1342: Disinfo Dozen

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 28m
April 29th, 2021
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Executive Producers: Insta-Baron Crack, Sir Wermes of Rocklin, Nikolaus Wagenfeiler, Sir Dirt Farmer, Alexander Pellegrino, Jacob Kitson, Kelly Santini

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Donald of the Fire Bottles, David Fugazzotto Duke of America's Heartland and the Arabian Peninsula, Sir Tim, Knight of the JIT Shenanigans, Sir Onion Knight, Sir Richard the Lion heart, Matthew Lance, Sir William Wallace of the Palmetto State, Dame Valerie Steensland

Cover Artist: Monsieur Pierrey


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Indian truther two dots in forehead
India Producer under spell
Having been donated a few times, I feel I need to comment about the skepticism from you and John recently on the situation in India.
First off - I was born in Bangalore, India. I have been in this country for over 30 years now, and a proud American of Indian origin.
I work in Pharma, and while I generally agree on a number of things you guys have accurately reported on, there were some errors.
More about that later, but I do want to speak up about the recent situation in India. This is no hoax. I lost my father-in-law last week (exactly a week ago from today), my school senior of about 53 years, my brother's childhood friend whom I knew well of 42 years, and a number of other acquaintances aged 26 and 32.
The variant currently impacting is a different strain, and a few of the people listed above were fully vaccinated from the Astra Zeneca's vaccine.
Here are a few things i wanted to share with you:
Most Cities, towns in India disregarded much of the common sense practices. There were excessive parties, events, social events with literally "no" precautions.
The general population felt that this was a political ploy, and mostly disregarded all warnings.
The population is hugely to blame - You will have to visit India to understand how many people there are in the country. Think approximately 1 person at your arm's length in public. Thats how much people live in cities, public places etc.
Any kind of government led situation-is corrupt - for example, the Govt is doing good amount of uplift in terms of organizing the testing, hospital allotments, oxygen supplies, medicine supplies etc. - but, like everywhere, there are always people who use the situation for personal gains, and the black market remdesivir, and oxygen tanks are a result of it. Think of the toilet paper problem we had here; similar situation - there is enough supply, but - people hoard them in anticipation of extorting for personal gain.
Any kind of situational control is massive task - because of the population scale. Things that work here will not work there.
Most hospitals are privatized, and are for profit organizations. The actually have CEOs - There is not enough incentives for them to take in people who cannot afford treatment. The rich are getting reasonable attention; although anyone who has lived in India can tell you that Power (knowing powerful people - politicians, rich etc.) will get you a hospital bed and treatment any day.
Ask me questions you have - i will try to get you real answers; non journalistic responses.
Thanks! Keep up the great show!
You guys have taught me to question everything. Its been ages since i watched TV....because you guys do it!
Indian producer of known family report
1) India is mainly based as a protectionist country. What that means is when any outside company such as for example Sarah Lee wants to do business in India, they must partner with one of the multi-national families in India. In this instance, the perfect family would be the Godrej Group.
With Auto’s it's the Tata Family
With Tractors it's the Mahindra Family
With Telco's it's Ambani Family
You get the drift….
With Vaccines, its the Poonawalla Family which owns none other than The Sereum Institute (TSI) Now this is where things get VERY DEEP….
Back in 2020 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) gave TSI millions of dollars to manufacturer the Covax mRNA vaccine. Now one thing one must remember, the Poonawalla Family are billionaires by themselves and traditionally do not believe in mRNA and or unproven technologies (at least Cyrus Poonawalla does). What BMGF gives for donations is peanuts for this family. Adar who is the Son (up and coming scion of the empire) slept with the devil (Uncle Bill) and took his money even though they did not need a penny from the BMGF.
The Dad, Cyrus Poonawalla is a doctor by trade and has been supplying traditional vaccines (Measles, Rubella, Mumps etc) for the W.H.O. & UN for over 20 years. He is a good man and has been doing good while being one of the richest men in India.
Uncle Bill got in touch with TSI because he is one of the largest donors of the W.H.O. and got direct access to the family. Cyrus didn't want to deal with Uncle Bill but as with every proud Dad, they let their kids take the lead and Adar started dealing with BMGF. There was some internal turmoil between father and son, and Father eventually won the battle…. (ADAM, HOLD THIS THOUGHT as its all going to tie together…..)
So Covid starts and everyone turned to TSI because they have a huge factory in Pune, India and can easily supply the demand of the world (since they do it with all the other vaccines)…
1) Uncle Bills comes along and wants to play game with TSI since he already paid for access by giving them $ and they basically develop COVAX for GAVI.
2) Daddy doesnt like Uncle Bill because Daddy is a purist from the old W.H.O. days. He does not believe in mRNA technologies. Daddy was chummy with Halfdan Mahler (hates CCP and isn’t fond of Chinese to begin with), thats when you had real people who cared about the world's health; Unlike like these bozos who are all controlled by communist parties and world agendas (Tedros).
3) I’m sure Uncle Bill wants to advance his agenda and Adar probably wants to do it, but Daddy says NO and goes with Oxford/AstraZeneca (hahaha yeah I’m sure your mind is spinning you cant make this stuff up if you wanted too)…. At this point, I’m sure Uncle Bill feels cheated….
4) Oxford/AstraZaneca (Covishield which is NON-mRNA) are okay with giving India namely TSI, the formula for the C19 vaccine so TSI can develop it in a cheap and cost effective manner to the billions of people plus it satisfies Narendra Modi’s protectionism clause (Adam, keep this protection clause because its the start of all this…)
1) In walks Pfizer wanting to do a direct deal with India.
2) India says sure give us the patent/formula’s so we can develop such a vaccine ourselves.
3) Pfizer says FUCK YOU INDIA.
4) India walks away from the deal and focuses on Oxford / TSI as well as other home grown companies.
1) All of a sudden after that meeting, the “cases” for C19 go through the roof in India. Now, I don’t know how much you know, but this is an arbitrary factor because all they have to do is change the PCR tests to a higher setting. HIGHER SETTING = MORE CASES but the PCR is not really intended for this but the WHO says and controls this….
2) Media takes over and starts to show dead people in the streets. Guess what? A ton of people die every day in India (minus the C19).
3) Narendra Modi comes under extreme pressure now…
1) A lot of us assume that Joe Biden is highly connected to the CCP.
2) CCP hates India but loves PAKISTAN
1) The media now goes International and says India is not prepared - that is NOT TRUE, we are!
2) India is prepared. In fact India and MannKind designed a kit (Ziverdo Kit) which contained Ivermectin, Doxycycline & Zinc. Every citizen is supposed to take it. The president in Goa demanded every resident and tourist take these pills as a precaution (only side effects was sleepiness) - it reduces the cases & deaths to almost null levels.
However, when Indians watch CNN, they listen to that instead of listening to the government because the Government doesn't have a pure means of getting the word out to BILLIONS of people. It is TRULY a democratic country but now it's looking a lot like Communist USA.
3) MSM is calling for Modi’s head and is demanding he step down all while the people love him.
4) Media is king and is now brainwashing everyone who is staying home (kind of the same agenda the USA did last year).
5) Stay home = No Sun = No Vitamin D = GET SICK
1) Joe Biden places an embargo on raw materials needed to make the vaccines. I’m sure Xi is loving this move by his buddy…
2) Even Adar tweets this to Uncle Joe….
Adam, do you see how twisted this is? Our assumption is that we did not play with Pfizer and somehow the marketing team at Pfizer teamed up with the MSM and all of a sudden Modi’s hand is forced to circumvent the “PROTECTIONISM” clause and force everyone to take the Pfizer medical device. They also got Joe to put the nail in the coffin by embargoing the materials.
April 22nd: India in talks with Pfizer for the vaccine (timing is great because USA jabs have stalled so India gets what USA doesn't want)
April 28: This Sell out Indian Congressman Ro Khanna steps in to “help” (do you think Pfizer is paying this jackass off???)
Yes, people are sick in India but the death part is hard to fathom when people die every day of the strangest things (drinking the water, yes a ton of people die of jaundice every day in India so C19 deaths have been over inflated by the media).
7 out of 1,000 people in India Die every year. So lets do the math:
1.366 Billion People divided by 1,000 = 1,366,000 x 7 Deaths = 9,562,000 people die every year in India of any related cause based on 2019 data points (not including C19).
9,562,000 divided by 365 days = 26,197 Deaths Per Day
According to Reuters, there have been approximately 200,000 deaths in India due to C19.
Let’s take 200,000 deaths and divide it by 365 = 548 deaths a day compared to 2019 levels of 26,197 deaths.
This is by far a pure marketing play by an outside organization or something so powerful that is blindly leading the billions of people down an unwarranted path. If you want to depopulate a country with your unproved mRNA medical device, obviously India and China would be the two biggest places to start don't you think?
Look at how one article calls the Oxford vaccine the “poor man’s vaccine”.
Moderna (mRNA) = Good
Pfizer (mRNA) = Good
Covax (mRNA) = Good
J&J (non mRNA) = Bad Causes Deaths
Oxford / Covishield (non mRNA) = Bad and Ineffective
See the pattern here??? One just can’t help but think how deep Pfizer is….
As of today, Modi has given the states the power to institute their own deals with any of the Pharma companies. This was a chess move because Pfizer wants to deal with ONE customer: The Indian Government. So Modi preserves his protectionist agenda by saying NO on a federal front and forces Pfizer to deal with the 29 individual states. It makes it harder on Pfizer but now we wait and see what each of the states do.
In a nutshell, the ironic part in all of this is that India’s protectionism clause is what hurt India to begin with - to protect itself from foreign companies is what eventually hurt itself.
India Numbers
India death rate
Hi Adam,
I produce daily charts based on the Johns Hopkins raw data. India are currently 84th in the world for cumulative deaths as a proportion of total population.
Here are some interesting comparisons (deaths per million population):
- New Jersey 2,866.
- Hungary 2,793.
- UK 1,873.
- United States 1,727.
- India 146.
However, I am sure that India's numbers are understated and that their position will change significantly over the next few weeks.
Trendlines and top 100 countries attached.
I hope this is useful.
India's Current 'COVID Crisis' in Context - Left Lockdown Sceptics
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:41
The mainstream media's reporting on the 'COVID crisis' in India has clearly been governed by a global approach to messaging that appears to aim at ramping up fear of 'new variants' and coerce compliance to vaccination during a period of increasing resistance, both in India and abroad. However, as somebody who lived in India for 8 years in total until December 2019, and as the fundraiser for a food bank in Bihar that has been alleviating the hunger caused by lockdowns [1], I have daily contact with people in India as well as some context for the figures being presented amidst the ongoing alarm.
Firstly, the media are presenting cases and deaths in whole numbers that sound horrendous until you convert them to percentages of India's huge population of 1.4 billion people. The current daily death rate in India of 2,600 is equivalent to 126 deaths per day in the UK, way below our peak rate and closer to what we are experiencing now. See the graph produced by JHU below to understand the context [2].
Secondly, even as the alleged COVID deaths reach their peak more people die of diarrhoea every day in India and have done for years, mostly due to a lack of clean water and sanitation creating a terrain ripe for the flourishing of communicable disease [3].
Thirdly, Delhi, the focus of the media's messaging, and the source of many of the media's horrifying scenes of suffering, has the most toxic air in the world which often leads to the city having to close down due to the widespread effects on respiratory health [4, 5, 6]. This even led to Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul having to flee the city in November 2020 until the air quality improved [7].
Fourth, high stake assembly elections are going on in some of India's biggest states at present [8]. Delhi's toxic air has been a political football for years that neither dominant party addresses directly, preferring to call on individuals' collective efforts to tackle the problem. Therefore, blaming the soaring respiratory problems that require oxygen on a COVID surge skilfully diverts attention from the ongoing political neglect of this urgent public health issue.
Fifth, respiratory diseases including COPD, TB, and respiratory tract infections like bronchitis leading to pneumonia are always among the top ten killers in India [3]. These conditions are severely aggravated by air pollution and often require oxygen which can be in short supply during air pollution crises. Delhi even saw its first oxygen bar open in 2019, where wealthier residents can pay for a 15-minute blast of oxygen during toxic periods [9].
Finally, the Indian government's focus on vaccine procurement risks diverting resources from tackling urgent public health issues including access to clean water, sanitation, clean air, and treatments for other communicable diseases. An article in the British Medical Journal reported on disrupted access to TB vaccinations due to lockdowns [10], with TB known to cause around 1.4 million deaths in the country annually.
According to my contacts on the ground, people in Delhi are suffering from untreated respiratory and lung conditions that are now becoming serious. I've also had breathing problems there when perfectly healthy and started to mask up to keep the particulate matter out of my lungs. I used to suffer from serious chest infections twice yearly during the big changes in weather in India, usually November/December and April/May. When I reluctantly masked up that stopped. My contacts have reported that the usual seasonal bronchial infections have not been properly treated by doctors afraid of getting COVID, and due to people's avoidance of government hospitals out of fear of getting COVID. Undoubtedly, these fears will have been fuelled by the media's alarmist coverage of the situation. Consequently, the lack of early intervention means many respiratory conditions have developed life-threatening complications. Also, people from surrounding rural areas often travel to Delhi for treatment as it has the best healthcare facilities and people can go there for a few rupees by train. This puts pressure on Dehli's healthcare system during respiratory virus seasons.
Until now, my contacts report that vaccine take-up among the working classes and other minority groups has been low due to widespread mistrust of government-funded vaccination camps. In the context of successive governments' neglect of other longstanding public health problems that disproportionately affect India's working class, the rolling news coverage of COVID and lockdowns are perceived as attempts to coerce vaccination compliance. Also, many perceive COVID as a disease more likely to affect the wealthy living in gated urban environments with air conditioning; therefore, a reluctance to comply endures. Vaccination is now being promoted over cheap early treatments that were previously widely available, and while vaccine take-up has increased, so have deaths concordantly as displayed in the graphic from John Hopkins University below [11]. While correlation does not equal causation, most people I have spoken to do not believe this is merely a coincidence. Given the widespread availability of the data online, and anecdotal reports of adverse reactions and deaths, suspicions of the vaccination campaign remain.
When we consider the current media coverage of India's alleged COVID crisis in the context of the multiple factors presented above, clearly people's concerns are not unfounded, and all is not what it seems.
1. Just Giving (2020) 'We're Raising £3000 to Continue the Food Bank in Bodhgaya' https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/foodbankbodhgaya
2. John Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center (2021) https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html for current data.
3. Times of India (2021) 'These Diseases Kill Many More Than the Coronavirus' https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/these-diseases-kill-many-more-than-coronavirus/articleshow/74670863.cms
4. DW.com (2020) 'India: Smog Causes Health Emergency During Merkel Visit' https://www.dw.com/en/india-smog-causes-health-emergency-during-merkel-visit/a-51083303
5. Al Jazeera (2020) 'India's Capital New Delhi Suffers Most Toxic Air in a Year' https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/5/indias-capital-new-delhi-suffers-most-toxic-air-in-a-year
6. Thomas, V and Tiwari, C. (2020) 'Delhi the World's Most Polluted Capital Fights Back' Brookings https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/11/25/delhi-the-worlds-most-air-polluted-capital-fights-back/
7. The Hindu (2020) 'Air Pollution: Sonia Gandhi Shifts to Goa on Medical Advice' https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/air-pollution-sonia-gandhi-shifts-to-goa-on-medical-advice/article33140498.ece
8. Indian Express (2021) 'Assembly Elections 2021 Live Updates' https://indianexpress.com/article/india/assembly-elections-2021-live-updates-west-bengal-kerala-tamil-nadu-puducherry-assam-7250933/
9. BBC News (2019) 'Delhi Pollution- The Bar Selling Oxygen to Choking City.' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-india-50502972
10. Pai, M. et al. (2020) 'India's Syndemic of Tuberculosis and COVID-19' BMJ Editorial https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/11/e003979
11. John Hopkins University CSSE Covid-19 Data (2021) https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19
Howard Dean Pushes Biden to Oppose Generic Covid-19 Vaccines for Developing Countries
Sun, 25 Apr 2021 23:19
Howard Dean, the former progressive champion, is calling on President Joe Biden to reject a special intellectual property waiver that would allow low-cost, generic coronavirus vaccines to be produced to meet the needs of low-income countries. Currently, a small number of companies hold the formulas for the Covid-19 vaccines, limiting distribution to many parts of the world.
''IP protections aren't the cause of vaccination delays,'' Dean claimed in a column for Barron's last month. ''Every drug manufacturing facility on the planet that's capable of churning out Covid-19 shots is already doing so.''
''Creating a new medicine is a costly proposition,'' wrote Dean. ''Companies would never invest hundreds of millions in research and development if rivals could simply copy their drug formulas and create knockoffs.''
Dean's claim that global vaccine manufacturing is already at capacity is patently false. Foreign firms have lined up to offer pharmaceutical plants to produce vaccines but have been forced to enter into lengthy negotiations under terms set by the intellectual property owners. The waiver, however, would allow generic drug producers to begin copying the vaccine without delay.
Many of the manufacturing plants prepared to mass produce low-cost vaccines are centered in India, which has committed to supplying the poorest countries in the world. But the waiver petition, Dean wrote, ''is unreasonable and disingenuous; it's a ruse to benefit India's own industry at the expense of patients everywhere. President Biden would be wise to reject it.''
The strident opposition to the waiver, which is supported by an international coalition of human rights organizations as well as a growing cohort of congressional Democrats, may surprise Dean's liberal supporters. But while Dean boasts a long history of support for single-payer health insurance coverage and government intervention into lowering domestic drug prices, he has reversed his positions on virtually every major progressive health policy issue since moving to work in the world of corporate influence peddling.
Dean is not a registered lobbyist, though he works in the lobbying division of Dentons, a law and lobbying firm, and his rhetoric in the column follows the firm's recent pattern of advocacy. Dentons touts its work on drug intellectual property issues, noting on its website that it has represented Pfizer and other firms in the recent past.
His official role is as a senior advisor to its government affairs practice focused on corporate health care clients, though as The Intercept has previously reported, he engages in almost every lobbying activity imaginable. In the past, Dean has argued that he is not a lobbyist but has declined to discuss what he does at the firm or the identities of his clients. Neither Dean nor Dentons responded to a request for comment from The Intercept.
The column references a proposal led by India and South Africa '-- joined by Kenya, Bolivia, Pakistan, and dozens of other countries '-- to request a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights over the creation of Covid-19 vaccines. The waiver to the World Trade Organization would allow unfettered access to the intellectual property and formulas necessary to retool factories and ramp up production of vaccines for the developing world, much of which is currently projected not to reach significant vaccination rates until as late as 2024.
Despite publicly funded research and huge infusions of government cash for the development and delivery of vaccines, drugmakers have carefully guarded their monopoly on the intellectual property rights and signaled to investors that they plan to soon hike prices. The pharmaceutical industry, including representatives of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have pushed the Biden administration to oppose the intellectual property waiver petition and go further to even impose sanctions on any country that moves to manufacture vaccines without their express permission.
Dean, as The Intercept previously reported, moved through the revolving door after his time serving as Democratic National Committee chair to work for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, advising lobbyists during the Affordable Care Act debate on how to assist pharmaceutical firms with extended exclusivity protections on biologics, which are medicines made from living organisms, such as vaccines. He also serves on the board of the health care-focused investment fund Vatera.
In another recent column, again reflecting the interests of drugmakers, Dean wrote in favor of a last-minute regulation proposed by the Trump administration to narrow the government's ability to lower the prices of certain pharmaceutical products financed with public money, a rule that could stifle any future attempt to rein in the costs of coronavirus vaccines.
''Without taxpayer support for early-stage research at universities,'' Dean acknowledges, ''drug companies would have never been in a position to create lifesaving vaccines so quickly.'' But, he writes, echoing industry arguments that any form of price controls would stifle innovation, ''drug companies won't spend the billions of dollars it takes to commercialize federally funded research if there's a risk the government will seize the fruits of their research.''
''He sorts of pops up whenever you argue against anything that would lower drug prices,'' said James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit that works to reform intellectual property rights to expand access to medicine.
''It's appalling because he's introduced as a progressive; he still gets on 'Rachel Maddow,''' said Love. ''But he's on the payroll. He's not a registered lobbyist '-- he somehow finds a way not to register '-- but he's sort of an influencer, he's paid to influence the debate.''
India Covid-19: Delhi adds makeshift crematoriums as deaths climb - BBC News
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:37
image copyright Getty Images
image caption Makeshift pyres are being built in parks in Delhi as the city runs out of space for cremationsMakeshift pyres are being built in crematoriums in India's capital Delhi as the city runs out of space to cremate its dead.
Deaths have been steadily rising in India as a deadly second wave of Covid infections devastates the country, with 380 recorded in Delhi alone on Monday.
Medical oxygen, intensive care unit (ICU) beds and life-saving medicines are in short supply.
India has recorded more than a million Covid-19 cases in just a few days.
The number of reported cases declined slightly on Tuesday, to 323,144 from the peak of 352,991 the day before, bringing the total number of Indian cases so far to nearly 17 million with 192,000 deaths.
However, it is thought the true figures are far higher - both for deaths and cases.
An investigation by television station NDTV found at least 1,150 extra deaths which were not included in Delhi's official Covid count over the last week. Other investigations have found similar examples of undercounting replicated across the country.
media caption 'A person cannot even die peacefully in Delhi'Crematorium staff are working throughout the night, with relatives of the dead reportedly having to help with the cremations, piling wood and assisting in other rituals.
In Delhi, parking lots, parks or empty ground are now being sought for the increasing need for cremations. Families often have to wait for hours before they are allowed to cremate their dead.
At the capital city's Sarai Kale Khan crematorium, at least 27 new platforms have been built, with 80 more being added in the park around the existing structure. Municipal authorities are also looking for additional spots near the city's Yamuna river bed.
A worker at the crematorium, which originally had capacity for only 22, told The Hindu newspaper that they are operating from early morning to midnight.
The Ghazipur crematorium in East Delhi added 20 more pyres in a parking lot. An official told the Indian Express newspaper that there are so many bodies that more pyres had to be built, and there is a waiting time of three to four hours, with each body taking up to six hours to burn.
The situation is serious at other crematoriums too. Sunil Kumar Aledia, who runs the Centre for Holistic Development, an organisation which is providing assistance with oxygen, meals and also cremations during the Covid-19 crisis, told the BBC that some do not have space to expand.
image copyright Getty Images
image caption As deaths increase, some crematoriums are working through the nightDemand is likely to remain high. In Delhi - with its population of about 20 million people - hospitals are full and medical oxygen is scarce.
At least two hospitals in the city have seen patients die after oxygen supplies ran out. Ambulances are in short supply. It is becoming difficult for families to take their sick to hospitals even if they get a bed. Many have died waiting for one.
Social media is awash with frantic pleas for help with oxygen cylinders or life-saving drugs or ICU beds. The city's testing capacity has been overwhelmed too.
Many countries have offered their assistance to India - with oxygen supplies, as well as ventilators and concentrators.
The UK has begun sending ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices. European Union member states are also due to send aid, with France saying it will send oxygen.
US President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pledged America's "full support". The US is lifting a ban on sending raw materials abroad, enabling India to make more of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It will also provide medical equipment and protective gear.
Bhutan, a small landlocked nation sitting in the Himalayas between China and India, has said that it will supply liquid oxygen to the north-eastern Indian state of Assam.
India's neighbour Pakistan, which has had tense relations with Delhi, has offered medical equipment and supplies. The country's Edhi Foundation has also offered to send 50 ambulances to India.
Delhi Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs)
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:37
Delhi's 2021 population is now estimated at 31,181,376 . In 1950, the population of Delhi was 1,369,369 . Delhi has grown by 890,440 since 2015, which represents a 2.94% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Delhi, which typically includes Delhi's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.
Delhi, or the National Capital Territory (NCT) of India, is a large metropolitan area in India. Delhi is the fifth most populous city in the world and the largest city in India area-wise. Delhi has an estimated 2016 population of 18.6 million.
The NCT and its urban area are granted the special status of National Capital Region, and this NCR includes neighboring cities of Baghpat, Alwar, Sonepat, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Noida, and nearby towns. The NCR has an estimated population of 24 million, exceeding the Delhi population of 17.8 million in 2014.
Delhi has a rapidly growing population, which was near 16.7 million in 2011.
City Size and Population DensityDelhi covers a large area, totaling around 1,484 square kilometers. The city has a population density of 29,259.12 people per square mile, which is one of the highest in the world.
Delhi DemographicsThe largest ethnic group is Indo-Aryan (72%), followed by Dravidian (25%), then Mongoloid and other groups (3%), as of 2000. Delhi has a skewed female-to-male ratio, with 866 women for every 1,000 men. The city has a literacy rate of 86% (91% for men and 81% for women). Hindi is the most commonly spoken language (81%), followed by Punjabi (7%) and Urdu (6%). Nearly 82% of the population practices Hinduism, while 12.86% practices Islam. Christianity accounts for 0.87% of the population, while Buddhism accounts for just 0.11%.
Delhi HistoryDelhi has been continuously inhabited since at least the 6th century, and it has been the capital of many empires and kingdoms over its history. It has also been captured, destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. It was the site of Indraprastha, the mythical capital of the Pandavas, and it became a major trade route between the Gangetic plain and northwest India during the time of the Delhi sultans. In 1639, the walled city of Shahjahanabad was built in Delhi to serve as the capital of the Mughal Empire until 1857. Today, Shahjahanabad is in Old Delhi.
In 1911, the British decided to change the capital of India to Delhi from Calcutta, and New Delhi was built in 1912 south of the old city. Today, New Delhi is part of the larger city of Delhi, and New Delhi is the capital of India.
Delhi Population GrowthDelhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, reaching over 18 million this year from just 400,000 in 1901. In 2001 alone, its population increased by 215,000 due to natural growth and 285,000 through migration. By 2020, Delhi is expected to be the third largest conurbation after Tokyo and Mumbai.
Delhi struggles with its rapid growth and is facing substantial pressure to improve commercial and residential infrastructure.
Bill Gates says no to sharing vaccine formulas with global poor to end pandemic | Salon.com
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:45
Health advocates blast Microsoft billionaire for saying patent protections on life-saving vaccines must remainBill Gates (Getty/Jack Taylor) This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men and most powerful philanthropists, was the target of criticism from social justice campaigners on Sunday after arguing that lifting patent protections on COVID-19 vaccine technology and sharing recipes with the world to foster a massive ramp up in manufacturing and distribution '-- despite a growing international call to do exactly that '-- is a bad idea.
Directly asked during an interview with Sky News if he thought it "would be helpful" to have vaccine recipes be shared, Gates quickly answered: "No."
Asked to explain why not, Gates '-- whose massive fortune as founder of Microsoft relies largely on intellectual property laws that turned his software innovations into tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth '-- said: "Well, there's only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. And so moving something that had never been done '-- moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India '-- it's novel '-- it's only because of our grants and expertise that that can happen at all."
The reference is to the Serum factory in India, the largest such institute in the country, which has contracts with AstraZeneca to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccine, known internationally as Covishield.
The thing that's holding "things back" in terms of the global vaccine rollout, continued Gates, "is not intellectual property. It's not like there's some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you've got to do the trial on these things. Every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way."
Critical advocates for robust and immediate change to intellectual property protections at the World Trade Organization when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines, however, issued scathing indictments of Gates' defense of the status quo.
Nick Dearden, executive director of Global Justice Now, one of the lead partner groups in an international coalition calling for WTO patent waivers at a crucial meeting of the world body next month, characterized Gates' remarks '-- and the ideological framework behind them '-- as "disgusting."
"Who appointed this billionaire head of global health?" asked Dearden. "Oh yeah, he did."
Journalist Stephen Buryani, who on Saturday wrote an in-depth Guardian column on the urgent need for the patent waivers and technology sharing, offered a similarly negative view of the billionaire's "awful" arguments against sharing the vaccine technology.
Gates, charged Buryani, "acts like an optimist but has a truly dismal vision of the world."
During the Sky News interview, Gates said it was "not completely surprising" that the richest nations like U.S., U.K. and others in Europe vaccinated their populations first. He said that made sense because the pandemic was worse in those countries, but said he believed that "within three or four months the vaccine allocation will be getting to all the countries that have the very severe epidemic."
Watch the full interview:
Jon QueallyJon Queally is managing editor for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @jonqueally
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The world is desperate for more Covid vaccines '' patents shouldn't get in the way | Stephen Buranyi | The Guardian
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:45
B iolyse is a small pharmaceutical manufacturer in Canada with a simple proposition: provide a recipe for a coronavirus vaccine, and it will produce 20m doses for nations in the global south. It has approached AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and even asked the Canadian government to help it with compulsory licensing '' which would give it the authorisation to produce another company's patented product for emergency use '' but so far no one has taken up its offer.
When I reached him by phone this week, John Fulton, the vice-president of Biolyse, told me: ''We've been passed over. We've got this production capacity and it's not being put to use. If we had started this last year, we could have shipped millions of doses by now. This is supposed to be like a wartime effort, everyone in it together. But that doesn't seem to be the case.''
The situation seems mind-bogglingly shortsighted. The world desperately needs coronavirus vaccines. About 430m doses have been produced so far this year, enough for about 215 million people. And of the doses already given, about half have gone to the richest 16% of the world's population. Covax, the World Health Organization initiative to transfer vaccines to nations in need, has delivered just 38m doses. According to analysis by the Center for Global Development and the Economist, nations in the global south may not reach widespread vaccination until 2023.
The situation is dire, and we need more vaccines. At the moment, there is no worldwide joined-up effort to expand production. As incredible as it sounds, after all the public money that went into vaccine development, making and distributing them has been left entirely up to the market. Each company has its own '' totally secret '' recipes and supply chains, and they insist no other approach is possible.
But the Biolyse offer does suggest another way. They're a chemotherapy drug manufacturer, certified to produce advanced biological compounds for injection. ''We have the facilities and equipment, bioreactors, we have fill-and-finish capability. Depending on how much help we get with technology transfer, we could be ready in a few months,'' explains Biolyse's head of production Claude Mercure. ''I don't understand pharma's stance on this. Everyone needs to make money, sure. But this is a very serious situation and there's no reason to be this harsh,'' he added.
Fulton says he has been in touch with other manufacturers who say they also have spare capacity '' for instance, fellow Canadians Pnuvax and the Bangladeshi producer Incepta. He hopes to put together a consortium to strengthen their offer to industry.
Many governments and organisations back the idea of opening up production. India and South Africa have asked the WTO to suspend patent protections to allow other companies to produce existing vaccines and drugs '' but they have been blocked by rich nations. Former world leaders and nobel laureates have called for suspending patents and coordinating production across the world '' the kind of global effort that eliminated smallpox and polio in the 20th century. But so far their efforts have been unsuccessful.
This would mark a shift away from business as usual. The pharmaceutical industry has long relied on a very strict global intellectual property regime to ensure they are the sole suppliers of their most profitable drugs. For them, this is an existential issue that goes beyond the current crisis. The arguments against opening up the rights to make coronavirus vaccines are the same ones the industry has always used: that it would stifle innovation, and that transferring the knowhow to others would be too difficult or simply wouldn't work.
But the coronavirus vaccines were created with huge amounts of public research. And generic drug manufacturers in developing nations have proven time and again that they can make large amounts of high-quality drugs, for a fraction of the price.
This system, where a company that holds the patent on a drug can monopolise its production, even in a global emergency, is a recent invention. During the second world war, the US government forced pharmaceutical companies to share recipes for antibiotics. In the worldwide campaign against smallpox, the WHO maintained a register manufacturing techniques and recipes, evaluating them and helping to share the technology globally. We collectively recognised that some things are more important than the legal protection of profit.
In fact, prior to the WTO and the proliferation of trade treaties, countries around the world regularly used ''compulsory licensing'' to make the pharmaceutical industry allow local manufacturers to produce drugs after paying a licence fee. This was so uncontroversial that Canada used to do it for anti-ulcer medications. Patents weren't always sacrosanct. Biolyse is currently working with the non-profit Knowledge Economy International to exercise a little-used Canadian law allowing for compulsory licensing to let them to proceed. But progress has been slow.
It may seem like it's a bit late in the crisis to try new approaches. But the truth is, for much of the world the pandemic hasn't even hit its halfway point. The worldwide shortage in vaccines is likely to continue for years. Allowing big pharma to handle business as usual has worked out for just a rich few. There are people willing to work for the kind of worldwide approach we had in the past, we have to support their efforts.
