A new study is getting some attention, as it claims that the COVID-19 lockdown has affected peoples' brain structure. The work is a preprint, meaning that it hasn't been peer reviewed yet. It's available here.
To be clear, the new study is not saying that actual infection with the coronavirus has an effect on the brain. Rather, the study is about the impact of the whole COVID-19 experience in healthy people.
Researchers Tom Salomon and colleagues scanned 50 healthy volunteers in Israel. All of them were given an MRI scan between May and July of 2020, which was after the end of the original lockdown period in Israel. Crucially, all of the same volunteers had also been scanned before COVID started, mostly in 2019. (Presumably the original scans were part of a different study.)
By comparing the before and after-lockdown MRI scans of the same people, Salomon et al. found increases in the volume of the amygdala, and nearby regions, after lockdown:
Increases in brain volume after COVID-19 lockdown, from Salomon et al. (2020)
The same changes were not seen in a different group of 50 volunteers who were scanned twice, both times before COVID-19. This suggests that the changes were not just caused by the passage of time.
The authors hypothesize that emotional stresses may have been responsible for the brain changes they observed. The amygdala, they note, is known to be associated with stress and emotion:
Our study demonstrates that volumetric change patterns in the brain occurred following the COVID-19 initial outbreak period and restrictions... The involvement of the amygdala may suggest that stress and anxiety could be the source of the observed phenomenon.
Finally, the authors suggest that the authorities should take heed of these results and consider the costs of lockdown:
Our findings show healthy young adults, with no records of mental health issues, were deeply affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. We suggest that policy makers take into consideration the impact of their actions on the general well-being of the population they seek to help, alongside the efficacy of disease prevention.
In my view, Salomon et al.'s study is quite interesting. I was very skeptical when I first heard of it, but after reading it, the methods do appear solid.
However, there's no escaping that the study has a limited sample size. For a study of changes in brain structure over time, 50 individuals scanned twice is small. (To give an example of modern sample size standards, this study had n=1683 people scanned twice.)
Then again, Salomon et al. are to be congratulated for carrying out this study at all - the vast majority of MRI research was put on hold as a result of COVID-19. In most cases, it still hasn't restarted. So the very fact that this study exists at all is an achievement. But I don't think these results, on their own, are that persuasive.
I also don't think these results should necessarily alarm policymakers. A brain volume change can be interpreted many ways. (Especially a volume increase, which on the face of it, is a good thing, not a bad thing.)
Sure, we could interpret the increased volume of the amygdala as evidence that lockdown made people more anxious and fearful, but we could also interpret it as reflecting people becoming more supportive of the government due to the national crisis. I don't think the latter interpretation is likely, but the former is not much better.
RBG Court stacking conundrum
I am starting to hear talk of if 45 replaces RBG and loses the democrats will expand the USC to equal out the majority 6-3 so if guess they would have to add at least 3-4 judges to make it 6-6 or 7-6. But here's the thing and another scenario. If 45 replaces RBG and then wins then wins and says the democrats had a great idea and he expands the court to 7-3, all the way to 9-3. They would never see that coming and possibly the only thing worse in their mind of 45 replacing RBG is he also talking their idea and expand the court.
MSNBC guest chugs wine on TV while mourning the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Daily Mail Online
Liberals turn to drink: MSNBC guest chugs wine live on TV while mourning the death of RBGProminent columnist Rebecca Traister drank red wine while on-air with Chris Hayes Friday nightTraister appeared worried that President Trump will now have a chance to nominate a third conservative Justice to the Supreme CourtTraister later confirmed she was drinking an alcoholic beverage, and told her Twitter followers to 'fight' against the President's pickAnxious liberals took to Twitter to say they identified with Traister as she downed her 'emotional support' wine By Andrew Court For Dailymail.com
Published: 14:06 EDT, 19 September 2020 | Updated: 02:29 EDT, 20 September 2020
An MSNBC panelist has been caught on camera drinking red wine while mourning the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Columnist Rebecca Traister was seen sipping the alcohol during a Zoom chat with network star Chris Hayes late on Friday night.
Traister appeared to be drowning her sorrows as Hayes revealed that President's Trump's next Supreme Court nominee would have a hearing on Senate floor.
The moment quickly went viral on social media, with many anxious liberals saying they identified with Traister.
'Did @rtraister just chug a goblet of emotional support wine live on @MSNBC while talking about the consequences for the country of RBG's passing? Was I the only one who saw it?' one Twitter user asked.
However, many others responded, saying that they had also witnessed the wine drinking.
'We are all Rebecca Traiser chugging wine on @MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight,' journalist Matt Wilstein tweeted.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell says President Trump's Supreme Court nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. pic.twitter.com/vC9TKgJWRO
'-- MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 19, 2020Columnist Rebecca Traister was seen sipping wine during a Zoom chat with MSNBC's Chris Hayes late on Friday night
Traister was discussing the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday evening at the age of 87
'True respect to the panelist who's just anxiously drinking wine right now on MSNBC. I'm right there with you,' another wrote.
'This b***h on MSNBC being interview about RBG is crying and drinking wine on screen and literally same,' a fourth user chimed in.
Traister confirmed to The New York Post on Saturday morning that she was indeed drinking alcohol on the air, stating: 'Yes, it was wine. I got the news while [about Ginsburg's death] at dinner with my family, got the call to be on Chris's show soon after, and without thinking about it, brought my beverage with me.'
The notable columnist appeared to enjoy the attention that stemmed from her accidentally viral moment.
She retweeted the clip and wrote above: 'L'shana tova. May her memory be a blessing. And may this year bring the drive and determination to fight like fury because everything depends on our willingness to do so.'
The moment quickly went viral on Twitter. Traister chimed in, telling her followers to 'fight' following news of Ginsburg's death
Before Ginsburg's death, the Supreme Court had a 5-4 conservative majority.
Ginsburg - who was nominated to the Court by President Bill Clinton back in 1993 - was known as the most liberal Justice on the bench.
Democrats now fear Trump will be able to nominate another conservative Justice to the bench, effectively installing a 6-3 conservative majority that could be in place for decades and will push the country to the far right.
Ginsburg died Friday evening at the age of 87 following a long battle with cancer.
Traister confirmed she was drinking alcohol on-air as she discussed the death of RBG
Stephen F. Cohen, Influential Historian of Russia, Dies at 81 - The New York Times
He chronicled Stalin's tyrannies and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he was an enthusiastic admirer of Mikhail Gorbachev.
The historian Stephen F. Cohen, the author of several books about Russia, in 1999 with an assortment of Russian leaders in doll form. Credit... Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times Stephen F. Cohen, an eminent historian whose books and commentaries on Russia examined the rise and fall of Communism, Kremlin dictatorships and the emergence of a post-Soviet nation still struggling for identity in the 21st century, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 81.
His wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the publisher and part owner of The Nation, said the cause was lung cancer.
From the sprawling conflicts of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the tyrannies of Stalin to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Vladimir V. Putin's intrigues to retain power, Professor Cohen chronicled a Russia of sweeping social upheavals and the passions and poetry of peoples that endured a century of wars, political repression and economic hardships.
A professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, he was fluent in Russian, visited Russia frequently and developed contacts among intellectual dissidents and government and Communist Party officials. He wrote or edited 10 books and many articles for The Nation, The New York Times and other publications, was a CBS-TV commentator and counted President George Bush and many American and Soviet officials among his sources.
In Moscow he was befriended by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who invited him to the May Day celebration at Red Square in 1989. There, at the Lenin Mausoleum, Professor Cohen stood with his wife and son one tier below Mr. Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership to view a three-hour military parade. He later spoke briefly on Russian television to a vast audience about alternative paths that Russian history could have taken.
Loosely identified with a revisionist historical view of the Soviet Union, Professor Cohen held views that made him a controversial public intellectual. He believed that early Bolshevism had held great promise, that it had been democratic and genuinely socialist, and that it had been corrupted only later by civil war, foreign hostility, Stalin's malignancy and a fatalism in Russian history.
A traditionalist school of thought, by contrast, held that the Soviet experiment had been flawed from the outset, that Lenin's political vision was totalitarian, and that any attempt to create a society based on his coercive utopianism had always been likely to lead, logically, to Stalin's state terrorism and to the Soviet Union's eventual collapse.
Professor Cohen was an enthusiastic supporter of Mr. Gorbachev, who after coming to power in 1985 undertook ambitious changes to liberate the nation's 15 republics from state controls that had originally been imposed by Stalin. Mr. Gorbachev gave up power as the Soviet state imploded at the end of 1991 and moved toward beliefs in democracy and a market economy.
Image Mr. Cohen first came to international attention in 1973 with his biography of Lenin's prot(C)g(C) Nikolai Bukharin.A prolific writer who mined Soviet archives, Professor Cohen first came to international attention in 1973 with ''Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution,'' a biography of Lenin's prot(C)g(C) Nikolai Bukharin, who envisioned Communism as a blend of state-run industries and free-market agriculture. Critics generally applauded the work, which was a finalist for a National Book Award.
''Stephen Cohen's full-scale study of Bukharin is the first major study of this remarkable associate of Lenin,'' Harrison Salisbury's wrote in a review in The Times. ''As such it constitutes a milestone in Soviet studies, the byproduct both of increased academic sophistication in the use of Soviet materials and also of the very substantial increase in basic information which has become available in the 20 years since Stalin's death.''
After Lenin's death, Mr. Bukharin became a victim of Stalin's Moscow show trials in 1938; he was accused of plotting against Stalin and executed. His widow, Anna Mikhailovna Larina, spent 20 years in exile and in prison camps and campaigned for Mr. Bukharin's rehabilitation, which was endorsed by Mr. Gorbachev in 1988.
Ms. Larina and Professor Cohen became friends. Given access to Bukharin archives, he found and returned to her the last love letter that Mr. Bukharin wrote her from prison.
In ''Rethinking the Soviet Experience'' (1985), Professor Cohen offered a new interpretation of the nation's traumatic history and modern political realities. In his view, Stalin's despotism and Mr. Bukharin's fate were not necessarily inevitable outgrowths of the party dictatorship founded by Lenin.
Richard Lowenthal, in a review for The Times, called Professor Cohen's interpretation implausible. ''While I do not believe that all the horrors of Stalinism were 'logically inevitable' consequences of the seizure of power by Lenin and his Bolshevik Party,'' Mr. Lowenthal wrote, ''I do believe that Stalin's victory over Bukharin was inherent in the structure of the party's system.''
As Professor Cohen and other scholars pondered Russia's past, Mr. Gorbachev's rise to power and his efforts toward glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) cast the future of the Soviet Union in a new light, potentially reversing 70 years of Cold War dogma.
As Mr. Gorbachev arrived in Washington for his 1987 summit with President Ronald Reagan, The Times wrote, ''With an irreverence for precedent and an agility uncommon in Soviet leaders, he has disrupted old assumptions about Soviet impulses, forced reappraisals of Soviet purposes and rendered less predictable the course of East-West competition.''
To widen the focus, Professor Cohen and Ms. vanden Heuvel published ''Voices of Glasnost: Interviews With Gorbachev's Reformers'' (1989).
Professor Cohen affirmed his support for Mr. Gorbachev in a March 1991 Op-Ed article in The Times. ''He has undertaken the most ambitious changes in modern history,'' he wrote. ''Their goal is to dismantle the state controls Stalin imposed and to achieve an emancipation of society through privatization, democratization and federalization of the 15 republics.''
As 1991 ended, the Soviet Union was dissolved and Mr. Gorbachev resigned, giving way to Boris N. Yeltsin's tumultuous elected presidency. Mr. Yeltsin tried to transform the state economy into a capitalist market by imposing a ''shock therapy'' of nationwide privatization without price controls. Inflation and economic calamity ensued.
Image Mr. Cohen at the East Hampton Library on Long Island last year with his final book, ''War With Russia?'' Credit... Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images By 1997, as Professor Cohen saw it, the Russian economy had become ''an endless collapse of everything essential for a decent existence.'' He became a persistent critic of Mr. Yeltsin, who survived an attempted coup and tried to promote democracy but resigned in 1999 amid growing internal pressures. He was succeeded by his deputy, Mr. Putin.
In his book, ''Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia'' (2000), Professor Cohen laid the blame for Russia's post-Communist economic and social collapse on the United States, for providing bad advice; on academic experts, for what he called ''malpractice throughout the 1990s''; on Western journalists; and on Mr. Yeltsin, for a range of sins: abolishing the Soviet Union, creating a bureaucratic vacuum and generating hyperinflation with his economic shock therapy.
''Cohen's thesis is that Yeltsin, rather than Russia's first democratic leader, was a neo-czarist bumbler who destroyed a democratization process that, in fact, should be credited to Mikhail Gorbachev,'' Robert D. Kaplan wrote in a Times review. ''Cohen is particularly scathing toward American journalists, whom he depicts as overly influenced by the prosperity of a small, rapacious upper class in the major Russian cities, and who seldom ventured out into the countryside to see the terrible price of the reformers' handiwork.''
Stephen Frand Cohen was born in Indianapolis on Nov. 25, 1938, the older of two children of Marvin and Ruth (Frand) Cohen. His father owned a jewelry store and a golf course in Hollywood, Fla. Stephen and his sister, Judith, attended schools in Owensboro, Ky., but Stephen graduated in 1956 from the Pine Crest School, a private school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
He loved the novels of Hemingway. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, he went to England on a study-abroad program. He had saved $300 for a side trip to Pamplona to run with the bulls. But an advertisement he saw for a 30-day, $300 trip to the U.S.S.R. changed his life.
Back at Indiana University, he gave up plans to be a golf pro and took up Russian studies. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and public policy in 1960 and a master's in Russian studies in 1962. In 1969, he received a doctorate in that subject from Columbia University.
Professor Cohen's marriage in 1962 to the opera singer Lynn Blair ended in divorce. He married Ms. vanden Heuvel in 1988. In addition to her, he is survived by a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Alexandra Cohen, from his first marriage; another daughter, Nicola Cohen, from his second marriage; a sister, Judith Lefkowitz; and four grandchildren.
His Columbia dissertation on Mr. Bukharin's economic ideas grew into his first book, copies of which reached Soviet dissidents, the K.G.B. in Moscow, and eventually Mr. Gorbachev, who put Professor Cohen on his guest list for the 1987 Gorbachev-Reagan summit in Washington.
Professor Cohen taught at Princeton from 1968 to 1998, rising to full professor of politics and Russian studies, and at New York University thereafter until his retirement in 2011. His last book, published in 2019, was ''War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.''
Many journalistic colleagues accused Professor Cohen of defending Mr. Putin, who curtailed democratic freedoms but boosted the economy, which grew for eight straight years. Wages for ordinary Russians tripled, poverty was reduced, and national growth jumped fivefold as rising prices of Russia's plentiful oil and gas overcame a depression.
In a recent interview for this obituary, Professor Cohen denied that he had ''defended'' Mr. Putin.
''He holds views that I also hold,'' Professor Cohen said. ''It's the views that I defend, not Putin.
''From the moment Yeltsin came on,'' he continued, ''Americans thought the Cold War was over. There was disappointment with Putin as a more rational leader. I see him in the Russian tradition of leadership, getting Russia back on its feet. He frightens some of our observers, but I didn't see it that way.''
Julia Carmel contributed reporting.
'Burn Congress down': Celebrated figures urge violence if RBG replaced before election | Daily Mail Online
Celebrated left-wing writers, a professor and a TV host are among famous faces to call for a violent response if Donald Trump succeeds in securing a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
The Supreme Court justice, who died on Friday at the age of 87, left as her dying wish not to be replaced until after the November presidential election.
However, both Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority leader, and President Trump have said they intend to replace her with a conservative of their choosing as soon as possible.
McConnell's control of the Senate all but ensures Trump's choice will be approved to the lifetime position if a vote is held.
Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and former CNN host, tweeted to his 293,000 followers: 'If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f****** thing down.'
Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death on Friday saw critics of the president to call for arson and riots
Reza Aslan said: : 'If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f****** thing down'
Aslan told his almost 300,000 followers to prepare themselves for unrest
Aslan's documentary, Believer, exploring world religions, was canceled by CNN in 2017 after Aslan called Trump a piece of excrement, using an expletive, in June 2017.
Beau Willimon, a screenwriter who produced the U.S. version of House of Cards and the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, told his 164,000 followers: We're shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.'
Another writer predicted riots.
'If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots,' said Laura Bassett, a political journalist writing for GQ and the Washington Post.
Author Aaron Gouveia, whose latest book is about toxic masculinity, tweeted: 'F*** no. Burn it all down.'
And a professor of political science repeated calls for arson attacks on Congress.
Emmett Macfarlane, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, tweeted: 'Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS.'
Beau Willimon, celebrated screenwriter, was among those calling for violent unrest
Willimon said he and his followers would be 'shutting this country down' if RBG was replaced
Author Aaron Gouveia tweeted, in response to a swift replacement: 'F*** no. Burn it all down'
Gouveia made his disapproval of plans to replace RBG before November clear
Ginsberg's dying wish was to not have the battle to replace her play out before the election
A member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, responsible for administering state laws regarding campaign finance, ethics and lobbying, echoed the urging for violence.
When Ed Markey, senate candidate for Massachusetts, said that McConnell should not nominate a replacement in an election year, Scot Ross tweeted: 'F****** A, Ed. If you can't shut it down, burn it down.'
On Saturday morning Trump said that he would seek to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg 'without delay'.
'We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!' Trump tweeted on Saturday morning from the White House.
Emmett Macfarlane, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, tweeted: 'Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS'
The tweet was addressed to the Republican Party's main account, in an apparent rallying cry to the party to move forward to confirm his nominee in the Senate before the November 3 election.
Trump also retweeted a comment noting that the Senate filibuster for judicial nominees had first been abolished by former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, eliminating the 60-vote super-majority once needed to confirm federal justices.
'Thank you Harry!' commented Trump.
In November 2013, Senate Democrats led by Reid used the so-called 'nuclear option' to eliminate the 60-vote rule on federal judicial appointments, but not for the Supreme Court. In 2017, the Republican majority in the Senate extended the nuclear option to the Supreme Court to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The professor urged arson as a response
Trump had retweeted a former Obama administration official who wrote: 'Harry Reid will go down in history for having handed the court to conservatives when he took the first step toward eliminating the 60-vote requirement for confirmation.'
McConnell has vowed that Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor, but in a letter to his caucus on Friday he urged Republicans: 'keep your powder dry.'
'Over the coming days, we are all going to come under tremendous pressure from the press to announce how we will handle the coming nomination,' he wrote in the letter addressed, 'Dear Colleagues.'
'For those of you who are unsure how to answer, or for those inclined to oppose giving a nominee a vote, I urge you all to keep your powder dry,' McConnell wrote.
'This is not the time to prematurely lock yourselves into a position you may later regret.'
Ross, a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, made his feelings clear
Let Us Out!
Joe Blow is a contact tracer BOTG
In the Morning John and Adam,
I haven't missed an episode since Adam's first JRE appearance. I've been wanting to donate, but I am a broke college student. I figured a boots on the ground report from inside the COVD-19 machine might be of some value and could offset my douchebagery. I work as one of the infamous COVID-19 contact tracers for the Georgia Department of Public Health. My job is to contact people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and give them an interview regarding their symptoms, how their symptoms are doing currently, where they have been recently, and where they think they could have gotten COVID from. I also am required to ask about where they work and gather information on their employer especially if they went to work while contagious. If they are a child or teen, I also ask about where they go to school and if they have been to school while contagious. Lastly, I gather contact information about anyone who the person could have had close contact with while they have been sick. All this information gets put into a statewide database. People are not required to complete the interview, however, if they expressly refuse to quarantine, we can contact higher authorities regarding their refusal.
I also want to touch on some of the things you guys have been wondering about regarding cases, contacts, and positive test. I recall a few shows ago where a gentleman's mother had passed away back in February from something unrelated to COVID, but his family got a letter in the mail notifying them that she had tested positive. You and John were perplexed as to how this could happen, but it actually is much easier than you would think. Part of the job for contact tracing is to send physical letters to people who don't respond to several phone call attempts. If, when searching for un-contacted patients in the database, one was to not input the proper search functions, it would be very possible to pull up a person who had not even been tested for COVID or someone who has long since recovered, or in this case, died. If the DPH worker input the wrong search functions and proceeded to attempt to contact the patient several times with no response (because she was dead), the next step would be to send a letter to the person. All of the patient's contact info, address, and testing location is mandatorily reported to us, and there is no one following up behind us to check if every letter we send or every phone call we make is correct. The employee could have simply made a mistake and sent out a letter in the midst of a dozen other letters they were sending that week.
Another thing ya'll wonder about is what people mean when they refer to "cases." In Georgia, we have three main categories. "Lab-confirmed" COVID-19 cases which require a positive PCR or antigen test to be recognized as legitimate. "Presumptive" positive cases which involve patient's who maybe only have a rapid test or who are tested with kits not approved by DPH. "Contacts" are just people who have had close contact with a lab-confirmed case while the case was contagious. We do not include contacts as cases unless they actually test positive.
I know this is getting long but I wanted to provide as in-depth boots on the ground report as I could. If ya'll have any other questions about the inner workings of the infamous contact tracing program let me know! I'll be happy to provide further reports. Obviously, I would very much like to remain anonymous as I would hate to be taken to Gitmo for divulging information from inside the machine.
Nursing home bullcrap BOTG
I operate skilled nursing facilities here in the midwest and have reached my breaking point. There's so much information that I don't know where to begin.
Beckton, Dickinson & Company was the first to supply mass quantities of point-of-care antigen test machines to nursing facilities throughout the country on the backs of a $24M investment by the federal government. Test kits cost $35 per kit and are ordered in batches of 30 kits. Facilities cannot order supplies of kits until mid-October. These machines have shown SHOCKING numbers of false-positives. The link below is a 9/15 post from BD corporate regarding the issues being raised by those of us in the trenches. Also, I've personally spoken with a lot of reliable people in my network and ALL are noting significant false-positives, even though BD tries to minimize that in their statement.
Abbott has a brand new, federally funded of course, point-of-care antigen test that is now rolling out to nursing facilities (likely due to the heat on BD?). It's called the Abbott BinaxNOW Covid Antigen Card. It's literally a handheld, solution-based instant test. This is what your Abbott inside guy was referring to. This is what Abbott, and those invested in this scheme, want to be the Gold Standard for instant tests. We in the nursing homes are the guinea pigs, yet again. Here's a link: https://www.abbott.com/BinaxNOW-Test-NAVICA-App.html Every facility in the USA will be getting a pallet of these and we are being directed to use these, rather than the BD Veritor systems we received just a couple weeks ago. Also, if you notice in the link...they plug their app immediately!
FILE: Nursing Home Visitation - I view these directives as an admission of guilt. CMS recognizes the harm it's causing to institutionalized seniors yet they continue to propagate the madness of the testing cycle. Their directions are so sporadic and misguided that it's almost incoherent. Outdoor visitation is great...for about 3 more weeks in half the country....then a lot of us turn cold. Indoor visitation can only be provided in the room for those fortunate enough to be able to pay for a private room. Those who depend on Medicaid (about 80% of all nursing home populations) will be forced to some sort of canned visitation experience in a spare room or conference area. While not providing details, the file alludes to Civil Money Penalties for providers who fail to comply. State health departments are usually the enforcement arm for CMS, therefore states get a piece of the scamdemic pie as well.
I found the hospital CFO article you referenced in the Sunday show absolutely fascinating. Nursing facilities were allotted a 2.5% increase in Medicare reimbursement for COVID patients. You break down our per case numbers it's about $255 per case. We see who sits at the top of the food chain in the depressing world of "healthcare."
I would love to share how this scamdemic is expediting the lonely deaths of our wonderful seniors! We, the long term care industry, facing significant monetary penalties from State and Federal agencies for non-compliance, are forcing isolation, depriving psychosocial needs, and continuing to blossom into our evolving role as fall guy for all things COVID.
Here's an example...whenever a licensed facility has 1 case of COVID, either staff or patient, EVERYONE must be tested 2x a week until 14 days elapses with 0 positive test results. We are forced to utilize the PCR tests with its known false-positive issues. We are paying $40,000 a week for 1 facility to meet this COVID testing requirement! It's 100% insanity.
Appreciate the time if you made it this far. Have lots more info if it piques any interest. Happy to answer any questions you may have. Our industry is being forced to test in volumes higher than any other segment. We alone are driving up current case numbers, which in my experience, are false-positive, asymptomatic or very mild symptomatic cases.
Thank you for your courage!
Taking COVID-19 Testing to a New Level | Abbott U.S.
HOME TAKING COVID-19 TESTING TO A NEW LEVEL Rapid antigen test and NAVICA mobile app designed to help restore a bit more confidence in daily life.
SCALING UP ACCESS TO CORONAVIRUS TESTINGIn this critical moment in the pandemic, testing is fundamental in our ability to help facilitate a return to work, school and life with a bit more confidence. BinaxNOW' is a fast, reliable, affordable and portable rapid test that Abbott will produce at mass scale to greatly expand access to testing to people who need it. We'll ship tens of millions of tests in September, ramping production to 50 million tests a month in October.
We're pairing this $5, 15-minute, easy-to-use test with a mobile app, called NAVICA', which works like a secure digital "boarding pass" that can be scanned to enter organizations and other places where people gather. This combination is life-changing technology that will attack the pandemic on critical fronts '' speed, simplicity, affordability, access and reliability.
ACCESS THE TEST AND NAVICA APP
SIGN UP For U.S. residents, sign up to get notified when testing is available in your area.
DOWNLOAD THE APP Get the app before your first test.
FOR PROFESSIONALS Click here for product information on the BinaxNOW' COVID-19 Ag Card and the NAVICA App.
READ MORE WE'RE UPPING THE ANTE ON COVID-19 ANTIGEN TESTINGBinaxNOW: With a swab & a card, reliable results in 15 minutes for coronavirus.
READ MORE AS WE COME BACK, OUR NEW TEST CAN HELP OPEN DOORSChris Scoggins explains key features of BinaxNOW test + NAVICA app combo.
READ MORE Quick Facts: BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card and NAVICA AppFast. Affordable. Portable.
PLAY VIDEO VIDEO: A DIGITALLY-CONNECTED RAPID TEST AND MOBILE APPComprehensive testing solution to help you feel more confident about your health.
READ MORE YOUR GUIDE TO USING NAVICA APP WITH BINAXNOW RESULTSWith verified results, app's QR code can be digital pass for places people gather.
READ MORE MORE INFO: YOUR NAVICA APP QUESTIONS ANSWERED HEREWhat is it, where you can get it and other answers to help you get started.
VIDEO: ATTACKING THIS VIRUS FROM EVERY ANGLE WE CANBinaxNOW and NAVICA are strong tools to help us get back to daily life.
VIDEO: BINAXNOW CAN HELP LOWER RISK OF DISEASE SPREADExplaining the trade-offs between rapid antigen tests vs. lab-based tests.
VIDEO: KEY TO COVID-19 TEST IS COMMUNICATION OF RESULTSExpert says a test with an app improves efficiency of communicating results.
The BinaxNOW' COVID-19 Ag Card EUA has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens, and is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.
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Europe Is Fighting A 2nd Wave Of Coronavirus Pandemic : NPR
World Health Organization official Dr. Hans Kluge tells reporters that coronavirus cases are rising in Europe. David Barrett/AP hide caption
toggle caption David Barrett/AP World Health Organization official Dr. Hans Kluge tells reporters that coronavirus cases are rising in Europe.
David Barrett/AP The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that weekly coronavirus case numbers are rising in Europe at a higher rate than during the pandemic's peak in March.
At a virtual news conference, Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO in Europe, warned, "We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us."
"Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," he said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."
Wearing a green face mask, Kluge said, "Strict lockdown measures in the spring and early summer yielded good results. Our efforts, our sacrifices paid off. In June, cases hit an all-time low."
Reported cases in Spain, France and the U.K. were in the hundreds in June and July.
However, Kluge said the early September case numbers "should serve as a wake-up call for all of us." He said the numbers reflect more comprehensive testing but also "alarming rates of transmission across the region."
"More than half of European countries have reported a greater than 10% increase in cases in the past two weeks," said Kluge. "Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than twofold in the same period."
"Where the pandemic goes from here is in our hands. ... We have fought it back before, and we can fight back again," he said.
Kluge said quarantines should remain in place.
So far, Europe has seen 4,893,614 confirmed cases, and the death toll is at 216,005 during this pandemic. Spain has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe at 625,651, followed by France at 454,099, the United Kingdom at 384,075 and Italy at 293,025, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.
New UK law forces citizens to download contact tracing app or provide personal info to use certain businesses
The UK government has introduced a new law that forces some businesses to refuse entry to customers unless they download and use the government's contact tracing app or hand over their personal data. Fines of up to £4,000 ($5170) can also be issued for non-compliance.
Under the new law, ''The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020,'' UK citizens that want to use bars, caf(C)s, pubs, restaurants, and even workplace cafeterias, from today, will be legally required to hand over several pieces of personal information to enter.
This personal information includes their name, contact information (which can include a phone number, email address, or postal address), and the date and time they entered the premises. If people want to enter as part of a group, they'll also have to provide details of how many people are in their group.
Additionally, businesses have to keep a record of the names of the members of staff together with the names of the customers they interacted with when providing service.
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Then from next Thursday (September 24), when the UK National Health Service (NHS) launches its contract tracing app, businesses will be required to display government-issued QR codes and people will be required to use the NHS contact tracing app and scan these codes or provide the personal information listed above to enter the premises.
The law requires these businesses to deny entry to people that refuse to scan the QR code or provide their personal information.
Additionally, the law lists other businesses that are legally required to display QR codes and collect personal information from those that don't scan QR codes including ''leisure and tourism services'' (such as casinos, clubs providing sporting activities, hotels, leisure centers, swimming pools, music recording studios that are open to the public, and public libraries) and ''close physical contact services'' (such as barbers, beauticians, dress fitters, hairdressers, nail bars and salons, skin and body piercing services, tailors, sports and massage therapists, and tattooists), and ''services provided for social, cultural and recreational purposes'' (such as community centers and village halls).
However, these other businesses have an exemption to the legal requirement to refuse entry.
Businesses that fail to comply will be fined £1,000 ($1300) and up to £4,000 for repeat offenses. Local authorities can also send police to the businesses' premises as a ''last resort.''
UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said it's ''vital'' for these government contact tracing measures to reach ''as many people as possible to prevent further transmission of the virus.''
The introduction of the law follows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing coronavirus passports last week. Under this COVID passports scheme, people who test negative for the coronavirus will be given a ''passport to mingle with everybody else who is similarly not infectious.''
Before the publication of this new law, the UK's coronavirus contact tracing and testing schemes have been mired in privacy controversies.
