Cover for No Agenda Show 1558: Mediatized
May 25th, 2023 • 3h 7m

1558: Mediatized


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.

U.S. Senate Arms Sergeant Karen Gibson (she held one up during testimony and it was not an iphone) offered smartphones with satellite chips to all 100 senators - these are android devices and definitely bugged
Big Tech
Ministry of Truthiness
I like "don't worry about your pronouns. I definitely won't be talking to other people about you"
Target will see a lose lose when the buckle. Trans will boycott them too
Trans Maoism and The Vaccine
Hi Adam,
Your discussion on the last show about how the trans Maoism topic relates to the Covid mass formation reminded me of a realization I had recently regarding this connection.
The treatment of individuals who decide to detransition is almost identical to that of people who take the Covid vaccine and are injured by it. In both instances, these people are either outright ignored by the mainstream or face the same kind of demonization campaign if they speak publicly about their negative experience with either transitioning or the vaccine.
Both groups thought they were doing the best thing for their health and when this ended up not being the case, the unvaxxed and the detransitioners are shunned and silenced by the people they trusted, usually medical professionals.
It explains why trans people can be labeled transphobic and vaccinated people can be labeled antivax, as it's not about reality or these people's lived experience but instead it's an adherence to the Maoist new age religion of Scientism.
It seems as if they've merged the Covid mass formation with the trans mass formation to accelerate conflict in society and to prevent the issue from being discussed more openly by the public at large.
Something to think about. Thank you for your courage.
BOTG Portland Government Finance
Report from the perspective of a young Finance Director of a small city in Ohio. I am attending a conference in Portland, Oregon, and the mentality of the officials here is astounding. One seminar on affordable housing finance had the presenters begging by announcing the pronouns they use (which I laughed because you don't use your own pronouns) and addressed the homeless issue with charts and financial policies for urban development, yet were all perfectly content in treating the homelessness symptom and not acknowledging the root cause of community disintegration and the apparent lack of the "hatred of sin, loving of neighbors" mentality that used to pervade this great land. So many people will say "that's just all big cities" when I bring up the drug and homeless problem. Portland has a population of 700,000. I visited Athens, with a population of 4 million and although there is graffiti, antifa, and plenty of pot, there aren't dozens of people literally twitching on the sidewalk.
In another session, I was asked how I enjoy my job as a director at such a young age and for a small town. I responded that I love the high trust environment and opportunity to have a transformative and positive impact on the finances and policies for our residents and city staff. I was quickly corrected that "you really shouldn't use the term 'transformative.' The term 'reformative' is more inclusive and fosters the idea that your policies should be reformed to promote the disadvantaged." The woman works for a water utility. Before I could respond with "I'm really not interested in doing that," the next seminar started.
Hope this report has provided some insight to the people who have much more impact on your daily lives than state or federal officials.
Love is lit, Christos Anesti!
TITLE CHANGE - Boots on the Ground Report - Trans
From: Dame Jamie of the Highway
ITM Adam -
Feel free to read as much or as little (if any) on the show.
Executive summary:
Reaction to testosterone shot
How "trans care" has changed
Societal implications
Title change
Hi Adam and John,
I thought it was time to give a "boots on the ground" report on a few things that have been discussed on the show recently.
A little background on myself:
I was "assigned male at birth". I've been gender dysphoric my entire life; I was officially diagnosed in the late '80s, and I formally transitioned to female in 2003 at the ripe old age of 40.
Between the diagnosis and transition, I had an experience that I'd like to tell you about.
During the '90s, I was diagnosed with low testosterone. I got a minimal dose via injection from the doctor.
The next few days were living hell. I'm normally a very calm person, but during that time, the smallest thing would send me into a rage.
Then the aromatase kicked in after a few days, turning the testosterone in my system into estrogen, and I was in love with the world.
Several months later, I did it again... with the same result.
If that happened to me with my male body, I shudder to think what happens with a female body.
Back when I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the only way to get hormones or surgery was to follow the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. To summarize, the steps were:
1. A minimum of 13 hour long visits with a psychiatrist trained in gender care. Once that was completed:
2. The highly coveted "get out of jail free" letter, showing that you were a patient under professional care, and not some pervert hanging out in the ladies' room.
2a. A referral to an endocrinologist for hormones.
3. You then had to live full time in your new role for a MINIMUM of one year, with regular visits with your therapist.
4. After a year of full time living, you needed to see a second therapist. Both therapists would give letters recommending surgery.
5. At this point, you'd need to come up with the approximately $20,000 needed for the surgery, assuming male to female. (The other way was a LOT more expensive.)
All in all, it took at least two years from start to surgery.
Over the last thirty or so years, the requirements for surgery have been relaxed quite a bit. Now, there is zero accountability. One small saving grace is that most insurance companies that cover sex reassignment surgery (SRS) require at least one visit to a psychiatrist before hopping onto the operating table. And with the way things are going, we won't have even that in the near future.
What doesn't occur to people with "gender affirming care" (which is actually gender denying) is that the medications used can cause permanent sterility. Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are NOT 100% reversible. Even just a few months on them will cause irreversible changes to the body, and the younger the person is, the more severe the changes are.
What a wonderful gift to the Zero Population Growth gang; kids (and adults) lining up for voluntary sterilization.
As recent as a decade ago, every trans person's goal was "deep stealth"; becoming so adept at passing as the other sex that nobody would realize you weren't what you appeared to be. Now, trans people are out, "loud and proud". I know a transwoman who thinks that all that is needed is to put on pink sneakers and a pair of earrings, and BOOM! "He" is now "she".
Let's not forget the political aspects of this. The "war on women" aspect is obvious; just look at the problems with women's sports. The depopulation movement, as mentioned earlier. "Trans Rights", which creates a new victim group, and furthers the division of society.
And one more thing that I've heard only one other person mention; the war on reality... or on absolute truth.
When I was in high school, walking uphill both ways in the snow carrying our clay tablets, we were taught in Biology 101 that having an XY chromosome pair meant you were male, and having an XX pair meant you were female. I guess that there wasn't room on those tablets for 47 different genders, or trigger warnings, for that matter. When a child was born, the doctor didn't have to "make a guess" if it was a boy or a girl; the evidence was plainly visible. Nor did the doctor "assign" the sex. That assignment was made at conception. (Thanks, Dad!)
What most people don't realize is that the war on absolute truth is the oldest war of all. It's the war on God. If we can make our own reality, then WE are our own personal gods.
And it's that last part that brings me to what I've been meaning to write for the last few months.
The blatant manipulation of a very vulnerable portion of our society is reprehensible. My being trans is effectively tacit approval of what's going on, and I can't allow that. My masculine side has been pretty much dominant since COVID started, and I formally de-transitioned on my 60th birthday a few months ago.
With that, I formally petition the Peerage Committee for a title change from Dame Jamie of the Highway to Sir Jamie of the Highway.
73s and TYFYC,
Boots On the Ground Transmaoism in Military
While attached to US Military Entrance Processing Command, they would host annual training seminars for the medical staff. During the year that Transgenderism was going to be introduced into accessions policy, the guess speaker was from the VA who specialized in behavioral therapy and transgenderism within in Vets. I believe it was Michael Kauth, but I’m not 100% as this was so long ago at this point. However, this individual was the keynote speaker for the event and their presentation took the better part of a full day. The training was honestly truly insightful and gave me a better understanding of what an individual afflicted with gender dysphoria must go through, however left me wondering why the military would still process applicants with this in their medical history. Here are the wave points from his presentation:
-Gender Dysphoria is very common within the veteran community, based off his research and experience over the years this was due to individuals trying to mask their dysphoria and be more masculine and if they joined the military they’d “grow out of it”
-His data showed that often the more dangerous a military MOS (Job), the more a veteran was likely to have dysphoria because it was hyper masculine.
-There were a lot of other comorbidities with Gender Dysphoria such as depression, anxiety, etc that usually stemmed from the dysphoria itself. I don’t remember the exact figures but there was a significant statistical portion of veteran suicides that were tied with patients who identified as trans.
Looking back I should have questioned more of his intentions to push acceptance of changing medical standards. His claim to fame was that he was able to get official Veteran Affairs medical forms to change format of just Male/Female to that of having two categories of Birth Sex and Gender. Keep in mind this circa 2015 and we can see how far we’ve come from that. I still remember the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Military Accessions Policy, Stephanie Miller, response when asked about “what about staff members who are uncomfortable with being medical chaperones for members of the opposite sex who identify as the same sex as them”….to which her response was “If they are military members they won’t have a choice and can separate if they feel otherwise or if you are a civilian staff than you should start looking for another job”. The absurdity of this goes as far as administering pregnancy tests for Male to Female applicants and withholding pregnancy tests for Female to Male applicants.
The Trump administration nixed the agenda and it was stopped in its tracks and shelved. However it didn’t take long for them to hit the green light in 2020 when the adjusted policy to get back on their track. Please see excerpts from the official policy below in relation to accessions for transgender applicants.
“…b.Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction into the Military Services.
Individuals to whom the criteria of Paragraph 3.a.(1) of this issuance apply will be accessed or commissioned based on the following medical standards, provided they are medically qualified in all other respects in accordance with Volume 1 of DoD Instruction (DoDI) 6130.03.
(1)A history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria is disqualifying unless all of the following apply:
(a)As certified by a licensed mental health provider, the applicant demonstrates 36 consecutive months of stability in their biological sex immediately preceding submission of the application without clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning; and
(b)The applicant demonstrates that they have not transitioned to their preferred gender and a licensed medical provider has determined that gender transition is not medically necessary to protect the health of the individual; and
(c)The applicant is willing and able to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with the applicant’s biological sex.
(2)A history of cross-sex hormone therapy or a history of sex reassignment or genital reconstruction surgery is disqualifying.
….Transgender persons may seek waivers or exceptions to these or any other standards, requirements, or policies on the same terms as any other person; additional policy guidance on such waivers or exceptions is in Paragraph 5.1. of this issuance…”
“History of cross-sex hormone therapy associated with gender transition is disqualifying unless the individual has been stable on such hormones for 18 months or no longer requires such hormones, as certified by a licensed medical provider”
What this boils down to essentially is: (1) The applicant must be “stable” for 36 months and (2) Not seeking a surgical transition or has transitioned fully. One of the wildest things about this, as mentioned above is that if someone is on Hormone Therapy for 18 month and “stable” within the full 36 months they are technically cleared medically. This is one of the only medical conditions that applicants can be accessed into the military with while on medication, with the exception of birth control or minor vitamin deficiencies with a waiver.
Now to be clear, it’s not like there are lines of individuals with gender dysphoria lining up to join in an open transition, however I do question if the military is setting these individuals up for failure due to the associated issues with other behavioral health concerns. The VA and Military can’t keep up with the current demand with current behavior health issues. As this agenda continues to be pushed deeper and deeper into all facets of life, I have no doubt some of these restrictions will only be further loosened.
We have a hard enough time getting applicants medically qualified. I’d say the majority of adult college children and healthcare workers I work with to join the military, end up disqualified because of some psychotropic medication they are on for anxiety, ADD, depression etc. Accession policy will shift, we’ve seen it before. The whole social contagion issue is very real, back in the 2015 era medical waiver authorities started granting waivers for 17-19 year olds with a history of self mutilation if it wasn’t severe. At the annual medical conference previous to the one discussed above, one of the approval authorities out right said, “we have to get over the fact some of these kids have cutting issues, it’s just the idiotic popular thing for this age group currently”….which if applicants didn’t have any other behavior issues or history of medication/counseling and it was only the history of “cutting” they usually were given the waivers. I think we are on track to see more policy shifts for this current trans contagion that are going to have horrible long last second and third order affects for years to come.
I firmly believe there are people with true gender dysphoria in this world and need the best medical care and support possible to work through their issues. However, the trans-contagion is a risk to those that don’t fully understand what irreversible damage they may end up doing to themselves. For an insight for those that care, I recommend checking out the Shawn Ryan Show Episode 50 with Kristin Beck. It’s a long podcast but some quick time stamps are start to 1 hr 15 minutes and then from the 3rd hr 33 minutes to the end gives an amazing peak into what an individual may go through but also the perverse agenda being pushed.
Apologies this is so long, I just have felt the need to get this out there for a while and finally have a moment to get this typed up. I think y’all are spot on with the whole transmaoism, the whole pronouns issue has infected the upper ranks of the officer community within the military. Hopefully my grammar and train of thought was concise enough for this to flow logically.
Dani Katz Pronouns comeback
Dani Katz
: my stock comeback to folks who use pronouns is to use them as their name, in every sentence, as in, "So, as he/him pointed out, he/him can't change the water filter every ten minutes, or he/him wouldn't be able to get anything done."
Objections to pronoun use statement
Here was an objection to the 'cis' pronoun:
The word 'cis' was used in my early life in an aggressive and traumatizing manner, and i do not identify nor consent to using this pronoun for myself.
The term 'sis' / 'sissy' was used in my childhood and early development to commit intimidation and hate crimes against anyone who was different, included those who might not identify with 'heteronormative' behavior. This word is a homophone or identical sounding word to the term 'cis', allowing others to dog-whistle the former 'sissy' form of the word.
Therefore using this word 'cis' for me without my consent retraumatizes me with this lived experience. I do not identify nor consent with using this pronoun for myself, nor any other pronoun, and declare that using this pronoun it against me is violence and retraumitazation at the deepest level. I do not consent to using other pronouns, as these could possibly 'out' me and target me for harassments, discrimination, and an otherwise hostile work or school environment.
Pro-noun language BOTG
From VInny
I hope this finds you. I was listening to episode 1558 and when dealing with the pro-noun’s I will say when confronted in this situation that I do not speak your language (rainbow language). Just like I don’t speak my wife’s language (Tagalog) and just like I don’t speak Spanish and I can barely speak English and as you can see sure as hell can’t write it. That’s what I will say and pray to find myself in that conversation sooner then later. I have a cousin who’s a transgender who’s a teacher in Philly who teaches the “special” blacks aka smart/easy manipulative ones. They also have a 4 year old who identifies as a non binary trans (and she decided that because she’s such a big little girl). And the 4 year old thinks the rainbow flag is the American flag and I have the picture to prove it. It’s a wild world we live in. I wish I could donate to the show but I’m a broke stay at home dad right now so have no extra cash. Love what you guys do. Don’t retire
Pronouns comeback BOTG
On the pronoun question and how to avoid using them. ** I prefer to keep my pronouns private. If pushed further. I prefer to keep my personal beliefs private. If pushed further. I do not want to oppress others and force them to use the pronouns I prefer.
Pondering SSRI & boots on the ground
I meant to send this email last week after John first pondered whether the TN shooter was on testosterone, because it jarred some memories for me of my days as a pharma rep (Yes, I will have to atone for that, the best thing I can say for myself is I hated that job and was shit at it and worked as few hours a week as possible). But I sold Zoloft for Pfizer 20 years ago, and it was a known fact that patients had a higher incidence of suicide attempt and or success after initiating treatment. It was spun to us that depressed patients lack motivation, and once they are on an SSRI, but before they reach a therapeutic dose, they are in a danger zone for causing harm to themselves, which will abate once they are at the right dose. Although SSRI's weren't given FDA approval for minors until the early 2000's, all medicines are used off label, and tacitly promoted for off label use. many school shooters are on psychotropics?
Ways to respond to pronoun insistence BOTG
"I would never talk about you if you weren't there."
I've only used it once, but it was met by a confounded expression.
If I needed to talk about an absent person, I'd use their name.
I strongly agree that there should be a rational response to this abuse of language.
I don't talk about people behind their back
Climate Change
Environmental scientists flee Twitter as hostility surges - Thu, May 25 2023 - The Jakarta Post
Finland Energy Price gos negative due to Nuke generation
Ref electricity prices in Finland: for the first time in history the average price for electricity is negative today, -0.1 ct / kWh. Earlier it was negative only for certain hours, but never the average for a whole day. The reason for this is still the surplus of hydropower due to seasonal flooding up North.
Ref electricity prices in Finland: for the first time in history the average price for electricity is negative today, -0.1 ct / kWh. Earlier it was negative only for certain hours, but never the average for a whole day. The reason for this is still the surplus of hydropower due to seasonal flooding up North.
Forever Chemicals - PFAS Expert Producer BOTG
Hi, it is true we have producers in every specialty.
I have been involved with the PFAS industry for 35+ years.
I could explain this technically, but the issue is political and social justice related now; "they" took over the science a few years ago.
Canada is behind the times, as several states have reporting requirements in place and the EU is next and the biggest issue, of course!
Life will be different and can be difficult if "they" do not understand these materials soon. Locations / companies need to stop just trying to collect multi-million clean up dollars.
These are very unique materials that are in very critical uses and in many cases there are no acceptable alternatives.
If you want your beloved electric car, you can NOT regulate these materials out of existence (as the EU would like to happen).
There is sound science, but no one may ever listen.
If you do want a technical explanation, please let me know. It is not an easy subject, but not rocket science either.
Kind Regards,
Rob, Knight of Bear DE
Itm Adam and John, (please keep me anonymous just in case)
Wanted to share some boots on the ground with regards to the Canadian PFAS article mentioned in show 1558. I’m a local government employee in Public Works that oversees a wastewater treatment facility, so this is something we’ve been watching for some time. Don’t bother the pronunciation, just know that PFAS are another group of “forever” chemicals (like PCBs but different with properties) that have at least one fluorinated carbon atom which makes them resistant to oil, stains, grease, heat, and importantly, water. There are something like 15,000 variations of PFAS. It became a big deal in our area when it was detected at significant levels in a drinking water source adjacent to our local Air Force Base as PFAS is widely used in fire retardant and the AFB conducted fire training near the ground water supply. These chemicals are ubiquitous and everywhere. These are the “next” toxin of concern in the environmental world, just like PCBs have been for the past few decades and are becoming old news. We will chase them using testing technologies down to the Pg/L (picograms per liter) or parts per quadrillion and therefore will find them everywhere in every person, waterbody, and soil. They are common in manufactured goods such as coatings on new furniture (to resist stains), ski wax (to slide faster on snow), Goretex (to repel water), and Teflon pans (to prevent Mimi’s eggs from sticking). The health effects are unknown and at what levels cause health concerns, but you can be sure we’ll get all hyped up and spend a ton of money at the downstream pipe rather than focusing on the inputs. I’m in the business of doing the best we can to protect our environment, but we will likely spend trillions around the country chasing and “cleaning up” these chemicals that are everywhere and nearly impossible to destroy over some vague link to cancers all the while taking our eyes off of other environmental contaminants to chase this new flavor of the decade.
Big Pharma
Build the Wall
Boots on the ground South Shore Chicago migrant situation
I am a police officer in chicago and south shore is within my district where I work. The building in question where they plan to house the migrants is the old south shore highschool that had previously closed when the new school was built. I can tell you first hand the migrant crisis is a real growing issue at least on a small scale. There are currently migrants living in the majority of the 22 district stations across the city of chicago. The smaller stations have between 30-50 and the larger stations have 100 or more.
These people are being bused to local parks to shower and clean themselves up. In our district a room used for community events has been given to the migrants to use as their sleeping quarters, it's a complete mess and there is no plan to permanently house these people. One of the district stations has a bedbug infestation now.
The old South Shore HS building has been vacant for roughly a decade before the city retrofitted the building to be a satellite training center for police officers and recruits in 2020. Of course, back then during the George Floyd/civil unrest of that time the community had alot of pushback on city gov putting a police training academy in a school which symbolized the city cares more about police than education. Now the community wants the police back in the building because we made their property values go up because there was more police in the area daily, who could have seen that coming?
The new academy has been built so the city decided this building could be used as a temporary shelter for migrants but it is not up to code due inactivity. Once the showers are working migrants will be housed there
I personally don't see this as a ploy to get residents to move, it's just all the city can come up with to fix this growing issue. There is plenty of vacant property and cheap property on the southeast side of the city east of the school and closer to the lake due to it being very crime heavy and poor. The Obama library campus is almost complete which is in Hyde Park neighborhood about 3 miles North of south shore highschool but there's a lot of property to be had in that area and I don't think these peoples homes will appreciate that much more as long as the crime is present in that area.
I find it interesting the residents are worried about migrants causing crime in their neighborhood when the south shore area is one of the top 10 deadliest neighborhoods in chicago year in and year out not to mention the zip code South Shore HS is in is a very densely populated area of registered sex offenders. I'd personally be more worried about the gangbangers living on 79th street in south shore than 500 migrants.
Any other questions about what's happening feel free to reach out.
Anonymity appreciated,
Prime Time takedown
Ukraine vs Russia
Great Reset
Definite Debt Default - by Quoth the Raven
"When you look at countries that have expressed interest in joining BRICS, they all have substantial gold holdings,” Andy Schectman told me several weeks ago about the global economy. “The numbers are increasing among those who want to join, there’s over 60 countries they have lined up in a queue [to join BRICS].”
“I do believe it’ll be a Sunday night. OPEC, the BRICS nations, Saudi Arabia - they come out and say on a Sunday night, we’re taking other currency for oil - and everything blows up Monday morning. It’s a tsunami of dollars,” Andy concluded.
“The pieces are being put into place right now. Nobody is going to have time to react.”
If he’s right and our hand is going to be forced, we have to get real and ask if we want the rest of the world to force it for us, or if we can save face slightly by admitting to ourselves that it’s time to eat our own economic cooking."
Environmental scientists flee Twitter as hostility surges - Thu, May 25 2023 - The Jakarta Post
Thu, 25 May 2023 14:24
Roland Lloyd Parry (The Jakarta Post)
Agence France-Presse/Paris '— Thu, May 25 2023 Scientists suffering insults and mass-spam are abandoning Twitter for alternative social networks as hostile climate-change denialism surges on the platform following Elon Musk's takeover.
Researchers have documented an explosion of hate and misinformation on Twitter since the Tesla billionaire took over in October 2022 and now experts say communicating about climate science on the social network on which many of them rely is getting harder.
Policies aimed at curbing the deadly effects of climate change are accelerating, prompting a rise in what experts identify as organized resistance by opponents of climate reform.
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'One Health' will give WHO's Dictator General power to initiate climate lockdowns '' The Expose
Thu, 25 May 2023 15:56
Breaking News The proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (''IHRs'') and the Pandemic Treaty both incorporate the ''One Health'' approach.
One Health has little definition or structure and is sold using vague strings of words and phrases that are meaningless and often confusing. This is deliberate and in the same vein as tactics used by governments during the covid era to keep populations confused and so more likely to blindly follow instructions.
Behind the verbiage, One Health is a tool to create networks and combine efforts towards centralising power and control. Once central power has been achieved then similar measures that were imposed in response to the covid ''pandemic'' can be used for climate change, loss of biodiversity, human diseases, vector-borne diseases and more.
Where will the power and control be centralised? The World Health Organisation's (''WHO's'') Director Dictator General Tedros the Terrorist and, ultimately, those who fund WHO.
That One Health is incorporated into WHO's global dictatorship plans has almost slipped under the radar, but some researchers such as Dr. Meryl Nass have noticed, investigated and are trying to inform others.
Let's not lose touch'...Your Government and Big Tech are actively trying to censor the information reported by The Expos(C) to serve their own needs. Subscribe now to make sure you receive the latest uncensored news in your inbox'...
One of the biggest changes WHO has seen in its 75-year history is a shift from funding from sovereign nations to funding from private parties. As of now, the bulk of the WHO's funding comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and two closely aligned vaccine-based non-profits funded by vaccine and pharma companies, the vaccine alliance GAVI and the global Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI.
There's no hiding the incestuous interconnection between various governments and organisations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum (''WEF''). It's no coincidence that the Gates Foundation is the second largest funder of WHO, which is also helping to fund WEF.
WHO's ''Pandemic Treaty'' will not only be concerned with pandemics. It introduces globally the ''One Health'' ideology. The concept recognises the interdependence of human and animal health and the connection with the environment. Through this One Health agenda, WHO will have the power to make decisions in matters relating to the environment (including greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and deforestation), animal health (e.g., livestock) and human health (including vaccinations, social determinants and population movement). With these extended powers, WHO could readily declare a climate or environmental emergency and enforce lockdowns.
Read more: The plan for WHO supremacy over human health, Alliance for Natural Health International, 11 May 2023
Not only is One Health included in the Pandemic Treaty, but it is also in the proposed amendments to the IHRs which are being negotiated at the 76th World Health Assembly this week.
On Monday, the host of the Dutch podcast Voorwaarheid (English 'Video Truth') Willem Engel interviewed Dr. Meryl Nass about One Health and how it has spread and is being used for a hidden agenda. Dr. Nass has published several articles about One Health on her Substack page HERE.
One Health was a concept some doctors and veterinarians came up with about 20 years ago. International organisations and self-appointed elites hijacked the idea to use it as a means of gaining power and control over most of the world, Dr. Meryl Nass told Engel. As a result, the ''basket of items'' that could be included in the One Health concept has continued to expand.
''UN agencies became involved with it. Other international agencies like the World Organisation for Animal Health became involved. And the Rockefeller Foundation started funding it in 2009. And so, by 2009 it had already been captured and CDC rolled out a One Health programme. By 2012, the idea of One Health was rolled out at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
''It became a lot of words that, simply saying, different groups needed to work together for their shared objectives. But the objectives were not defined. The methods by which they were to work together were not defined. And the projects they were to work on weren't defined either.''
There have been at least 60 different definitions of ''One Health.'' Dr. Nass read out a few. You can read these on the first two pages of the slides that accompany her interview HERE.
According to the most recent and authoritative definition, One Health includes not only people and animals, as was the original concept 20 years ago, but it now also includes plants, waterways and ecosystems. The One Health Commission claims that One Health is a ''ray of hope for addressing our global challenges'' and lists 14 ''global challenges'' including food, water safety, security, soil health and ''comparative biology.''
The four lead agencies underlying One Health are WHO and three UN agencies '' Food and Agriculture Organisation (''FAO''), United Nations Environment Programme (''UNEP'') and World Organisation for Animal Health (''OIE'').
The One Health approach is built into the proposed amendments to the IHRs that are currently on the table. Some of the amendments are likely to be voted on at the World Health Assembly this week and the remainder in May 2024.
''The One Health approach '... will fall under the purview of the WHO Director-General whenever he or she decides to declare a public health emergency of international concern.
''It probably won't be implemented until 10 months after next May [22 months from now] when the new International Health Regulations would be able to go into effect. But some of it may be, if it's passed this year, it will only take 18 months [from now] to go into effect and our nations will only have 10 months to pull out if they want to.
''We have to do what we can to stop it [before it goes into effect next year]. Which we can do by pulling out of the WHO.''
During the second half of the interview, Dr. Nass and Engel had an interesting discussion about the origins of the ''pandemic.'' It's well worth the listen.
Right2Freedom: One World '' One Health with Dr. Meryl Nass-Part 1, 22 May 2023 (44 mins)The video above is embedded from Rumble. If you are unable to view the video, you can watch it on Odysee HERE.
Further resources:
'One Health': What Is It, Who's Promoting It '' and Why? Children's Health Defense'One Health' '-- The Global Takeover of Everything? Children's Health DefenseOne Health: A Plan to 'Surveil and Control Every Aspect of Life on Earth'? Children's Health Defense'Sinister Forces at Play' in WHO's Global One Health Agenda Children's Health Defense
Meaning of the Number 33 in the Bible
Thu, 25 May 2023 15:34
The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 33The meaning of the number 33 is connected to certain promises made by God. The 33rd time Noah's name is used in Scripture is when God makes a special covenant or promise with him. The Eternal promises to not destroy the entire world again with a flood and seals His pledge with the sign of the rainbow (Genesis 9:12 - 16).
The thirty-third time Abraham's name is used in the Bible is when Isaac, the child of promise, is born to him when he is ninety-nine years old (Genesis 21:1 - 2).
Thirty-three also derives some of its meaning from the total number of times 'three' or 'third' is used in the book of Revelation. It can represent, because it is the product of 3 times 11, God's judgment. Thus, Revelation illustrates God's complete, final judgment of the world, which is ultimately accomplished in the final three-and-one-half year (1,260 days) period leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Appearances of the Number Thirty-ThreeThe divine name of God, Elohim (Strong's Concordance #H430), is initially mentioned in the first verse of Genesis 1. Elohim appears 33 times in Genesis' story of creation. Thirty-three is also the numeric equivalent of the word "Amen."
The 33rd time Jacob's name is found in scripture he promised to give a tenth of all he had to God when he had a vision of a ladder reaching to heaven. This is commonly referred to as Jacob's ladder (Genesis 28:10 - 12, 16 - 22).
Number 33 and the Greatest KingDavid became king in 1050 B.C. after the death of Saul. He ruled, however, only the tribe of Judah (from Hebron) for the first seven and one-half years of his monarchy (2Samuel 2:4, 5:1 - 5, 1Chronicles 3:4, 29:27).
The other Israelite tribes, after David ruled for the above period, then decided to make him their king as well. It is after he became the unquestioned monarch over a united Israel that he successfully attacked the Jebusite controlled city of Jerusalem. The city, now known as the "city of David," became his capital during the remaining 33 years of his rule.
Thirty-three is also the number representation of the Star of David (also known as the Shield of David or the Magen of David). This symbol is commonly seen in places such as the flag of modern Israel and in cemeteries to denote a Jewish burial.
The 33rd person in Jesus' lineage from Adam is King David.
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 33Timothy, according to church tradition, was born in 17 A.D. He met Paul, for the first time, during the apostle's second missionary journey in 50. At the age of about 33 Timothy became Paul's friend and traveling companion, and would soon become his closest friend and most trusted fellow-laborer in the gospel.
God's law required a male baby be circumcised on the eighth day (Leviticus 12:1 - 3). A woman who gave birth to a boy was also required, for 33 days afterwards (for a total of forty days), not to touch anything holy or come into the temple, "until the days of her purifying are fulfilled" (verse 4, HBFV). It is interesting to note that a woman giving birth to female babies was unclean for 14 days, and then had another 66 days of purifying for 80 total.
The significance of thirty-three is also seen at Jesus' death at the age of 33. His sacrifice, made in 30 A.D., was the fulfillment of countless prophecies and promises concerning the Savior of man.
A very old Jewish tradition, recounted by the first century A.D. historian Josephus, states that Adam and Eve had 33 sons and 23 daughters!
Church Unearthed in Ethiopia Rewrites the History of Christianity in Africa | History| Smithsonian Magazine
Thu, 25 May 2023 15:28
At an archaeological site in Ethiopia, researchers are uncovering the oldest Christian basilica in sub-Saharan Africa. Ioana Dumitru In the dusty highlands of northern Ethiopia, a team of archaeologists recently uncovered the oldest known Christian church in sub-Saharan Africa, a find that sheds new light on one of the Old World's most enigmatic kingdoms'--and its surprisingly early conversion to Christianity.
An international assemblage of scientists discovered the church 30 miles northeast of Aksum, the capital of the Aksumite kingdom, a trading empire that emerged in the first century A.D. and would go on to dominate much of eastern Africa and western Arabia. Through radiocarbon dating artifacts uncovered at the church, the researchers concluded that the structure was built in the fourth century A.D., about the same time when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianty in 313 CE and then converted on his deathbed in 337 CE. The team detailed their findings in a paper published today in Antiquity.
The discovery of the church and its contents confirm Ethiopian tradition that Christianity arrived at an early date in an area nearly 3,000 miles from Rome. The find suggests that the new religion spread quickly through long-distance trading networks that linked the Mediterranean via the Red Sea with Africa and South Asia, shedding fresh light on a significant era about which historians know little.
''The empire of Aksum was one of the world's most influential ancient civilizations, but it remains one of the least widely known,'' says Michael Harrower of Johns Hopkins University, the archaeologist leading the team. Helina Woldekiros, an archaeologist at St. Louis' Washington University who was part of the team, adds that Aksum served as a ''nexus point'' linking the Roman Empire and, later, the Byzantine Empire with distant lands to the south. That trade, by camel, donkey and boat, channeled silver, olive oil and wine from the Mediterranean to cities along the Indian Ocean, which in turn brought back exported iron, glass beads and fruits.
A stone pendant with a cross and the term "venerable" in Ethiopia's ancient Ge'ez script found outside the eastern basilica wall. Ioana DumitruThe kingdom began its decline in the eighth and ninth centuries, eventually contracting to control only the Ethiopian highlands. Yet it remained defiantly Christian even as Islam spread across the region. At first, relations between the two religions were largely peaceful but grew more fraught over time. In the 16th century, the kingdom came under attack from Somali and then Ottoman armies, but ultimately retained control of its strategic highlands. Today, nearly half of all Ethiopians are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
For early Christians, the risk of persecution from the Romans sometimes ran high, forcing them to practice their beliefs in private, posing a challenge for those scholars who study this era. Christianity had reached Egypt by the third century A.D., but it was not until Constantine's legalization of Christian observance that the church expanded widely across Europe and the Near East. With news of the Aksumite excavation, researchers can now feel more confident in dating the arrival of Christianity to Ethiopia to the same time frame.
''[This find] is to my knowledge the earliest physical evidence for a church in Ethiopia, [as well as all of sub-Saharan Africa,]'' says Aaron Butts, a professor of Semitic and Egyptian languages at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved with the excavation.
Harrower's team conducted their work between 2011 and 2016 at an ancient settlement called Beta Samati, which means ''house of audience'' in the local Tigrinya language. The location, close to the modern-day border with Eritrea and 70 miles to the southwest of the Red Sea, appealed to the archaeologists in part because it was also home to temples built in a southern Arabian style dating back many centuries before the rise of Aksum, a clear sign of ancient ties to the Arabian Peninsula. The temples reflect the influence of Sabaeans, who dominated the lucrative incense trade and whose power reached across the Red Sea in that era.
The excavators' biggest discovery was a massive building 60 feet long and 40 feet wide resembling the ancient Roman style of a basilica. Developed by the Romans for administrative purposes, the basilica was adopted by Christians at the time of Constantine for their places of worship. Within and near the Aksumite ruins, the archaeologists also found a diverse array of goods, from a delicate gold and carnelian ring with the image of a bull's head to nearly 50 cattle figurines'--clearly evidence of pre-Christian beliefs.
They also uncovered a stone pendant carved with a cross and incised with the ancient Ethiopic word ''venerable,'' as well as incense burners. Near the eastern basilica wall, the team came across an inscription asking ''for Christ [to be] favorable to us.''
In the research paper, Harrower said that this unusual collection of artifacts ''suggests a mixing of pagan and early Christian traditions.''
A gold and carnelian ring depicting a bull's head from the excavation site. Ioana DumitruAccording to Ethiopian tradition, Christianity first came to the Aksum Empire in the fourth century A.D. when a Greek-speaking missionary named Frumentius converted King Ezana. Butts, however, doubts the historical reliability of this account, and scholars have disagreed over when and how the new religion reached distant Ethiopia.
''This is what makes the discovery of this basilica so important,'' he adds. ''It is reliable evidence for a Christian presence slightly northeast of Aksum at a very early date.''
While the story of Frumentius may be apocryphal, other finds at the site underline how the spread of Christianity was intertwined with the machinations of commerce. Stamp seals and tokens used for economic transactions uncovered by the archaeologists point to the cosmopolitan nature of the settlement. A glass bead from the eastern Mediterranean and large amounts of pottery from Aqaba, in today's Jordan, attest to long-distance trading. Woldekiros added that the discoveries show that ''long-distance trade routes played a significant role in the introduction of Christianity in Ethiopia.''
She and other scholars want to understand how these routes developed and their impacts on regional societies. ''The Aksumite kingdom was an important center of the trading network of the ancient world,'' says Alemseged Beldados, an archaeologist at Addis Ababa University who was not part of the study. ''These findings give us good insight ... into its architecture, trade, civic and legal administration.''
''Politics and religion are important factors in shaping human histories, but are difficult to examine archaeologically,'' says Harrower. The discoveries at Beta Samati provide a welcome glimpse into the rise of Africa's first Christian kingdom'--and, he hopes, will spark a new round of Aksum-related excavations.
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Filed Under: Africa, Archaeology, Artifacts, Christianity
National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin - May 24, 2023 | Homeland Security
Thu, 25 May 2023 14:27
Summary of Terrorism-Related Threat to the United StatesThe United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence. In the coming months, factors that could mobilize individuals to commit violence include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues. Likely targets of potential violence include US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.
Duration Issued: May 24, 2023 at 2:00 PM ET
Expires: November 24, 2023 at 2:00 PM ET
Additional Information In May 2023, a now-deceased individual killed eight and injured seven others at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas. Law enforcement continues to investigate the motive behind the attack, but initial reporting suggests the attacker fixated on mass shootings and held views consistent with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist (RMVE) and involuntary celibate violent extremist ideologies.In March 2023, a now-deceased individual shot and killed six people at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Law enforcement continues to investigate the motive behind the attack and has indicated the individual studied other mass murderers.Also in March 2023, a RMVE driven by a belief in the superiority of the white race was arrested and charged with allegedly attempting to use an improvised incendiary device to burn down a church in Ohio that was planning to host a drag-themed event.In February 2023, two RMVEs driven by a belief in the superiority of the white race were arrested and are now awaiting trial for plotting an attack against electrical substations in Maryland. These arrests followed a series of recent attacks against electrical infrastructure, which some DVEs have praised and leveraged to call for more attacks on critical infrastructure.Since spring of 2022, alleged DVEs in Georgia have cited anarchist violent extremism, animal rights/environmental violent extremism, and anti-law enforcement sentiment to justify criminal activity in opposition to a planned public safety training facility in Atlanta. Criminal acts have included an alleged shooting and assaults targeting law enforcement and property damage targeting the facility, construction companies, and financial institutions for their perceived involvement with the planned facility.Meanwhile, foreign terrorists continue to use media to call for lone offender attacks in the West, condemn US foreign policy, and attempt to expand their reach and grow global support networks. Most recently, in January 2023, an individual from Maine who was inspired by a variety of foreign terrorist content was charged with federal crimes for an attack on New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square.How We Are RespondingDHS works with partners across every level of government, in the private sector, and in local communities to keep Americans safe, including through the following examples of our resources and support:
DHS and the FBI continue to share timely and actionable information and intelligence with the broadest audience possible. This includes sharing information and intelligence with our partners across every level of government and in the private sector. We conduct recurring threat briefings with private sector, state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus partners, including to inform security planning efforts. DHS remains committed to working with our partners to identify and prevent all forms of targeted violence and terrorism, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe.DHS, in collaboration with its federal partners, launched the Prevention Resource Finder (PRF) website in March 2023. The PRF is a comprehensive web repository of federal resources available to help communities understand, mitigate, and protect themselves from targeted violence and terrorism.The DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships continues to engage a coalition of faith-based and community organizations, including members of the Faith-based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC), which DHS reconstituted in July 2022, to help build the capacity of faith-based and community organizations seeking to protect their places of worship and community spaces.DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), the FBI, and the National Counterterrorism Center in 2021 jointly updated behavioral indicators of U.S. extremist mobilization to violence. Further, I&A's National Threat Evaluation and Reporting Program continues to provide tools and resources for federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners on preventing terrorism and targeted violence, including online suspicious activity reporting training.DHS's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (I-STEP) and Exercise Information System (EXIS®) work with government and private sector partners '' including owners and operators of critical transportation infrastructure '' to enhance security and reduce risks posed by acts of terrorism.DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) works with government and private sector partners '' including owners and operators of critical infrastructure and public gathering places '' to enhance security and mitigate risks posed by acts of terrorism and targeted violence through its network of Protective Security Advisors and resources addressing Active Shooters, School Safety, Bombing Prevention, and Soft Targets-Crowded Places.DHS's Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) educates and trains stakeholders on how to identify indicators of radicalization to violence, where to seek help, and the resources that are available to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. In 2022, CP3 awarded about $20 million in grants through its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program. To date, over 100 applicants and more than $50M in grant funds have been requested for the FY23 grant cycle.In 2021 and 2022, DHS designated domestic violent extremism as a ''National Priority Area'' within its Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), enabling our partners to access critical funds that help prevent, prepare for, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from related threats.In 2022, DHS's Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) provided over $250 million in funding to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements to non-profit organizations at high risk of terrorist consolidates school safety-related resources from across the government. Through this website, the K-12 academic community can also connect with school safety officials and develop school safety plans.Resources to Stay SafeStay Informed and PreparedBe prepared for emergency situations and remain aware of circumstances that may place you at risk. Make note of your surroundings and the nearest security personnel.Keep yourself safe online and maintain digital and media literacy to recognize and build resilience to false or misleading narratives.Review Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources for how to better protect businesses, houses of worship, and schools, and ensure the safety of public gatherings.Prepare for potential active shooter incidents, build counter-improvised explosive device capabilities, and enhance awareness of terrorist threats, to include bomb threats.Learn more about community-based resources including Community Awareness Briefings to help prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence.The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) is a collaborative effort by DHS, the FBI, and law enforcement partners to identify and report threats of terrorism and other related criminal activity.The Power of Hello Campaign and De-Escalation Series help you observe and evaluate suspicious behaviors, including information to mitigate potential risks, and obtain help when necessary.View webinars on Building Partnerships, and Preventing Targeted Violence and Protecting the Safety and Security of Houses of Worship.Report Potential ThreatsListen to local authorities and public safety officials.If You See Something, Say Something® Report suspicious activity and threats of violence, including online threats, to local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, or your local Fusion Center. Call 911 in case of emergency.If you know someone who is struggling with mental health issues or may pose a danger to themselves or others, seek help. If You See Something, Say Something®. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or call 911.The National Terrorism Advisory System provides Americans with alert information on homeland security threats. It is distributed by the Department of Homeland Security. More information is available at: To receive mobile updates:
If You See Something, Say Something® used with permission of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
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UK: Trans Activists Stage Piss-Filled Protest In Front of London's Equality And Human Rights Commission - Reduxx
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:33
Trans activists in London staged a urine-filled protest outside of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Monday in response to proposed alterations to the Equality Act which would strengthen women's sex-based rights.
Members of the organization Pissed Off Trannies (POT) gathered outside of the EHRC on May 22 to leave 90 liters of human urine around the perimeter of the building. The protest was in response to a recent statement by chief executive of the EHRC, Melanie Field, in which she affirmed the definition of ''sex.''
The statements by Field were made during an interview with Transactual, a trans activist organization headed by trans-identified male Helen Belcher. Belcher pressed Field on the definition of ''biological sex,'' to which Field responded it was the ''sex recorded at birth.''
Field's comment reflects a slow-moving trend at the EHRC to implement stronger protections for biological sex as a protected characteristic, as well as recent plans to prevent trans-identified males from accessing women's facilities unless they have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
A jug of human urine left outside of the EHRC office.GRCs are documents which legally recognize a person's transgender identity in the United Kingdom. The bar for acquiring one is not particularly high, having two primary requirements of a gender dysphoria diagnosis, and the individual having ''lived'' as their ''preferred gender'' for at 2 years. The fee is nominal at £5, but it can be waived entirely for low-income people.
The proposals have been met with extreme backlash by trans activists, who have branded the EHRC's attempts to consider further protections for women as ''anti-trans bias.''
This Monday, masked POT trans activists gathered outside of the EHRC office to leave bottles of human urine in protest of the considerations. The activists also poured the bottles of piss on the sidewalks.
POT posted an artistic video of the demonstration to their Instagram, featuring close-up shots of the bottles of urine with audio and transcription of Field's interview with Transactual superimposed over the scenes.
''We placed 90 liters of trans piss outside the building and in their revolving doors, rendering the EHRC more explicitly what it already was: an inaccessible mess,'' Pot wrote in the description of the video.
''Pouring piss is an anarchist act of resistance that stakes an urgent and lingering claim on our basic human rights '... If you take away our toilets we will make one on your doorstep.''
This is not the first time POT has staged a piss-filled protest outside of the EHRC in London.
In September of 2022, POT activists similarly left jugs of human urine around the office's doorstep, with one masked activist pouring one bottle on himself.
While the initial exclusive coverage by VICE did not publish the names of the activists involved, allowing them to remain anonymous, it was later revealed that the primary organizer for POT is an artist who has contributed to VICE in the past.
Jamie Cottle is a trans-identified male from Reading, England, who studied English at University College London. Cottle uses the moniker ''Biogal'' on social media. After staging his first protest outside of the EHRC last year, Cottle boasted about his actions on Instagram.
Jamie Cottle.Cottle regularly hosts disturbing ''performances'' he claims are demonstrations of trans activism.
In one performance from 2022, simply titled ''FISH,'' Cottle strips while slapping himself with a dead fish. In another from that same year, titled ''Prayer for the Pearl Oyster,'' Cottle is seen wearing women's underwear, transparent platform heels, and a pearl necklace. He rips fabric, tosses about oysters, and screams while stomping on the shells. Cottle then begins writhing, strips naked, and removes a sex toy from his anus.
In addition to providing words in a VICE article on ''trans joy,'' last year Cottle contributed to a piece published in the Italian edition of Vogue magazine.
Titled ''The Hairy Boundaries of My Womanhood,'' the article asserts that ''trans women and non-binary femmes'' should find ''new ways to express their genders through facial hair,'' while drawing a parallel between ''dyke movements and women with PCOS'' to biological males who claim a female identity.
''When covering my moustache, I experience security from the notion of passing but deal with the dangers of catcalling,'' Cottle told Vogue. ''When I choose not to cover up, I signal to the world my radical position on gender and resistance to the male gaze.''
In a photo posted to his Instagram account in October 2020, Cottle can be seen licking a knife in a threatening fashion. Behind him were images of Member of Parliament Liz Truss, and a man who appears to resemble former First Secretary of State Dominic Raab. The image is titled ''Target Practice.''
In a similarly menacing image, Cottle was photographed in a skin-tight dress holding a sign that reads, ''The streets will flow with tranny piss and Tory blood.''
In an interview with Era Journal, the University College of London's Arts and Culture publication, Cottle acknowledges his admiration for a US-based trans-identified male called R­o Sofia, who has made bondage and forced feminization pornography of himself as part of his academic studies at Cooper Union College. In 2020, Sofia presented his self-made pornography during a lecture for Princeton University.
One of Cottle's performances appears to have been influenced by Sofia, who, during his presentation for Princeton, boasted of stripping down to nothing but ''lucite-looking heels'' and exposing himself to the then-president of Cooper Union, in an attempt to spark provocation.
Cottle also recently assisted with a fundraiser for his girlfriend's double mastectomy. Jasmine, 22, a female who identifies as a man, stated on her GoFundMe page that she was ''on the GenderCare pathway'' due to being ''exhausted [with] having to endure my body being sexualized in a way that feels so foreign to me.''
In 2021, Cottle was a member of the Queer Heritage and Collections Network Steering Group and a listed speaker at their taxpayer-funded symposium. The symposium featured prominent UK artists sharing ''knowledge, skills, expertise and best practice regarding national and regional heritage sites and collections working with LGBTQ+ histories,'' and was held in partnership with the national Art Fund.
Cottle was presented as being associated with English Heritage, a major charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places in the United Kingdom.
While Cottle has put his Instagram on private, his biography does claim he will be appearing at the Tate Britain, a historic art gallery in central London, on June 10.
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New York's skyscrapers are causing it to sink '' what can be done about it? - BBC Future
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:29
(Image credit: Getty Images)
The ground under New York City is sinking partly due to the sheer mass of all its buildings '' and it isn't the only coastal city to be suffering this fate. As sea levels also rise to meet these concrete jungles, can they be saved?
On 27 September 1889, workers put the finishing touches to the Tower Building. It was an 11-storey building that, thanks to its steel skeleton structure, is thought of as New York City's first skyscraper. The Tower Building is long gone '' its plum spot on Broadway was taken in 1914 '' but its erection marked the beginning of a construction spree that still has not stopped.
On the 300sq miles (777sq km) that comprise New York City sit 762 million tonnes (1.68 trillion pounds) of concrete, glass and steel, according to estimates by researchers at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). While that figure involves some generalisations about constriction materials, that prodigious tonnage does not include the fixtures, fittings and furniture inside those million-odd buildings. Nor does it include the transport infrastructure that connects them, nor the 8.5 million people who inhabit them.
All that weight is having an extraordinary effect on the land on which it is built. That ground, according to a study published in May, is sinking by 1-2mm (0.04-0.08in) per year, partly due to the pressure exerted on it by the city buildings above. And that is concerning experts '' add the subsidence of the land to the rising of sea levels, and the relative sea level rise is 3-4mm (0.12-0.16in) per year. That may not sound like much, but over a few years it adds up to significant problems for a coastal city.
New York has already been suffering subsidence since the end of last ice age. Relieved of the weight of ice sheets, some land on the Eastern Seaboard is expanding, while other parts of the coastal landmass, including the chunk on which New York City lies, seem to be settling down. "That relaxation causes subsidence," says Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center of the USGS in Moffett Field, California and one of the four authors of the study.
But the enormous weight of the city's built environment worsens this subsidence, Parsons says.
And this is a global phenomenon. New York City, says Parsons, "can be seen as a proxy for other coastal cities in the US and the world that have growing populations from people migrating to them, that have associated urbanisation, and that face rising seas".