Stephen Buranyi is a writer specialising in science and the environment
The NIH claims joint ownership of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine - Axios
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:02
The National Institutes of Health may own intellectual property that undergirds a leading coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna, according to documents obtained by Axios and an analysis from Public Citizen.
Why it matters: Because the federal government has an actual stake in this vaccine, it could try to make the vaccine a free or low-cost public good with wide distribution, if the product turns out to be safe and effective.
The big picture: The NIH mostly funds outside research, but it also often invents basic scientific technologies that are later licensed out and incorporated into drugs that are sold at massive profits. The agency rarely claims ownership stakes or pursues patent rights, but that appears to be different with this coronavirus vaccine.
"We do have some particular stake in the intellectual property" behind Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, NIH Director Francis Collins said during an Economic Club interview in May.Driving the news: New evidence shines light on the extent of NIH's involvement.
NIH and Moderna have researched coronaviruses, like MERS, for several years, and signed a contract this past December that stated "mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidates [are] developed and jointly owned" by the two parties. The contract was not specific to the novel coronavirus, and it was signed before the new virus had been sequenced.Separately, four NIH scientists have filed for a provisional patent application entitled "2019-nCoV vaccine," according to disclosures in a pending scientific paper. Moderna scientists co-authored that paper, but none are listed as vaccine co-inventors.That makes it clear "the government and the public have a stake" in the coronavirus vaccine, said Zain Rizvi, a health law and policy researcher at Public Citizen. "The vaccine would not exist without the intellectual contributions of federal scientists."What they're saying: NIH said in a statement that its scientists created the "stabilized coronavirus spike proteins for the development of vaccines against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2," and the government consequently has "sought patents to preserve the government's rights to these inventions."
Further, NIH "has adopted a non-exclusive licensing approach for these patent rights in order to allow multiple vaccine developers" to make a vaccine.NIH added that "federal employees listed as inventors on these patent applications assigned their rights to the U.S. government. Accordingly, should the [United States Patent and Trademark Office] and other national patent authorities grant the patents, the U.S. government will hold ownership interest in the patents."Moderna declined to comment beyond a statement, which said the company "has a broad owned and licensed IP estate" and is "not aware of any IP that would prevent us from commercializing our product candidates, including" the coronavirus vaccine.Between the lines: Rizvi said co-owning the vaccine could allow NIH to more broadly license the underlying technology to other vaccine manufacturers "without the consent of Moderna," a company that is valued at $25 billion despite having no federally approved drugs on the market.
The bottom line: Many experts anticipate a coronavirus vaccine, once proven safe and effective, would be made as widely available as possible, and that developers aren't likely to seek big profits from it. Partial federal ownership could be a backstop if those assumptions don't bear out, but NIH isn't keen on stepping on industry's toes.
"Talking to the companies, I don't hear any of them say they think this [vaccine] is a money-maker," Collins said during his Economic Club interview. "I think they want to recoup their costs and maybe make a tiny percentage of increase of profit over that, like single digits percentage-wise, but that's it. Nobody sees this as a way to make billions of dollars."
India sees record deaths amid vaccine woes
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:23
India has seen its most deadly day of the pandemic so far as complaints mount about the country's vaccination program. In Germany, case numbers show a slight downward trend. See DW for the latest.
India's coronavirus cases passed 18 million on Thursday after another world record number of daily infections and deaths.
Health Ministry data showed there were 379,257 new COVID-19 cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday '-- making it the deadliest day so far for the country in the pandemic.
The figures came as the government rejected the notion that its vaccine campaign was floundering.
The country '-- one of the world's largest producers of vaccines '-- on Wednesday opened registrations for everyone above the age of 18 to be given shots from Saturday.
However, despite its production capacity, India doesn't have enough stocks for the 600 million people who would be eligible.
Social media was flooded with complaints the registration app had crashed due to high use and that there were no available appointments when it did work.
The pandemic has killed some 3.1 million people around the world, with more than 200,000 fatalities in India alone. In many Indian cities, hospitals are running out of beds, medicines and oxygen cylinders.
The US on Wednesday announced it was sending more than $100 million in supplies. A US military flight carrying 960,000 rapid tests and 100,000 face masks was due to arrive on Thursday.
Here is the latest coronavirus-related news from around the world.
EuropeThe seven-day average of coronavirus cases in Germany fell on Thursday, for the third day in succession, to 155 per 100,000 people.
Data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed the incidence figure, which the German government uses to determine lockdown policies was 169 on Monday.
However, it has fallen on each day since then. Germany has been struggling to contain a third wave, with its efforts thwarted the more contagious B117 variant, which first emerged in Britain, and an until recently sluggish national vaccination campaign.
Meanwhile, Turkey is bracing for its harshest lockdown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with a nationwide shutdown until May 17 to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the closure of all businesses '-- except those deemed exempt by the Interior Ministry.
However, the country's tourism minister assured foreign visitors that they are exempt from all restrictions.
"Our most visited and important museums and archaeological sites will remain open," Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.
AsiaThe Philippines is extending an existing lockdown in metropolitan Manila and four neighboring provinces '' an area taking in some 25 million people. Although the cases have been easing off, numbers remain alarming.
The length of a curfew in Manila was shortened from 9 to 6 hours to help struggling businesses hit by the measure.
In Nepal's capital Kathmandu and most other major towns and cities in the country, authorities imposed a 15-day lockdown because of spiking cases of COVID-19.
Offices and markets were closed and police have imposed roadblocks, with vehicles no longer allowed to be driven on the streets.
AmericasBlood tests in Mexico indicate that as many as a third of people there had been exposed to COVID-19 by the end of 2020.
Antibodies were found in about 33.5% of samples from blood banks and tests that were unrelated to COVID-19.
Levels varied significantly according to region, with areas along the US border generally having higher rates.
With almost 350,000 virus-related deaths in Mexico, and about 40 million Mexicans apparently having been infected, authorities say the mortality rate could be just under 1%.
Research in the United States has shown that the COVID-19 virus is more likely to infect the placenta, potentially passing the disease from mother to fetus, early in pregnancy.
Analysis of 12 placentas from healthy women, ranging in gestational age from 5 weeks to 36 weeks, researchers found infected cells had the surface protein ACE2, which the virus uses as a gateway for entry.
Late in pregnancy, the ACE2 proteins are positioned on cells in such a way that they are not exposed to the virus circulating in the mother's blood, according to study co-author Dr. Drucilla Roberts of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
US pharmaceutical company Moderna has said it plans to increase global production of its COVID-19 vaccine to up to three billion doses in 2022.
The firm said in a statement that it would make new funding commitments to manufacturing facilities in Europe and the United States.
rc/rt (Reuters, dpa, AP)
'This Is a Catastrophe.' In India, Illness Is Everywhere. - The New York Times
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:48
India Dispatch
As India suffers the world's worst coronavirus crisis, our New Delhi bureau chief describes the fear of living amid a disease spreading at such scale and speed.
A crematorium ground for Covid-19 victims in East Delhi, on Friday. Published April 27, 2021 Updated April 28, 2021
NEW DELHI '-- Crematories are so full of bodies, it's as if a war just happened. Fires burn around the clock. Many places are holding mass cremations, dozens at a time, and at night, in certain areas of New Delhi, the sky glows.
Sickness and death are everywhere.
Dozens of houses in my neighborhood have sick people.
One of my colleagues is sick.
One of my son's teachers is sick.
The neighbor two doors down, to the right of us: sick.
Two doors to the left: sick.
''I have no idea how I got it,'' said a good friend who is now in the hospital. ''You catch just a whiff of this'.....'' and then his voice trailed off, too sick to finish.
He barely got a bed. And the medicine his doctors say he needs is nowhere to be found in India.
I'm sitting in my apartment waiting to catch the disease. That's what it feels like right now in New Delhi with the world's worst coronavirus crisis advancing around us. It is out there, I am in here, and I feel like it's only a matter of time before I, too, get sick.
Image A Covid-19 patient waiting to be admitted to a hospital in South Delhi, on Saturday.India is now recording more infections per day '-- as many as 350,000 '-- than any other country has since the pandemic began, and that's just the official number, which most experts think is a vast underestimation.
New Delhi, India's sprawling capital of 20 million, is suffering a calamitous surge. A few days ago, the positivity rate hit a staggering 36 percent '-- meaning more than one out of three people tested were infected. A month ago, it was less than 3 percent.
The infections have spread so fast that hospitals have been completely swamped. People are turned away by the thousands. Medicine is running out. So is lifesaving oxygen. The sick have been left stranded in interminable lines at hospital gates or at home, literally gasping for air.
Although New Delhi is locked down, the disease is still rampaging. Doctors across this city and some of Delhi's top politicians are issuing desperate SOS calls to India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, on social media and on TV, begging for oxygen, medicine, help.
Experts had always warned that Covid-19 could wreak real havoc in India. This country is enormous '-- 1.4 billion people. And densely populated. And in many places, very poor.
Image Receiving oxygen outside a gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in South Delhi on Sunday.What we're witnessing is so different from last year, during India's first wave. Then, it was the fear of the unknown. Now we know. We know the totality of the disease, the scale, the speed. We know the terrifying force of this second wave, hitting everyone at the same time.
What we had been fearing during last year's first wave, and which never really materialized, is now happening in front of our eyes: a breakdown, a collapse, a realization that so many people will die.
As a foreign correspondent for nearly 20 years, I've covered combat zones, been kidnapped in Iraq and been thrown in jail in more than a few places.
This is unsettling in a different way. There's no way of knowing if my two kids, wife or I will be among those who get a mild case and then bounce back to good health, or if we will get really sick. And if we do get really sick, where will we go? ICUs are full. Gates to many hospitals have been closed.
A new variant known here as ''the double mutant'' may be doing a lot of the damage. The science is still early but from what we know, this variant contains one mutation that may make the virus more contagious and another that may make it partially resistant to vaccines. Doctors are pretty scared. Some we have spoken to said they had been vaccinated twice and still got seriously ill, a very bad sign.
Image A makeshift Covid-19 care facility in Delhi, on Friday.So what can you do?
I try to stay positive, believing that is one of the best immunity boosters, but I find myself drifting in a daze through the rooms of our apartment, listlessly opening cans of food and making meals for my kids, feeling like my mind and body are turning to mush. I'm afraid to check my phone and get another message about a friend who has deteriorated. Or worse. I'm sure millions of people have felt this way, but I've started imagining symptoms: Is my throat sore? What about that background headache? Is it worse today?
My part of town, South Delhi, is now hushed. Like many other places, we had a strict lockdown last year. But now doctors here are warning us that the virus is more contagious, and the chances of getting help are so much worse than they were during the first wave. So many of us are scared to step outside, like there's some toxic gas we're all afraid to breathe.
India is a story of scale, and it cuts both ways. It has a lot of people, a lot of needs and a lot of suffering. But it also has lot of technology, industrial capacity and resources, both human and material. I almost teared up the other night when the news showed an Indian Air Force jet load up with oxygen tanks from Singapore to bring to needy parts of the country. The government was essentially airlifting air.
Image Moving a Covid-19 victim at a crematorium ground on Friday.However difficult and dangerous it feels in Delhi for all of us, it's probably going to get worse. Epidemiologists say the numbers will keep climbing, to 500,000 reported cases a day nationwide and as many as one million Indians dead from Covid-19 by August.
It didn't have to be like this.
India was doing well up until a few weeks ago, at least on the surface. It locked down, absorbed the first wave, then opened up. It maintained a low death rate (at least by official statistics). By winter, life in many respects had returned to something near normal.
I was out reporting in January and February, driving through towns in central India. No one '-- and I mean no one, including police officers '-- was wearing a mask. It was like the country had said to itself, while the second wave was looming: Don't worry, we got this.
Few people feel that way now.
Mr. Modi remains popular among his base but more people are blaming him for failing to prepare India for this surge and for holding packed political rallies in recent weeks where few precautions were enforced '-- possible super-spreader events.
''Social distancing norms have gone for a complete toss,'' said one Delhi newscaster the other day, during a broadcast of one of Mr. Modi's rallies.
Indians are also upset with the sluggish pace of the vaccination campaign. Fewer than 10 percent of the population have received one dose, and only 1.6 percent are fully vaccinated, despite two vaccines being produced here.
Image A mass cremation of those who died from Covid-19 at a crematorium in New Delhi on Monday.In India, as elsewhere, the wealthy can pad the blow of many crises. But this time it's different.
A well-connected friend activated his entire network to help someone close to him, a young man with a bad case of Covid. My friend's friend died. No amount of pull could get him into a hospital. There were just too many other sick people.
''I tried everything in my power to get this guy a bed, and we couldn't,'' my friend said. ''It's chaos.''
His feelings were raw.
''This is a catastrophe. This is murder.''
I take few risks except to get food for my family that can't be delivered. I wear two masks and cut wide berths around as many people as I can.
But most days pass with the four of us marooned inside. We try to play games, we try not to talk about who just got sick or who's racing around this besieged city looking for help they probably won't find.
Sometimes we just sit quietly in the living room, looking out at the ficus and palm trees.
Through the open window, on long, still, hot afternoons, we can hear two things: Ambulances. And birdsong.
Image Mourning outside a cremation ground on Saturday.
Vax and Cycles
Tina doctor. Unvaxd receptionist bleeding clumps 67 year old patient menstruating
Un vaccinated Women and Menstruation studies
Last week it came to my attention that women (unvaxxed) are experiencing strange symptoms after being in proximity to the vaxxed. I did a little sniffing around and found lots of things but these two items in particular were pretty intriguing:
From 2017: https://www.popsci.com/contagious-vaccine-virus/ It appears the pursuit of a “transmissible vaccine” is actually a thing
Pfizer appears to acknowledge the study participants who received the injection can transmit a protein or proteins others
Also, this NEJM piece describes the miscarriage rates in women receiving the jab, yet I am not aware of any FDA or CDC warning being issued to pregnant women thinking of taking the vaxx. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2104983
I’ve shared this via Signal to some friends, and I believe @Roman on NA social has been posting it. I just wanted to drop it in an email in case these items haven’t crossed your radar yet.
Unvaccinated Women's Cycle Oddities '' Covid-19 Vaccine Reactions
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:08
Documenting adverse reactions to, aggregating news stories about, and sharing .gov sources in regards to the new experimental Covid-19 vaccines.Skip to content
Vaccines and such
Australia admits its a poison
Pfizer is testing a pill that, if successful, could become first-ever home cure for COVID-19 | National Post
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:33
Classed as a 'protease inhibitor', it has been formulated to attack the "spine" of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and stop it replicating in our nose, throats and lungs
At two anonymous Pfizer buildings, one in the U.S. and one in Belgium, a remarkable experiment is under way. Up to 60 volunteers, all clean-living adults aged between 18 and 60, are being given the first pill specifically designed to stop Covid-19.
If the trial is successful, it is just possible a home cure for Covid-19 will become available later this year. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced the formation of an ''Antivirals Taskforce'' last week specifically to invest in such products, will no doubt be scanning his text messages for early updates.
The molecule being tested is a bespoke antiviral code-named PF-07321332. Classed as a ''protease inhibitor'', it has been formulated to attack the ''spine'' of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and stop it replicating in our nose, throats and lungs. It was protease inhibitors that turned the tide on the spread of HIV in the UK and around the world. Now researchers hope they may be on the brink of a similar pandemic-busting breakthrough.
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''If they have moved to this stage they will be quietly optimistic,'' said Penny Ward, a visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King's College London and a pioneer in the development of Tamiflu, an antiviral that combats seasonal and pandemic flu. ''The question will be about how the drug is tolerated'... They will be going like the clappers''.
The antiviral pill was developed from scratch during the current pandemic, Dafydd Owen, director of medicinal chemistry at Pfizer, told a private symposium of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry last month.
The first seven milligrams of the compound '' no more than a raindrop '-- were made in late July 2020. By late October, they'd made 100 grams.
Just two weeks later, they had more than a kilogram in the bag. It took 210 researchers to do it, said Owen.
If they have moved to this stage they will be quietly optimistic
Pfizer is keeping schtum about the detail of the lab tests it has completed but says it has demonstrated ''potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2'', as well as activity against other coronaviruses, raising the prospect of a cure for the common cold as well as future pandemic threats.
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''We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalised or in critical care'', said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer and president of worldwide research, development and medical at Pfizer, in a statement released last month.
According to Ward, Pfizer's scientists will have most likely established the drug's ''potent'' action against SARS-CoV-2 by deploying it against infected human tissue cultures, including lung tissue, in a laboratory. ''Once you know it works in vitro, it's all about establishing its tolerance in animals and then humans,'' she said.
The Sunday Telegraph has obtained copies of the documents given to participants who are now entering the first human trials.
''To date, the study drug has not been administered to humans,'' say the documents which were formally approved on February 8 this year.
''The safety of the study drug has been studied in animals. In these animal studies, no significant risks or safety events of concern were identified, and the study drug did not cause side effects at any of the dose levels that will be used in clinical studies.''
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Those who have signed up for the trial are in for an intensive few months.
The trial is split into three phases and will run for 145 days, with another 28 days added for ''screening and dosing''. For all participants, there will be several overnight stays.
''You are here today as a possible participant in a drug research study sponsored by Pfizer Incorporated,'' say the briefing documents.
''Taking part in this study is voluntary'... If you are not completely honest about your health history, you may be harmed by being in this study.''
The ''randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single- and multiple-dose escalation study'' is designed to see how well or otherwise different dosing regimens are tolerated in humans while the active compound is maintained in the body.
PF-07321332 will be administered in combination with low doses of ritonavir, an antiviral used to treat HIV. It acts as a ''booster'' to increase the amount of PF-07321332 in participants' blood.
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Phase 1 of the trial is designed to see how it ''is tolerated as the dose is increased, alone or with ritonavir, if there are significant side effects, and how people feel after taking it'', say the documents.
Phase 2 will do the same but with ''multiple doses'', while in Phase 3, tablet and liquid forms of the drug will be tested, as will the impact of eating on top of it.
Every detail has been specified in advance. In Phase 3, for example, a high-fat breakfast is defined as: ''2 eggs fried in butter, 2 strips of pork bacon, 2 slices of toast with butter, 4 oz. of hash brown potatoes, and 8 oz. of whole milk'... eaten in 20 minutes''.
Bringing a new drug to market is a long and difficult process and even if PF-07321332 is found to be well tolerated in humans, formal Phase 3 trials would need to follow to establish whether the drug worked against people exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
Prof Ward has also warned of more practical problems. The antiviral Tamiflu that she helped create costs about pounds 25 a course and is still not widely prescribed in the UK against seasonal flu because of its price tag, despite some 20,000 people dying of the disease in Britain each year.
For Pfizer and PF-07321332, it is a ''race against time'', she said. They not only need to produce a drug that works but need to do it while SARS-CoV- 2 still presents a major public health threat.
CDC Punishes Scientist For Dissenting Views About COVID Vaccines
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:43
The Centers for Disease Control pulled a world-renowned expert off a vaccine safety advisory committee after he publicly disagreed with the agency's pause of the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine.
In an email, the CDC's Dr. Amanda Cohn said Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School was being removed for communicating to the public his expert opinion, which differed from what the CDC was saying publicly at the time. Four days later, however, the CDC reinstated the use of the vaccine, effectively adopting Kulldorff's recommendation after punishing him for publicly communicating it.
''It has been brought to CDC and ACIPs attention recent public statements you've made regarding policy opinions that appear to be pre-determined prior to complete review of data,'' Cohn wrote Kulldorff in an April 19 email. ''We understand and appreciate that VaST members have personal opinions and we do not object to the expression of those opinions. However, we expect members to be objective and devoid of any appearance of bias'... Therefore, CDC is respectfully ending your membership on VaST effective today.''
Agency Follows Doctor's Punished RecommendationOn April 13, the CDC paused the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine nationwide after six cases of blood clotting in women following their vaccination, among which were three deaths. The agency later determined the risk of this outcome was seven cases per 1 million people among women ages 18 to 49, the highest-risk group.
The CDC's decision to pause the vaccine based on the majority opinion of the committee it pushed him off ''did not reflect my views,'' Kulldorff told The Federalist. That's because the risks of COVID are far higher than the essentially zero risk of blood clots from the vaccine for the elderly.
After the April 13 CDC pause, Kulldorff expressed this dissenting professional opinion in an op-ed in The Hill that came out April 17. He wrote:
[T]hose under 50'...are better off receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Even though many more patients have received those vaccines, no CVST safety problems have been linked to them.
The policy should be different for the older population, for which there were no reported cases of CVST. To deny the J&J vaccine to older people is neither desirable nor necessary. With a pause for all ages, the total vaccine supply will decrease, delaying vaccinations and increasing COVID-19 mortality.
Two days later, Cohn removed Kulldorff from the CDC's COVID-19 Vaccines Safety Technical Work Group, known as VaST, for ''recent public statements you've made regarding policy opinions.'' Four days after that, the CDC once again allowed the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be administered.
In an April 23 press conference announcing the reinstatement, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky used Kulldorff's exact reasoning to justify reinstating the Johnson and Johnson vaccine: ''What we are seeing is the overall rate of events was 1.9 cases per million people. In women 18 to 49 years, there was an approximate 7 cases per million, and the risk is even lower in women over the age of 50 at 0.9 cases per million'... For every 1 million doses of this vaccine, the J&J vaccine could prevent over 650 hospitalizations and 12 deaths among women aged 18 to 49 and this vaccine could prevent over 4,700 hospitalizations and nearly 600 deaths among women over 50.''
Cohn and other CDC colleagues referred The Federalist's requests for comment about Kulldorff's removal to two CDC spokeswomen, who both failed to answer repeated inquiries.
'His Qualifications Are Spectacular'Kulldorff is a ''world-class'' vaccine safety ''superstar,'' said Jeffrey Brown, a Harvard Medical School colleague specializing in drug and vaccine safety research. ''His qualifications are spectacular,'' Brown said of Kulldorff. ''He's an international expert in vaccine safety. No one on earth would question whether he's qualified to be on that committee. He's a pioneer.''
In fact, methods Kulldorff helped develop underlie the CDC's current monitoring system for quickly discovering if a vaccine is causing health risks. The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) ''is the best in the world at vaccine safety'' and ''Martin's methods are what VSD is using,'' Brown noted.
Kulldorff has world-class expertise in detecting health risks in the population as early as humanly possible. Over decades, his work has helped doctors and public health officials balance the risks of disease against the side effects of medical intervention. For doing exactly that with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a CDC that relies on methods he helped develop punished Kulldorff.
Kulldorff is also a coauthor of the Great Barrington Declaration published Oct. 4, 2020. The declaration argues COVID-19 lockdowns do more harm than good, and that public officials should instead focus protections on those most at risk. The declaration's other coauthors are Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University. All have faced massive public pressure for expressing these views.
''I'm really happy Martin has been willing to say what a lot of people are thinking. It's not easy for an academic to do that, which is scary. It's scary that academics feel like they can't express an alternate view,'' Brown said. ''The fact that Martin and Bhattacharya, that people are criticizing them for pretty basic epidemiology and public health, is insane. It chills debate when perfectly reasonable opinions are shunned.''
Like other academic and health institutions, the CDC has previously included and published minority opinions on medical matters. For example, when Kulldorff served on a similar CDC advisory group about the measles (MMRV) vaccine, its advisory committees provided both majority and minority interpretations of the data for public knowledge and for the CDC to take into account.
Brown said he's had conversations with numerous colleagues about how cancel culture like this is affecting their ability to speak and write freely. He thinks part of the reason some scientists are afraid to voice dissenting opinions is the growing proportion of governmental scientific funding that comes in the form of contracts versus grants.
''No one wants to be on the NIH's bad side,'' he noted, especially as federal agencies have shifted increasingly from grants to contracts. Grants are more open-ended and based more on scientific inquiry, whereas contracts are based more on hiring a vendor to pursue a predetermined goal. ''It is not clear if the fear of dissenting is grounded or not, but it's still chilling.''
Stoking Fears and Vaccine HesitancyBesides leading to increased COVID deaths due to fewer vaccinations, Kulldorff said, the vaccine pause also was likely to decrease people's trust in vaccines. Public trust in COVID vaccines has been shaky, with the percentages of poll respondents saying they wouldn't get such a vaccine fluctuating between 21 and 50 percent since last July. Hesitancy about vaccines in general has also increased in the past decade.
Both pausing the J&J vaccine and refusing to acknowledge its low blood clot risk can increase vaccine hesitancy that can damage lives, Kulldorff said: ''It reduces the confidence in vaccines that is unnecessary and damaging. All of us who work with vaccines know about this vaccine hesitancy and we work hard to maintain confidence in vaccines.''
Two methods for reducing hesitancy are public transparency and early detection of negative outcomes, he said. That's why he recommended keeping the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on the market while also encouraging women at risk of blood clots from it to take one of the other two COVID vaccines.
Instead, the CDC communicated unwarranted certainty about the vaccine to the public, potentially costing lives. A YouGov/Economist poll found that after the CDC's pause public confidence in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine dropped 15 points, from 57 to 32 percent.
''During this last year, vaccine confidence has been damaged by questionable public health messaging,'' Kulldorff noted in his Hill op-ed. ''For instance, former CDC director Robert Redfield said that masks may offer more protection than vaccines against the virus. Anthony Fauci , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has asserted that those fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks and physically distance, even though the vaccines provide excellent protection. Some governors and universities have pushed to introduce coercive vaccine passports and mandates, leading many to ask, 'If the vaccine is so good, why am I being forced to get it?' The COVID-19 vaccines provide excellent protection, and we cannot afford more such unwarranted vaccine skepticism.''
Shutting Down Speech Because of Politics''As a public health scientist,'' Kulldorff told The Federalist, ''I think it's my obligation to work with any politician or official irrespective of party, if they want my perspective. I care about the lives of both Republicans and Democrats and Independents, and that's what everyone should do.''
In that pursuit, the Great Barrington Declaration coauthors have advised Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in switching his COVID-19 strategy from lockdowns to focused protection on Sept. 25, 2020. As a result, media organizations such as CBS have targeted DeSantis and his advisors, including by spreading false information.
So has Walensky. Walensky signed the John Snow Memorandum, an Oct. 14, 2020 statement written to counter the Great Barrington Declaration that promotes inaccurate fears that natural infection may not provide lasting immunity, and advocates further lockdowns, mass testing, and contact tracing. The memorandum essentially urges retaining the dominant methods and narratives corporate media have pushed since COVID-19 erupted.
In the John Snow Memorandum, a short radio debate with Kulldorff, and other public statements, Walensky has falsely characterized the Great Barrington Declaration as a strategy that would ''let the virus run free without mitigation strategies.''
Kulldorff has repeatedly publicly stated that he does not support ''let it rip,'' but ''focused protection'' of well-known high-risk populations, such as the elderly and those in nursing homes. In a March panel with DeSantis, for example, Kulldorff said, ''Lockdown is just a form of 'let it rip,' but at a little bit of dragging it out more, and by dragging it out more it actually makes it more difficult people for older people to protect themselves, because they have to do it for a longer time. So 'let it rip' is not a good strategy.'' He also publicly countered the John Snow claim that natural COVID infection does not confer immunity.
Given this, the CDC pushing Kulldorff out of helping oversee vaccine safety systems he helped invent smacks of retaliation against a scientist who has dissented against scientifically indefensible positions repeatedly communicated to the public by top CDC officials.
Copyright (C) 2021 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Joe Rogan Anti-Vaccine Comments Create New Headache for Spotify - Variety
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:00
Joe Rogan draws big audiences for Spotify. But the hugely popular podcaster's habit of making controversial remarks and courting right-wing figures and ideologies keeps generating a backlash '-- both inside and outside of the audio giant.
The latest vexation: In the April 23 episode of ''The Joe Rogan Experience,'' which is available exclusively on Spotify, Rogan encouraged healthy young people to not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
''If you're, like, 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I'll go no,'' he said in a conversation with comedian Dave Smith.
Rogan commented that he believes vaccines are safe and that people at risk should be vaccinated, noting that both his parents have received COVID-19 shots. But, Rogan continued, ''If you're a healthy person, and you're exercising all the time, and you're young, and you're eating well, like, I don't think you need to worry about this.'' At another point, Rogan said, ''We're talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children. But yet people still want you to get your child vaccinated, which is crazy to me.''
Rogan's comments '-- coming as the pandemic still isn't anywhere near being contained '-- were widely criticized as irresponsible and dangerous, including by watchdog group Media Matters. The organization noted that young people and children can and do, in fact, contract COVID-19 and that the disease can be deadly. While the FDA has not yet approved any coronavirus vaccine for children under 16, Pfizer's vaccine has been approved for those 16 and older and Moderna's has been approved for those who are 18 and older.
As of April 27, 29.1% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated and 42.7% of Americans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the CDC.
''Rogan has frequently used his podcast to spread conspiracy theories, espouse dangerous COVID-19 misinformation, and attack trans people,'' Media Matters said.
COVID misinformation on Rogan's show has included false statements by Infowars founder and conspiracy-monger Alex Jones (who has been broadly deplatformed, including by Spotify). In an episode from October 2020, Jones bizarrely claimed that the COVID pandemic was being used by elites to ''reorganize society'' and ''end prosperity.'' Jones also asserted that ''a lot of studies'' have shown that wearing masks doesn't help protect people in large groups from getting infected with the coronavirus. That's incorrect: ''Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth,'' which is the primary way COVID-19 is transmitted, according to the CDC.
Spotify has removed multiple episodes of ''The Joe Rogan Experience'' from its platform since on-boarding it last September, including past segments with Jones and others with right-wing guests Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos. The streamer has pulled 42 episodes in total, per a tally earlier this month by Digital Music News.
So why is Spotify not taking action on certain episodes that contain misinformation? The company's own employees have on several occasions complained to Spotify management about objectionable and harmful content on Rogan's podcast. But Rogan's April 23 podcast remains available '-- as does the Oct. 27 episode with Jones.
Spotify did not respond to requests for comment on the latest Rogan controversy. Sources familiar with the policy-enforcement process at Spotify have said that prohibited content applies to specific types of speech and that context matters in moderation decisions.
Spotify has removed episodes because of COVID misinformation in other situations. In the case of Rogan's recommendation that healthy young people not get vaccinated, Spotify determined that he ''doesn't come off as outwardly anti-vaccine'' and does not explicitly tell people to not get vaccinated, according to tech-news site The Verge, citing an anonymous source.
''The Joe Rogan Experience'' is currently the No. 1 podcast on Spotify in the U.S., per its rankings, and has consistently been among its most-listened to shows. The podcast joined Spotify's lineup in September under a multiyear pact reportedly worth $100 million and became available exclusively on the audio-streaming service in December.
[UPDATE: On Wednesday, Spotify said in its Q1 earnings announcement that Rogan's show performed above expectations with respect to new user additions and engagement for the period.]
Spotify has said Rogan will maintain creative control over his podcast. While the full episodes of ''The Joe Rogan Experience'' are exclusive to Spotify, clips from the show are still posted to YouTube. Episodes of Rogan's show on Spotify date back to 2009, when the comedian and former TV host first launched the show, except for the several dozen episodes Spotify has removed.
(Pictured above: Joe Rogan attends UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24 in Jacksonville, Fla.)
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Israel said probing link between Pfizer shot and heart problem in men under 30 | The Times of Israel
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:51
Details from an unpublished Israeli Health Ministry report into the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine have raised concerns that there could be a link between the second shot and several dozen cases of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, particularly in men under 30, Channel 12 reported Friday.
The concerns come from an intermediate report that was presented to ministry heads and to Pfizer in recent weeks, the TV report said. Excerpts from the leaked report stressed that investigators had not conclusively proved a link, but that they had significant concerns.
The report said that out of more than 5 million people vaccinated in Israel, there were 62 recorded cases of myocarditis in the days after the shot. It found that 56 of those cases came after the second shot and most of the affected were men under 30.
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The report said that 60 of the patients were treated and released from hospital in good condition. Two of the patients, who were reportedly healthy until receiving the vaccination, including a 22-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, died.
''The findings were presented to the Pfizer company who replied that they had not had similar reports in the rest of the world and would examine the data,'' an excerpt from the report said, adding that the details had also been sent to the US FDA and CDC, who were also investigating.
Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are seen in a cold room before being packaged for shipping, at a warehouse in the Paris suburbs, March 30, 2021. (Joel Saget/AFP)
The report was authored by senior ministry officials led by Prof. Dror Mevorach, head of one of the COVID-19 units at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.