The original version of the NHS contact tracing app was scrapped in June after reports that it breached the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and stored personal user data for 20 years.
In July, the UK government admitted that its contact tracing program had been operating illegally by failing to perform legally required data protection checks.
And earlier this month, it was discovered that the UK government is sending data to a credit agency when citizens request a coronavirus test.
Despite the major privacy concerns, contact tracing isn't the only digital tracking system the UK government is pushing ahead with. A digital ID system that feeds into user data from the web has also been proposed this month.
And as these proposals and laws continue to mandate more data harvesting as a requirement to access businesses and their services, those that raise concerns about the government's coronavirus response being used to erode people's civil liberties are swiftly censored.
UK's Johnson to levy 10,000 pound fine on COVID-19 rule-breakers - Metro US
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust in London
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LONDON (Reuters) '' People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to 10,000 pounds ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday.
The rules will apply from Sept. 28 to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.
''People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,'' Johnson said in a statement.
Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.
Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a 500 pound support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled.
Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days.
Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate.
To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad.
However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates.
Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public.
However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Chris Reese)
Image copyright Getty Images A new taskforce will meet next week to kick-start the recovery of cancer services across the NHS in England.
Charities believe the pandemic has led to a significant reduction in people being referred for urgent cancer treatment.
Cancer Research UK says three million people have missed cancer screenings since March.
The taskforce aims to investigate how to ensure more people are referred, tested and checked.
At Liverpool's new Clatterbridge cancer centre, which opened in June, treatment is up and running. The coronavirus meant face-to-face contacts with patients like Ian Crompton were greatly reduced.
'You feel alone'Ian has previously been treated for prostate cancer, which meant he had to self-isolate throughout lockdown. Now he needs a scan to make sure all is well.
So his first appointment actually meeting staff has come as something of a relief.
"With being in isolation, in lockdown, you felt alone," Ian says.
"I find consultations face to face a lot better because you can ask questions.
"On the phone, there's no eye contact, which I find unusual."
Services are now starting to come back up to speed, but there is a significant backlog of patients who need treatment.
It's also estimated that around 350,000 fewer patients than normal have been referred for an urgent cancer investigation.
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Media caption Hatti Gayner, 28, described a lump she'd found in her breast to a GP over the phone'I should have been examined'Hatti Gayner is a dancer and performer, who appeared with her group on BBC TV's The Greatest Dancer earlier this year.
A lively and chatty Geordie, the 28-year-old is now undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
She's being supported by the Trekstock charity, which helps younger people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Towards the end of lockdown she found a lump in her breast, but she had to make do with a telephone consultation with her GP.
Initially she was told it might be an abscess or a cyst and was prescribed antibiotics.
But her mum told her to push for a face-to-face consultation - and when that happened, it became clear it was much more serious.
"I'm a young girl, 28. I'm not a hypochondriac, I don't just phone up about nothing," she says.
"I know they don't know that, necessarily, but I think I should have been seen and I think I should have been examined."
Infection control and social distancing mean it now takes longer to treat people safely, and there are concerns about how much capacity there is to reduce the backlog of patients.
NHS England says that between March and July of this year, more than 207,000 people started cancer treatment.
That's around 85% of the number the NHS in England treated in the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile a taskforce, involving all the main cancer charities and organisations such as the Royal College of GPs, will start work next week.
The body, led by Prof Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer in England, aims to ensure more people are checked and tested.
'Come forward now'"People have been staying away because they didn't want to put pressure on the NHS when it was busy coping with a huge number of people with the coronavirus," he said.
"We're very keen that they should come back, and if anybody's worried about symptoms, they should come forward now.
"We are working to try and match the capacity that we have got, whether it's across the NHS or in the independent sector, to the demand that we can see coming through," Prof Johnson said.
"And we're expecting during September and October that we're probably going to see more than the usual number of people as we catch up."
Vaccines and Such
Moderna would seek limited emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine based on early data | Article [AMP] | Reuters
CHICAGO, Sept 17 CHICAGO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - If Moderna Inc'sCOVID-19 vaccine proves to be at least 70 percent effective, thecompany plans to seek emergency authorization for its use inhigh-risk groups, the company's chief executive told Reuters.
Moderna's vaccine candidate - mRNA-1273 - is nearing thefinish line in its push to enroll 30,000 individuals in alate-stage trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine. But the companymay be able to declare victory early if it is able to show thatpeople who got the vaccine fared much better in its trial thatpeople who didn't.
Vaccines must demonstrate they are at least 50% moreeffective than a placebo to be considered for approval. To provethat, government officials have said, at least 150 COVID-19infections must be recorded among trial participants with atleast twice as many occurring among the placebo group.
If a vaccine is especially effective, companies could havetheir answer sooner.
An independent safety board will take a first look atModerna's data as soon as a total of 53 people in the trialbecome infected with COVID-19. Moderna is projecting the interimanalysis will occur in November, but it could come as early asOctober.
If most of the people who got sick got the placebo shot,that would indicate the vaccine was protecting those inoculatedand could be enough evidence to seek U.S. regulatory approvalfor Emergency Use Authorization(EUA).
"If the interim readout is deemed by the independent safetycommittee as positive with 70 or 80 or 90% efficacy, we willindeed consider approval," Stephane Bancel, Moderna's chiefexecutive officer, said in a telephone interview.
"At such a level of efficacy, if we get there, we canprotect a lot of lives in the people at the highest risk, andso, we will consider filing for an EUA for a very limitedpopulation," Bancel said.
He said the FDA will determine whether the benefit of thevaccine to a small group of high-risk individuals outweighs therisk of not having a full readout of safety data from all 30,000study participants.
The two groups of high-risk individuals who might be coveredin such an EUA would be healthcare workers and the elderly,Bancel said.
Bancel said the company wants to gather more data on thesafety of the vaccine in the study population over a period ofseveral months before seeking full FDA approval.
Moderna released its study protocol on Thursday, makingpublic details on how its vaccine will be evaluated. If thevaccine does not reach the efficacy mark after 53 cases, thedata safety and monitoring board will take another interim lookat the data after 106 cases, and a final look after 151 peoplein the trial become infected with the virus.
Public health officials have said that approving a vaccinefor widespread use based on a small number of cases would notoffer enough safety information to show how the vaccine wouldperform.
Moderna, which has never brought a vaccine to market, hasreceived nearly $1 billion from the U.S. government under itsOperation Warp Speed program. It has also struck a $1.5 billionsupply agreement with the United States.
In a presentation to investors on Tuesday, Pfizer Incsaid the company has enrolled more than 29,000 people inits 44,000-volunteer trial to test an experimental COVID-19vaccine the company is developing with German partner BioNTech.
Pfizer expects to have enough data to show whether thevaccine works by the end of October.(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; editing by Peter Henderson andCynthia Osterman)
Gilead Sent Death Threats To Kill HCQ As COVID-19 Cure, French Dr Testifies In Parliament
After it was revealed in a shocking investigation that WHO policies on Hydroxychloroquine were based on a fake study by a pornstar and a science-fiction writer, now in an ongoing investigation, a French doctor has testified in parliament that Gilead sent him death threats after he started talking about HCQ as a cure for COVID-19.
Gilead Sent Death Threats To Kill HCQ As COVID-19 Cure, French Dr Testifies In ParliamentIn late March, a study by a French research team led by the renowned epidemiologist Dr. Didier Raoult revealed that he was able to cure his 80 patients by administering hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
''By administering hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin, we were able to observe an improvement in all cases, except in one patient who arrived with an advanced form, who was over the age of 86'...,'' reported Fox News.
In late March, a study by a French research team led by the renowned epidemiologist Dr. Didier Raoult revealed that he was able to cure his 80 patients by administering hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.They were also able to demonstrate 91% effectiveness in more than 1,000 patients with zero side-effects.
In his tweets Dr. Raoult explained about his results:
New article published online by my teams: in vitro demonstration of the hydroxychloroquine / azithromycin synergy to counter SARS-COV2 replication In vitro testing of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin on SARS-CoV-2 shows synergistic effect.
New results from the IHU M(C)diterran(C)e Infection: 80 patients treated with a hydroxychloroquine / azithromycin combination.
Our two articles published this evening allow us to continue to demonstrate:
The effectiveness of our protocol, on 80 patients.2. The relevance of the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, thanks to research carried out in our P3 containment laboratory.
Soon, Dr. Didier Raoult started receiving death threats. He filed a complaint for ''death threats'' and ''acts of intimidation against a public service official'' following which an investigation was opened by French Judiciary.
Now during a shocking testimony before the parliament, Dr. Raoult told lawmakers under oath that the person who sent him death threats was a top recipient of Gilead Pharmaceuticals.
Professor Raoult testified that, shortly after he started to talk about HCQ as a treatment, in March, he received anonymous death threats. He filed a complaint with the police, and an enquiry was opened by the French judiciary.
The medical doctor behind the threats was found and happens to be from a Nantes university hospital. It happened to be the person who received the most money from Gilead over the past 6 years.
Professor Raoult told members of the French parliament to open an investigation into Gilead Sciences. He also mentioned the stock exchange speculation that took place in connection with information becoming available regarding Remdesivir and HCQ. You can watch the entire testimony of Dr. Didier Raoul presented to the French Parliament on Wednesday June 24, here.
Earlier, in an investigation it was revealed that WHO policies on Hydroxychloroquine were influenced by a fake study by a pornstar and a Sci-Fi writer. An obscure US healthcare analytics company has come under sharp scrutiny for the integrity of its key studies that were published in some of the world's most prestigious medical journals. World Health Organization and several national governments changed their COVID-19 policies and treatment based on the faulty data provided by the company with a pornstar and a sci-fi writer on their payroll.
A report by GreatGameIndia on the history of Gilead Sciences revealed that behind the benign image of a vaccine manufacturer, Gilead Science has a dark history of allegations of bioterrorism, including having Pentagon to bomb a competitors factory under the false pretext of association with Al-Qaeda.
Gilead's flu drug, Tamiflu, originally manufactured by Gilead Sciences, was criticized for being ineffective and even harmful. Chairman of Gilead Sciences Donald Rumsfeld and Board Member of Gilead, Former U.S. Secretary of State, George Schultz profited heavily from a $1.5 billion stockpiling by the U.S. government on Tamiflu leading up to the 2009 H1N1 ''swine flu'' outbreak.
The interesting part is, Gilead was part of the vaccine lobby at whose behest the WHO faked the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, and kept it a secret from people until committees were setup which exposed the entire racket.
For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.
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GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations. Get to know the Geopolitical threats India is facing in our exclusive book India in Cognitive Dissonance. Past magazine issues can be accessed from the Archives section.
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'EPIC' Solar Eclipse View Captured from 1 Million Miles Away (Video) | Space
HomeNewsSkywatchingIt's one "EPIC" eclipse view: NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, aka EPIC, recorded the moon's shadow crossing the United States yesterday (Aug. 21) from 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away.
EPIC rides through space on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite. The camera usually takes 20 to 22 images of Earth each day '-- and NASA combined yesterday's photo haul into a gorgeous time-lapse video showing the march of the "Great American Solar Eclipse."
This eclipse was extra-special for the United States, as millions of viewers watched totality cross the nation coast to coast for the first time since 1918. But DSCOVR is always viewing Earth's sunlit side, so it frequently gets the chance to watch the moon's shadow cross Earth during total and annular solar eclipses.
NASA's EPIC camera on NOAA's DSCOVR satellite snapped this vivid view of the total solar eclipse crossing Earth on Aug. 21, 2017. (Image credit: NASA EPIC Team)DSCOVR sits at Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot between Earth and the sun where spacecraft can more or less "park." The satellite launched in 2015, and its photos allow researchers to track clouds and weather systems' movement across the surface, as well as changes in deserts, forests and seas.
DSCOVR also monitors the levels of ozone and aerosols in Earth's atmosphere; vegetation; and how much ultraviolet light Earth reflects, NASA officials have said. On the sun side, DSCOVR monitors the stream of charged particles flowing away from the sun, called the solar wind.
Email Sarah Lewin at email@example.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.
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The smoke from US West Coast wildfires is visible from nearly 1 million miles away (photo)
(C) Provided by Space NASA's EPIC camera aboard the NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft captured this photo on Sept. 9, 2020. A thick pall of smoke from the West Coast wildfires hovers over the Pacific Ocean, just off the West Coast. The smoke wafting from the wildfires raging across the Western United States is a wrenching sight, even from nearly a million miles away.
NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) captured a dramatic shot of the smoke on Wednesday (Sept. 9), showing a huge gray-brown smudge hovering over the Pacific Ocean just off the West Coast.
EPIC rides aboard the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), which orbits the sun in a gravitationally stable spot 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth.
Related: Raging California wildfires spotted from space (photos, video)
The smoke is bad over terra firma as well, blanketing much of California, Oregon and Washington state. The extent of the pollution, which has caused hazardous air quality and apocalyptically orange skies across the West Coast, is laid bare in a photo snapped Wednesday by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.
Such imagery helps convey the scale and ferocity of the current fires, which have killed at least 15 people to date and forced more than 40,000 people in Oregon to evacuate their homes, according to The New York Times.
The blazes are also charring huge tracts of land. For example, 330,000 acres (133,500 hectares) burned in Washington on Monday (Sept. 8) alone, Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted on Tuesday (Sept. 9). That's more than in 12 of the state's 18 most recent entire fire seasons, he said.
And wildfires have burned more than 3.1 million acres (1.25 million hectares) in California since the beginning of the year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) wrote in an update Friday (Sept. 11).
"This year's acres burned is 26 times higher than the acres burned in 2019 for the same time period, and the combined amount of acres burned is larger than the state of Connecticut," CALFIRE officials wrote.
The raging fires are driven by high temperatures and dry conditions throughout the West. The region is getting hotter and drier thanks to human-caused climate change, so it's no surprise that wildfires there have been getting more extreme and more destructive recently, experts say.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
Video: Heavy rains flood Maryland streets (Newsflare)
Heavy rains flood Maryland streets
Thai rescuers smashed through ceiling to reach python hiding inside Rescuers handlers smashed through a ceiling to catch a 10ft-long python hiding inside. The snake sparked panic inside the Wiset Chai Chan Education Center in Angthong, Thailand, when it was seen squeezing through a window on September 9. Terrified staff rushed out of the building and called the emergency services while the snake slithered into ceiling. One of the rescue volunteers used a crane to reach the second floor of the building from the outside to create a hole and find where it was. It was then found hiding in the middle of a conference room. They stood on a chair while smashing a hole with a hammer and grabbing the snake. The rescuers said that python might have been living in the big tree beside the office and entered looking for house lizards to eat. Ting Supattra, one of the members of the tea, said: "This is the first time we took up the crane to catch the snake. Luckily no one was harmed by the animal." The wild animal was put in a sack and taken by the rescuers to be released later in the woods. Newsflare Chilling moment 'ghost' reverses truck and opens its doors This is the chilling moment a parked truck was seen driving backwards before the doors mysteriously opened on its own. The truck's owner, Joseph Vigo, was confused after he found it in the morning outside its parking space with its rear was bumper against the fence. He thought that thieves were trying to steal it so he asked the local officials in Bataan province, the Philippines to review the CCTV on August 31. They were shocked after the security camera facing the car park showed the unmanned truck moving on its own around 3 a.m., a few hours before Joseph found it. He said: ''We played the video multiple times, but there was no one there to move the truck . Some of the employees at the office even joined us watch the footage and they couldn't see sanything.'' There were other cars parked beside the truck but it was the only one to move. Superstitious locals believe that a spirit living in the old mango tree at the back of the building is responsible for driving the truck. To stop the villagers from worrying, the local officials invited mechanical engineers to check the truck and the parking lot. Engineer Kristine Ann Reclosado said that the truck is an old model and could easily slide down the uneven car park, especially because the hand brake was faulty. She said: ''The truck's brakes are broken. It was also left on neutral so it is possible that the truck just moved on its own.'' Meanwhile, the local officials said they will put more religious statues around the car park so that the villagers will feel more at ease in the area. Newsflare Lost pet dog rescued after spending four days trapped in abandoned well in Thailand This is the heartwarming moment a dog was rescued after being trapped in an eight metre deep abandoned well for four days. Farmers were working on a rubber tree farm when they heard the pooch howling in Trang, southern Thailand on Monday (September 14). They followed the crying sound which led them to a dried up well nearby. The dog's owner, Nanthicha Chuphlu, 29, also arrived at the scene when neighbours informed her that a trapped dog had been found. The worried pet lover said she was looking for her lost three-year-old dog after it had been missing from home for four days. She said: "I am thankful to the farmers because they did not ignore my dog crying. She could have starved down there." The Bantao Wiset rescue team led by the head Apichat Wangsud rushed to the farm with full-handed gears and ropes after the farmers called them for help. They tied a noose around the dog's body and pulled it up. The dog was finally reunited with its owner after half an hour. The weary animal was given food and water by the rescuers before it played with them as if it was saying thank you. Head volunteer Apichat said: "We were called for help and we tried our best to help it because the well was too deep and steep. We were glad that it was not harmed after days of being trapped in the hole." The dog went home with its owner who was grateful to the rescuers for helping her pet. Newsflare UP NEXT
Supreme Court & Republicans -- History Is on the Side of Republicans Filling a Vacancy in 2020 | National Review
(Bill Chizek/iStock/Getty Images Plus) Choosing not to fill a vacancy would be a historically unprecedented act of unilateral disarmament. I f a Supreme Court vacancy opens up between now and the end of the year, Republicans should fill it. Given the vital importance of the Court to rank-and-file Republican voters and grassroots activists, particularly in the five-decade-long quest to overturn Roe v. Wade, it would be political suicide for Republicans to refrain from filling a vacancy unless some law or important traditional norm was against them. There is no such law and no such norm; those are all on their side. Choosing not to fill a vacancy would be a historically unprecedented act of unilateral disarmament. It has never happened once in all of American history. There is no chance that the Democrats, in the same position, would ever reciprocate, as their own history illustrates.
For now, all this remains hypothetical. Neither Ruth Bader Ginsburg nor any of her colleagues intend to go anywhere. But with the 87-year-old Ginsburg fighting a recurrence of cancer and repeatedly in and out of hospitals, we are starting to see the Washington press corps and senators openly discussing what would happen if she dies or is unable to continue serving on the Court. Democrats are issuing threats, and some Republicans are already balking.
History supports Republicans filling the seat. Doing so would not be in any way inconsistent with Senate Republicans' holding open the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. The reason is simple, and was explained by Mitch McConnell at the time. Historically, throughout American history, when their party controls the Senate, presidents get to fill Supreme Court vacancies at any time '-- even in a presidential election year, even in a lame-duck session after the election, even after defeat. Historically, when the opposite party controls the Senate, the Senate gets to block Supreme Court nominees sent up in a presidential election year, and hold the seat open for the winner. Both of those precedents are settled by experience as old as the republic. Republicans should not create a brand-new precedent to deviate from them.
Power, Norms, and Election-Year Nominations
There are two types of rules in Washington: laws that allocate power, and norms that reflect how power has traditionally, historically been used. Laws that allocate power are paramount, and particularly dangerous to violate, but there is no such law at issue here. A president can always make a nomination for a Supreme Court vacancy, no matter how late in his term or how many times he has been turned down; the only thing in his way is the Senate.
Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration. (This counts vacancies created by new seats on the Court, but not vacancies for which there was a nomination already pending when the year began, such as happened in 1835''36 and 1987''88.) The president made a nomination in all twenty-nine cases. George Washington did it three times. John Adams did it. Thomas Jefferson did it. Abraham Lincoln did it. Ulysses S. Grant did it. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it. Dwight Eisenhower did it. Barack Obama, of course, did it. Twenty-two of the 44 men to hold the office faced this situation, and all twenty-two made the decision to send up a nomination, whether or not they had the votes in the Senate.
During the 1844 election, for example, there were two open seats on the Court. John Tyler made nine separate nominations of five different candidates, in one case sending up the same nominee three times. He sent up a pair of nominees in December, after the election. When those failed, he sent up another pair in February (presidential terms then ended in March). He had that power. Presidents have made Supreme Court nominations as late as literally the last day of their term. In Tyler's case, the Whig-controlled Senate had, and used, its power to block multiple nominations by a man they had previously expelled from their party.
At the same time, in terms of raw power, a majority of senators has the power to seat any nominee they want, and block any nominee they want. Historically, that power of the majority was limited by the filibuster, but a majority can change that rule, and has. Norms long limited the filibuster's use in judicial nominations in the first place, and violation of those norms led to its abolition. No Supreme Court nominee was filibustered by a minority of Senators until 1968. Senate Democrats attempted filibusters of William Rehnquist twice, and launched the first formal filibuster of a new appointment to the Court on partisan lines against Samuel Alito in 2005. Joe Biden participated prominently in the Rehnquist and Alito filibusters. Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and joined by Biden, were the first to filibuster federal appellate nominees in 2003. After Republicans adopted the same tactic years later, Senate Democrats eliminated the filibuster for appellate nominees in 2013. Republicans extended that elimination to Supreme Court nominees in 2017.
So, today, Donald Trump has the raw power to make a Supreme Court nomination all the way to the end of his term. Senate Republicans have the raw power to confirm one at least until a new Senate is seated on January 3, and '-- so long as there are at least 50 Republican senators on that date '-- until Trump leaves office. Whether they should use this power, however, is a matter of norms, and of politics.
Norms are crucially important. If parties cannot trust that the other side will abide by established norms of conduct, politics devolves rapidly into a blood sport that quickly loses the capacity to resolve disagreements peaceably within the system. Those norms are derived from tradition and history. So let's look at the history.
The Senate's Precedents
In 2016, Barack Obama used his raw power to nominate Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia in March of the last year of Obama's term, with the Trump''Clinton election underway. The Republican majority in the Senate used its raw power to refuse to seat that nominee. Having reached that decision, the Republican majority did not even hold a hearing for an outcome that was predetermined. In looking back at that exercise of Senate power in 2017, I concluded that it was supported by historical precedent:
In short: There have been ten vacancies resulting in a presidential election-year or post-election nomination when the president and Senate were from opposite parties. In six of the ten cases, a nomination was made before Election Day. Only one of those, Chief Justice Melville Fuller's nomination by Grover Cleveland in 1888, was confirmed before the election. Four nominations were made in lame-duck sessions after the election; three of those were left open for the winner of the election. Other than the unusual Fuller nomination (made when the Court was facing a crisis of backlogs in its docket), three of the other nine were filled after Election Day in ways that rewarded the winner of the presidential contest:
In February 1845, the Whigs (who had lost the Senate and the White House in the 1844 election) compromised in the lame-duck session to seat one of Tyler's nominees, leaving the other for incoming Democrat James K. Polk.In December 1880 and January 1881, the Democrats (who had likewise lost the Senate and failed to regain the White House in 1880) confirmed one of Rutherford B. Hayes's nominees and defeated the other, who was then successfully renominated by Hayes's Republican successor, James A. Garfield.In 1956, Dwight Eisenhower's pre-election recess appointment of a Democrat, William Brennan, in mid-October was confirmed as a lifetime appointment in Ike's second term after he was reelected and the Democrats continued to hold the Senate.The norm in these cases strongly favored holding the seat open for the conflict between the two branches to be resolved by the presidential election. That is what Republicans did in 2016. The voters had created divided government, and the Senate was within its historical rights to insist on an intervening election to decide the power struggle. Had there been no conflict between the branches to submit to the voters for resolution, there would have been no reason for delay.
When Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018, I looked again at the historical practice, and concluded that the norm in midterm-election years favors confirming a Supreme Court nominee regardless of which party holds the Senate. This, too, has become the norm for a reason: While the Senate can always reject a particularly objectionable nominee, it is hard to justify forcing the Court to work short-handed for years on end.
So what does history say about this situation, where a president is in his last year in office, his party controls the Senate, and the branches are not in conflict? Once again, historical practice and tradition provides a clear and definitive answer: In the absence of divided government, election-year nominees get confirmed.
Table: Dan McLaughlinNineteen times between 1796 and 1968, presidents have sought to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential-election year while their party controlled the Senate. Ten of those nominations came before the election; nine of the ten were successful, the only failure being the bipartisan filibuster of the ethically challenged Abe Fortas as chief justice in 1968. Justices to enter the Court under these circumstances included such legal luminaries as Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo. George Washington made two nominations in 1796, one of them a chief justice replacing a failed nominee the prior year. It was his last year in office, and the Adams''Jefferson race to replace him was bitter and divisive. Woodrow Wilson made two nominations in 1916, one of them to replace Charles Evans Hughes, who had resigned from the Court to run for president against Wilson. Wilson was in a tight reelection campaign that was not decided until California finished counting votes a week after Election Day. Three of the presidents who got election-year nominees confirmed (Benjamin Harrison in 1892, William Howard Taft in 1912, and Herbert Hoover in 1932) were on their way to losing reelection, in Taft's and Hoover's cases by overwhelming margins. But they still had the Senate, so they got their nominees through.
Nine times, presidents have made nominations after the election in a lame-duck session. These include some storied nominations, such as John Adams picking Chief Justice John Marshall in 1801 and Abraham Lincoln selecting Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in 1864. Of the nine, the only one that did not succeed was Washington's 1793 nomination of William Paterson, which was withdrawn for technical reasons and resubmitted and confirmed the first day of the next Congress (Paterson had helped draft the Judiciary Act of 1789 creating the Court, and the Constitution thus required his term as a senator to end before he could be appointed to the Court). Two of Andrew Jackson's nominees on the last day of his term were confirmed a few days later, without quibbles. In no case did the Senate reject a nominee or refuse to act on a nomination; why would they? Three of the presidents who filled lame-duck vacancies '-- Adams, Martin Van Buren, and Benjamin Harrison '-- had already lost reelection.
The Adams precedent is the most famous; back when people read basic American history in school, everybody knew about Adams and the Federalists in the Senate stocking the courts with ''midnight judges.'' That is part of the story of the first peaceful transfer of power after a democratic election in history. The crown jewel of the midnight judges, Chief Justice Marshall, went on to become the most influential jurist in American history, entrenching the Federalist Party's theories of the Constitution for many years after the party ceased to exist. Marshall served into Andrew Jackson's presidency over three decades later, and his decisions still guide the American constitutional practice of judicial review.
In addition to Marshall, two of the other lame-duck appointees would go on to lead the Court: Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln's Treasury secretary, was appointed Chief Justice by Lincoln a month after the 1864 election, and Harlan Fiske Stone, appointed by Calvin Coolidge in January after the 1924 election, would later be elevated by Franklin Roosevelt to Chief Justice in 1941. Lincoln was the only president with a favorable Senate to have a vacancy open just before the election (in mid-October, with the death of Dred Scott author and Lincoln bªte noire Roger Taney) and wait until he had won to make a nomination. He had his own strategic reasons to want his own position fortified before using the plum position of Chief Justice to rid himself of Chase, who had angled for Lincoln's job in 1864 and was trusted by Lincoln ideologically but not politically.
A few of these late-term nominations '-- but only a few '-- were made with an eye to political concession. Hoover required two tries to fill a vacancy with a Republican in 1930. When Oliver Wendell Holmes retired in 1932, Hoover was mired in the Depression and fighting for his political life. He chose a Democrat: the liberal, Jewish New Yorker Cardozo, then the most prominent state-court judge in the country and widely seen as a worthy successor to Holmes's legacy as a common-law judge. Benjamin Harrison, having filled one seat in July 1892 with Republican George Shiras, picked Democrat Howell Jackson for his second choice in the lame-duck session in January 1893. Jackson was not just any Democrat: like his predecessor, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, Jackson had served in the government of the Confederacy. He was also a Harrison family friend. These were, however, political choices; the other 17 vacancies were filled by men from the party holding the presidency and the Senate.
The bottom line: If a president and the Senate agree on a Supreme Court nominee, timing has never stopped them. By tradition, only when the voters have elected a president and a Senate majority from different parties has the fact of a looming presidential election mattered. When there is no dispute between the branches, there is no need to ask the voters to resolve one.
Political Games and Previous Statements
As MSNBC's Sahil Kapur rounds up, Democrats are already issuing threats of retaliation if Republicans replace Ginsburg late in Trump's term, in light of the Republican rejection of Garland and the widespread expectation that Trump will lose reelection to Joe Biden. Their arguments for doing so, however, are a transparent sham.
Tim Kaine, the Democrats' 2016 vice presidential nominee, rests his case against a nomination '-- and for Court-packing in retaliation '-- on historical precedent:
''If they show that they're unwilling to respect precedent, rules and history, then they can't feign surprise when others talk about using a statutory option that we have that's fully constitutional in our availability. I don't want to do that. But if they act in such a way, they may push it to an inevitability. So they need to be careful about that.'' . . . [Kaine] said confirming a nominee of President Donald Trump this year could compel Democrats to consider adding seats to the high court.
Based on the history set forth above, however, Kaine does not have a leg to stand on talking about ''precedent, rules and history.'' He's arguing for Republicans to adopt a new rule contradicting traditional practice. For good measure, he shows that he doesn't know the history behind the rejection of Garland, and throws in a barely concealed dog-whistle charge of racism: ''We knew basically they were lying in 2016, when they said, 'Oh, we can't do this because it's an election year.' We knew they didn't want to do it because it was President Obama.'' In fact, Obama's own White House counsel admitted that she would have recommended the same course in 2016 had the parties been reversed.
While some Republicans (notably John Thune) are vocally ready to confirm an election-year nominee, two Republican senators who backed the rejection of Garland have expressed concerns about moving forward under these circumstances. One, Lisa Murkowski, voted against Justice Kavanaugh and is not really a must-win vote. But the other, former Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, is more influential, and still sits on the committee (now chaired by Lindsey Graham), where all twelve Republicans would be needed to pass a nomination.
Grassley has repeatedly suggested that he would not go forward with a nomination if he was still chairman, because it would look hypocritical to go back on the Garland precedent and confirm a nominee in an election year. But an election year alone is not the historical rule. It is not what Mitch McConnell said at the time, and it is not what Grassley said at the time, either. The fact of divided government was what connected their concerns about an election-year nomination to historical practice.
McConnell, in his initial 2016 press conference after Scalia's death on February 23, 2016, explicitly invoked the relevant historical precedents (emphasis added):
The next president should make this nomination. The '-- that certainly is supported by precedent. You'd have to go back to 1888 when Grover Cleveland was in the White House to find the last time a Senate of a different party from the president confirmed a nominee for the Supreme Court in an election year, . . . Who should make the decision? . . . the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now'...the overwhelming view of the Republican Conference of the Senate, in the Senate, is that this nomination should not be filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president. That was the view of Joe Biden when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1992. . . . We know what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. We know what would happen. A nominee of a Republican president would not be confirmed by a Democratic Senate when the vacancy was created in a presidential election year. That's a fact.
