Cover for No Agenda Show 1631: Pulling a Johnson
February 4th • 0m

1631: Pulling a Johnson


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.

2024 Is All About Politics
Here's the Strategy:
Steadfast Defender NATO Wargames Psyop
How NATO brainwashes Western society with its anti-Russia wargames — RT World News
It’s important to note that there is nothing self-evident about this propaganda blitz. NATO could conduct its big maneuver but make less of a fuss about it. Or accompany it with a different, less strident message, stressing due security diligence but refraining from detailed statements about Russia’s putative actions, as it were, tomorrow. Hence, this cognitive warfare offensive is deliberate. It was driven so far, that, after the initial wave attack of panic-mongering; even the formal figurehead of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, got cold feet and felt compelled to remind everyone that there is “no direct threat.”
Not-yet-even-NATO member Sweden hurried to display exemplary verbal militancy: Its commander-in-chief General Micael Bydén urged his fellow Swedes to “prepare themselves mentally” for war, while Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin stressed that “war could come to Sweden.
Germany’s minister of Defense Boris Pistorius then shared his wild guess that a Russian attack on a NATO country could occur within less than ten years
Dutch admiral Rob Bauer, followed up by striking the same tone, albeit with more details. Bauer spoke about operations to shape the armed forces of the alliance for decades, a historically unprecedent degree of integration between NATO and national defense plans, and “resilience” to be cultivated by a “whole-of-society approach” to war as well as to preparing for war.
NATO is displaying its will to power now, especially against the background of Donald Trump, a declared NATO foe, now the man most likely to win the American presidential elections at the end of this year:
This could turn out to be NATO’s last hurrah.
Replacement Migration
IOM International Office of Migration (Boots on the Ground)
Boots on the ground.
Was in Bush Intercontinental Airport last week going to LA for business.
10 “Refugees” on the flight.
Carrying bags from the IOM with lanyards with their “Documents” in them.
90% Military Age Men
There was on mother with two daughters.
Info Mavericks
Info Mavericks are being persuaded to focus alternative media and social media on irrelevant battlefields - MILITARY AGED Men - Former NY Banker says NO: This is how we beat China, by importing their best labour
Climate CHange
War on Drugs
Go Podcasting
Swift Op
Talking about Taylor Swift being a Psy-op IS THE PSYOP
In The Region Iran & Red Sea
Which Internet cables are threatened by the Houthis?
⬛️ G2A (Gulf2Africa) - channel between Oman and Somalia;
⬛️ Falcon is a channel between Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Iran, Egypt and India. It runs along the bottom of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea;
⬛️ MENA (Middle East North Africa Cable System / Gulf Bridge International) - connects the Gulf countries and Egypt with Europe and runs along the bottom of the Mediterranean and Red Seas;
⬛️ RAMAN - a canal between Jordan, Oman and India;
⬛️ SeaMeWe-4 is one of the longest maritime communication cables. Its length is 20 thousand km. It connects Europe with Africa, as well as the Gulf countries and Asia, including India, Myanmar and Malaysia;
⬛️ EIG (Europe India Gateway) is an underwater communication channel with a length of 15 thousand km. Connects Ireland and Great Britain with Europe, Africa and the Middle East;
⬛️ IMEWE is a channel between Europe and Asia;
⬛️ SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia - connects Asia with the countries of South Africa;
⬛️ FEA (FLAG Europe-Asia) is an underwater communication channel with a length of 28 thousand km. Connects Europe with Asia, including mainland China and Japan;
⬛️ SeaMeWe-3 is a channel with a length of 39 thousand km. Connects half the world: Europe with the Gulf countries, Africa, Asia, including Thailand and Vietnam, South Korea and Australia;
⬛️ AAE-1 (Asia Africa Europe-1) is one of the newest communication channels, laid in 2017. Its length is 25 thousand km. Connects Europe with continental and island Asia (Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand).
Tower 22 False Flag adjacent info
Just looking over the Tower 22 satellite picture everyone has from Planet Labs. I notice they have an helicopter taxiway that I estimate to be maybe 2 football (American) fields in length. There is an exterior perimeter road of approximately the same length.
I am not a flying master like you are, but both of these seem very short for recovery of a drone. They could be using helicopter drones, but I don't think those would be as effective.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems unlikely that Tower 22 should be expecting an incoming drone.
Tower 22 Friend or Foe transponder BOTG
As you know, aircraft can have IFF. So how did this drone reach Tower 22?
For security reasons, you don't provide a means for anything to reply to a RF interrogation. That is why Mode 4 exists.
Now I can give you one reason why drones don't have IFF. When a US military airplane crashes, the things the DoD pull from the rubble immediately are the RWR (radar warning receivers), radios, and IFF. These are items that the DoD doesn't want reverse engineered. Drones have a habit of becoming lawn darts.
Iran has drones capable of 2km range. It would be a research project to see what the cheap ass drones are capable of.
Team Mates BOTG
I'm active duty, "Team Mates" is a term commonly used in the military recently as a gender neutral way to replace Brothers and Sisters in Arms.
Big Tech & AI
Section 230 | Electronic Frontier Foundation
"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." (47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1)).
No Agenda GPT by CSB
No Agenda GPT is online. It's a GPT about podcast [#NoAgenda]( by [@adam]( "") and [@John]( "")
To use it you need paid [#ChatGPT]( Plus account
Not all episodes covered yet, I will cover majority of episodes by the end of this month.
To access it do the following:
-- click on the link: []( "")
-- inside of the ChatGPT, select from the menu on the left side: "Explore GPTs", then type "no agenda" in search box and you will see it available for selection
Israel vs Hamas
Sunflower Op
Sunflower on Texas license plates
The sunflower on some Texas plates is UT Law. Their graduation ceremony is actually called the Sunflower Ceremony.
Millennials & GenZ
Sane Zoomer BOTG
Hello John and Adam,
The discussion regarding the current economy and newer workers not wanting to work in this current job force has been more than interesting to me and as a 23 year old that fits into the group but does not align with their ideals I have a few things I would like to share with you. So please, allow me to go on a little tangent (hopefully still written in a concise manner).
What I am noticing from my age group is that the ones who do not want to work have been failed by the system. Most careers that people want to get into will take years if not decades to be able to get into and they do not seem to recognize that. After I turned 18, I had my eyes set on moving to California and beginning a career in the film industry. However, as time went on and I did more research into that path, I found more and more evidence that it was going to be years of menial work that seemingly had nothing to do with what I wanted, all in order to have my name surrounding the industry before I could become an active worker in the positions I wanted. I decided that essentially going through an unpaid to very low paid internship while also needing to work a regular job to pay the bills was indeed too much for me. So I settled on doing so as an independent artist and then eventually a hobbiest. It still allowed me to do what I enjoy but without all of the stress surrounding it.
Now I have a stable job, edit and produce videos online either by myself or with others (mostly as a hobby but I do get paid for some of it), and have a wife and my own home. I have never been happier in my life than I am now, just doing simple work that is effective enough to pay the bills and also enjoy the things I like doing in my off time. I know this is a pipe dream for many but it is achievable in so many ways as long as you know what you are willing to sacrifice to get there. My initial plan would have sacrificed my sanity and my potential for a future family to get exactly where I thought I wanted to be. What I ended up losing was the notion of having to have the perfect job and I gained so much more out of it. That aside, I do genuinely have empathy for those that are struggling to find any job that can make their lives affordable at all. That type of situation will likely require different solutions and the sacrifice may end up being either struggle to get by, or move to somewhere easier to afford but not having as good of opportunities.
Looking closer to The Little House on the Prairie, I have also noticed a trend of many that will acknowledge what the "bad" futures may look like in respect to images like Brave New World and 1984. The cynicism of this trend is understandable but I implore others to look at other scenarios like Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Getting different perspectives in regards to this I feel is important and might allow people to start forming more ideas on how to fix the issues we face rather than moaning and groaning about all of them with no progress forward.. However, there is also a steady incline of individuals that are transitioning into a homesteading lifestyle. More that are living off the grid independently with their own resources and enjoying a simple life among nature but still with most modern conveniences at their disposal. I firmly believe that a number of our problems are rooted in the idea of society itself and may need its own deconstruction and rebuilding for a better future. This is purely all hypothetical and my thoughts so feel free to disagree. Discussion is the starting point for moving in just about any direction.
I apologize for the long note, but I have had a lot going through my mind after hearing these segments and paying attention more to my surroundings. I felt it might be helpful to share some of these ideas in case they are able to be of use to anyone.
Much love,
Millennial That Loves Work and His Job
Feb 8 1987 in my date of birth.
I moved to the Bay Area from Arizona in the late 2000's after a few run ins with the law for "marijuana' as a teenager before it was eventually deemed legal and more normalized.
After a good introduction to the penal system and prison industrial complex, I decided a short hop across a state line would be in my benefit.
I spent ten years landscaping and learning trades with a truck and a dog and was slowly reprogrammed out of the idea that my future was set as a LOSER.
Eventually, I landed an entry level job at a small cannabis delivery service and have now been in the industry for about ten years.
I run my own department, love my team and employers, live on my own in the lovely redwoods of West Marin, and feel true value in my day to day life.
This is all without student debt or any other type of loan.
I may not be "rich", but as a former 16 year old in a maximum security cell in a mining town next to the Apache reservation, I feel accomplished and proud to not be a lost young person with a swollen amygdala. I have NoAgenda to thank partially, but I can attest that hard work is not an OP or a SCAM
Thank you and JCD for your courage!
Millennial angry about job market BOTG
old message:
Hey Adam.
Thought you might like to hear some boots on the ground about how bad the job market actually is for us youths.
I worked construction for several years but had to leave that job because my boss violently attacked my mother.
I then got a job as a cashier. Then my boss ghosted me after I was hospitalized with a bone infection.
I also had to leave my next job as an Amazon delivery driver because Jeff Bezos demanded I wear glitter to work.
I recently got hired into a sales position in November. It’s the first job I’ve had where my boss has shown me the tiniest bit of respect. I started closing sales on day 1. I just found out today that I won’t be getting paid until March.
There is a culture among American business men that make 99% of them not worth working for. The contract between employer and employee used to be and should be one where you exchange your time and efforts for money. That’s not enough anymore, they demand your dignity and as much of your soul as they can get.
New message
You and jon are a couple of old pussies. You would’ve hung yourselves a long time ago in my shoes.
Big Pharma
RSV older adults BOTG
To keep it short and sweet, I have an aunt in her 70s in the hospital with RSV. I was talking to my mom on the phone, who is a retired critical care nurse also in her 70s, about my aunt and asked if RSV had ever been a thing. She said it was only with kids. I know my mom is vaxxed and boosted, she urged me to get it. So naively I asked her "Whats causing it to be in adults now?". Of course she answered with "No one knows, its the strangest thing.". I didnt press any more as to avoid an argument, but its crazy what a number the media did on people to not even question the mass vaccination even that just happened. I know my mom is smarter than that.
Ukraine vs Russia
War is a racket..... A good for Boeing business 10 Years in Ukraine
DIA's Change of Directorship THE PASSING OF THE TORCH BOTG
Okay, so my three-letter agency had it's change of directorship this week. This is no big secret, it was streamed on the Interwebs, so it's not like I'm giving you dark deep state intel. But I did have an observation that I think you'll find interesting.
As you probably know, these are formal affairs, so there's a lot of pomp and circumstance. One of the formalities is to recognize the distinguished guests in the audience, and there were quite a few. In addition to former agency directors and members of the IC, including the former DNI James Clapper, there were a slew of high-level intelligence and national security leaders attending in person: the Director of National Intelligence, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, the Director of the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, etc. Not only that, but there were foreign intelligence officials and military officers that were recognized next. But do you want to know who was announced first, before all other dignitaries?
Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States.
I think that should give some idea of where our administration's priorities are.
Boots on the ground report from a teacher in Alberta
Here is my boots on the ground report as a grade seven social studies teacher in Edmonton, Alberta.
Yesterday, January 31, Premier Danielle Smith announced a new gender policy that has many teachers up in arms.
The main points of the policy are that surgeries are banned for children seventeen and under, and hormone therapy is banned for children fifteen and under.
There are also changes that include a requirement that parents be notified and opt-in to any instruction that covers gender identity, sexual orientation, or human sexuality. To my knowledge, sex ed was already opt-in for elementary school, but was opt-out for grades seven and above.
Other teachers have been all spun up after the announcement. They say the new policy is everything from stupid to dangerous. And while we wait for clarification from the school board for how this will actually affect us in the classroom, they are already plotting to disobey. They see our premier as evil incarnate. I just smile and nod.
This won’t change anything for me in my classroom. I treat all of my students with the respect they deserve.
Some other anecdotes:
- It is exceedingly rare that a student can read an analog clock
- Students almost universally type with their two index fingers only
- Generally, the only students that can read cursive are the ones that have taken the time to learn to write cursive
- Students are almost all addicted to playing games on their devices, which in the classroom are almost all Chromebooks. Whenever they can they are playing games. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been in the classroom for five seconds, if they haven’t finished the assigned work, or if I am in the middle of giving a lesson. This is much worse in a bring-your-own-device school, as opposed to one with carts of shared Chromebooks. It’s the equivalent of drivers looking at their phones every chance they get.
Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In Recent History | ZeroHedge
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:17
On the surface, it was an blockbuster jobs report, certainly one which nobody expected. Starting at the top, the BLS reported that in January the US unexpectedly added 353K "jobs" - the most since January 2023 (when the print was 482K compared to 131K) , double the consensus forecast of 185K and more than the highest Wall Street estimate (300K from Natixis). In fact, this was a 4-sigma beat to estimate, unheard of in the past year.
The headline data was stellar across the board, starting with the unemployment rate which once again failed to rise - denying expectations from "Sahm's Rule" that a recession may have already started - all the way to average hourly earnings, which unexpectedly spiked from 4.1% (pre-revision) to 4.5%, the highest since last September, and a slap in the face to the Fed's disinflation narrative...
... or it would be if one didn't think of checking how the average rose: well, it turns out that, since average hourly earnings is a fraction, it did not rise due to a jump in actual wages but - since it is earnings over a period of time - "rose" because the BLS decided to sharply slash the number of estimated hours that everyone was working, from 34.3 to just 34.1, which may not sound like a lot until one realizes that the last time the workweek was this low was when the economy was shut down during covid. Excluding the covid lockdowns, one would have to go back to 2010 to find a workweek that was this anemic.
And speaking of revisions, we had a lot of those: in January, the BLS conducted its annual "annual re-benchmarking and update of seasonal adjustment factors." Long story short, what was until December a decline in jobs has now been miraculously transformed into gains, as shown in the chart below.
For those asking, the revisions were unambiguously designed to give the impression that the labor market is slowing much less than it is. Consider this: before the revision, the average monthly job gain in 2021 was largely unchanged (606K pre-revision vs 604K post), and while the average monthly gain in 2022 was revised lower (from 399K to 377K), this was purposefully goalseeked to make 2023 appear stronger, and indeed the average monthly increase in 2023 has been revised from 225K to 255K.
Which would be great, if only it wasn't almost entirely due to the BLS's latest choice of seasonal adjustments, which have gone from merely laughable to full clownshow, as the following comparison between the revised BLS Payrolls number and the ADP payrolls show: the trend is clear: the Biden admin numbers are now clearly rising even as the impartial ADP (which directly logs employment numbers at the company level and is actually far more accurate), shows an accelerating slowdown.
And speaking of seasonal adjustments, the January print was all seasonals, because while the seasonally adjusted payrolls was up 353K, the unadjusted was down 2.635 million, a 3 million jobs delta.
In other words, just a 10% error rate in the seasonal adjustment (roughly where it falls) would wipe out the entire gain and make January increase a decline. Then again, this is the case with every January jobs report, because as shown below, the actual change in jobs in the first month of the year is down anywhere between 2.5 million and 3 million!
But it's more than just the Biden admin hanging its "success" on seasonal adjustments: when one digs deeper inside the jobs report, all sorts of ugly things emerge... such as the latest divergence between the Establishment (payrolls) and much more accurate Household (actual employment) survey. To wit, while in January the BLS claims 353K payrolls were added, the Household survey found that the number of actually employed workers dropped again, this time by 31K (from 161.183K to 161.152K).
This means that while the Payrolls series hits new all time highs every month since December 2020 (when according to the BLS the US had its last month of payrolls losses), the level of Employment has barely budged in the past year. Worse, as shown in the chart below, such a gaping divergence has opened between the two series in the past 4 years, that the number of Employed workers would need to soar by 9 million (!) to catch up to what Payrolls claims is the employment situation.