The authors surmised that ''one possible reason for lack of similar findings in other countries was the low rate of vaccinations among young people.''
''There is specific concern regarding the frequency of the occurrence observed in men under 30 in the days immediately after the second shot,'' they wrote. ''At this stage, according to initial findings that still need to be verified, there is an impression that the number (of cases) is higher than would be expected, especially for those under 30.''
The report found that of those who received the second dose, 1-in-100,000 had possible side effects of myocarditis; however, this number rose to 1-in-20,000 among those aged 16-30.
''We cannot yet tell if there are more cases than normal or if there are similar numbers annually and the proximity is just a coincidence. Efforts to collect more data are continuing,'' the report said.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man receives his second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a coronavirus vaccination center set up at a synagogue in Bnei Brak, Israel, March 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
''At the moment we believe that the vaccination plan should proceed as normal for those over 16. However, it should be noted that there is a possibility that we will see the same results in vaccinations of those aged 12-15,'' it cautioned.
Israel is looking to press ahead with vaccinating those under 16 as soon as the shot is authorized.
On Thursday, the Jewish state passed the milestone of over 5 million people having received both vaccine shots.
According to the Health Ministry, 5,005,418 second doses have now been given, accounting for nearly 54% of the total population and more than 80% of the eligible population over the age of 16. Just under 58% '-- 5,374,276 '-- of all Israelis have had at least one shot.
The TV report came as Israel marked its first day in 10 months with no new COVID-19 daily deaths reported.
In data released Friday, the death toll remained unchanged from the day before at 6,346. The last date there were no new fatalities was June 29, 2020, when morbidity levels remained subdued following the initial coronavirus wave.
The ministry said of 35,027 tests performed Thursday, 129 new cases were recorded, a positive test rate of 0.4 percent. The country has logged 837,892 confirmed infections since the pandemic began.
The number of active infections fell further, to 1,850, with 157 patients in serious condition, including 82 on ventilators.
Israel has seen a sharp drop in daily mortality and infection rates since the pandemic peaked in late-January, as the country pushes forward with its world-leading vaccination drive.
''This is a tremendous achievement for the health system and Israeli citizens. Together we are eradicating the coronavirus,'' Health Minister Yuli Edelstein tweeted Friday.
Israel's vaccination program, which is based on the Pfizer-BioNtech two-shot vaccine, has seen it maintain the highest per capita inoculation rate in the world since it began in late December.
The country is preparing to start vaccinating children aged 12-15 as soon as the US Food and Drugs Administration approves vaccine use for children in that age bracket.
Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levi said Thursday that once that age group has been vaccinated, the country will reach herd immunity and there will be no need to inoculate younger children, according to the Kan public broadcaster.
Also Thursday, the Health Ministry issued a travel warning to seven countries caught in a wave of virus infection, citing concerns of possible coronavirus strains that may be more resistant to vaccines.
The countries listed in the travel warning were Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey.
The ministry further said all Israelis, including the vaccinated and recovered, should generally avoid any ''unnecessary'' international travel altogether.
Passengers seen at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)
The warning came as health officials express concerns over a new mutated strain detected in India, which is dealing with one of the worst outbreaks since the pandemic began in 2019.
As infections have dwindled, Israel has rolled back restrictions on public life, including lifting the requirement to wear face masks outdoors, which ended on Sunday.
Greetings from the Vaccination Nation
One tiny country has led the world in COVID vaccination. If Israel's achievement makes you proud, there's something you should know. Huge audiences have flocked to The Times of Israel recently from countries where Israel normally makes the news only because of its conflicts.
They've been coming here to read a very different kind of article. We've been the go-to site for everyone intrigued by the success story of the ''Vaccination Nation.''
As ToI's Health and Science correspondent, I've written much of this coverage - and it's been exhilarating to see its impact. Our journalism has inspired many articles in media outlets worldwide. I know this because international journalists have often contacted me for input.
Your support, through The Times of Israel Community, helps us to continue providing surprising, impressive stories from this small state to readers around the world. Will you join our Community today?
Thank you,
Nathan Jeffay, Health & Science Correspondent
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Vaccine Tents Could Be Coming To Street Festivals, Block Parties To Help People Get Shots
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:59
CHICAGO '-- The city will bring coronavirus vaccination tents to festivals and block parties this summer, among other efforts to make it easier for people to get shots.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said this is the first week where supply of vaccine doses could outpace demand. Officials are looking at ways to make it easier for people to get their shots.
Among their ideas: The city could create Vax & Relax events where people could go to places like salons or barber shops. They'd be able to get their shots and get a service '-- like having their nails done '-- for free, Arwady said.
The city is also looking at setting up vaccination tents and vans at events like block parties and festivals this summer, Arwady said.
More than 2 million vaccine doses have been given in Chicago so far, and the city has made ''amazing progress,'' Arwady said. But she said the city still has a way's to go in terms of vaccinating people and ending the pandemic.
''We all want to put this behind us, and getting people vaccinated is the way to do it,'' Arwady said.
City data shows 1,876,041 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans, and 2,040,123 doses have been administered in the city overall. About 43 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot, while 28.5 percent have completed their vaccination. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, about 65.1 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 53.8 percent have finished their vaccination.
The city is looking at how it can slowly reopen more as people are getting their shots, as well, Arwady said.
An average of 548 cases of COVID-19 are being reported daily in Chicago. That means the city is still considered high-risk '-- but that risk is increasingly going to be on people who haven't gotten their shots, Arwady said.
As vaccine availability has widened, it's appropriate for the city to look at reopening, she said. She said officials expect to be ''turning the dial'' and reopening, with more information about those changes coming soon.
''I suspect we will have some version of these activities we love'' over the summer, Arwady said.
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Let Us Out
'Mom And Pop' Landlords Dying On The Vine As Un-Evictable Tenants Enjoy Pandemic Protections | ZeroHedge
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 18:15
As millions of renters across America continue to benefit from sweeping protections against eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic, their landlords haven't been so fortunate.
The three-unit rental, left, that landlord Joaquin Villanueva owns in Boston.Photographer: Harry Scales/BloombergAccording to Bloomberg, nearly $47 billion in rent relief from the Biden Administration has been slow to materialize, forcing "mom-and-pop" landlords into financial hardship - or forced to sell to wealthy investors. Bloomberg, perhaps to invoke sympathy for the landlord class, focused on the impact felt by minority landlords.
Like their tenants, these landlords are more likely to be nonwhite or to be immigrants using real estate for their economic foothold. Now, mortgage, maintenance and tax bills are piling up, putting landlords in danger of losing their buildings or being forced to sell to wealthier investors hunting for distressed deals.
The tens of billions of dollars that Congress allocated for rent relief -- starting in December and then with a second allotment in March -- was supposed to help by covering back rent and unpaid utility bills. But the rollout has been moving at the speed of bureaucracy, which varies from state to state. -Bloomberg
In one example, airport janitor Joaquin Villanueva has had to take out a home-equity loan to make ends meet while maintaining a three-unit rental house in East Boston. One of his tenants is eight months behind on rent, while another - an unemployed restaurant dish washer, owes him $5,000.
Joaquin Villanueva in Boston, on April 24. Photographer: Harry Scales/Bloomberg"I don't want to lose my house so I'm doing whatever I have to do," said Villanueva - an El Salvadorian immigrant who works at Logan International Airport, adding "I'm not rich like a Donald Trump."
Another distressed landlord, Jamaican-America Lincoln Eccles, owns a 14-unit building in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Eccles says investors have been flooding him with unsolicited phone calls, texts and emails. He says that selling would bring much-needed relief, as he's now a year behind on taxes and gas bills. Eccles says he'd rather keep the building acquired by his immigrant father in order to pass it down to his first son, born this month.
Unfortunately for Eccles, "One tenant owes more than $40,000 in back rent, five units are empty and Eccles can't afford to replace or even fix a boiler that broke down again in March. The rent relief program will help only so much. He's unlikely to get government grants to cover losses from a tenant who left in November owing $96,000."
According to RealtyTrac Executive VP Rick Sharga, "The fact that we're over a year into the pandemic really puts a lot of these landlords at risk."
That said, not much is known about how many landlords themselves are in desperate situations, Bloomberg notes, however "it doesn't take much to fall behind if income stops coming from one tenant in a small building. With each passing month, the problems get bigger and harder to solve."
So what now?
It's going to be an ordeal either way. In order to remedy shortfalls in rent, both renters and landlords will need to cooperate for the landlord's benefit - with local governments often requiring long, detailed applications signed by both parties in order to prevent fraud.
Meanwhile, many landlords don't qualify for federal COVID-19 mortgage forbearance because less than a third have mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or another federal agency, while local governments can't afford to let landlords pause property tax payments - particularly in cities which have suffered economic devastation due to the pandemic.
"The long-term concern here, over the course of a few years, is that a growing share of mom and pop landlords will be forced to sell and rents will go up," said Rutgers assistant professor of sociology who researches housing inequality. "There's a lot of private equity interest and a real possibility of growing consolidation."
From the government side, the situation is a quagmire.
Even as the pace of payments pick up, other challenges are looming. The way Congress allocated the money gave an outsize share to smaller states with low renter populations.
New York's $2.4 billion portion of the funds, for instance, is expected to cover less than 80% of back rent, utilities and late fees owed in the state as of March, according to estimates from Moody's Analytics. In Illinois, it's just 45%. Vermont, however, gets a roughly $350 million allocation, enough to pay for the state's need more than nine times over.
While Congress provided the Treasury Department with authority to fix any mismatch in funding, the reallocation can't happen for several more months. -Bloomberg
"Standing up a brand new program like this that's very high-touch and has to get out ASAP is really tough," said Stockton Williams, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, who added that while some states - including Alaska, Kentucky and Virginia have been quick to distribute relief, California and Texas - states with large allocations - have been slow to respond but are picking up speed.
Freedom Pass
Vaccinated American Tourists May Soon Travel to Europe - The New York Times
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 02:44
The head of the European Commission said the bloc would switch policy, under certain conditions, after more than a year of mostly banning nonessential travel.
Before long American tourists may be able to visit Paris and the treasures of the Louvre, shown last summer. Credit... Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times April 25, 2021 Updated 6:02 p.m. ET
BRUSSELS '-- American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the European Union over the summer, the head of the bloc's executive body said in an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, more than a year after shutting down nonessential travel from most countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The fast pace of vaccination in the United States, and advanced talks between authorities there and the European Union over how to make vaccine certificates acceptable as proof of immunity for visitors, will enable the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, to recommend a switch in policy that could see trans-Atlantic leisure travel restored.
''The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,'' Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said Sunday in an interview with The Times in Brussels. ''This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.
''Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.,'' she added. The agency, the bloc's drugs regulator, has approved all three vaccines being used in the United States, namely the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson shots.
Ms. von der Leyen did not offer a timeline on when exactly tourist travel might open up or details on how it would occur. But her comments are a top-level statement that the current travel restrictions are set to change on the basis of vaccination certificates.
Image Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, in Puurs, Belgium, on Friday. Credit... Pool photo by John Thys She noted that the United States was ''on track'' and making ''huge progress'' with its campaign to reach so-called herd immunity, or the vaccination of 70 percent of adults, by mid-June.
She added that resumption of travel would depend ''on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.''
Diplomats from Europe's tourist destination countries, mostly led by Greece, have argued for weeks that the bloc's criteria for determining whether a country is a ''safe'' origin purely based on low cases of Covid-19 are fast becoming irrelevant given the progress of vaccination campaigns in the United States, Britain and some other countries.
Technical discussions have been going on for several weeks between European Union and United States officials on how to practically and technologically make vaccine certificates from each place broadly readable so that citizens can use them to travel without restrictions.
These discussions are continuing, officials in Brussels said, and it is possible that a low-tech solution would be used in the near future to enable people to travel freely on the basis of vaccination. For example, a traveler to Europe could get an E.U. vaccine-certificate equivalent on arrival after showing a bona fide certificate issued by his or her own government.
The hope, officials said, is that this step would soon be unnecessary as government-issued vaccine certificates issued by foreign governments would be acceptable and readable in the European Union, and vice versa.
Image Greece, home of the Acropolis in Athens, is among the countries that have been pushing to let more tourists back in. Credit... Byron Smith for The New York Times The European Union itself has begun the process of furnishing its own citizens with ''digital green certificates,'' which will state whether the traveler has been vaccinated against Covid-19; has recovered from the disease in recent months; or has tested negative for the virus in the past few days. Europeans will be able to use those to travel without added restrictions, at least in principle, within the bloc of 27 nations.
Based on Ms. von der Leyen's comments, the European Commission will recommend the change in travel policy, though individual member states may reserve the right to keep stricter limits. They might not permit citizens from outside the bloc to visit or might enforce restrictions like quarantines, even on visitors who have vaccination certificates.
But countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Croatia that welcome millions of American tourists each summer, and greatly depend on them for income and jobs, are set to jump at the opportunity to reopen to the American tourism market with the E.U.'s blessing.
Until now, nonessential travel to the European Union has been officially banned with the exception of visitors from a short list of countries with very low caseloads of the virus, including Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
Some E.U. countries have made small exceptions to permit visitors from outside the bloc. Greece, for example, said last week that it would open its borders to travelers from the United States starting Monday, provided they show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.
The visitors from the handful of countries that are officially permitted to visit the European Union under existing rules would normally still have to comply with various sets of requirements implemented on a country-by-country basis, including having a negative coronavirus test and following quarantine rules.
Image The sky above Castellina, Italy, in the Chianti region. Italy depends on American visitors for a huge number of jobs. Credit... Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times The return of vaccinated visitors to Europe's beaches and tourist sites would bring a desperately needed financial boost for countries in its southern rim, in particular. And for millions of would-be tourists around the world, as well as for airlines and the broader travel industry, it would herald a cautious and limited return to something that feels like normalcy.
For Americans especially, it would also highlight a stark change in Covid-19 fortunes: going from undesirable in Europe a year ago, when the pandemic was raging in the United States, to being in the front of the line of global travelers free to resume leisure trips.
But the return of leisure travel to Europe on a bigger scale will also highlight the deepening inequality between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, both within countries and, particularly, on a global level. With India in the throes of the worst rise in coronavirus infections in the world, and with the past week's global case total the highest since the pandemic began, that contrast could become even more jarring.
Austin secondhand and new car inventory shortage
Automakers react to President Biden intervention on chip shortage
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:05
The auto industry might get federal relief from the shortage of semiconductor chips that has crippled vehicle production over the past several weeks.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to review the U.S. supply chains of products in key industries, including semiconductor chips that are used in various electrical components for cars, personal electronics, military equipment and other items.
It is a proactive step to mitigate further production disruptions to the auto industry, which has been hit hard by the chips shortage.
Demand for the chips is up in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased use of laptop computers, 5G phones, gaming systems and other IT equipment that use the chips. Cars use them in a variety of parts and infotainment systems.
The major manufacturers of the semiconductor chips used in cars are overseas, namely Taiwan-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC). The strain on making and delivering the chips comes down to supply versus demand.
Data company IHS Markit has tracked the chip problem since April 2020 and it estimates the deficit will result in 672,000 fewer light-duty vehicles built globally in this first quarter. As part of that total estimate, North America will see about 100,000 fewer vehicles made.
More:Chip shortage cripples car production into the second half of 2021
While many automakers welcome Biden's help, some industry experts say this will do little to resolve the squeeze on production and slim new-vehicle inventory levels in the short term.
"It is a reasonable goal to want to secure and protect the supply chain for U.S. manufacturing and parts, given the issues the auto industry is currently facing, but this will do little to address the near-term shortage of semiconductors," said Jeff Schuster, LMC Automotive's president of Americas Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts. "It will be challenging to make changes to a global supply chain in the medium term without significant investment and incentives."
100-day reviewBiden met with a bipartisan group of House and Senate members on U.S. supply chains at 2 p.m. in the Oval Office and signed an executive order after that meeting, according to a White House briefing schedule. The order is also expected to examine supply chain issues with large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and crucial minerals.
Part of Biden's concern lies in the fact that the nation's manufacturers have become increasingly reliant on imports of the chips, creating a possible risk to national security and economy. In a fact sheet from the White House, it says, "The United States is the birthplace of this technology, and has always been a leader in semiconductor development. However, over the years we have underinvested in production '-- hurting our innovative edge '-- while other countries have learned from our example and increased their investments in the industry."
The UAW said it has been working with the Biden administration on proactive policies to strengthen domestic supply chains and create U.S. jobs.
"These supply chains, as well as other inputs and components, are the building blocks of our economy and it is crucial for the United States to make these critical products right here in the United States," said UAW President Rory Gamble.
The White House also noted that as it considers ways to address the climate crisis, it will lead to large demand for new energy technologies like electric vehicle batteries.
"By identifying supply chain risks, we can meet the President's commitment to accelerate U.S. leadership of clean energy technologies. For example, while the U.S. is a net exporter of electric vehicles, we are not a leader in the supply chain associated with electric battery production," a White House fact sheet stated. "The U.S. could better leverage our sizeable lithium reserves and manufacturing know-how to expand domestic battery production."
The Biden administration hopes to address the issue in a 100-day review aimed at finding some near-term solutions to the chips shortage and to potentially boost domestic production. Biden will also work with "international partners to ensure a stable and reliable supply chain," according to an AP report citing unidentified administration officials.
The order is expected to include sectoral reviews to be completed within one year "for defense, public health and biological preparedness, information communications technology, energy, transportation and food production," AP reported.
It said administration officials have met with automakers and are in discussions with foreign counterparts on ways to increase chip supplies near term.
At the company levelA 100-day review of the sectors identified will not produce any actionable results in the near term, said Schuster of LMC Automotive.
"I also believe these type of shortages and risks tend to get dealt with at a company by company level," Schuster said. "You better believe the automakers impacted are making adjustments and looking for hedges in the future to mitigate risks like this from happening in the future."
Indeed, the Detroit Three have said they are working closely with their suppliers to mitigate any production impacts especially on their big moneymaking vehicles such as full-size pickups and SUVs.
The chips shortage has already caused production disruptions across the industry and at each of the Detroit Three automakers:
General Motors has shuttered three plants in North America from Feb. 8 to at least mid-March, affecting some compact SUV production.Ford Motor Co. has seen production disruptions in the past several weeks to its popular, highly profitable F-150 pickup, as well as some SUVs and cars.Stellantis, which used to be called Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, idled plants in Mexico and Canada, building the Jeep Compass and Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, for much of January. It has been running normal production in February as it closely monitors the supply chain. Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, agreed that the executive order likely will not offset production challenges for the auto industry this year.
''Supply chains take significant planning and are generally determined and developed many years ahead of time," Chesbrough said. "Any outcome of Biden's executive order would likely have little impact on the auto industry in the near term. The tighter inventory issues in the market today, and the plant slowdowns caused by a shortage of computer chips, are expected to be with us through most of 2021, executive order or not.''
But a push for domestic sourcing of computer chips and EV batteries supports an important Made in America message, Chesbrough said. Most auto companies are likely already considering new domestic sourcing opportunities, as the new USMCA, formerly NAFTA, requires higher North American parts content in the vehicle supply chain.
But neither an executive order or the automakers' efforts will provide fast enough relief for car buyers hoping to get a good deal on a new vehicle this year, said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of insights. He noted that new vehicle inventory levels were already rather tight at the start of the year after the industry had an eight-week shutdown last spring because of the pandemic.
"The current chip shortage is only further squeezing the supply of new cars across the country, and as a result we're seeing the beginning signs of what happened to the market at the end of last summer: new vehicle discounts are drying up, as used vehicle prices are starting to climb," Drury said.
The good news is that stimulus checks and tax returns are on the way so if car dealers can stock up on used inventory now, they might attract car shoppers, "who might have otherwise been dissuaded by rising prices or lack of options in the new market," Drury said.
Carmakers welcome Biden's help GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the automaker had "heard this is coming" when asked for reaction to Biden's expected executive order, but added, "While we welcome support, I don't have any details of the order to comment on at the moment."
In a statement from Ford regarding the administration's executive order to address the auto chip shortage, it said, "As America's No. 1 auto producer, we greatly appreciate President Biden's swift actions to remedy the near-term semiconductor shortage and review longer-term actions to develop a more resilient and secure supply chain. It is incredibly important for our labor force, our customers and our business that we have a commitment to end this shortage as soon as possible. We stand ready to work with the Biden Administration on these efforts.''
The auto industry supports 10.3 million jobs nationally which fuels an economic recovery, said John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group that represents carmakers and suppliers. Stellantis referred the Free Press to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation for its reaction.
"We welcome the Biden Administration's continued support for supply chain resiliency, and we are committed to working collaboratively in support of U.S. manufacturing, jobs and the environment," Bozzella said. "Resilient supply chains are key to long-term investments in advanced automotive technology '-- including electrification, advanced safety features, and automated driving systems '-- and ensuring the U.S. remains an innovation leader."
The American Automotive Policy Council, a lobbying group representing the Detroit Three, thanked Biden for his administration's efforts to address the global chips shortage.
"The U.S. auto industry needs immediate action to resolve plant closures and U.S. vehicle production losses, which are impacting hundreds of thousands of American autoworkers, our customers, our businesses and our economy," said Matt Blunt, president of the group. "We additionally look forward to working with the administration on long-term actions that secure our domestic supply chain to avoid any future chip supply shortages."
Nissan North America's spokesperson Lloryn Love-Carter said the automaker has had to make some short-term production adjustments in its four North American plants because of the semiconductor shortage, but it continues to work closely with suppliers to monitor the situation and assess the longer-term impact on our operations.
"We welcome the Biden administration's support on this issue," Love-Carter said.
More:Parts shortage forces Ford to temporarily lay off thousands of UAW members
More:GM to idle 3 plants in North America due to semiconductor shortage
More:3,900 Ford UAW members building Escape, Corsair lose work hours due to parts shortage
Detroit Free Press reporter Todd Spangler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Jamie L. LaReau: 313-222-2149 or jlareau@freepress.com . Follow her on Twitter @ jlareauan . Read more on General Motors and sign up for our autos newsletter . Become a subscriber.
1k of sealed indictments
Global Narcotics Investigation Results In Incredible Indictments - NewsBlaze News
Sun, 25 Apr 2021 23:50
Drug dealing at the highest levels has finally exposed the dirty hands in America that aid their ''partners in crime'' to control the dope trade here in the United States and overseas like no other while hiding behind Federal government regulations and protections, and now the lid of secrecy has finally been exposed for the world to see their illicit crimes.
Update: There are new developments in a Global Narcotics investigation in the story Secret Drug Operations previously reported here on Newsblaze. Those operations involved notorious drug organizations that paid millions to American-based Aircraft Title Companies to do their dirty work of purchasing and registering airplanes in the name of the Aircraft company. Their actions helped narcotic traffickers hide their true identity to make it safer for the drug smugglers to transport narcotics worth billions.
The widespread investigation finally resulted in several indictments against the owners and employees of Aircraft companies.
The indictments are part of an ongoing investigation.
Federal Global Narcotics InvestigationU.S. Federal authorities in the Eastern District of Texas (EDOT) recently indicted 8 people on multiple federal violations related to a deep, intertwined, complex international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. [Indictment announcement]
The charges are stunning.
All the players were high rollers in the dope game, and the defendants were also involved in a major Ponzi scheme involving millions.
Living the life of untouchable millionaires, the defendants used their clout and their federally regulated aircraft companies to act as brokers to first register and then sell or lease airplanes and luxury jets to discreet members of dope trafficking operations responsible for transporting illegal narcotics across the world, including into the United States.
Nicholas J Ganjei. Official Photo.IndictmentsOn February 24, 2021, grand jury indictments were unsealed against Debra Lynn Mercer-Erwin, 58, owner of Aircraft Guaranty Corp.(AGC). Mercer-Erwin also owns Wright Brothers Aircraft Title(WBAT). She was arrested in Oklahoma on December 18, 2020, and the Feds transferred Mercer-Erwin to a jail facility in Texas.
The others indicted in the the big dope/money laundering scheme were:
Mercer-Erwin's daughter, Kayleigh Moffett, 33, also of Oklahoma CityFederico Machado, 53, of FloridaCarlos Villaurrutia, 40, of McAllen, TexasFour other unnamed individualsDebbie Mercer-Erwin and Kayleigh Moffett. Photos: National Aircraft Finance AssociationAirplanes For Drug RunningAircraft Guaranty Corporation website stated the company ''controls over one billion in aircraft value, with over 2,000 airplanes registered in more than 160 different countries.''
The company also has nearly 1,500 airplanes in trusts in the United States, and Wright Brothers Aircraft Title is a full-service title and escrow company. Both companies are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Over 11,000 aircraft are owned by trusts in the U.S.
The charges for the 8 defendants include:
conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaineconspiracy to commit money launderingwire fraudexport violationsconspiracy to commit federal registration violations involving aircraftThe indictment painstakingly reveals how approximately $350 million in alleged criminal activity was inter-related to the drug trade. Investigation of evidence documented in the indictment describes how foreign governments seized United States-registered airplanes containing multi-ton shipments of cocaine and that the aircraft were held in trust by Aircraft Guaranty Corporation for the benefit of foreign corporations or individuals.
Federico Machado. Jail photo.Federal agents identified Federico Machado, through his company South Aviation, and Carlos Villaurrutia, who used his companies Texton, TWA International, and Ford Electric, as aircraft sellers/brokers operating in the United States.
Since the 911 attacks on the United States and the World Trade Center in New York, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only allows U.S. citizens to register aircraft, not foreigners. Yet it is legal for an American-based aircraft title company, corporation, LLC or law firm to legally register aircraft, even on behalf of foreigners, as long as the proper paperwork is filed with the federal government.
''The Threat posed by transnational crime cannot be overstated,'' said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. ''The use of United States-registered aircraft by these criminal organizations and their networks of associates poses a clear and present danger to the security of our nation. The American public can expect (Eastern District of Texas) to be relentless in its fight against the sometimes invisible, but always dangerous, threat of transnational organized crime.''
Carlos Villaurrutia. Photo from LinkedInBehind the Scenes in Shadowy WorldDuring these millennium times we live in, chit-chat about drug use and the illegal drug trade is at it's highest. However, we rarely get the grand opportunity to see what really goes on behind the scenes of the shadowy world of the big fish and the Kingpins atop the throne in the world of drug smuggling. What we may see are the small-time street hustlers on the grind trying to make a few dimes in the dope game.
But if the Feds can prove beyond reasonable doubt these top American executives knowingly participated in the international narcotic trafficking trade, their lives and reputations will be unavoidably tarnished.
As mentioned, it is not illegal for Aircraft Guaranty to act as a trustee for foreign operatives but the indictment said defendants circumvented United States laws and regulations by assigning airplanes with the American tail# numbers beginning with the letter ''N.'' Tail numbers are located on the wings of an airplane that was provided to drug traffickers and prohibited foreigners. The tail# number of an airplane that starts with the letter ''N'' indicates it has American ownership and subject to less scrutiny than foreign based aircraft, due to American authority.
Interestingly, the Feds haven't revealed the evidence showing exactly how the accused defendants knew in advance the airplanes would be used for transporting illegal narcotics.
Each charged individual faces penalties ranging from 10 years-to-life in federal prison on the drug conspiracy charges, and they also face an additional, up to 20 years in prison for money laundering, export and wire fraud violations.
Editor's Note: Last year, in September 2020, journalist/investigator Clarence Walker wrote the expose Secret Drug Operations: Millions Paid to Exploit Aviation Rules '' Cartels (Use) U.S. Airplanes to Transport Narcotics Into America
The Initial InvestigationPart one of this story documented the twisted and corrupt inner-workings of exported airplanes and Gulfstream jets registered by US-based aircraft title companies, corporations, and shell companies.
Those companies were subsequently used by drug cartels and their extended associates in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. The planes were used by trafficking networks to transport large quantities of cocaine and other assorted illegal narcotics into the United States and abroad.
The indictments against the accused allege that Aircraft Guaranty (abbreviated AGC) acted as trustee and registered ''thousands'' of airplanes on behalf of foreign owners (many were drug dealers). This in itself is legal under federal law. AGC can register airplanes, jets or helicopters, because the company is federally regulated to earn profits in the aircraft registration business.
According to federal investigator, from 2014 until December 2020, Mercer-Erwin and Moffett used their status as U.S. citizens involved in corporations to execute a scheme to further international drug trafficking. And, further, both Mercer-Erwin and Moffett registered airplanes allegedly intended for drug transport with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration while concealing the fact that certain aircraft were owned by foreign nationals and falsely claimed they would comply with all regulatory requirements.
The Federal government hit the players with a separate charge designated for Kingpins:
Evidence alleges the defendants manufactured and distributed cocaine with reasonable cause to believe the cocaine would be imported into the United States.
Investigators documented the number of airplanes registered by Aircraft Guaranty that had been shot down by Venezuela's armed forces.
Venezuela is a primary country that serves as a transit point for drugs produced in neighboring Colombia. Airplanes are instrumental in transporting narcotics to North and Central America. National news media reported how Venezuela's booming drug trade is so lucrative that traffickers periodically burn smuggling airplanes after using them once.
Members of major drug operations enjoy using American-based title trust companies that can legally sell/lease aircraft to their operation which allows them to hide their true identity due to the company registering an aircraft in the company's name.
Homeland Security InvestigatorsHomeland Security Investigators (HSI) praised the work done to disrupt clever schemes by drug cartels to use American federally related entities to traffic dope.
''The indictments resulting from this highly complex investigation showcase HSI's unique and far-reaching authorities, serving as an example of what the global law enforcement community can accomplish when we work together,'' said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge of HSI in Dallas. [DOJ Indictment announcement]
''We were able to deliver a significant blow to the transnational criminal organizations around the world by exposing a money-laundering and drug-trafficking scheme perpetuated by sophisticated drug cartels.''
The indictments also allege that illicit proceeds from the subsequent drug sales were then transported as bulk cash from the United States to Mexico and the cash was used to buy more aircraft and cocaine.
According to the criminal charges, airplane purchases were typically completed by wiring funds from Casa De Cambios and or banks in Mexico to shell corporations operating in the United States as aircraft sellers/brokers.
''As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively investigate the illegal exportation of aircraft contrary to U.S. national security interests,'' stated Trey McClish, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry/Security and Office of Export Enforcement's Dallas Field Office. McClish said the Export Enforcement ''will leverage its unique criminal and administrative enforcement powers to detect and disrupt serious criminal schemes that violate U.S. export control law.'' [DOJ Indictment announcement]
The Big FAA ProblemFederal Aircraft Registration Enables Narco Traffickers to Transport Drugs By Air
In recent years, critics forewarned about the widepread lax oversight at the Federal Aviation Administration. They warned that it is practically impossible to identify the foreign owner of an airplane that was involved in major crimes. Oversights and loopholes in registration can be exploited by dubious people because they can legally hire a company to act as their trustee and have the trustee register any purchased aircraft in the U.S. in the name of the trustee.
''It helps them hide, conceal their activities, and when they register their airplane with the U.S. flag, it's like getting the U.S. stamp of approval,'' said Boston Globe reporter Jaimi Dowdell. Dowdell and his colleague wrote the investigative series, ''Secrets in the Sky.''
FAA Trusts Third PartiesThe Federal Aviation Administration oversees the U.S. aircraft registry, maintaining information on approximately 300,000 aircraft. The problem with registration is that the FAA relies on different entities like shell corporations, aircraft title companies, trustees and law firms to provide the proper and correct registration for aircraft.
No FAA VerificationBut bigger pitfalls lie within the Federal Aviation Administration because they don't verify key information such as applicant identity or dig deep enough to uncover the layers of secrecy to know the true ownership of an aircraft.
In March 2020, U.S. Government Accountability Office(GAO) stated in their extensive recommendation report that the Federal Aviation ''is limited in its' ability to prevent fraud and abuse in aircraft registration.''
GAO Risk AssessmentGAO made 15 risk assessment recommendations to Federal Aviation Agents to show them how to better prevent, detect, and respond to fraud and abuse in aircraft registrations.
Federal Aviation Administration officials told CBS News three years ago they were, ''constantly working to strengthen the integrity of registry information and developing a plan to significantly upgrade and modernize the aircraft registration process.''
Kingpin Brags About Aircraft UseKingpins in the narcotic trade often use aircraft to transport their products. Colombian Pablo Escobar perfected the logistics of hauling cocaine into America by using the best and most powerful aircraft built by mankind.