McConnell repeated the point about divided control of the Senate and White House and the not-since-Fuller-in-1888 historical precedent a few weeks later, in a nationally televised Fox News Sunday interview on March 20, 2016, with Chris Wallace:
I think what we need to focus on is the principle, the principle. Who ought to make this appointment? You have to go back 80 years to find the last time a vacancy on the Supreme Court created in a presidential election year was filled. You have to go back to 1888 when Grover Cleveland was in the White House to find the last time when a vacancy was created in a presidential year, a Senate controlled about it party opposite the president confirmed.
The political reality behind the so-called ''Biden rule'' frequently invoked by McConnell and Grassley in 2016 is that the Senate in 1992 was held by Democrats, and by warning the first President Bush against an election-year nomination, Biden was asserting the partisan prerogatives of the Democratic Senate majority. In fact, Biden in his June 1992 speech on refusing to confirm any election-year Bush nominees leaned explicitly on the different standards applicable to divided government:
What distinguished the Reagan-Bush Justices from these historical parallels . . . is that half of them have been nominated in a period of a divided government. . . . Since 1968, Republicans have controlled the White House for 20 of 24 years. Democrats have controlled the Senate for 18 years of this period. The public has not given either party a mandate to remake the Court into a body reflective of a strong vision of our respective philosophies. . . .
If in this next election the American people conclude that the majority of desks should be moved on that side of the aisle, there should be 56 Republican Senators instead of 56 Democratic Senators, 44 Democratic Senators instead of 56 or 57 Democratic Senators, and at the same time if they choose to pick Bill Clinton over George Bush, we will have a divided Government and I will say the same thing to Bill Clinton: In a divided Government, he must seek the advice of the Republican Senate and compromise. Otherwise, this Republican Senate would be totally entitled to say we reject the nominees of a Democratic President who is attempting to remake the Court in a way with which we disagree.
To be sure, McConnell did not spell out all the elements of his precedential argument every time he spoke on the subject, and other Republican senators regularly couched their responses in broad terms about a pending election that did not grapple with the historical precedents. But Grassley, like McConnell, repeatedly cited the precedents on which his committee was relying:
February 22, 2016, in a floor statement: ''Republicans hold the gavels in the Senate. And a term limited Democrat in the twilight of his presidency occupies the White House. . . . Justice Scalia's death marks the first time a sitting Supreme Court Justice has passed away in a presidential election year in 100 years. And it's the first time a sitting Supreme Court Justice passed away in a presidential election year during divided government since 1888'...''February 23, 2016, in a Judiciary Committee letter to McConnell on not holding hearings: ''Not since 1932 has the Senate confirmed in a presidential election year a Supreme Court nominee to a vacancy arising in that year. And it is necessary to go even further back '-- to 1888 '-- in order to find an election year nominee who was nominated and confirmed under divided government, as we have now.''February 26, 2016, in an op-ed entitled ''Giving the People a Voice '-- The Supreme Court Vacancy'': ''History supports this practice. Not since 1888 has an election year nominee been confirmed during a divided government to fill a vacancy occurring in the same year.''May 10, 2016, in a Medium post on ''Debunking SCOTUS Myths'': ''In 2012, the American people re-elected Barack Obama as President of the United States. In 2014, the American people elected their respective members of Congress, handing over control of the United States Senate to Republicans. . . . Nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year, particularly under divided government, would be unprecedented in modern American history. It has been 128 years since a Supreme Court justice was nominated and confirmed in a presidential election year while the president's opposing party controlled the Senate (1888, President Grover Cleveland, Justice Melville Fuller).''At the time, Grassley cited Washington Post columns by Jonathan Adler and Glenn Kessler, both citing the divided-government factor and its history.
Mike Davis, former chief counsel for nominations for Senator Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee and now president of the Article III Project, says that ''Senator Grassley was the key figure in keeping the Scalia seat open, and on President Trump's historic transformation of the federal judiciary. Chairman Graham has said that he would move forward with a nomination, and I am confident that Senator Grassley will fully support that nomination.'' Grassley has emphasized publicly that the decision would be Graham's, and Davis notes that Grassley has said that he would support Graham's decision. So, whatever Grassley's misgivings, they should not deter Republicans from moving forward.
The Nuclear Option
The final concern expressed by those hesitant to confirm a new justice in an election year or a lame-duck session is that Democrats would use this as an excuse for ideological Court-packing that would destroy the Court's legitimacy and, ultimately, the rule of written law in America. This is not a chimerical concern, but the Democrats' behavior is not something Republicans can control in any event, and allowing them to threaten the destruction of the constitutional republic in order to cow Republicans out of following tradition would set a bad precedent of its own.
Democrats may pack the Court anyway. A noisy faction of them, including failed presidential contenders on Biden's vice-presidential shortlist, have already committed to Court-packing. Kapur reports that ''the Democratic National Committee is poised to add language to the party's 2020 platform endorsing 'structural court reforms to increase transparency and accountability' and accusing Republicans of having ''packed our federal courts with unqualified, partisan judges'' '-- efforts to justify Court-packing and blur the term's meaning that predate any move to replace Ginsburg.
Or they may not. Biden is on record opposing Court-packing, for whatever influence he may have after the election. Bernie Sanders has opposed it, too. They and other experienced Democrats recognize the potentially explosive political consequences of openly making war on the independence of the judiciary, given how badly it played even for Franklin D. Roosevelt at the pinnacle of his popularity. Having history on their side would make the Republican defense against Court-packing a formidable base from which to launch a major last-ditch resistance on behalf of the Constitution entering the 2022 midterms. The post-Kavanaugh rally of Republican Senate candidates in 2018, while their colleagues in the House were sinking, testifies dramatically to the galvanizing effect that fights over the Court have on Republican voters.
Few things contributed more to the Republican Party's institutional inability to resist a hostile takeover by Donald Trump in 2016 than a widespread sense that the party would not even fight for its own stated principles if it could find any excuse not to. Nothing is more central to Republicans' stated principles than control of the Supreme Court by Justices who believe in the written Constitution. No practical application of those principles is more iconic and visceral in its importance than social conservatives' long labors against Roe v. Wade, a battle in which John Roberts seems to require more reinforcements before he will act.
Republicans should not discard the rule of law or traditional norms to achieve their ends, but a Ginsburg vacancy, if one happens, would require Republicans only to act within the law and in accord with tradition. Woe to their future if they shrink from that.
Editor's note: This article has been edited since publication.
Biden's weakness with Black and Latino men creates an opening for Trump
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Hispanic Heritage Month event, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. | AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
It was a huddle to marshal the faithful, featuring dozens of Black luminaries, from hip hop mogul Jay-Z to radio personality Charlamagne tha God to civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris presided over the virtual meeting, which grappled with a nagging question for Joe Biden's campaign: How to woo more Black men?
Last week's call was the second in as many weeks focusing on Biden's appeals to Black male voters. The mood, Crump said, was upbeat. But callers were frank about their concerns, urging Biden to deliver a positive message, so ''it's not just about anti-Trump but what we're going to do on our side.''
''We know Black women are the backbone of the party,'' said one participant, who asked not to be identified. ''But Black men are going to have to overperform.''
But right now, they're underperforming. And, according to a spate of recent polling, so are Latino men, a subject Harris tackled recently in Zoom meetings with Hispanic influencers.
Black and Latino men still need to be convinced that Biden represents their interests, Crump said. Black men want to hear more about opportunities to build businesses and fixes for the economy, in addition to talk about criminal justice and policing reform.
Over the years, the Democratic Party has not always prioritized Latino men, which has left some disillusioned about politics altogether, Democrats said. Some Hispanic men with roots in Latin American countries that have a long history of strongmen leaders are drawn to Donald Trump's braggadocio, particularly in Florida, Democrats told POLITICO. And some young Black or Latino men could protest by voting third party '--or simply sit out the election. A few holdouts among that population in battleground states like Arizona and Michigan could determine the election.
''That's not to say they're breaking for Donald Trump,'' said veteran pollster Cornell Belcher, who worked on Barack Obama's campaigns and is African American.
But, Belcher said, ''they don't see a great deal of difference between Democrats and Republicans.''
Black women and Latinas are two of Biden's most reliable constituencies, and he's expected to still win big majorities of both Black and Latino men, too. But as Biden aims to replicate Obama-era levels of support among voters of color, POLITICO interviews with more than 20 Democratic strategists, lawmakers, pollsters and activists reveal ambivalence on the part of Black and Latino men. And President Donald Trump's campaign is working to exploit that ambivalence.
Republicans are aggressively courting Black and Latino voters, outspending Democrats on social media outlets like Facebook. Last week, the Trump campaign spent six figures on ads in urban radio markets featuring former NFL player Herschel Walker and Georgia state Democratic Rep. Vernon Jones. And one week after Biden picked Harris as his running mate, the campaign opened a joint Black and Latino ''community center'' in Philadelphia. They also opened a field office earlier this year in Milwaukee on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive '-- a first for a Republican presidential candidate.
In rallying the Latino community, Biden's campaign needs to reach beyond establishment Democrats to grass-roots Latino leaders who are in contact with young people and their communities, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Biden rival, told POLITICO in a recent interview.
''But I think there is a likelihood that if that is not done, turnout in the Latino community could be lower than we would like and it could result in Biden losing some very key states,'' he said.
Rev. Al Sharpton said he frequently gets calls to his radio show from Black men asking what Democrats plan to do for them: ''I've had Black men call up and say, 'Well, what about us?'''
Super PACs are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads that ''talk to white people,'' said Chuck Rocha, a former senior adviser to Sanders' presidential campaign. By contrast, Latino-run PACs have raised roughly $6 million.
''They're leaving no stone unturned with white people, but there are rocks all over the field that aren't being turned over for brown people,'' Rocha said. ''Black and Brown voters, especially Latino men, are being left out of the equation.''
It's the semester nobody wanted: Kids sitting at home behind monitors, teachers trying to figure out how to unmute themselves and parents stuck wondering whether their children will lose a year of education.
The holdoutsPart of the urgency comes from the mixed picture emerging in public polling. A recent Monmouth University poll found Biden at 67 percent support among Black, Latino and Asian voters '-- far ahead of Trump but below the usual Democratic consolidation of voters of color. Hillary Clinton won the same demographics, 74-21 percent, in 2016.
There's a ''notable swath of voters who are holding back from Biden,'' Belcher said. Last week, the pollster shared data with members of Congress that demonstrated Biden's relative vulnerability among Black men, particularly younger ones. (Belcher did not discuss specifics of the data with POLITICO.)
Belcher addressed another argument some Democrats are making: that Biden's strong support among white college-educated voters, along with a slight increase in support from non-college-educated and elderly white voters, could compensate for any weakness among voters of color in battleground states. Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 80,000 votes, and Florida by a little more than 1 percentage point.
Belcher cautioned that Democrats need only remember 2016 if they think they can rely on white voters to secure the race. But he said the Biden campaign's outreach efforts show that it is paying attention to voters of color; the Democrat's vulnerability on that front, Belcher said, "is fixable."
As for Hispanic voters specifically, Biden has extra work to do with Latino men, who appear to be more drawn to Trump than Latinas.
In Arizona, the Latino population '-- which is overwhelmingly Mexican American and Democratic '-- supports Biden 62-29 percent, according to a poll by Equis Research, a Democratic firm. But there was a notable shift among young Latino men under age 50, whom Trump made marginal gains with in August compared to earlier this year. The group isn't sold on Trump, though, with only 26 percent saying they're very likely to vote for the president.
Among Latino voters in Florida, men support Biden over Trump by 10 percentage points, but women back Biden by 21 points, another recent Equis survey showed.
A separate internal Republican poll of likely Hispanic voters in the state, taken a month earlier in August and shared with POLITICO, showed Biden and Trump deadlocked among men, 40-39 percent, while women supported the Democrat by 18 points.
Following a playbook that worked for them in 2018, Republicans and Trump have courted these voters by hammering away at socialism. That's a message which has resonance for voters hailing from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, countries with a complicated relationship to both communism and socialism.
Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) said he thinks Biden, who has repeatedly said he's not a socialist, needs to drive the message home in South Florida on his next visit.
Soto, who became the first person of Puerto Rican descent in the state to win a congressional seat, said Biden has another dynamic working against him as well with some Latino men.
''There is some machismo in our community, unfortunately,'' said Soto.
''There's good machismo,'' Soto said, and there is ''caudillo machismo,'' referring to henchman-style leaders, whose style sometimes appeals to Latino men. For fans of caudillo machismo, he said, Trump's aggressiveness appeals.
Josh Ulibarri, a Democratic pollster, said the party's failure to secure overwhelming Latino support is long in the making. ''We're in this position because we haven't worked [to win over] Latino men in the last decade.''
Biden is clearly trying to remedy that. On Tuesday, he visited Florida to court Latinos after a number of polls showed his weakness with the state's unique mix of pan-Latin American voters. Though he's ahead overall among Florida Latino voters, Biden's margins lag behind those of Hillary Clinton in 2016, when she narrowly lost the state.
The campaign is sensitive about the perceived wariness among Black and Brown men. Reporters were not invited to listen in to the two calls with Harris '-- one last week, another on Aug. 29 '-- and the campaign refused to discuss details or provide comment to POLITICO. The calls included Black men who had previously signed a letter urging the selection of a Black woman running mate. And sources said they were told not to talk to reporters about the virtual meetings.
The difficulty of reaching young Black and Latino men '-- many of whom don't get their information from traditional channels '-- has been complicated by the pandemic. But the Zoom meetups with Harris, as well as ad buys and Latino outreach stops in Florida, are aimed specifically at these crucial voters.
Trump's play at the marginsAs the election nears, Democrats are inclined to replay everything that went wrong in 2016. But the two election cycles are dramatically different. There's the coronavirus, for one. What's more, the incumbent remains unpopular and the country is in the midst of a national debate about systemic racism and police brutality.
The nation's state of chaos brings a particular urgency to Trump's push for voters at the margins.
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Central Wisconsin Airport Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Mosinee, Wis. | AP Photo/Morry Gash
Trump's campaign believes he needs to siphon a few more percentage points from voters of color, building on his successes in 2016, when relatively low Black and Latino turnout compared to white voters helped him squeak by in battleground states. To that end, his campaign is spending millions, particularly on digital ads, and focusing on the economy and criminal justice '-- two top policy priorities for these groups.
As Trump made swings through Nevada and Arizona this week, he held Latino-focused events with local officials.
''It is getting a lot easier to be Republican ... whether you're Hispanic or anything else,'' Trump said at a Phoenix event.
Florida could be one of Trump's biggest plays to win over Latinos. The diversity of the state's population makes it fertile ground. And QAnon conspiracy theories '-- which lie about the Black Lives Matter movement and falsely accuse Biden of being a pedophile '-- are infiltrating Spanish-language radio, online conservative news sites and social media feeds, likely boosting Trump's profile.
Florida, a must-win state for Trump, has a sizable population of Republican-leaning Cuban Americans, who wield political power and could account for at least 30 percent of the Latino vote there. They've found common cause with other members of the Latin American diaspora fleeing left-wing revolutions in their home countries.
''In Florida, it's extraordinary, the reversal of trends," said former Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican.
"The Republican [is] gaining ground with minorities and the Democrat [is] gaining ground with ... white voters and seniors,'' said Curbelo.
Still, Trump is trying to cram his election-year appeals to Black and Latino men into a career and presidency spent extolling police power, chanting ''build the wall,'' and furthering birther conspiracies about the country's first Black president. (And more recently, Harris.) At the same time, he's hoping to drum up support among white voters with ominous warnings of suburbia on fire.
The week after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Trump started running a flurry of ads about law enforcement and crime on Facebook, according to an analysis by New York University's Online Political Ads Transparency Project.
Prior to Floyd's killing, the campaign spent only $50,000 on Facebook ads about criminal justice, according to data from Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic firm. In the months following, Trump pumped $6 million into Facebook ads touting his record on criminal justice.
Terrance Woodbury, a Democratic pollster with HIT Strategies, thinks Trump's tactic on social media is having an effect. In 2016, Trump won 8 percent of Black voters under the age of 35; he's now at 16 percent with that demographic, Woodbury said.
During recent focus groups with Black voters in Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida, Woodbury asked participants what Trump has done to make their life better. When Trump's messaging about pre-Covid-19 Black employment and investments in historically black colleges came up, young men could "recite it verbatim.''
Democrats go on the offensiveIn an attempt to address the relative lack of enthusiasm among Black men, Biden's team launched ads this week directly aimed at the demographic. Two of the spots feature mask-wearing Black men hanging out at a barbershop, cracking jokes about Trump and chatting about the economy and the havoc wreaked by coronavirus.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Biden campaign announced a virtual bus tour in more than a dozen battleground states to activate the Black vote.
The campaign also expanded its polling of Latinos to states including Pennsylvania and North Carolina, which it said is a first for a Democratic candidate.
''The Latino vote is a legitimate part of the discussion in Pennsylvania now,'' said Matt Barreto, a pollster for the Biden campaign.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during a campaign stop, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Philadelphia. | AP Photo/Michael Perez
On Thursday, Harris met with Latino elected officials and community advocates at a Puerto Rican and Latino nonprofit in Philadelphia. Harris told reporters she and Biden would earn Latino support by talking about ''relevant policy,'' such as the disparity among Latinos and whites when it comes to contracting Covid-19.
This week, the progressive group United We Dream Action and its PAC launched two voter engagement programs aimed at mobilizing 6 million voters on the margins, including undecided or unmotivated Latino voters, as well as young and first-time voters. The effort by the immigrant youth group will encompass states such as Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.
Similarly, billionaire Mike Bloomberg announced he would spend as much as $100 million in Florida, much of it specifically targeted toward Latinos.
The Collective PAC, a group focused on growing Black political power, is working with a range of groups to target Black male voters, including Unite the Country. It intends to spend at least $7 million on mobilization efforts focused on Black men in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Charlotte, including micro-targeting on digital, social and radio, said Quentin James, the group's founder.
Despite the recent push by Biden's campaign and Democratic outside groups to court Black and brown voters, the Democratic nominee is still dogged by aspects of his long record in Congress, said Desmond Meade, executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
He pointed to Biden's refusal to clearly apologize for his authorship of the 1994 crime bill. Trump's signing of the First Step Act in 2018, which expanded early release for certain felony offenders in federal prison, has prompted some Black men to give the Republican a second look, Meade said.
''As a returning citizen, I had to admit the error of my ways and make amends for what I did. Joe Biden hasn't owned up to his mistake,'' said Meade, who helped lead Florida's voter-approved effort to give people with felony convictions the right to vote.
Even so, he said, Trump hasn't said enough to condemn police brutality and abuse, which Biden has done.
The issue came up on the conference call with Harris last week.
A lot of people still have issues with the 1994 crime bill, said Crump, the civil rights lawyer. ''You have to go ahead and own that and talk about how it was a mistake.''
Democrats working to mobilize voters said the most effective tack is persistent communication. In Philadelphia, former Mayor Michael Nutter is assembling an independent effort to reach out to Black voters in battleground states, especially men. It features family members of those killed by police violence.
''In 2016, we ignored this as a problem,'' Nutter said. "We're not now."
During the virtual meeting last week, Harris, who served as California attorney general before being elected to the Senate, talked about the need to manage expectations. She said she couldn't get all the reforms she wanted in her home state. But, repeating a favorite talking point, she said she tried to change the system from the inside.
''I don't have all the answers,'' Harris told the group, according to Crump and another source. But ''together," she said, "we can figure out solutions.''
Holly Otterbein contributed to this report.
Filed Under: Law Enforcement, Joe Biden, Joe Biden 2020, Race, Latinos, Donald Trump, Donald Trump 2020, Socialism, Police, Kamala Harris, Kamala Harris 2020, 2020 Elections, 2020 Presidential Candidates
Minnesota Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar's citizenship in jeopardy as she now needs competent immigration counsel to ensure that there is no threat of her losing her citizenship, or, worse, deportation.
''The Department of Justice has reportedly assigned a special FBI agent to work hand in hand with Immigration, Customs and Enforcement and the Department of Education Inspector General Charge to investigate Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for alleged criminal violations relating to perjury, immigration fraud, marriage fraud, state and federal tax fraud, federal student loan fraud, and bigamy.'' The Federalists reported.This recent case against Ilhan Omar is a big one, as it is believed she immigrated to the United States in 1995 and became a citizen in 2000 at age 17, the problem here is, she was underage at the time.
Individuals under 18 are ineligible to apply for US citizenship, this would mean Omar's naturalization was done by another means.
David Steinberg has covered the Ilhan Omar saga over the years and has openly questioned whether she is who she says she is.
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You asked a rhetorical question on Sunday's show, basically wondering
if there were any competitive organizations which were thriving during
the Covid hysteria, during the rise of BLM, etc.
If you consider Chess to be a sport? Chess is an answer.
The shutdowns began falling into place was during the 2020 Candidates
Tournament, the winner would have gone on to face Magnus Carlsen for
the World Championship. The tournament itself was suspended, but other
tournaments were quickly organized online. With all of the other
sports effectively shutdown, Chess was the ONLY competitive "sport"
which maintained a schedule of events. Many Grandmasters were already
using streaming platforms such as Twitch, and viewership skyrocketed.
Seeing this, many popular videogame streamers began collaborating with
Grandmasters such as Hikaru Nakamura, further bringing Chess to the
attention of a much younger viewing audience on average than would
normally be exposed to the game.
Just thought you might find this interesting. The Game of Kings itself
has seen a massive spike in popularity and interest over the last 10
TYFYC, Sir Colin Deaf Dumb Blind Knight.
Large segments of the roller derby community are super woke. My ex transferred from Baltimore to Atlanta where she went from solidly dimension B to dimench B extremist, as reflected in this open letter from the Atlanta league to the national organization WFTDA (which is already good and woke itself).
Standard marxist fair "our collective anti-racism goals can only be accomplished if individual leagues are equally engaged in dismantling power structures."
You can probably skip to the bullet points. There are some gems in there like the second one:
Recommend that individual leagues establish a private reporting system through which skaters can alert league leadership to microaggressions without filing a grievance. This would allow leagues to track and address behaviors that may not seem severe enough for a formal grievance, but that create an unwelcome atmosphere for BIPOC skaters.
This one from about half way down suggests tracking and PUBLISHING the race of everyone that gets a penalty in a game:
Collect and publish penalty data, including the race(s) of skaters receiving penalties, to elucidate any biases in officiating. Conduct an audit of past games to see if BIPOC skaters were penalized more heavily and determine impact on team performance and rankings. Use this data collection to determine whether cultural changes and preventative measures are successful in decreasing bias in officiating, and to introduce additional anti-bias measures if necessary.
ANONYMOUS here as well... but I get a kick out of this one from their Questions section because my ex is ethnically Chinese and her "derby name" (they adopt punny nicknames) is "Rebel Yellow" and one of the local team names (since changed) was the geisha-themed "Sake Tuyas":
Do you have any policy against offensive derby names?
Premier League drops Black Lives Matter badge from shirts for own campaign | Football | The Guardian
Premier League footballers are to continue their support for anti-racism on the pitch but will no longer be associated with Black Lives Matter.
When the 2020-21 season begins on Saturday, players will take the knee before kick-off and will carry the slogan No Room For Racism on their shirts but there will be no mention of the movement that has brought the subject of racial justice to the fore in the US and beyond after it caused controversy for the league earlier this year.
During the restart that followed the suspension of football owing to the coronavirus pandemic, players wore badges endorsing Black Lives Matter for all nine match days. A gesture of solidarity with protests in the US, the UK and elsewhere following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, it was a move universally approved by the players but also, unusually, supported by the Premier League.
Policies supported by the organisation of the same name, including the defunding of police forces, subsequently proved uncomfortable for the league. The chief executive, Richard Masters, was forced to justify the endorsement in front of a DCMS select committee and told MPs: ''We're drawing a clear distinction between a moral cause and a political movement.''
At that session Masters said the move had not sent a precedent but, after a meeting with the league's club captains, players will now wear badges once more. The league says the initiative ''will build on the momentum created last season''.
''We, our clubs, players and match officials have a long-standing commitment to tackling discrimination,'' Masters said in a statement.
''Players rightly have a strong voice on this matter, which we saw last season. We have continued to talk and listen to players on this issue and will support them as well as continuing to emphasise the Premier League's position against racism.''
No Room for Racism is a campaign run by the Premier League with the support of other English footballing bodies and the anti-discrimination group Kick It Out. Launched in 2019, its aim is to eliminate racial discrimination from the sport both in stadiums and online.
''Discrimination in any form, anywhere, is wholly unacceptable and No Room For Racism makes our zero-tolerance stance clear,'' Masters said. ''We will not stand still on this important issue and we will continue to work with our clubs, players and partners to address all prejudiced behaviour.''
Pittsburgh Steelers Allowing Players To Opt Out of Helmet Tribute to Antwon Rose
Pittsburgh Steelers On Antwon Rose Helmet Decal Tribute ... Players Can Opt Out 9/18/2020 12:42 PM PT The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be bracing for more players to opt out of the Antwon Rose helmet tribute ... and the team is okay with that.
After lineman Alejandro Villanueva decided to honor a deceased Black military hero instead of the 17-year-old ... other players began speaking out about the Rose tribute.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said he didn't know enough about Antwon Rose before the team decided on the helmet tribute -- claiming he was given "limited information" about the situation.
Also, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said the decision to honor Rose was made by "people upstairs" in the organization ... not the players.
The controversy ... the Steelers initially pushed the narrative that Rose was shot and killed by police during traffic stop for seemingly no reason.
What was missing from the story on the Steelers' team website was the fact Antwon was allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting before the police incident ... with the victim of the drive-by claiming Rose was the triggerman.
Obviously, that part of the story rubbed some Steelers players the wrong way -- since some of them only learned about that AFTER wearing the helmet decal on "Monday Night Football."
We reached out to the Steelers organization to find out if the team would continue its original plan to wear Rose's name on helmets and hats for the entire 2020 NFL season. Here's what they said back to us ...
"We acknowledge there could be changes this Sunday for players relating to helmet decals. That will be an individual decision."
In other words, it sounds like some of the players will no longer wear the decal starting this weekend.
We'll let you know if we hear more.
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Michelle Obama Claims "Being Black Is A Crime" In America During Interview With Brother
In the final episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama claimed that "being black is a crime" in America while remembering an incident that her brother had with police when he was 10.
In the last episode, Michelle Obama is joined by her brother Craig Robinson in a roundtable discussion. The two talked about a time when Craig was allegedly confronted by two police officers in Chicago who asked him if he had stolen the bike he was riding.
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Michelle Obama said that ''he was riding down the street on the yellow two-wheeler when the police stopped him and accused him of stealing the bike,'' the New York Daily News reported. ''He brought the cops back to his Chicago home to prove the bike was his, Obama, 56, said.''
''It was terrifying only because I was always taught that the police are your friends and they'll believe the truth,'' Robinson remembered. ''I was telling them the truth and this guy would not believe me.''
Robinson led the police to his house to prove that the bike was his.
''I was absolutely heartbroken,'' he said, ''And I finally said to him, 'Listen, you can take me to my house and I will prove to you this is my bike."
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The Daily Wire reports:
The police officers then put Robinson into the back of a police car and drove him home where his mother, Marian Robinson, confirmed the bike was his.
Marian Robinson added some details to the story, including that both police officers who confronted the 10-year-old Robinson were black. She says she lectured the pair on how they ''canceled out'' what she had been teaching her children about interactions with police.
''What you did was cancel out a whole lot of things that we had been teaching them,'' Marian said. ''And I think you need to come back here and talk to them and at least admit you made a serious mistake, so that you won't cancel out everything we've been trying to teach our children.''
Michelle Obama however went further and enacted her divisive tactics as she claimed that the police force was just a tool for systemic racism and being "black is a crime."
''Nobody thinks about the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values,'' she said. ''But when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution and fear, because you never know.''
