Election 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud Findings from Various Sources

What went down at the TCF Center?

Shining Light on “Dark Winter”

Oxford Academia Cinical Infectious Diseases

Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 34, Issue 7, 1 April 2002, Pages 972–983, https://doi.org/10.1086/339909

Shining Light on “Dark Winter”

Abstract

On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Analytic Services Institute for Homeland Security, and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter” that simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was constructed to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to bring about actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.

On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies [1], in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) [2], the Analytic Services (ANSER) Institute for Homeland Security [3], and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism [4], held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter,” which simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of ANSER were the principal designers, authors, and controllers of the Dark Winter exercise. John Hamre of CSIS initiated and conceived of an exercise in which senior former officials would respond to a national security crisis caused by use of a biological weapon. Sue Reingold of CSIS managed administrative and logistical arrangements for the exercise. General Dennis Reimer of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism provided substantial funding for exercise.

The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was undertaken to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to catalyze actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.

Of all potential biological weapons, smallpox is historically the most ominous and feared [5–7]. It is a disfiguring, communicable disease with a case-fatality rate of 30% [8, 9]. There is no effective medical treatment [9]. The World Health Assembly officially declared smallpox eradicated worldwide in 1980 [10]. Since its eradication, smallpox vaccination programs and vaccine production have ceased around the world [6]. The United States stopped its mandatory vaccination program in 1972. Thus, residents of the United States—and indeed, the global population—are now highly susceptible to an inadvertent or deliberate release of smallpox.

It has been argued that the smallpox virus is the organism least accessible to potential bioterrorists. Since its eradication, the only officially existing stocks of the smallpox virus have been stored in 2 World Health Organization reference laboratories located in the United States and Russia [11]. Many experts believe, however, that the smallpox virus is not confined to these 2 official repositories and may be in the possession of states or subnational groups pursuing active biological weapons programs [12]. Of particular importance and concern is the legacy of the former Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. It is widely known that the former Soviet Union maintained a stockpile of 20 tons of smallpox virus in its biological weapons arsenal throughout the 1970s, and that, by 1990, they had a plant capable of producing 80–100 tons of smallpox per year [13].

Exercise Participants

The 12 participants in Dark Winter portrayed members of the National Security Council (NSC). Each is an accomplished individual who serves or has served in high-level government or military positions. Among these, the Honorable Sam Nunn, former US Senator from Georgia, played the President of the United States, and the Honorable Frank Keating, the governor of Oklahoma, portrayed himself. Five senior journalists who currently work for major networks or news organizations observed the deliberations of the simulated NSC and participated in a mock press conference during the exercise (table 1). In addition, ∼50 people with current or former policy or operational responsibilities related to biological weapons preparedness observed the exercise.

Table 1

Roles of key participants in the Dark Winter exercise.

Roles of key participants in the Dark Winter exercise.

Exercise Design

Dark Winter was a “tabletop” exercise. Decision makers were presented with a fictional scenario and asked to react to the facts and context of the scenario, establish strategies, and make policy decisions. To the extent possible, the decisions made were incorporated into the evolving exercise, so that key decisions affected the evolution and outcomes of the scenario.

Dark Winter was divided into 3 segments and simulated a time span of ∼2 weeks. Each segment portrayed an NSC meeting, which were set several days apart in the story: on 9, 15, and 22 December 2002. The participants began segments 2 and 3 with a review of all events that had taken place in the intervening period since the last meeting. In an effort to mirror the process of NSC meetings, exercise participants received information through a variety of sources. Exercise controllers played the roles of deputies or special assistants, providing briefings of facts and policy options to participants throughout the meetings as needed. Participants were also presented with newspaper summaries and video clips of television news coverage of the epidemic. In addition, specific individuals were given memoranda during the exercise on issues or events that would normally fall within the purview of that individual’s position or agency. Thus, for example, the Director of Central Intelligence was given memos that provided updated intelligence data during the course of the meetings.

Exercise Planning Assumptions

In designing Dark Winter, the authors of the exercise analyzed plausible delivery methods for bioterrorist attacks as well as available scientific and historical data from smallpox outbreaks in the past [14–18]. Numerous factors influence whether a pathogen will successfully invade a host community and how that pathogen will spread once established in that community [19, 20]. Two key assumptions were made that had a direct effect on the scope of the epidemic portrayed in the exercise: the number of people infected in the initial attack and the transmission rate (i.e., the number of people subsequently infected by each person with a case of smallpox). These assumptions were not intended to be definitive mathematical predictors or models and should not be interpreted as such. However, these assumptions were derived from available data and the current understanding of the smallpox virus and, therefore, serve as a foundation for the Dark Winter scenario. These assumptions are further articulated below.

The quantity of available smallpox vaccine also significantly affected the options and outcome of the exercise. The authors posited that the quantity of undiluted vaccine available during the exercise equaled the amount in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stockpile at that time: ∼15.4 million doses of vaccine.