There's more: shifting from a quantitative to a qualitative assessment, reveals just how ugly the composition of "new jobs" has been. Consider this: the BLS reports that in January 2024, the US had 133.1 million full-time jobs and 27.9 million part-time jobs. Well, that's great... until you look back one year and find that in February 2023 the US had 133.2 million full-time jobs, or more than it does one year later! And yes, all the job growth since then has been in part-time jobs, which have increased by 870K since February 2023 (from 27.020 million to 27.890 million).
Here is a summary of the labor composition in the past year: all the jobs have been part-time jobs!
But wait there's even more, because just as we enter the peak of election season and political talking points will be thrown around left and right, especially in the context of the immigration crisis created intentionally by the Biden administration which is hoping to import millions of new Democratic voters (maybe the US can hold the presidential election in Honduras or Guatemala, after all it is their citizens that will be illegally casting the key votes in November), what we find is that in January, the number of native-born worker tumbled again, sliding by a massive 560K to just 129.807 million. Add to this the December data, and we get a near-record 1.9 million plunge in native-born workers in just the past 2 months!
Said otherwise, not only has all job creation in the past 4 years has been exclusively for foreign-born workers, but there has been zero job-creation for native born workers since July 2018!
Source: St Louis Fed FRED Native Born and Foreign BornThis is a huge issue - especially at a time of an illegal alien flood at the border - and is about to become a huge political scandal, because once the inevitable recession finally hits, there will be millions of furious unemployed Americans demanding a more accurate explanation for what happened - i.e., the illegal immigration floodgates that were opened by the Biden admin.
Which is also why the Biden admin will do everything in his power to insure there is no official recession before November... and is why after the election is over, all economic hell will finally break loose. Until then, however, expect the jobs numbers to get more and more ridiculous.
January Jobs Shocker: Payrolls Explode By 353K, Double The Expected And Higher Than All Estimate As Wages Surge | ZeroHedge
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:16
Well, we did warn readers that anyone hoping for a negative print in an election year would be disappointed, and moments ago the BLS proved us right.
PS: if anyone expects any econ data in the election 2024 year to be i) accurate or ii) make any sense, you will be severely disappointed
'-- zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 29, 2024With Wall Street expecting continued declines in the pace of monthly jobs growth, and consensus looking for a decline from last month's 219K print to 185K, the BLS decided to once again obliterate late-cycle logic and common sense, and damn your mass tech layoff torpedoes...
Dear @BLS_gov, since you have trouble finding actual data, we've made it easy for you - here are the layoffs announced in the past few months:1. Twitch: 35% of workforce
2. Hasbro: 20% of workforce3. Spotify: 17% of workforce4. Levi's: 15% of workforce5. Zerox: 15% of'...
'-- zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 31, 2024... it reported that in January the US created a ridiculous 353K jobs...
... double the 185K expected, and higher than than the highest forecast estimate, which as a reminder was 300K. In fact, as shown below, this was a 4-sigma beat to expectations...
... and putting the beat in the context of the past year, it was an absolute blowout:
What is notable is that once again there was a huge dispersion between the Establishment and Household Surveys, and while the former indicated an increase of 353K, the latter reported a drop in Employment of 31K!
Indeed, as the next chart shows, it's safe to assume that all Establishment Survey numbers are now completely made up.
Not only that, but while the US allegedly added 353K jobs, and employment dropped by 31K, full-time jobs actually declined by 63K and part-time jobs surged by 96K,
Clearly none of that mattered to the BLS, however, which had just one mission: to make the Biden economy look double super good-good ahead of the November elections, and it wasn't just payrolls which blew away expectations, the unemployment rate also slipped, staying at 3.7%, vs expectations of an increase to 3.8%. That said, Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.6 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (10.6 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (5.3 percent), Asians (2.9 percent), and Hispanics (5.0 percent) showed little or no change in January.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.5%, was unchanged in January, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.2%, was also little changed.
Some more stats from the Household survey:
In January, the number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.The number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 5.8 million, was little changed in January. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of people marginally attached to the labor force changed little at 1.7 million in January. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, increased to 452,000 in January.More notable was the sudden jump in wages, with the BLS reporting that average hourly earnings increase 0.6% from December (and double the 0.3% estimated increase), rising 4.5% YoY, also blowing away estimates of a 4.1% increase.
But, in keeping with the endless gimmicks by the BLS, this is not because of an actual wage increase but because people literally worked less (the denominator in the average hourly earnings equation) as the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.2 hour to 34.1 hours in January and is down by 0.5 hour over the year, down to the lowest level seen in the depths of the covid crisis.
To be sure, a big reason why none of today's numbers made any sense is because this was the report when the annual revisions are made, and while we will have more to say on that, one can see the clear difference in payrolls (and estimates) before and after revisions below:
Looking at a breakdown of jobs by sector (from the rigged Establishment survey), we find the following:
Professional and business services added 74,000 jobs in January, considerably higher than the average monthly increase of 14,000 jobs in 2023. Over the month, professional, scientific, and technical services added 42,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month (+4,000) but is down by 408,000 since reaching a peak in March 2022.In January, employment in health care rose by 70,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+33,000), hospitals (+20,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000). Job growth in health care averaged 58,000 per month in 2023.Retail trade employment increased by 45,000 in January but has shown little net growth since early 2023. Over the month, general merchandise retailers added 24,000 jobs, while electronics and appliance retailers lost 3,000 jobs.Employment in social assistance rose by 30,000 in January, reflecting continued growth in individual and family services (+22,000). Employment in social assistance grew by an average of 23,000 per month in 2023.Employment in manufacturing edged up in January (+23,000), with job gains in chemical manufacturing (+7,000) and printing and related support activities (+5,000). Manufacturing experienced little net job growth in 2023.Government employment continued to trend up in January (+36,000), below the average monthly gain of 57,000 in 2023. A job gain occurred in federal government (+11,000), and employment continued to trend up in local government, excluding education (+19,000).In January, employment in information continued its upward trend (+15,000). Employment in motion picture and sound recording industries increased by 12,000, while employment in telecommunications decreased by 3,000.Employment in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry declined by 5,000 in January, following little net change in 2023. Over the month, a job loss in support activities for mining (-7,000) was partially offset by a job gain in oil and gas extraction (+2,000).Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.We will have more to say on this report, but the bottom line is simple: the Biden administration has clearly tasked the BLS to make the labor market as strong and hot as possible ahead of November. Needless to say, this will make the Fed's job very difficult as any rate cuts will be very, very difficult to pass now with a FOMC consensus (of course, inflation will keep easing since the jobs numbers are totally bogus and made up, and in reality the labor market is shrinking fast but we have election coming). As such, the BLS has been terminally discredited and any indications of the true state of US employment will have to come at the macro level, like tracking individual corporate layoffs and other alternative metrics. This also means that trading in 2024 is going to be very difficult since most if not all "fundamental" data will be rigged to appear much stronger than it is, until eventually everything snaps. Biden's hope - of course - is that this happens after November...
NREL Has Just Issued A Ban On All E-Bikes And E-Scooters '' Here's Why - Electric Car Project
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:14
We all know that electric bicycles are an integral part of the urban mobility infrastructure of many countries all over the world. In Europe and Asia, several countries are giving aggressive incentives to folks who opt to make the switch to commuting on two wheels. The growing number of infrastructure projects that have cycling as part of their core is also evidence of this.
With all the developments surrounding e-bikes '' most of the positive '' why is it that some organizations and institutions are taking a backwards approach when it comes to e-bikes? For example, Electrek recently reported that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has just rolled out a blanket ban on ALL electric bicycles and scooters. Yes, NREL, an organization dedicated towards finding energy solutions for the future has just banned all e-bikes and e-scooters. How ironic is that?
According to Electrek's report, NREL's hardline approach towards e-mobility devices stems from safety issues, more specifically, fires. Indeed, e-bike fires have proven to be deadly and difficult to control due to the chemicals and elements found in their batteries, so NREL's concerns aren't a hundred-percent unfounded.
Nicholas Barlett, NREL's fire marshall, told Electrek that ''The data in the past few years shows an alarming trend of injuries and deaths, as demonstrated by entities such as NYFD and the UL Fire Safety Research Institute. The fires and explosions are attributed to a wide variety of causes such as mismatched chargers, overcharging, uncertified/Listed batteries, poor manufacturing quality, home made devices, etc. We cannot necessarily control what people purchase and use, but in some instances we are able to put restrictions on where and how an activity can be done (and we routinely do for everything from experiments with chemicals to fall protection).''
Electric bicycle and other e-mobility related fires are nothing new, and we've tackled a good number of these issues in plenty of articles in the past. At the end of the day, I don't think blanket bans are the solution to this problem, but rather, ensuring that all electric bicycles sold to the public conform to safety standards that undergo rigorous testing '' certifications from organizations like TUV or UL should be more than enough to provide the necessary peace of mind for people to embrace e-bikes as a whole. Needless to say, this is so much easier said than done, as there's the factor of backyard mechanics and electricians tinkering with their e-bikes' motors and batteries.
It's important to note that despite prohibiting e-bikes within its premises, NREL isn't banning its employees from riding e-bikes to work. The organization is reportedly setting up outdoor charging stations and parking areas for e-bike riding employees and visitors to use. These charging areas are located at a ''reasonable distance from building entrances.'' At the same time, it's also important to understand that the nature of NREL's business is to find alternative energy solutions, and sometimes, this work entails dealing with sensitive and flammable chemicals. This could also be one of the reasons for the institute's strict approach towards e-bikes.
While it seems that NREL has had no other choice but to implement a blanket ban on all e-bikes from being stored and charged indoors, we sure hope that this will change in the future, as more and more e-bike manufacturers build up their tech and vye for third-party certification. What do you think? Is a blanket ban on e-bikes too drastic of a measure? Or are NREL's fears justifiable?
NYC to offer migrants $53M in pre-paid credit cards, report says | WJAR
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:14
by JACKSON WALKER | The National Desk
Fri, February 2nd 2024Migrants pick up blankets near a migrant assistance center at St. Brigid Elementary School on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
NEW YORK CITY (TND) '-- New York City will offer its surging migrant population $53 million worth of pre-paid credit cards, the New York Post reported.
The initiative of the office of Mayor Eric Adams and Mobility Capital Finance aims to assist migrants with food expenses as they await authorization to work from the federal government. Cards will only work at bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores.
Recipients must sign an affidavit swearing to use the funds only for food and baby supplies or risk being removed from the program. Cards will be loaded with different amounts depending on the size of a family and whether they have income. A family of four could receive $1,000 monthly or $35 per day. Cards will be refilled every 28 days.
MoCaFi looks forward to partnering with New York City to disburse funds for asylum seekers to purchase fresh, hot food,'' Mobility Capital Finance CEO Wole Coaxum said. ''MoCaFi's goal is to expand access to financial resources for individuals excluded from banking, such as asylum seekers, while helping the local economy.''Though the city will begin by offering cards to a group of 500 individual, it could soon expand the program to reach the total population of migrants in the city, estimated at 15,000.
''Not only will this provide families with the ability to purchase fresh food for their culturally relevant diets and the baby supplies of their choosing, but the pilot program is expected to save New York City more than $600,000 per month, or more than $7.2 million annually,'' Mayor Adams spokesperson Kayla Mamelak said.
READ MORE | Connecticut will use COVID relief funds to cancel medical debt for low-income residents
Migrants across the country are struggling to survive without a legal means to support themselves. Asylum seekers in Denver have taken to washing stopped cars at busy intersections, sparking safety concerns from local residents and police.
Follow Jackson Walker on X at @_jlwalker_ for the latest trending national news. Have a news tip? Send it to
Orbn Drops Veto on '‚¬50B Ukraine Funds on Three Conditions '-- The European Conservative
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:14
EU leaders agreed to annual review of how Ukraine uses funds, and gave guarantee that the Commission will treat Hungary ''fairly and objectively'' in rule-of-law cases
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbn (second from right) having pre-summit negotiations with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emanuel Macron, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Photo: @PM_ViktorOrban on X/Twitter, 1 February 2024.
EU leaders agreed to annual review of how Ukraine uses funds, and gave guarantee that the Commission will treat Hungary ''fairly and objectively'' in rule-of-law cases
As angry farmers blockaded the entire EU district in Brussels with hundreds of tractors, many of the EU leaders were forced to arrive at the Council building on foot. Yet, despite the raging protest outside, the only thing on everyone's mind before the summit was the Ukraine Facility, the multi-annual aid package totalling '‚¬50 billion.
As 26 of the 27 member states' government leaders already agreed on the instrument being financed from an increased EU budget back in December, the sole objective for Thursday's European Council (EUCO) summit was to convince Hungary's PM Viktor Orbn to drop his veto as well.
In recent weeks, Orbn made it clear that he only supports the joint EU aid if there's an annual review of how Kyiv's spending the funds, or, alternatively, he'd let the other leaders set up an extra-budgetary mechanism based on voluntary participation to keep financing Ukraine.
Based on the doorstep interviews, most leaders anticipated a long and hard battle that could drag on until the night, but that's not what happened. Just minutes into the summit, European Council President Charles Michel announced on X that the agreement was reached with all member states, meaning that the chamber was able to persuade Orbn to drop his veto.
''We have a deal. All 27 leaders agreed on an additional '‚¬50 billion support package for Ukraine within the EU budget,'' Michel wrote. ''This locks in a steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine.''
The reason for the unusually swift conclusion was that several EU leaders held a preliminary closed-door meeting with Orbn ahead of the summit, including Michel, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the heads of Germany, France, and Italy.
It was presumably during that morning meeting that all sides came to agree on what concessions to offer to Hungary. According to diplomats familiar with the draft conclusions, Orbn agreed to the four-year-long financing instrument with three additions:
An annual report by the European Commission on the implementation of the fundsA mid-term debate on the highest level (EUCO) about the implementation of the fundsThe possibility of the European Council requesting a review of the increased EU budget from the Commission, if it deems it necessary after the debate two years inIn addition, EU leaders agreed to include a line in conclusions guaranteeing that the way the rule of law in Hungary is evaluated by the Commission will be done in good faith. Specifically, the text stresses that the Commission should always be ''objective, fair, impartial, and fact-based'' and guarantee ''non-discrimination'' whenever the conditionality mechanism to block EU funds to any capital is triggered.
Although it seems symbolic, this last concession was seen as crucial to ''rebuilding trust'' between Budapest and the European Commission president, who'--according to Fidesz lawmakers'--has essentially admitted that Hungary was being attacked because of its tough political stance on migration and LGBTQ issues.
Whether the Commission will start treating Hungary ''fairly'' from now on remains to be seen, but at least Budapest will have a written guarantee to show whenever it faces political persecution.
Tams Orbn is a political journalist for The European Conservative, based in Brussels. Born in Transylvania, he studied history and international relations in Kolozsvr, and worked for several political research institutes in Budapest. His interests include current affairs, social movements, geopolitics, and Central European security. On Twitter, he is @TamasOrbanEC.
Tams Orbn February 3, 2024
Tams Orbn February 3, 2024
Nick Hallett February 3, 2024
Rate of babies born prematurely has surged 12% since 2014 as doctors warn of 'infant health crisis' | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:13
The number of babies being born prematurely, which puts them at severe risk of life-threatening conditions and early death - has increased by more than 10 percent over the last decade.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found preterm births, defined as a birth before 37 weeks of gestation, increased by 12 percent between 2014 and 2022 from 7.7 percent to 8.7 percent.
In 2022, provisional CDC data shows there were 3.66million babies born, meaning 318,400 of those children were born preterm.
Pregnancy is measured in weeks as vital development occurs during gestation on a nearly day-to-day basis. And that continues until the final weeks of pregnancy.
During those weeks, a baby's brain, lungs and liver all continue to develop and babies born too early - especially before 32 weeks - have higher rates of death and disability.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report did note fluctuations in births during the 2020-2022 pandemic years, but reported an overall increasing trend in premature and early births
Early-term births, those at 37 and 38 weeks of gestation also increased, rising from eight percent and 11.6 percent, respectively, in 2014 to 16 and 17.5 percent in 2022.
On the decline were full-term births, measured as 39 to 40 weeks, and late or post-term births, measured as 41 weeks or later.
These declined by 6 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
The report found the largest change in births was those occurring at 37 weeks, which increased by 42 percent over the eight years measured.