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What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
Complete List Of U.S. Organizations Funded By George Soros - Diamond & Silk
Organizations directly funded by Soros and his Open Society Foundations (OSF):
Source: DiscoverTheNetworks.org via Dr. Eowyn
Advancement Project: This organization works to organize ''communities of color'' into politically cohesive units while disseminating its leftist worldviews and values as broadly as possible by way of a sophisticated communications department.Air America Radio: Now defunct, this was a self-identified ''liberal'' radio network.Al-Haq: This NGO produces highly politicized reports, papers, books, and legal analyses regarding alleged Israeli human-rights abuses committed against Palestinians.All of Us or None: This organization seeks to change voting laws '-- which vary from state to state '-- so as to allow ex-inmates, parolees, and even current inmates to cast their ballots in political elections.Alliance for Justice: Best known for its activism vis a vis the appointment of federal judges, this group consistently depicts Republican judicial nominees as ''extremists.''America Coming Together: Soros played a major role in creating this group, whose purpose was to coordinate and organize pro-Democrat voter-mobilization programs.America Votes: Soros also played a major role in creating this group, whose get-out-the-vote campaigns targeted likely Democratic voters.America's Voice: This open-borders group seeks to promote ''comprehensive'' immigration reform that includes a robust agenda in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens.American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy: This organization ''opposes laws that require employers and persons providing education, health care, or other social services to verify citizenship or immigration status.''American Bridge 21st Century: This Super PAC conducts opposition research designed to help Democratic political candidates defeat their Republican foes.American Civil Liberties Union: This group opposes virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by the U.S. government. It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board.American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: This Washington, DC-based think tank seeks to move American jurisprudence to the left by recruiting, indoctrinating, and mobilizing young law students, helping them acquire positions of power. It also provides leftist Democrats with a bully pulpit from which to denounce their political adversaries.American Family Voices: This group creates and coordinates media campaigns charging Republicans with wrongdoing.American Federation of Teachers: After longtime AFT President Albert Shanker died in in 1997, he was succeeded by Sandra Feldman, who slowly ''re-branded'' the union, allying it with some of the most powerful left-wing elements of the New Labor Movement. When Feldman died in 2004, Edward McElroy took her place, followed by Randi Weingarten in 2008. All of them kept the union on the leftward course it had adopted in its post-Shanker period.American Friends Service Committee: This group views the United States as the principal cause of human suffering around the world. As such, it favors America's unilateral disarmament, the dissolution of American borders, amnesty for illegal aliens, the abolition of the death penalty, and the repeal of the Patriot Act.American Immigration Council: This non-profit organization is a prominent member of the open-borders lobby. It advocates expanded rights and amnesty for illegal aliens residing in the U.S.American Immigration Law Foundation: This group supports amnesty for illegal aliens, on whose behalf it litigates against the U.S. government.American Independent News Network: This organization promotes ''impact journalism'' that advocates progressive change.American Institute for Social Justice: AISJ's goal is to produce skilled community organizers who can ''transform poor communities'' by agitating for increased government spending on city services, drug interdiction, crime prevention, housing, public-sector jobs, access to healthcare, and public schools.American Library Association: This group has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's War on Terror '-- most particularly, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which it calls ''a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.''The American Prospect, Inc.: This corporation trains and mentors young leftwing journalists, and organizes strategy meetings for leftist leaders.Amnesty International: This organization directs a grossly disproportionate share of its criticism for human rights violations at the United States and Israel.Applied Research Center: Viewing the United States as a nation where ''structural racism'' is deeply ''embedded in the fabric of society,'' ARC seeks to ''build a fair and equal society'' by demanding ''concrete change from our most powerful institutions.''Arab American Institute Foundation: The Arab American Institute denounces the purportedly widespread civil liberties violations directed against Arab Americans in the post-9/11 period, and characterizes Israel as a brutal oppressor of the Palestinian people.Aspen Institute: This organization promotes radical environmentalism and views America as a nation plagued by deep-seated ''structural racism.''Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now: This group conducts voter mobilization drives on behalf of leftist Democrats. These initiatives have been notoriously marred by fraud and corruption.Ballot Initiative Strategy Center: This organization seeks to advance ''a national progressive strategy'' by means of ballot measures'--state-level legislative proposals that pass successfully through a petition (''initiative'') process and are then voted upon by the public.Bend The Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice: This organization condemns Voter ID laws as barriers that ''make it harder for communities of color, women, first-time voters, the elderly, and the poor to cast their vote.''Bill of Rights Defense Committee: This group provides a detailed blueprint for activists interested in getting their local towns, cities, and even college campuses to publicly declare their opposition to the Patriot Act, and to designate themselves ''Civil Liberties Safe Zones.'' The organization also came to the defense of self-described radical attorney Lynne Stewart, who was convicted in 2005 of providing material support for terrorism.Black Alliance for Just Immigration: This organization seeks to create a unified movement for ''social and economic justice'' centered on black racial identity.Blueprint North Carolina: This group seeks to ''influence state policy in North Carolina so that residents of the state benefit from more progressive policies such as better access to health care, higher wages, more affordable housing, a safer, cleaner environment, and access to reproductive health services.''Brennan Center for Justice: This think tank/legal activist group generates scholarly studies, mounts media campaigns, files amicus briefs, gives pro bono support to activists, and litigates test cases in pursuit of radical ''change.''Brookings Institution: This organization has been involved with a variety of internationalist and state-sponsored programs, including one that aspires to facilitate the establishment of a U.N.-dominated world government. Brookings Fellows have also called for additional global collaboration on trade and banking; the expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and nationalized health insurance for children. Nine Brookings economists signed a petitionopposing President Bush's tax cuts in 2003.Campaign for America's Future: This group supports tax hikes, socialized medicine, and a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs.Campaign for Better Health Care: This organization favors a single-payer, government-run, universal health care system.Campaign for Youth Justice: This organization contends that ''transferring juveniles to the adult criminal-justice system leads to higher rates of recidivism, puts incarcerated and detained youth at unnecessary risk, has little deterrence value, and does not increase public safety.''Campus Progress: A project of the Soros-bankrolled Center for American Progress, this group seeks to ''strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses, counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus, and empower new generations of progressive leaders.''Casa de Maryland: This organization aggressively lobbies legislators to vote in favor of policies that promote expanded rights, including amnesty, for illegal aliens currently residing in the United States.Catalist: This is a for-profit political consultancy that seeks ''to help progressive organizations realize measurable increases in civic participation and electoral success by building and operating a robust national voter database of every voting-age American.''Catholics for Choice: This nominally Catholic organization supports women's right to abortion-on-demand.Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good: This political nonprofit group is dedicated to generating support from the Catholic community for leftwing candidates, causes, and legislation.Center for American Progress: This leftist think tank is headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, works closely with Hillary Clinton, and employs numerous former Clinton administration staffers. It is committed to ''developing a long-term vision of a progressive America'' and ''providing a forum to generate new progressive ideas and policy proposals.''Center for Community Change: This group recruits and trains activists to spearhead leftist ''political issue campaigns.'' Promoting increased funding for social welfare programs by bringing ''attention to major national issues related to poverty,'' the Center bases its training programs on the techniques taught by the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky.Center for Constitutional Rights: This pro-Castro organization is a core member of the open borders lobby, has opposed virtually all post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures by the U.S. government, and alleges that American injustice provokes acts of international terrorism.Center for Economic and Policy Research: This group opposed welfare reform, supports ''living wage'' laws, rejects tax cuts, and consistently lauds the professed achievements of socialist regimes, most notably Venezuela.Center for International Policy: This organization uses advocacy, policy research, media outreach, and educational initiatives to promote ''transparency and accountability'' in U.S. foreign policy and global relations. It generally views America as a disruptive, negative force in the world.Center for Reproductive Rights: CRR's mission is to guarantee safe, affordable contraception and abortion-on-demand for all women, including adolescents. The organization has filed state and federal lawsuits demanding access to taxpayer-funded abortions (through Medicaid) for low-income women.Center for Responsible Lending: This organization was a major player in the subprime mortgage crisis. According to Phil Kerpen (vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity), CRL ''sh[ook] down and harass[ed] banks into making bad loans to unqualified borrowers.'' Moreover, CRL negotiated a contract enabling it to operate as a conduit of high-risk loans to Fannie Mae.Center for Social Inclusion: This organization seeks to counteract America's ''structural racism'' by means of taxpayer-funded policy initiatives.Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Reasoning from the premise that tax cuts generally help only the wealthy, this organization advocates greater tax expenditures on social welfare programs for low earners.Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS): Aiming to redistribute wealth by way of higher taxes imposed on those whose incomes are above average, COWS contends that ''it is important that state government be able to harness fair contribution from all parts of society '' including corporations and the wealthy.''Change America Now: Formed in December 2006, Change America Now describes itself as ''an independent political organization created to educate citizens on the failed policies of the Republican Congress and to contrast that record of failure with the promise offered by a Democratic agenda.''Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: This group litigates and brings ethics charges against ''government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests'' and ''betray the public trust.'' Almost all of its targets are Republicans.Coalition for an International Criminal Court: This group seeks to subordinate American criminal-justice procedures to those of an international court.Color Of Change: This organization was founded to combat what it viewed as the systemic racism pervading America generally and conservatism in particular.Common Cause: This organization aims to bring about campaign-finance reform, pursue media reform resembling the Fairness Doctrine, and cut military budgets in favor of increased social-welfare and environmental spending.Constitution Project: This organization seeks to challenge the legality of military commissions; end the detainment of ''enemy combatants''; condemn government surveillance of terrorists; and limit the President's executive privileges.Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: Defenders of Wildlife opposes oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It condemns logging, ranching, mining, and even the use of recreational motorized vehicles as activities that are destructive to the environment.Democracy Alliance: This self-described ''liberal organization'' aims to raise $200 million to develop a funding clearinghouse for leftist groups. Soros is a major donor to this group.Democracy 21: This group is a staunch supporter of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act.Democracy Now!: Democracy Now! was created in 1996 by WBAI radio news director Amy Goodman and four partners to provide ''perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media,'' i.e., the views of radical and foreign journalists, left and labor activists, and ideological foes of capitalism.Democratic Justice Fund: DJF opposes the Patriot Act and most efforts to restrict or regulate immigration into the United States '-- particularly from countries designated by the State Department as ''terrorist nations.''Democratic Party: Soros' funding activities are devoted largely to helping the Democratic Party solidify its power base. In a November 2003 interview, Soros stated that defeating President Bush in 2004 ''is the central focus of my life'' '... ''a matter of life and death.'' He pledged to raise $75 million to defeat Bush, and personally donated nearly a third of that amount to anti-Bush organizations. ''America under Bush,'' he said, ''is a danger to the world, and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.''Demos: This organization lobbies federal and state policymakers to ''addres[s] the economic insecurity and inequality that characterize American society today''; promotes ''ideas for reducing gaps in wealth, income and political influence''; and favors tax hikes for the wealthy.Drum Major Institute: This group describes itself as ''a non-partisan, non-profit think tank generating the ideas that fuel the progressive movement,'' with the ultimate aim of persuading ''policymakers and opinion-leaders'' to take steps that advance its vision of ''social and economic justice.''Earthjustice: This group seeks to place severe restrictions on how U.S. land and waterways may be used. It opposes most mining and logging initiatives, commercial fishing businesses, and the use of motorized vehicles in undeveloped areas.Economic Policy Institute: This organization believes that ''government must play an active role in protecting the economically vulnerable, ensuring equal opportunity, and improving the well-being of all Americans.''Electronic Privacy Information Center: This organization has been a harsh critic of the USA PATRIOT Act and has joined the American Civil Liberties Union in litigating two cases calling for the FBI ''to publicly release or account for thousands of pages of information about the government's use of PATRIOT Act powers.''Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: Co-founded by the revolutionary communist Van Jones, this anti-poverty organization claims that ''decades of disinvestment in our cities'' '-- compounded by ''excessive, racist policing and over-incarceration'' '-- have ''led to despair and homelessness.''EMILY's List: This political network raises money for Democratic female political candidates who support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.Energy Action Coalition: Founded in 2004, this group describes itself as ''a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.'' For EAC, this means ''dismantling oppression'' according to its principles of environmental justice.Equal Justice USA: This group claims that America's criminal-justice system is plagued by ''significant race and class biases,'' and thus seeks to promote major reforms.Fair Immigration Reform Movement: This is the open-borders arm of the Center for Community Change.Faithful America: This organization promotes the redistribution of wealth, an end to enhanced interrogation procedures vis a vis prisoners-of-war, the enactment of policies to combat global warming, and the creation of a government-run heath care system.Families USA: This Washington-based health-care advocacy group favors ever-increasing government control of the American healthcare system.Feminist Majority: Characterizing the United States as an inherently sexist nation, this group focuses on ''advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States.''Four Freedoms Fund: This organization was designed to serve as a conduit through which large foundations could fund state-based open-borders organizations more flexibly and quickly.Free Exchange on Campus: This organization was created solely to oppose the efforts of one individual, David Horowitz, and his campaign to have universities adopt an ''Academic Bill of Rights,'' as well as todenounce Horowitz's 2006 book The Professors. Member organizations of FEC include Campus Progress (a project of the Center for American Progress); the American Association of University Professors; theAmerican Civil Liberties Union; People For the American Way; the United States Student Association; theCenter for Campus Free Speech; the American Library Association; Free Press; and the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups.Free Press: This ''media reform'' organization has worked closely with many notable leftists and such organizations as Media Matters for America, Air America Radio, Global Exchange, Code Pink, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Mother Jones magazine, and Pacifica Radio.Funding Exchange: Dedicated to the concept of philanthropy as a vehicle for social change, this organization pairs leftist donors and foundations with likeminded groups and activists who are dedicated to bringing about their own version of ''progressive'' change and social justice. Many of these grantees assume that American society is rife with racism, discrimination, exploitation, and inequity and needs to be overhauled via sustained education, activism, and social agitation.Gamaliel Foundation: Modeling its tactics on those of the radical Sixties activist Saul Alinsky, this group takes a strong stand against current homeland security measures and immigration restrictions.Gisha: Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement: This anti-Israel organization seeks to help Palestinians ''exercise their right to freedom of movement.''Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: This group contends that when a state proves either unable or unwilling to protect civilians from mass atrocities occurring within its borders, it is the responsibility of the international community to intervene '-- peacefully if possible, but with military force if necessary.Global Exchange: Established in 1988 by pro-Castro radical Medea Benjamin, this group consistently condemns America's foreign policy, business practices, and domestic life. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Global Exchange advised Americans to examine ''the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world '-- from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel.''Grantmakers Without Borders: GWB tends to be very supportive of leftist environmental, anti-war, and civil rights groups. It is also generally hostile to capitalism, which it deems one of the chief ''political, economic, and social systems'' that give rise to a host of ''social ills.''Green For All: This group was created by Van Jones to lobby for federal climate, energy, and economic policy initiatives.Health Care for America Now: This group supports a ''single payer'' model where the federal government would be in charge of financing and administering the entire U.S. healthcare system.Human Rights Campaign: The largest ''lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender'' lobbying group in the United States, HRC supports political candidates and legislation that will advance the LGBT agenda. Historically, HRC has most vigorously championed HIV/AIDS-related legislation, ''hate crime'' laws, the abrogation of the military's ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy, and the legalization of gay marriage.Human Rights First: This group supports open borders and the rights of illegal aliens; charges that the Patriot Act severely erodes Americans' civil liberties; has filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of terror suspect Jose Padilla; and deplores the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities.Human Rights Watch: This group directs a disproportionate share of its criticism at the United States and Israel. It opposes the death penalty in all cases, and supports open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.I'lam: This anti-Israel NGO seeks ''to develop and empower the Arab media and to give voice to Palestinian issues.''Immigrant Defense Project: To advance the cause of illegal immigrants, the IDP provides immigration law backup support and counseling to New York defense attorneys and others who represent or assist immigrants in criminal justice and immigration systems, as well as to immigrants themselves.Immigrant Legal Resource Center: This group claims to have helped gain amnesty for some three million illegal aliens in the U.S., and in the 1980s was part of the sanctuary movement which sought to grant asylum to refugees from the failed Communist states of Central America.Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project: This open-borders organization advocates mass immigration to the U.S.Immigration Advocates Network: This alliance of immigrant-rights groups seeks to ''increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them.''Immigration Policy Center: IPC is an advocate of open borders and contends that the massive influx of illegal immigrants into America is due to U.S. government policy, since ''the broken immigration system ['...] spurs unauthorized immigration in the first place.''Independent Media Center: This Internet-based, news and events bulletin board represents an invariably leftist, anti-capitalist perspective and serves as a mouthpiece for anti-globalization/anti-America themes.Independent Media Institute: IMI administers the SPIN Project (Strategic Press Information Network), which provides leftist organizations with ''accessible and affordable strategic communications consulting, training, coaching, networking opportunities and concrete tools'' to help them ''achieve their social justice goals.''Institute for America's Future: IAF supports socialized medicine, increased government funding for education, and the creation of an infrastructure ''to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard.''Institute for New Economic Thinking: Seeking to create a new worldwide ''economic paradigm,'' this organization is staffed by numerous individuals who favor government intervention in national economies, and who view capitalism as a flawed system.Institute for Policy Studies: This think tank has long supported Communist and anti-American causes around the world. Viewing capitalism as a breeding ground for ''unrestrained greed,'' IPS seeks to provide a corrective to ''unrestrained markets and individualism.'' Professing an unquestioning faith in the righteousness of the United Nations, it aims to bring American foreign policy under UN control.Institute for Public Accuracy: This anti-American, anti-capitalist organization sponsored actor Sean Penn's celebrated visit to Baghdad in 2002. It also sponsored visits to Iraq by Democratic Congressmen Nick Rahall and former Democrat Senator James AbourezkInstitute for Women's Policy Research: This group views the U.S. as a nation rife with discrimination against women, and publishes research to draw attention to this alleged state of affairs. It also advocates unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, stating that ''access to abortion is essential to the economic well-being of women and girls.''International Crisis Group: One of this organization's leading figures is its Mideast Director, Robert Malley, who was President Bill Clinton's Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs. His analysis of the Mideast conflict is markedly pro-Palestinian.J Street: This anti-Israel group warns that Israel's choice to take military action to stop Hamas' terrorist attacks ''will prove counter-productive and only deepen the cycle of violence in the region''Jewish Funds for Justice: This organization views government intervention and taxpayer funding as crucial components of enlightened social policy. It seeks to redistribute wealth from Jewish donors to low-income communities ''to combat the root causes of domestic economic and social injustice.'' By JFJ's reckoning, chief among those root causes are the inherently negative by-products of capitalism '' most notably racism and ''gross economic inequality.''Joint Victory Campaign 2004: Founded by George Soros and Harold Ickes, this group was a major fundraising entity for Democrats during the 2004 election cycle. It collected contributions (including large amounts from Soros personally) and disbursed them to two other groups, America Coming Together and the Media Fund, which also worked on behalf of Democrats.Justice at Stake: This coalition calls for judges to be appointed by nonpartisan, independent commissions in a process known as ''merit selection,'' rather than elected by the voting public.LatinoJustice PRLDF: This organization supports bilingual education, the racial gerrymandering of voting districts, and expanded rights for illegal aliens.Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: This group views America as an unremittingly racist nation; uses the courts to mandate race-based affirmative action preferences in business and academia; has filed briefs against the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to limit the wholesale granting of green cards and to identify potential terrorists; condemns the Patriot Act; and calls on Americans to ''recognize the contribution'' of illegal aliens.Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: This organization views the United States as a nation rife with racism, sexism, and all manner of social injustice; and it uses legislative advocacy to push for ''progressive change'' that will create ''a more open and just society.''League of United Latin American Citizens: This group views America as a nation plagued by ''an alarming increase in xenophobia and anti-Hispanic sentiment''; favors racial preferences; supports the legalization of illegal Hispanic aliens; opposes military surveillance of U.S. borders; opposes making English America's official language; favors open borders; and rejects anti-terrorism legislation like the Patriot Act.League of Women Voters Education Fund: The League supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; supports ''motor-voter'' registration, which allows anyone with a driver's license to become a voter, regardless of citizenship status; and supports tax hikes and socialized medicine.League of Young Voters: This organization seeks to ''empowe[r] young people nationwide'' to ''participate in the democratic process and create progressive political change on the local, state and national level[s].''Lynne Stewart Defense Committee: IRS records indicate that Soros's Open Society Institute made a September 2002 grant of $20,000 to this organization. Stewart was the criminal-defense attorney who was later convicted for abetting her client, the ''blind sheik'' Omar Abdel Rahman, in terrorist activities connected with his Islamic Group.Machsom Watch: This organization describes itself as ''a movement of Israeli women, peace activists from all sectors of Israeli society, who oppose the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinians' rights to move freely in their land.''MADRE: This international women's organization deems America the world's foremost violator of human rights. As such, it seeks to ''communicat[e] the real-life impact of U.S. policies on women and families confronting violence, poverty and repression around the world,'' and to ''demand alternatives to destructive U.S. policies.'' It also advocates unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.Malcolm X Grassroots Movement: This group views the U.S. as a nation replete with racism and discrimination against blacks; seeks to establish an independent black nation in the southeastern United States; and demands reparations for slavery.Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition: This group calls for the expansion of civil rights and liberties for illegal aliens; laments that illegal aliens in America are commonly subjected to ''worker exploitation''; supports tuition-assistance programs for illegal aliens attending college; and characterizes the Patriot Act as a ''very troubling'' assault on civil liberties.Media Fund: Soros played a major role in creating this group, whose purpose was to conceptualize, produce, and place political ads on television, radio, print, and the Internet.Media Matters for America: This organization is a ''web-based, not-for-profit '... progressive research and information center'' seeking to ''systematically monitor a cross-section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation.'' The group works closely with the Soros-backed Center for American Progress, and is heavily funded by Democracy Alliance, of which Soros is a major financier.Mercy Corps: Vis a vis the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mercy Corps places all blame for Palestinian poverty and suffering directly on Israel.Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund: This group advocates open borders, free college tuition for illegal aliens, lowered educational standards to accommodate Hispanics, and voting rights for criminals. In MALDEF's view, supporters of making English the official language of the United States are ''motivated by racism and anti-immigrant sentiments,'' while advocates of sanctions against employers reliant on illegal labor seek to discriminate against ''brown-skinned people.''Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein, PC: This influential defender of Big Labor is headed by Democrat operativeHarold Ickes.Midwest Academy: This entity trains radical activists in the tactics of direct action, targeting, confrontation, and intimidation.Migration Policy Institute: This group seeks to create ''a North America with gradually disappearing border controls '... with permanent migration remaining at moderate levels.''Military Families Speak Out: This group ascribes the U.S. invasion of Iraq to American imperialism and lust for oil.Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment: This group is the rebranded Missouri branch of the now-defunct, pro-socialist, community organization ACORN.MoveOn.org: This Web-based organization supports Democratic political candidates through fundraising, advertising, and get-out-the-vote drives.Ms. Foundation for Women: This group laments what it views as the widespread and enduring flaws of American society: racism, sexism, homophobia, and the violation of civil rights and liberties. It focuses its philanthropy on groups that promote affirmative action for women, unfettered access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, amnesty for illegal aliens, and big government generally.Muslim Advocates: Opposed to U.S. counter-terrorism strategies that make use of sting operations and informants, MA characterizes such tactics as forms of ''entrapment'' that are inherently discriminatory against Muslims.NARAL Pro-Choice America: This group supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, and works to elect pro-abortion Democrats.NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: The NAACP supports racial preferences in employment and education, as well as the racial gerrymandering of voting districts. Underpinning its support for race preferences is the fervent belief that white racism in the United States remains an intractable, largely undiminished, phenomenon.The Nation Institute: This nonprofit entity sponsors leftist conferences, fellowships, awards for radical activists, and journalism internships.National Abortion Federation: This group opposes any restrictions on abortion at either the state or federal levels, and champions the introduction of unrestricted abortion into developing regions of the world.National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: This group was established in 1976 as the first ''fully staffed national organization exclusively devoted to abolishing capital punishment.''National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy: This group depicts the United States as a nation in need of dramatic structural change financed by philanthropic organizations. It overwhelmingly promotes grant-makers and grantees with leftist agendas, while criticizing their conservative counterparts.National Committee for Voting Integrity: This group opposes ''the implementation of proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements for eligible electors in American elections as the means of assuring election integrity.''National Council for Research on Women: This group supports big government, high taxes, military spending cuts, increased social welfare spending, and the unrestricted right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.National Council of La Raza: This group lobbies for racial preferences, bilingual education, stricter hate-crime laws, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.National Council of Women's Organizations: This group views the United States as a nation rife with injustice against girls and women. It advocates high levels of spending for social welfare programs, and supports race and gender preferences for minorities and women in business and academia.National Immigration Forum: Opposing the enforcement of present immigration laws, this organization urges the American government to ''legalize'' en masse all illegal aliens currently in the United States who have no criminal records, and to dramatically increase the number of visas available for those wishing to migrate to the U.S. The Forum is particularly committed to opening the borders to unskilled, low-income workers, and immediately making them eligible for welfare and social service programs.National Immigration Law Center: This group seeks to win unrestricted access to government-funded social welfare programs for illegal aliens.National Lawyers Guild: This group promotes open borders; seeks to weaken America's intelligence-gathering agencies; condemns the Patriot Act as an assault on civil liberties; rejects capitalism as an unviable economic system; has rushed to the defense of convicted terrorists and their abettors; and generally opposes all U.S. foreign policy positions, just as it did during the Cold War when it sided with the Soviets.National Organization for Women: This group advocates the unfettered right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; seeks to ''eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia'' from American society; attacks Christianity and traditional religious values; and supports gender-based preferences for women.National Partnership for Women and Families: This organization supports race- and sex-based preferences in employment and education. It also advocates for the universal ''right'' of women to undergo taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason.National Priorities Project: This group supports government-mandated redistribution of wealth '-- through higher taxes and greater expenditures on social welfare programs. NPP exhorts the government to redirect a significant portion of its military funding toward public education, universal health insurance, environmentalist projects, and welfare programs.National Public Radio: Founded in 1970 with 90 public radio stations as charter members, NPR is today a loose network of more than 750 U.S. radio stations across the country, many of which are based on college and university campuses. (source)National Security Archive Fund: This group collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act to a degree that compromises American national security and the safety of intelligence agents.National Women's Law Center: This group supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; lobbies against conservative judicial appointees; advocates increased welfare spending to help low-income mothers; and favors higher taxes for the purpose of generating more funds for such government programs as Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, foster care, health care, child-support enforcement, and student loans.Natural Resources Defense Council: One of the most influential environmentalist lobbying groups in the United States, the Council claims a membership of one million people.New America Foundation: This organization uses policy papers, media articles, books, and educational events to influence public opinion on such topics as healthcare, environmentalism, energy policy, the Mideast conflict, global governance, and much more.New Israel Fund: This organization gives support to NGOs that regularly produce reports accusing Israel of human-rights violations and religious persecution.NewsCorpWatch: A project of Media Matters For America, NewsCorpWatch was established with the help of a $1 million George Soros grant to Media Matters.Pacifica Foundation: This entity owns and operates Pacifica Radio, awash from its birth with the socialist-Marxist rhetoric of class warfare and hatred for capitalism.Palestinian Center for Human Rights: This NGO investigates and documents what it views as Israeli human-rights violations against Palestinians.Peace and Security Funders Group: This is an association of more than 60 foundations that give money to leftist anti-war and environmentalist causes. Its members tend to depict America as the world's chief source of international conflict, environmental destruction, and economic inequalities.Peace Development Fund: In PDF's calculus, the United States needs a massive overhaul of its social and economic institutions. ''Recently,'' explains PDF, ''we have witnessed the negative effects of neo-liberalism and the globalization of capitalism, the de-industrialization of the U.S. and the growing gap between the rich and poor '...''People for the American Way: This group opposes the Patriot Act, anti-terrorism measures generally, and the allegedly growing influence of the ''religious right.''People Improving Communities Through Organizing: This group uses Alinsky-style organizing tactics to advance the doctrines of the religious left.Physicians for Human Rights: This group is selectively and disproportionately critical of the United States and Israel in its condemnations of human rights violations.Physicians for Social Responsibility: This is an anti-U.S.-military organization that also embraces the tenets of radical environmentalism.Planned Parenthood: This group is the largest abortion provider in the United States and advocates taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.Ploughshares Fund: This public grantmaking foundation opposes America's development of a missile defense system, and contributes to many organizations that are highly critical of U.S. foreign policies and military ventures.Prepare New York: This group supported the proposed construction of a Muslim Community Center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan '' a project known as the Cordoba Initiative, headed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.Presidential Climate Action Project: PCAP's mission is to create a new 21st-century economy, completely carbon-free and based largely on renewable energy. A key advisor to the organization is the revolutionary communist Van Jones.Prison Moratorium Project: This initiative was created in 1995 for the express purpose of working for the elimination of all prisons in the United States and the release of all inmates. Reasoning from the premise that incarceration is never an appropriate means of dealing with crime, it deems American society's inherent inequities the root of all criminal behavior.Progressive Change Campaign Committee: This organization works ''to elect bold progressive candidates to federal office and to help [them] and their campaigns save money, work smarter, and win more often.''Progressive States Network: PSN's mission is to ''pass progressive legislation in all fifty states by providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to forward-thinking state legislators.''Project Vote: This is the voter-mobilization arm of the Soros-funded ACORN. A persistent pattern of lawlessness and corruption has followed ACORN/Project Vote activities over the years.Pro Publica: Claiming that ''investigative journalism is at risk,'' this group aims to remedy this lacuna in news publishing by ''expos[ing] abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.''Proteus Fund: This foundation directs its philanthropy toward a number of radical leftwing organizations.Psychologists for Social Responsibility: This anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-military, anti-American organization ''uses psychological knowledge and skills to promote peace with social justice at the community, national and international levels.''Public Citizen Foundation: Public Citizen seeks increased government intervention and litigation against corporations '-- a practice founded on the notion that American corporations, like the capitalist system of which they are a part, are inherently inclined toward corruption.Public Justice Center: Viewing America as a nation rife with injustice and discrimination, this organization engages in legislative and policy advocacy to promote ''systemic change for the disenfranchised.''Rebuild and Renew America Now (a.k.a. Unity '09): Spearheaded by MoveOn.org and overseen by longtime activist Heather Booth, this coalition was formed to facilitate the passage of President Obama's ''historic'' $3.5 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010.Res Publica: Seeking to advance far-left agendas in places all around the world, RP specializes in ''E-advocacy,'' or web-based movement-building.Roosevelt Institute: Proceeding from the premise that free-market capitalism is inherently unjust and prone to periodic collapses caused by its own structural flaws, RI currently administers several major projects aimed at reshaping the American economy to more closely resemble a socialist system.Secretary of State Project: This project was launched in July 2006 as an independent ''527'' organization devoted to helping Democrats get elected to the office of Secretary of State in selected swing, or battleground, states.Sentencing Project: Asserting that prison-sentencing patterns are racially discriminatory, this initiative advocates voting rights for felons.Social Justice Leadership: This organization seeks to transform an allegedly inequitable America into a ''just society'' by means of ''a renewed social-justice movement.''Shadow Democratic Party: This is an elaborate network of non-profit activist groups organized by George Soros and others to mobilize resources '-- money, get-out-the-vote drives, campaign advertising, and policy iniatives '-- to elect Democratic candidates and guide the Democratic Party towards the left.Sojourners: This evangelical Christian ministry preaches radical leftwing politics. During the 1980s it championed Communist revolution in Central America and chastised U.S. policy-makers for their tendency ''to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts.'' More recently, Sojourners has taken up the cause of environmental activism, opposed welfare reform as a ''mean-spirited Republican agenda,'' and mounted a defense of affirmative action.Southern Poverty Law Center: This organization monitors the activities of what it calls ''hate groups'' in the United States. It exaggerates the prevalence of white racism directed against American minorities.State Voices: This coalition helps independent local activist groups in 22 states work collaboratively on a year-round basis, so as to maximize the impact of their efforts.Talking Transition: This was a two-week project launched in early November 2013 to ''help shape the transition'' to City Hall for the newly elected Democratic mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.Think Progress: This Internet blog ''pushes back, daily,'' by its own account, against its conservative targets, and seeks to transform ''progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.''Thunder Road Group: This political consultancy, in whose creation Soros had a hand, coordinates strategy for the Media Fund, America Coming Together, and America Votes.Tides Foundation and Tides Center: Tides is a major funder of the radical Left.U.S. Public Interest Research Group: This is an umbrella organization of student groups that support leftist agendas.Universal Healthcare Action Network: This organization supports a single-payer health care system controlled by the federal government.Urban Institute: This research organization favors socialized medicine, expansion of the federal welfare bureaucracy, and tax hikes for higher income-earners.USAction Education Fund: USAction lists its priorities as: ''fighting the right wing agenda''; ''building grassroots political power''; winning ''social, racial and economic justice for all''; supporting a system of taxpayer-funded socialized medicine; reversing ''reckless tax cuts for millionaires and corporations'' which shield the ''wealthy'' from paying their ''fair share''; advocating for ''pro-consumer and environmental regulation of corporate abuse''; ''strengthening progressive voices on local, state and national issues''; and working to ''register, educate and get out the vote '... [to] help progressives get elected at all levels of government.''Voter Participation Center: This organization seeks to increase voter turnout among unmarried women, ''people of color,'' and 18-to-29-year-olds '-- demographics that are heavily pro-Democrat.Voto Latino: This group seeks to mobilize Latin-Americans to become registered voters and political activists.We Are America Alliance: This coalition promotes ''increased civic participation by immigrants'' in the American political process.Working Families Party: An outgrowth of the socialist New Party, WFP seeks to help push the Democratic Party toward the left.World Organization Against Torture: This coalition works closely with groups that condemn Israeli security measures against Palestinian terrorism.YWCA World Office, Switzerland: The YWCA opposes abstinence education; supports universal access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; and opposes school vouchers.B. Organizations that do not receive direct funding from Soros and OSF, but are funded by one or more organizations that do:
Center for Progressive Leadership: Funded by the Soros-bankrolled Democracy Alliance, this anti-capitalist organization is dedicated to training future leftist political leaders.John Adams Project:This project of the American Civil Liberties Union was accused of: (a) having hired investigators to photograph CIA officers thought to have been involved in enhanced interrogations of terror suspects detained in Guantanamo, and then (b) showing the photos to the attorneys of those suspects, some of whom were senior al-Qaeda operatives.Moving Ideas Network (MIN): This coalition of more than 250 leftwing activist groups is a partner organization of the Soros-backed Center for American Progress. MIN was originally a project of the Soros-backed American Prospect and, as such, received indirect funding from the Open Society Institute. In early 2006, The American Prospect relinquished control of the Moving Ideas Network.New Organizing Institute: Created by the Soros-funded MoveOn.org, this group ''trains young, technology-enabled political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations.''Think Progress: This ''project'' of the American Progress Action Fund, which is a ''sister advocacy organization''of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress and Campus Progress, seeks to transform ''progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.''Vote for Change: Coordinated by the political action committee of the Soros-funded MoveOn.org, Vote for Change was a group of 41 musicians and bands that performed concerts in several key election ''battleground''states during October 2004, to raise money in support of Democrat John Kerry's presidential bid.Working Families Party: Created in 1998 to help push the Democratic Party toward the left, this front group for the Soros-funded ACORN functions as a political party that promotes ACORN-friendly candidates.
