RTO's the rabbit comes out of the hole to talk to me
Zach in Omaha Rolling Blackouts
I am in Omaha. We get some extreme low temps 1-2x per winter for the past 3-5 years. (My wife and I agreed we never had temps like this when we grew up in the 80s-90s). Global warming based on the agenda is BS.) Those temps go down to 15-25 degrees. The throw on the usual wind that Nebraska gets, and our wind chills are way worse. Schools have a multiple "cold" days the last 3-5 years when the windchill is a sustained -25.
Now that we have experienced these temps and windchills in the past 3-5 years... We have never had a rolling blackout here. NEVER had it been discussed. But on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Omaha's electricity provider OPPD was forced to perform these blackouts in waves across the counties. This was forced onto OPPD by the SPP. I read in one of their (SPP) bulletins that there was a shortage of natural gas. As I mentioned this to one of my clients, he said he used to be in the industry and said that makes sense as these grids have NG power plants dedicated for these surges in grid usage. Now if there was truly a lack of NG for these plants, that explains why they were about 2GW short of the expected demand.
I don't know where there was a shortage of NG as it wasn't here in Omaha. Our NG provider, MUD, made an announcement indicating that there is no NG shortage here and shouldn't expect outages. AND.... Just a couple years ago, OPPD began closing the nuclear plant just miles north of Omaha. In the past, the nuclear plant was shut down because of the damn floods on the Missouri River (the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant sits on the Missouri River.) caused by the Army Corps of Engineers upriver. Not once, but twice. OPPD started to repair the nuclear plant but then backed out. I figure because it would cost more to repair rather than use their existing money reserve that is dedicated to close a nuclear power plant (required to have while operating). And I'm sure the OPPD brass made out like bandits on this decision. Now they are trying to push wind energy (WAYYYY behind Mid-American Energy across the river in Iowa that has been putting up thousands of windmills) and charge more to customers that want "chip in" to help them develop these wind farms. FUCK THOSE GUYS.
I don't know if it's because Texas wasn't exporting NG north to the other states needing it as well, but this is not our first Polar Vortex but by far the worst as we've never had a power disruption because of one.
TYFYC and Stay Warm!
Anonymous Utility Engineer
Utility engineer checking in. I heard your discussion about generation limitation in Texas, you are absolutely right about everything.
the gas company's primary obligated customer is residential customers . the electric utility company, although they are by far the largest overall consumer of gas, is a Last on the list of customers gas company serves, this is a regulation on them. which is insane Because most people would rather have electricity than gas.
Also I can confirm Morgan Stanley is a big player in energy market and they take a lot of risks buying up energy for the future and then selling it before that contract gets executed. that usually works out but sometimes when it doesn't the they pay relatively small Liquidated damages fees for failing to deliver or take the energy they ordered. And those energy traders are getting big bucks (500k salaries and up)
Also What deregulation did is it forced companies to end being vertically integrated. That means your local utility is banned from owning any generation station they must purchase energy on the open market. It's a false free market though because utility still has monopoly on customers but forced to not own generation, it's nuts.
LA dept of water and power somehow got away with not being deregulated and we are one of the few still vertically integrated which allows us a lot of flexibility during times of energy crisis.
What you didn't mention was the transmission availability in ercot. Is that down too? because transmission is as important as generation when it comes to delivering electricity.
Here is also some insight on the industry. Peak demand is in the summer. in LA for example, our peak gets to about 6,500MW in the day time and late at night goes down to about 2500mw.
In the winter our peak is about 2500mw and the day minimum goes to about 1500mw. So Peak demand slows down about 2.5x. So ther is plenty of capacity in winter (as long as transmission is also available). The gas company is inverse of this. Their peak demand is in winter.
(We've not experienced snow in LA but I am told in snow climates can push up demand but still less than summer.)
So what do we do in the winter? We take weeks Or months long planned outages for maintenance on plants and transmission lines.
What's my point. Even if all the solar and wind went offline they should still be able to cover with gas, coal plants, nuke, and purchases. The problem is probably gas plants not getting online because doing maintenance and transmission constraints. But it is funny to see a giant windmill popsicle
Texas breweries are purifying water for communities in trouble with their water.
Bandera Ale Project
Plow and Pint in Kerrville
No social distancing or spraying carts at Super Market
Federal Pollutions Permission for Texas did not help
Two weeks ago Texas was told to degrease their power generation because of pollution, by the department of energy. Abbot requested to increase power generation last Sunday. Attached is the answer from the department of energy. Texas was told to purchase power from adjacent states instead of increasing generation, and pollution. Because of the demand the cost that was paid was up to 10,000 times the cost to generate power. Texas normally never depends on any other state to provide power to them. To get the agreements in place to bring in outside power takes time, and in the process of trying to get agreements in place Sunday evening, Texas just about lost the state electrical grid. When one loses a grid, it will take considerable time to bring it back, because of the surge power required. Only small areas can be brought back on line. That process could have taken a week or more to accomplish.
Clubhouse is doing a fundraiser for Texas
There's a Pledgling account to help Austin residents. Text Austin to 707070 and its a bunch of us trying to raise money for Texas. If NoAgendaShow could mention it, I would be very grateful. And Adam,I hope you are all right, but I have a friend who is 80 in Austin who has had no power and water. I was able to get him help through Clubhouse folks in Austin.
ERCOT: Texas was 'seconds and minutes' away from catastrophic months-long blackouts
(TEXAS TRIBUNE) - Texas' power grid was ''seconds and minutes'' away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday.
As millions of customers throughout the state begin to have power restored after days of massive blackouts, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of the state, said Texas was dangerously close to a worse-case scenario: uncontrolled blackouts across the state.
The quick decision that grid operators made in the early hours of Monday morning to begin what was intended to be rolling blackouts '-- but lasted days for millions of Texans '-- occurred because operators were seeing warning signs that massive amounts of energy supply was dropping off the grid.
As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly. At the same time, demand was increasing as consumers and businesses turned up the heat and stayed inside to avoid the weather.
''It needed to be addressed immediately,'' said Bill Magness, president of ERCOT. ''It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system.''
Grid operators had to act quickly to cut the amount of power distributed, Magness said, because if they had waited, ''then what happens in that next minute might be that three more [power generation] units come offline, and then you're sunk.''
Magness said on Wednesday that if operators had not acted in that moment, the state could have suffered blackouts that ''could have occurred for months,'' and left Texas in an ''indeterminately long'' crisis.
The worst case scenario: Demand for power overwhelms the supply of power generation available on the grid, causing equipment to catch fire, substations to blow, power lines to go down.
If the grid had gone totally offline, the physical damage to power infrastructure from overwhelming the grid can take months to repair, said Bernadette Johnson, senior vice president of power and renewables at Enverus, an oil and gas software and information company headquartered in Austin.
''As chaotic as it was, the whole grid could've been in blackout,'' she said. ''ERCOT is getting a lot of heat, but the fact that it wasn't worse is because of those grid operators.''
If that had occurred, then even as power generators recovered from the cold, ERCOT would have been unable to quickly reconnect them back to the grid, Johnson said.
Grid operators would have needed to slowly and carefully bring generators and customers back online, all the while taking care to not to cause more damage to the grid. It's a delicate process, Johnson explained, because each part of the puzzle '-- the generators producing power, the transmission lines that move the power, and the customers that use it '-- must be carefully managed.
''It has to balance constantly,'' she said. ''Once a grid goes down, it's hard to bring it back online. If you bring on too many customers, then you have another outage.''
ERCOT officials have repeatedly said that the winter storm that swept the state caught power generators off guard. The storm far exceeded what ERCOT projected in the fall to prepare for winter.
''The operators who took those actions to prevent a catastrophic blackout, and much worse damage to our system, that was, I would say, the most difficult decision that had to be made throughout this whole event,'' Magness said.
Nine grid operators are working at any given time who make these sorts of decisions, said Leslie Sopko, a spokesperson for ERCOT.
''At the end of the day, our operators are highly-trained and have the authority to make decisions that protect the reliability of the electric system,'' she said in a statement.
ERCOT made ''significant progress'' overnight Wednesday to restore customer power to many Texans, and remaining power outages are likely due to ice storm damage to the distribution system. Some areas that were taken offline will also need to be restored manually, according to ERCOT.
ERCOT warned that emergency conditions remain, and that ''some level of rotating outages'' may be necessary over the coming days to keep the grid stable.
Copyright 2021 Texas Tribune. All rights reserved.
Blog: ERCOT Experiences Record Consumption, Real-Time Prices Reach $9,000 Cap - Texas Coalition for Affordable Power
More typically, real-time prices remain below $30 and only on two other occasions in grid history have they reached the $9,000 cap. R eal-time energy prices in ERCOT surged to the $9,000-megawatt-hour cap on Tuesday, the result of triple-digit temperatures sweeping across Texas and high power consumption.
More typically real-time prices remain below $30 and only on two other occasions in grid history have they reached the $9,000 cap. But prices hit the mark Tuesday afternoon and remained there for 45 minutes. Average real-time prices also hovered above the $1,000 mark for more than two hours. Such high prices eventually trickle down into home rates.
Average real-time prices also reached elevated levels on Monday and at one point on that day topped $6,500 per megawatt hour. ERCOT likewise marked a new all-time peak demand record on Monday '-- 74,531 megawatts at about 4:30 p.m.. That record beat the previous one of 73,259 MW set by Texas energy consumers on July 29, 2018.
Although Tuesday's consumption peak was slightly lower than Monday's, the grid's operating reserves on Tuesday nonetheless were tighter. This prompted the grid operator to issue its first emergency conservation alert in five years.
''Extreme heat across the state resulted in high usage today,'' said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. ''Declaring an (Emergency Energy Alert) allowed us to access tools to maintain reliability, and we appreciate everyone's response to the conservation appeal.''
The last such alert was issued in January 2014.
EARLIER SPIKESWholesale prices also hit the $9,000 on May 30, although this earlier spike was the result of an apparent error. Houston-based Calpine afterwards acknowledged a data mistake on its part caused the market-wide surge.
In a complaint filed with the PUC, energy company Aspire Commodities said it lost money because of this earlier spike and called upon ERCOT to retroactively order a price correction. It said the brief event cost the market in excess of $18 million and could have bankrupted several retail electric providers if ERCOT had allowed it to continue.
Wholesale energy prices in ERCOT typically cannot exceed $9,000 per MWh because the grid enforces a ''system-wide offer cap'' that limits the price generators can seek when selling into the real-time market.
ERCOT's $9,000 price cap is the highest such cap in the nation. The System Wide Offer Cap stood at $1,000 per megawatt hour during the early years of deregulation, in 2012 it increased to $3,000, to $5,000 in 2013, to $7,000 in 2014 and finally to $9,000 in June of 2015.
The only other $9,000 price spike in the ERCOT market occurred in January 2018.
For more about the Texas market, check out TCAP's publication, Deregulated Electricity in Texas, available for download and print-on-demand at Amazon.com.
EXCLUSIVE: Biden's Insane Executive Order on Climate Change Gave China Access to the US Grid - Suddenly There's an Energy Crisis In Texas - Any Relationship?
(The following information was provided by a TGP reader.)
On Joe Biden's first day in office, he signed an Executive Order (EO) that led to Texans literally freezing to death this past week. Biden claimed his actions were to protect the climate but they helped China and made America less secure.On his first day in office, Joe Biden signed a number of EOs. This was made possible by the Barr DOJ. Bill Barr was fast-tracking Biden's EOs while he was slow-walking President Trump's.
''He Was Really Working Against this Administration in a Lot of Ways'' '' Trump Administration's Peter Navarro on Deep State's AG Bill Barr
TRENDING: John Kerry Blames Frigid Temperatures and Record Cold on Global Warming, Says We have 9 Years Left to Save the Planet (VIDEO)
Barr enabled Biden to be able to sign his EO on climate his first day in office.
Biden's EO on the Environment helped ChinaThe Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis said in its first paragraph of Section 1 (emphasis added) :
Where the Federal Government has failed to meet that commitment in the past, it must advance environmental justice. In carrying out this charge, the Federal Government must be guided by the best science and be protected by processes that ensure the integrity of Federal decision-making. It is, therefore, the policy of my Administration to listen to the science; to improve public health and protect our environment; to ensure access to clean air and water; to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides; to hold polluters accountable, including those who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; to restore and expand our national treasures and monuments; and to prioritize both environmental justice and the creation of the well-paying union jobs necessary to deliver on these goals.
Of course, this is a total sham. Best science? The integrity of Federal decision-making (code for destroying President Trump's decisions of integrity)? Communities of color (in a climate change EO)? Environmental justice? Union jobs? Really, what the hell. [No one voted for this garbage and Democrats stole the election to push this through.]
Hidden towards the bottom of the EO, is a clause about China. It turns out that the same day Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline, he also lifted the security on our power grid for 90 days (Trump's EO the year prior secured our power grid by giving China no access.)
(c) Executive Order 13920 of May 1, 2020 (Securing the United States Bulk-Power System), is hereby suspended for 90 days. The Secretary of Energy and the Director of OMB shall jointly consider whether to recommend that a replacement order be issued.
This was just a small little paragraph tucked away in one of Biden's EO's the first day he was in office under the umbrella of ''restoring science to tackle the climate crisis''. Of course, science and climate crisis are polar opposites. Looking over the EO, there appears to be nothing that benefits the United States of America which begs the question, who wrote and approved this mess?
Biden ended President Trump's EO protecting the US power grid from ChinaPresident Trump's May 1, 2020, EO Securing the United States Bulk-Power System stated:
foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system, which provides the electricity that supports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life. The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities, because a successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies.''
What prompted Trump's EO was a report from the Department of Energy dated 2014 (the Obama years) that found:
Since the late 1990's, the United States has experienced an increased demand for LPTs; however, despite the growing need, the United States has a limited domestic capacity to produce LPTs. In 2010, six power transformer manufacturing facilities existed in the United States, and together, they met approximately 15 percent of the Nation's demand for power transformers of a capacity rating greater than or equal to 60 megavolt-amperes (MVA).
Trump said the following when he initiated his EO (emphasis added):
''[F]oreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system, which provides the electricity that supports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life. The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities, because a successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies,'' Trump said in explaining why he wanted to keep foreign equipment out of the nation's power grid.
The remaining supply was provided by foreign entities, mainly China. President Trump recognized that American security and independence relied on certain products being manufactured in the US.
On January 16th President Trumps Energy Chief announced:
As of January 16, 2021, then-Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette issued a ''prohibition order designed to reduce the risks that entities associated with the People's Republic of China pose to the Nation's BPS.''
''The order prohibits utilities that supply critical defense facilities (CDF) from procuring from the People's Republic of China, specific BPS electric equipment that poses an undue risk to the BPS, the security or resilience of critical infrastructure, the economy, national security, or safety and security of Americans,'' a press release adds.
But then four days later, Biden stopped these actions, promoting US safety and security and conservatives spoke out:
Two days in & Biden says never mind about stopping COVID & hands the electrical grid to China. ''Biden Rescinds Trump Order Banning Chinese Communist Involvement In US Power Grid'' https://t.co/sT9G8DUHkQ HT @SecretsBedard
'-- Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) January 22, 2021
Biden and Obama don't seem to care about made in the USA. It's shocking that Biden would want to remove these protections from China and other countries and allow them back into the US market. But that's what he did with his climate change EO.
Biden allowing the CCP into our power grid is the real impeachable offense.
'-- John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 22, 2021
Suddenly this past week we have an energy crisis in Texas. Is there any relationship between Biden's EO and this? We'll never know.
World's largest energy storage system proposed in Morro Bay
The world's largest energy storage system could soon go up in Morro Bay.
It would go in the location of the vacant Morro Bay Power Plant.
Texas-based company, Vistra Energy is proposing to build a 600 mega watt lithium-ion battery installation at the location of the old tank farm.
"Providing clean emission free, affordable electricity to consumers," said Brad Watson, Director of Vistra Community Affairs.
The project would occupy 22 acres of a 100+ acre site.
There would be three new buildings, 30 feet tall, and covering 273,000 square feet.
"To get a sense of the size of this project, it would hold enough energy to power approximately 450,000 homes," said Eric Cherniss, Senior Director of Vistra Corporate Development and Strategy.
The company says much of the existing infrastructure would be utilized and it could tie into the existing PG&E substation without the need for any new transmission lines.
The battery facility is designed to help California and the Central Coast with renewable energy.
"The batteries help by storing renewable energy from the grid when it's plentiful like during the middle of the day when the sun is shining the batteries will then store that excess energy until it is needed," Cherniss said.
Vistra says about 100 local construction workers will be on site for the entire project with 300 workers at its peak. 15 permanent employees would operate the site.
City Manager, Scott Collins says when it comes to revenueZ, it's a moving target as it's based on the selling price of the kilowatt per hour.
"Ultimately, that determines what the value of the property is, so at this point, the best estimate is about a $450,000,000 project and when you do all the math it comes to about $450,000 a year to the city in new tax revenue," Collins explained.
If approved, the goal is to get construction going by the next year.
"The plan would have the new battery facility online by the end of 2024 to coincide with the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear generation station," Cherniss said.
The company recently constructed a 300 mega watt battery project in Moss Landing which is about half the size of this proposed project.
The city says it'll take about a month to go over the planning process. The proposed project will then go to the planning commission.
There will be community forums during the process then it'll go to city council and the Coastal Commission.
Dates have not yet been nailed down but it's expected to be on the planning commission's agenda in the next couple of months.
Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Texas winter storm: Some use Ford F-150 hybrid trucks to power homes
Randy Jones of Katy, Texas used his 2021 Ford F-150 to power space heaters and other appliances throughout his home when he lost power earlier this week during the winter storm.
Source: Randy Jones
When Randy Jones of Katy, Texas, bought his new Ford F-150 pickup truck a few weeks ago, he didn't think he'd be using it to keep the lights on in his house during a historic winter storm that left millions without power.
The 2021 hybrid's onboard generator "gives you the ability to use your truck like a mobile generator" that can produce up to 7.2 kW of power, according to Ford.
Jones, 66, said in a phone interview with CNBC on Thursday that he bought the truck in part because of that feature, adding that he often loses power due to hurricanes and other storms. When he lost power Sunday night, he decided to get out a few extension cords and put the generator to the test.
"Without it I would have been in the dark and cold like everybody else in the neighborhood," the retired refinery worker said, adding that he helped neighbors charge their phones and laptops. "Quite a few of the neighbors said, 'Hey, I'm getting one,' like, 'I'm trading my Dodge or GMC,' because, South Texas, with hurricanes and things like that, we're always having power outages."
Jones said he used the truck's onboard generator to power appliances in his home for three days, until his power was restored Wednesday.
He's not alone. Jerry Hall, 73, bought his new F-150 at the end of January. It turned out to be perfect timing, he said.
"The truck saved the day," the Kerrville, Texas, resident said Thursday in a phone interview. Hall said his home lost power Sunday evening through early Thursday. "It would have been three miserable days without the truck."
Hall said he and his wife still spent those days without heat, but they were able to run extension cords from the truck into the house to power lights, the refrigerator, television and other luxuries.
"It kept us connected with the outside world," he said.
Hall said "the main reason" he bought the truck was its onboard generator. He said the rough weather last spring led to some blackouts in his part of the state and he knew he wanted to get some kind of generator. It just made sense, he said, to get a new truck with a generator built in.
Other truck owners have been posting similar stories in an online forum for F-150 owners. Photos from the forum spilled over onto Twitter, where Ford CEO Jim Farley took notice, tweeting, "The situation in the SW US is so difficult. Wish everyone in Texas had a new F150 with PowerBoost onboard generator...."
It turns out that the German ministry of the interior called CCP apologists for writing the assessment for the corona strategy. You can have a look at his fine website: https://www.rainbowbuilders.org/team/otto-kolbl-e
Example: "Most of its growth was achieved not by the efforts of the Hongkongers, but through parasitic exploitation of neighboring mainland China."
An article in BILD pointed this out. The part regarding the Leopoldina (the lockdown fetishist academy that I told you about) is not that important, but shows that the Academy of Sciences doens't give a shit whether Chinese virologists they select are members of the CCP or not.
It is boulevard news, of course, but nevertheless respectable in terms of politics.
"Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Chinese regime has been working to cover up its responsibilities!
But to this day the federal government has NOT drawn any conclusions from Beijing's offense - on the contrary!
In March 2020, for example, the Federal Ministry of the Interior consulted two designated China fans to draw up a Corona strategy paper.
Specifically, it concerns the Germanist Otto Kölbl (University of Lausanne) and the political scientist Maximilian Mayer (University of Bonn). Shortly before, the two had written their own corona paper, in which they praised China's radical lockdown as a "heroic measure" and raved about the fact that the virus could be fought successfully "if the whole world were like China". Mayer is also one of the authors of the "No Covid" appeal that is also circulating in the Chancellery.
AND: In July 2020, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, which also advises the federal government, accepted the virologist George F. Gao (59) into its ranks. Gao is the general director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention - and thus not only a scientist, but also a high-ranking member of Beijing's power apparatus!
The Leopoldina knows nothing about Gao's political activities. Whether Gao is a member of the Communist Party, "the Leopoldina is not positively known, but it cannot be ruled out either".
Gao recently declared in China that it was also the task of research to "strengthen political organs" and to implement "the thoughts" of the authoritarian state leader Xi Jinping (67). "
Anthony Furey on Twitter: "This first image is of Canadian modelling just released by Dr. Tam. It shows an almost immediate and massive increase in cases like we've never seen before... unless "enhanced" measures are now put in place. (Please scroll down
Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam. Photo by Adrian Wyld / The Canadian PressCanadian government health officials were at a loss to explain why new federal modelling shows such a wild trajectory when they appeared at a House of Commons health committee hearing Friday.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Theresa Tam presented new modelling forecasting COVID-19 cases. The slide deck presents charts about how cases and deaths across Canada are significantly declining.
We apologize, but this video has failed to load.
However, when it comes to forecasting for the future, Tam presented a graph that showed cases of COVID-19 immediately shooting up like a rocket ship in an almost vertical line.
It shows Canada going from its current count of around 2,300 cases per day to over 20,000 daily cases by the second week of March. The exact figure is unclear because the line shoots so high it exits the top of the graph.
The graph left infectious diseases experts scratching their heads. ''What are the underlying assumptions?'' Dr. Martha Fulford, an assistant professor at McMaster University and infectious diseases physician at Hamilton Health Sciences, told the Sun.
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''For me, a model is only as good as the data inputted and we need to know what the underlying assumptions and the data are. Why is their modelling so different from the modelling everywhere else?''
The Center for Disease Control in the U.S., for example, forecasts a decrease in cases over the same timeline as Dr. Tam's graph shows the rocket ship-like trajectory.
Michelle Rempel, the Conservative shadow minister for health, asked Public Health Agency of Canada representatives to explain how they came to this forecasting, but they were unable to offer answers.
''We will return to you with the number of inputs that went into those models,'' said Dr. Guillaume Poliquin, the acting scientific director general of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory.
Rempel said later in the committee hearing that it was problematic for PHAC officials to call for more lockdowns and the continued closure of businesses without being able to defend their work and answer questions about how they got their numbers.
We apologize, but this video has failed to load.
Conservative MP John Barlow in turn told PHAC officials that he felt it was ''irresponsible'' for them to release modelling without informing politicians, media and the public about what went into it.
''The models that are presented represent an ongoing refinement of our understanding of COVID,'' Poliquin said.
The Sun asked similar questions to PHAC's media relations team and has yet to hear back.
Biden's Coronavirus Relief Package Has Almost Nothing to Do With the Coronavirus '' Reason.com
Over and over again, President Joe Biden has pitched his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan as vital to restoring a struggling American economy and recovering from the pandemic. Many households are struggling, he tweeted earlier this month, with desperate Americans wondering how they are going to eat . " That's why I'm urging Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver much-needed relief." Time, he has insisted, is of the essence . " We don't have a second to waste when it comes to delivering the American people the relief they desperately need. I'm calling on Congress to act quickly and pass the American Rescue Plan."
The fiscal response, he has argued, must be commensurate to the crisis at hand. "Now is the time we should be spending," he said at a CNN town hall this week. "Now is the time to go big."
Biden has certainly gone big. His $1.9 trillion deficit-funded plan would be among the largest stimulus/relief packages in history. But much of the spending he has proposed would do little or nothing to help actually struggling Americans. Instead, the plan is padded with non-urgent, pre-existing Democratic policy priorities that have, at most, only tangential relationship to the crisis at hand.
Take schooling, for example. The mass closure of schools has caused immeasurable chaos and frustration for families across the country, especially those with working parents, and it has set back educational advancement for children, especially in lower-income families with fewer resources or alternatives. Beyond the disruptions to family schedules and educational achievement, there is mounting evidence that school closures, in combination with other forms of isolation stemming from the pandemic, have taken a dark toll on student mental health. In the Las Vegas area, schools finally reopened following a rash of suicides in which 18 students took their own lives.
Biden ran on reopening most schools for in-person instruction within a hundred days'--a promise his administration has both walked back and then kinda-sorta attempted to un-walk back. But reopening, he has insisted, is conditioned on schools obtaining sufficient funding in a relief package. Accordingly, his plan includes about $128 billion for K-12 schooling "for preparation for, prevention of, and response to the coronavirus pandemic or for other uses allowed by other federal education programs," as part of a $170 billion boost in education-related spending.