The CDC did note fluctuations in births during the 2020-2022 pandemic years, but reported an overall increasing trend in premature and early births.
A separate CDC report from 2022 found that about one-in-10 babies in the US are born prematurely.
Babies who survive an early birth are at an increased risk of developing breathing problems, feeding problems, cerebral palsy, developmental delays and vision and hearing problems.
Pregnancy is measured in weeks as vital development occurs during gestation on a nearly day-to-day basis. And that continues until the final weeks of pregnancy
Preterm and early term births increased for mothers of all ages over the eight years. The largest increase was seen among women giving birth at 40 years of age or older - rising by 16 percent and 22 percent, respectively
While there is no known exact cause of why women go into preterm labor, there are several factors women may have that could increase the likelihood. These include being a teen or woman over 35 years old, having a lower income, belonging to a minority demographic, having a history of early births, being pregnant with twins, triplets or more, suffering from certain comorbidities and using drugs or tobacco during pregnancy.
Healthcare experts have also attributed the rise to increasing rates of obesity and associated conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.
The newest CDC report revealed the rate of preterm births rose an average of two percent each year from 2014 to 2019 and then fluctuated during the pandemic - declining one percent in 2020, increasing four percent in 2021 and declining again by one percent in 2022.
US home births hit record high in Covid pandemic US home births increased slightly in the pandemic's second year, rising to the highest level in decades, according to a government report.
Included in preterm births is early preterm birth, that before 34 weeks of gestation.
These increased four percent from 2014 to 2022.
Preterm and early term births increased for mothers of all ages over the eight years.
The largest increase was seen among women giving birth at 40 years of age or older - rising by 16 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
Late and post-term births among this group also declined the largest amount - by 52 percent.
Women under 20 years old giving birth experienced the smallest changes in preterm and early term births, but both still saw an increase- nine percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Increases were also seen among racial demographics. Hispanic women experienced the largest increase in preterm births - 13 percent and white women experienced the largest increase in early-term births - 22 percent.
Black women experienced the largest decline in full-term, late and post-term births - at nine percent and 31 percent, respectively.
Infants born preterm are at the highest risk of death and early-term birth is associated with poorer outcomes compared to full-term births.
In 2021, infant mortality rates decline by more than one-third each successive week of gestational ages from 37 to 39 weeks.
Southern District of New York | Former CIA Officer Joshua Adam Schulte Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Espionage And Child Pornography Crimes | United States Department of Justice
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:11
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Matthew G. Olsen, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (''FBI''), announced today that JOSHUA ADAM SCHULTE was sentenced to 40 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman for crimes of espionage, computer hacking, contempt of Court, making false statements to the FBI, and child pornography. SCHULTE's theft is the largest data breach in the history of the CIA, and his transmission of that stolen information to WikiLeaks is one of the largest unauthorized disclosures of classified information in the history of the U.S. Today's sentencing followed SCHULTE's convictions at trials that concluded on March 9, 2020, July 13, 2022, and September 13, 2023.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: ''Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history. He caused untold damage to our national security in his quest for revenge against the CIA for its response to Schulte's security breaches while employed there. When the FBI caught him, Schulte doubled down and tried to cause even more harm to this nation by waging what he described as an 'information war' of publishing top secret information from behind bars. And all the while, Schulte collected thousands upon thousands of videos and images of children being subjected to sickening abuse for his own personal gratification. The outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the career prosecutors in this Office unmasked Schulte for the traitor and predator that he is and made sure that he will spend 40 years behind bars '' right where he belongs.''
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said: ''Mr. Schulte severely harmed U.S. national security and directly risked the lives of CIA personnel, persisting in his efforts even after his arrest. As today's sentence reaffirms, the Department of Justice is committed to investigating, prosecuting, and holding accountable those who would violate their constitutional oath and betray the trust of the American people they pledged to protect.''
FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: ''Today, Joshua Schulte was rightly punished not only for his betrayal of our country, but for his substantial possession of horrific child pornographic material. The severity of his actions is evident, and the sentence imposed reflects the magnitude of the disturbing and harmful threat posed by his criminal conduct. The FBI will not yield in our efforts to bring to justice anyone who endangers innocent children or threatens our national security.''
According to court documents and evidence at trial:
From 2012 to 2016, SCHULTE was employed as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence (''CCI''), which conducts offensive cyber operations: cyber espionage relating to terrorist organizations and foreign governments. SCHULTE and other CCI developers worked on tools that were used in, among other things, human-enabled operations: cyber operations that involved a person with access to the computer network being targeted by the cyber tool. In addition to being a developer, SCHULTE was also temporarily one of the administrators of one of the servers and suite of development programs used to build cyber tools.
In March 2016, SCHULTE was moved within branches of CCI as a result of personnel disputes between SCHULTE and another developer. Following that transfer, in April 2016, SCHULTE abused his administrator powers to grant himself administrator privileges over a development project from which he had been removed as a result of the branch change. SCHULTE's abuse of administrator privileges was detected, and CCI leadership directed that administrator privileges would immediately be transferred from developers, including SCHULTE, to another division. SCHULTE was also given a warning about self-granting administrator privileges that had previously been revoked.
SCHULTE had, however, secretly opened an administrator session on one of the servers before his privileges were removed. On April 20, 2016, after other developers had left the CCI office, SCHULTE used his secret server administrator session to execute a series of cyber-maneuvers on the CIA network to restore his revoked privileges, break in to the backups, steal copies of the entire CCI tool development archives (the ''Stolen CIA Files''), revert the network back to its prior state, and delete hundreds of log files in an attempt to cover his tracks. SCHULTE's theft of the Stolen CIA Files is the largest data breach in CIA history.
From his home computer, SCHULTE then transmitted the Stolen CIA Files to WikiLeaks, using anonymizing tools recommended by WikiLeaks to potential leakers, such as the Tails operating system and the Tor browser. On May 5, 2016, having transmitted the Stolen CIA Files to WikiLeaks, SCHULTE wiped and reformatted his home computer's internal hard drives.
On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began publishing classified data from the Stolen CIA Files. Between March and November 2017, there were a total of 26 disclosures of classified data from the Stolen CIA Files that WikiLeaks denominated as Vault 7 and Vault 8 (the ''WikiLeaks Disclosures''). The WikiLeaks Disclosures were one of the largest unauthorized disclosures of classified information in the history of the U.S., and SCHULTE's theft and disclosure immediately and profoundly damaged the CIA's ability to collect foreign intelligence against America's adversaries; placed CIA personnel, programs, and assets directly at risk; and cost the CIA hundreds of millions of dollars. The effect was described at trial by the former CIA Deputy Director of Digital Innovation as a ''digital Pearl Harbor,'' and the disclosure caused exceptionally grave harm to the national security of the U.S.
Following the WikiLeaks Disclosures, SCHULTE was voluntarily interviewed on multiple occasions by the FBI in March 2017. During those interviews, SCHULTE repeatedly lied, including denying being responsible for the theft of the Stolen CIA Files or for the WikiLeaks Disclosures and spinning fake narratives about ways the Stolen CIA Files could have been obtained from CIA computers, in the hope of deflecting suspicion away from SCHULTE and diverting law enforcement resources to false leads.
In March 2017, the FBI searched SCHULTE's apartment in New York pursuant to a search warrant and recovered, among other things, multiple computers, servers, and other electronic storage devices, including SCHULTE's personal desktop computer (the ''Desktop Computer''), which SCHULTE built while living in Virginia and then transported to New York in November 2016. On the Desktop Computer, FBI agents found layers of encryption hiding tens of thousands of videos and images of child sexual abuse materials, including approximately 3,400 images and videos of disturbing and horrific child pornography and the rape and sexual abuse of children as young as two years old, as well as images of bestiality and sadomasochism. SCHULTE collected some of these files during his employment with the CIA and continued to stockpile child pornography from the dark web and Russian websites after moving to New York.
While detained pending trial, in approximately April 2018, SCHULTE sent a copy of the affidavit in support of the warrant to search his apartment, which a protective order entered by the Court prohibiting SCHULTE from disseminating, to reporters from two different newspapers, and SCHULTE acknowledged in recorded phone calls that he knew he was prohibited from sharing protected material like the affidavit.
Despite being warned by the Court not to violate the protective order further, in the summer and fall of 2018, SCHULTE made plans to wage what he proclaimed to be an ''information war'' against the U.S. government. To pursue these ends, SCHULTE obtained access to contraband cellphones while in jail that he used to create anonymous, encrypted email and social media accounts. SCHULTE also attempted to use the contraband cellphones to transmit protected discovery materials to WikiLeaks and planned to use the anonymous email and social media accounts to publish a manifesto and various other postings containing classified information about CIA cyber techniques and cyber tools. In a journal, SCHULTE wrote that he planned to ''breakup diplomatic relationships, close embassies, [and] end U.S. occupation across the world[.]'' SCHULTE successfully sent emails containing classified information about the CCI development network and the number of employees in particular CIA cyber intelligence groups to a reporter.
As a result of this conduct, on March 9, 2020, SCHULTE was found guilty at trial of contempt of court and making material false statements. On July 13, 2022, SCHULTE was found guilty at trial of eight counts: illegal gathering and transmission of national defense information in connection with his theft and dissemination of the Stolen CIA Files, illegal transmission and attempted transmission of national defense information, unauthorized access to a computer to obtain classified information and information from a department or agency of the U.S. in connection with his theft of the Stolen CIA Files, and two counts of causing transmission of harmful computer commands in connection with his theft of the Stolen CIA Files. Finally, on September 13, 2023, SCHULTE was found guilty at trial on charges of receiving, possessing, and transporting child pornography.
* * *
In addition to the prison term, SCHULTE, 35, of New York, New York, was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding efforts of the Counterintelligence Division and the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force of the FBI's New York Field Office, as well as the extraordinary work of FBI computer scientists from the Cyber Action Team. Mr. Williams also thanked the FBI Washington Field Office, the CIA Office of General Counsel, and the National Security Division's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section for their assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office's National Security and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David W. Denton Jr., Michael D. Lockard, and Nicholas S. Bradley are in charge of the prosecution.
The UK is fast approaching its immigration breaking point
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:10
The latest population projections show immigration adding 6 million people to the British population over the 15 years from 2021 to 2036. This is a staggering number. Twice the population of Wales, or an average of 405,000 per annum. You could build a city the size of Nottingham each year, and you'd still need to find room for another 82,000 people.
Of course, one of the problems is that we won't build a city the size of Nottingham. We already have a shortfall of around 4 million homes, with a generation of young people seeing their chance of ownership dissipate into spiralling rents. Forget about improving affordability; as Karl Williams of the Centre for Policy Studies points out, we'd need to boost housebuilding rates by 60 per cent just to keep track.
The laws of supply and demand do not cease to exist just because it would be politically convenient for them to do so. In driving up house prices through immigration, Britain is choosing the welfare of the world over the welfare of its children. And it is doing so against the wishes of the electorate at large.
As polling from Onward suggested recently, a significant majority of young voters aged 18-24 want immigration to fall. So, too, do Londoners, Labour voters, Remainers and university graduates. When even the most reliably progressive cohorts think immigration is too high, something will have to give.
If we continue on this path, that ''something'' will be Britain. One by one, the arguments for mass migration as economic rocket fuel have fallen apart, replaced by generic statements that see immigration as a good in itself. It is not.
In 2016, the average non-EU immigrant received £840 more in public services and spending than they paid in. This was before the great post-Brexit shake-up of the immigration system, which turned low tier universities into visa mills, and declared low-paid care workers a skilled occupation requiring an inflow of 100,000 people (and 120,000 dependants) in just one year.
It's difficult to imagine this has improved matters, and things may be even worse in the longer term. Foreign-born workers are already more likely to live in social housing than those born in the UK; by bringing in low-paid workers without building enough houses, we will only drive demand for this scarce stock up.
The state, too, will likely grow. Traditionally, it's been assumed that students will eventually leave, and many workers will retire in their home countries, leaving their taxes behind and taking their costs with them. This seems less likely with immigration drawn from less developed countries. We may find ourselves paying a considerable long-term bill for today's cheap labour.
After all, the British state can barely make provision for the people it already has. The idea we'll get roads, schools, hospitals and reservoirs for a population growing 10 per cent in such a short time is for the birds.
The idea that simply adding people to the population leads to general prosperity has toppled over. Canada has tried this path, and it has failed. Immigration has soared while per capita incomes have stagnated. The country does not have enough money to provide the tools, buildings and infrastructure workers need; it has fallen into a developing world-style population trap.
This is the future that Britain is setting itself up for. It's no wonder voters are rejecting it.
Identification friend or foe - Wikipedia
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:09
Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is an identification system designed for command and control. It uses a transponder that listens for an interrogation signal and then sends a response that identifies the broadcaster. IFF systems usually use radar frequencies, but other electromagnetic frequencies, radio or infrared, may be used.[1] It enables military and civilian air traffic control interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly, as opposed to neutral or hostile, and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator. IFF is used by both military and civilian aircraft. IFF was first developed during World War II, with the arrival of radar, and several friendly fire incidents.
An IFF test set used by a United States Air Force avionics technician technical sergeant for testing transponders on aircraftModel XAE IFF kit, the first radio recognition IFF system in the U.S.IFF can only positively identify friendly aircraft or other forces.[2][3][4][5] If an IFF interrogation receives no reply or an invalid reply, the object is not positively identified as foe; friendly forces may not properly reply to IFF for various reasons such as equipment malfunction, and parties in the area not involved in the combat, such as civilian airliners, will not be equipped with IFF.
IFF is a tool within the broader military action of Combat Identification (CID), the characterization of objects detected in the field of combat sufficiently accurately to support operational decisions. The broadest characterization is that of friend, enemy, neutral, or unknown. CID not only can reduce friendly fire incidents, but also contributes to overall tactical decision-making.[6]
With the successful deployment of radar systems for air defence during World War II, combatants were immediately confronted with the difficulty of distinguishing friendly aircraft from hostile ones; by that time, aircraft were flown at high speed and altitude, making visual identification impossible, and the targets showed up as featureless blips on the radar screen. This led to incidents such as the Battle of Barking Creek, over Britain,[7][8][9] and the air attack on the fortress of Koepenick over Germany.[10][11]
British development edit Early concepts edit Radar coverage of the Chain Home system, 1939''40Already before the deployment of their Chain Home radar system (CH), the RAF had considered the problem of IFF. Robert Watson-Watt had filed patents on such systems in 1935 and 1936. By 1938, researchers at Bawdsey Manor began experiments with "reflectors" consisting of dipole antennas tuned to resonate to the primary frequency of the CH radars. When a pulse from the CH transmitter hit the aircraft, the antennas would resonate for a short time, increasing the amount of energy returned to the CH receiver. The antenna was connected to a motorized switch that periodically shorted it out, preventing it from producing a signal. This caused the return on the CH set to periodically lengthen and shorten as the antenna was turned on and off. In practice, the system was found to be too unreliable to use; the return was highly dependent on the direction the aircraft was moving relative to the CH station, and often returned little or no additional signal.[12]
It had been suspected this system would be of little use in practice. When that turned out to be the case, the RAF turned to an entirely different system that was also being planned. This consisted of a set of tracking stations using HF/DF radio direction finders. Their aircraft radios were modified to send out a 1 kHz tone for 14 seconds every minute, allowing the stations ample time to measure the aircraft's bearing. Several such stations were assigned to each "sector" of the air defence system, and sent their measurements to a plotting station at sector headquarters, who used triangulation to determine the aircraft's location. Known as "pip-squeak", the system worked, but was labour-intensive and did not display its information directly to the radar operators. A system that worked directly with the radar was clearly desirable.[13]
IFF Mark II edit The first active IFF transponder (transmitter/responder) was the IFF Mark I which was used experimentally in 1939. This used a regenerative receiver, which fed a small amount of the amplified output back into the input, strongly amplifying even small signals as long as they were of a single frequency (like Morse code, but unlike voice transmissions). They were tuned to the signal from the CH radar (20''30 MHz), amplifying it so strongly that it was broadcast back out the aircraft's antenna. Since the signal was received at the same time as the original reflection of the CH signal, the result was a lengthened "blip" on the CH display which was easily identifiable. In testing, it was found that the unit would often overpower the radar or produce too little signal to be seen, and at the same time, new radars were being introduced using new frequencies.