Review: 'The WEIRDest People in the World,' by Joseph Henrich - The Atlantic
Could a marriage policy first pursued by the Catholic Church a millennium and a half ago explain what made the industrialized world so powerful'--and so peculiar?
Judith Shulevitz October 2020 Issue The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Tim EnthovenA round 597 a.d. , Pope Gregory I dispatched an expedition to England to convert the Anglo-Saxon king of Kent and his subjects. The leader of the mission, a monk named Augustine, had orders to shoehorn the new Christians into Church-sanctioned marriages. That meant quashing pagan practices such as polygamy, arranged marriages (Christian matrimony was notionally consensual, hence the formula ''I do''), and above all, marriages between relatives, which the Church was redefining as incest. Augustine wasn't sure who counted as a relative, so he wrote to Rome for clarification. A second cousin? A third cousin? Could a man marry his widowed stepmother?
He could not. Pope Gregory wrote back to rule out stepmothers and other close kin not related by blood'--another example was brothers' widows. He was lax about second and third cousins; only the children of aunts and uncles were off-limits. By the 11th century, however, you couldn't get engaged until you'd counted back seven generations, lest you marry a sixth cousin. The taboo against consanguineous family had expanded to include ''spiritual kin,'' who were, mostly, godparents. (It went without saying that you had to marry a Christian.) Pope Gregory and Augustine's letters document a moment in a prolonged process'--begun in the fourth century'--in which the Church clamped down, and intermittently loosened up, on who could marry whom. Not until 1983 did Pope John Paul II allow second cousins to wed.
You might assume that this curious story of how the Church narrowed the criteria for marriageability would be relegated to a footnote'--a very interesting footnote, to be sure'--but Joseph Henrich puts the tale at the center of his ambitious theory-of-everything book, The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. Consider this the latest addition to the Big History category, popularized by best sellers such as Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. The outstanding feature of the genre is that it wrangles all of human existence into a volume or two, starting with the first hominids to rise up on their hind legs and concluding with us, cyborg-ish occupants of a networked globe. Big History asks Big Questions and offers quasi-monocausal answers. Why and how did humans conquer the world? Harari asks. Cooperation. What explains differences and inequalities among civilizations? Diamond asks. Environment, which is to say, geography, climate, flora and fauna. Henrich also wants to explain variation among societies, in particular to account for the Western, prosperous kind.
Henrich's first cause is culture, a word meant to be taken very broadly rather than as referring to, say, opera. Henrich, who directs Harvard's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, is a cultural evolutionary theorist, which means that he gives cultural inheritance the same weight that traditional biologists give to genetic inheritance. Parents bequeath their DNA to their offspring, but they'--along with other influential role models'--also transmit skills, knowledge, values, tools, habits. Our genius as a species is that we learn and accumulate culture over time. Genes alone don't determine whether a group survives or disappears. So do practices and beliefs. Human beings are not ''the genetically evolved hardware of a computational machine,'' he writes. They are conduits of the spirit, habits, and psychological patterns of their civilization, ''the ghosts of past institutions.''
One culture, however, is different from the others, and that's modern WEIRD (''Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic'') culture. Dealing in the sweeping statistical generalizations that are the stock-in-trade of cultural evolutionary theorists'--these are folks who say ''people'' but mean ''populations'''--Henrich draws the contrasts this way: Westerners are hyper-individualistic and hyper-mobile, whereas just about everyone else in the world was and still is enmeshed in family and more likely to stay put. Westerners obsess more about personal accomplishments and success than about meeting family obligations (which is not to say that other cultures don't prize accomplishment, just that it comes with the package of family obligations). Westerners identify more as members of voluntary social groups'--dentists, artists, Republicans, Democrats, supporters of a Green Party'--than of extended clans.
In short, Henrich says, they're weird. They are also, in the last four words of his acronym, ''educated, industrialized, rich, democratic.'' And that brings us to Henrich's Big Question, which is really two linked questions. Starting around 1500 or so, the West became unusually dominant, because it advanced unusually quickly. What explains its extraordinary intellectual, technological, and political progress over the past five centuries? And how did its rise engender the peculiarity of the Western character?
Given the nature of the project, it may be a surprise that Henrich aspires to preach humility, not pride. WEIRD people have a bad habit of universalizing from their own particularities. They think everyone thinks the way they do, and some of them (not all, of course) reinforce that assumption by studying themselves. In the run-up to writing the book, Henrich and two colleagues did a literature review of experimental psychology and found that 96 percent of subjects enlisted in the research came from northern Europe, North America, or Australia. About 70 percent of those were American undergraduates. Blinded by this kind of myopia, many Westerners assume that what's good or bad for them is good or bad for everyone else.
Read: How a focus on rich educated people skews brain studies
Henrich's ambition is tricky: to account for Western distinctiveness while undercutting Western arrogance. He rests his grand theory of cultural difference on an inescapable fact of the human condition: kinship, one of our species' ''oldest and most fundamental institutions.'' Though based on primal instincts'-- pair-bonding, kin altruism'--kinship is a social construct, shaped by rules that dictate whom people can marry, how many spouses they can have, whether they define relatedness narrowly or broadly. Throughout most of human history, certain conditions prevailed: Marriage was generally family-adjacent'--Henrich's term is ''cousin marriage'''--which thickened the bonds among kin. Unilateral lineage (usually through the father) also solidified clans, facilitating the accumulation and intergenerational transfer of property. Higher-order institutions'--governments and armies as well as religions'--evolved from kin-based institutions. As families scaled up into tribes, chiefdoms, and kingdoms, they didn't break from the past; they layered new, more complex societies on top of older forms of relatedness, marriage, and lineage. Long story short, in Henrich's view, the distinctive flavor of each culture can be traced back to its earlier kinship institutions.
The Catholic Church changed all that. As of late antiquity, Europeans still lived in tribes, like most of the rest of the world. But the Church dismantled these kin-based societies with what Henrich calls its ''Marriage and Family Program,'' or MFP. The MFP was really an anti-marriage and anti-family program. Why did the Church adopt it? From a cultural evolutionary point of view, the why doesn't matter. In a footnote, Henrich skates lightly over debates about the motivations of Church leaders. But his bottom line is that the ''MFP evolved and spread because it 'worked.'''' (Henrich's indifference to individual and institutional intentions is guaranteed to drive historians nuts.)
Forced to find Christian partners, Christians left their communities. Christianity's insistence on monogamy broke extended households into nuclear families. The Church uprooted horizontal, relational identity, replacing it with a vertical identity oriented toward the institution itself. The Church was stern about its marital policies. Violations were punished by withholding Communion, excommunicating, and denying inheritances to offspring who could now be deemed ''illegitimate.'' Formerly, property almost always went to family members. The idea now took hold that it could go elsewhere. At the same time, the Church urged the wealthy to ensure their place in heaven by bequeathing their money to the poor'--that is, to the Church, benefactor to the needy. In so doing, ''the Church's MFP was both taking out its main rival for people's loyalty and creating a revenue stream,'' Henrich writes. The Church, thus enriched, spread across the globe.
Loosened from their roots, people gathered in cities. There they developed ''impersonal prosociality'''--that is, they bonded with other city folk. They wrote city charters and formed professional guilds. Sometimes they elected leaders, the first inklings of representative democracy. Merchants had to learn to trade with strangers. Success in this new kind of commerce required a good reputation, which entailed new norms, such as impartiality. You couldn't cheat a stranger and favor relatives and expect to make a go of it.
By the time Protestantism came along, people had already internalized an individualist worldview. Henrich calls Protestantism ''the WEIRDest religion,'' and says it gave a ''booster shot'' to the process set in motion by the Catholic Church. Integral to the Reformation was the idea that faith entailed personal struggle rather than adherence to dogma. Vernacular translations of the Bible allowed people to interpret scripture more idiosyncratically. The mandate to read the Bible democratized literacy and education. After that came the inquiry into God-given natural (individual) rights and constitutional democracies. The effort to uncover the laws of political organization spurred interest in the laws of nature'--in other words, science. The scientific method codified epistemic norms that broke the world down into categories and valorized abstract principles. All of these psychosocial changes fueled unprecedented innovation, the Industrial Revolution, and economic growth.
If Henrich's history of Christianity and the West feels rushed and at times derivative'--he acknowledges his debt to Max Weber'--that's because he's in a hurry to explain Western psychology. The bulk of the book consists of data from many disciplines other than history, including anthropology and cross-cultural psychology, to which he and colleagues have made significant contributions. Their Kinship Intensity Index, for instance, helps them posit a dose-response relationship between the length of time a population was exposed to the Catholic Church's Marriage and Family Program and the WEIRDness of its character. Henrich gets amusingly granular in his statistics here. ''Each century of Western church exposure cuts the rate of cousin marriage by nearly 60 percent,'' he writes. A millennium of the MFP also makes a person less likely to lie in court for a friend'--30 percentile points less likely. Henrich anticipates a quibble about what he calls ''the Italian enigma'': Why, if Italy has been Catholic for so long, did northern Italy become a prosperous banking center, while southern Italy stayed poor and was plagued by mafiosi? The answer, Henrich declares, is that southern Italy was never conquered by the Church-backed Carolingian empire. Sicily remained under Muslim rule and much of the rest of the south was controlled by the Orthodox Church until the papal hierarchy finally assimilated them both in the 11th century. This is why, according to Henrich, cousin marriage in the boot of Italy and Sicily is 10 times higher than in the north, and in most provinces in Sicily, hardly anyone donates blood (a measure of willingness to help strangers), while some northern provinces receive 105 donations of 16-ounce bags per 1,000 people per year.
To go further afield: While Europe was first compiling its legal codes, China was punishing crimes committed against relatives more harshly than those against nonrelatives; especially severe penalties were reserved for crimes against one's elders. As recently as the early 20th century, Chinese fathers could murder sons and get off with a warning; punishments for patricide, by contrast, were strict. Asymmetries like these, Henrich writes, ''can be justified on Confucian principles and by appealing to a deep respect for elders,'' even if the WEIRD mind finds them disturbing.
Henrich's most consequential '--and startling'--claim is that WEIRD and non-WEIRD people possess opposing cognitive styles. They think differently. Standing apart from the community, primed to break wholes into parts and classify them, Westerners are more analytical. People from kinship-intensive cultures, by comparison, tend to think more holistically. They focus on relationships rather than categories. Henrich defends this sweeping thesis with several studies, including a test known as the Triad Task. Subjects are shown three images'--say, a rabbit, a carrot, and a cat. The goal is to match a ''target object'''--the rabbit'--with a second object. A person who matches the rabbit with the cat classifies: The rabbit and the cat are animals. A person who matches the rabbit with the carrot looks for relationships between the objects: The rabbit eats the carrot.
You have to wonder whether the Triad Task really reflects fundamentally different cognitive bents or differences in subjects' personal experience. Henrich cites a Mapuche, an indigenous Chilean, who matched a dog with a pig, an ''analytic'' choice, except the man then explained that he'd done so for a ''holistic'' reason: because the dog guards the pig. ''This makes perfect sense,'' Henrich muses. ''Most farmers rely on dogs to protect their homes and livestock from rustlers.'' Exactly! A Western undergraduate, probably not having grown up with dogs protecting her pigs, sees dogs and pigs as just animals.
Henrich is more persuasive when applying his theory of cumulative culture to the evolution of ideas. Democracy, the rule of law, and human rights ''didn't start with fancy intellectuals, philosophers, or theologians,'' Henrich writes. ''Instead, the ideas formed slowly, piece by piece, as regular Joes with more individualistic psychologies'--be they monks, merchants, or artisans'--began to form competing voluntary associations'' and learned how to govern them. Toppling the accomplishments of Western civilization off their great-man platforms, he erases their claim to be monuments to rationality: Everything we think of as a cause of culture is really an effect of culture, including us.
Henrich's macro-cultural relativism has its virtues. It widens our field of vision as we assess Western values'--such as objectivity, free speech, democracy, and the scientific method'--that have come under sharp attack. The big-picture approach soars above the reigning paradigms in the study of European history, which have a way of collapsing into narratives of villains and victims. (Henrich forestalls the obvious objections with this jarringly offhand remark: ''I'm not highlighting the very real and pervasive horrors of slavery, racism, plunder, and genocide. There are plenty of books on those subjects.'') He refutes genetic theories of European superiority and makes a good case against economic determinism. His quarry are the ''enlightened'' Westerners'--would-be democratizers, globalizers, well-intended purveyors of humanitarian aid'--who impose impersonal institutions and abstract political principles on societies rooted in familial networks, and don't seem to notice the trouble that follows.
It should be said, though, that Henrich can make a person feel pretty helpless, with his talk of populations being swept along by cultural riptides that move ''outside conscious awareness.'' Cultural evolutionary determinism may turn out to be as disempowering as all the other determinisms; a WEIRD reader may feel trapped inside her own prejudices. But perhaps some comfort lies in Henrich's dazzling if not consistently plausible supply of unintended consequences. Who would have imagined that the Catholic Church would have spawned so many self-involved nonconformists? What else might our curious history yield? Henrich's social-scientist stance of neutrality may also relieve Westerners of some (one hopes not all) of their burden of guilt. ''By highlighting the peculiarities of WEIRD people, I'm not denigrating these populations or any others,'' he writes. WEIRDos aren't all bad; they're provincial. Henrich offers a capacious new perspective that could facilitate the necessary work of sorting out what's irredeemable and what's invaluable in the singular, impressive, and wildly problematic legacy of Western domination.
This article appears in the October 2020 print edition with the headline ''Why Is the West So Powerful'--And So Peculiar?''
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Spotify CEO Defends Keeping Joe Rogan Podcast Episodes That Some Employees Slammed as Transphobic '' Rogue Rocket
Jeffree Star, MrBeast, and FaZe Clan all received Paycheck Protection Program loans designed to help small businesses during the pandemic, according to a ProPublica database that tracks the disbursement of the federal loans.MrBeast and Star both received loans ranging from $350,000 to $1 million, and FaZe Clan confirmed they had received $1.1 million.Representatives for FaZe Clan and MrBeast defended the move in statements to Mashable and said they were concerned about the future of their financial situations and the loss of brand deals when they applied. The move prompted backlash from people who argued the money should have gone to small businesses that needed it to survive, not wealthy creators.Others, however, said that the government is responsible for who receives PPP loans. In fact, the program has received significant criticism in the past for giving loans to wealthy and politically connected organizations at the expense of small businesses in high need.PPP Loans to Big CreatorsCompanies belonging to YouTube creators Jeffree Star and MrBeast as well as the esports organization FaZe Clan all received federal loans intended to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The loans were given as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was signed into law under the CARES Act.
Reports about these specific creators were first reported on Wednesday by Mashable, which found the information in a searchable ProPublica database that tracks all the PPP money that has been doled out.
According to the database, Jeffree Star Cosmetics was approved for a loan ranging from $350,000 to $1 million on May 3. MrBeast YouTube LLC was approved for a loan in the same range about a month earlier on April 14. The PPP application for FaZe Clan Inc was accepted at the end of April, for a loan ranging from $1 to $2 million.
''MrBeast and Jeffree Star's loans are particularly surprising because both YouTubers have built brands on luxury and extravagance,'' Mashable reported.
''As thousands of small businesses struggle to stay afloat amid continued social distancing restrictions, YouTubers and other online figures are still able to safely churn out content. Immensely successful companies like Jeffree Star's and FaZe Clan are hardly the brands hurting the most right now.''
Breakdown of LoansTo support those claims, the article goes on to give a more detailed look at the finances of each company and creator.
Staring with MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, Mashable detailed the frequent and hefty giveaways the creator often holds.
''[He] frequently gives away cash prizes, cars, and most recently, a private island through outlandish stunts,'' the outlet reported, noting that he has been described as ''YouTube's viral philanthropist,'' and detailing some of his more recent big charitable giveaways.
In June, MrBeast pledged to split a $150,000 donation to organizations supporting racial justice and police reform as well as several small businesses. As for how much PPP money his company got, a representative who talked to Mashable did not say, but the outlet reported MrBeast YouTube LLC received a total of $377,000.
''Multiple sponsors pulled out of projects, our advertising revenue plummeted by 70 percent, and we had numerous finished videos we couldn't post,'' the representative explained to Mashable. ''We didn't have access to testing, so we also had no idea at the time when we would be able to produce new content. We felt this was the best avenue that would help us weather the storm.''
The spokesperson also said that that the company is different from MrBeast's personal accounts, and added that ''all charitable donations, including a $150,000 to Black Lives Matter and $250,000 to SpecialEffect of course did not come from company resources.''
As for Jeffree Star, Mashable points to the wealth he has accumulated from his makeup empire. In 2018, Star was listed on Forbes' highest-paid YouTubers. That year, he reportedly brought in $18 million and Jeffree Star Cosmetics was worth an estimated $100 million.
The article does note that Star likely took a hit because Morphe cut ties with him, but that happened after he was approved for the loan on May 3.
Regarding FaZe Clan, Mashable reported that the organization is valued at $240 million and ranks fourth on Forbes' most valuable esports companies. As for how much money they got, the head of communications for the organization confirmed that they had received $1.1 million.
Notably, the outlet also pointed out that in early April'-- just a few weeks before they were given that loan'-- FaZe Clan announced that they had ''closed out a $40 million funding round that also secured an exclusive partnership with NTWRK, an e-commerce platform that also works with Nike and Puma.''
At the time, FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink told Forbes that despite the circumstances, ''we are fortunate we are in the right industry for a moment like this, when everyone is turning to esports and streaming, and we are positioned to be bigger on the other side of it.''
In a statement to Mashable, Trink defended taking the PPP loan.
''As a growing business, we continued to expand our staff in January. We are grateful for the PPP loan because it has allowed us to retain 100 percent of our employees despite having to reduce our revenue projection by many millions in esports alone due to the pandemic,'' he said.
''It has always been our intention to repay the loan in full and we plan to as soon as it is safe to do so.''
ResponseMany peopled responded to the news on social media and expressed anger that these companies had received money set aside for small businesses.
Why the fuck did Mr. Beast and Jeffree Star receive a PPP loan meant for small businesses? This is corruption. Meanwhile, actual small businesses are failing left and right.
'-- Sailor Jupiter ''¨ (@strwbrryfld4evr) September 10, 2020Others also took specific aim at MrBeast, asking why he would take money from the government that had been designated for struggling companies if he had enough personal wealth to be giving away his own money.
''Small businesses desperately applying for PPP loans and shutting down after not receiving it are victims of the actions of Mr. Beast and others like him,'' one Twitter user wrote. ''He has no right to take govt money and then re-give out to those he deems worthy. That's simply powerful ppl playing with $$''
Small businesses desperately applying for PPP loans and shutting down after not receiving it are victims of the actions of Mr. Beast and others like him. He has no right to take govt money and then re-give out to those he deems worthy. That's simply powerful ppl playing with $$
'-- pata pata (@plssucklessthx) September 10, 2020On the other side, some people also said that MrBeast deserved the loan because he helps people. Others still argued that these companies and creators are not directly to blame and that its really on the government to decide who the loans go to.
From early on, the Trump administration has received significant backlash over its handling of the PPP loan disbursements, specifically in regards to who has received them and who has not.
When the money was first being sent out, massive outrage spread over the fact that Shake Shack received a $10 million PPP loan, which it eventually gave back. Since then, there has also been anger around other big recipients like Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, the Catholic Church, and the Lakers.
Companies owned by wealthy celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Kanye West, and Reese Witherspoon have also drawn ire for receiving PPP aid.
Problems From the TopWhile some have argued that those people never should have applied in the first place, there is also hard evidence showing tons of issues with how this money has been allocated from the top down.
Earlier this month, a House oversight committee concluded that thousands of PPP loans were given to companies that should not have received them.
According to a report released just last Tuesday by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the Trump administration gave hundreds of loans to companies that did not even fill out complete applications, as well as nearly $100 million to companies that were ineligible for the loans because they had been banned from working with the federal government.
Other studies and reports have found that many large companies got loans before small businesses, who were largely left out of the first round of loan distributions despite needing the money the most.
For example, economists at the University of Chicago and MIT found that just 15% of companies in the areas ''most affected by declines in hours worked and business shutdowns'' received PPP funding, but in areas least affected, 30% of companies received PPP funding.
Even beyond all of that, there are a ton of problems with the data and records of the loans that not only call into question how the program is managed but also how effective it has been in helping companies keep employees on their payroll.
According to a recent report by The Los Angeles Times, out of the roughly 4.9 million loans awarded as of July, over 550,000 approved applications listed zero jobs retained, and over 320,000 left it blank entirely. Seven loans even listed negative jobs retained.
The Times also reported that many small businesses were approved for loans much bigger than what they actually recieved and that there was no explanation for the discrepancy in the data.
Both Democrats and Republicans have pushed for another round of PPP funding in the next coroanvirus stimulus bill, but without a massive overhaul to the system and increased accountability measures, many are concerned the loans will continue to be improperly allocated.
See what others are saying: (Mashable) (Insider) (The Los Angeles Times)
'Joe Rogan Experience' Episodes Must Be Removed, Says Spotify Staff
During a series of recent company meetings, multiple Spotify employees reportedly demanded that the platform remove additional episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience due to their controversial guests and/or conversations.Vice first reported on these contentious internal exchanges, which sources indicated have taken place across ten separate sit-downs thus far. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has reportedly been on hand for at least one of the discussions, working to quell team members' criticism over the continued on-platform availability of several Joe Rogan Experience episodes. According to attendees, Ek has also implored staff not to leak the meetings' details.
That word of the long-running dialogue is circulating appears to suggest ongoing disagreement between Spotify workers and execs. Moreover, one of the JRE episodes reportedly at the center of the controversy '' a mid-July conversation with author Abigail Shrier, who penned a book entitled Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters '' is still available on Spotify presently.
Nevertheless, the heated confrontation seems to intimate that the Joe Rogan Experience episodes missing from Spotify may not make their way onto the platform after all. Alex Jones, whose JRE episodes have yet to arrive on the service, previously attributed the absence to technical difficulties. But with the additional context of the above-mentioned meetings, it appears that these installments might have been intentionally '' and permanently '' omitted from the transition.
Spotify first started transferring Rogan's older podcasts onto its platform roughly two weeks ago.
The lost conversations are still drawing the ire of more than a few dedicated fans.Rogan specified upon announcing the multimillion-dollar deal that Spotify wouldn't be involved in his podcast's creative process. And on a broader scale, others are suggesting that the issue may come to a head when the longtime UFC commentator looks to book future guests '' potentially threatening the exclusive Spotify agreement.
Many believe that The Joe Rogan Experience's immense popularity is rooted in the raw, unfiltered nature of the conversations it delivers from a variety of individuals. (Past guests have included a number of politicians and political commentators, scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and artist Post Malone, to name just some.) And needless to say, compromising this unique, all-encompassing format, in terms of guests and/or specific conversations, could dissuade listeners and viewers from tuning in.
On the other side of the coin, Spotify's opting not to remove the Abigail Shrier JRE episode (in spite of the reported employee pushback) might reflect a desire to maintain a relatively strong professional relationship with Rogan. SPOT ascended substantially during the week following the announcement of the JRE deal; even after factoring for recent losses, the company's per-share worth is about $85 higher than it was at 2020's start.
Lastly, Rogan himself has been conspicuously silent about the missing episodes and the Spotify deal '' possibly because of ongoing behind-the-scenes talks.
More as this develops.
'The Mandalorian' fans want Gina Carano fired for "mocking trans people"
The Mandalorian star Gina Carano has been accused of ''mocking trans people'' after putting the words ''boop/bob/beep'' in her Twitter bio in lieu of pronouns.
The actress who portrays Cara Dune in the Disney+ Star Wars series was asked by fans whether she would add pronouns to her bio to show solidarity with the trans community.
The act of adding pronouns has been common among trans and non-binary people in order to avoid being misgendered, while many cisgender people have also included them to show support for the community.
Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in 'The Mandalorian'. Credit: Disney/LucasFilm
One user tweeted to Carano that her co-star Pedro Pascal had included them, while also accusing her of ''liking tweets that mock'' the act of adding pronouns.
''Yes, Pedro & I spoke & he helped me understand why people were putting them in their bios,'' the actress replied. ''I didn't know before but I do now. I won't be putting them in my bio but good for all you who choose to. I stand against bullying, especially the most vulnerable & freedom to choose.''
Yes, Pedro & I spoke & he helped me understand why people were putting them in their bios. I didn't know before but I do now. I won't be putting them in my bio but good for all you who choose to. I stand against bullying, especially the most vulnerable & freedom to choose. ð'¯
'-- Gina Carano boop/bop/beep (@ginacarano) September 12, 2020
However, later on she tweeted to another fan that she had ''decided to put 3 VERY controversial words in my bio.. beep/bop/boop'', adding: ''I'm not against trans lives at all. They need to find less abusive representation.''
They're mad cuz I won't put pronouns in my bio to show my support for trans lives. After months of harassing me in every way. I decided to put 3 VERY controversial words in my bio.. beep/bop/boop I'm not against trans lives at all. They need to find less abusive representation.
'-- Gina Carano boop/bop/beep (@ginacarano) September 13, 2020
Another fan then suggested that her actions could be construed as ''mocking'', Carano replying: ''I don't think trans people would like all of you trying to force a woman to put something in her bio through harassment & name calling EVERYDAY for MONTHS. Such as 'Racist Transphobe' 'Bitch' 'Weirdo' 'I hope you die' 'I hope you lose your career' 'your fat, you're ugly'.''
I don't think trans people would like all of you trying to force a woman to put something in her bio through harassment & name calling EVERYDAY for MONTHS. Such as ''Racist'' Transphobe'' ''Bitch'' ''Weirdo'' '' I hope you die'' ''I hope you lose your career'' ''your fat, you're ugly''.
'-- Gina Carano boop/bop/beep (@ginacarano) September 13, 2020
She later claimed that she was not ''mocking trans people'', tweeting: ''Beep/bop/boop has zero to do with mocking trans people & to do with exposing the bullying mentality of the mob that has taken over the voices of many genuine causes. I want people to know you can take hate with a smile. So BOOP you for misunderstanding. #AllLoveNoHate''.
Beep/bop/boop has zero to do with mocking trans people ð¤& ð'¯ to do with exposing the bullying mentality of the mob that has taken over the voices of many genuine causes.
I want people to know you can take hate with a smile. So BOOP you for misunderstanding. ð #AllLoveNoHate pic.twitter.com/Qe48AiZyOL
'-- Gina Carano boop/bop/beep (@ginacarano) September 14, 2020
However, many fans have criticised her arguments and actions, with some calling for her to be fired from The Mandalorian:
girl we aren't buying it ð the fact that you even THOUGHT it was a good idea, after outright refusing to add your pronouns to your profile'.... seems like mockery to me ''¤¸
'-- jayden '²¸ KIPO S3 (@wlwjaybird) September 14, 2020
I was going to go completely off on this, but after thinking for a moment, all I'm going to say is, I hope that someday you realize how contradictory it is to make a joke at an entire marginalized community's expense to try and prove that you're ''anti-bullying''.
'-- Matt ' ¸ Skywalker (@MIB1188) September 14, 2020
I'm sorry but if people are telling you that it is offensive and hurtful then why keep it up? I don't think people have to put pronouns if they do not want to but do not mock people who do. You might not think it has a mocking tone but it clearly does
'-- ET (@throitbck4jesus) September 14, 2020
Cis people do not get to determine what is and isn't harmful to trans people and many trans people have said any sort of pronoun mocking/jokes from cis people, no matter the intent, causes harm.
'-- Maia Rose (@maithemrk) September 14, 2020
Replace Gina Carano with a trans woman on The Mandalorian.
'-- Holly (@_Hollytweets) September 13, 2020
Gina Carano is ignorant af and I hope she gets fired from Mando. https://t.co/BNz7F6Fq4x
'-- Joe Martin (@Joey_Radstone) September 13, 2020
The Gina Carano is trash saga continues. I seriously hope disney fires her from the mandalorian and replaces her with a new trans character.To add: I imagine she'll live throughout season 2. So they should just kill Cara Dune off between S2 and S3 to avoid her coming'... pic.twitter.com/yaXa1GTjRC
'-- Alex ð... (@ScottishMando) September 13, 2020
At least 13 people have been arrested for West Coast arson crimes. Here are the details. - TheBlaze
As wildfires scorch the West Coast, debate is raging on the internet over what exactly is causing the fires '-- climate change or human acts of arson. And as Glenn Beck pointed out on Wednesday, it appears the left and Big Tech have already made their determination and have resolved to make that everyone else's determination, too.