This is a dubious argument on its face, considering that private schools have largely reopened, as have public schools in some states, such as Florida, that have pushed for faster and more widespread reopenings.
But even if you think substantial additional funding is strictly necessary for rapid reopening, there's a problem: The vast majority of the relief plan's money for schools wouldn't be spent in the current fiscal year, or even next year. Previous coronavirus relief and congressional spending bills have already included more than $100 billion in funding for schools. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, "most of those funds remain to be spent."
As a result, just $6 billion would be spent in the 2021 fiscal year, which runs through September . Another $32 billion would be spent in 2022, and the rest by 2028. Biden is insisting that schools must reopen soon'--and also that the only way for them to reopen is to authorize more than $120 billion in spending, most of which wouldn't roll out for years . It doesn't make much sense.
Similarly, Biden's plan calls for $350 billion to backstop state budgets, which were projected to be down as much as 8 percent overall this year. Yet according to The Wall Street Journal , total revenues were down just 1.6 percent for the 2020 fiscal year, and 18 states ended the year with above-projection revenue. As Reason 's Christian Britschgi noted last week, Biden's plan would disburse money to every state'--including California, which is set for a $15 billion surplus . Previous coronavirus relief bills, meanwhile, have already doled out $300 billion to bolster state budgets. The billions in extra funding Biden's plan would deliver to soaring state budgets would, in all likelihood, not be spent this coming year. So much for not having a second to waste.
There's more like this peppered throughout Biden's pandemic relief plan. Biden and his communications team raise the issue of food insecurity'--then insist that checks should go to a two-earner family with stable jobs making $120,000 a year in a city with a roughly $40,000 annual median income for couples.
This is despite the fact that the average couple with comparable six-figure earnings has experienced no unusual job loss and has piled up record levels of personal savings. Even if the goal is just to pump more money into the economy, these checks wouldn't, for the most part, be spent. They'd just add to the savings.
As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) notes , half the spending in the coronavirus relief plan would go toward such poorly targeted measures. The plan also includes expansions to Obamacare subsidies and would hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour'--in 2025. Ultimately, the hike would cost jobs rather than preserve them. But raising the federal minimum wage has been a Democratic policy priority for years, so it got stuffed into the relief bill grab bag.
How much of this alleged coronavirus relief plan is actually related to the coronavirus? According to CRFB, just 1 percent of the relief plan's spending would go toward vaccines, and just 5 percent would go toward pandemic-related public health needs. Meanwhile, 15 percent of the spending'--about $300 billion'--would be spent on long-standing policy priorities that are not directly related to the current crisis.
Biden keeps insisting that time is of the essence, that massive federal spending is urgently needed to speed America's recovery from its coronavirus-induced health and economic downturn. But the practical details of his plan say otherwise. The president's relief plan is an object lesson in non-urgent, non-vital policymaking. Biden is pitching a coronavirus relief package that has very little to do with coronavirus relief.
Thousands of Israelis return to normal life with forged 'Green Pass' as vaccine refuseniks otherwise barred from venues '-- RT World News
While Israel prepares to welcome only vaccine recipients into gyms, hotels, and other venues, thousands have been making their own 'Green Pass,' the easily-counterfeited credential the country is using to prove vaccination.
The Green Pass looks complex enough, with the secure-looking QR code on the lower-right side, but the code is just made up of the same details printed on the pass in normal letters and numbers, cybersecurity expert Ran Bar-Zik revealed in a Facebook post earlier this week. The pass can thus be easily forged by anyone with a graphics program and a printer.
Israel will officially reopen businesses from gyms and hotels to malls, museums and libraries on Sunday. However, only those who can prove they have been vaccinated or had Covid-19 will be welcome in the gyms, hotels, and swimming pools, and only they will be allowed to attend sports and cultural events.
But having over 100,000 Israelis buying and selling fake passes on social media, a market the Times of Israel reported on Thursday is already moving at a healthy pace, defeats the purpose of having a vaccine pass. The passes are going for about 750 shekels ($230), according to Haaretz, and even before the businesses reopen their doors can exempt the holder from quarantine.
Bar-Zik went on at length in his post about how easy it would have been to make a secure version using the same kind of digital signature deployed all over the internet in HTTPS and other common protocols and expressed frustration that supposedly tech-forward Israel had not deployed this comparatively ancient technology in a piece of ID considered to be so important. He was far from the only cybersecurity professional to take the news public '' the firm Check Point also came forward, sharing a video with Haaretz that even walked the user through the process of faking the Green Pass.
The Health Ministry has attempted to minimize the issue, telling Channel 12 it is "looking into implementing a secure barcode that will be internationally accepted" and that the current situation is just an "initial quick response." Meanwhile, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned that a 5,000-shekel fine ($1,500) awaited anyone who tried to get away with using a fake pass.
Also on rt.com Israel to bar unvaccinated people from some jobs, says health minister Edelstein has tried to warn vaccine refusers that their lives will be lonely ones if they do not line up for the jab, declaring last week that "whoever doesn't vaccinate will only go out to supermarkets or pharmacies, while the vaccinated will go to stadiums and gyms." He has also threatened to have workers in certain industries fired if they do not get the jab or submit to being tested for the virus every 48 hours, though Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri cautioned that such laws cannot be passed on a local basis regarding the education sector.
Despite the country's vaunted high vaccination rate, a quarter of those who have not received the jab say they have no intention of getting it, according to a Tuesday poll cited by the Times of Israel. In another poll conducted on Tuesday by the Rushinek research institute, only 41 percent of parents said they would vaccinate their kids when the shot became available for individuals under 16, with 30 percent responding they were unsure and 29 percent saying they would skip the jab.
Over a quarter of Israeli deaths in January were Covid-19-related, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Thursday, adding that the total number of deaths that month was 14.1 percent higher than January of 2020. Some 5,486 Israelis have died with the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to the Health Ministry.
Companies in Britain have been tasking law firms to craft ''no jab, no job'' contracts that would bar prospective employees from being hired unless they have been vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus.
While the government has publicly claimed that it has no intentions of requiring domestic vaccine passports, ministers have admitted that private businesses may take up the mantle of imposing it on the British public.
Speaking to the Financial Times, law firms said that they have already been contacted by companies, including care homes and multinational corporations, which are looking to draw up contracts that would require employees to be inoculated against the virus.
One unnamed attorney told the paper that such requirements could be risky as they might trigger discrimination claims from people who refuse to take the vaccine on religious grounds, pregnant women, or those who have health conditions, such as allergies, which prevent them from taking the jab.
The lawyer did note that in sectors in which employees are surrounded by at-risk people, such as in care homes, so-called ''no jab, no job'' contracts may ultimately be defensible.
Some of the law firms contacted claimed that businesses have also begun inquiring about how to require that those already employed receive the vaccine.
However, companies seeking to change the contracts of people already employed would need to gain the consent of the worker, a partner at the law firm Lewis Silkin, James Davies, cautioned.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that there was no justification for businesses to require vaccines for employees, saying that mass testing would be a preferable option.
The chief executive of the human resource firm CIPD, Peter Cheese, said: ''The UK government hasn't made the vaccine compulsory, so neither can employers.''
Mr Cheese added: ''Nor should they be restricting people coming into work based on whether they have had the vaccine.''
Ministers Pressuring Boris to Reconsider Immunity Certificates for Domestic Use: Report https://t.co/H5ZhGSzf86
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 17, 2021
On Tuesday, Britain's vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said: ''It's up to businesses what they do, but we don't yet have the evidence of the effect of vaccines on transmission.''
Zahawi had previously said that such a scheme would be wrong and discriminatory.
On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the use of vaccine passports on a domestic level is being considered by the government in such places as supermarkets.
In January, the anti-Brexit founder of Pimlico Plumbers announced that he would be requiring his employees to be vaccinated, boldly pronouncing ''no vaccine, no job''.
Charlie Mullins said that he will make it ''standard'' in employment contracts that ''you're required to have a vaccine'', saying: ''We won't be employing people in the future unless they've got a vaccine.''
Barchester Healthcare, which operates over 200 care homes, has also said that it will refuse to hire people who fail to vaccinate.
Boris Johnson Admits Vaccine Passports Will Become 'Inevitable' https://t.co/XZheMME56H
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 16, 2021
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka
At What Point Do We Realize Bill Gates Is Dangerously Insane?
This isn't an overreaction to Gates' latest foray into the news cycle. It's an observation based on a long pattern of statements and behavior by the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men who has ever lived which, were any of us normal people guilty of them, would result in our being institutionalized.
Bill Gates is crazy. And he's dangerous, because he's willing to put untold sums of money toward making the insane things he believes a reality '' and all of those insane things hurt people.
The most recent idiocy? Impossible Burgers for all the white people.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently stated that he believes ''rich countries,'' such as the United States and western Europe, should switch to eating 100 percent synthetic beef.In a recent interview with the MIT Technology Review, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates discussed his environmental impact efforts and various green initiatives aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. One suggestion Gates proposed was for wealthy and developed nations to move entirely to synthetic beef in efforts to reduce the carbon emissions from livestock.Explaining the suggestion, Gates told the MIT Tech Review:For Africa and other poor countries, we'll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them. Weirdly, the US livestock, because they're so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa. And as part of the [Bill and Melinda Gates] Foundation's work, we're taking the benefit of the African livestock, which means they can survive in heat, and crossing in the monstrous productivity both on the meat side and the milk side of the elite US beef lines.So no, I don't think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.So for meat in the middle-income-and-above countries, I do think it's possible. But it's one of those ones where, wow, you have to track it every year and see, and the politics [are challenging]. There are all these bills that say it's got to be called, basically, lab garbage to be sold. They don't want us to use the beef label.This isn't even the scariest idea-biscuit Gates has floated. Remember this?
It sounds like a wacky idea out of science-fiction '' but it's funded in part by billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and backed by top scientists at Harvard University.The researchers believe that a fleet of specially-designed aircraft could spray sulfate particles into the lower stratosphere to cool down our planet and offset the effects of climate change.A test of the technology has been proposed for this year, the Daily Mail reports, with the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) seeing a bag of carbonate dust released into the atmosphere 12 miles up.If that experiment proves successful, the researchers will move on to releasing the dust from planes.The researchers suggest that jets flying 12 miles up would complete over 60,000 missions in 15 years, starting with a fleet of eight and moving up to 100 planes.As bad as denying people in First World countries access to beef might be (and putting a massive industry employing more than half a million people out of business), creating an artificial Nuclear Winter is even worse.
More people freeze to death in extreme cold weather than die of heat-related causes when it's hot, you know.
And then there's the population control piece, which the Left '' many if not most of whom operate on a Malthusian principle and don't actually disagree with Gates '' denies he's for.
How you deny this is a question'...
We're not going to get into the vaccine stuff, much of which is the product of Alex Jones-style conspiracy theories every bit as crazy as Gates is. There's a lot out there, though, and not all of it is good. Gates' influence with public health bureaucrats like Anthony Fauci, who he has clearly bought off, is something of a concern. He's an unelected software developer with no medical training; nothing about him suggests he's qualified to make public policy on healthcare for an entire planet, no matter how heavily he wants to buy his way in.
What this comes down to, though, is that Bill Gates has been so rich for so long that he's spent the bulk of his adult life without anyone telling him he's wrong. That has the same corrosive effect on character and sanity that you see in the case of kings and dictators. People want some of Bill Gates' money, so they constantly suck up to him and tell him his ideas are great even when they're atrocious, and the guardrails normal people live between don't exist in his case.
So he throws money around at insane things. That he isn't outwardly off his rocker like Howard Hughes was is small comfort; Hughes mostly kept to himself in that hotel suite in Las Vegas as he descended into madness. Gates is everywhere.
Gates said that he modeled his charitable foundation after the one the Rockefeller family founded. But the Rockefellers took decades to become obsessed with globalist-utopian causes; Gates fell out of the philanthropic womb that way.
It's a problem. There needs to be some limiting principle governing this man's excesses. But where that will come from is a good question. When he's openly discussing destroying an industry that directly employs a half-million Americans for the purposes of ''climate change'' (formerly known as global warming, until it couldn't be denied that there was no statistically significant warming going on) when we're in the middle of the worst cold snap much of the country has seen in decades, finding ways to check this increasingly nutty bull in a china shop begins to become an urgent necessity.
Perhaps it's time to start taxing charitable foundations which engage in public policy-related activities. That could easily devolve into a mess, but the alternative could be that we increasingly have to live under the cracked worldview of out-of-touch billionaires like Bill Gates.
Oilfield Rando on Twitter: "$1,000,000,000 to tell people that the vaccine isn't going to turn them into a lizard person. Simply incredible. A straight up slush fund for PR firms https://t.co/jyreu99e7q" / Twitter
Since I began my medical studies, I read everything I could read about my profession, but also about related topics. I still do that, if only because I really enjoy reading, and to this day I haven't finished learning and reading. Along the way, to my surprise at first, I learned that many of my colleagues don't, and limit themselves to compulsory training and (sometimes) guidelines. There are several reasons for this that I will not mention here.
However, it's also difficult to keep up with the medical literature, given the sheer number of articles that appear on a daily basis. It's a considerable task to separate the wheat from the chaff of this medical literature. Reading the reports of scientific research itself - compared to reading reviews and case reports - is quite a large task, as it takes a lot of time and effort to form at least an overall assessment of the methodology and statistics used, and to be able to assess whether the research was carried out properly.
And yet that's what I'll try to do here, again. This concerns, of course, data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was published online on December 10th on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine."
This Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus was approved by the European Medicines Agency on Monday, December 21st, 2020, and will be the first vaccine used in the Netherlands against this virus. Much is expected of it, although until this publication, only the press releases of the manufacturer itself were available, which generally isn't the most reliable source of scientific information.
It's good to calmly list all the facts and data, to see what is known about this vaccine, but especially to also see what isn't yet known. I will start with the abstract of the article because it already raises more questions than answers.
"BNT162b2 is a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified RNA vaccine that encodes a prefusion stabilized, membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full length-spike protein"This is the vaccine we're talking about. It's based on a messenger RNA (mRNA) that is stabilized by changing some of the nucleosides - the building blocks of the RNA - so that the mRNA is not broken down by the body too quickly. This mRNA encodes the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the most immunogenic part of the virus. It's this spike protein that allows the virus to enter a cell by binding to the ACE2 receptor. Subsequently, this mRNA is introduced into (muscle) cells via small particles, which then express the mRNA, and the 'spike protein' of the virus is placed on its own cell membrane, in the same way as it's on the membrane of the virus. There, it's recognized by the cells of the immune system and thus the immune response is triggered. This vaccination technique is new and has never been used before.
Conclusions' section of the abstract of the paper reads: "
A two dose regimen of BNT162b2 conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 in persons 16 years of age or older. Safety over a median of 2 months was similar to that of other viral vaccines."
This means that we simply don't know anything about the safety of this vaccine over a period of more than two months. That data simply isn't available.But that's not all. The introduction of the article states that collecting data from the phase 2/3 studies that deal with the '
immunogenicity' and '
durabilitity' of the immune response - the degree to which the vaccine is able to elicit an immune response and how long this immune response lasts - is still ongoing and not reported in the article.
Loosely translated, this means that it's not known whether the vaccine is able to induce a permanent immune response, which would permanently protect the recipient against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Who was not allowed to participate in the study?With any study that looks into the effect of a medicine or vaccine, it's important to know who was, and especially who wasn't, allowed to participate in the study. This is important for the internal validity of the research, but especially for external validity. 'Internal validity' is a term that describes the extent to which the drug or vaccine is effective for people who didn't participate in the study, but correspond in terms of characteristics of the participants in the study. In general, it can be assumed that this is the case.
More important, however, is the concept of 'external validity': The question of whether the findings of the study also apply to people whose characteristics do not correspond with the characteristics of the participants in the study. In other words, can the drug or vaccine be considered to work just as well for people with characteristics other than those of the study participants as it did for the study participants? That's always the question that must be answered before applying the results of scientific research in practice. In short: Do the results of this scientific research apply to the patient sitting in front of me in the consultation room? This is often not the case.
It's therefore extremely important in this study to look at the people who were not allowed to participate in the study. The main exclusion criteria for this study were a 'medical history of Covid-19', 'treatment immunosuppressive therapy', or 'diagnosis with an immunocompromising condition'.
Please note, these are probably the people most likely to fear infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and want to take the vaccine! This approach has therefore been criticized from various sides because the 'exclusion criteria' were very broadly defined, and the researchers had a large degree of freedom as to who they included and who they didn't include in the study. It may now be assumed that the risk of serious illness and death as a result of an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus increases with age, and is also considerably higher in people with multiple underlying conditions, summarized with the term 'comorbidity'.
The researchers who conducted this study:The next thing we need to ask is: who designed, conducted, analyzed and published the study? The answer is quite clear: the manufacturer. This is a study designed, conducted, analyzed, published and paid for by Pfizer/BioNTech itself. The fact that an independent data and safety committee was able to see the data doesn't change this, simply because they had no say in the design of the research, selection of the participants, the statistics used or the publication.
I don't need to explain here how such a construction can lead to biased results of scientific research, because it has been extensively researched and published about over the past twenty years.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/196846John Ioannidis, in his monumental publication 'Why Most Published Research Findings Are False' in the PLoS in 2006, pointed out once again in 'Corollary 5':
"The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true."
The primary and secondary end points of the study:Primary and secondary 'end points' in a medical study are a symptom or set of symptoms that are used to determine whether or not the drug being trialled is effective. In the case of a drug designed to prevent heart attacks for example, a 'primary end point' might be chest pain. If any of the trial participants develop chest pain during the trials, they reach the 'end point' and are removed from the trial. This data on the number of people who developed chest pain (not as a result of the trial but despite it) and those who did not would then be used to determine the efficacy and safety of the drug.
The primary 'end point' of the study on the Pfizer vaccine is defined as follows:
'The onset of COVID-19, by confirmation of a positive result on the RT-PCR'
I won't discuss the unreliability of RT-PCR tests in the diagnosis of COVID-19 here, as it has already been extensively discussed and may be considered as common knowledge. I already described this extensively in my previous blog post, the poor performance of this test in clinical practice has now been described in several well-executed scientific studies.
More important is how they defined COVID-19. The definition is as follows: "Confirmed COVID-19 was defined according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria as the presence of at least one of the following symptoms: fever, new or increased cough, new or increased shortness of breath, chills, new or increased muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, diarrhea, or vomiting, combined with a respiratory specimen [i.e. a positive result from the RT-PCR] obtained during the symptomatic period or within 4 days before or after" Please note, one of these symptoms in combination with a positive RT-PCR result for the SARS-CoV-2 virus was sufficient to diagnose COVID-19. One symptom was enough . The study doesn't state how many symptoms people with COVID-19 had or how severe these signs or symptoms were. This study also didn't look for other (viral) agents of these complaints and symptoms, while at least one study suggests that when COVID-19 is suspected there are often other (viral) agents that could explain the complaints and symptoms. In that study of 50 people, 5 people ultimately had a positive result on the RT-PCR for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but 6 people had a positive result on the RT-PCR for influenza A or B.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1386653220301165As far as the definition of COVID-19 in the study is concerned, it goes without saying that these are, without exception, symptoms for which the general practitioner would advise taking a paracetamol and getting under a blanket. Without exception, these are symptoms for which people generally don't even consult a doctor. It's therefore very questionable how relevant the diagnosis of COVID-19 is if it's defined in this way.
However, there was also a secondary outcome measure and that's the occurrence of 'severe COVID-19'. Here too it's not necessary to explain that the only outcome measure that matters is: to what extent is a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus able to keep people out of the hospital, to what extent is a vaccine able to prevent admission to intensive care and to what extent is the vaccine able to prevent people from dying from the infection? Those are the most important outcome measures, that's what it's all about. I will come back to this later.
Who were allowed to participate in the study?The next step is of course to look at the features and characteristics of the people who were included in the study. Firstly, the age of the participants. Almost 58% of the participants in this study on the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine were between the ages of 16 and 55. It's this age group, almost 2/3 of the participants in this study, who have little to fear from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and a vaccine is therefore of little value to them. One may even wonder, with what is now known about the Infection Fatality Rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, broken down by age, whether it's ethical to include these people in the study. I will come back to that later as well.
This is also evident from the underlying conditions - comorbidity - of the participants in the study.
In total, only one out of five of the people appear to have an underlying condition, and for the various individual underlying conditions, the percentage of people suffering from them is often less than 1%.How different is this for people who become seriously ill and die from COVID-19. The table below is from a study on comorbidity in fatal cases of COVID-19.
The table shows that 9 out of 10 people have an underlying condition that increases the risk of a severe COVID-19 course.https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(20)30637-4/pdfIf people in nursing homes and the elderly are vaccinated, the percentage of people with an underlying condition will be many times higher than among the participants in the study on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. I fear that the comorbidity in this group of people is more along the lines of 80% instead of 20%, and perhaps even higher. The external validity of this study for people in nursing homes and the elderly is therefore strongly limited, because it's precisely these people who didn't participate in the study. And it is precisely these people who fear an infection with SARS-CoV-2 and who have the most to gain from an effective and safe vaccine.
Very recently, an article was published about the age-specific Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here, the IFR of an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is broken down into different age groups. Such research has its traps and pitfalls, but it's the best available data we currently have.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-020-00698-1#Fig4I'll use two graphs from this study that illustrate my statement that the age group between 16 and 55 has very little to fear from the SARS-CoV-2 virus: the highest estimate of the IFR in the 35-54 age group is 0.4%, but most estimates are between 0.1 and 0.2%. For the younger age groups, the IFR is much lower and for children it is even lower than for Influenza.
Every year in the United States, 100-150 children die from Influenza, a massive number in comparison to the single digit deaths from SARS-CoV-2 virus among children. Even an infection with the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RS virus) causes many times more fatalities among children than the SARS-CoV-2 virus ever will. https://lci.rivm.nl/richtlijnen/rsv-infectie
This means that in this age group, 1 to 2 people in 1000 people would die from an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with people with underlying conditions at the greatest risk. A vaccine must already be highly effective and safe if it's to improve the prognosis of these people.
Moreover, if one looks at the age-specific mortality of a 45-year-old, this is also 1 in 1000, and therefore doesn't deviate much from the statistically expected mortality at this age. It cannot simply be said that this doubles the risk of death, because people can only die once.
It should come as no surprise that an effective vaccine has more (mild) side effects. The immune system is activated, which can best be compared to a symphony orchestra that's starting to play. Many different cells are activated, T cells and B cells, but also many other cells and all these cells produce signal substances called cytokines that lead to flu-like symptoms that can also occur with an infection with the virus itself.
These side effects can be divided into local and systemic side effects. Especially the local side effect of pain was much more common in the group that was vaccinated, about eight times more compared to the group that received the placebo. The systemic side effects of headache and fatigue were twice as frequent in the vaccinated group.
Although these are relatively mild and transient side effects, these differences in the degree of side effects jeopardize the blinding of the study. It's conceivable, and even plausible, that people who experienced many side effects from the injection assume that they received the vaccine, and were therefore less likely to attribute any nonspecific complaints such as headache, muscle pain and coughing to COVID-19 and therefore didn't report these. This is all the more difficult because it's not described which complaints in either group led to the suspicion of COVID-19 and how frequent and serious these complaints were.
If it turns out that the people who had COVID-19 and received the vaccine reported on average many more, and more serious, complaints than the people in the placebo group who were diagnosed with COVID-19, this would be an indication that the vaccinated group didn't interpret the milder complaints as an expression of COVID-19 and therefore didn't report them. In addition, while the researchers were 'blind' to who received the vaccine and who didn't, they were not 'blind' to the registration of side effects, and this may have influenced the decision whether or not to test someone. I also want to mention that the people who administered the vaccines or placebo were not 'blind'. The question is, therefore, to what extent did they interact with the researchers?
As for the side effects themselves, it's entirely justifiable for people to have such mild complaints from a vaccine if it's to prevent a serious and potentially fatal infection. And one may wonder if this is the case. The mortality among the 21,728 people who received the placebo is exactly... zero!
The results of the study:These are the results of the effect of the vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the primary outcome measure as described above. Indeed, the probability of having mild and non-specific complaints in the vaccinated group is 95% lower. However, in my opinion this is an irrelevant outcome measure, of zero value whatsoever. The extent to which a vaccine is able to prevent relatively mild complaints - as are also seen with a mild flu, cold or gastroenteritis - is in my opinion of no value, while the vaccine is approved and authorized on the basis of these data. Ultimately, it concerns 169 people with these complaints in the placebo group and 9 people in the vaccinated group. "Confirmed COVID-19 was defined according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria as the presence of at least one of the following symptoms: fever, new or increased cough, new or increased shortness of breath, chills, new or increased muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, diarrhea, or vomiting, combined with a respiratory specimen [i.e. a positive result from the RT-PCR] obtained during the symptomatic period or within 4 days before or after" Please note! Let me say it again, just one of these non-specific complaints, as mentioned above, was enough to give the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19.
Of course I would like to know to what extent the vaccine is able to prevent 'severe COVID-19'. Unfortunately, that's not mentioned in the article and I have to look for it in the supplement of the article. If you look at 7 days from the 2nd dose of the vaccine, it appears that there were four cases of severe COVID-19 in the placebo group and one in the vaccinated group.
Now there is a number called the '
Number Needed to Vaccinate', and while this is understood to be different concepts in the literature, it's illustrative to show here how many people must be vaccinated to prevent one case of 'severe COVID-19'. That's 19,965/(4-1) = 6555 people. Of course, this
Number Needed to Vaccinate will drop as more people get sick, and what's more, these numbers are nothing more than statistical noise.