There is a wide range of reasons for why coastal cities are sinking, but the mass of human infrastructure pressing down on the land is playing a role. The scale of this infrastructure is vast: in 2020 the mass of human-made objects surpassed that of all living biomass. (Learn more about how concrete has become the material that defines our age.)
Can anything be done to halt these cities '' which between them have hundreds of millions of residents '' from sinking into the sea?
The Indonesian capital Jakarta is increasingly prone to tidal flooding due to the combined action of subsidence and sea level rise (Credit: Getty Images)
Some cities around the world '' such as Jakarta, capital of Indonesia '' are sinking far faster than others. "In some cities, we're seeing subsidence of a few centimetres a year," says Steven D'Hondt, professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett. At this rate, the city is sinking far faster than sea levels are rising to meet it. "We'd have to increase ice melt by an order of magnitude to match that."
As well as being a co-author on the New York study, D'Hondt is one of three authors of a 2022 study that used satellite images to measure subsidence rates in 99 coastal cities around the world. "If subsidence continues at recent rates, these cities will be challenged by severe flood events much sooner than projected," wrote D'Hondt and his colleagues Pei-Chin Wu and Matt Wei, who are both at the University of Rhode Island.
Southeast Asia featured heavily in the list of cities suffering the most rapid subsidence. Parts of Jakarta are subsiding at between 2cmm-5cm (0.8-2in) per year. Alongside Jakarta, which is being replaced as Indonesia's capital by a city being constructed 1,240 miles (1996km) away, were Manila (Philippines), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Karachi (Pakistan) and Tianjin (China). These cities are already suffering infrastructure damage and frequent flooding.
Meanwhile, although it is not on the coast, Mexico City is sinking at an astonishing 50cm (20in) a year thanks to the Spanish draining its underlying aquifers when they occupied it as a colony. Research has suggested it could take another 150 years before that sinking halts '' and round 30m (98ft) of additional subsidence.
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Will Venice succumb to the sea?The Hong Kong approach to skyscrapersWhat 1.5C living actually looks likeBut it's the coastal cities that are the focus of the study by D'Hondt and his colleagues. A large portion of Semarang in Indonesia, for example, is sinking at 2-3cm (0.8-1.2in) per year while a significant area in the north of Tampa Bay, Florida, is subsiding at 6mm (0.2in) annually.
Some level of this subsidence happens naturally, Wei says. However, it can be greatly accelerated by humans '' not only by the load of our buildings, but by our extraction of groundwater and our production of deep-lying oil and gas. The relative contribution of each of these phenomena, says Wei, "vary from place to place, making it a challenging task to understand and address coastal subsidence".
As the human built environment continues to grow, it adds pressure to the soil and bedrock below that can lead to subsidence (Credit: Getty Images)
But address it we must. Rising water causes damage well before it starts crashing over flood barriers: it is a rising tide that sinks all boats.
The first effects of a relative rise in sea level, says D'Hondt, take place below the surface. "You've got buried utility lines, buried infrastructure, buried foundations for buildings, and then, the seawater starts working with that stuff long before you see it above ground." As this goes on, storms bring water ever further into cities.
The solutions vary according to the local causes of subsidence.
One obvious approach, albeit one that comes with its own problems, is to stop building. As Parsons explains, the settling of the ground beneath buildings "is generally complete a year or two after construction". Although much of New York City has bedrock of schist, marble and gneiss, these rocks have a degree of elasticity and fractures in them that account for some of the subsidence. But the clay-rich soil and artificial fill materials that are particularly prevalent in lower Manhattan can cause some of the largest amounts of subsidence, says Parsons and his colleagues. So ensuring the largest buildings are positioned on the most solid bedrock could help to reduce the downward trend.
Another solution, at least for some places, is to slow the withdrawal of groundwater and extraction from underground aquifers. Parsons and his colleagues warn that increasing urbanisation will likely increase the amount of groundwater being extracted and combine with even more construction to cope with the growing population. Finding more sustainable ways of supplying the city's water needs and maintaining groundwater levels could help.
However, the most common approach is a messy and imperfect programme of constructing and maintaining flood defences such as sea walls. Tokyo's adaptation to land subsidence is two-pronged. The city has built physical structures like concrete dykes, seawalls, pump stations and flood gates. These are combined with social measures like evacuation rehearsals and an early-warning system.
Some level of this subsidence happens naturally, but it can be greatly accelerated by humans '' not only by the load of our buildings, but by our extraction of groundwater and our production of deep-lying oil and gasSometimes it is residents themselves who step in. A 2021 study documented how residents of Jakarta, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City have taken their own, informal measures. These include raising floors, moving household appliances and, in Manila, building makeshift bridges between houses in swampy areas.
Other useful tools include attenuation tanks: large tanks that sit underground and release stormwater at a controlled, slow rate. Martin Lambley, a drainage expert at the pipe manufacturing company Wavin, says that attenuation tanks should be combined with natural elements like ponds, soakaways (rubbly pits from which water drains slowly) and swales (marshy basins). "The challenges we face today differ drastically from when urban sewers and drainage systems were first introduced," he says.
We might see more innovative solutions as the waters rise. In 2019, the UN held a roundtable discussion on floating cities, which might take the form of pontoon structures. Finally, stopping climate change by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions would prevent or delay at least some melting of the polar ice caps, slowing sea level rise.
"I think that governments need to be concerned," says D'Hondt. "If they don't want to have massive loss of infrastructure and economic capacity in a few decades, they need to start planning right now."
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Solar Radiation Modification Needs Global Governance
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:27
Interest in'--as well as concerns about'--solar radiation modification (SRM, also known as solar geoengineering) has gathered momentum in recent months: from stunt deployment by a commercial startup to objections expressed in the media that Africa be used as a laboratory for environmental manipulation and the reactions to them, from plans by eminent scientists to refreeze the Arctic to rare bipartisan U.S. Senate support for scientific research into the idea.
Interest in'--as well as concerns about'--solar radiation modification (SRM, also known as solar geoengineering) has gathered momentum in recent months: from stunt deployment by a commercial startup to objections expressed in the media that Africa be used as a laboratory for environmental manipulation and the reactions to them, from plans by eminent scientists to refreeze the Arctic to rare bipartisan U.S. Senate support for scientific research into the idea.
As the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made clear, the world is now more likely than not to exceed'--for possibly several decades'--the 1.5-degrees-Celsius goal, and the impacts of a warming world are increasingly being felt. Climate policymakers are anxious and unsure about what the future may bring, but a growing number are aware that the option to use'--or not use'--SRM may well be part of the discussion.
SRM would aim to address a symptom of climate change by reflecting more sunlight back into space in order to directly reduce Earth's temperature. There are several different types of SRM, including brightening marine clouds, painting rooftops white, covering glaciers, and injecting aerosols into the stratosphere. This article focuses on the latter.
Governments, the United Nations, and even the private sector are devoting greater attention to the possible risks and benefits of using these techniques to help manage the perils from temporarily overshooting the temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But with increasing knowledge, critical questions have emerged. Should there be a single finger on the global thermostat? Under which international process or institution would momentous decisions on whether or not to deploy be made, and will all countries and concerns be represented? Will more research and further awareness of SRM undermine global momentum to reduce emissions, remove atmospheric carbon, and strengthen adaptation? What would be the implications of unilateral deployment? How would an international agreement on SRM'--of any nature'--be enforced?
At present, there is no comprehensive international governance for these techniques. According to the IPCC report, the lack of a formal, robust international governance for SRM poses a risk in itself, potentially leading to unilateral, uninformed actions and forcing governments to react hastily in a crisis.
Consider the balloons launched in Mexico last year as a small-scale commercial SRM intervention carried out by a U.S.-based startup selling ''cooling credits'' for releasing high-altitude balloons with aerosols. No prior consultations with the government or local communities were undertaken. Initial deployment prompted the Mexican government to announce it would block such activities. The company has since continued launches from the United States, which has not taken any action thus far.
For the last six years, we at the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative have been meeting with representatives of governments and civil society organizations around the world and encouraging them to address the lack of governance for SRM. While some progress has been made, the issue deserves more attention'--and soon.
The most widely researched, and controversial, type of SRM is stratospheric aerosol injection. If deployed at scale, it would quickly lower the global mean temperature and affect every country and ecosystem in the world, but not necessarily equally.
Currently, stratospheric aerosol injection exists only in computer models and is not ready for deployment, though some outdoor experiments have been attempted and others implemented. The premise behind it, however, mimics what happens during a volcanic explosion when sulfur aerosols are released into the lower stratosphere. The aerosols reflect some sunlight back into space'--dimming the sun temporarily and thus lowering the global temperature.
Some scientists suggest that airplanes could regularly release reflective aerosols into the lower stratosphere, and that Earth's temperature would cool significantly within a matter of months. No other method for addressing warming could bring such rapid results, with the lowest price tag for direct costs on the order of $20 billion annually per 1 degree Celsius of cooling.
Therein lies part of this technique's allure'--and danger. SRM is not a solution to climate change as it does not address its root cause: excess greenhouse gas emissions. Only reducing emissions and removing atmospheric carbon can do that. SRM addresses one of its symptoms: temperature rise. According to the IPCC, at best, it could be a supplement to overall efforts that address climate change.
However, many worry that SRM could be seen by some as a way to provide a quick, bandage-type solution to the climate crisis'--one that doesn't require the world to decarbonize, including through the radical transformation of unsustainable lifestyles. Attempts at such a nonsolution would be completely erroneous, but the temptation could remain.
Overshooting the Paris Agreement temperature goals entails risks for both humanity and the ecosystems we depend on for survival. As U.N. Secretary-General Ant"nio Guterres has said, ''Every fraction of a degree matters.'' Deploying SRM also entails risks'--known and unknown'--and must be seen in the context of a world that is hotter than the one any previous generation has experienced, which will become hotter still over the period of an overshoot.
The hard truth is that there are no risk-free options.
If stratospheric aerosol injection were to be used, it would need to be deployed'--and governed'--continuously for decades, potentially for generations, depending on the world's progress in reducing emissions and removing excess carbon already in the atmosphere.
Models show that both its risks and benefits would be uneven. It could, for example, harm the ozone layer, upset monsoon cycles, and trigger or exacerbate potential conflicts. Suddenly terminating its use, because either governance lapsed or deployment was sabotaged, could be devastating for biodiversity.
Conversely, its use could potentially alleviate suffering for millions of people living in regions with extreme heat, saving lives and livelihoods and reducing many of the impacts of a warming climate.
Should humanity forgo learning about such techniques, thereby accepting the risks from overshooting 1.5 degrees Celsius and the potential for climate tipping points to be triggered? Or should we deliberately alter the climate using SRM? Do we have the right to do that'--or not to do that? How might the world make such a decision? Based on whose authority?
The vast majority of government representatives we have spoken with want to learn and understand more about the risks, benefits, and governance challenges of SRM before they make decisions.
There are far more questions than answers. But one thing is clear: whether you agree or disagree with SRM as a potential emergency tool to temporarily supplement existing efforts, the risks of the current lack of governance need to be addressed.
A recent report published by the U.N. Environment Programme, for example, calls for a ''robust, equitable and rigorous trans-disciplinary scientific review process to reduce uncertainties associated with SRM and better inform decision-making.'' Some scientists have called for banning the use of SRM and related research, while others are calling for more or more balanced research. A key governance gap to be filled relates to whether or not to pursue research, and if so, how.
Many government representatives we have spoken with also recognize the importance of public engagement and the need to involve a broad swath of society with different views and perspectives to engage in national and international informed discussions on this issue.
They also recognize the need to proceed with governance frameworks that involve all countries; recognize an increasingly likely temperature overshoot; support agreed objectives, such as the global Sustainable Development Goals; and, most importantly, do not undermine progress on reducing emissions and removing carbon from the atmosphere, both of which are essential for addressing climate change.
However, they are unsure which current international framework is best suited for which dimension of governance. Should one make use of existing international treaties, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change? Should one pursue decisions in fora like the U.N. Environment Assembly? Or would it be more useful to aim for less formalized arrangements of governance?
Our conversations in the last few years indicate that this September, policymakers at the U.N. General Assembly, with its universal representation and ability to address interlinking issues, are well placed to deliberate on how to address the risks of lack of governance around SRM, including by setting the scene to enable and support learning about these techniques; giving guidance to other intergovernmental processes to pursue work related to SRM; considering options that enable and take into account the informed views of all countries and stakeholders; and laying the groundwork for some very difficult decisions in the coming years.
International agreements can take years to negotiate, though, especially when it comes to preserving the global commons. And time is precisely what the world doesn't have when it comes to addressing climate risks. Building on informal discussions already underway, it's time for policymakers to accelerate their engagement on this issue. Delaying this conversation only magnifies the already considerable risks.
France bans short-haul flights: Move aimed to boost rail travel, reduce carbon emissions - YouTube
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:24
(1) Who attended the Bilderberg meeting? - GeneralMCNews
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:22
The Bilderberg meetings were established in 1954 to ''foster dialogue'' between Europe and North America.
Today, the majority of participants come from Europe and North America. From politicians to bankers to CEO's of giant corporations all attend this secret meeting behind closed doors.
Deception is key. Attendees take part as individuals, rather than in any official capacity, and no official detailed agenda is disclosed nor are the discussions reportable.
According to the press release, ''The Bilderberg Meeting is a forum for informal discussions about major issues. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor any other participant may be revealed.''
Abrams, Stacey (USA), CEO, Sage Works Production Achleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Chair, Global Advisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG Agrawal, Ajay (CAN), Professor of Economics, University of Toronto Albares, Jos(C) Manuel (ESP), Minister of Foreign Affairs Altman, Sam (USA), CEO, OpenAI Alver , Marco (ITA), Co-Founder,; CEO TES Andersson, Magdalena (SWE), Leader, Social Democratic Party Applebaum, Anne (USA), Staff Writer, The Atlantic Arnaut, Jos(C) Lu­s (PRT), M anaging Partner, CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut Attal, Gabriel (FRA), Minister for Public Accounts Balsem£o, Francisco Pinto (PRT), Chair, Impresa Group Barbizet, Patricia (FRA), Chair and CEO, Temaris & Associ(C)s SAS Barroso, Jos(C) Manuel (PRT), Chair, International Advisors, Goldman Sachs Baudson, Val(C)rie (FRA), CEO, Amundi SA Beaune, Cl(C)ment (FRA), Minister for Transport Benson, Sally (USA), Professor of Energy Science and Engineering, Stanford University Beurden, Ben van (NLD), Special Advisor to the Board, Shell plc Borg, Anna (SWE), President and CEO, Vattenfall AB Borrell, Josep (INT), Vice President, European Commission Bot­n, Ana P. (ESP), Group Executive Chair, Banco Santander SA Bourla, Albert (USA), Chair and CEO, Pfizer Inc. Braathen, Kjerstin (NOR), CEO, DNB ASA Brende, B¸rge (NOR), President, World Economic Forum Brink, Dolf van den (NLD), CEO, Heineken NV Bruderm¼ller, Martin (DEU), CEO, BASF SE Buberl, Thomas (FRA), CEO, AXA SA Byrne, Thomas (IRL), Minister for Sport and Physical Education Carney, Mark (CAN), Vice Chair, Brookfield Asset Management Cassis, Ignazio (CHE), Federal Councillor, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Castries, Henri de (FRA), President, Institut Montaigne Cavoli, Christopher (INT), Supreme Allied Commander Europe Ceylan, Mehmet Fatih (TUR), President, Ankara Policy Center Chhabra, Tarun (USA), Senior Director for Technology and National Security, National Security Council Creuheras, Jos(C) (ESP), Chair, Grupo Planeta and Atresmedia Debackere, Koenraad (BEL), Chair, KBC Group NV Deese, Brian (USA), Former Director, National Economic Council Donohoe, Paschal (INT), President, Eurogroup D¶pfner, Mathias (DEU), Chair and CEO, Axel Springer SE Easterly, Jen (USA), Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Economy, Elizabeth (USA), Senior Advisor for China, Department of Commerce Ehrnrooth, Henrik (FIN), Chair, Otava Group ‰mi(C), Bernard (FRA), Director General for External Security, Ministry of the Armed Forces Empoli, Giuliano da (ITA), Political Scientist and Writer, Sciences Po Entrecanales, Jos(C) M. (ESP), Chair and CEO, Acciona SA Eriksen, yvind (NOR), President and CEO, Aker ASA Ferguson, Niall (USA), Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Stanford University Fleming, Jeremy (GBR), Former Director, GCHQ Frederiksen, Mette (DNK), Prime Minister Freeland, Chrystia (CAN), Deputy Prime Minister Garijo, B(C)len (DEU), Chair and CEO, Merck KGaA Gentiloni, Paolo (INT), Commissioner for Economy, European Commission Gonzles Pons, Esteban (ESP), Vice Chair, European People's Party Gosset-Grainville, Antoine (FRA), Chair, AXA Goulimis, Nicky (GRC), Board Member and Co-Founder, Nova Credit Inc. Griffin, Kenneth (USA), Founder and CEO, Citadel LLC Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Anchor, La7 TV G¼rkaynak, Refet (TUR), Professor of Economics, Bilkent University Haines, Avril D. (USA), Director of National Intelligence Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Professor of Economics, Leiden University Hassabis, Demis (GBR), CEO, DeepMind Hedegaard, Connie (DNK), Chair, KR Foundation Hofreiter, Anton (DEU), MP; Chair Committee on European Affairs Holzen, Madeleine von (CHE), Editor-in-Chief, Le Temps Jensen, Kristian (DNK), CEO, Green Power Denmark Joshi, Shashank (GBR), Defence Editor, The Economist Kaag, Sigrid (NLD), Minister of Finance; Deputy Prime Minister Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies Inc. Kasparov, Garry (USA), Chair, Renew Democracy Initiative Kieli, Kasia (POL), President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Poland Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc. Ko§, –mer (TUR), Chair, Ko§ Holding AS Kolesnikov, Andrei (INT), Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Kostrzewa, Wojciech (POL), President, Polish Business Roundtable Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman, KKR & Co. Inc. Kravis, Marie-Jos(C)e (USA), Chair, The Museum of Modern Art Kudelski, Andr(C) (CHE), Chair and CEO, Kudelski Group SA Kuleba, Dmytro (UKR), Minister of Foreign Affairs Lammy, David (GBR), Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, House of Commons Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chair, Umicore and Mediahuis; Chair DSM-Firmenich AG Liikanen, Erkki (FIN), Chair, IFRS Foundation Trustees Looney, Bernard (GBR), CEO, BP plc Marin, Sanna (FIN), Prime Minister Metsola, Roberta (INT), President, European Parliament Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist Moreira, Duarte (PRT), Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Zeno Partners Moyo, Dambisa (GBR), Global Economist; Member, House of Lords Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates LLC Nadella, Satya (USA), CEO, Microsoft Corporation O'Leary, Michael (IRL), Group CEO, Ryanair Group Orida, Deborah (CAN), President and CEO, PSP Investments –zel, Soli (TUR), Professor, Kadir Has University Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), Chair, TITAN Cement Group; Treasurer Bilderberg Meetings Philippe, ‰douard (FRA), Mayor, Le Havre Pottinger, Matthew (USA), Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution Pouyann(C), Patrick (FRA), Chair and CEO, TotalEnergies SE Rachman, Gideon (GBR), Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, The Financial Times Rappard, Rolly van (NLD), Co-Founder and Co-Chair, CVC Capital Partners Reynders, Didier (INT), European Commissioner for Justice R¶ttgen, Norbert (DEU), MP, German Bundestag Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister Salomon, Martina (AUT), Editor-in-Chief, Kurier Sawers, John (GBR), Executive Chair, Newbridge Advisory Ltd. Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute Schallenberg, Alexander (AUT), Minister for European and International Affairs Schmidt, Eric E. (USA), Former CEO and Chair, Google LLC Schmidt, Wolfgang (DEU), Head of the Chancellery, Federal Minister for Special Tasks Sebasti£o, Nuno (PRT), Chair and CEO, Feedzai Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), MEP, European Parliament Silva, Filipe (PRT), CEO, Galp Stilwell de Andrade, Miguel (PRT), CEO, EDP Stoltenberg, Jens (INT), Secretary General, NATO Subramanian, Arvind (INT), Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs, Brown University Tellis, Ashley J. (USA), Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital LLC Tsu, Jing (USA), Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University Tugendhat, Tom (GBR), Minister of State for Security Vadera, Shriti (GBR), Chair, Prudential plc Vassilakis, Eftichios (GRC), Chair, Aegean Group Waldron, John (USA), President and COO, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Wallenberg, Marcus (SWE), Chair, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB Wennink, Peter (NLD), President and CEO, ASML Holding NV Wright, Thomas (USA), Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council Yang, Yuan (GBR), Europe-China Correspondent, Financial Times Yergin, Daniel (USA), Vice Chair, S&P Global Yinan§, Bar§in (TUR), Journalist, T24 News Website
Artificial Intelligence: This was the main agenda of the meeting.
Banking System: Central Bank Digital Currencies.
China: They want more countries to follow the China model.
Energy Transition: Climate change agenda to make the U.S. weaker.
Europe: A variety of sub topics from immigration to World War 3.
Fiscal Challenges: A new great depression.
India: I cover Pakistan being destabilized as a pivotal move for the agenda.
Industry Policy and Trade: Globalized trade to the max.
NATO: The alliance is seeking for Ukraine to join.
Russia: They want a regime change in Russia by any means.
Transnational Threats: Trafficking in drugs, arms, and people, nuclear proliferation, the spread of terrorism and piracy
Ukraine: Everyone must continue to support and fund Ukraine.
US Leadership: The rigging of elections to install puppets like Joe Biden.
Before agenda 2030 comes into full fruition artificial intelligence will be playing a massive role in our society. From looking after the elderly, making films, teaching lessons - or it could wipe out the human race.
Eight AI experts from the US and UK have made some chilling predictions on how technology could change our lives by the end of the next decade. AI will start to rapidly replace common jobs by the year 2024 and beyond.
AI has the potential to realize that they no longer need human beings. Eliezer Yudofsky, an American computer scientist is stating that the entire human race will be wiped out by January 1, 2030. He is a renowned researcher at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute in Berkley, California and is one of the most vocal experts to warn over AI.
Some are viewing AI as a solution to boost the world economy's value and also to solve the energy crisis. If you scroll back up you will notice both of these were also topics for this years Bilderberg meeting, with AI being the main topic.
The United States will not stop because they know China is also developing AI. Elon Musk has also warned both civilizations that AI has ''dangerous'' potential that could threaten civilization it it went unchecked.
In 2005, the Chinese government created a mass surveillance system called Skynet. The government revealed Skynet's existence in 2013, by which time the network included over 20 million cameras.
Skynet is also a program which we have in the United States. The U.S. National Security Agency that performs machine learning analysis on communications data to extract information about possible terror suspects is called Skynet.
Two versions of Skynet. One Artificial Intelligence. Will the two merge one day and take control of the world? We've seen this movie before.
Hasta la vista, baby.
Mali rejects UN report on alleged execution of 500 villagers by troops | Reuters
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:19
BAMAKO, May 14 (Reuters) - Mali's interim military government has rejected a United Nations human rights office report on the alleged execution of at least 500 people by Malian soldiers and unidentified foreign fighters during an operation last year.
The ruling junta was responding to a report released on Friday after a months-long investigation into what rights groups described as the worst atrocity in a 10-year conflict between Islamist groups and the army.
"The transitional government vehemently denounces this biased report that is based on a fictitious narrative and does not meet established international standards," government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga said in a statement on Saturday.
The report said Malian soldiers and foreign personnel descended in helicopters on the village of Moura on March 27 last year and opened fire on fleeing residents. In a roundup of civilians in the following days, hundreds more were shot and thrown in ditches, it said.
Maiga said a state investigation into possible human rights violations during the operation was still ongoing, but repeated previous comments that Islamist fighters were killed rather than civilians.
"No civilian from Moura lost their life during the military operation. Among the dead, there were only terrorist fighters and all those arrested were handed over to the gendarmerie," he said, stressing the authorities' commitment to the protection of human rights.
The U.N. report was based on interviews with victims and witnesses in the West African country, as well as forensic and satellite imagery. Malian authorities denied requests by the U.N. fact-finding team to access the village of Moura itself, it said.
Maiga said the authorities had opened a judicial inquiry against the fact-finding mission for allegedly not having sought permission to take satellite photos of Moura, which amounts to "a clandestine manoeuvre against the national security of Mali."
Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mike Harrison
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Russian mercenaries behind slaughter of 500 in Mali village, UN report finds | Mali | The Guardian
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:18
First came a single helicopter, flying low over the marshes around the river outside the village, then the rattle of automatic fire scattered the crowds gathered for the weekly market.
Next came more helicopters, dropping troops off around the homes and cattle pens. The soldiers moved swiftly, ordering men into the centre of the village, gunning down those trying to escape. When some armed militants fired back, the shooting intensified. Soon at least 20 civilians and a dozen alleged members of an al-Qaida affiliated Islamist group, were dead.
Over the next five days, hundreds more would die in the village of Moura in the Mopti region of Mali at the hands of troops overseen by Russian mercenaries, according to a new United Nations report. All but a small fraction were unarmed civilians.
Published last week after an extensive human rights fact-finding mission conducted over several months by UN staff in Mali, the report gives an hour by hour account of events during a five-day military operation in Moura in March 2022, giving details of the worst single atrocity associated with the Kremlin-linked Wagner group outside Ukraine.
Investigators from the UN human rights office concluded that there are strong indications that more than 500 people were killed '' the majority in extrajudicial killings '' by Malian troops and foreign military personnel believed to be from Wagner, a mercenary outfit run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, which was linked to the massacre by internal messages obtained by the Guardian last year.
The new allegations again underline the extent of human rights abuses blamed on Wagner, which has also operated in at least six other African countries as well as Libya and Syria.
In recent months, Wagner fighters have spearheaded the Russian push to seize the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been fiercely contested by Kyiv's forces, and suffered heavy casualties. Wagner has been accused of involvement in multiple massacres in Mali as well as elsewhere in the Sahel and central Africa. Witnesses say the group has been caught up in fierce fighting in Central African Republic in recent months.
Map of Mali showing location of MouraAs France and the US have shifted resources and attention away from Africa in recent years, Russia has moved to fill the gap, mounting a series of diplomatic offensives and using Wagner to win over regimes in key states by offering to bolster weak security forces against enemies ranging from Islamist extremists to pro-democracy domestic opposition parties.
Western officials allege the Kremlin is using Wagner to advance Russian economic and political interests across Africa and elsewhere. The effort is backed by an extensive disinformation campaign, they say.
Analysts have recorded a surge in violence wherever Wagner has deployed, although rarely with much military success for governments. Last month, at least nine civilians were killed and more than 60 injured in a triple suicide bomb attack in the central Mali town of S(C)var(C) early on a Saturday, an official has said.
When the Russian mercenaries were hired in Mozambique in 2019 to fight Islamist militants there, they were forced to withdraw after suffering heavy casualties. Eventually, Rwandan regular troops were flown in, successfully countering the insurgents' offensive.
Few of the atrocities alleged to have involved Wagner have been conclusively linked to the group, however. A lack of witnesses, resistance from local regimes, poor infrastructure and acute insecurity have made full investigation of claims difficult.
The Moura massacre is an exception, however. ''These are extremely disturbing findings,'' said Volker T¼rk, the UN high commissioner for human rights. ''Summary executions, rape and torture during armed conflict amount to war crimes and could, depending on the circumstances, amount to crimes against humanity.''
Malian authorities denied requests by the team to access Moura itself but the report is based on interviews with victims and witnesses, as well as forensic and other information sources, such as satellite imagery.
Mali's elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Ke¯ta, was toppled in August 2020 by officers angered at the failures to roll back the jihadist insurgency. In 2021, the military forced out an interim civilian government and tilted dramatically towards Moscow, concluding an agreement in which about 1,000 fighters from the Wagner group were deployed to bases across much of the country, which also received consignments of Russian weapons.
Video footage of soldiers burying bodies near an army base in northern Mali in April last year. Photograph: APA Malian government spokesperson described the report as ''biased'' and ''based on a fictional account'', and said an investigation by Malian judicial authorities had found ''not a single civilian in Moura was killed during the military operation'', only ''armed terrorists''.
The operation '' described by the authorities as an anti-terrorist military operation against an Islamist extremist group, Katiba Macina, which has imposed its rigorous and intolerant version of sharia law on inhabitants, raised taxes and made local men follow their dress codes '' began on 27 March 2022, a busy market day in Moura.
The accounts gathered by the UN support the testimony of witnesses who spoke to reporters last year. Amadou Barry, who lives in the neighbouring village, told the Observer he was attending the market in Moura when helicopters suddenly appeared and troops disembarked, prompting a small group of Islamist militants in the village to shoot at the soldiers before fleeing on motorbikes.
''We started running in every direction, some into the houses. The Malian army then opened fire on people running, killing so many people,'' he said.
Then, over the next four days, at least 500 people are believed to have been killed, says the report, which names at least 238 of these victims.
H(C)ni Nsaibia, senior researcher at ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project), said in the weeks after the massacre that between 60 and 100 of those killed may have been unarmed Islamist militants, but the rest were civilians. Government forces found large quantities of weapons in Moura.
Witnesses reported seeing ''armed white men'' who spoke an unknown language operating alongside the Malian forces and at times appearing to supervise operations, the report found. It cites witnesses who claimed Malian troops were rotated in and out of Moura daily, but the foreign personnel remained.
Internal Malian army documents obtained by the Guardian last year revealed the presence of Wagner fighters '' referred to as ''Russian instructors'' '' on ''mixed missions'' with Malian soldiers and gendarmes around the time of the Moura massacre. Wagner were deployed near Moura at the time, and took part in other operations in which many civilians were killed.
According to the new report, on the day after the initial assault soldiers began going house to house searching for ''presumed terrorists'', selecting and killing people with long beards, people wearing ankle-length trousers (a sign of religious devotion), people with marks on their shoulders '' seen as evidence of firing or carrying weapons '' and even those who merely showed signs of fear.
Yevgeny Prigozhin is the owner of the Wagner mercenary group. Photograph: APA group of men rounded up in the south-east of the village were led away by soldiers and shot in the head, back or chest, and their bodies thrown into a ditch. Witnesses said that those who resisted or tried to flee were also executed by the Malian armed forces and the ''armed white men'' and dumped into the ditch.
Detainees were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during questioning, and dozens of women and girls were raped or subjected to other forms of sexual violence, the report claims. In one instance, soldiers brought bedding from a house, placed it under trees in the garden, and took turns raping women they had forced there.
Samira Daoud, Amnesty International's regional director for west and central Africa, said what happened in Moura could constitute crimes under international law.
''While the [UN] notes that around 30 combatants from the armed group Katiba Macina were present in Moura on 27 March 2022 '... their presence can in no way justify the extrajudicial executions, rapes and looting committed by the armed forces against the inhabitants and stallholders trapped by their siege,'' Daoud said.
Analysts have expressed concerns that the recent crisis in Sudan has distracted attention from deepening problems across the Sahel, an unstable belt of desert and grazing running east from Senegal across the African continent. The zone is afflicted by extreme weather linked to climate change, displacement of millions of people, acute political instability and growing violence. Analysts fear the conflict in Sudan may lead to a ''domino'' effect of state collapse.
Wegovy and Ozempic could be anti-addiction drugs as they cure drinking and shopping habits | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:17
Patients taking the blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy are reporting an unusual added benefit '-- they are free from other addictions that used to rule their lives.
Users across the country claim their cravings for cigarettes and alcohol became less intense when they started taking the slimming injection. Others say bad habits like biting their nails, picking their skin and compulsive shopping also disappeared.
The drug helps people lose weight by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone, which curbs hunger and slows the the rate at which a person's stomach empties, leaving them feeling fuller for longer.
But experts say it may also dull the brain's dopamine reward pathway, reducing the chemical hit and thus the 'feel good' element of giving in to unhealthy cravings.
Some researchers are excited that they may have accidentally stumbled on an anti-addiction drug. An estimated one in 60 US adults have a prescription for Wegovy, Ozempic, or Mounjaro.
Henry Webb, from North Carolina, finished a two-month course of Wegovy after hitting his weight goal. In the past, he would consistently have a couple of drinks in the evening, but said: 'On the medication I had zero desire for that'
Wegovy was originally developed for type 2 diabetes to help control blood glucose
Henry Webb, from North Carolina, finished a two-month course of Wegovy after hitting his weight goal.
In the past, he would consistently have a couple of drinks in the evening, but said: 'On the medication I had zero desire for that.'
He added: 'This could be a game changer for people who struggle with addiction.'
Jim Melloan, from New York, said he had a 'total aversion to alcohol' on the drug, which also barely affected his weight.
He said: 'I didn't sign up for that. Been on it for almost four months, and I'm out. I want to be able to drink socially again.'
Ashley, from Texas, takes Mounjaro, another diabetes drug due to be approved for weight loss in the US, said she noticed she stopped picking at her hangnails as a nervous habit.
She said: 'I took some biotin [vitamin B] when I started and my nails literally never looked better. There's definitely something to it.'
Dr Shauna Levy, an obesity medicine specialist at Tulane University, in New Orleans, told 'I have noticed that people want to drink less alcohol. I have also noticed a decrease in binge eating behavior. GLP-1 receptor agongists decrease the reward the brain feels from addictive behaviors like eating, drinking, smoking, shopping etc.
'It was a really cool finding. These medications can treat so many different problems.'
She added: 'We need to do more research to understand the mechanism.'
Victoria Rutledge was addicted to alcohol. When she became sober in her early 30s, she became consumed instead by food and shopping.
She spent $500 on organic groceries but then let them go moldy in her fridge.
She told The Atlantic: 'I couldn't stop from going to that extreme.'
When shopping in Target, she couldn't help throwing dozens of extra items into her cart.
Earlier this year, Ms Rutledge began taking Wegovy for weight loss, and found herself thinking less about food and slimming down.
She also took trips to Target and left with only the items she intended to buy.
'I've never done that before,' she said. Her cravings for shopping and food had magically gone away.
In 2022, more than 5 million prescriptions for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus, or Wegovy were written for weight management, compared with just over 230,000 in 2019. This marks an increase of more than 2,000 percent, according to market research firm Komodo Health
A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, dropping 18% of their weight over 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after dropping the weekly injections. Experts says the drug needs to be used over a lifetime to keep off the pounds
Another patient, Mary Maher, used to obsessively pick the skin on her back and would bleed so much that she avoided wearing white.
Two months after taking Wegovy, the urge to pick had disappeared and her back had healed and she had also stopped biting her nails.
Clinical trials are in the works at the University of North Carolina to see if semaglutide can help people stop drinking and smoking.
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) '-- a hormone in the brain that prompts the body to produce more insulin and reduce blood sugar levels, regulating appetite.
Initially created for diabetes, semaglutide triggers the pancreas to release insulin by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).
The hormone also curbs hunger and slows the rate at which a person's stomach empties, causing them to lose weight.
It also appears to affect the brain. GLP-1 impact dopamine pathways in the brain, the reward pathway that is key to addictions.
Things such as food and sex release dopamine in the brain, and the positive feeling we get motivates us to repeat the behaviors.
In addicts, this mechanism can shift. They may have less dopamine receptors in their brain, meaning the same reward might provide less pleasure.
Other types of GLP-1, such as exenatide, which is also used to treat diabetes, have shown results in terms of reducing addictions.
Mice taking a form of exenatide got less of a dopamine hit from alcohol, and rats on the drug desired less cocaine.
Researchers have said they expect lots of studies with semaglutide showing positive results to be published soon.
The longer term effects of semaglutide are still unknown.
Dr Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, told that using the drug for weight loss is a lifelong 'commitment.'
A study found that patients piled on two-thirds of the weight they had lost on the drugs, just months after stopping them, and most would need to keep taking the injections forever to keep their results.
Users of the drug have also found they are suffering rapid muscle loss, tending to lose more muscle than fat while on the drug.
Other people reported feeling disgusted by their favorite foods and some items that they never thought twice about.
Staci Rice, 40, from Georgia, lost nearly 50 pounds when she went onto Ozempic and can now fit into jeans she last wore 16 years ago.
But the marketing professional was also surprised to find that she had developed an aversion to ground beef and Chick-fil-A while on the drug.
Ground beef has now been pulled from dinners, must to the frustration of her husband and son, she told the Insider. And she is now also having Chick-fil-A's kale salad instead of its standard 'Number 1'.
She was also a lifelong coffee drinker, having enjoyed a cup every day since the seventh grade. But now, she can't touch it.
'Every morning, I would try to make coffee, thinking that one day it would just taste good to me again,' Ms Rice said.
Patients are also facing saggy skin, doctors warn, which has been dubbed 'Ozempic face' and 'Ozempic body'.
It is caused by rapid weight loss that happens so quickly that the skin does not have time to adjust to the new body size. As a result, it hangs down in folds.
One in five deaths among young Californians tied to fentanyl | California | The Guardian
Thu, 25 May 2023 13:03
Overdoses involving fentanyl were behind one in five deaths of people ages 15-24 in California, the latest indicator of an emergency that shows no signs of slowing.
Drug overdoses now kill two to three times as many people in the state as car accidents, according to data compiled by the consulting group California Health Policy Strategies. Since 2017, deaths related to the synthetic opioid, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, have increased 1,027%.
The crisis, which has visibly unfolded on city streets from San Francisco to Los Angeles, has sent officials scrambling for solutions. This year California's governor, Gavin Newsom, has proposed spending an additional $172m for a project distributing Naloxone, an overdose medication.
But experts warn more is needed and that the effects of the crisis will probably continue for years to come.
''Even if we do a lot of things right in policy, we're going to have a fair amount of deaths in the coming years,'' Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert and professor at Stanford University, told California Healthline.
San Francisco has been hit particularly hard, with one person dying of an accidental overdose every 10 hours. The city saw 200 overdoses in the first three months of the year, compared with 142 in the same months a year ago, according to reports by the city's medical examiner.
The city has taken an increasingly punitive approach to handling drug users. An expert told the Guardian last month that this had only heightened their overdose risks. Overdoses in the city increased significantly in December, and rose particularly in January, just as the city government closed a key outreach center, where people were using drugs with medical supervision, and increased policing in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, which has struggled with drug use.
Last month, Newsom directed the California highway patrol and national guard to help San Francisco tackle fentanyl.
As the emergency has intensified in the city, San Franciscans have butted heads about solutions. A special meeting to address the crisis on Tuesday with the mayor and board of supervisors turned into a ''circus'', SFGate reported, with protesters shouting over officials and one woman throwing a brick.
''What we are doing is not working. And in fact, our local resources have increased. But it has not dealt with the problem based on the magnitude of what we are experiencing,'' Mayor London Breed said. ''The fact is, it's time for a change. We want to get people help, but we will not continue to allow things to just occur as they have been.''
At the state level, Newsom has put more than $1bn toward efforts to alleviate the crisis, and lawmakers have sought to make overdose medication widely available across the state.
''We have more work to do,'' the governor said earlier this month. ''This consumes me. As a parent, it scares the hell out of me.''
California lawmakers on Wednesday held the first hearing with a new committee formed to help alleviate the state's fentanyl crisis.
Beer industry 'in shock' that Bud Light backlash continues as expert warns of supply shortages of rival lagers | Fox News
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:58
The entire beer industry is floored that Bud Light is still taking heat over its now-infamous promo with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and the backlash has put rival beers in high demand, according to the publisher of prominent trade publication Beer Business Daily.
"The whole industry is in shock. Even Bud's competitors aren't really dancing on the grave because they know it could have happened to them," Beer Business Daily editor and publisher Harry Schuhmacher told Fox News Digital.
"This particular promotion just really struck a chord. It was just a bridge too far, apparently, for consumers'... we're in week six and it doesn't look like it's getting any better," he continued. "In fact, the numbers just keep getting a little worse every week'... down in the 25% area. And their competitors are up almost just as much, and that's continuing through today."
Bud Light continues to face backlash more than a month after its polarizing pact with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney prompted outrage. (Getty)
Schuhmacher, who regularly speaks to beer distributors across North America, believes newfound demand for light lagers that aren't owned by Anheuser-Busch could result in a trickle-down effect on the industry. Molson Coors, the parent company of both Coors Light and Miller Lite, might not even be able to supply enough beer as Americans enter a holiday weekend that unofficially kicks off the start of summer.
"You can't just flip a switch and make beer. You know, beer is brewed. It takes, you know, at least a couple of weeks to make. So, they haven't had major supply issues yet, but we're about to hit Memorial Day and we could probably see some supply shortages there," Schuhmacher said.
Molson Coors told Fox News Digital there are no out-of-stock concerns ahead of Memorial Day Weekend because inventory was built up over the winter.
Schuhmacher explained that Anheuser-Busch has begun buying back unsold, expired beer from distributors, which brings much relief as those are the people who normally bear the brunt of the costs when a product isn't purchased. While it's a step in the right direction, distributors who rely on Americans purchasing Bud Light will continue to suffer.
"The sales are just still plummeting down," he said.
"Keep in mind, this is the beginning of the beer-selling season. We sell beer in the third quarter, and we're about to hit Memorial Day," Schuhmacher continued. "With these trends, it's starting to be material for AB's bottom line, at least in the United States and North America."
Anheuser-Busch is taking steps to help wholesalers who have taken a hit. (Kevin Liles / Getty Contributor)
Schuhmacher feels that Anheuser-Busch's parent company, InBev, has kept a low profile during the weeks-long saga wile hoping it "blows over" while simultaneously increasing the marketing budget and offering heavy discounts at retail.
"Their experience tells them that you don't want to add to the conversation and add to the noise, because then it just repeats the news cycle," he said. "Boycotts like this usually do blow over'... fairly quickly, within a couple of weeks or so. So, this is really unusual to go into two months."
Schuhmacher, who has worked in the beer industry for over three decades in multiple positions and has published Beer Business Daily for 20 years, believes backlash will eventually die down, and Bud Light will stay on top despite long-lasting scars.
"I think there is probably a degree of permanent damage to the brand. But in the long term, things usually revert back to the mean," he said.
The appetite for news and analysis of the Bud Light debacle is still strong, and Beer Business Daily, a niche publication which focuses on the North American commercial beer industry, has exploded in popularity.
"We haven't really seen it since 2008 when Miller bought Coors, or they merged and InBev bought Anheuser-Busch. So, yeah, there's tremendous interest in this and our traffic on our website is blowing up," Schuhmacher said. "It's a story that just won't die."
As conservatives have distanced themselves from Bud Light, retail juggernaut Target has found itself in a similar boat. Target is under fire for over-the-top LGBTQ Pride displays, and the store has been widely criticized for including children's products and "tuck" friendly bathing suits. Some Targets in rural areas were forced by corporate rulers to move the Pride sections to less-trafficked areas of the stores because executives feared a "Bud Light situation" emerging, an insider previously told Fox News Digital.
Schuhmacher understands why the beer giant has caught more flak up to this point.
"In the public psyche, Bud Light has always been considered so much of a deep Americana, middle America, working man and woman's beer. And when you just flip that completely on its end, it's hard for the consumer to swallow," he said.
"I think the difference, you know, Target is more geared towards women, high-end middle American women," Schuhmacher continued. "But Bud Light is not that far in the middle of the spectrum, at least in the consumer's mind of where it's supposed to be."
Brian Flood is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @briansflood.
Americans Refuse to Quit Eating Meat
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:57
Despite the great strides made by the vegetarian and vegan movements over the past few decades, most Americans aren't going to give up their meat-based diets anytime soon.
An exclusive poll of 1,500 eligible U.S. voters conducted for Newsweek by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on May 17 found that a majority of Americans regularly eat meat and believe that it's a healthy choice. They also said the meat industry is not that bad for the climate.
The polling also found that 81 percent of people eat meat at least once a week, and 10 percent said that they ate it only once or twice a month. Only 4 and 3 percent of the respondents said that they rarely or never ate meat, respectively.
Other questions revealed that 35 percent of people strongly agreed with the statement that it's healthy to eat meat, with 41 percent selecting "agree" and 17 percent selecting "neither agree nor disagree." Only 4 percent said that they disagreed, and a further 1 percent said that they strongly disagreed.
A stock image shows hamburgers with American flags. Eighty-one percent of Americans eat meat at least once a week, according to a poll. ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUSBut eating meat, particularly red meat and processed meat, is less than healthy for our bodies. There is a link between increased consumption of red and processed meats and a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and premature death, according to the Harvard Health Publishing website.
The polling also showed that while 34 percent of people believe that eating less red meat would help lower global carbon emissions, 40 percent said that they did not believe this. Twenty-six percent said they weren't sure.
The meat industry, especially the cattle industry, produces a huge amount of greenhouse gases. A paper published in the online journal Nature Food found that raising cows, pigs and other animals for food is responsible for 57 percent of all food production carbon emissions, twice as high as those created by all plant-based food production. Beef alone accounts for a quarter of food production emissions.
A stock image shows cows on a cattle farm. More land is used worldwide to feed livestock than to grow crops to feed people. ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUSThe problem is the sheer amount of land needed to grow food for the animals, as well as the felling of trees to clear space for grazing and otherwise raising the animals. More land is used worldwide to feed livestock than to grow crops to feed people, according to the Nature Food paper. Additionally, all the transportation involved in the production process produces carbon dioxide, and the livestock themselves produce methane in their burps, a greenhouse gas with 28 times the warming power of CO2 on a 100-year scale.
The Guardian reported in 2021 that 5.5 pounds of greenhouse gases are emitted for every 2.2 pounds of wheat produced, compared with a staggering 154 pounds of greenhouse gases per 2.2 pounds of beef.
The polling did show that younger people are more likely to agree that meat is bad for the environment. Thirty percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, 50 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds and 47 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds said so. For 55- to 64-year-olds, only 16 percent of people said the same.
One alternative to satisfy Americans' hunger for meat'--outside of a vegan or vegetarian diet'--is laboratory-grown meat. This is real meat tissue from animals that is grown in a lab rather than taken from the body of an animal. This would help minimize the carbon emissions produced in the meat supply chain, depending on how much the growth process generates.
A stock image shows meat in a petri dish. ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUSLab-grown meat was backed by President Joe Biden in an executive order last September. He said that the U.S. government is dedicated to investing in biotechnology that will advance the nation's food security, including via "cultivating alternative food sources" and "looking to improve food security and drive agricultural innovation through new technologies...[including] foods made with cultured animal cells."
However, this alternative doesn't seem to have inspired much enthusiasm among Americans.
Twenty-seven percent of those in the polling sample said they would feel safe eating lab-grown meat, with 25 percent saying they would eat it. However, 55 percent said they would not feel safe eating lab-grown meat, and 57 percent would not eat it.
Additionally, while 30 percent of people said that they believed lab-grown meat provides a realistic alternative to meat produced from animals, 51 percent said they did not. Nineteen percent said they didn't know.
The polling shows that while a large number of Americans recognize the meat industry's effects on both human health and the climate, fewer of them are willing to change their habits or diets as a result.
Do you have a tip on a science story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about meat consumption? Let us know via
NYC Roosevelt Hotel opens as 'asylum seeker arrival center'
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:55
The historic Roosevelt Hotel opened its doors to 20 busloads of migrants as an ''asylum seeker arrival center'' on Friday as New York City continues to grapple with an influx of migrants from the southern border.
An MTA bus loaded with men, women and children pulled up at the iconic building at 45 E. 45th St. shortly before 7 a.m. The new arrivals clutched brown envelopes and walked in single file.
Photos from inside the building showed the luxury interior covered in signs indicating areas for check-in and registration, as well as chairs with forms about emergency medical services.
The hotel, which first opened its doors in 1924, has been the backdrop for a string of Hollywood films '-- including ''Maid in Manhattan,'' ''Malcolm X,'' ''Wall Street,'' ''The French Connection,'' ''The Irishman'' and ''Man on a Ledge.''
On Friday, guards from Mulligan Security were posted outside the building.
Most of the crowd looked happy, flashing peace signs and thumbs-up as they were ushered inside.
Migrants arrived at the Roosevelt Hotel on Friday morning. AP Fewer than 200 of the hotel's rooms reportedly are being used. ED REEDOne man, however, pulled his hoodie down to cover his face. There was a brief, non-violent conflict as hotel employees asked photographers to move out of the way.
Around 8:30 a.m., the MTA bus took single men and some women away. There were also two other buses parked on Madison Avenue and East 45th, ready to take the processed migrants away from the site.
One volunteer told The Post that hotels are coveted spots usually given to families and single women with children. Others '' mostly single men '' have resorted to sleeping in the subways because other shelters are unsafe.
When she tried to get inside the Roosevelt on Friday, the volunteer said she was turned away and urged not to speak to the media.
Some of the new arrivals are said to have come from Pennsylvania, where a bus loaded with migrants from Texas arrived at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Volunteers are no longer being used in Pennsylvania, so buses are greeted by state police, military personnel and city workers before being forwarded to the Roosevelt.