Instead of putting Mark I into production, a new IFF Mark II was introduced in early 1940. Mark II had a series of separate tuners inside tuned to different radar bands that it stepped through using a motorized switch, while an automatic gain control solved the problem of it sending out too much signal. Mark II was technically complete as the war began, but a lack of sets meant it was not available in quantity and only a small number of RAF aircraft carried it by the time of the Battle of Britain. Pip-squeak was kept in operation during this period, but as the Battle ended, IFF Mark II was quickly put into full operation. Pip-squeak was still used for areas over land where CH did not cover, as well as an emergency guidance system.[14]
IFF Mark III edit Even by 1940 the complex system of Mark II was reaching its limits while new radars were being constantly introduced. By 1941, a number of sub-models were introduced that covered different combinations of radars, common naval ones for instance, or those used by the RAF. But the introduction of radars based on the microwave-frequency cavity magnetron rendered this obsolete; there was simply no way to make a responder operating in this band using contemporary electronics.
In 1940, English engineer Freddie Williams had suggested using a single separate frequency for all IFF signals, but at the time there seemed no pressing need to change the existing system. With the introduction of the magnetron, work on this concept began at the Telecommunications Research Establishment as the IFF Mark III. This was to become the standard for the Western Allies for most of the war.
Mark III transponders were designed to respond to specific 'interrogators', rather than replying directly to received radar signals. These interrogators worked on a limited selection of frequencies, no matter what radar they were paired with. The system also allowed limited communication to be made, including the ability to transmit a coded 'Mayday' response. The IFF sets were designed and built by Ferranti in Manchester to Williams' specifications. Equivalent sets were manufactured in the US, initially as copies of British sets, so that allied aircraft would be identified upon interrogation by each other's radar.[14]
IFF sets were obviously highly classified. Thus, many of them were wired with explosives in the event the aircrew bailed out or crash landed. Jerry Proc reports:
Alongside the switch to turn on the unit was the IFF destruct switch to prevent its capture by the enemy. Many a pilot chose the wrong switch and blew up his IFF unit. The thud of a contained explosion and the acrid smell of burning insulation in the cockpit did not deter many pilots from destroying IFF units time and time again. Eventually, the self destruct switch was secured by a thin wire to prevent its accidental use."[15]
Germany edit Code generator from German WW II IFF-Radio FuG 25a ErstlingFuG 25a Erstling (English: Firstborn, Debut) was developed in Germany in 1940. It was tuned to the low-VHF band at 125 MHz used by the Freya radar, and an adaptor was used with the low-UHF-banded 550''580 MHz used by W¼rzburg. Before a flight, the transceiver was set up with a selected day code of ten bits which was dialed into the unit. To start the identification procedure, the ground operator switched the pulse frequency of his radar from 3,750 Hz to 5,000 Hz. The airborne receiver decoded that and started to transmit the day code. The radar operator would then see the blip lengthen and shorten in the given code. The IFF transmitter worked on 168 MHz with a power of 400 watts (PEP).
The system included a way for ground controllers to determine whether an aircraft had the right code or not but it did not include a way for the transponder to reject signals from other sources. British military scientists found a way of exploiting this by building their own IFF transmitter called Perfectos, which were designed to trigger a response from any FuG 25a system in the vicinity. When an FuG 25a responded on its 168 MHz frequency, the signal was received by the antenna system from an AI Mk. IV radar, which originally operated at 212 MHz. By comparing the strength of the signal on different antennas the direction to the target could be determined. Mounted on Mosquitos, the "Perfectos" severely limited German use of the FuG 25a.
Further wartime developments edit IFF Mark IV and V edit The United States Naval Research Laboratory had been working on their own IFF system since before the war. It used a single interrogation frequency, like the Mark III, but differed in that it used a separate responder frequency. Responding on a different frequency has several practical advantages, most notably that the response from one IFF cannot trigger another IFF on another aircraft. But it requires a complete transmitter for the responder side of the circuitry, in contrast to the greatly simplified regenerative system used in the British designs. This technique is now known as a cross-band transponder.
When the Mark II was revealed in 1941 during the Tizard Mission, it was decided to use it and take the time to further improve their experimental system. The result was what became IFF Mark IV. The main difference between this and earlier models is that it worked on higher frequencies, around 600 MHz, which allowed much smaller antennas. However, this also turned out to be close to the frequencies used by the German W¼rzburg radar and there were concerns that it would be triggered by that radar and the transponder responses would be picked on its radar display. This would immediately reveal the IFF's operational frequencies.
This led to a US''British effort to make a further improved model, the Mark V, also known as the United Nations Beacon or UNB. This moved to still higher frequencies around 1 GHz but operational testing was not complete when the war ended. By the time testing was finished in 1948, the much improved Mark X was beginning its testing and Mark V was abandoned.
Postwar systems edit IFF Mark X edit Mark X started as a purely experimental device operating at frequencies above 1 GHz, the name refers to "experimental", not "number 10". As development continued it was decided to introduce an encoding system known as the "Selective Identification Feature", or SIF. SIF allowed the return signal to contain up to 12 pulses, representing four octal digits of 3 bits each. Depending on the timing of the interrogation signal, SIF would respond in several ways. Mode 1 indicated the type of aircraft or its mission (cargo or bomber, for instance) while Mode 2 returned a tail code.
Mark X began to be introduced in the early 1950s. This was during a period of great expansion of the civilian air transport system, and it was decided to use slightly modified Mark X sets for these aircraft as well. These sets included a new military Mode 3 which was essentially identical to Mode 2, returning a four-digit code, but used a different interrogation pulse, allowing the aircraft to identify if the query was from a military or civilian radar. For civilian aircraft, this same system was known as Mode A, and because they were identical, they are generally known as Mode 3/A.
Several new modes were also introduced during this process. Civilian modes B and D were defined, but never used. Mode C responded with a 12-bit number encoded using Gillham code, which represented the altitude as (that number) x 100 feet - 1200. Radar systems can easily locate an aircraft in two dimensions, but measuring altitude is a more complex problem and, especially in the 1950s, added significantly to the cost of the radar system. By placing this function on the IFF, the same information could be returned for little additional cost, essentially that of adding a digitizer to the aircraft's altimeter.
Modern interrogators generally send out a series of challenges on Mode 3/A and then Mode C, allowing the system to combine the identity of the aircraft with its altitude and location from the radar.
IFF Mark XII edit The current IFF system is the Mark XII. This works on the same frequencies as Mark X, and supports all of its military and civilian modes.[citation needed ]
It had long been considered a problem that the IFF responses could be triggered by any properly formed interrogation, and those signals were simply two short pulses of a single frequency. This allowed enemy transmitters to trigger the response, and using triangulation, an enemy could determine the location of the transponder. The British had already used this technique against the Germans during WWII, and it was used by the USAF against VPAF aircraft during the Vietnam War.
Mark XII differs from Mark X through the addition of the new military Mode 4. This works in a fashion similar to Mode 3/A, with the interrogator sending out a signal that the IFF responds to. There are two key differences, however.
One is that the Interrogation pulse is followed by a 12-bit code similar to the ones sent back by the Mark 3 transponders. The encoded number changes day-to-day. When the number is received and decoded in the aircraft transponder, a further cryptographic encoding is applied. If the result of that operation matches the value dialled into the IFF in the aircraft, the transponder replies with a Mode 3 response as before. If the values do not match, it does not respond.
This solves the problem of the aircraft transponder replying to false interrogations, but does not completely solve the problem of locating the aircraft through triangulation. To solve this problem, a delay is added to the response signal that varies based on the code sent from the interrogator. When received by an enemy that does not see the interrogation pulse, which is generally the case as they are often below the radar horizon, this causes a random displacement of the return signal with every pulse. Locating the aircraft within the set of returns is a difficult process.
Mode S edit During the 1980s, a new civilian mode, Mode S, was added that allowed greatly increased amounts of data to be encoded in the returned signal. This was used to encode the location of the aircraft from the navigation system. This is a basic part of the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), which allows commercial aircraft to know the location of other aircraft in the area and avoid them without the need for ground operators.
The basic concepts from Mode S were then militarized as Mode 5, which is simply a cryptographically encoded version of the Mode S data.
The IFF of World War II and Soviet military systems (1946 to 1991) used coded radar signals (called Cross-Band Interrogation, or CBI) to automatically trigger the aircraft's transponder in an aircraft illuminated by the radar. Radar-based aircraft identification is also called secondary surveillance radar in both military and civil usage, with primary radar bouncing an RF pulse off of the aircraft to determine position. George Charrier, working for RCA, filed for a patent for such an IFF device in 1941. It required the operator to perform several adjustments to the radar receiver to suppress the image of the natural echo on the radar receiver, so that visual examination of the IFF signal would be possible.[16]
By 1943, Donald Barchok filed a patent for a radar system using the abbreviation IFF in his text with only parenthetic explanation, indicating that this acronym had become an accepted term.[17] In 1945, Emile Labin and Edwin Turner filed patents for radar IFF systems where the outgoing radar signal and the transponder's reply signal could each be independently programmed with a binary codes by setting arrays of toggle switches; this allowed the IFF code to be varied from day to day or even hour to hour.[18][19]
Early 21st century systems edit The United States and other NATO countries started using a system called Mark XII in the late twentieth century; Britain had not until then implemented an IFF system compatible with that standard, but then developed a program for a compatible system known as successor IFF (SIFF).[20]
Modes edit Mode 1: military only; provides 2-digit octal (6 bit) "mission code" that identifies the aircraft type or mission.[21]Mode 2: military only; provides 4-digit octal (12 bit) unit code or tail number.[22]Mode 3/A: military/civilian; provides a 4-digit octal (12 bit) identification code for the aircraft, assigned by the air traffic controller. Commonly referred to as a squawk code.[21]Mode 4: military only; provides a 3-pulse reply, delay is based on the encrypted challenge.[21]Mode 5: military only; provides a cryptographically secured version of Mode S and ADS-B GPS position.[21]Modes 4 and 5 are designated for use by NATO forces.
Submarines edit In World War I, eight submarines were sunk by friendly fire and in World War II nearly twenty were sunk this way.[23] Still, Identification of friend or foe (IFF) has not been regarded a high concern before the 1990s by the US military as not many other countries possess submarines.[24]
IFF methods that are analogous to aircraft IFF have been deemed unfeasible for submarines because they would make submarines easier to detect. Thus, having friendly submarines broadcast a signal, or somehow increase the submarine's signature (based on acoustics, magnetic fluctuations etc.), are not considered viable.[24] Instead, submarine IFF is done based on carefully defining areas of operation. Each friendly submarine is assigned a patrol area, where the presence of any other submarine is deemed hostile and open to attack. Further, within these assigned areas, surface ships and aircraft refrain from any anti-submarine warfare (ASW); only the resident submarine may target other submarines in its own area. Ships and aircraft may still engage in ASW in areas that have not been assigned to any friendly submarines.[24] Navies also use database of acoustic signatures to attempt to identify the submarine, but acoustic data can be ambiguous and several countries deploy similar classes of submarines.[25]
See also edit Automatic target recognitionBlue force trackingChallenge''response authenticationList of World War II electronic warfare equipmentNelson Chequer, early 19th-century identification patternInvasion stripes References edit ^ "Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Panel with Dynamic Contrast at Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) Wavelengths (Solicitation)". SBIR-STTR. US Department of Defense (Army). January 2019. ^ "Combat Identification IFF Systems" (PDF) . Tellumat. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2022 . Retrieved 24 September 2020 . ^ "MEADS System Gains Full Certification for Identifying Friend or Foe Aircraft". Lockheed Martin. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04 . Retrieved 31 May 2015 . ^ "Identification Friend or Foe". Global Security . Retrieved 31 May 2015 . ^ "Combat Identification (IFF)". BAE Systems . Retrieved 31 May 2015 . ^ "Joint Publication (JP) 3-09, Joint Fire Support" (PDF) . US DoD. 30 June 2010. p. III-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-11 . Retrieved 27 December 2013 . ^ Christopher Yeoman & John Freeborn, Tiger Cub '' The Story of John Freeborn DFC* A 74 Squadron Fighter Pilot In WWII, Pen and Sword Aviation, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84884-023-2, p45 ^ Bob Cossey, A Tiger's Tale: The Story of Battle of Britain Fighter Ace Wg. Cdr. John Connell Freeborn, ISBN 978-1-900511-64-3, chapter 4 ^ Hough, Richard and Denis Richards. The Battle of Britain: The Greatest Air Battle of World War II, WW Norton, 1990, p.67 ^ Galland, Adolf : The First and the Last p 101(1954 reprinted ..) ISBN 978 80 87888 92 6 ^ Price, Alfred : Battle Over the Reich pp95-6(1973) ISBN 0 7110 0481 1 ^ "General IFF principles". United States Fleet. 1945 . Retrieved 2012-12-17 . ^ "The British invention of radar" . Retrieved 2012-12-17 . ^ a b Lord Bowden (1985). "The story of IFF (identification friend or foe)". IEE Proceedings A - Physical Science, Measurement and Instrumentation, Management and Education, Reviews. 132 (6): 435. doi:10.1049/ip-a-1.1985.0079. ^ Proc, Jerry. "IFF System History". The Web Pages Of Jerry Proc. Jerry Proc . Retrieved 5 November 2018 . ^ George M. Charrier, Recognition System for Pulse Echo Radio Locators, U.S. patent 2,453,970 , granted Nov. 16, 1948. ^ Donald Barchok, Means for Synchronizing Detection and Interrogation Systems, U.S. patent 2,515,178 , granted July 18, 1950. ^ Emile Labin, Magnetostrictive Time-Delay Device, U.S. patent 2,495,740 , granted Jan. 31, 1950. ^ Edwin E. Turner, Coded Impulse Responsive Secret Signalling System, U.S. patent 2,648,060 , granted Aug. 4, 1953. ^ "Nations Seek NATO-Compatible ID Systems". Archived from the original on 2014-04-08 . Retrieved 2012-12-12 . ^ a b c d NATO STANAG 4193 ^ "What is IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)?". EverythingRF . Retrieved 29 November 2020 . ^ Charles Kirke, ed. (2012-04-26). Fratricide in Battle. Bloomsbury Publishing. ^ a b c "Avoiding Fratricide of Air and Sea Targets" (PDF) . Who Goes There: Friend or Foe?. June 1993. pp. 66''67. ^ Glynn, Michael (2022-05-30). Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare. p. 245. This article incorporates public domain material from Federal Standard 1037C. General Services Administration. Archived from the original on 2022-01-22. This article incorporates public domain material from Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. United States Department of Defense. External links edit The short film STAFF FILM REPORT 66-27A (1966) is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive.Overview of SSR and IFF Systems
US sanctions Israeli settlers over West Bank violence
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:09
By Gareth Evans and Tom Bateman BBC News, Washington
President Biden said violence in the occupied West Bank posed a "serious threat to peace, security and stability"US President Joe Biden has approved sanctions on four Israeli settlers accused of attacking Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Mr Biden signed a broad executive order, saying violence in the West Bank had reached "intolerable levels".
The sanctions block the individuals from accessing all US property, assets and the American financial system.
Violence in the West Bank has spiked since Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October.
Some 370 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since then, according to the UN. The majority of those have been killed by Israeli forces but at least eight of them have been killed by Israeli settlers, the UN said.
The new executive order means the US government has the power to sanction any foreign nationals who attack, intimidate or seize the property of Palestinians.
The sanctions are a first by the US administration - a rare step targeting Israelis - and comes as Mr Biden travels to the state of Michigan, which has a large Arab-American population that has been critical of his support for Israel.
The Arab American Institute, an advocacy group, earlier said that since the start of the conflict, support by Arab Americans for the Democratic Party has plummeted from 59% in 2020 to just 17%.
Why are Israel and Hamas fighting in Gaza?On Thursday, a senior official in the Biden administration said the president had repeatedly raised concerns with Israel about violence by settlers.
The executive order sets out the groundwork for how the US will respond to further attacks in the West Bank, and is an escalation compared to the visa restrictions it imposed on some individuals last year.
"The situation in the West Bank - in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction - has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability" of the region, Mr Biden said in a letter to Congress explaining his reasoning.
A senior administration official said the initial round of sanctions - targeting four people - were against "individuals that have directly perpetrated violence and those who have engaged in repeated acts of intimidation, property destruction, leading to the forced displacement of Palestinian communities".
They said one person initiated and led a riot that led to the death of a Palestinian civilian in the town of Huwara, while another had attacked people with stones and clubs.