An important point, however, is that we don't know how many people in the placebo group actually had an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. What could easily have been carried out as a parallel study is mapping how many people in the placebo group developed antibodies in order to estimate how many people actually had an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the period of the study, to determine which proportion of people were still 'at risk' of getting the infection. However, this has not been done, and in my opinion this is a major shortcoming of this study. It's easy to understand from the perspective of the producer, who wants to sell as many vaccines as possible. It's not in his interest to show that a large proportion of people no longer need their vaccine because they have already been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Furthermore, I find it extremely striking that the authors dare to state on the basis of these figures that the 'theoretical' probability of 'vaccine-mediated disease enhancement' is negligible. With such a low frequency of the disease, this is a very premature conclusion, since it's a rare phenomenon.
The safety of the vaccine:
What do the authors write about the safety of the vaccine? They say there's a 83% probability of discovering a relevant side effect if the side effect in question occurs more often than in 1 in 10,000 vaccinees (0.01%). This also automatically means that there is a 17% probability that such an adverse side effect will not be detected at this frequency of occurrence. Rarer side effects, or side effects that only occur at a later stage, cannot of course be found with this research.
What I find particularly disturbing, and I don't understand why the editors of the NEJM approved this, is that the authors of the article argue that it would be (ethically) unjustified to assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in the context of continuing the double blind study. This implies that they intended to also vaccinate the placebo group.
Doing this will definitely eradicate the possibility to attribute any serious side effects to the vaccine with certainty. This directly serves the interest of the vaccine producer in the context of any liability, even if this liability has been deposited with the national authorities.In addition, I wonder why one should break the blinding and why it wouldn't be ethical to continue the study in its original setup, since the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR)
of the study participants is very low, and the question remains whether the vaccine will benefit them. That's precisely the research question of the study in the long term.What I wonder above all is why Pfizer/BioNTech apparently thinks it's ethical to vaccinate children under the age of 12 years in a research context against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an infection that doesn't make, or barely makes, children sick. Plus, the probability that they can die from it is virtually zero. The probability that children will die from an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is in all likelihood lower than the probability of dying from an infection with the Influenza virus.
I am therefore downright baffled that at such an extremely low Infection Fatality Rate in these age groups, Pfizer/BioNTech apparently received permission from the various authorities to vaccinate children in a research context with an experimental vaccine that, as mentioned, has not been used before.
The authors go too far again in the discussion, and I fear this sentence comes directly from Pfizer/BioNTech's PR department, stating the following: "The rigorous demonstration of safety and efficacy less than 11 months later... "
However, nothing 'rigorous' has been demonstrated yet, the results are no more than an indication, the final results will take years to come.
What is the end conclusion?
Here are the pertinent questions that a proper study into the efficacy and safety of a vaccine should answer: What is the effect of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the number of hospital admissions, the number of intensive care admissions and mortality? What is the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine, in this case a period longer than two months? What is the long-term safety of the vaccine, in this case a period longer than two months? What do we know about rarer but possibly serious side effects, such as autoimmune disorders, which can also occur in the longer term and for which this research didn't have the required duration and power? Is the vaccine able to break the chain of transmission, that is, prevent the transmission of the virus from one person to another? The fact is, we don't know the answers to these questions. To answer these questions, more and longer scientific research is needed, preferably carried out by researchers who are not paid by the producer.
What is now being rolled out is a massive vaccine experiment unlike anything seen before, with only minimal data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine used. It's quite possible that in a few years time it will be concluded that this new mRNA technique has led to a safe and effective vaccine, but such a conclusion now is extremely premature and extremely risky. It would not be the first time that major accidents have occurred as a result of haste and carelessness, as was recently rightly pointed out in an editorial in JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766651
Also, the fact that the Pandemrix vaccine against the swine flu, which was promoted by Ab Osterhaus (among others) as a 'killer virus', was on closer inspection discovered to be one of the most benign influenza viruses ever, should warn us against great haste and alarming carelessness. But apparently politicians, administrators, many academics - and yes, many doctors too - are deaf and blind to the lessons history should have taught them.
Finally, I would like to suggest that the highly educated ladies and gentlemen - legal scholars, ethicists and philosophers, people such as Roland Pierik, Marcel Verweij, Gert van Dijk, Brigit Toebes and Martin Buijsen - first thoroughly immerse themselves in the matter before they try to forcibly push the vaccine into the arms of the Dutch people, like true vaccine-fascists. The uncritical propaganda for a vaccine that has not yet remotely proven its value, effectiveness and safety is extremely detrimental to the use of other vaccines that have proven their safety and efficacy and actually plays into the hands of the very people who categorically reject any form of vaccination.
Translated by Sott.netJan B. Hommel is a Dutch neurologist. His blog can be found here.
Virologists Report Poor Man's Amino Acid Cure for Covid-19 Would Abolish Need for Vaccines - LewRockwell
Move over hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, two widely extolled prescription medicines used to treat COVID-19 viral infections. A natural cure for COVID-19 that is widely available and affordable for even the poorest of people on the planet has been confirmed by a team of virologists who have spent a lifetime studying the underlying causes of viral infections.
Backed by decades of research and safety data for herpes-family viruses, U.S.-based researchers at Bio-Virus Research Inc, Reno, Nevada, report on the successful treatment of the first 30 frontline doctors and nurses and a thousand-plus patients given the amino acid lysine to prevent and even abolish COVID-19 coronavirus infections at a clinic in the Dominican Republic. Astonishingly, symptoms of COVID-19 are reported to have dissipated within hours of this natural treatment.
The medical staff at a clinic in the Dominican Republic was coming down with two cases of coronavirus per month before lysine therapy was instituted. Best Naturals L-Lysine... Buy New $9.65 ($0.04 / Count) (as of 02:45 EST - Details )
The virologists, Drs. Christopher Kagan, Bo Karlicki and Alexander Chaihorsky, strongly suggested the front-line healthcare workers embark on a daily regimen of lysine therapy due to daily exposure to the virus. Their ground-breaking report is published online at ResearchGate.net.
Lysine therapy interrupts the replication of viruses, including COVID-19 coronavirus, by countering arginine, an amino acid that fosters the eruption of dormant viruses. Lysine has been safely used for decades to quell herpes virus outbreaks that cause cold sores on the lips (herpes labialis), a treatment pioneered by one of the Bio-Virus Research team members in 1974.
Lysine is available in foods and in concentrated form in inexpensive dietary supplements (250 500-milligram lysine tablets can be purchased for under $5 US or 2-cents per tablet), making affordable lysine therapy possible.
Lysine/arginine imbalance would explain why patients who have been infected with COVID-19 have recurrent infections, even after vaccination.
Lysine Rx in Dominican Republic
The daily therapeutic supplement regimen for the medical staff in the Dominican Republic consisted of 2000 milligrams of lysine capsules along with restricted dietary consumption of arginine-rich foods such as nuts, chocolate, orange juice, pumpkin, sesame seeds, wheat germ.
The Bio-Virus Research team found doses of supplemental lysine up to 4000 milligrams to be safe and effective.
Foods that have a high ratio of lysine over arginine such as eggs, tofu, fish (not raw), sardines, cheese, meats such as pork, poultry and red meat, and yogurt) provide a high ratio of lysine over arginine, thus blocking replication of all coronaviruses including COVID-19.
According to the virologists who were interviewed by this reporter, over 1000 patients have now been successfully treated with surprisingly rapid dissolution of symptoms and return to health. Even severely infected COVID-19 patients have been able to come off the ventilator with lysine therapy, say doctors.
Third-party validation for lysine therapy
Writing in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases another research team based in New York and Texas reports that arginine depletion is a strategy to quell both coronaviruses and other herpes family viruses.
In 2016 researchers documented that lysine impairs the growth of coronaviruses in a lab dish.
The Bio-Virus Research team are not loners nor out on a scientific limb. A report, published in the Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals, is what prompted to the current discovery that was put into clinical practice in the Dominican Republic. The science was in place prior to the announcement a mutated coronavirus was sweeping the globe which no one had immunity towards.
The Recommended Daily dietary intake of lysine is 2660 milligrams for a 154-lb (70 kilogram) adult; 3640 milligrams during pregnancy.
Vitamin D by Natureu20... Buy New $11.22 ($0.03 / Count) (as of 03:50 EST - Details ) Dietary intake of lysine in western populations ranges from 40-180 milligrams per day per kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of body weight, or 2800-12,600 milligrams for a 154 lb. (70 kilogram) adult.
It is the balance of arginine to lysine that controls the eruption of dormant viruses in the body. The average intake of arginine is estimated to be 4000-6000 milligrams per day.
Other health benefits
Supplemental lysine also has other health benefits. Lysine increases absorption of calcium, relieves bouts of anxiety, promotes wound healing, and is helpful for other conditions. Cholesterol is deposited in binding sites within coronary arteries. When lysine (and vitamin C) occupy those binding sites, cholesterol is not deposited in arteries.
Prevalence of herpes viral infections
Worldwide many billions of people harbor dormant herpes viruses that erupt into disease from time to time. In 2016 an estimated 3.7 billion people had herpes simplex virus infection'' around 66.6% of the world's population aged 0 to 49.
Availability of lysine
Lysine is largely produced by the tons for animal feedstuffs. Roughly 2,200,000 tons of lysine are produced annually. There is no shortage.
Billions may benefit
The most frequent medical application of lysine therapy has been the quelling of active herpes infections (on skin, lips, etc.), and eradication of Epstein-Barr infection, Bell's palsy, etc. Solgar L-Lysine 500 mg... Buy New $22.34 ($0.09 / Count) (as of 02:45 EST - Details )
Researchers bemoan the fact that lysine therapy hasn't become a mainstay in the treatment of herpes infections that affect ~80% of the world's population over expensive and problematic anti-viral drugs because it doesn't generate sufficient profit to attract funding for human clinical trials. Lysine is superior to various anti-viral drugs.
If lysine lives up to its promise as a universal COVID-19 antidote for therapeutic and preventive use, unless billionaire Bill Gates buys up and mothballs all the lysine production plants in the world like he has bought off agricultural land, and bought off news media, vaccine makers and politicians, the need for vaccines will become a moot and meaningless practice for COVID-19.
Because of the long-term safety record of this dietary amino acid, the public can take lysine as a non-prescription preventive ''medicine.''
Epidemiologists baffled by low rate of coronavirus infections in India
Despite its large population and poor sanitation, disease trackers are baffled by India's low rate of coronavirus infections. Maybe it is India's lysine-rich diet of yogurt, lamb, chicken, fish curry that protects its population from viral disease. The striking difference in the country-to-country prevalence of Herpes Simplex-2 infections (only 9.6% in South East Asian countries and 10.7% in Europe vs. 24.0% in the Americas and 43.9% in Africa) could be explained by the lysine/arginine ratio in native diets.
Treat the severely ill; skip the problematic vaccines
Solgar L-Lysine 1000 m... Buy New $22.25 ($0.09 / Count) (as of 02:45 EST - Details ) Vaccination is not fool proof. Vaccinated patients are testing positive for COVID-19. Doctors can choose to treat the 3 in 10,000 COVID-19 severely infected patients who are at risk for a mortal outcome with lysine rather than needlessly vaccinate billions of people. Mass vaccination would not be needed, nor would lockdowns, quarantines and questionable mass face mask use be required. The pandemic would be rapidly extinguished by a public information campaign regarding lysine-rich foods and dietary supplements. The public can take action on its own today without adverse consequences. Literally, trillions of dollars would be saved worldwide. If not for COVID-19, at least for herpes infections.
The shame is on the World Health Organization with a budget of $8.482 billion or the Centers For Disease Control with a budget of $7.875 billion that overlook safe and economical cures like lysine. This report serves as evidence the world is being gamed to plunder the masses of their health and wealth. The people of the world need to stop heeding advice from public health officials and practice preventive medicine on their own volition.
There is additional evidence that lysine also halts the growth of influenza and coxsackie viruses.
Researchers at Bio-Virus Research Inc. are searching for research funds to further document the benefits of lysine therapy. Contact Bio-Virus Research Inc.
Ultra-Cold Freezer Makers To Profit From Covid-19 Vaccine Rush
WALTHAM, MA - AUGUST 26: CEO Marc Casper of Thermo Fisher Scientific is pictured at the company's ... [+] new corporate headquarters on a bluff overlooking Route 128 in Waltham, MA on Aug. 26, 2016. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston Globe via Getty ImagesLost in all the excitement about the Covid-19 vaccine candidates seeking emergency FDA approval is a gigantic logistical challenge '-- the lack of a cold chain to distribute the vaccine from where it is made to where it's injected.
A critical part of solving this logistical challenge is making enough ultra-cold freezers to keep the vaccine at below zero temperatures during that journey.
This creates investment opportunities for public and private-equity investors.
Public-equity investors should take a look at the publicly-traded makers of these ultra-cold freezers '-- including Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO and Avantor. They should also consider logistics companies that provide temperature controlled shipments '-- such as Cryoport, McKesson and UPS.
Since none of these are pure play maker of ultra-cold freezers, perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of demand for ultra-cold freezers will be the privately held freezer makers '-- such as Helmer Scientific, Stirling Ultracold, PHC, and So-Lo.
However, these companies are likely constrained in meeting the demand by a lack of capital. Perhaps private equity firms should be circling these companies to provide them the capital they need to scale operations to meet the spike in demand.
Covid-19 Vaccine Must Be Shipped Below-Zero Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer PFE are highly effective '-- 94.5% and 95%, respectively, according to the New York Times NYT .
Both vaccines must be kept cold. As I wrote November 16, The Pfizer vaccine must be stored and transported at minus 94 Fahrenheit; whereas the temperature of Moderna's vaccine is a relatively balmy minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moderna's vaccine also has a longer shelf life. Moderna's is 30 days (versus seven which they previously thought). And the Moderna vaccine can last 12 hours at room temperature. Pfizer's vaccine has a shorter shelf life '-- after it's thawed, it can be stored refrigerated for up to five days.
$2.1 Billion Ultra-Cold Freezer MarketAn ultra-cold freezer is essential for keeping the vaccine that cold while it travels from the factory to where it is injected into people.
The global ultra-low temperature freezers market is expected to grow at a 5.67% compound annual rate from $1.4 billion to about $2.1 billion in 2027, according to July 2020 Market Research Future report.
The report notes that demand has increased because of the need to store temperature-sensitive biological products storage. New opportunities have been opened up due to the ''presence of major healthcare manufacturers, R&D facilities, and rising healthcare spending,'' noted the report.
I am guessing that scramble for ultra-cold freezers to transport Covid-19 vaccine will accelerate that demand will above 5.67%.
While vaccine effectiveness and safety are the most critical considerations for officials trying to manage the vaccination process, sufficient supply and distribution logistics become top concerns once those first two tests are passed.
Biotech company Inovio's CEO Joseph Kim told listeners to a November 9 conference call, ''If you're trying to deliver a vaccine ... that requires deep 'cold chain' like minus 70 or minus 80 Celsius, you are not going to be able to do that in most of the regions and most of the countries outside the U.S. And even the U.S., it is going to be a significant heavy lift to distribute those vaccines,'' reported ctpost.
Should You Invest in Thermo Fisher Or Avantor?Publicly-traded companies Thermo Fisher Scientific and Avantor make ultra-cold freezers which range in price from $12,000 to nearly $30,000, noted ctpost.
Neither company is a pure-play '-- they make most of their money from other products. Given the companies' results during the pandemic, I think ThermoFisher has the edge.
ThermoFisher$28.9 billion (last 12 months' sales) Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific sells scientific instruments and laboratory equipment, diagnostics consumables, and life science reagents.
The firm operates through four segments (revenue figures include some cross-segment revenue): analytical technologies (17% of sales); specialty diagnostic products (15%); life science solutions (36%); and lab products and services (40%). ThermoFisher does not report its ultra-freezer revenues.
ThermoFisher '-- whose stock has risen 38% this year to $451 a share as of November 20 '-- is benefiting from the pandemic. DowJones reported that the company expects 20% growth in 2020 revenue to about $30.52 billion and a 48% pop ion adjusted earnings to $18.27 a share for the year
In October, ThermoFisher said it expects 29% organic growth in the quarter ending December 2020 with an expected $1.75 billion in Covid-19 response revenue, noted Dow Jones.
Avantor$6.1 billion (last 12 months' sales) Radnor, Penn.-based Avantor sells materials, consumables, equipment and instrumentation to biopharma, healthcare, education and government, and advanced technologies and applied materials industries.
Its stock has risen about 40% in 2020 to nearly $26 a share, according to Morningstar. Its revenue grew 2% to $4.6 billion in the first nine months of 2020. Sadly, it does not report its ultra-cold storage freezer revenues '-- which are likely a small proportion of its total sales.
Are Cold-Storage Shippers a Better Bet?Three logistics companies say they have what it takes to ship Covid-19 vaccines '-- with some limitations. A McKesson MCK spokesman said ''the wholesaler will ship Covid-19 vaccines requiring refrigeration to minus 20 Celsius,'' according to the Wall Street Journal. That will be cold enough for the Moderna vaccine but not the Pfizer one.
Cryoport, Nashville, Tenn.-based wholesaler, has been providing temperature-controlled shipments for pharma companies since 2018. It already uses technology that can keep livestock animal vaccines at minus 196 degrees for about a month, noted the Journal. Cryoport is exploring whether that technology could be adapted to ship the Covid-19 vaccine.
Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare, told the Journal that United Parcel Service UPS plans ''by October to finish construction of its freezer farms filled with mobile freezer units in Louisville, Ky., and the Netherlands to serve as stopover points during distribution or while awaiting regulatory decisions.''
Those freezers '-- which can hold as many as 48,000 vials each, can be configured to hold a vaccine at between minus 85 and minus 20 degrees Celsius. UPS could handle the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Investing Private Equity in Ultra Cold Freezer MakersIf you happen to run a private equity firm, I wonder whether it would be worth looking into investing in privately-held makers of ultra-cold freezers, according to ctpost, such as PHC Holdings '-- which expects a 50% increase in orders this year, according to Mainichi '-- and Cincinnati, Ohio-based So-Low.
Others include Noblesville, IN-based Helmer Scientific and Athens, Ohio-based Stirling Ultracold are adding to their workforce and expanding capacity, according to the Irish Sun.
Demand for ultra-cold freezers is going to soar over the next year as the world scales up to ship Covid-19 vaccines. Unless you run a private equity firm, buying ThermoFisher shares could be the best '-- though imperfect '-- way to profit from this demand growth.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has registered the first case of a strain of bird flu virus named A(H5N8) being passed to humans from birds and has reported the matter to the World Health Organization (WHO), Anna Popova, head of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said on Saturday.
FILE PHOTO: Chickens await vaccination against bird flu at the settlement Peredovoi 100 km (62 miles) from the Russia's southern city of Stavropol, March 11, 2006. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko/File Photo
Outbreaks of the H5N8 strain have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa in recent months but so far only in poultry. Other strains - H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 - have been known here) to spread to humans.
Russia reported the case of human infection to the WHO ''several days ago, just as we became absolutely certain of our results,'' Popova said on Rossiya 24 state TV. There was no sign yet of transmission between humans, she added.
Seven workers at a poultry plant in Russia's south had been infected with the H5N8 strain in an outbreak at the plant in December, Popova said, adding that the individuals involved felt fine now. ''This situation did not develop further,'' she said.
In an email WHO's European arm said it had been notified by Russia about a case of human infection with H5N8 and acknowledged this would if confirmed be the first time the strain had infected people.
''Preliminary information indicates that the reported cases were workers exposed to bird flocks,'' the email said. ''They were asymptomatic and no onward human to human transmission was reported.
''We are in discussion with national authorities to gather more information and assess the public health impact of this event,'' the email added.
The majority of human bird flu infections have been associated with direct contact with infected live or dead poultry, though properly cooked food is considered to be safe.
Bird flu outbreaks often prompt poultry plants to kill their birds to prevent the virus from spreading, and avoid importing countries having to impose trade restrictions.
The vast majority of cases are spread by migrating wild birds, so producing countries tend to keep their poultry indoors or protected from contact with wildlife.
Siberia's Vector Institute said on Saturday it would start developing human tests and a vaccine against H5N8, RIA news agency reported.
Reporting by Polina Devitt and Gabrielle T(C)trault-Farber; Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Holmes
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Legislative testimony made Wednesday in support of a GOP-backed effort to limit public health orders made by Ohio's governor was removed from YouTube after the service deemed it contained COVID-19 misinformation.The Google-owned platform said it removed content that was uploaded this week to The Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom channel for violating the company's terms of services. The video showed Thomas Renz, an attorney for Ohio Stands Up, a citizen group, make the opening testimony during a House committee hearing on a bill that would allow lawmakers to vote down public health orders during the pandemic. In the more than 30-minute testimony, Renz made a number of debunked or baseless claims, including that no Ohioans under the age of 19 have died from COVID-19 - a claim that has been debunked by state data. ''We have clear Community Guidelines that govern what videos may stay on YouTube, which we enforce consistently, regardless of speaker,'' Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for Google, told The Associated Press. ''We removed this video in accordance with our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that claims a certain age group cannot transmit the virus.''Renz did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Friday.The removal, first reported by Ohio Capital Journal, comes days after the Republican lawmakers in the Senate passed a bill that would establish ''checks and balances'' on fellow GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's ability to issue and keep in place executive action during the coronavirus pandemic. Proponents of the bills in the House and Senate believe DeWine and the state health department have issued orders during the last 11 months of the pandemic that have remained enacted for longer than necessary and, as a result, have unduly damaged small businesses and the state's economy. Opponents called it unconstitutional and warned it would decentralize the state's response during an emergency and cost lives in the process. ''This bill is extremely dangerous. We are in a 100-year pandemic,'' Democratic Sen. Cecil Thomas said Wednesday. ''People are still dying as a result of this particular pandemic. This is not just a state of emergency for our storm or a flood or whatever the case may be. This is a state of emergency, because the virus is killing Ohioans.'' Renz was among several Ohioans who filed a lawsuit in September to overturn emergency health orders made by DeWine and the state department of health in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom members have been frequent guests at the Ohio Statehouse, testifying in support and against a number of COVID-19 related bills, including one accusing the state department of health of ''whitewashing'' virus data. ___Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)2/19/2021 2:39:48 PM (GMT -5:00)
Legislative testimony made Wednesday in support of a GOP-backed effort to limit public health orders made by Ohio's governor was removed from YouTube after the service deemed it contained COVID-19 misinformation.
The Google-owned platform said it removed content that was uploaded this week to The Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom channel for violating the company's terms of services.
The video showed Thomas Renz, an attorney for Ohio Stands Up, a citizen group, make the opening testimony during a House committee hearing on a bill that would allow lawmakers to vote down public health orders during the pandemic.
In the more than 30-minute testimony, Renz made a number of debunked or baseless claims, including that no Ohioans under the age of 19 have died from COVID-19 - a claim that has been debunked by state data.
''We have clear Community Guidelines that govern what videos may stay on YouTube, which we enforce consistently, regardless of speaker,'' Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for Google, told The Associated Press. ''We removed this video in accordance with our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that claims a certain age group cannot transmit the virus.''
Renz did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Friday.
The removal, first reported by Ohio Capital Journal, comes days after the Republican lawmakers in the Senate passed a bill that would establish ''checks and balances'' on fellow GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's ability to issue and keep in place executive action during the coronavirus pandemic.
Proponents of the bills in the House and Senate believe DeWine and the state health department have issued orders during the last 11 months of the pandemic that have remained enacted for longer than necessary and, as a result, have unduly damaged small businesses and the state's economy.
Opponents called it unconstitutional and warned it would decentralize the state's response during an emergency and cost lives in the process.
''This bill is extremely dangerous. We are in a 100-year pandemic,'' Democratic Sen. Cecil Thomas said Wednesday. ''People are still dying as a result of this particular pandemic. This is not just a state of emergency for our storm or a flood or whatever the case may be. This is a state of emergency, because the virus is killing Ohioans.''
Renz was among several Ohioans who filed a lawsuit in September to overturn emergency health orders made by DeWine and the state department of health in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom members have been frequent guests at the Ohio Statehouse, testifying in support and against a number of COVID-19 related bills, including one accusing the state department of health of ''whitewashing'' virus data.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
2/19/2021 2:39:48 PM (GMT -5:00)
35 Capitol Police Officers Under Investigation, 6 Suspended for Letting Protesters inside US Capitol -- The Same Protesters Who Were Later Arrested for Entering US Capitol
Five Capitol Police officers were suspended and 35 more are under investigation after the officers opened the doors and gates and allowed Trump supporters, and other activists, inside the US Capitol on January 6th.
One video from that day shows Capitol Hill police opening a gate to allow hundreds of protesters inside the US Capitol.
Another video shows Capitol Police allowing protesters to walk right in the US Capitol.
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There are several videos like this.
Later 250 Trump supporters and others were arrested for storming the US Capitol '-- after they were allowed inside.
FOX 5 DC reported:
A spokesperson for the U.S. Capitol Police has confirmed to FOX 5 that the Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the actions of 35 police officers on Jan. 6, the day of the riot at the Capitol, and suspended six officers with pay.
The statement from the department reads.
''Our Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the actions of 35 police officers from that day. We currently have suspended six of those officers with pay. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department's Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline.''
Viral videos of some Capitol Police officers raise questions about their actions during the riot.