An NYPD unit stands guard outside the Roosevelt Hotel after the arrival of asylum seekers. APThose who show up at the storied hotel near Grand Central Station are seeking services and advice that would typically be provided by Pennsylvania.
One teenage girl, Ariannis Ramirez Colina, told The Post that she and her mother were initially bused to Pennsylvania after traveling from Venezuela.
Ariannis' uncle, Anthony Colina, is staying at another location but came to see his niece at the Roosevelt on Friday. The pair were happy to be reunited, and hugged.
The arrivals included single people and families with children. AP''I'm happy to get back together with my uncle,'' Ariannis said.
''I feel good. I don't know how to explain it. Everything was very hard. Thank God we are all here and nothing happened.''
Dino Redzic, co-owner of Uncle Paul's Pizza around the corner from the hotel, said that his shop will be feeding the migrants that arrive on Friday '' which also happens to be National Pizza Party Day.
Redzic is Albanian, and is originally from what is now known as Montenegro.
He told The Post that he crossed the border illegally from Mexico 30 years ago due to the civil war in Bosnia.
''Thirty years ago this was me in their shoes,'' Redzic, who is now an American citizen, explained.
''I guess at some point everyone was an immigrant. I think it's very emotional and it's a very nice thing that is done. I hope that the people don't find it in a negative way.''
Redzic noted that he also proudly helped feed first responders during COVID and Hurricane Sandy, and is involved in a lot of local charity work.
He said he heard there would be 350 migrants at the Roosevelt, though he did not know if they all arrived Friday or over the course of several days.
''We do need [the migrants]'...I'd offer them employment and a temporary place to stay. Their money would stay in this country. They'd pay taxes just like the rest of us,'' he posited.
''The only way I could secure a future for me and my family was getting into this country illegally,'' he added of his own experience with immigration.
''Today we feel that welcoming the immigrants this way with a slice of warm pizza will be a great thing'....hopefully we will continue as long as there is a need.''
Redsiz said new arrivals can hope to find cheese slices, as well as dozens of specialty options.
''We serve close to 1,600 people a day so this is just a drop,'' he said proudly.
Another local business owner said they were supportive of the effort to process migrants at the hotel, but wondered if the operation was being executed too quickly.
''I'm fully supportive of the people seeking asylum. I do feel that the operation at the Roosevelt was rushed. Nobody knew what was going on. We found out the same time as everybody else did '' through the press,'' he explained.
''Two weeks ago [the hotel] was practically abandoned and not really an operational site'...They are moving families in the building so it's a little bit chaotic.''
He was unsure how the move would impact his business.
''That's yet to be seen. It's wait and see and so far so good. Business has been fine. They just barely opened. I think everybody has good intentions. We'll see what happens, basically,'' he said.
The hotel has been converted into a center for services and advice. ED REEDSome locals, however, are less than enthusiastic that the hotel '-- which was once a coveted hangout for well-heeled New Yorkers before shutting its doors during the COVID pandemic '' is now a haven for migrants.
One man walking past the building on Friday morning mumbled ''f''ing disgusting,'' but declined to comment further.
Some of the new arrivals were originally bused to Pennsylvania. ED REEDA 69-year-old Army veteran and retired law enforcement officer also expressed misgivings about the plan.
''When they come they are giving them a hero's welcome but give it a month and it all dries up. It's all gonna wear out,'' the man, who said he was born in the US but has Puerto Rican ancestry, lamented.
''Our taxpayers' money could be used for building better schools, providing more books'...and there is gonna be a major problem with housing. They say there is a lack of affordable housing. So where are [the migrants] going to stay? There'll be 100,000 of them showing up here,'' he continued.
The hotel's bathrooms include basic amenities. ED REED''They should stay in Chile, Mexico'...why are they not taking them? They have the same food, speak the same language, they have the same climate, they are near their own countries so why are they coming here? Because of the free stuff. They should close the border.''
Last week, City Hall announced that only 175 of the Roosevelt's 1,000 guest rooms are opening Friday. This number will eventually be scaled to 850 rooms at maximum capacity.
An additional 100 to 150 rooms will be held for migrants in transition to other locations.
The disgruntled veteran slammed what he viewed as Mayor Adams' oscillating approach to the migrant crisis.
A pizza shop owner near the hotel told The Post that he heard about 350 migrants will be arriving. Seth Gottfried''The Mayor is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. This is a sanctuary city. They are welcome here, right? Now he is crying that the city can't afford them, it's too expensive,'' he scoffed.
''Instead of directing tax payers' to African American communities [in the city], now it's going to fund them. I think it's a disservice.
''Look at this hotel? This was a money-maker for tourism. They could have restored it for the tourists because summer is coming just like how they restored it for them. The city needs the money.''
People on Ozempic say they're defecating their bed due to symptom that affects up to 30% of takers | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:52
The blockbuster weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy are earning rave reviews among influencers, celebrities and slimmers '-- but some users aren't so lucky.
A growing number of patients are detailing embarrassing and debilitating stomach and toilet symptoms - from severe constipation to losing control of the bowels.
The problems have become so common a Reddit group with more than 30,000 members has been created where users share their most embarrassing stories.
One user wrote in a thread: 'I quite literally s**t myself while sleeping. That's a first. Been tough few days of diarrhea after my first semaglutide injection.' Meanwhile, a 43-year-old anonymous man taking Wegovy said 'I just feel SO embarrassed being a grown adult who messed his pants!'
The drugs slow the digestive process, making people feel full for longer periods of time. This can lead to constipation. However, it can also signal to the brain that stomach contents need to be emptied sooner, resulting in diarrhea.
TikTok user have claimed that Ozempic and Wegovy have given them a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including cramps, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and sulfur burps
Another user in that same thread was on their way to a birthday dinner and said they 'ended up s******g my pants probably 15 minutes into the drive.
'Wegovy gave me constant gas that would sometimes trick me and end up being explosive diarrhea. What a nightmare.'
Ozempic and Wegovy both use semaglutide, which suppresses appetite and triggers weight loss.
The former was approved for type 2 diabetes in 2017. A reformulated version was approved under the name Wegovy in 2021.
The drug is a GLP-1 receptor, which triggers hormones in the brain that keep the stomach full and tell the body to stop eating and avoid cravings.
Dr Daniel Rosen, a weight loss doctor, detailed on TikTok the connection to diarrhea and other symptoms.
Dr Daniel Rosen, a weight loss doctor, explained on TikTok that drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy trick the brain into thinking food has already reached the end of the intestines, suppressing hunger and making the body need to empty out its contents faster
Wegovy works by triggering the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals
'When you eat a large meal, there's something called the gastrocolic reflex, where the stretch in the top of the stomach alerts the very end of the colon and rectum to empty,' Dr Rosen said in a video.
This may make you feel like it's time to head to the bathroom.
GLP-1 medications trigger a reflex called the ileal break, which involves the end of the intestines, the ileum, telling the stomach to stop accepting food. This suppresses hunger.
'The GLP-1 medications trick your brain into thinking that food has arrived to the end of the intestines,' Dr Rosen said.
This could make the colon empty out food faster, causing diarrhea.
TikTokers have also complained about gastrointestinal woes.
One user posted two videos about a series of digestive complaints she had since starting Wegovy, including cramps, constipation, and diarrhea.
Another user, who takes Ozempic, said in a video that she experienced cramping, vomiting, and 'sulfur burps,' which smell like rotten eggs.
The long-term outcomes of these medications are largely unknown, though digestive complaints are among the most common side effects.
Clinical trials show that 30 percent of patients experience diarrhea on Wegovy, compared to 16 percent on the placebo, according to the drug's prescribing information.
Common side effects of Ozempic include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, according to the drug's label.
In 2022, more than five million prescriptions for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus (for another Novo drug that uses semaglutide), or Wegovy were written for weight management.
This is compared with just over 230,000 in 2019 '-- an increase of more than 2,000 percent over three years.
Doctors in the US are writing more than 100,000 Wegovy prescriptions per week, the drug's manufacturer Novo estimated.
JPMorgan agrees to purchase $200 million worth of carbon removal
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:37
S3studio | Getty Images News | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday that it has agreed to spend more than $200 million on a combination of carbon removal technologies.
The spending will be allocated to long-term agreements to remove and store the equivalent of 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, JPMorgan said in a written statement.
The first $75 million commitment of the $200 million was announced in April when JPMorgan said it was joining Frontier, the benefits company owned by payment processor Stripe that makes commitments for its member companies, including Alphabet, McKinsey, Meta and Shopify.
The investment in carbon removal and long-term contracts with carbon removal companies is both a move to support the still nascent carbon removal industry and will enable the bank to remove the equivalent of the carbon emissions that are otherwise hard to abate from its direct operations by 2030, JPMorgan said.
"Financing promising technologies needed to help accelerate the low-carbon transition requires capital and expertise. We're working to drive scalable development of carbon removal and storage as commercial solutions and aim to send a strong market signal," Daniel Pinto, president and chief operating officer of JPMorgan Chase, said in a written statement.
While the market for carbon removal is still small right now, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected that by 2050, the world will have to remove the equivalent of 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year.
JPMorgan has signed a $20 million, nine-year agreement with the Swiss company Climeworks to deliver the equivalent of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Climeworks is one of the market leaders in direct air capture, a process akin to vacuuming carbon dioxide out of the air.
"The finance industry has no doubt become a trailblazer in supporting the scale up of high-quality carbon removal solutions," Christoph Gebald, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks, said in a statement about the deal. "[T]oday marks a new milestone in this field."
JPMorgan also signed a deal with Charm Industrial, a carbon storage company that converts excess organic material such as corn stover '-- the stalks, leaves and cobs that remain in fields after the corn harvest, and which would otherwise decay and release carbon dioxide into the air '-- into a bio-oil and then put that oil into the ground in abandoned oil wells. The deal with Charm aims to remove and store the equivalent of approximately 28,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide over five years.
The carbon removal and storage deliveries from Charm for JPMorgan have already started, the bank said.
How a false story about migrants displacing homeless veterans caught fire - Poynter
Thu, 25 May 2023 12:34
The arrival of asylum-seeking migrants in the U.S. '-- both at the southern border and in major cities '-- has spawned a tidal wave of social media claims that are often both alarming and false.
As New York City struggles with an influx of asylum seekers '-- more than 70,000 migrants have arrived there in recent months '-- a new claim took center stage.
It was an alarming story that fit neatly into baseless talking points about President Joe Biden and the southern border. But it wasn't true.
Sharon Toney-Finch, founder of the Yerik Israel Toney Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping homeless military veterans and others, in mid-May told a New York state legislator and the New York Post that New York City mayor Eric Adams' relocation of migrants to upstate New York hotels came at an unfortunate cost.
She said 20 veterans her organization paid to house at three hotels in Orange County were displaced to make room for the migrants, a story that sparked widespread outrage.
Toney-Finch told the story to the New York Post, which published a May 12 article about the supposedly displaced veterans.
''Homeless vets are being booted from NY hotels to make room for migrants: advocates,'' read the headline of the Post's online story. ''Vets kicked out for migrants,'' read an all-caps headline in a May 13 ''border crisis''-themed Post print edition. ''Outrage as upstate hotels tell 20 veterans to leave,'' a subhed read.
The Post article quoted New York Assembly Member Brian Maher, a Republican, who shared Toney-Finch's claims in a May 12 press release and said he was introducing legislation ''to prohibit the displacement of homeless veterans once placed in housing.'' The press release also described Maher's meetings with some of the displaced veterans.
Maher continued to share the story in appearances on Fox News, blaming Democrats including President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for the treatment of the veterans.
''It's a total embarrassment. It's a slap in the face to veterans,'' Maher said May 15 in a ''Fox & Friends First'' interview. ''You had combat veterans, who are homeless, who were told to get out of their hotel after one day.''
Fox News devoted several May 15 segments to the story.
''We begin with a southern border crisis and how America's heroes are now paying the price,'' Emily Compagno, Fox News co-host of ''Outnumbered,'' began a May 15 segment about the New York Post story.
''Our veterans, the brave men and women who risked their lives to keep America free, now being kicked to the curb? Because of the disaster unfolding on our border?'' she said.
''A president that would leave Americans stranded in Afghanistan probably doesn't see the onus to take care of 20 veterans in a hotel,'' said Fox News contributor Joey Jones in a May 15 segment of Fox News' ''The Faulkner Focus.''
The story was spread widely by users on social media, including by high-profile Republicans such as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and presidential candidate Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor.
It also quickly spread on conservative media sites.
Toney-Finch had told the New York Post that 15 veterans were displaced from the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, as well as others at a Super 8 and Hampton Inn in Middletown.
Although there were more than 100 migrants staying at the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, a subject of controversy in the New York suburb, cracks soon began to appear in the story about the homeless veterans' displacement.
A local newspaper, the Mid Hudson News, reported May 17 that an unnamed manager at the Crossroads Hotel said no homeless veterans were staying there and that a credit card receipt for hotel rooms provided by Toney-Finch was not legitimate.
That same day, Todd Soloway, an attorney representing the Crossroads Hotel in a lawsuit filed by the city of Newburgh and Orange County over the transfer of asylum seekers to the region, wrote a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sciortino and said ''that there are not now, and never were, any group of veterans at the hotel and certainly none were kicked out to make way for migrant asylum seekers.''
Rob Myers, a Wyndham Hotels & Resorts spokesperson, told PolitiFact on May 23 that the Super 8 in Middletown is a franchise, but ''after speaking with the hotel's owner, it's our understanding that no guests '-- veterans or otherwise '-- were ever displaced, nor is the hotel housing any migrants.'' The Hampton Inn in Middletown didn't return our request for comment.
Then, Maher backtracked on the claim. He told the Times Union, an Albany newspaper, in an article published May 18 that he had been duped by Toney-Finch. He said he was ''devastated and disheartened'' and that the false story ''hurt a lot of people.''
Maher, who didn't respond to an email from PolitiFact, also told several news outlets '-- including the New York Post, which published a followup article May 18, CNN and The Associated Press '-- that the story wasn't true.
The Times Union published a follow-up article May 19, quoting three homeless men who said they were recruited by Toney-Finch to pose as displaced veterans.
Fox News has since retracted its erroneous stories, as did the New York Post in follow-up stories.
But, as often happens with debunked claims, the truth has some catching up to do. The New York Post's new story debunking the earlier claims received a fraction of the attention the original story received.
A search of CrowdTangle, a tool that tracks how publicly available content is being shared, showed May 23 that the link to the original New York Post article has been shared nearly 300 times on Facebook by accounts with a cumulative 20 million followers. On Twitter, accounts with a total of about 120,000 followers shared the link.
The new, corrected New York Post story was shared 14 times on Facebook, reaching about 285,000 followers. It was more widely shared on Twitter, from accounts that reach more than 1.8 million followers, according to CrowdTangle.
A May 12 tweet about the false story by New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, in which she wrote ''Joe Biden and (Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro) Mayorkas should burn in hell for this,'' had 1.6 million views on Twitter. Her reply to the same tweet May 23 apologizing and sharing the new story reached about 36,000 viewers.
Using NewsWhip May 23, a social media engagement tracking site, we found the original New York Post article received 74,800 interactions in 11 days across Facebook and Twitter.
The new story about the hoax had received about 2,000 interactions across both platforms in the four days since it was published, Newswhip data showed. It defines interactions as likes, shares, comments and retweets an article or post receives.
Toney-Finch did not return a request for comment, but has denied the allegations to other outlets, telling The New York Times she had been ''used as a pawn.'' Her organization on Twitter also called the claim she hired homeless people to pose as displaced veterans ''lies.'' Another tweet admitted homeless veterans weren't displaced, but said, ''There is a bigger picture then all is missing on how this spinned.''
Maher called for an investigation into Toney-Finch's organization. A spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James' office told PolitiFact, ''We're aware of the allegations and (are) reviewing them.''
Ryan Greenbaum, a senior assistant district attorney with the Orange County District Attorney's Office, said, ''lying, without more, does not itself constitute criminal conduct, particularly absent allegations of financial impropriety.''
''However, the District Attorney's Office is investigating the facts and circumstances in this matter as it pertains to allegations of fraud related to veterans,'' Greenbaum said.
Staff researcher Caryn Baird and staff writer Madison Czopek contributed to this report.
This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. See the sources for this fact check here.
Mercenary Prigozhin warns Russia could face revolution unless elite gets serious about war | Reuters
Thu, 25 May 2023 04:01
Wagner recruited 50,000 convicts during warDefence minister should be replaced by Mizintsev - PrigozhinRussia needs martial law, more mobilisationQuips nickname of 'Putin's butcher' would beMOSCOW, May 24 (Reuters) - Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, warned that Russia could face a revolution similar to those of 1917 and lose the conflict in Ukraine unless the elite got serious about fighting the war.
Russia's most powerful mercenary said his political outlook was dominated by love for the motherland and serving President Vladimir Putin, but cautioned that Russia was in danger of turmoil.
Prigozhin said there was a so-called optimistic view that the West would get tired of war and China would broker a peace deal, but that he did not really believe in that interpretation.
Instead, he said, Ukraine was preparing a counteroffensive aimed at pushing Russian troops back to its borders before 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. Ukraine would try to encircle Bakhmut, the focus of intense fighting in the east, and attack Crimea, he added.
"Most likely of all, this scenario will not be good for Russia so we need to prepare for an arduous war," he said in an interview posted on his Telegram channel.
"We are in such a condition that we could fucking lose Russia - that is the main problem ... We need to impose martial law."
Prigozhin said his nickname "Putin's chef" was stupid as he could not cook and had never been a chef, quipping that "Putin's butcher" might be a more apt nickname.
"They could have just given me a nickname right away '-- Putin's butcher, and everything would have been fine," he said.
If ordinary Russians continued getting their children back in zinc coffins while the children of the elite "shook their arses" in the sun, he said, Russia would face turmoil along the lines of the 1917 revolutions that ushered in a civil war.
"This divide can end as in 1917 with a revolution," he said.
"First the soldiers will stand up, and after that - their loved ones will rise up," he said. "There are already tens of thousands of them - relatives of those killed. And there will probably be hundreds of thousands - we cannot avoid that."
The defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
UKRAINE WARPrigozhin criticised Russia's post-Soviet policy towards Ukraine and cast the implementation of what the Kremlin calls the "special military operation" as unclear, contradictory and confused.
Russia's military leadership, he said, had "fucked up" repeatedly during the war. The stated aim of demilitarising Ukraine, he said, had failed.
Prigozhin said Soviet leader Josef Stalin would not have accepted such failure. A cross-border attack into Russia's Belgorod region indicated the failures of the military leadership, he said, warning that Ukraine would seek to strike deeper into Russia.
Russia needed to mobilise more men and to gear the economy exclusively to war, Prigozhin said.
Wagner, he said, had recruited around 50,000 convicts during the war, of whom about 20% had perished. Around the same amount of his contract soldiers - 10,000 - had perished, he said.
In Bakhmut, Prigozhin said, Ukraine had suffered casualties of 50,000-70,000 wounded and 50,000 dead.
Reuters is unable to verify casualty claims from either side, and neither Russia nor Ukraine release figures on their own casualties. Ukraine has said Russian losses are far higher than its losses.
Prigozhin said Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu should be replaced by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev while Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov should be replaced by Sergei Surovikin, nicknamed "General Armageddon" by the Russian media.
Asked about his political credo: "I love my motherland, I serve Putin, Shoigu should be judged and we will fight on."
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Heavens
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Guy FaulconbridgeThomson Reuters
As Moscow bureau chief, Guy runs coverage of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Before Moscow, Guy ran Brexit coverage as London bureau chief (2012-2022). On the night of Brexit, his team delivered one of Reuters historic wins - reporting news of Brexit first to the world and the financial markets. Guy graduated from the London School of Economics and started his career as an intern at Bloomberg. He has spent over 14 years covering the former Soviet Union. He speaks fluent Russian. Contact: +447825218698
8 Reasons Why Rome Fell
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:46
1. Invasions by Barbarian tribesThe most straightforward theory for Western Rome's collapse pins the fall on a string of military losses sustained against outside forces. Rome had tangled with Germanic tribes for centuries, but by the 300s ''barbarian'' groups like the Goths had encroached beyond the Empire's borders. The Romans weathered a Germanic uprising in the late fourth century, but in 410 the Visigoth King Alaric successfully sacked the city of Rome. The Empire spent the next several decades under constant threat before ''the Eternal City'' was raided again in 455, this time by the Vandals. Finally, in 476, the Germanic leader Odoacer staged a revolt and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus. From then on, no Roman emperor would ever again rule from a post in Italy, leading many to cite 476 as the year the Western Empire suffered its death blow.
2. Economic troubles and overreliance on slave laborEven as Rome was under attack from outside forces, it was also crumbling from within thanks to a severe financial crisis. Constant wars and overspending had significantly lightened imperial coffers, and oppressive taxation and inflation had widened the gap between rich and poor. In the hope of avoiding the taxman, many members of the wealthy classes had even fled to the countryside and set up independent fiefdoms. At the same time, the empire was rocked by a labor deficit. Rome's economy depended on slaves to till its fields and work as craftsmen, and its military might had traditionally provided a fresh influx of conquered peoples to put to work. But when expansion ground to a halt in the second century, Rome's supply of slaves and other war treasures began to dry up. A further blow came in the fifth century, when the Vandals claimed North Africa and began disrupting the empire's trade by prowling the Mediterranean as pirates. With its economy faltering and its commercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose its grip on Europe.
3. The rise of the Eastern EmpireThe fate of Western Rome was partially sealed in the late third century, when Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into two halves'--the Western Empire seated in the city of Milan, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium, later known as Constantinople. The division made the empire more easily governable in the short term, but over time the two halves drifted apart. East and West failed to adequately work together to combat outside threats, and the two often squabbled over resources and military aid. As the gulf widened, the largely Greek-speaking Eastern Empire grew in wealth while the Latin-speaking West descended into an economic crisis. Most importantly, the strength of the Eastern Empire served to divert Barbarian invasions to the West. Emperors like Constantine ensured that the city of Constantinople was fortified and well guarded, but Italy and the city of Rome'--which only had symbolic value for many in the East'--were left vulnerable. The Western political structure would finally disintegrate in the fifth century, but the Eastern Empire endured in some form for another thousand years before being overwhelmed by the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.
4. Overexpansion and military overspendingAt its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East, but its grandeur may have also been its downfall. With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare. Even with their excellent road systems, the Romans were unable to communicate quickly or effectively enough to manage their holdings. Rome struggled to marshal enough troops and resources to defend its frontiers from local rebellions and outside attacks, and by the second century, the Emperor Hadrian was forced to build his famous wall in Britain just to keep the enemy at bay. As more and more funds were funneled into the military upkeep of the empire, technological advancement slowed and Rome's civil infrastructure fell into disrepair.
5. Government corruption and political instabilityIf Rome's sheer size made it difficult to govern, ineffective and inconsistent leadership only served to magnify the problem. Being the Roman emperor had always been a particularly dangerous job, but during the tumultuous second and third centuries it nearly became a death sentence. Civil war thrust the empire into chaos, and more than 20 men took the throne in the span of only 75 years, usually after the murder of their predecessor. The Praetorian Guard'--the emperor's personal bodyguards'--assassinated and installed new sovereigns at will, and once even auctioned the spot off to the highest bidder. The political rot also extended to the Roman Senate, which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence. As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership.
6. The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribesThe Barbarian attacks on Rome partially stemmed from a mass migration caused by the Huns' invasion of Europe in the late fourth century. When these Eurasian warriors rampaged through northern Europe, they drove many Germanic tribes to the borders of the Roman Empire. The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman officials even forced the starving Goths to trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat. In brutalizing the Goths, the Romans created a dangerous enemy within their own borders. When the oppression became too much to bear, the Goths rose up in revolt and eventually routed a Roman army and killed the Eastern Emperor Valens during the Battle of Adrianople in A.D. 378. The shocked Romans negotiated a flimsy peace with the barbarians, but the truce unraveled in 410, when the Goth King Alaric moved west and sacked Rome. With the Western Empire weakened, Germanic tribes like the Vandals and the Saxons were able to surge across its borders and occupy Britain, Spain and North Africa.
7. Christianity and the loss of traditional valuesThe decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire's fall. The Edict of Milan legalized Christianity in 313, and it later became the state religion in 380. These decrees ended centuries of persecution, but they may have also eroded the traditional Roman values system. Christianity displaced the polytheistic Roman religion, which viewed the emperor as having a divine status, and also shifted focus away from the glory of the state and onto a sole deity. Meanwhile, popes and other church leaders took an increased role in political affairs, further complicating governance. The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon was the most famous proponent of this theory, but his take has since been widely criticized. While the spread of Christianity may have played a small role in curbing Roman civic virtue, most scholars now argue that its influence paled in comparison to military, economic and administrative factors.
8. Weakening of the Roman legionsFor most of its history, Rome's military was the envy of the ancient world. But during the decline, the makeup of the once mighty legions began to change. Unable to recruit enough soldiers from the Roman citizenry, emperors like Diocletian and Constantine began hiring foreign mercenaries to prop up their armies. The ranks of the legions eventually swelled with Germanic Goths and other barbarians, so much so that Romans began using the Latin word ''barbarus'' in place of ''soldier.'' While these Germanic soldiers of fortune proved to be fierce warriors, they also had little or no loyalty to the empire, and their power-hungry officers often turned against their Roman employers. In fact, many of the barbarians who sacked the city of Rome and brought down the Western Empire had earned their military stripes while serving in the Roman legions.
Confirmed: Militants Used American Armored Vehicles To Attack Inside Russia | ZeroHedge
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:42
Starting Monday, just following the large cross-border raid out of Ukraine on villages in Russia's Belgorod, the United States began immediately distancing itself, with the State Department saying in a statement, "We have made very clear to the Ukrainians that we don't enable or encourage attacks outside Ukrainians' borders...", while adding that it is "up to Ukraine to decide how they want to conduct their military operations."
But the 'sabotage' attack, which Moscow called cross-border terrorism and which killed one civilian and injured at least twelve, appeared to involve American-supplied equipment, featured in a number of photographs. The gunmen, who wore tactical and military uniforms and drove large armored vehicles, may have held several areas of Russian territory for up to several hours, but by Tuesday the Kremlin announced its forces had wiped out the insurgents and destroyed their military hardware. The Kremlin further said it was a Ukrainian attempt to "divert attention" from Russia's victory in Bakhmut.
Russian Volunteer Corps handout, via Reuters: Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps with an armored vehicle.Russia later on Tuesday updated the numbers of attackers it allegedly killed in putting down the strike to 70, while also insisting that they were Ukrainians. Russian forces even deployed air strikes and artillery fire to beat them back. But Kiev has denied involvement, instead pointing to two anti-Putin Russian paramilitary groups. They owned up to the operation, stating through their media channels: "The Legion and the RDK continue to liberate the Belgorod region." The statement added: "Once again, the myth that Russian citizens are safe and the Russian Federation is strong has been destroyed."
Now with photographs appearing to show the cross-border attackers' US armored vehicles, it's put the Biden administration in an awkward spot, given prior public statements that the equipment Washington gives Kiev is not intended to be used for direct attacks inside Russia.
When asked about the American military hardware used by the attackers during a daily briefing, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller didn't flat-out deny the allegations, but merely said the US administration is "skeptical, at this time, of the veracity" of the reports of US-provided weapons used to strike Russia in Belgorod.
"We don't have perfect clarity of the information, we're looking at the same fuzzy images [on social media] '... at this time we're skeptical of their veracity," Milller said.
But the same afternoon as the State Department's ham handed attempt to feign ignorance and distance itself, the Financial Times confirmed that the militias did indeed use US armored vehicles.
#Russia 🇷🇺: video of a Russian insurgent standing next to an American-made humvee in the #Belgorod region.What a time to be alive.
'-- Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) May 22, 2023"Far-right militias who stormed a Russian region bordering Ukraine this week used US-made tactical vehicles in the attack, raising questions over Kyiv's support for the Ukraine-based Russian extremist groups." [emphasis ZH]
FT was also able to obtain confirmation from the militants themselves, laying the case to rest:
Ukraine has denied direct involvement in the raid on Monday, but one military official acknowledged ''co-operating'' with the nationalist groups, who on Monday entered Russian territory to ''liberate'' a village. Denis Nikitin, leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps, told the Financial Times that his fighters assaulting the Belgorod region were in possession of American-made military vehicles.
These included at least two M1224 MaxxPro armoured vehicles and several Humvees, he said, while declining to disclose how they were obtained. Some but not all images of US-made vehicles in the raid were taken on the Russian side of the border, according to FT analysis of the videos and photos. Russian defence ministry footage separately showed the US-made tactical vehicles damaged by gunfire and apparently abandoned.
'š¸AFU Losses so far as a result of the capturing of Belgorod villages:- 2 American armored vehicles M1224 MaxxPro (both captured)
- 2 American armored vehicles HMMWV M1151A1 (both damaged and abandoned)- 1 American cargo armored car HMMWV M1152A1 (destroyed)- 1 Ukrainian'...
'-- War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 23, 2023Ukrainian government officials have also since acknowledged some level of cooperation with the brutal Russian neo-Nazi groups believed behind the incursion, per the FT:
Initially, Ukrainian officials publicly kept their distance from the Russian sabotage units. But on Tuesday, Andriy Chernyak, an official from Ukraine's military intelligence directorate, HUR, acknowledged for the first time some form of co-operation with the Russian Volunteer Corps and Free Russia Legion.
''Of course, we communicate with them. Of course, we share some information,'' Chernyak said. ''And, one might say, we even co-operate.''
This appears to validate Russia's longtime accusations directed at Washington regarding Ukraine's intent to use Western supplied arms against its sovereign territory.
'š¸Video of the preparation of ''RDK'' militants to break through the border of the Belgorod region.The footage shows a convoy of at least 6-7 American International MaxxPro armored vehicles and 2 HMMWVs, as well as other cars.
At the moment, the loss of only one of their MRAP'...
'-- War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 22, 2023The Belgorod situation also proves that US-supplied weaponry is clearly proliferating beyond the Ukrainian armed forces, despite the Biden administration's insistence the Pentagon is providing proper oversight.
In the battles in the Belgorod region, Russian soldiers got American MaxxPro armored vehicles and NATO weaponsThe footage shows two armored vehicles from the United States, a bunch of M136 (AT-4) RPGs, an M240 machine gun, and boxes of ammunition.
'-- Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) May 23, 2023* * *
Below is a fresh overview of the Russian account of the Monday into Tuesday attack via TASS:
Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian troops shelled about 20 communities in the Belgorod Region, regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said. They used a multiple-launch rocket system and dropped explosive devices on residential buildings and people using drones.Some 29 residential buildings and three vehicles have been damaged. Power outages have been registered in 14 populated localities. It will be possible to begin restoring service as soon as the situation allows, the governor clarified.Ukraine has launched an unprecedented information attack on the region's inhabitants, spreading rumors that tanks are entering the region and that a nuclear catastrophe looms. Ukraine's goal is to intimidate people and spread panic in the region, the governor said...'š¸The Russian MoD published footage of them targeting the AFU positions in Belgorod
'-- War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 23, 2023Loading...
(23) Francis Scarr on Twitter: "Yevgeny Prigozhin says that Russia's objectives of "denazifying" and "demilitarising" Ukraine have failed miserably "F*ck knows how, but we've militarised Ukraine!"" / Twitter
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:39
Francis Scarr : Yevgeny Prigozhin says that Russia's objectives of "denazifying" and "demilitarising" Ukraine have failed miserably'...
Wed May 24 09:21:49 +0000 2023
Louise : @francis_scarr Well I am no military expert but I think i know how they did that... if you keep attacking someone .'...
Wed May 24 21:30:59 +0000 2023
noa : @francis_scarr ðŸ‚
Wed May 24 21:29:46 +0000 2023
MG : @francis_scarr
Wed May 24 21:24:24 +0000 2023
Tom : @francis_scarr lol its funny that those 2 things that cunt talks about happened to nazi orcs instead ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠
Wed May 24 21:23:39 +0000 2023
Johnnygshmo : @francis_scarr If putin wanted to demilitarize anything he'd dismantle his own military infrastructure...but he rea'...
Wed May 24 20:57:33 +0000 2023
LFC'š½Number1 : @francis_scarr Actually a Russian talking sense for once!
Wed May 24 20:43:49 +0000 2023
SolonWorld : @francis_scarr @MalcolmNance Trying to exterminate Ukraine forced them to do whatever they could to fight back. Rus'...
Wed May 24 20:38:07 +0000 2023 : @francis_scarr I wonder if this is propaganda to throw the West off?
Wed May 24 20:37:42 +0000 2023
Mark Fitzpatrick : @francis_scarr Well whoever that guy is, I agree with him!
Wed May 24 20:31:04 +0000 2023
VL : @francis_scarr A fool in a despot's court is often the first to tell the truth because he enjoys the freedom of the'...
Wed May 24 20:25:49 +0000 2023
VL : @francis_scarr The end of the liberty of fools will be the beginning of truth and knowledge in Russia. If the fool'...
Wed May 24 20:24:53 +0000 2023
Hendrik : @francis_scarr Mr. Yevgeny Prigozhin clearly is not your average crook, criminal, average ex-con, contractor averag'...
Wed May 24 20:12:40 +0000 2023
Kamiel Choi : @francis_scarr next thing you know Prigozhin is fighting for the Ukrainians. Once he knows Russia is losing, he would change sides.
Wed May 24 19:54:30 +0000 2023
mohit Tarar : @francis_scarr Best coming out from his mouth .. atlast..these russian proxy knows who they fighting with..
Wed May 24 19:41:32 +0000 2023
NavyJim : @francis_scarr People with a brain and who don't act like a herd heading to slaughter beating those without a brain who aimlessly do.
Wed May 24 19:24:58 +0000 2023
Brent Tarry : @francis_scarr Looking in the wrong place. They are in a pointy top building 700km away or so 🕌
Wed May 24 19:17:27 +0000 2023
Oprah Winfrey could replace Dianne Feinstein in Senate, report says
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:38
May 23, 2023Updated: May 24, 2023 1:04 p.m.
FILE: Oprah Winfrey attends the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Feb. 5, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
C Flanigan/FilmMagicAmong the many plot lines in the Dianne Feinstein saga is Gov. Gavin Newsom's pledge to appoint a Black woman to replace the 89-year-old should a vacancy arise before her term expires in January 2025.
He made that promise during his 2021 anti-recall campaign, and a new article from the Associated Press' Michael R. Blood conveys the extent to which the governor may have boxed himself in. While many Black Democrats expect the governor to follow through on his pledge, the two candidates who seemed the most likely at the time of the pledge '-- Reps. Barbara Lee and Karen Bass '-- may no longer be options. Lee is running against Rep. Adam Schiff to succeed Feinstein, so Newsom may want to avoid tilting the scales in that race. Meanwhile, Bass just began her tenure as mayor of Los Angeles.
That leaves the ''caretaker'' route, in which Newsom appoints someone who doesn't enter the Senate race, and the Associated Press story provided just one name that has been ''floated in California circles'' as a caretaker pick: celebrity talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
For whatever it's worth, people in ''California circles'' often float a ton of unsubstantiated gossip that's more ''Hey, I'm just spitballing myself here'' versus ''Hey, a person close to the actual decision-maker told me this thing.'' On the Oprah rumor specifically, however, there's reason to believe it may be closer to the latter than the former.
Winfrey has publicly teased running for president one day but ultimately passed on running in 2020. Still, CNN reported in 2018 that she was taking a presidential bid seriously. If Winfrey wants to be a candidate in 2028 or beyond, gaining political experience as a caretaker in the Senate until January 2025 would certainly help her cause. And even if she doesn't want to run for president, simply being able to say ''Oh, I was once a United States senator'' is fun, too.
Returning to the Associated Press story itself, it's notable that Blood explicitly named Winfrey. The Associated Press typically isn't as freewheeling as say, Politico, when it comes to floating names for roles; it's eyebrow-raising not only that she was the singular name floated but also that she was invoked twice in the story. When discussing the caretaker dynamic, Blood writes, ''That's where names like Winfrey come up '-- a celebrity who is Black and happens to meet Newsom's appointment pledge.''
The Associated Press does state that ''a range of names, from obscure to famous'' have been ''floated in California circles,'' so this could simply be a case of the publication deciding Winfrey, with her celebrity status, was the only one worth mentioning. But there's a pretty solid chance it's something more.
FACT FOCUS: Fake image of Pentagon explosion briefly sends jitters through stock market | AP News
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:33
An image of black smoke billowing next to a bureaucratic-looking building spread across social media Monday morning, with the claim that it showed an explosion near the Pentagon.
The posts sent a brief shiver through the stock market as they were quickly picked up by news outlets outside the U.S., before officials jumped in to clarify that no blast actually took place and the photo was a fake.
Experts say the viral image had telltale signs of an AI-generated forgery, and its popularity underscores the everyday chaos these now increasingly sophisticated and easy-to-access programs can inflict.
Here's a closer look at the facts.
CLAIM: An image shows an explosion near the Pentagon.
THE FACTS: Police and fire officials in Arlington, Virginia, say the image is not real and there was no incident at the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters across the Potomac from the nation's capital.
Despite this, the image and claim was spread by outlets including RT, a Russian government-backed media company formerly known as Russia Today. It was also widely shared in investment circles, including an account bearing Twitter's signature blue verification check mark that falsely suggested it was associated with Bloomberg News.
''Reports of an explosion near the Pentagon in Washington DC,'' the Russian state news agency wrote in a since-deleted tweet to its more than three million followers.
RT confirmed it took down the tweet and ''covered the official position from the Pentagon on the matter'' after verifying the reports were inaccurate.
''As with fast-paced news verification, we made the public aware of reports circulating and once provenance and veracity were ascertained, we took appropriate steps to correct the reporting,'' the company wrote in an emailed statement Tuesday.
Still the timing of the fake image, which appeared to spread widely just after the U.S. stock market opened for trading at 9:30 a.m., was enough to send a ripple through the investment world.
The S&P 500 briefly dropped a modest 0.3% as social media accounts and investment websites popular with day traders repeated the false claims.
Other investments also moved in ways that typically occur when fear enters the market. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds and gold, for example, briefly began to climb, suggesting investors were looking for someplace safer to park their money.
The image's rapid spread prompted the Arlington County Fire Department to take to social media to knock down the rumors.
''@PFPAOfficial and the ACFD are aware of a social media report circulating online about an explosion near the Pentagon,'' the agency wrote, referring to the acronym for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency that polices the Pentagon. ''There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public.''
Capt. Nate Hiner, a spokesperson for the fire department, confirmed the agency's tweet was authentic but declined to comment further, deferring to the Pentagon police force, which didn't respond to email and phone messages.
Misinformation experts say the fake image was likely created using generative artificial intelligence programs, which have allowed increasingly realistic, but oftentimes flawed, visuals to flood the internet recently.
Inconsistencies in the building, fence and surrounding area are imperfections typically found in AI-generated images, noted Hany Farid, a computer science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in digital forensics, misinformation and image analysis.
''Specifically, the grass and concrete fade into each other, the fence is irregular, there is a strange black pole that is protruding out of the front of the sidewalk but is also part of the fence,'' he wrote in an email. ''The windows in the building are inconsistent with photos of the Pentagon that you can find online.''
Chirag Shah, co-director of the Center for Responsibility in AI Systems & Experiences at the University of Washington in Seattle, cautioned that spotting fakes won't always be as obvious.
Society will need to lean more on ''crowdsourcing and community vigilance to weed out bad information and arrive at the truth'' as AI technology improves, he argued.
''Simply relying on detection tools or social media posts are not going to be enough,'' Shah wrote in an email.
Before the explosion hoax, the biggest Beltway intrigue on Wall Street's mind Monday morning was whether the U.S. government will avoid a disastrous default on its debt.
But as the market is becoming increasingly reactive to headline-grabbing news, misinformation can be especially damaging when it's shared by outlets even vaguely deemed as credible, said Adam Kobeissi, editor-in-chief at The Kobeissi Letter, an industry publication.
''A lot of these moves are happening because of high frequency trading, algorithmic trading, which is basically taking headlines, synthesizing them and then breaking them down into a trade on a millisecond basis,'' he explained by phone, noting that much of the market is now automated. ''It's basically like you're pulling a trigger every time a headline comes out.''
Associated Press business reporters Stan Choe and Wyatte Grantham-Philips in New York contributed to this story.
This is part of AP's effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.
ACLU Threatens Paxton With Lawsuit After Dell Children's Exodus: Investigation of gender-affirming care may be unconstitutional - News - The Austin Chronicle
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:18
Investigation of gender-affirming care may be unconstitutional By Brant Bingamon, 5:08PM, Fri. May 19, 2023 Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Photo by John Anderson)
Dell Children's Medical Hospital is keeping tight-lipped about what caused the loss of its entire Adolescent Medicine clinic on May 12.
The hospital has refused to answer a range of questions posed by the Chronicle and apparently hasn't been any more forthcoming with other media outlets.
Scott Hadland, chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston General Hospital, tweeted that his colleagues in Austin had been ''pushed out.'' ''Understand that thousands of teens and families lost trusted clinicians caring for a range of conditions,'' Hadland wrote, ''and that there will be few, if any, other places where they can receive that same high quality care.''
Dell Children's Adolescent Medicine clinic (which is still operating with non-specialists filling in, per a Dell press release) provides care for eating disorders, menstrual disorders, anxiety and depression, and other conditions. The clinic has also cared for trans youth '' the issue that brought them to the attention of Attorney General Ken Paxton.
On May 5, Paxton announced an investigation into ''potentially illegal'' practices in the hospital's provision of gender-affirming care for trans youth. In the past, that care has been limited to puberty blockers. Hormone therapy and surgery are available to adults but weren't, by hospital policy, available to minors.
Paxton did not specify which law he believes Dell Children's may have broken but gave the hospital 30 days to hand over all documents related to its policies and procedures for the delivery of puberty blockers to minors. He also ordered them to provide unredacted documents naming the patients' doctors '' documents that might be used to identify the patients themselves and their families.
Paxton's order for the documents is just the latest instance in which he's tried to identify trans Texans. In December, his office asked the Texas Dept. of Public Safety to compile a list of all Texans who changed their gender on their driver's licenses in the past two years, prompting local Rep. Lulu Flores to ask, ''What, are we going back to the Stasi in Ger­many? We're going to have people turning in their friends?'' In February, Paxton classified the provision of puberty blockers and hormone therapy as child abuse. After the opinion was issued, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to open investigations into at least five families of trans kids. Those investigations have been blocked for the time being by court challenges from the ACLU and Lambda Legal.
Dell Children's may also have a case against Paxton. ''The Attorney General's Office generally has broad authority to investigate possible violations of the law,'' said Fred Lewis, an attorney who has represented Dell Seton in the past. ''However, considering the sensitive nature of the documents '' involving health care, involving sexual orientation '' the hospital may go to court to quash part or all of the information.''
Soon, however, the gender-affirming care at the center of the dispute will be illegal throughout Texas. Senate Bill 14, which would ban all forms of gender-affirming care for minors, is expected to clear the legislature today and be sent to the governor's desk for his signature. The ACLU of Texas announced on May 18 that it will partner with Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center to try to stop the law in court.
''This is a sweeping attack on the only evidence-based care for adolescents with gender dysphoria,'' said Karen Loewy, senior counsel with Lambda Legal, adding that courts in Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri have blocked similar bans. ''We don't have the ultimate outcome to point to in most of these places because these bans are a relatively new politically motivated attack, in pretty unprecedented ways. But we have reason to believe that the ultimate outcome of these cases will be that targeting the health care that is medically necessary for transgender adolescents is unconstitutional.''
Decades of research demonstrates that without medical care, kids and teens suffering gender dysphoria may experience mental health effects ranging from severe anxiety to suicidality. ''A ban like SB 14 threatens the lives and well-being of transgender adolescents across the state of Texas,'' Loewy said. ''And there's no question this is just a politically motivated vendetta.''
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Sai Varshith: Everything we know about suspect who crashed U-Haul truck near White House | The Independent
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:10
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A 19-year-old man has been charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or their family members after allegedly ramming a truck into bollards outside a park near the White House.
Sai Varshith Kandula was arrested after ''intentionally'' crashing a U-Haul box truck into barriers outside Lafayette Park in Washington DC at roughly 9.40pm on 22 May, according to US Park Police and US Secret Service.
He has also been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
News agencies photographed police officers removing a Nazi flag from the truck and examining the flag on the ground. A black backpack and a roll of duct tape also appear to have been removed from the truck. The truck's cargo area appeared to be empty.
He allegedly told police that he wanted to ''seize power'' and ''kill the president,'' according to a statement of facts filed by a Secret Service agent in court documents released on 23 May.
He purchased the flag online because he admires ''authoritarian nature, Eugenics, and their one world order,''' according to court filings. Mr Kandula also said he admires Adolf Hitler as a ''strong leader''.
Asked by police how we would plan ''seize power,'' he allegedly said that he would ''kill the president if that's what I have to do and would hurt anyone that would stand in my way,'' according to court filings.
He allegedly told police that he had planend the attack for six months, outlined in a ''green book,'' according to filings.
Mr Kandula, from the St Louis suburb of Chesterfield, Missouri, graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 2022, according to the Rockwood School District.
A LinkedIn profile that appears to match that description shows an interest in a career in data analytics with experience and certification in programming and coding languages.
He allegedly traveled from Missouri to Dulles International Airport with a one-way ticket, then rented the truck and drove towards the White House, according to authorities.
Sai Varshith Kandula is pictured in a Marquette High School yearbook image from 2022, courtesy of the Rockwood School District
(Rockwood School District)
Police have declined to publicly provide further details about the nature of the alleged attack or information about the suspect. Law enforcement officials also indicated the suspect made threatening statements during his arrest.
''There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation,'' Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service chief of communications, said in a statement on Monday night.
The nearby Hay Adams hotel evacuated guests from the building shortly after the crash but allowed them back into the building by 1am ET.
A bystander taking a selfie near a rented box truck is moved away by a US Secret Service agent as law enforcement agencies investigate the truck that crashed into security barriers at Lafayette Park across from the White House
Following the crash and the release of the suspect's name, a wave of accounts on Elon Musk's Twitter sought to portray the incident as a ''false flag'' or a ''hoax'', echoing similar baseless statements in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Texas mall earlier this month after the gunman was revealed as an alleged neo-Nazi with SS and swastika tattoos.
Right-wing pundits including Donald Trump Jr and other personalities and accounts on the social media network continue to falsely suggest that news organisations are labelling the crash suspect as a ''white supremacist'' in an attempt to undermine both the attack and threats of white supremacist violence.
This was initially published on 23 May and has been updated with developments
FDA Clears First Study of CRISPR Gene-Editing in Human Patients
Wed, 24 May 2023 19:16
Sangharsh LohakareIn a national first, the Food and Drug Administration has given Intellia Therapeutics the go-ahead to begin testing a drug that uses CRISPR gene editing in vivo.
In biology, in vivo means within an organism, rather than in something like a petri dish, and Intellia's offering is the first time ever that the FDA has approved such testing.
Their drug would prevent swelling attacks in people with a genetic condition called hereditary angioedema.
Typically, treatments and drugs that utilize CRISPR take place outside the body. Cells or tissues are removed and altered ex vivo before being re-introduced inside the patient. In the case of Intellia's drug, the edited media finds its own way to the liver rather than being injected there.
The advantages are huge if such a drug could be proven to work well'--a lack of hospital and laboratory procedures would save a patient thousands, and potentially open up the class of drugs to the lower and middle classes, or to those who are uninsured.
''This is an important milestone for Intellia as it is the first-ever (investigational new drug application) cleared by the FDA for in-vivo gene editing,'' RBC Capital Markets analyst Luca Issi said in a report on Inetllia's stock, which rose following the announcement.
MORE SCI-FI MEDICINE:Life-saving Treatment for Heart Attacks Discovered Inside Protein of Deadly Spider Venom
The company plans to file the papers for another such drug later in the year, which would help tamp down on an abnormal protein that builds up in the heart.
Other Western countries have already approved several and even many in vivo CRISPR treatments for testing, among which are New Zealand, The Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and France.
SHARE This Good Pharma News With Your Friends'...
Target partners with 'satanist' brand for 'PRIDE' collection
Wed, 24 May 2023 19:15
Part of the new ''PRIDE'' collection introduced by Target includes clothing made by a UK-based brand whose designer has expressed satanist views, according to a report.
Abprallen, a London-based company which is headed by a transgender man known as ''Erik,'' has reportedly been collaborating with Target for about a year, according to The Washington Examiner.
The collection includes sweatshirts and tote bags with messages that include ''live laugh lesbian,'' ''cure transphobia not trans people,'' ''too queer for here,'' and ''we belong everywhere.''
Abprallen sells apparel that includes satanic imagery including pentagrams, horned skulls, and references to the devil.
One design found on the apparel maker's T-shirts and pins has the message: ''Satan respects pronouns.''