Over the past week, PolitiFact summarily shot down allegations of human-made fires and Facebook announced a sweeping policy to flag and remove posts on the platform suggesting as much.
But that flies in the face of the truth of the matter regarding the wildfires, which is that many of the fires burning through California, Oregon, and Washington state were in fact started by criminals. While reasonable people might argue about the extent to which climate change and/or poor forest management made the fires worse than they otherwise would have been, there can be no doubt that many of these fires would not have existed at all if they had not been intentionally started by humans.
A quick survey of national and local media reports show that there have been at least 13 named individuals arrested on arson crimes in recent weeks.
Here are the details1. Jeffrey Acord, 36, was arrested in Puyallup, Washington, last Wednesday on reckless burning charges. When police arrived on the scene, Acord reportedly started Facebook livestreaming the incident to act like he had discovered the fire. Acord is a known Black Lives Matter activist who led a BLM rally in June. He had previously been arrested on weapons charges during a 2014 protest in Ferguson, Missouri.
2. Elijas Newton Pendergrass, 44, was arrested under suspicion of starting the Sweet Creek Milepost 2 fire west of Eugene, Oregon, earlier this month. That fire has burned hundreds of acres and prompted evacuations.
3. Christine Comello, 36, was arrested in Spokane, Washington, last week on first- and second-degree arson charges. She had allegedly started fires near a commercial business and an old oil drum that reportedly "gave the fire the potential to explode into something much larger."
4. Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was arrested near Portland, Oregon, this week for starting a fire using a Molotov cocktail. A day later, police said he was arrested again for starting six more small brushfires. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation and is being held on a total of seven counts of reckless burning.
5. Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, was arrested in Phoenix, Oregon, last week on two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief, and 14 counts of reckless endangerment. According to police, Bakkela is responsible for setting one of the two origins of the Almeda fire, which burned thousands of acres in southern Oregon and has killed two people. As of last week, 50 people remain unaccounted for as a result of the fire.
6. Jonathan Maas, 44, was arrested in Dexter, Oregon, for allegedly starting a fire in the woods near a frisbee golf course.
7. Anita Esquivel, 37, was arrested in Salinas, California, for allegedly starting multiple fires along Highway 101. There were reportedly some indications that Esquivel was connected to Antifa, but the Monterey County District Attorney's Office has since denied those allegations.
8. Osmin Palencia, 36, a homeless man, was arrested last month for allegedly starting the Ranch 2 Fire in Azusa, California. That fire ended up burning through nearly 5,000 acres of land and took hundreds of firefighters to contain.
9. Ivan Geronimo Gomez, 31, has been arrested under suspicion that he was involved in starting the massive Dolan Fire in Big Sur, California, which has burned through at least 23,000 acres. Gomez was also detained under suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation.
10. Sammy Piatt, 53, was arrested for setting a pile of leaves on fire near a county building last Friday in Oregon City, Oregon..
11. Jett Avery Thomas, 36, was arrested for allegedly trying to set a hotel gas pipe on fire in Portland, Oregon.
12. John Davies, 55, and reportedly a transient, was arrested earlier this month for starting multiple fires in Novato, California.
13. Jacob Altona, 28, was arrested after being chased by cops along State Route 512 and State Route 7 in Washington. He was alleged to have started a fire in the brush along the highway.
Anything else?It should be noted that these are only the instances in which law enforcement were able to catch the individuals allegedly starting fires, as well as only the instances in which the suspects names have been released. There have been more reported arrests.
Also, on Sept. 7, after 300,000 acres were reported to have burned the day prior in Washington state, public lands commissioner Hilary Franz said she believes all 58 of the fires were caused by humans.
"Because there was no lightning in the area, we believe all of these fires we saw yesterday were human caused," Franz said.
While information is still being collected about the fires across the West Coast, it's fair to call it malpractice to brush aside claims that criminals are responsible for starting many of the fires.
Here's more from Glenn Beck:
Antifa Arsonist Arrested Near Tacoma, WA After Live-streaming Himself. '' Protester Privilege
This article was updated at 10:06AM EST to include new information and add a video. Please scroll to the bottom of the article to view the update.
Around 6 pm EST today a man named Jeffrey Acord called 911 to report a fire on the side of SR-167 near Puyallup, Washington. After calling the police, Mr. Acord then set to live streaming himself to his Facebook Page. During the video you can see the police question Acord and after a period of time, the video ends as they arrest him for Reckless Burning 2nd Degree.
The following is the Facebook Live video he posted.
Facebook Live video of user Jeff Demologik AcordMr. Accord has a bit of a history with the law and with protesting. In 2014 Acrod was arrested in Seattle, Washington during the Ferguson Decision Protest.
From a KOMO news report of the incident: Officers also found the man was carrying a 7-inch knife in his backpack, and had a box of ammunition, an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a box full of large fireworks in his car, police said.
Items found on Jeffrey Allan Acord during Seattle Protest in 2014You can see below the charges that he was found guilty of from this incident.
2014 Charges for Jeffrey Alan Acord in Seattle, WashingtonThe fire was contained to the interstate and was contained and put out by the local fire department.
He is now sitting in the Puyallup, WA jail, charged with Reckless Burning in the 2nd degree. According to Washington Law, this charge is described as
(1)'A person is guilty of reckless burning in the second degree if he or she knowingly causes a fire or explosion, whether on his or her own property or that of another, and thereby recklessly places a building or other structure, or any vehicle, railway car, aircraft, or watercraft, or any hay, grain, crop or timber, whether cut or standing, in danger of destruction or damage.
(2)'Reckless burning in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
Washington Revised Code Title 9A. Washington Criminal Code § 9A.48.050. Reckless burning in the second degreeAccording to Mcaleerlaw.net ''This offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail.'' Given the current climate lets hope they give him the rest of the year to think about the danger he put everyone in. In the live-stream, he can be seen pointing out a neighborhood close to where he set the fire.
Mr. Acrod's continued involvement in Social Justice protest and ideology is apparent from social media post.
We are continuing to look for more information in regards to Jeffrey Alan Accord, if you have anything, please contact us at [email protected]
Update: 10:06AM EST
PP Staff can confirm that Mr. Acord has been transferred released from the Puyallup, WA jail to the Pierce County Jail where he was booked in under a separate Burglary 2 charge.
Jeffrey Alan Acord Booking Information Pierce County JailWhile doing more investigating on Mr. Acord, we noticed that content from his social media, including the photos above, were being removed. We were able to grab the video below from his Facebook prior to its removal.
Sources are also telling us, that Mr. Acord is now a suspect in two other local fires, including the Bonney Lake fire. We will update with more as more information becomes available.
Jeffrey Alan Acord video from his Facebook Page.Check out our Facebook Page for continued coverage.
Belt and road with Mexico
'Intriguing' is the completion of the Port of Veracruz by the CCP in Mexico, using a Chinese 'communication company' (reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWVME2utmQ8 AND https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/mexico-chinese-companies-invest-in-countrys-second-largest-port/ ).
The Mexican government essentially gave up control of the port to China and only recently President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made moves to "retake" control of the port. (ref: https://splash247.com/mexicos-president-seeks-to-take-back-control-of-veracruz-port/ )
There is direct also now a rail from the port of Veracruz to the United States (ref: https://www.joc.com/rail-intermodal/international-rail/dual-rail-entry-mexico%E2%80%99s-veracruz-ready-2020_20190521.html-0 ).
In addition, China is leveraging the Pandemic to call for strengthened ties between China and Mexico, possibly buying off economic officials in Mexico states, publishing articles and holding conferences touting the their relationship (ref: http://www.mexcham.org/book-presentationchina-and-mexico-45-years-of-relations/ ).
US is their number one trade partner with Mexico at $358.9 Billion, compared to China's $6.9 Billion. Yet, China wants Mexico indebted to them, and asks for more investments; the same approach we see in Africa Region. And guess what, Rotterdam is Next (ref: https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9245013/direct-route-from-veracruz-to-rotterdam-to-launch-in-september/ ).
Is the CCP out to help the world and themselves along the way, or are they finding ways to exploit every visible crack in our foundation? If they are doing the former, the later doesn't matter to the rest of the world.
US will ban WeChat and TikTok downloads on Sunday - CNN
Washington(CNN Business) The Commerce Department plans to restrict access to TikTok and WeChat on Sunday as the Trump administration's executive orders against the two apps are set to take effect.
The Department said Friday that as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain WeChat or TikTok on an app store will be prohibited. Apple and Google didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
While users who have already downloaded the apps may be able to continue using the software, the restrictions mean updated versions of the apps cannot be downloaded.
"The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won't have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.
The restrictions targeting WeChat are more extensive. Beginning Sunday, it will be illegal to host or transfer internet traffic associated with WeChat, the Department said in a release. The same will be true for TikTok as of Nov. 12, it said. (The Trump administration is currently weighing a proposal involving ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese parent, and Oracle, designed to resolve the administration's national security concerns related to TikTok; the deadline for a deal is Nov. 12.)
Further restrictions could still be announced later, including against other apps if they are seen to be used as workarounds.
In earlier court filings, the US government suggested that the restrictions on TikTok and WeChat would be limited in scope and not aimed at harming consumers or TikTok's US employees.
TikTok employees will still be able to receive salaries and benefits and to do their day jobs without running afoul of the ban.
In a separate filing on Sept. 15, the US government warned that communication over WeChat might be "impaired" as a result of forthcoming policies, but that "users will not be targeted or subject to penalties."
"Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," said Ross. "At the President's direction, we have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations."
TikTok, WeChat ban exposes a slew of U.S. tech stocks to Chinese retaliation risk
The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken August 7, 2020.
Florence Lo | Reuters
(This story is for CNBC Pro subscribers only.)
The Trump administration just threatened to slap a new ban on two widely popular Chinese-owned apps in the U.S., leaving a slew of companies vulnerable to retaliation measures from China as the nation has a long history of punching back.
The Commerce Department announced Friday it will prohibit new downloads and block some transactions over WeChat and TikTok starting Sunday, amid Oracle and Walmart's attempt to take a stake in TikTok's U.S. business. If the U.S. follows through on this threat, it could not only strike a harsh blow on U.S. firms with revenue exposure to these apps, but also put a variety of tech companies in a weak position depending on China's counter action.
"The broader worry is that if a deal is not reached over the next 48 hours with approval by the Chinese government around source code access and majority ownership, this shutdown move could be a Fort Sumter moment in the US/China cold tech war tensions with retaliation on the horizon," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note on Friday.
Here is a breakdown of the most impacted U.S. stocks under different scenarios.
Huawei Canada draws up 'no-backdoor no-spying' legal pledge in bid to prevent 5G ban - The Globe and Mail
The Huawei logo is seen outside a research facility in Ottawa on Dec. 6, 2018.
Huawei Technologies Canada has drafted a legal agreement that outlines a ''no-back door and no-spying'' pledge as the Chinese telecommunications giant tries to prevent the federal government from banning the use of its equipment in the country's 5G cellular networks.
The Globe and Mail has obtained a copy of the proposed no-spying agreement, marked ''confidential,'' which lays out the company's legal obligations if Canada allows it to be part of the next-generation 5G cellular technology.
The document appears to be the first Huawei no-spying agreement to be revealed publicly, and spells out a strict process to prove the equipment does not contain secret ''backdoors'' that allow outside entities to access the networks or put in malware. It also commits to reject requests for information from Chinese security agencies.
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Inside Huawei's campaign to influence Canadian public opinion
The draft says Huawei agrees that several obligations would be inserted into all contracts with ''key infrastructure operators in Canada,'' which presumably includes telecom and internet providers. It would treat ''all confidential information, business and company secrets ... obtained under the contract relationship as confidential," and says ''all confidential information will not be transferred to a third party or used for purposes other than those stipulated in the contract without the consent of the carrier.'' Thirdly, ''Huawei agrees no information shall ever be provided to any foreign intelligence agency outside of Canada.''
It does not say what would happen if the company breaks this agreement, and the proposed text does not appear to bind parent company Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen. The wording says it would be between Huawei in Canada and the Canadian government.
The draft, which contains fewer than 700 words, demonstrates what the company is prepared to do to persuade Canadian officials to allow its gear in 5G networks.
''Huawei agrees to never implant or allow others to implant in its equipment, or to collect intelligence for any individual or organization, including any government organizations, agencies and entities,'' the document states.
Huawei Technologies Canada's parent company in Shenzhen has publicly said it would be prepared to sign no-spying agreements with governments. The pacts would ensure Huawei or its foreign subsidiaries are legally responsible for preventing Huawei equipment from being used to spy.
A source told The Globe the proposed agreement has not been shared with the Canadian government because Ottawa is still conducting a national security review of Huawei's 5G technology. The Globe is not identifying the source, who was not authorized to discuss Huawei's 5G strategy.
U.S. and Australian government officials have warned that China could use Huawei's equipment to spy on other countries because a 2017 law gives Beijing authority to order Chinese companies to carry out espionage for national security purposes.
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The proposed agreement attempts to assure the Canadian government that the Canadian subsidiary would reject any such demand.
''Huawei agrees that no information shall ever be provided to any foreign intelligence agency outside of Canada,'' the document states. The company ''confirms that it has never had any legal or moral obligations to implant or allow others to implant espionage, communications kill switches or other malicious functionalities (backdoor) to its equipment.'' A kill switch is a mechanism that can shut down or disable a device or program.
The document says Huawei will allow its 5G equipment to be tested independently for backdoors. Canadian security officials currently test Huawei 4G gear at independent labs, and governments in Canada do not use the company's equipment. It is the only foreign telecommunications equipment maker that faces such requirements in this country.
Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that has not acted to ban or curtail Huawei's participation in 5G networks. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have blocked Huawei from 5G networks, and New Zealand rejected a proposal to build a 5G network with Huawei gear.
Company founder Ren Zhengfei, whose daughter, Meng Wanzhou, has been detained in Canada since 2018 on a U.S. extradition request over allegations of bank fraud and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, has denied that Huawei helps Chinese intelligence by building backdoors in its devices.
The company has mounted a public relations campaign in Canada to gain Ms. Meng's release and to avoid a 5G ban.
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The Globe reported on Wednesday that Huawei maintains a dossier on people it calls ''key opinion leaders'' in this country who it believes could help its campaign. Among them are former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who has advised Huawei on the Meng case and 5G, and Eddie Goldenberg, who was an adviser to prime minister Jean Chr(C)tien. Mr. Goldenberg has advocated releasing Ms. Meng in exchange for two Canadians detained in China.
The list of influencers, obtained by The Globe, was compiled by Huawei Technologies Canada and has been sent to company headquarters in Shenzhen, which has shared it with the Chinese government, a source said. The Globe is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to discuss internal Huawei matters.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, whose department oversees the Huawei national security review, and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair had no comment on the dossier. Mr. Bains said Ottawa has not made a ''final determination'' on whether to allow Huawei in 5G networks. ''We're still doing our due diligence,'' he said..
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said Huawei's attempts in this country to mould attitudes remind him of what Beijing does. ''In a way, it's in line with what we're seeing from China across the board: a very significant effort to shape opinion using influencers, using prominent people in our society,'' he said.
''This is a private company, not the Chinese government necessarily, but it's sophisticated, and unless you were paying careful attention, you probably wouldn't understand how much planning and effort goes into it.''
The dossier lists and provides profiles of 30 former politicians, university professors, lawyers and business people who it says ''have made relatively positive comments or provided valuable information on Huawei's brand image, Huawei products, and the controversial affairs involving Huawei.''
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Not all of them have offered explicitly pro-Huawei commentary.
The documents also show the company assigns staff to cultivate relations with politicians, business leaders, academics and journalists.
Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said the government should ''stop dithering and ban Huawei from our 5G networks as we have been calling for them to do for the past year.''
Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day's top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.
The Steve Bannon-backed study claiming China created the coronavirus is bogus - Vox
A controversial new study getting attention in US conservative media claims the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab '-- but the group behind the report is intimately linked to a prominent Trump ally and known China hawk: Steve Bannon.
And all I spoke to said the study is deeply flawed.
The article popped up on September 14 on Zenodo, a website for scientists and academics to upload their work before it has gone through any formal peer-review process. Right-wing media outlets like the New York Post quickly seized on the paper's conclusion that the virus that causes Covid-19 was potentially man-made at a Chinese facility. The study's lead author, the 36-year-old Yan Li-Meng, has already appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show to say the Chinese government ''intentionally'' released the virus into the world.
That's an explosive allegation that if true would crack the unsolved mystery of the coronavirus's origins. But despite the boldness of the paper's claims, there's considerable evidence that Chinese researchers didn't bioengineer SARS-CoV-2 and that the government didn't deploy it as a bioweapon.
(Reminder: SARS-CoV-2 is the name for the coronavirus itself; Covid-19 is the name for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.)
It's important to note that most experts I spoke to said it remains possible the coronavirus accidentally leaked out of a lab. There is a major virology lab located in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first identified. At that facility, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, researchers study samples of bat coronaviruses (and other viruses) collected from the wild and reportedly conduct risky ''gain-of-function'' research on them, manipulating them in experiments to test their pandemic threat.
But it appears Yan and her three co-authors haven't changed many minds in the scientific community with their reasoning for why this coronavirus appears to be bioengineered.
''It's deeply speculative, and the scenarios proposed are not very believable,'' said Alina Chan, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and MIT's Broad Institute. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, told me the study ''is totally bogus.''
Other experts were similarly dumbfounded by the paper, especially since Yan has a prolific and solid publication record on infectious diseases. ''You know better than to put your name behind this utter garbage, much less write it yourself,'' Jasnah Kholin, Yan's former colleague at the University of Hong Kong (who uses an alias online), tweeted on Tuesday. Twitter suspended Yan's account on Wednesday for her lead role in writing the fact-challenged paper.
Why, though, is Yan's study so bad, especially with her once-sterling credentials? The reason may have a lot to do with Bannon's years-long effort to discredit China no matter the cost '-- and Yan's willingness to help.
''This all plays into Bannon's larger argument about China and the threat it poses to everybody on the planet,'' said Michael Swaine, an expert on Chinese security issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank in Washington. ''It just serves his interests.''
What the Bannon-backed, Yan-led coronavirus study actually saysBefore getting to why Bannon and Yan work together, it's worth quickly going through the main claim and three strands of supporting evidence Yan and her team offered in their study, titled ''Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route.''
Their headline assertion is that the mainstream view of SARS-CoV-2 as a naturally occurring virus ''lacks substantial support,'' and that the virus ''shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus.'' They stress ''the need for an independent investigation into the relevant research laboratories,'' but don't identify one in particular, including the facility in Wuhan.
Screenshot of Yan team's study. Zenodo. For many experts, the notion that the disease might be man-made by Chinese researchers isn't a wild one.
''Given the moral antipathy and the secrecy surrounding any biological weapons program, and given the difficulty of differentiating a naturally occurring outbreak and a deliberately caused one, it is not entirely invalid or illegitimate to suspect the virus was man-made,'' said Yanzhong Huang, a global health expert at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank. ''I don't challenge Dr. Yan's credentials in making such bold arguments.''
And Chan, the Broad Institute fellow who dismisses Yan's paper, noted that similar coronaviruses have been found in labs as early as 2013.
The question of whether Chinese scientists created this specific coronavirus in a lab, then, is worth trying to prove. Successfully doing so is an entirely different matter '-- and the three pieces of evidence the Yan-led researchers offer are ''easily disproven,'' said Columbia's Rasmussen.
Screenshot of the paper's three main arguments for why the coronavirus is man-made. Zenodo First, the authors say the virus's genes look ''suspiciously similar to that of a bat coronavirus discovered by military laboratories'' elsewhere in China. That seems bad, but Rasmussen notes that it makes sense this disease would have similar-looking genes to other coronaviruses because it is a coronavirus. ''They are similar because they are related,'' she said.
Second, Yan's team says part of the spike protein the current coronavirus uses to infect cells looks like the 2003 SARS spike protein ''in a suspicious manner.'' In other words, they're implying the virus isn't natural '-- someone changed it. But that's not the case, Rasmussen says: Those ''are found in other coronaviruses. They arose naturally and coincidentally.''
Third, the paper states the SARS-CoV-2 virus has a ''unique'' furin cleavage site '-- a section of the spike protein '-- asserting that such a feature isn't found in the natural world. But Rasmussen said many coronaviruses have these sites, including the 2012 MERS coronavirus first found in the Middle East. ''This proves exactly nothing,'' she told me.
Altogether, there's just little Yan's team offered to convince their peers they found what they say they found. There's always fierce debate in academic and scientific literature, of course, but the easily refuted assertions make it hard to take much of what they wrote seriously.
Plus, as Huang told me, ''that the paper was not peer-reviewed and was backed by a political nonprofit raises further questions on the credibility of the paper.''
This is where we find Bannon.
Yan and Bannon have a mutually beneficial relationshipYan's study was published by the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, two New York City-based groups Bannon helped create alongside Guo Wengui, a Chinese dissident and billionaire who has long sought political asylum in the US after facing bribery, fraud, and money-laundering charges back home. It was on Guo's yacht that US Postal Service officers arrested Bannon last month for defrauding donors to another, unrelated nonprofit.
The main goal both organizations share is to expose malfeasance by the Chinese Communist Party-led government, a target Bannon has worked tirelessly to embarrass and overthrow. Their mission dovetails nicely with the work of G News, a Bannon- and Guo-supported website that has already published articles asserting '-- without clear evidence '-- that China's military created the coronavirus.
Bannon '-- the former executive chairman of Breitbart News who led Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and worked as Trump's White House chief strategist '-- has for years blamed China for harming America's economy via unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property. In Guo, Bannon clearly found an ally with whom to combat the Chinese regime.
''Guo has been the toughest Chinese opponent the CCP has ever encountered,'' Bannon told the Washington Post on Sunday, using an acronym for the Chinese Communist Party. ''He has been the world's leading fighter exposing the lies, the infiltration, and the malevolence of the CCP.''
Yan is also not a fan of the Chinese government. She fled Hong Kong for the United States in April out of fear of political persecution.
She told Fox News in July that she had evidence the Chinese government knew the disease transferred between humans back in December, aiming to blow the whistle on the regime, but that her then-superiors at the University of Hong Kong's public health laboratory '-- a World Health Organization research center '-- had told her to keep quiet. The university denies any of that happened.
While in the US, Yan linked up with the Bannon- and Guo-backed nonprofits, though it remains unclear exactly when or why (she didn't respond to multiple requests for comment).
She is not ''in hiding.'' She is going around with Guo Wengui's sidekicks Lude and Bannon, who are on an image-salvaging operation to make themselves look connected to Trump. Her reflection is in this picture next to Bannon during Lude's photo op with Rudy Giuliani. pic.twitter.com/lyEwizVw4V
'-- J Michael Waller (@JMichaelWaller) September 12, 2020The general suspicion, including among those who don't like her recent paper, is that she found a group of people who share her view that the Chinese government purposefully put the world in danger. Yan wanted a place to offer that analysis and keep safe from the regime, and staying in Hong Kong '-- amid a Beijing-backed crackdown on dissent '-- wasn't an option.
Kholin, Yan's former colleague at the university who bashed her paper, told me Yan ''is not safe here.''
Coming to the US and joining Bannon and Guo's projects offered her a prominent platform to say her piece. ''I could not stay silent,'' Yan told the UK's Daily Mail in August. ''I could see China was covering up the truth and I had to do something since I was a professional who could explain it.''
If there is one thing that this entire saga has made clear - it is that whistleblowers (as it pertains to SARS2) have no obvious safe route of sharing their information.Seriously, who should a SARS2 origins whistleblower go to? Besides this anti-CCP billionaire + Bannon et al.?
'-- Alina Chan (@Ayjchan) September 17, 2020The best approach to obtaining the truth from a whistleblower is to remove their dependency on their host/savior. Someone who they now have to rely on for security the rest of their life. Do people seriously think that this is not a consideration for whistleblowers?
'-- Alina Chan (@Ayjchan) September 17, 2020Bannon and Guo likely didn't bring Yan in solely out of the goodness of their hearts. Having a Chinese virologist with sterling credentials make the case that the Chinese Communist Party created and unleashed the coronavirus on the world is far more powerful than having Bannon or Guo say it.
Since associating herself with Bannon and Guo, she's made a steady stream of appearances on their various media outlets, including Bannon's podcast in August, to discuss her views on the Chinese government and the coronavirus. Her analysis at the time, though, was more political than scientific.
''If this is something come from nature, the government has no responsibility for that. Why do they recruit such big force to stop people from understanding what happened?'' she said. ''If this is an accident come from some lab in China ... why don't they try to stop it?''
''They don't need to hide this kind of truth if this has a nature origins,'' she concluded, later calling the Communist Party's actions ''evil.''
She's gone on to serve as Bannon's key witness of sorts on the China coronavirus issue. Over time, though, she's also adopted positions that fit popular narratives among conservatives.
Namely, she's promoted hydroxychloroquine as effective against Covid-19 '-- echoing Trump and other prominent conservatives '-- despite ample scientific evidence against that claim. G News, the Bannon and Guo-backed website, publicized her comments on the drug. Whether she truly believes the medication is helpful or is just boosting conservative talking points to stay in Bannon and Guo's good graces is unclear.
Kholin thinks it's the latter. ''I think it's being in an atmosphere that fosters conspiracy theories while feeling pressured to justify her existence,'' she told me, ''and honestly that fear is fully justified.''
Either way, Yan's views have clearly reached a prominent audience and certainly will continue to do so. On a September 15 segment on Fox Business, host Lou Dobbs and the Hudson Institute's Michael Pillsbury '-- an informal adviser to Trump on China '-- spent time praising Yan's work.
Trump retweeted Dobbs's tweet of the clip.
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Boeing vs Airbus vs Otto Aviation
Airbus displaces Boeing as aerospace's biggest company | Analysis | Flight Global
Seattle's tumultuous 2019 has seen it slip behind its European rival in our latest annual Top 100 rankings
Airbus has ousted Boeing as aerospace's biggest business after a year in which the 737 Max crisis led to the US manufacturer's revenues plunging by a quarter.
FlightGlobal's latest Top 100, based on 2019/20 financial year figures, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, show Boeing's annual sales at $76 billion, down from $101 billion the previous year.
Airbus's turnover rose from $75.1 billion in 2018 to $78.9 billion, allowing the European company to take top spot in the annual ranking for the first time in over a decade.
Boeing also slid deeply into the red, with operating losses of almost $2 billion, compared with profits of around $12 billion in 2018. Airbus's operating profits also fell from around $6 billion in 2018 to $1.5 billion in the latest financial year.
Even though the vast majority of Top 100 companies had a positive bottom line, the squeeze felt by the big two meant profit growth as a whole was in negative territory, down 11.1% compared with a rise of 20.6% the previous year. Average operating margins dropped from 11.3% to 9.4%.
With Top 100 revenues up 3.5% against 8.2% in 2018, it suggests that the industry was heading into a slower growth phase even before the pandemic hit. That said, the biggest aerospace companies continued to grow faster than the world economy '' global GDP increased by 2.9% in 2019 '' as they have for many years.
Consolidation has brought other changes to the Top 100 with the merged United Technologies and Rockwell Collins ranked fourth in terms of size. The further coming together of United Technologies' aerospace businesses and Raytheon, completed earlier this year, should see the combined business overtake third-placed Lockheed Martin in next year's survey.
Meanwhile, the new L3Harris '' created from L-3 and Harris '' broke into the top 10 at number nine.
Top 5 aerospace companies by revenue 2019 ($ millions) RankCompany nameMovement in ranking from 2018Sales (revenue) 2019Sales (revenue) 2018Operating profit 2019Operating profit 2018Operating margin 2019Operating margin 20181Airbus178,90075,1001,5005,9601.9%7.9%2Boeing-176,600101,000-1,98012,000-2.6%11.9%3Lockheed Martin059,80053,8008,5507,34014.3%14.3%4United Technologies046,90036,0005,7703,57012.3%9.9%5Northrop Grumman133,80030,1003,9703,78011.7%12.6%Read the full Top 100 report and analysis now
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Otto Aviation's goal is to create a private aircraft that allows for direct flights between any city pair in the U.S. at speeds and cost comparable to commercial air travel. This takes a complete reinvention of how we fly and an unprecedented look at what private aviation can be.
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Middle East Peace Deal
Mideast experts aren't laughing at Jared Kushner anymore
Jared Kushner has surprised critics in his role as the administration's Middle East point man. REUTERS
Over the past several years, a new certainty was added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the administration's Middle East point man.
It caused considerable merriment among President Trump's critics (and even some of his well-wishers) when he put his son-in-law in charge of brokering peace in the Middle East at the outset of his administration.
It was assumed to be ridiculous that Trump had tapped the 39-year-old Kushner, not a diplomat or an expert in the region, for this role and assumed that everything he did afterward was ridiculous, if not nefarious.
Rarely has so much mockery been directed at an approach that, in the event, was methodical and creative and ultimately achieved a breakthrough.
Kushner did not make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, but no one else has, either. What he did was find a path for historic deals to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with perhaps other Arab countries to follow. The deals could transform the strategic environment of the region, isolating and reducing the influence of Iran and of a feckless and corrupt Palestinian political leadership.
If you'd followed the commentary on Kushner's efforts the past few years, you'd be truly shocked at this outcome.
It wasn't just that his detractors were skeptical. They took it as a given that Kushner is an idiot and the entire thing was going to be an embarrassing debacle.
One of the administration's projects was crafting a $50 billion economic plan for the Palestinians, then holding a conference in Bahrain promoting it. A piece in the progressive publication Mother Jones was titled ''Highlights From Jared Kushner's Bizarre and Fantastical Middle East Peace Conference.''
When the administration prepared to follow this up with a peace plan, an expert warned in Foreign Policy: ''Trump Must Not Let Jared Kushner's Peace Plan See the Light of Day.'' When the plan was released, another expert wrote an analysis for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ''I'm a Veteran Middle East Negotiator. Trump's Plan is the Most Dangerous I've Ever Seen.'' A column in The Washington Post declared, ''The Trump administration's new Mideast 'peace' plan is absurd.''
Vox opined, ''Jared Kushner, architect of Trump's Middle East peace plan, still doesn't get it.''
Vanity Fair ridiculed a Kushner criticism of the Palestinian leadership as ''Jared Kushner: Palestinians Have Never Done Anything Right in Their Sad, Pathetic Lives.'' It noted there was video: ''Don't worry, there's footage of Kushner making this statement, so it can be played back for all eternity.''
It seems pretty unlikely that anyone is going to go back to it now.
The critics took great umbrage at Kushner's admonishing the Palestinian leadership, not realizing that they were beholden to out-of-date conventional wisdom. The tectonic plates were shifting such that the only path to peace no longer ran through the Palestinians, if it ever did. The frustration that Kushner was expressing was shared by Arab leaders.
