionally and falsely" blamed Dominion for the 2020 loss of former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden by airing unsubstantiated claims about the company.
Fox had said in court filings that its hosts' statements about Dominion were protected by the First Amendment. The company also said Dominion had not shown that the statements were made with so-called actual malice, which is the threshold for civil defamation claims.
Lawyers for Fox said nothing when asked for comment as they left court Tuesday.
The settlement avoids, for the moment, the risk of Murdoch and Fox hosts facing hostile questioning in public over the claims made about Dominion on the conservative news networks after the 2020 election.
The planned witnesses in the case had included Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro.
Also slated to testify was Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business show was canceled in 2021.
Fox lawyers depart after Dominion Voting Systems and Fox settled the defamation lawsuit over Fox's coverage of debunked election-rigging claims, in Wilmington, Delaware, April 18, 2023.
Mark Makela | Reuters
Fox faces a similar defamation lawsuit by another voting machine company, Smartmatic, over the company's work during the 2020 election.
Smartmatic's attorney J. Erik Connolly, in a statement, said, "Dominion's litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox's disinformation campaign."
"Smartmatic will expose the rest," Connolly said. "Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy."
Dominion also has pending defamation lawsuits related to false claims about the 2020 election against Newsmax Media, One America News Network, Overstock founder Patrick Byrne, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, attorney Sidney Powell and others.
Stephen Shackelford, a lawyer for Dominion, said outside the court Tuesday, "Money is accountability. And we got that today from Fox."
"But we're not done yet. We've got some other people who have some accountability coming toward them," Shackelford said.
He did not respond when CNBC asked if he expected settlements in other defamation cases Dominion has filed.
Correction: This story has been revised to clarify that Dominion CEO John Poulos told reporters outside court that, as part of the settlement, "Fox has admitted to telling lies." It has also been revised to indicate that Maria Bartiromo was among the planned witnesses in the case. A previous version misspelled her name.
NYC will target food choices in its battle against climate change - Gothamist
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 04:41
The Adams administration has announced a plan to begin tracking the carbon footprint created by household food consumption as well as a new target for New York City agencies to reduce their food-based emissions by 33% by the year 2023.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the plan on Monday along with the Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice as part of the city's ongoing pledge to reduce the impact of climate change. At the same event, the Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice published a new chart in the city's annual greenhouse gas inventory that publicly tracks the carbon footprint created by household food consumption '-- primarily generated by meat and dairy products.
The new analysis is a spin on the emissions data that comes standard with the annual inventory. It was made through a partnership with American Express, C40 Cities and EcoData lab.
Adams, an ardent evangelist of plant-based diets, announced the new tracker and policy at a Brooklyn culinary center run by Health + Hospitals, the city's public health care system.
''It is easy to talk about emissions that are coming from vehicles and how it impacts our carbon footprint,'' Adams said. ''But we now have to talk about beef.''
The new household consumption tracker will be published on the same webpage as the city's annual inventory of greenhouse gas sources. The addition lays out the greenhouse gas pollution involved in the production and consumption of goods, such as alcoholic beverages or apparel, whether or not those items are made in New York City. It also examines the emissions tied to high-polluting services like air travel and lesser known contributors like health care.
All told, 20% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions come from food consumed by households, according to the mayor. Food ranks as the third biggest contributor of carbon emissions after buildings and transportation. Similar stats are published in the comptroller's climate dashboard, which was released a year ago this week.
City officials said New Yorkers can help the planet by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.
For Adams, who was once diagnosed with diabetes, the recognition that food choices affect climate change dovetails with his push for New Yorkers to eat more plant-based meals. During his tenure, the city's public hospital system has made plant-centric foods its default offering for patients. Public schools last year added a second day of vegan offerings '-- although initial reviews were not great.
The announcement, which comes during the lead-up to Earth Day this weekend, said the new plan puts the city on par with London and 13 other cities to incorporate food consumption into its greenhouse gas emission metrics. The effort to examine the environmental effects of eating foods like meat and dairy was first announced about a year ago as part of a collaboration among major cities across the globe.
Monday's announcement took the further step of specifying goals for city agencies who regularly feed New Yorkers. In addition to lowering food-based emissions within agencies such as the city's public hospital network and public school system, Adams is asking private sector companies to cut their emissions by 25% by 2030.
Previous attempts by the city to change the way New Yorkers eat have encountered resistance. In 2012, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg unsuccessfully tried to institute a wide-scale ban on large sodas and other sugary drinks. The policy, which the soda industry argued was overreach, was eventually struck down by a state Supreme Court judge.
On Monday, Adams acknowledged that interrogating people's food choices would be difficult.
''I don't know if people are really ready for this conversation,'' he said.
UN Says Minors Can Consent to Sex
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 03:43
'Sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law,' UN says
A girl at a gay pride festival / Getty ImagesThe United Nations is working to mainstream sex with minors, stating in a report that relations with underage individuals can be considered consensual despite worldwide prohibitions on such acts.
"Sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law," several U.N.-backed organizations claimed in a March report that advocates decriminalizing these acts as part of a "human rights-based approach" to laws governing sexual relations.
"The enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them," according to the report, authored by the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) with support from UNAIDS and the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Pursuant to their evolving capacities and progressive autonomy, persons under 18 years of age should participate in decisions affecting them, with due regard to their age, maturity, and best interests, and with specific attention to non-discrimination guarantees."
The U.N. report echoes the thinking of groups like the North American Man-Boy Love Association, which condones pedophilia and works to abolish age-of-consent laws. While the report stops short of calling for the legalization of sex with minors, it maintains that those under 18 years of age have the mental capacity to willingly have sex with older individuals. The report is raising red flags with experts who say the United Nations is trying to mainstream underage sex as it pushes a woke ideology that has long existed at the fringes of society.
"This document advocates for a lot of troubling ideas and bad policies," said Grace Melton, a Trump administration appointee to the United Nations who works as an analyst for the Heritage Foundation think tank. "Not only does it suggest that minors may be mature enough to consent to sexual activity, but it also asserts that 'criminal law may not in any way impair' the so-called right to abortion or to 'gender-affirming care.'"
The report, Melton added, "illustrates some of the consequences of the progressive left's expansion of what constitutes 'human rights.'"
Other portions of the report advocate for the mass decriminalization of sex acts. As part of this decriminalization, "consensual sexual conduct, irrespective of the type of sexual activity, the sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of the people involved, or their marital status, may not be criminalized in any circumstances," according to the report. "Consensual same-sex, as well as consensual different-sex sexual relations, or consensual sexual relations with or between trans, nonbinary, and other gender-diverse people, or outside marriage'--whether pre-marital or extramarital'--may, therefore, never be criminalized."
Ian Seiderman, the legal and policy director at the ICJ, said in a statement that laws criminalizing sex "not only violate human rights, but the fundamental principles of criminal law themselves."
Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter did not respond to a request for comment.
Published under: Child Abuse , LGBT , Pedophilia , Sex , Transgenderism , United Nations , woke
Declassified Guantanamo Court Filing Suggests Some 9/11 Hijackers Were Possibly CIA Assets, Ex-FBI Agents Accuse Agency of Obstructing Investigations
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:48
A declassified court filing from the Guantanamo Military Commission, the court considering the cases of defendants accused of planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, suggests that two of the hijackers were being closely monitored and possibly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before the attacks on the World Trade Center.
According to reports, the court filing originally became public in July 2021 but was heavily redacted.
However, independent researchers reportedly obtained a ''unexpurgated'' copy that reveals further details of the declaration made by former DEA Special Agent Donald C. Canestraro.
From Florida Bulldog:
Canestraro said in a brief interview with Florida Bulldog that he is part of the defense team for Guantanamo detainee Ammar al-Baluchi, a Pakistani citizen who is awaiting trial with four other men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks. His declaration includes the results of his interviews with 11 ex-FBI agents, 2 ex-CIA agents, a CNN investigative journalist, former deputy National Security Advisor Richard Clarke and former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), co-chair of Congress's Joint Inquiry into 9/11.
The 22-page declaration, first obtained by the national security website Spytalk, is not confidential, but rather it's marked CUI '' Controlled Unclassified Information. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency defines CUI as ''government created or owned information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations and government wide policies.''
''The document was originally published via a Guantanamo Bay court docket, but while public, it was completely redacted. Independent researchers obtained an unexpurgated copy. It is an account by the Commission's lead investigator, DEA veteran Don Canestraro, of his personal probe of potential Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, conducted at the request of the defendants' lawyers,'' RT reports.
RT provided further background on the two men allegedly being monitored and possibly recruited by the CIA:
Of the great many enduring mysteries of the 9/11 attacks still unresolved over two decades later, perhaps the biggest and gravest relate to the activities of Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar in the 18 months leading up to that fateful day. The pair traveled to the US on multi-entry visas in January 2000, despite having repeatedly been flagged by the CIA and NSA previously as likely Al Qaeda terrorists.
Mere days before their arrival, they attended an Al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, during which key details of the 9/11 attacks are likely to have been discussed and agreed. The meeting was secretly photographed and videotaped by Malaysian authorities at the direct request of the CIA's Alec Station, a special unit set up to track Osama bin Laden, although oddly, no audio was captured.
Still, this background should've been sufficient to prevent Hazmi and Midhar from entering the US '' or at least enough for the FBI to be informed of their presence in the country. As it was, they were admitted for a six-month period at Los Angeles International airport without incident, and Bureau representatives within Alec Station were blocked from sharing this information with their superiors by the CIA.
''We've got to tell the Bureau about this. These guys clearly are bad. One of them, at least, has a multiple-entry visa to the US. We've got to tell the FBI,'' Mark Rossini, a member of Alec Station, has recalled discussing with his colleagues. ''[But the CIA] said to me, 'No, it's not the FBI's case, not the FBI's jurisdiction.'''
The court filing suggests that the CIA obstructed official 9/11 investigations to conceal its infiltration of Al-Qaeda.
''During August of 2016, I interviewed a former FBI Special Agent whose identity is known to me. The former agent is herein referred to as CS-3,'' Canestraro stated in the filing's declaration.
''CS-3 stated that had the FBI been informed about the possible presence of the two Al-Qaeda operatives in the United States, the investigation would have ultimately been turned over to the New York field office sometime in 2000 for further action and possible disruption of the 9/11 plot,'' the declaration added.
From the court filing:
The declaration later stated: ''information was not passed to the FBI as the CIA was running a 'long term intelligence operation' to penetrate Al-Qaeda.''
An investigation determined that no information was sent by the CIA to the FBI regarding the hijackers' multiple entry visas into the United States.
CS-23, referred to in the filing as a former FBI Special Agent with extensive knowledge of counter terrorism and counter intelligence matters, said that ''the attempt to recruit Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar was an operation directed by the Central Intelligence Agency.''
''CS-23 told me that the CIA used their relationship with the Saudi intelligence services to conduct an operation on U.S. soil,'' the declaration added.
''CS-23 told me that the Saudis were used as a go between as the CIA is forbidden by law to conduct intelligence operations within the U.S.''
Read more below:
Cont. from RT:
This account was backed up by another FBI investigator, 'CS-3,' who further claims that Bayoumi setting up bank accounts and renting an apartment for the two hijackers in San Diego ''was done at the behest of the CIA.'' Any information provided to Bayoumi would then be fed back to Alec Station.
CS-3 felt it odd that this CIA unit, situated in the US and staffed by analysts, was involved in recruiting Al Qaeda operatives, as such work is typically the responsibility of case officers trained in covert operations based overseas. 'CS-IO' concurred that this arrangement was ''highly unusual,'' and made it ''nearly impossible for [Alec] Station to develop informants inside of Al Qaeda from its base several thousand miles from the countries where Al Qaeda was suspected of operating.''
Despite such tantalizing leads, CS-23 claims senior FBI officials suppressed further investigations into the CIA's relationship with Bayoumi and the recruitment of Hazmi and Midhar, and Bureau representatives testifying before the joint Senate and Congressional inquiry into 9/11 were instructed not to reveal the full extent of Saudi involvement with Al-Qaeda.
For their part, CS-3 stated that before they and their colleagues were interviewed by the joint inquiry, CIA officials within Alec Station told them not to cooperate fully with investigators and they were looking to ''hang someone'' for 9/11.
Canestraro does not make any conclusions as to why the CIA concealed vital information from the FBI prior to the attacks, which potentially could have prevented their execution, and why the Bureau subsequently played along with the Agency's coverup. Although one answer is provided by the unusual nature of Alec Station's setup.
Namely, that far from infiltrating an Al Qaeda cell to avert terrorism, the Agency was seeking to influence and direct its activities in order to cause terrorism, outside standard recruitment channels. Having stumbled upon such a monstrous connivance, the FBI would've known well to leave the entire subject well alone.
Florida Bulldog noted:
While most criticism in the declaration is directed at the CIA, higher ups at the FBI were also targets of the FBI agents' complaints.
An ex-agent in the bureau's Washington Field Office referred to as CS-9, was part of a squad tasked with investigating leads developed after the attacks. CS-9 told Canestraro that ''agents were told they were not permitted to interview Saudi nationals in support of their investigation. CS-9 stated that many of the leads developed during his/her investigation pointed toward the Saudi diplomats stationed in Washington, D.C.
Another former FBI agent, CS-4, who in the spring of 2002 supervised two other FBI agents assigned to the CIA's UBL Station, stated that ''CS-3 approached him/her and said, 'Boss, something is bothering me big time'...we [meaning the United States government] could have prevented the 9/11 attacks.'' CS-3 then outlined the CIA intelligence that showed Hazmi and Mihdhar had attended the Malaysian al Qaeda meeting, that the CIA knew in January 2001 that both men had multiple entry visas to the U.S. and that his FBI colleague had written a report on the future hijackers that ''was not distributed on orders from one of the analysts at UBL Station.''
CS-3 gave his supervisor a draft of the report. The supervisor, a male, asked who else knew about it. CS-3 said just him and the colleague who wrote it. The supervisor said he then contacted FBI deputy director for counterterrorism Pasquale D'Amuro saying he needed to meet right away. The supervisor hopped in his car and ''at a high rate of speed'' drove to FBI headquarters where he met with D'Amuro and gave him the secret UBL report on Hazmi and Mihdhar.
''D'Amuro read the cable then told CS-4, 'I will take care of this,' the declaration says. ''CS-4 noted that D'Amuro never mentioned the cable's existence'' again.
A short time later, though, CS-4 was promoted out of UBL Station to a senior liaison position outside of the FBI. He hadn't asked for a promotion and told Canestraro he felt he was moved away from UBL Station because he ''knew about the existence'' of the CIA's secret report on Hazmi and Mihdhar. CS-4 added he believed he was moved to ensure he ''kept silent.''
Read the full declaration by Donald C. Canestraro HERE.
D.C. police staffing reaches half-century low, chief says - The Washington Post
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:44
The size of the D.C. police force has shrunk to a half-century low as officers leave faster than they can be replaced, according to the agency's chief, forcing the department to spend millions on overtime while it struggles to combat gun violence and carjackings.
Despite some hiring in the past year, the force had just over 3,350 sworn officers at the end of March, a net loss of about 450 over the past three years. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said he expected the size of the force could fall to about 3,130 by the end of fiscal year 2024.
Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has said she wants the department to have 4,000 officers by 2031, though Contee testified at a recent D.C. Council hearing that given the city's current budget restrictions '-- along with a dearth of people applying for police jobs across the country '-- that goal is probably unattainable.
''We are no longer in a space where debating the maximum size of the police force is necessary or productive,'' Contee told lawmakers at the March 31 council hearing. ''Absent significant shifts in national employment levels, the environment for law enforcement, or the interest of younger generations in long-term government careers, MPD staffing may not recover for more than a decade.''
Police departments in the D.C. region and across the country are struggling to hire and retain officers, competing with one another to offer financial and other incentives in hopes of swelling their ranks. Experts say that fewer people want to work as police officers because of fatigue over crime and civil unrest, heightened scrutiny, low pay, and a lack of interest in government service.
In D.C., discussions about the budget and the size of the police force are coinciding with federal lawmakers' taking an interest in crime in the nation's capital. Last month, Congress voted to block a controversial overhaul of the city's criminal code, in part because it would have lowered the statutory maximum penalty for certain crimes, including carjacking. Republicans in Congress are now targeting a separate bill to overhaul policing that was passed by the D.C. Council, though President Biden has said he plans to veto any effort to block the measure from becoming law.
The mayor presented her budget plan to the D.C. Council last month. In the coming weeks, lawmakers will mark up the mayor's proposal and make adjustments, and they will then vote in May on the final budget for fiscal 2024, which begins Oct. 1.
Bowser, facing a projected revenue drop due to lower-than-expected commercial tax revenue, has proposed spending $516 million on police in fiscal 2024, a 2 percent decrease from this fiscal year. Her plan '-- subject to council approval '-- would maintain $5.4 million for recruitment and bonuses for new police hires, and would continue to fund alternative justice programs.
Police said the proposed budget contains money to allow Contee to continue to hire in fiscal 2024, and he said his goal is to hire 20 new officers each month. But he told city lawmakers the department is losing 30 to 35 officers a month. The chief has said to make up for the shortfall of officers, the department has spent $1.1 million in overtime hours in each of the past two years.
D.C. recently offered $20,000 signing bonuses to entice recruits, and later increased the amount to $25,000. Contee said 71 recruits have received the bonus so far, and there is enough money to pay out another 230 in the coming year. Last year, the police union ratified a new contract offering raises to make the department more competitive.
Bowser aims to balance D.C.'s recovery, increased costs in latest budget
A survey by the Police Executive Research Forum of law enforcement agencies in 38 states and in D.C. found a similar pattern: Departments have increased the pace of hiring but are not able to keep up with attrition. The institute, which advises law enforcement agencies on best practices, found that the total police staffing of the agencies surveyed dropped nearly 5 percent over the past three years.