Last year, Erik wrote on the brand's Instagram page: ''Being called a demon is something I can cope with, and the idea of a trans demon is pretty damn cool, most of my work focusses [sic] on gothic or dark and satanic imagery juxtaposed with bright colours and LGBT+ positive messages.''
The Post has sought comment from Abprallen and Target.
Reports of the tie-up sparked criticism on social media.
A clothing designer who contracted with Target for its new ''PRIDE'' collection has reportedly expressed pro-satanist views in the past. Target''Target has partnered with a company that promotes Satanism to produce its PRIDE clothing collection,'' tweeted political commentator Erick Erickson, who added: ''If you thought Bud Light went too far, you might need to consider shopping elsewhere.''
Bud Light, the Anheuser-Busch-owned brand beer, outraged customers and ignited calls for a boycott after it entered into a marketing partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Another Twitter user, Michael Seifert, tweeted: ''Mega corporations are partnering with literal satanists to promote transgenderism to children.''
Target's new ''PRIDE'' collection, which was released to coincide with Pride Month in June, includes apparel with phrases such as ''live laugh lesbian.'' Target''You can't make this up,'' Seifert added. ''Stop giving them your money.''
Target has come under fire on social media from outraged customers who posted video and photos of its ''PRIDE'' collection.
Viral videos include critics who claimed that Target was marketing ''tuck-friendly'' swimsuits to children, though the company said that the bathing suits were aimed at adults.
Posts criticizing Target shared photos or videos of either a one-piece swimsuit with a bright pink, orange, green and blue colorblock pattern, or black swim bottoms with colorful line stitches.
Both feature a circular tag that reads, ''Tuck-Friendly Construction,'' and ''Extra Crotch Coverage.''
The collection includes sweatshirts and tote bags with messages that include ''cure transphobia not trans people.'' Target''Did you know @Target also sells 'tuck-friendly' bathing suits for children in the Pride section? Well now you do,'' reads one post sharing a photo of the tag on Twitter.
The post has received more than 4,000 likes.
But a spokesperson for the company told the Associated Press that the ''tuck-friendly'' swimsuits are only offered in adult sizes.
Kids' swimsuits in the collection do not feature this label, the company said.
Target's top executive, Brian Cornell, told a podcast last week that ''woke'' capitalism was good for business and that marketing products that are LGBTQ-friendly was ''the right thing for society.''
Target has been the subject of boycott calls over its new ''PRIDE'' collection. ZUMAPRESS.comBut other managers at Target are reportedly concerned, particularly in the south, where some stores were forced by corporate headquarters to move ''PRIDE'' merchandise away from the front of their locations due to customer outrage, according to Fox News Digital.
Target's stock price is down by some 1.9% as of 1:35 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
With Post Wires
Target removing some LGBTQ merchandise following customer backlash | Reuters
Wed, 24 May 2023 18:57
[1/2] A shopping cart is seen in a Target store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - (This May 23 story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Carnell's first name to Erik, from Eric, in paragraph 8)
Target, which rolled out its Pride Collection at the start of May, is pulling some products from its stores after facing customer backlash, saying it was acting to protect employee safety, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.
Target Corp (TGT.N) is offering more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music and home furnishings as part of its Pride Collection. The items include "gender fluid" mugs, "queer all year" calendars and books for children aged 2-8 titled "Bye Bye, Binary," "Pride 1,2,3" and "I'm not a girl."
"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and wellbeing while at work," Target said in a statement.
"Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior," the Minneapolis-based retailer said.
Target has been celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade. But this year's collection has led to an increase in confrontations between customers and employees and incidents of Pride merchandise being thrown on the floor, Target spokesperson Kayla Castaneda said.
Target's action comes on the heels of a conservative backlash against Bud Light, after brewer Anheuser-Busch promoted the beer on social media last month with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The products Target is withdrawing are being removed from all its U.S. stores and from its website, Castaneda said.
While various Pride Collection products are under review, the only ones now being removed are the LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has come under scrutiny for its association with British designer Erik Carnell.
Carnell has faced social media backlash for designing merchandise with images of pentagrams, horned skulls and other Satanic products.
A search for Abprallen merchandise on on Tuesday showed "0" results.
Screenshots and posts on social media show that Target previously sold a $25 slogan sweater with the words "cure transphobia not trans people" and an $18 "too queer for here" tote bag.
Target is also reviewing certain transgender swimsuits and children's merchandise, Castaneda said, but no decision on those products has yet been made.
For example, a swimsuit sold in the women's section has come under scrutiny for the way its fit was described, as "tuck friendly," highlighted its ability to supposedly tuck male genitalia.
A Fox News report earlier on Tuesday said that some Target stores in Southern states were shifting Pride-related merchandise away from the front of stores. An employee at a Target store in Arkansas told Reuters that they had shifted Pride-related swimsuits deeper into the store.
"We had swimsuits in the front.... but now they are in a random area in the back now," the employee, who did not wish to be named, said. "We started shifting the merchandise on Sunday."
Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Pandemiewet aangenomen: grondslag voor noodmaatregelen in wet verankerd | RTL Nieuws
Wed, 24 May 2023 18:52
Juridische grondslag 23 mei 2023 14:54 Aangepast 23 mei 2023 16:20
Het kabinet heeft weer een juridische grondslag om bij een (dreigende) pandemie, zoals corona, bijvoorbeeld een mondkapjesplicht in te voeren. De Eerste Kamer heeft vanmiddag ingestemd met de pandemiewet van zorgminister Ernst Kuipers.
De wet is met 49 voor en 24 stemmen tegen aangenomen. De coalitiepartijen stemden voor, evenals GroenLinks, PvdA en de SP. Onder de tegenstemmers bevonden zich PVV, de Fractie Nanninga, de Partij voor de Dieren en de SGP.
Tijdens het tweedaagse debat vorige week in de senaat over de aanpassing van de Wet publieke gezondheid (Wpg), zoals de pandemiewet officieel heet, tekende zich al een meerderheid af voor het wetsvoorstel. Wel hadden zowel voor- als tegenstanders moeite met de noodbevoegdheid die de minister van Volksgezondheid in deze wet krijgt.
Lees ook:
Onderzoeksraad: blijft onduidelijk of coronamaatregelen hielpen
Met die noodbevoegdheid kan de minister maatregelen nemen, zoals het sluiten van scholen en/of het invoeren van een avondklok, die niet in de wet zijn opgenomen. Nadat de ministerraad met zo'n noodmaatregel heeft ingestemd, kan de Tweede Kamer de invoering ervan alsnog blokkeren. De Eerste Kamer heeft dat blokkeerrecht niet.
De noodmaatregel vervalt acht weken na het instellen ervan. De noodmaatregel kan telkens met acht weken worden verlengd, maar daarvoor moet de Tweede Kamer wel toestemming geven.
Bij het nemen van maatregelen die wel in de wet staan, is ook altijd vooraf instemming van de Tweede Kamer nodig.
Eerste Kamer buitenspelDe tegenstemmers vinden onder meer dat een nieuwe Eerste Kamer over zo'n belangrijke wet, waarin het kabinet vrijheidsbeperkende maatregelen kan opleggen, had moeten stemmen. Die wordt op 30 mei gekozen. Ook vinden de tegenstemmers het onverteerbaar dat de Eerste Kamer buitenspel staat bij het instellen en afschalen van maatregelen.
De voorstanders vinden het belangrijk dat er nu eindelijk een juridische basis is om eventuele maatregelen te nemen.
Bekijk ook: Vrouw met post-covid ruikt voor het eerst weer koffie00:45
De beelden zijn van eind vorig jaar, maar werden begin april pas verspreid.
Paper Money Diehards Refuse to Fold - WSJ
Wed, 24 May 2023 18:45
Many businesses take payment only by card or phone, but a pro-cash movement is urging people to 'Resist! Defy! Don't comply!'
HUDDERSFIELD, England'--There's another revolt brewing in the English heartlands.
''Let's boycott the shops that won't take cash'--where are they?'' Debbie Hicks yelled into a microphone in the town square on a recent Saturday. A few in the 200-strong crowd murmured some names'--a coffee shop, a bakery.
''OK, we can do this,'' Hicks said. ''It's not...
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HUDDERSFIELD, England'--There's another revolt brewing in the English heartlands.
''Let's boycott the shops that won't take cash'--where are they?'' Debbie Hicks yelled into a microphone in the town square on a recent Saturday. A few in the 200-strong crowd murmured some names'--a coffee shop, a bakery.
''OK, we can do this,'' Hicks said. ''It's not too late!''
Some 200 years after textile workers smashed newfangled looms here during the first stirrings of the industrial revolution, other rebels are worried about a newer technology: tap-and-go bank cards and smartphone payment apps.
Actual cash changes hands in only around 15% of transactions in the U.K., pushed out by the speed and convenience of using a card or phone. In parts of London, cash has become something akin to a prison currency like ramen noodles or cigarettes, circulated among panhandlers or those on the margins of society.
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An unlikely coalition warns that by giving up cash, people could be losing more than they bargained for.
Bank-note printers have pooled resources to fund academic studies to demonstrate how cash is an important piece of infrastructure. Simon Youel at Positive Money, a London nonprofit focusing on financial inclusion, says cash is inherently democratic.
By going card-only, bars and restaurants are trying to pull in what they see as the right kind of customer, usually younger and more affluent, he said. ''They're sending a signal about who's welcome and who's not.''
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People around the world have been embarrassed at times when hair salons, pubs or salad chains asked for plastic and they had only paper.
Some are standing up for paper money and have no plans to fold.
In the U.S., Steven Ferry carries in his wallet'--in addition to cash'--a supply of small cards created by one of a growing number of pro-cash groups that tout the benefits of physical money. He hands them to cashiers and leaves them on checks at restaurants.
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''I paid cash today for a reason :-)'' the cards read in part. ''Using cash can be inconvenient'...but what if it's worth it?''
Ferry, who lives in eastern Tennessee and is semiretired, isn't opposed to credit cards but makes a point of paying with cash as often as he can. He and his wife bring hundreds of dollars on twice-monthly errand runs into town.
Ferry said they had ''a couple of G's'' on them when they recently bought an iPad and a new phone. He said he has never been particularly worried someone would try to steal the cash he carries, though he does keep pepper spray on his keychain.
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For him and some others, this isn't just an attachment to the old ways. In the U.K., Hicks, who cuts a glamorous figure in her black leather jacket and flowing blond hair, is among those who go further.
She and her supporters say groups such as the World Economic Forum used the Covid pandemic to discourage people from using physical money, and call lockdowns a dummy run for establishing world government.
Hicks was fined for a public-order offense last year after filming in a hospital to prove, she said, that the pandemic was faked. She denied the charge, saying she was exercising her right to freedom of expression.
Others agree with her mission. ''Their whole digital system can't work if we still use cash,'' said Piers Corbyn, one of the other leaders in Huddersfield, and older brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Onlookers whistled or cheered. Some chanted ''Resist! Defy! Don't Comply!''
The World Economic Forum called the allegations about it false and ''very regrettable.''
Among pro-cash sympathizers are the brothers behind Right Said Fred, the group known for 1991 hit ''I'm Too Sexy.''
''We were working with an old people's home and a homeless shelter,'' said one of the brothers, Fred Fairbrass. ''Without cash, those people are absolutely stranded.''
Brett Scott, author of ''Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets,'' says a power struggle is set to grow over how people pay for stuff. McKinsey projects the digital-payments industry will be worth $3 trillion by 2026, much of it generated in Asia, particularly China. Cash, Scott argues, provides freedom, anonymity and security.
Others say it can help track their spending. ''It's easier to stick to your budget when you're at the supermarket,'' said Jenny Whittaker, out shopping with her 2-year-old. ''If I'm using my card or phone, it would quickly get out of control.''
In Ireland, lawmakers took up the cause after the overseers of Gaelic football introduced cashless ticketing. Many older fans have been unable to figure out how to buy tickets, some relying on their children to do it for them.
The British parliament is considering moves to make sure people are always within reach of an ATM or bank to withdraw cash. In the U.S., Congress is mulling legislation that would require businesses to accept cash, as is already the case in some cities, such as San Francisco.
The bigger question is whether bills and coins make a comeback or, on the flip side, insisting on them amounts to little more than a protest against the speed with which the world is changing.
Hicks has begun using cash to pay her bills at a post office, which in the U.K. can offer some of the services provided by banks, She concedes it's difficult to use cash for everything. ''I'm not an absolutist,'' she said.
The pro-cash message is showing signs of getting through. On ''Keep It Cash'' Facebook groups, supporters are naming businesses that refuse to take cash. Others describe the difficulty of persuading bank tellers to let them withdraw large sums of folding money.
Cash withdrawals ticked up slightly in the U.K. last year, the result, economists say, of people wanting to sock some away.
Hicks and her Keep It Cash team are trying to persuade people in Huddersfield and other towns and cities to part with the readies, as people here like to say.
Volunteers spread out across the street, handing shoppers fliers about how the state can track their spending if they use a card, or how they wouldn't be able to give tips or gifts for their grandchildren if cash disappeared.
''Use it or lose it,'' some shouted.
At a bakery offering cake samples to passersby, Hicks paused, eyeing a chance to refuel after a long journey from her home near London.
''Wait a minute, do you accept cash or just card,'' she asked the assistant holding a tray outside the door.
''Yes, we accept cash,'' the young woman replied.
''That's OK, then,'' Hicks said, taking a bite before looking around for a cafe that might take cash, too.
Write to James Hookway at - Tech Layoff Tracker and Startup Layoff Lists
Wed, 24 May 2023 18:41
702 tech companies w/ layoffs ' 199047 employees laid off 1057 tech companies w/ layoffs ' 164709 employees laid off '
1744 tech companies w/ layoffs ' 210844 employees laid off ' Since 3/11/20
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Africa's First Test Run For A CBDC has Failed - Activist Post
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:29
By Martin Armstrong
The transition to CBDC in Nigeria did not go as planned. The elites always seek out African nations to use as their test subjects. Nigeria attempted to slowly roll out the program dubbed eNaira built on the Hyperleger Fabric blockchain. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is solely responsible for running the nodes of this digital currency. Beginning stress tests stated this currency could execute 2,000 transactions per section. In October 2021, the government began offering incentives to citizens who chose to CBN.
A year later, the country was still hesitant to make the switch so the central bank began implementing forceful measures. In October 2022, the CBN decided to cancel and resign the currency in a ''move aimed at restoring the control of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over currency in circulation.''
They stated that the original paper notes would only be legal tender until January 31, 2023, leaving the people with no alternative but to convert their cash. Nigerians were no stranger to the concept of currency cancellation as it is something the government has routinely done.
The CBN openly announced that the end goal was to target a 100% cashless society replaced with eNaira. Fewer than 0.5% of Nigerians adopted the eNaira and protests erupted across the nation.
By December 2, 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a letter to all banking institutes implementing a strict ban on physical cash.
The central bank set a cash withdrawal limit of '‚...100,000 ($225) per week for individuals and '‚...500,000 ($1,123) for businesses. Citizens wishing to take out larger sums were subject to a processing fee between 5% and 10%. ATMs were limited to '‚...20,000 ($45) per day, and only '‚...200 ($0.45) notes or lower denominations were available in the machines.
Ultimate Gold and Silver Guide '' FREE REPORT@tyson_melbourne6'¬ Epic '' DM ProductionBloomberg reported that 90% of the country previously used cash for transactions. They did not want to convert to CBDC but were provided with no alternative. Demonetizing the currency reduced available cash from 3.2 trillion nairas to 1 trillion nairas. This led to the central bank creating over 10 billion eNairas. The people are continually protesting these measures as their society which was largely dependent on cash interactions has been destabilized.
This is how it all begins.
They are using Nigeria and other countries as test subjects before rolling out these programs in the West. It is hard for Americans to fathom currency cancelation, as it has never occurred here.
Yet, the Federal Reserve has made it clear that they are looking into this option. Per usual, they market it as a ''convenience'' for the people.
In truth, it is a way to ensure money stays on the grid under the thumb of government. They will not allow one cent to go untaxed, and as the program expands, they can remove individuals and organizations from participating in society entirely.
Source: Armstrong Economics via ZeroHedge
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If bird flu spreads to people, existing vaccines may be inadequate
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:15
Wild birds and poultry flocks alike continue to drop dead from the highly pathogenic bird flu that began spreading globally in 2020. Almost 59 million commercial birds have already been culled in the United States.
It's the broadest outbreak of this type of avian flu, known as H5N1, since it was first identified in China in 1996.
The virus's proliferation and high fatality rate have prompted questions about two types of possible vaccines: those for birds and those for humans. H5N1 kills almost all the birds it infects; among reported cases in people since 2003, the death rate has been 56%.
The U.S. Agriculture Department announced in April that it had started testing several vaccine candidates for poultry.
Vaccines for people, meanwhile, would only be considered if the virus eventually undergoes a complicated string of mutations that allow it to spread from person to person. There's no evidence of that yet. The U.S. recorded its only human case of H5N1 last April '-- the person was involved in culling poultry with presumed infections in Colorado. The United Kingdom reported two cases Tuesday, both poultry workers with asymptomatic infections detected via routine testing. Chile reported one infection in March and Ecuador one case in January.
But scientists have long considered H5N1 to have pandemic potential. The U.S. has a stockpile of H5N1 flu shots in case such a crisis arises, but three experts said it would likely prove insufficient should this particular type of avian flu start infecting people. The shots have only been administered in trials and were derived from strains that circulated in 2004 and 2005.
"You would expect that those vaccines based on those older strains would likely offer little protection against what's circulating today," said Scott Hensley, a professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Developing new, better-tailored shots for the current strain would be complicated, though, because most flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs '-- "a slow process fraught with production issues," according to Dr. Gregory Poland, founder and director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. The process requires individually inoculating each egg with a modified virus and, of course, depends on an ample supply of healthy chickens.
"In a real pandemic situation, the poultry will be at threat, and then the supply of the eggs will be highly compromised," said Dr. Suresh Mittal, a virology professor at Purdue University. The U.S. does, however, keep a stockpile of chickens to ensure it can continue producing flu vaccines.
Better options may be on the horizon. Vaccine researchers are developing shots that could be updated to target whatever mutated strain of H5N1 gains a hold in people someday. But no human trials are underway yet.
"What we need is a library of H5N1 vaccine candidates that are ready to go," Poland said, adding, "we're putting people and economies at cataclysmic risk by not being prepared."
Preparing for a spillover to humansIn general, scientists start to worry about bird flu spilling over to people when there's mammal-to-mammal transmission, Hensley said. Scientists saw evidence of that during an October outbreak in minks in Spain.
''We're afraid that those kind of events will lead to a mutant form of this virus that could transmit among humans,'' Hensley said.
Since arriving in the U.S. last January, avian flu has spread from birds to several other mammals: mountain lions, bobcats, bears, seals, red foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks and possums, as well as an otter and a bottlenose dolphin.
Poland compared these infections to ''the rumbles prior to an earthquake."
He suggested that a bird flu pandemic would most likely start as a small outbreak among poultry workers or swine workers, since pigs can pass the virus from birds to humans. Such an outbreak might be contained right away, he said '-- or not.
So vaccine researchers are preparing. Moderna said that later this year, it expects to begin clinical testing of an mRNA vaccine specific to the strain now circulating in birds, called mRNA technology offers an advantage because it allows vaccines to be produced and updated quickly. Given that experts think a future bird flu pandemic would be caused by a strain of H5N1 that hasn't evolved yet, the ideal vaccines could be easily tweaked to target it.
Hensley leads a research team that is testing another mRNA vaccine to target Data published in April, which hasn't been peer reviewed, showed that it elicited an immune response in mice and ferrets.
"Making a vaccine that looks like what's circulating right now gives us a higher chance of having cross-protection against something slightly different, but very related," Poland said.
Meanwhile, two other pharmaceutical companies, CSL Seqirus and GSK, have partnered with the U.S. government to manufacture experimental vaccine doses that are also closer matches to the current strain. GSK's trial is set to begin this year, but the company did not specific the type of technology it uses. CSL Seqirus said a phase 2 trial to assess the safety and immune response of an inactivated virus vaccine is scheduled to start in June.
Mittal said a universal flu vaccine, which would target a wide variety of flu strains, could also provide cross-protection against whatever version of bird flu one day finds its way into humans. Several such vaccines are being developed, but none has advanced to a late-stage trial. The National Institutes of Health announced this month that it has started testing a universal mRNA flu vaccine among 50 volunteers.
Could the older vaccines be updated?The Health and Human Services Department declined to specify the quantity or manufacturers of the bird flu vaccine products in the national stockpile. However, NBC News verified that three approved H5N1 vaccines have been stockpiled, two of which are produced using eggs.
One of those shots, from the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, was approved for adults in 2007. In a trial of around 100 people, two doses elicited a protective immune response in 45% of the recipients, according to the Food and Drug Administration. As of 2007, the U.S. had stockpiled enough of that vaccine for 6 million people.
When tested against strains circulating in 2016 and 2017, the vaccine prompted a modest antibody response, according to a 2019 study.
However, a dose is 90 micrograms '-- much bigger than the seasonal flu vaccine. In a pandemic situation, that could make it challenging to quickly manufacture shots for everyone who needs them, Poland said.
"You have to produce the equivalent of six normal doses for one dose of that H5N1 vaccine," he said. "Those become real numbers when you're talking about tens and hundreds of millions of people."
The FDA approved a second shot for adults in 2013, manufactured by a GSK subsidiary, to add to the stockpile. The company said in 2006 that two doses produced a strong immune response in 80% of the recipients.
A GSK spokesperson said the company was awarded contracts last year with the U.S., Canada, the European Union and the World Health Organization to supply its vaccine in the event of a flu pandemic. Under those agreements, the spokesperson said, the company could provide at least 200 million doses to governments around the world.
The third stockpiled shot, from CSL Seqirus, was approved in 2020 for recipients ages 6 months and older. It's grown in cultured cells instead of eggs.
The company said the U.S. has stockpiled millions of doses' worth of bulk antigen '-- the ingredient in the vaccine that stimulates an immune response '-- targeting a variety of strains. In the event of a bird flu pandemic, any of those antigens found to cross-react with circulating strains could be formulated into doses, it said.
The company added that it could produce 150 million doses within six months.
But Poland said even these pledges from manufacturers would still fall short of the Biden administration's National Biodefense Strategy, which aims to produce enough vaccine for the entire U.S. within roughly four months of a future pandemic's onset.
Sadiq Khan may have suffered 'heart attack' at COP26 in Glasgow and had to be helped off... - LBC
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:14
22 May 2023, 10:50
The Mayor of London made the revelation in his new book Breathe. Picture: Getty/PA Sadiq Khan has said he may have suffered a "minor heart attack" after feeling a "knot" in his chest while on stage at COP26 in Glasgow.
While at the climate conference in 2021, the mayor of London said "out of nowhere, I felt a knot in my chest '' a kind of tightening" before being helped off stage.
"It was COP26 in Glasgow and I seemed to be having a heart attack," Mr Khan says in his new book, Breathe, which will published this week.
Those close to the mayor said he was not put on heart-related medication following the incident, which took place 18 months ago, the Standard reports.
They did confirm that he has regular check-ups after developing asthma in 2014.
Sadiq Khan at COP26 in Glasgow. Picture: PA Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player
Mr Khan says he spent some seven hours in A&E in Glasgow, where he underwent an electrocardiogram (ECG).
The tests detected "a protein called troponin, which is released into the blood after unusual heart activity", Mr Khan said.
Read More: Sadiq Khan says death threats and dealing with disasters and terror attacks left him with PTSD
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"There was a possibility that earlier that evening I'd had a minor heart attack," he added.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I felt fine. I simply didn't believe I had had a heart attack. The whole situation felt unreal. In a matter of hours, I was due to give perhaps the biggest address of my mayoralty.
"And yet here I was in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, half of my body in suit trousers and the other in a hospital gown, waiting to be told if I was going to be admitted for urgent treatment."
Mr Khan has also said he has been left with PTSD after dealing with regular death threats, terror attacks and disasters.
A number of events he has faced during his time in City Hall have had a "cumulative" effect on his mental health, he said, but stressed he wouldn't compare his experience with the disorder to the anguish suffered by others, including asylum seekers and refugees he has worked with.
He has also spoken about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on his mental state, revealing that he felt he had "lost his mojo" during lockdown.
Such is the level of threat the former government minister faces that he described his security detail as being "the same level of protection the prime minister and the King receive", the Guardian reports.
The revelations come as Mr Khan prepares to re-run as mayor of London next year, which would be a record third term.
Breakthrough daily diabetes tablet to treat all British heart failure sufferers secures NHS approval | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:13
All British heart failure sufferers will now be eligible for a breakthrough daily tablet that dramatically reduces symptoms and boosts survival chances.
The drug, called dapagliflozin, was previously only available to NHS patients with one of the three types of heart failure '' representing roughly half of the million people in the UK living with the incurable condition.
But drug watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) ruled last week that those with the other two kinds of heart failure should also be offered the £244-a-year medication, if their doctors think it will be of benefit.
Until now, many of these patients had relatively few treatment options and often faced a bleak prognosis. But dapagliflozin has been shown in trials to slow down decline in this group by about a fifth and cut the risk of death by 18 per cent.
Some patients taking the drug have been saved from needing a heart transplant '' with experts branding the drug's extended approval by NICE 'a turning point'.
All British heart failure sufferers will now be eligible for a breakthrough daily tablet that dramatically reduces symptoms and boosts survival chances (file photo)
'Until now, there's been an absence of treatments that reduce mortality for many heart failure patients,' says John McMurray, professor of medical cardiology at the University of Glasgow, who led the trials.
Unlike a heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked, heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart can no longer pump effectively because the muscle has become weakened.
Symptoms, including debilitating fatigue and breathlessness, can suddenly worsen, which is why heart failure causes about 86,000 emergency hospital admissions every year.
Triggers include heart attacks, high blood pressure and viral infections, and about half of those with heart failure die within five years of a diagnosis.
Although heart disease can occur at any age, it's most common in older people. The number of Britons affected has been steadily rising over the decades due to a combination of an ageing population and more people surviving heart attacks. An increasing number of patients living with diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn raise the risk of heart failure, is also a factor.
There are three main types of heart failure. With the first, the main chamber of the heart is working at ten per cent or more below its normal capacity. This is called heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, or HFrEF '' a term that relates to the amount of blood squeezed out from the heart. The second type '' heart failure with mildly reduced ejection fraction, or HFmrEF '' means the heart is operating at anywhere between one and ten per cent below its normal function.
The third '' heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, or HFpEF '' means the heart is struggling to fill with blood properly.
In January 2021, health chiefs gave dapagliflozin the go-ahead for reduced ejection fraction patients following trials that showed those taking the drug were a third less likely to require an urgent hospital admission.
The drug, called dapagliflozin, was previously only available to NHS patients with one of the three types of heart failure '' representing roughly half of the million people in the UK living with the incurable condition
At the time of the approval, Prof McMurray said: 'We can't cure heart failure yet, but in some cases we can now put the condition into complete remission using a combination of drugs, including dapagliflozin, and save some sufferers progressing to the point that they need a heart transplant.
'There are other drugs similar to dapagliflozin that we now know work, too, and more are coming down the line. We're chipping away at this disease.'
The decision to approve the drug for the other two types of heart failure follows the results of an international trial that found taking the pill for two years was equally beneficial for patients with mildly reduced or preserved ejection fraction disease.
The drug is in a class of medicines called sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. They help diabetics by flushing excess glucose out of the body in the urine.
Experts don't fully understand why they have such a powerful effect on heart failure '' one suggestion is that they reduce the amount of work the organ has to do to pump blood around the body.
Importantly, patients in trials were found to experience few, if any, side effects.
Speaking about the drug's approval, Nick Hartshorne-Evans, chief executive of heart failure charity Pumping Marvellous, said: 'For a condition that's physically debilitating and severely limits an individual's quality of life, this is a critical step in treating people living with the disease.
'We hope today's decision can be a catalyst for the long-overdue prioritisation of care for all types of heart failure in the UK.'
Mounjaro: New Tirzepatide diabetes jab that sparked diabetes row in US could get approved on NHS | The Independent
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:13
A new obesity jab that sparked a diabetes row in the US is now being considered for wider use by the UK health service.
Tirzepatide, from Eli Lilly and Company, is currently approved by regulators for type 2 diabetes '' but may soon also be approved to treat obesity.
The weekly jab, sold under the brand name Mounjaro, is the successor to celebrity-endorsed Ozempic '-- a diabetes drug that shot to fame on TikTok for helping people lose weight rapidly. Now, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is seeing whether the drug would be a good use of NHS funds.
NHS doctors want ChatGPT AI to write patient heart reports so they can see more people | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:12
Heart experts say using AI to write reports would free time to see more patients By Ethan Ennals
Updated: 17:49 EDT, 20 May 2023
NHS heart experts want to use artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to write vital patient reports '' because they say it would free up time and allow them to see more people.
The free-to-use software is already being used by students and office-workers to carry out some tasks.
And, according to Dr Samer Alabed, a cardiac radiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the AI program could be trained to interpret and write notes on heart scans.
'It takes radiologists 45 minutes to analyse these scans and then write a report,' says Dr Alabed. 'We estimate that NHS clinicians spend 115,000 hours putting heart scan reports together each year.
'If we were able to use software like ChatGPT to do this work, we could free up an incredible amount of time which could be used to treat more patients.'
NHS heart experts want to use artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to write vital patient reports ''
Doctors say it would free up time and allow them to see more people
The software may also be able to do this in non-medical language so patients could understand their results without the help of a doctor.
Dr Alabed and his team are already experimenting with the program and hope to soon set up a clinical trial involving a large group of heart disease patients. The project is viewed as the next step in the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the NHS.
In December, the MoS revealed that clinicians at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals had begun using a specially designed AI program that could analyse MRI scans of the heart and carry out complicated measurements to work out if there were any signs of disease.
These measurements usually take doctors 20 minutes to complete but the program is able to complete them in under a minute. However, doctors still have to write up their findings.
Dr Alabed believes that the entire process could be carried out entirely by AI. However, he adds that the team are still encountering problems with ChatGPT which need to be addressed before the software can be used on the NHS.
'When we input measurements into ChatGPT we're finding that it sometimes adds in extra details which are made-up or not accurate,' he says.
'The next step is to work out how to train it to be accurate every time, so patients get the correct diagnosis.'
Why Waking Up Early Is Rooted in White Supremacy | by Anthony Bernardi | Medium
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:11
The notion of waking up early and starting your day with the rising sun is often associated with productivity, success, and a strong work ethic. However, this seemingly innocuous concept is not without its historical and cultural implications. In this article, we will explore the origins of the early-rising narrative and how it is rooted in white supremacy, contributing to the perpetuation of racial inequalities.
The Origins of the Early Rising Ideology
The idea that waking up early leads to success and a disciplined life can be traced back to various historical and religious contexts. In the Western world, this belief has been strongly influenced by Protestantism and the Puritan work ethic, which emphasized hard work, diligence, and self-discipline as virtues. This work ethic has long been considered an essential component of the ''American Dream'' and the idea that success can be achieved through dedication and effort.
The Intersection of Early Rising and White Supremacy
The early-rising ideology is not inherently racist; however, its connections to white supremacy can be seen when examining the broader historical and social contexts. During the era of European colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade, the concept of hard work and productivity became intertwined with race.
Enslaved Africans were forced to work tirelessly from sunrise to sunset, and their white oppressors often used the rhetoric of hard work and discipline to justify their inhumane treatment. This created a false narrative that Africans were inherently lazy and needed the ''civilizing'' influence of their white masters to teach them the value of work.
This stereotype has persisted and continues to be perpetuated in various forms, such as the ''model minority'' myth, which suggests that certain racial and ethnic groups are inherently more disciplined and successful than others.
The Impact of the Early Rising Narrative on Racial Inequality
The idea that waking up early is a sign of a superior work ethic and a key to success serves to reinforce racial inequalities in several ways. For one, it places the blame for economic disparities on the individual, rather than acknowledging the systemic barriers that hinder the success of marginalized communities. By promoting the notion that anyone can achieve success if they simply work hard and wake up early, it ignores the structural racism that has created and maintained these inequalities.
Furthermore, the early-rising narrative perpetuates the stereotype that people of color are lazy or lack discipline, which can have real-world consequences in areas such as employment and education. This stereotype can lead to discrimination in the workplace and contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, where students of color are disproportionately disciplined and pushed out of the education system.
Challenging the Early Rising Ideology and Its Racial Implications
To dismantle the white supremacist roots of the early-rising narrative, it's essential to challenge the idea that waking up early is inherently virtuous and indicative of success. This involves recognizing that productivity and worth are not solely determined by when someone wakes up, but rather by a multitude of factors, including access to resources, opportunities, and systemic support.
Educating oneself and others about the historical and social contexts that have shaped the early-rising narrative can help raise awareness about its racial implications. Acknowledging the cultural diversity in sleep patterns and work schedules is another important step toward dismantling these harmful stereotypes.
Embracing a More Inclusive and Equitable Approach to Productivity
Creating a more inclusive and equitable society involves redefining our understanding of productivity and success. This means recognizing that there are various ways to be productive and that the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule may not be the best fit for everyone.
It's crucial to prioritize work-life balance and ensure that employees have the flexibility to work in ways that best suit their needs
Asch Conformity Line Experiment
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:02
Solomon Asch experimented with investigating the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform.
He believed the main problem with Sherif's (1935) conformity experiment was that there was no correct answer to the ambiguous autokinetic experiment. How could we be sure that a person conformed when there was no correct answer?
Asch (1951) devised what is now regarded as a classic experiment in social psychology, whereby there was an obvious answer to a line judgment task.
If the participant gave an incorrect answer, it would be clear that this was due to group pressure.
Experimental Procedure Asch used a lab experiment to study conformity, whereby 50 male students from Swarthmore College in the USA participated in a 'vision test.'
Using a line judgment task, Asch put a naive participant in a room with seven confederates/stooges. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task.
The real participant did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven confederates/stooges were also real participants like themselves.
Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious. The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last.
There were 18 trials in total, and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trials (called the critical trials). Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view.
Asch's experiment also had a control condition where there were no confederates, only a ''real participant.''
Findings Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority on the critical trials.
Over the 12 critical trials, about 75% of participants conformed at least once, and 25% of participants never conformed.
In the control group, with no pressure to conform to confederates, less than 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.
Conclusion Why did the participants conform so readily? When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not really believe their conforming answers, but had gone along with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought ''peculiar.
A few of them said that they really did believe the group's answers were correct.
Apparently, people conform for two main reasons: because they want to fit in with the group (normative influence) and because they believe the group is better informed than they are (informational influence).
Critical Evaluation One limitation of the study is that is used a biased sample. All the participants were male students who all belonged to the same age group. This means that the study lacks population validity and that the results cannot be generalized to females or older groups of people.
Another problem is that the experiment used an artificial task to measure conformity '' judging line lengths. How often are we faced with making a judgment like the one Asch used, where the answer is plain to see?
This means that the study has low ecological validity and the results cannot be generalized to other real-life situations of conformity. Asch replied that he wanted to investigate a situation where the participants could be in no doubt what the correct answer was. In so doing he could explore the true limits of social influence.
Some critics thought the high levels of conformity found by Asch were a reflection of American, 1950's culture and told us more about the historical and cultural climate of the USA in the 1950s than then they do about the phenomena of conformity.
In the 1950s America was very conservative, involved in an anti-communist witch-hunt (which became known as McCarthyism) against anyone who was thought to hold sympathetic left-wing views.
Conformity to American values was expected. Support for this comes from studies in the 1970s and 1980s that show lower conformity rates (e.g., Perrin & Spencer, 1980).
Perrin and Spencer (1980) suggested that the Asch effect was a ''child of its time.'' They carried out an exact replication of the original Asch experiment using engineering, mathematics and chemistry students as subjects. They found that in only one out of 396 trials did an observer join the erroneous majority.
Perrin and Spencer argue that a cultural change has taken place in the value placed on conformity and obedience and in the position of students. In America in the 1950s, students were unobtrusive members of society, whereas now they occupy a free questioning role.
However, one problem in comparing this study with Asch is that very different types of participants are used. Perrin and Spencer used science and engineering students who might be expected to be more independent by training when it came to making perceptual judgments.
Finally, there are ethical issues: participants were not protected from psychological stress which may occur if they disagreed with the majority.
Evidence that participants in Asch-type situations are highly emotional was obtained by Back et al. (1963) who found that participants in the Asch situation had greatly increased levels of autonomic arousal.
This finding also suggests that they were in a conflict situation, finding it hard to decide whether to report what they saw or to conform to the opinion of others.
Asch also deceived the student volunteers claiming they were taking part in a ''vision'' test; the real purpose was to see how the ''naive'' participant would react to the behavior of the confederates. However, deception was necessary to produce valid results.
The clip below is not from the original experiment in 1951, but an acted version for television from the 1970s.
Factors Affecting Conformity In further trials, Asch (1952, 1956) changed the procedure (i.e., independent variables) to investigate which situational factors influenced the level of conformity (dependent variable).
His results and conclusions are given below:
Group Size
Asch (1956) found that group size influenced whether subjects conformed. The bigger the majority group (no of confederates), the more people conformed, but only up to a certain point.
With one other person (i.e., confederate) in the group conformity was 3%, with two others it increased to 13%, and with three or more it was 32% (or 1/3).
Optimum conformity effects (32%) were found with a majority of 3. Increasing the size of the majority beyond three did not increase the levels of conformity found. Brown and Byrne (1997) suggest that people might suspect collusion if the majority rises beyond three or four.
According to Hogg & Vaughan (1995), the most robust finding is that conformity reaches its full extent with 3-5 person majority, with additional members having little effect.
Lack of Group Unanimity / Presence of an Ally
As conformity drops off with five members or more, it may be that it's the unanimity of the group (the confederates all agree with each other) which is more important than the size of the group.
In another variation of the original experiment, Asch broke up the unanimity (total agreement) of the group by introducing a dissenting confederate.
Asch (1956) found that even the presence of just one confederate that goes against the majority choice can reduce conformity as much as 80%.
For example, in the original experiment, 32% of participants conformed on the critical trials, whereas when one confederate gave the correct answer on all the critical trials conformity dropped to 5%.
This was supported in a study by Allen and Levine (1968). In their version of the experiment, they introduced a dissenting (disagreeing) confederate wearing thick-rimmed glasses '' thus suggesting he was slightly visually impaired.
Even with this seemingly incompetent dissenter, conformity dropped from 97% to 64%. Clearly, the presence of an ally decreases conformity.
The absence of group unanimity lowers overall conformity as participants feel less need for social approval of the group (re: normative conformity).
Difficulty of Task
When the (comparison) lines (e.g., A, B, C) were made more similar in length it was harder to judge the correct answer and conformity increased.
When we are uncertain, it seems we look to others for confirmation. The more difficult the task, the greater the conformity.
Answer in Private
When participants were allowed to answer in private (so the rest of the group does not know their response), conformity decreased.
This is because there are fewer group pressures and normative influence is not as powerful, as there is no fear of rejection from the group.
Frequently Asked Questions
Biometrics-Based Payments Pilot | J.P. Morgan
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:56
New York, March 23, 2023 '' J.P. Morgan will begin piloting biometrics-based payments with select retailers in the U.S. This is the first pilot solution to launch from J.P. Morgan Payments' new Commerce Solutions suite of products, dedicated to helping merchants adapt to the rapidly evolving payments landscape.
Its biometrics-based payment pilot includes palm and face identification for payments authentication in-store and works on an enrol-capture-authenticate-pay basis. Global biometric payments are expected to reach $5.8T and 3B users by 2026, according to Goode Intelligence.
J.P. Morgan Payments' biometrics pilot offering should allow for fast, secure and simple checkout experiences for its merchants' customers, delivering a modern payments experience to enhance customer loyalty. As the leading global merchant acquirer, J.P. Morgan Payments is uniquely positioned to enable this solution to meet shopper expectations without compromising security and reliability.
Jean-Marc Thienpont, Head of Omnichannel Solutions, J.P. Morgan Payments said, ''At its heart, biometrics-based payments empowers our merchant clients to deliver a better customer payment experience. We are a trusted payments provider and financial institution worldwide, and fully equipped to manage the highly secure identification points that power biometrics solutions. The evolution of consumer technology has created new expectations for shoppers, and merchants need to be ready to adapt to these new expectations.''
The first pilots will be run with brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., and potentially includes the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, which is planning to be the first Formula 1 race to pilot biometrics-based payments to provide guests with a faster checkout experience.
''We're delighted to work with J.P. Morgan Payments for this exciting and innovative technology,'' said Ramon M Peneda, VP & Chief Information Officer of Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix 2023. ''Formula 1 prides itself on pioneering solutions and state-of-the-art technology and being able to roll out this new biometrics-based payments scheme would enhance the race-day experience for our guests as they will enjoy a new, faster checkout process. Our mission at the Miami International Autodrome is to offer our guests a best-in-class experience and this offering helps us deliver on that commitment."
If the pilot stage is successful, a wider rollout would be planned to U.S. merchant clients in 2024.
How do biometrics-based payments work?After a short customer enrolment process in store, the workflow is; cashier scans items or customer uses self-service terminal, user scans palm or face, user completes checkout, user gets receipt. The solutions has a benefits for merchants and their consumers. For merchants, the key benefits include customer sales and loyalty growth and the removal of friction from merchants' day-to-day processes. For the customer, the payments are phone-free, private, secure, fast and simple.
New J.P. Morgan Payments Commerce Solutions strategyJ.P. Morgan Payments has also launched Commerce Solutions, its next-generation suite of payments infrastructure and applications that helps merchants accept consumer and b2b payments across any touchpoint. The Commerce Solutions launch includes new cloud-based infrastructure for J.P. Morgan Payments' online and in-store payments APIs, allowing for new tools for developers and technical buyers to discover and deploy J.P. Morgan Payments solutions.
Merchants can struggle to keep up and manage a complex technology ecosystem that includes online payments, in app payments, social payments, in store payments, digital wallets and marketplace payments. J.P. Morgan Payments' Commerce Solutions will best serve its merchant clients, acting as one-front-door for the needs of its commerce and ecommerce clients in this evolving payments environment. Whether it be a biometrics solutions or better coordination of online and instore payments, the Commerce Solutions offering can help merchant clients end-to-end and prepare for the future.
Takis Georgakopoulos, Global Head of Payments, J.P. Morgan said, ''The evolution of consumer technology has created new expectations for shopping and payments. There are more ways to pay than ever before across an increasing number of channels. And consumers continue to adopt tools like digital wallets and biometric payments to simplify their payment experience. J.P. Morgan is uniquely positioned to revolutionize payments online and instore and our investments in technology have unlocked new ways for merchants to offer frictionless payments across any touchpoint. Our Commerce Solutions launch positions us perfectly to help our clients prepare and thrive as the payments landscape continues to transform.''
Your payments are more than transactions. They tell the world about your business goals, your growth, your aspirations and your vision for the future.
Future capabilities of biometrics are under development; features and timelines are subject to change at the Bank's sole discretion.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.P. Morgan, its affiliates, or its employees. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the author nor J.P. Morgan makes any representations or warranties as to the information's accuracy or completeness. The information contained herein has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute an offer, solicitation, advice or recommendation, to make any investment decisions or purchase any financial instruments, and may not be construed as such.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., organized under the laws of U.S.A. with limited liability. (C) 2023 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All Rights Reserved
Tech Layoff Mania Sparks 200,000 Job Cuts As New Grads Pursue Careers On Wall Street | ZeroHedge
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:50
One month ago, we cited a job recruiter who was asked if the tech layoff cycle was over. Her response was, "We are definitely not done yet." This brings us to the latest data that shows 200,000 tech jobs have been lost since the beginning of the year.
According to the jobs tracking website, 199,047 jobs from 702 tech firms have been slashed in the last five months. The pace at which firms are hemorrhaging jobs every month is worsening.
Bloomberg said data from, a site collecting industry pay data, shows tech firms are decreasing offers to new employees. This data showed compensation packages plunged 25% in March when compared to the same month last year. Also, stock options have become less appealing to new recruits as many startups listed on public stock exchanges have plunged into bear market territory.
"There's a lot of chaos in Big Tech '-- we're seeing a course correction with a lot of firing," Amy Lui Abel, a global talent partner at talent firm Lee Hecht Harrison, told Bloomberg. This has led many college graduates to search for jobs in finance instead of tech, as explained by Abel:
"But on Wall Street, you work really hard and you make a lot of money. That's the deal."
Recall IBM CEO Arvind Krishna recently said the company expects to pause hiring for roles it thinks could be replaced with artificial intelligence in the coming years.
Making matters worse, Goldman Sachs recently told clients that AI could result in 300 million layoffs across the Western world by the decade's end.
Many of these jobs are never coming back because of AI.
And why is that? Well, after two years of declining margins due to runaway inflation and soaring input prices, the worst of the profit margin recession is apparently behind us. The layoff wave will aid in the recovery of margin compression.
As for those searching for jobs, the shifting labor market and proliferation of AI suggest tech jobs are contracting while new grads turn their attention to finance jobs.
Since last August, 27 comedians have "died suddenly" (and four more fell gravely ill)
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:38
May 21, 2023
English comedian Andy Smart died on May 16, his daughter revealed on Twitter. He was 63 . No cause of death was available , but his daughter said his death was unexpected . Smart performed with The Comedy Store Players, a group of improv comedians, at the Comedy Store in London.
April 24, 2023
Tsuyoshi Kubota [left, above], a member of the Japanese comedy duo "Independence Day", passed away on the 18th of this month due to health deterioration at the age of 36 . However, the specific cause of his death has not been made public. As for the sudden death of Takeshi Kubota, his agency revealed that it was unacceptable because the incident happened so suddenly , and he had never heard that he was in poor health , lamenting that such a good person just passed away .
April 20, 2023
Comedian and broadcaster Seo Se-won, 68 , died from shock at a Cambodian hospital while receiving treatment, Korean media reported Thursday. Seo debuted as a broadcaster on TBC radio in 1979, before becoming one of the most popular comedians and talk show hosts in Korea until the late 1990s. Seo had been accused of bribing television producers, being involved in the manipulation of stock prices and assaulting his then-wife Suh Jeong-hee, a former television personality. The assault case was handed over to the prosecution in May 2014. The Seoul Family Court sentenced Seo to six years in prison in May 2015. Seo Se-won and Suh Jeong-hee divorced in August the same year. No cause of death reported.
April 19, 2023
New Delhi - Heart breaking news is coming out from South industry. South's superstar and comedian Allu Ramesh is no longer in this world . It is being told that the actor died of a heart attack . The incident took place in the actor's hometown Visakhapatnam. The comedian was admitted to the hospital , although the doctors declared him brought dead .
April 16, 2023
His name was Mauro Mu±iz de Urquiza, although he was known by the pseudonym with which he achieved success in theaters and in TV series. The Madrid actor and comedian Don Mauro has died suddenly at the age of 58 .
No cause of death reported.
April 16, 2023
Actor-comedian Winston 'Bello' Bell, best known for being one half of gifted comedic duo Bello and Blakka, died on Saturday after experiencing medical complications associated with neuropathy . Bell was also a pastor who operated His Time Out for Jesus Worldwide Ministry. He was 62 years old. Peripheral neuropathy refers to the many conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nervous system, which is a vast communications network that sends signals between the central nervous system.
March 16, 2023
The actor who played Nipsey on the sitcom ''Martin'' has passed away . Sean Lampkin died on March 8 at the age of 54 . Lampkin was a good friend of actor Martin Lawrence and often appeared in his films, including ''Life'' and ''Big Mama's House.'' He was best known for playing the bartender Nipsey on ''Martin.'' The actor's friend Marsel Watts broke the news on Facebook. ''My friend, my last roommate for 10 years, a father and family man, my brother, skate buddy, business partner, and trainer passed away this morning. RIP Sean Lampkin.'' Watts did not note how Lampkin died , but his cousin, Memnar Grayton, posted a moving tribute to the actor on Facebook and noted that the comedian passed away in his sleep .
No cause of death reported.
February 20, 2023
Tamil film industry is mourning the loss of veteran comic actor R Mayilsamy, who passed away on February 19 after suffering from cardiac arrest . Fans and netizens paid their respects on Twitter, remembering him as a good human being and an exceptional actor. The actor, who was 57 years old, had been a part of over 200 movies in his 39-year-long career. He was known for his impeccable comic timing, which earned him the title of a scene-stealer. According to a report, Mayilsamy had been unwell for some time, and on February 18, he felt discomfort . His family rushed him to Porur Ramachandra Hospital, but unfortunately, he passed away on the way. His death was confirmed by doctors upon reaching the hospital. Link
February 19, 2023
Rhod Gilbert has spoken out about being diagnosed with stage four cancer in his first TV appearance since receiving the news. The comedian and presenter first announced that he was being treated for cancer in July , sharing that he was receiving treatment at the same cancer centre for which he'd previously raised money. Gilbert appeared during the Channel 4 broadcast of the National Comedy Awards on Friday (17 February) in a segment for charity Stand Up To Cancer. Gilbert confirmed that he'd been diagnosed with head and neck cancer . Previously, Gilbert had only shared the symptoms he'd experienced, included a sore throat and tightness in his neck. ''Couldn't get to the bottom of it, turns out after a biopsy of this lump in my neck that I have something called head and neck cancer. Cancer of the head sounded pretty serious ,'' he said in the clip, pre-recorded from his home.