They added that the executive order was "non-discriminatory" and applied to both Israelis and Palestinians who direct or take part in violent acts or threats against civilians, intimidation, destroying, seizing property or terrorism.
The US Treasury named the four sanctioned Israelis as David Chai Chasdai, 29; Yinon Levi 31; Einan Tanjil, 21; and Shalom Zicherman 32. Three of them lived in West Bank settlements and one lived near the occupied region's border, the Treasury said.
These US sanctions cannot be applied to American citizens, some of whom are thought to be involved in the violence.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the US does believes the sanctions "will have an impact on these four individuals" and expects Israel to "do more to hold accountable those responsible for settler violence".
Watch: Biden's support for Israel has lost him votes among Arab AmericansShortly after Mr Biden signed the executive order, Israel signalled its dissatisfaction and described the majority of West Bank settlers as "law-abiding".
"Israel takes action against all law-breakers everywhere, and therefore there is no need for unusual measures on the issue," a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.
The response was yet another sign of a deepening public rift between the US and Israel.
The two leaders are long-term allies, but have disagreed in recent weeks about the idea of creating an independent Palestinian state. The US believes a Palestinian state alongside Israel - known as a "two-state solution" - is vital for long-term stability in the region.
Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea, and the White House acknowledged last month that the US and Israeli governments "clearly see things differently".
Those comments dampened hopes in some circles that the conflict could result in Israeli and Palestinian leaders restarting diplomatic negotiations and kickstarting the dormant peace process.
US Strikes At Least 85 Targets In Iraq & Syria, Including From B1 Bombers | ZeroHedge
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:09
Update(1715ET): Importantly, there have been no reports of US airstrikes in Iran this evening, and US officials say that the Pentagon does not plan to hit targets inside the Islamic Republic. But the strikes on eastern Syria and in western Iraq were large, and targeted IRGC assets and personnel and their affiliates. According to a CENTCOM statement, the initial wave, which started at 4pm US Eastern Time (interestingly, just after markets closed), included over 85 targets, with some of them hit more than once:
At 4:00 p.m. (EST) Feb. 02, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States.
The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions. The facilities that were struck included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.
The Biden administration is promising this is not the end of it, and the campaign could last for days or more.
First images circulating on Telegram of U.S. airstrikes on #IRGCterrorists at Al-Qa'im, #Iraq.
'-- Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) February 2, 2024* * *
Update(1640ET): The Biden administration has begun its much anticipated retaliatory strikes:
Regional analyst Kevork Almassian comments as this initial wave of attacks begins: "The US air force is bombing Eastern Syria near al-Mayadeen. Syria is a sovereign country which has not attacked the United States. A clear violation of international law." US B1 bombers have been involved, according to officials. Initial unconfirmed footage from the region:
Breaking: this was sent to me from Al-Qaem, Iraq moments ago, you can hear the huge explosions in the distance from the Syrian-Iraqi border area.
'-- Steven Nabil (@thestevennabil) February 2, 2024The Department of Defense has since suggested the initial eastern Syria strikes which were first reported might be the work of a partner air force, possibly Israel(?). There are a number of reports suggesting Israel is participating as a partner force. Additionally:
Initial report of a US attack against targets in the Deir ez-Zor area on the Syria-Iraq border.US Official confirms strikes occurring in Iraq and Syria. ''8 targets is just first of many courses'' so farReuters, citing American officials: ''The strikes targeted facilities in Iraq and Syria linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and groups that it supports.''Start time was about 4 p.m. Eastern Time.The administration appears to have waited until market close on Friday to start bombing.
'-- Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman) February 2, 2024Significant casualties are being reported, and will likely trickle out through the evening.
Confused messaging coming from Biden administration and mainstream reports:
Total chaos in U.S. messaging tonight '-- with officials confirming & denying US strikes in #Syria & #Iraq tonight.You'd think after taking 5 days to message every possible detail to #Iran, that confirming action would be simple.
Seems not.
'-- Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) February 2, 2024* * *
French container shipping giant CMA CGM has announced suspension of all its Red Sea transit due to security risks, Bloomberg has reported Friday, adding to a growing list of major firms now deeming the area too unsafe.
The Bloomberg note additionally confirms that "CMA CGM will keep operating in the northern Red Sea but will not send its fleets through the southern part that is unavoidable for any vessel seeking to use Egypt's Suez Canal to go between Europe and Asia." With every addition of a shipping major, there's yet further confirmation that the US-led 'Operation Prosperity Guardian' is failing.
Via Reuters"Hundreds of container ships and large numbers of oil tankers and commodity carriers have elected to avoid the area altogether," Bloomberg underscores.
Until this week, CMA CGM had continued sending some vessels through the vital transit passage despite the almost daily Houthi missile and drone attacks, but which have been supported by French navy escort. But at this point it appears even the large Western warship presence isn't enough.
This week, the US Navy saw its closest call yet when a Houthi-launched cruise missile came within a mere mile of the destroyer USS Gravely.
Details have only just emerged late in the week based on the accounts of several US defense officials. Presumably other longer range anti-air defenses failed as the missile was inbound close the ship. CNN describes:
In the past, these missiles have been intercepted by US destroyers in the area at a range of eight miles or more, the officials said. But the USS Gravely had to use its Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) for the first time since the US began intercepting the Houthi missiles late last year, which ultimately succeeded in downing the missile, officials said.
The CIWS, an automated machine gun designed for close-range intercepts, is one of the final defensive lines the ship has to shoot down an incoming missile when other layers of defense have failed to intercept it.
So this "last line of defense" which utilizes a 20 mm radar-guided canon had to be activated. The mounted weapon is a General Dynamics and Raytheon-produced ship defense system which engages closely inbound targets...
Wow, the USS Gravely had to use its Phalanx CIWS against a Houthi cruise missile per a U.S. official to CNN.This is essentially the ships last layer of defense against any incoming attacks.
(The video below shows one in action!)
'-- Global: Military-Info (@Global_Mil_Info) January 31, 2024Fox News' Pentagon correspondent Lucas Tomlinson has said this week marks the "first time in history CIWS ('sea-wiz') has been used in combat from a warship to destroy an incoming cruise missile seconds away from impact.
What has been clear based on other recent incidents is that Houthi drones and missiles are in some instances slipping through the Western navel coalitions 'defense umbrella'.
We detailed a week ago how the US Navy essentially "lost a battle at sea" given that a missile landed in the water very close to a commercial vessel which was being escorted by no less than three US warships. During that time two American merchantmen - the Maersk Detroit and the Maersk Chesapeake - had been attempting to run the Bab al-Mandeb from south to north while being covered by the USS Gravely. But as with this fresh incident of the Gravely's CIWS system having to engage at close range, one missile apparently slipped through in that Jan.17 encounter.
Below is a very different 'close call'...
The MK-15 Phalanx CIWS, a defense system on U.S. Navy ships, can automatically track and target threats.Here it's shown targeting a commercial aircraft, likely in semi-automatic mode.
'-- VisionaryVoid (@VisionaryVoid) January 30, 2024Loading...
Condi Rice Puzzled Guests By Playing Ukraine National Anthem at Secretive DC Club Dinner.
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 14:43
America is seeing a surge in syphilis, including a sharp rise among women. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures for 2022 show a 19.5 increase percent in female syphilis cases, accounting for around a quarter of cases overall '-- up from less than 15 percent five years ago.
The rise in syphilis among women has been accompanied by an increase in congenital syphilis '-- cases among babies who contract the disease from their mothers in the womb. Overall, syphilis cases are up by a remarkable 78.9 percent since 2018, but congenital syphilis cases have risen by an even more astonishing 183.4 percent.
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''We know that syphilis in the heterosexual population and drug use, particularly methamphetamine use, are intersecting epidemics,'' said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of several dangerous drugs trafficked across America's porous southern in large quantities, with officials intercepting a 63.8-pound shipment at Ysleta earlier this month.
Last year, Letitia Bligh, a CDC health communications specialist, admitted the CDC ''does not track diseases by immigration status.'' While migrants are supposed to be screened for diseases like syphilis, doctors doubt this is happening at scale.
''They are not being tested for COVID as they come across, much less for syphilis,'' commented one veteran physician.
Donald Trump has warned the border crisis is ''poisoning the blood'' of the country, as people are ''coming in with disease, people are coming in with every possible thing that you can have.''
Border sheriffs echo this view, saying they have encountered migrants with ''all types of diseases like tuberculosis, scabies, COVID, hepatitis A and B, gonorrhea, syphilis, mumps, chicken pox, dengue fever, etc.''
Syphilis remains most prevalent among Native Americans and black Americans and predominantly affects homosexuals.
show less America is seeing a surge in syphilis, including a sharp rise among women. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures for 2022 show a 19.5 increase percent in female syphilis cases, accounting for around a quarter of cases overall '-- up from less than 15 percent five years ago. show more
Speaker Johnson reveals $17 billion Israel aid bill, says Senate 'will no longer have excuses' | Fox News
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:26
Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is putting legislation on the House floor next week to give Israel $17.6 billion in emergency funding.
The timing is notable given that Senate and White House negotiators are expected to release legislative text this weekend for a border security compromise in addition to President Biden's $106 billion supplemental funding request for Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian causes and other issues.
In a letter sent to Republican colleagues on Saturday, Johnson criticized the House GOP majority's exclusion from those talks and argued they were not moving fast enough to help Israel in its war against Hamas.
"While the Senate appears poised to finally release text of their supplemental package after months of behind closed doors negotiations, their leadership is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation," Johnson warned.
Speaker Mike Johnson is putting a standalone Israel funding bill onto the House floor (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
"Given the Senate's failure to move appropriate legislation in a timely fashion, and the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel, the House will continue to lead. Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package."
One of the first House votes Johnson held as speaker was a standalone Israel funding bill for roughly $14 billion, the amount requested by Biden in his supplemental aid package. However, that bill would have offset the funds by taking them from money allocated toward the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) '-- a move lauded by GOP hardliners.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., refused to take the bill up and accused Johnson of mixing "a poison pill" with Israel aid.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer is expected to hold a vote next week on his chamber's border and supplemental funding bill (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
"During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets," Johnson wrote on Saturday. "The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally."
He said the legislative text would be released on Saturday afternoon by Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on defense spending.
Republicans have demanded strict border and immigration policy changes in exchange for supporting funds for Ukraine, an issue a growing number of GOP lawmakers have been wary of. Biden's supplemental funding request includes roughly $60 billion to help Kyiv fight off Russia's invasion.
But Johnson and dozens of members of his conference have suggested they'll likely oppose the compromise. Most have signaled they will not accept less than the measures in H.R. 2, the House GOP border bill that Democrats called a nonstarter.
Johnson and others have also called on Biden to use his executive authority to shut down the border, while the White House has insisted a legislative fix is necessary and have accused the House GOP of using the border as an election issue.
Schumer said earlier this week that he aims to have a vote on the Senate's package by Wednesday.
Elizabeth Elkind is a reporter for Fox News Digital focused on Congress as well as the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and politics. Previous digital bylines seen at Daily Mail and CBS News.
Follow on Twitter at @liz_elkind and send tips to
France orders '‚¬1.1 billion of cannons, vehicles and helicopters
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:21
PARIS '-- France's Defence Procurement Agency ordered more than '‚¬1.1 billion (U.S. $1.2 billion) of self-propelled howitzers, armored vehicles and helicopters as part of the country's plan to modernize its armed forces through to 2030.
The agency is buying 109 new-generation Caesar truck-mounted howitzers from Nexter Systems, a unit of KNDS, for about '‚¬350 million, the agency, known as DGA, said in a statement late Thursday. The orders placed in December also include Serval armored troop carriers from KNDS and Texelis and eight additional NH90 helicopters for the French special forces.
France has budgeted '‚¬413 billion euros for the armed forces in its 2024-2030 military programming law, a 40% increase over the previous period. The government has said it seeks for France to remain a major world power, while transforming the armed forces in the context of a return to high-intensity conflicts.
The procurement agency said total military equipment orders in 2023 amounted to '‚¬20.3 billion, of which nearly '‚¬9 billion came in December alone, including the purchase of 42 Rafale aircraft for more than '‚¬5 billion announced last month.
''These orders are intended to renew and modernize the capacities of the armed forces in all domains: air, land, naval and space,'' DGA said.
The Caesar MkII ordered for the French Army will have an armored cabin to protect against mines and small-caliber arms, a need that became apparent from French deployments in Afghanistan and Africa's Sahel region, KNDS said in a Feb. 2 statement. The truck-mounted cannon will have a new 460 HP engine more than double as powerful as the previous one, a new six-wheel chassis provided by Arquus and updated fire control software.
The howitzer will keep the existing 155mm cannon, with a range of more than 40 kilometers, and remain air-transportable, DGA said. France's military planning law foresees having 109 new-generation Caesars in use by the end of 2030.
First deliveries of the new-generation howitzer are expected in 2026, according to DGA. The order was signed Dec. 30 and will generate nearly 300 jobs across France at KNDS, Arquus, Safran Electronics & Defense and Aubert et Duval, the procurement agency said.
DGA also ordered 420 Serval light armored-personnel carriers for close to '‚¬500 million, following a first order in 2020 for 364 of the vehicles. The four-wheeled Serval can carry 10 fully equipped soldiers, and partially replaces the VAB manufactured by Arquus, which entered service more than 40 years ago.
The army will receive a total of 978 Serval vehicles by 2030, with 60 already delivered in 2022 and 129 in 2023, the procurement office said. The Serval is part of the French Army's Scorpion program to upgrade its armored vehicles, which also includes the heavy APC Griffon and the wheeled infantry-fighting vehicle Jaguar, both developed by Arquus. The military planning law calls for 1,405 Servals by the end of 2030, as well as 1,437 Griffons and 238 Jaguars.
France ordered an additional eight NH90 Caiman Standard 2 helicopters for '‚¬305 million in December, adding to a previous order for 10 of the aircraft, DGA said. The 11-ton helicopters will be built by Airbus Helicopters at its site in Marignane in southern France, for delivery in the 2026-2029 period, replacing Caracal and Cougar helicopters in use by the special forces.
The procurement agency also contracted with Naval Group for the modernization of the Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in 2027, when the French Navy's largest vessel undergoes its third major technical overhaul. Delivery of the work is expected in 2028, with upgraded radar by Thales, a new Setis 3.0 surface-ship combat system by Naval Group and a new anti-missile system by MBDA equipping the Aster interceptor.
The upgrade ''will maintain the carrier's excellent defense capabilities in the face of future anti-ship missiles and drones,'' DGA said.
DGA said it expects a first delivery of 200 Akeron medium-range anti-tank missiles from the end of 2025, out of an order for 1,300 placed in November. The agency also purchased 329 Mistral 3 short-range air defense missiles in December to replenish army and navy stocks. The combined value of the two orders for MBDA is more than '‚¬300 million, DGA said.
Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.
We must not allow the Clapham attack to colour our view of migrants | The Independent
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:16
I read your recent editorial regarding events in Clapham with interest and agreement. I admit to being one of those who was concerned when I learned that the perpetrator of this horrendous crime had been granted asylum in this country. Because, as stated in your piece, I am against the idea that one malefactor should cloud everyone's rational opinion about the thousands of other desperate men, women and children who come to this country seeking aid.
Of course, there are many questions about this case, and it needs to be looked at forensically so that the right lessons can be learned. But I completely agree with the provision of safe and legal routes, which would negate these dangerous and dire boat crossings, and bring order and sense to a system that is not working.
If the public could see reasonable and humane measures such as asylum seekers being assessed abroad, their sometimes intractable opinions about immigration may change substantially. But for the government, it is the Rwanda deportation scheme or the highway. As always, they are more interested in the problem than actual sane, compassionate and humane solutions.
NYC to hand out prepaid credit cards to migrant families for food
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:16
Mayor Eric Adams' administration will soon start handing out pre-paid credit cards to migrant families being put up in Big Apple hotels, The Post has learned.
The $53 million pilot program, run by the New Jersey company Mobility Capital Finance, will provide asylum seekers arriving at the Roosevelt Hotel with the city cash to help them buy food, according to city records.
It'll start with a group of 500 migrant families in short-term hotel stays and will replace the current food service offered there, according to City Hall.
The cards can only be used at bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores '-- and migrants must sign an affidavit swearing they will only spend the funds on food and baby supplies or they will be kicked out of the program.
The Immediate Response Card initiative appears akin to the state's food stamp program, dubbed SNAP, which provides lower-income New Yorkers with a credit card to cover the cost of meals, and will provide funds based on the same scale.