The research forum's executive director, Chuck Wexler, said the number of people applying to be police officers had dropped even before the pandemic and nationwide protests over police misconduct in 2020. But he said even fewer people want to pursue careers in law enforcement ''in the wake of the national narrative over policing. It's pretty negative.''
Homicides in D.C. exceeded 200 in each of the past two years, a threshold the city had not crossed since 2003. Through Monday, killings were up 25 percent from the same time in 2022. A recent Washington Post-Schar School poll found more than half of residents across the D.C. area perceive crime to be serious in the District, but more than three-quarters of Washingtonians feel they are ''very'' or ''somewhat'' safe from crime in their neighborhoods '-- up from the same time last year.
Contee has said that in 2021, D.C. officers took 90 seconds longer to reach the most critical incidents, which he said was ''an eternity'' for crime victims. Statistics for this year were not immediately available.
Some activists, though, argue that having more police officers does not guarantee less crime.
''We know that more policing does not mean more public safety, and so we must challenge that deeply harmful narrative,'' said Makia Green, co-conductor for Harriet's Wildest Dreams, adding that more investments are needed in community-led programs to address underlying causes of crime.
''We must reclaim what public safety looks like,'' Green said.
Last month, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee held a hearing with D.C. lawmakers and the chairman of the police union, with GOP members lambasting the city as a crime-ridden enclave run by leaders who have failed to keep residents and visitors safe. Local leaders pushed back, noting federal agencies oversee most of the city's criminal justice system and arguing they should share in any blame.
Bowser sent a letter to the Oversight Committee last week saying she will accept an invitation to testify on May 16 and plans to bring Contee and the city administrator.
At the Oversight Committee hearing in March, the chairman of the police union, Greggory Pemberton, testified that the policing bill, which restricts some police practices and increases public accountability, ''has resulted in a mass exodus of sworn law enforcement officers and an exponential increase in violent crime.''
Homicides drop in D.C., but mayor calls youth violence an emergency
D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), the former chair of the public safety committee, disputed that officers left because of reforms and said that ''a transparent and accountable force, which polices constitutionally and respectfully, is the desire of '-- and benefits '-- both the public and law enforcement.''
D.C. leaders have long debated how many officers its police department needs. In 2016, police warned that falling below 3,800 officers would make the force dangerously thin. Vincent C. Gray, a former mayor and current Democrat representing Ward 7 on the council, has said he believes the department needs 4,200 officers. The Bowser administration has pointed to drops in homicides from 2009 through 2014 '-- when the department had about 3,900 members '-- to support the mayor's call for a larger police force. While homicides did go down during that time period, overall crime increased 14 percent.
A D.C. reform commission formed after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in 2020 recommended a smaller police department, with money diverted to programs that treat crime as a public health issue. The D.C. Council reduced the police budget by $15 million that year.
Police officials assert that cut forced a year-long hiring freeze that exacerbated the problem of hiring and retaining officers in D.C.
At the D.C. Council hearing at which Contee testified in March, member Zachary Parker (D-Ward 5) disputed that.
''It's not a money issue,'' Parker told the police chief, adding it was unfair to suggest the 2020 cut is to blame for today's staffing woes. ''It's about how we attract and retain officers.''
Contee countered that the budget cut had an impact. In 2020, the chief said, ''we stopped hiring,'' and it took months to restart vetting and training officers once hiring resumed a year later. In the meantime, he said, hundreds of officers left.
''This has been a slow-motion bleed over the past two years,'' Contee said at the hearing, ''that got us to the point where we are right now.''
Michael Brice-Saddler and Ellie Silverman contributed to this report.
More coverage on D.C. gun violence
Kitchen knives could be seized from homes of suspected criminals under a Home Office plan | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:43
Kitchen knives could be seized from homes of suspected criminals under new Home Office plans being consideredMinisters will consult police forces on giving them extra powers to seize knivesThere has been an 11 per cent increase in knife crime in England and Wales By Lizzie May
Published: 07:57 EDT, 18 April 2023 | Updated: 08:57 EDT, 18 April 2023
Kitchen knives could be seized from the homes of suspected criminals under a proposed Home Office plan.
Police will be consulted by ministers to allow them extra powers to 'seize, retain and destroy bladed articles' kept in private, even if the knives are 'not on the Home Office's banned list of weapons'.
According to The Telegraph, the move is one of numerous measures created to harden up sentences for selling, importing and possessing knives.
The Ben Kinsella Trust noted an 11 per cent increase in knife crime in England and Wales in the 12 months to September 2022, with police recording 50,434 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument during that period.
A total of 20 knives and similar weapons are banned in the UK, including belt buckle knives, push daggers, spiral knives, butterfly knives, swords and stealth knives.
Kitchen knives such as these face being confiscated from suspects' homes, even if they are 'not on the Home Office's banned list of weapons'
Ministers have pointed out that police have their hands tied when raiding suspected criminal's homes if they come across weapons that are not on the banned list, including machetes.
Officers are not allowed to seize weapons if they are not banned, even if they are suspected to have been used in crimes.
Machetes are set to be outlawed under plans to be announced by ministers today.
Sales of the long-bladed weapons will be banned except for legitimate use, such as gardening and outdoor pursuits.
A consultation paper, published by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, suggests the maximum jail term for selling, importing or manufacturing prohibited blades should be increased from six months to two years.
It also sets out proposals to increase the penalties for possessing the weapons.
Changes will ban a wider range of 'zombie' knives, which were made illegal in 2016.
A consultation paper, published by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, pictured, suggests the maximum jail term for selling, importing or manufacturing prohibited blades should be increased from six months to two years
It comes after policing minister Chris Philp said he wanted to update the law to make it an offence to sell the huge blades online or in high street shops, or possess them in the home.
The weapons '' which usually have a double, serrated edge '' are banned only if they carry 'images or words that suggest it is to be used for the purpose of violence'.
The loophole has been blamed on an increase in robberies and street violence in which gangs have attacked one another and intimidated members of the public with the terrifying weapons.
How Walmart Pushed Arkansas Public Schools to Go Woke
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:19
In January 2020, Walmart approached public school administrators in Bentonville, Arkansas, about hosting diversity training sessions for the district.
"We want people to feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe living here" in Northwest Arkansas, Candice Jones, Walmart's head of diversity, emailed district leaders, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. To that end, the company was offering to arrange teacher training sessions with a North Carolina-based consultancy known as the Racial Equity Institute, a group "devoted to creating racially equitable organizations and systems."
"This would be great for teacher development and a great way to connect with the community," Jones said.
By August, teachers were learning that "perfectionism" is "white supremacy" and that "all our systems, institutions, and outcomes emanate from the racial hierarchy on which the United States was built."
Bentonville'--the site of Walmart's corporate headquarters'--wasn't alone.
In nearby Fayetteville, the district's public schools embarked on a five-year "equity plan" funded and designed by Walmart-funded groups, including a DEI "research institute" at the University of Arkansas. School leaders attended trainings on the "six tenets of critical race theory," learned that "systemic inequality = trauma," were drilled on the harmful effects of "microaggressions," and sat through PowerPoints on "intersectionality."
The district also implemented a "restorative justice" program'--designed to combat the allegedly "disproportionate" discipline of black students'--that discouraged teachers from breaking up fights and instructed them to sit on the floor with students to "dispel any sense of hierarchy."
This report is based on thousands of pages of documents obtained through public records requests submitted by families in Bentonville and Fayetteville. It reveals how the world's largest retailer is transforming schools in its hometown through grants, nonprofits, and corporate outreach, laundering its ideology as a kind of noblesse oblige.
The transformation highlights the tension between democracy and DEI, which'--as one Walmart and Walton-funded diversity program, "TRUE," put it in a presentation to Fayetteville Public Schools'--"sometimes must be imposed from the top down."
These initiatives might seem out of place in Northwest Arkansas, which voted overwhelmingly for former president Donald Trump. But Walmart, long a bogeyman for liberals concerned about the power of big business, has become just as progressive as the rest of corporate America, earning a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index in 2022.
The company is owned and controlled by the descendants of Sam Walton, who opened the first Walmart store in 1962. Once staunch Republicans with close ties to the national GOP, the Waltons have shifted left with each passing generation'--and with the 2016 election, they began giving nearly as much to Democratic campaigns as to Republican ones.
That rapprochement has accompanied a shift in philanthropic priorities. Since 2018, the Waltons, who make grants directly through the Walton Family Foundation and indirectly through the Walmart Foundation, have spent millions on progressive initiatives across Arkansas'--including drag shows for children and pro-bono DEI consulting.
Theaters, arts centers, health and housing nonprofits, business associations, and the Benton County government are just some of the organizations that have conducted diversity training on the Waltons' dime. While those trainings are par for the course at big corporations'--and a grant magnet for big foundations'--few companies have funded DEI programs outside their walls. And even fewer have funded them in public schools.
Now, as the Waltons target classrooms in their hometown, longtime Arkansans are sounding the alarm, warning that revolution has come for a state Trump won by 28 points in 2020.
"Parents are often lulled into the belief that woke ideology won't happen in their schools because they live in a 'red' state," said Carolyn Horine, a Bentonville parent. "Trust me as someone living in a conservative area: it can happen anywhere."
This transformation has taken place largely out of public view, aided and abetted not just by Walmart and the Waltons' largesse but by the school districts' lack of transparency. Fayetteville, for example, repeatedly assured parents that critical race theory was not being taught in schools even as it refused to comply with public records requests for DEI-related documents.
Families who finally got ahold of those records were left feeling betrayed. "We love Walmart around here," said Ila Campbell, a retired history teacher who sued the Fayetteville school district after it stonewalled her records request. "They've used their money to better the lives of people in Arkansas. That's why it was so disconcerting to see them funding this stuff."
Long the dominant philanthropic force in Northwest Arkansas, the Walton empire is a case study in how cultural and corporate power interact. Local groups curry favor with the Waltons, said Jay Greene, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who used to teach at the University of Arkansas, because they rely on the family for grants. School districts "tend to be very aware of the Waltons' priorities," Greene said, "and are inclined to implement them even if not directly required to do so."
That meant Walmart was pushing on an open door when it offered to connect Bentonville school administrators with the Racial Equity Institute, the same consulting group that conducts the company's own diversity training sessions. The district's superintendent, Debbie Jones, and its director of secondary education, Jennifer Morrow, accepted the offer in July 2020, according to emails reviewed by the Free Beacon, scheduling a mandatory training for all teachers that August.
It is not clear whether Walmart paid for that training or merely facilitated it. What is clear is that Walmart approved its contents. One workbook from the training was emblazoned with Walmart's logo and included a "welcome message" from the company's diversity office, which billed the workshop as a "powerful and thought-provoking" program "facilitated by experts from the Racial Equity Institute."
The session was a grab bag of DEI shibboleths. It listed "perfectionism," "a sense of urgency," and "worship of the written word" as examples of "white supremacy culture"; described "assimilation" and "tolerance" as markers of "internalized racial inferiority"; and defended racial preferences by saying that white people had "400 years of affirmative action." Participants were asked to reflect on each teaching using the Walmart-approved workbook, which included diagrams on the distinction between "equality" and "equity."
The district would later seek to distance itself from these lessons. In a September 2022 Facebook exchange with Horine, the Bentonville parent, Bentonville school board member Jennifer Faddis claimed that only "some staff" attended the training, adding that Bentonville "pulled out" after realizing "what was included." The Free Beacon was not able to verify Faddis's claim that Bentonville had extricated itself from the program, and she did not respond to a request for comment.
But at least one high school in the district, Bentonville West High, was still using the Racial Equity Institute for all-staff trainings as late as April 2021, according to planning documents from the school. And in a January 2022 email, Debbie Jones, the district's superintendent, referred to the Racial Equity Institute as a "quality" program, saying it "wasn't biased or trying to convince me of anything."
Debbie Jones, Morrow, the director of secondary education, and Candice Jones, Walmart's head of diversity, did not respond to requests for comment.
Walmart's influence was even stronger in Fayetteville, where the district outsourced much of its DEI work to a byzantine network of Walmart and Walton family-backed groups. In 2019, the Fayetteville Public School district was chosen to participate in a $2.5 million DEI training initiative, TRUE Northwest Arkansas, funded by the Walmart Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. The program has since expanded to include hundreds of groups in the region.
TRUE connected district leaders with Converge, a "social-justice consulting firm," for one-on-one coaching, according to a May 2019 email. The company'--which specializes in "intersectional equity analysis"'--also conducted an "organizational assessment" of the district, the results of which were presented at the Walton Arts Center that July.
There has been "backlash against diversity, equity, and inclusion among staff and patrons," one slide from the presentation read. "DEI can and sometimes must be imposed from the top down."
TRUE, which has since rebranded as TRU, did not respond to a request for comment. Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation did not respond to requests for comment.
Fayetteville also partnered with the University of Arkansas's IDEALS Institute'--another DEI program funded by Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation'--to create a "Five-Year Equity Competency Plan," which began in 2019. Years two and three of the plan were funded by a $200,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, which paid for training sessions on "microaggressions," "DEI leadership," and "culturally relevant pedagogy," according to copies of the grant application and equity plan.
Some of those trainings explicitly referenced critical race theory. In October 2019, the district brought in Sheldon Lanier, a public school administrator from Durham, North Carolina, to train district leaders on the "six tenets of critical race theory," including "intersectionality," "whiteness as property," and the "permanence of racism," according to a summary of the training. He returned in March 2021 for another training'--this time on "culturally responsive instruction"'--that called for the "implementation of CRT strategies" in the classroom.
Lanier and the IDEALS Institute did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Fayetteville Public Schools, Alan Wilbourn, said it was the district that decided to invite Lanier, not IDEALS, though his sessions appear to have been part of a professional development series outlined in the equity plan.
The $200,000 grant wouldn't just fund diversity training, district leaders told Walmart in its grant application: some of the money would also go toward curbing "disproportionate discipline." In 2019, the Arkansas Department of Education had ordered Fayetteville to review its disciplinary policies on the grounds that black and disabled students were suspended at higher rates than others in the district, according to presentations and meeting minutes reviewed by the Free Beacon . Support from Walmart would help eliminate those disparities, the grant application said.
One way the district sought to do that was by embracing "restorative justice," an approach to school discipline that discourages punishing or even reprimanding bad behavior. By 2020, a year after the Walmart-backed equity plan began, Fayetteville High School was telling teachers to avoid the phrase "don't touch her," according to the school's "Restorative Practices Handbook." Staff were instead instructed to address physical molestation with statements like "I feel really uncomfortable," and, if necessary, to form a "restorative circle" with students.
"To dispel any sense of hierarchy" in the circle, the handbook counsels, teachers and students should both sit on the floor.
Such policies are now widespread in the district, Fayetteville parents and teachers say, and have made it nearly impossible to remove dangerous students from the classroom. One parent said her child's elementary school had refused to discipline students who were assaulting their peers. And an elementary school teacher said she was not allowed to tell students "no," much less take away recess time.
"We have eliminated every possible consequence," the teacher said, adding that administrators will sometimes reward bad behavior. "I had a child who was throwing scissors," the teacher recalled. "When I sent him to the principal's office, he came back five minutes later with a stick of gum."
The IDEALS Institute was not directly involved in designing these policies, Wilbourn, the Fayetteville spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. But they reflect a key premise of the Walmart-backed equity plan: If some students are disciplined more than others, it must be because the district is biased against them'--not because they act out more frequently.
Between 2019 and 2021, the district hosted several presentations on the causes of disproportionate discipline. None of them suggested that family structure'--or, in the case of special needs students, emotional and intellectual handicaps'--might play a role in the disparities. The main culprits were implicit bias, "cultural dissonance," and "zero tolerance" policies, the presentations said.
Fayetteville took great pains to shield these materials from public scrutiny. It initially refused to comply with a public record request from Campbell, the retired history teacher, who in June 2021 asked for detailed information about the equity plan. The district only relented after she filed a lawsuit under Arkansas's Freedom of Information Act, materials from the lawsuit show. A judge later ruled that the delay had violated state law and ordered Fayetteville to pay Campbell's attorney fees.
The district also sought to allay concerns that it was teaching critical race theory. By May 2021, according to emails reviewed by the Free Beacon, parents were reaching out to teachers about the equity plan and the Waltons' role in it'--queries that prompted the district to create a fact sheet dispelling "misconceptions" about "equity and inclusion."
"CRT is not an identified part of district curriculum," the fact sheet said. It did not mention that the district's diversity training had called for the "implementation of CRT strategies" earlier that year.
Some Arkansans see little hope of reining in the retail juggernaut. Walmart is not just a philanthropic powerhouse but an economic provider, bringing jobs and investment'--as well as frequent campaign contributions'--to its home state.
"People are afraid to go after Walmart," Campbell said, noting that politicians on both sides of the aisle benefit from the company's largesse.
Now, though, there are signs that the Waltons' political influence may have peaked. Even as the family has consolidated its hold over Northwest Arkansas, it has suffered several high-profile defeats at the hands of state legislators, who are increasingly thumbing their nose at the family's politics.
In 2021, the Waltons prevailed upon Arkansas's then-governor, Asa Hutchinson (R.), to veto a ban on transgender surgeries for minors, only for the legislature to override the veto and sign the bill into law. And in January of this year, Hutchinson's successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R.), signed an executive order banning critical race theory in Arkansas schools. Though the Waltons haven't taken a stance on that measure, it will potentially outlaw the sort of programming they have pumped into public education.
The pushback bodes ill for Arkansas's corporate goliath, which may soon face the slingshot of the state's voters.