Some officers are seen standing along a doorway almost motionless as people file into the Capitol.
At least two accused rioters have told the FBI a Capitol Police officer told them, ''It's your house now.''
Lawmakers have stated that one officer suspended took a selfie with someone and another was seen wearing a MAGA hat.
In a video, that officer wearing the hat asks two men if they can help him get through the crowd to help other officers inside the Capitol.
The officer hands one of the men his megaphone and says, ''I'll follow you.'' The video was taken by Rico La Starza who says he was visiting D.C. and went to the Capitol and started filming when he saw what was happening'...
'...More than 250 people have been charged so far in connection with the riot, and investigators say they're still looking potentially for hundreds more.
Featured image via @NicXTempore / Twitter
Gov. DeSantis offers new details in plan to take on Big Tech
TALLAHASSEE, Fla '' Gov. Ron DeSantis provided new details Monday on legislation filed in the Florida House of Representatives aimed at Big Tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.
The bill is called the Florida Information Protection Act, or House Bill 969.
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The governor was joined by two GOP state lawmakers, Republican House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Republican state Rep. Fiona McFarland, at the Capitol in Tallahassee to discuss the bill, which will be considered in the 2021 legislative session. The session begins March 2.
''Big Tech platforms have created a surveillance economy, which enriches those platforms by free-riding on consumer data,'' DeSantis said. ''Worse, Big Tech platforms have made privacy an illusion. The truth is Floridians' most intimate information is collected analyzed and sold to the highest bidder.''
DeSantis promised the proposed bill would give Floridians more control over their data.
''The financial success of these big platforms, who are collecting and selling your personal information, has been built on their ability to do so without you realizing it, and effectively without your informed consent,'' DeSantis said.
The bill would force tech companies to explain, in detail, to consumers exactly what information is being collected and ultimately give those consumers power over whether that information can be sold or even collected in the first place, according to the governor.
''In Florida, we're gonna make sure consumers are in the driver's seat to make that decision, not Silicon Valley or other global companies who are far more focused on their profits than on your privacy,'' DeSantis said.
Sprowls added that the bill covers more businesses than just tech giants.
''It covers businesses with a global gross annual revenue over $25 million that buys, receives or sells information on 50,000 or more customers, households or devices or derives more than 50% of their global annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information,'' he said.
McFarland is the representative who filed the bill, calling it a ''critical piece of legislation.''
''In our society, the amount of power that we have handed over to companies through the use of our data has resulted in an erosion of our right to privacy and an erosion of our ownership over our own identity,'' the state representative said.
McFarland elaborated further that the bill, if passed, would ultimately give consumers the right to sue tech companies in the event of a data breach.
''Florida will reestablish our right to privacy and over our own personal information,'' McFarland said.
DeSantis first announced his plans to roll out this legislation nearly two weeks ago, on Feb. 2. At the time, he also decried tech companies for ''neutering'' political candidates' access to voters, saying that tech companies were only ''de-platforming'' Republican politicians. However, the governor and his fellow GOP lawmakers were more focused on data privacy during Monday's briefing and largely did not discuss his previous claims of censorship.
When asked whether Florida had the power to regulate such large companies, which reach well beyond the state, the governor asserted that the state did have such authority.
''Well, they operate in the state of Florida,'' DeSantis said. ''Consumer protections take different forms in different states, and that's been true with a bunch of different aspects of the economy.''
News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer says it is a complicated proposal.
''States do have an ability to regulate all companies that do business within states,'' Kramer said. ''But it's limited when you're talking about internet companies because we have this rule, the section 230. Section 230 is part of the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act, which, in some cases provides websites, including social media companies, immunity.''
Kramer says it's unclear how much states can regulate such global companies when there is already federal law.
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Back in November I made brief mention of the case of Jodi Shaw, a student life coordinator at Smith College, the fancy women's college in Massachusetts that counts among its alumna Nancy Reagan. Shaw, a Smith graduate herself who is a self-described liberal, got in trouble with the Smith College administration when she went public on YouTube with complaints about the blatantly racist so-called ''anti-racism'' programs and campus atmosphere that have been institutionalized at most colleges in recent months and years (see below).
For this the president of Smith College, Kathleen McCartney, sent out a campus-wide note denouncing Shaw, and openly lamenting that labor laws prevented her (McCartney) from disciplining or firing Shaw for her wrongthink.
Apparently Smith was determined to force out Shaw, though, and offered her a financial settlement to leave that I am guessing included a non-disparagement clause, because Shaw turned it down, and has resigned instead, releasing the following letter that she allowed Bari Weiss to reprint, and we are happy to do so as well:
Dear President McCartney:
I am writing to notify you that effective today, I am resigning from my position as Student Support Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life at Smith College. This has not been an easy decision, as I now face a deeply uncertain future. As a divorced mother of two, the economic uncertainty brought about by this resignation will impact my children as well. But I have no choice. The racially hostile environment that the college has subjected me to for the past two and a half years has left me physically and mentally debilitated. I can no longer work in this environment, nor can I remain silent about a matter so central to basic human dignity and freedom.
I graduated from Smith College in 1993. Those four years were among the best in my life. Naturally, I was over the moon when, years later, I had the opportunity to join Smith as a staff member. I loved my job and I loved being back at Smith.
But the climate '-- and my place at the college '-- changed dramatically when, in July 2018, the culture war arrived at our campus when a student accused a white staff member of calling campus security on her because of racial bias. The student, who is black, shared her account of this incident widely on social media, drawing a lot of attention to the college.
Before even investigating the facts of the incident, the college immediately issued a public apology to the student, placed the employee on leave, and announced its intention to create new initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings, and policies aimed at combating ''systemic racism'' on campus.
In spite of an independent investigation into the incident that found no evidence of racial bias, the college ramped up its initiatives aimed at dismantling the supposed racism that pervades the campus. This only served to support the now prevailing narrative that the incident had been racially motivated and that Smith staff are racist.
Allowing this narrative to dominate has had a profound impact on the Smith community and on me personally. For example, in August 2018, just days before I was to present a library orientation program into which I had poured a tremendous amount of time and effort, and which had previously been approved by my supervisors, I was told that I could not proceed with the planned program. Because it was going to be done in rap form and ''because you are white,'' as my supervisor told me, that could be viewed as ''cultural appropriation.'' My supervisor made clear he did not object to a rap in general, nor to the idea of using music to convey orientation information to students. The problem was my skin color.
I was up for a full-time position in the library at that time, and I was essentially informed that my candidacy for that position was dependent upon my ability, in a matter of days, to reinvent a program to which I had devoted months of time.
Humiliated, and knowing my candidacy for the full-time position was now dead in the water, I moved into my current, lower-paying position as Student Support Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life.
As it turned out, my experience in the library was just the beginning. In my new position, I was told on multiple occasions that discussing my personal thoughts and feelings about my skin color is a requirement of my job. I endured racially hostile comments, and was expected to participate in racially prejudicial behavior as a continued condition of my employment. I endured meetings in which another staff member violently banged his fist on the table, chanting ''Rich, white women! Rich, white women!'' in reference to Smith alumnae. I listened to my supervisor openly name preferred racial quotas for job openings in our department. I was given supplemental literature in which the world's population was reduced to two categories '-- ''dominant group members'' and ''subordinated group members'' '-- based solely on characteristics like race.
Every day, I watch my colleagues manage student conflict through the lens of race, projecting rigid assumptions and stereotypes on students, thereby reducing them to the color of their skin. I am asked to do the same, as well as to support a curriculum for students that teaches them to project those same stereotypes and assumptions onto themselves and others. I believe such a curriculum is dehumanizing, prevents authentic connection, and undermines the moral agency of young people who are just beginning to find their way in the world.
Although I have spoken to many staff and faculty at the college who are deeply troubled by all of this, they are too terrified to speak out about it. This illustrates the deeply hostile and fearful culture that pervades Smith College.
The last straw came in January 2020, when I attended a mandatory Residence Life staff retreat focused on racial issues. The hired facilitators asked each member of the department to respond to various personal questions about race and racial identity. When it was my turn to respond, I said ''I don't feel comfortable talking about that.'' I was the only person in the room to abstain.
Later, the facilitators told everyone present that a white person's discomfort at discussing their race is a symptom of ''white fragility.'' They said that the white person may seem like they are in distress, but that it is actually a ''power play.'' In other words, because I am white, my genuine discomfort was framed as an act of aggression. I was shamed and humiliated in front of all of my colleagues.
I filed an internal complaint about the hostile environment, but throughout that process, over the course of almost six months, I felt like my complaint was taken less seriously because of my race. I was told that the civil rights law protections were not created to help people like me. And after I filed my complaint, I started to experience retaliatory behavior, like having important aspects of my job taken away without explanation.
Under the guise of racial progress, Smith College has created a racially hostile environment in which individual acts of discrimination and hostility flourish. In this environment, people's worth as human beings, and the degree to which they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, is determined by the color of their skin. It is an environment in which dissenting from the new critical race orthodoxy '-- or even failing to swear fealty to it like some kind of McCarthy-era loyalty oath '-- is grounds for public humiliation and professional retaliation.
I can no longer continue to work in an environment where I am constantly subjected to additional scrutiny because of my skin color. I can no longer work in an environment where I am told, publicly, that my personal feelings of discomfort under such scrutiny are not legitimate but instead are a manifestation of white supremacy. Perhaps most importantly, I can no longer work in an environment where I am expected to apply similar race-based stereotypes and assumptions to others, and where I am told '-- when I complain about having to engage in what I believe to be discriminatory practices '-- that there are ''legitimate reasons for asking employees to consider race'' in order to achieve the college's ''social justice objectives.''
What passes for ''progressive'' today at Smith and at so many other institutions is regressive. It taps into humanity's worst instincts to break down into warring factions, and I fear this is rapidly leading us to a very twisted place. It terrifies me that others don't seem to see that racial segregation and demonization are wrong and dangerous no matter what its victims look like. Being told that any disagreement or feelings of discomfort somehow upholds ''white supremacy'' is not just morally wrong. It is psychologically abusive.
Equally troubling are the many others who understand and know full well how damaging this is, but do not speak out due to fear of professional retaliation, social censure, and loss of their livelihood and reputation. I fear that by the time people see it, or those who see it manage to screw up the moral courage to speak out, it will be too late.
I wanted to change things at Smith. I hoped that by bringing an internal complaint, I could somehow get the administration to see that their capitulation to critical race orthodoxy was causing real, measurable harm. When that failed, I hoped that drawing public attention to these problems at Smith would finally awaken the administration to this reality. I have come to conclude, however, that the college is so deeply committed to this toxic ideology that the only way for me to escape the racially hostile climate is to resign. It is completely unacceptable that we are now living in a culture in which one must choose between remaining in a racially hostile, psychologically abusive environment or giving up their income.
As a proud Smith alum, I know what a critical role this institution has played in shaping my life and the lives of so many women for one hundred and fifty years. I want to see this institution be the force for good I know it can be. I will not give up fighting against the dangerous pall of orthodoxy that has descended over Smith and so many of our educational institutions.
This was an extremely difficult decision for me and comes at a deep personal cost. I make $45,000 a year; less than a year's tuition for a Smith student. I was offered a settlement in exchange for my silence, but I turned it down. My need to tell the truth '-- and to be the kind of woman Smith taught me to be '-- makes it impossible for me to accept financial security at the expense of remaining silent about something I know is wrong. My children's future, and indeed, our collective future as a free nation, depends on people having the courage to stand up to this dangerous and divisive ideology, no matter the cost.
Shaw has set up a GoFundMe page, for those inclined to help her cause. If you're an alum of Smith College, I think a sharp letter or Tweet to their disgrace of a president, Kathleen McCartney, is in order, though I doubt it will do any good.
Needless to say, if you have a college-bound daughter, scratch Smith College from your list of places to consider. Sadly that list grows longer every day. (P.S. Sooner or later, someone is going to bring a successful hostile work environmental lawsuit against one of these race-mongering institutions.)
Scripting News: Trump supporters after the insurrection
A recital of some facts. # The US is great at elections. We have been running them since inception, longer than any other country in the world. We are the gold standard in elections. # Our elections are not perfect, but their imperfections heavily favor Republicans. # The 2020 election was a standard US presidential election. # It was secure, fair and not in any way rigged. # Joe Biden won the election, in terms of votes, and in the Electoral College. # On January 6, Trump supporters attacked the US Congress, and came close to overthrowing the elected government of the United States. This was and still is shocking. We have not fully processed yet what happened on January 6. # Whether you think Trump caused it or not doesn't matter for this question. Trump supporters did it, in his name. It seems impossible for one to support Trump at this point, and not also support and accept the insurrection. If you self-proclaim as a Trump supporter, you also support the overthrow of the elected government of the United States by force. Sorry if this is news to you but you are not a patriot, you are a traitor. # Before the insurrection you could possibly shrug off our "differences" but now your friends who are Trump supporters are no longer willing to accept the result of a fair election, and their response to the fair election is to try to overthrow the government. You can't accept this. Even if they are family members. You have to turn your back on them. # I thought Julian Castro said it brilliantly at the impeachment trial. Asked if he was concerned about Trump winning in 2024, he said no -- he was afraid of Trump losing. He's afraid of a repeat of what happened on January 6. He's right to be afraid. # Trump supporters live in an incompatible alternate country. The two cannot co-exist. We have to defeat them. It's not just about the people who crashed the Capitol, it's about the people who accept that. No excuses, not interested in discussing. We do not co-exist. #
Racist History Class Quiz
Hey Adam. I'm an older millennial finishing up my engineering degree. I'm required to take an American History propaganda class and this was one of the questions on today's quiz:
How did most whites in the 1820's view Indians?
A. As being in touch with nature.
B. As slaves.
C. As savages.
D. As shamans.
The 'correct' answer was "savages". I answered "being in touch with nature". What did they do, take a poll??
"Indians" was capitalized but "whites" (meaningless term) isn't meant to be for some reason.
Thank you for the twice-weekly dose of sanity!
'Reply All' Co-Host, Senior Reporter Step Away From Show Amid Past "Toxic" Workplace Allegations | Hollywood Reporter
P.J. Vogt and Sruthi Pinnamaneni had recently released an ambitious four-part miniseries about Bon Appetit.Reply All host P.J. Vogt and producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni are stepping away from the popular Gimlet podcast following allegations that they previously contributed to a toxic workplace environment at the Spotify-owned studio.
The allegations surfaced after Vogt and Pinnamaneni released the second installment in an ambitious four-part Reply All miniseries about food magazine Bon App(C)tit, which came under fire last summer for fostering an unhealthy workplace where journalists of color were often paid less than their white counterparts.
Eric Eddings, who previously co-hosted Gimlet show The Nod, tweeted on Feb. 16 that "PJ and Sruthi contributed to a near identical toxic dynamic at Gimlet" as the one they were reporting about at Bon Appetit. "The BA staffers' stories deserve to be told, but to me it's damaging to have that reporting and storytelling come from two people who have actively and aggressively worked against multiple efforts to diversify Gimlet's staff & content," he continued in the multi-tweet thread, which detailed ways that members of the Reply All team actively worked against Gimlet's pre-acquisition unionization effort in late 2018.
Pinnamaneni, whom the Gimlet website lists as a senior reporter for Reply All, was the lead reporter and host on the miniseries, dubbed "The Test Kitchen" in reference to the YouTube videos that put many Bon App(C)tit employees in the spotlight.
She tweeted an apology to her current and former Gimlet colleagues Feb. 17, acknowledging, "My conduct around the diversity and union organization efforts at Gimlet was ill-informed, ignorant, and hurtful."
Vogt shared his own apology on Twitter. "I deeply failed as an ally during the unionization era at Gimlet," he wrote, continuing that he had asked the team for permission to step away from Reply All "to take some time to think and to listen."
In a letter to staff that was shared with The Hollywood Reporter, Gimlet managing director Lydia Polgreen said that "The Test Kitchen" was meant to be Pinnamaneni's last with Reply All before she moved on to other projects within the studio. She also confirmed that Vogt would take a leave of absence from the show.
"I want to begin by acknowledging the complicated and emotional nature of what has unfolded on social media and in conversations over the last 24 hours," Polgreen wrote. "I have had direct discussions with those involved and many others of you who are feeling the impact of this, and I plan to continue these in the days and weeks ahead.
Polgreen, a former editor-in-chief of HuffPost whom Spotify tapped to lead Gimlet in spring 2020, continued, "From the moment I arrived at Gimlet, it was clear that our culture needed work, and that there were big things that needed to change to make this a better, more equitable place. We have spent a lot of time working to make those changes in partnership with many of you. These events are a reminder of how much work remains."
She also wrote that she would discuss plans for the remaining episodes of "The Test Kitchen" with the Reply All team.
Gimlet was acquired by Spotify in February 2019, the first in several podcast purchases as the music streamer looked to diversify its offering. The studio, founded by former public radio journalist Alex Blumberg and consultant Matt Lieber, is known for putting out highly produced audio projects, including scripted series Homecoming and Wall Street Journal daily news podcast The Journal.
In her memo to staff, Polgreen acknowledged the company's current collective bargaining process with the Gimlet Union. "We sit across the table from each other and negotiate. But I know that the people who organized the union are motivated by a desire to make Gimlet better," she wrote. "We may disagree about the specifics of how to achieve that goal, but we are united in wanting to make Gimlet the best place for the most ambitious creators of audio to work. I believe that thanks to hard work on both sides we have made a lot of progress."
Nick Quah, the editor of podcast industry newsletter Hot Pod, was first to report on Vogt and Pinnamaneni's departures from Reply All.
Over the last five years, the pathology of Trump Derangement Syndrome has been widely described. It was more than a chronic disease and was often characterized by an array of rapidly advancing symptoms of deterioration in reasoning, emotional stability, and personal ethics.
More practically, often the deranged Trump hater found in his odium a cover for all sorts of prior personal intemperance and careerist dissipation. Loudly hating Trump became a passport for excess, private and public, and a sort of preemptive insurance that excused or rather greenlighted smears, slander, and personal misdeeds.
The Anti-Lincoln Project For over a year, the theme of the NeverTrump Lincoln Project was the organizers' professed superior morality. They had it; most others on the Right did not. Only a select heroic few of the Republican Party would dare to break ranks to end the danger to the country posed by a supposedly morally inferior Donald Trump.
Forget Trump's economic, domestic, cultural, and foreign policy record that had belied critics by its successes'--despite historic opposition, investigation, denigration, and obstruction. No matter. Character was king. Again, the Lincoln Project had it; Trump followers did not.
The Lincoln Project's Band of Brothers'--initially four financially strapped, embittered middle-aged white male Washington insiders'--lectured the country that those few, those happy few, that band of brothers would fight for us. If only they were adequately funded, they could save us from the moral turpitude of four more years of Trump.
Their ostensible promise to the Left was that they would hold down their end of the bargain by maintaining the 10-12 percent of Republicans who did not vote for Trump in 2016. In truth, they may have had nothing to do with preserving a bare six percent of Republicans who would again vote against Trump. That was a modest aim, but apparently, every bit of Trump derangement was fundable. Or as the departing, now mansion-buying Steve Schmidt put it , ''I really didn't give a sh-t how many Republicans were voting for Trump or not.''
If one were to believe all the sermonizing of these latter-day Elmer Gantrys, then their inherent paradoxes, hypocrisies, and selfish agendas might magically disappear.
For example, it was quickly evident that the Lincoln Project luminaries were not just fixated on destroying Trump and derailing the most conservative presidential agenda since Ronald Reagan's, but also on refuting their own supposedly lifelong commitment to conservative causes by abetting the Biden campaign and the hard-Left interests that drove it.
When Republicans hired them, they were conservative; when they did not, these buskins were liberal. To ensure their own continued largess, they were not just to be Romneyite rejectionists, not just Bidenites, but abettors of the neo-socialist cause of Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and the squad.
Money was the prime impetus to the project. Again, we were supposed to forget that some of the Lincoln Project luminaries were flat broke. Who cared that others owed huge sums in back taxes, with no apparent way of repayment'--given their own reputations for failed campaigns and expensive, but otherwise mediocre consultancy?
Almost all were eager to set up shadow service companies to siphon off the expected huge sums from rich leftists. The project's directors eagerly assumed their roles of useful idiocy, their donors that of cynical manipulators. Both conspired to destroy their shared bogeyman, Donald Trump, and with him all obstacles to the new hard progressive future.
Before November 3, the media was not so much interested in the backgrounds or details of these handy moral preeners. Then suddenly Trump lost the election. Biden was inaugurated. And, again mysteriously, a recalibrated media found the grifters of the Lincoln Project expendable, although not so idiotic'--given that they had diverted millions of dollars into their own private coffers in the form of ''consulting fees.''
After November 3, we also learned that co-founder John Weaver was a sexual bird of prey . He had leveraged his newfound Lincoln largess and influence as quid pro quos for his own sexual predations'--with little apparent regard for the age of his targeted young male victims.
This sordid fact was apparently known to many of the pre-election sermonizers at the Lincoln Project. But again, disclosure of that fact, in a cost-to-benefit analysis, was considered secondary to preserving the growing revenue stream from the Left.
So these moralists lied about their ignorance of their own pederast, and apparently on one occasion at least would-be pedophile, in their midst.
Only after the election, we learned that Rick Wilson and Weaver in particular were raking in and largely disguising exorbitant fees, in part to pay huge back tax bills. After the election, the project's legal consultants suddenly were ''shocked'' by such disclosures, and began leaving the now-discredited project'--at precisely the time when it was in dire need of a legal autopsy and full disclosure.
Rarely has the abyss between the pretense and the lie been so vast: a group subsidized on purported conservative moral principles, and aimed at stopping the cultural damage to the cause by Donald Trump, was funded by left-wingers eager to buy off a few financially imperiled has-beens, who exaggerated their vestigial consulting clout among the Washington swamp. But then again, beggars cannot be choosers.
In turn, the Lincoln Project spent much of its near $100 million on themselves. And the grift sort of worked, as they puffed themselves up about the Biden win, rescued themselves from the IRS, splurged on opulent vacation homes and appurtenances'--and declared that ending Trump was the only the lucrative beginning, as they made lists to hound and denigrate his former appointees.
But the con sputtered out, as they ended up accusing each other of improprieties. Rodent-like they scrambled overboard from the now rotting, putrid, and sinking ship.
The loudest of the moralists, Steven Schmidt, epitomized the absurdity of the project when he contextualized his silence about the free-wheeling Weaver. Schmidt, you see, was a victim himself , as he related a long ago purported childhood abuse trauma. And in racialist and chauvinist fashion, as Schmidt left he announced that he wanted a non-white male to replace him in the almost all-white male partnership.
Think of the condescending absurdity: Mostly all-white male swamp creatures were happy to rake in millions. But when their own moral lapses and depravities destroyed their grift, they quit'-- and only then invited in more women or people of color to sort out the mess they left in their wake.
The only mystery in this entire moral putridity was who deserved the most censure: the cynical rich leftists who funded the charade hoping to manipulate pseudo-conservatives to serve their hard-Left needs'--or these two-timing, born-again charlatans who masqueraded as conservatives to shake down millions from those who could afford to so indulge themselves.
The common denominator, again, was Trump hatred. And so that noble aim excused every sordid means to enhance it.
Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesGubernatorial Lethality New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should have become a political pariah by summer 2020. His handling of the COVID-19 virus was all in all the worst in the country. At first, like most politicians, Cuomo had downplayed the chance of a pandemic. Then, like most politicians, he blamed other politicians for downplaying it as he had, once the coronavirus swept his state.
Where were the ventilators, the hospitals, and the beds, once the virus struck?
For a brief moment, Cuomo praised Trump, who had sent a hospital ship to Manhattan that went unused, who gave him a plethora of ventilators that were stockpiled, and who sent an entire tent hospital to the Javits Center that mostly stayed empty. But as the death toll mounted, and as the 2020 election heated up, and as Trump's popularity dipped in the polls, Cuomo pivoted.
Abruptly, he now blasted Trump as negligent, derelict, a veritable killer of the innocent. He appeared on his brother's CNN show, as they yucked it up to showcase his pandemic competency'--and always the federal government's purported sudden laxity.
His self-serving daily press conferences amplified his bombast and snark. And ostensibly they won Cuomo an Emmy for his televised theatrics. Hollywood's subtext was that by weaponizing the epidemic against the now candidate Trump, the useful idiot Cuomo at least deserved some sort of acting award.
As with the grifters of the Lincoln Project, as long as Donald Trump was on the ballot, Cuomo was deified. He wrote his own hagiography about the arts of dealing with a pandemic. He, not COVID-19 and its victims, was the story. He bantered, strutted, and cajoled on national television'--always eying either the 2020 vice-presidential nomination or at least the attorney generalship in the Biden Administration.
Cuomo may have had the second-worst record of any governor in the United States, in terms of deaths per million from the virus (currently 2,361 per million New York residents, second to next-door New Jersey). He may have shut down his state, drove out millions to seek refuge elsewhere, ruined New York's economy, and yet suffered more deaths and inflicted more damage on his own than a similarly sized, open, and economically rebounding Florida and Texas. Still, Cuomo had one advantage those red-state governors lacked: a large left-wing media platform to blast the hated Trump.
Now, again mysteriously, after the inauguration of Joe Biden, we learn the sordid details about Cuomo, in the fashion revelations appear daily and simultaneously about the Lincoln Project. It was known long ago that Cuomo, in a panic about the epidemic, had shuttled infected patients into the state's extended care homes'--and by executive fiat'--where they proved mobile Petri dishes, infecting vulnerable residents, who began dying en masse .