January 29, 2023
Bengaluru - Veteran Kannada film actor Mandeep Roy passed away at the age of 74 after suffering a cardiac arrest at a private hospital here early on Sunday. He was hospitalised after suffering a heart attack on December 5, 2022, and had been discharged after recovery. Mandeep Roy, who had acted in more than 500 films, was also a theater artist and was well known for his supporting and comic roles. He acted alongside stalwarts from Dr Rajkumar to younger artists.
January 29, 2023
An actor from an amateur troupe died Saturday evening in Cl(C)ville (Calvados), overcome by a heart attack while he was playing a play. Aged 74 , the man felt unwell on stage before collapsing backstage, reports Ouest-France. Despite the intervention of a nurse present in the audience, then firefighters, the septuagenarian died on the spot .
No cause of death reported.
January 9, 2023
The Franconian cult comedian "Bembers" died on Sunday (January 8, 2023) at only 56 years. According to initial information, Roman S¶rgel, as the comedian is called in real life, is said to have died of a heart attack . The duo "Streckenbach and K¶hler", in which Andr(C) Railzbach, the managing director of Bembers agency, contributed, confirmed the comedian's death in a Facebook post. In September 2022, the Nuremberg cult comedian canceled all appointments of its tour due to health problems.
December 29, 2022
Shabana Rehman Gaarder born on 14 July 1976 in Karachi. She is a citizen of Norway. Shabana Rehman Gaarder was educated at American Comedy Institute. She died on 29 December 2022 from a pancreatic cancer at age 46 years, 5 months . She was a Norwegian comedian and writer. Shabana Rehman Gaarder has had one spouse: Dagfinn Nordb¸. Shabana Rehman Gaarder has worked as a writer and reality television participant. She has worked in a stand-up comedy. She has has won Fritt Ord Award, Premio Fredrikke, Pillarguri prize, Ossietzky Prize and Bergesen Foundation Award.
December 22, 2022
Ibadan - Tobi Owomoyela Nifemi, also known as Peteru Comedy, a comedian from Ibadan, passed away , sending the entertainment industry into grief . According to reports, the skit creator who was well-known for his Yoruba interpretation of Big Brother Naija passed suddenly on December 21. His death's cause hasn't yet been made known to the public.
Nifemi was 35.
December 13, 2022
Award-winning comic Jane Godley has announced her cancer treatment ''is back on the cards'' ahead of her tour early next year. The Glasgow comedian had been given the all clear earlier this year, but announced on Tuesday that a recent scan showed signs of the disease in her abdomen . In a heartfelt video message on Twitter, Godley told her fans the news, but insisted her Not Dead Yet gigs will still go ahead, with dates set in Februry and March. She did, however, say her next tour may be the last time she is able to perform live . Godley was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2021, and has since undergone chemotherapy treatment.
December 7, 2022
Pattukottai - Film actor Siva Narayanmurthy, 66 , passed away suddenly today at 8.30 pm. He acted in more than 300 films. He and his wife Pushpavalli had three children: Lokesh, Ramkumar and Sridevi. The news of his demise has saddened everyone including the film industry and fans.
No cause of death reported.
December 3, 2022
Sandi Toksvig is currently in an Australian hospital after being diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia . The Danish-British writer has been forced to cancel the New Zealand leg of her comedy tour due to the illness , with her team focusing on getting her home to the UK. The 64-year-old presenter and comedian, best known for hosting the "Great British Bake Off" and "QI" is in the midst of a string of live dates, having already performed in cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. But due to her sudden illness , she has been forced to cancel some dates after being rushed to hospital . Sandi joined the Great British Bake-Off crew in 2017 when she was announced as the new host alongside Noel Fielding. However, in 2020 she announced that she was leaving the show to focus on other work commitments and was therefore replaced by Matt Lucas. Over Christmas she will present the Channel 4 special Sandi Toksvig's Tiny Christmas Challenge in which two teams of amateur crafters transforming an alpine cabin into the ultimate Christmas retreat.
November 26, 2022
Beloved Borscht Belt comic and actor Freddie Roman, best known for his roasts as part of New York City's Friars Club and later Comedy Central, died at the age of 85 on Saturday, his family said. Roman suffered a heart attack in Boynton Beach, Florida, his daughter confirmed to Deadline. The comic had spent most of his life in show business after he was given the opportunity to emcee at his uncle and grandfather's Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills when he was just 15. Roman, born Fred Kirschenbaum, and his old-timey jokes were a fixture at nightclub venues in cities like New York and Las Vegas. He served as the dean, or president, of The Friar's Club and took shots at celebrities like Jerry Stiller, Hugh Hefner, Drew Carey, Rob Reiner and Chevy Chase on Comedy Central's Roasts. He more recently co-starred in Amazon's hit comedy series ''Red Oaks,'' playing a curmudgeon member of a Jewish country club in New Jersey. He also made guest appearances on shows ''Law & Order: Criminal Intent'' and ''The Tonight Show.''
I realize he was 85 ... but it was a heart attack ... AND he was working ''recently'' as the CO-STAR of a show (not a walk-on, not a bit part, CO-STAR) so likely he had to be in decent health to have a co-starring role (production insurance will NOT insure folks with pre-existing health conditions, this I do know...). Just sayin' it's possible it's from the jab...
November 24, 2022
Renowned Pakistani actor and comedian Ismail Tara breathed his last in Karachi on Thursday. The legendary TV star, who rose to prominence with his iconic role in Pakistani drama Fifty Fifiy, was under treatment at private hospital in Karachi, the actor's family has confirmed. He was admitted in a private hospital of Karachi due to some health complications and put on ventilator after his health severely declined . Kidney failure is being said to be the cause of his death . He is survived by his widow, four sons and a daughter.
November 1, 2022
It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Jan Rabson passed away suddenly due to a massive heart attack on Oct 13th. To describe Jan's life and legacy is an insurmountable task. He was bigger than life with a laugh that came from the deepest part of his being and became infectious to all hearing it. He was a creative, out-of-the-box thinker and had a brilliant sense of humour. He kept a playful spirit throughout his 68 years of life and a childlike wonderment about virtually everything. He was one of a kind!
Leaving New York in his early 20s, Jan ventured to Los Angeles to pursue his career dream of acting. His dream became a reality. In a career that spanned over four decades, Jan's face and especially his versatile voice graced literally hundreds of movies, sitcoms, cartoons and video games. Among his treasured accomplishments were working on many animated films for Pixar, Disney, Dream Works, Illumination, Universal, Sony Entertainment and many more spanning three decades. Two of the quirkiest roles of his career were being the voice of ''Leisure Suit Larry'' as well as the voice of Tetsuo Shima in the 1989 dubbed version of ''Akira.'' He was a nerd's superstar! Around 1990, he was invited to join the Might Carson Art Players. According to head writer Andrew Nichols, ''Johnny didn't trust many people to perform in his sketches, but we knew that Jan had the comedy chops required to appear live on stage with a legend and hold his own.''
Jan and his family left Los Angeles in 2002 for a more tranquil life on the shores of his beloved Salt Spring Island in Canada. He loved his island life and sharing in a community of people who had also chosen an unbeaten path. He loved the beauty of living in British Columbia. He truly stopped and smelled the roses daily. In 2007 Jan, Cindy, Adler and Hayden proudly became Canadian citizens. The family also maintained their U.S. citizenship.
October 31, 2022
Peterborough - Died suddenly October 27th, 2022. Zack had many struggles throughout his young life, but always managed to lighten the mood no matter where he went. He used his amazing sense of humor to make others laugh and feel better. His sense of humor fueled his passion to become a standup comedian. His short career was just taking off and he was performing 3-4 times a week in local venues and shows between Belleville, Prince Edward County and Kingston. He was also a talented writer and wrote many works of poetry that he aspired to one day be turned into rap songs.
No cause of death reported.
October 24, 2022
Actor and comedian Leslie Jordan, best known for his work on "American Horror Story" and becoming a social media star during the pandemic, has died at the age of 67 , his spokesman confirmed. Jordan reportedly died in a car crash in Hollywood Monday morning after suffering some type of medical incident . The Los Angeles Police Department said there was a crash at 9:30 a.m. at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street in Hollywood that left the driver dead . The vehicle was driven into a wall , police said.
October 17, 2022
Bolton - Unexpectedly , Bertram Lawrence Ainsley, on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, passed away in his 58th year . Bert was a guy with a larger than life personality and an even bigger heart. His great sense of humour allowed him to perform as a comedian and to be the life of any party. Very often he would be accompanied by his ukulele and passionately shared his gift of music. He was a stage actor and storyteller who loved to laugh and to laugh loudly.
No cause of death reported.
September 30, 2022
San'yÅtei Enraku VI was a Japanese rakugo comedian known for performing on the Shōten comedy show on Nippon TV. Born Yasumichi Ai (æ'ƒ æ"°éš, Ai Yasumichi), he used Enraku as his stage name. He was known as a master of the Japanese comic art of rakugo, in which a single performer or storyteller appears on stage and tells comedic stories to the audience. While a student at Aoyama Gakuin University, he began studying rakugo under San'yÅtei Enraku V. His first stage name was San'yÅtei Rakutarō (三遊亭 楽太郎, San'yÅtei Rakutarō), until he inherited his teacher's name in March 2010.
On January 25, 2022, Enraku's agency announced that he suffered from a cerebral infarction , further complicated by his ongoing treatment for lung cancer . After his hospitalization, rakugo artists who had a close relationship with Enraku served as guests on Shōten. He died on September 30, 2022, at the age of 72 .
September 21, 2022
Popular Indian comedian Raju Srivastava has died aged 58 , his family has confirmed. Srivastava was being treated at a hospital in the capital, Delhi, following a heart attack on 10 August. The comedian had been taken to hospital and put on life support after experiencing chest pain and collapsing while working out at the gym . Last week, his family said that Srivastava was recovering slowly but remained on a ventilator . Srivastava joined the entertainment industry in the 1980s as an actor in Hindi films. He shot to fame in 2005 after participating in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, a reality show for stand-up comedy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes at the news of Srivastava's death.
September 8, 2022
Comedian David A. Arnold has died suddenly at the age of 54 , his family has confirmed. The Netflix star passed away on September 7 while he was on a comedy tour. Family members revealed that Arnold died ''peacefully'' at his home. Coroners have ruled that the funnyman died from natural causes . Arnold was three stops into a national comedy tour when he died , Deadline reported. His pal Chris Spencer said: "Our closely knit comedy community mourns the loss of one of the greatest to ever do it. He was admired by his peers, respected by other veterans, and looked up to by the burgeoning comedians that he mentored." Spencer said Arnold would be "deeply missed".
No cause of death reported.
This show is a filmed Netflix production special. In order to enter YOU WILL NEED TO SHOW PROOF OF FULL VACCINATION AND RECEIVE A RAPID TEST ON SITE BEFORE ENTRY.
August 26, 2022
Andrea Teo, the brains behind some of Singapore's most beloved sitcom hits Under One Roof and Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, died on Thursday (Aug 25) after a battle with cancer . She was 56 . ''The laughter is quiet today as Singapore's 'Queen of Comedy' has passed away after two years of illness,'' said a statement from the Under One Roof family that was released to the media. It hailed her as a ''true innovator and trailblazer'' in the entertainment scene. Before she charmed audiences in the 90s with the memorable families of Tan Ah Teck and Phua Chu Kang, Teo directed the riotous sketch comedy show The Ra Ra Show starring comedian Kumar.
August 23, 2022
Mourning in the world of Neapolitan theater, Gino Cogliandro, a stand-up comedian who belonged to the comic trio known as the Trettr(C), has died. The Neapolitan actor died at the age of 72 . Gino Cogliandro, born in Naples on October 10, 1949, was famous at the turn of the eighties and nineties thanks to his participation in the television program Drive In. The trio began to move their steps in 1975, with the name of I Rottambuli and with a formation that saw, in place of Cogliandro, Peppe Vessicchio, who left to direct himself to the musical career.
Active mainly in the field of avant-garde and nightclubs until the late seventies, the group '' renamed I Trettr(C) after the defection of Vessicchio and the entry of Cogliandro, soon began to emerge on the national cabaret scene until being engaged in several television programs including Il barattolo, Il ponte sulla Manica and Lo scatolone. Starting from 1983, then, they became an almost fixed presence of Drive In, while supporting Paolo Villaggio in the programs Un fantastico tragico venerd¬ and Che piacere avereti qui, thus gaining considerable fame among the television audience.
No cause of death reported.
August 20, 2022
Actress Claudia Jimenez died early this Saturday morning (20), in Rio, aged 63 , of heart failure. The interpreter of Dona Cacilda , from ''Escolinha do Professor Raimundo'', and Edileuza , from ''Sai de Baixo'', was hospitalized at Hospital Samaritano, in Botafogo, in the South Zone. In 1986, Claudia went to the doctor for a cure for a persistent cough and discovered she had cancer, a malignant tumor in the mediastinum , behind the heart. She came to be disillusioned. The diagnosis was not fulfilled, and the actress was cured of the disease, with the help of Chico Anysio. The radiotherapy sessions, however, caused her another health problem. Doctors believe the treatment may have affected the heart's tissues, which required her to have at least three surgeries over the next few years.
August 16, 2022
Illness for Renato Pozzetto, who would have been hospitalized since last Friday 12 August at the Circolo di Varese hospital. The popular actor, who in July reached the milestone of 82 years, is now hospitalized in the medical ward and in these days he has been subjected to some tests by doctors to check his health conditions, which are now improving . Some newspapers from Varese reported the news. Renato Pozzetto is one of the great geniuses of Italian comedy and humor, the backbone of our cinema and our television. Actor but not only, he also took on the role of comedian, stand-up comedian and screenwriter: his career has always followed the thread of irony and entertainment with iconic films such as To love Ofelia in 1974, which marked his debut on the big screen. Numerous directors he has been directed by, from Dino Risi to Carlo Vanzina, from Maurizio Ponzi to Neri Parenti, and many great actors with whom he has collaborated, from Massimo Boldi to Ornella Muti, from Paolo Villaggio to Carlo Verdone.
August 12, 2022
Comedian Teddy Ray reportedly passed away on Friday as friends and fans alike rushed to social media to express their condolences . At this time, the cause of Teddy's death has not been made public . He was best known for his appearances on Russell Simmons' digital comedy stream All Def Digital, being a cast member on MTV's Wild 'N Out, and hosting a podcast called The Cali Kickback with Lewis Ray. He had recently turned 32 years old, celebrating his birthday on July 30 in his final Instagram post .
'Great Thing For Our Brand': Target CEO Goes Out On A Limb For Trans-Friendly Clothes As Bud Light Gets Nuked | The Daily Caller
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:37
Target CEO Brian Cornell dismissed the potential for Bud Light-style backlash over the company's new line of LGBT friendly swimwear.
Cornell brushed off criticism in a May 16 podcast interview with Fortune Magazine's ''Leadership Next'' podcast. He claimed the company's embrace of diversity and inclusion has been a good business decision and said Target sells products for every kind of family.
''When we think about purpose at Target, it's really about helping all the families, and that 'all' word is really important,'' Cornell said. ''Most of America shops at Target, so we want to do the right thing to support families across the country.'' (RELATED: REPORT: Bud Light Sales Still In Free Fall As Other Anheuser-Busch Beers Are Beginning To Feel The Sting)
The Target CEO insisted that selling ''tuck-friendly'' swimwear helps the Target bottom line while serving a greater social cause.
''I think those are just good business decisions, and it's the right thing for society, and it's the great thing for our brand,'' Cornell said.
''It's helping us drive sales, it's building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today,'' Cornell added.
Thanks to @Target I found the perfect swimsuit for creeping out all the women and children at the pool this summer.
Can't wait to tuck my cock into this little number while sipping a Bud Light!
'-- Chrissie Mayr🇺🇸 (@ChrissieMayr) May 16, 2023
Target faced backlash after the company released a new line of LGBT-themed swimwear in advance of ''Pride Month'' in June. Critics took issue with bathing suits which featured ''Tuck Friendly Construction'' and ''Extra Crotch Coverage'' for people who identify as transgender. These features allow for the wearer to more easily conceal male genitalia.
Comedian Chrissie Mayr drew attention to the controversial new swimsuit line on social media, '' Thanks to @Target I found the perfect swimsuit for creeping out all the women and children at the pool this summer. Can't wait to tuck my cock into this little number while sipping a Bud Light!''
The store also drew outrage over their line of LGBT-themed children's wear featuring rainbow pillows and a t-shirt with ''Trans people will always exist!'' on it. Conservative activist group Gays Against Groomers encouraged the public to boycott Target in retaliation.
''This is what you will find in the kid's section of @Target . We urge you to take your business elsewhere. They are indoctrinating and grooming them with LGBTQ ideology. It is highly inappropriate and disturbing,''
Target holds 'emergency' meeting over LGBT merchandise, including 'tuck-friendly' swimsuits: report | Just The News
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:29
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's NotebookTarget is reportedly in damage-control mode and held an "emergency" company meeting to avoid a "Bud Light situation" after receiving criticism over its Pride Month displays, particularly those with items targeting children.
Some Target stores feature massive Pride displays with items such as children's and baby clothing, kids' books and dog toys. Particularly controversial merchandise includes "tuck-friendly" bathing suits for transgender adults to hide their biological anatomy.
Many locations, mostly those in the rural south, have relocated Pride sections to prevent backlash such as that being experienced by Bud Light after the beer company used transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a promotional campaign, according to a Target insider, Fox News Digital reported Tuesday.
"We were given 36 hours, told to take all of our Pride stuff, the entire section, and move it into a section that's a third the size. From the front of the store to the back of the store, you can't have anything on mannequins and no large signage," the Target insider said.
"We call our customers 'guests,' there is outrage on their part. This year it is just exponentially more than any other year," the insider also said. "I think given the current situation with Bud Light, the company is terrified of a Bud Light situation."
Bud Light's sales have plunged by more than 25% since Mulvaney posted a custom Bud Light can on Instagram last month. Anheuser-Busch, which owns Bud Light, is reportedly buying back unsold cases of expired beer in response.
Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
Far-Left Professor Holds Machete To Reporter's Neck, Threatens To Kill Him, Chases Him Down Street | The Daily Wire
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:28
A far-left professor who recently went viral for berating pro-life students was caught on camera holding a machete up to a reporter's neck this week, threatening to ''chop'' him up.
A reporter from the New York Post showed up to the home of Hunter College professor Shellyne Rodriguez on Tuesday to ask her questions about her profanity-laced tirade, which was posted to Twitter by Students for Life of America.
''You're not educating s***. This is f***ing propaganda,'' the art professor yelled at the students. ''What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next?''
The professor then started throwing the materials that the students had at their booth, claiming that they were ''triggering'' others students.
PROFESSOR GONE WILD: Pro-abortion professor Shellyne Rodriquez curses at pro-life students and vandalizes table at Hunter College.
'-- Students for Life of America (@StudentsforLife) May 17, 2023
New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton went to her apartment in the Bronx on Tuesday and was greeted by her holding a large machete.
''Get the f*** away from my door, or I'm gonna chop you up with this machete!'' she yelled as she put the machete right up next to his neck. ''Get the f*** away from my door! Get the f*** away from my door!''
The reporter and photographer quickly left the building, but were chased moments later when she came outside armed with the machete.
''If I see you on this block one more f***ing time, you're gonna '...'' she said as she began to chase them. ''Get the f*** off the block! Get the f*** out of here, yo!''
The New York Post later reported that after she chased the photographer, she came back ''to kick the reporter in the shins.''
A spokesperson for Hunter College later told the newspaper that she had been fired.
''Hunter College strongly condemns the unacceptable actions of Shellyne Rodriguez and has taken immediate action,'' he said. ''Rodriguez has been relieved of her duties at Hunter College effective immediately, and will not be returning to teach at the school.''
Illinois GOP legislator threatens violence if state passes all-gender bathroom bill | The Hill
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:25
Illinois state senators last week were told to expect violence if they voted to pass legislation that would allow businesses to install multiple-occupancy restrooms open to all genders.
Speaking on the Illinois Senate floor Thursday, state Sen. Neil Anderson, a Republican, said he would be driven to physical violence if ''a guy'' entered the same restroom as his 10-year-old daughter.
''I'm telling you right now, if a guy walks in there, I'm going to beat the living piss out of him,'' Anderson said during Thursday's floor debate on House Bill 1286 as his supporters cheered. ''So, this is going to cause violence, and it's going to cause violence from dads like me.''
The bill '-- which would require mixed-gender, multiple-occupancy bathrooms be equipped with floor-to-ceiling stall dividers, locks, baby changing tables and at least one vending machine for menstrual products '-- seeks to expand an existing state law requiring that single-occupancy restrooms be open to all genders.
The legislation passed the Senate largely along party lines in a 35-20 vote Thursday and was given final approval by the Democratic-controlled House on Friday. The measure would go into effect with Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature.
Anderson's comments during Thursday's floor debate were condemned as gratuitously violent by Illinois Senate Democrats. State Sen. Mike Simmons (D) suggested Anderson's remarks should be stricken from the record.
''I wouldn't want a single person in the state to read that record and think that anybody here would come after them if they would do something so mundane as to use the bathroom,'' he said.
Simmons, Illinois's first openly gay state senator, in a Twitter post late Thursday said Anderson's comments targeted LGBTQ people.
''I refuse to accept dog-whistling against LGBTQ+ communities,'' he wrote, ''and today's floor debate on gender neutral restrooms legislation was no exception.''
Box truck driver said he wanted to 'seize power,' 'kill the president': court recordsArnold Schwarzenegger hired as chief action officer at NetflixOn Friday, three LGBTQ rights groups '-- Equality Illinois, Pride Action Tank and AIDS Foundation Chicago '-- issued a joint statement denouncing ''the violent language'' used during Thursday's debate and accusing a ''state senator'' of advocating for ''transphobic violence,'' an apparent reference to Simmons.
''This violent language is appalling and emblematic of what trans and gender-expansive people experience in their daily lives,'' the groups wrote in the statement. They referenced data from a 2015 survey that found 58 percent of transgender people in Illinois avoided public restrooms because they were fearful of confrontation.
''The violent language like that used by the state senator gives license to transphobic actors to harm trans people,'' the groups wrote Friday. ''Enough is enough.''
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Ford backs off on plan to cut AM radio from vehicles amid outcry | Just The News
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:23
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's NotebookThe Ford Motor Company on Tuesday announced that it would not eliminate AM radio from nearly all of its new vehicles amid considerable pushback from lawmakers and consumers.
"After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we've decided to include it on all 2024 [Ford] & [Lincoln] vehicles," wrote CEO Jim Farley on Twitter. "For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we'll offer a software update."
"Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles '' including via streaming '' and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future," he continued. "Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers."
The company had not originally planned to include AM radio in most of its new vehicles and had cited research indicating that less than 5% of in-car listening came from AM stations. The decision generated significant backlash from right-leaning pundits and lawmakers.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle noted that AM radio is a key component in the U.S. Emergency Alert System, with Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher and New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer urging Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell to assert the importance of maintaining AM radio in vehicles. Talk radio host John Catsimatidis and former Vice President Mike Pence also teamed up to create a public service announcement in support of AM radio.
After the announcement, the National Association of Broadcasters commended Ford for "committing to keep AM radio in their vehicles, which will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency."
The trade group further called on other motor companies to follow suit.
"In light of Ford's announcement, NAB urges other automakers who have removed AM radio from their vehicles to follow Ford's lead and restore this technology in the interest of listeners and public safety," it added.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.
ChatGPT is coming to smartphones | eNCA
Wed, 24 May 2023 04:50
SAN FRANCISCO - ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence bot that became a global sensation for its powers to churn out human-like content and provide answers on all subjects, is now available in the Apple app store.
OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed company behind ChatGPT, on Thursday said the release came after it heard from users that they "love using ChatGPT on the go."
By moving to smartphones, OpenAI continues its encroachment on the search market, massively dominated by Google, which has been put under pressure by the rise of generative AI.
Offered free of charge, the app will allow users to "get precise information without sifting through ads or multiple results," OpenAI said on its website, in a subtle dig at Google's search engine.
The app can also give "guidance on cooking, travel plans, or crafting thoughtful messages," the company added.
OpenAI said it was starting the rollout in the United States and will expand to additional countries in the coming weeks. ChatGPT would be available on Android devices "soon," it added.
ChatGPT's powers are already available on smartphones, through Microsoft's Bing search app, which uses technology from OpenAI.
The app store is also stocked with apps riding the wave of excitement around AI. Facebook-owner Meta last month warned of malicious software posing as ChatGPT or similar AI tools.
The ''Hardcore'' Russian Neo-Nazi Group That Calls Ukraine Home - bellingcat
Tue, 23 May 2023 11:57
Written by Michael Colborne with contributions from Oleksiy Kuzmenko
They're devoted to a brand of neo-Nazism so blatant, including openly glorifying Hitler, that even its leader admits is too ''hardcore'' for the public space.
Wotanjugend, which its founder described in 2016 as an online ''mini-university for supporters of right-wing ideology,'' has praised far-right terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik as ''heroes.'' Their website shares Russian-language translations and articles; offline they organize neo-Nazi concerts, host classes on ''racial theory,'' give firearms training sessions and even put on private concerts with a very subtle clues of neo-Nazism, such as a framed picture of Adolf Hitler flanked by swastikas on a candlelit altar.
The altar with a photo of Adolf Hitler and a Nazi flag at Wotanjugend's ''Fuhrernight'' in May 2019
More recently they have become, like much of the global far-right, dedicated fans of the perpetrator of the March terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. In a post after the attacks, Wotanjugend called the shooter a ''vengeful Viking who has definitely earned his place in Valhalla.''
But, as we reported in our previous investigation , Wotanjugend also promoted a Russian-language translation of the Christchurch shooter's manifesto that got more than 25,000 views. However, they quietly removed it from their website after our investigation named them as promoters of the manifesto '-- and after Ukraine's ambassador to New Zealand, in response to our investigation and subsequent comments from New Zealand's Prime Minister, pledged that Ukraine would prosecute anyone distributing the manifesto. But Wotanjugend has not removed a separate post praising the shooter, nor have they removed the disturbing livestreamed video of the attacks that they had shared.
A Wotanjugend sticker reading ''Blood, Fatherland, Faith'' in Russian.
Wotanjugend was born in Russia, and publishes its online content almost exclusively in Russian. Today the self-described ''hammer of National Socialism'' is based in Ukraine and, for all intents and purposes, is part of the country's far-right Azov movement that is trying to expand its domestic and international influence.
But Wotanjugend's activities aren't just limited to the web. In 2018 the head of Wotanjugend met with members of violent American neo-Nazi gang Rise Above Movement (RAM) in Kyiv. Wotanjugend also recently hosted a seminar that included lectures on race, firearms training and even a mock knife fight tournament. Moreover, the head of the group, Alexei Levkin, is hopeful he will receive Ukrainian citizenship, and has been a key figure in Azov's public push to get Ukrainian citizenship for far-right friends from abroad who have joined their ranks.
With its message that includes terrorist fanboying and literally worship of Hitler, Wotanjugend continues to operate openly in Ukraine, using the country as a base to grow and to spread its message of hate worldwide.
A self-styled ''elite neo-Nazi avant-garde'' As we wrote in our previous investigation , Wotanjugend has its roots in the early-2000s neo-Nazi music scene in Russia. Its leaders and members, according to the authors of Militant Right-Wing Extremism in Putin's Russia: Legacies, Forms and Threats , ''styled themselves as an elite neo-Nazi avant-garde.''
Many Russian far-right nationalists have, perhaps to the surprise of many, been anti-Kremlin and opposed Putin's rule due to their perception of his soft stance on issues like immigration, best seen in the annual ''Russian March''. While a large portion of the Russian far-right was instrumental in fomenting and fighting in the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, some factions of the Russian far-right actually supported the protests on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv that mushroomed into the February 2014 revolution and have found room to operate within Ukraine. This included two of Wotanjugend's leaders, Ivan Mikheev and Alexey Levkin.
As Russian and Russian-led forces '-- including a sizable presence of Russian far-right nationalists, namely through the influence of Konstantin Malofeev and Eduard Limonov '-- began war in the Donbas in April 2014, some Wotanjugend members were among Russian far-right nationalists who came to Ukraine to fight with far-right pro-Ukrainian forces, including the Azov Battalion. Mikheev and Levkin, along with other Russian neo-Nazis like Roman Zheleznov , came to Ukraine in late 2014; Levkin and others remain in Ukraine five years later.
Levkin is the most public face of Wotanjugend. In a 2019 interview with a magazine of Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, Levkin described himself as a ''political ideologist'' in Azov's National Militia, the paramilitary street wing of the Azov movement that Levkin called the ''combat wing'' of National Corps, Azov's political party.
Levkin has a past full of neo-Nazi extremism and violence in his native Russia. In 2006 he was arrested for double murder, but the charges were later dropped ; he was also part of a neo-Nazi gang that allegedly took part in vandalism of Jewish and Muslim graves at a cemetery, a number of assaults and at least four murders. Levkin was reportedly detained for compulsory psychiatric treatment and released in 2011.
Wotanjugend grew out of Levkin's musical activities in Russia, which primarily included fronting the neo-Nazi band M8l8th ( Ð'8Л8ÐÐ¥ in Russian; molot meaning hammer in Russian, with the two 'O's replaced by 8's to form 88, ''Heil Hitler'' in neo-Nazi numeric code). In a 2016 interview , Levkin stated that ''we created our online resource as a mini-university for supporters of right-wing ideology'' and ''a resource where our readers can obtain exhaustive information on the widest range of topics as far a right-wing worldview is concerned,'' including what he dubbed ''acts of heroism by Europeans.''
In an interview in January 2019, Levkin described Wotanjugend as mostly an online entity, one that was ''way too hardcore to be represented in the public sphere'' as an active physical organization. In its place, Levkin argued that ''there's already a movement that deserves support'...I'm talking about [Azov's] National Corps and the National Militia as the former's power wing.''
Levkin posing with Andriy Biletsky, leader of Azov's National Corps political party and defacto head of the Azov movement.
As we noted in our previous investigation , Levkin has links with another Azov figure, Olena Semenyaka , the National Corps' 'international secretary' who is responsible for networking and forming relationships with far-right groups in other countries. Semenyaka was recently in Croatia along with other Azov figures to make preparations for an international far-right conference Azov plans to host in Zagreb in the fall of 2019. The two have helped organize a neo-Nazi record label and shop that sells neo-Nazi music and paraphernalia with open Nazi symbolism at the Azov movement's Cossack House in central Kyiv.
A photo from a post on Wotanjugend's Telegram channel promoting the ''Militant Store'' inside Azov's Cossack House in central Kyiv, where swastika pendants (in the white circle, zoomed in) are clearly visible.
The first batch of tickets for the December Asgardsrei festival, a neo-Nazi music festival founded by Levkin in Russia that now takes place in Kyiv, went on sale last weekend at the Azov movement's ''Young Flame'' event, an event filled with openly far-right , neo-Nazi rhetoric and imagery .
Tickets for December's neo-Nazi ''Asgardsrei'' concert on sale at the Azov movement's ''Young Flame'' event on August 31, 2019.
Last year's Asgardsrei concert featured neo-Nazi bands from across Europe including infamous Greek neo-Nazi band Der St¼rmer, named after the Nazi newspaper, whose songs include ''Piles of Pigheads in the Synagogue'' and ''Dawning Israel's Perdition.''
Wotanjugend, however, does more than just host neo-Nazi concerts and post neo-Nazi propaganda online. In August 2019, a claimed 50 participants took part in Wotanjugend's ''Thule Signal'' event, where they attended lectures on ''racial theory,'' received firearms training and even took part in a mock knife fight tournament filled with Azov chest salutes and Azov handshakes .
A screenshot from a video of Wotanjugend's ''Thule Signal'' seminar, featuring a mock knife fighting tournament
Participants at Wotanjugend's ''Thule Signal'' seminar giving a 'traditional' Azov handshake grasping each others' forearms.
Part of Wotanjugend's event took place at an Azov facility in Kharkiv, a ''nationalist hub'' whose opening was attended by Andriy Biletsky.
Firearms training at Wotanjugend's ''Thule Signal'' seminar at an Azov movement ''nationalist hub'' in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Levkin has also met with members of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), a violent American white supremacist group. RAM once described themselves as the ''premier MMA club of the Alt-Right,'' and visited Kyiv in 2018 as guests of the Azov movement, meeting with Semenyaka and others. Four of RAM's members were charged in 2018 for violence at rallies in 2017, though a judge dismissed their case on First Amendment grounds in June 2019.
The 2018 FBI criminal complaint against the organization notes that 2018 Instagram post pictured RAM's leadership meeting with Levkin on their trip to Ukraine. The post, now deleted, stated that ''it was an honor to meet the singer and patriot from #m8l8th.''
Excerpt of 2018 FBI criminal complaint mentioning ''the singer'' from M8l8th, Alexei Levkin.
Wotanjugend's links with Ukraine's Azov movement are especially noteworthy as Ukraine's new Cabinet of Ministers was announced in late August, a cabinet that still includes powerful interior minister Arsen Avakov, widely seen as the patron and protector of the Azov movement. Some reports have suggested Avakov kept his post, at least for the short-term, by promising to limit the power and influence of far-right groups like Azov.
Wotanjugend's terrorist ''heroes'' A whole section on Wotanjugend's website is dedicated to ''heroes'' '-- articles about famous Nazi-era and neo-Nazi figures, including perpetrators of far-right terrorist acts.
Some of these ''heroes'' include Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh; Wotanjugend called him a ''lonely hero'' and shared an article praising him on the anniversary of his executions for his 1995 act of terror. The graphic Wotanjugend shared of McVeigh featured the 'life' and 'death' runes formerly used by the SS.
Anders Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 terror attacks in Norway, is another ''hero'' to Wotanjugend, whom they called ''the last Viking of the northern seas.'' Their website even features a translation part of the rambling speech Breivik gave at his trial in 2012. Wotanjugend also wrote that American neo-Nazi David Lane, who was sentenced to 190 years in prison for a series of crimes that included taking part in the murder of a Jewish talk radio host, was ''a hero of our times.'' Lane was the author of the ''14 words,'' a common white supremacist and neo-Nazi slogan.
Another ''hero,'' as previously mentioned is the Christchurch shooter. In a post after the attacks Wotanjugend called the shooter a ''true Viking,'' a ''vengeful Viking who has definitely earned his place in Valhalla.'' While Wotanjugend apparently deleted their translation of the shooter's manifesto from their website after our previous investigation , the entire livestreamed video of the attacks is still available in its entirety on its Telegram channel, along with memes praising the shooter.
Literally Hitler Another one of Wotanjugend's ''heroes'' is someone whose birthday they called ''a joyful and wonderful holiday'' '-- Adolf Hitler.
A flyer for Wotanjugend's ''Fuhrernacht.''
Wotanjugend are inspired by what academics and researchers refer to as esoteric Nazism or esoteric Hitlerism, a brand of neo-Nazism that incorporates often bizarre mystical, occult adaptations of Nazi ideology, including venerating Adolf Hitler as a literal godlike figure.
In May 2019, Wotanjugend hosted a private event called '' Fuhrernight '' in Kyiv, which featured Nazi flags, photos of Adolf Hitler on an altar surrounded by candles. It also featured a reading of hagiographic Hitler poems by another Russian neo-Nazi who teaches yoga at Azov's Cossack House, and has a visible tattoo of esoteric Nazi figure Savitri Devi , who believed that Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.
Levkin's own Hitler worship isn't hard to find. Another band of Levkin's is publicly called ''AKVLT'' '-- or, Adolfkvlt, as the group's previous releases make clear.
Releases from Levkin's band ''AKVLT'' '-- ''Adolfkvlt.''
According to social media from the record label and shop affiliated with Wotanjugend, Adolfkvlt will be performing live at Asgardsrei in Kyiv in December 2019.
''To sing about murder, one has to kill'' Levkin's main neo-Nazi music output is through his band M8l8th. The band is no mere hobby for him; in an interview earlier this year with a magazine of Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, Levkin spoke about how ''all this activity,'' from working with Azov, organizing Asgardsrei and playing in M8l8th, is part of his ideological mission.
Lyrics from M8l8th's albums, almost all of which are available for purchase both on Amazon and/or on the Apple iTunes Store, leave no doubt about that mission. Many M8l8th songs are also available on YouTube, where apparent fans from around the globe leave messages of support in the comments.
One M8l8th song available for purchase on both Amazon and Apple's iTunes Store, ''The Echo of Future War,'' features lyrics referencing ''the dirty blood of kikes'' (''в Ð"Ñязной кÑови жидов'' '-- жид, zhid , is an antisemitic slur in Russian) and fighting until ''the damned Jew has croaked'' (''Ðодох ÐÑокÐ>>ятый евÑей'').
A M8l8th song available on Amazon featuring lyrics referencing ''the dirty blood of kikes'' (''в Ð"Ñязной кÑови жидов'' '-- жид, zhid, is an antisemitic slur in Russian) and fighting until ''the damned Jew has croaked'' (''Ðодох ÐÑокÐ>>ятый евÑей'')
Another M8l8th song, available for purchase on Apple's iTunes Store, takes lyrics directly from the Horst Wessel Song, the anthem of the Nazi party from 1930 to 1945, including the line ''millions look upon the swastika full of hope.''
Albums from neo-Nazi band M8l8th on sale on Apple iTunes Store.
Another song, available from Apple's iTunes Store, features lyrics like ''preachers of Kabbalah, offspring thereof/labour in Death Camps, burn in furnace fire.'' Another song is called ''Buchenwald,'' a clear reference to the Nazi concentration camp; it's available for purchase on both Amazon and the Apple iTunes Store.
''To sing about war, one has to fight,'' Levkin told neo-Nazi Golden Dawn's magazine. ''To sing about murder, one has to kill.''
Quest for Ukrainian citizenship But Levkin and other Russian far-right, neo-Nazi figures in Ukraine have a common, key goal: gaining Ukrainian citizenship. The Azov movement has long been protesting and pushing for Ukraine's laws to be changed to make it easier to grant citizenship to foreigners who came to Ukraine to defend against Russian and Russian-led forces in the country's east. It is, of course, true that a minority of foreigners who came to fight for Ukraine in 2014-15 were far-right extremists or neo-Nazis; nonetheless, it has been Azov that has pushed the citizenship issue most publicly and directly.
Many of these foreign extremists, like Levkin, were neo-Nazis who came and signed up to fight in far-right forces like the Azov Battalion, and have stayed in Ukraine since. Figures like Levkin and others from Russia, they argue, can't return home because of being ''wanted for political reasons,'' in Levkin's words. Ukrainian citizenship would do more than just make it easier for Russian 'exile' neo-Nazis to stay in Ukraine '-- it would also grant them visa-free access to the European Union for visits of up to 90 days.
Alexey Levkin (right, in brown shirt) marching in an Azov movement protest on June 4, 2019, urging Ukrainian president Zelenskyy to pass a law to make it easier to grant citizenship to foreign fighters in Ukraine, like Levkin himself.
Azov's efforts have appeared, at least initially, to have yielded fruit: Ukraine's parliament in June passed a law that would streamline the process of granting citizenship to foreigners who came to fight on Ukraine's side. But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has yet to sign the bill to officially make it law, and there is no guarantee that he will do so.
Another option available to Levkin and others, in theory, is being granted Ukrainian citizenship by a presidential decree. The most prominent example, Belarusian-Russian neo-Nazi Sergei Korotkikh, was controversially given Ukrainian citizenship by then-president Petro Poroshenko in December 2014.
More recently, however, a friend of Levkin and other Russian far-right figures in Ukraine was granted the gift of Ukrainian citizenship from Zelenskyy: Nikita Makeev.
Makeev, as Bellingcat wrote in an investigation last year , is a former Azov fighter and Russian citizen who came to Ukraine in 2014; he has been trying to obtain Ukrainian citizenship for years . Makeev has also reportedly been a close associate of National Corps Deputy Head Nazarii Kravchenko, having been seen with him at a number of rallies and events.
Makeev is also close to Levkin, and is part of the ''Russian Center,'' an organization of Russian far-right 'exiles' in Ukraine whose leadership and activities seem to overlap with Wotanjugend.
A photo (left to right) of Nikita Makeev, Alexei Levkin and Ivan Mikheev holding the flag of the ''Russian Center,'' an organization of Russian far-right 'exiles' based in Ukraine
Russian Center has also made efforts to cooperate and form relationships with international far-right groups. A conference in Ukraine in April 2019 featured representatives from far-right, neo-Nazi movements in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Serbia; they discussed, among other topics, the need to create cross-border ''groups of fighters who want to support their European comrades.'' Also there was Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Karpatska Sich, who in August 2019 urged its members to buy the Ukrainian-language translation of the Christchurch shooter's manifesto. Moreover, In August 2019 a representative from Russian Center attended a far-right conference in the Czech Republic, meeting with representatives of far-right, neo-Nazi groups from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.
On July 18, 2019, Zelenskyy signed a decree granting Ukrainian citizenship to ''nine'...foreigners who defended our state,'' one of whom was Makeev.
Levkin (centre, with beard) in an undated photo. Over Levkin's left shoulder is Nikita Makeev, a Russian Azov veteran granted Ukrainian citizenship by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in July 2019. The third man from the left, with his hand on Makeev's shoulder, is Ukrainian now-former MP Oleh Petrenko.
A week later, with his Ukrainian citizenship in proverbial tow, Makeev jumped back in the headlines. Makeev was part of a group of individuals who attacked the motorcade of former president Petro Poroshenko. While others in the group allegedly pepper-sprayed and kicked Poroshenko's bodyguards, Makeev jumped onto the hood of the former president's car. He later explained his actions by claiming he wanted to give Poroshenko a bulletproof vest which had been pierced by bullets, and thus ''avenge [Poroshenko] for five years of humiliation.'' Makeev's act is reportedly under investigation as ''hooliganism'' by Ukrainian law enforcement.
Levkin has made it clear that he would like to become a Ukrainian citizen, and his bid has received public support from the Azov movement . He was in attendance at Azov's June 2019 protest in front of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine demanding changes in the citizenship law, and has given interviews in the past on the need to grant Ukrainian citizenship to foreign fighters like him.
When asked in a January 2019 interview if M8l8th concerts might eventually take place outside of Ukraine '-- in other words, if he was able to receive Ukrainian citizenship and thus travel visa-free to the European Union '-- Levkin struck a confident tone.
''I think that in time [concerts outside of Ukraine] will happen,'' said Levkin. ''We all currently await the passage of the law granting citizenship to foreign volunteers. It all depends on that.''
But Levkin made it clear that, in the meantime, he is happy to use Kyiv as a meeting point for far-right extremists from Europe and beyond.
''If we can't make it there, they can easily come here and enjoy glorious Kyiv,'' said Levkin, ''a gathering point for the right of all sorts.''
As the West surges toward electric cars, here's where the unwanted gas guzzlers go | CNN
Mon, 22 May 2023 22:23
Cotonou, Benin CNN '--
Standing on the stony ground in the bustling Fifa Park car lot, Rokeeb Yaya is haggling over the price of a dark red car. It is one of a couple hundred vehicles, parked in long lines stretching out across the vast lot '' some shiny and new-looking, others dented and dusty.
The car Yaya has his eye on, a 2008 US-built Ford Escape, is on sale for around $4,000. It's relatively affordable '' US cars are cheaper than most other brands in the lot '' and he wants to upgrade from his motorbike to a car. He is not interested in the history of the vehicle, he said, only that he can afford it.
But how this Ford ended up here '' in one of the biggest car lots in the port city of Cotonou '' helps tell a bigger story about how many of the West's gas-guzzling cars are starting second lives in West Africa.
The 14-year old Ford arrived in Benin from the United States last year, after being sold at an auto auction.
Car records reviewed by CNN show it had three previous owners in Virginia and Maryland, and has logged over 252,000 miles on the road. It had one previous recall for its power steering, but unlike some of the other cars on the lot, it arrived in a relatively sound condition '' it hadn't been in any reported accidents.
This aging SUV is just one of millions of used cars that arrive every year in West Africa from wealthy countries such as Japan, South Korea, European countries and, increasingly, the US. Many of these end up in Benin, one of Africa's top importers of used vehicles.
The stream of used cars heading to West African ports is only expected to increase with the West's shift to electric vehicles. As wealthy countries set aggressive goals to move consumers towards electric vehicles to cut planet-warming pollution, gas-powered cars won't necessarily go away.
Instead, many will be shipped thousands of miles away to developing countries like Benin, where populations are growing, along with demand for used cars.
Experts say the effect will be to divert climate and environmental problems to countries that are the most vulnerable to the climate crisis, undermining their own attempts to cut planet-warming pollution.
The global market for used light-duty vehicles grew nearly 20% from 2015 to 2019, when more than 4.8 million were exported. There was a slight dip in exports in 2020 when the Covid pandemic started, but numbers are now ''growing quite rapidly,'' United Nations Environment Programme official Rob de Jong told CNN.
The US exports about 18% of the world's used vehicles, according to UNEP data. These travel all over the globe, including to the Middle East and Central America, but many go to Nigeria, Benin and Ghana.
Some of these are salvaged cars that have been in accidents, were flooded, or are just too old '' which get auctioned off for parts. Others are whole used cars that US car dealers are looking to offload.
''A lot of them are going to be two- to five-year-old Hyundais, Toyotas, sedans,'' said Dmitriy Shibarshin, marketing director for West Coast Shipping, a company that specializes in shipping cars internationally. ''It's mostly the economy cars that get shipped there.''
Shibarshin's company and others are ''like FedEx'' for cars, he said. His company usually specializes in higher-end vehicles, but also ships cheaper cars.
In major African countries like Kenya and Nigeria, more than 90% of the cars and trucks are used vehicles from overseas. In Kenya, where de Jong is based, the vehicle fleet has doubled every eight years; streets that used to be devoid of cars are now jammed with traffic, he said.
There is a tremendous appetite for these used vehicles. ''You have a very young population that's getting richer and richer by the day,'' said Etop Ipke, the CEO of Autochek Africa, an online marketplace for cars. ''The first thing they want to do, as they can afford things, is some mobility,'' he said.
But, unlike in the US, few prospective buyers have access to credit, so new cars are often out of reach.
''That is fundamentally the reason why we're not able to improve the quality'' of cars sold, Ipke said. ''It's not like people want to drive used cars; it's an affordability issue.''
Experts say demand for used cars could explode further as the take up of electric cars in the West increases the supply of used cars to African countries. Nearly one in five vehicles sold globally this year will be electric, according to the International Energy Agency, compared to less than 5% in 2020. China, Europe and the US are leading the EV market, the agency said.
In states like New York and Florida, where consumers are buying more EVs, dealers are increasingly looking overseas as a place to sell their older gas-powered models, according to Matt Trapp, a regional vice president at the huge auto auction company Manheim.
Those states also have robust port operations, making them an ideal place to ship used cars to Africa. ''It's setting up a really complementary dynamic,'' Trapp told CNN.
''I'm not surprised to see how robust the export game is becoming,'' Trapp said. ''We're going to see this dynamic more and more. When [auto dealers] see demand in other markets, they will find a way to move the metal there.''
From UNEP's perspective, not all gas-powered cars are concerning '' it's the older ones, which tend to pollute more and be less safe, De Jong said. There's evidence that the increasing demand in Africa for vehicles is actually resulting in more old and salvaged cars being shipped to the continent recently than there were 20 years ago.
''What we see at the moment is a wide variety of used vehicles being exported from the global north to the global south,'' de Jong said. ''Not only is the number increasing, but the quality is decreasing.''
In one section of Fifa Park, CNN finds a 16-year-old Dodge Charger, worn by age.
''We just sold it for 3 million XOF [around $4,500],'' its seller, who did not wish to be named, said of the vehicle that arrived in Benin from the US two years ago.
Parked across from the Charger is a 24-year-old Ford Winstar that was shipped to Benin from the US last year. It's a cheaper alternative for low-income car buyers who cannot afford newer models.
Car dealer Abdul Koura said that US and Canadian cars are very desirable to importers, who often bring in cars that have been in accidents, he told CNN.
''They repair these cars and resell them to make a profit,'' said Koura, whose space at Cotonou's Fifa park includes more than 30 used vehicles imported from Canada.
Victor Ojoh, a Nigerian car dealer who frequents Fifa Park, told CNN that it's often possible to tell the origin of a car by what's wrong with it.
''The cars that smoke are mostly from the US,'' said Ojoh. ''The cars from Canada are mostly flooded cars that start developing electrical faults.''