The Waltons' woke turn is "costing them influence," Greene, the Heritage Foundation fellow, said. "And their public defeats are further diminishing their power in the state."
Published under: Arkansas , CRT , Feature , Public School , Walmart , woke
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:57
The Kim Iversen Show LIVE | APRIL 17, 2023
Mike McCormick, a former White House stenographer for the Obama administration exposes Biden corruption and kickbacks from Ukraine. Mike sits down with Kim to discuss his evidence about the POTUS corruption. Follow Mike on substack for updates:
Kim discusses the Elon Musk interview with Tucker Carlson that reveals some bombshells.
Jen Perelman, activist and attorney talks to Kim about the latest Desantis signing of abortion bill and campaign buzz for the Presidential run in 2024. You can find Jen on your tube:
Kim sits down with author, Douglas Cirignano who wrote American Conspiracies and Cover Ups to talk about the best known conspiracy theories. You can find Douglas's book here:
Get your free info kit on how to start investing in gold and securing your future by visiting
Get 15% off your first order of Field of Greens by using the promo code ''Kim'' at
Don't take on the IRS alone. Visit to reduce or eliminate your owed back taxes
Become a member of my LOCALS community where you will gain access to exclusive content, behind-the-scenes videos, valuable information, and even connect with me personally and others as well. It's a great way to support my independent media channel while receiving more content. Click the button to join! You can become a FREE member or a paid subscriber.
Sign up for my FREE email newsletter here to get notifications of livestreams and segments: (I will never spam you or sell your info)
US charges 44 members of alleged Chinese troll army ' The Register
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:51
The United States Department of Justice has charged 44 people over schemes prosecutors allege were run by China's National Police to silence opponents of the Communist Party of China.
''In the two schemes, the defendants created and used fake social media accounts to harass and intimidate PRC dissidents residing abroad,'' states the Department's announcement of the charges. The defendants also ''sought to suppress the dissidents' free speech on the platform of a U.S. telecommunications company.''
That allegation has produced two cases, United States v. Yunpeng Bai, et al. and United States v. Julien Jin, et al.
Both cases mention an entity described as ''Company-1'' and ''US telecommunications company with headquarters in San Jose, California [that] provides telephony and online chat services''.
Julien Jin, one of the defendants, has previously been reported as being China-based employee of Zoom.
In 2020, Jin was charged after prosecutors found that in his role as Company-1's primary liaison with Chinese law enforcement he ''terminated at least four video meetings hosted on Company-1's networks commemorating the thirty-first anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, most of which were organized and attended by U.S.-based participants, such as dissidents who had participated in and survived the 1989 protests.''
Monday's lawsuit goes further, alleging Jin ''worked to identify all accounts associated with the dissident, caused meetings related to the dissident to be hosted in a 'quarantine zone' '' that is, on a server with known lags in response time '' and later worked to block all accounts associated with the dissident.''
Filings allege Jin did so at the behest of China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC)
United States v. Yunpeng Bai, et al. concerns the activities of 34 MPS officers who allegedly worked for an entity called the ''912 Special Project Working Group'' formed to ''target Chinese dissidents located throughout the world.''
The DoJ alleges the Group ran a troll farm that ''created thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese dissidents through online harassment and threats.''
''Group members created and maintained the fake social media accounts through temporary email addresses, posted official PRC government content, and interacted with other online users to avoid the appearance that the Group accounts were 'flooding' a given social media platform,'' the DoJ alleges.
Uncle Sam slaps $10m bounty on Hive while Russia ban-hammers FBI, CIAPro-China crew ramps up disinfo ahead of US midterms. Not that anyone's falling for itChina-linked fake news site shows disinformation on the riseChina is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happyThe Group may even have had KPIs '' Justice alleges members were offered rewards for operating troll accounts that went undetected. A filing [PDF] details how Group 912 seconded staff from other Chinese government agencies, includes documents alleged to be rosters that ensured ten trolls were on duty, and includes screenshots of some of the fake Twitter accounts the group ran '' usually featuring an avatar depicting an attractive young woman.
While the DoJ has commenced the two cases, none of the defendants are in the USA. Most are in China, or elsewhere in Asia/
The chances of China allowing them to be extradited to face the charges is witheringly tiny.
While US authorities would appreciate having the defendants endure a trial, announcing these cases satisfies a secondary purpose of letting China know that American investigators know what they're up to. Indeed, the filings include photos of spreadsheets the DoJ alleges were used by Group 912 to organise its troll accounts and track staff performance.
No information about how such intimate documents were obtained is revealed, but Beijing can now glimpse what the US was able to obtain.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Pokorny for the Eastern District of New York, the jurisdiction where the actions have been filed, thanked Company-1 for its cooperation in the government's investigation. Thanks, Zoom. Probably. ®
These Air Force 'rods from God' could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon - We Are The Mighty
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:50
The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed or used from Earth's orbit. What they didn't count on was the U.S. Air Force's most simple weapon ever: a tungsten rod that could hit a city with the explosive power of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. used what they called ''Lazy Dog'' bombs. These were simply solid steel pieces, less than two inches long, fitted with fins. There was no explosive '' they were simply dropped by the hundreds from planes flying above Vietnam.
Lazy Dog projectiles (aka ''kinetic bombardment'') could reach speeds of up to 500 mph as they fell to the ground and could penetrate nine inches of concrete after being dropped from as little as 3,000 feet
The idea is like shooting bullets at a target, except instead of losing velocity as it travels, the projectile is gaining velocity and energy that will be expended on impact. They were shotgunning a large swath of jungle, raining bullet-sized death at high speeds.
That's how Project Thor came to be.
Instead of hundreds of small projectiles from a few thousand feet, Thor used a large projectile from a few thousand miles above the Earth. The ''rods from God'' idea was a bundle of telephone-pole sized (20 feet long, one foot in diameter) tungsten rods, dropped from orbit, reaching a speed of up to ten times the speed of sound.
A concept design of Project Thor.The rod itself would penetrate hundreds of feet into the Earth, destroying any potential hardened bunkers or secret underground sites. More than that, when the rod hits, the explosion would be on par with the magnitude of a ground-penetrating nuclear weapon '' but with no fallout.
It would take 15 minutes to destroy a target with such a weapon.
One Quora user who works in the defense aerospace industry quoted a cost of no less than $10,000 per pound to fire anything into space. With 20 cubic feet of dense tungsten weighing in at just over 24,000 pounds, the math is easy. Just one of the rods would be prohibitively expensive. The cost of $230 million dollars per rod was unimaginable during the Cold War.
Like lawn darts, but with global repercussions.These days, not so much. The Bush Administration even considered revisiting the idea to hit underground nuclear sites in rogue nations in the years following 9/11. Interestingly enough, the cost of a single Minuteman III ICBM was $7 million in 1962, when it was first introduced ($57 million adjusted for inflation).
The trouble with a nuclear payload is that it isn't designed to penetrate deep into the surface. And the fallout from a nuclear device can be devastating to surrounding, potentially friendly areas.
A core takeaway from the concept of weapons like Project Thor's is that hypersonic weapons pack a significant punch and might be the future of global warfare.
40 Officers of China's National Police Charged in Transnational Repression Schemes Targeting U.S. Residents | OPA | Department of Justice
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:50
Two criminal complaints filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging 44 defendants with various crimes related to efforts by the national police of the People's Republic of China (PRC) '' the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) '' to harass Chinese nationals residing in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States. The defendants, including 40 MPS officers and two officials in the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), allegedly perpetrated transnational repression schemes targeting U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC government, such as advocating for democracy in the PRC.
In the two schemes, the defendants created and used fake social media accounts to harass and intimidate PRC dissidents residing abroad and sought to suppress the dissidents' free speech on the platform of a U.S. telecommunications company (Company-1). The defendants charged in these schemes are believed to reside in the PRC or elsewhere in Asia and remain at large.
''These cases demonstrate the lengths the PRC government will go to silence and harass U.S. persons who exercise their fundamental rights to speak out against PRC oppression, including by unlawfully exploiting a U.S.-based technology company,'' said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division. ''These actions violate our laws and are an affront to our democratic values and basic human rights.''
''China's Ministry of Public Security used operatives to target people of Chinese descent who had the courage to speak out against the Chinese Communist Party '' in one case by covertly spreading propaganda to undermine confidence in our democratic processes and, in another, by suppressing U.S. video conferencing users' free speech,'' said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. ''We aren't going to tolerate CCP repression '' its efforts to threaten, harass, and intimidate people '' here in the United States. The FBI will continue to confront the Chinese government's efforts to violate our laws and repress the rights and freedoms of people in our country.''
Disclosure: U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York is recused from and has not participated in the case captioned United States v. Julien Jin et al., 20-mj-1103.
United States v. Yunpeng Bai, et al.
The two-count complaint charges 34 MPS officers with conspiracy to transmit interstate threats and conspiracy to commit interstate harassment. All the defendants are believed to reside in the PRC, and they remain at large.
As alleged, the officers worked with Beijing's MPS bureau and are or were assigned to an elite task force called the ''912 Special Project Working Group'' (the Group). The purpose of the Group is to target Chinese dissidents located throughout the world, including in the United States.
''As alleged, the PRC government deploys its national police and the 912 Special Project Working Group not as an instrument to uphold the law and protect public safety, but rather as a troll farm that attacks persons in our country for exercising free speech in a manner that the PRC government finds disagreeable, and also spreads propaganda whose sole purpose is to sow divisions within the United States,'' said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. ''I commend the investigative team for comprehensively revealing the insidiousness of a state-directed criminal scheme directed at residents of the United States.''
The complaint alleges how members of the Group created thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese dissidents through online harassment and threats. These online personas also disseminated official PRC government propaganda and narratives to counter the pro-democracy speech of the Chinese dissidents. As alleged, for example, Group members created and maintained the fake social media accounts through temporary email addresses, posted official PRC government content, and interacted with other online users to avoid the appearance that the Group accounts were ''flooding'' a given social media platform. The Group tracks the performances of members in fulfilling their online responsibilities and rewards Group members who successfully operate multiple online personas without detection by the social media companies who host the platforms or by other users of the platforms.
The investigation also uncovered official MPS taskings to Group members to compose articles and videos based on certain themes targeting, for example, the activities of Chinese dissidents located abroad or the policies of the U.S. government.
As alleged, the defendants also attempted to recruit U.S. persons to act as unwitting agents of the PRC government by disseminating propaganda or narratives of the PRC government. On several occasions, the defendants used online personas to contact individuals assessed to be sympathetic and supportive of the PRC government's narratives and asked these individuals to disseminate Group content.
In addition, Group members took repeated affirmative actions to have Chinese dissidents and their meetings removed from the platform of Company-1. For example, Group members disrupted a dissident's efforts to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre through a videoconference by posting threats against the participants through the platform's chat function. In another Company-1 videoconference on the topic of countering communism organized by a PRC dissident, Group members flooded the videoconference and drowned out the meeting with loud music and vulgar screams and threats directed at the pro-democracy participants.
United States v. Julien Jin, et al.
This amended complaint charges 10 individuals, including a former PRC-based Company-1 employee, six MPS officers, and two officials with the CAC, with conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and unlawful conspiracy to transfer means of identification. Nine of the defendants are believed to reside in the PRC and remain at large. The tenth defendant is believed to reside in Indonesia or the PRC and also remains at large.
''The amended complaint charging a former PRC-based employee of a U.S. telecommunications company illustrates the insider threat faced by U.S. companies operating in the PRC,'' said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Pokorny for the Eastern District of New York, who thanked Company-1 for its cooperation in the government's investigation. ''As alleged, Julien Jin and his co-conspirators in the Ministry of Public Security and Cyberspace Administration of China weaponized the U.S. telecommunications company he worked for to intimidate and silence dissenters and enforce PRC law to the detriment of Chinese activists in New York, among other places, who had sought refuge in this country to peacefully express their pro-democracy views.''
''These cases demonstrate that the Chinese Communist Party, once again, attempted to intimidate, harass, and suppress Chinese dissidents in the United States,'' said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office. ''In the United States, the freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the FBI will work tirelessly to defend everyone's right to speak freely without fear of retribution from the CCP. These complex investigations revealed an MPS-wide effort to repress individuals by using the U.S. communications platform and fake social media accounts to censor political and religious speech.''
In December 2020, the Department first announced charges against Julien Jin in connection with his efforts to disrupt a series of meetings on the Company-1 platform held in May and June 2020 commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Jin served as Company-1's primary liaison with PRC government law enforcement and intelligence services. In that capacity, he regularly responded to requests from the PRC government to terminate meetings and block users on Company-1's video communications platform.
As detailed in the original complaint, Jin and others conspired to use Company-1's U.S. systems to censor the political and religious speech of individuals located in the United States and elsewhere at the direction of the PRC government. For example, Jin and others disrupted meetings held on the Company-1 platform to discuss politically sensitive topics unacceptable to the PRC government '' including the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Jin and his co-conspirators fabricated evidence of purported misconduct to cause U.S.-based employees of Company-1 to terminate the meetings.
The allegations in the amended complaint reveal that Jin worked directly with and took orders from defendants at the MPS and the CAC to disrupt meetings on the Company-1 platform and that the co-defendants had targeted U.S.-based dissidents' speech on Company-1's platform since 2018.
Starting in 2018, Jin and his co-defendants repeatedly sought to terminate video chat meetings organized by a Chinese dissident residing in New York City who has been a vocal critic of the PRC government and the Chinese Communist Party. After the CAC requested that Company-1 terminate the dissident's meetings on the Company-1 platform, Jin worked to identify all accounts associated with the dissident, caused meetings related to the dissident to be hosted in a ''quarantine zone'' '' that is, on a server with known lags in response time '' and later worked to block all accounts associated with the dissident. Similarly, in 2019, Jin collaborated with the MPS and CAC to block accounts seeking to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the cases.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Antoinette N. Rangel, Ian C. Richardson, Nicholas J. Moscow and Jessica K. Weigel of the Eastern District of New York, and Trial Attorney Scott A. Claffee of the National Security Division's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the cases.
The FBI has created a website for victims to report efforts by foreign governments to stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States. Please visit:
Southwest Airlines delays Atlanta travelers, again
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:23
Published April 18, 2023 8:35PM
Southwest flight disruptions at world's busiest airportSouthwest flights were once again seeing delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after technical problems.
ATLANTA - Tuesday was another day of travel trouble at the world's busiest airport, specifically for Southwest Airlines passengers.
"I have a four-hour delay here," said Gina Davis.
The delays are the result of a morning ground stop of all Southwest Airlines flights.
The airline says it was because of "data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure."
More than 2,000 flights nationwide were impacted by Tuesday morning's technical issue.
According to FlightAware, about 100 of those flights were at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
This is the second time in less than six months Davis has been caught up in a Southwest Airlines computer issue. The last one was in December when more than 15,000 flights were canceled when the airline's crew scheduling software failed after a massive winter storm disrupted operations.
"This is the second time that they've had issues, so it's a little bit of a concern, but what are you going to do," she said.
Southwest Airlines was once again experience technical issues on April 18, 2023. (FOX 5)
The IT trouble plaguing Southwest has the pilot's union frustrated.
"It's a constant battle, you wake up in the morning and guess what's going to break today," said Michael Santoro, a Vice President at the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.
Santoro says after December's operational meltdown, IT upgrades have been slow. He says he knows the airline is working on it, but this latest disruption shows upgrades are needed.
"We continuously run into these challenges," he said. "It hits us pretty hard with our scheduling for the day and usually piles into the next day as well."
For travelers caught in the middle, delayed flights are leaving them annoyed.
"With travel, I guess you have to be patient," said Daryl Faybrick. "So, we'll just take it as it comes."
Ukraine may see new 'Maidan' '' Politico '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:22
President Zelensky's approval rating will plummet once again after the conflict with Russia ends, a senior source predicts
The Ukrainian authorities could be challenged by new protests and serious political upheaval similar to the 2014 revolt in Kiev after the conflict with Russia ends, Politico magazine reported on Tuesday, citing a former Ukrainian cabinet minister.
In 2014, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted amid the 'Euromaidan' protests in Kiev and fierce clashes between armed protesters and riot police.
''You know, Maidan could happen again,'' the official who asked not to be named said, adding that the ''war has triggered great hopes, and people will be very impatient for change.''
''They will want money and justice and the completion of the reform they demanded back in 2014, and they will want them quickly,'' the official stated.
Politico said opposition politicians and civil society leaders interviewed by the magazine warned that President Vladimir Zelensky would face accusations that he used the conflict to consolidate power and bypass parliament. ''We need to support the government, and we need to remain united,'' Nikolay Knyazhitsky, an MP from the European Solidarity party, told the publication. ''But I worry about the future of democracy in my country.''
A former comedian, actor, and TV producer with no prior experience in politics, Zelensky was elected president in 2019. According to Politico, his soaring wartime approval rating of 84% is expected to ''plunge once the existential threat has gone.''
The president's popularity dropped to around 20% before the start of Russia's military operation, according to Ukrainian pollster Rating Group.
Experts linked the dip in the polls at the time to Zelensky's overall inexperience and the failure to deliver on his promises of reforms.
Although many Western countries have hailed Zelensky as a ''hero'' and pledged to support Kiev for ''as long as it takes,'' some, including US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, slammed the White House for what they have called the ''blank-check'' funding of Ukraine.
German newspaper Bild reported last month that Zelensky was at odds with General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine's top commander, over combat tactics in Donbass. Kiev denied that there was a conflict between the president and the general.
In January, Zelensky fired several senior officials, including four deputy ministers and five regional governors, after the authorities were accused of corruption and mismanagement. Kirill Timoshenko, Zelensky's deputy chief of staff, also resigned in the wake of the scandal.