Cuomo might have stopped the awful practice. He might have announced the accurate number of the dead to highlight the need to end immediately the lunatic diversions. Instead, we now learn he ordered his aides to hide the lethality figures. If he was blasted for 8,000 rest home deaths, then what, he feared, would be the public reaction at the true figure of 15,000 dead?
Would the president whom he demagogued now demagogue him? So Cuomo lied. He hid the grim data from a media all too eager before November 3 to comply. He lied to the New York state legislature. He lied to the U.S. Department of Justice. He lied to the public. And he assumed these were all ''noble lies'''--necessary for the good cause of ending Donald Trump.
Clipping His Twitter Wings Before November 3, Silicon Valley'--especially the $4 trillion quartet of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter'--had become unhinged by Donald Trump. They had no idea what to do with his 70 million Twitter followers, the legions of his Facebook fans, and the Gmail millions who adored him.
The Left became irate at Big Tech. What good did it do for the obsequious traditional media to slant the news, to offer 90 percent negative television and print coverage of Trump, to smother the achievements of his presidency, when he circumvented the putdowns through Twitter and Facebook?
Who cared whether they check marked, or temporarily deplatformed or for a while canceled or shut down Trump and thousands of his Trumper followers'--when he still stirred up millions through the technological gadgetry and hard-won capital of Silicon Valley's progressive anointed? After all, when the Obamas go public in their demand to expel Trump from social media, who can resist their speaking truth to power?
The January 6 Capitol riot at last gave Big Tech the long-awaited and long-planned opportunity. And they seized it in night-of-the-long-knives fashion. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, again mysteriously in concert, banned the president from its collective platforms of communication'--for life.
For the first time in his own political life, Donald Trump went silent, inert, mute. The media continued its nonstop invective, but now Trump had no detours around them.
Trump, they alleged, had used their product to incite violence, perhaps in the very manner Antifa and Black Lives Matter had used their platforms to plan demonstrations that characteristically ended in rioting, arson, and looting.
But could not Trump reroute to the conservative alternative, the upstart non-Silicon Valley Parler?
Big Tech had considered that, too. So on January 11, 2021, in the same manner of the collisional nocturnal action of Twitter and Facebook, so too Apple, Amazon, and Google, again mysteriously, in the wee hours eliminated everyone's access to Parler, a sort of neutron bombing of a rising competitor.
In hours, it was clear that they had effectively strangled Parler in its crib to preempt a Trump and MAGA mass exodus from Twitter and Facebook, and thus inadvertently transmogrify the ban into a Parler bonanza.
In the old days, these leftists of the Stanford-Silicon Valley corridor might have called such collusion market ''rigging,'' ''fixing,'' and ''scheming.'' Their lopsided market shares might have earned the muckraking ire of independent journalists aghast at such open monopolies, boastful cartels, and unapologetic trusts.
But the masters of the universe now owned the news media and the means of most Americans both to access information and to communicate over email and social media. Besides, Trump was widely hated by Big Tech, Wall Street, the media, academia, entertainment, professional sports, foundations, and the corporate boardrooms. So who would object to their roles as our 21st-century versions of Jay Gould and Diamond Jim Fiske?
Hatred of Donald Trump became the wealthy agnostic's version of medieval indulgence. One's collective sins can be washed away and a once marred soul can still make its way to tech heaven'-- if the offender can purchase a contracted exemption.
Hating Donald Trump and doing something about that venom are just those indulgences. And they can excuse past, present, and future sin. Bar, cancel, and end a social-media Trump, and all the wrongs of monopoly, market fixing, cartelizing, and trust creation are washed away, in the eyes of the progressive supreme deity Reason.
So our cartels are beloved for colluding and fixing their markets to ban not just Trump but any future access to their competitors.
Trump is free to tweet and post whenever and wherever he wants, but there will be nowhere else to tweet and post. So spoke the liberal descendants of the old Jim Crow racists who insisted they were free to deny service to anyone they wished, even when there were no alternative motels or lunch counters to be found.
Hating Donald Trump in the hater's eyes makes one moral. But in the real world, such pathological fixations usually result in abject immorality and moral decline, as the hater becomes far worse than what he hates.
Coca-Cola Confirms Training Employees to 'Be Less White' - Becker News
After a public relations fiasco, Coca-Cola has effectively conceded that some of its employees participated in a public LinkedIn Learning seminar that advocated that some of its employees be ''less white.''
The training curriculum was first exposed on Friday by Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, an organizational psychologist who is working to end the racially divisive ideology of 'critical race theory.'
ð¨ð¨ð¨ BREAKING: Coca-Cola is forcing employees to complete online training telling them to "try to be less white."
These images are from an internal whistleblower: pic.twitter.com/gRi4N20esZ
'-- Karlyn supports banning critical race theory in NH (@DrKarlynB) February 19, 2021
Since then, mainstream media and left-wing outlets had largely avoided the hot topic. However, Blaze Public Relations' Chris Pandolfo obtained a statement from Coca-Cola that concedes its employees were told to take the seminar in question.
Statement from @CocaCola: https://t.co/Jzur7zuXFz pic.twitter.com/DBIpsj5706
'-- Chris Pandolfo (@ChrisCPandolfo) February 20, 2021
''The video circulating on social media is from a publicly available LinkedIn Learning series and is not a focus of our company's curriculum,'' Coca-Cola responded.
''Our Better Together global learning curriculum is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace.''
''It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long. The training includes access to LinkedIn Learning on a variety of topics, including on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will continue to refine this curriculum.''
It is important to note this wording concedes it happened. Furthermore, it is not ''inclusive'' to attack particular individuals' racial background; that is, by definition, ''exclusive.''
The LinkedIn Learning class, called ''Confronting Racism, with Robin DiAngelo,'' is administered online. DiAngelo, who has become famous for her infamous book ''White Fragility,'' has become somewhat of a celebrity by holding corporate struggle sessions on critical race theory. This has entailed charging up to $40,000 for half-day indoctrination courses to lecture audiences on the imagined perils of ''whiteness'' and ''white fragility.''
The prior description of the course included language that instructed people to be ''less white.'' We are not talking about a bug, but a feature of the lecture.
The course description said it will cover ''understanding what it means to be white,'' and ''challenging what it means to be racist.'' Students were instructed ''to be less white is to: be less oppressive; be less arrogant; be less certain; be less defensive; be less ignorant; be more humble; listen; believe; break with apathy;'' and ''break with white solidarity.''
Author and pundit Candace Owens reacted to the revelation:
If a corporate company sent around a training kit instructing black people how to ''be less black'', the world would implode and lawsuits would follow.
I genuinely hope these employees sue @CocaCola for blatant racism and discrimination. https://t.co/07OPZouEcV
'-- Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) February 19, 2021
''If a corporate company sent around a training kit instructing black people to 'be less black', the world would implode and lawsuits would follow,'' Owens tweeted. ''I genuinely hope these employees sue Coca-Cola for blatant racism and discrimination.''
''Your job at Coca-Cola should not depend on whether or not you buy into the idea of being less white,'' Borysenko remarked. ''It should depend on whether or not you can go in and do your job.'' The organizational psychologist also walked viewers through what it all means on a Youtube video.
Coca-Cola is undoubtedly not the only company that has tapped DiAngelo and similar speakers, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, to lead such trainings. Corporate social re-engineering efforts like diversity trainings are themselves big business. As the Free Beacon noted, ''the Diversity and Inclusion business was thought to be worth $8 billion as of 2003; by 2005, 65 percent of big companies offered diversity training.''
Even more strikingly, the Free Beacon points out, there is little-to-no evidence that anti-bias trainings work:
A review of nearly 1,000 studies of anti-bias tools found little evidence that they have any impact. In fact, recent studies suggest anti-bias training's primary effect may be to encourage discrimination: Firms with diversity training end up with fewer minorities in management, and field research finds that training both reinforces stereotypes and increases animosity against minority groups.
It may be that these ''inclusion'' seminars actually work the opposite of how they are intended: Instead of bringing people together, they raise awareness of our superficial differences and drive us further apart.
NOW READ: Donald Trump Hammered Again by Big Tech Censorship After Post-Presidential Media AppearanceThis article contains light editorial commentary.
Fauci is Evil
Anthony Fauci exclusive interview: 'When I publicly disagreed with Trump he let terrible things happen'
It is not easy to secure an interview with Anthony Fauci, America's foremost infectious disease expert, amid the worst pandemic in a century.
My first appointment with the spry octogenarian was cancelled at the last minute because he had to take a call from the White House. My second was abandoned 15 minutes after it was due to begin because he was tied up with Democratic congressmen.
When we finally come face to face on Zoom, an hour after Donald Trump's impeachment trial began in the Senate, he apologises. I joke about him having more urgent priorities, like saving the world. 'Something like that,' he chuckles from his office in Bethesda, Maryland, munching a cookie by way of a belated lunch and sporting a Stanford University fleece over his shirt and tie.
He appears surprisingly relaxed given his immense responsibilities at this time of crisis, but then it takes a lot to faze Dr Fauci.
The evergreen director of Washington's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has been a medical adviser to seven consecutive US presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan, steering them and his country through outbreaks of Ebola, Sars, Zika, avian flu, swine flu and the threat of biological weapons after 9/11.
He was one of the first scientists to spot the lethal new syndrome that was Aids in the early 1980s. He was initially reviled by a gay community outraged at the Reagan administration's apparent indifference to its decimation, then hailed as a hero after championing its cause.
Most recently, during almost all of 2020, he watched in horror as President Trump actively undermined his own government's battle against the Covid-19 pandemic by holding mass rallies, mocking mask wearers, promoting quack remedies and encouraging his supporters to breach lockdowns.
Fauci does not consider this characterisation of Trump's conduct unfair. 'No, no, no,' he says. 'Unfortunately it's the truth.'
Donald Trump was initially sceptical of the threat from Covid-19, but Fauci and his fellow scientists did manage to persuade him to back state-by-state lockdowns, and approve social-distancing measures. He also restricted Chinese visitors to the country. By the spring, however, Fauci's relations with the president had soured as Trump began listening to outsiders with no scientific knowledge and fretting about the damage to the economy and '' by extension '' his re-election hopes.
Fauci's challenge was to correct the president's dangerous falsehoods as diplomatically as possible, often while sharing the stage with him at televised White House briefings, but he says that 'when it became clear that in order to maintain my integrity and to get the right message [across] I had to publicly disagree with him, he did things '' or allowed things to happen '' that were terrible.
'Like he allowed Peter Navarro [Trump's trade adviser] to write an editorial in USA Today saying that almost everything I've ever said was wrong. He allowed the communications department of the White House to send out a list to all of the media, all of the networks, all of the cables, all of the print press, about all of the mistakes I've made, which was absolute nonsense because there were no mistakes.'
Trump also began to denigrate Fauci in tweets and press conferences, setting him up as a target for the extreme Right's hatred. 'Which I became, to the point that to this day I have to have armed federal agents guarding me all the time,' Fauci says. And he was not the only target. To his dismay, his wife and three adult daughters were also harassed and threatened.
Liberated under President Biden, Fauci can now speak frankly in a way he couldn't last year. He tells me that in the final two months of his presidency Trump almost completely abandoned his duty to protect the nation from the pandemic. 'We [the scientists] were trying, but we were acting almost alone, in the sense of without any direction.'
By the time Biden took office, the pandemic was raging out of control. 'Oh my goodness, it was,' Fauci says. 'When President Biden walked into the White House we were having 300,000 to 400,000 cases per day, 4,000 deaths per day, and our hospitals were on the brink of being overrun.'
Seeing so much sickness and death, and knowing that much of it could have been avoided, was 'very difficult', he says, especially 'when your main job is to save lives and alleviate suffering, and you see some of the things going on around you that are not only not alleviating suffering but are making things worse'.
The US, with four per cent of the world's population, has now suffered 20 per cent of global deaths from Covid-19 '' 475,000 in total, plus nearly 30 million recorded cases. It is 'the mother of all outbreaks', says Fauci.
When I ask if Trump thanked him for his efforts before leaving the White House, Fauci laughs out loud. 'No!' he exclaims. Did his five predecessors? 'Very much so.' One, President George W Bush, even awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour.
Anthony Stephen Fauci was born on Christmas Eve, 1940. He was raised in blue-collar Brooklyn, and still retains the accent and feistiness of that borough. His family lived above his father's pharmacy. While his father dispensed drugs, and his mother and sister took the payments, Fauci delivered medicines on his bike.
He went to a Jesuit high school, where by dint of sheer determination he became captain of the basketball team despite being only 5ft 7in tall. He went on to a Jesuit college in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he was taught, he has said, 'precision of thought, economy of expression'.
During his final college vacation he worked on a construction site at Cornell University's medical school. One lunchtime he wandered into its auditorium 'and wondered what it would be like to attend this magnificent institution'... A guard came and politely told me to leave since my dirty construction boots were soiling the floor. I looked at him and said proudly that I'd be attending the institution a year from now. He laughed and said, ''Right kid, and next year I'm going to be police commissioner.'''
Fauci did win a place at Cornell. In 1966 he graduated top of his year. Rather than serve in Vietnam he joined NIAID. Why specialise in infectious diseases? 'I wanted something that could make you very sick and kill you unless I intervened,' he explained to The Journal of Clinical Investigation. By 1984, aged 44, he was NIAID's director.
Fauci's promotion coincided with the eruption of Aids. He had spotted its emergence three years earlier, and had conducted groundbreaking research into its causes. Despite this, he became, by virtue of his position, a lightning rod for the fury of a gay community whose members were dying agonising deaths while the Reagan administration barely acknowledged the disease.
In 1990 the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) staged a mass demonstration outside NIAID's Bethesda offices. They chanted 'F'-- you, Fauci', burnt his effigy and carried a mock-up of his bloodied head on a stake '' in a foretaste of the hatred he would encounter again in 2020.
Fauci responded by attending hostile meetings of gay activists in New York and San Francisco, and befriending ACT UP's leaders. 'We schooled him very hard. We yelled at him,' one participant recalled. 'He was awesome. He just took it. He just sat there '' a straight white guy with a bunch of queer folk screaming at him.'
And, ultimately, Fauci accepted their arguments and embraced their cause. Crucially, he managed to streamline the interminable approval process for new drugs, making experimental treatments available to Aids patients before their efficacy had been proved. Larry Kramer, the gay rights activist and playwright who had once called Fauci 'the central focus of all evil in the world', later described him as the government's 'only true and great hero'.
The activists 'were quite correct', Fauci says. 'I think one of the best things I have ever done in my long career was appreciate that behind the drama, the theatrics, the iconoclastic behaviour, they needed to get our attention because what they had to say was important and relevant.
'The federal government in the form of the scientific and regulatory communities didn't fully appreciate the unique situation they were in. We were approaching clinical trials and regulatory issues with the standard, somewhat conservative, step-by-slow-step-to-do-it-right [attitude] and they needed to get things done right away because they were in a desperate situation'... Everything they said made sense.'
Was there a parallel, I ask, between President Reagan's reluctance to acknowledge what was known in the 1980s as the 'gay plague', and Trump's failure to address the Covid-19 pandemic?
'It's a fair point with what I think were significant differences, in that Ronald Reagan never did anything to obstruct what I was trying to do,' Fauci replies. 'He just didn't want to be utilising the bully pulpit, which was what I wanted him to do, to get out there and use the office of the presidency to call attention to this extraordinary, insidiously emerging outbreak that was not being fully recognised because it was predominantly among gay men.'
Trump, by contrast, 'was almost a counter-influence to what I was trying to do. I was trying to let science guide our policy, but the president was putting as much stock in anecdotal things that turned out not to be true as he was in what scientists like myself were saying. That caused unnecessary and uncomfortable conflict where I had to essentially correct what he was saying, and put me at great odds with his people.'
According to Peter Staley, an original ACT UP leader, who has remained close to Fauci, the chief medical adviser's strategy last year was to 'stay in the room' as long as he could to try to limit the damage '' even if that meant biting his tongue as Trump spouted lies and absurdities at his rambling daily press conferences.
At different times the president called Covid-19 a 'Democratic hoax', claimed the virus would magically disappear, and recommended bleach and hydroxychloroquine as cures. A colleague of Fauci's who asked to remain anonymous recalls him complaining in private: 'You've no idea what sort of bulls'-- I have to deal with every day.'
Staley reckons Fauci managed to remain influential until late April or early May last year, and probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives by persuading Trump to support state lockdowns, keep them in place beyond last Easter, and accelerate the search for a vaccine. The turning point came around the time in April that Trump started to side with anti-lockdown protesters, tweeting that Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia should be 'liberated' from the stay-at-home orders issued by those states' Democratic governors.
Fauci calls that a fair summary. He says he remained on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and continued to work with Vice President Mike Pence, who 'really tried his very best to address the outbreak' while remaining loyal to Trump. 'But my influence with [the president] diminished when he decided to essentially act like there was no outbreak and focus on re-election and opening the economy'... That's when he said, ''It's going to go away, it's magical, don't worry about it.''' Thereafter 'my direct influence on him was negligible. It became more conflictual than productive.'
'Conflictual' was an understatement. Fauci became, in his own words, 'the skunk at the picnic'. Behind the scenes, White House officials pressed him to be more upbeat in his pronouncements, and to stop contradicting the president. By the summer he had largely been barred from White House briefings, giving television interviews or testifying before Congress. Moreover, Trump had begun openly to denigrate him.
'People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,' he declared. 'He's been here 500 years,' he complained. 'Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him we would have 500,000 deaths,' he said last October. He even mocked Fauci for throwing 'perhaps the worst pitch in the history of baseball' at the Washington Nationals' opening game last July.
But despite the president's antagonism, Fauci '' calm, authoritative and reassuring '' enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and remained a hero to millions of Americans. His face appeared on coffee mugs and T-shirts. Brad Pitt played him on Saturday Night Live. Bumper stickers proclaimed in fauci we trust. Washington, DC's mayor designated last Christmas Eve to be 'Dr Anthony S Fauci Day' in honour of his 80th birthday. Opinion polls routinely showed two-thirds of Americans trusted him, compared to barely a quarter who trusted the president. 'He's got this high approval rating, so why don't I have a high approval rating'... with respect to the virus?' Trump complained. 'Nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.'
But Trump's antagonism had consequences. In parts of the media, and on QAnon and alt-Right websites, Fauci was accused of having invented Covid-19, of being part of a conspiracy to wreck the economy and destroy Trump's presidency, of being a 'Deep State, Hillary Clinton-loving stooge'. He was accused of conspiring with Bill Gates and George Soros, and using Trump's press conferences to send secret signals through subtle hand gestures. Anti-lockdown protesters chanted 'Fire Fauci'. Steve Bannon, Trump's erstwhile strategist, called for his head on a pike.
He received death threats, and in April was given a round-the-clock security detail days after he had covered his face with his hand when Trump mocked the 'Deep State Department' at one of his rambling press conferences. A doctor requiring bodyguards? 'That's not the kind of thing you think about when you're going through medical school,' Fauci observes wryly.
On one occasion Fauci opened a letter and a puff of white powder blew into his face. 'If it was ricin, I was dead,' he told The New York Times. He summoned hazmat officials, but the powder proved harmless. The threats to his family seem to distress him more.
Fauci met his wife, Christine Grady, 69, the year he became NIAID director. He needed a translator for a Brazilian patient. She was a nurse who had just returned from working in Brazil, so she helped him out. They married the following year. Grady now heads the bioethics department at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. She has also run marathons with her husband, and even now they regularly run along the Potomac River with security agents in tow.
Staley reckons 2020 was 'by any measure the hardest year of [Fauci's] life', adding, 'I was quite worried about his physical and mental health.' But somehow, the doctor survived the bile, the presidential jibes and 18-hour days.
An associate of Fauci's, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that behind his calm persona Fauci is a tough political animal with a hot temper and coarse tongue, who relishes the limelight '' his office is covered in photos of himself with presidents and celebrities. Fauci himself says, 'What I had to do was not to get so caught up in thinking I was a hero or some sort of icon, which I'm not, nor get intimidated by crazy Right-wing maniacs. I had to put blinders on and focus on what my job was.'
He sounds rather more surprised that Trump, rather than himself, survived 2020. He describes his White House as a Covid-19 'superspreader'. He believes Trump, given his age and weight, was lucky he did not die when he contracted the virus last October. Indeed, recent reports have revealed that Trump had infiltrates on his lungs, and officials believed he would need ventilating before he was admitted to hospital. 'He could have gotten into serious trouble. I think he was quite fortunate.'
Fauci is much happier today. The pandemic still rages, but he is back in the fold. He talks frequently to Biden and the new White House Covid-19 task force. He addresses press conferences again. He is delighted not just with Biden's strategy for defeating the virus, but with his whole approach. Soon after his inauguration Biden told him, 'We're going to let science rule. We're going to go by the data, the evidence and the science. We're going to make some mistakes, and when we do we're not going to blame anybody. We're just going to fix it'... That was to me like, ''Oh my goodness!'''
He fears Covid-19 will continue to be a global problem, but 'it ends as an all-consuming crisis for the US, the UK and the EU when we get the overwhelming majority of our population vaccinated and the level of community spread goes to a very low level, because at that point we can return to some form of normality.' He believes that point could come by late autumn, unless the variants run amok.
Will Fauci then retire? Will he spend more time running, perhaps, or cooking rich Italian dinners as he loves to do? Certainly not. He has unfinished business to attend to '' business close to his heart after those terrible early years of Aids when he watched helplessly as hundreds of patients died on his watch. Years that he once called 'the darkest time of my life' and which, according to Staley, left him 'deeply scarred'.
Fauci tells me the proudest achievements of his career have all concerned Aids '' his early research, launching NIAID's programme to develop life-saving drugs for patients with HIV, and helping George W Bush create the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), which has saved an estimated 17 million lives in Africa.
His last great ambition is to find a vaccine for Aids, one that could render a disease that has caused more than 30 million deaths worldwide almost as innocuous as measles. It is far from impossible, he says, because a silver lining of the Covid-19 pandemic has been some dramatic advances in vaccinology. 'I think we might get an imperfect one. That I think would be possible during my continued tenure.'
It would be a brilliant end to a remarkable career.
A timeline of Trump's key Covid denials22nd January 2020: 'It's going to be just fine'A self-assured Trump told CNBC's Joe Kernen that the coronavirus was just 'one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It's going to be just fine.'
January US deaths: 19
23rd February 2020: 'We have it very much under control'The then president held a briefing on the South Lawn of the White House, telling reporters: 'We're very '-- very cognizant of everything going on. We have it very much under control in this country,' Reiterating this same notion - and air of confidence - in a tweet sent the following day, he explained: 'The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.'
February US deaths involving Covid-19: 16
27th February 2020: 'One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear'Trump told attendees at an African American History Month reception at the White House that 'like a miracle' the virus would likely vanish. When? 'Nobody really knows.'
10th March 2020: 'It will go away'As the former President finished up a meeting with Republican senators, he relished bragging to reporters how the US government was 'doing a great job' with tackling the virus and, really, we should all just 'stay calm. It will go away.'
March US deaths involving Covid-19: 7,079
23rd April 2020: 'I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute... is there a way we can do something like that'...'Another of Trump's bizarre claims that had scientists up in arms was his 'disinfectant theory' floated at a White Conference press conference. Dr Deborah Birx, Trump's coronavirus task force co-ordinator who was sitting a few feet away, didn't look too pleased.
April US deaths involving Covid-19: 65,167
29th April 2020: 'It's gonna leave. It's gonna be gone'On being asked by a reporter why he believed the disease would 'be gone', even without a vaccine, Trump replied non-plussed and optimistic as ever: 'It's gonna go. It's gonna leave. It's gonna be gone. It's gonna be eradicated.'
17 June 2020: 'It's fading away'In an interview with Fox News, Trump sounded as convinced as ever: 'It's fading away. It's going to fade away. But having a vaccine would be really nice.'
June US deaths involving Covid-19: 17,902
8th October 2020: 'Now what happens is you get better'During an appearance on Fox Business' Mornings With Maria, Trump sung the praises of antibody drug Regeneron, along with suggesting that after being ill with Covid-19, 'Now what happens is you get better, that's what happens you get better.'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top scientist on the Coronavirus taskforce, is being reproached after it was revealed last month that he was ''moving the goalposts'' on coronavirus herd immunity. But his long history of misleading the American public, or getting things completely wrong, remains unscrutinized '-- until now.
Before I get started on Dr. Fauci's handling of the coronavirus and his handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis and other major outbreaks of infectious diseases, I want to be clear that the point of this article is not to push covid-denialism. I can already envision some mainstream media hack, foaming at the mouth, gesturing wildly towards this article, and earning his paycheck with some snippy line about how conspiracy theories spread at a rate rivaling the deadly pandemic.
As of the writing of this article, 375,000-plus Americans have died because of the coronavirus. While the fault for this has been overwhelmingly blamed on Donald Trump, by his side throughout the entirety of the crisis has been Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, it seems, was given some kind of criticism vaccine generations ago, immunizing him for the kind of scrutiny one might expect for a career politician who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 37 years.
Instead, Fauci has attained a cult leader-like status in the minds of many Americans. A Change.org petition to have People Magazine name Fauci the ''Sexiest Man Alive'' is nearing 30,000 signatures. On the web, you can buy Dr. Fauci blankets and prayer candles. One erotic fiction author has come forward to claim that Fauci was the inspiration for the male love interest in her 1991 book called ''Happy Endings.''