Number of persons infected by the initial attack. In the Dark Winter scenario, 3000 people were infected with the smallpox virus during 3 simultaneous attacks in 3 separate shopping malls in Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. It has been estimated that only a few virions are required to cause human smallpox infection, and thus the total quantity of virus necessary to cause 3000 infections in humans is small [9]. For example, William Patrick, a senior scientist in the US offensive biological weapons program before its termination in 1969, has stated that 1 g of weaponized smallpox would be sufficient to infect 100 people via an aerosol attack [21]. Accordingly, as little as 30 g of smallpox could cause 3000 infections, the number of infections resulting from the initial attack in this exercise. Given the small infectious dose required to cause disease, and considering that the former Soviet Union was able to produce smallpox by the ton, an attack resulting in 3000 infections is scientifically plausible.

Smallpox transmission rate. The transmission rate for smallpox is not a static characteristic of the smallpox virus that can be readily determined, but a complex, dynamic, fluctuating phenomenon contingent on multiple biological (both host and microbial), social, demographic, political, and economic factors [17, 19]. As such, the smallpox transmission rate within any given population is highly context dependent. Therefore, any effort to estimate how smallpox might spread through contemporary societies must account for contextual differences, to the extent possible.

Dark Winter was designed to investigate the challenges following a covert attack with the smallpox virus. As described in the scenario above, the first recognition of a covert attack with smallpox virus will likely occur when people infected in the initial attack begin showing signs of infection and start appearing in emergency departments and doctors’ offices [16]. At this point, those people will have become capable of transmitting smallpox to others. Thus, by the time a covert attack is discovered, the disease will already be spreading to the next generation of cases, known as “second-generation” cases. Given that very few doctors currently practicing medicine have ever seen a case of smallpox, and given that there is currently no widely available, rapid diagnostic test for smallpox, it is likely that the diagnosis of initial smallpox cases will be delayed, further promoting spread of disease. These factors are crucial in estimating the transmission rate in this exercise.

Another important factor in such estimations is the level of national and global susceptibility to smallpox virus infection. Human beings are considered universally susceptible to smallpox virus, unless they have been vaccinated or have been infected previously with an orthopox virus [17]. Given the absence of endemic smallpox in the world and the absence of vaccination programs since the 1970s, the global susceptibility to smallpox virus is higher than it has ever been in modern history [6]. Data from the 2000 US Census indicate that ∼42% of the US population is aged <30 years and, therefore, has never been vaccinated against smallpox [22]. For those who have been vaccinated, the susceptibility to smallpox infection is uncertain, because acquired immunity is known to wane over time. Exactly how long and to what extent smallpox immunity endures is unknown. Epidemiologic data offer some information and insights into the expected duration of immunity and the benefits of past revaccination: “an increased level of protection against smallpox persists for ⩽5 years after primary vaccination and substantial but waning immunity can persist for ⩾10 years….antibody levels after revaccination can remain high longer, conferring a greater period of immunity than occurs after primary vaccination alone” ([23], pp. 3–4).

These findings suggest that those who were vaccinated in the United States before vaccination programs ceased 30 years ago would have waning immunity, although those who were vaccinated ⩾2 times may have maintained higher levels of immunity. A rough estimate of the level of total population herd immunity to smallpox in the United States is 20% (D. A. Henderson, personal communication), a number that will continue to decrease over time. A recent analogous estimate for the United Kingdom is 18% [24]. Thus, an estimated 228 million US citizens would be expected to be highly susceptible to smallpox infection. Some experts have recently argued that immunologic memory in response to vaccination against smallpox may last considerably longer than hypothesized [25] and, consequently, that the level of herd immunity may be higher. However, for now, that remains a matter of conjecture.

The authors of the exercise used a 1 : 10 ratio for the transmission rate of smallpox in Dark Winter, which was based on an analysis of 34 instances of smallpox importation into Europe between 1958 and 1973 [14, 17]. These smallpox importations were instances in which a person contracted smallpox in a country where the disease still occurred naturally and then unknowingly brought the virus back to a country that no longer had endemic smallpox. Ten of those importations occurred in the months June–November, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal low. These importations were not included in further analysis, because the smallpox attack simulated in Dark Winter took place in December, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal high. Of the remaining 24 imported cases that occurred during the seasonal high for smallpox transmission (December–May), most were quickly diagnosed and contained [14, 17].

The authors of this exercise determined that 6 of these 24 importations most closely paralleled the conditions and context of the Dark Winter exercise, as well as what should be anticipated and planned for in the event of a smallpox attack on the modern United States. In those 6 importations, health care practitioners were slow to diagnose initial smallpox cases, and infected people had considerable interaction with other people before appropriate infection-control measures were initiated [14]. The number of second-generation cases in those 6 outbreaks ranged from 10 to 19 cases, with an average of 13.3 secondary cases per initial case (95% CI, 9.3–17.3). Gani and Leach [24] have recently analyzed these smallpox importations and have estimated that the transmissibility of smallpox in those outbreaks was 10–12 new infections per infectious person. This estimate may be toward the low error bound, because it does not account for seasonal differences in transmission rates (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).