Barack Obama's Family Admit He's NOT American and Michelle Is 'Not What He Seems' - James H. Fetzer
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 00:46
Rumors concerning the legitimacy of Barack Obama's U.S. birth certificate have refused to go away. In 2017 a five-year study resulted in forensic researchers claiming there are ''10 features'' that prove Obama's Hawaiian document is a forgery.
Now Malik Obama is dropping truth bombs and documents proving his younger brother Barack Obama was born in Nairobi, Kenya and was thus a fake and illegitimate president.
Malik says everybody in the Obama family calls Barack ''Fake ass'' and has a major truth bomb to drop about Michelle Obama too. Malik's revelations come at the same time as Columbia University graduates, who were supposedly in the same class as Barack Obama, admit they have no memory of him at all.
At this point we have to ask, is there anything real about America's first black president '' or is he a total fraud? Are Barack and Michelle Obama the biggest con jobs in history?
Before we dive in, make sure you subscribe to the channel if you haven't already, and join the People's Voice Locals community to support the channel and gain access to uncensored videos.
Malik Obama has a history of dropping truth bombs about his family on Twitter. On Tuesday he posted a few highly incriminating documents from his brother's Kenyan history, proving that the history we have been told about Obama is a total lie.
These are documents taken from the Obama family home in Kenya that the CIA agents who carefully crafted Obama's identity are desperate for you not to see.
Malik Obama, who announced his support for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, is estranged from his younger brother, complaining the he distanced himself from his family during his second term in office.
Since then Malik has used Twitter to support Trump and release embarrassing information about his younger brother, however the publication of Barack Obama's alleged Kenyan birth certificate is by far the most damaging to date.
The birth certificate, issued by the British Protectorate of Kenya, states that Barack Hussein Obama II was born on the 4th of August 1961 in the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombassa, Kenya.
The revelation threatens to delegitimize his brother's presidency and expose the greatest lie of our era.
But it gets even worse for the Obamas. Malik is also determined to reveal the truth about his sister-in-law, the Democrat darling Michelle Obama, whom Malik claims is not really his sister-in-law at all. According to Malik, Michelle Obama is a man, and she has political ambitions that he is determined to blow up by revealing the truth about her.
Malik's claims are supported by official government documents.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama was registered to vote as a man from 1994 until 2008, according to official documents obtained from the Illinois State Board of Elections. The official documents also reveal Obama officially changed her Sex to female in 2008, the same year her husband was running for the presidency.
We made a whole video about these damning records which were obtained by FOIA request.
The official documents were obtained from the state of Illinois by documentary filmmaker Joel Gilbert who explains that he decided to ''take a serious approach'' to learning about Michelle Obama's background because the mainstream media refuses to touch the topic.
But he didn't expect to find proof that she registered to vote as a man for fourteen years.
Gilbert was stunned when he received Michelle Obama's official voter registration cards from 1994 and 2008. Describing the process of unraveling Michelle Obama's ''changing sexual identity,'' Gilbert writes:
''Having recently obtained official documents from the state of Illinois, here is what I can say with assurance: I found proof in official documents that Michelle Obama registered to vote as a man in 1994. I also have official proof that, after 14 years of voting as a man, Michelle Obama changed her sex in 2008 from male to female. This is not more social media silliness, this is fact. I obtained the documents from the Illinois State Board of Elections only last week. Here is Michelle Obama's official voter registration card from 1994 when she registered to vote as a man. The letter M is circled under Sex.''
''Then, on July 14, 2008, with her husband about to be nominated by the Democrats for the presidency, she changed her sex from male to female.''
Since the early days of the Obama administration, citizens across the board have studied videos and photos of Michelle Obama and said that she is a man.
In 2014, comedienne Joan Rivers fueled both rumors in responding to a TMZ reporter who innocently asked her whether the U.S. would ever elect a gay president.
''We already have it with Obama, so let's just calm down,'' said Rivers, before adding, ''You know Michelle is a tranny.'' When asked to clarify her remark, she articulated slowly, ''A trans-gen-der. We all know.''
Rivers' comments fuelled social media postings of photos suggesting Michelle is really a man, and close-up slow-motion videos of her dancing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show purporting to show something lurking in her pants.
Less than two months later, Rivers died as a result of what was supposed to be a minor throat procedure.
Who is Barack Obama?Barack Obama's birth certificate and the real nature of his marriage aren't the only controversies threatening to blow up in the former president's face and expose a lifetime of lies. Classmates of his Columbia '83 Political Science graduating class are now admitting the former president did not attend the university, despite Obama's official backstory stating that he earned his degree at the prestigious school.
Wayne Allyn Root, a Columbia graduate from that class, says he has asked his classmates if they have any memory of Barack, and none of them have a single memory of the future president during their four years at Columbia.
''I asked every classmate I met at our 30th reunion, many of them Political Science majors, if they ever met, or saw, or heard of Obama. The answer was a resounding NO from every one of them. I asked if they found this strange, or worried how this was possible? They all answered YES.
''I asked if they thought it was possible to be a Political Science major and never meet a fellow major in our small classes? They all gave me a very strange look and answered NO. So I asked, ''How could this be possible? Can you explain this?'' No one had an answer.''
Wayne Allyn Root describes himself as a Democrat who voted for the former President both times. He doesn't have an axe to grind, and neither do his classmates, as he explains:
''Keep in mind these people I spoke to are all- to a man and woman- dedicated liberal Democrats who voted for Obama. I'm guessing 90% are major Democrat contributors. My Columbia classmates are the cr¨me of the crop of American society. Lawyers, doctors, billionaire hedge fund members, stars of the media. They adore Obama. But they all admit they never met him in their four years at Columbia.''
''No one ever met him. Even worse, no one even remembers seeing that unique memorable face. Think about this for a minute. Our classmate is President of the United States. Shouldn't someone remember him? Or at least claim to remember him?''
Fake News: Issues of Identity (2 August 2020): Short takes on Lee Oswald, Noah Pozner, Paul McCartney, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and (even) Kamala Harris
Columbia professors also have their doubts about Obama's claims to have attended the Ivy League institution:
''One classmate told me he was present when one of the most honored professors in Columbia University history gave a speech to alumni a couple of years ago. The speech was followed by Q&A. This beloved professor was asked about Obama at Columbia. He said, 'I have my doubts about the story.' The crowd was stunned. He immediately went onto the next question and never elaborated.''
So who is Barack Obama? His older brother claims the president has been lying about everything including where he was born. His supposed former classmates claim he didn't attend Columbia University. The man is a carefully constructed fake, designed to inflict maximum damage on America and the free world.
And according to Barack Obama's own family, his wife, Michelle, is actually a man. Where does the deception end?
For years, we have been reporting on the gender-blurring agenda which is based on the assertion that genders are social constructs. That same agenda claims that toddlers can make the life-altering decision of switching genders while promoting the usage of extreme drugs such as hormone-blockers. That same agenda is also creeping into elementary school curricula because ''they'' know that indoctrination must happen at a young age to permanently affect the psyche.
Here at the People's Voice we are determined to continue exposing the agenda of the globalist elite. Make sure to subscribe to the channel for more news the mainstream media deems unfit to print and join the People's Voice Locals community to support the channel. We need your help to spread the message far and wide.
Mish: As Amazing As It Sounds, ECB President Christine Lagarde Is Making Some Sense | ZeroHedge
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 23:00
Authored by Mike Shedlock via,
Christine Lagarde Made 10 Key Points Today and I Agree With All of Them.
As amazing as it sounds, ECB President Christine Lagarde is making sense.
Central Banks in a Fragmenting WorldPlease consider a speech by Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, on Central Banks in a Fragmenting World
The global economy has been undergoing a period of transformative change. Following the pandemic, Russia's unjustified war against Ukraine, the weaponization of energy, the sudden acceleration of inflation, as well as a growing rivalry between the United States and China, the tectonic plates of geopolitics are shifting faster.
We are witnessing a fragmentation of the global economy into competing blocs, with each bloc trying to pull as much of the rest of the world closer to its respective strategic interests and shared values. And this fragmentation may well coalesce around two blocs led respectively by the two largest economies in the world.
All this could have far-reaching implications across many domains of policymaking. And today in my remarks, I would like to explore what the implications might be for central banks.
In short, we could see two profound effects on the policy environment for central banks: first, we may see more instability as global supply elasticity wanes; and second, we could see more multipolarity as geopolitical tensions continue to mount.
Today the United States is completely dependent on imports for at least 14 critical minerals. And Europe depends on China for 98% of its rare earth supply. Supply disruptions on these fronts could affect critical sectors in the economy, such as the automobile industry and its transition to electric vehicle production.
In response, governments are legislating to increase supply security, notably through the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States and the strategic autonomy agenda in Europe. But that could, in turn, accelerate fragmentation as firms also adjust in anticipation. Indeed, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the share of global firms planning to regionalize their supply chain almost doubled '' to around 45% '' compared with a year earlier
This ''new global map'' '' as I have called these changes elsewhere '' is likely to have first-order implications for central banks.
One recent study based on data since 1900 finds that geopolitical risks led to high inflation, lower economic activity and a fall in international trade. And ECB analysis suggests similar outcomes may be expected for the future. If global value chains fragment along geopolitical lines, the increase in the global level of consumer prices could range between around 5% in the short run and roughly 1% in the long run.
These changes also suggest that a second shift in the central bank landscape is taking place: we may see the world becoming more multipolar.
During the Pax Americana after 1945, the US dollar became firmly ensconced as the global reserve and transaction currency, and more recently, the euro has risen to second place. This had a range of '' mostly beneficial '' implications for central banks.
But new trade patterns may have ramifications for payments and international currency reserves.
In recent decades China has already increased over 130-fold its bilateral trade in goods with emerging markets and developing economies, with the country also becoming the world's top exporter. And recent research indicates there is a significant correlation between a country's trade with China and its holdings of renminbi as reserves. New trade patterns may also lead to new alliances. One study finds that alliances can increase the share of a currency in the partner's reserve holdings by roughly 30 percentage points.
All this could create an opportunity for certain countries seeking to reduce their dependency on Western payment systems and currency frameworks '' be that for reasons of political preference, financial dependencies, or because of the use of financial sanctions in the past decade.
Anecdotal evidence, including official statements, suggests that some countries intend to increase their use of alternatives to major traditional currencies for invoicing international trade, such as the Chinese renminbi or the Indian rupee. We are also seeing increased accumulation of gold as an alternative reserve asset, possibly driven by countries with closer geopolitical ties to China and Russia.
There are also attempts to create alternatives to SWIFT. Since 2014, Russia has developed such a system for domestic and cross-border use, with over 50 banks across a dozen countries using it last year. And since 2015 China has established its own system to clear payments in renminbi.
These developments do not point to any imminent loss of dominance for the US dollar or the euro. So far, the data do not show substantial changes in the use of international currencies. But they do suggest that international currency status should no longer be taken for granted.
10 Major Points With No DisagreementWeaponization of energy
Fragmentation of the global economy into competing blocs
More multipolarity as geopolitical tensions continue to mount
[Historically] geopolitical risks led to high inflation, lower economic activity and a fall in international trade
Significant correlation between a country's trade with China and its holdings of renminbi as reserves
Countries intend to increase their use of alternatives to major traditional currencies for invoicing international trade, such as the Chinese renminbi or the Indian rupee.
Increased accumulation of gold as an alternative reserve asset, possibly driven by countries with closer geopolitical ties to China and Russia.
Attempts to create alternatives to SWIFT. Since 2014, Russia has developed such a system for domestic and cross-border use, with over 50 banks across a dozen countries using it last year. And since 2015 China has established its own system to clear payments in renminbi.
These developments do not point to any imminent loss of dominance for the US dollar or the euro.
So far, the data do not show substantial changes in the use of international currencies. But they do suggest that international currency status should no longer be taken for granted.
Amazed if Not ShockedThere is not a single thing above that I disagree with, with plenty of things to cover. I am amazed that any central bank president sees things as I do.
Regarding point 8, the EU attempted to create an alternative to SWIFT to facilitate more cooperation with Iran, but failed.
So it's not just the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) attempting to get around US sanction madness.
Brazil's President Calls for End to US Dollar Trade Dominance, So What?Point 9 is also worthy of discussion. I wrote about that on April 14, in Brazil's President Calls for End to US Dollar Trade Dominance, So What?
The reason for US dollar dominance is simple. Trade is between individuals and corporations, not between nations.
Trade Example
A Brazilian soybean producer sells soybeans to a merchant in China.
A Brazilian scooter manufacturer buys Lithium batteries from a Chinese merchant.
The soybean producer buys nothing from Chinese merchants.
The Chinese battery producer buys nothing from Brazilian merchants.
Why would the Brazilian soybean producer want to hold yuan, especially given that the yuan doesn't even float?
Why would the Chinese battery producer want to hold the Brazilian Real?
No one is forcing the soybean producer or the battery producer to do anything. By choice they prefer to trade in dollars, which by the way is instantly convertible to any currency the producers may wish to hedge in.
Need for CooperationLagarde did go on about the need for cooperation. And that discussion was mostly fluff although cooperation is certainly needed.
G20 was functionally broken as a mechanism for most forms of international cooperation well before Russia invaded Ukraine. Rifts between US and China, Canada/ EU/ US and Russia all too big.Remains useful as a venue for talks, but real cooperation shifted back to the G7
'-- Brad Setser (@Brad_Setser) April 17, 2023"Every G20 meeting since the invasion has concluded with no communique."
"Cooperation has shifted back to the G7"
Really? What Cooperation?The coordinated immobilization of Russia's fx reserves was done through the G-7, as were the banking and energy secret that full US-EU convergence on China has been a bit more difficult
'-- Brad Setser (@Brad_Setser) April 17, 2023Weaponizing the US DollarThe only cooperation we have had was in weaponizing the US dollar. That's something Lagarde failed to mention. So did Setser.
It is the US weaponizing the US dollar that directly led to many of the key points that Lagarde made.
What Does China Do With a Dollar That's No Longer Risk Free? Buy Gold?On March 18, 2022, I asked What Does China Do With a Dollar That's No Longer Risk Free? Buy Gold?
The reason for this topic has to do with the Fed's unprecedented decision co confiscate Russia's foreign currency reserves. Not only was the action unprecedented, it was illegal.
The Federal Reserve Act mandates that the Federal Reserve conduct monetary policy "so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates."
Nowhere does the act give the Fed the right or power to confiscate the reserves of sovereign nations. But that is exactly what the Fed did.
If the Fed can do this to Russia, who else?
Q&A With Michael Pettis
Mish: Will China now hold more commodities and fewer dollars despite the pro-cyclical nature of it? More Euros or Yen over dollars? More gold?
Michael Pettis:
"Given that so much of China's "reserves" are now indirect and held by state-owned banks (all the increase since 2017) it's hard to say what the currency composition of China's reserves are.
"Officially the US dollar is still by far the biggest component, but it is slowly declining.
"I expect that this will continue as far as the official reserves go but, as you know, the hard part of reducing the US dollar component of your reserves is figuring out what the alternative should be, and with such high and growing reserves (once you include the indirect reserves at the state-owned banks) that is a very difficult question to resolve."
Yuan Will Not Replace the DollarThe Yuan Will Not Replace the US Dollar, Nor Will It Be Backed by Commodities
Don't confuse a diminishing role for the US dollar with it's demise as the global reserve currency. It's far too early for that. For further discussion, please see the above link.
Also note my above trade example regarding Brazil's desire to end dollar dominance. Wishin' and hopin' and beggin' and prayin' doesn't do it because trade is not between nations.
Cooperation is Nonexistent or FailedThe imbalances mount. What cooperation there has been, mainly Russia, has failed. It has driven much closer cooperation between China and Russia with Brazil struggling to join that party.
Three Conflicting Goals of CooperationReduce dependence on China
Avoid protectionism
Appease the Greens
Impossible Requirements1 + 2 is difficult if not impossible. 2 + 3 is difficult if not impossible. 1 + 3 is difficult is not impossible.
1 + 2 + 3 is 100% guaranteed impossible.
As an added bonus, please factor in Taiwan.
Then factor in China's control of rare earth elements and permanent magnets. The permanent magnets and other rare earth elements are used in cell phones, missiles, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.
Brad Setzer"The coordinated immobilization of Russia's fx reserves was done through the G-7, as were the banking and energy sanctions. no secret that full US-EU convergence on China has been a bit more difficult."
A bit more difficult or impossible given the three conflicting goals and weaponization of the dollar?
The US and G-7 Allies Are Torn Over Dependence on ChinaThis morning, I wrote The US and G-7 Allies Are Torn Over Dependence on China
At the time, I was unaware of Lagarde's speech.
I am still amazed that she actually seems to understand most of the actual risks although she failed to discuss weaponization of the dollar.
* * *
Like these reports? I hope so, and if you do, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts.
Sony World Photography Award 2023: Winner refuses award after revealing AI creation - BBC News
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:53
Image source, Boris Eldagsen Image caption, Could you tell this is not a real photograph?
By Paul Glynn
Entertainment reporter
The winner of a major photography award has refused his prize after revealing his work was created using AI.
German artist Boris Eldagsen's entry, entitled Pseudomnesia: The Electrician, won the creative open category at last week's Sony World Photography Award.
He said he used the picture to test the competition and to create a discussion about the future of photography.
Organisers of the award told BBC News Eldagsen had misled them about the extent of AI that would be involved.
In a statement shared on his website, Eldagsen admitted he had been a "cheeky monkey", thanking the judges for "selecting my image and making this a historic moment", while questioning if any of them "knew or suspected that it was AI-generated".
"AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this," he continued.