The point of this article is to show that, far from his portrayal in the media as Saint Anthony Fauci, his analysis on major issues in his field: AIDS, Cholera, and Coronavirus, has been disastrously off the mark on numerous occasions, with potentially deadly consequences. If Dr. Fauci's record had been scrutinized by the media, it is entirely possible that we wouldn't be in the situation we are in today, with as many as 4,000 of our fellow citizens succumbing to this disease every day.
The Times Dr. Fauci Went 'Mask Off' With HaitiansOn February 1, 2010, less than a month after the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti, Anthony Fauci went on the National Institute of Health's radio program to talk about health concerns in Haiti following the quake.
The audio of the interview sits unlisted on YouTube with only six views at the time of the writing of this article. In it, Fauci says ''We often hear people say, mistakenly, but understandably, they're concerned about an outbreak of cholera. There is no cholera in Haiti, so it would be extremely unlikely that there would be an outbreak of cholera in Haiti.''
RARE AUDIO: Dr. Fauci WRONGLY predicted "there is no cholera in Haiti so it would be extremely unlikely that there would be an outbreak." Then, as the UN was beginning to cover up its role as the source, Fauci claimed cholera was already "there somewhere" https://t.co/1UrnZMcsrE pic.twitter.com/gp2vYYCBSM
'-- Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) January 13, 2021
Fauci was dead wrong. According to the United Nations, the cholera outbreak that followed in the next months eventually infected 800,000 Haitians, killing more than 9,000. But since the source of the outbreak was the United Nations itself, they tried to cover up its origins.
As rumours were mounting that it was the UN that caused the outbreak, Fauci placed the blame elsewhere. ''If there is no problem with sanitation it just lurks there and lives in the water, not as a disease,'' Fauci told CNN. ''But the microbe was there somewhere in the water in Haiti. In situations where you have natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, if you don't have the microbe lurking there, then you don't get an outbreak.''
Poor sanitation, Fauci said, helped trigger the outbreak.
The same day as CNN's report, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti put out a press release supposedly meant to ''shed light'' on the ''rumours,'' but ultimately denied any culpability by citing its compliance with international waste management standards. This was, of course, a lie.
As Haitian activist and Twitter user Madame Boukman has tweeted, ''I remember after the UN's cholera attack against Haiti, Anthony Fauci blamed 'unsanitary' Haitians, just like he blamed us for HIV.''
During the height of Fauci's research on HIV/AIDS, much of which he served as a main public face of government AIDS policy, he was a major proponent of the ''Four H's.'' The four H's referred to governmental designations of ''risk groups'' and included homosexuals, heroin addicts, hemophiliacs, and Haitians.
As Fauci explained in a 1984 video lecture, ''Now, the Haitian situation has created some controversy in this country, and the reason is that we have, public health officials have designated the Haitians as a separate risk group. Now, the objection to that, and it's a reasonable objection, is that it discriminates against Haitians. Why should you call the Haitians a separate risk group? We call them a separate risk group because only a very small percentage of the Haitian population, their AIDS can be explained by homosexual activity or IV drug use, so there's something else going on there.''
Despite Fauci's acknowledgement of discrimination against Haitians, he continued to present them as a separate risk group in public comments and medical journals.
As one Haitian-American writer, zili Dant², commented, ''I remember when Dr. Anthony Fauci gave disease a Black face.'' She goes on to claim that Africans and Haitians were painted as ''diseased.''
''I remember how back then, Haiti workers working at nursing homes, hospitals, hotels, cafeterias, driving taxi cabs, and in private homes as housekeepers and cooks were stigmatized and forced to 'social distance' '' (i.e. got laid off, fired!) from the general population,'' Dant² wrote.
One theory as to why AIDS spread more rapidly in Haiti than other places is that predatory blood plasma centers such as Hemo-Caribbean set up shop in Haiti to target poor people who would be willing to sell their blood, and didn't use proper sanitary precautions, such as changing needles. Nonetheless, the idea that Haitians constituted a separate risk group for AIDS is now widely rejected.
Turning the Dial Back on AIDS AwarenessFauci was an early researcher on the AIDS epidemic. Archival photos show him examining AIDS patients in the early 1980's. In 1986, the Washington Post was reprinting comments from Fauci's colleagues in glowing profiles saying the distinguished doctor was ''about as close as you could find'' to ''Superman.'' In interviews and news reports, Fauci's heroics in the early days included his innovative efforts to find a cure. For example, Fauci experimented with an ''innovative procedure involving bone-marrow transplants from a healthy identical twin to a twin brother with AIDS.'' The Washington Post and Fauci himself avoided mentioning when recounting this dramatic event that the procedure ended the patient going blind and dying. At the time, newspapers across the country touted the unorthodox method as a possible lead to an AIDS cure, waiting until the end of their articles to mention this important outcome of the procedure.
When we talk about the HIV/AIDS crisis, it's easy to shrug off the mistakes of leaders at the time: there was a good deal of confusion in the early days about how the virus was spread. It also appears to be true that Fauci fought for more funding of HIV/AIDS research.
Since Fauci was well-known to AIDS activists prior to his role in handling the coronavirus, a number stories popped up in the media discussing how he was a hero of the calamity and how he was the target of protests from the most prominent AIDS activist group ACT UP. Peter Staley, a leader of the organization, and Larry Kramer, another leader of the group, began speaking up in defense of Fauci at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Back in the day, they called Fauci a murderer. But before his death in May of 2020, Kramer told the New Yorker in a profile of Fauci that he was '''the only true and great hero' among government officials in the AIDS crisis.''
Today, when he is not fawning over Hillary Clinton or hyping up the threat to the United States posed by Vladimir Putin, Staley himself interviews Dr. Fauci. He also recruited Barbra Streisand ''for [a] surprise Fauci birthday party on Zoom,'' mainstream media has reported.
However, certain facts of how Fauci handled the AIDS crisis have been omitted from profiles on Fauci that have come out since the coronavirus pandemic.
The book ''And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic'' by Randy Shilts devotes a good amount of attention to one incident in which Fauci single-handedly turned back the page on progress in the social milieu around AIDS that the scientific community had worked so hard to improve.
Liberal influencers have recommended the book as Fauci ''has a starring, and heroic, role.'' Yet the book only contains 15 references to Fauci, and they are not particularly flattering.
In 1982, it was already well-established how AIDS was transmitted: semen, blood, and ''blood products.'' Nonetheless, media and medical journals at the time had the same inherent flaw they do today '-- the profit motive. As always, sensationalism carried more weight than fact.
In 1983, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was publishing research on children with HIV/AIDS. There were two competing lines of thought from the data they were working with. The first was that children with AIDS had gotten it from their mothers' blood while still in the uterus, which was promoted by Dr. Arye Rubinstein (no relation.) JAMA had initially drawn a line through the section of Rubinstein's research paper that showed that, though they eventually published the entire thing at his insistence.
Then, Dr. James Oleske published a paper in JAMA claiming AIDS ''was originally described in homosexual men and subsequently in intravenous drug abusers, Haitians, and hemophiliacs'... Recently, we and others have encountered a group of children with an otherwise unexplained immune deficiency syndrome and infections of the type found in adults with AIDS'... Our experience suggests that children living in high-risk households are susceptible to AIDS and that sexual contact, drug abuse, or exposure to blood products is not necessary for disease transmission.''
Oleske's paper totally ignored Rubinstein's research. And Dr. Fauci did too. He reportedly never read Rubinstein's paper and instead wrote an editorial on Oleske's.
''In the current issue of The Journal, Oleske et al present data that are of potentially great importance in the continually evolving saga of AIDS,'' Fauci wrote. ''This is much different from the situation with the male homosexual, IV drug user, adult Haitian, or hemophiliac who was otherwise well for decades and in whom an unexplained, devastating immune deficiency then developed.''
''The implications of AIDS in this patient population are several. It took some time for people to believe that AIDS was indeed transmissible,'' he continued. ''The finding of AIDS in infants and children who are household contacts of patients with AIDS or persons with risks for AIDS has enormous implications with regard to ultimate transmissibility of this syndrome. First, it is possible that AIDS can be vertically transmitted. Perhaps even more important is the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease. If, indeed, the latter is true, then AIDS takes on an entirely new dimension.''
''If we add to this the possibility that nonsexual, non-blood-borne transmission is possible, the scope of the syndrome may be enormous,'' Fauci wrote.
Fauci's editorial unleashed a wave of hysteria around AIDS. First, the American Medical Association put out a press release on Oleske's study and Fauci's interpretation. Then, the Associated Press ran a story under the headline ''AIDS Disease Could Endanger General Population.'' The AP story was then followed by The New York Times and USA Today.
Fauci blamed the media for sensationalizing his comments ''out of context.'' He pointed out that nothing he said was conclusive; he was only saying that household contact spreading AIDS was a possibility.
According to Shilts' book, ''The report created a lasting impression on the public that would raise the hysteria level around AIDS for years to come. Scientists just aren't sure how AIDS is spread, the thinking went.'' He continues, ''the report of routine household contact lent scientific credibility to ungrounded fears; the social damage would linger for years. The fear inspired by this one story defined the context within which AIDS was discussed for the next crucial months.''
Later that year, anti-gay columnist Patrick Buchanan used Fauci's editorial to call on the mayors of San Francisco and New York to cancel their gay pride parades, and two doctors held a press conference calling for not just the parades to be cancelled. The doctors also held that all gay bars should be closed, food handlers should be screened for AIDS, and deceased aids patients should be buried in airtight coffins, according to Shilts.
Despite Fauci remarks, which essentially cried fire in a crowded theater, he was promoted to director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases the following year.
Pandemic Pandemonium and PropagandaYou should be forgiven for having missed the most recent example of Fauci lying, as the New York Times dropped the bombshell of a piece on Christmas Eve. The paper of record reported that Dr. Fauci was ''quietly shifting'' his estimate on the percent of the population that needs to be resistant to the coronavirus in order for it to die out:
''In the pandemic's early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did. About a month ago, he began saying '70, 75 percent' in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said '75, 80, s
In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts.''
Fauci explained himself: ''When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent.''
''Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85,'' he said, adding ''I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I'm not going to say 90 percent.''
In other words, the man who has become the most trusted voice on the coronavirus in the United States, has tailored his public statements '-- presented to us as scientific assessments '-- to fit nicely with public opinion.
But it's far from the first time, or even the most egregious example, of Fauci either misleading or being dead wrong on the coronavirus or other viruses and infectious diseases, which, it probably need not be pointed out, is supposed to be his area of expertise.
Marc Thiessen, who likely knows a thing or two about lying to the American public given that he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, published in September a pretty succinct chronology of Fauci's false statements on the coronavirus. While he was careful to equivocate often times, I'll briefly rehash what he has said which has been, basically, the complete opposite of what happened:
January 21, 2020: Fauci said the virus ''is not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.''
January 26, 2020: ''The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It's a very, very low risk to the United States, but it's something that we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.''
January 31, 2020: ''We still have a low risk to the American public, but we want to keep it at a low risk.''
February 03, 2020: ''I think you are going to see a dampening down.''
February 17, 2020: ''I don't think people should be frightened. The risk right now, today, currently, is really relatively low'... right now, don't worry about it. Be more concerned about influenza.'' He added that the ''danger'' of the virus was ''just minuscule'' and you should ''skip the masks unless you are contagious.''
February 28, 2020: ''I don't think it's gonna be [bad], because I think we'd be able to do the kind of mitigation. It could be mild.''
February 29, 2020: ''Right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis.''
March 10, 2020: ''As a nation, the risk is relatively low.''
As YouTuber and comedian Jimmy Dore has repeatedly hammered, Dr. Fauci, on March 8, told 60 Minutes that there was no reason for most Americans to wear masks.
''When you see people, and look at the films in China, South Korea, whatever, everybody's wearing a mask. Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,'' he said.
''You're sure of it, because people are listening really closely to this,'' Dr. Jon LaPook, the 60 Minutes host, pressed.
Fauci doubled down.
I should pause here to note that China has only seen 4,634 deaths due to the coronavirus. In South Korea, there have been only 1,140.
On June 12, journalist Katherine Ross questioned Fauci: ''Why were we told later in the Spring to wear them [masks], when we were initially told not to?''
Fauci responded: ''The reason for that is that we were concerned '-- the public health community, and many people were saying this '-- were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment'... were in very short supply.''
Fauci said that his reason for misleading the American public was that they wanted to make sure the healthcare workers had priority access to personal protective equipment. While a lie is a lie, this rationale is reasonable. Yet in that very same interview with 60 Minutes, Fauci had already warned that everyone wearing masks could lead to shortages.
In short, Fauci, in June, justified his lie about the importance of wearing masks with the same justification he had already coupled with his lie a few months prior. The story went from everyone wearing masks not being an effective prevention and potentially causing shortages to masks being effective but there's no longer the threat of a shortage.
These are the maneuvers of a politician, not a scientist. And as a politician, Fauci has also done his patriotic duty to malign Russia, warning NBC's Today Show that he was ''skeptical'' of the ''safety'' of Russia's coronavirus vaccine.
The Sputnik V vaccine is 91.4 percent effective according to the official website. Early reports claimed it was 95 percent effect, a figure experts agreed with. In comparison, the Pfizer vaccine is said to be 95 percent effect and the Moderna vaccine 94.1 percent effective, however those two have been available for far less time than Russia's, so those figures may change.
So why was Fauci so adamant against the Russian vaccine? And why was he initially critical of the United Kingdom's approval of the Pfizer vaccine, claiming they ''ran around the corner of the marathon and joined it in the last mile?'' For somebody who has railed against vaccine skepticism, he has spread his fair share of it.
Was he just echoing the anti-Russian rhetoric of everybody else that appears on national televised news? It could be worse. The National Institute of Health, which Fauci has longstanding ties to, has joint ownership of the Moderna vaccine.
The web of connections between Fauci, the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and major industry players like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has used poor Africans as ''guinea pigs for drug experiments'' are myriad. A simple Google search combining the aforementioned keywords turns up a dizzying number of results which have not surfaced in coverage of US coronavirus policy.
While the media has blamed the Trump Administration for the failures of the coronavirus response in the United States, its own failure to critically examine the record of the country's coronavirus czar is likely not to change on January 20 alongside the White House transition. Joe Biden will keep Dr. Fauci on his coronavirus taskforce, and the media will keep its uncritical promotion of Saint Anthony Fauci.
Alexander Rubinstein is an independent reporter on Substack. You can subscribe to get new articles from him delivered to your inbox here, and support his journalism here.
Anthony Fauci was targeted by NIH AIDS protesters before coronavirus - The Washington Post
''It was spectacular,'' Mark Harrington, a leading member of the group, remembered in a phone interview.
As confused NIH scientists and administrators looked out of their windows, the 1,000-strong demonstration then marched to Building 31, which housed the offices of the protests' target: Anthony S. Fauci, then and now the chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
For months, ACT UP had been formally urging Fauci to include their members in the government's development process for AIDS drugs. Fauci, now under attack by some Trump supporters for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, was in favor of the group's participation.
Liz Cheney defends Fauci as Fox News hosts and Rand Paul attack him
''I was trying to get them into all the planning meetings for the clinical trials,'' Fauci said last week, taking time out from the coronavirus fight to look back at another deadly disease he managed 30 years ago. But he met increasing resistance from the scientific community, who were put off by ACT UP's tactics.
''We were putting Tony in a tough spot,'' acknowledged Peter Staley, the ACT UP leader who spearheaded the protest.
Anthony S. Fauci is one of the leading experts of the coronavirus task force. (The Washington Post)ACT UP had formed in New York City in 1987 as an angry response to government inaction on finding drugs and treatments for AIDS patients. The group was motivated by rage, helplessness and grief, Harrington said, as they stood by and watched thousands of friends and lovers die of the human immunodeficiency virus that led to AIDS '-- what was then called a ''gay plague.''
As more and more gay men died in the mid-1980s, and homophobia flourished, ACT UP staged theatrical protests at the Food and Drug Administration, on Wall Street and at New York's City Hall. The most famous was a 1989 die-in at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to protest then-Cardinal John O'Connor's opposition to teaching safe sex and distributing condoms.
The ''Storm the NIH'' protest was the culmination of the group's public demonstrations about the deadly disease.
''We wanted a seat at the table,'' Staley said, and for months before the protest pushed to have ACT UP organizers become voting members on all the scientific committees that set the research agenda at NIAID.
''One of the things that people in ACT UP said is that we are the people who are experiencing this novel disease, and we are the experts, not just the scientists and doctors,'' said Garance Ruta, executive director of GEN magazine and an ACT UP member who was at the NIH protest.
A mystery illness killed a boy in 1969. Years later, doctors believed they'd learned what it was: AIDS.
The NIH demonstration also advocated for the group's quest to reduce the dose and price of the only AIDS-fighting drug approved by the FDA at the time, AZT, made by Burroughs Wellcome Co.
''At $8,000 a year for users, AZT is said to be the most expensive prescription drug in history,'' read a New York Times column in August 1989. The column also pointed out that about 35 percent of AIDS patients had either no health insurance or policies that did not pay for drugs.
Fauci was one of the younger scientists working on AIDS research at NIAID at the time, and Staley said ACT UP members began to get to know him. ''All the older scientists thought we were crazy,'' he said. ''But Fauci wanted to hear what we had to say.''
''We liked Tony personally. He's a brilliant scientist, a brilliant fighter of epidemics,'' Staley said.
''I was becoming friends with some of them, like Peter Staley and Mark Harrington,'' Fauci agreed. ''I felt very strongly that we needed to get them into the planning process because they weren't always right, but they had very, very good input.''
Fauci attended an ACT UP meeting in October 1989. After that, some of the group's leaders on its Treatment and Data Committee would meet the NIAID chief and his deputy, Jim Hill, for dinner at Hill's townhouse on Capitol Hill.
Fauci said he urged the scientific community and his own staff to include ACT UP members in the drug trial process. ''I was pushing and pulling these people and screaming, 'Hey, we have to deal with them,'''' he said. ''I was in a difficult position because I was trying to convince the establishment that ACT UP had something to offer.''
Fauci promised NIAID would become more inclusive, but after months with no action, ACT UP decided the only choice they had was a protest, Harrington said.
At a dinner with Fauci in March, Staley said, ''Tony, we've got some bad news for you. We know you've been advocating for us on this. But we've decided to do a gigantic demonstration at the NIH, and it will be in front of your building.''
Fauci tried to talk them out of it, but Staley vowed not just to demonstrate, but to get arrested, too, according to Fauci.
Between March and May, ACT UP spread the word about ''Storm the NIH'' to its chapters across the country. The group took out full-page ads in The Washington Post.
ACT UP was renowned for creating what Staley called a six-ring circus at its demonstrations, and the NIH protest was no different. Gathering at the NIH gates that Monday morning in May, chapters were divided into ''affinity groups,'' each of which organized its own presentation, skit or protest focus.
''All the affinity groups gave themselves campy names, like CHER!, the Juicers or the Marys,'' Staley explained. ''I was in charge of a group called the Power Tools.''
A movie he saw featuring military pyrotechnics made him think about using colored smoke. He looked through a military magazine and learned smoke bombs in the shape of grenades were available in different colors. ''I ordered all the colors of the rainbow, thinking, 'That will make a statement,'''' he said.
The day of the demonstration, he and Power Tools members taped the canisters to poles and hid them behind posters to get on campus.
Staley's group stayed behind the bulk of the protesters, who marched ahead to confront about 200 police officers, some on horseback, who were clubbing some activists. Others set up a mock graveyard in front of Building 31, with tombstones describing deaths from ''drug profiteers'' or ''AZT poisoning.''
Chanting, ''NIH, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide,'' according to United Press International, affinity groups carried banners, posters, mock coffins, and effigies '-- including one of Fauci. One group staged a die-in. Another formed a human snake that slid its way through the raucous crowd, each section labeled with a different opportunistic AIDS infection.
''One guy even had Fauci's head on a stick,'' Staley said.
It might have seemed otherwise, ''but this was not a protest against research,'' Ruta said. ''It was a protest on behalf of research.''
Staley and his crew lit the smoke bombs and ran through the parting crowd. A roar went up from protesters as billows of red, yellow, blue, purple and green smoke filled the air. An Associated Press photo of screaming activists under a cloud of rainbow smoke eventually made it onto the cover of newspapers across the country.
Meanwhile, Fauci, looking out his office window, grew frustrated. ''I didn't like that degree of disruption on campus,'' he said, concerned the rowdy action would further alienate scientists from including ACT UP in the drug development process.
Then Fauci noticed a protester climbing onto the building's front overhang. It was Peter Staley. Police officers pulled Staley off the roof, lowering him into a band of officers who immediately handcuffed him. Fauci said he raced down to the first floor to make sure Peter was okay.
''I didn't want him to get hurt because there were mounted police and that could be dangerous,'' he said.
''A big, burly African American cop dragged me through the first floor of the building, and who should I run into, but Tony Fauci,'' Staley said.
''Peter?'' Fauci said.
''Hey, Tony,'' Staley responded with a grin.
''Are you guys okay?'' Fauci asked.
Staley laughed. ''See '-- I told you I'd get arrested,'' he said, adding, ''I'm just doing my job,'' surprising the officer that his perpetrator knew the head of the institute.
Staley was the first arrest of the day, he said, with about 80 more arrests following, according to The Post.
In The Post story, Fauci was critical of the protest, expressing concern that it could hurt AIDS researchers' morale.
''It was interesting theater,'' Fauci said at the time, ''but it was not helpful.''
The next day, The Post's editorial page accused the group of harassing NIH scientists.
The next month, however, ACT UP could definitively declare victory. At the International Conference on AIDS in San Francisco, Fauci gave Harrington the good news: Activists, journalists and people with AIDS would be let into the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Harrington said, and the trials would expand to include women of color, drug users and children.
It was a turning point '-- for both ACT UP and biomedical research, Harrington said.
All drug testing committees at NIH now have patient advocates, he noted, including NIH's trial to test hydroxychloroquine and azythromicin.
Staley points out that community activists are now involved in coordinating efforts to combat covid-19, an outgrowth of ACT UP. Activists ''are now in lockstep with scientists,'' he said.
''Ever since the 1990 demonstration, we've been partners in fighting illnesses and diseases, and our enemies now are hesitant politicians and anti-science radio hosts,'' he said. ''We are now Fauci's great defenders against the anti-science. And the world is better for it.''
Read more Retropolis:
A mystery illness killed a boy in 1969. Years later, doctors believed they'd learned what it was: AIDS.
History's deadliest pandemics, from ancient Rome to modern America
She posed as a nurse during the 1918 flu pandemic and went on a crime spree
Everyone wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic. They were useless.
China expanding weather-control program to make artificial rain, snow
People on the Bund in Shanghai, China. Yang Jianzheng/VCG via Getty Images China's government has announced that it is expanding its weather-control project, which creates artificial rain and snow, by fivefold. The State Council said Tuesday the project will soon cover 2.1 million square miles and be ready by 2025. That is about 56% of China's entire surface area. China is one of dozens of countries using "cloud seeding" to try and manufacture good weather conditions for crops or to prevent natural disasters. "Cloud seeding" involves spraying chemicals like silver iodide or liquid nitrogen into clouds, where water droplets condense and fall. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. China is massively expanding its weather-control project, and is aiming to be able to cover half the country in artificial rain and snow by 2025, the government said Tuesday.
The practice of "cloud seeding" was discovered in the US in 1946 by a chemist working for General Electric. China launched its own similar program in the 1960s.
Dozens of other countries '-- including the US '-- also have such programs, but Beijing has the world's largest, employing around 35,000 people, The Guardian reported.
In a statement, China's State Council said that the country's cloud seeing project will expand fivefold to cover an area of 2.1 million square miles and be completed by 2025. (China encompasses 3.7 million square miles, meaning the project could cover 56% of the country's surface area.)
The project will be at a "worldwide advanced level" by 2035, the State Council said, and will help alleviate "disasters such as drought and hail" and facilitate emergency responses "to forest or grassland fires."
People visit the Forbidden City during a blue sky summer day on August 29, 2019 in Beijing, China. Getty Generating artificial rain and snow is fairly simple in principle. Spraying chemicals like silver iodide or liquid nitrogen into clouds can make water droplets condense, and fall as rain or snow.
China launched a localized cloud seeding project in Beijing shortly before the 2008 Olympics, which it said successfully forced anticipated rains to fall before the event started.
In June 2016, China allocated $30 million to its cloud seeding project, and started firing bullets filled with salt and minerals into the sky.
A year later, China spent $168 million on a huge supply of equipment to facilitate the project, including four aircraft and "897 rocket launchers," The Guardian said.
As Business Insider previously reported, China's Ministry of Finance wanted to use cloud seeding to create at least 60 billion cubic meters of additional rain every year by 2020.
In January 2019, state media reported that cloud seeding tactics in the western region of Xinjiang had prevented crops from 70% of hail damage.
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U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade | Military Wiki | Fandom
US bombing of an embassy of the People's Republic of China in BelgradeLocationBelgrade, Serbia, YugoslaviaDateMay 7, 1999TargetDisputedAttack type
Aerial bombingDeaths3Non-fatal injuries
20PerpetratorsUnited StatesOn May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five US JDAM guided bombs hit the People's Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. According to the USA, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement. President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was accidental. Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency, and that the CIA had identified the wrong coordinates for a Yugoslav military target on the same street. The Chinese government issued a statement on the day of the bombing that it was a "barbarian act".