Of the smallpox importations analyzed, the importation into Yugoslavia in 1972 is particularly instructive because that outbreak encompassed many of the attributes that would be expected if a smallpox outbreak occurred today (e.g., a large number of susceptible people, delayed diagnosis, both hospital and community transmission, wide geographic dispersion of cases, difficulty in contact tracing) [17]. In that outbreak, a man on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina became infected with smallpox virus while in Iraq and subsequently brought the disease back to Yugoslavia. His infection with smallpox virus went undiagnosed, and he unknowingly infected 11 others, whose infections also went undiagnosed. The smallpox outbreak was not recognized and control measures were not initiated until the advent of the second generation of cases, which comprised 140 new cases (transmission ratio, 1 : 13). Ultimately, a single index case caused 175 cases of smallpox and 35 deaths before the outbreak was brought to an end. Gani and Leach [24] estimated the transmissibility of smallpox in the 1972 Yugoslavia outbreak to be 10.8 new infections per infectious person.

Given the low level of herd immunity to smallpox and the high likelihood of delayed diagnosis and public health intervention, the authors of this exercise used a 1 : 10 transmission rate for Dark Winter and judged that an exercise that used a lower rate of transmission would be unreasonably optimistic, might result in false planning assumptions, and, therefore, would be irresponsible. The authors of this exercise believe that a 1 : 10 transmission rate for a smallpox outbreak prior to public-health intervention may, in fact, be a conservative estimate, given that factors that continue to precipitate the emergence and reemergence of naturally occurring infectious diseases (e.g., the globalization of travel and trade, urban crowding, and deteriorating public health infrastructure) [26, 27] can be expected to exacerbate the transmission rate for smallpox in a bioterrorism event.

Meltzer et al. [28] have reviewed data from a selected series of past smallpox outbreaks and determined that “the average rate of transmission is <2 persons infected per infectious person” ([29], p. v). However, they also conclude that “data suggest that one person can infect many others,” that a “large percentage of the population in the United States is now susceptible” to smallpox, and that “the average transmission rate following a deliberate release of smallpox might be µ2 [persons infected per infectious person]” ([29], p. v). The authors of this article believe that the average past transmission rate calculated by Meltzer et al. [28, 29] does not have significant application to planning for a smallpox attack on the contemporary United States. Their analysis does not adequately account for confounding factors, such as poor herd immunity [24], seasonality, and likelihood of delayed or inadequate vaccination or other public health interventions and, therefore, significantly underestimates the transmission rate that should be anticipated if a smallpox attack occurred today. Gani and Leach [24], on the other hand, incorporated a number of these confounding factors in their mathematical analysis and predicted that the rate of transmission of smallpox in contemporary industrialized societies is 4–6 new infections per infected person, and possibly as high as 10–12 new infections per infected person in the absence of appropriate hospital infection-control procedures.

During Dark Winter, participants were told that the rate of transmission beyond the first-generation to second-generation cases (i.e., to third and fourth generations of cases) would be highly dependent on additional variables (e.g., vaccination and isolation). The Dark Winter exercise ended in the middle of the second generation of cases. However, exercise participants repeatedly requested worst-case scenario predictions for the spread of disease beyond the second generation of cases to guide their key policy decisions. Accordingly, participants were given estimates of the projected number of smallpox cases and deaths, on the assumption that no additional vaccine would become available and no systematic, coordinated isolation procedures could be broadly and effectively enacted—in other words, the worst-case scenario. In these worst-case scenario conditions, it was determined that the transmission rate would continue to be 1 : 10, on average. Therefore, it was estimated that the third generation of cases would comprise 300,000 cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could encompass as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and result in as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It was emphasized to participants that these numbers were worst-case projections and could be substantially diminished by institution of large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures.

Available doses of smallpox vaccine. The United States, through the CDC, maintains a stockpile of 15.4 million doses of smallpox vaccine [30]. Exercise participants were asked to assume that only 12 million doses of vaccine would be available. This estimation was based on practical experience obtained during the smallpox eradication program in the 1960s and 1970s. During the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication campaign, it was common to lose ∼20% of the available doses of vaccine from any given vial because of unavoidable inefficiencies and waste (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).

Exercise Scenario

The year is 2002 [31]. The Unites States economy is strong. Tensions between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China are high. A suspected lieutenant of Osama bin Laden has recently been arrested in Russia in a sting operation while attempting to purchase 50 kg of plutonium and biological pathogens that had been weaponized by the former Soviet Union. The United Nation’s sanctions against Iraq are no longer in effect, and Iraq is suspected of reconstituting its biological weapons program. In the past 48 h, Iraqi forces have moved into offensive positions along the Kuwaiti border. In response, the United States is moving an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf.