"They are different entities. AI is not photography. Therefore I will not accept the award."
Media caption, Artist Boris Eldagsen says it's important to differentiate AI-generated art after refusing a photography award.
The image in question showed a haunting black-and-white portrait of two women from different generations.
But as Eldagsen pointed out, in his statement: "Something about this doesn't feel right, does it?" That something, of course, being the fact that it's not a real photograph at all - but a synthetically-produced image.
The use of AI in everything from song and essay writing, to driverless cars, chatbox therapists and the development of medicine has been widely debated in recent months. Now its appropriateness and utility regarding photography - especially deepfakes - has come into focus.
A spokesperson for the World Photography Organisation, the photography strand of art events organisers Creo, said that during their discussions with the artist, before he was announced as the winner, he had confirmed the piece was a "co-creation" of his image using AI.
He noted his interest in "the creative possibilities of AI generators", while "emphasising the image heavily relies on his wealth of photographic knowledge".
Image source, Boris Eldagsen
Image caption, Boris Eldagsen said he used the image as he wanted to create an "open discussion"
"The creative category of the open competition welcomes various experimental approaches to image-making, from cyanotypes and rayographs to cutting-edge digital practices," they said.
"As such, following our correspondence with Boris [Eldagsen] and the warranties he provided, we felt that his entry fulfilled the criteria for this category, and we were supportive of his participation.
"Additionally, we were looking forward to engaging in a more in-depth discussion on this topic and welcomed Boris' wish for dialogue by preparing questions for a dedicated Q&A with him for our website."
They continued: "As he has now decided to decline his award, we have suspended our activities with him and in keeping with his wishes have removed him from the competition."
They said they recognised "the importance of this subject [AI] and its impact on image-making today", but stressed the awards "always have been and will continue to be a platform for championing the excellence and skill of photographers and artists working in the medium."
Analysis by Chris Vallance, BBC senior technology reporter
When an AI generated image won a US state art competition last September it ignited a debate that has raged ever since.
All the while the power of the technology increases seemingly week by week.
Photographers and artists who previously could console themselves by pointing out the flaws in AI generated images - it struggles with hands for example - now find they are becoming ever harder to spot.
Last month, Tim Flach president of the Association of Photographers, told me of his shock at how easy it was to generate an AI image of a tiger that closely resembled a photo he had had to step into the cage to capture.
A photography student who spoke to me at the time worried whether his planned career would still exist in a few years.
Many artists and photographers accuse AI systems of unfairly exploiting the works of hundreds of thousands of human creators on which the systems are trained - some have even launched legal action.
But others simply regard AI as just another tool, a new category of art perhaps, but no less valuable.
Photography itself was once a new and, to some, threatening invention they point out.
But a host of very basic issues remain unclear, including who owns the copyright for an AI image.
As well as pictures, AI has generated a raft of as yet unanswered ethical and legal questions.
'I don't blame Boris'
Eldagsen told the BBC on Monday he had made it clear to the organisers that he too wanted to publicly engage in a "open discussion" on the topic, from much earlier on in the awards process, but that this had come to no avail.
He also suggested donating the prize to a photo festival hosted in Odesa, Ukraine.
Photographer and blogger Feroz Khan took a particular interest in how the events of the past week unfolded. And he said he did not blame the artist for showing "there is a problem here in the photography industry".
"For starters, most people have a tough time distinguishing AI-generated images from photographs (at least at first glance)," he wrote. "In a few months, it will probably become even harder to determine critical differences unless scrutinised.
"With this intention, Boris has stated that he wants photography contest organisers to have separate categories for AI images.
"I appreciate him for wanting this distinction in photo contests. Yes, he entered an AI image into the competition, but it doesn't seem he was out to defraud anyone. He wanted to highlight an issue that certainly needs a lot more attention from everyone."
He concluded that Eldagsen had "clearly shown that even experienced photographers and art experts can be fooled."
An exhibition of the winners and shortlisted images from this year's Sony World Photography Awards is taking place at Somerset House, London from now until 1 May 2023.
(10) APUSH Textbooks Are Covering The Trump Presidency; The Bias Is Worse Than You Think
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:42
I reviewed five of the most commonly used AP U.S. History textbooks that cover all the way through the Trump presidency.
Used every day by high school students in college-level history classes, the books all contain anti-Trump editorializing, false narratives, and employ selective editing to leave out significant stories that occurred during the Trump presidency.
The books all appear on the College Board's list of textbooks that meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements.
Nearly all of the textbooks claim ''Russian meddling'' was responsible for the 2016 election of Donald Trump, despite that narrative being debunked through multiple studies and news reports. A New York University Center for Social Media and Politics study found that Russian Twitter accounts had no measurable impact on the 2016 election. Facebook's internal investigation also found that 56% of the $100K worth of Facebook ads purchased by Russians in 2016 were viewed on the platform after the election was over.
They also leave out all the details of how the Trump/Russia media narrative unraveled. None of them mention the phony Steele Dossier, how the FBI abused FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to spy on Trump, the illegal unmasking of Michael Flynn, how officials like John Brennan, James Clapper, and Rep. Adam Schiff lied to the public about Russian collusion, or the role Hillary Clinton's campaign played in feeding false Trump/Russia stories to the press.
Many of the books also cover in depth the unproven sexual misconduct allegations against President Trump and Justice Clarence Thomas while altogether leaving out any mentions of the many similar allegations against President Bill Clinton.
In addition, they all repeat debunked narratives about the Trayvon Martin shooting, and cover the Michael Brown shooting without acknowledging that the Obama Justice Department found the ''hands up don't shoot'' narrative was a complete fabrication.
One textbook covers Officer Brian Sicknick's death without clarifying that he died of natural causes from a stroke. The only one that covers the coronavirus pandemic claims that ''wet markets'' were the most likely origin of the virus while leaving out the lab leak theory.
One textbook says that Donald Trump's message in 2016 ''appealed successfully to nostalgia for a time when people of color and women knew their 'place,''' that Donald Trump tweeting about how LeBron James and Maxine Waters ''lack in intelligence'' is racist, and that Trump's election was responsible for hurricanes. Another attributes Trump's victory in 2016 to ''angry white men.''
One book contains the Trump Charlottesville ''very fine people on both sides'' hoax and another flat out falsely claims Trump never condemned Charlottesville at all.
Here is what I found in each book.
The American Pageant, 17th edition
This is the most popular APUSH textbook in America and has been in circulation since the 1950s, with the most recent edition authored by Stanford Professor David M. Kennedy and Harvard Professor Lizabeth Cohen.
In the section on the 2016 election, the authors describe Donald Trump as a ''sexual predator'' without going into specifics of the uncorroborated allegations against him (such as the lady who said ''rape is sexy'' ) while describing Bill Clinton, accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women, as merely ''dogged'' by scandal.
Paula Jones, Kathleen Wiley, and Juanita Broaddrick also go without mention.
The book also claims that Russia ''disrupted the American electoral process'' using social media, later proven to have little to no impact on the electorate. It leaves out any discussion of Hillary Clinton's private server scandal other than as a footnote in how then FBI Director James Comey's re-opening of the investigation days before the election ''cast a dark cloud over the Clinton candidacy.''
The American Pageant also covers the Trayvon Martin shooting without mentioning how evidence showed he had been beating George Zimmerman, who was eventually found innocent in court on grounds of self defense. It also covers Ferguson without saying that Michael Brown robbed a convenience store, charged at police officer Darren Wilson, tried to steal his gun, and that ''hand's up don't shoot'' was disproven by Biden's DOJ.
It also strangely connects Trump's election to the hurricanes that occurred in Puerto Rico and Florida in 2017.
The American Promise, 8th Edition
This book was written by seven co-authors: Emory University Professor James L. Roark, Johns Hopkins University Professor Michael P. Johnson, Johns Hopkins University Professor Francois Furstenberg, University of California, Santa Barbara Professor Patricia Cline Cohen, Arizona State University Professor Sarah Stage, Ohio State University Professor Susan M. Hartmann, and Vanderbilt University Professor Sarah Igo.
They claim that the outcome of the 2016 election was due to Russian ''cyberattacks'' and ''fake news.''
They also amusingly say, ''Trump's attacks on the mainstream media, which he claimed to be stacked against him, also seemed to resonate.''
Much like the previous book, American Promise mentions no details about Bill Clinton's many sexual assault allegations while saying that the 2016 election was marked by ''revelations of Trump's sexual misconduct.''
They add that ''many considered'' Trump's rhetoric to be ''racist.''
The authors claim that President Trump ''refused in 2017 to condemn a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.''
On the day the Charlottesville rally occurred, Trump said , ''We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.''
Two days later, he issued a statement saying, ''KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.''
Once again, the authors also cover Trayvon Martin without mentioning how the evidence presented in the trial found George Zimmerman acted in self defense. It also says Zimmerman was white - he is actually Hispanic. The book covers Ferguson without mentioning how Michael Brown charged at Officer Darren Wilson, tried to steal his gun, and that Obama's Justice Department, led by Eric Holder, found the ''hands up don't shoot'' to be a lie.
Give Me Liberty: An American History, 6th Edition
This book was written by Columbia University historian Eric Foner.
While covering the Clarence Thomas confirmation, the book says, ''sexual misconduct by public officials had a long history'' while ignoring the many non-credible aspects of Anita Hill's allegation against Clarence Thomas, such as how she followed him from his staff at the Department of Education to his new job at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Foner also mentions that Donald Trump's ''numerous affairs'' would have ''destroyed the prospects of a more conventional candidate.''
In his coverage of President Bill Clinton, however, Foner does not even use the words ''sexual misconduct,'' and leaves out any mention of his accusers.
Foner claims that Trayvon Martin was ''accosted'' by George Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch in a gated community the homes of which had experienced dozens of recent break ins, and covers the Michael Brown shooting while also leaving out the debunked ''hands up, don't shoot'' lie.
The book then covers the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court case (spelling it Holden) by saying that voter ID laws ''were intended to limit the right to vote for poor people of all races, many of whom do not possess driver's licenses or other official IDS.''
Foner then says that Donald Trump ''appealed successfully to nostalgia for a time when people of color and women knew their 'place.''' His only mention of Hillary Clinton's private server came within the context of ''lock her up'' chants that occurred at candidate Trump's rallies.
On Trump/Russia, Foner once again leaves out the Steele Dossier, FISA abuses and other stories that caused the liberal media's narrative to fall apart. He also said it was racist for Donald Trump to tweet that LeBron James and Rep. Maxine Waters ''lacked in intelligence.''
Experience History: Interpreting America's Past, 9th Edition
This book, written by historian James West Davidson, contains the lie that President Trump said that the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville were ''very fine people.''
Here is Trump's full quote:
You had people '' and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally '' but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats '' you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.
It also covers the Trump/Russia hoax without the stories of how it unraveled and says that Trump denied the existence of climate change because he preferred coal over wind and solar. Davidson bizarrely claims that China has lowered its emissions from coal when they have actually been increasing their output, becoming the largest polluter in the world.
America: A Narrative History, 12th edition
David Emory Shi, historian, and former president of Furman University, wrote this textbook that covers US history through the beginning of the Biden administration.
Shi covered the shooting of Michael Brown without mentioning that Obama's DOJ found ''hands up, don't shoot'' to be a false narrative. He attributes President Trump's victory in 2016 to ''angry white men.''
Shi covers how the Mueller Report found no evidence of Trump/Russian collusion but leaves out covering the Steele Dossier, FISA abuses, or any of the others that blew apart the Russiagate narrative.
On COVID, Shi writes that scientists agreed that the virus most likely originated in a Wuhan ''wet market.'' The book does not mention the lab leak theory, which is now considered the most likely source of the virus by the FBI and Energy Department.
He also editorializes why Republicans were skeptical of the CDC's orders during the pandemic, saying ''the necessity of collective sacrifice in pursuit of the greater good during a national crisis should not be confused as an assault on individual liberty.''
Shi also writes about January 6, where he claims that Donald Trump told his supporters at the Ellipse to disrupt the congressional proceeding on certifying the election while leaving out how he also said to ''peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.'' He also says that a police officer was killed without specifying that Officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes from a stroke the day after January 6.
Trump's full quote:
We're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.
Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.
I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
The book ends with Shi describing the beginning of the Biden administration. By his analysis, everything became good in the world again when Biden took office. He spins Biden's limited public appearances by saying he uses ''carefully crafted public statements to convey his stances on critical issues.''
He also claims Biden has ''reached out to Republican opponents'' (between calling them threats to democracy) and said the ''economy was surging again'' after Biden gave Americans new stimulus checks despite rampant inflation and negative wage growth, which naturally went unmentioned.
I reached out to all of the authors of these books for comment - I asked them about what the false narratives and editorializing they incorporated into their books meant for high school students to learn about American history.
I also asked them if they would include any of the following stories that occurred during the Trump/Russia sage in later editions of their books:
None have replied.
Climate Change Scandal in Australia Heating Up '' The Daily Sceptic
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:23
Further significant doubts have been cast on the accuracy of global surface temperature results following the discovery that electronic thermometers in Australia have read up to 0.7°C higher than traditional mercury glass units. The Australian dataset is a major component of global compilations since it provides an important guide to one of the largest land masses in the southern hemisphere. After many years of trying, local freedom of information requests from scientists have forced the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to release comparative information from the two measuring devices around Brisbane airport. It shows that automatic readings are higher 41% of the time, compared with 32% when the temperatures were the same.
Electronic temperatures devices have been in general use in Australia since 1995. The guidance of the World Meteorological Organisation suggests averaging temperatures over a minute to remove corruptions caused by temporary effects such as a sudden gust of hot air. But the BoM records highs for just a second, something that basic mercury thermometers cannot do. For years, the BoM has refused to release comparative instrument data.
The Australian journalist Jo Nova takes a sceptical view as to why the BoM has been so stubborn. Potentially, the electronic sensors ''offer a bonanza of propaganda headlines for the Green Blob to pick from, especially when 'coldest ever days' get ignored by the media''. The sensors are offering many more headlines of records for heat, heatwaves, hottest nights, more days over 35°C, she continued, adding, ''there are many cherries to be picked here''.
The use of highly sensitive measuring equipment to produce temperature records and hence whip up climate emergency fears is common throughout the world. Last year In the U.K., the Met Office promoted a 'record' high of 40.3°C halfway down the runway at RAF Coningsby on the afternoon of July 19th. Admittedly, the record was declared to have stood for longer than a second '' 60 seconds to be precise. To this day, the Met Office has refused to answer a number of Daily Sceptic enquiries about possible non-climatic causes of this widely promoted record. In the light of the Australian disclosures, we wonder if the Met Office should re-examine the way it declares heat records and compare the results of its measuring devices with those produced by basic mercury thermometers.
Dr. Jennifer Marohasy analysed the three years of Australian data that was eventually squeezed out of the BoM and found significant differences between the two measuring devises. In the most extreme cases, the modern probe was 0.7°C hotter than the mercury reading. She said it contradicted claims by the Bureau's director Andrew Johnson that measurements from the two instruments are equivalent. Marohasy estimates the BoM holds data for a total of 38 different locations across Australia. The small Brisbane airport cache is thought to be the first public release of this data.
The former Liberal MP and noted climate sceptic Craig Kelly was merciless in his condemnation of the BoM actions. Noting the Bureau's decision to reduce the size of protective Stevenson screens, which he said was known to artificially increase temperature recordings by up to 1°C, he concluded that Australia's temperature records ''have been cooked to artificially manufacture 'hottest day ever' headlines in the media''. Heads must roll, he demanded, but with the new Labor Government protecting this ''malfeasance'' at the BoM ''they'll get away with it''.
The Australian weighed in by suggesting that the Brisbane revelations raised some ''difficult questions'' about the BoM's ability to claim new temperature records are being broken. ''Given that new records are claimed on the basis of readings that are only a tiny fraction of a degree warmer, the problem is obvious,'' it said in an editorial. The lengths to which the Bureau has gone not to cooperate with FOI requests, it continued, ''gives the impression of an organisation with something to hide''. The newspaper said it was ''truly astonishing'' that the Bureau should suggest that understanding the effect of instrumentation was of no public interest. ''This is particularly so given the Bureau was simultaneously publishing reports and giving media interviews claiming that a temperature increase of 1.5°C would have devastating consequences for the planet,'' the editorial said.
The BoM information from 38 sites is of more than academic interest, noted the newspaper. This is because much of it eventually finds its way into what becomes the international global temperature record, on which climate change policy is based. The information is the property of the public, it states, and all the parallel records ''should be made immediately available alongside all of the other data the Bureau prides itself on making public''.
These disturbing revelations about temperature gathering in Australia add to the numerous concerns that are mounting about the entire global surface temperature record. The Daily Sceptic has covered this story in great detail (see here, here and here). In this case, it seems that modern gauges have been used to establish new 'records', compared with the old mercury recordings. In addition, there may be a slight warming bias over the last 30 years, and if confirmed this will add to further corruption of global results. The BoM claimed its new electronic sensors were adjusted in light of mercury readings, but the Brisbane release suggests otherwise. It is particularly disturbing when public officials refuse to release scientific figures for no apparent good reason. The example of Climategate shows that when activists and scientists refuse to release basic data, it is time to start counting the spoons, if not undertaking an audit of the whole canteen.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic's Environment Editor.