The amount on each card will vary depending on the size of the family and whether any income is coming in, according to the details of the contract. A family of four, for instance, could be provided nearly $1,000 each month, which comes out to $35 per day for food. Cards will get refilled every 28 days.
The pilot program will give migrants preloaded credit cards to cover food. Helayne SeidmanHard-up residents of city housing were given the same type of cards last year to pay for holiday dinners.
''MoCaFi looks forward to partnering with New York City to disburse funds for asylum seekers to purchase fresh, hot food,'' said MoCaFi CEO and founder Wole Coaxum. ''MoCaFi's goal is to expand access to financial resources for individuals excluded from banking, such as asylum seekers, while helping the local economy.''
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If the program is a success, the city will expand it to all migrant families staying in hotels, which is roughly 15,000 currently, officials said Friday.
''Not only will this provide families with the ability to purchase fresh food for their culturally relevant diets and the baby supplies of their choosing, but the pilot program is expected to save New York City more than $600,000 per month, or more than $7.2 million annually,'' Adams spokesperson Kayla Mamelak said.
The program will start with 500 families. Matthew McDermottThe city has been shelling out about $11 per meal to feed migrant families in hotels, something that's long posed a problem as some asylum seekers from various countries in Central and South America, Africa and Europe may be looking for a taste of home.
Just last month, the controversial company DocGo was found to be wasting thousands of dollars on uneaten meals.
Migrants confessed to The Post in the days after that they would rather cook in their hotel rooms because the provided meals were so ''bad.''
The amount on each card will vary depending on the size of the family and whether any income is coming in. Christopher SadowskiNews of the pre-paid card program comes a day after The Post revealed another $137 million in contracts with city hotels to provide more than 750 rooms to asylum seekers with families.
The city is housing just over 66,000 asylum seekers after 1,500 more arrived last week as part of a crisis that is expected to cost $10 billion through 2025.
Farmers bring down statue in Brussels protest as 1,000 tractors block roads | The Independent
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:13
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Emmanuel Macron has said that Europe's farming sector is facing a major crisis and needs to ''profoundly'' change its rules after more than 1,000 tractors brought part of Brussels to a standstill, calling on EU leaders to do more to support them with rising costs and environmental rules.
Farmers in several countries across Europe have been blocking roads for days as part of protests, with France particularly hard hit. Speaking after a leaders's summit in the Belgian capital, the French president said that Europe is not ''deaf'' to the plight of farmers and that simplified regulations across the EU would help. The statement came after France laid out plans for some concessions to the protesters, leading to unions to call on them to go home.
Earlier in the day, farmers threw eggs and stones at the European parliament, started fires near the building and toppled a statue of John Cockerill '' a British-Belgian who helped Belgium's industrial revolution '' who the protesters potentially mistook for someone connected to the EU. Small groups tried to tear down the barriers erected in front of the parliament '' a few streets from where the leaders' summit was taking place '' but police fired tear gas and sprayed water at the farmers with hoses to push them back.
Major thoroughfares in Brussels were blocked by around 1,300 tractors, according to police. Security personnel in riot gear stood guard behind barriers where the leaders were meeting at European Council headquarters.
''If you see with how many people we are here today, and if you see it's all over Europe, so you must have hope,'' said Kevin Bertens, a farmer from just outside Brussels. ''You need us. Help us!''
Belgian farmers block a road with tractors near the European parliament
Farmers from Italy, Spain and other European countries took part in the demonstration in Brussels, as well as continuing their protests at home. In Portugal, farmers made their way to the Spanish border at the crack of dawn to block some of the roads links between the two countries.
One of Belgium's biggest supermarket chains Colruyt said on Thursday three of its distribution centres were blocked by protesting farmers, leading to disruptions in its supply chain. Centres located in Ollignies, Ghislenghien and Halle in central western Belgium, which supply Colruyt's Belgian shops with dry food, water and drinks, and fresh and frozen products, were no longer accessible.
''At the moment, stock is still available in our shops... [but] it is inevitable that products will eventually be missing from the shelves,'' Colruyt said in a statement, adding that it was difficult to make definitive statements on timing as shops have different stock levels.
''Colruyt Group has always focused on sourcing locally as much as possible and succeeds very well in this for many categories,'' the store chain said. It added it understood farmers' concerns but did not see blockades as a solution to them.
Police officers in riot gear stand guard in front of the European parliament
In France, where farmers stepped up protests at the start of the week, the impact of dozens of blockades is also being felt, said Eric Hemar, the head of a federation of transport and logistics employers.
''We did a poll among our federation members: all transport firms are impacted (by the farmers' protest) and have lost over the past 10 days about 30 per cent of their revenue, because we are not able to deliver on time or with delays,'' he told France Info.
In his latest speech aimed at easing tensions with angry farmers, France's prime minister Gabriel Attal earlier said France would enshrine in law the principle that it should be self-reliant in food and it will tighten import controls.
Mr Attal, speaking at a press conference, also said the government will stop imposing stricter regulation on its farmers than European Union regulations require.
Smoke rises from a fire burning as Belgian farmers use their tractors to block roads
''It makes no sense to ban pesticides in France before such decisions are taken on an EU level. We will end this practice,'' he said.
Detailing his agenda to boost France's agricultural sector, Europe's largest, Mr Attal said it was ''out of the question'' that France would agree to the Mercosur trade deal with Latin American countries.
He also said France will step up safety checks on food imports, notably to make sure that imported foods do not have traces of pesticides that are banned in France or the EU.
The finance ministry said the new emergency measures for the sector, focused largely on supporting struggling livestock farmers and wine producers, would cost '‚¬400 million (£340m), plus '‚¬200m in cash advances.
Union leaders called on their members to end the roadblocks in the wake of the speech but said this came with the condition that the promises be followed by concrete progress. They said they would give the government a three-week deadline until the start of France's giant Salon de l'Agriculture farming trade fair for the first results to show.
''From Monday, we're going to get to work in the prefectures and ministries to work on all the points that have been announced,'' said Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union.
The protests across Europe come ahead of the European parliament elections. While the farmers' crisis was not officially on the agenda of the EU summit, which focused on aid to Ukraine, an EU diplomat said the situation with the farmers was likely to be discussed later in the day.
Farmers have already secured several measures, including the bloc's executive commission proposals to limit farm imports from Ukraine and loosen some environmental regulations on fallow lands, which several EU leaders welcomed as they arrived at the summit.
Watch: German farmers blockade country's biggest airport
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:12
Farmers in Germany blocked roads around the country's busiest airport on Saturday as protests over prices and red tape spread across the continent.
Several hundred tractors blocked the streets leading to Frankfurt Airport in protest after a fuel subsidy cut was passed by the German parliament on Friday.
Farmers in Germany have been engaged in massive protests since Olaf Scholz's government said it would cut close to a billion euros in farm subsidies in response to a domestic budget crisis.
The large protests forced Berlin into concessions that included rowing back completely on a plan to make farmers pay road tax on farm vehicles.
Germany's farmers' union has signalled that it will only stop protesting once the subsidy cuts have been completely reversed.
Roadblocks by German farmers followed similar protests across Europe, with farmers blocking roads over what they see as excessive EU environmental rules and unfair competition from outside the bloc.
On Friday, farmers blocked border crossings on the Dutch-Belgian border with a government website showing delays on three motorways.
Meanwhile, a Polish farmers union announced a plan to blockade the border crossings to Ukraine starting on Feb 9.
''The passivity of the Polish authorities... regarding the import of agricultural produce and food products from Ukraine leave us with no other choice but to declare a general strike,'' the farmers union Solidarity said in a statement.
In Greece, farmers have blocked roads in the north and centre of the country as they demand a reduction to EU regulation and swifter payouts of compensation for those affected by the flooding and wildfires that devastated parts of the country last summer.
Fuel subsidiesRomanian authorities have agreed to increase fuel subsidies after farmers there teamed up with hauliers to block streets over several weeks.
French farmers, meanwhile, dismantled roadblocks they had set up on motorways to Paris after wringing concessions out of the government on fuel duty, pesticides and other environmental issues.
''The worst of the crisis is now behind us, but the issues we have to deal with are ahead of us,'' Marc Fesneau, the French agriculture minister, said on CNEWS TV.
Protests have also been organised in Portugal, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus in recent days.
Outside an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, farmers congregated with hundreds of tractors where they burned tyres in protest.
EU leaders responded immediately, announcing plans to shield farmers inside the bloc from cheaper imports from Ukraine and making concessions on land meant to be kept fallow for environmental reasons.
Tucker Carlson Being Spotted in Moscow Sparks Frenzied Speculation
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 13:08
The reported appearance of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in the Russian capital has sparked intense speculation over the purpose of the conservative media personality's visit to Moscow.
Carlson arrived in Moscow on February 1, and was spotted attending the Bolshoi Theater in the capital, according to Russian outlet Mash.
Questions quickly swirled over why the TV anchor would have traveled to Moscow, and whether he intended to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit.
"Democrats and their propagandists in the media are spasming at the prospect of Tucker Carlson interviewing Putin," Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Tucker Carlson on November 17, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Carlson arrived in Moscow on February 1 and was spotted attending the Bolshoi Theater in the capital, according to Russian outlet, Mash. Tucker Carlson on November 17, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Carlson arrived in Moscow on February 1 and was spotted attending the Bolshoi Theater in the capital, according to Russian outlet, Mash. Jason Koerner/Getty Images"We have a free press in this country and its people like Tucker Carlson who we depend on to speak the truth!" she wrote.
Referencing Greene's comments on Sunday, Russia's state-backed news agency, Tass, reported that Kremlin press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, had said in 2023 that the world would have to "wait and see" whether Putin would speak with Carlson.
Carlson said in late September 2023 that he had attempted to interview the Russian leader, but that the U.S. government had blocked the move. "I tried to interview Vladimir Putin, and the U.S. government stopped me," Carlson told Swiss magazine, Die Weltwoche.
Newsweek has reached out to Carlson for comment via email.
Carlson abruptly left Fox News in April 2023, and has since set up his own streaming service and hosted shows on social media.
Carlson has become a popular figure among Russian state media commentators, and has been accused of echoing Russian state propaganda.
Shortly after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, progressive outlet Mother Jones published what it said was a Kremlin memo urging state-linked outlets to use more footage of Carlson in their broadcasts.
"It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally," one Russian-language memo said, according to Mother Jones.
Margarita Simonyan, a top Kremlin propagandist who heads up the Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT, said in August 2023 that Carlson had requested an interview with the Kremlin chief, adding the former Fox News host was "doing a great job."
Russian state television promoted Carlson's new content in September 2023, although the anchor told the Financial Times that he "had never seen this," adding: "I have no clue what it's about."
Uncommon KnowledgeNewsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.
Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.
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Federal agencies refuse to cooperate with Florida grand jury probing COVID-19 vaccines: report
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 12:14
Federal agencies have declined to help a Florida grand jury convened by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis investigate the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the panel said Friday.
In their refusal to participate, some witnesses have told the grand jury that ''professional or personal consequences'' may arise from their cooperation with the probe, while others have been critical of the ''fairness'' of the investigation, the panel noted in a 33-page interim report on the inquiry.
''Unfortunately, not all our investigative efforts have been met with fulsome cooperation,'' the grand jury report states. ''Some prospective witnesses have elected not to testify, often citing potential professional or personal consequences arising from their involvement with the Statewide Grand Jury process.''
''Occasionally, prospective witnesses have raised concerns about the underlying fairness of this Body,'' it adds.
None of the federal agencies involved in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines have been forthcoming with information, the grand jury has discovered, and the panel said it has no legal power to force the agencies to furnish information.
Some witnesses and federal agencies have refused to cooperate with the probe. AP''The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Army, among others, all had a substantial hand in the contracting, approval and distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccines at the center of our inquiry,'' the report states. ''These agencies have elected not to provide representatives to testify before this body, and federal law prohibits us from compelling their cooperation.''
In December 2022, DeSantis, 45, requested that the statewide grand jury be impaneled to investigate COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for potential wrongdoing and violations of state law related to vaccine rollout.
In the governor's petition to '‹establish'‹ the grand jury, he argued that a Florida Department of Health analysis ''found an increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related deaths among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.'''‹
The Florida grand jury cannot compel witness testimony. AFP via Getty ImagesThe grand jury was sworn in on June 26, 2023, and did not draw a conclusion on vaccine efficacy in its interim report.
''As of today, our investigation is nowhere near complete,'' the report notes. ''We remain in regular session and our Legal Advisor is actively scheduling future witness appearances.''
''There are still many months and much more testimony and evidence to come before our work will be finished.''
The grand jury has yet to determine if laws were violated related to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. REUTERSThe report, however, blasts health agencies and the federal government over pandemic-era face masking recommendations, arguing that ''with respect to masks, we have never had sound evidence of their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 transmission'' and that ''public health agencies failed to adequately explain'' the ineffectiveness of masks to Americans.
The grand jury also found that lockdowns ''traded the immediate welfare of a smaller, affluent, well-represented group of older Americans who could afford to stay home for the longer-term welfare of a larger, less-affluent, poorly-represented group of children, teens, twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings who could not.''
''If anything, the result of this was a modest benefit to the former group at the expense of the latter.''
The governor's office did not respond to The Post's request for comment.
How NATO brainwashes Western society with its anti-Russia wargames '-- RT World News
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 12:01
Steadfast Defender 2024, the bloc's largest exercise in decades, is not only about military cohesion '' it's about selling war to the people
NATO has launched its largest exercise since the Cold War ended. Steadfast Defender 2024 will last several months and involve about 90,000 troops, over 50 naval vessels, 1,100 ground vehicles (including at least 133 tanks and 533 armored troop carriers), and 80 aircraft of various kinds (planes, helicopters, and drones).
All 31 alliance members will participate, as will Sweden, which is in the process of joining. However, it's not only a matter of numbers and duration. The massive event is also special for two more reasons, one fairly straightforward, the other more complicated and worthy of serious scrutiny.
In simple terms, the exercise will test regional defense plans, which NATO has not done since the end of the Cold War. A political benefit of returning to such detailed plans is that they provide leverage, in essence to Washington through NATO's SACEUR office, to make European governments toe the line by committing troops, gear, and money. That is what The Economist pointed out, with satisfaction, at the time of last year's Vilnius summit, when all of this was set in motion. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko's observation is correct: The maneuver marks an ''irrevocable return'' of the alliance to Cold War mode, although, this, too, is only a new peak of a long period of aggressive development. Hence its no surprise either that the enemy targeted in this imaginary fight is Russia (even if appearing only as a ''near-peer adversary'' in Steadfast Defender's official announcement).
The more complicated issue is that the exercise was preceded by a veritable onslaught of propaganda - or in up-to-date NATO-speak, cognitive warfare. One dead give-away that this has been deliberate is that the Western think tank/information-war platform the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is already accusing Russia of engaging in ''an information operation to misrepresent'' the purely ''defensive'' Steadfast Defender.
Remember the old rule of thumb: Usually, what the West accuses others of doing (for instance, genocide) is what it is doing itself.
In reality, NATO's representatives and spin masters (official and in the guise of academics and think tank experts), politicians, and journalists were laying down a narrative barrage. Through official statements, interviews, and even Tom-Clancy-style fantasy scenarios, the Western public, especially in the EU, was made to imagine a scary '' and near '' future in which Moscow launches an invasion of European NATO member states. In this sense, ''Steadfast Defender'' is not merely a return to Cold War patterns but to the dark tone of its most virulent and dangerous phases, for instance, the early 1980s. Think of deep-frosted Cold War Hollywood classics such as ''Firefox,'' where Clint Eastwood steals a Soviet super-jet, or (the original) ''Red Dawn,'' where valiant American teenagers die heroically fending off evil Russians (and Cubans!) who had landed smack in the middle of America's heartland. That kind of vibe.
It's important to note that there is nothing self-evident about this propaganda blitz. NATO could conduct its big maneuver but make less of a fuss about it. Or accompany it with a different, less strident message, stressing due security diligence but refraining from detailed statements about Russia's putative actions, as it were, tomorrow. Hence, this cognitive warfare offensive is deliberate. It was driven so far, that, after the initial wave attack of panic-mongering; even the formal figurehead of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, got cold feet and felt compelled to remind everyone that there is ''no direct threat.''