Another world renowned drug lord bragged about multiple airplanes that he owned.
''I supply more heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of airplanes, submarines, trucks, and boats,'' Joaquin ''El Chapo'' Guzman, the biggest and most known drug dealer in the world, told Rolling Stone Magazine in 2016.
Guzman's incredible story was true.
Global Narcotics Investigation. Image by Gerhard G. from PixabayDrug Planes SeizedFor example, at one point, Mexico's largest airline only owned 127 aircraft while Guzman owned hundreds and hundreds of planes including Boeing 747s. Eventually, Mexico authorities seized at least 500 narco-smuggling planes, many that belonged to Guzman.
U.S. authorities have seized aircraft belonging to Guzman as well.
Government records show that at least a quarter of the 100 airplanes or private jets seized by Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) between 2013 and 2020 had been used for transporting narcotics by foreigners including American-based drug dealers. These same airplanes were registered by shell corporations in the United States which gave drug organizations, the purchaser of the planes, the privilege to hide their true identity.
Drug Plane OwnershipBut here is the billion-dollar question: why so many drug smuggling airplanes or private jets that were seized over the years, yet these same aircraft were registered in the United States?
Who are the real owners of these planes carrying tons of dope?
To try answering these questions it is very important to know how easy aircraft can be secretly bought, sold and registered in America by drug organizations located overseas.
The Drug Enforcement Administration cautioned in its 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment that, with cocaine, ''more and more, traffickers are utilizing private airplanes and secondary airports'' that carry less security.
The DEA also warned that traffickers use personal planes to fly marijuana produced in states where it's legal and transport the weed into states where it's not.
Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch has twice in (2017 & 2019) introduced a bi-partisan bill called the Aircraft Ownership Transparency Act to address loopholes in Federal Aviation Administration regulations by reducing the cloak of protection and secrecy surrounding aircraft registration.
''Without beneficial ownership information for aircraft registration, the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) may be registering aircraft that do not meet its own requirements. We need increased transparency in aircraft registration, as well as improved accountability from the FAA, to prevent fraud, corruption, or illicit activity by bad actors,'' Lynch said.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. Public Domain.''Purchasing luxury items like aircraft and other high-end vehicles, using anonymous companies is a time-tested strategy used by the corrupt and the criminal to move and launder their ill-gotten gains without being detected,'' said Mark Hayes, Anti-Money Laundering Campaign Director for Global Witness. ''Legislation such as this that shines a light on sectors prone to significant risk can help fill in critical gaps in transparency in the meantime,'' Hayes concluded.
For example, Millionaire Robert Carlson, a California businessman, known by federal narcotic agents as the ''Cocaine King of the Skies,'' once lived in an $8 million mansion, and hobnobbed with A-list Hollywood celebrities. Carlson used private jets undetected for several years to haul narcotics worth billions through smaller airports across the country for Mexico's notorious Sinaloa Cartel. Carlson was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison in 2018.
Federal Prosecutor SpeaksTexas Eastern District Assistant Federal Prosecutor Ernesto Gonzalez, said the criminal investigation into the widespread probe of questionable airplanes registered by Aircraft Guaranty and later used for drug trafficking began when WFAA-TV in Dallas, started their own investigation of Aircraft Guaranty Corporation.
''That's where the interest started,'' Gonzalez told WFAA about their reporting on all these planes in Onalaska.
WFAA reported the discovery of over 1,000 registered aircrafts in Onalaska '' a Texas town without a single airport, and with only approximately 3,000 citizens. A trail of mystery hung over the ongoing investigation when investigators discovered ''hundreds of airplanes'' registered to only (two) P.O. boxes in Onalaska. All these airplanes in the sleepy, East Texas town were owned by people living in foreign countries.
Two years ago, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation owner Debra Lynn Mercer-Erwin, disagreed with critics over the way registration of aircraft is done. ''I would find it very difficult for a criminal or drug user to place their aircraft in trust, and why would they?'' Mercer-Erwin asked the WFAA reporter, rhetorically. She continued, ''We know who our clients are. We collect all the information.''
Mercer-Erwin insisted to reporters that her company thoroughly vetted foreign owners to ensure their legitimacy prior to registering them under the company's trust. Federal prosecutor Gonzalez disputed what Mercer-Erwin previously told TV reporters.
''They(AGC) weren't doing any vetting at all, and some of the planes were placed in the hands of drug traffickers,'' Gonzalez stated. ''And she (Mercer-Erwin) knew that as well because of the number of planes that got seized.''
Gonzalez said after his investigative team began probing Mercer-Erwin's company, his office was contacted by Homeland Security Investigation agents in Brownsville Texas about a case they were working on. ''Basically, what they investigated and found was that American Guaranty Corporation or AGC had lots of planes over the years involved in seizures involving large quantities of drugs.''
Ponzi SchemeIn an unexpected twist related to the flow of illegal money, federal authorities discovered, to their amazement, that aircraft title company owners and their associates managed to pull off a Ponzi scheme that'll boggle the imagination a thousand times.
The scheme totaled at least $350 million and perhaps up to $560 million dollars, according to East Texas District Assistant Federal Prosecutor Ernesto Gonzalez. The federal indictment alleges that investors were duped into putting up money to buy airplanes. Investors were required to put money into escrow accounts at Wright Brothers Aircraft Title Company, a company owned by Mercer-Erwin. Mercer-Erwin's daughter Kayleigh Moffett worked at Wright Brothers.
In the Ponzi scheme only Mercer-Erwin, her daughter Kayleigh Moffett and Federico Machado were indicted. All three were charged with engaging in a fraud scheme related to the acquisition of aircraft. Federal investigation showed Machado recruited investors to invest in aircraft deposits for sales transactions that never took place.
Investors allegedly placed their money in an escrow account held by Wright Brothers Title Company owned and managed by Mercer-Erwin and Moffett. Machado would then use these funds for purposes other than the purchase of aircraft.
''The money was supposed to be deposited in the escrow account, stay in the escrow account until the transaction went through,'' Gonzalez said. Gonzalez further told WFAA-TV reporters that investors were promised a substantial return for a short period of time, at least six months. Just as the saying goes, there's no honor among thieves, Mercer-Erwin, Machado and Moffett diverted the money to enrich themselves.
Investigators allege the investors were putting the money up for either planes that didn't exist, or belonged to someone else or the planes weren't for sale, Gonzalez said. Several of the planes were 'unsellable' and located in distant locations like Japan, India and China.
Investigators tracked down millions of dollars wired to co-defendant Federico Machado who invested a substantial amount into a mineral mine in Guatemala.
Gonzalez went deeper. ''These were ghost planes that no one bothered to investigate to see whether those planes were actually being sold.''
''They continued to do more plane deals to cover up the previous plane deals, which is your typical Ponzi scheme,'' Gonzalez, said.
Additional Indictment InformationIndictments filed against Aircraft Guaranty Corporation owner Debra Mercer-Erwin and her co-defendants showed different airplanes registered by Mercer-Erwin's company were linked directly to drug trafficking. The indictment cites 22 alleged ''offending aircraft transactions,'' many of which involved drug trafficking by aircraft registered with the defendant's trust company, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation(AGC).
According to the indictment, on February 27, 2020, Belize authorities seized a plane hauling 2,310 kilos of cocaine. The seizure was the largest seizure of cocaine in Belize history, news media outlets reported. A trail of evidence showed the plane registered to AGC '' and put into trust by a convicted drug smuggler, the indictment alleged.
Prosecutor Gonzalez said that if AGC had done a simple Google search they would've discovered the person who registered the airplane ''was a drug trafficker.''
The indictment explains how Mercer-Erwin's AGC company tried to conceal the activity of the airplane:
Moffett filed a bill of sale and transferred the ownership back to the actual owner ''despite the fact the aircraft was in government custody in Belize.''
''So we would use that as an indicator of knowledge on her (Mercer-Erwin's) part and that's why they took the steps they did that they would deregister and try to distance themselves as much as possible,'' Prosecutor Gonzalez said.
DOJ Indictment Announcement.Indictment Additional InformationOn or about October 5, 2012, Airplane tail-number# N305AG was registered to Aircraft Guaranty Corporation. That same day, a Declaration of International Operation was filed by Aircraft Guaranty for the aforementioned aircraft vessel. Then, on or about September 11, 2018, Kayleigh Mofffett filed an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration renewal.On January 27, 2020, the same airplane with tail-number#N305AG was seized in Guatemala hauling approximately 1,700 kilos of cocaine. The plane was taken into Guatemalan custody. Suspicious transactions pertaining to this particular plane accumulated more paperwork when on January 31, 2020, Kayleigh Moffett transferred ownership of the airplane to Arrendadora SA de CV, a foreign company. Aircraft Guaranty owner Mercer-Erwin nor her employees did not make any export filings for this transaction as required by law.On or about December 9, 2018, an Aircraft Guaranty registered airplane crashed in Venezuela while delivering 1,200 kilos of cocaine for Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.On March 10, 2019, an Aircraft Guaranty registered airplane also crashed with 1,215 kilos of cocaine in Mexico, killing a pilot. Mercer-Erwin claimed ''the crashed aircraft falsely displayed the N18BA tail-#number.'' Mercer-Erwin said the tail number belonged to a different aircraft registered by Aircraft Guaranty.The indictment highlights Aircraft Guaranty's ''attempts to shirk its responsibilities by delegating regulation obligations to the foreign national.'' Federal Aviation Administration has repeatedly pointed out, that, the lessee, in this case, AGC(Aircraft Guaranty) ''is responsible for operating aircraft in accordance and compliance with all laws, ordinances, and regulations relating to the possession, use, operation, or maintenance of the aircraft, including but not limited to Federal Aviation Regulations.'' Federal Aviation further noted: ''Lessee warrants it will not use the aircraft for an illegal purpose.''Who Are the Real Drug Pushers in America?Tracking U.S. Registered Airplanes Transporting DopeWho are the real drug pushers in America? Historical evidence clearly shows that the rich corrupt bigwigs, top level executives and their associates with authority to make it happen. Young men selling crack, a pill ''or grams or ounces of narcotics'' in the inner-cities of America don't have an iota of access to sell or lease airplanes, then register a plane to ensure it has a U.S. tail-number to give it less scrutiny while transporting major loads of drugs.
Investigative research by Clarence Walker, which includes an extensive review of corporate filings, aircraft registration databases, ownership documents and social media posts illustrates how in one country, Venezuela, armed forces destroyed approximately 21 airplanes beginning in 2019. Of those destroyed, 12 of the aircraft were registered in the good old United States.
News media outlets reported 8 of these 12 U.S. registered aircraft were involved in the drug trade, with four others shot down for failure to properly file a flight plan. Total amount of drugs discovered onboard these airplanes separately was worth ''hundreds of millions of dollars.''
Here is a link to a database identifying each U.S. based registered airplane seized by the Venezuelan government with narcotics aboard. Zoom it down to 75 percent to view ownership of the identified narco-planes. Unsurprisingly, Aircraft Guaranty Corporation are among those listed.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Aviation attorney Ladd Sanger told WFAA he was troubled by Aircraft Guaranty Corporation and the ability to use registered trusts to shield true ownership of aircraft under Federal Aviation Administration laws. ''I knew that there were shady things going on with Aircraft Guaranty,'' Sanger said when told about the indictments.
Sanger represented families of three of the five people killed in a 2013 helicopter crash in Mexico. The helicopter was registered in a trust to Aircraft Guaranty. Attorney Sanger never discovered who owned the helicopter. A U.S. Court levied a $15 million judgement against the Mexican company that operated the helicopter.
Aircraft Guaranty didn't have to pay the judgement because its company wasn't the real owner of the helicopter, leaving the victim families without recourse to make anyone pay for the death of their loved ones.
''The way these trusts are being used,'' Sanger pointed out, ''it's an avoidance to all of the different enforcement and responsibility aspects of aviation.''
Prosecutor Gonzalez said the federal investigation points to a need to reform the way foreign-owned planes are registered.
''I can't propose legislation, I can only enforce the laws,'' Gonzalez told WFAA.
(Editor's Note: U.S. Legislation that requires the disclosure of ownership and identity of foreign person or foreign corporations using aircraft registration has already been proposed but the much needed bill did not receive a vote in January 2019).
Each defendant charged in this widespread drug conspiracy, money laundering and Ponzi scheme investigation has not been convicted and they are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Retired Homeland Security Investigation Agent Kenneth Martinson, sums up the importation of narcotics by airplane by saying, ''The next time you look up and see one, wonder to yourself: 'Where's it going? Where'd it come from, and what's on board?'''
Investigative Journalist Clarence Walker, writes regularly about crime, criminal justice topics, legal issues, and drug cartel operations such as this global narcotics investigation. He can be reached at: [email protected]
Sources and quotes used in this story: WFAA-TV, Justice.Gov, CBS News and Government Accountability Office.
FBI Seized Victoria Toensing's Phone as Part of Rudy Giuliani Probe
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:18
Conservative attorney and media personality Victoria Toensing received a visit from the FBI on Wednesday as part of a fast-moving inquiry into former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, reports say. According to The New York Times, federal agents ''executed a search warrant'' at Toensing's ''Washington-area home.''
Later reporting by ABC News and Politico, however, clarified that her home was not searched and that only her cellular phone was seized.
''Feds also executed a search warrant at the home of Rudy colleague Victoria Toensing, requesting only one item '-- her cell phone, which she turned over, an informed source told me,'' ABC News investigative reporter James Gordon Meek tweeted.
Politico's Josh Gerstein, Meridith McGraw and Betsy Woodruff also reported ''officials indicated that [Toensing] is not a focus of the probe,'' citing an anonymous ''person familiar with the episode.''
The tidy seizure of one specific electronic device reportedly pales in comparison to the activity of federal agents who put Giuliani on the receiving end of the same sort of federal activity he formerly oversaw as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
According to one of Giuliani's Upper East Side neighbors, federal agents ''were bringing out a lot of stuff.''
Responses were also roughly commensurate with each of the law enforcement actions in question.
''What they did today was legal thuggery,'' Giuliani's lawyer Robert J. Costello said. ''Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States.''
Toensing, who is married to fellow conservative attorney and media figure Joseph diGenova, offered a decidedly more muted response by way of the law firm she and her husband run together.
''Ms. Toensing is a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official,'' diGenova & Toensing, LLP said in a statement. ''She has always conducted herself and her law practice according to the highest legal and ethical standards. She would have been happy to turn over any relevant documents. All they had to do was ask. Ms. Toensing was informed that she is not a target of the investigation.''
The optimism expressed in Toensing's formal statement was called into doubt by the opinions of some observers.
''I am skeptical of this assertion,'' national security attorney Bradley P. Moss tweeted in response to the claim that Toensing was told she wasn't a target of the investigation into Giuliani. ''It's certainly plausible but given the circumstances I somehow doubt she was given that reassurance.''
But that skepticism also warranted skepticism:
Time will tell but this investigation isn't in the early stages. According to sources, diGenova and Toensing maintained their staunch belief that any dealings related to Ukraine/Rudy were protected by attorney-client privilege, though they didn't take on the Ukrainian as a client https://t.co/sAwPFNKJYo
'-- James Gordon Meek (@meekwire) April 28, 2021
Toensing is widely presumed to have elicited federal interest viz. the Giuliani investigation due to her own representation of Ukrainian billionaire Dmytro Firtash and other Ukrainian nationals who played a role in attempting to disseminate information deemed harmful to then-candidate Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.
''This makes sense because, during the Ukraine impeachment investigation, we obtained draft retainer agreements between a Ukrainian official and Toensing and diGenova that Giuliani brokered,'' Daniel Goldman, former lead counsel for the House impeachment inquiry, said on Twitter.
Firtash himself is currently under a federal indictment, but the role played by Toensing and diGenova is believed to go a bit further than a typical attorney-client relationship.
The pair have also long represented conservative journalist John Solomon, the former executive vice president of The Hill and former Associated Press investigative reporter.
In April 2019, Solomon reported that, while still vice president, Biden bragged about having forced Ukrainian officials to fire the prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden's former natural gas firm. That reporting caught Donald Trump eye and led to a long series of wild goose chases for increasingly damaging information about the Biden family '-- as well as an infamously ''perfect'' phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ever since the legal arrangement between Solomon and the legal power couple was publicized in late 2019, many have speculated that both diGenova and Toensing may have played some sort of untoward role in the ensuing, though fruitless, efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
While speculation has necessarily run rampant in numerous directions viz. the federal interest in Giuliani and Toensing's electronic devices, one thing appears certain: the long and dizzying cast of characters connected to the Ukraine are headed for their second media closeup.
[image via Newsmax screengrab]
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Hollywood lost 'influence' to big tech
Hollywood becoming serious like me political process
Oscars 2021 tortured viewers for more than 3 unbearable hours
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:47
If you opened the window and listened closely Sunday night, you could hear it: the sound of millions of remote controls changing the channel during the 2021 Oscars.
And after last night's debacle '-- the worst Academy Awards of my lifetime '-- they may never return.
Producer Steven Soderbergh, the man who directed ''Traffic'' and ''Erin Brockovich,'' among many other fine films, helmed the broadcast and was determined to make it more intimate and cinematic than usual. All right, as a movie critic, I'll play ball.
''Steven Soderbergh's The Oscars'' gets 1 star. The night was nearly non-stop drudgery, zero humor and a format that tried even the most resolute of attention spans.
The 2021 Oscars exceeded three hours and bored its audience to tears.Too bad. The ceremony started out promisingly. Presenter Regina King confidently strutted through Los Angeles' Union Station, which was reconfigured to host the event, like it was a catwalk during Fashion Week. And she arrived to a neat Art Deco-looking banquet hall where the trophies would be handed out. Cool, new, fun!
Regina King began the Oscars by stylishly walking into Los Angeles' Union Station.Yeah, for a good 90 seconds. While the retro set suggested a classic Dean Martin roast, we got a kindergarten graduation ceremony instead.
At this event, which ostensibly is meant to celebrate the movies, we rarely saw clips of any of the films. Rather, we were told saccharine trivia about the nominees: So-and-so used to work as a telemarketer; what's-his-name researched his role really super hard. When the cinematography, editing and acting nominees were called out, viewers didn't get to see their extraordinary output. We listened to dumb tidbits available online.
Chlo(C) Zhao won both Best Picture and Best Director for ''Nomadland.'' A.M.P.A.S. via Getty ImagesThe Academy believes in the movies so much, they made Best Picture the third-to-last category of the night (''Nomadland'' won). The producers clearly assumed the late Chadwick Boseman would win Best Actor, the final award presented, and it would be moving and historic. Well, he didn't. The night ended without a winner's speech from Anthony Hopkins (''The Father''). Imbeciles.
Meanwhile, our eyes couldn't take this self-righteous snooze-fest. The camera work was purposefully shaky, the acceptance speeches were shot pretentiously off-center and the cinematic frame-rate robbed this news event of electricity. They could make a buck selling the telecast as a smartphone sleep-improvement app.
At least at your average kindergarten graduation, the cute little kids sing a tune. This year, all the Best Song nominees were relegated to the red carpet pre-show, which even fewer people watch, so there was no variety to spice things up.
Frances McDormand has won three Best Actress awards at the Oscars.None of the broadcast's many indulgences were the fault of the winners. There were memorable moments in the speeches. The best moment of the night was Yuh-Jung Youn (''Minari'') flirting with Brad Pitt and asking, ''Where were you when we were filming?''
Glenn Close dancing to ''Da Butt'' during the 2021 Oscars. ABC via Getty ImagesEarly on, Daniel Kaluuya (''Judas and the Black Messiah'') hilariously thanked his parents for having sex to conceive him. And, touchingly, Thomas Vinterberg honored his daughter, who died shortly before he made ''Another Round.'' Glenn Close danced ''Da Butt'' for Lil Rel Howery, who should've hosted.
Tyler Perry received the humanitarian award for the very real help he gave to normal people during the pandemic.The Oscars were also right to honor Tyler Perry with the humanitarian award for the very real help he gave to normal people during the pandemic, unlike his compatriots who applauded themselves while they told us how their films changed the world.
They talked, and talked, and talked, and when we finally reached the In Memoriam, beloved lost Hollywood royalty like Sean Connery, Boseman, Ennio Morricone, Carl Reiner, Christopher Plummer and Cloris Leachman were sped through like an afterthought.
Yuh-Jung Youn accepts the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for ''Minari.'' A.M.P.A.S. via Getty ImagesHow doesn't Hollywood understand that audiences expect a night of entertainment from their entertainers? The politics, the slobbering adoration and overacted introductions are hardly ever tolerable, but even more so when not balanced by fun. And don't tell me that a good-time award show is tone-deaf right now '-- the biggest movie in America is ''Godzilla vs. Kong,'' for God's sake.
If the Oscars wish to remain an American cultural touchstone '-- fat chance '-- they cannot go back to the days of being a tiny industry trade event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. They need to stop being Oscars So Slight.
Bob Mondello on Twitter: "Best Director VERRRRRY early in the evening. And this "what is Directing?" is soooo smart. #Oscars" / Twitter
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 01:00
Bob Mondello : Best Director VERRRRRY early in the evening. And this "what is Directing?" is soooo smart. #Oscars
Mon Apr 26 00:58:44 +0000 2021
Oscars: Director, Acting Wins Embrace Diversity, Could Have Done More - Variety
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 13:58
After the humiliating back-to-back scandal of #OscarsSoWhite for the 2014 and 2015 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences set itself to aggressively increasing representation within its membership. By expanding the perspectives of its voters, the hope was that a greater diversity of voices could find recognition at the Oscars.
Five years later at the 93rd Oscars, several major milestones were indeed achieved for representation. Yuh-jung Youn (''Minari''), winner for best supporting actress, was the first Korean actor to ever win an Oscar, and only the second Asian woman. Chlo(C) Zhao was the second woman ever to win best director, and the first woman of color. Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were the first Black women to win makeup and hairstyling. And with Daniel Kaluuya (''Judas and the Black Messiah'') winning best supporting actor, half the acting winners were people of color.
Granted, that was from a record-setting nine acting nominees who were people of color, and many prognosticators believed there was a strong possibility that four of those nine would make up all of the acting winners this year for the first time in Oscar history. The late Chadwick Boseman's loss to Anthony Hopkins for best actor was especially shocking, and once again, Halle Berry remains the only woman of color ever to win best actress.
Beyond the winners list, however, this year's Academy Awards spent considerable time putting the faces and concerns of people of color, especially Black Americans, front and center. The pre-show was hosted by Ariana DeBose '-- who plays Maria in Steven Spielberg's ''West Side Story'' '-- and ''Get Out'' and ''Judas and the Black Messiah'' co-star Lil Rel Howery, and the telecast opened with Regina King walking through Los Angeles' Union Station to rousing music spun by the evening's DJ, Questlove.
King then began the show by referencing the Derek Chauvin verdict, noting that had it gone a different way, she would've traded her heels for marching boots.
''I know the fear that so many live with and no amount of fame or fortune changes that,'' she said.
For a telecast that has historically remained strenuously apolitical, King's sentiment was far from alone.
Accepting makeup and hairstyling, Neal paid tribute to her grandfather, ''an original Tuskegee Airman'' who had to stay at a YMCA to attend Northwestern University and was denied a teaching job in his hometown. She then expressed hope that Asian, Latino, indigenous and Black trans women will all have the opportunity to win an Oscar in her category.
''I know that one day it won't be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal,'' she said.
Best live-action short winner Travon Free '-- whose film ''Two Distant Strangers'' depicts a Black man stuck in a time-loop in which he's killed by a white NYPD officer '-- opened his speech by noting that police kill on average three people per day in the U.S.
''James Baldwin once said the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people's pain,'' he said. ''And so I just ask that you please not be indifferent. Please, don't be indifferent to our pain.''
Filmmaker Tyler Perry, accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, urged the audience to ''refuse hate'' while sharing a story of homeless woman he encountered 17 years ago.
''I'm about to give her money; she says, 'Sir, do you have any shoes?''' Perry said. ''It stopped me cold. I remember being homeless, and I had one pair of shoes.''
Some moments were less heavy-hearted. Unusually, previews for three feature films centered on the stories of people of color were given introductions seemingly from the telecast itself: DeBose for the first trailer for ''West Side Story,'' Lin-Manuel Miranda for a new trailer for ''In the Heights'' and Questlove for the first trailer for his feature documentary ''Summer of Soul: Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised.''
Musicians Jon Batiste and H.E.R. enthusiastically accepted Oscars for original score and original song, respectively. Youn gently corrected the ''European people'' who constantly butcher her name before saying, ''Tonight, all is forgiven.'' And Howery corralled Kaluuya, best actress nominee Andra Day (''The People vs. Billie Holiday'') and a very game supporting actress nominee Glenn Close (''Hillbilly Elegy'') to play a loose Oscar trivia game meant to underscore that Prince's ''Purple Rain'' and E.U.'s ''Da Butt'' were not nominated for best original song.
By the end of the night, the unprecedented decision to place the best actor and best actress categories after best picture appeared to backfire in spectacular fashion when not only did Boseman lose to Hopkins, but Hopkins was not available to accept the award. It was a decidedly sour final note in a highly unorthodox telecast.
If the producers were dead set on shaking up the presentation order, perhaps instead they could have moved best director to the end. Then the last word could have been Zhao's, who said in her acceptance speech that since her childhood, she's been guided by the phrase ''人之å'¼Œæ§æ'¬å–'' '-- from the Chinese text ''The Three Character Classic'' '-- which translates to ''people, at birth, are inherently good.''
''I still truly believe them today, even though sometimes it may seem like the opposite is true,'' she said. ''But I have always found goodness in the people I met '-- everywhere I went in the world.''
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Roku says it may lose YouTube TV app after Google made anti-competitive demands - Axios
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:03
Roku on Monday notified its users via email that YouTube TV may be forced off its platform entirely, alleging anti-competitive demands from Google that include requests for preferential treatment of its YouTube TV and YouTube apps.
Why it matters: It's one of the first big carriage disputes around anti-competitive behavior in the streaming era. Unlike most streaming TV carriage fights, Roku says it's not asking for more money, but for better terms around anti-competitive demands from Google '-- such as being asked to favor Google products in Roku search results.
Roku and Google compete on a number of fronts, including smart TV hardware devices, smart TV operating systems and smart TV content. The carriage agreement between the two companies is set to expire imminently.Details: Roku says Google is threatening the removal of YouTube TV to force Roku to grant preferential access to its consumer data moving forward.
It says Google has asked Roku to do things that it does not see replicated on other streaming competitors' platforms, like creating a dedicated search results row for YouTube within the Roku smart TV interface and giving YouTube search results more prominent placement. Roku says Google has also required it to block search results from other streaming content providers while users are using the YouTube app on Roku's system.Roku alleges Google has asked it to favor YouTube music results from voice commands made on the Roku remote while the YouTube app is open, even if the user's music preference is set to default to another music app, like Pandora. Roku says Google has threatened to require Roku to use certain chip sets or memory cards that would force Roku to increase the price of its hardware product, which competes directly with Google's Chromecast. In response to the allegations, a YouTube TV spokesperson says, ''We have been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers."
"Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations. We're disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.""All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users.''Be smart: A key issue for Roku '-- other than that Google is asking it to manipulate search results that favor Google's products '-- is that it believes Google is trying to tie the renewal of YouTube TV's distribution contract with Roku to force additional anticompetitive benefits for Google's separate YouTube app.
The big picture: The allegations come amid historic antitrust investigations into Google by the Justice Department, state attorneys general and Congress over Google's dominance in search and advertising.
"Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users," a Roku spokesperson says."Roku is not asking Google for a single additional dollar in value. We simply cannot agree to terms that would manipulate consumer search results, inflate the cost of our products and violate established industry data practices."Between the lines: A Roku spokesperson says Google has "so far refused to accept" its proposal to extend YouTube TV on Roku while agreeing to its terms. Roku says the company is ultimately seeking to reach an agreement with Google.
What to watch: Roku's stalemate with Google is the latest in a long list of spats between streaming TV distributors and streaming networks over distribution agreements.
For consumers, it means that the programming blackouts that have grown increasingly common on cable and satellite TV are migrating over to the streaming world. Read Roku's email to customers:
Go deeper: TV battles spill into streaming
Is Facebook Buying Off The New York Times? | Washington Monthly
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:07
Under the cover of launching a little-known feature, the social media giant has been funneling money to America's biggest news organizations'--and hanging the rest of the press out to dry.
Getty Images/iStockOver the past two decades, as Big Tech has boomed, news organizations have been going bust. Between 2004 and 2019, one in every four U.S. newspapers shut down, and almost all the rest cut staff, for a total of 36,000 jobs lost between 2008 and 2019 alone. Local newspapers have been particularly devastated, making it ever more difficult for people to know what is happening in their communities.
Many factors contributed to this economic collapse, but none more so than the cornering of the digital advertising market by the duopoly of Facebook and Google. Facebook's threat to a free press'--and, by extension, to democracy'--is especially pernicious. The social media company is financially asphyxiating the news industry even as it gives oxygen to conspiracy theories and lies. As a result of its many roles in degrading our democracy, it faces mounting scrutiny by politicians and regulators.
Facebook has responded to the negative attention by creating a highly sophisticated public relations effort, which includes becoming the number one corporate spender on federal lobbying and engaging in a massive advertising blitz aimed at the D.C. policy audience. Less well known, and potentially far more dangerous, is a secretive, multimillion-dollar-a-year payout scheme aimed at the most influential news outlets in America. Under the cover of launching a feature called Facebook News, Facebook has been funneling money to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, Bloomberg, and other select paid partners since late 2019.
Participating in Facebook News doesn't appear to deliver many new readers to outlets; the feature is very difficult to find, and it is not integrated into individuals' newsfeeds. What Facebook News does deliver'--though to only a handful of high-profile news organizations of its choosing'--is serious amounts of cash. The exact terms of these deals remain secret, because Facebook insisted on nondisclosure and the news organizations agreed. The Wall Street Journal reported that the agreements were worth as much as $3 million a year, and a Facebook spokesperson told me that number is ''not too far off at all.'' But in at least one instance, the numbers are evidently much larger. In an interview last month, former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said the Times is getting ''far, far more'' than $3 million a year'--''very much so.''
Facebook has responded to negative attention by creating a highly sophisticated public relations effort, which includes becoming the number one corporate spender on federal lobbying and engaging in a massive advertising blitz aimed at the D.C. policy audience.
For The New York Times, whose net income was $100 million in 2020, getting ''far, far more'' than $3 million a year with essentially no associated cost is significant. And once news outlets take any amount of money from Facebook, it becomes difficult for them to let it go, notes Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. ''It creates a hole in your balance sheet. You're kind of beholden to them.'' It's not exactly payola, Ingram told me, searching for the right metaphor. Nor is it a protection racket. ''It's like you're a kept person,'' he said. ''You're Facebook's mistress.''
There's no evidence that the deal directly affects coverage in either the news or editorial departments. Before the Facebook News deal, the Times famously published an op-ed titled ''It's Time to Break Up Facebook,'' by Chris Hughes, a cofounder of Facebook turned critic. And since the deal, columns from Tim Wu and Kara Swisher, among others, have been similarly critical. In December, the editorial board welcomed a lawsuit calling for Facebook to be broken up.
And Facebook and Google money is, admittedly, all over journalism already. Virtually every major media nonprofit receives direct or indirect funding from Silicon Valley, including this one. When the Monthly gets grants from do-good organizations like NewsMatch, some of the funds originate with Facebook.
But these three points are beyond dispute.
First, the deals are a serious breach of traditional ethics. In the pre-internet days, independent newspapers wouldn't have considered accepting gifts or sweetheart deals from entities they covered, under any circumstance. The Washington Post under the editor Leonard Downie Jr., for instance, wouldn't even accept grants from nonprofits to underwrite reporting projects, for fear of losing the appearance of independence. Facebook, which took in $86 billion in revenue last year, is a hugely controversial behemoth having profound, highly newsworthy, and negative effects on society. Accepting money from them creates a conflict of interest.
Even for trusted news organizations whose audiences believe they can't be bought outright, ''it might come across as hypocrisy to heavily criticize an industry while also collaborating with them,'' says Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Agreeing to keep the terms of the deal confidential is also a mistake, Nielsen told me. ''This sort of opacity I don't think builds trust.''