JPMorgan Chase's Deposits Declined by 57 Times that of Citigroup Over Past 12 Months
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 21:17
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 17, 2023
On April 11, Wall Street On Parade ran this headline: Fed Report: Largest 25 U.S. Banks Have Shed $700 Billion in Deposits Over Past Year. Using deposit data directly from the Federal Reserve's weekly H.8 report, we documented that contrary to the misleading reporting in the mainstream business press, it wasn't the regional banks that were losing the bulk of deposits in the U.S., with the biggest banks the beneficiaries, it was actually the biggest banks that were dramatically shedding deposits. We explained as follows:
''The reality is that the 25 largest domestically-chartered commercial banks in the U.S. have been bleeding deposits for most of the past 12 months, shedding more than $700 billion in deposits between April 13, 2022 and March 29, 2023. To put that in even sharper focus, all U.S. domestically-chartered commercial banks have lost a total of $970 billion during the same time period. That means that the largest 25 banks account for a whopping 72 percent of the plunge in deposits over the past year.''
On Friday, we learned more granular details about this deposit exodus when JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup announced first quarter earnings and released data on their deposits. According to its own figures, JPMorgan Chase experienced an outflow of $183.95 billion in deposits between March 31, 2022 and March 31, 2023. In dollar terms over that time span, its deposits went from $2.561 trillion to $2.377 trillion. (See chart below.)
Making that news even more astonishing (given all the media reports that suggested JPMorgan Chase would be a beneficiary of the exodus of deposits from troubled regional banks), was that a peer bank holding company, Citigroup '' parent of the commercial bank, Citibank '' reported a decline in deposits over the same period of just $3.2 billion.
How is it possible that Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, was able to hold onto her deposit base while Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase (who incessantly brags about his ''fortress balance sheet'') experienced a depositor revolt that was 57 times that of Citigroup?
In the earnings call with analysts on Friday, Fraser had this to say:
''Indeed, the cornerstone is our institutional deposit base, which comprises about 60 percent of our deposits. Most of these deposits are particularly sticky because they sit in operating accounts that are fully integrated into how our multinational clients run their businesses around the world from their payrolls, their supply chains, their cash and liquidity management.
''Eighty percent of these deposits are with clients who use all three of our integrated services: payments and collections, liquidity management and working capital solutions. The data that we aggregate from these deposits and their related flows is fundamental to how our clients manage their efficiency, risk and compliance. And this greatly increases our deposit stickiness. It's also why nearly 80 percent of these deposits are from client relationships that are 15 years old or more.''
The fact that 80 percent of Citi's deposit relationships are at least 15 years old means that these clients remember what happened in 2008 when Citigroup was teetering on the brink of failure. In fact, Citigroup's share price of 99 cents in early 2009 makes some troubled regional banks today look positively healthy.
Citigroup's long-term clients remember that federal agencies in the U.S. did handstands and back flips and somersaults with banking law in order to save Citigroup's sinking carcass during and after the 2008 financial crisis. Citigroup/Citibank secretly received over $2.5 trillion in cumulative loans from the Fed's emergency loan facilities according to a 2011 audit released by the Government Accountability Office. In addition, Citigroup/Citibank received the following in other bailouts: $45 billion in capital infusions from the U.S. Treasury; the Federal government guaranteed over $300 billion of Citigroup's dubious assets; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guaranteed $5.75 billion of its senior unsecured debt and $26 billion of its commercial paper and interbank deposits.
Those long-term loyal clients of Citigroup may be incorrectly relying on a replay of those bailouts should problems arrive in the future. The Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that was passed in 2010 bars the Federal Reserve from saving a single insolvent institution and requires that the Fed's emergency lending facilities be limited to serving a broad swath of the financial system.
That aspect of Dodd-Frank is clearly why U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had to lean on Jamie Dimon to convince 11 large commercial banks (including his own) to sluice $30 billion in uninsured deposits into the teetering First Republic Bank on March 16 '' because the Fed was statutorily prevented from bailing out one specific bank.
Citigroup is also offering eye-popping incentives for new deposits. It has an online ad promoting the following:
''EARN UP TO $2,000
''Open a Citi Priority Checking Account from 4/5/23 through 7/23/23 and earn a cash bonus of $200, $500, $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 when you complete required activities.
''To unlock your bonus, deposit qualifying funds within 20 days of account opening and maintain your balance for an additional 60 days starting at the 21st day.''
Clearly, the state of the megabanks in the U.S. today requires more than a toaster to lure deposits. (See Congress Sweats the Small Stuff as Four Wall Street Mega Banks Have a Combined $3.3 Trillion in Uninsured Deposits.)
Apple Is Loaning Its Brand to the Great Vampire Squid to Offer FDIC-Insured Savings Accounts
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 21:12
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 18, 2023
Apple, maker of the iPhone and one of the top brands in the world, has decided to get deeper in bed with Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street trading house with more than 100 years of ignominious history. Goldman Sachs was infamously branded as ''a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money'' by Matt Taibbi in the pages of Rolling Stone.
Of all things to offer through Goldman Sachs, Apple thinks it's a swell idea to offer a high-yielding, FDIC-insured savings account '' that is ultimately backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer if Goldman Sachs blows up '' which it came close to doing in 2008.
Apple's credit card is already offered through Goldman Sachs. In an SEC filing on February 24, Goldman Sachs acknowledged that its credit card division is under federal investigation. A check at the complaint database of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency, shows that hundreds of consumer complaints have been filed against the Goldman Sachs/Apple credit card.
The Apple credit card via Goldman Sachs was only launched three years ago in August of 2019. Goldman wrote the following at the time:
''Goldman Sachs is the issuer of the card and is responsible for underwriting, customer service, the underlying platform and all matters related to regulatory compliance through Goldman Sachs Bank USA.''
Among the hundreds of complaints filed at the CFPB is the following from a resident of Nevada. The complaint was filed on February 8 of this year: (Redacted material was done by the CFPB.)
''Late last year, Apple credit card pulled a hard inquiry on my credit and issued me an Apple credit card. I did not request this credit card, so I contacted XXXX about this matter. Apple credit card closed my account and stated to me that they noted my account was closed because they could not verify that I requested, authorized, or applied for this credit card. I believe this credit card was requested by an XXXX store agent, without my authorization, when I purchased a new iphone. I believe this because the agent signed me up for several other offers that I did not request. These matters have been resolved with XXXX. Regarding the hard inquiry, the XXXX representative told me to contact each credit reporting agency to request that the hard inquiry be removed from my credit report. XXXX will be reporting this account as closed due to unable to verify that I applied for the credit card. Thank you for assisting in the removal of the hard inquiry with each agency.''
In announcing the new savings account venture with Goldman Sachs yesterday, Apple provided the following information:
''Once a Savings account is set up, all future Daily Cash earned by the user will be automatically deposited into the account. The Daily Cash destination can also be changed at any time, and there's no limit on how much Daily Cash users can earn. To build on their savings even further, users can deposit additional funds into their Savings account through a linked bank account, or from their Apple Cash balance.'' [Bold emphasis added by Wall Street On Parade.]
Linking one's primary bank account to anything connected to Goldman Sachs should be very carefully considered. Goldman Sachs is a global bank and has been a target of hackers in the past. (See here and here, for example.)
Complaints filed at the CFPB about the Apple/Goldman Sachs credit card include complaints regarding hacking. On January 13 of this year, the following hacking complaint was filed by a resident of California:
''I signed up for an Apple Card, and then my Apple account got hacked. I started getting charges on my Apple Card, and got billed statements by mail, but none of the charges were made by me. I've made numerous attempts to contact Apple, but they keep telling me to try to log into my account to fix the issue. I can not get into my card because it got hacked and the phone number connected to it has been changed by the hacker as well. They can not help me get into my account AND they can not stop the charges. My credit line on that card is also only {$12000.00}, but somehow this hacker his racked up charges upwards of {$30000.00} when this shouldn't be even possible? Not a single transaction was from me, and I can not stop them. This is affecting my well being and also my credit score. I desperately need help to stop them and fix this situation. Please help me.''
On August 11 of last year, a resident of Michigan filed this complaint with the CFPB:
''A Goldman Sachs Apple Card was linked to this AppleID. I reported the hack to Apple within minutes of it happening. Despite my fast action in reporting the problem, the hacker then made purchases of approximately {$22000.00}. Other charges came through the account, as late as XX/XX/2022, despite the fact that all cards associated with this account were supposed blocked/frozen on XX/XX/XXXX. Access to my AppleID is lost forever as the hacker is in control of it. Goldman Sachs/Apple Card refuses to issue a new card using my new XXXX XXXX. They say I cannot apply for a new card until all issues are resolved and that I must cancel the old account and reapply for credit as if they do not know me nor my excellent history with that account. In order to reapply, the old card must be paid off in full, including a monthly installment purchase of a product from Apple. Account cancellation and reapplying will impact my credit score. The company said that my hacking/fraud may or may not be used in considering a new application for credit. As of today, two months later, the issues have not all been resolved. So, I wait.''
Dubious dealings at Goldman Sachs go all the way back to the leadup to the Wall Street financial crash of 1929. During the asset bubble of 1928, Goldman ran the Goldman Sachs Trading Company, a closed end fund (called a trust in those days) that Goldman Sachs created and offered to the public at $104 a share. The trust was filled with conflicted investments while paying Goldman a hefty management fee. Within a few years after the crash, the Goldman Sachs trust was trading at a buck and change. On May 20, 1932, Walter Sachs, President of the Goldman Sachs Trading Company, was interrogated by the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. The Committee concluded that Goldman Sachs fleeced its customers to line its own pockets.
On April 27, 2010 the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing and interviewed multiple executives of Goldman Sachs over its role in the subprime crisis. That hearing was following by an in-depth report from the Subcommittee. Among the findings were the following regarding Goldman Sachs:
''When Goldman Sachs realized the mortgage market was in decline, it took actions to profit from that decline at the expense of its clients. New documents detail how, in 2007, Goldman's Structured Products Group twice amassed and profited from large net short positions in mortgage related securities. At the same time the firm was betting against the mortgage market as a whole, Goldman assembled and aggressively marketed to its clients poor quality CDOs that it actively bet against by taking large short positions in those transactions. New documents and information detail how Goldman recommended four CDOs, Hudson, Anderson, Timberwolf, and Abacus, to its clients without fully disclosing key information about those products, Goldman's own market views, or its adverse economic interests. For example, in Hudson, Goldman told investors that its interests were 'aligned' with theirs when, in fact, Goldman held 100% of the short side of the CDO and had adverse interests to the investors, and described Hudson's assets were 'sourced from the Street,' when in fact, Goldman had selected and priced the assets without any third party involvement. New documents also reveal that, at one point in May 2007, Goldman Sachs unsuccessfully tried to execute a 'short squeeze' in the mortgage market so that Goldman could scoop up short positions at artificially depressed prices and profit as the mortgage market declined.''
Goldman Sachs also has the distinction of being the only Wall Street firm to have an executive submit his resignation via the OpEd page of the New York Times. On March 14, 2012, Greg Smith, a 12-year veteran of Goldman Sachs and a Vice President, explained why he was resigning, writing in part: ''' callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets.' ''
The muppets' reference went viral as internet memes, including law professor and former Wall Street veteran Frank Partnoy reworking the lyrics of Bret McKenzie's song, ''Man or Muppet.'' (See video below.)
For what Goldman Sachs has been up to more lately, see our reports: Goldman Sachs Criminally Charged by Justice Department '' and Its Stock Closes Up $2.49 and Goldman Sachs Is Being Sued for 27 Separate Stock Offerings It Underwrote.
Good luck, Apple, with your co-branding idea from hell.
DSM-Firmenich |
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 13:01
Our business areasDSM-Firmenich will bring together category-leading nutrition, well-being, and beauty excellence. We combine more than 250 years of expertise, creating an unrivalled offering for the global market.
Food & BeverageDSM, as part of DSM-Firmenich, supports healthy diets for all through the creation of sustainable solutions that address the taste, texture and nutritional quality of food and drinks in an integrated way.
With an extensive portfolio of global products, such as dairy cultures, enzymes, yeast extracts, flavors, vitamins, minerals, nutritional lipids and plant-based meat and fish alternatives, the business serves customers across markets including fresh dairy, cheese, beverages, savory, baking, brewing, and confectionery.
Spotify will drop paywall for Gimlet podcasts | Semafor
Mon, 17 Apr 2023 05:34
Spotify acquired Gimlet for $230 million in 2019, in the hopes that exclusive access to podcasts like "Reply All" would bring new subscribers to the streaming service.
The shift away from using exclusive podcasts to acquire subscribers marks the end of that experiment '-- though it's good news for the fans who can now listen anywhere.
While Gimlet's podcasts were exclusive to the platform, some other podcasts and companies under the Spotify umbrella are not, including shows from sports and pop culture company The Ringer. As Semafor reported earlier this year, Ringer founder Bill Simmons personally lobbied Spotify CEO Daniel Ek against putting the podcast company's shows behind a strict exclusivity window. Simmons argued that the Ringer would miss out on the advertising revenue on on other platforms, which was growing in areas such as sports gambling.
VIDEO - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Announces 2024 Presidential Bid - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:37
VIDEO - IRS agent wants whistleblower protections to discuss Hunter Biden probe
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:29
An IRS special agent said to be involved in the federal investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes is seeking whistleblower protections to provide sensitive disclosures about the probe to Congress.
Mark D. Lytle, a lawyer for the unnamed IRS employee, wrote in a letter Wednesday to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that he represents a ''career IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent who has been overseeing the ongoing and sensitive investigation of a high profile, controversial subject since early 2020'' and would like to make protected whistleblower disclosures to Congress.
While Lytle did not name Biden in the letter, which was obtained by NBC News, a source familiar with the matter who also verified its authenticity said the investigation refers to the federal probe into the finances of President Joe Biden's son Hunter.
The letter was previously reported by CBS News and The Wall Street Journal.
According to Lytle, the IRS special agent is prepared to provide information that would "contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee," reveal failures to handle "clear conflicts of interest" in the case and detail instances of "preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols.''
Lytle went on to say his client has notified the offices of inspector general at both the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, and the Justice Department through "legally protected disclosures."
The Treasury Department and Lytle did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department and the IRS declined to comment.
Lytle proposed meeting with lawmakers to determine a way forward, saying his client had held back on sharing certain details, making it "challenging for me to make fully informed judgments about how best to proceed.''
House Oversight Committee chair James Comer, whose panel is investigating Biden family finances, called the allegations in Lytle's letter "concerning."
''It's deeply concerning that the Biden Administration may be obstructing justice by blocking efforts to charge Hunter Biden for tax violations," Comer, R-Ky., said in a statement. "We've been wondering all along where the heck the DOJ and the IRS have been. Now it appears the Biden Administration may have been working overtime to prevent the Bidens from facing any consequences."
Comer was not one of the nine recipients of Lytle's letter, which was sent to the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate Judiciary and tax-writing committees. It was also sent to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a co-chair of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus.
House Ways and Means Committee chair Jason Smith, R-Mo., said in a statement that his panel looks forward "to sitting down promptly with this individual to better understand the scope and detail of the concerns raised. The Committee takes seriously any allegations of misconduct by government officials or offices and will, on behalf of American taxpayers, look into concerns that are brought to our attention."
NBC News did not immediately receive a response from the other committees or Grassley.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating Hunter Biden's taxes since 2018, years before his father was elected president. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying, ''I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.''
Sarah Fitzpatrick Sarah Fitzpatrick is a senior investigative producer and story editor for NBC News. She previously worked for CBS News and "60 Minutes."
Zo Richards Zo Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.
VIDEO - (20) Marco Rubio on Twitter: "FOUR DAYS and they still can't figure out how to get enough gasoline to South #Florida #GasShortage" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:22
Marco Rubio : FOUR DAYS and they still can't figure out how to get enough gasoline to South #Florida #GasShortage
Wed Apr 19 23:27:11 +0000 2023
Ari ''cancelled Bibble character'' Xavier : @marcorubio I don't know man, time to call your elected officials or something'....
Thu Apr 20 14:22:58 +0000 2023
Indict Already : @marcorubio God will provide, li'l Marco. Get on your knees and pray to your 🍊 deity.
Thu Apr 20 14:22:55 +0000 2023
Baba Terekeh : @marcorubio Are you not a US Senator? Stop whining and do something, Senator.
Thu Apr 20 14:22:52 +0000 2023
Veronica Po : @marcorubio What the hell were you elected to do???????? Why don't YOU do something? Sitting around waiting for oth'...
Thu Apr 20 14:22:39 +0000 2023
Jen Burke : @marcorubio Is not this your job?
Thu Apr 20 14:22:37 +0000 2023
ð'--¸ð'••ð'•'ð'•ž ð'•ƒð'•'ð'•Ÿð'• : @marcorubio idk do your damn job
Thu Apr 20 14:22:24 +0000 2023
Minica Luno : @marcorubio Who is "they" Senator? Would that be you? Point your finger, three point back at you. js
Thu Apr 20 14:22:18 +0000 2023
Sloppydrew : @marcorubio You are ''they''.
Thu Apr 20 14:22:17 +0000 2023
Joseph Giannuzzi : @marcorubio Drill Our Own!!!
Thu Apr 20 14:22:09 +0000 2023
🌠ðŸ' Danielle'¸'­¸ : @marcorubio Shouldn't you and all the other Republicans that are in charge in Florida fix this? ðŸ¤--
Thu Apr 20 14:22:09 +0000 2023
mrequator77 : @marcorubio Same Old Problem.Both political parties are reality social media stars. Obessed with raising vast amoun'...
Thu Apr 20 14:22:07 +0000 2023
No Longer Plays Well With Others. : @marcorubio Easy fix...
Thu Apr 20 14:22:00 +0000 2023
Matthew Kayes : @marcorubio Surely the great public transportation system will alleviate the problem. Oh wait. I guess we should'...
Thu Apr 20 14:21:53 +0000 2023
Gored by Bull : @marcorubio What's happened to you? You seem so timid and resigned lately. Trouble at home?