Let's look at some examples of this remarkable propaganda offensive:
Not-yet-even-NATO member Sweden hurried to display exemplary verbal militancy: Its commander-in-chief General Micael Byd(C)n urged his fellow Swedes to ''prepare themselves mentally'' for war, while Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin stressed that ''war could come to Sweden.'' (It seems abandoning neutrality can make you more anxious.) Partly in response to Byd(C)n, Germany's minister of Defense Boris Pistorius then shared his wild guess that a Russian attack on a NATO country could occur within less than ten years.
In a press conference, the chairman of NATO's military committee, Dutch admiral Rob Bauer, followed up by striking the same tone, albeit with more details. Bauer spoke about operations to shape the armed forces of the alliance for decades, a historically unprecedent degree of integration between NATO and national defense plans, and ''resilience'' to be cultivated by a ''whole-of-society approach'' to war as well as to preparing for war. All of this may sound grandiloquent. However, it would be a mistake not to take it seriously.
Such rhetoric signals that NATO is asserting itself as a background, yet dominant, political force, claiming, openly, all of society '' across all those ''unprecedently'' integrated national governments and in peacetime '' as its legitimate and permanent domain of action. Listening closely to Bauer's imperious remarks, delivered in a tone of stern admonition, one can't help but realize that Steadfast Defender 2024 is not merely about 2024, or about armies. It is meant to set political and social trajectories going forward. British generals have kept illustrating this side of the NATO propaganda offensive with repeated public musings about the need to introduce conscription and plan for a war against Russia.
The NATO war talk barrage is also not only about Russia. In a way, it is even more about the European NATO member states' societies: a very clear reminder that their sovereignty is worth about as much as that of Greece when the ''Troika'' of Western overlords came knocking in 2015. None of this is surprising, of course: as a key tool of US control and European (self-)subjugation, NATO has always been a through-and-through imperialistic (in the technical, not polemical sense of the term) tool of US power projection and control in Europe.
Now, with the EU submitting to America to the point of serious self-harm, Bauer's style of cajoling Europeans is only consistent. However, there is something remarkable about how brazenly NATO is displaying its will to power now, especially against the background of Donald Trump, a declared NATO foe, now the man most likely to win the American presidential elections at the end of this year: This could turn out to be NATO's last hurrah.
For the mass media handling of the messaging offensive around Steadfast Defender 2024, let's pick just two examples. The hyper-popular British tabloid The Sun was as blunt as you would expect, hammering its readers with the headline ''GEARING UP FOR WAR: Nato calls up biggest global force in DECADES with 90,000 troops to begin 'Steadfast Defender' WW3 drills in days.'' The rest of the article is as sensationalist as the title promises, including allegations of a Russian plan to attack on ''Day X'' as early as 2025.
More of a middle-class paper, the British Daily Mail was a tad more subtle, running a long, illustrated piece (with big red arrows on maps and all that) about the ''Herculean war games.'' Speculating how a Russian attack sometime in the next twenty years would unfold, the paper depicts Moscow's massive future cyber-attacks, deep missile strikes, and AI-operated tanks on the move. (Clearly, the times of Westerners fantasizing about Russian soldiers storming forward with nothing but shovels are well and truly over.) Hapless retired US general Ben Hodges, who last spring still predicted a victorious Ukrainian counteroffensive, has moved on and is now prophesying about how Russia's large coming strike against NATO in Europe will unfold.
What is all of this about?
The most frightening interpretation would be that NATO is dead set already on fighting Russia, come what may. That would be highly irrational and suicidal, but, then again, the West has not shown much rationality recently. Call it the ''Baltic Kamikaze'' or ''Britain is Suicidally Bored'' explanation of NATO behavior.
My guess: We are, luckily, not quite there yet. Don't get me wrong: I am certain that there are nutcases in NATO (and the EU) who'd love to go to war, better yesterday than tomorrow. In that respect, rumors about Kaja Kallas, the would-be iron lady of Estonia being tapped for the de facto EU foreign ministry are very disturbing indeed. Yet what is more likely is a messy internal compromise: Where some already want war, others are playing for something else: Compensating for the West's looming defeat in Ukraine.
This is especially true since the West has made a catastrophic mistake. In treating Ukraine as almost a de facto NATO member, it has made sure that Kiev's defeat by Russia will call into question the credibility of the alliance nearly as thoroughly as if an official NATO member had been vanquished: overstretch has consequences. Hence an urgent need now to make a lot of noise about how ready (''Seriously, really, we mean it this time!'') the alliance is about defending, especially NATO's newer, eastern members.
But let's zoom out for a moment: There's an irony grand strategists like Admiral Bauer miss: If you want the ''resilience'' of a ''whole-of-society approach,'' then your society needs to be basically content, with its elites enjoying the ultimate reserve currency of politics - fundamental legitimacy, which sustains polities even when the ruled greatly disagree with the rulers. However, that kind of agreement grows only from trust, which is precisely what all too many citizens of the EU, and the US as well, do not have any more.
War '' and preparing for war '' remain essentially political activities, but not in the shortsighted manner NATO is applying now: Imbuing societies with a sense of a great outside threat can work, for a while. However, it will be futile in the not-so-long-run when two things happen: That outside threat fails to materialize, and, instead, the frustration that most people really feel in their own lives keeps coming from the inside. That's, by the way, what killed the Soviet Union, which, as some NATO Cold War re-enactors may care to remember, died while armed to the teeth and having practiced ''whole-of-society'' defense indoctrination for decades.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
For Every Life Saved, mRNA Vaccines Caused 'Nearly 14 Times More Deaths': Study | The Epoch Times
Sat, 03 Feb 2024 23:42
Researchers called for a 'global moratorium' as the study revealed 'well-documented' serious adverse events and an unacceptable harm-to-reward ratio.
With considerably lower efficacy rates, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cause more deaths than save lives, according to a new study whose researchers called for a ''global moratorium'' on the shots and ''immediate removal'' from childhood immunization schedule.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the Cureus journal on Jan. 24, analyzed reports from the initial phase 3 trials of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. These trials led to the shots being approved under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States. The study also looked into several other research and reviews of the trials. It found that the vaccines had ''dramatically lower'' efficacy rates than the vaccine companies claimed.
Moreover, based on ''conservative assumptions, the estimated harms of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines greatly outweigh the rewards: for every life saved, there were nearly 14 times more deaths caused by the modified mRNA injections.''
''Given the well-documented SAEs (serious adverse events) and unacceptable harm-to-reward ratio, we urge governments to endorse and enforce a global moratorium on these modified mRNA products until all relevant questions pertaining to causality, residual DNA, and aberrant protein production are answered.''
The authors also recommended an ''immediate removal'' of the COVID-19 vaccines from the childhood immunization schedule. They pointed out that children were at very low risk from the infection.
''It is unethical and unconscionable to administer an experimental vaccine to a child who has a near-zero risk of dying from COVID-19 but a well-established 2.2 percent risk of permanent heart damage based on the best prospective data available.''Very Low Efficacy RateFollowing the first trials of Pfizer and Moderna, it was claimed that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines had a 95 percent reduction of symptomatic COVID-19. The study pointed out that this efficacy assumption was false.
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Pfizer's claim was based on the fact that only eight out of 22,000 vaccine recipients contracted COVID-19 during the trial compared to 162 out of 22,000 people in the placebo group. In total, 170 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in both groups.
However, the researchers pointed out that a large number of infections fell under the ''suspected'' COVID-19 category, which was ignored. A total of 3,410 such suspected cases were identified in the trial, which is 20 times the 170 confirmed cases.
''There were 1,594 such cases in the vaccinated group and 1,816 in the placebo. When factoring in both confirmed and suspected cases, vaccine efficacy against developing symptoms drops to only 19 percent, far below the 50 percent RR (relative risk) reduction threshold required for regulatory authorization,'' the study said.
''Thus, when considering both confirmed and suspected cases, vaccine efficacy appears to have been dramatically lower than the official 95 percent claim.''
The study's authors declared no financial support from any organization for their work. A few conflict of interest disclosures were made.
One author received a grant from Quanta Computer Inc. Another author, cardiologist Peter A. McCullough, declared employment and owning stock/stock options in The Wellness Company. A third author is the founder of the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation (VSRF).Lives Saved Versus DeathsResearchers criticized the Pfizer and Moderna trial reports for ''exclusive focus'' on relative risk or RR measure while omitting absolute risk reduction. They argued that absolute risk reduction ''gives a better indication of a drug's clinical utility.''
''Both types of risk estimation are required to avoid reporting bias and to provide a more comprehensive perspective on vaccine efficacy. Omitting the absolute risk statistics leads to overestimation of the clinical benefits of the vaccines.''
In contrast with the 95 percent efficacy rate using the RR measure, absolute risk reduction for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 0.7 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, the study stated.
''An absolute risk reduction of approximately 1 percent for the COVID-19 mRNA vaccinations meant that a substantial number of individuals would need to be injected in order to prevent a single mild-to-moderate case of COVID-19.''
To prevent one case of COVID-19 infection, 142 individuals would need to be vaccinated with Pfizer's shot, the study said. When it came to Moderna, 88 people had to be injected.
Taking into account these numbers as well as the infection fatality rates of COVID-19, the researchers concluded that roughly 52,000 people would need to be vaccinated to prevent one COVID-19-related death.
This would mean two lives saved for roughly 100,000 injections of the Pfizer vaccine. However, there is a risk of 27 deaths per 100,000 doses of Pfizer shot, the researchers calculated. As such, for every life saved by the jab, almost 14 lives would be lost due to the mRNA vaccine, the study stated.
Authors noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) ''did not include absolute risk reduction measures'' when reviewing vaccine data.
This action deviated from FDA guidelines ''which state that both approaches are crucial in order to avoid the misguided use of pharmaceuticals.''
Serious Adverse EventsResearchers cited
a September 2022 analysis to detail the pervasiveness of serious adverse effects (SAE) among the vaccinated group in the trials. The analysis looked at both Pfizer and Moderna trial data, discovering roughly 125 SAEs per 100,000 vaccine recipients. This indicated one SAE per 800 vaccines.
''The Pfizer trial exhibited a 36 percent higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group (compared to placebo) '... The Moderna trial exhibited a 6 percent higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group,'' the analysis stated.
''These findings stand in sharp contrast with the FDA's initial claim that SAEs reported by the two pivotal trials were 'balanced between treatment groups,''' researchers from the Jan. 24 study noted.
This discrepancy could be because the FDA only counted the number of individuals with serious adverse events rather than the total SAEs experienced by the trial subjects, they said.
Since a single person can have multiple SAEs, counting only individuals would produce a lower number than the total number of such adverse events.
''When the SAEs were viewed collectively, the risks in the vaccine group were substantially elevated beyond those previously determined by the FDA,'' the researchers wrote.
The analysis found that the excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest (AESI) among the placebo group was 10.1 per 10,000 individuals. However, the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization in this group was only 2.3 per 10,000 people.
This meant that the subjects were at over four times the risk of suffering AESIs after getting vaccinated than they were of getting hospitalized from the infection. In the Moderna trial, subjects were more than two times at risk of experiencing AESI than being hospitalized.
''To put these findings in perspective, the official SAE rate for other vaccines is only 1-2 per million,'' the Jan. 24 study said. The 2020 analysis' ''estimate based on the Pfizer trial data (1,250 SAEs per million) exceeds this benchmark by at least 600-fold.''Rushed VaccinesIn the Jan. 24 study, researchers noted that the safety of mRNA products was ''never assessed'' in a manner consistent with scientific standards for vaccines or for gene therapy products (GPT), which they claim is ''the more accurate classification'' for these jabs. ''Many key trial findings were either misreported or omitted entirely from published reports.''
The usual safety testing protocols and toxicology requirements were bypassed by the FDA and vaccine manufacturers. As the two trials were terminated prematurely, there was never an ''unbiased assessment'' of potential serious adverse events.
''It was only after the EUA that the serious biological consequences of rushing the trials became evident, with numerous cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, hematological, malignant, and autoimmune SAEs identified and published in the peer-reviewed medical literature.''
In addition, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines produced and evaluated in the trials were not the same ones that were manufactured and administered to people around the world. The global vaccination campaign used a vaccine produced by a different process, which has been shown to have ''varying degrees of DNA contamination.''
The researchers pointed out that several excess deaths, cardiac events, strokes, and other serious adverse events have wrongly been ascribed to COVID-19 rather than the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines since early 2021.
Injuries from these vaccines overlap with both post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS) and severe acute COVID-19 illness, which end up often obscuring the vaccine's contribution to such conditions. ''Multiple booster injections appear to cause immune dysfunction, thereby paradoxically contributing to heightened susceptibility to COVID-19 infections with successive doses.''
For the ''vast majority'' of adults below 50 years of age, the perceived benefits of the mRNA vaccines were dwarfed by their ''potential disabling and life-threatening harm.'' The study said older adults may be at higher risk of such harm.
CDC and FDA CriticizedCommenting on the study, Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of nonprofit Liberty Counsel,
said that in the paper, scientists ''confirm what sound scientific research has been showing for years, that these shots have never been safe nor effective.''
''The FDA and the CDC are supposed to protect the people, but they have become the lapdog of the pharmaceutical industry. This must change.''
The CDC is currently under
scrutiny for suppressing an alert for myocarditis from COVID-19 vaccination. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle called the myocardium.
A document recently obtained by The Epoch Times shows that in May 2021, the CDC had prepared a draft alert for myocarditis related to the jabs.
The agency was supposed to send the alert to federal, state, and local public health officials and doctors nationwide through its Health Alert Network (HAN). However, the alert was never sent as some officials were worried about appearing ''alarmist.''
The Epoch Times reached out to the agencies for comment.
Companies' hardline stance on returning to the office is backfiring - The Washington Post
Sat, 03 Feb 2024 15:46
Thousands of employees at Europe's largest software company, SAP, have signed a letter saying they feel ''betrayed'' by the firm's ''radical change in direction'' on its back-to-office directive, with many threatening to leave rather than return to offices or work on-site with customers at least three days a week starting in April.
It's a stark shift from the company's pre-pandemic approach, which allowed a sizable portion of SAP's workforce to be remote. As recently as 2021, SAP's CEO, Christian Klein, described SAP as a ''100 percent flexible and trust-based workplace.'' But like many executives, Klein's view has changed as labor market dynamics have tilted toward employers having the upper hand. After the company reported strong earnings last month, Klein expressed frustration with remote work's effects on SAP's culture.
''I'm not a big believer that on a video conference platform you can understand our culture, you can get educated, and you can get enabled to do your job best,'' Klein said, according to reporting from Bloomberg News.
The German software giant is one of several large companies '-- joining Google, AT&T, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America '-- that have swung from flexible to firm stances on in-person attendance, signaling that the days of ubiquitous remote work are over. Companies have abandoned efforts to entice workers back with free lunches, charitable donations and concerts. Employers are now taking more punitive approaches, and some workers would rather quit than comply.
No, office mandates don't help companies make more money, study finds
Within two weeks of SAP's announcement on office attendance, which was first reported by Bloomberg, a letter opposing it had amassed more than 5,000 employee signatures. The labor group representing SAP employees in Europe has deemed the policy ''unreasonable'' given prior assurances employees were given about remote work.
Joellen Perry, an SAP spokeswoman, said the company looks forward to discussing the approach to hybrid work with employees in the ''transition period'' between now and April.
''Striking the right balance between remote and onsite work helps drive productivity, innovation and employee well-being,'' Perry said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post. ''We're evolving our flexible work policy to align with best practices in the market and our own experience as a frontrunner in hybrid work.''
More than three years in, the battle over offices is as bitter and entrenched as ever. Last month, Bank of America sent ''letters of education'' to workers who haven't been meeting the company's attendance expectations, threatening them with disciplinary action if they didn't step it up within two weeks. In 2023, remote workers were 35 percent more likely to be laid off than their peers who worked in person or hybrid schedules, according to data from Live Data Technologies, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Some companies that had flexible policies during the pandemic, have tried tethering office attendance to performance reviews, while others have threatened to fire those who don't come in often enough. Over the summer, Google cracked down on enforcement of its return-to-office mandate. Employees who don't comply could see it reflected in their performance reviews, which could limit their ability to get promoted or receive raises. Similarly, Goldman Sachs in August reminded workers who weren't in compliance about the company's five-day in-office mandate. Employees there can also see noncompliance reflected in their reviews.
But some workers say their office mandates are unreasonable and that employers are using them as a way to shed employees.
''There are CEOs that are seeing a two birds, one stone situation with RTO,'' said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. He noted that companies digging their heels in on office attendance should be prepared for a battle. ''By now, we've seen a lot of revolts.''