Some imported vehicles are missing their catalytic converters, an exhaust emission control devices which filter toxic gasses. Catalytic converters contain valuable metals including platinum and can fetch up to $100 on the black market. Some of the cars are shipped without catalytic converters or have them removed by dealers upon arrival, Ojo said.
Millions of cars shipped to Africa and Asia from the US, Europe and Japan are ''polluting or unsafe,'' according to UNEP. ''Often with faulty or missing components, they belch out toxic fumes, increasing air pollution and hindering efforts to fight climate change.''
Regulations aimed at reducing pollution and increasing the safety of imported cars into West Africa have tended to be weak. But attempts have been made recently to tighten them up.
In 2020, Benin and 14 other members of the Economic Community of West African States bloc agreed a set of vehicle emissions regulations in the region, including an age limit of 10 years for used vehicles and limits on the amount of carbon pollution cars are allowed to produce.
But it's unclear how strictly they are being enforced.
UNEP officials, including de Jong, have also had conversations with US and EU officials about putting in new regulations that would crack down on shipping very old or junk cars to developing nations. Those conversations are in early stages and have yet to result in any commitments.
Still, de Jong said climate change and global emissions have made the conversation around used cars ''a different ballgame.'' Increased shipments of older and more polluting cars are just as much of a problem for developed nations as they are for the developing countries where they are being driven, he added.
''Today with climate change, it doesn't really matter where the emissions are taking place,'' de Jong said. ''Whether in Washington, DC, or Lagos, it makes no difference.''
Ipke doesn't think that it is inevitable that Africa will accept all the old gas-powered cars the West no longer wants. He hopes that the transition to electric vehicles will come to the African continent as well, although that will require significant improvements to the charging infrastructure.
''In terms of where Africa goes, the transition shouldn't necessarily be from used cars to brand new combustion engines, it should be from used cars to EVs,'' Ipke said. ''I think the continent has to be prepared for EVs, used or brand new, because that's the direction the world is taking.''
For Yaya, however, this all seems a long way off. What brought him to Fifa Park, and to the old Ford SUV, was a lack of other options.
''I can only purchase what my money can afford,'' he said.
Senators issued satellite phones, offered demonstrations on upgraded security devices - CBS News
Mon, 22 May 2023 20:48
Amid growing concerns of security risks to members of Congress, more than 50 senators have been issued satellite phones for emergency communication, people familiar with the measures told CBS News. The devices are part of a series of new security measures being offered to senators by the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who took over shortly after the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The satellite phone technology has been offered to all 100 senators. CBS News has learned at least 50 have accepted the phones, which Senate administrative staff recommend senators keep in close proximity during their travels.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson said satellite communication is being deployed "to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event."
Gibson said the phones are a security backstop in the case of an emergency that "takes out communications" in part of America. Federal funding will pay for the satellite airtime needed to utilize the phone devices.
A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a "man-made" or natural disaster that wipes out communication.
Gibson has also opened an office "demonstration space" in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building to offer senators and staff an exhibition of new home state office security upgrades. The demonstration room offers exhibitions of "duress buttons," mail screening devices and safety glass to reduce the risk of attacks.
U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on April 25, 2023 in Washington, D.C. Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images In her testimony before the Senate panel in April, Gibson reported, "Our team provided initial physical security enhancements for 31 offices and improved existing security for 52 others in 2022. Maintaining security systems in good working order is a priority, and to support this effort our team conducted over 622 service calls to maintain, repair, and or test and inspect state office physical security systems in 2022."
Senate administrators have also offered "stop the bleed" training to better equip staffers to respond to medical emergencies and victims of attacks.
In April, the House Sergeant at Arms William McFarland told legislators there is "robust participation" in a program to help House members secure their home residences. McFarland said that House administrators are coordinating with local police departments to help protect members of Congress who hold events in their home states and to help better secure the homes of members.
A spending bill passed in late 2022 provided additional funds for hometown security measures for Congress. The legislation required security administrators to "enhance member protection including providing a security program for Congressional Leadership, expanding Dignitary Protection Division services and expanding USCP field office presence," which would deploy and broaden Capitol Police protection in cities outside of Washington.
Though the U.S. Capitol complex is shielded by a force of nearly 2,000 Capitol police employees, there have been growing concerns about hometown security for members of Congress. A California man was charged in a 2022 attack at the San Francisco home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The assailant was allegedly targeting Nancy Pelosi when he confronted and attacked Pelosi's husband Paul with a hammer.
In a May 15 attack at the Fairfax, Virginia, office of Rep. Gerry Connolly, one of Connolly's constituents is accused of attacking two of the congressman's staffers with a metal baseball bat. Both were briefly hospitalized and are recovering.
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Leaked Policy Exposes Fox News Stances on Woke Ideology
Mon, 22 May 2023 20:46
FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL'--Fox News employees are allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex, and permitted to dress in alignment with their preferred gender. They must also be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns in the workplace.
These are just a few of the policies outlined in the company handbook, dated January 2021, a copy of which was shared with The Daily Signal. Fox also offers to help employees come up with a ''Workplace Transition Plan'' to ease their gender transition at work.
The revelations comes amid conservative consternation at Fox Digital's use of activist language like ''gender affirming care'' in stories on its website, as well as the site's consistent use of female pronouns for biological males like TikTok celebrity Dylan Mulvaney and swimmer Lia Thomas (formerly known as Will Thomas).
Fox also drew strong backlash for a June 2022 on-air segment praising a child's gender transition as an ''inspiration to others.'' That segment briefly depicted California state Sen. Scott Weiner, a far-left Democrat who led the move to soften sex offender registry requirements for sodomy with minors, and highlighted the activist claim that a child might commit suicide if he or she is not permitted to transition.
As part of our ''America Together: LGBTQ+ Pride Month'' series at Fox News we highlighted the story of Ryland Whittington '' a trans California teen and his family who openly spoke about their journey. ''I Would Rather Have a Living Son Than a Dead Daughter''
'-- Bryan Llenas (@BryanLlenas) June 10, 2022The Daily Signal talked to current and former Fox employees who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the company.
''They want you to think it's this place that supports traditionally conservative values,'' a former producer for ''Tucker Carlson Tonight'' told The Daily Signal. ''But in reality, they're pushing this nonsense behind the scenes.''
Carlson's show was canceled April 24, days after he delivered a viral speech at The Heritage Foundation's 50th anniversary gala. Fox News Media has not given a reason, simply stating that the two parties ''agreed to part ways.''
A source who still works at Fox News told The Daily Signal that after Carlson's show was canceled in April, producers for the new 8 p.m. ''Fox News Tonight'' program were told not to bash Mulvaney. That directive came from high-level executives, the source said.
Fox News did not respond to The Daily Signal's multiple requests for comment.
Under the category ''Gender Transition,'' Fox's employee handbook promises that the company is dedicated to ''expanding and strengthening'' efforts to ''sustain a more inclusive work environment.'' The Fox employee handbook is posted on Workday, where employees can see company guidelines or policies, a former employee told The Daily Signal.
''Employees who are transitioning their gender have the right to be open about their transition if they so choose, and to work in an environment free of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, and without fear of consequences or transphobia for living openly,'' the policy says.
Citing the Human Rights Campaign, one of the most prominent LGBTQ organization in the country, the Fox handbook defines a slew of LGBTQ terms, including cisgender, gender expression, gender-fluid, gender identity, gender non-conforming, gender transition, LGBTQ, non-binary, and transgender.
For the past several years, Fox received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, ''the nation's foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality.'' A former Fox News employee told The Daily Signal that the company frequently mentions this perfect score in employee training materials.
''Fox News devotes hours of programming to attacking 'woke companies,' but ironically Fox is as woke as the rest of them,'' another former Fox News employee told The Daily Signal, emphasizing that Fox viewers would be ''astonished to find out what the company is like.''
Fox's policies appear to be aligned with the legal requirements in New York City, where the company is headquartered, as well as California, where a large number of its employees work.
The New York City Human Rights Law requires employers to use the name, pronouns, and title with which a person identifies, regardless of their biological sex. It is a violation of the NYCHRL to intentionally or repeatedly refuse to use a person's preferred name, pronouns, or title.
Additionally, the New York City law requires that people ''be permitted to use single gender facilities, such as restrooms or locker rooms'...that most closely align with their gender, regardless of their gender expression, sex assigned at birth, anatomy, medical history, or the sex or gender indicated on their identification.''
If a biological woman objects to sharing a bathroom with a trans-identifying man, her objection will not be considered a ''lawful reason to deny access'' to the trans-identifying individual: ''In those circumstances, a covered entity may offer alternatives for the individual expressing discomfort, by,for example, providing a single-occupancy restroom to change in.''
The law also specifically states that it is ''unlawful'' to require a trans-identifying person to use a single-occupancy restroom ''because they are transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming.'' New York also outlines the ''Workplace Transition Plan'' mentioned in the Fox handbook.
California's Fair Employment and Housing Council adopted new regulations in 2017 pertaining to trans-identifying employees. These regulations similarly include an employee's bathroom use, transitioning, dress, preferred name and pronouns.
For example, on bathroom use, the regulations state: ''Employers shall permit employees to use facilities that correspond to the employee's gender identity or gender expression, regardless of the employee's assigned sex at birth.''
And on names and pronouns, the regulations give individuals a means to take action against their employer: ''If an employee requests to be identified with a preferred gender, name, and/or pronoun, including gender-neutral pronouns, an employer or other covered entity who fails to abide by the employee's stated preference may be liable.''
Traffic on Sixth Avenue passes by advertisements featuring Fox News personalities, including Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, adorn the front of the News Corporation building. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Employees who are attempting transitions are encouraged to ''inform and educate'' their co-workers about their experience, according to the Fox policy obtained by The Daily Signal, which emphasizes that only transitioning employees may disclose that they are trying to change their biology, and anyone who might know about their colleague's gender transition must respect that person's right to privacy.
Fox's handbook notes that the man or woman attempting to transition may find the experience ''stressful and trying,'' and states that ''with advance preparation, the road for someone to be able to express their true self can be made smoother.''
Fox also offers to help employees come up with a workplace gender transition plan.
''During the initial and any subsequent meetings, you and the Company should develop and maintain a Workplace Transition Plan,'' the handbook says. ''This Plan will outline the steps that need to be taken to ensure a successful transition at work.''
Those steps include when employees want to start using a different bathroom aligning with their gender identity and assuming a new gender identity at work. It also provides employees with time off for treatment (possibly hormonal treatments, like testosterone and estrogen) or medical procedures (such as the removal of breasts or testicles, facial feminization or masculization, or the creation of fake genitalia).
Additionally, Fox and the employee would plan out ''the manner in which, and to what extent, coworkers and non-employees in the workplace will be made aware of your transition,'' and when the company will change the employees' name or make other ''administrative or personnel changes.''
Fox employees can go by their preferred name and pronouns, the handbook states, at least to the ''extent possible.'' But for apparently logistical reasons, until a transitioning employee gets a legal name change, their legal name (often referred to by LGBTQ advocates as a ''dead name'') must remain on company payroll, insurance, and personnel documents.
The handbook explicitly states that any employee ''may access the restroom corresponding to their gender identity.''
''If a transitioning employee expresses a desire for increased privacy they will be provided access to a single occupancy restroom where available,'' the handbook says. ''However, no employee shall be required to use a single occupancy restroom if they do not wish to do so.''
The former Fox employee who spoke with The Daily Signal scathingly critiqued the network for running ''hours of programming attacking companies for having leftist policies.''
''Fox is no different,'' the former employee said. ''It's a standard American mega corporation with all the same types of policies and employees as those other companies.''
The Daily Signal sent Fox's corporate public relations staff detailed questions about the policy and the accusations from former employees last week. As of publication, Fox did not respond.
The handbook specifically acknowledges that ''individuals who are transitioning their gender will be encouraged or required by their health care practitioner to live full-time in their impending gender role before gender reassignment surgery can be performed.'' This is called ''Real Life Experience'' or ''Real Life Test,'' Fox notes. Fox employees are told that they are ''permitted to express their gender'' in accordance with company dress code policies.
Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 Fox Nation Patriot Awards at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on Nov. 17, 2022 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images)When trans-identifying TikTok star Mulvaney was first gaining prominence last year, producers for ''Tucker Carlson Tonight'' had to fight to be able to refer to Mulvaney with male pronouns in the show's chyrons, the former ''Tucker Carlson Tonight'' producer told The Daily Signal.
Carlson's team also fought to be able to host The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh on trans issues, the producer said, but the team was repeatedly met with resistance from Fox on this due to Walsh's frank condemnation of transgender ideology. This may have also been due in part to Fox's view of The Daily Wire as a competitor, the former producer suggested.
In a phone interview with The Daily Signal, Walsh said he was aware of the alleged blacklisting and believes it began after he slammed Fox for the June 2022 segment praising a child's gender transition. Since then, Walsh appeared on ''Tucker Carlson Tonight'' a few times, but he was aware that Carlson's team had to fight for these appearances.
''Fox's viewers think that Fox shares their values,'' Walsh said. ''And it's very clear that that's just not the case. Gender ideology is as far radical Left as you can possibly go. They have embraced radical leftism in its most extreme form.''
''There's no daylight at all between Fox News and MSNBC when it comes to gender,'' Walsh added. ''And I think that's something that Fox's viewers need to know. '... If it were up to me, Fox would get the Bud Light treatment.''
UPDATE: This story now includes information about California's 2017 regulations on trans-identifying employees.
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Explaining the 'how' - the launch of BBC Verify - BBC News
Mon, 22 May 2023 18:58
By Deborah Turness
In the early hours of Wednesday 3 May, video footage emerged showing what appeared to be two drones crashing into a dome of the Kremlin complex in Moscow. But was the video real or fake? Did this "attack" actually happen? And how could we tell?
The exponential growth of manipulated and distorted video means that seeing is no longer believing. Consumers tell us they can no longer trust that the video in their news feeds is real. Which is why we at the BBC must urgently begin to show and share the work we do behind the scenes, to check and verify information and video content before it appears on our platforms. And as AI weaponises and turbocharges the impact and consequences of disinformation, this work has never been more important.
All day, every day, the BBC's news teams are using ever more sophisticated tools, techniques and technology to check and verify videos like the Kremlin drone footage, as well as images and information. They do this to ensure our journalism meets the rigorous editorial standards the BBC is proud to uphold.
But, until now, that work has largely gone on in the background, unseen by audiences.
These same audiences are constantly bombarded with mis- and disinformation, and with fake images, including those generated by AI. And they are telling us that amid this noise and sensationalism, they need to see our workings, so we can maintain the trust people have put in the BBC for the last 100 years. People want to know not just what we know (and don't know), but how we know it.
And this is how our new brand, BBC Verify, has come into being.
Image caption, Deborah Turness, BBC News CEO
We've brought together forensic journalists and expert talent from across the BBC, including our analysis editor Ros Atkins and disinformation correspondent Marianna Spring and their teams. In all, BBC Verify comprises about 60 journalists who will form a highly specialised operation with a range of forensic investigative skills and open source intelligence (Osint) capabilities at their fingertips.
They'll be fact-checking, verifying video, countering disinformation, analysing data and - crucially - explaining complex stories in the pursuit of truth.
This is a different way of doing our journalism. We've built a physical space in the London newsroom, with a studio that BBC Verify correspondents and experts will report from, transparently sharing their evidence-gathering with our audiences. They will contribute to News Online, radio and TV, including the News Channel and our live and breaking streaming operation, both in the UK and internationally.
BBC Verify will be home to specific expertise and technology. But I want the principle of transparently explaining the "how" behind our journalism to be shared by every journalist in the BBC - and thank you to those who are experimenting with new ways to do that.
"If you know how it's made, you can trust what it says" - that's what our audiences have told us. Trust is earned and transparency will help us earn it.
And as for that "drone"? There are a few answers on Ros Atkins' explainer video, which has had more than a million views on our website, and will give people a taste of what Verify will be doing, day in, day out.
Polish diplomacy in crisis after ambassador to France claims Poland will declare war on Russia if Ukraine loses
Mon, 22 May 2023 18:48
The Polish embassy in Paris later issued a statement trying to walk back the remarks, but the cat was already out of the bag
March 21, 2023
editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Łukasz Warzecha
Poland will have no option but to declare war on Russia if Ukraine loses the ongoing conflict, Poland's ambassador to France, Jan Emeryk Rościszewski, said in an extraordinary interview on French television on Saturday.
The diplomat made the remarks during an appearance on the LCI telvision program, with the interview focusing on Poland and Slovakia's decisions to deliver MiG-29 fighter planes to Ukraine. During the interview, the ambassador said that he could envisage a time when Poland would have to engage in the war in Ukraine.
''If Ukraine fails to defend its independence, we'll have no choice but to enter the war,'' he told viewers.
The Polish embassy in Paris later issued a statement in an attempt to walk back the remarks, tweeting how some media had misinterpreted the remarks by failing to give the context in which they were made.
According to the statement, Rościszewski was merely trying to persuade allies to give full backing to Ukraine and rejected the notion that the diplomat had promised Polish engagement in the conflict. They claimed he had instead merely warned about the consequences and implications of any Ukrainian defeat.
The Polish embassy went on to state that such a defeat would make it far more likely that Russia would commit acts of aggression against Poland and the Baltic states, as predicted many years ago by President Lech KaczyÅski.
When an embassy or a ministry has to issue a statement to interpret the words of their officials, you know they have put their foot in it. In reality, the ambassador's remarks were irresponsible and damaging. They reinforce Poland's image as a country hellbent on getting involved in this war.
As Talleyrand once said, a mistake is worse than a crime. We cannot help but recall another Polish ambassador in France in 1938 who wrote a pamphlet entitled ''Poland the superpower.'' A year later, the whole of Poland was under occupation.
Rościszewski's statement about Poland entering the war was bound to cause a big stir. The embassy's attempts to backtrack simply do not mesh with reality. The context was not the problem but the words the ambassador used, which clearly conveyed that if Ukrainian independence was lost, Poland would have to get involved in the war. He did not say that if Poland is attacked, it will have to defend itself '-- that is an obvious statement that has nothing to do with the current war.
He used the term ''we,'' which could mean either just Poland, the whole of NATO, or just some countries in NATO. Either way, the consequences would be enormous. Article 5 of NATO's treaty does not oblige its members to engage in support of a member state that unilaterally engages in a war beyond NATO's borders. This means that if Poland were to engage in Ukraine, it would be doing so without any guarantee of NATO support.
The ambassador's remarks have been seized upon by Russia, which gratefully accepts anything negative it can use against Poland, especially as Poland's ambassador to Ukraine, Bartosz Cichocki, chose on Monday to back his colleague, stating on social media that ''it's obvious that Ukraine's defeat would mean war in Poland.''
Cichocki seems very sure of his star status as ambassador in Ukraine, even if he often acts more like the ambassador of Ukraine to Poland than the Polish ambassador to Ukraine.
However, the most serious consequences of ambassador Rościszewski's remarks will be in the West, not the East. His words confirm the image of Poland as a country racing to escalate the conflict and for the whole of Europe to get involved, all at a time when public opinion in Western Europe is increasingly skeptical about increasing engagement in the conflict. Public opinion is also changing in Poland. Should Russian aggression actually spread to our territory, there are other risks for Poland, as a portion of Western public opinion will feel that Poland has itself to blame and that the West should not come to its aid.
Many in Poland forget that Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not mean automatic military engagement in solidarity with a member state that has been attacked. It is worded in such a way that each member state actually takes its own decisions on what kind of support it will offer the member state that has been attacked. This could take the form of mere diplomatic responses, which is actually less than the support Ukraine received after the Russian invasion.
The lack of a strong reaction from Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the ambassador's gaffe is concerning. It could mean that the gaffe is in fact the voicing aloud of sentiments prevalent among Polish officials and that such sentiments are now being voiced in public to see how the domestic and other audiences react. Maybe that is just a conspiracy theory, but the way Poland's government has been behaving in exceeding its domestic and international mandate in this war, with actions such as delivering MIG-29 fighter planes and covertly sending close to 100 police bomb specialists to Ukraine, makes one think again.
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Congo leader to visit China this week, minerals trade deal signing expected | Reuters
Mon, 22 May 2023 17:40
BEIJING, May 22 (Reuters) - The president of minerals-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, will visit China from May 24 to 29 and is expected to meet President Xi Jinping to review and sign several key trade deals.
A meeting would pave the way for the two countries to formally overhaul and seal a $6 billion infrastructure-for-minerals deal with Chinese investors. The visit was announced by the Chinese foreign ministry on Monday.
Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya told Reuters later on Monday the visit will strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
"We want to build new relations with China, on sound foundations," Muyaya said.
Tshisekedi instructed his government at a cabinet meeting on May 19 to move ahead with talks on the deal with Chinese counterparts after the government and other stakeholders "consolidated their position", a government statement said.
He informed cabinet members that a task force looking at the deal had submitted its conclusions, enabling discussions with Chinese partners to commence in the coming days.
Congo's government is seeking to "rebalance" the $6 billion infrastructure-for-minerals signed by a previous administration. It has said terms of the deal were unfavorable to Congo.
The government said its Chinese counterparts have not met their end of the bargain which provided for infrastructure investments in exchange for copper and cobalt.
Congo is the world's largest producer of battery material cobalt.
During the visit to China, the two heads of state will hold talks and attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents together, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
"The Democratic Republic of Congo is an important country in Africa, and the friendship between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo has a long history," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular press briefing.
"Both sides have always supported each other on issues related to each other's core interests and major concerns. In recent years, political mutual trust between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo has been continuously deepening, and practical cooperation has yielded fruitful results," Mao added.
Tshisekedi will also meet Premier Li Qiang and Zhao Leji, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China.
Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Kim Coghill
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Woman weighed like baggage before flight: 'So embarrassed'
Mon, 22 May 2023 15:04
A traveler has shared the mortifying moment that a fellow passenger was forced to step on a baggage scale before takeoff after confusion over her weight.
A clip detailing the humiliating measure was originally posted in March, but has amassed 1.6 million views on TikTok as viewers speculate whether the airline was discriminating against plus-size travelers.
''The whole airport trying to mind their own business as a woman is asked to step on the baggage scale because she claimed she was 130lbs,'' the TikTok user @lilwessel wrote in the caption.
She added, ''It's a tiny plane so they needed our weight to take off for safety reasons.''
In the accompanying five-second footage, shot at an undisclosed airport, the passenger in question can be seen standing on the luggage scale in full view of fellow flyers.
Needless to say, the embarrassing ordeal divided the TikTok commentariat with one viewer writing: ''Why are people so mean.''
''That's not ok,'' said another.
Meanwhile, a third recalled being subject to a similar precaution, explaining, ''Flying home from the Philippines and they weighed me '... I have never been so embarrassed in my life.''
However, others sided with the airline.
''Why would she lie and risk all our lives including hers lol,'' criticized one commenter.''
''They care about weight limits on small planes because they need to have the center weight in a certain part of the plane,'' said another.
The airline is seen allegedly weighing the woman on the luggage scale. TikTok/lilwessel''Does she not know she can write it down on a sheet of paper if she doesn't want to announce it?'' observed a third.
''What my mom does lol.''
This comes amid a flurry of body-positive influencers accusing airlines of not accommodating plus-sized people.
Earlier this week, a plus-size TikToker went viral after arguing that airlines should make plane aisles wider to cater to larger passengers, calling the current layout ''discrimination.''
She also shared a now-deleted video of herself struggling to traverse a United Airlines plane, having to turn sideways as she walked past the rows of seats.
The body-positivity advocate was subsequently ripped online with critics telling her not to fly.
One even claimed that wider aisles would reduce the number of seats, thereby ''cutting into profits to accommodate the supersized.''
In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration advisory announced that airlines could soon require plus-sized passengers to step on the scale '-- or provide their weight '-- before boarding the aircraft.
The goal was to provide new data on average passenger weights as the current numbers reportedly don't reflect today's sky-high obesity rates in the US.
In turn, this would help ensure that aircrafts, especially the small ones, don't exceed their allowable weight limit.
Once they've chosen a traveler, an operator may ''determine the actual weight of passengers'' by having them step ''on a scale before boarding the aircraft,'' per the guidelines transcribed by AirInsight.
In order to protect passenger privacy, they stipulated ''the scale readout should remain hidden from public view.''
However, the regulatory agency backpedaled a month later, claiming that while weighing passengers was an option, most airlines would resort to other measures of calculating passenger mass.
Contingency methods included making ''a reasonable estimate about the passenger's actual weight and add 10 pounds,'' per the document.
Definitions '-- Equality in Audio Pact
Mon, 22 May 2023 15:02
Who is the Equality in Audio pact for?
The Equality in Audio Pact is for companies, organisations and individuals who commission, create or host radio and podcast content.
1 . Pay interns / No longer use unpaid interns.
We want to make sure that nobody of any level is working for free in this industry. Formal internships and non-study related work experience are usually one of the first ways a person enters the audio industry. Using unpaid labour to help run your business not only restricts who is able to work within audio but it also can be viewed as exploitative. Audio should be open to people of all abilities, all ages, from all classes, and ethnic backgrounds. Unpaid work must stop.
2. Hire LGBTQIA+, black people, people of colour and other minorities on projects not only related to their identity.
This action includes but is not limited to the specific minorities listed above. There is a big problem within the industry of not viewing people who are minorities as full rounded human beings. For example, hiring a producer with a visible disability to make a show about disabilities but then overlooking them for shows related to their other interests and/or expertise. You can have a disability but you can also love the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If all companies action this point it would mean there are more minorities of all abilities, ages and backgrounds in the industry. Production companies need to diversify who is hired across every aspect of their business. This action can be taken from the point of your next hire and/or next production crew hiring.
3. If you are a company that releases gender pay gap reports, release your race pay gap data at the same time.
Some companies when releasing their gender pay gap reports release an ethnicity pay report separately and this second report is not given the same attention. In order for the audio industry to improve, we need to be very clear with what it currently looks like. You can't address a problem if it is never openly acknowledged.
4. No longer participate in panels that are not representative of the cities, towns, and industries they take place in.
There must no longer be all white panels. If you are holding a panel in Cornwall, Canberra or Cleveland, the city should be represented and also the industry that you are talking about. There are no cities AND industries that are 100% white, so neither should your panels. We need to stop conveying the message that only white voices have the knowledge and authority.
5. Be transparent about who works for your company, as well as their role, position and permanency.
''One in eight of the working age population are from an ethnic minority background, yet only one in ten are in the workplace and only one in 16 top management positions are held by an ethnic minority person"*. We need to see what the industry looks like. We need to see who is on your commissioning teams, we need to see who you've hired in positions of authority and we need to see every level of who works in this industry in order to identify the problem.
Target Faces Backlash Over 'Pride' Collection Designer Behind 'Satan Respects Pronouns' Shirts | The Daily Wire
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:49
Target is facing backlash over a designer featured in the company's ''Pride'' collection who appears to have created products with Satanic imagery.
Scarlett Johnson, an activist from Wisconsin, went viral on Twitter this weekend with a thread explaining why she is ''done'' with the retailer. In particular, Johnson took issue with Target listing three items on its online store from Abprallen, a London-based designer of products that sometimes mix imagery and messages about gender with the macabre.
None of the three colorful apparel items for sale under the Abprallen label on Target's website have Satanic imagery. The catalogue includes a ''We Belong Everywhere'' mini messenger bag for $18, another is a ''Too Queer for Here'' tote bag for $18, and a third is a ''Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People'' sweatshirt for $25. All are listed under ''Pride Adult Clothing.''
But Johnson highlighted other products for sale that are shown on the Abprallen website and associated Instagram account with about 25,000 followers. Among them is a skeleton draped in rainbow colors, a ''Trans Witches For Abortion'' badge, and a ''Satan respects pronouns'' T-shirt.
Why did @target hire a Satanist to design pieces for their recent "Pride" clothing line?
WTF👉🏽"Satan loves you and respects who you are'... LGBTQIA+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God's will, so fine. We'll hang with Satan instead."
'-- Scarlett Johnson (@scarlett4kids) May 20, 2023
Johnson's thread has been retweeted thousands of times since it began on Saturday, with many users criticizing Target and some even calling for a boycott. Others complimented the products and questioned why Johnson had a problem with the designer's work.
The Daily Wire reached out to the retailer seeking comment on the situation.
The product page for the ''Satan respects pronouns'' shirt talks about how LGBT+ people are ''so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God's will'' while making the case that the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple are more accepting of the gay community.
''Satanists don't actually believe in Satan, he is merely used as a symbol of passion, pride, and liberty. He means to you what you need him to mean. So for me, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love,'' the page says. ''So, naturally, Satan respects pronouns. He loves all LGBT+ people.''
Abprallen, according to its ''My Story'' page, is run by gay trans man named Erik who has a penchant for juxtaposing pastel colors with ''spooky things.'' The designer's Instagram account posted in recent weeks about how Abprallen products are being sold by Target after ''they approached me to design a range for Pride.''
Even before Johnson's thread went viral, Target was facing backlash over ''tuck-friendly'' swimwear for children, as reported by The New York Post, leading some to suggest the retailer would face a wave of backlash akin to the Bud Light controversy over its partnership with self-identified transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Experts see climate change fingerprint in worsening heat waves and fires - The Washington Post
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:46
An all-too-familiar scene is playing out in western Canada this week: forests in flames amid extreme heat while hazardous smoke engulfs cities downwind of the fires. Over the last several years, similar scenes have unfolded across the globe, including in Australia, California, the Pacific Northwest, Europe and China. As both heat waves and wildfires worsen, recent research is tying these extremes ever more strongly to climate change, painting a troubling picture if the world continues on its emissions path.
About 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) have burned so far this year in Canada, which is far above the 20-year average of 55,050 hectares for this point in the season, according to data from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center. Firefighting agencies are at preparedness level 5 nationally, the highest level, and extra resources from the United States have joined the fight.
''This is a concerning situation given there is so much fire on the landscape already,'' said Michael Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. ''You need a lot of rain, at least 2 inches, to really get a handle on the situation or a lot of fire management effort.''
In addition to extreme heat, the fires this week have been fueled by wind from passing cold fronts, underlying drought and a spring landscape that is not yet green. The weather may soon shift, Flannigan said, but another dry cold front would only provide more wind to fan the flames. There are 92 active fires in Alberta and at least 200 in Canada overall.
Flannigan said higher temperatures dry out vegetation but also increase the likelihood of lightning, which can ignite fires. ''In Canada, fire area burned has doubled since the early 1970s,'' he said. ''My colleagues and I attribute this largely to human-caused climate change.'' Larger wildfires typically happen in bursts, with 3 percent of fires accounting for 97 percent of the area burned annually.
''It is really the extremes that drive the fire world in Canada and I would argue in the western United States as well,'' he said. ''Much of this happens on a relatively small number of days during episodes of extreme fire weather like we are seeing right now.''
Linking worsening fires to fossil fuels
As heat-driven fires continue to become real-world disasters, there is more evidence pointing to the fuel behind them. A study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters measured the link between forest fires and the fossil fuel emissions, finding that nearly 40 percent of the total forest area burned in the western United States and southwestern Canada between 1986 and 2021 can be attributed to emissions from the largest 88 fossil fuel producers and cement manufacturers. That represents about 20 million acres, an area bigger than Ireland.
While the research focuses on a region farther south than where the intense Alberta wildfires are burning, many of the same issues are at play, with larger wildfires burning more severely during longer seasons. ''Even though the dynamics of the boreal forest are somewhat different than the study area that we looked at, we are seeing a lot of the same trends in both ecosystems,'' said lead study author Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. ''We will see repeated incidents like this where you have a massive wildfire outbreak because it is just easier when the vegetation is really dried out to have any sort of spark that leads to a large wildfire.''
The key link in the chain is a metric called the vapor pressure deficit, a measure of the ability of air to dry out the land and ecosystems as temperatures rise. Western forests, which have abundant fuel, are particularly sensitive to warming and drying. They also store carbon that is released back into the atmosphere during major wildfires, perpetuating the warming cycle, Dahl said.
The long-term upward trend in temperature and vapor pressure deficit is also making droughts more severe, including the Western megadrought of the past 23 years, as hot and dry conditions pull more moisture from the landscape. The study found that nearly half of the rise in vapor pressure deficit since 1901 can be traced to emissions from major fossil fuel producers.
Unprecedented temperatures
The steady rise in global temperatures is also translating into heat events that were once unimaginable, which in turn feed into wildfire disasters. In summer 2021, a fast-moving fire destroyed the village of Lytton, about 60 miles northeast of Vancouver, one day after it hit the highest record temperature in Canada of 121 degrees Fahrenheit.
Experts said the early season heat strongly resembles the setup of the devastating heat wave during summer 2021, which was centered further south over the Pacific Northwest. ''The key difference is the seasonal timing. If this were occurring a couple months later the impacts would have been much worse, and potentially in a similar realm to 2021,'' said Sam Bartusek, a doctoral candidate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York.
Decades ago, the 2021 heat wave would have been virtually impossible but is now likely to happen every 200 years. That could jump to every 10 years when global warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius near mid-century, according to a study published by Bartusek and his colleagues last November. ''Even with just a warming of the global average temperature, we expect to see a huge increase in the frequency of extreme heat waves,'' he said. ''Temperatures that have never been experienced during the observational record in a certain place will likely start occurring and put communities at risk.''
Texas House advances bill targeting sexual performances in front of kids | The Texas Tribune
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:45
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The Texas House gave initial approval to a bill restricting children from seeing sexually explicit performances on Friday. Senate Bill 12 was originally designed to restrict kids from attending drag shows, but its most recent version seeks to criminalize any live performance that the bill defines as sexual.
The House voted 88-12 to advance the legislation. It defines a sexually explicit performance as one in which someone is nude or appeals to the ''prurient interest in sex.'' SB 12 would fine business owners $10,000 for hosting such performances in front of kids. It would also slap performers violating the proposed restriction with a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in jail, a $4,000 fine or both.
On Friday, Republican state Rep. Matt Shaheen of Plano cited the U.S. Supreme Court's definition of prurient interests, which is defined as ''erotic, lascivious, abnormal, unhealthy, degrading, shameful, or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion,'' though the language's interpretation varies by community.
Seven Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill. Those Democrats were Reps. Philip Cortez of San Antonio, Bobby Guerra of Mission, Armando Martinez of Weslaco, Eddie Morales Jr. of Eagle Pass, Sergio Mu±oz Jr. of Palmview, Richard Pe±a Raymond of Laredo and Shawn Nicole Thierry of Houston.
All 12 votes against the bill came from Democrats, but the bulk of the party did not formally oppose SB 12, choosing instead to select ''present not voting.''
Authored by Sen. Bryan Hughes, the version of SB 12 passed by the Senate had language specifically targeting sexually explicit drag shows. It described sexually oriented performances as including someone who is naked or dressed in drag, and ''[appealing] to the prurient interest in sex.'' Such restrictions on drag shows are a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Hughes put forward the bill after a small but loud group of activists and extremist groups fueled anti-drag panic by routinely characterizing all drag as inherently and nefariously sexual regardless of the content or audience. Top GOP leaders in the state, including Patrick, have rallied around protecting children from drag shows, which vary widely in content based on the audience.
After SB 12 moved over to the House, Shaheen amended the legislation and removed language that explicitly references drag. That dramatically broadened the scope of the legislation.
''There is a growing trend to expose children to more and more sexual content,'' said Shaheen introducing the bill on Friday. ''These types of performances were once reserved for sexually oriented businesses, but now they're occurring in restaurants and other public venues while children are present,'' Shaheen said, referencing a drag show he said was inappropriate for children that took place in his district.
The Texas House LGBTQ Caucus released a statement Friday following the unusual vote, noting the bill's recent changes by Shaheen.
''We acknowledge and approve of the removal of the bill's language that would have banned drag performances under certain circumstances. We support caucus members voting [with] their district on the bill, including marking themselves as present not voting. To ensure that directly anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-drag language is not reinserted into the bill, we will continue to monitor SB 12's movement through the Texas Legislature and its implementation if the Governor signs it into law,'' the statement read.
The House vote Friday didn't draw the crowds of LGBTQ advocates that filled the Capitol when the House voted to restrict transition-related care for minors. That bill, which is expected to become law, drew protests that led to altercations with state police. Four Democrats voted for that bill earlier this week.
During Friday's House debate over SB 12, Democratic state Rep. Julie Johnson asked if a Miley Cyrus concert would fall under the purview of the bill if the singer had sexually suggestive dancing in her performance.
Shaheen responded that if the performance could be classified as sexually explicit under the bills' definition, then children should not be present.
Despite the lack of direct reference to drag performers, critics believe the bill could be used to target the popular shows '-- which could harm the entertainment economy '-- and LGBTQ Texans.
''We believe it's a wolf in sheep's clothing that's still designed to target drag and the LGBTQ+ community,'' said Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas, pointing to the House bill analysis that references a drag show as evidence of the necessity for the bill.
During a House committee debate on the bill earlier this month, supporters of SB 12 said the bill is about protecting kids from seeing sexually explicit content.
''We need to make sure that no child is subjected to sexually explicit performances, and I think this bill is a great start,'' said Jonathan Covey, policy director for social conservative group Texas Values.
Klosterboer, who testified against the bill during a House hearing, criticized the bill's vague language, which could be interpreted differently given the lack of a clear definition of ''prurient interest'' in Texas law and courts. The broad characterization of sexually oriented performances could criminalize a host of Texas performers, including drag queens.
Without a clear definition in Texas, Klosterboer said the decision to classify something as sexually oriented, or not, could be left up to a jury.
''They allow the attorney general, local governments and prosecutors and police to have this nearly limitless discretion to crack down on any performance that they find sexual,'' Klosterboer said.
During the House committee hearing, Democrats raised questions about whether the bill could affect other settings such as football cheerleading performances and ''breastaurants'' like Twin Peaks. At least one of the bill's backers said it should and would apply to these other scenarios, while others' testimonies remain largely focused on restricting drag shows.
Some performers also testified at the House committee meeting that drag has been nothing but a positive force in their life, and that it's an art form that is not inherently sexual.
''Drag is love. Drag is art. Drag is powerful,'' said drag performer Alexander the Great. ''Drag has been a part of our culture since Shakespearean times and will continue to be. '... Bugs Bunny has been in drag in children's cartoons. I remember watching 'Mrs. Doubtfire' growing up, Robin Williams in drag '-- that was a family-friendly movie. Drag itself is just art.''
At the same time, some who testified against SB 12 also referenced the expulsion of former state Rep. Bryan Slaton, who was found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a 19-year-old aide after giving her alcohol. A prominent anti-LGBTQ politician, Slaton has previously called for banning minors from attending drag shows to protect them from ''perverted adults'' and ''groomers'' '-- a long-standing homophobic and transphobic trope.
Given the bill no longer includes references to performers ''exhibiting'' as the opposite gender, it's not clear if the Senate is amenable to the House's changes. Following one final vote from the House, the bill will return to the upper chamber, where senators can either accept the House's changes or ask for a conference committee to iron out the differences.
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U.S. $3 Billion Military Package to Ukraine Looks to Change Battlefield Dynamics > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:43
DOD officials unveiled the more than $3 billion package of military capabilities to help Ukraine drive the Russian invaders from their soil.
"The war in Ukraine is at a critical point right now, and we have to do everything we can to help the Ukrainians continue to resist Russian aggression," Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said.
The presidential drawdown authority announced today is the largest the United States has committed to so far. The authorization of presidential drawdown of equipment from U.S. inventories is valued at up to $2.85 billion and there is an additional $225 million in foreign military financing to contribute to the long-term capacity and modernization of Ukraine's military, Cooper said.
The major announcement was the inclusion of 50 M2-A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the Ukrainian military. These armored vehicles '-- enough to outfit a mechanized infantry battalion '-- will come with 500 tube-launched, optically sighted, wire-guided, or TOW, anti-tank missiles and 250,000 rounds of 25 mm ammunition.
The drawdown authority also includes 100 M-113 armored personnel carriers and 50 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles. The U.S. will also provide 138 Humvees.
Artillery remains a crucial capability for the Ukrainians and the PDA will provide 18 self-propelled 155 mm Paladin howitzers, 36 105 mm towed howitzers and thousands of rounds to supply both systems.
The United States will also provide anti-aircraft capabilities including RIM-7 missiles and 4,000 Zuni rockets.
Also included are night-vision devices, sniper rifles, machine guns, spare parts, clothing and more.
"These capabilities will complement and work with the expanded U.S.- led training beginning this month that will build Ukraine's capacity to conduct joint maneuver and combined operations," Cooper said. "We will ensure Ukraine has both the equipment and the skill necessary to sustain its efforts to push back on Russian aggression."
U.S. officials are always looking at what Ukraine needs to fight the Russian invaders. "Their battlefield needs have evolved over time," Cooper said.
When Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, the immediate need was anti-armor weapons and the United States and partner nations sent thousands of Javelin systems and other comparable systems to Ukraine. After Ukraine defeated the initial Russian push, artillery became the crucial need and the United States sent howitzers and ammunition to the nation. Recently, air defense has been the priority and the United States and allies have sent systems that Ukraine has cobbled together to form an integrated air-defense system.
Now Ukraine needs armored vehicles and Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United States are sending them to the besieged nation, Cooper said. "In the case of the Bradley, what you are seeing is a recognition that this is the right time for us to provide this armored capability," she said. "This is the right time for Ukraine to take advantage of its capabilities to change the dynamic on the battlefield."
Russian President Vladimir Putin "has not given up his aims of dominating Ukraine and continuing to acquire Ukraine's territory," Cooper said. But '... "the Russian armed forces weaknesses have collided with those aims."
The aid to Ukraine is still important, the deputy assistant secretary said. "From an overall strategic perspective, it is hard to emphasize enough the devastating consequences if Putin were to be successful in achieving his objective of taking over Ukraine," she said. "This would rewrite international boundaries in a way that we have not seen since World War II. And our ability to reverse these gains and to support and stand by the sovereignty of a nation, is something that resonates not just in Europe, but all around the world.
"No one wants to send a signal to another bully around the world that they can take over their neighboring country without paying a steep, steep price," she continued.
New York Christian university fires two staff for including pronouns in emails '' reports | New York | The Guardian
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:42
A New York Christian university terminated two employees for putting pronouns in their respective email signatures, these former workers allege, according to reports.
Raegan Zelaya and Shua Wilmot, who were residence hall directors at Houghton University, said administrators told them to take the words ''she/her'' and ''he/him'' off their email signatures.
The university, Zelaya and Wilmot alleged, claimed their inclusion of pronouns violated a new school policy, the New York Times reported. Zelaya and Wilmot refused to remove their pronouns and were fired several weeks before the semester's conclusion.
Their firing comes as Houghton University has taken actions that are increasingly in line with religious conservatism at better known Christian colleges such as Liberty University in Virginia and Hillsdale College in Michigan, the Times wrote. These colleges often draw Republican-leaning students, some of whom ascribe to the party's invocation of Christianity to enact anti-LGBTQ+ measures.
Houghton University shuttered a multicultural student center approximately two years ago. The school no longer recognizes a student LGBTQ+ group as the club refused to push more conservative discourse on gender and sex, the Times reported.
''I think it boils down to: they want to be trans-exclusive and they want to communicate that to potential students and the parents of potential students,'' Wilmot reportedly said of his firing.
Neither Zelaya nor Wilmot identify as transgender. They said that their reasons for including pronouns in email signatures was due to their gender-neutral names '' which has led to them being misgendered in written correspondence '' as well as personal ethics.
''There's the professional piece to it, and the practical piece, and there's also an inclusive piece, and I think that's the piece this institution doesn't want,'' Wilmot told the Times.
A spokesperson for Houghton University said the school ''has never terminated an employment relationship based solely on the use of pronouns in staff email signatures''.
''Over the past years, we've required anything extraneous be removed from email signatures, including Scripture quotes,'' the spokesperson also told the Times.
Some Houghton graduates have criticized the decision. About 600 signed an online letter this spring protesting Zelaya and Wilmot's firings.
''Our overall concern is that these recent changes demonstrate a concerning pattern of failure on the part of the current administration to respect that faithful and active Christians reasonably hold a range of theological and ethical views,'' the letter stated.
Could Ozempic Also Be an Anti-addiction Drug? - The Atlantic
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:33
People taking Ozempic for weight loss say they have also stopped drinking, smoking, shopping, and even nail biting.
Illustration by The AtlanticThis article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.
All her life, Victoria Rutledge thought of herself as someone with an addictive personality. Her first addiction was alcohol. After she got sober in her early 30s, she replaced drinking with food and shopping, which she thought about constantly. She would spend $500 on organic groceries, only to have them go bad in her fridge. ''I couldn't stop from going to that extreme,'' she told me. When she ran errands at Target, she would impulsively throw extra things'--candles, makeup, skin-care products'--into her cart.
Earlier this year, she began taking semaglutide, also known as Wegovy, after being prescribed the drug for weight loss. (Colloquially, it is often referred to as Ozempic, though that is technically just the brand name for semaglutide that is marketed for diabetes treatment.) Her food thoughts quieted down. She lost weight. But most surprisingly, she walked out of Target one day and realized her cart contained only the four things she came to buy. ''I've never done that before,'' she said. The desire to shop had slipped away. The desire to drink, extinguished once, did not rush in as a replacement either. For the first time'--perhaps the first time in her whole life'--all of her cravings and impulses were gone. It was like a switch had flipped in her brain.
As semaglutide has skyrocketed in popularity, patients have been sharing curious effects that go beyond just appetite suppression. They have reported losing interest in a whole range of addictive and compulsive behaviors: drinking, smoking, shopping, biting nails, picking at skin. Not everyone on the drug experiences these positive effects, to be clear, but enough that addiction researchers are paying attention. And the spate of anecdotes might really be onto something. For years now, scientists have been testing whether drugs similar to semaglutide can curb the use of alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and opioids in lab animals'--to promising results.
Semaglutide and its chemical relatives seem to work, at least in animals, against an unusually broad array of addictive drugs, says Christian Hendershot, a psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Treatments available today tend to be specific: methadone for opioids, bupropion for smoking. But semaglutide could one day be more widely useful, as this class of drug may alter the brain's fundamental reward circuitry. The science is still far from settled, though researchers are keen to find out more. At UNC, in fact, Hendershot is now running clinical trials to see whether semaglutide can help people quit drinking alcohol and smoking. This drug that so powerfully suppresses the desire to eat could end up suppressing the desire for a whole lot more.
The history of semaglutide is one of welcome surprises. Originally developed for diabetes, semaglutide prompts the pancreas to release insulin by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide 1. First-generation GLP-1 analogs'--exenatide and liraglutide'--have been on the market to treat diabetes for more than a decade. And almost immediately, doctors noticed that patients on these drugs also lost weight, an unintended but usually not unwelcome side effect. Semaglutide has been heralded as a potentially even more potent GLP-1 analog.
Experts now believe GLP-1 analogs affect more than just the pancreas. The exact mechanism in weight loss is still unclear, but the drugs likely work in multiple ways to suppress hunger, including but not limited to slowing food's passage through the stomach and preventing ups and downs in blood sugar. Most intriguing, it also seems to reach and act directly on the brain.
GLP-1 analogs appear to actually bind to receptors on neurons in several parts of the brain, says Scott Kanoski, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California. When Kanoski and his colleagues blocked these receptors in rodents, the first-generation drugs exenatide and liraglutide became less effective at reducing food intake'--as if this had eliminated a key mode of action. The impulse to eat is just one kind of impulse, though. That these drugs work on the level of the brain'--as well as the gut'--suggests that they can suppress the urge for other things too.
In particular, GLP-1 analogs affect dopamine pathways in the brain, a.k.a the reward circuitry. This pathway evolved to help us survive; simplistically, food and sex trigger a dopamine hit in the brain. We feel good, and we do it again. In people with addiction, this process in the brain shifts as a consequence or cause of their addiction, or perhaps even both. They have, for example, fewer dopamine receptors in part of the brain's reward pathway, so the same reward may bring less pleasure.
In lab animals, addiction researchers have amassed a body of evidence that GLP-1 analogs alter the reward pathway: mice on a version of exenatide get less of a dopamine hit from alcohol; rats on the same GLP-1 drug sought out less cocaine; same for rats and oxycodone. African vervet monkeys predisposed to drinking alcohol drank less on liraglutide and exenatide. Most of the published research has been conducted with these two first-generation GLP-1 drugs, but researchers told me to expect many studies with semaglutide, with positive results, to be published soon.
In humans, the science is much more scant. A couple of studies of exenatide in people with cocaine-use disorder were too short or small to be conclusive. Another study of the same drug in people with alcohol-use disorder found that their brain's reward centers no longer lit up as much when shown pictures of alcohol while they were in an fMRI machine. The patients in the study as a whole, however, did not drink less on the drug, though the subset who also had obesity did. Experts say that semaglutide, if it works at all for addiction, might end up more effective in some people than others. ''I don't expect this to work for everybody,'' says Anders Fink-Jensen, a psychiatrist at the University of Copenhagen who conducted the alcohol study. (Fink-Jensen has received funding from Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, for separate research into using GLP-1 analogs to treat weight gain from schizophrenia medication.) Bigger and longer trials with semaglutide could prove or disprove the drug's effectiveness in addiction'--and identify whom it is best for.