Thu Apr 20 14:21:50 +0000 2023
tony zama '¼ : @marcorubio Maybe if we give more thoughts and prayers?
Thu Apr 20 14:21:49 +0000 2023
F Elon Musk : @marcorubio "We have met the enemy, and they am us." ~Marco Rubio
Thu Apr 20 14:21:45 +0000 2023
The Real McCoyðŸ...– : @marcorubio That's a you thing
Thu Apr 20 14:21:43 +0000 2023
AmericanStar : @marcorubio What are doing to help. Complain again ??
Thu Apr 20 14:21:35 +0000 2023
Sara Hilson : @marcorubio Are you saying they in the first person because you is they.
Thu Apr 20 14:21:35 +0000 2023
HeartlandLiberal : @marcorubio This you Li'l Marco, complaining about "they?" Who are they, but you, Li'l Marco, the most useless, fec'...
Thu Apr 20 14:21:18 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly visits occupied region in Ukraine - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:20
VIDEO - 'Impossible to know who is in control' amid heavy clashes in Sudan ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 14:02
VIDEO - John Fetterman Struggles Through His First Senate Hearing Opening Statement - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:57
VIDEO - World's biggest chipmaker TSMC in talks to build chip plant in Germany | DW Business - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:47
VIDEO - US Supreme Court extends access to abortion pill to Friday ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:46
VIDEO - Ron DeSantis' 'Don't say gay' law: Florida expands classroom ban to all grades ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:45
VIDEO - Senegalese tech firms taking Tik Tok to court, worried about 'unregulated' app's influence - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:44
VIDEO - EU planning billions in subsidies for semiconductors | DW News - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:43
VIDEO - NATO's Stoltenberg visits Ukraine for the first time since Russia's invasion | DW News - YouTube
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 13:42
VIDEO - operation take down Biden is a go. How the hell did CBS find all this out if it's supposed to be secret" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Apr 2023 03:40
Data Not Dogma : @adamcurry operation take down Biden is a go. How the hell did CBS find all this out if it's supposed to be secret
Thu Apr 20 03:27:52 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Trans Clinic Whistleblower Speaks Out - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 21:58
VIDEO - (33) Tony - Resistance on Twitter: "Jen Psaki wants Trump held to the same legal standard as Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira. Teixeira, 21, was arrested at 1841 Maple St. in North Dighton, on Thursday." / Twitter
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 18:20
Tony - Resistance : Jen Psaki wants Trump held to the same legal standard as Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira. Teixeira, 21, was arrested'...
Sun Apr 16 21:57:48 +0000 2023
VIDEO - U.S. life expectancy hurt by misinformation: FDA Commissioner Robert Califf
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 18:03
Life expectancy in the U.S. is between three and five years lower than the average in other high-income countries '-- and the gap comes in part from misinformation, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said.
"It's looking worse, not better, over the last several years," Califf told CNBC in an interview Thursday at the agency's headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
It's not just the Covid pandemic contributing to the decline, he said, pointing out the gap with peer nations is widening. Califf said a new factor has joined the list of known causes of life expectancy disparities like race, ethnicity, income and education: living in a rural area, where he noted that people are exposed to different information sources.
"Why aren't we using medical products as effectively and efficiently as our peer countries? A lot of it has to do with choices that people make because of the things that influenced their thinking," Califf said.
The commissioner is just more than a year into his second turn at the top of the agency, one of only two top leaders of the FDA to return to the job for a separate second term. Since he left in January 2017, at the end of the Obama administration, the pandemic and rising political tensions have made combating misinformation even more complicated '-- and led Califf to make it one of his top priorities at the agency.
"You think about the impact of a single person reaching a billion people on the internet all over the world, we just weren't prepared for that," Califf said. "We don't have societal rules that are adjudicating it quite right, and I think it's impacting our health in very detrimental ways."
He said there's a need for better regulation, including "specific authorities at FDA, FTC and other areas" to root out misinformation.
A bigger bully pulpitCaliff spoke to CNBC a day before a federal judge suspended the FDA's approval of abortion pill mifepristone, a decision that could have broad implications both for abortion access and regulation of future drugs. The FDA commissioner spoke about multiple topics including efforts to cut drug prices, a priority for the Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties in Congress.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf testifies before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update on the ongoing Federal response to COVID-19, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Califf noted that while the FDA doesn't play a direct role in pricing medicines, it has tools to influence drug costs.
"We have an indirect role, and we have a bully pulpit to make the public aware and put some pressure on," he said, noting that he has previously said drug prices are set by "what you can get minus the shame factor."
Califf recently wielded some of that power after the agency approved the first over-the-counter version of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug. He tweeted that the FDA encouraged the manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions , to make the drug available "as soon as possible and at an affordable price."
He plans to use that bully pulpit in a bigger way to rein in drugmakers on pricing '-- while trying to walk a fine line with checking a pharmaceutical industry that he noted produces lifesaving products from vaccines to statins.
"There's a balance here that we have to reach," he said. "And in some areas we're not in the right balance right now."
Incentives for researchCaliff is also encouraging the drug industry to consider investments in neglected areas of research. He spoke with CNBC the day the agency withdrew approval of the only available drug for preterm birth, Makena, after a confirmatory trial didn't verify its clinical benefit.
"The data were quite clear," he said. "But we should be reminded that we're seeing an explosion of maternal mortality in this country and a lot of premature delivery leading to prolonged illness and neonatal intensive care unit stays for infants."
"We need effective treatments," Califf said. "And the industry is not producing much in the way of effective treatment."
He also pointed to tobacco cessation products and nonaddictive medicines for chronic pain as areas "where the industry is not really producing."
Incentives put in place by the FDA and others in areas like cancer and rare diseases have revolutionized drug development for those conditions, and similar efforts could help in the development of other treatments, Califf said.
"Now we've got to go back to these other areas and figure out what to do to stimulate activity," he said.
New obesity drugsOn the opposite end of the spectrum for drug industry interest are new medicines for obesity and diabetes, like those from Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly : Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro.
Califf, a cardiologist, said he has "great hope for this class of drugs," noting it's one of a growing number of classes of medicines "that are dealing with the axis between our gut and our brain."
"A lot of the things that we thought were willpower before, we're now coming to understand that our bellies are signaling our brain and vice versa, through endocrine pathways," he said.
He noted he's looking forward to results from studies known as outcomes trials looking at whether the medicines lower the risk of heart disease and stroke when used by people who are obese but don't have diabetes.
"If that pans out, we'll have some major decisions to make as a society," Califf said. "When do we add the drugs to the advice that we're giving to people in the general population?"
Results from Novo Nordisk's outcomes trial for Wegovy are expected this summer. Questions may remain about the longer-term safety of taking these medicines: Novo Nordisk's executives have noted patients must keep taking the drugs to sustain weight loss.
Califf said the U.S. could improve its data collection systems using electronic health records to track things like the long-term safety of these drugs.
"If you want to know if a safety signal is going to pop up, we should be able to assay the composite of electronic health records of people on the treatment and not on the treatment, and we should be able to do long-term, randomized clinical trials at a very low cost," Califf said. "We haven't developed that system in the U.S.; the UK and Israel are way ahead of us in that regard and we need to catch up."
Califf also noted it's possible the drugs will prove to be safer than hoped. He cited statins '-- for high cholesterol '-- and drugs for high blood pressure. He said the profile of those medicines "looks better and better over time."
He also took issue with the idea that patients must take the new obesity medicines indefinitely to keep weight off.
"It's true if you stopped the drug after some period of time the weight would come back up, but I'm not sure these people have gotten the behavioral interventions," Califf said.
He pointed to other areas of medicine where "people feel like they just can't succeed," like smoking cessation, where a medicine in addition to clinical care means "it may not be the case that it's totally an irreversible situation where you're just going to bounce right back."
As use of the medicines has exploded, leading to jokes about Ozempic at the Oscars and on "Saturday Night Live," Califf said it's not the FDA's place to opine on off-label use of medicines.
"We can't interfere with the practice of medicine, and we won't do that," he said. "We need to make our communications clear about where the evidence exists for where the benefits outweigh the risks."
But one word of caution Califf did issue was on use of compounded versions of the weight loss drugs provided online by unauthorized suppliers.
"Compounding is highly regulated," Califf said. "It should only be used in specific circumstances. Fraud use for weight loss is not one of those."
'-- CNBC's Leanne Miller contributed to this report.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC and NBC, which broadcasts "Saturday Night Live."
VIDEO - Ancient DEMON GOD Behind GAY AGENDA - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:57
VIDEO - China defence minister Li Shangfu hails 'strong' tries in meeting with Putin in Russia ' FRANCE 24 - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:54
VIDEO - Animal rights protesters disrupt England's biggest horse race | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:53
VIDEO - Bank of Israel considering the issue of digital shekel stablecoin - The Jerusalem Post
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:49
The digital currency would enable much more convenience and transaction security, but would also carry its own host of risks. Published: APRIL 17, 2023 15:01
Updated: APRIL 17, 2023 20:10
Israel develops new 'bitcoin' currency (Illustrative)
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The Bank of Israel is preparing an action plan for the potential issuance of a digital shekel. In a recent document, the bank discussed the conditions that would enable or support a decision to issue a BOI Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) at some point, indicating a number of variables that may have an effect on the steering committee's recommendation.
A CBDC is a digital currency issued and backed by a central bank, representing a digital version of a country's fiat currency (money backed by a government). CBDCs are designed to be used as a medium of exchange and store of value, just like traditional currency, employing stablecoins, whose value is pegged to a reference asset, such as fiat currency.
Some may think this sounds like the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, CBDCs are centralized and controlled by a central authority, such as a central bank or monetary authority.
One of the main advantages of CBDCs is that they offer faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions compared to traditional payment methods. They also provide a digital alternative to physical cash, which is becoming less commonly used in many countries. However, CBDCs also raise concerns about financial stability, privacy, and cybersecurity risks that need to be carefully considered and addressed.
Digital Currencies: They're all the rageThe bank noted that an important factor in the issuance decision in Israel is the popularity of CBDCs issued by other countries, such as the US or the European Union.
The Bank of Israel building is seen in Jerusalem June 16, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/RONEN ZEVULUN)The bank expects that the probability of such a development within the next few years is significant, and according to analyst and veteran trader Ilan Tennenbaum, that expectation is apt.
''The situation right now in the world is that some countries '-- for example, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan '-- already have a CBDC project on some level.''
Ilan Tennenbaum''The situation right now in the world is that some countries '' for example, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, and Japan '' already have a CBDC project on some level,'' Tennenbaum said. ''This discussion is going on all over the world and obviously, the US is in charge, so we'll get a final decision from them regarding a CBDC, and then the Bank of Israel will do the same [as they].''
Additionally, the decline in the legitimate use of cash and its acceptance in transactions in Israel were identified as potential factors for the bank to consider. Although cash is still used in Israel in a significant portion of consumer transactions, it is highly probable that the use of cash as a means of payment will decline in the future.
Tennenbaum highlighted this as a potential opening for trouble, as it would grant the Bank of Israel total control over all of the digital cash flow within the system.
''People need to be aware that once the CBDC will be released, and everybody will be paying with it, that means that all the transactions are on the blockchain, so everyone can see them. It also means that the government theoretically can control those transactions and limit your spending,'' he warned.
The bank warned that a significant penetration of stablecoins might impair the payment system due to competition in the domestic payment system. This would justify the issuance of a central bank's digital currency in order to support competition in the payments and financial systems in the digital era. Technological developments may also provide justification for the issuance of a digital shekel, as it would be able to serve as an efficient and secure platform for advanced technological cases.
The Bank of Israel emphasized the importance of being prepared to advance the issuance of a digital shekel if the variables listed above support it. The steering committee would monitor developments on a periodic basis.
While no decision has yet been made, the Bank of Israel is taking proactive steps to be ready for the issuance of a digital shekel when the time is right. While the benefits of increased efficiency, financial inclusion, and enhanced security are significant, the operational complexity, risks to financial stability, privacy, and cybersecurity '' as well as promoting user adoption '' pose significant challenges. The Bank of Israel will need to carefully weigh these factors before closing cash register drawers in exchange for an Israeli CBDC.
var cont = ` Sign up for The Jerusalem Post Premium Plus for just $5 Upgrade your reading experience with an ad-free environment and exclusive content Join Now >
`;document.getElementById("linkPremium").innerHTML = cont;var divWithLink = document.getElementById("premium-link");if(divWithLink !== null && divWithLink !== 'undefined'){ = "solid 1px #cb0f3e"; = "center"; = "40px"; = "40px"; = "728px"; = "#122952"; = "#ffffff";}(function (v, i){});
PSD's biometric pilot program for buying school meals - what to know | Poudre School District
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:30
Poudre School District is testing out new technology in four schools this spring with a goal of making it quicker and easier to buy school meals.
PSD will evaluate a biometric finger-scanning pilot program between mid-April and May 25 to see if it makes the meal-purchasing process more efficient at Linton and Dunn elementary, Kinard middle, and Rocky Mountain High schools. Faster checkout times would help PSD to better implement the voter-approved free school meal program, which could yield an increase in meals served.
''With the passage of Proposition FF, we don't yet know what to expect ahead of our 2023-24 school year launch, but we want to be ready to serve free meals to hundreds, if not thousands, of new student diners,'' said PSD Director of Child Nutrition Craig Schneider. ''We know that students and their families have many options when it comes to what they eat. The Child Nutrition Department is committed to offering not only the most nutritious options '' many made from scratch with local ingredients '' but also the fastest options so students can get the most out of their mealtimes.''
Hearing about a biometric-scanning pilot program may bring to mind images of Capt. Kirk and futuristic living aboard the starship Enterprise. PSD may not be part of the Star Trek universe but is home to this new tech.
Fast facts about PSD's biometrics pilot program
identiMetrics scanners will be placed next to the cafeteria's current keyboards and will be integrated directly into PSD's existing Point of Sale (POS) system. The use of scanners is intended to replace the current practice of keying in student ID numbers as students go through lunch lines. It takes about 2 seconds to scan a finger. This technology DOES NOT take or store a picture of users' fingerprints. The computer software develops a grid of intersection points from the swirls and arcs of the scanned finger, creates a template showing the finger's unique points, and converts the template into a binary number that is encrypted and stored. iPhone users know what this is like. The data collected will be maintained locally by PSD and NONE of the information is sent out externally/to the internet. Additional resources from the scanner manufacturer
More information about identiMetrics' finger-scanning process: Check out identiMetrics' biometric-scanning FAQs Watch a video about ''How Biometrics Work''Opting out '' an option for families
Families have the option to opt their students out of participation. Those families who wish to opt their students out will complete and return a form to school. Child Nutrition staff will indicate in the system that the student has been opted out, and the student will continue to key in their student ID number in lunch lines. The scanners will NOT work for students who have been opted out. Evaluation will determine district-wide implementation
We are committed to evaluating the success of this pilot against specific criteria. These criteria include evaluating how long it takes for students to go through lunch lines currently and then comparing this information to the length of time it takes with new technology (scanners) in use; considering the percentage of students who are opted out of participation; and evaluating the extent to which the accuracy of meal counts improves. If the pilot is successful, PSD will implement the use of this technology in cafeterias district-wide during the 2023-24 school year. Have questions? Please email, and a member of the pilot project team will follow up with you.
VIDEO - (20) Collin Rugg on Twitter: "NEW: Walmart is closing 4 of their store locations in Chicago. Gee, I wonder why. Here is Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson defending looters and attacking corporations. ''You can't condone the looting that corporations
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:19
Collin Rugg : NEW: Walmart is closing 4 of their store locations in Chicago.Gee, I wonder why.Here is Mayor-elect Brandon Joh'...
Mon Apr 17 13:17:26 +0000 2023
Mike Babiarz : @CollinRugg If they're taking tax dollars from customers, that gets paid to the city! Chicago deserves this.
Wed Apr 19 17:14:12 +0000 2023
VIDEO - (20) Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Twitter: "BREAKING'¼¸ ''A lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common sense.'' Former Director of National Intelligence @JohnRatclif
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:13
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic : BREAKING'¼¸''A lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common se'...
Tue Apr 18 15:42:26 +0000 2023
wolfgang wind ðŸ‡...🇹 ðŸ‡(C)🇪 🇺🇸 : @COVIDSelect @JohnRatcliffe @SeekingTruth4us The Miraculous Three Lab-Leak Prophets:Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab and'...
Wed Apr 19 17:01:27 +0000 2023
The Mindful Storm : @COVIDSelect @TockTick1776 @JohnRatcliffe This 👇
Wed Apr 19 16:47:24 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant: US warns Russia not to touch American nuclear technology at Ukrainian nuclear plant | CNN Politics
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 17:12
CNN '--
The US has sensitive nuclear technology at a nuclear power plant inside Ukraine and is warning Russia not to touch it, according to a letter the US Department of Energy sent to Russia's state-owned nuclear energy firm Rosatom last month.
In the letter, which was reviewed by CNN and is dated March 17, 2023, the director of the Energy Department's Office of Nonproliferation Policy, Andrea Ferkile, tells Rosatom's director general that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar ''contains US-origin nuclear technical data that is export-controlled by the United States Government.''
Goods, software and technology are subject to US export controls when it is possible for them to be used in a way that undermines US national security interests.
The Energy Department letter comes as Russian forces continue to control the plant, which is the largest nuclear power station in Europe and sits in a part of the Zaporizhzhia region that Russia occupied after its invasion of Ukraine last February. The plant has frequently been disconnected from Ukraine's power grid due to intense Russian shelling in the area, raising fears across Europe of a nuclear accident.
While the plant is still physically operated by Ukrainian staff, Rosatom manages it. The Energy Department warned Rosatom in the letter that it is ''unlawful'' for any Russian citizens or entities to handle the US technology.