NSC Meeting 1

Information presented to NSC members, 9 December 2002. The 12 members of the NSC gather for what initially was to be a meeting to address the developing situation in southwest Asia but are given the news that a smallpox outbreak is occurring in the United States. In Oklahoma, 20 cases have been confirmed by the CDC, with 14 more suspected. There are also reports of suspect cases in Georgia and Pennsylvania. These cases are not yet confirmed. The initial exposure is presumed to have occurred on or about 1 December, given the 9–17-day incubation period for smallpox (figure 1).

Figure 1

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 50) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 1 (9 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 50) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 1 (9 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

The governor of Oklahoma, who is in Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech, agrees to participate in the NSC meeting to clearly articulate the priorities and needs of his state before rushing home to manage the growing crisis. NSC members are briefed on the status of the outbreak and on smallpox. It is explained that smallpox produces no symptoms at the time of exposure and that fever, malaise, and rash will develop 9–17 days after exposure; that, although vaccination before exposure or up to ∼4–5 days after exposure may prevent or ameliorate disease manifestations, there is no effective treatment once the disease has developed; that the case-fatality rate for smallpox is ∼30%; that smallpox virus is communicable from person to person and is spread at close range by respiratory droplets or, in some instances, at longer range by aerosols (i.e., droplet nuclei) [18]; that although the transmission rate for smallpox virus is a complex dynamic that is dependent on multiple factors, epidemiologic evidence indicates that a single infected person in a highly susceptible population can be expected to infect 10–19 others; and that the US stockpile of smallpox vaccine is 15.4 million doses, but it is estimated that this amount translates to ∼12 million usable doses [8, 9].

The Deputies Committee advises the NSC members on possible disease-containment strategies, including isolation of patients, identification and vaccination of patient contacts, and minimization of public gatherings (e.g., closing schools in affected states). In addition, the Deputies Committee provides the NSC members with 3 vaccine distribution policy options. Policy option 1 is a ring vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states to vaccinate patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the Department of Defense (DoD). Policy option 2 is a combination ring/mass vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, as well as patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD. Policy option 3 is a combination ring/mass distribution policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD, and the remaining 47 unaffected states would immediately receive 125,000 doses of vaccine each, to use as they see fit.

Critical debate issues and decisions. The NSC confronts an array of important questions and decisions. With only 12 million doses of vaccine available, what is the best strategy to contain the outbreak? Should there be a national or a state vaccination policy? Is ring vaccination or mass immunization the best policy? How much vaccine, if any, should be held for the DoD? Should health care workers, public safety officials, and elected officials be given priority for vaccination? What about their families? Should vaccine be distributed to all of the states now, or as new cases emerge? What should the size be of the aliquots of vaccine given to each state? Should there be a mandatory or voluntary immunization policy? What is the federal role in emergency response? What are the state roles in emergency response? How are the 2 responses coordinated? Should the National Guard be activated? How best can the Guard be used (under state or under federal control)? What should be done about the developing situation in southwest Asia? What should the public be told? What should our allies be told? Was this a deliberate attack on the United States? If so, who is responsible? Is the nation at war?

The NSC members agree that the public should be fully informed as quickly as possible to maximize public confidence and adherence to disease-containment measures and to minimize the possibility that disease-containment measures would need to be forcibly imposed. NSC members decide to use vaccine distribution policy option 1, which is the ring vaccination policy intended to focus and limit vaccination efforts to those at highest risk of contracting smallpox (e.g., patient contacts and health care and public safety personnel in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania) while preserving as much vaccine as possible for use as the epidemic unfolds. NSC members decide that the same directed vaccination strategy will be followed if additional new cases emerge in other cities or states. In addition, NSC members decide to set aside sufficient doses of vaccine for the DoD to meet its immediate needs, with the expectation that this will be ∼1 million doses and with direction to the DoD to determine those needs. NSC members decide to proceed with the deployment of the additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf but defer other decisions regarding deployments, pending further developments. NSC officials hope that the people of the United States will view these policy decisions as rational and equitable. The meeting closes as the NSC prepares a presidential statement for the press, detailing their decisions and actions.

NSC Meeting 2

Information presented to NSC members, 15 December 2002 (6 days into the epidemic). A total of 2000 smallpox cases have been reported in 15 states, with 300 deaths (figures 2 and 3). The epidemic is now international, with isolated cases in Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Both Canada and Mexico request that the United States provide them with vaccine. All of the cases appear to be related to the 3 initial outbreaks in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. The public health investigation points to 3 shopping malls as the initial sites of exposure. Only 1.25 million doses of vaccine remain, and public unrest grows as the vaccine supply dwindles. Vaccine distribution efforts vary from state to state, are often chaotic, and lead to violence in some areas. In affected states, the epidemic has overwhelmed the health care systems, and care suffers. The DoD expresses concern about diverting its critical supplies and personnel to the civilian health care system, given the evolving crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Figure 2

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 2000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 2000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Figure 3

Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Several international borders are closed to US trade and travelers. Food shortages emerge in affected states as a result of travel problems and store closings. Sporadic violence has been reported against minorities who appear to be of Arab descent. There are no solid leads regarding who may have perpetrated this attack. The government response to the epidemic has been criticized. The media continues its 24-h news coverage of the crisis. Misinformation regarding the smallpox outbreak begins to appear on the Internet and in the media, including false reports of cures for smallpox. Schools are closed nationwide. Public gatherings are limited in affected states. Some states limit travel and nonessential gatherings. The Department of Health and Human Services establishes a National Information Center. Three US drug companies agree to produce new vaccine at the rate of 6 million doses per month, with first deliveries in 5 weeks. Russia offers to provide 4 million doses of vaccine.