Sequence of events [ edit | edit source ] In the days prior to the bombing, an attack folder labelled 'Belgrade Warehouse 1' was circulated for command approval. The folder originated within the CIA and described the target as a warehouse for a Yugoslav government agency suspected of arms proliferation activities. In this form, the strike was approved by President Clinton.
It is unclear if other NATO leaders approved the strike. A report by the French Ministry of Defense after the war stated that "part of the military operations were conducted by the United States outside the strict framework of NATO" and that a dual-track command structure existed. NATO had no authority over the B-2 stealth bombers that carried out the strike.
According to the CIA account, the target was checked against 'no-strike' databases but these raised no alarms; these are lists of protected sites such as schools, hospitals and places of worship. The joint Observer/Politiken investigation later reported its journalists had interviewed various NATO and US officers who had checked the databases the morning after the attack and found the embassy listed at its correct location.
On the night of May 7''8, the strike was carried out by bombers of the United States Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing flying directly out of Whiteman AFB, Missouri. The bombers were armed with JDAM GPS-guided precision bombs but the geographic coordinates provided by the CIA and programmed into the bombs were those of the Chinese embassy 440 m (480 yd) away. At around midnight local time 5 bombs landed at the location indicated, striking the south end of the embassy almost simultaneously. The embassy had taken precautionary measures in view of the ongoing bombing campaign, sending staff home and housing others in the basement, but the attack still resulted in 3 fatalities, Shao Yunhuan (éµäºç¯), Xu Xinghu (è®¸æ'è) and his wife, Zhu Ying (æ'±é), and 20 injuries.
In Beijing, students (above) and residents (below) marched in protest of the bombing outside of the U.S. Embassy.
Below, candlelight vigil held to mourn the victims.
The raid caused a dramatic rise in tension between China and the United States. An official statement on Chinese television denounced what it called a "barbaric attack and a gross violation of Chinese sovereignty". China's UN ambassador described what he called "NATO's barbarian act" as "a gross violation of the United Nations charter, international law and the norms governing international relations" and "a violation of the Geneva convention". President Clinton telephoned his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin.
On May 12, to mourn the deaths of the bombing victims, American flags were ordered to be lowered to half-staff at U.S. diplomatic missions in China and the Chinese dependent territory of Hong Kong. The photo above shows the lowered American flag at the American consulate in Hong Kong. "The lives of those killed and injured was secondary to the escalating tensions between the two powers," states a study of the diplomatic exchanges surrounding the affair. "The apologies demanded by the Chinese government, and whatever regrets and sorrow expressed by US officials to the families of the deceased were only incidental and, at best, pro-forma."
Large demonstrations erupted at consular offices of the United States and other NATO countries in China in reaction to news of the bombing. On May 9, 1999, then vice-president Hu Jintao delivered a national televised speech condemning the "barbaric" and "criminal conduct" of NATO, which "incited the fury of the Chinese people." He said the unauthorized demonstrations in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenyang reflected the anger and patriotism of the Chinese people, and which the Chinese government fully supported, but urged against extreme and illegal conduct.
The protests continued for several days, during which tens of thousands of rock-throwing protesters kept US Ambassador James Sasser and other staff trapped in the Beijing embassy. The residence of the US Consul in Chengdu was damaged by fire and protestors tried to burn the consulate in Guangzhou. There were no reported injuries.
"During the first day and a half of the crisis, many of our colleagues, especially those in the Chancery and at some of the Consulates, were in significant danger. Though U.S. Marines protected the Chancery from direct assault, officers on the spot engaged in a full-scale destruction of classified materials that might fall into the hands of demonstrators should the Embassy be overrun. In hindsight, it appears the danger was never that close, but several Chinese did jump the compound wall and had to be confronted by Marines in full battle gear before they were persuaded to jump back over the wall.Except for Shanghai, with its own Marine guard contingent, the other Consulates were protected only by Chinese security guards. In Chengdu those guards were of virtually no help. Demonstrators climbed the compound wall, set fire to the Consul's residence, and smashed their way through the outer door of the Consulate. They were using a bike rack to try to crash into the interior '' while screaming that they were going to exact vengeance '' when city security forces finally arrived and routed them. Our colleagues were understandably terrified through this ordeal. They were frantically calling the Embassy and local contacts, and getting increasingly agitated by the slow, almost grudging response of the Chengdu authorities." '' Paul Blackburn, Foreign Service OfficerPresident Clinton's apologies and those of the US State Department were not initially allowed to be broadcast by Chinese state-run media outlets. The demonstrations continued for four days before the Chinese government called a halt, eventually broadcasting President Clinton's apology on television and ordering the police to restrain the demonstrators. The two nations' leaders finally spoke on May 14.
Settlement [ edit | edit source ] By the end of 1999, relations began to gradually improve. In August, the U.S. government made a "voluntary humanitarian payment" of $4.5 million to the families of the three Chinese nationals who were killed and to the 27 injured in the bombing. On December 16, 1999, the two governments reached a settlement under which the United States agreed to pay $28 million in compensation for damage to the Chinese Embassy facility, and China agreed to pay $2.87 million in compensation for damage inflicted to the U.S.Embassy and other diplomatic facilities in China.
Official investigation and reporting in the aftermath [ edit | edit source ] Late on May 8, US Defense Secretary William Cohen and George Tenet issued a joint press release stating neither the aircrew involved nor the equipment were to blame for the incident. The first attempt to explain the bombing came on May 10. William Cohen told reporters "In simple terms, one of our planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing instructions were based on an outdated map". The statement made no mention of the CIA. It was subsequently revealed that the CIA possessed maps showing the embassy.
While US officials then began, on the record, to deflect questions pending the outcome of further enquiries, they continued to brief journalists off the record. For example, also on May 10 Eric Schmitt published an account with most of the elements that were to feature in DCI Tenet's later admissions. The officials briefed Schmitt that "the Chinese Embassy and a headquarters for a Yugoslav arms agency ... look very similar: same size, shape and height", and that the buildings were 180 m (200 yd) apart, less than half of the actual distance.
Media criticism focused on NIMA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. NIMA issued a press release to counter the attacks stating that "recent news reports regarding the accuracy of NIMA maps have been inaccurate or incomplete" and that "a hardcopy map is neither intended, nor used, as the sole source for target identification and approval."
Official State Department account [ edit | edit source ] In June, Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering led a delegation to China to present the US version of events.
According to the official account, CIA analysts knew the address of the Yugoimport office to be Bulevar Umetnosti 2 (2 Boulevard of the Arts). Using this information, they attempted to pinpoint its geographic location by using the known locations and addresses of other buildings on parallel streets as reference points. Pickering referred to this technique as intersection and resection. Though the method described does not correspond to the technical definition of either of these methods (see Resection (orientation)), this may be an informal name in the military for the particular technique used.
Parallel lines were drawn from known addresses and locations on a parallel street. With this information it was attempted to reconstruct the pattern of street addresses on Bulevar Umetnosti, which was information unknown to the targeters. The pattern of street addresses on Bulevar Umetnosti was not as expected, and the targeter erroneously pinpointed the embassy "located on a small side street at some distance on Bulevar Umetnosti" from the intended target. This was not true as Ulica Tresnjevog Cveta (Cherry Blossom St, the "small side street" where the embassy was located) does not connect with Bulevar Umetnosti which ends 200 m (220 yd) short of the junction with Cherry Blossom St. A procedure designed to determine the coordinates of a known address on a known street produced the coordinates of a different address on a street neither a continuation of nor connected to the street targeted.
Multiple checks designed to prevent attacks on sensitive targets each failed as the location of the embassy had not been updated since the embassy moved to New Belgrade three years earlier. As a result, the bombers took to the air with the coordinates of the Chinese embassy programmed into the bombs on board.
Unlike the initial explanations, this account drew no direct causal connection between the use of an old map and the targeting of the embassy. The explanation did not address why the target authorisation listed the objective as a 'warehouse' if the actual objective was an office building.
George Tenet statement [ edit | edit source ] On July 22, George Tenet made a statement before a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. Covering the same ground as Under Sec. Pickering's statement in China, he additionally acknowledged the target package originated within the CIA and that it was the sole CIA-directed strike of the war, stated that he had been personally unaware that the CIA was circulating strike requests and recognised that the CIA possessed maps correctly displaying the embassy. Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre, giving evidence the same day, stated that "NIMA is not at fault".
[ edit | edit source ] Few Chinese politicians believed the US version of events, believing instead the strike had been deliberate.
Former ambassador Li Daoyu stated "we don't say it was a decision of Clinton or the White House", but the Chinese government describes the US explanation for "the so-called mistaken bombing" as "anything but convincing" and has never accepted the US version of events.
Observer/Politiken investigation [ edit | edit source ] Acting on a tip-off, Jens Holsoe of Danish newspaper Politiken contacted UK paper The Observer with a view to conducting a joint investigation. Holsoe, together with John Sweeney and Ed Vulliamy of The Observer, interviewed numerous sources including a NATO officer "serving in an operational capacity at the four-star level", a staff-officer at two-star level, a "very high-ranking" former US intelligence officer, a NATO flight controller at the Naples HQ for Kosovo air operations, and a US NIMA official. After a four-month investigation, they published their findings on Oct 17.
According to the journalists' investigation the embassy bombing was a deliberate attack, a claim consistent with the pattern of strikes that night where, according to NATO's official briefing of May 8, "the focus was wholly on disrupting the national leadership" of Yugoslavia. Apart from "the FDSP weapons warehouse", every target that night was a command and control center.
A further report in The Observer of November 28, 1999 added more details. According to the report, American officials indicated that the reason behind the bombing of the embassy, was because they believe the embassy had provided signals facilities for Å½eljko RaÅ¾natoviÄ, commonly known as Arkan, a Serb paramilitary leader wanted by the ICTY for war crimes. NATO's briefing of May 8, which stated Arkan's HQ was at the Hotel Yugoslavia 500 m (550 yd)away, is consistent with this interpretation.
Representatives of NATO governments dismissed the investigation. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described it as "balderdash" and UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said there wasn't a "shred of evidence to support this rather wild story".
Initially, the New York Times refused to report on the investigation until its findings could be corroborated. Subsequently, Andrew Rosenthal informed letter-writers by post that the Times had found no evidence to support the allegations. Although the Times' attempt to corroborate the findings did not include contacting either its authors or their sources.
Other sources, including major American media such as the Washington Post, New York Times and Chicago Tribune maintained that while culpability rested with inaccurate strike planning, the attack was not deliberate. International News wires such as The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Press (AFP) published numerous reports supporting both the accidental and deliberate attack theories. The American media was criticized for devoting very little attention to the incident, as well as for repeatedly referring to the "accidental bombing" as fact rather than as a claim contested by China.
The Observer/Politiken article was ignored by the US media for the most part. A Salon article by Laura Rozen, however did feature an interview of Washington Post columnist and former intelligence officer William M. Arkin, who was dismissive of the investigation. While acknowledging the investigators had indeed spoken to signals intelligence officers in NATO, Arkin told Rozen "The Chinese Embassy and the Hotel Yugoslavia, where Arkan's generals were believed to be commanding his paramilitary Tigers, are right across the street from each other, and in fact both were bombed the same night ... I think there were communications emanating from the Hotel Yugoslavia across the street. And I think that stupid people who are leaking rumors to the Observer have made that mistake."
While it is correct that the Hotel Yugoslavia was attacked on May 7, NATO was aware of its function and connection with Arkan. Arkin did not explain how NATO planners could both be aware of the HQ and target it successfully if they were confused about its location.
ICTY Investigation [ edit | edit source ] A report conducted by the ICTY entitled Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the Kosovo War examined the attack on the Chinese embassy specifically and came to the conclusion that the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) should not undertake an investigation concerning the bombing of the Chinese Embassy. In reaching its decision, it rendered the following observations:
That the root of the failures in target location appears to stem from the land navigation techniques employed by an intelligence officer in an effort to pinpoint the location of the FDSP (Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement) building at Bulevar Umetnosti 2. The officer used techniques known as "intersection" and "resection" which, while appropriate to locate distant or inaccessible points or objects, are inappropriate for use in aerial targeting as they provide only an approximate location. Using this process, the individual mistakenly determined that the building which we now know to be the Chinese Embassy was the FDSP headquarters.The USA has formally apologized to the Chinese Government and agreed to pay $28 million in compensation to the Chinese Government and $4.5 million to the families of those killed or injured. The CIA has also dismissed one intelligence officer and reprimanded six senior managers. The US Government also claims to have taken corrective actions in order to assign individual responsibility and to prevent mistakes such as this from occurring in the future.The aircrew involved in the attack should not be assigned any responsibility for the fact they were given the wrong target and that it is inappropriate to attempt to assign criminal responsibility for the incident to senior leaders because they were provided with wrong information by officials of another agency.Amnesty International report [ edit | edit source ] Amnesty International examined the NATO air campaign and assessed the legality of its actions. In the case of the embassy bombing Amnesty reported both on the official explanation and to the Observer/Politiken investigation without arbitrating as to which was true. NATO was criticised for continuing its bombing campaign uninterrupted when its safeguards to protect civilians were known to be faulty. A genuinely accidental attack would not imply legal responsibility, but the report stated that "the very basic information needed to prevent this mistake was publicly and widely available" and that "NATO failed to take the necessary precautions required by Article 57(2) of Protocol I" of the Geneva conventions.
See also [ edit | edit source ] Civilian casualties during Operation Allied ForceYinhe incidentReferences [ edit | edit source ] ' "Chinese Embassy Bombing In Belgrade: Compensation Issues". Congressionalresearch.com . http://congressionalresearch.com/RS20547/document.php . Retrieved January 27, 2012 . ' Schmitt, Eric (July 23, 1999). "In a Fatal Error, C.I.A. Picked a Bombing Target Only Once: The Chinese Embassy". New York Times . http://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/global/072399china-embassy.html . Retrieved October 22, 2009 . ' 3.0 3.1 Tenet, George (July 22, 1999). "DCI Statement on the Belgrade Chinese Embassy Bombing House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Open Hearing". Central Intelligence Agency . https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/1999/dci_speech_072299.html . Retrieved October 4, 2006 . ' "Chinese demand U.N. meeting after Belgrade embassy attacked". CNN . http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/07/kosovo.05/index.html . ' Whitney, Craig (November 11, 1999). "U.S. Military Acted Outside NATO Framework During Kosovo Conflict, France Says". New York Times . http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/11/world/us-military-acted-outside-nato-framework-during-kosovo-conflict-france-says.html . Retrieved October 23, 2009 . ' Diamond, John (2008). The CIA and the Culture of Failure: U.S. Intelligence from the end of the Cold War to the Invasion of Iraq. Stanford University Press. p. 552. ISBN 0-8047-5601-5. ' "Nato hits Chinese embassy". BBC News. May 8, 1999 . http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/338424.stm . Retrieved October 25, 2009 . ' "Embassy strike 'a mistake'". BBC News. May 8, 1999 . http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/338557.stm . Retrieved October 25, 2009 . ' Consulate General of the United States Hong Kong & Macau (August 2, 1999). "Statements on NATO Bombing of China's Embassy in Belgrade". U.S. Department of State . http://www.usconsulate.org.hk/kosovo/statement.htm . Retrieved October 4, 2006 . (no longer available at source, text can be found here ) ' Negash, Girma (2007 (reprint)). Apologia Politica: States and Their Apologies by Proxy. Westport, Connecticut: Lexington Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-7391-2206-1. ' 11.0 11.1 (Chinese) "èµæ¼1999å¹´5æ'9æ¥èé--...æ¶å°±æé(C)>>åä½é...éèå>>åè¨è®²è¯'" Accessed July 1, 2011 ' 12.0 12.1 "Chinese in Belgrade, Beijing protest NATO embassy bombing" May 9, 1999 ' 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Dumbaugh, Kerry (April 12, 2000). "Chinese Embassy Bombing in Belgrade:Compensation Issues". Congressional Research Service publication . http://congressionalresearch.com/RS20547/document.php . Retrieved April 8, 2010 . ' Blackburn, Paul. "Dealing with a PR Disaster '' The U.S. Bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade". The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training: Foreign Affairs Oral History Project . http://adst.org/2013/05/dealing-with-a-pr-disaster-the-u-s-bombing-of-the-chinese-embassy-in-belgrade/ . Retrieved 8 May 2013 . ' 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Schmitt, Eric (May 10, 1999). "CRISIS IN THE BALKANS: HUMAN ERROR; Wrong Address of Embassy in Databases". New York Times . http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/10/world/crisis-in-the-balkans-human-error-wrong-address-of-embassy-in-databases.html?pagewanted=all . Retrieved October 23, 2009 . ' Cohen, William (May 10, 1999). "Secretary of Defense Cohen's News Briefing on Chinese Embassy Bombing". US Department of Defense . http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=536 . Retrieved October 23, 2009 . ' "MEDIA RELEASE:990516-2". National Imagery and Mapping Agency. May 16, 1999. ' Pickering, Thomas R. (July 6, 1999). "Oral Presentation the Chinese Government Regarding the Accidental Bombing of The P.R.C. Embassy in Belgrade". US Department of State . http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/6524.doc . Retrieved October 24, 2009 . ' "Testimony of John J. Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense Before the House Select Committee on Intelligence". (FAS Copy). July 22, 1999 . http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1999_hr/990722-hamre.htm . Retrieved October 27, 2006 . ' Peter Hays Gries (July 2001). "Tears of Rage: Chinese Nationalist Reactions to the Belgrade Embassy Bombing". Canberra, Australia: Contemporary China Center, Australian National University. pp. 25''43. ISSN 1324-9347. JSTOR 3182306. OCLC 41170782. ' Arkin, William M. (November 8, 1999). "Chinese Embassy Continues to Smolder". Washington Post . http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A10160-1999Nov2 . Retrieved October 26, 2009 . ' "Strong Protest by the Chinese Government Against The Bombing by the US-led NATO of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Yugoslavia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. November 17, 2001 . http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/ziliao/3602/3604/t18047.htm . Retrieved October 22, 2009 . ' Vulliamy, Ed; Sweeney, John (October 17, 1999). "Nato bombed Chinese deliberately". London: Guardian . http://www.guardian.co.uk/Kosovo/Story/0,2763,203214,00.html . Retrieved January 27, 2012 . ' 24.0 24.1 "Chinese Embassy Bombing--Media Reply, FAIR Responds". FAIR. November 3, 1999 . http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1764 . Retrieved October 25, 2009 . ' 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 "Morning Briefing". NATO Press Office. May 8, 1999 . http://www.nato.int/koSovo/press/b990508a.htm . Retrieved October 25, 2009 . ' "Truth behind America's raid on Belgrade". London: The Observer. November 28, 1999 . http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3935955,00.html . Retrieved October 25, 2009 . ' "Nato embassy attack 'not deliberate'". BBC News. October 17, 1999 . http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/477374.stm . Retrieved June 25, 2011 . ' Steven Lee Myers (April 17, 2000). "Chinese Embassy Bombing: A Wide Net of Blame". New York: New York Times . http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9801EED91431F934A25757C0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 . Retrieved December 12, 2007 . ' "Chinese Embassy Bombing'--Media Reply, FAIR Responds". Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. November 3, 1999 . http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1764 . Retrieved February 3, 2008 . ' Laura Rozen (February 10, 2000). "A "Boneheaded" bombing". San Francisco: Salon . http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2000/02/10/embassy/index.html . Retrieved October 22, 2009 . ' "Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". UNICTY . http://www.icty.org/sid/10052#IVB4 . ' "Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". Para 82: UNICTY . http://www.icty.org/sid/10052#IVB4 . ' "Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". Para 84: UNICTY . http://www.icty.org/sid/10052#IVB4 . ' "Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". Para 85: UNICTY . http://www.icty.org/sid/10052#IVB4 . ' ""COLLATERAL DAMAGE" OR UNLAWFUL KILLINGS? : Violations of the laws of war by NATO during Operation Allied Force". Amnesty International. June 5, 2000. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010 . http://web.archive.org/web/20101207161626/http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR70/018/2000/en/e7037dbb-df56-11dd-89a6-e712e728ac9e/eur700182000en.pdf . Retrieved October 27, 2009 . ' "COLLATERAL DAMAGE" OR UNLAWFUL KILLINGS? p. 52 External links [ edit | edit source ] CIA takes rap for embassy attack by Martin Kettle, The Guardian, April 10, 2000China's intelligence might have been collecting pieces from the F-117 shot down in Yugoslavia "China's New Stealth Fighter May Use US Technology", January 23, 2011319251-NATO-gadjao-srpske-obavestajce-u-kineskoj-ambasadi Former Chinese ambassador about persons killed an injured when embassy bombed
France's elite forced to confront sexual abuse scandals - BBC News
image caption Protest at Sciences Po Strasbourg: The slogans read: "We believe you" and "Silent institution = complicit institution"Anna Toumazoff chose a powerful hashtag to highlight sexual abuse at France's top political science college. Sciences Po - the training ground for the country's presidents, politicians and administrators - became #SciencesPorcs (Science Pigs).
"This story is very French," Anna told me. "Because it's about great schools; it's about rape culture; it's about the elegance of being silent - that's very French."
Since then, the social media activist has received more than 400 messages from current and former students of Sciences Po. They describe sexual assaults and rapes, mostly by fellow students, that they say were not taken seriously by the college.
"Some were told that 'it's not the worst thing in the world', that life goes on," Anna said. "Others were accused of defamation. Some were considered liars. I haven't received any testimonies of people being well treated."
Stories like this are not new and not unique to Sciences Po. But she believes they are attracting wider attention now because the college is already under the spotlight for something else.
Breaking the incest taboo
France has been shaken by a series of incest allegations involving public figures over the past few weeks, beginning last month with the publication of a book by Camille Kouchner, in which she accused her stepfather, Olivier Duhamel, of abusing her twin brother as a child.
image copyright Getty Images
image caption Olivier Duhamel resigned as head of a foundation overseeing Sciences PoOlivier Duhamel, a political commentator, was the head of Sciences Po's Foundation. He resigned, along with the school's director who, it turned out, had also known about the allegations.
A government investigation into the college found no systematic cover-up, but noted that none of those who knew about the accusations had reported them, and said that the college should reinforce awareness of gender-based and sexual violence.
Alexandre Kouchner, Camille's half-brother, teaches at Sciences Po. It's probably true, he says, that the book has refocused attention on other forms of sexual assault.
"But it would be untrue and unwise to think this started with a debate about incest," he told me. "This started with the MeToo movement."
Other colleges - business and arts schools - are now facing similar pressures.
The Duhamel affair has also reverberated far beyond one family or one college in opening up a conversation about incest. Incest in France is used to mean sexual abuse by relatives, including those not related by blood.
The association Face l'inceste (Facing Incest) says the number of calls it received this month shot up from 30 to almost 200. Lawyers describe similar jumps in the number of clients wanting to explore legal action.
"I've never seen anything like it," one lawyer told the BBC. "People will often start by saying, 'you know the book by Camille Kouchner? Well, something quite like that happened to me too'."
Earlier this week, a deputy mayor of Paris, Audrey Pulvar, spoke to France Inter radio about revelations that her deceased father had abused three of her cousins as children.
She knew it was true, she said, because "things happened [as a child] that I felt weren't normal. There was a climate I didn't understand."
When you are the daughter of a monster, at some point you wonder if you are not a monster yourself. It's almost automatic
Even President Emmanuel Macron has spoken about the impact of the Duhamel affair.
"The silence built by criminals and cowardice is finally exploding," he said last month. "It's exploding because of the courage of a sister who could no longer stay silent, then the courage of thousands of others who have told accounts of their lives broken in the sanctuary of their childhood bedrooms... No-one can ignore them any longer."
A study conducted last year suggested that one in 10 people in France have experienced incestuous sexual abuse, yet this outpouring of public testimony and public attention feels new.
France's approach to incest - and childhood sexuality - has been complicated by its history, says Fabienne Giuliani, a historian of incest in France.
"Since the French Revolution, we have designed the family as a sanctuary in which the state does not enter," she explained. "During the 20th Century, French society refused to see incest, refused to pronounce the word 'incest', refused to believe children in the courts."
The importance accorded to psychoanalytic theory in France - the idea that children desire their parents - has also affected attitudes here, as did theories that aimed to legitimise paedophilia in the 1970s.
It is currently legal in France for blood relations to have consensual sex as adults, while incest is an "aggravating factor" in cases of child rape and molestation.
Under French law, a rape charge is only possible if there is proof of "force, threat, violence or surprise" - otherwise it is tried as the lesser offence of sexual assault. That applies to children as well, as France has no legal age of consent.
That may be changing. Two bills already going through parliament have put forward plans to remove the possibility that minors can consent to sex. And President Macron has asked his government to draw up similar proposals, introducing an age of consent.
image copyright EPA
image caption President Macron is pushing for more legal protection for children"There is something new in France, in this conversation," Alexandre Kouchner told me. "And it's the fact that intimacy has become a political subject. We're looking at a movement that puts what happens to individuals at the forefront of the political debate."
Back in 1986, French television audiences watched Eva Thomas speak about her experiences as an incest survivor. It was the first time anyone here had spoken out in this way without the protection of anonymity.
"I want to stop feeling ashamed," Eva told her interviewers.
"Why didn't you tell your mother?" she was asked. And: "Forgive me, but you let him do this?"