Semaglutide does not dull all pleasure, people taking the drug for weight loss told me. They could still enjoy a few bites of food or revel in finding the perfect dress; they just no longer went overboard. Anhedonia, or a general diminished ability to experience pleasure, also hasn't shown up in cohorts of people who take the drug for diabetes, says Elisabet Jerlhag Holm, an addiction researcher at the University of Gothenburg. Instead, those I talked with said their mind simply no longer raced in obsessive loops. ''It was a huge relief,'' says Kimberly Smith, who used to struggle to eat in moderation. For patients like her, the drug tamed behaviors that had reached a level of unhealthiness.
The types of behaviors in which patients have reported unexpected changes include both the addictive, such as smoking or drinking, and the compulsive, such as skin picking or nail biting. (Unlike addiction, compulsion concerns behaviors that aren't meant to be pleasurable.) And although there is a body of animal research into GLP-1 analogues and addiction, there is virtually none on nonfood compulsions. Still, addictions and compulsions are likely governed by overlapping reward pathways in the brain, and semaglutide might have an effect on both. Two months into taking the drug, Mary Maher woke up one day to realize that the skin on her back'--which she had picked compulsively for years'--had healed. She used to bleed so much from the picking that she avoided wearing white. Maher hadn't even noticed she had stopped picking what must have been weeks before. ''I couldn't believe it,'' she told me. The urge had simply melted away.
The long-term impacts of semaglutide, especially on the brain, remain unknown. In diabetes and obesity, semaglutide is supposed to be a lifelong medication, and its most dramatic effects are quickly reversed when people go off. ''The weight comes back; the suppression of appetite goes away,'' says Janice Jin Hwang, an obesity doctor at UNC School of Medicine. The same could be true in at least certain forms of addiction too. Doctors have noted a curious link between addiction and another obesity treatment: Patients who undergo bariatric surgery sometimes experience ''addiction transfer,'' where their impulsive behaviors move from food to alcohol or drugs. Bariatric surgery works, in part, by increasing natural levels of GLP-1, but whether the same transfer can happen with GLP-1 drugs still needs to be studied in longer trials. Semaglutide is a relatively new drug, approved for diabetes since 2017. Understanding the upshot of taking it for decades is, well, decades into the future.
Maher told me she hopes to stay on the drug forever. ''It's incredibly validating,'' she said, to realize her struggles have been a matter of biology, not willpower. Before getting on semaglutide, she had spent 30 years trying to lose weight by counting calories and exercising. She ran 15 half marathons. She did lose weight, but she could never keep it off. On semaglutide, the obsessions about food that plagued her even when she was skinny are gone. Not only has she stopped picking her skin; she's also stopped biting her nails. Her mind is quieter now, more peaceful. ''This has changed my thought processes in a way that has just improved my life so much,'' she said. She would like to keep it that way.
Definite Debt Default - by Quoth the Raven
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:32
It's pathetic that we do this song and dance about raising the debt ceiling every couple of years.
It's about as hollow, inane and meaningless as both our monetary and fiscal policies in this country '-- so, in that respect, it fits. It's also great fodder for the two-party political pissing match that takes place on the daily, so as to keep us peons distracted from the ugly reality of many of the decisions our country collectively makes.
The idea being pushed by both parties '-- that a default would be catastrophic for markets '-- is meaningless for several reasons. First, we've been in a perpetual state of ''default'', as measured by unsustainable fiscal and monetary policy, for decades now. Second, the shock to our financial system that would result from finally calling our ongoing default by its name publicly, is long overdue and could oddly be one of the best things that could happen to us. And I'm not trying to be sensational, I swear.
I'll say up front that I don't expect a default to happen, though I am intrigued by the facts that (1) my friend Larry Lepard told me over the weekend ''they are going to default'' and (2) the results of a Twitter poll that I put up a couple days ago show he isn't alone in his thinking.
Results likely skewed due to my psychotic follower base, but still'... The debt ceiling was put in place for a reason: to stop us from spending beyond our means, which is exactly what we're doing. Just like the gold standard, it was supposed to be a guardrail that we implemented to prevent our own destruction. Instead, it has become one of many deckchairs on the financial Titanic that we continued to shuffle around, proudly and in the absence of real solutions, while our capsized ship slowly sinks into the ocean of inevitability.
''That is the sound of inevitability.'' As House Speaker McCarthy has repeatedly noted, the issue for the U.S. is more about spending than generating revenue. If you're interested in visualizing the conundrum the U.S. has gotten itself in, this slide deck from the Peter G. Peterson foundation is well worth a review. For brevity, here is a key visual of as how askew spending and revenue are, with spending very clearly above historical norms, outpacing revenue which also is above historical norms.
While both parties generally act irresponsibly, our nation's spending addiction can be more directly attributed to Democrats' obsession with larger government and more control. The political left is too ignorant to understand that they can grip power and spending so tightly that it will slip out from underneath their fingers. Is it any wonder they also can't seem to grasp the Laffer curve ?
And so, this is the trajectory we find ourselves on:
Anyone who looks at the above two charts and advocates for more spending regardless of revenue , as the Biden administration has done , is equal parts grossly negligent and grossly incompetent.
As everybody knows, the secret to ''paying off the credit card'' is never to simply raise your limit again and again '-- it is to manage spending and start to pay it down '-- and there is no amount of bullshit PhD economic jargon that is going to change this basic economic law.
One of the leading arguments for raising the debt ceiling is that it's simply ''something we've just always done'', as though making a terrible decision consistently somehow roots it in reason and bestows upon us carte blanche to repeat our grievous error in perpetuity.
This argument has been the reason we have already been in a state of default '-- unable to balance our budget or pay our bills and printing new money as often as Sam Brinton brings home a new piece of luggage.
Little do we understand: this debt ceiling discussion is not us tossing around the question of whether or not we're going to default, it's a discussion of whether or not we're going to finally acknowledge the longstanding default we're already immersed in.
Photo: APFor that reason, one could make the argument that Republicans holding the line all the way up to the last minute may be the best course of action. Ultimately, the Biden administration doesn't want a default on its watch, so it'll cave to whatever Republicans demand. It isn't just great leverage in terms of negotiating, as an added bonus it also happens to be the right thing to do.
And both sides of the aisle are correct in suggesting that failure to reach a deal would likely result in a massive shock to global economic markets. But looking back over the last few decades, the only thing our financial system has been screaming for that hasn't happened yet is such a shock '-- ''taking the medicine'' to correct a half century of flawed policy.
Again, I don't believe that politicians won't get a deal done, mostly because their own retirement savings depends on it, but I also don't think a shock from a default would be as catastrophic over the long-term as we think. In fact, it would force us to examine the dire, pressing questions about the state of our country's fiscal and monetary policy that we have been ignoring for too long. In other words, it would be the check finally coming due.
It may sound absurd, but it isn't. Compared to many European countries, the U.S. is already in a very precarious position, as Jesse Felder on Palisades Gold Radio detailed ( a must listen ) a couple of days ago. Compared to Europe, we are only behind Greece and Italy and, in general, we are one of the most indebted countries in the world.
Chart: TradingEconomics.comWe need to face reality '-- this ride could be nearing its end. And when you think of it that way, it becomes clear that the sooner we face our spending and printing addiction, the sooner the healing can begin.
''But Chris,'' you'll say, ''it'll destroy the wealth of so many Americans, resulting in a massively lower quality of life for the entire country if we default! How can you suggest this misery and austerity is a good idea?''
To which I respond: ''I'm not arguing with that, but one could make the case that a lower quality of life and financial pain are on their way anyway, so we might as well pull them forward now so we can at least start to change course as a country.''
After all, with 6% inflation and an economy about to slam head-first into recession , it's not exactly like we're living the vibrant financial highlife at the moment anyway.
Yes, the pain from a default would be significantly worse, but it would force feed all of our elected politicians, government officials and citizens the long-ignored truth about how mismanaged our country has truly been financially.
Another reason that the ''it's what we've always done'' argument doesn't make sense is that the U.S. has never been in the economic crosshairs of the rest of the world the way we are now .
''When you look at countries that have expressed interest in joining BRICS, they all have substantial gold holdings,'' Andy Schectman told me several weeks ago about the global economy. ''The numbers are increasing among those who want to join, there's over 60 countries they have lined up in a queue [to join BRICS].''
''I do believe it'll be a Sunday night. OPEC, the BRICS nations, Saudi Arabia - they come out and say on a Sunday night, we're taking other currency for oil - and everything blows up Monday morning. It's a tsunami of dollars,'' Andy concluded.
''The pieces are being put into place right now. Nobody is going to have time to react.''
If he's right and our hand is going to be forced, we have to get real and ask if we want the rest of the world to force it for us, or if we can save face slightly by admitting to ourselves that it's time to eat our own economic cooking.
Markets may dip this week in turmoil, but the volatility will likely ratchet up pressure on politicians to get a deal done, which is the most likely outcome before the treasury runs out of cash.
Given the political climate in the country, I do think we are probably more susceptible now than we've ever been to default, but at the end of the day, politicians on both sides of the aisle are common cowards, and so I'm near-certain they will collectively acquiesce towards getting a deal done.
Regardless of the ''deal or no deal'' style headline that'll pop up this week, there are two certainties most of us realists have already come to understand:
The country has essentially defaulted already, and so this week's outcome is pointless.
We'll have to ''take the medicine'' at some point, no matter how many times Paul Krugman invokes ''underwear gnomes'' and other rock solid methods of publicly justifying our financial irresponsibility.
QTR's Disclaimer: I am not a guru or an expert. I am an idiot writing a blog and often get things wrong and lose money. I may own or transact in any names mentioned in this piece at any time without warning and generally trade like a degenerate psychopath. In pieces that I did not write, but that I aggregated from other sources, I did not personally fact check them and am republishing them, with permission, because I found the content useful and believe my readers will too. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities or any asset class - just my opinions of me and my guests. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in and I'm sure have lost more than I've made in my time in markets. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. Positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I did my best to be honest about my disclosures but can't guarantee I am right; I write these posts after a couple beers sometimes. Also, I just straight up get shit wrong a lot. I mention it three times because it's that important.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:24
Miljoenenverlies voor BumaStemra | BNR Nieuwsradio
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:03
Financieel ' 22 mei '23 11:26 Auteur: Jorn LucasMuziekrechtenorganisatie BumaStemra heeft miljoenen euro's verloren op zijn beleggingsportefeuille. Door de waardedaling van zowel de aandelen als de obligaties zijn de verliezen opgelopen tot 27 miljoen euro. Leden zijn ontevreden en willen met het bestuur in gesprek over het beleggingsbeleid.
Dat schrijft het FD. BumaStemra int geld bij muziekgebruikers en geeft dit door aan componisten, tekstschrijvers en muziekuitgevers. In 2022 is een recordbedrag van 239 miljoen euro opgehaald, 22 procent meer dan het jaar ervoor.
Muziekrechtenorganisatie BumaStemra heeft miljoenen euro's verloren op zijn beleggingsportefeuille. Door de waardedaling van zowel de aandelen als de obligaties, zijn de verliezen opgelopen tot 27 miljoen euro. Leden zijn ontevreden en willen met het bestuur in gesprek over het beleggingsbeleid. ( Unsplash )'Het verlies is het gevolg van ontwikkelingen op de markt', zegt CFO Marleen Kloppers tegen de krant. 'De AEX is vorig jaar met 14 procent gedaald, terwijl tegelijk de rente steeg. Het is een combinatie die niet vaak voorkomt.' BumaStemra had vorig jaar een beleggingsportefeuille van 152 miljoen euro, 70 procent daarvan is belegd in obligaties.
Luister ook | BNR Beurs
Niet voor het eerstHet zou niet de eerste keer zijn dat de beleggingsportefeuille verlies oplevert. In 2018 bedroeg het verlies acht miljoen euro, in 2018 was er een negatief saldo van veertien miljoen. Volgens Kloppers wordt echter op lange termijn wel geld verdiend. 'Over de afgelopen tien jaar hebben we gemiddeld een positief resultaat van 3,8 miljoen euro', zegt ze tegen het FD. 'En daar zit het verlies van het afgelopen jaar bij in.'
Volgens BumaStemra-leden is beleggen 'niet nodig'. 'Beleggen is iets waar je vraagtekens bij kan zetten', zegt Erwin Angad-Gaur, directeur van de vakbond voor muzikanten Ntb en de beroepsvereniging van muziekauteurs VCTN in het FD.
Luister ook | De Technoloog - 'Streaming-music' laat muziekindustrie leven
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This artist has no genres Related artists genres:
Followers: 3 / Popularity: 4
');var c=function(){cf.showAsyncAd(opts)};if(typeof !== 'undefined')c();else{cf_async=!0;var r=document.createElement("script"),s=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];r.async=!0;r.src="";r.readyState?r.onreadystatechange=function(){if("loaded"==r.readyState||"complete"==r.readyState)r.onreadystatechange=null,c()}:r.onload=c;s.parentNode.insertBefore(r,s)};})();
(8 songs) Music AnalysisThese average metrics are based on artist top tracks
Happiness: 22/100
Danceability: 68/100
Energy: 54/100
Acousticness: 55/100
Instrumentalness: 54/100
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VIDEO - Weapons contractors hitting Pentagon with inflated prices | 60 Minutes - CBS News
Wed, 24 May 2023 21:43
With the U.S. supplying billions-of-dollars of munitions to Ukraine and growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait, some Pentagon generals are sounding alarms about the dwindling supply of U.S. weapons ... at a time when the cost of replacing them is skyrocketing '' we wondered why the Pentagon is finding it hard to procure weapons it needs at a price taxpayers can afford? A six-month investigation by 60 Minutes found it has less to do with foreign entanglements than domestic ones - what can only be described as price gouging by U.S. defense contractors.
Shay Assad: The gouging that takes place is unconscionable. It's unconscionable.
Perhaps no one understands the problem better than Shay Assad, now retired after four decades negotiating weapons deals. In the 1990s, he was executive vice president and chief contract negotiator for defense giant Raytheon . Then he switched sides'... under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Assad rose to be the Defense Department's most senior and awarded contract negotiator. The Pentagon, he told us, overpays for almost everything '' for radar and missiles '... helicopters '... planes '... submarines'... down to the nuts and bolts.
Shay Assad: This, Bill, is an oil pressure switch that NASA used to buy. Well, their oil switch cost with all of the cabling cost $328. This oil switch we paid over $10,000 for it.
Bill Whitaker: So what accounts for that huge difference?
Shay Assad: Gouging. What-- what else can account for it?
To Assad's former defense industry associates, he was "the most hated man in the Pentagon" for his dogged scrutiny of their pricing practices.
Shay Assad 60 Minutes Shay Assad: No matter who they are, no matter what company it is, they need to be held accountable. And right now that accountability system is broken in the Department of Defense.
Bill Whitaker: So does that affect our readiness?
Shay Assad: There's no doubt about it. You just can only buy so much, 'cause you only have so much money. And that's why I say, is it really any different than not giving a Marine enough bullets to put in his clip? It's the same thing.
Assad points to the Patriot weapons system, a pillar of air defenses for the U.S., NATO, Ukraine and Taiwan. In 2015, Assad ordered a review and Army negotiators discovered Lockheed Martin and its subcontractor, Boeing, were grossly overcharging the Pentagon and U.S. allies by hundreds of millions of dollars for the Patriot's PAC-3 missiles.
Shay Assad: And over a seven-year period these companies just keep rakin' it in.
Bill Whitaker: What level of profit are we talking about?
Shay Assad: Well-- if the average profitability that was negotiated in a firm fixed price contract was typically between 12% and 15%, so a company could make--
Bill Whitaker: --that's a good profit.
Shay Assad: Sure.
But Shay Assad told us Pentagon analysts found total profits approached 40%.
Shay Assad: Based on what they actually made, we would've received an entire year's worth of missiles for free.
Bill Whitaker: An entire year worth of missiles.
Shay Assad: We woulda got 'em for free.
Boeing declined our request for comment. Lockheed told us: "we negotiate with the government in good faith on all our programs." But after the review, the Pentagon negotiated a new contract with the company, saving $550 million.
Shay Assad: Well that's how you become the most hated man in the Pentagon. When you say, "No, no, we're-- we're actually gonna pay attention to this."
Army negotiators also caught Assad's former employer Raytheon making what they called "unacceptable profits" from the Patriot system by dramatically exaggerating the cost and hours it took to build the radar and ground equipment.
How the Pentagon falls victim to price gouging by military contractors Bill Whitaker: You called Raytheon on the carpet.
Shay Assad: Yes, I did. You know, of course, I reported that information up the chain. But then I went to the inspector general. And-- I also went to-- the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. And I said, "I want this looked into."
Raytheon told us it is working to "equitably resolve" the matter, and in 2021 CEO Gregory Hayes informed investors the company would set aside $290 million for probable liability.
CEO Gregory Hayes (in 2021): "I will say this is an ongoing investigation by DOJ'... We think these were one-off events that occurred'... should not have occurred, but they did."
Bill Whitaker: One-offs?
Shay Assad: No, it's not one-off. And it's not one-off with a lotta companies.
A Department of Defense study released last month found major contractors flush with tens-of-billions-of Pentagon dollars to hand out to shareholders.
Shay Assad: We have to have a financially healthy defense industrial base. We all want that. But what we don't wanna do is get taken advantage of and hoodwinked.
Bill Whitaker: And the U.S. has nowhere else to go?
Shay Assad: We have nowhere else to go. For many of these weapons that are being sent over to Ukraine right now, there's only one supplier. And the companies know it.
It wasn't always like this. The roots of the problem can be traced to 1993, when the Pentagon, looking to cut costs, urged defense companies to merge. Fifty one major contractors consolidated to five giants.
Shay Assad: The landscape has totally changed. In the '80s, there was intense competition amongst a number of companies. And so the government had choices. They had leverage. We have limited leverage now.
The problem was compounded when the Pentagon, in another cost saving move, cut 130,000 employees whose jobs were to negotiate and oversee defense contracts.
Bill Whitaker: The watchdogs in the government,
Shay Assad: The watchdogs, the negotiators, the engineers, the program managers. Over 50% was removed.
Bill Whitaker: It was the era of, you know, downsizing--
Shay Assad: Absolutely.
Bill Whitaker: The government, getting government outta'... let business-
Shay Assad: Let business do their thing, right? It was ultimately a disaster.
Bill Whitaker: And the government was complicit.
Shay Assad: Yes. They were convinced that they could rely on the companies to do what was in the best interests of the war fighters and the taxpayers.
The Pentagon granted companies unprecedented leeway to monitor themselves. Instead of saving money, Assad told us the price of almost everything began to rise. In the competitive environment before the companies consolidated, a shoulder fired stinger missile cost $25,000 in 1991. With Raytheon now the sole supplier, it costs more than $400,000 to replace each missile sent to Ukraine '... even accounting for inflation and some improvements that's a seven-fold increase.
Chris Bogdan: Industry's motivations and objectives are different than the Department of Defense's.
Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan 60 Minutes Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan spent his career overseeing the purchase of some of the country's most critical weapons systems.
Chris Bogdan: They are companies that have to-- to-- to survive, make profit. The Department of Defense, on the other hand, wants the best weapon systems it can have as quickly as possible and as inexpensively as possible. Those are opposite ends of the spectrum.
Bill Whitaker: But in our system, there's nothing wrong with profit.
Chris Bogdan: No, there isn't. But taken to an extreme industry may not make the best decisions in the best interests of the government.
General Bogdan says we've only begun to feel the full impact. In 2012, he was tapped to take the reins of the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program '' it was seven years behind schedule and $90 billion over the original estimate. But Bogdan told us the biggest costs are yet to come for support and maintenance, which could end up costing taxpayers $1.3 trillion.
Chris Bogdan: We won't be able to buy as many F-35s as we thought. Because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy air-- more airplanes when you can't afford the ones you have.
The Pentagon had ceded control of the program to Lockheed Martin. The contractor is delivering the aircraft the Pentagon paid to design and build, but under the contract, Lockheed and its suppliers retained control of design and repair data '' the proprietary information needed to fix and upgrade the plane.
Bill Whitaker: So you spend billions and billions of dollars to get this plane built. And it doesn't actually belong to the Department of Defense?
Chris Bogdan: The weapon system belongs to the department. But the data underlying the design of the airplane does not.
Bill Whitaker: We can't maintain and sustain the planes without Lockheed's--
Chris Bogdan: Correct. And that's because-- that's because we didn't-- we didn't up front either buy or negotiate getting the-- the technical data we needed so that when a part breaks, the DOD can fix it themselves.
F-35 on a runway 60 Minutes When a part breaks, it's likely to come from a subcontractor like TransDigm, which has seen its stock soar as it buys up companies the military depends on for spare parts. Founder Nick Howley has twice been called before Congress over accusations of price gouging. Shay Assad's review team found the government "will pay" the company "$119 million" for parts that "should cost $28 million."
Rep. Robin Kelly (during a congressional hearing): Could you sell to the DOD these parts at a lower price and still make a reasonable profit?
Nick Howley (during a congressional hearing): I don't believe that's the question for us.
TransDigm told us it follows the law and charges market prices. But in 2006, Shay Assad says Apache helicopters were unable to fly without a crucial valve. TransDigm had taken over the manufacturer and hiked the price of the valve by $747, up almost 40%.
Shay Assad: We said, "Look, we need these parts to go on aircraft that are in Iraq." They simply said, "We're not gonna ship it until you cough up."
Bill Whitaker: To the battlefield?
Shay Assad: That's correct. This was going to the battlefield.
Mark Owen, Kathryn Foresman and Julie Smith 60 Minutes By 2018, the valve would grow to cost almost $12,000. A Pentagon report called it "extortion"... in March, the Pentagon announced its largest budget ever: $842 billion '' almost half will go to defense contractors. While contract spending is going up, Pentagon oversight is going down, through cuts and attrition. We met with recently retired auditors Julie Smith and Mark Owen, and contracting officer Kathryn Foresman: who are part of the downsizing. They told us with less oversight and Shay Assad now gone, the Pentagon is losing the battle to hold down prices.
Bill Whitaker: So-- explain to me, why can't the Department of Defense just step up to TransDigm and say, "No, we're not gonna pay that?"
Julie Smith: 'Cause we don't have another source for a lot of the spares that they provide right now. They are the literally only game in town in order to make-- an aircraft fly. So we're at their mercy.
Bill Whitaker: Does that make sense to any of you?
Kathryn Foresman: No. It is very concerning to me. Contractors see that they can do this, they are the ones that hold the power.
Mark Owen: So it's not really a true capitalistic market because one-- one company is telling you what's gonna happen.
Bill Whitaker: So if it's not a capitalistic system, what is it?
Kathryn Foresman: It's a monopoly.
Mark Owen: Monopoly.
Shay Assad: If you're happy with companies gouging you and just looking you right in the eye and say, "I'm gonna keep gouging you because I know you don't have the guts to do anything about it." Then I guess we should just keep doing what we're doing.
In reporting this story, the Defense Department allowed 60 Minutes some background interviews with analysts, but ultimately decided not to provide any one to speak on camera.
Produced by Sam Hornblower. Broadcast associates, Mabel Kabani and Natalie Breitkopf. Edited by Stephanie Palewski Brumbach.
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Episode Summary Michael Malice (''YOUR WELCOME'') is joined by journalist and author, Andy Ngo, to discuss the growing hostility of Antifa, his experience being assaulted while out in the field, and his thoughts on the use of violence to instigate changes in politics and legislation. Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy - THE WHITE PILL: THE ANARCHIST HANDBOOK: THE NEW RIGHT: DEAR READER: Intro song: "Out of Reach" by Legendary House Cats The newest episode of "YOUR WELCOME" releases on iTunes and YouTube every Thursday! Please subscribe and leave a review. This week's sponsors:4Patriots '' Survival Food Kits:, promo code: MALICE (10% off)Fast Growing Trees: Gold Group '' No Fee IRA: Call 888-505-9845 or visit (Free investor guide)PlutoTV '' Streaming TV: Pluto.tvRhone '' The Commuter Collection: (20% off)Sheath - Dual Pouch Underwear:, promo code: MALICE (20% off)VNSH '' Universal Gun Holster: ($50 discount)ZBiotics '' Pre-Alcohol Probiotic: (15% off)
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0:37Intro. [Recording date: April 20, 2023.]
Russ Roberts: Today is April 20, 2023, and my guest is economist Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago. This is Casey's third appearance on EconTalk. He was last here in October 2016 talking about Cuba.
Our topic for today is drug regulation, including Operation Warp Speed, which was the government's program to expedite and encourage the creation and distribution of COVID [coronavirus disease] vaccines. Casey, welcome back to EconTalk.
Casey Mulligan: Hi, Russ.
1:06Russ Roberts: So, our conversation today is loosely based on a recent article of yours late last year in the Journal of Law and Economics. It's part of a special issue in honor of Sam Peltzman. The title of your article was "Peltzman Revisited: Quantifying 21st Century Opportunity Costs of Food and Drug Administration Regulation." The Food and Drug Administration also goes by the acronym--the abbreviation--FDA.
Let's talk about Peltzman's original article on the FDA that you're revisiting, the 1973 piece that really got an immense amount of attention and had a huge impact. What was his finding? What was he looking at?
Casey Mulligan: Well, the FDA began in the early 20th century. I forget the exact time, but they were just supposed to check that new drugs coming on line were safe. [Note: In this transcript, I am going to use the two words 'on line' meaning coming into existence, which has nothing to do with the one word 'on line' referring to the internet--Econlib Ed.] Whether they achieved the clinical goals or not was a different issue.
And then, in 1962, I believe, they were given a second mandate, which is to confirm that the new drugs were also effective.
And, Peltzman's study, which was published in the early 1970s, was looking back at some--how's it gone since 1962 now that the FDA has gotten into that new business? And, he had a famous chart. I don't know, you'll probably include it with the podcast here, showing new drugs coming out in the market; and they just take a nose dive after 1962. And, that's what people usually remember about the paper.
Then the idea being--two ideas. One idea would be: Well, there's entry barriers to entering that market. So, fewer people entry when you raise the barrier. Because getting that extra approval from FDA requires time and resources.
Now, the other point of view is: Well, that's the whole point. There were ineffective drugs--I'm taking the charitable view to FDA here--there were ineffective drugs that were making it through before 1962, and now they're not there. So, they're not in the total.
The part that of Sam's paper that people don't remember as well but is crucial, is: Well, how do you distinguish those two? What are the character of the drugs that would have come on line after 1962 but we didn't see? It's not so easy, because we don't see them.
So, he did two things. One is he said, 'Well, we had other judges of the efficacy of drugs before the FDA got in that business, so to speak.' And, he points to two. One being: doctors, physicians, I believe was the AMA Physician Association [American Medical Association Physician Association] had taken upon themselves to recommend to their members: 'Should you use this drug? Is it achieving the clinical goals?' And, Sam used that to show that there weren't a whole lot of ineffective drugs coming on line before the FDA became a gatekeeper.
Then the other thing he did, he said that, 'Well, the market. The market will eventually figure it out.' So, what he did, and we look at the rate of decline of sales of new drugs. Because before 1962, the charitable FDA view would be, 'Well, we got drugs coming on line. Some of them are ineffective and the market eventually figures it out and they're not able to sell that drug after a period of time.'
So, new drugs should have pretty low growth rates in their sales on average before 1962. And then, the Fed [??] would clean that up because they would censor out the drugs that market would be in the process of discovering their wastefulness. And, so, drugs would grow at a higher rate. And, those are two things you look at.
Russ Roberts: You said, 'The Fed.' You mean the market would clear that up?
Casey Mulligan: Yeah, the market, yes.
So, those are the two things he looked at. And both of them pointed to very little addition of the FDA to those market and expert processes that were already in place before 1962. So, Sam concluded they're just a barrier to getting in here and they're not a very good censor[?sensor?] on top of what the market was already offering.
5:41Russ Roberts: And, this became a--I think economists cared more about this than the average person, in many ways. Our profession, going back to Frederic Bastiat, the French economist, we're interested in not just the seen, but the unseen. And the claim, which Peltzman effectively was making--and other economists have echoed it since--is that the FDA kills people. That, drugs that would have otherwise come on line or come on--been available--sooner because the regulatory process would've been shorter, were delayed, or it didn't happen at all. And, it discouraged innovation. And, while it's nice that people didn't waste money on ineffective drugs, it was not nice that drugs that might otherwise have come along didn't or came along later. And that was horrible for human health.
Something it can--to take a strange, perhaps for a non-economist, a strange analogy--things that make airplane travel more expensive and push people into driving their cars, which of course are much more dangerous than traveling by plane. And because demand slopes downward, because people respond to prices--and certainly in travel--less so in drugs because they're often paid for by third parties. But, that this: the FDA is a bad. It's a bad. It's not just like, 'Oh, they were maybe imperfect.' They were having negative effect on human wellbeing.
Did Peltzman try to measure the magnitude of the harm?
Casey Mulligan: Yes. It was based mostly off that picture that I mentioned, the number of drugs that were missing. And, I think his conclusion was: Well, this particular new mandate of the FDA is costing prescription drug consumers on average about 5% or 10% of their spending. He analogized it to having a 5% to 10% excise tax on prescriptions.
Russ Roberts: Which seems kind of small.
Casey Mulligan: Yeah. Back then, especially now, the prescription drug market is quite a large market now.
8:19Russ Roberts: But, it wasn't seen as small. In my view--and at least it was my perception in the profession was viewed as devastatingly bad--for people.
And, through most of my lifetime as a professional economist--I've mentioned this many times on the program--the complaint about the FDA among economists is they just take too long. And, that has a costly effect on the incentives to innovate, but also just availability of things that might help people lead healthier, longer lives.
In recent years--and we'll get to COVID in a second--but in recent years, my feeling is that the FDA approves things. They take a long time still. They're a little faster maybe than they used to be, but they still take a long time. They approve a lot of drugs that are, quote, "effective" but only marginally more effective than the existing drugs on the market. And thereby maintain the profits of the industry with very, very, very small benefits for consumers in terms of health.
We've talked a lot about this with Vinay Prasad and others that on average, you might get an extra month of life and that preserves the monopoly power of a new drug that isn't much better than its existing drugs, delays the advent of generics. And, that that is the biggest complaint one could have with the FDA now. Do you agree with that assessment?
Casey Mulligan: What you're referring to is the me-too drugs or--they're marginal additions to what's already available. And, maybe FDA gets some of the blame for that. Certainly, there's a relationship between the industry and the FDA. George Stigler told us not to be surprised by that.
Russ Roberts: Yes, he did.
Casey Mulligan: But, another factor is the threat of price controls. So, if you have a radically new drug that's really valuable because it's not just replacing some previous drug, you're not going to have competition by definition of that, and you're going to charge a lot. Then, the do-gooders in Washington are going to come and take your profits. So, that's another force toward, trying to escape regulation in the future. You just do a me-too innovation rather than a blockbuster.
Russ Roberts: Yeah. It would be interesting to get some measure of the magnitude of those effects. A lot of drugs that are effective, much better than the existing stable of treatments that doctors have and patients have to choose from, still do charge an immense amount of money for them. And, those prices are set kind of bizarrely in that often the government--Medicare isn't allowed to negotiate. Foreign governments do all the time. My drugs here in Israel are dirt cheap. It deludes some people into thinking that the Israeli healthcare system is great. There are parts of it that are pretty great. I've been lucky so far and enjoyed my interaction with the healthcare system. But, drug prices are a particularly good example.
And, devices generally--medical device pricing--is similar, where something looks very inexpensive, but that's because we here in Israel and elsewhere around the world are free-riding on the only place where manufacturers can make money. And, that's in the United States market--often providing--50% or more of the profits of a new drug are coming from that unregulated monopoly opportunity for American drug companies.
I think there's some still pretty big opportunities for profits there for the industry. You could argue it's not big enough. Drugs that are thousands of dollars a month and mostly paid for, of course, by Medicare subsidy is--and then to the rest of the world, dirt cheap because they negotiate--is a very strange model. Doesn't seem like a very healthy model for the system.
Casey Mulligan: I'm not sure the free ride is so free. In Israel, a little bit unusual: You guys pay with your data. But, putting that aside, in Europe in general, they're getting the drugs later. I believe the average delay is like three years on new drugs. You look at cancer oncology where we have all kind of new drugs, and look at: what are the cancer patients in Europe getting treated with? They're getting treated with the older stuff. And it's showing up in survival, conditional on the size of the tumor they discover. If they discover the tumor in the United States, you're going to live something like 18 months longer. And, yeah: those new drugs are more expensive. It is not free.
Russ Roberts: Why is there a three-year delay? They don't usually have more regulatory hurdles for approval. Is that an approval then of the dispensary, essentially?
Casey Mulligan: Yeah. A drug is not just a chemical. It has to be distributed. The doctors need to be informed and brought on line.
And, what's your hurry when you're not going to make any money in England or France or wherever it is?
Whereas in the United States, we also have this pharmaceutical benefit manager system that helps. On Day One--when FDA does thumbs up, there's a whole financing there, ready to go for the patients to get it on Day One. And, they're incentivized to do that because there's a lot of money on the table.
This is a mistake we economists try to discourage. It's like the product is not just some chemical--or Coke and Pepsi, it might be the same darn chemical--but there's other parts to the product and they can be boring.
Look at the socialist systems. They focus just on the narrow definition of what a product is and they miss all the other things--distribution, understanding, and information. These are boring, but they make the world go round. And, guys making money do the boring stuff and allow us to have what we have.
Russ Roberts: Yeah. A lot of people think that coming up with a good idea is the road to wealth. It's a very small part of it.
Forgetting pharmaceuticals for a moment. Most areas of our lives, there are a lot of other pieces to it, as you suggest, that are often more important. And, you'll hear somebody say, 'Oh, well, they had that idea. I had it, too,' as a person in the street, forgetting that having the idea is only a very small part of putting it into a--it's not just a question of marketing or distribution. It's also a question of making it actually usable. And, that is often an enormous piece of the innovation story.
I make an analogy--I don't know if you agree with this--but I'm an enormous fan of Adam Smith; but I'm happy to concede that many of his ideas came from other people or he certainly wasn't the first to develop them. But, he developed them very well and he wrote very well and he wrote clearly and with a little bit of humor. And, that counts. It's not a small thing. It's a big thing. And, to say, 'Oh, well, yeah, all he did was write up ideas that other people come up with.' Some of them, yes, he was able to pull them together in a way no one had before. He had some of his own insights; but above all, he packaged it in a way that was palatable and was pleasant to consume because he was a brilliant writer. And, I think that's not unimportant.
Casey Mulligan: I agree. And then, there's an example in the paper that we're talking about today where I believe I pointed out in this paper that you take the Oxford vaccine. They got a formula--not the same as Pfizer's formula--but for our own purposes, they basically got the formula. That's the thing you're talking about: they invented the thing. But, they were philosophically opposed to working with for-profit companies. So, they broke their deal with Merck. Merck is capable of doing all the boring stuff, like making it a billion times over.
Making the first three batches is exciting. The remaining billion are very boring. But, they weren't capable of doing that--the whole distribution. So, they fired Merck because they were going to earn a profit and that's evil. And, they ended up getting AstraZeneca, which promised to earn no profit, but it delayed the rollout of that vaccine by about three[?] months. And, that had a tremendous cost.
17:25Russ Roberts: Well, let's turn to the COVID vaccine. We had Greg Zuckerman on the program talking about the science and the intellectual innovation that the mRNA [messenger ribonucleic acid] vaccines were represented. It is an amazing story. What role did Operation Warp Speed--the government program to subsidize that process--what was the idea behind Operation Warp Speed?
Casey Mulligan: And, I don't know if you mean historically, but we had in our National Security Council, the lady, Luciana Borio, who had worked back to the AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] era. And, she was concerned about national security implications of disease. And she felt that vaccine was a very important national security tool to protect us, from that perspective. We happened to be across the hall from her, a bit of an accident. We were working with her because we had economic expertise on vaccines, particularly in FDA in general. The idea--we didn't call it Warp Speed back then--but the idea is, well, in the pandemic, there are different trade-offs between speed and efficacy. It makes no sense to wait three years to have the super-effective vaccine versus having one that's kind of effective right away.
And so, we concluded, more on the economic side, that the regulatory hurdles must be different and lower.
And second of all, there may be some role for advanced purchases so that the manufacturers can do some of the boring stuff without worrying whether they're going to--the drug is going to be even worth doing the boring stuff with.
Russ Roberts: So, what year is this, Casey, and what were you doing across the hall?
Casey Mulligan: 2018. I was working in the White House Council of Economic Advisers. We were--it's across the driveway from the West Wing of the White House, the Eisenhower building--and we were on one side of the hall. And Ms. Borio was on the other side of the hall in the National Security offices. And, we had a team of very good economists in general, but also experts on health. So, we were engaged actually with a lot of FDA issues before getting into this national security issue. So, that was in 2018 when we began that project. President Trump was very excited about it.
Normally, we do a project, we roll out a report; nobody pays attention. But the President said, 'Please don't roll this out quite yet, because I want to get a spot on my calendar so I can be engaged with this. Because, I think this is really important.' So, we did. So, it wasn't until 2019 that we rolled out the report. The President wanted--he doesn't do reports. He does executive orders. So, he put an Executive Order and said things like: We may get a virus, it might be from a bioweapon, it may be from escape from an animal, but we need to have--I'm ordering all my agencies to do things different, do it fast. We're going to have advanced purchases.
And, he had a signing ceremony. Dr. Fauci dressed up in his doctor outfit and came over. First time he had met Trump. Nobody paid attention except those of us around the White House. We were very excited by it because this was September of 2019. And, five months later, we would have COVID and we would call it Operation Warp Speed.
21:23Russ Roberts: So, I like the idea that EconTalk will be valuable for a long time, maybe even after I'm gone. And, either it is archived or renewed with a new host. But it already seems like ancient history. I'm imagining that 20 years from now, people will be studying the COVID pandemic, and this conversation may help provide some background.
So, I want to move forward to March of 2020. I remember my father was dying and I went and visit him many times in the hospital. Turns out he had SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome]. He may have had COVID. I don't know. But, to go visit him in the hospital at that time--he had many other things wrong. The SARS just was like a side thing.
And, we, as the visiting family, had to gown up and mask up. And, by the way, the employees didn't pay any attention to those rules. And, I'd say, 'Why aren't you wearing a mask?' They'd say, 'Oh, everybody here has SARS. It's in everybody's system already.' 'Okay.' My dad was 88, I think, at the time, or 89. For him, SARS wasn't--he needed some help with his lungs, sadly. But, here we are wearing these masks and we had already begun to hear reports. This is March. Very early March, late February, we heard reports of some possible scourge that was coming our way. We had no idea of knowing anything about how likely that was.
But, the part I remember is we were using masks very cavalierly, meaning: Yeah, you put a new one on, you tried this one, you put another one on. They would break, you put. And, I joked with the nurse that, 'Hey, maybe these are going to be really valuable.' She had a box of them.
And of course, the other thing that was memorable about that time--again, pre-COVID, a week or two, three weeks before it really hit here--there was Purell running wild in that hospital. As an economist, I remember thinking, 'I think we're a little too clean here. This is a little bit unhealthy to be killing every germ.' But there are dispensers on every wall and in every hallway. And, it's easy access, baby. And you--one pump, you get a big giant dollop of it. And, you use it multiple times.
So, shortly after this, again, there are--now at the end of March, I would say, I might be wrong--three, I'll count in a second, three things that I as an economist was deeply worried about. Availability of masks, availability of ventilators, which at the time seemed to be the only lifesaving treatment for people who were struck by this first version of COVID, and a vaccine. So, we had no vaccine. We, quote, "had a ventilator shortage." We had not stockpiled them. Trump was talking about doing crazy things like getting General Motors in the ventilator production business. And, third, we didn't have enough masks.
And, one of the things that upset me--I'd love to hear your thoughts, insight at that time--was that there was zero discussion of any market process that might help with this. Masks--people who sold masks at a premium were either sometimes arrested or threatened with jail or fined for price gouging. Ventilators similarly seemed to--there didn't seem to be any market response. And, of course, we were told that vaccines, 'Oh my gosh, even if someone could create a vaccine, I mean it's going to take years, at least a year and a half or more to get, if not more than that, to get government approval. So, don't count on vaccines.'
And, ventilators went into the special program to create them outside the market, through the government. And, masks: 'Well, we'll just do the best we can.' Fauci at this point was telling people masks are not effective. I debate this with listeners occasionally because somehow Fauci becomes another way to express our partisan politics. But, my memory is that the medical establishment, whether it's Fauci or not, discouraged individuals from using masks because there just weren't enough. Instead of finding market ways to increase them, we were told, 'Oh, they don't work that well.' And, that way, medical people who were doing God's work, I mean it was a terribly frightening time; and, very brave nurses and doctors who felt a sense of responsibility did put their lives on the line and died. Many died.
So, my heart goes out to them, but I wish we had chosen a different way to increase the availability of masks rather than telling the public that we should not use them. And, I wish that ventilators had not been some special program, and I wish that vaccines had been given a price incentive.
But none of those things happened. So, tell me in your view at the time, in real-time, what kind of conversations do you remember from that time, and what did we end up doing in each of those areas?
Casey Mulligan: Sure. Well, my last day in the Oval Office was February 13, 2020. After that, you had to quarantine two weeks every time you returned. So, I said, 'That's it. I'm in Chicago from now on.' But, on that day in the Oval Office--we had a whole background with FDA policy prior to that because one of the President's key promises was to bring down drug prices. And, we had a major battle within the Administration: Do we bring down drug prices with regulation or with deregulation? And, the econ team was like--Peltzman showed us. Deregulation is the way to bring down prices. We had already seen it work--cell phones and other areas--so let's do it.
And, we did. I mean, Scott Gottlieb was brought on board very early. And, Scott's approach was: We're going to bring down some of these FDA barriers.
Russ Roberts: He was Commissioner of the FDA.
Casey Mulligan: Yeah, he was first commissioner of the FDA in the Trump Administration. And, drug prices fell in nominal terms for the first time in 46 years after going up beyond the rate of inflation in many years.
So, we had that background. The President himself had that background. It wasn't easy to get the FDA to approve these--especially generics--back then. So, the President himself had been engaged with the agency, learning how to turn that ship a little faster.
And so, at this day in the Oval Office--now we're in COVID, I actually think there were 13 COVID cases known, probably many more actually. But, on February 13th, we were dealing with COVID. And, a bunch of us staff are there and we're demoralized. We were like, 'The FDA, we just can't move them. They're too slow. They don't want to do anything different.' And, I remember the President saying, 'Guys, I've done this already. I'm going to do it again. Leave that to me. Don't worry. And, I know you're frustrated, but the FDA will go quick on this, and I'm going to make it happen.'
29:21Russ Roberts: There was a fourth thing I forgot about, which was the availability of tests. And, we had Paul Romer on the program very early in the pandemic talking about how allowing people to test themselves, even imperfectly, even if they didn't honor the result of the test and stay home, would have been a huge improvement in reducing the spread of the virus. I don't know if that's true. My suspicion is he is right. That was another terrible mistake.
So, in none of those cases did we use the market in any way to respond to that emergency. Do you agree with that?
Casey Mulligan: Well, first of all, there are regulatory barriers on the test, which shouldn't have been there. The University of Illinois created its own test it was allowed to use on its own employees and students, but they couldn't sell it to your college or any other place because that would be illegal. The FDA needed to approve that. So, there were regulatory barriers, for sure.
Certainly, the mentality in government and our profession was not around, number one, supply. 'I hear you describing supply.' 'Yeah. Let's all[?] flatten the curve.' 'No, let's build more intensive care units.' Let's--not try to choke off demand by some other method, even with the Chinese, were building hospitals like crazy. So, there's a supply element.
Again, innovation--boring types of innovation--by having everybody stay home from work where workplaces are the place that we formed to come up with ideas and implement things and cooperate together. And, we weren't allowed to be together and cooperate; and we would've discovered some boring stuff like how to implement tests or whatever. It would've been very boring, but it would've kind of worked. And, we weren't allowed to do that. And, I complained about that. I wrote about that in March of 2020 already: that we're killing innovation here, and innovation on the boring stuff is going to be crucial.
Now, you said we didn't have a vaccine. We had a vaccine. The same day we closed schools in Chicago and most of America, March--I believe 16th or 18th, it was a Monday--was the day the vaccine was administered to humans. Now, it was under FDA auspices and everything. So, I think Warp Speed was great and it got it quicker, but Warp Speed should have been even quicker. In March, we should already had people voluntarily: If they want to be first in line to get this vaccine, they could do it. Throughout the summer, more and more people would've tried. They wouldn't have grown[?] horns; other people would've signed up. So, by the fall, we would have a lot of people already vaccinated.
So, the FDA was still a barrier there. Thankfully, they didn't take the normal 18 months, but the nine months was too long, in my opinion.
Russ Roberts: So, it was a miracle. There was a scientific miracle, an incredible intellectual achievement of human beings to find a remarkably safe--not entirely--remarkably safe way to protect people from this disease. Then, for the government, they did it, I think, what? Was it a week? Was it a week that Moderna took to--
Casey Mulligan: January 6th when they had their formula.
Russ Roberts: And, they'd started?
Casey Mulligan: I'm not sure when they started.
Russ Roberts: It's slightly misleading. Obviously, it was the result of literally years and maybe decades of progress. Slow and false starts, bad--things that didn't work.
But, once they got focused on it and were able to use that past knowledge, it was week I think, or weekend. My memory is a weekend that they actually were able to specify the formula they thought would be effective. We didn't know if it would be, of course. As you say, we could have tried it on humans right away. Many people would've lined up to be those Guinea pigs because they were scared, and they would've maybe seen it as a national--a contribution to the country and to humanity. But, that was not allowed. And, so the process did have its somewhat normal stretch.
So, you could argue that: Well, nine months compared to 18 versus three and a half years was also a miracle for the government. It's incredibly fast.
But your point is that nine months was incredibly costly. And, in the case of an emergency like this that they might have taken a political risk. The President couldn't or didn't want to push that through. Instead, what he did is he subsidized the purchases of those--of the first millions of vaccines to reduce the uncertainty that the industry faced in worrying about pricing and confiscation.
A lot of people argued we should just, once they figured it out, we just confiscate it and they should get no money at all. It's immoral to profit from a vaccine. So, again, whether the glass is half full or half empty doesn't really matter. But that's what happened, right?
Casey Mulligan: Yes. And also, the manufacturing: we wanted those companies to get the assembly line going, because they got to make billions. And, this is something we had emphasized in the Executive Order in 2019: You're going to have to make billions of these things. So, get working on it and maybe the thing that you're going to make billions of doesn't even work. And, you're not going to end up shipping any out the door. But, we want your assembly line ready. And, that's where the advanced purchase came in.
Russ Roberts: And again, although I would have preferred probably a market response with charities being able to find ways to get access to these vaccines for people who couldn't afford a market price, that's not the way we went. You remember the budgetary cost of Operation Warp Speed, the expenditure?
Casey Mulligan: It was $10 billion.
Russ Roberts: That's a really small amount of money. Explain.
Casey Mulligan: Yeah. Having the vaccine allowed us to get back to a more normal life. The other side of that is to cut these opportunity costs, the things that we weren't able to do because we were trying to escape that virus.
Maybe some of those things are wasteful, but certainly public schools were explicitly linked--their opening was explicitly linked to having the vaccine. So, blame that on the Teachers' Union if you want. But, we lived in a world with the Teachers' Union, so the vaccine allowed those public schools to get open again, eventually. So, that allowed us to get back to normal. What's normal worth in our economy? Something like a trillion every six months.
So, we were saving a trillion, $2 trillion--something like that--by accelerating the distribution of this vaccine. And, it cost the government $10 billion. Many decimal places different. It was a spectacular rate of return on a government program. Although, I focused more on the deregulation part of it than what the government was spending out of the Treasury. But, if you want to put it in those terms, it was a great rate of return.
36:58Russ Roberts: As an economist, my favorite part of your paper: You try to measure the benefits. It's hard to do. You have to make a lot of assumptions. The value of a life--the life of a 20-year-old is not worth the same as life of an 85-year-old--and so on. And, it's hard to put a monetary value on that. We understand that.
But, it's large, the benefits. What I enjoyed particularly about your paper as an economist is a recognition that when you don't allow certain things on the market--like a vaccine--people don't just go, 'Oh, okay.' They look for other ways to be safe.
And, so, all the behaviors that we followed as individuals using the knowledge of--the local knowledge of--time and place, these include things like washing your groceries. And, for those of you who are too young to remember this, because it was three years ago. In the early days of the pandemic, when you went to the grocery, you wiped down your cans and your packages of pasta, because you did not know, and you were worried that the virus could spread through contact. I don't think that turned out to be true, but there was a lot of things we did. That's one.