Critical debate issues and decisions. NSC officials confront a growing set of challenges and decisions. Given the shortage of vaccine, how can the spread of smallpox be halted? Should patients with smallpox be confined to facilities dedicated to care for them? Should contacts of patients be forced to remain at home or in dedicated facilities until they are proven to be free of smallpox? Should national travel restrictions be imposed? How can disease containment best be balanced against economic disruption and the protection of civil liberties? To what extent can and should the government infringe upon civil liberties? Under what conditions can those powers be exercised? What federal actions can and should be taken to care for the sick? Should the National Guard be federalized (i.e., put under federal control)? What additional assistance can the federal government provide to the states? Should troops continue to deploy overseas to southwest Asia? What should the President tell the people of the United States? Who orchestrated this attack and why? Is the nation at war?

NSC members make a series of important policy decisions. Members decide to leave control of the National Guard as well as decisions on quarantine and isolation in the hands of state officials. Members decide to pursue a crash production program for new smallpox vaccine, despite unresolved liability issues. They also decide to accept smallpox vaccine offered by Russia, provided it passes safety evaluations. In addition, a statement is produced for the President to deliver in a press conference. In the press conference, the President provides an assessment of the gravity of the situation and discusses the government’s response. He appeals to the people of the United States to work together to confront the crisis and to follow the guidance of their elected officials and their public health professionals regarding necessary disease-containment measures.

NSC Meeting 3

Information presented to NSC members, 22 December 2002 (13 days into the epidemic). A total of 16,000 smallpox cases have been reported in 25 states (14,000 within the past 24 h) (figures 4 and 5). One thousand people have died. Ten other countries report cases of smallpox believed to have been caused by international travelers from the United States. It is uncertain whether new smallpox cases have been transmitted by unidentified contacts of initial victims, by contacts who were not vaccinated in time, or by people who received ineffective vaccine, or are due to new smallpox attacks, or some combination of these. Vaccine supplies are depleted, and new vaccine will not be ready for at least 4 weeks. States have restricted nonessential travel. Food shortages are growing in some places, and the national economy is suffering. Residents have fled and are fleeing cities where new cases emerge. Canada and Mexico have closed their borders to the United States. The public demands mandatory isolation of smallpox victims and their contacts, but identifying contacts has become logistically impossible.

Figure 4

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 16,000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 16,000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Figure 5

Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.

Although speculative, the predictions are extremely grim: an additional 17,000 cases of smallpox are expected to emerge during the next 12 days, bringing the total number of second-generation cases to 30,000. Of these infected persons, approximately one-third, or 10,000, are expected to die. NSC members are advised that administration of new vaccine combined with isolation measures are likely to stem the expansion of the epidemic. NSC members ask for worst-case projections. They are advised that in worst-case conditions, the third generation of cases could comprise 300,000 new cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could conceivably comprise as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and lead to as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It is again emphasized to participants that these numbers are worst-case projections and can be substantially diminished by large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures (figure 6).

Figure 6

Smallpox epidemic projections, worst-case scenario (in the absence of disease-containment measures or new vaccine delivery), reported to the National Security Council meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise. Gen, generation of cases; K, thousand.

Smallpox epidemic projections, worst-case scenario (in the absence of disease-containment measures or new vaccine delivery), reported to the National Security Council meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise. Gen, generation of cases; K, thousand.

No solid leads as to who masterminded the attack have emerged. A prominent Iraqi defector claims that Iraq is behind the biological attack. Although the defector cannot offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the intelligence community deems his information highly credible. Polls of US citizens show overwhelming support for retribution when the attacker is identified.

The scenario ends when it is announced that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today have each received an anonymous letter demanding the removal of all US forces from Saudi Arabia and all warships from the Persian Gulf within 1 week. The letters threaten that failure to comply with the demands will result in new smallpox attacks on the US homeland as well as other attacks with anthrax and plague. To prove the veracity of these claims and the seriousness of their threats, each letter contains a genetic fingerprint that matches the fingerprint of the smallpox strain causing the current epidemic, demonstrating that the author of these letters has access to the smallpox strain.

Critical debate issues. With no vaccine remaining and new vaccine not expected for at least 4 weeks, how can the rapidly expanding epidemic be contained? What measures should the federal and state governments take to stop the epidemic, given the scope of the crisis, the lack of remaining vaccine, and rising stakes? Should the United States pull its forces out of the Gulf in response to the anonymous letters? With no conclusive evidence as to who orchestrated the attack, how and should the United States respond? If the United States discovers who is behind the attack, what is the proper response? Would the American people call for response with nuclear weapons?