Second, these deals help Facebook maintain the public appearance of legitimacy. Journalists, critics, and congressional investigators have amply documented how Facebook has become a vector of disinformation and hate speech that routinely invades our privacy and undermines our democracy. For The New York Times and other pillars of American journalism to effectively partner with Facebook creates the impression that Facebook is a normal, legitimate business rather than a monopolistic rogue corporation.
Finally, these agreements undermine industry-wide efforts that would help the smaller, ethnic, and local news organizations that are most desperately in need of help. One such effort would allow the industry to bargain collectively with Facebook and other tech giants by withholding content from the platforms unless they received a fair price for it. But for that to work, small newsrooms would need the biggest and most influential companies to sign on. With those organizations receiving millions of dollars from Facebook through their own side deals, the smaller publications could be left stranded and defenseless.
If Facebook's intent were to save American journalism, it would be making generous offers to smaller, local news organizations that do original reporting, Damon Kiesow, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, told me. By contrast, Facebook News ''doesn't really help anyone in the industry except for the small select group of outlets that get paid,'' he said. ''These efforts are all flavored with a strong dose of crisis communication and regulation avoidance.''
I f any major figure in the American media was going to say no to Mark Zuckerberg, it was Mark Thompson.
For most of his eight-year tenure as chief executive officer of the New York Times Company, Thompson was one of the industry's most thoughtful, eloquent, and persuasive critics of Facebook and the danger it presents to journalism's business models and essential role in a democracy.
''It makes my blood run cold, the idea of Facebook as a publisher,'' he said at a June 2018 event convened by the Open Markets Institute. At a panel sponsored by the Tow Center later that month, he described that same affect when Zuckerberg ''starts talking about how he thinks about community, and about what we trust.'' Zuckerberg, he said, has a ''terrifyingly naive perspective on news.''
During the OMI event, Thompson warned darkly about the ''sinister'' prospect ''that Facebook's catalog of missteps with data and extreme and hateful content'' will lead it to try to ''set itself up as the digital world's editor in chief, prioritizing and presumably downgrading and rejecting content on a survey- and data-driven assessment of whether the provider of the content is 'broadly trusted' or not.''
In an exclusive interview, former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said the Times is getting ''far, far more'' than $3 million a year in payouts from Facebook'--''very much so.''
Here was actual humility from the CEO of the paper of record: ''Democracy depends in part on unbounded competition between different journalistic perspectives and the clash of different judgments and opinions,'' he said. ''History suggests that mainstream news organizations frequently get it right, but also that, not infrequently, it is the outliers who should be listened to.''
And he knew what needed to be done. An essential preliminary step was for Facebook and others to ''engage with the collective industry bodies of the news business to arrive at shared principles both on the presentation and choice of news content, and on its monetization.'' He called for ''consistency and comparability in the treatment of news providers.''
This was not the language of shakedown. It was an impassioned and impressive philosophical argument about the survival of news'--and democracy.
But then, all of a sudden, The New York Times and Facebook were making deals together. In October 2019, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook News, with The New York Times as a marquee paid partner, getting prime placement in a new vertical designated for ''trusted'' news sources.
What changed for Thompson between June 2018 and October 2019, such that the idea of Facebook picking which ''trusted'' news sources to pay went from sinister to ''Sign here''?
''We always reserved our rights to do what we needed to do for our own business and to continue to fund our journalism in the interim,'' Thompson insisted in a phone interview in March. ''I'm a sort of pragmatist,'' he said. ''I don't really see this as a conflict of interest or an issue of principle, it's the real world.'' He rejected the depiction of the payments as a gift or a payoff. ''As far as I'm concerned, we were paid by a platform for access to our content.'' Facebook, of course, does not pay The New York Times for access to its content when it is shared on regular newsfeeds.
And Thompson said that while he still thinks it would be sinister for Facebook to be making its own editorial decisions on a story-by-story basis, ''Facebook making it easier for people to identify The New York Times and making it easier to access The New York Times is a good thing.''
What about his devotion to collective rather than individual action? It remains'--in theory. ''As it happens, I'm still very much in favor of broader agreements,'' he told me. ''Ideally,'' he continued, such payments would be ''not just available . . . to the handful of big players but broadly, in particular to local and regional journalism.''
So taking the deal wasn't a betrayal of his principles, Thompson insisted. ''I still fundamentally believe everything I said.'' With any collective agreement years away at best, he said, ''I don't accept that our reaching it made it harder for the other publishers to get it'--on the contrary . . . I don't think you've got any evidence that a refusal to engage . . . would have helped them at all.'' It actually sets a good precedent, he suggested. ''It's brilliant to have got a big digital platform to pay for the use of our content.''
But organizations that are favored by Facebook will obviously have different incentives going forward than those that are not. Unfavored outlets, if begging doesn't work, may want to play hardball with Facebook to get their due'--while the Timesand others will inevitably have qualms before blowing a hole in their budgets.
The Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha declined to address a long list of questions about the specifics of the relationship with Facebook, responding instead with general comments. ''Quality journalism is expensive to produce and we believe quality publishers should be fairly compensated for creating valuable journalism,'' she wrote in an email. The Times ''does not disclose licensing and advertising terms,'' she wrote, and ''our licensing agreement with Facebook has no impact on our newsroom.''
Once news outlets take any amount of money from Facebook, it becomes difficult for them to let it go, notes Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. ''It creates a hole in your balance sheet.
Thompson stepped down as CEO in July 2020 and was replaced by his prot(C)g(C), Meredith Kopit Levien, who may be even more committed to the deal than Thompson was. A few months after she took over, Levien expressed enthusiasm that Facebook had promised to create a space ''for a particular level of quality news providers,'' to pay the Times ''a fair amount,'' and to ''feed your funnel.''
The Facebook News deal isn't Facebook's only, or first, inroad at the Times. The company already had a seat at the table'--literally. The publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. installed the Facebook executive Rebecca Van Dyck on his 12-member board of directors in 2015. Van Dyck, who was Facebook's global head of consumer and brand marketing at the time, now runs marketing for Facebook's augmented and virtual reality labs.
Indeed, the Facebook News bounty might even be dwarfed by the undisclosed sum that Facebook is pouring into the Times's new augmented reality efforts. The newsroom's new ''AR Lab,'' a collaboration between Facebook and the Times, builds augmented reality filters and camera effects distributed on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.
There are likely even more ties the public doesn't know about. BuzzFeed News recently discovered that the Times columnist David Brooks had written a pro-Facebook blog post while on salary for a nonprofit partially funded by Facebook and hadn't disclosed it to his current Times bosses or the readers.
T hompson would have been very much alone among his U.S. peers had he resisted Facebook's inducements. He was also hardly the most enthusiastic Facebook partner'--that would be News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson, who, after years of vituperative attacks on Big Tech, was grinning at Zuckerberg's side at the Facebook News launch event and announcing a ''new dawn'' for journalists.
The rollout was undeniably a huge win for Facebook public relations. The Times story was headlined ''Facebook Calls Truce With Publishers as It Unveils Facebook News.'' What few negative headlines ensued were related to Facebook's decision to include Breitbart, the far-right website known for spreading white-supremacist disinformation, among its cadre of ''trusted'' news sources'--although, in Breitbart's case, an unpaid one.
Months later, Joshua Benton, the director of the Neiman Journalism Lab, described the big downside: The Facebook News deal, he wrote, ''lets them (1) pick the publishers they want to pay, (2) pick the amount of money they want to pay them, (3) get publishers to stop complaining, at least hopefully, and (4) get headlines like 'Facebook Offers News Outlets Millions of Dollars a Year,' in the hopes that they can stave off government regulation or taxation.'' Facebook isn't spending the money ''because they think News Tab will be profitable,'' Benton wrote. ''It's a way to solve a PR and policy problem.'' The vaunted new product, he noted, consists of ''a new tab buried so deep in Facebook's interface you need a spelunker's headlamp to find it.''
To collectively bargain with Facebook, small newsrooms will need the biggest ones to sign on. With those larger organizations receiving millions of dollars from the social media giant through side deals, the smaller publications could be left stranded and defenseless.
Facebook News only links to approved outlets, while in the actual News Feed, the algorithm spews out non-reputable clickbait based on what's enticing the people, pages, and groups a user engages with the most. ''The most notable thing about Facebook News is that it includes almost none of the stories that do well on the rest of Facebook,'' observed the Nieman Journalism Lab editor Laura Hazard Owen.
Facebook is suspiciously evasive about how many people use Facebook News and how much traffic it generates for publishers, refusing to provide any indication of its scale at all. ''We don't have hard numbers,'' the Facebook News spokesperson, Mari Melguizo, said when I asked for data on its performance. ''It's definitely grown and continues to grow. It is on an upward trajectory.''
Prior to Facebook News, the company had repeatedly proved to be an unreliable partner for news publishers. As Sarah Perez detailed for TechCrunch, the platform established an ''Instant Articles'' feature in 2015 that ''restricted advertising, subscriptions and the recirculation modules publishers relied on'' in exchange for a better user experience. It was a bad bargain, and, as a result, many outlets abandoned the feature. Facebook promoted a ''shift to video'' in 2016, but inflated its video use metrics and then refused to pay publishers. This prompted layoffs at many companies, including Vox, Vice, and Mic. Shortly before Facebook News launched, Joanne Lipman, a former editor in chief of USA Today, warned her colleagues that they had ''been at the beck and call of these behemoths'' for too long.
''I think it's a dangerous situation for news organizations to count on anything when it comes to Facebook,'' the Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy says. To Kennedy, Facebook lost any pretense of morality when, having tweaked its algorithms after the November 2020 election to favor authoritative news sources in the News Feed, it switched back'--presumably to boost engagement, to placate right-wing publishers, or both. ''You pull all this together, and Facebook is just the worst possible partner,'' Kennedy says.
The world watched an extraordinary exercise of Facebook's massive power in February when it stymied an Australian government attempt to force it to pay to link to news. First, Facebook temporarily banned Australian news sites from its platform. Then it did an end run around the regulators by agreeing to arrange multimillion-dollar deals with major news providers'--on its terms, not the government's. Facebook's head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, described it as ''an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to.'' In Australia, the biggest recipient by far of Facebook's largesse will be Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which owns most of the country's newspapers. News Corp also heavily lobbied for the new legislation. Facebook didn't pay the country's smaller outlets.
''In the end, Google & Facebook have a big bucket of baksheesh that will go to old proprietors and their shareholders,'' Jeff Jarvis, the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York, tweeted in February.
As Facebook News continued to roll out across the globe in 2020 and 2021, someone did finally tell Facebook no. The German media giant Axel Springer rejected Facebook's offer, describing it as both unseemly and insufficiently lucrative: ''We consider the efforts of several platforms to become news brands themselves while at the same time compensating some publishers with inappropriately low remuneration for their content as problematic,'' a spokesperson said. The company is now holding out for the passage of new copyright laws in Europe that it hopes will create revenue-sharing agreements ''in which all publishers can transparently participate and receive reasonable compensation.''
Meanwhile, in the U.S., Facebook's need for allies in the press has taken on a particular urgency. In October 2020, a House judiciary subcommittee released a bold, agenda-setting report, alleging wide-ranging antitrust violations by Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. In December, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general, as well as the attorneys general for D.C. and Guam, brought an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.
Congress is currently holding hearings on the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2021, which would give news organizations of all shapes and sizes the ability to negotiate collectively with the big platforms. At a March 12 hearing, News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern noted that the larger media companies already have leverage with Facebook and others. ''The ones most in need of collective action are small and community publishers, including most particularly publishers of color, who are suffering deeply in this broken marketplace for real quality journalism,'' he said.
HD Media, which owns several West Virginia newspapers, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google and Facebook in January, seeking damages from the duopoly. The suit charges that Google's monopolistic control of digital advertising, along with a secret deal with Facebook not to compete against it, had strangled their source of revenue.
In the long run, reformers say, it will be necessary to break up the giant platforms, end their stranglehold on advertising dollars, and ban algorithms that incite outrage or even violence. In the nearer term, however, some observers support the idea of an independent journalistic fund, financed by Big Tech but operating at arm's length, that could reward news organizations according to the resources they put into their reporting and the value they contribute to their communities.
Some sort of trusted intermediary or collective agreement seems necessary, because it's hard to see direct handouts as anything more than a corrupt stopgap measure'--especially when they're mostly given to the news organizations that need the money the least. As Doug Reynolds, the managing partner for the West Virginia newspapers suing Facebook and Google for damages, told me, ''If the future of this industry is that we're dependent on their goodwill, then we don't have an independent press anymore.''
Support Nonprofit JournalismIf you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works '--and how to make it work better. More than fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.
Dan Froomkin Dan Froomkin publishes independent political-media criticism at Press Watch (presswatchers.org). He has previously held senior editorial positions at the Intercept, HuffPost, and the Washington Post, where he also wrote the White House Watch column for six years. This article was produced in association with the Open Markets Institute's Center for Journalism & Liberty.
Judicial Watch: Documents Show CA State Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Americans' Election Posts | Judicial Watch
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:09
April 27, 2021 | Judicial WatchUsed Biden for President's Communications Firm to Identify 'Misinformation'
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 540 pages and a supplemental four pages of documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these documents were ''misinformation briefings'' emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020. The documents show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.
The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch's California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests to the Office of the California Secretary of State for records related to the Office of Election Cybersecurity's database of social media posts; communications with social media companies; and other social media related records regarding the 2020 elections. Judicial Watch filed the requests after a December 2020 report surfaced that the state agency was surveilling, tracking, and seeking to censor the speech of Americans:
The Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State's office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. In 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.
''We don't take down posts, that is not our role to play,'' Dresner said. ''We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.''
On September 24, 2020, a California Secretary of State chart lists a video from Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and falsely alleges :
Head of conservative group Judicial Watch Hosts video alleging Democrats benefit from incorrect voter rolls and ballot collection.
The Secretary of State's office details its communication with YouTube: ''We wanted to flag this YouTube video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots.'' The chart quotes Fitton describing Judicial Watch's statement about its federal lawsuit settlement with Los Angeles County that will require it to clean up voter rolls and how a Michigan court ''changed the rules'' on ballot deadlines and ballot harvesting. (The controversial decision was overturned in October 2020.)
The document shows that California state officials contacted YouTube directly to remove the video on September 24, 2020, and that YouTube seemed to respond by deleting the video on September 27, 2020.
On September 11, 2020, outside consultant Zeke Sandoval, of the SKDK communications firm, provides the Secretary of State's Office a ''Misinformation Daily Briefing,'' which again targets Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Trump tweeted, ''The big Unsolicited Ballot States should give it up NOW, before it is too late, and ask people to go to the Polling Booths and, like always before, VOTE. Otherwise, MAYHEM!!! Solicited Ballots (absentee) are OK,'' and Twitter was quick to fact check and shared a link with info about how voting by mail is safe and secure . Viral reply on Twitter from Tom Fitton asserting, ''Mailing 51 million ballots to those who haven't asked for increases risk of voter fraud and voter intimidation!''
A 30-page '' Misinformation Tracking Sheet '' lists social media posts that the office disagrees with and has asked social media companies to remove.
In an internal email on January 12, 2021, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer Paula Valle emails Chief Counsel Steve Reyes and Jenna Dresner in the Office of Cybersecurity, as well as Press Secretary Sam Mahood stating that she is uncomfortable with CalMatters reporter Fred Brewster's questions about the office's tracking and censoring efforts:
Hi Steve '' Please see below '' the reporter at Cal Matters who PRA'd us is doing a follow-up story. We asked him to send us his questions. I am not necessarily comfortable with his line of questions and the additional doors that this will open. I want to get your feedback I would simply like to give him a statement about what our goal is and leave it at that. Thoughts?
Brewster's questions, which include concerns from citizens who were targeted by the ''Misinformation Tracker,'' were sent on January 12, 2021:
I reached out to the users on page 7 and page 21 of the Misinformation Tracker request I received. Both individuals wanted to know how their posts ended up being labeled misinformation and how, given their relatively small following, they came to the attention of the Office of Election Cybersecurity?
Another user named ''DC O'Bryan'' had his post taken down (page 5 of the Misinformation Tracker). In an email, you highlight a report sent to the state that says, ''I don't know if this is hot air meant to provoke. If it is, a call from an official might get the point across that you don't joke about election fraud.'' Was O'Bryan called to confirm that his post was a joke?
How does the Office of Election Cybersecurity differentiate between parody and satire and misinformation?
Did CISA, Facebook, or any other partners provide guidance on how to spot and define misinformation? If someone has their posts in the Misinformation Tracker, are there plans to contact those individuals and is there a way for them to petition the state to delete them?
The Secretary of State's Office emails Facebook and Twitter on April 25,2019, with requests from the Office to remove tweets and posts for what they have labeled ''misinformation.''
The office emails Facebook, attempting to set up a call to discuss removing future posts. This 15-minute call is with ''new Facebook contact for social media reporting: Javier Hernandez, Politics & Government Outreach'' in order to discuss how the office will report posts to Facebook. In the email, Facebook outlines its goals to directly work with ''electoral authorities in every state'' so that they can ''report instances of voter suppression on Facebook directly to our team, so [Facebook] can look at them quickly and remove them from the site.''
On December 31, 2019, after the Secretary of State's office reports a tweet to [email protected], Kevin Kane, a Twitter representative, replies and offers his direct contact for the Office's future needs in removing posts.
In a September 21, 2020, email chain with the subject line ''elections issue,'' Jenna Dresner in the Secretary of State's Office of Cybersecurity writes to ''Cristina and team'' at Facebook at 11:43 a.m.: ''We want to flag this Instagram post.''
The reply comes from Facebook Community Operations: ''Thank you for your report. We have reviewed the '... content and can confirm that the content has been removed '...'' At 12:53 pm. Dresner writes to Press Secretary Sam Mahood, Social Media Coordinator Akilah Jones and others, ''Post from this morning was removed (and fast!) Akilah we can update tracker.''
In an October 28, 2020, email, Jones writes to Flores at Facebook and CCs Dresner that a post, which was from a user named @Screenplaywale, ''voters are being asked to gerrymander and voter suppress their 'trump supporting father's ballots.'''
In an email chain on September 14, 2020, titled ''Election Issue'' the office internally complains about how long it takes Facebook to remove a post and how to speed up this process.
Mahood writes to Dresner: ''It looks like it took Facebook 2 weeks to respond to Chris. This is way too long, we should raise to FB and make sure we know best method to report posts.'' Dresner responds: ''S ure '' I'm 98% sure this is the one you chased with an email directly to our FB contacts which resulted in it taken down that day. I can confirm that process works for the future?''
On August 22, 2019, Maria Benson , director of communications for the National Association of Secretaries of State emails the communications directors for Secretaries of State offices that Twitter confirmed that they streamlined their process for government officials to report ''misinformation:''
Great news'--Twitter is now on-boarding states into their mis/disinformation partner support portal! Once on-boarded, you will be able to directly report mis/disinformation instead of having to submit it to me first'....'' [Emphasis in original]
Benson also gives contact information for Facebook and Google complaints, and says: ''If any of the items you reported do not get prompt attention, please let me know and I can also reach out the companies.''
On September 24, 2019, The California Secretary of State's office confirms that it plans to participate in Facebook's ''misinformation'' training which is a review from Facebook on ''monitoring guidelines for reporting misinformation'' and teaches participants how to use the direct reporting channel Facebook opened for them.
On October 1, 2020, Benson forwards information from Twitter about their training to directly remove posts they label as misinformation to the Secretary of State's office. This is described by Twitter as: '' training on creative and effective content strategies on Twitter in advance of the U.S. Election,'' as well as ''onboarding state and local election officials onto Twitter's Partner Support Portal.'' This portal is described as, ''a dedicated way for critical stakeholders '' like you '' to flag concerns directly to Twitter.''
'' These new documents suggest a conspiracy against the First Amendment rights of Americans by the California Secretary of State, the Biden campaign operation, and Big Tech,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''These documents blow up the big lie that Big Tech censorship is 'private' '' as the documents show collusion between a whole group of government officials in multiple states to suppress speech about election controversies.''
Big Pharma
Senate narrowly votes to confirm Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general - UPI.com
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 22:58
April 21 (UPI) -- The Senate narrowly voted to confirm civil rights attorney Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general on Wednesday.
Gupta, 46, will become the first woman of color to serve as associate attorney general in the history of the Justice Department after the 51-49 vote in which Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was the only GOP lawmaker to vote for her confirmation as Vice President Kamala Harris was on hand to break a potential tie.
In the role, Gupta will oversee the department's civil rights litigation as well as its antitrust, civil and environment divisions as the third highest-ranking official in the agency, joining Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Gupta's confirmation was "very good news for the forces of equality and justice in the country."
"Not only is Ms. Gupta the first woman of color ever to be nominated to the position, she is the first civil rights attorney ever to be nominated to the position," Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor. "That's shocking, really. We never have had a former civil rights attorney serving in such a position of prominence at the Justice Department."
Gupta faced harsh opposition from Republicans who described her as a "radical" nominee and accused her of altering her positions on issues such as drug legalization and police funding.
"She's levied attacks on members of this body, and during the confirmation process, she employed the loosest possible interpretation of her oath to deliver honest testimony," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Murkowski explained her decision to support Gupta, saying she was initially troubled by some of her past statements but chose to vote in her favor after they had a lengthy conversation.
"I asked her point blank, 'Why do you want this? Is this worth it?' Because this has clearly been very hard on her as a nominee," she said. "And she paused and reflected a moment, and just spoke to how she feels called to serve in a very personal way that I thought was impactful."
Gupta's confirmation comes the same day that Garland announced the Justice Department will open an investigation into police practices in Minneapolis after a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
President Joe Biden pushed for Gupta and Kristin Clarke, his nominee to lead the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, in a speech Tuesday following the verdict, stating they would "root out the unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system."
Hunter Biden to speak about 'fake news' at Tulane University
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:06
April 27, 2021 | 11:37pm | Updated April 27, 2021 | 11:38pm
Enlarge Image Hunter Biden has become a fixture in the news over the past few years as his father Joe Biden campaigned for president. ABC via Getty Images
Hunter Biden nabbed a speaking gig at Tulane University to talk with students about ''fake news'' for a course called ''Media Polarization and Public Policy Impacts.''
The 51-year-old son of President Biden will join the class to discuss ''the current state of the media landscape in the United States and how media polarization, fake news and the economics of the new business impact public policymaking in Washington DC,'' according to Fox News.
Biden is one of 10 guests speakers invited by the New Orleans university during the 10-week course.
Other speakers include Dr. Deborah Birx, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.
Biden, who The Post exclusively reported helped arrange a 2015 meeting between his then vice-president father and his Ukrainian energy firm executive boss '-- who the elder Biden later helped shield from investigation, is better known for his drug, sex and legal scandals than for his media expertise.
Tulane University will host Hunter Biden among nine others as a part of a 10-week course. Alamy Stock PhotoIn the weeks before the 2020 election, social media outlets censored The Post over the report, and mainstream news outlets ignored it, over lack of faith in its veracity.
After his father won the presidency, Hunter disclosed the federal government was indeed investigating his overseas business dealings.
The First Son also said the laptop at the center of the report, containing emails that revealed his business dealings in Ukraine and China, could ''certainly'' have been his, as his book tour swung through CBS earlier this month.
He also claimed it could have been stolen from him, or hacked by Russia as part of a misinformation campaign, the latter a claim that intelligence agents have refuted.
''Whether or not somebody has my laptop, whether or not it was, I was hacked, whether or not there exists a laptop at all, I truly don't know,'' Hunter said.
Washington Post ripped for ending Biden fact-checking database for rest of his term | Fox News
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:09
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler drew fierce criticism Monday after saying he did not plan to maintain a "database" for President Biden's falsehoods beyond his first 100 days in office.
"I have learned my lesson," Kessler tweeted. "'Learned my lesson' means who knows what the next four years will bring."
The Post famously maintained a database of former President Donald Trump's falsehoods during his entire term in office. Kessler called it a "wild ride."
"We will keep doing fact checks, just not a database," he added.
In a writeup in the soon-to-be-mothballed database, the Post wrote the "Joe Biden era has offered a return to a more typical pattern when it comes to a commander in chief and his relationship with the facts '-- one that features frequent spin and obfuscation or exaggeration, with the occasional canard."
Kessler said the Post's section was the most "comprehensive" fact-checking outlet of Biden's presidency to date and encouraged readers to send him any Biden falsehoods his team may have missed from the first 100 days.
Critics jumped on Kessler's admission, with some calling it a clear sign of liberal bias to acknowledge it would treat a Democratic president differently.
Fox News reached out to Kessler for comment, but he did not respond.
Kessler came under fire last week for publishing a lengthy "fact check" of Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott's claim of rising "from cotton to Congress," which ultimately awarded zero Pinocchios.
The Post counted 67 falsehoods from Biden in his first 100 days, chief among them his repeated, "Four-Pinocchio" claim that the new Georgia voting law limited early voting hours. Biden also compared the law to racist "Jim Crow" segregation.
The Politics of Heroin and the Afghan US Pullout
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:37
The Politics of Heroin and the Afghan US Pullout By F. William Engdahl23 April 2021 Image Author: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel www.army.mil License: Creative Commons Legal Code Attribution 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
The Biden Administration has announced an Afghanistan US troop withdrawal date of September, 11, 2021, symbolically exactly two decades after the game-changing 911 attacks in New York and Washington. However the Pentagon and White House are saying nothing about one of the main reasons the powers that be who control Washington have remained in Afghanistan since the fake chase after a former CIA contract employee named Osama bin Laden.
What is clear is that the US Administration is not being straightforward with its plans for Afghanistan and the so-called pull-out. The previously agreed May 1 date versus September 11 is clearly not about making a more graceful exit after a two decade war that has cost US taxpayers more than $2 trillion. The argument by some US Democrats that a full pullout with endanger the rights of Afghan women with the brutal Taliban culture of misogyny is clearly not what US and NATO soldiers have been protecting with their presence. What then is at stake?
Private Mercenary Occupation
While the Pentagon has been sly about giving any direct answer, it seems that what the Team Biden neo-cons are planning is a ''privatized'' US military presence. According to a report by Jeremy Kuzmarov, ''over 18,000 Pentagon contractors remain in Afghanistan, while official troops number 2,500. Joe Biden will withdraw this smaller group of soldiers while leaving behind US Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence operatives '-- privatizing and down-scaling the war, but not ending it.'' Already there are seven private military contractors in Afghanistan for every single US soldier.
Use of private military contractors allows the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies to avoid serious Congressional oversight. Typically they are special forces veterans who earn vastly more as private security contractors or mercenaries. Their work is simply classified so there is almost no accountability. The New York Times reports, citing current and former US officials, that Washington ''will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives'' to conduct operations inside Afghanistan.
The current Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, like that of Hamid Karzai is a creation of the United States. Ghani will remain Washington's proxy in Kabul. His military is funded by the United States at a cost of around $4 billion per year. For what?
What is missing from the public discussion of Afghan troop presence is the 800 pound gorilla in the room: drugs, specifically heroin.
The 800 Pound Gorilla
Some of these private soldiers of fortune are not doing nice things. DynCorp is one of the largest contractors there. As of 2019 DynCorp had gotten over $7 billion in government contracts to train the Afghan army and manage military bases in Afghanistan. One of the publicized tasks of DynCorp and other US mercenary personnel in Afghanistan has been to ''oversee'' destruction of Afghan poppy fields that supply an estimated 93% of world heroin. Yet the clear evidence is that that opium and its global distribution has been a major province of the CIA along with the US military who guarantee secure air transport via airbases in Kyrgyzstan as well as Afghanistan into the western heroin markets. DynCorp has little to show for that drug eradication, or were they doing something else?
CIA, Mujahideen and Afghan Opium
When the US first occupied Afghanistan, claiming retribution for the Taliban role in aiding Osama bin Laden in the 911 US attacks, a severe anti-opium policy of Taliban had reduced harvests to almost zero. By October, 2001, just before the US invasion, the UN acknowledged that the Taliban reduced opium production in Afghanistan from 3300 tons in 2000 to 185 tons in 2001. According to Canadian economist and historian Michel Chossudovsky, ''immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the domestic price of opium in Afghanistan (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.'' The Anglo-American invasion of Afghanistan successfully restored the drug trade. The Guardian reported that, ''In 2007 Afghanistan had more land growing drugs than Colombia, Bolivia and Peru combined.'' That was six years into the US military occupation.
Within several years of US occupation under Karzai, opium crops were at all-time record levels. One of the largest Afghan opium warlords then was the brother of Karzai. In 2009 the New York Times, citing unnamed US officials, wrote that, ''Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years'...'' In 2011 Ahmed Karzai was gunned down, mob-style, at his home in Helmland by one of his bodyguards. Helmland is the largest opium province in Afghanistan. If Helmland were a country it would be the largest opium producer worldwide. Was it accident that the CIA paid money to Karzai for at least eight years or did The Company have a stake in the business of Karzai?
While Washington and the CIA have denied supporting the huge Afghan opium trade, the CIA history since the Vietnam War with drug warlords suggests otherwise. As Alfred W. McCoy documented during the Vietnam War era in his ground-breaking book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, the CIA was deeply involved with Hmong tribesmen in Laos who were involved in opium trade. They claimed it was necessary to twin their support. Later it was found the CIA Air America was involved in secretly shipping opium from the Golden Triangle.
During the 1980's US-financed Mujahideen war against the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan, the CIA allegedly turned a blind eye as Osama bin Laden and thousands of ''Afghan Arabs'' he recruited. Afghan warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were enriching themselves along with the Pakistani ISI intelligence with vast drug trade profits. To imagine that the CIA, and private mercenary armies such as DynCorp closely tied to the agency, are today involved in the world's largest opium and heroin source requires no great leap of faith.
In 2018 Alfred McCoy made a damning indictment of the US war in Afghanistan. He asked, ''How could the world's sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years '' deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict's peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1trillion on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on 'nation-building', helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies '' and still not be able to pacify one of the world's most impoverished nations?'' His reply was that the US presence was not about nation-building or democracy. It was about heroin: ''Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington's military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia's illicit traffic in opium,'' he charged. ''Its opium production surged from around 180 tons in 2001 to more than 3,000 tons a year after the invasion, and to more than 8,000 by 2007.
By 2017 the opium production reached a record 9,000 tons. After more than 16 years of US military occupation. Somewhere here is a very dirty and criminal story and the CIA as well as related private military contractors such as DynCorp appear to be in the middle of it. This is maybe the real reason Washington refuses to honestly leave Afghanistan. As Pepe Escobar points out, contrary to the narrative in Western media that the Taliban control the Afghan opium trade, ''this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions '-- never asked by Atlanticist circles '-- are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit'...'' He points to NATO, noting that Russian citizens are ''collateral damage'' of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. ''The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, 'Italy, France and the Netherlands', and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.''
The US operations in Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, is far from ending. It is merely changing form.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline - LewRockwell
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:37
The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline '' with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.
In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world's opium comes from Afghanistan.
Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions '-- never asked by Atlanticist circles '-- are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.
Upgraded V4.2 Bluetoot... Best Price: $10.30 Buy New $29.91 (as of 06:01 EST - Details ) The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in ''self-defense'' after 9/11; installed a ''democratic'' government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.
Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in ''counternarcotics programs''. Operation Enduring Freedom '-- along with the ''liberation'' of Iraq '-- have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?
Have a SIGAR
An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; ''In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.''
Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints '-- discreetly '-- at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America's heroin epidemic.
Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline '-- in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress.
A Gulf-based intel source with vast experience across the Pentagon-designated ''arc of instability'' tells the story of his interaction with an Australian intel operative who served in Afghanistan; ''This was about 2011. He said he gave US Army Intelligence and the CIA reports on the Afghan heroin trade '-- that US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan '-- much of it was raw opium '-- for distribution as their backhaul.
No one answered.
He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.'' ZAFUL Women's So... Buy New $26.99 (as of 06:01 EST - Details )
The source is adamant, ''CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.''
And that brings us to a key motive behind President Trump's going against his instincts and accepting a new Afghan surge; ''In the tradition of the opium wars of perfidious Albion in the 19th century, in which opium paid for tea and silk from India, and the taxes on these silk and tea imports financed the construction of the mighty British Navy which ruled the seas, the CIA has built itself up into a most powerful agent based on the trillion dollar heroin trade. It is impossible for Trump to overcome it as he has no allies to tap. The military are working together with the CIA, and therefore the officers that surround Trump are worthless.''