Return to office? These workers quit instead
At AT&T, for example, more than 60,000 managers were mandated to return to the office on a hybrid basis starting in July. But the company reduced the number of offices for managers, making it harder if not impossible for some to commute, employees said. Workers said the mandate also applied to employees who had remote allowances even before the pandemic and those who were hired permanently remote during the pandemic. They said the majority of workers weren't offered any relocation assistance as part of the mandate, a detail that Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Legg confirmed during a recent town hall.
''It doesn't surprise me that there are people that are upset,'' Legg said.
As a result, several workers are waiting to be laid off or are looking for new opportunities, employees said.
Workers at dating app Grindr were put in a similar predicament after their office mandate came down last year. Employees were required to work from assigned offices despite where they live. For some workers, that meant they'd have to move across the country rather than work from the office in their city. It similarly asked workers who had assumed they were permanently remote to comply. As a result, about 45 percent of Grindr's 178 employees quit, workers said.
The pandemic demonstrated that workers could effectively work from home, using technology like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack to collaborate with their teammates in different locations. Several companies lauded their employees' ability to remain productive while working remotely before changing course as the pandemic subsided.
Even pandemic darling Zoom, which enabled millions of people to work remotely during shutdowns across the globe, called people back to the office. Last August, it asked workers within a 50-mile radius of an office to go in two days a week, suggesting that they needed to experience hybrid work to build better products for it.
For many workers, the mandates just don't make sense, and some research supports their views. A recent study showed that mandates don't help companies make more money, for example.
''We're not seeing significant losses in performance or engagement [with remote work] so a required on-site presence signals distrust and discounts what employees have been doing for the last few years,'' said Annika Jessen, director of research in Gartner's human resources practice. ''It's not shocking that workers feel betrayed.''
Office occupancy across the country's biggest business centers has hovered around 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels for the past year, despite a host of mandates from employers to spend more time in person. But early signs in 2024 suggest that mandates might be having some effect: The national average office occupancy rate hit a post-pandemic high of 51.8 percent last week, according to data from Kastle Systems.
The downsides of remote work have been more acute for younger workers, many of whom have struggled to build networks and mentor relationships in the Zoom era. In 2023, Pew Research Center data found that younger workers are facing higher levels of burnout and disengagement. Many bosses have said their younger workers are the most eager to comply with return-to-office mandates.
Kayla Flick, 25, an engineer for General Mills in Murfreesboro, Tenn., expected working life to be predictable. Instead, she's been surprised by the churn she's seen as colleagues and mentors come and go through the manufacturing plant. Many of her co-workers have left for more flexible jobs, Flick says, but she can't personally imagine not working in person.
After the isolation and disruption of the pandemic during college, she's savored the chance to bond with co-workers in person, especially others just starting their careers. She used to commute 40 minutes from Nashville, but she recently moved to Murfreesboro to be closer to the plant and her friends. She loves meeting up with colleagues for happy hours, volleyball games and picnics.
''We're pretty good at saying, 'If everyone can get out early today meet at the park,' and someone brings a cooler with beer,''' Flick said. ''That kind of stuff is what I really enjoy.''
Gartner's Jessen said companies that aren't thoughtful about strict mandates should be prepared to lose top talent, millennial and female workers. Instead, employers should do a cost-benefit analysis from employees' perspective, she said, adding that employees want to feel capable, autonomous and connected.
''Get feedback from employees on what is or isn't working, and be willing to adapt and adjust the policies,'' Jessen said. ''It's not all or nothing.''
Joe Rogan Renews Spotify Deal for $250M, Podcast No Longer Exclusive
Fri, 02 Feb 2024 18:47
Spotify inked a new multiyear partnership deal for controversial podcast ''The Joe Rogan Experience,'' which is said to be worth up to $250 million. Under the new pact, Rogan's popular show will now be available on other audio platforms.
In addition to being available on Spotify, Rogan's show will soon be available on additional services, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and YouTube. The move comes under Spotify's revised strategy to relinquish exclusive streaming rights in favor of broader distribution, which the company kicked off in 2023. The Wall Street Journal first reported Spotify's renewal with Rogan.
Spotify said it will work closely with Rogan and his team ''to continue to maximize the audience of the show across platforms.'' Under the new pact, Spotify will handle distribution and ad sales for the podcast. Rogan will receive a guaranteed minimum fee from Spotify as well as a cut of advertising revenue.
''The Joe Rogan Experience'' became exclusive to Spotify under a 2020 deal, which sources confirmed was worth more than $200 million over 3.5 years. Rogan's show has ranked as the most popular show on the platform for the past three years.
''For more than three years, 'The Joe Rogan Experience' has consistently been the number-one podcast across the globe,'' Spotify said. Per Edison Research's Q3 2023 survey of most listened-to podcasts, ''The Joe Rogan Experience'' ranked No. 1 for the period. In addition, ''JRE'' was the No. 2 most listened-to podcast for women 13 and older in the U.S., according to Edison.
The comedian-actor turned podcaster regularly invites provocative guests on ''JRE'' '-- and Rogan and Spotify have faced a backlash over some of the material on the show. That has included a boycott of Spotify by several music artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in early 2022 over Rogan's anti-vax episodes.
Rogan also has drawn fire for promoting ''antisemitic tropes'' and his comment to guest Tom Segura that ''Maybe you should just go shoot the homeless people.'' In early 2022, Spotify pulled 70 episodes of ''The Joe Rogan Experience'' in which the host had uttered the N-word; Rogan called the backlash over his use of the term ''a political hit job.''
''The Joe Rogan Experience'' originally launched Dec. 24, 2009, and has produced more than 2,200 episodes, averaging 2-3 hours in length each. Notable guests have included environmental epidemiologist Dr. Shanna Swan, whose work examines the impact of chemical exposure on reproductive health and child development; physician Peter Attia, known for his work in longevity medicine; retired U.S. Navy SEAL and ultra-endurance athlete and author David Goggins; psychedelic research pioneer Amanda Fielding; and criminal justice reform advocate and civil rights attorney Josh Dubin.
Other prominent guests have included Dave Chappelle, Dwayne Johnson, Robert Downey Jr., Quentin Tarantino, Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, Jewel, Eddie Izzard, Mike Tyson, Post Malone and Zach Bryan.
''I never do a podcast just because a person is popular,'' Rogan said in an interview with Spotify. ''It's always from a place of 'I think it would be cool to talk to that person.'''
Spotify's new deal with Rogan comes after the company recently revised terms to broadly distribute another popular podcast, Alex Cooper's ''Call Her Daddy,'' which also had previously been a Spotify exclusive. According to Spotify, ''Call Her Daddy'' is the No. 1 podcast among women listeners.
VIDEO - COVID-19 vaccine: Adelaide father to get compensation after developing heart condition from booster
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:04
A>>n Adelaide public servant is set to receive compensation for a heart condition he developed from a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Daniel Shepherd, 44, developed pericarditis after a rare reaction to his third Pfizer COVID-19 jab, which he was required to have before beginning a job with the Department of Child Protection.
Shepherd told 9News he now has the heart of a 90-year-old.
Daniel Shepherd gets compensation from government after COVID-19 vaccine reaction. (Nine) He was vaccinated against COVID-19 twice.
Both jabs made him unwell but he chose to get a third dose because of the government mandate.
The day after his booster shot he was rushed to hospital.
Shepherd said it felt like someone was holding a knee down on his chest.
"Even today with just mild exertion [I get] chest pains and then it's followed by fatigue, like severe fatigue," Shepard said.
The father of a five-year-old now finds it difficult to keep up with his son.>>
"It's heartbreaking to have to say 'sorry buddy, daddy's tired'," Shepard said.
Sheppard has been unable to work since developing the heart condition. (Nine) After he was unable to work, Shepard launched a workers compensation claim against the government.>>
In a landmark ruling in mid-January, the South Australian Employment Tribunal agreed to pay weekly compensation and medical bills to Shepherd.
Doctors were unanimous in his case that the vaccine was the cause but the government argued emergency directions trumped the laws around workplace injury.
Pericarditis is meant to clear within a few months but Shepherd's symptoms have plagued him for almost two years.
The condition affects two in every 100,000 people.>>
VIDEO - House Republicans announce bill that provides more military aid to Israel but leaves out Ukraine - YouTube
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 15:17
VIDEO - Trojan Migration? The 210th Evolutionary Lens with Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 15:08
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VIDEO - Hundreds of protesters from around the country convoy to southern border rally - YouTube
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 14:41
VIDEO - C-CAP pilot program aims to give NYC migrants new career opportunities in culinary industry - ABC7 New York
Sun, 04 Feb 2024 14:36
QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- More than a handful of migrants in New York City will get the opportunity to learn new skills that could translate into a new career, thanks to a culinary school designed specifically for them.
Vicky Lopez, 23, graduated from law school in Nicaragua last year, but political unrest led her to New York where she is now learning how to dice red peppers.
"The opportunities I have been offered by this program make me feel like it's a good transition. I'm ready to move on to the next step," Lopez said.
She is one of 10 migrants chosen for a new pilot program with C-CAP, which stands or Careers through Culinary Arts Program.
For the next five weeks, some asylum seekers from Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela will be taught the basics of food prep and hospitality.
In lesson one, they learned how to julienne vegetables and chiffonade basil. After their training, they will be placed in high-end restaurants while another group begins. There is currently funding for 50 migrants. All must have work permits.
"They're going to get benefits, good pay, and in companies like Union Square Hospitality Group which is an incredible company," said Tanya Steel, Executive Director of C-CAP. "I would love to work there."
If food is a universal language, the migrants are about to learn a new skill that could translate into a new career, in their new country.
"Professionally I don't cook. I have no doubt I'm going to do really well," Lopez said.
In the last three decades, C-CAP has taught more than 370,000 chefs. They work with teenagers, adults, those formerly incarcerated and now migrants.
"We're honored to have you here. Good luck in the weeks ahead," said Christopher White of the New York State Department of Labor. "When we're done, we stand ready to connect you to jobs."
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Clips & Documents

All Clips
[REDUX] NA 343 September 29 2011 Big Pharma Controls the media.mp3
ABC ATM - Alison Kosik - migrants who attacked NY police released without bail.mp3
ABC ATM - Em Nguyen - Biden protested in Michigan.mp3
ABC GMA - Whit Johnson - John Kirby (1) strikes meant to degrade their capabilities.mp3
ABC GMA - Whit Johnson - John Kirby (2) is degrading their capabilities enough.mp3
ABC GMA - Whit Johnson - John Kirby (3) important to remind our viewers -multiple operations.mp3
ABC GMA - Whit Johnson - John Kirby (4) why did it take a week to respond [ties into telegraphed].mp3
ABC GMA - Whit Johnson - John Kirby (5) why no direct channels with Iran in the region.mp3
ABC Recycles CCAP migrants cooking NON PROFIT program.mp3
ABC WNT - James Longman - US sanctions 4 violent israeli settlers.mp3
ABC WNT - Marcus Moore - US launches NEW strikes in yemen.mp3
ABC WNT - Whit Johnson - senators reach border deal.mp3
AC 360 - Ivan Watson - china censors criticism of its economy.mp3
Adelaide father to get compensation after developing heart condition from COVID-19 vaccine.mp3
Bret Weinstein Darkhorse - Darien Gap - Military Aged Men distraction.mp3
California-Kids safety bill.pdf
Calling names.mp3
Canada eyes sanctions on 'extremist' Israeli settlers over violence against Palestinians CTV.mp3
CBS - americans rally at southern border.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (1) is this an open ended military campaign.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (2) has Tehran done anything to rein in their militias.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (3) civilians killed -telegraphed in advanced.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (4) but no one in IRGC leadership targeted.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (5) half of US adults dont support the Israel military campaign.mp3
CBS FTN - Margaret Brennan - Jake Sullivan (6) Netanyahu said -no deal with terrorist -Trump better than Biden.mp3
CBS Mornings - Jo Ling Kent (1) far-right Taylor Swift & Travis Kelce online conspiracies.mp3
CBS Mornings - Jo Ling Kent (2) Wasim Khalid [Blackbird A.I.].mp3
CNN - Christiane Amanpour - Al Gore - 750000 Hiroshima bombs a day [long].mp3
CNN This Morning - John Miller (1) migrants released without bail on bus to California.mp3
CNN This Morning - John Miller (2) since it was police attacked does that make a difference.mp3
CNN This Morning - Phil Mattingly, Erica Hill, Harry Enten - punxsutawney phil is a fraud.mp3
Ex Google Tech Lead -1- Tech Layoffs Coding is dead.mp3
Ex Google Tech Lead -2- We built digital drugs.mp3
Ex Google Tech Lead -3- Low opportunity era.mp3
Ex Google Tech Lead -4- Elon started it Section 174 and everyone learned to code.mp3
FAKE Taylor Swift is not a Psyop.mp3
Farmers across Europe have brought their anger to the European capital.mp3
GMA - prognosticating critters.mp3
GOOD NEWS the girl and the chickens.mp3
House Republicans announce bill that provides more military aid to Israel but leaves out Ukraine.mp3
Hundreds of protesters from around the country convoy to southern border rally CBS Texas.mp3
Idot M5M Taylor Swift Psy-Op Segments.mp3
Impeaching Mayorka 4.mp3
Impeaching Mayorka Three.mp3
Impeaching Mayorka TWO.mp3
Impeaching Mayorka.mp3
Important Imran Khan clip.mp3
Iranian Professor 1 AJ.mp3
Iranian Professor 2.mp3
Iranian Professor 3.mp3
Iranian Professor 4.mp3
Iranian Professor 5.mp3
Iranian Professor 6.mp3
ISO we great.mp3
ISO wow good job .mp3
Jake Sullivan on MTP no body count and this is not the end of it.mp3
KOSA BILL Marked up.pdf
LICHUN feb 3 bite cgtn.mp3
Lindsay Graham - Blood on your hand Zuck.mp3
Mayorka analysis ntd.mp3
Mik Johnson 17.4 Billion for Israel sets up Border diputes in congress TIMING is everything.mp3
Mike Johnson MTP - 3- Political Move.mp3
Mike Johnson MTP - 4- Executive Order could fix this right now.mp3
Mike Johnson MTP - Border bill 9 months on Schumer's desk.mp3
Mike Johnson MTP - Iran - Peace thorugh strength and steal their money.mp3
Morning Joe - 10-year anniversary of bill de blasio dropping ‘staten island chuck’ aka charlotte.mp3
NBC NN - Blayne Alexander - trump prosecutor discloses relationship.mp3
NBC NN - Courtney Kube - new US airstrikes hit sites in yemen.mp3
NBC NN - Gabe Gutierrez - voters divided on US airstrikes in mideast.mp3
neuralink-update JOKE.mp3
Northern Ireland nationalist.mp3
NPR Consider This - Candida Moss - The Myth of Persecution -1- if everyone is persecuted then no one is persecuted.mp3
NPR Consider This - Candida Moss - The Myth of Persecution -2- the genius of christianity.mp3
NPR Consider This - Candida Moss - The Myth of Persecution -3- attack on the family.mp3
NPR Consider This - Candida Moss - The Myth of Persecution -4- persecution remains a valuable weapon in the rhetorical toolbox.mp3
Pause on MAID expansion ‘very disappointing,’ advocacy group says CBC.mp3
PBS Frontline Documentary of the Jan6 TV SHOW.mp3
PBS weekend jpoe pachino 1.mp3
PBS weekend jpoe pachino 2.mp3
PBS weekend jpoe pachino 3.mp3
PBS weekend jpoe pachino 4.mp3
Rising - fani willis subpoened by jim jordan regarding federal grants.mp3
Sky News - IDF attack squad dressed as medics are terrorists.mp3
Tucker with Calley ed - Meida is bought off by Pharma revelation.mp3
US Airstricks CGTV.mp3
What’s behind NATO’s ‘Steadfast Defender 24’ maneuver -CFR Shill DW.mp3
{3x3} ABC WNT - Mary Bruce - US strikes targets in iraq & syria - 24-02-02.mp3
{3x3} CBC YWT - Kris Reyes - US struck 85 targets in iraq and syria - 24-02-02.mp3
{3x3} CBS EV - Nancy Cordes - US launches retaliatory strikes in iraq and syria - 24-02-02.mp3
{3x3} NBC NN - Peter Alexander - US launches retaliatory strikes in iraq and syria - 24-02-02.mp3
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