Of course, since Kushner had been intensely engaged in the region, he understood this when most of the journalists and advocates portraying him as a hopeless ignoramus had no idea. He knew what he was talking about when they, by and large, didn't.
Trump's fans call him a disrupter, too often simply to excuse anything he does. But in the case of the Middle East, he overturned the policy he inherited, did things no other president would (especially the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem) and then was in a position to capitalize when something shook loose.
This is an undeniable achievement and one that was intelligently conceived. With honorable exceptions, very few Trump critics have been willing to give credit where it's due.
For them, as ever, it's on to the next thing, but the record will show who got this one right and who marinated in their own self-righteous disdain.
Big Tech / Section 230
The Antitrust Case Against Google's Adtech Business, Explained - Truth on the Market Truth on the Market
This week the Senate will hold a hearing into potential anticompetitive conduct by Google in its display advertising business'--the ''stack'' of products that it offers to advertisers seeking to place display ads on third-party websites. It is also widely reported that the Department of Justice is preparing a lawsuit against Google that will likely include allegations of anticompetitive behavior in this market, and is likely to be joined by a number of state attorneys general in that lawsuit. Meanwhile, several papers have been published detailing these allegations.
This aspect of digital advertising can be incredibly complex and difficult to understand. Here we explain how display advertising fits in the broader digital advertising market, describe how display advertising works, consider the main allegations against Google, and explain why Google's critics are misguided to focus on antitrust as a solution to alleged problems in the market (even if those allegations turn out to be correct).
Display advertising in contextOver the past decade, the price of advertising has fallen steadily while output has risen. Spending on digital advertising in the US grew from $26 billion in 2010 to nearly $130 billion in 2019, an average increase of 20% a year. Over the same period the Producer Price Index for Internet advertising sales declined by nearly 40%. The rising spending in the face of falling prices indicates the number of ads bought and sold increased by approximately 27% a year. Since 2000, advertising spending has been falling as a share of GDP, with online advertising growing as a share of that. The combination of increasing quantity, decreasing cost, and increasing total revenues are consistent with a growing and increasingly competitive market.
Display advertising on third-party websites is only a small subsection of the digital advertising market, comprising approximately 15-20% of digital advertising spending in the US. The rest of the digital advertising market is made up of ads on search results pages on sites like Google, Amazon and Kayak, on people's Instagram and Facebook feeds, listings on sites like Zillow (for houses) or Craigslist, referral fees paid to price comparison websites for things like health insurance, audio and visual ads on services like Spotify and Hulu, and sponsored content from influencers and bloggers who will promote products to their fans.
And digital advertising itself is only one of many channels through which companies can market their products. About 53% of total advertising spending in the United States goes on digital channels, with 30% going on TV advertising and the rest on things like radio ads, billboards and other more traditional forms of advertising. A few people still even read physical newspapers and the ads they contain, although physical newspapers' bigger money makers have traditionally been classified ads, which have been replaced by less costly and more effective internet classifieds, such as those offered by Craigslist, or targeted ads on Google Maps or Facebook.
Indeed, it should be noted that advertising itself is only part of the larger marketing market of which non-advertising marketing communication'--e.g., events, sales promotion, direct marketing, telemarketing, product placement'--is as big a part as is advertising (each is roughly $500bn globally); it just hasn't been as thoroughly disrupted by the Internet yet. But it is a mistake to assume that digital advertising is not a part of this broader market. And of that $1tr global market, Internet advertising in total occupies only about 18%'--and thus display advertising only about 3%.
Ad placement is only one part of the cost of digital advertising. An advertiser trying to persuade people to buy its product must also do market research and analytics to find out who its target market is and what they want. Moreover, there are the costs of designing and managing a marketing campaign and additional costs to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.
Nevertheless, one of the most straightforward ways to earn money from a website is to show ads to readers alongside the publisher's content. To satisfy publishers' demand for advertising revenues, many services have arisen to automate and simplify the placement of and payment for ad space on publishers' websites. Google plays a large role in providing these services'--what is referred to as ''open display'' advertising. And it is Google's substantial role in this space that has sparked speculation and concern among antitrust watchdogs and enforcement authorities.
Before delving into the open display advertising market, a quick note about terms. In these discussions, ''advertisers'' are businesses that are trying to sell people stuff. Advertisers include large firms such as Best Buy and Disney and small businesses like the local plumber or financial adviser. ''Publishers'' are websites that carry those ads, and publish content that users want to read. Note that the term ''publisher'' refers to all websites regardless of the things they're carrying: a blog about the best way to clean stains out of household appliances is a ''publisher'' just as much as the New York Times is.
Under this broad definition, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are also considered publishers. In their role as publishers, they have a common goal: to provide content that attracts users to their pages who will act on the advertising displayed. ''Users'' are you and me'--the people who want to read publishers' content, and to whom advertisers want to show ads. Finally, ''intermediaries'' are the digital businesses, like Google, that sit in between the advertisers and the publishers, allowing them to do business with each other without ever meeting or speaking.
The display advertising marketIf you're an advertiser, display advertising works like this: your company'--one that sells shoes, let's say'--wants to reach a certain kind of person and tell her about the company's shoes. These shoes are comfortable, stylish, and inexpensive. You use a tool like Google Ads (or, if it's a big company and you want a more expansive campaign over which you have more control, Google Marketing Platform) to design and upload an ad, and tell Google about the people you want to read'--their age and location, say, and/or characterizations of their past browsing and searching habits (''interested in sports'').
Using that information, Google finds ad space on websites whose audiences match the people you want to target. This ad space is auctioned off to the highest bidder among the range of companies vying, with your shoe company, to reach users matching the characteristics of the website's users. Thanks to tracking data, it doesn't just have to be sports-relevant websites: as a user browses sports-related sites on the web, her browser picks up files (cookies) that will tag her as someone potentially interested in sports apparel for targeting later.
So a user might look at a sports website and then later go to a recipe blog, and there receive the shoes ad on the basis of her earlier browsing. You, the shoe seller, hope that she will either click through and buy (or at least consider buying) the shoes when she sees those ads, but one of the benefits of display advertising over search advertising is that'--as with TV ads or billboard ads'--just seeing the ad will make her aware of the product and potentially more likely to buy it later. Advertisers thus sometimes pay on the basis of clicks, sometimes on the basis of views, and sometimes on the basis of conversion (when a consumer takes an action of some sort, such as making a purchase or filling out a form).
That's the advertiser's perspective. From the publisher's perspective'--the owner of that recipe blog, let's say'--you want to auction ad space off to advertisers like that shoe company. In that case, you go to an ad server'--Google's product is called AdSense'--give them a little bit of information about your site, and add some html code to your website. These ad servers gather information about your content (e.g., by looking at keywords you use) and your readers (e.g., by looking at what websites they've used in the past to make guesses about what they'll be interested in) and places relevant ads next to and among your content. If they click, lucky you'--you'll get paid a few cents or dollars.
Apart from privacy concerns about the tracking of users, the really tricky and controversial part here concerns the way scarce advertising space is allocated. Most of the time, it's done through auctions that happen in real time: each time a user loads a website, an auction is held in a fraction of a second to decide which advertiser gets to display an ad. The longer this process takes, the slower pages load and the more likely users are to get frustrated and go somewhere else.
As well as the service hosting the auction, there are lots of little functions that different companies perform that make the auction and placement process smoother. Some fear that by offering a very popular product integrated end to end, Google's ''stack'' of advertising products can bias auctions in favour of its own products. There's also speculation that Google's product is so tightly integrated and so effective at using data to match users and advertisers that it is not viable for smaller rivals to compete.
We'll discuss this speculation and fear in more detail below. But it's worth bearing in mind that this kind of real-time bidding for ad placement was not always the norm, and is not the only way that websites display ads to their users even today. Big advertisers and websites often deal with each other directly. As with, say, TV advertising, large companies advertising often have a good idea about the people they want to reach. And big publishers (like popular news websites) often have a good idea about who their readers are. For example, big brands often want to push a message to a large number of people across different customer types as part of a broader ad campaign.
Of these kinds of direct sales, sometimes the space is bought outright, in advance, and reserved for those advertisers. In most cases, direct sales are run through limited, intermediated auction services that are not open to the general market. Put together, these kinds of direct ad buys account for close to 70% of total US display advertising spending. The remainder'--the stuff that's left over after these kinds of sales have been done'--is typically sold through the real-time, open display auctions described above.
Different adtech products compete on their ability to target customers effectively, to serve ads quickly (since any delay in the auction and ad placement process slows down page load times for users), and to do so inexpensively. All else equal (including the effectiveness of the ad placement), advertisers want to pay the lowest possible price to place an ad. Similarly, publishers want to receive the highest possible price to display an ad. As a result, both advertisers and publishers have a keen interest in reducing the intermediary's ''take'' of the ad spending.
This is all a simplification of how the market works. There is not one single auction house for ad space'--in practice, many advertisers and publishers end up having to use lots of different auctions to find the best price. As the market evolved to reach this state from the early days of direct ad buys, new functions that added efficiency to the market emerged.
In the early years of ad display auctions, individual processes in the stack were performed by numerous competing companies. Through a process of ''vertical integration'' some companies, such as Google, brought these different processes under the same roof, with the expectation that integration would streamline the stack and make the selling and placement of ads more efficient and effective. The process of vertical integration in pursuit of efficiency has led to a more consolidated market in which Google is the largest player, offering simple, integrated ad buying products to advertisers and ad selling products to publishers.
Google is by no means the only integrated adtech service provider, however: Facebook, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T/Xandr, theTradeDesk, LumenAd, Taboola and others also provide end-to-end adtech services. But, in the market for open auction placement on third-party websites, Google is the biggest.
The cases against GoogleThe UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) carried out a formal study into the digital advertising market between 2019 and 2020, issuing its final report in July of this year. Although also encompassing Google's Search advertising business and Facebook's display advertising business (both of which relate to ads on those companies ''owned and operated'' websites and apps), the CMA study involved the most detailed independent review of Google's open display advertising business to date.
That study did not lead to any competition enforcement proceedings against Google'--the CMA concluded, in other words, that Google had not broken UK competition law'--but it did conclude that Google's vertically integrated products led to conflicts of interest that could lead it to behaving in ways that did not benefit the advertisers and publishers that use it. One example was Google's withholding of certain data from publishers that would make it easier for them to use other ad selling products; another was the practice of setting price floors that allegedly led advertisers to pay more than they would otherwise.
Instead the CMA recommended the setting up of a ''Digital Markets Unit'' (DMU) that could regulate digital markets in general, and a code of conduct for Google and Facebook (and perhaps other large tech platforms) intended to govern their dealings with smaller customers.
The CMA's analysis is flawed, however. For instance, it makes big assumptions about the dependency of advertisers on display advertising, largely assuming that they would not switch to other forms of advertising if prices rose, and it is light on economics. But factually it is the most comprehensively researched investigation into digital advertising yet published.
Piggybacking on the CMA's research, and mounting perhaps the strongest attack on Google's adtech offerings to date, was a paper released just prior to the CMA's final report called ''Roadmap for a Digital Advertising Monopolization Case Against Google'', by Yale economist Fiona Scott Morton and Omidyar Network lawyer David Dinielli. Dinielli will testify before the Senate committee.
While the Scott Morton and Dinielli paper is extremely broad, it also suffers from a number of problems.
One, because it was released before the CMA's final report, it is largely based on the interim report released months earlier by the CMA, halfway through the market study in December 2019. This means that several of its claims are out of date. For example, it makes much of the possibility raised by the CMA in its interim report that Google may take a larger cut of advertising spending than its competitors, and claims made in another report that Google introduces ''hidden'' fees that increases the overall cut it takes from ad auctions.
But in the final report, after further investigation, the CMA concludes that this is not the case. In the final report, the CMA describes its analysis of all Google Ad Manager open auctions related to UK web traffic during the period between 8''14 March 2020 (involving billions of auctions). This, according to the CMA, allowed it to observe any possible ''hidden'' fees as well. The CMA concludes:
Our analysis found that, in transactions where both Google Ads and Ad Manager (AdX) are used, Google's overall take rate is approximately 30% of advertisers' spend. This is broadly in line with (or slightly lower than) our aggregate market-wide fee estimate outlined above. We also calculated the margin between the winning bid and the second highest bid in AdX for Google and non-Google DSPs, to test whether Google was systematically able to win with a lower margin over the second highest bid (which might have indicated that they were able to use their data advantage to extract additional hidden fees). We found that Google's average winning margin was similar to that of non-Google DSPs. Overall, this evidence does not indicate that Google is currently extracting significant hidden fees. As noted below, however, it retains the ability and incentive to do so. (p. 275, emphasis added)
Scott Morton and Dinielli also misquote and/or misunderstand important sections of the CMA interim report as relating to display advertising when, in fact, they relate to search. For example, Scott Morton and Dinielli write that the ''CMA concluded that Google has nearly insurmountable advantages in access to location data, due to the location information [uniquely available to it from other sources].'' (p. 15). The CMA never makes any claim of ''insurmountable advantage,'' however. Rather, to support the claim, Scott Morton and Dinielli cite to a portion of the CMA interim report recounting a suggestion made by Microsoft regarding the ''critical'' value of location data in providing relevant advertising.
But that portion of the report, as well as the suggestion made by Microsoft, is about search advertising. While location data may also be valuable for display advertising, it is not clear that the GPS-level data that is so valuable in providing mobile search ad listings (for a nearby cafe or restaurant, say) is particularly useful for display advertising, which may be just as well-targeted by less granular, city- or county-level location data, which is readily available from a number of sources. In any case, Scott Morton and Dinielli are simply wrong to use a suggestion offered by Microsoft relating to search advertising to demonstrate the veracity of an assertion about a conclusion drawn by the CMA regarding display advertising.
Scott Morton and Dinielli also confusingly word their own judgements about Google's conduct in ways that could be misinterpreted as conclusions by the CMA:
The CMA reports that Google has implemented an anticompetitive sales strategy on the publisher ad server end of the intermediation chain. Specifically, after purchasing DoubleClick, which became its publisher ad server, Google apparently lowered its prices to publishers by a factor of ten, at least according to one publisher's account related to the CMA. (p. 20)
In fact, the CMA does not conclude that Google lowering its prices was an ''anticompetitive sales strategy'''--it does not use these words at all'--and what Scott Morton and Dinielli are referring to is a claim by a rival ad server business, Smart, that Google cutting its prices after acquiring Doubleclick led to Google expanding its market share. Apart from the misleading wording, it is unclear why a competition authority should consider it to be ''anticompetitive'' when prices are falling and kept low, and'--as Smart reported to the CMA'--its competitor's response is to enhance its own offering.
The case that remainsStripping away the elements of Scott Morton and Dinielli's case that seem unsubstantiated by a more careful reading of the CMA reports, and with the benefit of the findings in the CMA's final report, we are left with a case that argues that Google self-preferences to an unreasonable extent, giving itself a product that is as successful as it is in display advertising only because of Google's unique ability to gain advantage from its other products that have little to do with display advertising. Because of this self-preferencing, they might argue, innovative new entrants cannot compete on an equal footing, so the market loses out on incremental competition because of the advantages Google gets from being the world's biggest search company, owning YouTube, running Google Maps and Google Cloud, and so on.
The most significant examples of this are Google's use of data from other products'--like location data from Maps or viewing history from YouTube'--to target ads more effectively; its ability to enable advertisers placing search ads to easily place display ads through the same interface; its introduction of faster and more efficient auction processes that sidestep the existing tools developed by other third-party ad exchanges; and its design of its own tool (''open bidding'') for aggregating auction bids for advertising space to compete with (rather than incorporate) an alternative tool (''header bidding'') that is arguably faster, but costs more money to use.
These allegations require detailed consideration, and in a future paper we will attempt to assess them in detail. But in thinking about them now it may be useful to consider the remedies that could be imposed to address them, assuming they do diminish the ability of rivals to compete with Google: what possible interventions we could make in order to make the market work better for advertisers, publishers, and users.
We can think of remedies as falling into two broad buckets: remedies that stop Google from doing things that improve the quality of its own offerings, thus making it harder for others to keep up; and remedies that require it to help rivals improve their products in ways otherwise accessible only to Google (e.g., by making Google's products interoperable with third-party services) without inherently diminishing the quality of Google's own products.
The first camp of these, what we might call ''status quo minus,'' includes rules banning Google from using data from its other products or offering single order forms for advertisers, or, in the extreme, a structural remedy that ''breaks up'' Google by either forcing it to sell off its display ad business altogether or to sell off elements of it.
What is striking about these kinds of interventions is that all of them ''work'' by making Google worse for those that use it. Restrictions on Google's ability to use data from other products, for example, will make its service more expensive and less effective for those who use it. Ads will be less well-targeted and therefore less effective. This will lead to lower bids from advertisers. Lower ad prices will be transmitted through the auction process to produce lower payments for publishers. Reduced publisher revenues will mean some content providers exit. Users will thus be confronted with less available content and ads that are less relevant to them and thus, presumably, more annoying. In other words: No one will be better off, and most likely everyone will be worse off.
The reason a ''single order form'' helps Google is that it is useful to advertisers, the same way it's useful to be able to buy all your groceries at one store instead of lots of different ones. Similarly, vertical integration in the ''ad stack'' allows for a faster, cheaper, and simpler product for users on all sides of the market. A different kind of integration that has been criticized by others, where third-party intermediaries can bid more quickly if they host on Google Cloud, benefits publishers and users because it speeds up auction time, allowing websites to load faster. So does Google's unified alternative to ''header bidding,'' giving a speed boost that is apparently valuable enough to publishers that they will pay for it.
So who would benefit from stopping Google from doing these things, or even forcing Google to sell its operations in this area? Not advertisers or publishers. Maybe Google's rival ad intermediaries would; presumably, artificially hamstringing Google's products would make it easier for them to compete with Google. But if so, it's difficult to see how this would be an overall improvement. It is even harder to see how this would improve the competitive process'--the very goal of antitrust. Rather, any increase in the competitiveness of rivals would result not from making their products better, but from making Google's product worse. That is a weakening of competition, not its promotion.
On the other hand, interventions that aim to make Google's products more interoperable at least do not fall prey to this problem. Such ''status quo plus'' interventions would aim to take the benefits of Google's products and innovations and allow more companies to use them to improve their own competing products. Not surprisingly, such interventions would be more in line with the conclusions the CMA came to than the divestitures and operating restrictions proposed by Scott Morton and Dinielli, as well as (reportedly) state attorneys general considering a case against Google.
But mandated interoperability raises a host of different concerns: extensive and uncertain rulemaking, ongoing regulatory oversight, and, likely, price controls, all of which would limit Google's ability to experiment with and improve its products. The history of such mandated duties to deal or compulsory licenses is a troubled one, at best. But even if, for the sake of argument, we concluded that these kinds of remedies were desirable, they are difficult to impose via an antitrust lawsuit of the kind that the Department of Justice is expected to launch. Most importantly, if the conclusion of Google's critics is that Google's main offense is offering a product that is just too good to compete with without regulating it like a utility, with all the costs to innovation that that would entail, maybe we ought to think twice about whether an antitrust intervention is really worth it at all.
Facebook accused of watching Instagram users through mobile cameras | Daily Mail Online
Facebook is accused of spying on Instagram users by secretly accessing their smartphone CAMERAS for 'market research'Facebook has been accused of secretly accessing Instagram users' cameras Lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Thursday claims the company collected 'valuable data' for market research It comes after Instagram users in July noted the app was activating their smartphone cameras when the app was not in use Apple's iOS 14 beta version allowed iPhone owners to see which app were trying infiltrate the camera in the backgroundBy Karen Ruiz For Dailymail.com
Published: 09:29 EDT, 18 September 2020 | Updated: 12:35 EDT, 18 September 2020
Facebook has been accused of spying on its Instagram users for 'market research' by secretly accessing their mobile cameras through the app, according to a new lawsuit.
In a complaint filed in a federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, the social media giant - which owns the popular picture-sharing app - is accused of intentionally activating smartphone cameras to collect 'lucrative and valuable data that it would not otherwise have access to', Bloomberg reported.
User Brittany Conditi, from New Jersey, alleges Facebook and Instagram obtained 'extremely private and intimate' personal information to collect 'valuable insights and market research'.
The lawsuit comes after Apple's iOS 14 beta update in July showed a green icon (pictured) on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when an app attempts to infiltrate the camera in the background
The allegations come after iPhone users noticed Instagram was accessing their cameras when the app wasn't in use, following the release of iOS 14 beta in July.
The update allowed users to see a green icon on the control panel of an iPhone or iPad screen when an app attempts to infiltrate the camera in the background.
A user shared a screenshot of the notification on social media after scrolling through their Instagram feed '' it is a round circle with the 'recorder indicator' in the center.
At the time, Facebook said the notification was a result of a bug in the new software.
'We only access your camera when you tell us to '' for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera', a spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
'We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren't.
'We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.'
The beta version of the software allowed users to poke around for bugs that may have gone unnoticed by the firm ahead of the official September launch and also revealed the 'evil' of some third party apps '' as noted by a Twitter user regarding the news about Instagram.
User Brittany Conditi, from New Jersey, alleges Facebook and Instagram obtained 'extremely private and intimate' personal information to collect 'valuable insights and market research'
Twitter user by the name of KevDov shared a screenshot on the platform showing Instagram had activated his iPhone camera while scrolling through the site.
'Casually browsing Instagram when suddenly the new iOS 14 camera/microphone indicator comes on. Then control panel ratted out the app behind it. This is going to change things,' he wrote in a tweet.
Earlier this week, Apple officially released iOS 14 which features a new 'warning dot' that enables users to see whether one of their apps is watching or listening in.
The helpful dot is part of Apple's increasing focus on privacy as part of the new iOS.
'Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do, Apple says on its website.
'That's why with iOS 14, we're giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it's used.'
Dave Burke on Twitter: "Android phones and #USGS gave Southern California residents an early warning to the 4.5 earthquake last night Here's what the phones' sensors, acting as seismometers, detected. Yellow and red concentric circles are expected locatio
Summary of "Hate Inc: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another"Matt Taibbi1 hr 86Sign up to like postLoginPrivacyTermsInformation collection notice 45 From a speech given this week to the McCourtney Institute of Democracy, Penn State University:
We live in a time of incredible political division. Many of us have had the experience of talking to someone whose idea of reality seems to be completely different from our own. It's become difficult to have an argument in the traditional sense. People with dif'...
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CBS' delayed Academy of Country Music Awards dominated Wednesday in primetime, with the awards show delivering a 1.0 in the adults 18-49 demographic and netting 6.60 million viewers. The three-hour ACMs was off six tenths in the key demo from the 2019 show but still gave the network a sweep of the night in the demo and viewers.
The ACMs were supposed to be held in April in Las Vegas before having to postpone dates and move venues. The 55th annual show last night, hosted by Keith Urban, hailed from three different venues in Nashville.
NBC meanwhile countered with its America's Got Talent (0.6, 5.09M) results show, which held steady with last week but matched its season low in the demo as it slipped a tenth from Tuesday night's episode. NBC ended the night with repeats of Ellen Game of Games and Chicago PD.
ABC gave audiences reruns of The Goldbergs and Black-ish along with the special Notre Dame: Our Lady of Paris (0.2, 1.36M). Fox continued to serve up reheated episodes of MasterChef.
The CW's The 100 (0.2, 683,000) held steady in the demo while adding to its viewership, delivering its biggest audience in 11 episodes. Coroner (0.1, 754K) followed and was even.
TV Ratings: Delayed ACM Awards Hits Lows | Hollywood Reporter
CBS' broadcast of the awards does, however, lead Wednesday's primetime rankings across the board.
The Academy of Country Music Awards, airing five months later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic, fell victim to that delay and the general downward trend among awards shows in the ratings.
CBS' broadcast of the awards Wednesday night led primetime across the board but turned in the show's lowest ratings ever, per Nielsen's final same-day figures. The three-hour telecast drew a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.82 million viewers, down considerably from the previous all-time lows set last year: 1.6 in the demo and 9.92 million viewers.
The awards did, however, outdistance everything else on broadcast or cable in primetime. The No. 2 show in both adults 18-49 and total viewers was America's Got Talent (0.6, 5.33 million) on NBC, which was fairly steady week to week. No other show got above a 0.5 in the key ad demographic.
News programming, per usual in the last few months, dominated the cable rankings. Fox News' primetime lineup '-- Tucker Carlson Tonight (4.62 million viewers), Hannity (4.46 million) and The Ingraham Angle (3.86 million) '-- finished 1-2-3 among viewers in primetime, with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show fourth at 3.57 million. (Taking the total day into account, The Five on Fox News slots in ahead of Ingraham's show for third overall on cable.)
Outside of news, HGTV's Brother vs. Brother (1.58 million viewers) was the most watched cable show, while The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills led all of cable in the 18-49 demo with a 0.4 rating.
The ACM Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions, which shares a parent company with the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
Danny O'Brien - EVP, Head of Government Relations at FOX Corporation | The Org
Danny O'Brien is the Executive Vice President and Head of Government Relations for Fox Corporation. In this role, he leads the Company's legislative, regulatory and strategic policy matters.Before joining FOX in October 2018, Mr. O'Brien served as the Government Relations Leader for GE Transportation, where he oversaw GE's global engagement on commercial and public policy issues impacting GE's aviation and locomotives businesses.Mr. O'Brien served as a long-time senior advisor in the United States Senate where he was chief of staff to Senators Torricelli, Biden and Menendez. Serving the three Senators, Mr. O'Brien managed their policy, communications and political strategies. In the Senate, Mr. O'Brien also served as the staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he managed the Committee's policy and legislative priorities in the areas of national security, economic statecraft, human rights and democracy.Mr. O'Brien holds a bachelor's degree from University of Redlands in political science and Spanish.
National Economic Security and Recovery Act (NESARA) was a set of proposed economic reforms for the United States suggested during the 1990s by Harvey Francis Barnard. Barnard claimed that the proposals, which included replacing the income tax with a national sales tax, abolishing compound interest on secured loans, and returning to a bimetallic currency, would result in 0% inflation and a more stable economy. The proposals were never introduced before Congress.
NESARA has since become better known as the subject of a cult-like conspiracy theory promoted by Shaini Candace Goodwin, doing business as "Dove of Oneness", who claimed that the act was actually passed with additional provisions as the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, and then suppressed by the George W. Bush administration and the Supreme Court. Goodwin's conspiracy emails have been translated into several languages and have a large following online.
Monetary reform proposal Harvey Francis Barnard (1941''2005), a Louisiana State University graduate in systems philosophy, and an engineering consultant and teacher, created the NESARA proposal during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He printed 1,000 copies of his proposal, titled Draining the Swamp: Monetary and Fiscal Policy Reform (1996), and sent copies to members of Congress, believing it would pass quickly on its merits. Based on a theory that debt is the number one economic factor inhibiting the growth of the economy, and compound interest the number one "moral evil" and reason for debt, Barnard made several other attempts during the 1990s to draw political attention to the problems he saw in the US economy, and his suggested economic recovery proposal based on the root causes he determined. After these did not succeed, he decided in 2000 to release the proposal to the public domain and publish it on the internet. Barnard established the NESARA Institute in 2001, and published the second edition of his book in 2005, retitling it Draining the Swamp: The NESARA Story '' Monetary and Fiscal Policy Reform.
Dove of Oneness Soon after Barnard released NESARA on the internet, a user known as "Dove of Oneness" began posting about it in internet forums. "Dove of Oneness" was later identified as Shaini Candace Goodwin, a former student of The Ramtha School Of Enlightenment, referred to in the media as a "cybercult queen." According to Goodwin's website, the NESARA bill languished in Congress before finally being passed by a secret session in March 2000 and signed by President Bill Clinton. It is claimed that the new law was to be implemented at 10 a.m. on September 11, 2001, but that the computers, and data (of the beneficiaries of the trillions of dollars of "Prosperity funds") were destroyed on the second floor of one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City during the terrorist attacks. Supposedly an earlier gag order issued by the Supreme Court had prohibited any official or private source from discussing it, under penalty of death. Goodwin referred to "White Knights," most of them high-ranking military officials, who have since been struggling to have the law implemented despite opposition by President George W. Bush. Goodwin allegedly believes and purports that Bush orchestrated the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War as distractions from NESARA. Goodwin's description of NESARA goes far beyond Barnard's proposal by cancelling all personal debts, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, declaring world peace, and requiring new presidential and congressional elections. Goodwin often claimed that Bush officials were attempting to hack into and bring down her web site to prevent her from publicizing the law.
Goodwin began commenting on NESARA in connection with Omega Trust, a fraudulent investment scheme whose creator, Clyde Hood, was on trial at the time. According to Goodwin, Omega Trust investors would receive their returns after NESARA was announced. Goodwin repeatedly predicted that the NESARA announcement would occur in the very near future, although in later years she became more reserved in these predictions.
Other developments After Goodwin began commenting on NESARA, other internet-based conspiracy theorists latched onto it. One supporter, Sheldan Nidle, ties the imminent NESARA announcement into his years-old prophecy of an imminent large scale UFO visitation by benevolent aliens (occasionally on his website reports, but more prominently in his videos, seminars and public appearances). Jennifer Lee, who used to publish internet NESARA status reports almost daily on her now defunct site, discussed a host of other-worldly and "interdimensional" beings who are helping behind the scenes to get NESARA announced. Internet evangelist Sherry Shriner, who operates many websites, sees NESARA as linked to malevolent reptiloid aliens she feels have long controlled the U.S. Government.
NESARA groups are known for certain to exist and to have attracted press attention in Utah, and the Netherlands. Members of these groups get together to discuss the status of NESARA, read the various reports, hold protests, and pass out fliers about NESARA to the public. Goodwin claims that NESARA groups exist throughout several nations and US states including California, Washington, Arizona, and Texas, and provides hundreds of pieces of photographic evidence of people in public protests holding NESARA banners, but it is not clear to what degree the people holding the banners are aware of what NESARA is, or for how long these groups were active. The News Tribune has traced the story behind at least some of these photos (photos of trucks driving around Washington, D.C. bearing the words "NESARA Announcement Now!"), and found that they were part of a $40,000 advertising campaign allegedly paid for an elderly San Francisco resident who had made donations to Goodwin.
Criticism and comparison to a cult Barnard became aware of Goodwin's description of NESARA before his death in 2005. He denied that NESARA had been enacted into law or even assigned a tracking number, and condemned Goodwin's allegations as a disinformation campaign. Goodwin, for her part, dismisses the NESARA Institute as a disinformation front for the Bush family.[citation needed ]
Critics consider NESARA to be a cult. Pointing to the fact that Goodwin, Lee, and Nidle frequently solicited donations from their readers, they accuse these leaders to be primarily interested in securing a steady stream of income for themselves. Goodwin, who also asked readers to donate their frequent flyer miles, claimed that she needed and had used the funds to travel to various locations around the world to secretly meet with high-level government officials about getting NESARA announced.