Lessons of Dark Winter

The authors of this article have drawn a series of lessons from the Dark Winter exercise. These lessons are based on an analysis of comments and decisions made by exercise participants during the exercise, subsequent Congressional testimony by exercise participants, and public interviews given by participants in the months after the exercise [32]. The lessons learned reflect the analysis and conclusions of the authors from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the exercise participants or collaborating organizations.

In this section, these lessons are listed, each accompanied by a short explanatory note and quotations from participants in the exercise to illustrate it. The Dark Winter event did not permit attribution of comments without permission from individual participants. Where comments are ascribed to a particular person, permission has been obtained.

Leaders are unfamiliar with the character of bioterrorist attacks, available policy options, and their consequences. The senior decision makers in Dark Winter were largely unfamiliar with the sequence of events that would follow a bioterrorist attack. Important decisions and their implications were dependent on public health strategies and possible mechanisms to care for large numbers of sick people—issues that the national security and defense communities have not typically analyzed in the past.

“We are used to thinking about health problems as naturally occurring problems outside the framework of a malicious actor….If you’re going against someone who is using a tool that you’re not used to having him use—disease—and using it toward—quite rationally and craftily—…an entirely unreasonable and god-awful end—we are in a world we haven’t ever really been in before” (James Woolsey).

“This was very revealing to me—that there is something out there that can cause havoc in my state that I know nothing about—and, for that matter, the federal family doesn’t know a whole lot [about] either” (Frank Keating).

“My feeling here was the biggest deficiency was, how do I think about this? This is not a standard problem that I’m presented in the national security arena. I know how to think about that, I’ve been trained to think about that…a certain amount of what I think went [on] around this table was, ‘I don’t get it. I’m not in gear in terms of how to think about this problem as a decision-maker.’ So then I get very tentative in terms of what to do” (John White).

“This was unique…[you know] that you’re in for a long term problem, and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse” (Sam Nunn).

After a bioterrorist attack, leaders’ decisions would depend on data and expertise from the medical and public health sectors. In Dark Winter, even after the smallpox attack was recognized, decision makers were confronted with many uncertainties and wanted information that was not immediately available. (In fact, they were given more information on locations and numbers of infected people than would likely be available in reality.)

For example, it was difficult to quickly identify the locations of the original attacks; to immediately predict the likely size of the epidemic on the basis of initial cases; to know how many people were exposed; to find out how many were hospitalized and where; or to keep track of how many had been vaccinated. This lack of information, critical for leaders’ situational awareness in Dark Winter, reflects the fact that few systems exist that can provide a rapid flow of the medical and public health information needed in a public health emergency.

“What’s the worst case? To make decisions on how much risk to take…whether to use vaccines, whether to isolate people, whether to quarantine people….I’ve got to know what the worst case is” (Sam Nunn).

“You can’t respond and make decisions unless you have the crispest, most current, and the best information. And that’s what strikes me as a civil leader…that is…clearly missing” (Frank Keating).

The lack of sufficient vaccine or drugs to prevent the spread of disease severely limited management options. In Dark Winter, smallpox vaccine shortages significantly affected the response available to contain the epidemic, as well as the ability of political leaders to offer reassurance to the American people. The increasing scarcity of smallpox vaccine led to great public anxiety and flight by people desperate to get vaccinated, and it had a significant effect on the decisions taken by political leaders.

“We can’t ration….Who do you choose and who do you not choose to get vaccinated?…People are going to go where the vaccine is. And if they know that you’re going to provide the vaccine to my people, they’ll stay to get vaccinated. I think they’ll run if they think the vaccine is somewhere else” (Frank Keating).

“If we had had adequate vaccine supplies…we would have had more strategies to help deal with this thing and help control the epidemic” (Margaret Hamburg).

The US health care system lacks the surge capacity to deal with mass casualties. In Dark Winter, hospital systems across the country were flooded with demands for patient care. The demand was highest in the cities and states directly attacked, but by the time many victims became symptomatic, they were geographically dispersed, with some having traveled far from the original site of attack. The numbers of people flooding into hospitals across the country included people with common illnesses who feared they had smallpox and people who were well but worried. The challenges of distinguishing the sick from the well and rationing scarce resources, combined with shortages of health care staff, who were themselves worried about becoming infected or bringing infection home to their families, imposed a huge burden on the health care system.

“We think an enemy of the United States could attack us with smallpox or with anthrax—whatever—and we really don’t prepare for it, we have no vaccines for it—that’s astonishing. That’s like, for me, in Oklahoma, where we do have tornadoes, to be assiduously studying hurricanes, or not studying tornadoes” (Frank Keating).

“It isn’t just [a matter of] buying more vaccine. It’s a question of how we integrate these [public health and national security communities] in ways that allow us to deal with various facets of the problem” (James Woolsey).