CNN has reached out to Rosatom for comment.
Satellite images show changes Russia are making to occupied nuclear plant
''It is unlawful under United States law for non-authorized persons, including, but not limited to, Russian citizens and Russian entities,'' the letter says, ''such as Rosatom and its subsidiaries, to knowingly and willfully access, possess, control, export, store, seize, review, re-export, ship, transfer, copy, manipulate such technology or technical data, or direct, or authorize others to do the same, without such Russian entities becoming authorized recipients by the Secretary of the US Department of Energy.''
It is not clear whether Rosatom has responded to the letter. The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration told CNN in a statement that the letter is authentic.
The letters were first reported by the news outlet RBC Ukraine.
''The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration can confirm that the letter is legitimate,'' said Shayela Hassan, the deputy director of public affairs for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
She added: ''The Secretary of Energy has the statutory responsibility for authorizing the transfer of unclassified civilian nuclear technology and assistance to foreign atomic energy activities. DOE does not comment on regulatory activities.''
Another letter from Ferkile to the Energy Department's Inspector General, reviewed by CNN and dated October 24, 2022, outlines the technology the US has exported to Ukraine for use in the Zaporizhzhia plant and reiterates that the department has ''no record of any current authorization to transfer this technology and technical data to any Russian national or entity.''
The Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy has been public about the US' support for the plant, and stated on its website in June 2021 that ''the United States helped implement new maintenance procedures and operations at the reactor that should ultimately strengthen energy security'' in Ukraine.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misattributed the news outlet that first reported the letters. It was RBC Ukraine.
VIDEO - US Supreme Court to rule on abortion pill ban ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:32
VIDEO - Fox News settles Dominion lawsuit for $787.5 million over US election lies ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:29
VIDEO - 'The fighting has intensified': Civilians trapped as Sudan ceasefire ignored ' FRANCE 24 - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:25
VIDEO - Von der Leyen says EU needs China policy shift | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:24
VIDEO - Artist wins photo award with AI generated image, sparking debate | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:23
VIDEO - Tunisia closes offices of opposition party Ennahdha after arresting leader ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:23
VIDEO - Africa has 'all the ingredients for a clean energy revolution' ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:21
VIDEO - Russia 'using spy ships to plot North Sea sabotage' ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:20
VIDEO - (9) KanekoaTheGreat on Twitter: "The former Director of National Intelligence agrees with the former CDC Director that Dr. Anthony Fauci lied to Congress under oath about funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab: "Some of Dr. Fauci's tes
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 15:16
KanekoaTheGreat : The former Director of National Intelligence agrees with the former CDC Director that Dr. Anthony Fauci lied to Con'...
Tue Apr 18 19:23:07 +0000 2023
VIDEO - 'What Percent Of Our Atmosphere Is CO2?': Doug LaMalfa Stumps Entire Panel With Climate Questions - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:41
VIDEO - (21) KanekoaTheGreat on Twitter: "Washington Post reporter @JoshRogin tells @GlennBeck that the Pentagon's leaked documents reveal China's hypersonic glide missiles defeat our aircraft carriers and missile defense systems: "We spent thirty years b
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:34
KanekoaTheGreat : Washington Post reporter @JoshRogin tells @GlennBeck that the Pentagon's leaked documents reveal China's hypersonic'...
Mon Apr 17 23:24:53 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Apple launches its high-yield savings account with 4.15% interest rate | World Business Watch | WION - YouTube
Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:13
VIDEO - C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics With Christine Lagarde - Livestream - Invidious
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 23:39
President Christine Lagarde of the European Central Bank discusses inflation, interest rates, and the challenges facing Europe's economic recovery.The C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics brings the world's foremost economic policymakers and scholars to address members on current topics in international economics and U.S. monetary policy. This meeting series is presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.SpeakerChristine LagardePresident, European Central BankPresiderRichard HaassPresident, Council on Foreign RelationsSubscribe to our channel: Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. Visit the CFR website: CFR on Twitter: CFR on Facebook:
VIDEO - Slovakia bans imports of Ukrainian grain after Poland, Hungary ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 23:01
VIDEO - US arrests two for setting up secret Chinese 'police station' in New York ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:59
VIDEO - US reporter Gershkovich to appeal against detention in Russian jail ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:52
VIDEO - US diplomatic convoy fired on in Sudan, all people safe, says Blinken ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:51
VIDEO - US arrests two for running secret Chinese 'police station' in NYC - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:46
VIDEO - Weekend Update: Molly Kearney on Anti-LGBTQ Bills in the United States - SNL | Watch
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:34
Duration: 03:47 2 days ago
SNL's first non-binary cast member, Molly Kearney, stops by Weekend Update to discuss the harmful effects caused by the anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in the United States.Saturday Night Live. Stream now on Peacock: to SNL: Current Full Episodes: PAST SNL SEASONSGoogle Play - - ON SOCIALSNL Instagram: Facebook: Twitter: TikTok: MORE NBCLike NBC: NBC: Tumblr: Instagram: #AnadeArmas #SNL48 #KarolG
VIDEO - Kitchener woman details journey using Ozempic, as weight loss benefits spark rising interest | CTV News
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:29
A drug originally created for those with Type 2 diabetes is also increasingly becoming a popular way to lose weight.
Melissa Sanderson-Alsbergas is a 29-year-old from Kitchener who lives with a chronic illness that makes physical activity a challenge. She came to a crossroad in her weight loss journey when a new prescription was discussed as a potential solution.
''I'm starting to give up,'' said Sanderson-Alsbergas. ''Then my doctor mentioned Ozempic.''
The drug, a branded version of semaglutide, was intended to help those with diabetes keep their blood sugar level in check. Its popularity has soared in recent months for another one of its effects '-- doctors are now prescribing the drug for its off-label benefit of weight loss.
''So, it's been a month now that I've been on it and so far I've lost about 15 pounds,'' Sanderson-Alsbergas explained.
Despite having the ability to help users drop significant weight, professionals are warning about some of the harsh side effects that are associated with the drug.
''In the first 12 weeks of using the drug, you're so nauseated and uninterested in food that is actually stimulates weight loss,'' said Nishta Saxena, a registered dietician with Vibrant Nutrition.
Recently, there has been some controversy around using the drug for weight-loss purposes, especially south of the border where they've been dealing with shortages of Ozempic.
In Canada, that doesn't seem to be the case. An emailed statement from Diabetes Canada to CTV News reads:
''Thus far, we haven't received any such complaints or reports. We also continually consult with Health Canada's public site listing drug shortages '' Ozempic is not currently listed as a drug that is experiencing a shortage.''
Despite reassurance from the governing body, some dieticians are worried the drug only provides a short-term fix.
''The very painful part about taking Ozempic is when you stop taking the drug, most likely the weight will rebound,'' said Saxena.
In cases like Sanderson-Alsbergas', experts say the drug can be used in a safe and effective way. Though, they caution that it requires careful consideration from both patient and physician.
With Sanderson-Alsbergas now able to push her son on the swing with ease, she said the reward has far outweighed the risk.
VIDEO - Extinction Rebellion will 'step up' action if government ignores two climate demands | The Independent
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:24
Sign up to the Independent Climate email for the latest advice on saving the planetGet our free Climate email
Extinction Rebellion and other campaign groups have vowed to ''step up'' action unless the government responds to two demands on climate change.
XR, Global Justice Now, Don't Pay UK and the PCS Union have called on ministers to end all licences, funding and approval for new oil and gas projects.
They also want the government to create ''emergency citizens assemblies'' to tackle the climate crisis.
The groups said they had given Downing Street a deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 25 April to reply to the demands or they will escalate their actions.
It comes as they prepare for four days of demonstrations taking place in Parliament Square, London, beginning on Friday, 21 April.
More than 200 organisations are supporting the protests '' including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, XR said.
Some 28,000 people have so far said they will attend the protest, although XR expects more to join the demonstrations over the course of the weekend.
In a joint press conference on Tuesday, XR insisted that the demonstrations were not intended as ''public disruption'' but accepted that the sheer number of people attending may cause ''logistical issues'' in and around Westminster, with the London Marathon taking place on Sunday.
Police officers surround activists from the climate change protester group Extinction Rebellion as they demonstrate on the south side of Vauzhall Bridge in London on April 10, 2022
(AFP via Getty Images)
XR has previously called on the government to end new licences for fossil fuel projects but its demands have been so far ignored.
If ministers do not respond by the stated deadline, XR said escalated protests would involve joining picket lines ''in solidarity'' with workers who are on strike.
''We must unite to survive,'' said Marjin van der Geer from XR.
This weekend's protest is being billed by XR as ''The Big One'' and will be attended by a range of climate, environment and poverty campaign groups.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, which mainly represents civil servants working in government departments, will be protesting.
Last week civil servants vowed to take further industrial action after rejecting what it described as the government's ''insulting'' 4.5 per cent pay rise in an ongoing dispute over pay.
The threat comes after a Just Stop Oil protester disrupted the World Championship match between Robert Milkins against Joe Perry at the Crucible
(PA Wire)
The UK has witnessed a series of high-profile protests by climate and animal rights protesters in recent days.
On Saturday the Grand National horse race in Liverpool, was delayed after large numbers of protesters tried to storm the track.
Scores of activists climbed fences at Aintree, with at least two fixing themselves to a jump using glue and lock-on devices, animal rights group Animal Rising said.
The protesters breached security fences as National runners were in the parade ring, causing a delay of 12 minutes, although racegoers helped police and event organisers to stop some from reaching the track.
Merseyside Police said officers made 118 arrests.
Extinction Rebellion's (XR) march to parliament on 1st September 2020
(Marina Iliara/Extinction Rebellion)
On Monday night play was suspended at the World Snooker Championship after a Just Stop Oil protester ran into the arena, jumped onto the table and scattered a bag of orange powder across the surface.
The incident happened during Robert Milkins' clash with Joe Perry in the evening session, forcing a delay of around 40 minutes before any play resumed.
Earlier this year XR said it would ''temporarily'' stop using public disruption tactics in 2023 after a year of protests that caused chaos on Britain's roads, sparking angry clashes with motorists.
The group said it would continue to protest against the ''abuse of power'' by vested interests who it said were ''addicted to greed and bloated on profits'' but would stop using public disruption as a ''primary tactic''.
VIDEO - Trump Proposes Tax Credit for Arming Teachers in NRA Convention Speech '' Rolling Stone
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:22
The former president called school shootings a "spiritual problem" and not a "gun problem" during a NRA speech on Friday
Former President Donald Trump said that if re-elected, he would use the government to investigate and potentially halt transgender health care during a National Rifle Association (NRA) speech on Friday.
''Upon my inauguration, I will direct the FDA to convene an independent outside panel to investigate whether transgender hormone treatments and ideology increase the risk of extreme depression, aggression and even violence,'' said Trump to the crowd gathered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
''I think most of us already know the answer,'' he added. Trump then said he would direct an investigation of whether ''genetically engineered cannabis'' is ''causing psychotic breaks.''
The former president also accused Democrats of ''pushing the transgender cult'' on children. Earlier in his speech, he called school shootings a ''spiritual problem'' and not a ''gun problem.'' He also proposed a tax credit for arming teachers.
Donald Trump says as president he would direct the FDA to have an outside panel investigate whether ''transgender hormone treatments and ideology'' increase the risk of violence, and to determine if ''genetically engineered cannabis'' is ''causing psychotic breaks.''
'-- The Recount (@therecount) April 14, 2023Trump's speech comes just four days after a gunman killed five people in a Louisville, Kentucky, bank, and two weeks after a shooter killed six people, including three children, at a school in Nashville. After learning that the Nashville shooter was transgender, Trump and his allies have pivoted to attacking medical care for transgender individuals, as well as treatment options for those with mental health struggles. Last month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson baselessly claimed that the ''trans movement is targeting Christians.''
TrendingRepublicans have not only rebuffed calls for Congress to pass meaningful gun control legislation, they've argued the shootings necessitate more guns so that the ''good guys'' can defend themselves and others against shooters. Nevertheless, guns are banned from the NRA convention on Friday.
Trump's appearance on Friday marks the seventh time he has addressed the NRA. The former president's speech last year also came in the immediate wake of a mass shooting, when the convention was held in Houston just days after a shooter killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Trump spent his time on stage bashing Democrats for pushing for gun control, before closing with a little dance.
VIDEO - What we know about the new Arcturus Covid variant | The Independent
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 22:21
Sign up for our free Health Check email to receive exclusive analysis on the week in healthGet our free Health Check email
A new Covid strain behind a surge of infections in India has sparked fears it could also lead to a rise in cases in the UK.
Research indicates Arcturus could be one 1.2 times more infectious than the last major sub-variant.
Also known as Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, the strain was first identified in January and has been monitored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 22 March.
Addressing Arcturus's emergence at a press conference on 29 March, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for Covid, said: ''It's been in circulation for a few months.
''We haven't seen a change in severity in individuals or in populations, but that's why we have these systems in place. It has one additional mutation in the spike protein, which, in lab studies, shows increased infectivity as well as potential increased pathogenicity.''
The sub-variant, one of 600 spawned from Omicron so far but seemingly no more lethal than others, has been detected in 22 countries so far, including the UK and US.
In India, the country's health ministry reported 40,215 active Covid cases on 12 April, up by 3,122 in just one day, prompting compulsory face masks to be introduced in some states, hospitals to carry out mock drills and vaccine production to be ramped up.
India was devastated by the Delta wave in 2021 and suffered a total of 4.7m excess deaths, according to WHO estimates.
Dr Vipin Vashishtha, a paediatrician and former head of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Immunisation, told The Hindustan Times that Arcturus's symptoms include a high fever, a cough and ''itchy'' conjunctivitis or pinkeye.
Around 50 cases have been detected in the UK so far, according to The Daily Mail, but Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia told the newspaper it was too soon to say that Britain could face a fresh surge in infections driven by Arcturus.
Commuters wear face masks amidst the spike in Covid cases in Chennai, India
''Although in India it has taken off in the past few weeks so far it has not been increasing rapidly globally,'' Professor Hunter said.
''I suspect we will see a wave of infections with this variant but I doubt it will cause a big wave probably not even as great as the one we have just had in the UK and so probably not put as great a pressure on health services than recently.''
The professor was alluding to the Kraken strain of Covid, also known as XBB.1.5, which was the dominant form of the disease in Britain until February.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo comparing the Kraken and Arcturus sub-variants have suggested that the newer strain spreads about 1.17 to 1.27 times more efficiently than its relative, warning that it ''will spread worldwide in the near future'' aided by the fact that it seems ''robustly resistant'' to antibodies lingering in the body from previous Covid infections.
Virologist Professor Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick told The Independent that the rise of the new variant in India is a sign that ''we're not yet out of the woods.''
''We have to keep an eye on it,'' he said. ''When a new variant arises you have to find out if it's more infectious, more disease-causing, is it more pathogenic? And what's going to happen in terms of immune protection.
''These kinds of things highlight the importance of genomic surveillance but a lot of countries including our own have let our guards down a bit and we can't be sure what variants are around and what level of infection they're causing until we see a significant outbreak.''
VIDEO - Elon Musk tells Tucker his plans to create a 'TruthGPT' AI platform - YouTube
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 21:10
VIDEO - (22) Citizen Free Press on Twitter: "Elon Musk says Google co-founder Larry Page once told him that he wants to build a "Digital God" using AI." / Twitter
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 20:59
Citizen Free Press : Elon Musk says Google co-founder Larry Page once told him that he wants to build a "Digital God" using AI.
Tue Apr 18 00:17:35 +0000 2023
VIDEO "This isn't that hard. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of reach. @Twitter and other platforms can choose to publish conspiracies but they should not promote them. They can opt to allow hate speech but they shouldn't amplify it. It's a
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 20:34
Jonathan Greenblatt : This isn't that hard. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of reach. @Twitter and other platforms can choose to p'...
Tue Apr 05 13:15:38 +0000 2022
VIDEO - "NYC Mayor Eric Adams declares war on meat and dairy:" / Twitter
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 03:28
End Wokeness : NYC Mayor Eric Adams declares war on meat and dairy:
Tue Apr 18 01:44:08 +0000 2023
al : @EndWokeness @MattWalshBlog I will die on steak hill but I don't think they could find it
Tue Apr 18 03:28:05 +0000 2023
Citizen Grace î¨ : @EndWokeness A war on meat and dairy but not crime, drugs, or homelessness? Makes total sense.
Tue Apr 18 03:27:47 +0000 2023
GBFdoc : @EndWokeness Hey Eric, the mayor of Chicago is on your IQ level. Why don't you two just hang it up. You're not cut out for the job
Tue Apr 18 03:27:43 +0000 2023
bane roberts : @EndWokeness He's realizing what he's reading in real time. He didn't realize he signed up with people that have de'...
Tue Apr 18 03:27:39 +0000 2023
Amateur F-14 pilot. 🗣¸ðŸ—£¸ 🍊 : @EndWokeness Well that sucks for NYC. Guess my hillbilly ass will just stay in my little farm eating meat
Tue Apr 18 03:27:38 +0000 2023
James Cleveland : @EndWokeness He really sounds believable! NOT !
Tue Apr 18 03:27:07 +0000 2023
Rex Dwight : @EndWokeness $5000 suit; 85 IQ...
Tue Apr 18 03:27:05 +0000 2023
Mark Hebert : @EndWokeness @MelKShow The face and sound of INSANITY!
Tue Apr 18 03:26:56 +0000 2023
Miguel : @EndWokeness Wow the guy can't even articulate a single phrase
Tue Apr 18 03:26:53 +0000 2023

Clips & Documents

0:00 0:00