None of this deviates from the CIA's modus operandi.
Past examples abound. The most notorious concerns the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos '-- complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set up of nefarious Air America to export the opium.
The whole story was exposed on Prof. Alfred McCoy's seminal The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia '-- which drove Langley nuts.
A contemporary counterpart would be a recent book by Italian journalist Enrico Piovesana detailing the New Opium War in Afghanistan.
The return of Air America
A Pakistani intel source with vast Pashtun/ tribal area contacts delves into even more incendiary territory; ''According to our best information the CIA has brought in their al-Qaeda-Daesh proxies into Afghanistan to justify the additional American troops''. That would neatly tie in with Trump being cornered by his generals.
And then, there's Moscow. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry was adamantly denouncing ''foreign fighters'' transferred by ''unknown helicopters'' as the perpetrators of a massacre of Hazara Shi'ites in a northern Afghanistan province; ''It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.''
Crocs unisex adult Cla... Buy New $32.95 (as of 06:01 EST - Details ) It does not get more serious than that; Moscow denouncing sectors of the US-trained Afghan Armed Forces side by side with NATO engaged in covert ops supporting jihadis. Russian intel has hinted '-- discreetly '-- for quite some time that US intel is covertly sponsoring Daesh '-- a.k.a. ''ISIS Khorasan'' '-- in Afghanistan.
Russian intel is very much aware of the Afghan chapter in the New Great Game. Russian citizens are ''collateral damage'' of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, ''Italy, France and the Netherlands'', and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.
Well, Air America, after all, never died. It just relocated from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the arid crossroads of Central and South Asia.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
France's Macron Eyes Artificial Intelligence to Monitor Terrorism - WSJ
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:18
PARIS'--The government of French President Emmanuel Macron aims to deploy algorithms and other technology to monitor the web-browsing of terror suspects amid growing tensions over a group of retired generals who recently warned the country was sliding toward a civil war.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government plans to submit a bill to parliament seeking permanent authority to order telecommunications companies to monitor not just telephone data but also the full URLs of specific webpages their users visit in real time. Government algorithms would alert intelligence officials when certain criteria are met, such as an internet user visiting a specific sequence of pages.
Mr. Macron has come under intense pressure to crack down on terrorism as well as Islamist separatism, an ideology his government says fuels attacks by radicalizing segments of France's Muslim minority. A middle-school teacher was beheaded in a terrorist attack in October, and on Friday an administrative police worker was stabbed to death in a terrorist attack on a police station. The same day, Marine Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigrant National Rally party, threw her support behind a group of retired generals who published a letter in the far-right magazine Valuers Actuelles, saying the spread of Islamism and other ideologies was pushing France toward a civil war.
In the letter, which is addressed to Mr. Macron, the generals demand the eradication of what they consider threats to France's national identity, ranging from the antiracism movement, which the letter said seeks to erase French history, to ''Islamism and the hordes of the banlieues,'' a reference to the working-class suburbs of France that have large Muslim populations.
''There's no time for procrastination. Otherwise, tomorrow a civil war will put an end to this growing chaos. And the dead, for whom you'll bear responsibility, will number in the thousands,'' the letter says.
On Wednesday, Mr. Castex said, ''I condemn in the strongest terms this initiative, which is contrary to our republican principles and to the honor and duty of the army.''
''This isn't about the army. These generals represent no one but themselves,'' he added.
General Fran§ois Lecointre, France's top military official, said in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien published on Wednesday that he had identified 18 active-duty members of the military who signed the letter. He said they would be subject to disciplinary action.
Ms. Le Pen, who lost to Mr. Macron in 2017 and is challenging him in next year's presidential election, published an open letter of her own in Valeurs Actuelles on Friday, praising the generals and calling on them to join her in a battle that she described as political and peaceful.
''The concerns that you courageously express cannot remain at the stage of expressing outrage, however powerful,'' Ms. Le Pen wrote.
Mr. Castex noted the generals' letter was published on the 60th anniversary of a failed coup d'(C)tat'--led by a different group of retired generals in 1961'--that aimed to stop then-President Charles de Gaulle from withdrawing from Algeria, a former French colony.
''How can people'--in particular Madam Le Pen, who aspires to exercise the responsibilities of the state'--support an initiative that doesn't exclude turning against the republican state?'' Mr. Castex said.
In its new counterterrorism and intelligence bill, the government is proposing to expand a mostly telephone-based surveillance system first put in place after a spate of terrorist attacks in 2015 to encompass web browsing, too, with the aim of detecting potential terrorists who aren't on authorities' radar.
''We've moved from an external threat, with highly murderous attacks on France in 2015, to a threat that is internal, and much more difficult to follow using traditional intelligence techniques,'' French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said Wednesday.
The original surveillance system, which began operation in 2017 and is set to expire at the end of July, currently requires telecommunications operators to monitor telecommunications metadata on their networks using three separate algorithms aimed at detecting patterns that could suggest terrorism. A parliamentary report last year found that the system ''has produced interesting results,'' but the scope of the data it collects, based mostly on telephone data, doesn't provide investigators ''a sufficient level of relevance and specificity.''
''Terrorists use normal phones and text messages less and less, and use the internet more and more,'' Mr. Darmanin said Wednesday.
Mr. Darmanin said intelligence officials would need approval from him, the prime minister and an outside agency to unmask a person flagged for his or her browsing.
Many large websites use a common form of encryption that masks which specific page a user is visiting, but for other, often smaller sites, those potentially revealing data are available to telecommunications operators to share with intelligence officials.
In the future, French officials say they plan to deploy systems using artificial intelligence to help with surveillance. One portion of the bill presented Wednesday would allow French intelligence officials to use older intelligence data, including data the government isn't currently allowed to retain, to train AI systems to look for unforeseen patterns and develop new intelligence tools. An interior ministry official said such data would be anonymized, though privacy experts say anonymizing data so it can't be later reattributed is difficult.
''Artificial intelligence is clearly a field that should be opened up for intelligence services,'' the official said. ''We're fighting to make sure no technological possibilities offered today are off-limits for intelligence services or the security services.''
French officials say they are currently reworking the text of the law to comply with a French court order, stemming from a decision at the European Union's top court last fall. The EU court ruled that governments could in some cases order telecommunications companies to indiscriminately retain data, but only for a limited time in the case of a serious national-security threat.
Privacy and digital-rights activists contend the continuation and expansion of the government's authority to order the monitoring of telecommunications data twist that ruling.
''The objective is to gather as much data as possible,'' said Bastien Le Querrec, a member of the litigation group for French digital-rights group La Quadrature du Net. ''That is the definition of mass surveillance.''
Write to Stacy Meichtry at stacy.meichtry@wsj.com and Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com
Great Reset
Goldman Is Surprised At How "Narrow" Biden's $1.8TN American Families Act Is: Full Reaction | ZeroHedge
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:55
Earlier today, we previewed Joe Biden's American Families Plan (AFP) which provides $1.8 trillion over ten years in new benefit spending and tax credits.
Commenting on the proposal, Goldman economist Alec Phillips writes that he was surprised by the focus of the released plan which is "somewhat narrower than we had initially expected several weeks ago, as it omits any housing or Medicare proposals and focuses solely on child care and nutrition,education, paid leave, and extending a number of the tax credits Congress enacted earlier this year."
On the payment side, the White house proposes $1.5 trillion over ten years in additional taxes to cover most of the cost, with a capital gains tax hike contributing to this, but in today's release the White House has provided few new details on the topic. The $303BN funding balance will come from an increase in the US budget deficit.
Biden will present the plan when he addresses a joint session of Congress at 9pm ET tonight.
Below we list the main points from the plan as summarized by Goldman:
1. The spending would be spread roughly evenly over the next ten years.
The White House release provides no details on the timing of spending, but judging by the types of spending President Biden proposes, it appears that the spending will be spread roughly evenly over the next ten years. An exception would be the expanded child tax credit that Congress recently enacted, which Biden proposes to extend only through 2025 (he proposes to make permanent a less expensive aspect of recent expansion). However, in essentially all other cases, the White House appears to propose to make these policies permanent. Some policies appear to phase in over several years (e.g., the paid leave proposal). The plan would increase federal spending (including tax credits) by around 0.75% of GDP in 2023-2024, and by a bit less in 2022, according to Goldman calculations.
2. The proposed savings from IRS enforcement are likely to look smaller once they reach Congress.
The White House estimates the proposal would produce $1.5 trillion in additional revenue, of which $700bn would come from closing the gap between what taxpayers owe and what they pay. The White House proposes to require banks to increase reporting of financial flows to the IRS, and to increase funding for IRS enforcement activities (media reports indicate this would raise $80bn over ten years, but the proposal does not include a figure). But according to Goldman, Congressional Democrats might have to look elsewhere to gain this much revenue. A reporting requirement is probably beyond what is allowed to be included in a reconciliation bill, and congressional budget scorekeepers seem unlikely to credit additional IRS funding with $700bn in new revenue. (Last year, CBO estimated a $40bn/10yr bump in funding would produce $100bn in additional revenue, for total savings of $60bn.)
3. The proposed capital gains tax hike also looks likely to face resistance.
President Biden proposes to tax capital gains and dividends at the top marginal rate (39.6%) and to tax gains greater than $1mn at death (under current law, the basis of an asset steps up at death to the transfer value, so the recipient has no taxable gain upon receiving it). The Tax Policy Center has estimated such a policy would raise around $370bn/10yrs. Even with exceptions for active businesses and even with a long payment schedule for any payments due'--a recent congressional proposal would allow such taxes to be paid over 15 years '-- it seems likely that at least a few Democrats will raise concerns about the impact on family businesses and farms. In our view, a capital gains tax increase looks more likely to come in around 28% and to eliminate the step-up in basis at death but to stop short of actually taxing those gains upon death.
4. Health care is notably absent from the proposal.
The proposal includes an extension of the recently expansion of health insurance subsidies, but it omits the other Biden campaign proposals, like lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60. The proposal also omits a substantial drug pricing reform proposal that the House passed last year and which might have cut Medicare drug spending by as much as $500bn over ten years. The omission is likely due to expected resistance from a few congressional Democrats whose support would have been necessary to pass the bill, and the fact that some of the proposal also omits the Medicare eligibility change. That said, there is still a chance that Congress will include more incremental savings measures in the upcoming legislation.
5. Congress will want to add and subtract.
At a minimum, we expect that congressional Democrats will want to add a reinstatement of the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) that congressional Republicans capped in 2017. The policy would cost on the order of $80bn per year, or $400bn to reinstate it through 2025, after which it is already set to revert to the pre-2017 policy. Since most of the benefit would go to those with very high incomes, it looks unlikely that there will be sufficient support to fully reinstate it. Instead, we expect Congress to raise the cap to something like $50k,or reinstate it for taxpayers under a certain income threshold, which could be done at a fraction of the cost. Congressional Democrats might also have to choose among some of the new spending proposals, since Senate rules prohibit reconciliation bills from adding to the deficit after ten years. If the capital gains tax hike is scaled back or the IRS enforcement funding raises less revenue than the White House claims, some provisions will need to be made temporary or dropped from the bill.
6. The legislative strategy should be clearer in a few weeks.
Goldman outlined three potential scenarios for passing the White House proposal:
pass one large reconciliation bill comprising the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan;pass two smaller reconciliation bills dealing with those separately, orpass bi-partisanbills dealing with traditional infrastructure and, separately, manufacturing and R&D incentives, with the remainder passing in a single reconciliation bill.All 3 options appear to be under discussion. The congressional committees that handle infrastructure are assembling legislation they hope to pass under regular order (i.e., with bipartisan support), as are the committees dealing with manufacturing and R&D. They appear to be aiming for passage by late May or June.
7. The details will probably remain in flux until Q3.
Over the next several weeks, additional information on these proposals (particularly the scope of potential tax increases) is likely to come in three forms. First, informal comments in the media from centrist Democrats might clarify where the boundaries are on some issues. Second, at some point in May, the Biden Administration should submit a formal budget to Congress (so far the White House has sent only a partial proposal). This is also likely to include more technical detail on the proposed tax increases. Third, the committees with jurisdiction over some of the relevant issues'--such as the tax-writing committees'--are likely to begin to release details of their legislation that builds on the Biden proposal. However, the most important step in the process won't come until July or September, which is when we expect the Senate to debate and pass the reconciliation bill. This process can be unpredictable, since congressional Republicans are apt to offer hundreds of amendments to the bill, some of which centrist Democrats might feel political pressure to support.
Felony murder rule - Wikipedia
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 19:57
Legal doctrine
"Felony murder" redirects here. For the general felony of murder, see
The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine in some common law jurisdictions that broadens the crime of murder: when an offender kills (regardless of intent to kill) in the commission of a dangerous or enumerated crime (called a felony in some jurisdictions), the offender, and also the offender's accomplices or co-conspirators, may be found guilty of murder.
The concept of felony murder originates in the rule of transferred intent, which is older than the limit of legal memory. In its original form, the malicious intent inherent in the commission of any crime, however trivial, was considered to apply to any consequences of that crime regardless of intent.
History [ edit ] While there is debate about the original scope of the rule, modern interpretations typically require that the offence be an inherently dangerous one, or one committed in an obviously dangerous manner. For this reason, the felony murder rule is often justified by its supporters as a means of deterring dangerous felonies.[1]
According to some commentators, the common law rule dates to the twelfth century and took its modern form in the eighteenth century. The modern conception of the felony murder rule arose in 1716, with William Hawkins' Treatise of Pleas of the Crown, during his work on English criminal law. Hawkins reasoned that malice was implicit in a crime that "necessarily tends to raise Tumults and Quarrels, and consequently cannot but be attended with the danger of personal hurt." Thus, "this rule should extend to killings in the course of felonies fortiori."[2]
Elements [ edit ] In most jurisdictions, to qualify as an underlying offense for a felony murder charge, the underlying offense must present a foreseeable danger to life, and the link between the offense and the death must not be too remote. For example, if the recipient of a forged check has a fatal allergic reaction to the ink, most courts will not hold the forger guilty of murder, as the cause of death is too remote from the criminal act.
There are two schools of thought concerning whose actions can cause the defendant to be guilty of felony murder. Jurisdictions that hold to the "agency theory" admit only deaths caused by the agents of the crime. Jurisdictions that use the "proximate cause theory" include any death, even if caused by a bystander or the police, provided that it meets one of several proximate cause tests to determine if the chain of events between the offence and the death was short enough to have legally caused the death.[3]
The merger doctrine excludes from the offenses that qualify as underlying offenses any felony that is presupposed by a murder charge. For example, nearly all murders involve some type of assault, but so do many cases of manslaughter. To count any death that occurred during the course of an assault as felony murder would obliterate a distinction that is carefully set by the legislature. However, merger may not apply when an assault against one person results in the death of a different person.[4]
Felony murder is typically the same grade of murder as premeditated murder and carries the same sentence as is used for premeditated murder in the jurisdiction in question.[5]
By country [ edit ] The felony murder rule has been abolished in England and Wales[6] and in Northern Ireland.[7] In Canada, it has been held to be unconstitutional, as breaching the principles of fundamental justice.[8][9] In some jurisdictions (such as Victoria, Australia), the common law felony murder (called constructive murder) rule has been abolished, but has been replaced by a similar statutory provision in the Crimes Act 1958.[10] Similarly, in NSW (New South Wales), common law has been overridden and the question needs only be dealt with through statutory construction and application.[11]
Australia [ edit ] § 18(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides the statutory definition of 'constructive murder'. The act or omission causing death must be "done in an attempt to commit or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with him or her, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years".[12] The rationale is to discourage acts of felony which are dangerous to human life.
Ryan v R [13] clarifies the elements of constructive murder. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt: (1) a base offence with 25 years' imprisonment or more; and that (2) the act causing death occurred in attempt, during, or immediately after this base offence. This means that the prosecution must prove both the actus reus and mens rea of this base offence. R v Munro[14] confirmed that the mens rea of the act causing death is not required to prove constructive murder. For example, the accused may commit an act causing death in the course of robbery or armed robbery without any intention to kill, to inflict grievous bodily harm, or with reckless indifference to human life.
Canada [ edit ] As Canadian criminal law aims to maintain proportionality between the stigma and punishment attached to a conviction and the moral blameworthiness of an offender, in R v Martineau the Supreme Court of Canada held that it is a principle of fundamental justice under sections 7 and 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that a conviction for murder requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a subjective foresight of death. In so doing, the court declared sections 230 and 229(c) of the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional.[15]
S. 230 provided that a conviction for murder would lie for any killing that was "objectively foreseeable as a result of the abominable nature of the predicate crimes ... inter alia ... coupled with intentional infliction of bodily harm".[15] This largely equated with a Canadian form of felony murder, though it is technically closer to constructive murder[further explanation needed ] in other jurisdictions.[16] Similarly, according to s. 229(c) it was sufficient for a person to do anything that he "ought to know is likely to cause death".
Nevertheless, s. 229(c), as far as it provides for a form of constructive murder in situations where "an accused for an unlawful object did anything knowing that it was likely [on an objective standard] to cause someone's death" is still operative, as confirmed in a 1999 appellate court decision.[15]
Bill C-39 has been introduced in 2017 in order to repeal s. 230 and modify s. 229(c).[17]
Like other common law jurisdictions, Canada's Criminal Code specifically enumerates offences to account for instances where (a) person(s) is/are unintentionally killed during the commission of a crime (for example, criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving causing death). In cases where multiple deaths are caused by the same criminal act, the accused will face a separate charge for each death caused. While such charges are not considered to be murder under Canadian law, the maximum penalty for such offences is still life imprisonment '' although unlike murder this is not a mandatory sentence and is only very rarely imposed. The main difference between a sentence of life imprisonment for murder and a sentence of life imprisonment for an offence such as criminal negligence causing death is that in the latter case, the offender is eligible for parole after serving seven years.
Ireland [ edit ] The rule was abolished in the Republic of Ireland by section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1964 which codified the mens rea for murder as intention to kill or seriously injure another person.
United Kingdom [ edit ] England and Wales, Northern Ireland [ edit ] The rule was abolished in England and Wales by section 1 of the Homicide Act 1957, and in Northern Ireland by section 8 of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966; but its effect is preserved by the application of the common law principle of joint enterprise. In England and Wales, the definition of murder requires only an intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the victim, rather than specific intent to kill; the effect is the same as that of the felony murder rule applied to crimes of personal violence, though not to all felonies.
Scotland [ edit ] There is no equivalent to the felony murder rule in Scots law, which has also never had a specific concept of felonies in the previous style of English law. However, the Scots equivalent of joint enterprise, known as "art and part", also has a similar effect.
United States [ edit ] As of August 2008[update], 46 states in the United States had a felony murder rule,[18] under which felony murder is generally first-degree murder. In 24 of those states, it is a capital offense.[19] When the government seeks to impose the death penalty on someone convicted of felony murder, the Eighth Amendment has been interpreted so as to impose additional limitations on the state power. The death penalty may not be imposed if the defendant is merely a minor participant and did not actually kill or intend to kill. However, the death penalty may be imposed if the defendant is a major participant in the underlying felony and exhibits extreme indifference to human life.[20]
Most states recognize the merger doctrine, which holds that a criminal assault cannot serve as the predicate felony for the felony murder rule.[21]: 865
To avoid the need for reliance upon common law interpretations of what felony conduct merges with murder, and what offenses do and do not qualify for felony murder, many U.S. jurisdictions explicitly list what offenses qualify in a felony murder statute. Federal law specifies additional crimes, including terrorism, kidnapping, and carjacking.[22]
The American Law Institute's Model Penal Code does not include the felony murder rule, but allows the commission of a felony to raise a presumption of extreme indifference to the value of human life.[21]: 860 [23] The felony murder rule is effectively used as a rule of evidence. The Model Penal Code lists robbery, rape or forcible deviant sexual intercourse, arson, burglary, and felonious escape as predicate felonies upon which a charge of felony murder can be maintained.
State law [ edit ] Kentucky [ edit ] In the state of Kentucky, the common law felony murder rule has been completely abolished.[27]
KRS § 507.020 [ edit ] The Kentucky Legislature abolished the felony murder rule with the enactment of Kentucky Revised Statutes § 507.020. Recognizing that an automatic application of the rule could result in conviction of murder without a culpable mindset, the Kentucky Legislature instead allowed the circumstances of a case, like the commission of a felony, to be considered separately. The facts each case would be used to show the mental state of the defendant instead of using an automatic rule.[28]
Criticism [ edit ] Critics of the felony murder rule argue that the rule is unjust because it requires no intent to kill.[29] In the United States, for example, 20-year-old Florida resident Ryan Holle was convicted of first-degree murder for lending his car to a friend after his friend told him that he intended to go beat an 18-year-old girl. The friend took the car and beat the girl to death.[30] In favor of the rule, it can be argued that the rule affirms the principle of the sanctity of human life by imposing harsher penalties for crimes that destroy human life.[29]
Some commentators regard the rule of transferred intent as a legal fiction whereby the law pretends that the person who intended one wrongful act also intends all the consequences of that act, however unforeseen.[citation needed ] Others[weasel words ] regard it as an example of strict liability whereby a person who chooses to commit a crime is considered absolutely responsible for all possible consequences of that action. Lord Mustill regards the historical rule as a convergence of those views.[31]
See also [ edit ] Common purposeReferences [ edit ] ^ Sidak, J. Gregory (2015). "Two Economics Rationales for Felony Murder" (PDF) . Cornell Law Review. 101: 51 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ Binder, Guyora (2011). "Making the Best of Felony Murder" (PDF) . Boston University Law Review. 91: 403 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ Hilliard, James W. (2001). "Felony Murder in Illinois The "Agency Theory" vs. the "Proximate Cause Theory": The Debate Continues". Southern Illinois University Law Journal. 25: 331 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ See, e.g., "State v. Huynh, 92 P. 3d 571, 278 Kan. 99 (2004)". Google Scholar . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ Fletcher, George P. (1980). "Reflections on Felony-Murder". Southwestern University Law Journal. 12: 413 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ The Homicide Act 1957 (5 & 6 Eliz.2 c.11), section 1 ^ See the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, "Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966". legislation.gov.uk. U.K. National Archives . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . (the Homicide Act 1957 did not extend to Northern Ireland, except in relation to courts-martial by section 17(3) of that Act) ^ R v Vaillancourt, [1987] 2 SCR 636. ^ R v Martineau, [1990] 2 SCR 633. ^ Crimes Act 1958 s.3A ^ Vincent Ryan v R [2001] HCA 21, (2001) 206 CLR 267 (3 May 2001), High Court (Australia). ^ Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s 18(1)(a). ^ Robert Ryan v R [1967] HCA 2, (1967) 121 CLR 205 (3 March 1967), High Court (Australia). ^ R v Munro (1981) 4 A Crim R 67 Supreme Court (Full Court) (NSW, Australia). ^ a b c Edited case version in Stuart, Don; et al. (2009). ...Criminal Law. p.443-p.455. CS1 maint: location (link) [permanent dead link ] ^ See dissent by L'Heureux-Dub(C), Edited case, version in Stuart, Don; et al. (2009). ...Criminal Law. p.443-p.455. CS1 maint: location (link) [permanent dead link ] ^ Bill C-39: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (unconstitutional provisions) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts ^ Mays, G. Larry; Ball, Jeremy; Fidelie, Laura (2015). Criminal Law: Core Concepts. Publisher. p. 136. ISBN 978-1454846673 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ See "Enmund v. Florida, 458 US 782, 102 S. Ct. 3368, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1140 (1982)". Google Scholar . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ("Thirty-six state and federal jurisdictions presently authorize the death penalty. Of these, only eight jurisdictions authorize imposition of the death penalty solely for participation in a robbery in which another robber takes life.[5] Of the remaining 28 jurisdictions, in 4 felony murder is not a capital crime.") ^ Larson, Aaron (7 October 2016). "What Are Homicide and Murder". ExpertLaw . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ a b Bonnie, Richard J; Coughlin, Anne M; Jeffries Jr, John C; Low, Peter W (2004). Criminal Law (Second ed.). Foundation Press, New York, NY. ISBN 1587787202. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 1111 - Murder". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ American Law Institute Model Penal Code, § 210.2(1)(b) (Official Draft, 1962) ^ Md. Code, Criminal Law Art., 2-201(A)(4). See "Maryland Code, Sec. 2-201". Code of Maryland. General Assembly of Maryland . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ Only for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment. See "M.G.L., Part IV, Title I, Chpt. 265, Sec. 1: Murder defined". Massachusetts General Laws. General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ McCarthy, Kevin E. (February 13, 2008). "Felony Murder". Connecticut General Assembly. Office of Legal Research. OLR Research Report 2008-R-0087 . Retrieved September 2, 2020 . Ohio has effectively eliminated the felony murder doctrine by enacting an involuntary manslaughter statute that covers what was previously felony murder. ^ Bonnie, Richard J; Coughlin, Anne M; Jeffries Jr, John C; Low, Peter W (2004). Criminal Law (Second ed.). Foundation Press, New York, NY. p. 860. ISBN 1587787202. ^ "Kentucky Revised Statutes § 507.020 Murder" (PDF). Kentucky General Assembly. ^ a b Crump, David (2009). "Reconsidering the Felony Murder Rule in Light of Modern Criticism: Doesn't the Conclusion Depend upon the Particular Rule at Issue". Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy: 1155 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . ^ Liptak, Adam (12 April 2007). "Serving Life for Providing Car to Killers". The New York Times. ^ See statements of Lord Mustill, "Judgments - Attorney General's Reference No. 3 of 1994". www.parliament.uk. 24 July 1997 . Retrieved 23 September 2017 . Further reading [ edit ] R v Sern(C) (1887) 16 Cox CC 311.Binder, Guyora (October 2004). "The Origins of American Felony Murder Rules". Stanford Law Review. External links [ edit ] Curtis Brooks didn't kill anyone. He was still convicted of felony murder and sent to prison for life.New York Times on the felony murder rule as "a distinctively American legal doctrine"Prisons Foundation objections to the ruleArizona Supreme Court on the rule and the death penaltyThe case of Lisl Auman of Colorado, charged with felony murder for a killing that happened during an ongoing crime for which she was already in custody Jeff Kass, Rocky Mountain News March 18, 2001; "Lawyers debate centuries-old legal concept."
Amazon listening for other stuff now
Alexa is broadening her capabilities to include recognizing and responding to common household sounds using Routines. We need your help in improving her recognition of these sounds. The only requirement is that you have an Echo device at home. By opting in, you will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, and a phone tool icon!
Here's what Alexa is currently learning to recognize:
· Baby Crying
· Snoring
· Coughing
· Dog Barking
Please note: All of these sounds do not need to occur in your household in order for you to participate in this program. In fact, it is beneficial for Alexa to also learn in environments that do not have these sounds.
Why do we need this program?
The data we collect throughout this program will ultimately enable Alexa to respond to more than verbal commands - deepening her integration into households and Routines, and opening up new opportunities to interact with customers. Alexa’s sound detection accuracy and precision are crucial to the experience, and we can’t get that right without your help.We ask that you to opt-in today – your participation will be critical to a successful launch of this new AI technology!
FBI sifted through troves of foreign communications for information on American WITHOUT a warrant | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 11:31
The FBI searched troves of communications sucked up by the National Security Agency for information on 'racially motivated violent extremists' without a warrant, ignoring previous warnings it was breaking the law.
The FBI's requests for access to masses of electronic communications harvested by the National Security Agency (NSA) is revealed in a newly declassified report from the United States' secret surveillance court.
It shows the FBI has continued to perform warrantless searches through the NSA's most sensitive databases for routine criminal investigations, despite being told by a federal judge in 2018 and 2019 that such a use was an unconstitutional breach of privacy.
The FBI focused many of its warrantless searches - commonly referred to as backdoor queries - on suspected 'far-right' domestic terrorists, The Daily Beast reported.
It's unclear from the heavily-redacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court report whether the FBI uncovered any criminal extremist behavior or made any arrests resulting from the searches.
In its gathering of 'foreign' communications data, the NSA often sweeps up Americans' communications, too.
It's unclear how many Americans had their data viewed by the FBI in its search for 'racially motivated' extremists.
The FISA report did reveal that a single request for data to the NSA from an FBI analyst for information on a suspected domestic terrorists returned 33 hits.
It's not clear how many other requests were tied to the hunt for alleged racially motivated extremists, nor who at the FBI asked for the data or approved the request.
A senior FBI official told DailyMail.com the FBI had taken 'numerous steps' to comply with the FISA court guidance over the past 18 months.
The official wouldn't answer other questions on specifics and referred questions to the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
An NSA spokesman said it wouldn't comment when reached by the DailyMail.com. A spokeswoman for the ODNI said they had no additional information to what FBI had provided.
Under Director Christopher Wray, the FBI has continued to conduct warrantless searches, potentially in breach of the US Constitution. Above, he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March
The NSA's vast dragnet of electronic data is only supposed to be used by domestic agencies such as the FBI in cases of national security. Above is the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland
Judges with the FISA secret surveillance court have repeatedly called out the FBI for its unconstitutional use of the NSA's electronic data. Above is US Cyber Command, home to the NSA headquarters in Maryland
The FBI did not say what it did with seized data that turned out to be harmless or irrelevant to its search, or whether its access to the NSA's electronic dragnet led to any arrests or convictions.
In 2019, a federal court ruled the US government can collect information about its citizens without obtaining a warrant if the information is gathered inadvertently while legally carrying out surveillance of non-nationals abroad, such as what the NSA does routinely.
The NSA monitors vast troves of global communications, including text messages, phone calls, emails and messages on encrypted apps, but is constrained by US law on how it uses the information against US citizens.
Incidental collection of Americans' data is allowed, according to a 2019 federal court ruling.
However, databases of stored NSA information could violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The FBI has traditionally only been allowed to seek data in cases of national security.
But after the bureau began making requests for routine criminal investigations, the FISA courts have been cracking down on how the FBI can access the data of Americans who are caught in these sweeps.
The FBI has been repeatedly blasted by federal judges over its use of the NSA's vast electronic sweep of emails, texts and other electronic data.
In October 2019, the agency was found to have performed tens of thousands of illegal searches on Americans.
It probed the NSA database for information on US citizens - when legally it only could have been used to gather foreign intelligence information or in cases of national security.
The National Security Agency, operating inside the United States, is authorized to collect communications of foreigners overseas for foreign intelligence purposes.
The searches potentially breach a person's right to a fair trial, as The Fourth Amendment protects American citizens from 'unreasonable searches.'
A search of such raw data goes against the very same law that authorizes the surveillance program, the court ruled.
In December 2019, the top FISA judge called out the FBI for repeatedly submitting applications to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page that were riddled with errors and omissions, and ordered the government to inform the court on how it plans to reform the process.
The scathing four-page order from Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), marks the first time the court has responded to the controversy, which became public last week with the release of a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (seen above speaking to the press at the White House on March 1) announced an internal review to assess the threat of violent extremism from within the Department of Homeland Security
The internal review is part of a broader administration focus on domestic threats following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. At least 52 of the more than 400 people arrested for taking part in the Capitol riot are either former or current military, law enforcement, or government service employees, according to ABC News
The NSA's vast dragnet of electronic data is only supposed to be used by domestic agencies such as the FBI in cases of national security.
In the newly released FISA report, which was dated November 2020, a judge says the FBI's Fourth Amendment violations were still 'apparently widespread'.
In a statement, a senior FBI official said the majority of the 'query incidents referenced in this report occurred prior to implementation of the FBI's system changes and training regarding the additional documentation requirements discussed above'.
FBI searches also looked into 'health care fraud, transnational organized crime, violent gangs' and 'public corruption and bribery'.
'The FBI is dedicated to full adherence with FISA's requirements and to keeping the American people safe from national security threats,' the senior FBI official said.
It's unclear if they have ever faced any legal repercussions for the repeated breaches.
Revelations that the FBI are continuing to access the NSA's database without a warrant comes as Congress is considering new domestic terror laws in response to the January 6 attacks on the Capitol.
Security agencies and police departments are also pledging to rid their ranks of violent extremists.
On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced an internal review to assess the threat within the agency.
Senior DHS officials will immediately begin the review, which is aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to extremism within the ranks of a sprawling agency that includes the Coast Guard and the nation's immigration enforcement organizations, Secretary Mayorkas said in a letter announcing the effort.