We stayed away from our friends. That's two.
People didn't go to school. That's three.
All these things we did were the normal, incentive-based responses that people have in periods of uncertainty and risk. And, it's incredibly important that--one of the great values of economics is reminding people that those things are going to happen. Certain chains of events are--of causation--are going to be put in place.
And, as you say, every day that that vaccine was not available deterred the return to normal life. And, that was very costly.
Casey Mulligan: Yeah. I think one of the theoretical contributions of the paper, conceptual, is to crystallize that idea that the alternatives--because the FDA has a limited jurisdiction, there are plenty of quack medicines outside their jurisdiction.
And, closing the schools is a quack medicine. Sold to us by the Teachers' Union. Other countries weren't doing it. But the Teachers' Union is not under the jurisdiction of the FDA. So, they can sell closed schools as a quack medicine, and people fall for it. And, that's what we did. Doesn't have to be tested. Whatever. We just did it.
This is an issue I actually discussed with Scott Gottlieb toward the end of both of our terms. We weren't in COVID yet.
I also saw this in opioids. And, I was objecting. I said,' Scott, when you guys think about opioid policy,'--which comes in their jurisdiction because some opioids are prescriptions--'You guys totally ignore and you refuse--not only ignore it, you refuse--to consider other quack medicines that people will pursue if they can't get the prescriptions, such as heroin or fentanyl,' which is outside their jurisdiction. And, they were very much like lawyers: 'That's not our jurisdiction. We don't care.' I asked, 'Do you even make a phone call the Department of Justice or DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration]? No, they just totally ignore that.
And, we've had a lot of studies in economics making this pretty good case that by cracking down on prescriptions, actually more people died from opioids because they went outside FDA jurisdiction.
So, it's just conceptually the same point. And, it wasn't easy, hard for me to see in COVID, we were dealing with that issue.
Russ Roberts: Yeah. The point on that, opioids, which you write about in the paper, is that oxycontin, which is a very powerful opioid that made a lot of people's lives more pleasant because it reduced their pain, who did not get addicted to it. But, other people had struggled to deal with it. So, they would be going to prescription mills. They were going through legal channels. They would go to a doctor, pretend their knee was in pain or whatever it was, and get access to this drug that was giving them solace in other ways than reducing the pain of their knee. And, when that was not available, they turned to other methods.
We've had Sam Quinones on the program talking about how people who distributed fentanyl and other drugs would be outside those prescription drug places looking for opportunities to sell their product on the street. They'd give them away. It was a loss leader. They gave away free samples to get people addicted to it.
And, your point is that the last thing we want to do is make it hard for people to get the dangerous drug, because there's an even more dangerous drug they're going to be taking instead.
I think part of it is jurisdictional, legal. 'Oh yeah. That's not our area. We don't want to worry about that.' But, I think it's also just, again: If you don't have the economist's mindset of, 'And then what?'--the worry about unintended consequences--I think it doesn't come as naturally to people who aren't trained in that style of thinking.
Casey Mulligan: No, definitely. Our bread and butter, if we're still doing economic reasoning, is, 'What's the alternative?' That demand curve we draw, it's the quantity of this compared to the next best alternative from the consumer's point of view. So, you're right, it's very natural for us.
I don't know how the prescription opioid thing comes out[?], but no doubt in my mind has to be part of the calculus. You have to recognize what the alternatives are in the real world--not what the doctors wish your alternative is, but what the real-world alternative is.
42:58Russ Roberts: I want to go back to the quack medicine of closing schools--which I have to confess, when you said that, Casey, I did get a little bit of a tremor in my stomach, that level of blunt honesty. What convinced--I remember at the time, the argument was: While it's true that children are less vulnerable to COVID, they will get it at school, spread it among themselves playing on the playground, sitting in class, etc., etc. And then, they'll go visit their grandparents and kill them. Or their teachers, who are older than they are. And of course, that was the Teachers' Union--who you're blaming--that was their concern, which is normal. That would be the incentives we'd expect them to [?] to protect their rank and file, to pay their dues. How convinced are you that that was an error and what convinces you that that was an error given the logic that was made at the time, that was put forward at the time?
Casey Mulligan: So, everybody recognized that the children were much less harmed by that virus, in terms of the direct harm. Also, their parents, if their parents weren't terribly old, not an issue. Brothers and sisters, not an issue.
Now, elderly people was an issue. Now, did elderly mean 60, 65, 70, 75? We didn't quite know at that time.
So, first, there is a principle in public health that you protect the vulnerable. You don't take healthy people and rearrange their lives. So, the children were healthy, they were not vulnerable: shouldn't be rearranging their lives. And now, if there's some elderly teachers who need to be taken out or stay home, given permission to stay home. So, that would be just a public health principle we already had: somehow forgot it all of a sudden.
Also, economics is a quantitative science. So, I could think through, 'Okay, how many elderly teachers are there?' How many not-elderly teachers maybe live with their parent or have an elderly spouse at home? We can calculate.
And, I wrote a paper calculating these kind of things. And yes, even if I acknowledge that there would be some extra deaths by having schools open, they would be quite rare compared to all the lost human capital among the children.
So, I estimated something like the risk of teaching in person. I was the only one in my department by the way, teaching in person. But, the risk of teaching in person is something like driving a couple times around the block. If I drive a couple times around the block, that's all the more time that I might get in a car crash. But, it was a minuscule--on the orders of pennies per hour that you're teaching in person. It's not a zero in that view. So, that's one part of economics.
Another part of economics, what I mentioned earlier: These big organizations are good at cooperating, good at--that's why we have these organizations. So, my view is that workplaces and schools may end up being safer. Holding constant prevention activity, they'd be less safe because that's what the epidemiologist tell us: When you're together it's going to spread more. But, prevention is not going to be held constant; and an organization is better able to supply these local public goods. That's their whole point.
And so, you'll have more prevention--which my prediction and we were quickly seeing, like with the University of Illinois inventing its own test. These larger organizations were doing a lot more preventions than people were at home.
Also, the demand is lower at home. The Samuelson formula for public goods as well--we add the willingness to pay once for each person. And so, a big organization has got a willingness to pay orders of magnitude bigger, willing to pay for prevention than the family does or people living alone.
And then, the final part is Bayesian. I mean, is Bayesian economic statistics? I don't know. But we can update. It's kind of like automobile accidents. I gave that analogy. If we had a new traffic pattern on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, we don't have to wait for people to die. We can just count the accidents, because the accidents are much more common. And, you can say, 'Oh, we're getting a lot of accidents, we better go back to the drawing board.' In COVID, you had accidents. They're called cases. So, you could be measuring the cases before maybe anybody died and deal that way. Whereas if you never open the schools, then you never know what the cases are.
So, then there's also that Bayesian bias in favor of trying it out and doing some measurement. There was a very strong economic case for having the schools open. Maybe a lot of my colleagues weren't speaking up about it, but I think it was obvious.
Russ Roberts: Yeah, Emily Oster has spoken about it very early and we've interviewed her about it here.
48:29Russ Roberts: I want to go back to your--it was almost an aside. You said we forgot this public health principle to first protect the vulnerable. There was a paranoia which was hard to avoid, which was: other people are dangerous and so I need to stay away from them. I think if we had not locked out schools, not locked down workplaces, places of entertainment--for example, bars, restaurants--I think a lot of people would have stayed home for a while. They did. We saw this--you can see it in the data--on cell phone, leaving the house, and other travel, movement. There was a voluntary lockdown that took place as people sought to escape other people.
And, my favorite was I'd see people--and I'm sure you can still see it--people driving in their cars with a mask on, with no one else in the car. Or people walking on the street outside 10 feet away from other people wearing a mask. Some of that was ignorance. We didn't understand it fully. But, some of it I think was literally superstition, magic--I don't know what you want to call it--but a feeling that here's a--I can't remember the word right now. Talisman. That's the word. I've got a talisman. I have a magic thing that I'm doing the right thing and therefore I will be safe. So, that was going on in the beginning.
But after a while, I think people adjusted their views of the danger of it. And we learned more about it. But, we never went to the place that you said, before this we all knew was the right place, which was: Protect the vulnerable. Three epidemiologists--one of them, Jay Bhattacharya, who has been on the program--suggested that we should have focused on that and we should continue to focus on, in the middle of the pandemic. They have been vilified beyond imagination, which I think is one of the darkest moments in public health and certainly institutional honesty.
The role that government institutions played in trying to suppress that viewpoint is deeply disturbing to me. And of course, those brave people paid a price for that; and I salute them--the people who spoke out.
But, the point I want to add, and I've never spoken, I don't think about this on the program, but somehow it's now easier to talk about with the passage of time. An economist--who I will not name because I haven't gotten his permission--but, at the time, I remember him telling me, 'Don't tell anybody I said this, but do you think the following is true?'
And, the following was: 'You know, most of the leadership of America's political institutions and a lot of America's corporate institutions, they're old. And, if we focus on the vulnerable, we're going to have trouble keeping our positions of influence because younger people are going to step forward and we're going to be potentially the only ones who are quarantined. Let's quarantine everybody.'
Now, only an economist would have a thought like that, an economist trained in public choice and incentives. You want to react to that? [More to come, 51:51]
VIDEO - Casey Mulligan on Vaccines, the Pandemic, and the FDA 5/22/23 - YouTube
Wed, 24 May 2023 18:23
VIDEO - As Below, So Above | James Lindsay - YouTube
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:34
VIDEO - G7 calls for developing global technical standards for AI | Reuters
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:31
TOKYO, May 20 (Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations on Saturday called for the development and adoption of technical standards to keep artificial intelligence (AI) "trustworthy", saying governance of the technology has not kept pace with its growth.
While the G7 leaders, meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, recognised that the approaches to achieving "the common vision and goal of trustworthy AI may vary", they said in a statement the rules for digital technologies like AI should be "in line with our shared democratic values".
The agreement came after the European Union, which participates in the G7, inched closer this month to passing legislation to regulate AI technology, potentially the world's first comprehensive AI law that could form a precedent among the advanced economies.
"We want AI systems to be accurate, reliable, safe and non-discriminatory, regardless of their origin," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
The G7 leaders said they "need to immediately take stock of the opportunities and challenges of generative AI", a subset of the technology popularised by the ChatGPT app.
OpenAI's ChatGPT pushed Elon Musk and a group of AI experts to raise an alarm in March calling for a six-month pause in developing more powerful systems, citing potential risks to society. A month later, EU lawmakers urged world leaders to find ways to control AI technologies, saying they were developing faster than expected.
The United States so far has taken a cautious approach on governing AI, with President Joe Biden last month saying it remained to be seen whether AI is dangerous. Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed (MSFT.O) OpenAI, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the U.S. should consider licensing and testing requirements for development of AI models.
Japan, this year's chair of G7, has been even more accommodative, pledging support for public and industrial adoption of AI while monitoring its risks. "It's important to properly deal with both the potentials and risks," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the government's AI council last week.
The Western nations' differing approaches to AI are in contrast to China's restrictive policy. Its cyberspace regulator in April unveiled draft measures to align generative AI-powered services with the country's core socialist values.
While acknowledging differences on how AI should be regulated, the G7 leaders agreed on Friday to create a ministerial forum dubbed the "Hiroshima AI process" to discuss issues around generative AI, such as copyrights and disinformation, by the end of this year.
The leaders also urged international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to consider analysis on the impact of policy developments.
The summit followed a G7 digital ministers' meeting last month, where its members - the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and the EU - said they should adopt "risk-based" AI rules.
The EU and U.S. are also expected to exchange views on the emerging technologies at the Trade and Technology Council in Sweden on May 30-31.
Reporting by Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke in Hiroshima; Editing by William Mallard
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
VIDEO - Documentary: How Hospitals Are Making A Killing - Activist Post
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:27
By Neenah Payne
This Form Can Save Your Life When Hospitalized! explains that a growing number of lawsuits are charging that patients are being killed by hospital protocols for which hospitals earn huge profits. It explains that preparing a simple form now and submitting in the right way at the right time can help protect your rights and life if you have to be hospitalized.
In 'Making a Killing': How Hospitals Profited From Deadly COVID Protocols, Stella Paul said on 5/19/23:
The federal government sent Patty Myers $9,000 to pay for her husband's funeral '-- she used the money to make a documentary about how COVID-19 protocols killed patients like her husband while generating big profits for hospitals.
The article points out:
When the federal government sent $9,000 to Patty Myers to pay for her husband's funeral, she got angry. ''I didn't want to take a penny. It felt like hush money, like they were paying me to keep quiet about how my husband died in the hospital,'' she said.
In a burst of inspiration, Patty decided to take the government's money and use it to make a documentary. She found a director through a church friend on Facebook. She created, ''Making A Killing,'' which exposes the COVID-19 hospital protocol that she believes killed her husband and thousands of other Americans. ''When I started making this film, I didn't know about the federal money driving the protocol. I do now,'' Patty told me.
Federal Money Flooded Hospitals With Record-Breaking ProfitsThe article continues:
The federal money was titanic, flooding hospitals with cash that stimulated record-breaking profits. A new report from Open The Books reveals that the 20 largest nonprofit hospitals in America received more than $23 billion in federal aid during the 2018-2021 time period, and ''their cumulative net assets soared to $324.3 billion in 2021, up from 200.6 billion in 2018.'' And, in a wonderful development for the hospitals' top executives, those lavish taxpayer funds enabled many of them to get paid $10 million or more a year.
Alas, as Patty discovered, all that sweet federal money came with a catch: it incentivized specific medical treatments for COVID-19 that happened to be deadly. If the hospital admitted you with a COVID-19 diagnosis '-- great, they got paid more! If they ''treated'' you with remdesivir, a drug well-documented as lethal '-- fantastic, they got a 20% bonus on the whole bill! If the hospital tortured you with mechanical ventilation that caused secondary bacterial pneumonia '-- hooray, they got an even bigger payout! And if the hospital really lucked out and you died of COVID-19 (even if not directly of COVID-19) '-- the cash bonanza was absolutely awesome.
''The hospital billed over $500,000 for Tony's treatment and they couldn't even find someone to give him water,'' Patty said. I notice that Patty can't talk too long about Tony without breaking into sobs. ''He was my best friend. He was my partner. We did everything together,'' she said. And what they did together was not only difficult, it was inspirational. After they learned their son had autism, Patty and Tony teamed up to create two nonprofits to help kids with special needs in the Orlando area.
Patty is now executive director of Pathways for Life Academy, a private middle and high school that she and Tony founded, which prepares special needs kids for independence in life and learning. And she's also the director of Building Pathways, which offers classes and summer camps to teach these kids practical skills. Patty said: ''Tony called me from the hospital and said that we volunteer to advocate for people with disabilities all the time. And here I am in this hospital, trying to advocate for myself and nobody will listen. I've called the news media, the governor, anyone I can think of; nobody will respond.''
Tragically, Tony was locked into the Hospital Death Protocol, moving in predictable phases from remdesivir to ventilation, all while being isolated from his family and refused water, ice, or food.
Patty tells his story in ''Making a Killing'' in a poignantly straightforward manner, noting that the medical staff randomly stopped his breathing treatments.
Patty did manage an unusual triumph: she talked the staff into giving Tony ivermectin, which dramatically improved his condition. But her triumph was temporary: the staff then refused to keep giving it, telling her that it was not FDA-approved. Tony Myers died on Sept. 9, 2021, almost four weeks after he entered Orlando Health Hospital. He was 55 years old.
''Making A Killing'' also features Dayna Stevens, who tells of the brutal death of her mother. Rebecca Stevens read the Epoch Times, so she was informed enough to refuse both remdesivir and ventilation. But that didn't save her. Her normal medications were withheld and she was given remdesivir without her knowledge. ''The disdain they showed for my mother once they knew she was unvaccinated was unbelievable,'' Dayna told me. Dayna continued: ''They mocked and ridiculed her. Nurses told her that patients who were unvaccinated shouldn't be allowed to get oxygen. It's almost like they normalized cruelty. They wouldn't release her to me, so I called the cops.''
All of Dayna's efforts failed. She watched as medical staff at Advent Health Hospital in Altamonte Springs, Florida, took away her mother's oxygen and sedated her to death. Rebecca Stevens was 59, a grandmother of five.
The intense suffering of Patty and Dayna permeates the screen, leaving viewers bewildered. When did America transform into a place where patients have no rights and life is pathetically cheap? How did hospitals metastasize from houses of healing into chambers of horrors? Where did ''Do No Harm'' go?
Nobody knows how many people died due to the lethal hospital protocols. I've heard estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to over a million.
Senator Ron Johnson appears in ''Making a Killing'' to condemn the ''rigid top-down protocols'' that caused this catastrophe. ''Patients lost all their freedom when they went in the hospital,'' he said. And Robert Hall, a state senator from Texas, told Patty, ''Hospitals refused early treatments, and they treated patients wrong and too late. And they got huge financial incentives for a long hospital stay.''
The media has managed to muffle the voices of the bereaved, stifling their stories and ignoring the killing. For now, anguished family members have been confined to telling their stories to activist organizations like American Frontline Nurses, FormerFedsGroup Freedom Foundation and Protocol Kills.
But their voices may finally break through, now that they've entered the legal arena. Fourteen bereaved families in California have filed ''wrongful death'' lawsuits against three hospitals, claiming that their loved ones were murdered by the protocol. And the family of Grace Schara, a 19-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was sedated to death as her family watched on FaceTime, is suing a hospital in Wisconsin, ''to pave the way for thousands of other victims' families to file similar claims.''
As for Patty Myers, she's hard at work finishing up ''Making a Killing 2.'' Patty said: ''After the film came out, so many nurses reached out to me begging to tell their story. They want to share what they witnessed and how they were bullied to keep quiet. And we're following the money trail of the hospital protocols to see how it all worked. We're digging deep.''
I asked Patty how she got the money to make the new film, given that she had used up the government's funeral payout She said: ''I was at a Reawaken event with a sign that said, 'My husband was killed by the hospital protocols.' A man saw it and came over crying. He gave me the money.''
When I last spoke to Patty, she was hard at work at the school she and Tony founded, working on maintenance issues. ''Our kids in the nonprofits miss him,'' she told me. ''He was the maintenance guy and the bus driver. I miss him, too. Now I have to figure out how to fix everything by myself.''
Originally published by Brownstone Institute.
Stella Paul is the pen name of a writer in New York who has covered medical issues for over a decade. In 2021, she lost her husband in a locked-down nursing home in New York City where he had been brutally isolated for almost a year. He died one week after getting the vaccine. Stella is focused on exposing the Hospital Death Protocol to honor her husband's memory and to support thousands of bereaved families.
Patty Myers
Patty is the mother of 2 children, Chelsea and Charlie. Charlie was diagnosed with Autism in 2004. He is 21 years old. Patty graduated from King University with her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and then received her BCaBA (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst) certification through Florida Institute of Technology. Patty is the author of Autism Is A Blessing which was first published in 2008. Her son accompanies her to radio, television, and various speaking events to share their book and journey with autism.
She has volunteered her time to help fellow parents of children with special needs understand their child's rights regarding services and support. Her passion and heart for children and adults with special needs is evident in all that she does. Patty and her husband for years have advocated for children and adults with disabilities in many areas.
She previously was the Founder and President of a PT/OT/ST Therapy Company (All Southern Care Rehab) in Fort Lauderdale for over 9 years and then was the Principal for over 8 years at The First Hope of The First Academy (private Christian school for students with unique needs). She is currently the President/CEO of Pathways For Life Academy in Winter Garden, FL ( where she serves students with learning differences incorporating life and social skills integration for Middle and High Schoolers. She is also the President/CEO of Building Pathways Foundation, a nonprofit in Florida ( that helps teens and adults with disabilities learn life, social, and job skills.
Patty has been married to her husband Tony for 31 years + 1 in heaven and lives in Winter Garden, Florida. They were honored to receive the Heart Award from the Florida Network on Disabilities for the work they do to help Floridians with disabilities. Tony passed away in September 2021 due to deadly hospital protocols and it has been a difficult season for her. She now advocates for patients across the country giving them valuable information to save their lives.
The documentary points out:
This docu-series follows Patty Myers as she fights for change within the hospital industry. She shares how her late husband, Tony Myers, was poorly treated due to lack-of-care, malpractice, and restrictive (and ultimately deadly) hospital protocols. She also chats with senators and other individuals who have seen similar situations occur across the country. Join her on this journey as she not only fights for her husband, but also for patients to be in control of their healthcare journey. Enough is enough. It's time to speak up. It's time to take a stand. It's time for change.
Patty says on the site:
My husband Tony was a fun guy. I was married to him for 31+ years. He loved fishing, making people laugh, Virginia Tech College Football, and Jesus. He died unnecessarily due to deadly, ''stay-in-the-box,'' hospital protocols. I am here to stand up for him and for all the other millions of valued people in this country. My husband tried to fight for his life but the hospital kept saying no. We ALL need to STAND UP!
Watch DocumentaryFull Documentary
This film follows Patty Myers as she fights for change within the hospital industry. She shares how her late husband, Tony Myers, was poorly treated due to lack-of-care, malpractice, and restrictive (and ultimately deadly) hospital protocols. This is just the start of a docu-series we are going to make. If you would like to partner with us financially to help fund future projects such as these, please reach out to us today. Thank you for helping us spread awareness.
Greta Crawford: COVID Hospital Protocol KillsThe documentary interviews Greta Crawford, founder of ProtocolKills.
The video below includes an interview by Texas Senator Bob Hall with Greta who survived an horrendous hospital protocol. It explains how people who have had similar problems with hospitals can share their stories online.
Hospital Protocols '' COVID patients are dying because of hospital policies
The site explains:
Tune in as I visit with Greta Crawford on her firsthand COVID hospital experience. The good news is that the Omnicron variant of COVID is far less deadly, but the bad news is that people are still dying in hospitals because of hospital policies. Remdesivir is killing patients, but doctors continue to prescribe it to COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Patients have been told they will die without Remdesivir, only to die from the side effects of the medication itself.
Greta Crawford was admitted to the hospital after having COVID-19 for three weeks and developing small spots of pneumonia. Her doctor administered Remdesivir without her permission and without the informed consent. She later attributed swelling in her feet and hands, and excruciating chest pain to COVID-19 because of the medication she was being given.
Greta did not consent to the administration of Remdesivir and only learned about the high risk of death from Remdesivir medication after it was administered. Despite not disclosing to her the high risk of Remdesivir, the doctors informed her she would be receiving it. After each round of Remdesivir, her white blood cell count spiked to purge the poison she was given by her doctor. Greta's heart rate fell to 30 bpm after receiving Remdesivir each night. Greta's kidneys and liver were failing and she was completely unaware that her body was filling with fluid.
Finally, in fear for her life, Greta informed her nurses and doctors that she was leaving. She and her husband went home and started a long in-home recovery process following frontline doctor protocols; the protocols the hospitals refuse to follow because there is no extra federal money for using them.
Greta has since started a website to inform the public on the danger of Remdesivir. She has links to informative videos on Remdesivir and Dr. Fauci's role in the use of a drug that killed 50% of the trial patients. The website has links to find doctors who prescribe safe medications, a place for Remdesivir victims to share their stories, and resources for patients. Visit for more information.
In addition to her battle with Remdesivir, Greta was harassed daily by nurses who told her she needed to get vaccinated. She was repeatedly told that if she did not get vaccinated, she would get COVID again, be hospitalized, and be put on a ventilator. The nurse refused to allow Greta's request for Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine, and she was unaware of any vaccine injuries. Aggressive nurses and doctors are pushing harmful drugs onto Texans without informed consent with no accountability from the Texas Medical Board (TMB). At the same time, the TMB is threatening the licenses of physicians who prescribe FDA approved drugs known to be safe if they do not provide a full informed consent.
In hospitals today, patients are treated like lab experiments with no informed consent afforded to the patients. In spite of the legislation I co-authored, to ensure patients' rights to have a visitor, some hospitals are still refusing to allow visitors to keep their draconian policies a secret. A patient has the right to religious counseling from friends and family members who provide spiritual support. No hospital is allowed to completely ban patients from receiving a religious counseling visitor.
The bottom line continues '' COVID patients are dying because of hospital policies; not just COVID. Does any of this sound familiar to you? What can you do? Tell your story at, as well as, filing a complaint. Need more information on complaints?'.../demise-of-world-premier-healthcare'...
Our Amazing Grace's Newsletter
REMDESIVIR KILLS ALERT: Hospital Hostage Negotiations, Part 1 '' Special Guests Greta Crawford of and Laura Bartlett of Hospital Hostage Hotline
Join us to learn some updated news about what happens in hospitals, how much you cannot trust them and what resources are available to help you in sometimes very dire, life-threatening conditions
Greta Crawford and Laura Bartlett are my guests today. Amazingly, Greta survived the hospital's attempt to murder her with Remdesivir. She has become an advocate, starting Laura has also become an advocate, founding the Hospital Hostage Hotline at 888-219-3637.
Greta and Laura explain in the video below that hospitals are not what they used to be '-- they are now much more dangerous places to be. Laura is the sister of Dr. Richard Bartlett of Texas who is known for his successful use of budesonide in treating COVID patients. Budesonide is used with a nebulizer. The video explains that free patient advice is available on the hotline: (888) 219-3637.
They are in the fight because they care about people and life.
Greta refers people to the site for the recommended forms.
Greta recommends that people complete these forms for everyone in the family while they are healthy and have them notarized even if they believe they will never need them. Designate your Power of Attorney. Laura points out that your life may depend on having these forms prepared in an emergency. She says to have copies where you can quickly access them '-- for example, in the glove compartment of your car and on your refrigerator.
The site includes a video interview by Dr. Joseph Mercola with Greta and Laura.
The site also links to the Informed Consent Template they recommend that people prepare NOW, before you have to go to a hospital. It explains that it's important when, how, and to whom you submit the template.
Making A Killing Episode 2 : Money & Manipulation
Patty Myers continues to uncover what happened to our medical freedom. She interviews nurses who left the corruption and shares what they saw and experienced. Two families share their stories about how they lost their loved ones. She is on a search to uncover the truth behind these deadly protocols.
Senator Ron Johnson: Protecting Our RightsThe documentary also interviews Sen. Ron Johnson (R: Wisc).
WHO Pandemic Treaty Will Enslave Humanity! explains that Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson introduced legislation Thursday that would push back against the World Health Organization's (WHO) overreach and ensure the Senate has power over its pandemic treaty.
The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, titled the No WHO Pandemic Preparedness Treaty Without Senate Approval Act, which was spearheaded by Johnson and has 15 cosponsors. The bill mentions the WHO creating an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) and, if passed, would require any agreement produced by the INB to be submitted to the Senate as a treaty in an effort to provide more transparency on the administration.''
For More Information
Sen. Ron Johnson Calls For COVID Debate Senator Ron Johnson's Amazing COVID HearingsSen. Ron Johnson Hosts LIVE COVID Forum December 7!Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post
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VIDEO - Special Assistant to Sen. Fetterman Says the Senator 'Okay with Overturning the Second Amendment' and Handpicked Journalists 'Will Say Exactly What You F***ing Want Them To" - O'Keefe Media Group
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:03
Categories Breaking Stories Post author By j t Post date May 23, 2023
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VIDEO - Asch Conformity Experiment - YouTube
Wed, 24 May 2023 14:01
VIDEO - Cross-border raid in Russia: Moscow says incursion has been repelled ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:51
VIDEO - Amid health concerns, community pushes for immediate switch to unleaded aviation fuel at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport - CBS Colorado
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:48
Advocates pushing for immediate switch to unleaded aviation fuel at airport
Advocates pushing for immediate switch to unleaded aviation fuel at airport 04:44 The Rock Creek neighborhood in Superior is nearly picture-perfect.
"I wanted to be in a place that was great for raising families," Matt Koschmann said.
"We like to run and bike, so that was a primary draw of the community," Laurie Chin-Sayers said.
It was place that, for many, was easy to call home.
"My wife and I decided we wanted to start a family, so we moved into this neighborhood," said Robert Boutelle, a scientist who also calls the area home. "Thought it was very family friendly."
But for many of the residents, there's a cloud above their neighborhood they can't escape. Airplanes have been coming in and out of the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport at an increasing rate.
Many of them have piston engines, largely used by flight schools, that run on leaded fuel.
"Because of this lead issue, my wife and I decided to put that on hold," Boutelle said about starting a family.
Rebecca Port is new to the neighborhood with a newborn in tow.
"As a new mom and a first-time mom, to live in this kind of fear it's- it's been like, I don't want to cry, it's been bad for my mental health. I just worry about my daughter all the time," she said while fighting back tears.
These four are just a few of those raising concerns about the fuel. Nine homes in the area have already gone through testing and all nine had lead particles inside.
"Our house tested positive as one of the highest," Koschmann said.
Lead was found in his home on the inside of the windowsills on the top level of their home. Still, there's no way to know where exactly it came from.
"That's a concern, but what can you do about it? Yell at the sky?" he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has set a goal of eliminating the use of lead in all aviation gas by 2030, but with the development of unleaded fuel options last year and some airports already supplying an alternative, there's a push for more immediate action.
The town of Superior's trustees, who represent the residents in Rock Creek, recently sent a letter to airport officials and commissioners in neighboring Jefferson County, where the airport sits, demanding they make the switch sooner rather than later.
Airport CEO Paul Anslow says they are planning a transition, but it can't happen overnight and isn't cheap.
"The infrastructure needs to be put in place prior to those fuels arriving, you need separate tanks for liability, at least for several years until we figure out if there's any unknown side effects," he said.
Anslow, who has a long history in aviation, says the wrong fuel ending up in the wrong plane isn't just a small mix-up.
"Think about it as if you were to put diesel into your car or gas into your diesel car," he said. "It destroys your engine. That is a bad thing to happen in a plane."
Anslow says they are applying for grants to help bring in the infrastructure, but he believes they're likely two to three years away, at which point, he believes 100% unleaded fuel will be available.
"The key is, we have to do it sustainable, and we have to do it safe and rushing into something and making a mistake is going to cost lives," he said.
We asked if that included those outside of the airport who are worried about the fuel impacting their health.
"Is that a factor? Community safety?" CBS News Colorado reporter Karen Morfitt asked.
"It is, but it's kind of an unfair comparison, right? There was no other option for 40 years or longer, that was the fuel we used. Now we are about to cross the starting line to switching over and they are like, 'no, you need to do it now,'" he said. "Well I'd love to but, again, my job as the airport director is to protect the aviation assets on this airport."
So, what are the risks? It's no secret lead is toxic but what about lead from aviation gas?
A years-long study looking at a similar airport in California found children who lived near the airport had extremely high lead levels in their blood.
Similar data looking at areas around Colorado airports doesn't exist yet.
Kristy Richardson is a toxicologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
"We're trying to determine whether there is a measurable relationship between the proximity to an airport and the increased blood-lead levels for individuals in Colorado," she said.
While they wait for results, she has a message to families.
"We understand that it's scary to look at this airport in your house and wonder if that leaded aviation fuel is having an impact on your child and we know that children are most at risk. The best thing you can do is have your child tested for lead. It's one blood draw," Richardson said.
She added that determining if there is a correlation has been difficult because Colorado has a low testing rate when it comes to lead. They are expecting to have results on their study by the end of the year, but cautions if there are high lead results, each case will need to be closely examined to eliminate other potential sources of lead.
Community members would like to see local officials offer free testing kits to residents, along with an educational campaign. We asked Superior Trustees if that is being considered and have not heard back.
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VIDEO - Leadership Next - Target CEO's Unpopular Decision Pays Off
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:36
When Brian Cornell became Target's CEO in 2014, the company was in desperate need of a turnaround. The retailer was plagued by supply chain problems, trying to recover from a major data hack and struggling to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon.In today's episode of Leadership Next, Cornell talks about some of the key decisions he's made that have led Target to now be ranked number 32 on the Fortune 500, including a particularly unpopular announcement in 2017 that the company would spend $7 billion to rehab Target stores across the country. In the age of Amazon, investors were doubtful that spending money to improve brick and mortar was worthwhile. But today it's clear that investment has paid off. And as Cornell tells hosts Alan Murray and Michal Lev-Ram, despite the rise of online shopping, 73% of retail sales last year took place in physical stores.In today's conversation, Cornell details how consumer spending has changed since the height of the pandemic, and how shoppers seem to be responding to the current economy. He explains why he feels it's so important for Target to improve wages and benefits for store associates. And, he talks about the importance of culture to the company's success.Also in today's episode hear from Fortune Senior Writer Phil Wahba who has been reporting on Target for nearly a decade. Wahba fills us in on the state of Target when Cornell took over and how the CEO's leadership has transformed the company.Explore more of Fortune! Use the promo code LN25 to get 25% off an annual subscription at Next is powered by Deloitte.
VIDEO - Sen. Tim Scott Hits Back At Whoopi Goldberg Saying He Has 'Clarence Thomas Syndrome' | The Daily Caller
Wed, 24 May 2023 13:03
Republican South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Tim Scott hit back at ''The View'' co-host Whoopi Goldberg, along with others in the liberal media, who accused him of being ignorant to racism.
Scott, a black man, announced his 2024 presidential candidacy in a Monday speech emphasizing his personal background and success in America. He declared ''I am America'' and criticized the ''radical left'' for ''pushing us into a culture of grievances instead of a culture of greatness.''
Goldberg accused Scott of having ''Clarence Thomas Syndrome,'' alluding to being a black Republican, and co-host Sunny Hostin said his message that black Americans can make it in this country is out of touch. Others in the liberal media invoked his race to attack him politically, going as far to accuse him of turning a blind eye to racial tensions in the U.S.
''Both of those African Americans on that TV screen, they both have made it. So I'm not the only one. Actually, the rule is simple'...the rule is the future of our country is not defined by the color of our skin. It's defined by the quality of our education. The radical left has been bought out by big labor unions in education, trapping poor kids in failing schools and trapping poor kids out of the best future they have. What can we do about that? African Americans are around 68%, Hispanics are around 70%, the majority of the population around 80%, all agree with some form of school choice. Let's bring opportunity to these kids,'' he told Fox News' Harris Faulkner.
Scott called on the country to respect people for the ''content of their character'' and ''not the color of their skin.'' He accused the ''radical left'' of being outraged by any African American or black conservative who fights against their agenda. (RELATED: Joy Behar Lectures Tim Scott, Clarence Thomas On Racism, Says They Don't Understand It)
''Here's what we're seeing. The radical left is quaking in their boots because when they see an African American conservative who believes in the future of this nation, stands up to be counted, they push back. That's a good sign. We're on the right message,'' he said.
Scott has historically been a left-wing target due to his race. In 2021, Hostin claimed on ''The View'' that Republicans picked Scott to rebuke President Joe Biden's State of the Union address because he is black. Others on the political left accused Scott of being a ''token'' after he drafted legislation for police reform after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
VIDEO - (13) Marianna Spring on Twitter: "Welcome to BBC Verify! I chatted to BBC Breakfast about it. Everything from interrogating social media feeds using undercover accounts and investigating real-world impact of mistruths, hate and conspiracy movement
Mon, 22 May 2023 20:05
Marianna Spring : Welcome to BBC Verify! I chatted to BBC Breakfast about it.Everything from interrogating social media feeds using'...
Mon May 22 08:03:46 +0000 2023
Destiny Jones 🎗 #FreeJulianAssange : @mariannaspring What is this Conspiracy Theory Movement? Can anyone join - and how? Asking for a friend.
Mon May 22 20:05:31 +0000 2023
Jercuinn : @mariannaspring Lord Haw Haw ringing any bells ?
Mon May 22 20:05:30 +0000 2023
@celebrantruthg : @mariannaspring Come out with me on my rounds-you can verify all the dead people who have died suddenly. I have to'...
Mon May 22 20:04:59 +0000 2023
Augusto Santana 🇧🇷SDV🇧🇷 : @mariannaspring
Mon May 22 20:04:49 +0000 2023
Just another raging hypocrite : @mariannaspring @BBCBreakfast The earth is flat and stationary, space is fake. Verified ''…
Mon May 22 20:04:07 +0000 2023
Matt : @mariannaspring So you can control the narrative
Mon May 22 20:04:01 +0000 2023
C M: Not gonna buy a tick ðŸ...ðŸ...–ðŸ"¸'ðŸŒ : @mariannaspring Ah, I see that we've reached the Ministry of Truth stage of the BBC As Tory Propaganda Department.
Mon May 22 20:03:56 +0000 2023
The Old Roman : @mariannaspring Deal with this misinformation then
Mon May 22 20:03:54 +0000 2023
Mark Henwood : @mariannaspring So cool. Been following occasional updates on Newscast. We need this.
Mon May 22 20:03:28 +0000 2023
Hotdog1340 : @mariannaspring 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣when did the bbc care about truths!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Mon May 22 20:03:27 +0000 2023
AndyCooper66 : @mariannaspring Too late. I don't trust the BBC any more.
Mon May 22 20:03:21 +0000 2023
mark : @mariannaspring very sinister, and who's going to check on you stalin?
Mon May 22 20:02:56 +0000 2023
Simon Attwood #PAL #ANewHope 🟠🌤 : @mariannaspring The role model for state propaganda policing information? What could go wrong?
Mon May 22 20:02:38 +0000 2023
Just another raging hypocrite : @mariannaspring @BBCBreakfast The earth is flat and stationary, space is fake.
Mon May 22 20:02:23 +0000 2023
craig : @mariannaspring This is done on behalf of the WEF and the WHO ðŸ‚ðŸ‚👍👍
Mon May 22 20:02:20 +0000 2023
Kari🌸 : @mariannaspring ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ'(C)ðŸ'(C)ðŸ'(C)
Mon May 22 20:02:10 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Ros Atkins on... the Russian videos appearing to show Kremlin drone attack - BBC News
Mon, 22 May 2023 18:57
Ros Atkins on... the Russian videos appearing to show Kremlin drone attack
The BBC's Analysis Editor Ros Atkins looks at footage that has been circulating on Russian social media after Moscow claimed Ukraine tried to assassinate President Vladimir Putin.
Europe Published
3 May
VIDEO - 60 Minutes on Twitter: "In 1991, before defense contractors consolidated, shoulder-fired Stinger missiles cost $25,000. Now, the sole supplier charges more than $400,000 a piece, making it costly to replace each missile sent to Ukraine. https://t.
Mon, 22 May 2023 16:01
60 Minutes : In 1991, before defense contractors consolidated, shoulder-fired Stinger missiles cost $25,000. Now, the sole suppl'...
Sun May 21 23:14:43 +0000 2023
American Rebel : @60Minutes Defense Production Act, anyone? Nobody in the U.S. other than the U.S. government can either buy Stinger'...
Mon May 22 15:56:35 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Early Warnings for All - May 2023 - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 15:56
VIDEO - Australian Comedian Isaac Butterfield Summoned To Court Over ''Offensive'' Jokes - The Publica
Mon, 22 May 2023 15:51
Australian comedian Isaac Butterfield announced he has been summoned to ''court'' over offensive jokes told during a performances in Perth, Western Australia in 2022.
The Queensland Human Rights Commission requested Butterfield's presence after a single person made a complaint on the grounds of public vilification based on race, religion, sexual identity, sexuality and gender identity.
In a video discussing the situation, Butterfield, who is not a Queensland resident, expressed his frustration and anger.
''I guess you could say my style of stand up is one where I don't pull any punches, I don't censor myself. I really do believe that you can do any type of joke about any subject on stage as long as it's funny,'' he said in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel.
''One person didn't like a joke. Then, on the 20th of April at 9:30, I had to be there to appear in a 'conciliation conference.' That one person has enough power to compel a comedian who told a joke that they didn't like go to in front of a commission of people and work it out. They're jokes! This is mad. This is madness,'' he said.
Butterfield stresses that comedians often tell jokes that they don't necessarily believe or mean, but are intended to make people laugh regardless. He said this often applies to him, especially in this case.
With that said, he goes onto explain that the offending jokes were designed to be offensive. They were part of bit where the comedian explains how to ''trigger cancel culture'' by building what he calls the ''cancel culture cake.''
The ''cancel culture cake'' is essentially the action of telling a series of progressively more offensive jokes.
Butterfield demonstrated this during a routine where he made comments about Australia's aboriginal population.
''In that section of jokes, in that bit, I went through the five, in my opinion, most offensive jokes that I had written about aboriginal people. Now, bear in mind, I write jokes about everyone. One of the jokes that preceded this was about white people in Bali dying in the Bali bombing. It is not just people with dark skin that I go after, it is everyone,'' Butterfield explains.
He added that nobody at the shows themselves had any problems with the jokes. However, the issues arose when he posted clips of his routine to TikTok and Instagram.
In a matter of hours, he had reportedly received countless threats of death and other physical violence.
The offended party also viewed Butterfield's routine on social media. According to the complaint, the individual was ''traumatized'' and made to feel ''unsafe'' by the comedian's comments.
The complaint specifically draws attention to Butterfield's joke about the ''stolen generation,'' a period in Australian history where indigenous children were taken from their homes and placed with white families.
It also mentions Butterfield's comment that he thought he had never seen aboriginal pornography until he realized it actually goes by the name ''National Geographic.''
Butterfield acknowledged how serious events like the stolen generation were and are, but believes in the right of comedians to make jokes about any topic.
The complaint ends by requesting Butterfield apologize and receive unspecified ''training.'' The comedian has unequivocally rejected both.
However, he has raised concerns about other comedians and how this system is being abused by those with fragile feelings.
''What a position our country is in where a comedian can't even tell jokes without being pulled in front of a government body,'' he said.
He referenced several situations, including his own, where Australian comedians had been subject to protest because their jokes had caused offense.
Butterfield closes out his video by saying that the future of this situation is unknown. He says he did not attend the original ''conciliation conference'' because his child was due to be born around that time.
Because of this, the complainant now has 28 days to either apply for an extension of this time, or make a written request that would put the matter before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
If nothing happens, the Queensland Human Rights Commission will close the matter and no further action will be taken.
VIDEO - NAACP warns people of color against traveling to Florida
Mon, 22 May 2023 15:00
The NAACP on Saturday issued a travel advisory for Florida over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' ''aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs" in the state's schools, the organization said in a statement.
''Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,'' the NAACP said. ''Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.''
The advisory comes after DeSantis' administration in January blocked an Advanced Placement course in African American Studies from being offered in Florida high schools. In a letter to the College Board rejecting the course, the administration said: ''As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.''
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Rothschild, Wis., on May 6, 2023. Scott Olson / Getty Images fileNAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement that "failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all."
Under DeSantis, "the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon," Johnson added.
The College Board, a nonprofit organization that oversees the AP program nationwide, moved to revise its framework for the curriculum after state officials said they rejected it because of six areas of concern '-- ''Black Queer Studies,'' ''Intersectionality,'' ''Movement for Black Lives,'' ''Black Feminist Literary Thought,'' ''The Reparations Movement'' and ''Black Struggle in the 21st Century'' '-- and for its including works by Kimberl(C) W. Crenshaw, bell hooks, Angela Davis and other Black authors.
Although the College Board and many of the academic experts consulted about the course framework insisted that they would not cave to political pressure and that the revisions had long been planned, the changes made concessions that directly address conservatives' concerns. The revised syllabus removed the names of several Black authors identified as problematic by Florida officials, substantially revised sections about intersectionality and removed a section about the Movement for Black Lives.
The NAACP's travel advisory for Florida was initially proposed to the board of directors by the organization's Florida State Conference, which voted unanimously in favor of it in March.
DeSantis, who is expected to soon launch a 2024 presidential campaign, has made education and other social issues a large focus of his administration. Last year, he signed into law legislation dubbed the ''Stop WOKE Act,'' which restricts how race and gender are discussed in classrooms.
DeSantis' office and the NAACP did not immediately respond requests for comment on the travel advisory.
The Missouri chapter of the NAACP had issued an advisory in 2017, urging Black people ''to travel with extreme CAUTION'' because ''race, gender and color based crimes have a long history'' in the state. The advisory came three years after the killing of Michael Brown, a Black teenager, by a white police officer sparked days of unrest in Ferguson.
Summer Concepcion Summer Concepcion is a politics reporter for NBC News.
VIDEO - Angry orcas, Pablo the lamb, more French weapons and a sinking New York City ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:57
VIDEO - Jeffrey Epstein's Blackmail Threat to Bill Gates Revealed: Affairs & Charitable Fund Disputes | WION - YouTube
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VIDEO - Bakhmut in Russian Hands, Now What? - Col Doug Macgregor - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:53
VIDEO - 4 Ways Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Will End - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:37
VIDEO - Richard Nixon Predicted Putin and Russia (1994) - YouTube
Mon, 22 May 2023 14:35
VIDEO -ðŸ--ºremnant. on Twitter: "Late Empire Moment" / Twitter
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ðŸ--ºremnant. : Late Empire Moment
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VIDEO - Investing in Bitcoin Businesses - Bitcoin 2023 - YouTube
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VIDEO - (20) Michael P Senger on Twitter: "Brilliant and disturbing compilation of the coordinated propaganda from major officials and commentators throughout the response to COVID. ''No one is safe until everyone is safe.'' ''You have no right not to
Thu, 25 May 2023 14:43
Michael P Senger : Brilliant and disturbing compilation of the coordinated propaganda from major officials and commentators throughout'...
Mon May 22 04:46:24 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Attention: Statue of SB 4488, Senators have been invited to spend Memorial Weekend in the DUMBS. - YouTube
Thu, 25 May 2023 14:41

Clips & Documents

All Clips
60 minute slead in price gouging by MIC - CBS.mp3
60 minute slead in price gouging by MIC -2 CBS.mp3
ABC - NAACP issues travel advisory for florida because of open hostilities.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - ford will keep AM radio (22sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - new warning smuggling at border (19sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - AI generated image rattles markets (1min42sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - serial keyer in vancouver (16sec).mp3
ABC Tom Soufi Burridge - ukraines eastern frontlines shifting ahead of major offensive.mp3
Afghan mess pbs.mp3
Anti-drag laws TV NPR.mp3
BBC report Sexual violence instead of Senseless violence.mp3
BIDEN Biloion.mp3
BIDEN G7 ramble.mp3
Black Twitter 1.mp3
Black Twitter 2 weird.mp3
Black Twitter 3.mp3
Canada MAID guy CBC.mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Jeff Pegues - u-haul nazi (1) intro (1min4sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Jeff Pegues - u-haul nazi (2) report (1min29sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Jeff Pegues - u-haul nazi (3) follow-up (26sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Roxana Saberi - surgeon general social media warning (51sec).mp3
Christine Anderson on voting and rebellion.mp3
CNN This Morning - new york is sinking and sea levels are rising save wall street.mp3
Defualt BS NPR.mp3
DeSantis produced by Daily Wire -1.mp3
DeSantis produced by Daily Wire -2-Jorden Peterson.mp3
Di Santis running NPR.mp3
DiSantis 1 PBS.mp3
DiSantis 2 deaths PBS.mp3
DiSantis 3 deaths PBS.mp3
DiSantis 4 CRT PBS.mp3
DiSantis 4 deaths PBS.mp3
DiSantis 6 PBS.mp3
DiSantis Mini Clips the awkward fascist.mp3
Europe to regulate AI to enjoy its benefits and protect users F24.mp3
Feinstein report 1.mp3
Feinstein report 2.mp3
France starts preparing for 4C temperature rise.mp3
Groups behind Russia incursion speak out F24 - Traitors.mp3
Hail Satan in Chicago.mp3
Insurance companies dropping homeowners with solar panels in Florida.mp3
ISO forever.mp3
ISO sofia.mp3
Kennedy and sucks comment.mp3
Lily Wachowski explains that trans porn made him trans.mp3
Marianna Spring explains BBC Verify with fake accounts of color and J6 insurrection.mp3
NBC - Hallie Jackson - how a fake image may have spooked the financial markets.mp3
NBC Nightly News Lester Holt - in 2022 florida had a 2% jump in population due to new residents.mp3
NBC Today Savannah Guthrie - russia sanctions several trump adversaries.mp3
NPR HOT water propaganda Typhoon Guam.mp3
NPR House ad.mp3
NSA Jake Sullivan Responds To Pentagon's $3 Billion Accounting Error Over Ukraine Aid.mp3
OMG Okeefe swisher puppets - Luke Borwegan.mp3
OMG Okeefe swisher puppets -2- ENHANCED.mp3
Palki Shwarma on F35 spare parts missing.mp3
Ron DeSantis 2024 campaign launch tripped up by chaotic Twitter glitch.mp3
Target is slammed for ‘tuck friendly’ swimwear for kids - Sky News Autralia.mp3
The Creator Teaser Trailer 20th Century Studios.mp3
The View Ana Navarro - reads the NAACP travel advisory for florida without laughing.mp3
The View Whoopi Goldberg - everybody knows theres a problem in florida but theres got to be a better way.mp3
Thousands lining up for compensation, claiming the COVID vaccine made them sick.mp3
Trump just posted this video making fun of DeSantis.mp3
UKRAINE Bakmut Body count npr.mp3
Wagner says handing Bakhmut to Russian army - F24.mp3
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