To end a disease outbreak after a bioterrorist attack, decision makers will require ongoing expert advice from senior public health and medical leaders. The leaders in Dark Winter were confronted with rapidly diminishing supply of smallpox vaccine and an expanding smallpox epidemic. Some members advised the imposition of geographic quarantines around affected areas, but the implications of these measures (e.g., interruption of the normal flow of medicines, food and energy supplies, and other critical needs) were not clearly understood at first. In the end, it is not clear whether such draconian measures would have led to a more effective interruption of disease spread.

“A complete quarantine would isolate people so that they would not be able to be fed, and they would not have medical [care]….So we can’t have a complete quarantine. We are, in effect, asking the governors to restrict travel from their states that would be nonessential. We can’t slam down the entire society” (Sam Nunn).

Federal and state priorities may be unclear, differ, or conflict; authorities may be uncertain; and constitutional issues may arise. In Dark Winter, tensions rapidly developed between state and federal authorities in several contexts. State leaders wanted control of decisions regarding the imposition of disease-containment measures (e.g., mandatory vs. voluntary isolation and vaccination), the closure of state borders to all traffic and transportation, and when or whether to close airports. Federal officials argued that such issues were best decided on a national basis to ensure consistency and to give the President maximum control of military and public-safety assets. Leaders in states most affected by smallpox wanted immediate access to smallpox vaccine for all citizens of their states, but the federal government had to balance these requests against military and other national priorities. State leaders were opposed to federalizing the National Guard, which they were relying on to support logistical and public supply needs. A number of federal leaders argued that the National Guard should be federalized.

“My fellow governors are not going to permit you to make our states leper colonies. We’ll determine the nature and extent of the isolation of our citizens….You’re going to say that people can’t gather. That’s not your [the federal government’s] function. That’s the function, if it’s the function of anybody, of state and local officials” (Frank Keating).

“Mr. President, this question got settled at Appomattox. You need to federalize the National Guard” (George Terwilliger).

“We’re going to have absolute chaos if we start having war between the federal government and the state government” (Sam Nunn).

The individual actions of US citizens will be critical to ending the spread of contagious disease; leaders must gain the trust and sustained cooperation of the American people. Dark Winter participants worried that it would not be possible to forcibly impose vaccination or travel restrictions on large groups of the population without their general cooperation. To gain that cooperation, the President and other leaders in Dark Winter recognized the importance of persuading their constituents that there was fairness in the distribution of vaccine and other scarce resources, that the disease-containment measures were for the general good of society, that all possible measures were being taken to prevent the further spread of the disease, and that the government remained firmly in control despite the expanding epidemic.

“The federal government has to have the cooperation from the American people. There is no federal force out there that can require 300,000,000 people to take steps they don’t want to take” (Sam Nunn).

Conclusion

In conducting the Dark Winter exercise, the intention was to inform the debate on the threat posed by biological weapons and to provoke a deeper understanding of the numerous challenges that a covert act of bioterrorism with a contagious agent would present to senior level policy makers and elected officials. Since the Dark Winter exercise, the country has endured the horrific events of 11 September, as well as anthrax attacks through the US postal system. Bioterrorism is no longer just the subject of war games and the source of “futuristic and disturbing topics for…[Congressional] committee meetings” ([33], p. 2454). Many of the challenges and difficulties faced by the Dark Winter participants, unfortunately, have been paralleled in the response to the recent anthrax attacks. The Dark Winter exercise offers instructive insights and lessons for those with responsibility for bioterrorism preparedness in the medical, public health, policy, and national security communities and, accordingly, helps shine light on possible paths forward.

References: https://thetrailblazingpatriot.wordpress.com/2022/05/04/shining-light-on-dark-winter/

CURRENT EVENTS AND NEWS 📰 HEADLINES FOR 4/30/22

CURRENT EVENTS AND NEWS 📰 HEADLINES FOR 4/30/22

Elon Musk Sells Billions of Dollars in Tesla Stock.

Weather, Severe Storms, Midwest, Texas, Oklahoma.

Ukraine fights to hold off Russian advances in south, east https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-evacuations-moscow-f1d99718192f44056b839595996ac72e

DeSantis vows Florida will allow people to carry firearms without permits ‘before I am done as governor’ | CNN Politics https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/29/politics/desantis-concealed-firearms/index.html

Wall Street closes sharply lower on Amazon slump, inflation worries https://www.reuters.com/business/futures-fall-amazon-apple-results-disappoint-2022-04-29/

Doctors may not get abortion training if Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/education/3471732-doctors-may-not-get-abortion-training-if-supreme-court-overturns-roe-v-wade/

Is Russia Using Dolphins To Guard Key Naval Base? Photos Suggest So, Analyst Says. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/russia-dolphins-naval-base_n_626a2e4ce4b0bc48f5774806

Jack Dorsey says he’s against permanent Twitter bans – TechCrunch https://social.techcrunch.com/2022/04/29/jack-dorsey-against-permanent-twitter-bans-with-an-asterisk/