Leaked Facebook memo reveals how advertisers will be impacted following iOS 14.5 release - 9to5Mac
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:35
Apple finally introduced iOS 14.5 this week, which comes with the long-awaited App Tracking Transparency feature to prevent third-party apps from tracking users across the web. Since the announcement of this feature, Facebook has been complaining about the impact this option will have on its business model, and now a leaked company memo reveals how advertisers will be affected.
As revealed by Insider, the memo was sent to some advertisers on Wednesday explaining how App Tracking Transparency will affect advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. The company says it expects ad campaign results ''will fluctuate'' gradually as users update their devices to iOS 14.5 in the coming weeks
Advertisers will lose the ability to target an advertisement with an estimated time frame to result in a conversion when it comes to iOS users. The memo says:
'' 1-day click-through opt-out data will be modeled for advertisers.
'' 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution settings will no longer include iOS 14.5 opted-out events.
'' 28-day click-through, 7-day view-through, 28-day view-through attribution tools will no longer be available to advertisers.
For users running iOS 14.5, both the Facebook and Instagram apps will automatically opt out of tracking settings. The company also clarifies that it will not be possible to create things like Mobile App Install campaigns with iOS 14.5 users as the target audience. Those campaigns currently active with iOS users as the target audience will no longer be displayed for those running iOS 14.5.
For the coming weeks, advertisers should expect a decrease in the audience for their ads, with more users opting out of being tracked. This, of course, should also impact Facebook's revenue, which is primarily based on ads.
Earlier this week, a report detailed how Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg have been disagreeing over how apps should handle privacy. Facebook's CEO has heavily criticized Apple due to changes in the iOS privacy policy. However, more recently, Zuckerberg has argued that the social network will somehow benefit from these changes.
Read also:Hands-on: How to allow or block iPhone apps from tracking you in iOS 14.5Following iOS 14.5 release, Apple details App Tracking Transparency in new videoCraig Federighi talks App Tracking Transparency and pushback in new interviewiOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency toggle mysteriously grayed out for some usersFTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
About the AuthorFilipe Esp"sito @filipeespositoFilipe Esp"sito is a Brazilian tech Journalist who started covering Apple news on iHelp BR with some exclusive scoops '-- including the reveal of the new Apple Watch Series 5 models in titanium and ceramic. He joined 9to5Mac to share even more tech news around the world.
DHS Announces Extension of REAL ID Full Enforcement Deadline | Homeland Security
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:59
WASHINGTON '' Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023, due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has significantly impacted states' ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards, with many driver's licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity. DHS will publish an interim final rule in the coming days to effectuate this enforcement date change.
''Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,'' said Secretary Mayorkas. ''As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver's licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.''
Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are now compliant with REAL ID security standards and are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards. However, many state licensing agencies have extended the deadline for renewing expiring licenses due to a widespread shift to appointment-only scheduling protocols during the pandemic that has significantly limited states' capacity to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards. As a result, only 43 percent of all state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant. DHS and various states also need time to implement requirements mandated by the REAL ID Modernization Act, including changes that will streamline processing by allowing the electronic submission of certain documents.
DHS continues to work closely with all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to implement REAL ID Act requirements. For more information on REAL ID, visit www.dhs.gov/real-id.
iOS 14.5: A Guide to Apple's New App-Tracking Controls - WSJ
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:47
It's the biggest lie of our time: ''I have read the terms and conditions and privacy policy.''
Yet I have one request for you when iOS 14.5 arrives on your iPhone and privacy pop-upalooza begins: Read them. Lucky for you, they're short and crucial to understanding how your most personal info is used.
As for how you choose to answer these prompts, I have some advice on that, too.
On Monday, after many months of anticipation, Apple released iOS 14.5. The update isn't as big as the full-digit release that typically arrives each September, but it does have a few useful upgrades.
Siri has some new, more realistic voices. If you're setting up a new device, the virtual assistant no longer defaults to a female voice '--something I've long advocated for. Then, there's the new mask-unlock trick. If you're wearing a mask and want to unlock your iPhone without punching in a passcode, you can use your Apple Watch to confirm it's you. Oh, and there's a redesigned syringe emoji. No sore arm included.
But the most important and most controversial update? App Tracking Transparency'--abbreviated to ATT. The privacy feature requires any app that wants to track your activity and share it with other apps or websites to ask for permission.
''We really just want to give users a choice,'' Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, told me in an exclusive video interview. ''These devices are so intimately a part of our lives and contain so much of what we're thinking and where we've been and who we've been with that users deserve and need control of that information.'' He added, ''The abuses can range from creepy to dangerous.''
App developers, advertisers and social networks dependent on ad revenue don't see it as such a humanitarian decision. For years, they've relied on this sort of tracking and sharing your info with data brokers to build a dossier on your digital habits to serve you highly personalized ads. Facebook has been vocal about Apple's move, calling it ''harmful to small businesses,'' ''anticompetitive'' and ''hypocritical.''
''It's people opting out without understanding the impact,'' said Graham Mudd, Facebook 's vice president of Ads & Business Product Marketing. ''If you look at Apple's language and the lack of explanation, we're concerned that people will opt out because of this discouraging prompt, and we will find ourselves in a world where the internet has more paywalls and where far fewer small businesses are able to reach their customers.''
''It wasn't surprising to us to hear that some people were going to push back on this, but at the same time, we were completely confident that it's the right thing,'' Mr. Federighi said. While the feature's rollout has been delayed, Mr. Federighi said that was caused not by backlash but because Apple had to make sure app developers could comply when a user opted out of tracking. Mr. Federighi said Apple worked hard on the clarity of the prompts and has created privacy-respecting ad tools for developers.
After years of writing about the need for more privacy control, I'm grateful for the choice. But this is much more than just some eeny-meeny-miny-moe decision. This is a choice about who you think deserves your personal information, and how targeted you want the marketing in your feeds to be. When presented with a pop-up, here's what to consider.
Option 1: Ask App Not to TrackThis is your hands-off-my-data choice.
Tapping this tells the system not to share something you probably never knew you were sharing, called an IDFA'--Identifier for Advertisers. For years all iPhones have had this invisible string of numbers used for tracking and identifying you and your activity in and across apps. (Android has something similar.)
Here's an example of how it works: You download a free, ad-supported sleep app. A few hours later you start seeing ads for adult onesies in your Facebook feed. You also start seeing ads in the sleep app pertaining to other interests of yours'--potentially as innocent as dish soap or as personal as fertility treatments.
Behind the scenes the sleep app and Facebook were communicating about you using that identifier. And since most apps use it, the data attached to yours can include the apps you've downloaded, your search history, your purchase history, your recent locations and more.
Tapping this option will restrict the app from accessing that tracking number (which your device no longer shares by default), but it also tells that app you don't want to be tracked using sneakier means. That's why it says ''Ask App Not to Track'' rather than ''Do Not Track,'' Mr. Federighi explained.
Apps that might ignore the policy and continue to track through other means could be punished in the App Store, he added. ''They might not be able to provide updates or their app could even be removed from the store.'' Translation: Follow the rules or get out.
The appeal of this option doesn't need my explanation: Stop the tracking and the ''surveillance capitalism,'' as some call it, that's been happening behind the scenes all these years.
Those who prioritize privacy'--or just don't like pop-ups'--can opt out of tracking altogether with a universal setting that tells all apps, ''No.'' On your iPhone go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking. You'll see ''Allow Apps to Request to Track.'' Turn it off and apps won't ask'--and they won't have access to your identifier.
If an app doesn't have a pop-up, it doesn't have your identifier and it shouldn't be tracking and sharing your info with other apps. Apple's own apps won't have pop-ups, Mr. Federighi said. Google has also announced that many of its iOS apps will no longer use the IDFA.
Option 2: Allow TrackingTap this option and your data flows like the Mississippi'--at least among the apps that get your consent. App makers have two opportunities to explain how they will use the data and convince you they're worthy.
When you get the pop-up, under the question ''Allow [app] to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites?'' you'll see a message from the app maker in small text. Most are short and tend to explain the need to track for ''relevant'' or ''personalized'' ads. Still, read them'--you may be surprised by what's said.
Others go a step further. Before you get to that official pop-up, some will show a full screen explaining the benefits of advertising and how they use personal data.
Merriam-Webster sure got my attention: ''The Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus with hundreds of thousands of entries are free, but we couldn't do that without ads.'' That's one way to pull at the heartstrings of a professional writer. The McDonald's app offering more ads for ''food you love''? Not as compelling.
When I asked business owners and execs in the ad industry and social media to explain why people should tap ''Allow,'' their answers boiled down to the following:
You want relevant ads. Many tracking pleas mentioned the days when our social-media feeds were full of pointless ads. ''I don't have a baby. I don't even like babies! Why are you trying to sell me diapers?'' But remember tapping this won't make all ads'--and not even all relevant ads'--go away. There are still ways to deliver targeted ads without this sort of tracking. You want to support small businesses. ''As a consumer and mother, I get it. As a business owner, this sucks,'' Erin LaCkore, a 35-year-old owner of LaCkore Couture, a small jewelry brand, told me. ''There are so many more people I would be able to reach.'' Facebook's ad tools allow her and many other small businesses to carefully target people who would be interested in their products. ''When people go to make this decision, I want them to A) think of their safety but B) what you might have missed out on that you might have loved as a consumer,'' she added. (My colleague Christopher Mims explored the impact on small businesses in a recent column.)
You want the internet to remain free. Facebook argues this move threatens the ability for apps to remain free and ad-supported. Mr. Federighi said that there was a similar response years back when Apple introduced privacy features in Safari, yet ads still appear on websites viewed in Safari. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of people will likely say no to tracking. AppsFlyer is a measurement firm that helps businesses evaluate ad-campaign performance. According to the company's data, based on the early use of ATT in iOS, the opt-in rate was an average of 26% per app across nearly 550 apps. People are more likely to allow tracking with nongaming apps and brands that they trust.
Whatever you decide, you can always change your mind. In that Tracking section of your Privacy settings, you can adjust your choice for each app.
''People have their own sense of privacy and how important it is to them,'' Mr. Federighi said. ''So we will all make our personal decisions.''
His personal decision? Oh, he'll be opting out. I plan to do the same for many apps'--especially ones that handle my most personal information'--but I will consider it case by case, and read each pop-up with care.
'--For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Write to Joanna Stern at joanna.stern@wsj.com
Climate Emergency
The Planet on the Plate: Why Epicurious Left Beef Behind | Epicurious
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 22:14
For any person'--or publication'--wanting to envision a more sustainable way to cook, cutting out beef is a worthwhile first step. Almost 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally come from livestock (and everything involved in raising it); 61 percent of those emissions can be traced back to beef. Cows are 20 times less efficient to raise than beans and roughly three times less efficient than poultry and pork. It might not feel like much, but cutting out just a single ingredient'--beef'--can have an outsize impact on making a person's cooking more environmentally friendly.
Today Epicurious announces that we've done just that: We've cut out beef. Beef won't appear in new Epicurious recipes, articles, or newsletters. It will not show up on our homepage. It will be absent from our Instagram feed.
View more
We know that some people might assume that this decision signals some sort of vendetta against cows'--or the people who eat them. But this decision was not made because we hate hamburgers (we don't!). Instead, our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world's worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.
Of course, when it comes to the planet, eschewing beef is not a silver bullet. All ruminant animals (like sheep and goats) have significant environmental costs, and there are problems with chicken, seafood, soy, and almost every other ingredient. In a food system so broken, almost no choice is perfect.
And yet we know that home cooks want to do better. We know because we actually pulled the plug on beef well over a year ago, and our readers have rallied around the recipes we published in beef's place. For every burger recipe we didn't publish, we put a vegetarian recipe into the world instead; rather than articles about ground beef, we talked about alt-meats from brands like Lightlife, a sponsor of this collection of recipes. And last summer, when America's annual grilling holiday rolled around, we set our fires on cauliflower and mushrooms, not steaks and hot dogs.
The traffic and engagement numbers on these stories don't lie: When given an alternative to beef, American cooks get hungry.
Why announce our decision now? While beef consumption in the U.S. is significantly down from where it was 30 years ago, it has been slowly creeping up in the past few years. The conversation about sustainable cooking clearly needs to be louder; this policy is our contribution to that conversation.
Addressing climate change requires legislation, international cooperation, and buy-in from the corporate sector. Individual actions like choosing alt-meat'--or mushrooms, or chickpeas'--instead of the real thing can feel so small they're essentially pointless. But every time you abstain from beef at the grocery store or a restaurant, you send a signal'--to the grocery store, yes, but also, and perhaps more influentially, to whomever you talk to about your decision. Our announcement today is simply us loudly (and proudly!) letting you, the home cook, know about a step we're taking. (Admittedly, we're also hoping the rest of American food media joins us too.)
Some of you will have questions (we've tried to anticipate those questions and answer them here). Some of you will wonder if Epicurious has become a site with an agenda. Rest assured, the beef recipes that were published in 2019 and before are still on the site; they are not going anywhere. Likewise, Epi's agenda is the same as it has always been: to inspire home cooks to be better, smarter, and happier in the kitchen. The only change is that we now believe that part of getting better means cooking with the planet in mind. If we don't, we'll end up with no planet at all.
Maggie Hoffman is the senior editor at Epicurious. David Tamarkin is the former digital director of Epicurious.
Are our pets fueling climate change and environmental hazards? - Vox
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:23
From the meat-based meals to kitty litter to plastic poop bags, pet care is unarguably bad for the environment. What can we do about it?
By Eleanor Cummins and Maki Naro on April 23, 2021 7:00 am Part of The Animals Issue of The Highlight, our home for ambitious stories that explain our world.
2017-2018 Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook by the American Veterinary Medical Association US Public Views on Climate and Energy (October 2019) by Pew Research Center Pets in America: A History by Katherine C. Grier Livestock a major threat to environment by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats in PLOS One by Gregory S. Okin Scoop the poop from the University of Washington's School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Water Footprint Calculator Eleanor Cummins is a science writer and frequent contributor to the Highlight. Most recently, she's written about the new skepticism and the Twitter presidency for Vox.
Maki Naro is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and science communicator and the author of seven self-published comic books. He previously illustrated a comic about why there are so few women Nobel Prize winners for Vox.
War on Vape
Biden administration expected to ban menthol cigarettes
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:56
April 28, 2021 | 12:31pm | Updated April 28, 2021 | 1:33pm
President Biden's administration is expected to announce this week a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes in a move that will leave many Americans without their preferred flavor.
The new policy would disproportionately impact black smokers. Menthol cigarettes are used by more than three-fourths of African-Americans who smoke. About a quarter of white smokers prefer menthol rather than unflavored cigarettes.
Anonymous Biden administration officials confirmed the timing of the announcement to the Washington Post.
Leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus have pushed the idea. Then-caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) wrote in an op-ed last year: ''As we continue to push to protect Black lives, we must put an end to one of the most pernicious destroyers of Black health and lives: deadly menthol cigarettes.''
The Biden administration's policy on menthol cigarettes would impact black Americans the most. Getty ImagesIt's unclear how long menthol users would have to brace for the transition. Other recent reports indicated that the administration is exploring a separate policy that would require tobacco companies to lower the nicotine content in cigarettes.
About 13.7 percent of American adults were smokers as of 2018, a dramatic decline from more than 40 percent in the mid-1960s. Higher taxes and educational campaigns about health consequences like lung cancer and heart disease played a role.
The effort to ban menthol cigarettes has been pushed by the Congressional Black Caucus. Getty ImagesIn the past decade, many smokers transitioned to electronic cigarettes, drawn by their lack of stench and preliminary research that indicates they're lower-risk than combustible tobacco.
Last year the Trump administration's Food and Drug Administration banned e-cigarette flavors aside from tobacco and menthol, arguing that candy and fruit flavors could hook teens into addiction, even though many adults said they too enjoyed the flavors. A 2019 law raised the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 in all states.
Biden To Propose $80 Billion For IRS, More Power To Chase Down High-Income Tax Evasion | ZeroHedge
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:05
The Biden administration is expected to propose giving the IRS $80 billion and granting the agency more power to track down tax evasion by high-income individuals and corporations, according to the New York Times, citing 'two people familiar with the plan.' The proposed funding would be an increase of two-thirds over the agency's entire budget for for past decade.
The 10-year proposal would also include new disclosure requirements for small business owners not organized as corporations, as well as other wealthy people who could be hiding income from the IRS. Those using so-called pass-through corporations (such as the one the Bidens used to funnel $13 million through tax loopholes), as well as people holding wealth in 'opaque structures,' would be subject to new reporting requirements.
The additional money and enforcement power will accompany new disclosure requirements for people who own businesses that are not organized as corporations and for other wealthy people who could be hiding income from the government.
The Biden administration will portray those efforts '-- coupled with new taxes it is proposing on corporations and the rich '-- as a way to level the tax playing field between typical American workers and very high-earners who employ sophisticated efforts to minimize or avoid taxation. -New York Times
According to the report, some $700 billion in tax revenues recovered over 10 years by the beefed-up IRS will help pay for Biden's next stimulus injection - dubbed the "American Families Plan" - which is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion. It will follow Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, which follows some $5.3 trillion already passed for pandemic relief (Ethereum hit all-time highs today, coincidentally).
The new plan would include universal prekindergrten, a paid federal leave program, and childcare affordability measures - as well as free community college for all.
Biden also plans to pay for his printing bonanza by raising the top marginal income tax rate for wealthy Americans to 39.6% from 37%, and wants to raise capital gains tax rates for those earning over $1 million per year - including income received through stock dividends.
The Biden administration is likely to portray the $780 billion recovered over 10-years as a conservative estimates - as it only includes money directly collected through enhanced tax audits and additional reporting requirements - and doesn't count people or businesses who choose to pay more taxes after previously avoiding them.
Previous administrations have long talked about trying to close the so-called tax gap '-- the amount of money that taxpayers owe but that is not collected each year. This month, the head of the I.R.S., Charles Rettig, told a Senate committee that the agency lacked the resources to catch tax cheats, costing the government as much as $1 trillion a year. The agency's funding has failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years, amid budget tightening efforts, and its audits of rich taxpayers have declined.
Mr. Biden aims to change that. His economic team includes a University of Pennsylvania economist, Natasha Sarin, whose research with the Harvard University economist Lawrence H. Summers suggests that the United States could raise as much as $1.1 trillion over a decade via increased tax enforcement.
Mr. Summers praised Mr. Biden's expected plan in an email late Monday. ''This is the broadly right approach,'' he said. ''Deterioration in I.R.S. enforcement effort and information gathering is scandalous. The Biden plan would make the American tax system fairer, more efficient and, I'm confident, raise more revenue than official scorekeepers now forecast '-- likely a trillion over 10 years.'' -New York Times
The Biden admin's $80 billion plan would also provide the IRS with a dedicated funding stream, allowing the agency to 'steadily ramp up their enforcement practices without fear of budget cuts, and to signal to potential tax evaders that the agency's efforts will not be soon diminished."
Former IRS commissioner under President George H.W. Bush, Fred T. Goldberg Jr., called the new plan "transformative" for integrating several approaches.
"Information reporting, coupled with restoring enforcement efforts, is key to improve in compliance," Goldberg told the Times in an email. "Audits alone will never do the trick."
"None of this happens overnight. A decade of stable funding is necessary to recruit and train talent and build on the necessary technology '-- not only for compliance purposes but to meet the quality of services that the vast majority complaint taxpayers expect and deserve."
Value Investing Icon Jumps Off Manhattan Skyrscraper To His Death Days After Liquidating Fund | ZeroHedge
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:55
Desperate analysts languishing on the bottom rung of finance's long career ladder aren't the only ones committing suicide anymore.
Charles de Vaulx, a renowned value investor and co-founder of International Value Advisors, "died suddenly Monday afternoon, leaving the asset management industry in shock. It was an apparent suicide, according to the New York Police Department, who confirmed to the press that de Vaulx jumped from the 10th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper to his death. The apparent suicide comes just days after he finished winding down his investment firm.
As Barrons adds, "de Vaulx, 59, had built a long career as a risk-aware global investor who never deviated from his deep-value approach, even when it meant keeping as much as 40% of his funds in cash because he couldn't find attractive investments during a 13-year stretch in which the markets favored faster-growing companies. De Vaulx's conviction set him apart in the industry, even among other battle-tested contrarians." He was also a father of two.
Charles de VaulxFor de Vaulx and thousands of other dedicated value investors, the last decade or so, where the Federal Reserve has perverted the price discovery process by flooding the financial system with liquidity, has been led to an extended drought for their businesses. Though value enjoyed a brief resurgence earlier this year, momentum growth funds and cryptocurrencies have produced world-beating returns while dividend-producing value stocks have seen valuations stagnate at levels well below their momentum rivals as investors place a premium on projections in a low-yield universe.
And while even value-investing titan Warren Buffet has been forced to adapt by embracing Apple and other tech stocks, de Vaulx - a disciple of legendary French value manager Jean-Marie Eveillard at SocGen and then First Eagle, before he went on to launch IVA in 2008 - was a value purist until the literal end. He served as chairman and CIO of IVA until it closed up shop earlier this month.
"Others were willing to compromise and try some new approaches to adapt," said Gregg Wolper, senior analyst at Morningstar Manager Research. "De Vaulx didn't think that was appropriate, and stuck to the deep value approach. His investors appreciated it because there weren't many other places to find that."
And the end finally came earlier this year when International Value Advisers announced in March that it planned to liquidate its two US mutual funds. The liquidation was finalized last week. The firm added that "all associated accounts and funds will be similarly liquidated," Morning Star, which broke the news of Vaulx's suicide, reported.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our Chairman and CIO, Charles de Vaulx," reads a statement on IVA's website. The firm had more than $20 billion in assets under management at its peak, but had shrunk to just $863 million as of the end of last year.
But for all the years of peer-beating performance at First Eagle and then IVA, de Vaulx's investors apparently weren't thrilled when he took a step back as the shocking accumulation of debt in the post-crisis era deeply bothered him, making it near-impossible for him to pick stocks using his traditional methods.
Very much a bottoms-up investor who did deep research into companies and would passionately make the case for them, de Valux was also attuned to broader macroeconomic forces. And the high levels of debt around the world'--both government and individual'--troubled de Vaulx. That along with high valuations contributed to his desire to hang on to cash, even as markets charged ahead. ''The reason he stuck with it wasn't because he was stubborn but because he felt it was the best way to invest to protect his shareholders from losses and it was his duty to preserve capital,'' Wolper added.
That conviction earned him respect in the industry. "Charles was a thoughtful, talented, disciplined, and risk-averse investor, who brought an intensity to his craft,'' said Larry Pitkowsky, a fellow value manager at GoodHaven Capital Management. ''And he was also a generous friend to many in the investment business."
One source close to de Vaulx told the New York Post that his death was like "a Shakespearean tragedy." The Post also reported that de Vaulx had reportedly been depressed by the redemptions at his firm, especially when longtime clients pulled money.
VIDEO - (95) Susanna Clashes With Environmental Campaigner In Debate About Giving Up Pets | Good Morning Britain - YouTube
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:05
VIDEO - Chicago To Offer A ''Vax Pass'' Next Month As An Incentive For People To Get The COVID Vaccine '' CBS Chicago
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 12:38
April 28, 2021 at 1:30 pm CHICAGO (CBS) '-- Next month, the city of Chicago will offer ''Vax Passes.''
They will allow vaccinated people to attend certain concerts and events. More details on how it works are expected in the next few weeks.
READ MORE: 'I Ran Out There And Grabbed Them': Uber Driver Rushes To Help Man Injured In Shooting, Crash In South LoopAsked about the city's ''Vax Pass'' initiative, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is ''constantly looking at ways in which we can incentivize folks to get the vaccine.''
''We're going to be looking at ways in which we can incentivize people to get vaccinated, and do that by looking at preferred seating, preferred admission. So that's still very much a work in progress, and we'll have more to say on that in the coming days,'' she said.
The mayor said vaccinations among the city's Black population are still lagging behind every other demographic.
''So we really need '' particularly 18 to 44, where we're seeing the lowest uptake '' we need you to get vaccinated. Do it, of course, for yourself; but for your family, for your grandparents,'' Lightfoot said. ''There's plenty of opportunity now all over the city to get vaccinated for free '' let me emphasize that, for free. So don't be a bystander. Get in the game. Get yourself vaccinated.''
READ MORE: Investigators In Delphi, Indiana Murder Case Looking Into Possible Link To Man Arrested In LafayetteOn Tuesday, Doctor Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the ''Vax Pass'' is another way to convince people to get the COVID shot.
''Younger people in particular may be excited about the idea of getting into events for example that might be limited to people who are vaccinated,'' Arwady said. ''So we're exploring some possibilities of concerts or events that might not be just youth focus, but would probably have a youth flavor to it. We're working with some club organizers and others and there will be more information coming.''
Arwady added that the city is working on another vaccine-related initiative called ''Vax and Relax'' that could provide special offers for people who've already gotten their shot.
''Working with the barbershops and beauty salons nail salons. The main incentive, I would hope is to get a vaccine, but if I had the opportunity to get a free haircut or get my nails done in this sort of more of a like let's celebrate the fact that this is how we are going to get past COVID,'' Arwady said.
She added that the outreach to get more people to get the COVID vaccine is to possibly go to where they are.
MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Showers Possible Thursday; Warmup Ahead''Where are places you're waiting? You might wait at a laundromat. It's not that they've said I don't want to get a vaccine it's just maybe not first on their list of things to do,'' Arwady said. ''Thinking of creative ways to get the vaccine available where people are anyway, is really going to be central to some of our strategy.''
VIDEO - (13) TODAY on Twitter: "''You can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk.'' -Dr. Anthony Fauci responding to podcast host Joe Rogan's suggestion that young people not get the COVID-19 vaccine https://t.co/6E02GI31VV"
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:57
TODAY : ''You can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk.'' -Dr. Anthony Fauci responding to podcas'... https://t.co/vkDjTp6RDM
Wed Apr 28 11:20:36 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Washington Examiner on Twitter: ".@dbongino asks former President Donald Trump: "Would you consider, if you were to run again, getting out really early, say after the midterm elections?" Trump: "If I do that... I think probably the most appropriat
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:16
Washington Examiner : .@dbongino asks former President Donald Trump:"Would you consider, if you were to run again, getting out really e'... https://t.co/tjdIMEWjIp
Wed Apr 28 17:49:03 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Pip: "POW! Johnson hits back with a right hook to the s'..." - No Agenda Social
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:46
POW! Johnson hits back with a right hook to the spine! Pfizer stumbles around! What a hit!
Woman paralyzed after she got her 2nd Pfizer shot. But she's still positive! She can at least feel her toes!
@ adam @ Johncdvorak
VIDEO - Joe Rogan, Who's Not A Doctor, Gives Terrible Vaccine Advice | The 11th Hour | MSNBC - YouTube
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:43
VIDEO - NPC #123-666 on Twitter: "@PetiteNicoco Lol @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:31
NPC #123-666 : @PetiteNicoco Lol @adamcurry
Thu Apr 29 00:35:50 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (91) New York State Citizen Public Health Leader Training - Course Preview - YouTube
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 14:10
VIDEO - (91) Kansas City Mayor relaxes COVID guidelines - YouTube
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:42
VIDEO - Arizona School Board Flees, Parents Elect New Board, Vote To End Mask Mandate |
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:32
covidApril 28, 2021
On Tuesday, the Vail School District in southern Arizona was scheduled to discuss its mask policy after Gov. Doug Ducey enacted a new executive order that lifted the state's order to require face masks in schools.
In response to the meeting, more than a hundred parents rallied for the Vail School District to drop the mask mandate.
But just moments before the meeting was scheduled to take place, school officials abruptly decided to cancel the meeting, citing safety concerns over the parents' protest.
A sheriff's deputy says the meeting has been canceled. Upset parents want to know why. There are dozens gathered at the door'... others in the parking lot. pic.twitter.com/MjjEIAWvKT
'-- Eric Fink (@EricMillerFink) April 28, 2021A throng of parents later pushed their way into the board room while refusing to wear masks and demanded to speak with their elected officials.
In response, the Vail board called 911, and Pima County Sheriff Nanos told KGUN 9, a sergeant and four deputies showed up in just over a minute.
The district said the sheriff told the board to adjourn the study session because the crowd was uncontrollable.
But the Sheriff says that's false, the board made that decision on their own, and crowd control was not an issue.
Emotions quite high.. Parents demanding answers from the sheriff's deputy as to why the school board left. The deputy trying to explain the meeting is canceled for tonight. @KVOA pic.twitter.com/nutYVKkShM
'-- Eric Fink (@EricMillerFink) April 28, 2021Emotions ran high as parents confronted law enforcement, demanding to know why the board canceled the meeting. ''They [school board] have the audacity to leave when we come here as peaceful parents to talk to them,'' one parent passionately asked.
Following the adjournment, the parents, under Robert's Rules of Order, voted in a new school board. Then, the new members voted to end the mask requirement in Vail Schools. Whether this procedure to install new board members is legally valid remains in contention.
Quite a night here in Vail. Some parents voted in the hallway to elect a new school board. This has no merit as school board members must be elected in an actual election. I'll have the latest from a wild night coming up at 10. @KVOA pic.twitter.com/5D6qUXWAi7
'-- Eric Fink (@EricMillerFink) April 28, 2021But a Facebook account posted video of the meeting with this summary explaining the parents' position:
''Vail School Board violates Arizona open meeting law, refuse to hear from the people, and goes home. So, the People hold quorum, call their own meeting to order, elect a new School Board, and immediately vote to CANCEL the mask mandate '' along with voting to disallow any medical procedure being forced on the children or employees. This is how you take back power from a tyrannical government.
Great work to the parents of the students in Vail School District.''
Watch the video of the parents voting to replace the board:
Categories: covid, News, Politics
VIDEO - Heroin's Hidden Ingredient, Courtesy of a U.S. Company - YouTube
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:03
VIDEO - How Avantor helps in the vaccine supply chain - YouTube
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:49
VIDEO - Ep 2463b '' Panic Everywhere, America Deserves The Truth, It's Going To Be A Very Hot Summer | ..
Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:14
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The patriots are in full control, the audit moves forward. The [DS] is trying everything to block the audit, if this fails they will try to block the audit information. [JK] has been trapped with leaked info. Judicial Watch confirms the government is colluding with Big Tech to censor the people of this country. Flynn sends a message, that the patriots are fighting for this country and it will be ok. Scavino sends more messages, trust the plan.