Now there are so many voices, so many campaigns, that some have warned about the danger of different issues being merged together: incest; age of consent; sexual assault; sexual harassment; gay and transgender rights.
But, says Anna Toumazoff, "if everything is getting mixed, it's because it belongs to the same system".
The common link, she says, is the pressure on some parts of society to stay silent.
"Victims have always tried to talk, actually," she told me. "The difference now is that, because of the hashtags and social networks, people are obliged to hear and to answer. That's the difference."
JRE is back with 'clips' on YouTube and his old RSS feed
Upon hearing about Rush Limbaugh's death on Wednesday, many fans said he was irreplaceable. For the time being, his distributor is not going to try.
''Rush's voice will continue to be heard, providing comfort and continued insight to his legions of loyal fans,'' Premiere Networks said in a statement obtained by CNN Business.
Premiere Networks syndicates ''The Rush Limbaugh Show'' to hundreds of local radio stations across the United States. Many of the stations rely on Limbaugh to draw a big audience in the middle of the day. So the stations are paying close attention to Premiere's plans for the time slot.
For now, Premiere says that ''transitional programming'' will air in Limbaugh's time slot ''until his audience is prepared to say good-bye.''
The company, a division of iHeartMedia, didn't specify how long this ''Best of Rush'' programming will air, but it is expected to continue for weeks.
Limbaugh's producers will draw on the show's archives and ''pull segments that are relevant for each day's news cycle and allow us to feature the best of Rush for the full three hours of the program,'' according to the statement.
Limbaugh had several guest hosts, including Todd Herman and Mark Steyn, fill in for him while he was undergoing cancer treatments.
Premiere said that guest hosts will be used on the ''Best of Rush'' shows ''when needed to guide Rush's audio from one topic to another, but Rush will be the predominant voice heard.''
Before Limbaugh died, there was speculation in media industry circles about who might succeed him someday. Donald Trump's name repeatedly came up, especially after he lost re-election in November. Limbaugh and Trump were close allies.
On Wednesday evening, while being interviewed on Newsmax about Limbaugh's legacy, Trump demurred when asked if he'd consider filling the talk radio void.
Any number of existing right-wing radio hosts are sure to jockey for the job, though not publicly, lest they appear to be exploiting Limbaugh's death.
In Chico, California, the general manager of KPAY, Dino Corbin, told the Enterprise-Record newspaper that all of the regular guest hosts are being ''tested, rated and scored to see who will replace the man who has been the most successful radio host ever.''
''It's like how do you replace Alex Trebek?'' Corbin said, referring to the ''Jeopardy!'' host who died late last year.
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The Economist explains - What is the fuss over central-bank digital currencies? | The Economist explains | The Economist
For central banks, digital cash offers a safer, faster and more flexible alternative to notes and coins
Explaining the world, daily The Economist explains Feb 16th 2021
CENTRAL-BANK digital currencies are coming. China has started large-scale trials of the ''e-yuan''. European officials want to launch a digital euro by 2025. America's Federal Reserve is studying whether to follow suit. The Bahamas has already put its version, the ''sand dollar'', into circulation. This sudden rush arouses both excitement and confusion. A central-bank digital currency, or CBDC, sounds like a newfangled monetary innovation, perhaps an official take on bitcoin. But it is not obvious what the point is. Many people already use digital currency, whether in mobile apps for payments or on bank websites for transfers. What are these new digital currencies and why are central banks creating them?
CBDCs are simply a digital version of cash'--the physical money issued by central banks. In most countries, their design will probably resemble existing online payment platforms, with one key difference: money held on a CBDC app or website will be equivalent to a deposit at the central bank. The main motivation for central banks is to limit the risks inherent in the global shift to cashless payments. They are responsible for the safety of the monetary system, the most basic element of which is guaranteeing that people can use cash to buy things. But in a world dominated by Apple Pay or Alipay, everyday transactions would depend on private companies rather than on central banks. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ''stablecoins'' (which peg their value to the dollar or other assets) like Facebook-backed Diem (formerly Libra) are also a threat, potentially chipping away at state authority. With CBDCs, central banks will have a stronger presence in online payments. That would lessen the danger to financial stability from reliance on purely private payment systems. And some people might like having the option to keep at least some of their digital cash on a trusted official platform.
CBDCs are not just a means of defending central banks' turf. Central banks also see opportunities. Cashless transactions make for faster, more reliable payments and are less susceptible to counterfeiting. Issuing digital cash is cheaper than minting coins, so long as it is protected against hacking. Officials also have an easier time monitoring how digital money is used, making it harder to fund criminal activities. In poorer countries central banks hope that digital currencies will bring unbanked citizens into the financial system, boosting economic development. Central banks could also gain new powers. An impediment to negative interest rates at the moment is that savers can switch to cash, which has a de facto interest rate of zero. In a cashless world central banks could in theory programme digital currency to have negative rates. They could also use mobile wallets to make cash injections more direct'--for example, quickly sending money to residents of a region struck by an earthquake.
These ambitious uses of digital currencies are well into the future. For years to come, central banks will continue to provide banknotes alongside e-wallets, recognising that many people still want to hang onto hard cash or are simply unable to use smartphones. Central bankers are also cautious by profession. Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has said that America would prefer to ''get it right than to be first'' with a digital currency.
In fact Mr Powell and his peers already have plenty of experience in managing what are known as ''wholesale'' digital currencies: the reserve deposits of commercial banks at central banks. The real question is how to design ''retail'' digital currencies for the public. One option is for central banks to offer their own official mobile apps. Another is for people to use their preferred payment apps, as they do now, but to have some cash on them directly tied to an account at the central bank, rather than sitting on the payment provider's balance-sheet. Some policymakers worry about ''digital bank runs'', which could occur if people convert their savings into CBDCs in a panic, draining banks of liquidity. Caps on CBDC holdings or transfers might be a useful safeguard, at least to begin with. Sorting out all these details will take time. But the general direction is clear. As cash disappears, official digital currencies will emerge, and the links between people and central banks are likely to become stronger.
VIDEO-on Twitter: "Time-traveller from 1981: 'So, in 2021, we haz moon bases?' 2021: No. We have young men recording sea shanties about bankrupting hedge funds during a global pandemic." / Twitter
Why did Dan Andrews personal staff order police to throw me out of a press conference today? It was a public press conference.I have my official Australian government press credentials.I was well-behaved (watch for yourself!)So why was I thrown out?And since when do politicians get to use police as their personal errand-boys?
Am I really so terrifying that Dan Andrews can't even handle a question from me? Is he that thin-skinned?
I think Dictator Dan is starting to mimic his role models in Communist China, and their heavy-handed approach to journalists.
But this is still Australia, and freedom of the press exists for all media'--even the ones Andrews doesn't like.
If you agree with me, please sign my petition at www.LetAviReport.com.
That's all I'm asking for'--my basic freedoms to report the news. And your basic freedoms to hear it from me, if you want to.
Instead, I've been banned from the Parliamentary precinct for a week '-- it's outrageous.
I've spoken with Catherine Cumming, M.P. and she says she'll raise the matter in the Parliament of Victoria. That's great news '-- it's nice to know someone still cares about freedom these days.
So please go to www.LetAviReport.com.
Because our civil liberties matter.
VIDEO-John Kerry says Earth has 9 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis: "There's no faking it on this one" - CBS News
The wild winter weather this week has been called historic and unprecedented, and John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, wants to stop it from becoming typical .
"Obviously we want to prevent this from becoming the new normal to the degree that we can," Kerry told CBS News' Ben Tracy.
Many people wrongly believe that climate change only relates to temperatures increasing, not decreasing.
Kerry said it threatens all weather patterns .
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"I think it's a very appropriate way to think of it, so it is directly related to the warming, even though your instinct is to say, wait a minute, this is the new Ice Age. But it's not," Kerry said. "It is coming from the global warming and it threatens all the normal weather patterns."
The planet is warming in large part because of greenhouse gas emissions that are pumped into the sky from power plants, cars, planes and industry. It even comes from the way we raise and grow our food . America is the second-largest emitter behind China of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.
That warming is believed to make storms stronger, droughts drier and oceans higher. That means certain places on Earth where people currently live will become unlivable. In fact, it is already happening .
Kerry said we have only a few years left to avoid a climate catastrophe.
"Well, the scientists told us three years ago we had 12 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis. We are now three years gone, so we have nine years left," he said.
That's where the Paris accord, a climate treaty dedicated to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in more than 180 countries around the world, comes in. It was named after the City of Light, where it was agreed to back in 2015. But the pledges made then by nearly every country on Earth to cut their planet-warming emissions will no longer cut it.
"Even if we did everything that we said we were going to do when we signed up in Paris we would see a rise in the Earth's temperature to somewhere around 3.7 degrees or more, which is catastrophic," Kerry said.
When Kerry was secretary of state in 2016 he signed the Paris climate accord. A year later he watched his signature accomplishment erased by then-President Trump. In 2017, Mr. Trump announced he was pulling out of the landmark deal. His administration rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations.
But renewable energy like wind turbines and solar panels are now much cheaper and are providing record amounts of energy in the U.S., putting some coal plants out of business.
Automakers like Tesla that make luxury cars that run on batteries have inspired other car manufacturing companies to do the same. General Motors announced in January it will go mostly electric by 2035 . Kerry said that's great news, but the country will need to transition to clean energy much faster and this will both create and cut jobs. He also said there's been too little action and too much hot air.
"There is no room for B.S. anymore. There's no faking it on this one," Kerry said.
The Biden administration has now rejoined the Paris Agreement and is expected to announce a much more ambitious emissions target by Earth Day in April. Then later this year all the countries that signed the Paris accords will meet again and formalize their new targets. The overall goal is to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
VIDEO-U.N. Apologizes for Role in Haiti's 2010 Cholera Outbreak - The New York Times
U.N. Apologizes for 2010 Cholera OutbreakSecretary General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations was "profoundly sorry" for the outbreak in Haiti, which first developed near a U.N. base.Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the United Nations deeply regrets the loss of life and suffering caused by the cholera outbreak in Haiti. On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly we apologize to the Haitian people. We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role. This has cast a shadow upon the relationship between the United Nations and the people of Haiti. It is a blemish on the reputation of U.N. Peacekeeping and the organization worldwide. For the sake of the Haitian people, but more so for the sake of the United Nations itself, we have a moral responsibility to act and we have a collective responsibility to deliver.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations was "profoundly sorry" for the outbreak in Haiti, which first developed near a U.N. base. Credit Credit... Associated Press UNITED NATIONS '-- After six years and 10,000 deaths, the United Nations issued a carefully worded public apology on Thursday for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the widespread suffering it has caused since then.
The mea culpa, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered before the General Assembly, avoided any mention of who brought cholera to Haiti, even though the disease was not present in the country until United Nations peacekeepers arrived from Nepal, where an outbreak was underway.
The peacekeepers lived on a base that often leaked waste into a river, and the first cholera cases in the country appeared in Haitians who lived nearby. Numerous scientists have long argued that the base was the source of the outbreak, but for years United Nations officials refused to accept responsibility.
Even though Mr. Ban's office has acknowledged that the United Nations had played a role in the outbreak, his apology on Thursday was limited to how the world body responded to the outbreak, not how it started.
''We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti,'' Mr. Ban said on Thursday. ''We are profoundly sorry about our role.''
Apologies are rare for the United Nations. In 1999, Mr. Ban's predecessor, Kofi Annan, expressed ''deep remorse'' for the organization's failure to protect civilians from the genocide in Rwanda five years earlier.
Mr. Ban's apology '-- belated in the view of his critics '-- is part of his push for redress in Haiti before the end of his 10-year tenure on Dec. 31. Yet the people of Haiti have seen few tangible benefits so far.
The United Nations has not yet met its promise to eradicate cholera once and for all from Haiti, though Mr. Ban's aides said on Thursday that they were close to raising the $200 million they say they need to fix Haiti's water and sanitation system and treat Haitians for cholera. Nor has the United Nations yet raised an additional $200 million it wants for ''material assistance'' to families and communities that have suffered; donor nations have not yet come forward with the funds.
''It is aimed at providing a meaningful '-- but necessarily imperfect '-- response to the impact of cholera on individuals, families and communities,'' Mr. Ban said in a report made public on Thursday.
Mr. Ban goaded countries to make ''voluntary contributions,'' or else other means would have to be pursued, which can be interpreted only to be compulsory dues. ''Eliminating cholera from Haiti, and living up to our moral responsibility to those who have been most directly affected, will require the full commitment of the international community and, crucially, the resources necessary,'' he said.
The Haitian ambassador to the United Nations, Denis Regis, welcomed Mr. Ban's acknowledgment of the organization's role in the cholera outbreak, calling its previous position ''morally unjustifiable.''
Few things have damaged the standing of the United Nations '-- and Mr. Ban's record as its secretary general '-- as the cholera outbreak and particularly, his response to it.
In a country where few people have access to clean water and proper sanitation, the disease quickly spread in 2010 when United Nations peacekeepers failed to adequately follow protocols for disposing wastewater, while deployed in Haiti. Cholera surged again in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which hit the nation in October.
One of the reasons the disease spread so widely, public health experts have said, is because it was allowed to; had there been a vigorous response in the first couple of years, it would have been far easier to contain, and fewer people would have died. The death toll stands at an estimated 10,000; some say it could be higher.
In the report issued on Thursday, Mr. Ban blamed perennial underfunding for cholera eradication. ''Efforts were beset from the start by the challenge of insufficient funding, which has had a dramatic negative impact on the capacity to respond effectively to the disease,'' he said.
Perhaps most damaging to the United Nations, which regularly presses governments around the world to pursue accountability, Mr. Ban and his aides have all along claimed immunity from prosecution under a longstanding diplomatic treaty. That view was upheld in August by a federal court in Manhattan, in response to a class-action lawsuit by cholera victims.
In recent months, Mr. Ban has expressed ''moral responsibility'' for the outbreak and ''deep regret.'' Senior United Nations officials said they had been constrained from saying any more by their lawyers, who were concerned that it would make them vulnerable to further legal claims elsewhere over misconduct or mistakes by its peacekeepers.
Mr. Ban made the apology in English, French and Haitian Creole. It was delicately worded to avoid the impression that the United Nations was taking full responsibility for cholera in Haiti. That could imply legal culpability.
The group that represents the victims, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, has said it has not yet decided on whether to take the matter to the United States Supreme Court to seek compensation.
Brian Concannon, the executive director of the group, called Mr. Ban's proposals a step in the right direction. ''But words alone won't save lives or remove the stain on the U.N.'s reputation,'' he said in an email. ''The U.N. and its member states will have to rise to the challenge and actually fund and effectively execute the projects.''
Mr. Ban's aides have said they would prefer to use the material assistance funds to aid communities most affected by the cholera outbreak '-- by giving children of survivors a free education, for instance '-- rather than open up a fund for individual claims for compensation. Whatever they use it for, they need the money first. Of the estimated $200 million, only $500,000 has so far been pledged.
VIDEO-Dr. Fauci WRONGLY predicted "there is no cholera in Haiti so it would be extremely unlikely that there would be an outbreak." Then, as the UN was beginning to cover up its role as the source, Fauci claimed cholera was already "there somewhere" https
Alex Rubinstein : RARE AUDIO: Dr. Fauci WRONGLY predicted "there is no cholera in Haiti so it would be extremely unlikely that there'... https://t.co/8orjPjDalm
Wed Jan 13 00:18:07 +0000 2021
VIDEO-Mackenzie Gray on Twitter: "Our @AnnieClaireBO asks PMJT how he will vote on the CPC motion on if China's actions are a genocide against the Uyghurs He didn't answer the Q, and Annie tried to follow up to get him to answer but he just repeated h
A number of mental health experts have expressed concern over the blatant fear and panic mongering during the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about potential '-- and let's face it, likely '-- psychiatric effects. In a December 22, 2020, article1 in Evie Magazine, S.G. Cheah discusses what may in fact be the real problem at hand: mass insanity caused by "delusional fear of COVID-19."
Cheah refers to lectures and articles by psychiatrist and medical legal expert Dr. Mark McDonald,2 who believes "the true public health crisis lies in the widespread fear which morphed and evolved into a form of mass delusional psychosis."
"Even when the statistics point to the extremely low fatality rate among children and young adults (measuring 0.002% at age 10 and 0.01% at 25), the young and the healthy are still terrorized by the chokehold of irrational fear when faced with the coronavirus," Cheah writes.
Infectious HysteriaCheah goes on to review a number of irrational behaviors that have become all too commonplace, such as parents being kicked off planes because their young children refuse to wear a mask during the flight, or people having hysterical meltdowns when they see a person not wearing a mask.
The science3 is quite clear about the risk posed by asymptomatic individuals, meaning anyone who feels perfectly healthy yet may have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a PCR test set to an excessively high cycle threshold. They pose an exceptionally low risk to others, if any risk at all. Science is even clearer on healthy individuals who test negative for SARS-CoV-2. You simply cannot spread a virus you do not have.
The bulk of published science4 ,5 ,6 ,7 ,8 ,9 ,10 ,11 also shows that masks do not prevent the spread of viral infections, and this is particularly true if you're wearing cloth masks,12 surgical masks or masks with vents.
Despite all of that, many still enter a state of hysteria when they see an unmasked person, even if they look perfectly healthy and clearly are not suffering from any kind of respiratory issue. This is a highly irrational state that has no basis in reality.
Indeed, according to McDonald, these people are suffering from delusional psychosis,13 and there are a lot of them. He goes so far as to refer to the outside of his home or office as the "outdoor insane asylum," where he must assume "that any person that I run into is insane" unless they prove otherwise.14 As explained by Cheah:15
"Instead of facing reality, the delusional person would rather live in their world of make-believe. But in order to keep faking reality, they'll have to make sure that everyone else around them also pretends to live in their imaginary world.
In simpler words, the delusional person rejects reality. And in this rejection of reality, others have to play along with how they view the world, otherwise, their world will not make sense to them. It's why the delusional person will get angry when they face someone who doesn't conform to their world view '...
It's one of the reasons why you're seeing so many people who'd happily approve the silencing of any medical experts whose views contradict the WHO or CDC guidelines. 'Obey the rules!' becomes more important than questioning if the rules were legitimate to begin with."
In his interview with Jesse Lee Peterson (video above), McDonald explains his diagnosis this way:
"There was never a medical crisis. There were always enough resources to deal with the people who were sick '... Many resources were in fact turned away '... The question then, for me, became, 'What's the real crisis? What are people really suffering from?'
It became clear to me, very quickly, within the first two or three weeks in March , that it was fear. Since then '... the fear '... has morphed and evolved, not just into a 'I'm worried, I'm scared so I need to stay home,' but an actual belief that is against reality '-- because the definition of delusion is something you believe that doesn't conform with reality.
They believe that they are going to die '-- no matter what age, no matter what state of health they're in '-- if they don't leave their house with a mask and gloves on every day and run from [other] human beings. That's delusional psychosis. It's false, it's wrong, it's not backed up by evidence. And many, many Americans are living that and believing that."
While there's no data to back this up, McDonald says it appears women tend to be more prone to delusional psychosis than men. Part of it, he suggests, may be because when women get scared, they tend to become more hyperprotective than men do under the same circumstances, likely because women '-- speaking in pure generalizing terms, of course '-- tend to be more emotionally driven.
Mass Delusional Psychosis Traumatizes ChildrenMcDonald is particularly concerned with the lasting effects this widespread insanity will have on children as they grow up. As a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, he should know. Since the lockdowns began in the first quarter of 2020, he's seen a massive increase in patients, and their mental states are far worse than what he's used to seeing in these age groups.
One of the worst traumas children suffer as a result of all this fearmongering is the idea that they may kill their parents or grandparents simply by being around them. As noted by Cheah, they're also being taught to feel guilty about behaviors that would normally be completely, well, normal.
As just one example, hysterical adults calling a toddler who refuses to wear a mask a "brat," when in fact resisting having a restrictive mask put across your face is perfectly normal at that age.
"It's not normal for children to grow up thinking that everyone is a danger to everyone else," Cheah says, and rightly so. It's not normal at all, and hysterical adults are mindlessly inflicting severe emotional trauma on an entire generation.
As noted by McDonald in his interview with Peterson above, a primary cause of depression, especially among youngsters, is disconnection from others. We need face-to-face contact, we need physical contact as well as emotional intimacy. We need these things to feel safe around others and within our own selves. Digital interactions simply cannot replace these most basic human needs, and are inherently separating rather than connective.
McDonald cites recent CDC statistics showing there's been a 400% increase in adolescent depression compared to one year ago, and in 25% of cases, they've contemplated suicide. These are unheard of statistics, he says. Never before have so many teenagers considered committing suicide.
"This is a mass-casualty event," McDonald says, and parents '-- adults '-- are to blame, because they are the ones scaring them to the point they don't feel life is worth living anymore.
This is also why just treating the children is not going to be effective enough. We have to address the psychosis of the adult population. "It's up to us adults to fix this," McDonald says, "because children are not going to be able to fix this themselves."
Delusional People Ultimately Require Controlled EnvironmentsWe must also address the mass delusion for another reason, and that is because it's driving us all, sane and insane alike, toward a society devoid of all previous freedoms and civil liberties, and the corrupt individuals in charge will not voluntarily relinquish power once we've given it to them.
A totalitarian society, McDonald believes, is the ultimate end of this societal psychosis unless we do something about it and realize that "we're fine, we're perfectly safe." Indeed, we're in no more danger now than we were pre-COVID. We must not allow our freedoms to be taken from us due to delusional fears. As noted by Cheah in her article:16
"It's not unthinkable that the final outcome would be total societal control on every aspect of your life. Consider this '-- the endpoint of a mentally ill person is for them to be put under a controlled environment (institutionalized like an asylum) where all freedoms are restricted. And it's looking more and more like that's the endpoint of where this mass psychosis is heading."
A December 18, 2020, Tweet by political commentator Candace Owens also sums up how irrational fear and panic have figuratively lobotomized a significant portion of the public:
McDonald points out that many of our leaders obviously do not suffer these same delusional fears. They issue stay-at-home orders from their vacation homes in the Caribbean and repeatedly break their own mask and lockdown mandates. They ride their bikes, stroll through the park, have family gatherings and dine out without a care. They know COVID-19 isn't the deadly plague it's been made out to be, but they're playing the game because it benefits them.
Fear Is Never VirtuousThe video above features a short lecture McDonald gave during America's Frontline Doctors' White Coat Summit 217 in mid-October 2020, titled "The Way Forward: Overcoming Fear."
In it, he points out that not only has fear morphed into a delusional belief that masks, gloves and physical separation is required to stay alive, but fear has also been turned into a virtue, which is doubly tragic and wrong.
Wearing a mask has become a way to demonstrate that you're a "good person," someone who obviously cares about others, whereas not wearing a mask brands you as an inconsiderate lout, if not a prospective mass murderer, simply by breathing.
Healthy people should never wear masks, social distance or self-isolate. Not only are these strategies unhealthy from a physical standpoint, they also perpetuate the delusional psychosis gripping the nation and therefore must end.
By encouraging us to remain in fear, to burrow and settle into it and allow it to control and constrain our lives, the fear has become so entrenched that anyone who says we need to be fearless and fight for our freedoms is attacked for being not only stupid but also dangerous. "I would argue that it's the opposite," McDonald says.
The problem we now face is that the delusion has taken such hold that even if the mask mandates ended nationwide today, many would refuse to give up their masks, and they would not stop chastising those who don't wear them, either. What's more, we now have private companies pushing these freedom-robbing edicts, refusing services to those who don't wear masks.
Soon, you won't be allowed into certain venues if you don't have the COVID-19 vaccine as well, and private corporations are the ones instigating those unconstitutional rules. If you understand the technocratic agenda, then you know why that is. It's because many private companies are part of the global technocratic alliance that is trying to eliminate our freedoms in order to enrich themselves.
"We started out with fear and hysteria. We moved to delusional psychosis, and now we have group control," McDonald says. "Now we don't have police officers and government coming after us. What we have more of is our fellow citizens now castigating us, legally limiting us from getting into vehicles [such as Uber or plane], going into businesses [and] getting jobs."
Restoring Sanity as We Move ForwardEssentially, citizens are now acting as a de facto "police force" to suppress other people's freedom, and this has a terribly harmful effect on society. So, how do we get out of the proverbial insane asylum? How do we restore sanity to our society while still helping those who are at greatest risk for complications and death from COVID-19? McDonald offers the following suggestions in his lecture and the featured interview:
' We must firmly reject masks as a virtue signal; the idea that action taken out of fear '-- such as donning a mask '-- is virtuous. Fear is not helpful and never virtuous.
' We should protect those at greatest risk '-- meaning elderly, frail individuals with comorbidities and those who are in poor health '-- using simple, inexpensive and readily available prophylactics, including vitamin D, hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin and zinc.
' Healthy people should never wear masks, social distance or self-isolate. Not only are these strategies unhealthy from a physical standpoint, they also perpetuate the delusional psychosis gripping the nation and therefore must end.
' We must embrace courage, truth, honesty and freedom, not just in our thoughts and words but also in our actions. As noted by McDonald in the featured interview, people cannot think logically when in a state of delusional psychosis, hence sharing information, facts, data and evidence tends to be ineffective except in cases where the person was acting out of peer pressure rather than a delusional belief.
Typically, the best you can do is stand firm and act in alignment with truth and objective reality, much like you would if you were a first responder faced with an accident victim who is responding hysterically to what you know is only a minor injury.