Some NESARA supporters also make the claim that otherworldly beings are working to get NESARA announced. These include a "channeled" cosmic being called "Hatonn" (an android Pleiadean), and another named Sananda. According to some Ascended Master Teaching proponents such as Joshua David Stone, Sheldan Nidle, and Luis Prada, Sananda is the "galactic name" of Ascended Master Jesus, which he uses in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Ashtar Command flying saucer fleet. Pallas Athena is regarded as being the Vice-Commander of the saucer fleet. Ashtar (Ashtar Sheran) is regarded in these teachings as being third-in-command. According to David Icke, Saint Germain, an Ascended Master borrowed from the I AM Movement and the Church Universal and Triumphant, along with benevolent aliens from the Galactic Federation, are also frequently mentioned (most prominently by Nidle) as working towards the NESARA announcement. The designation of George W. Bush as a disguised reptilian often co-occurs with this claim. Goodwin has claimed that Ascended Master Saint Germain has come down from the etheric plane to physically meet with heads of banks and world leaders regarding the NESARA announcement.
The prominence of failed prophecy also lends support to the cult theory. NESARA supporters often tell their readers that the NESARA announcement is going to happen in a matter of days. These claims have been made too many times to enumerate, without ever coming to fruition. According to the documentary Waiting For NESARA, the claim was also made prior to March 2003 that George Bush was planning the war with Iraq only to further delay the NESARA announcement. It was prophesied that spiritual beings and UFOs would intervene with Bush's plans and prevent the war.
A June 2006 complaint to the Washington consumer protection division accused Goodwin of using the NESARA story to defraud a 64-year-old San Francisco woman of at least $10,000. The woman's daughter said the actual amount is much larger, in the hundreds of thousands.
Notes and references ^ a b c d e Robinson, Sean (18 July 2004). "Snared by a Cybercult Queen, Dove of Oneness: First of Two Parts". The News Tribune . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . Also reproduced here by the Cult Education Institute. Retrieved 21 April 2020. ^ "Harvey Francis Barnard obituary". The Advocate. Legacy.com. 24''26 May 2005 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "The National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act". Archived from the original on 1 December 2014 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (11 September 2006). "NESARA's Announcement Brings Truth about 9-11 Attacks". Archived from the original on 3 July 2009 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini. "Announcement this Week?'--NESARA Update #21". Archived from the original on 16 April 2003 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Robinson, Sean (19 July 2004). "Up against 'the dark agenda ' " . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "NESARA Scam". Quatloos! . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (4 May 2002). "NESARA: Gov. and U.S. Treasury Currency Info; Pros. Prg Deliveries". Archived from the original on 18 June 2004 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (8 March 2004). "NESARA Debt Relief in U.S.; Income Taxes End; NESARA Editorial & Confirmations". Archived from the original on 11 April 2004 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (13 October 2003). "NESARA; Dove Reports Email Improvements; Wild-eyed Currency Stories". Archived from the original on 27 August 2004 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (23 June 2006). "NESARA Chronicles Parts 4 and 5". Archived from the original on 25 September 2006 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "PAO Products". Planetary Activation Organization . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "Jennifer Lee NESARA Reports". Quatloos! . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Shriner, Sherry. "NESARA Sucks: The Beast Economic Program" . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ a b Haradon, Zeb and Elisa. "Waiting for NESARA". Archived from the original on 2 January 2006 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Robinson, Sean (6 August 2004). "Documentary spotlights NESARA cult; Dove's followers". The News Tribune . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ a b c Sean, Robinson (18 June 2006). "Some lucrative 'New Age hooey ' ". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "NESARA'-- Also called the Reformation Act". Archived from the original on 10 February 2010 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . includes several photo galleries: NTAT in action - July 4th 2005;  ^ Goodwin, Shaini (2 October 2005). "NESARA Finishes Farm Claims Actions; NTAT Report; Canadians Sue Banks". Archived from the original on 3 July 2009 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ "Rabbits: Rumors '' The "Real" NESARA". The NESARA Institute. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009 . Retrieved 21 April 2020 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (February 6, 2007). "NESARA Lights Carry NESARA Forward" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Nidle, Sheldan. "Sheldan Nidle Updates" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Lee, Jennifer (October 7, 2003). "Jennifer Lee NESARA Reports" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ a b Goodwin, Shaini (October 24, 2004). "NESARA; Bush Regime Stalls 9-11 Report by CIA Group; NTAT Reports" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (July 18, 2004). "The Truth About Dove of Oneness: Her Life & Activities" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Ward, Suzy (July 18, 2005). "Special NESARA Edition". The Matthew Books . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . Ward claims to write books that are "channeled" from her son, Matthew, who died in April, 1980 at the age of 17. The message cited is claimed to be channeled through a higher level cosmic being named Hatonn ^ Peterson, Ken. "Sananda on NESARA and Compassion" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Icke, David. "The Windsor-Bush Bloodline". Archived from the original on 2007-03-31 . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (April 28, 2007). "Peace Ordered; Corp. Eviction; Ascended Masters Working On Our Behalf" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . ^ Goodwin, Shaini (July 28, 2002). "Support NESARA Fully to Receive Full Prosperity" . Retrieved 2007-09-25 . See also FairTax
For the First Time, a Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Becoming a US Bank
Making BankThe Wyoming Banking Board just voted to approve Kraken, a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, as a special purpose depository institution (SPDI). In other words, it's the first crypto exchange in the country poised to become a bank, as CoinDesk reports.
''By becoming a bank we get direct access to federal payments infrastructure, and we can more seamlessly integrate banking and funding options for customers,'' David Kinitsky, a managing director at Kraken and the CEO of the newly formed Kraken Financial, told CoinDesk.
Special AccessIf its efforts pay off, Kraken Financial will no longer have to deal with a variety of different rules for regulating digital assets, depending on which state.
SPDI banks in Wyoming, as first established in November 2019, are still different than regular national banks. They never actually hold full legal ownership over any digital assets, but are legally allowed to hold them. Any assets following a bankruptcy must be returned to customers.
Crypto DebitKraken has big plans now that it has been approved. ''We would expect to offer a host of new products as we get established,'' Kinitsky told CoinDesk. ''Those will range from things like qualified custody for institutions, digital-asset debit cards and savings accounts all the way to new types of asset classes.''
In July, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a ruling allowing national banks to provide custody services to cryptocurrency startups.
Kraken Financial is now focused on building out its teams and is preparing to fully take over customer services for its operations.
READ MORE: Kraken Becomes First Crypto Exchange to Become a US Bank [CoinDesk]
More on crypto: Marine Corps Bans Service Members From Mining Bitcoin on Military Devices
Trump offered Julian Assange a PARDON deal in return for 2016 DNC emails source disclosure, lawyer says '-- RT World News
President Donald Trump attempted to cut a deal with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, offering the wanted journalist a pardon in exchange for the source of the 2016 DNC emails. Assange refused to betray the source.
Assange's defense revealed the pardon deal to a court in London on Friday, where the WikiLeaks founder is currently fighting extradition to the US. Should he lose, he will be tried for espionage offenses and could face 175 years behind bars.
However, Assange was apparently offered an out by the Trump administration. Defense lawyer Jennifer Robinson told the court that former US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and another Trump campaign associate, Charles Johnson, offered a pardon if Assange were to reveal the source of the emails, which are widely considered to have helped Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
''Rohrabacher proposed a 'win-win' situation,'' Robinson said.
Assange can get 'get on with his life' '' a pardon in exchange for information about the source.''
''Information from Mr Assange about the source of the DNC leaks would be of value to Mr Trump,'' she added, paraphrasing Rohrabacher and Johnson.
Assange rejected the offer, and was indicted in 2019 on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. At the time of his indictment he was already in custody in the UK, after being arrested in London's Ecuadorian embassy that April.
Also on rt.com Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg testifies in Assange's defense, says WikiLeaks exposed 'war crimes' in 'public interest' The source of the Democratic National Committee emails remains a mystery. Opponents of both Assange and Trump have pinned the blame on 'Russian hackers', yet Assange himself has gone on record as saying that Russia was not the source.
The espionage charges against Assange stem from WikiLeaks' publication in 2010 of a tranche of documents revealing alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The documents were leaked by former soldier Chelsea Manning, who was imprisoned from 2010 until her sentence was commuted in 2017.
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British celebrity chef who worked for Jeffrey Epstein for four years is 'fully cooperating' with FBI | Daily Mail Online
Pressure piles on Prince Andrew to speak to FBI after British celebrity chef who worked for Jeffrey Epstein for four years 'fully cooperates' with probeAdam Perry Lang, 51, opened the Barbecoa restaurant with Jamie OliverHe worked for Jeffrey Epstein between 1999 and 2003 and knew Prince AndrewChef is 'fully cooperating' with FBI agents investigating the depraved billionaireAttorney Arick Fudali has heaped pressure on Prince Andrew to come forward By Emer Scully For Mailonline
Published: 07:46 EDT, 19 September 2020 | Updated: 08:50 EDT, 19 September 2020
A celebrity chef has been quizzed by detectives 20 years after he worked for Jeffrey Epstein - prompting renewed calls for Prince Andrew to speak to the FBI.
Adam Perry Lang, 51, opened the Barbecoa restaurant with Jamie Oliver in London in 2010 - and worked for Jeffrey Epstein between 1999 and 2003.
He is now 'fully cooperating' with the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by depraved billionaire Epstein, reported the Daily Mirror.
Attorney Arick Fudali, representing the victims, heaped pressure on Prince Andrew - who has been accused of stonewalling detectives.
Pressure has been piled on to Prince Andrew (pictured at Windsor Castle today) to speak to the FBI after a celebrity chef stepped forward to help with the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein
Adam Perry Lang (pictured in 2015), 51, opened the Barbecoa restaurant with Jamie Oliver in London in 2010 - and worked for Jeffrey Epstein between 1999 and 2003
Mr Fudali said: 'We certainly hope that this may inspire other witnesses to come forward and help shed some light on Epstein's dark scheme.'
American Mr Perry Lang catered for the Duke of York, 60, and flew with him in a private jet on two occasions - once in February 1999 and in May 2000.
Sources told the newspaper: 'Perry Lang holds information on what took place. They will get as much detail as possible that will shape any interview they may one day have with the duke.'
Mr Perry Lang (pictured in 2016) is now 'fully cooperating' with the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by depraved billionaire Epstein
Attorney Arick Fudali, representing the victims, heaped pressure on Prince Andrew (pictured last year) - who has been accused of stonewalling detectives
Mr Perry Lang, who has been described as a decent man by victims, came forward after Virginia Giuffre, 37, wrote to ask him to be the 'hero'.
His lawyer Lawrence Lustberg confirmed the chef was helping the FBI. Mr Perry Lang himself added: 'We have absolutely always been available to the attorneys representing the victims.'
Epstein, 66, killed himself while awaiting trial in a cell for underage sex trafficking last year
He previously denied being aware of any 'depraved behaviour' during his four-year term as Epstein's chef.
Epstein, 66, killed himself while awaiting trial in a cell for underage sex trafficking last year.
Last month, Virginia Giuffre claimed Prince Andrew played a 'guessing game,' with British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell about her age before comparing her to his daughters.
The accuser spoke out in a documentary series, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, claiming she met the royal in London, describing him as an 'abuser,' and 'not the prince from the fairy tale stories you read'.
Ms Giuffre, who says she was trafficked by paedophile financier Epstein, alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.
Andrew has categorically denied he has had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.
Maxwell is awaiting trial in the US after being charged with procuring teenage girls for Epstein to abuse. She denies this.
Earlier this year Prince Andrew said he was 'angry and bewildered' as he denied reports he was contacted about the Jeffrey Epstein investigation.
He said he would be 'more than happy to talk'.
MailOnline has contacted Prince Andrew for comment.
Spotify stock falls after Amazon Music adds podcasts
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Spotify shares fell 1.2% on Monday after Amazon announced it's launching podcasts in its music streaming service.Amazon Music will allow users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan to listen to podcasts for free, whether they're using a paid or ad-supported version of the service.By launching podcasts, Amazon is joining a crowded market, dominated by the likes of Spotify and Apple.Amazon's logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
Mateusz Slodkowski | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
Spotify shares fell 1.2% on Wednesday after Amazon announced that it's adding podcasts to its music streaming service.
Users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan will be able to stream podcasts for free across all tiers of Amazon Music, the company said. Amazon Music offers users a range of paid and free, ad-supported options to access the service. Amazon Prime customers also get access to more than 2 million songs ad-free as part of their $119-per-year membership.
Amazon is launching podcasts at a time when the industry has become increasingly competitive. Spotify has invested heavily in producing original podcasts and has acquired four companies to expand its library, including The Ringer, Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast. Meanwhile, Apple's Podcasts app hosts a range of content for free and is installed on iPhones by default.
Amazon will offer listeners original and curated content. The music streaming service will feature well-known podcasts such as "Radiolab," "Planet Money" and "Crime Junkie," as well as original shows produced exclusively for the service that are hosted by celebrities such as producer DJ Khaled, actor Will Smith, sportscaster Dan Patrick and musician Becky G. Beginning in February, Amazon will become the exclusive home of "Disgraceland," a popular "music-meets-true-crime" podcast.
The multimedia podcast hosted by Becky G will show off a new integration between Amazon Music and Twitch, announced earlier this month. The feature lets musicians link their profiles on the Amazon-owned video site to the streaming service, enabling users to watch live Twitch content in the Music app.
Amazon's voice-activated Echo devices will pull content from the Amazon Music library when users ask their device to play podcasts, Amazon said.
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VIDEO - Christopher Rufo: Critical Race Theory & the Trump Admin's Recent Ban  '-- American Thought Leaders '-- Overcast
Donald Trump has mercilessly taunted Joe Biden, telling supporters that his Democratic nemesis must be taking performance-enhancing substances and should undergo a drug test.
Trump reiterated previous casual accusations that Biden is too senile to be a good fit for the US president's office while talking to a crowd of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Using his nickname for his Democratic opponent, Trump said that ''Sleepy Joe'' is appearing conspicuously efficient during debates and public events.
''Don't underestimate [him], he's been doing this for 47 years. And I got a debate coming up with this guy,'' Trump said as he grinned, before suggesting that performance-enhancing substances were behind Biden's efficiency.
READ MORE: Ahead of a vital election, Trump has called on Biden to take a drug test. Why don't BOTH old guys take this idea seriously?
"You never know, they gave him a big, fat shot in the ass and he comes out,'' Trump claimed as his audience laughed. ''And for two hours he's better than ever before. The problem is, what happens after that,'' the Republican president added.
Adding insult to the injury, Trump said offering a drug test to Biden is an option.
Remarkably, this is not the first time the 74-year-old president has accused his 77-year-old rival of being on drugs.
Over a week ago, he fanned the claim while speaking to Fox. ''I think there's probably, possibly, drugs involved,'' Trump told host Jeanine Pirro. ''I don't know how you can go from being so bad where you can't even get out a sentence'...'' he speculated without finishing the sentence.
The American leader himself has had to battle speculation that a ''series of mini-strokes'' caused him to be admitted to a Washington hospital last November.
Also on rt.com Joe HIDEN': Trump launches Biden nickname in comment on Kennedy-Markey Democrat primary Trump and Biden are expected to face each other during debates in Cleveland on September 29, in Miami on October 15, and in Nashville on October 22. Their vice-presidential nominees Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will have a one-on-one in Salt Lake City on October 7.
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VIDEO-'Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead!': Crowd shout during Trump campaign speech - YouTube
Sign up for our NewslettersLatest NewsAutopsy report cites gastroschisis as primary cause of deathAccording to an autopsy report released Friday, a 2-month-old baby thought to have died from coronavirus actually died of complications from a birth defect.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said the baby, from the Upper Peninsula, was born with gastroschisis -- a condition where his intestines are located outside the body. The baby tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before his death and hospital staff reported the virus had contributed to his passing.
Sept. 18, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 115,387; Death toll now at 6,638
The final autopsy report lists gastroschisis as the immediate cause of death.
Officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that a 2-month-old baby in Michigan had died from COVID-19.
When reached for a comment, a spokesperson said ''We remain unable to provide any additional details about the 2-month-old who was mentioned at the press conference -- and that includes being unable to confirm or deny that any specific baby is the baby that was referenced.''
On Friday, MDHHS released a statement explaining its standards for deaths linked to COVID-19:
"Following national standards, MDHHS considers a death to be a COVID-19-associated death if the death is due to natural causes, there is a positive COVID-19 test, and one of the following is true:
The death is within 30 days of onset of COVID-19. If the death is more than 30 days from onset, the certifying physician identifies COVID-19 as a contributing factor to death. MDHHS relies on the judgment of treating physicians in determining whether a death is associated with COVID-19."
Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.
About the Authors:Jason Colthorp Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.
Dane Kelly Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.
Mere moments after the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death at age 87 on Friday, the liberal media were trying to spin her legacy on the court and gaslight the American people. Seconds into his NBC Nightly News report recalling her life and work, chief Justice correspondent Pete Williams claimed she ''was consistently one of the U.S. Supreme Court's moderate to liberal members.'' In reality, she was just a liberal hardliner.
In leading into the breaking news at the end of the program, anchor Lester Holt fondly remembered her as the ''anchor'' of ''the court's liberal wing.'' That's a long way off from what Williams claimed. Here's Holt's announcement:
Good evening, everyone. We are coming on the air with breaking news. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. Ginsburg, who was 87, the court's oldest justice and served more than a quarter-century. Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, just the second woman after Sandra Day O'Connor to serve on the nation's highest court. Ginsburg became an iconic figure in American life, a tireless advocate for women's rights, and a reliable anchor to the court's liberal wing.
''Her death coming after multiple health problems in recent years, will now certainly trigger an epic struggle over a replacement with the ideological makeup of the court itself in the balance, all during an election year,'' he warned viewers, clearly fearful of a solidly conservative Supreme Court.
While we lived in a time where conservative Supreme Court nominations would be sunk or highly damaged if they proclaimed their views on abortion, Williams praised Ginsburg's liberal voting record on the issue:
WILLIAMS: At the confirmation hearing, she clearly stated her support for the right to abortion.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: This is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity.
WILLIAMS: And as a justice, she voted to uphold abortion rights.
Aside from worrying about how the Supreme Court's next session would proceed seeing as they're scheduled to pick up again the first week of October, Williams was concerned about President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doing their Constitutional duty to fill the vacancy.
''What will happen now that there's a vacancy,'' he wondered. ''President Trump has said that he would nominate a successor and Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate has said that they would try to act on a confirmation for a successor.''
Williams was holding out for weaker Senate Republicans to break with McConnell. ''And secondly, assuming that President Trump does nominate someone and the Senate tries to act on it, does the Senate have the votes,'' he rhetorically asked. ''Remember how close it was with Brett Kavanaugh. They may or may not have the votes of some of the people who were on the edge.''
Events have shown Williams and the rest of the liberal media did have something to fear.
Shortly before 9:00 p.m. Eastern, McConnell's office released a statement on Twitter mourning Ginsburg's passing but promising to hold a floor vote on whichever Supreme Court nominee Trump put forward.
NBC's revisionist history with Justice Ginsburg's liberal legacy was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Volkswagen and Ford Motor Company. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they're funding.
LESTER HOLT: Good evening, everyone. We are coming on the air with breaking news. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. Ginsburg, who was 87, the court's oldest justice and served more than a quarter-century. Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, just the second woman after Sandra Day O'Connor to serve on the nation's highest court. Ginsburg became an iconic figure in American life, a tireless advocate for women's rights, and a reliable anchor to the court's liberal wing.
Her death coming after multiple health problems in recent years, will now certainly trigger an epic struggle over a replacement with the ideological makeup of the court itself in the balance, all during an election year. Justice correspondent Pete Williams looks back on a remarkable life.
[Cut to video]
PETE WILLIAMS: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was consistently one of the U.S. Supreme Court's moderate to liberal members. First as a lawyer and then a judge and a justice, she believed the Constitution guaranteed women greater rights.
WILLIAMS: At the confirmation hearing, she clearly stated her support for the right to abortion.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: This is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity.
WILLIAMS: And as a justice, she voted to uphold abortion rights. She wrote the court's opinion putting an end to the men's only policy at VMI, the Virginia Military Institute saying it was based on outmoded stereotypes. She joined the court's majorities in striking down the death penalty for juveniles and in ruling that, quote, ''death is not a suitable punishment for a mentally retarded criminal.'' She also voted to roll back Bush administration policies in the war on terror. A blistering opinion in a case about equal lay for women, renewed the standing as a feminist icon.
WILLIAMS: She was nicknamed Notorious RBG, a play on a rapper's name and featured in a documentary movie.
[Cuts back to live
HOLT: And again, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead tonight at age 87. Let's go live now to Pete Williams in the Washington newsroom. Pete, what more can you tell us?
WILLIAMS: Well, this is a time obviously for looking back at her career, but Lester we can't help but look forward too, to what happens now with the Supreme Court term ready to start in just two weeks, the first Monday in October, the usual start for the Supreme Court term.
What will happen now that there's a vacancy? President Trump has said that he would nominate a successor and Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate has said that they would try to act on a confirmation for a successor.
The question is, I guess, two questions. One is, can the Congress do this in time while -- before the election in who knows what will happen? And secondly, assuming that President Trump does nominate someone and the Senate tries to act on it, does the Senate have the votes? Remember how close it was with Brett Kavanaugh. They may or may not have the votes of some of the people who were on the edge. Lester?
HOLT: We are entering an interesting time to say the least. Pete Williams. Again, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we are in the shadow and final countdown to a presidential election. There's going to be a lot to talk about, a lot to cover. We'll, of course, be all over it. In the meantime, we'll be on with further updates as warranted but I'm Lester Holt, NBC News, New York. Good evening.
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VIDEO-Michael Moore: Biden strategy in Michigan might be 'worse than Hillary' | TheHill
Filmmaker Michael Moore warned that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden Joe BidenSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE could be running a ''worse'' campaign in Michigan than 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhat Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death MORE , who lost the state by less than half a percentage point four years ago.
Moore, a Michigan native, pointed to a Detroit Free Press poll released Friday that showed Biden 8 points ahead of President Trump Donald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE in the state, down from 16 points in June.
''The fact that Trump has narrowed the lead by 50 percent since June should have everybody screaming bloody murder," Moore said. "We don't have a minute to lose on this.''
Moore, who has been supporting Democrats in the 2020 elections, said the Biden campaign should work on engaging Black voters in Michigan instead of trying to win over Republicans.
''It's actually worse than Hillary,'' Moore said. ''At least there was a ground game, even though she didn't show up. There were Hillary offices in many towns, there were door-to-door campaigns.''
Moore also referenced a Time magazine article from this week detailing an ''invisible campaign'' Biden is running in Michigan.
''Yes, we need to do it differently than 2016, but we need to go the other direction,'' Moore said. ''We need more, we don't need less.''
VIDEO-Petite Nicoco ð¤ð on Twitter: "This is a very reasonable response if you ask me. Totally sane and very safe while driving. https://t.co/3jZJPTXgbO" / Twitter
VIDEO-No Spin News on Twitter: "Bill O'Reilly on Fox News' Awkward George Soros Moment ''Soros is using his billions of dollars to undermine the justice system in the United States'--and you can't discuss that?'' https://t.co/yfGHfP2T6D" / Twitter
Campaign staffer, 17, for Ilhan Omar's Republican congressional opponent is shot and killed in MinneapolisAndre Conley, 17, was shot dead outside a Minneapolis convenience store on Monday afternoon; another person was seriously wounded Both victims were members of Republican Lacy Johnson's outreach team Johnson, a businessman, is running to unseat Democratic Rep Ilhan OmarPolice arrested a suspect wanted in connection to the fatal shooting early Thursday after a high-speed chase By Snejana Farberov For Dailymail.com
Published: 09:48 EDT, 17 September 2020 | Updated: 17:59 EDT, 17 September 2020
A 17-year-old boy who had worked for a Republican congressional candidate running against Democratic Rep Ilhan Omar was shot and killed in an attack outside a gas station on Minneapolis' north side.
A second person who also had worked for Republican Lacy Johnson was wounded in the shooting on Monday.
Earlier this morning, police in Minneapolis arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting following a high-speed pursuit. He is now in custody but has yet to be named.
Scroll down for video
Campaign worker Andre Conley, 17, was shot dead outside a store in Minneapolis on Monday
Conley had worked for Lacey Johnson (left), a Republican businessman who is running to unseat Democratic Rep Ilhan Omar
Both police and Johnson, a businessman who is seeking to unseat Omar in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District in November, said the attack did not appear to have anything to do with politics or the campaign.
The slain teen was identified as Andre Conley. The man who was wounded was hospitalized and was expected to survive.
The Johnson campaign said both Conley and the other victim were members of an outreach team and were not performing campaign duties during the incident.
According to police, the two were standing with a group of people outside the Super USA convenience store at the intersection of North Fremont and Dowling avenues just before 4.30pm when they were approached on foot by the assailant, who opened fire and fled, reported CBS Minneapolis.
First responders rushed both victims to Hennepin Healthcare, where the surviving man is listed in serious but stable condition.
Just before 7am on Thursday, police attempted to pull over a suspect wanted in Conley's killing, reported KARE11.
A police spokesperson said that the man fled, leading officers on a high-speed chase down Interstate 394 westbound to northbound Highway 169.
Conley and another Johnson campaign worker were standing outside this convenience store with a group of people when someone walked up to them and opened fire
The suspect was eventually apprehended after crashing his car in Plymouth.
'It is shocking and unnecessary acts of violence like this that prove why change is needed now more than ever in our community,' Johnson said. 'The shooting did not occur during a campaign or outreach and we do not believe it has any connection to their work for the campaign.'
Police spokesman John Elder said Wednesday there was nothing to suggest the attack was motivated by politics.
Conley was a senior at Patrick Henry High School, where Principal Yusuf Abdullah mourned the student with a bright smile that could light up a room.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched on Wednesday to help with Conley's funeral expenses.
'He was loved by his peers, teachers and principal. And loved more than anyone by his mother and father and every single one of his family members,' the description of the fundraiser stated.
The organizer of the campaign later posted an update, saying that at the request of Conley's family, the funds will be given to the surviving victim instead because 'he needs the help more.'
Conley was a senior at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, where officials released a statement mourning his death
An emotional vigil was held on Wednesday for Conley near the spot where he was gunned down, bringing together family and friends who wished to pay tribute to the teen, reported KARE11.
'My nephew Andre did not deserve this,' said Conley's aunt, Fatemah Green, through tears.
The event was attended by Johnson, who told the crowd that Conley and the other victim had approached his campaign, seeking to do positive things with their lives.
'I'm not blaming anybody else but us,' the GOP candidate said. 'It's us. We got to take care of our own kids, we got to look after our own children.'
VIDEO-China's Huge Influence Database Revealed; Leaked Docs Show China's Attempt to Keep Companies - YouTube
Bars are nationally recognized as COVID-19 spreading locations, the governor said.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- Most Texas retail stores, restaurants and gyms will soon be able to reopen at 75% capacity, but bars will still need to remain shut, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Sept. 17.
On June 26, bar establishments were ordered to abruptly close due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Texas.
"Because bars are nationally recognized as coronavirus spreading location, they are not able to open at this time," the governor said.
However, he added he's working on finding ways to get them open.
The first step is to see COVID-19 numbers continue to be contained and then he will work with bars on "effective strategies that will ensure that when they do open, the possibility to spread coronavirus is contained."
Bar owners have pressured the governor to let them reopen with several protests in Downtown Austin, but for now, they'll have to wait a little longer. Some of them even began reopening as restaurants.
The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance released a statement Thursday evening calling the latest guidelines unacceptable.
"Gov. Abbott's actions today are unacceptable. At his hand alone, bar owners are having their livelihoods destroyed and are losing everything without being given a chance at reopening in a safe and responsible manner."By his own admission, different regions of the state should be treated differently based on their current battle against COVID-19, yet bars are shut down everywhere regardless of the local data.
"It is absolutely ridiculous that a bar that serves 'enough' food is now allowed to open to 75% capacity, but regular neighborhood bars without the means to obtain new government permits or offer food items cannot open their doors at all.
"For months, we've been told that anti-business Abbott needs to see sustained positivity rates below 10% and improvements on hospitalizations for bars to be given a chance at reopening. Texas delivered. But he has not acted on this promise and it is a death sentence for thousands of small businesses.
"We have yet to receive any feedback from the state on the TBNA industry-supported plan for reopening all bars immediately. Our alliance has worked tirelessly to come up with a plan to reopen our businesses and keep our customers safe, which is more stringent than what is required for retail and food service that now are at 75% capacity indoors.
"Despite our best efforts and intentions, we have not received a path forward and there appears to be no end in sight. The unilateral decision today has destroyed the lives of generations of hard-working Texans."
Spider House Cafe and Ballroom owner Conrad Bejarano turns on the lights to a sign on their outdoor patio. Luis de LeonFor places like Spider House Cafe and Ballroom in Central Austin, they've been closed since the beginning, which owner Conrad Bejarano says has been tough, but safety comes first.
''It's been sad and stressful, I mean, I get it '' we're dealing with a worldwide pandemic," Bejarano said. ''I get it, people want to get out people are getting stir crazy but everyone again kind of has to understand and have some common sense like on safety.''
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission still allows bars to apply for a restaurant certificate which would allow them to open, but they'd have to operate as a restaurant. Bejarano said the process is too ambiguous.
''What I would like to see is more support from the local government," Bejarano said.
Kerbey Lane Cafe says they'll be expanding to 75% capacity. Luis de LeonOther restaurants like Kerbey Lane Cafe said they'll be expanding their capacity to 75%.
"Pure elation. We want to be busy, we love when we're on a wait," said Kerbey Lane Cafe COO Jamie Cohen. ''Restaurants have done a very good job of implementing protocols to keeping everybody safe.''
He added that the most difficult part of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic has been all the capacity changes.
''The uncertainty of understanding what our business cycles were going to be like have been difficult," Cohen said. ''We had some employees that never came back and we had some employees that couldn't wait to get back.''
WATCH: Texas bars reopening as restaurants
VIDEO-6% ð'Î--ð'áµð'à¹'ð'gà¹áË on Twitter: "This is not a forest fire. https://t.co/c5D19qSOAn" / Twitter
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders on Twitter: "Join me and @GillibrandNY as we introduce the Postal Banking Act. Together, we will guarantee basic banking services to all'--no outrageous fees or interest rates'--all at your local post office. https://t.co/