VIDEO - Political Correctness and Vacuous Wokeness: Douglas Murray debates Sylvana Simons - YouTube
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 14:37
VIDEO - (91) Gun Expert Leaves Congress Speechless With Gun Facts - YouTube
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:28
VIDEO - (91) JUST IN: GOP Senator Demands John Kerry's Resignation For Alleged Iran Revelations - YouTube
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:17
VIDEO - COVID-19: Bill Gates hopeful world 'completely back to normal' by end of 2022 - YouTube
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:46
VIDEO - SHOCK: YouTube CEO Details EXACTLY How Independent News Is Screwed - YouTube
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:32
VIDEO - Sean Olesen on Twitter: "@CarolineCoramUK @garethicke Nice super-clip. @adamcurry had something similar on the No Agenda Show over 6 months ago, well before the US presidential election." / Twitter
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 22:46
Sean Olesen : @CarolineCoramUK @garethicke Nice super-clip.@adamcurry had something similar on the No Agenda Show over 6 months'... https://t.co/8k1LTvbaYz
Mon Apr 26 15:37:27 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (89) Austin Residents Can't Agree on How to Fix the Homelessness Crisis - YouTube
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 13:19
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 00:55


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All Clips

Gupta Avantor - Heroin’s Hidden Ingredient, Courtesy of a U.S. Company 1.mp3
GOP Senator Accuses Vanita Gupta Of Telling Flat-Out Lies During Her Confirmation Hearing 1.mp3
Biden AfghanistanVALUE White Supremacists are the worst.mp3
Biden Spoof - 90Percent of the time ISOmp3.mp3
Biden We the people Cruz.on Hannity.mp3
Biden We the people.mp3
Ted Cruz buttslam Biden.mp3
Biden - Jobs Jobs Jobs.mp3
Biden - now we are on mars it gave us the internet.mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Mona Kosar Abdi - epicurious a popular cooking website will no longer post beef recipes (41sec).mp3
Good Morning Britain - Pets and climate change.mp3
ABC This Week - anchor George Stephanopoulus - Fauci India (1min11sec).mp3
Biden opening as Obama.mp3
Christiane Northrup 4 wrap.mp3
Christiane Northrup One backgounder.mp3
Christiane Northrup Three.mp3
Christiane Northrup Two.mp3
Civilization IsO.mp3
Demon ISO.mp3
Giuliani raided.mp3
Hotez finales.mp3
Hotez on making vaccines.mp3
Jones on Austin homeless.mp3
metgane rollback.mp3
Nashville lassts one hour.mp3
NPR Fact checks.mp3
Pieers Morgan Jonny Rotton 2015.mp3
Poscaster on covid shot.mp3
SD pot laws.mp3
Stonehenge One.mp3
Stonehenge two.mp3
Tim Scott report NPR.mp3
weird bill gates interview.mp3
wind Turbine props.mp3
BIDEM overlooked horris commen-longt.mp3
BIDEM overlooked horris comment.mp3
Biden fact check.mp3
Biden on Taxes.mp3
Fox Business CCP Oscar Clhoe censored.mp3
Covid-19 Immunity in our Community (podcast) - anchor Robin Roberts - (1) Intro (25sec).mp3
Covid-19 Immunity in our Community (podcast) - anchor Robin Roberts - (2) Fauci if someone has had covid do they still need to get vaccinated (1min17sec).mp3
Pfizer Girl Marketing Video EOS.mp3
Austin tard votes against prop B but wants it to pass - VICE.mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Kenneth Moton - Joe Rogan under fire for his comments about vaccine with clip (40sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Kenneth Moton - private school in Miami Centner Academy bars teachers who are vaccinated (48sec).mp3
ABC This Week - anchor George Stephanopoulus - Fauci why vaccinate everyone and not just those that want it - clip of Sen. Ron Johnson (1min20sec).mp3
CBS Face the Nation - anchor John Dickerson - Dr. Scott Gottlieb (1) introduction - sits on board of pfizer and illumina (8sec).mp3
CBS Face the Nation - anchor John Dickerson - Dr. Scott Gottlieb (2) vaccine hesitancy - marginal customers - give pharmacies a little extra (1min22sec).mp3
Chicago vaccine mix up pfizer and moderna shots.mp3
NBC Meet the Press - anchor Chuck Todd - Dir. of NIH Dr. Francis Collins whats the number for herd immunity (1min35sec).mp3
NBC Meet the Press - anchor Chuck Todd - Dir. of NIH Dr. Francis Collins when will emergency use authorization be lifted - mandating the vaccine (1min37sec).mp3
NPR - Long-Term Studies Of COVID-19 Vaccines Hurt By Placebo Recipients Getting Immunized.mp3
Savannah and Fauci confusion on CDC mask guidelines.mp3
Savannah with Fauci on ROgan anti-vaxx statement.mp3
Doctors forum on vaccine and women cycles and shedding.mp3
  • 0:00
    John: You want the city to clean up the poop?
  • 0:02
    Adam: Adam Curry Jhansi devorah 29 2021 This is your award winning chemo nation media assassination Episode 1342
  • 0:10
    Unknown: This is no agenda
  • 0:15
    Adam: and broadcasting live from opportunity zone 33 here in front of Austin, Texas capital of the drone Star State in the morning everybody.
  • 0:22
    John: I'm Adam Curry from Northern Silicon Valley where we just missed an eight cars effort. Things are just moving along swimmingly, and Jhansi
  • 0:34
    Adam: Wait a minute, do we need official Zephyr reports? It was eight cars. What does that mean?
  • 0:39
    John: It means it was a nine cars effort. They carried the male car, luggage car whatever they used to carry, which is big deal. It's a lot of cars.
  • 0:47
    Adam: Ladies and gentlemen, I have night.
  • 0:50
    John: But I want to get I want to get well you can do the rest of your little bit there. But there was so yesterday there was one today, five engines pulling this thing there was one yesterday or the day before I decided to count the cars. Yeah. So we had three engines and front and lugging along and then there were two more engines in the middle of this array of container cars each one holding two there's two container no two containers on a car 140 cars.
  • 1:27
    Adam: Ladies and gentlemen, this is no longer a Zephyr report. This is a former report at China may be moving their gold out of the United States Bitcoin currently 53,688 Oh my god.
  • 1:44
    John: I mean, not only was that at that many containers, yeah. Which would be 140 280. Almost 300 containers. Yeah. But they were from the number two different shipping companies. I'm starting to see. I mean, besides the old the old regulars, you know,
  • 2:01
    Adam: like Mary Maersk and those guys? Yeah,
  • 2:03
    John: yeah, Maris is one of them. There's a bunch of them. But there's now there's you know, CMA CMA, there's lob just letters I'm doing put anything on him. It's there's just a lot of new Chinese shipping companies. It's like a way to make money. Hmm.
  • 2:19
    Adam: Is it possible that it contains chips, chips for our cars? in Austin, car lead car dealers are going out of state to find secondhand cars. There's no inventory. If you buy a new car in Austin, you're not going to get it delivered. You have to wait. But so they're going out of state to find second hand cars. This is nuts.
  • 2:48
    John: I found that I find this whole chip shortage thing to be somewhat. There's something something amiss with the reporting on it. I watched, I watch all these shows the financial shows and they keep talking about well, is unexpected, unexpected. There's an unexpected. Oh, crap. That's what I say. Oh, expected demand has created the chip shortage. I
  • 3:10
    Adam: don't believe that for a sec.
  • 3:11
    John: They're lying to us. I don't believe that either.
  • 3:15
    Adam: There's gambling going on there. Yeah, but this is this. I mean, but there's no one's really saying anything. Just like oh, well, there's chip shortage. You have a way to the chips come from from China. Well, what
  • 3:27
    John: kind of chips? Are they? Well, they're actually not that important. Some of them are a lot of entertainment chips. for entertainment systems, some other embedded things, maybe all you have to do is find one chip. That is a bottleneck. Yeah. You take a look at today's cars. Yeah. Which is a good reason to buy a 10 year old car or older. You look at today's cars, and they have so many chips in them. Yeah, that if one loan little chip, it could be anything. It might it might be a one if there's a one source supplier of one specific chip. And that chip is necessary for the car to go off assembly can't go up. Can't go out. So
  • 4:10
    Adam: we have the millennials car who moved to New York, which is bought and paid for and no, actually we were just waiting for the title to come in, so that we could then go turn around and sell it. I think maybe we'll hold on to it for a couple more months when people are really really it's a monster three, but it's low mileage. It's a 20 I think it's a 2016 or 20 2016 thing's worth a fortune only has 50,000 miles on it. Yes, it's worth a fortune. I think it is. And it started last night. I care so much about our second hand car that I went out and put a moving blanket on the roof because the rain stick did its business. Here's a note for one of our producers Mr. Adam Curry. It's coming down in Southeast Texas right now. Grandma Said golf ball sized hail in Del Rio Brackett Ville area. Thunderstorms and hail is definitely the sign of the no agenda rain stick. And yes, you know that two days after we shake the stick it's always going to have weather in Austin. In fact, grandma just got the the back end of the stick. I can't help it. That's and it came up towards Austin. We didn't get the golf ball sized hail. But I saw the no agenda producers group for Texas. And they
  • 5:27
    John: were so is that the normal operating procedure? We don't have hail like that. Yes. Yeah. Put
  • 5:32
    Adam: it you put a moving blanket on the roof,
  • 5:34
    John: which is a padded blanket. Yeah, exactly. So that prevents the damage to the cars.
  • 5:40
    Adam: That's the theory. You know, Tina's car was in the garage. My car's in the garage. And this one just sitting outside like golf ball sized hail will damage any car or break windows. Yeah, yeah, that too. So it did rain. I have a very wet blanket on the car. No dents. But there was no did I mean it was thunder and lightning all night but and rain but no, no hail. Yeah. Anyway, that's the rain.
  • 6:07
    John: So everyone in Texas has these moving blankets.
  • 6:10
    Adam: It's very common to see that in the back of a car or truck. Yeah.
  • 6:15
    John: Yeah,
  • 6:16
    Adam: yeah, I think we've talked about that before but
  • 6:19
    John: that that's something I would want to remember because I've always been fascinated by these hailstones, that bus get the shit out of push. Some guys got a car and next thing you know it's ruined.
  • 6:31
    Adam: And you'll see pictures if you look now just say se you know, Texas hail. You'll see pictures of dented cars everywhere.
  • 6:38
    John: Yeah. Could be a look, though, you know, you could have this thing being maybe fashionable. Yeah, sure.
  • 6:46
    Adam: It's very fashionable. It's the steel drum of cars of car design. So now, there's a whole bunch of different things we could start with.
  • 6:57
    John: I think we should tell you we got a few COVID things to get out of the way cuz?
  • 7:01
    Adam: Well, not just a few. I got some India stuff. Producers came in big.
  • 7:07
    John: So yes, I got some of these notes from India. And I've got some. Well, if you want to go with COVID, India, we could I want to actually start with this instead. Okay, mainly because I want to get this out of the way.
  • 7:21
    Adam: Yeah, these are the bonus because it's just burst. It's just goosing all over your hand. And you just don't want to
  • 7:26
    John: know because it has a lot to do with what we're going to talk about. I know what we're going to talk about. All right, all right. So I've got this note, this thing just came out in nature April 29. PAGE 661. This guy who's a famous pro via of pro vaccine guy, incredibly famous. And in fact, he is on the these two bonus clips. I'll give you an example of him. But you can listen to these clips. It starting with the setup clip. There's a two parter on there that you can play the setup question with this was this guy showed up on Earth Day on Democracy Now? And then I'll talk to you about his little editorial that he wrote for haggis. I
  • 8:15
    Adam: have no clip called setup, but
  • 8:18
    John: what it's named the one that's got the misspelling.
  • 8:24
    Adam: Oh, that one,
  • 8:26
    Unknown: Dr. Hotez. Very quickly. Before we conclude, I'd like to ask you about a recent article you wrote for the BMJ journal, a saying that the high death toll from COVID-19 has not arisen from SARS COVID to transmission alone, but also anti science forces promoting defiance against vaccines. And you talk about the globalization of this anti vaccine movement. Could you just explain what that is and how that happened and how to counter it.
  • 8:59
    Adam: All right.
  • 9:00
    John: Now I wanted to put that first of put that out, before we played his response, which goes on forever. By the way, this guy's a chatterbox. I'm pretty convinced I may show it later in the show. I have a third clip from him that I believe Bill Gates gets his material from this guy. Because there's a bunch of parallels that I can identify. All right, but this guy who talks and talks and talks he's on CNBC all the time he's got his background is in vaccines. He's a vaccine expert. He's got two or three understudy that he's developed. He even has a vaccine for worms. Hook worm or something
  • 9:38
    Adam: ivermectin into your veins
  • 9:40
    John: because I don't know this would seem this would be the easier way to go. But he makes a big stink about vaccines being the anti science aspect which is not true. And in this journal, or the nature I'm not everybody, they mentioned that but I just wanted to just came out of nature magazine, April. 29th there's a call pullquote right in the middle, it says accurate targeted counter messages. what he's doing here is his title. This is COVID vaccines time to confront anti Vax aggression and aggression, no less. No. Yeah. So he says, and then there's the pullquote is accurate, targeted counter messaging from the global health community is important, but insufficient. Now, what? That's an interesting thing to say, because most of the stuff that I think people are, he would identify us as being I don't know if you can call us anti vaxxer. But skeptical of some of these?
  • 10:37
    Adam: No, I'd say that we are at this moment anti COVID vaccine. Not if it was a traditional vaccine, but mRNA.
  • 10:48
    John: mRNA Yeah, but but the point is, is that what he says here in this poll, quote, is, is bogus. Because you and I, I'm just using ourselves as an example, are getting most of our information from the medical people
  • 11:05
    Adam: did the wrong ones. You're listening to the wrong guy.
  • 11:09
    John: He has he went, he's the one who went off against Rand Paul. Rand put this guy yeah. And Rand Paul is a doctor, that people that
  • 11:19
    Adam: we know john, I'm sorry, he's a he's a doctor
  • 11:24
    John: doesn't count yet to go through the same process of any other doctor. He and he's a scientist. And most of the people that we've been, I've got a couple clips, I got a whopper today. That's a doctor very well, distinguished doctors, now the enemy of the people, but still a doctor. So this guy is everything's fine. If you listen to me, I'm the only guy that's right kind of guy. But I want to just put this out there. And I think it might be cruel of me to do it, but I'm going to do it anyway. This guy's a fanatic. And he has become so and i believes because his life's work has been in vaccines. So he's in a cult perhaps, is let me finish this because this is somebody don't like to accuse somebody of being who I'm gonna say. He's a vaccine guy from the get go. I don't think he even practices medicine anymore. Because he's on too many boards. He does all these things. He's not involved with vaccine companies, except in India, trying to make conventional vaccines. So I'm not I couldn't find him with Pfizer. He's not like a bad guy. But what happened if you have to imagine yourself being a vaccine guy, and then your daughter, who's now seven gets autism?
  • 12:37
    Unknown: Oh, okay.
  • 12:39
    John: That'll do it. And he has to write a book. And his first book that he wrote, he's written I think four books, is my daughter has autism, and it wasn't caused by vaccines.
  • 12:52
    Adam: Otherwise, you can write a book but it won't get published. So that's how you that's how you get it
  • 12:56
    John: published, that book got published, but it's beside the point. And, and then he brings this up in this little of comedy is going to make now I think he may have been a turn into a fanatic because he's in denial in some ways of the possibility just, I don't care if it's just a long shot, that maybe vaccines his life's work had something to do with the situation with this poor girl. So let's listen to his answer to the question about the anti vaxxers. And, and by the way, he can't stop talking, they have to actually cut them off at the end and end the show. But here we go.
  • 13:28
    Unknown: The Quad, I think was able to relax some of those constraints to support biological II and allow some of those raw materials through so I'm very happy that that they did this is the wrong clip.
  • 13:39
    Adam: Well, this the only other clip I have is finales. That's it. Okay, that sounds to me like the last clip. So
  • 13:48
    John: it was the last clip of this series. I didn't intend to run these two clips right at the beginning. Okay, we'll play it.
  • 13:54
    Unknown: Yeah. Unfortunately, the other hat I wear is a leader and going up against anti science groups, not by choice but sort of by default, because in addition to being a vaccine scientist, I'm a parent of four adult kids and my youngest daughter Rachel has autism and intellectual disabilities and a few years ago I wrote a book called vaccines do not cause Rachel's autism which made me public enemy number one with the with the anti vaccine groups they call me now the Oh gee villain, which I had to look up it means original gangster villain and and and now I'm what was sort of a fringe element. And you're seeing this play out nightly now on conservative news outlets. They're now mainstream, and among the conservative parties in the US, our republican party, and that's really scary. And then you've got the Russian government, launching an entire program of what's been called weaponized health communications, trying to discredit Western vaccines in favor of Sputnik five, Sputnik V, or Sputnik five, and son and now this is globalized and you're seeing the same kind of far right us q anon foe get around the anti vaccine movement now appearing and protests in Western European capitals. So I call this an anti science Empire, I tend to be a bit out there on this in the sense that there's not by any means consensus in the global community that it's reached that stage. But, you know, I'm of the opinion that when so many lives were lost in the United States, not only
  • 15:23
    because of COVID-19, but of deliberate defiance to things like mass and social distancing. And now we have four Independent News polls, all pointing to the most vaccine hesitant group in the United States, or what are what are being called Republicans. Some polls call a white Republicans. And that is, there's been a politicization of the anti science anti vaccine movement. And we have to figure out a way to dial it back, bring it back, I'm trying to reach out to conservative groups, whenever I can, just because we've let this thing get out of hand. Neither the US government or the United Nations agencies has really wanted to confront this and really call it out and, you know, express concern to the Peruvian government and confront them on it express concern in the us about how we've allowed this to globalize. We have to figure out a way to dial this back.
  • 16:15
    Adam: Wow. It's so it's not it's it's republicans in Germany, white republicans and Cubans, which is global. Clearly, it's not just America to everywhere, it's q1 on. And White Republicans, let me say republican introduce you to some black Republicans who are very anti Vax. Wow. Yeah, he's on the he's on the hit squad. He's out there. He's uh, he means business. He's out there to Well, he's
  • 16:44
    John: on CNBC all the time. He's on you. We don't get to see him much. In fact, I didn't even know about him until I saw this piece of nature. I'm not familiar looking into him because I figured as all of you know, Usual Suspects I checked whether he's a board member of Pfizer or anything like that. No, nothing. He's legit. I mean, in terms of he's honest, he's, he's, I'm sorry. He's sincere. Because when he says that, when he sees sincere, but when he says that at the beginning, when the The question was asked, yeah. And he kind of implies that the reason we have such a high death toll 500,000 is because of anti vaxxers. You have to remember, we had no there was no
  • 17:22
    Adam: vaccine when people were dying. We had a half
  • 17:24
    John: a million dead, supposedly, but let's just assume that that's an accurate number, even though we would, I think it was it's exaggerated. They the vaccine, the vaccine, people think it was the other way around, it was underreported, but whether it was under reporter is still a lot of people, but there was no vaccine that was the vaccine came out the numbers started to change. But he is a he's a, he may be sincere, but I think is a terrible guy. And I don't think he practices. And that's another difference. Because he's if you look at his resume, if you look at him in Wikipedia, this guy is too busy to practice medicine. He heads up a department at the in Texas, one of the hospitals. And he's in this and he said is doing this stuff. And he's and he's developing for vaccines that I could figure. And he's doing a COVID vaccine in India, that's supposed to dose out which I have at the other clip about, but I'll but that has to follow the Bill Gates clip. And if you want me to play that one, get this guy out of the way. Yeah, sure. Okay, there's a Bill Gates clip on the list. And it says,
  • 18:33
    Adam: look, weird Bill Gates
  • 18:35
    John: will be Bill Gates. And this is what makes me think that Bill Gates is in touch with this guy. Because this is a weird Bill. Bill is when is asked of us stuff he doesn't know about he tries to bluff his way out. Yeah. And he starts contradicting himself and saying stupid, crazy stuff. And this is the will weird Bill Gates clip where he does that. And I think he got it from this. This whole cap a guy
  • 18:59
    Unknown: has been some speculation that the changing intellectual property rules.
  • 19:03
    Adam: I mean, Hotez not hosting.
  • 19:05
    John: Oh, I'm sorry. I said hotep. Yeah.
  • 19:10
    Adam: You know, if he's listening to hotep Yeah. Now, we know,
  • 19:13
    Unknown: there's been some speculation that the changing intellectual property rules and and and allowing these vaccines, as you say, the the recipe for these vaccines to be shared, would be helpful. And do you think that would be helpful? No,
  • 19:28
    why not?
  • 19:28
    Well, there's only so many vaccine factories in the world. And people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. And so moving was something that
  • 19:38
    John: was he laughing about there? There? Let
  • 19:41
    Adam: me hear it again.
  • 19:43
    Unknown: No, why no.
  • 19:45
    vaccines to be shared, would be helpful. And do you think that would be helpful?
  • 19:50
  • 19:51
    Why not?
  • 19:51
    Well, there's only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious. I don't hear him laughing.
  • 19:57
    John: Where's he laughs No, no. When he says people are very sure she's laughing. She goes, Oh, this one is in line laughs Where's God? People are
  • 20:05
    Adam: serious and that serious? That's obviously
  • 20:08
    Unknown: no, why not? Well, there's only so many vaccine factories in the world. And people are very serious about the safety of vaccines.
  • 20:16
    Adam: It's about the safe people are very serious about this. It'll hurt just super painful.
  • 20:22
    Unknown: And so moving something that had never been done moving a vaccine from say j&j factory into a factory in India, that it's novel, it's only because of our grants and our expertise.
  • 20:37
    Adam: Hold on a second laughs again, it but he's also lying. She's lying
  • 20:42
    Unknown: can happen at all. The the thing that's holding things back in this case is not intellectual property. There's not like some idle vaccine factory with regulatory approval that makes magically safe vaccines. Yes, there is, you know, you've got to do the trials on these things. And every manufacturing process has to be looked at in a in a very careful way. There's all sorts of issues around intellectual property having to do with medicines, but not in terms of how quickly we've been able to ramp up the volume here. You know, I remember how shocked people were when we said we were going to do second sources in these developing country factories.
  • 21:20
    John: Wait, stop, stop. He just said a second ago you can't do it, please and now now he's saying that would everyone thought it was crazy that we were doing it What could he make up his mind who this is where he goes off the rails cuz he's not original source of this thing? He's also He's lying. It's this whole cap guy when you hear hope after this, all right, we'll play
  • 21:46
    Adam: this and then the hotep guy
  • 21:47
    Unknown: Madison's but not in terms of how quickly we've been able to ramp up the volume here. You know, I remember how shocked people were when we said we're gonna do second sources in these developing country factories. You know that that was a novel thing. We got all the rights from the vaccine companies, they didn't hold it back. They were participating I do a regular phone call with the pharmaceutical CEOs to make sure that work is going at full speed.
  • 22:14
    Adam: Oh my god. Okay, after the next step. You have to let me in because I've got new information now. Oh, you play
  • 22:20
    John: that clip? You I know what you're you got to you already got complaints. Complaints I want to hear. Okay, the way I am going to call the other podcast is right after this to make sure everybody's agreeing that you're you're you're doing things properly.
  • 22:37
    Adam: What complaints are you referring to?
  • 22:40
    John: I don't know. I'm just saying bill calls already apparently calls or says says he calls all the CEOs. things, right?
  • 22:50
    Adam: Yes, of course.
  • 22:52
    John: I'm going to call all the podcasts are you going to try to keep up anyway going?
  • 22:56
    Adam: Well, shoot. Now I now know. Now I have to interject a clip. Because if you're going to call all the podcasters make sure you call anti vaxxer podcast or Numero Uno. And now the popular podcast host Joe Rogan facing backlash ever made. sanchita claim that healthy young people don't need the vaccine without evidence. He's not
  • 23:16
    Unknown: a doctor. You should get vaccinated if you're vulnerable. I think you should get vaccinated if you feel like my parents are vaccinated. I've encouraged a lot of people get them people say do you think it's safe to get vaccinated? I've said, Yeah, I think for the most part, it's safe to get vaccinated. I do. I do. But if you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I go No. You healthy. You're a healthy person. Like look, Don't do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself.
  • 23:42
    Adam: But medical experts say Rogan is wrong. They say adults of all ages should get vaccinated. I got it. I got to do the clip where Fauci actually addresses it. It's just too funny. Fauci. Of course,
  • 23:56
    John: this guy Hotez
  • 23:59
    Adam: is the main guy who came out against Rogan that triggered this whole thing. Yes, this they are in full panic mode. Because the Joe Rogan is still recognized as incredibly influential Spotify or not. So when Joe Rogan said this, and he was being, as you recall, from March in 2019, now to 2020 when I was out there, his handler was osterholm. And the more I think about this guy, that Yeah, now he's the he's the all gonna die when the monster right in the mouth of the monster, it's gonna be horrible. And, and he just looked at the guy he has douchebag spook written all over him. And he was and what the hell was he doing on the Joe Rogan show in March of 2020? How did he we'd never heard of the guy. Why was he the guy to show and to get on Joe Rogan? You got to have some kind of angle You don't just, you know, I don't think it was necessarily Joe's choice at the time. But anyway, put it this way. If the situation for us as normal thinking human beings with normal size to make lists, if the situation was hopeless, all this propaganda would be unnecessary. So there's clearly room here to stop some of this insanity. And Joe Rogan inadvertently probably put his foot right in it.
  • 25:29
    Unknown: Real quickly, I want to ask you popular podcast hosts, Joe Rogan, you may have heard about this made comments about young people getting vaccinate, vaccinate is getting a lot of buzz. He said, like it's
  • 25:40
    Adam: getting a lot of buzz. That's code for shit. He's going viral.
  • 25:44
    Unknown: 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I say no, if you're a healthy person, and you're exercising all the time, and you're young, and you're eating well, I don't think you need to worry about this, saying young healthy people shouldn't get vaccinated just quickly your response?
  • 25:57
    Well, that's incorrect Savannah. And the reason why is that you're talking about yourself in a vacuum, then you're worried about yourself, getting infected in likelihood that you're not going to get any symptoms, but you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk. And even if you don't have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you even if you have no sim points,
  • 26:22
    you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome.
  • 26:31
    So if
  • 26:32
    John: you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that's okay. But if you're saying to yourself, even if I get
  • 26:39
    Unknown: infected, what if you do damage to somebody else, even if I have no symptoms at all? And that's the reason why you've got to be careful and get vaccinated. So
  • 26:48
    you're saying young healthy people should get vaccinated?
  • 26:51
    Absolutely. Okay,
  • 26:55
    John: guys up against a pitch man, rogue is just talking. Well,
  • 26:59
    Adam: that's a big problem for Joe, that that's a real third rail, that's going to be an issue if he keeps it up. Now, you will. No, I don't think you will either. Absolutely not. Okay, but
  • 27:11
    John: let's go. Okay. Let's go back to what we were talking about, which was that in the old case is discussing how these vaccines could be made overseas. This is patent speed. Well, this is where this comes from. And this is again, Botez talking about. The question came out, what is the deal with with getting these vaccines ramped up? What about the patents is the patents a big holdup? Same question is almost exactly the same question as to Bill buffaloed his way out of it. And this is this is what the Hotez says
  • 27:44
    Unknown: the quads, I think, was able to relax some of those constraints to support biological II, and allow some of those raw materials through. So I'm very happy that that they did that. Now, the patent issue is one that I'm often asked about, and patents are important. One of the things I like to say, though, is, you know, the model of patent loosening patent restrictions was very much around small molecule drugs during during the height of the HIV AIDS pandemic. And, you know, companies like Cipla, they needed the freedom to be able to make antiretroviral drugs. And patents are important for vaccines. But the most important aspect of vaccines is actually knowing how to make vaccines and knowing how to do it under a quality umbrella with quality control and batch production records. And also having adequate regulatory authorities and tax that actually tends to be a bigger hurdle than the patent. So everybody, you know, focuses on the patents based on based on those earlier models for for small molecule drugs, but the forces and the barriers that are around vaccines is a bit different. What we really need is to train human capital people who know how to do vaccines under a quality umbrella, and the National regulatory authority and help with the capacity building. So the The point is, even if you relaxed all the patent restrictions for all the vaccines tomorrow, and I'm not certain how quickly that would translate into vaccines for the world for this pandemic is a
  • 29:15
    long term issue. Definitely, it's important. But right now, we think we have to focus on one making low cost, easy, easy to use durable vaccines available to people in resource countries, as I say 5 billion doses number one, and number two, let's let's start working out that long process of building capacity right now there are no vaccines made on the African continent are essentially no vaccines. Not not much better in Latin America a little bit better, but not much. All right.
  • 29:47
    Adam: Now luckily, we have some of the best producers in the universe. I made a I did a call out I said I want our Indian producers to step up. We need to know what's going on and I think I said, we have two producers. I know that so I need to hear from you. And we got two emails. So 100% of the no agenda gitmo-nation audience in India has weighed
  • 30:12
    John: in the end of 1.3 4 billion people, we got two.
  • 30:17
    Adam: Well, actually, the first one is not even in India. But it's important that I read these in sequence. And this is, this is just a short note. And we don't have to go through the whole thing, because you'll know right away what happened to him as he says, I've done it a few times, I feel a need to comment about the skepticism from you and john, recently on the situation in India, first off, I was born in Bangalore, India, I've been in this country, United States for over 30 years now. And a proud American of Indian origin. I work in pharma. And while I generally agree on a number of things you guys have accurately reported on. There were some errors More about that later. But I do want to speak about the recent situation in India, this is no hoax. I lost my father in law last week, exactly. We could go from today, my school senior of about 53 years, and my brother's childhood friend whom I knew well of 42 years and a number of other acquaintances, age 26, and 32. So right there, to me, this is like this is like the people we knew in Manhattan. And there are people dying around them. And they got very angry at our skepticism. So I understand. But he does say right after that, the variant Lee currently impacting is a different strain, and a few of the people listed above were fully vaccinated from the AstraZeneca vaccine. And then he goes into most cities, towns in India disregard common sense, there were excessive parties, events, social events, no
  • 31:40
    precautions, the population is to blame. sounds totally right. And people weren't careful. I think this producer is a little bit under the spell. And that's logical when you have dead people around you. So let's go straight to the actual numbers of India. One of our producers, tracks the death rate and produces daily charts based on the john hopkins raw data. India currently is in 84th place in the world for cumulative deaths from covid 19. So if you look at the deaths per million population, number one, New Jersey 2866 Yeah, Jersey strong. Number two Hungary 2793 deaths per million, United Kingdom 1873 followed close behind by the United States 1727. And then India 146 deaths per million population. So let's just all shut up a second about this being crazy. And what's going on? This is oh my gosh, no, Benny's charts are in the show notes, you'll see the deaths are flatline cases spike like crazy, and he even has a death versus new deaths, then there's a little increase, but it's nothing like the news media is reporting. So that's really some information that has to be taken into context of over a billion people population daily itself. Huge. Now, the next note, and by the way, I'm sure that they're, you know, it's all the propaganda that we're seeing, and I'm just going to call it propaganda. Again, it's look at makeshift cemeteries, you know, no hospital beds, no oxygen cut the video of guys carrying an oxygen tank to cut a video of flame burning bodies. You
  • 33:38
    need six, six crematorium sights. We have seen this movie before. And I'm sure somewhere there's an Indian truth or trying to get on Tick Tock me, I was like, Oh, this is all bullshit, but and you may you might have two dots in his forehead now for all I know. So we're not getting any information. Really, from the media or even social media from India, there's just no way we don't understand the context. We don't understand anything about it. We don't know about India. But this next producer, this is the one and I have to keep him anonymous. He is for I've checked him out his his name, his email address. He is someone in the know, you know, in India, there's a caste system. I would say he's in the highest caste and he is from a family and he can back that up Brahmins.
  • 34:34
    Well, the Brahmin caste but regardless, I believe this producer to be telling the truth. So I wonder if he has a couple sections here. And I think it's just important to go through stop me whenever you ever questioned the origin. He says India is mainly a protectionist country. What that means is when any outside company, for example, Sara Lee wants to do business in India, they must partner with one of the multinational families in India. That's just, that's just like China. So if you want to do automobiles in India, you got to hook up with the Tata family tractors. It's the Mahindra family telcos, the Ambani family with vaccines. It's the poonawalla family, which owns the serum Institute, and this is a real vaccine company. It's known as the serum Institute is TSI in 2020. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave the serum Institute millions of dollars to manufacture the Kovacs mRNA vaccine. Now, one must remember the poonawalla family are billionaires by themselves and traditionally do not even believe in mRNA or other unproven technologies. But what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation know Gavan in donations is kind of peanuts for this family but the Son of the Father is the Cyrus he's the he's the patriarch, and he's getting up there in age and the son a dar is now starting to run parts of the Empire. And so he took the bill Melinda Gates Foundation money. The dad Cyrus is a doctor by trade has been supplying traditional vaccines. These are the ones
  • 36:20
    they make in India, MMR, mumps, rubella, measles, mumps, rubella. They've been doing it with the patents in hand to do this, or what Bill Gates was saying was total bullshit. They make them native in India, the serum Institute does this and they do it from the intellectual property, which they have However, they doesn't even matter how they got it. So what Bill Gates says just bullshit to Uncle Bill Gates got in touch with TSI because he's one of the largest donors of the World Health Organization. And this Cyrus the dad is an old school guy. He's been, you know, like the old world health organization 20 years ago. Cyrus didn't want to deal with him. But he let the kids take the lead and a Darcy had started dealing with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Okay. So when COVID-19 hits, Bill Gates comes along and wants to play the game with TSI, since he's already paid for access by giving them money. And he says, okay, we want you to develop Kovacs for GAVI, that's the the vaccine Alliance. So the old dude, the old guy, Cyrus doesn't like it. He doesn't believe in the mRNA. And he was also very chummy with health Don Mahler who apparently is important in the World Health Organization, who was anti China. But then the, let me see I'm missing it here. So then they decide that they're going to do the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and not deal with anything Bill Gates has to do. And they got the actual IP from the Astra Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and they
  • 38:01
    start producing that that's what they've been giving to people. And another chart from one of our producers, interestingly enough shows at the very date when the Vax vaccination starts with the the AstraZeneca made locally. That's when cases start to spike. So I had a headache called COVID. Shield there, and it's not mRNA. So