Biden seeks to lure Russia’s top scientists to the U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/29/world/europe/biden-russia-scientists.html

Egg-laying facility in Iowa kills 5.3 million chickens, fires 200-plus workers https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rembrandt-farms-iowa-avian-flu-kills-5-million-chickens-fires-workers/

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told friends that Trump is ‘a maniac’ and said he admired his daughter’s impeachment vote: book https://www.businessinsider.com/dick-cheney-trump-maniac-daughter-liz-impeachment-vote-gop-book-2022-4

Evidence of Trump officials’ meddling puts trust spotlight on CDC https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/29/evidence-of-trump-officials-meddling-puts-spotlight-on-trust-in-cdc-00029058

‘What Are We Supposed to Cut Back?’ Britons at Risk as Fuel Bills Skyrocket. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/30/business/cost-of-living-uk-prices.html

U.S. FAA extends environmental review of SpaceX program in Texas https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-faa-extends-environmental-review-spacex-program-texas-2022-04-29/

At least five Russian businessmen have died by apparent suicide in just three months | CNN https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/29/europe/russian-oligarchs-suicides-intl/index.html

Franklin Graham Praises the World’s Richest Man for Pro-Free Speech Stance https://www.charismanews.com/culture/89021-franklin-graham-praises-the-world-s-richest-man-for-pro-free-speech-stance

How to watch the April 2022 solar eclipse online https://nypost.com/2022/04/30/first-solar-eclipse-of-2022-to-occur-on-saturday/

Russia expects trade with China to reach $200 billion by 2024, Ifax reports https://www.reuters.com/business/russia-expects-trade-with-china-reach-200-bln-by-2024-ifax-2022-04-30/

SpaceX posts stunning footage of Dragon capsule traveling to the ISS.

Cases are rising in nearly every corner of the United States. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/29/world/coronavirus-cases-us.html

Special grand jury considering Trump election interference in Georgia convenes Monday https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-georgia-election-interference-grand-jury/

Dow Jones Dives; Tesla Stock Falls As Elon Musk Reveals This; Amazon Plunges Despite Bullish Calls https://www.investors.com/market-trend/stock-market-today/dow-jones-dives-tesla-stock-rallies-as-elon-musk-reveals-this-amazon-stock-plunges-despite-bullish-calls/

Here’s what we know about the deaths of 3 children at Camp Lejeune https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2022/04/29/heres-what-we-know-about-the-deaths-of-3-children-at-camp-lejeune/

Deutsche Bank Issues Warning About the Economy as the Fed Reins in Inflation https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2022/04/29/deutsche-bank-warns-a-major-recession-is-coming-n2606472

First on CNN: A record 35 million-plus Americans have Affordable Care Act coverage — but the gains may not last long | CNN Politics. https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/29/politics/aca-obamacare-coverage-record/index.html

You Need to Update iOS, Android, and Chrome Right Now. https://www.wired.com/story/ios-android-chrome-updates-april-2022/

Twitter Hastily Enacts New Rule, Desperate Measure to Stop Elon Musk Will Only Activate Once He Crosses Threshold

The left is scheming hard to prevent free speech advocate Elon Musk from being able to mount an effort to set social media giant Twitter back on the road to freedom and liberty.

Musk delivered his offer Thursday to buy Twitter out so he can move in and begin restoring free speech there:

On Friday, the social media giant issued a news release stating that the company’s board of directors unanimously adopted a limited duration shareholder rights plan as a direct response to Musk’s offer to buy the tech giant.

“The Rights Plan is similar to other plans adopted by publicly held companies in comparable circumstances,” Twitter insisted in its PR wire.

“Under the Rights Plan, the rights will become exercisable if an entity, person or group acquires beneficial ownership of 15% or more of Twitter’s outstanding common stock in a transaction not approved by the Board,” the message reads. “In the event that the rights become exercisable due to the triggering ownership threshold being crossed, each right will entitle its holder (other than the person, entity or group triggering the Rights Plan, whose rights will become void and will not be exercisable) to purchase, at the then-current exercise price, additional shares of common stock having a then-current market value of twice the exercise price of the right.”

The new rule allows Twitter shareholders to buy up cheap shares which would dilute the commanding stake a buyer such as Musk might hold.

The news released was a long-winded way of saying that Twitter added a “poison pill” to its operating rules to prevent Musk from gaining control of the company.

“The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders,” the company claimed.

The board was scared when the Tesla and SpaceX CEO offered to buy additional shares of the company for $54.20 per share, which would value the company at $41.4 billion. His offer was an 18 percent premium over the closing price of the stock on April 13.

Despite the offer, analysts have questioned how Musk would come up with the cash necessary to make the buy. Despite being one of the richest men in the world, $42 billion in cash is a big ask.

But Musk seems prepared to go the distance. He has related a specific vision for what Twitter should be, and it’s one he thinks the social media giant’s current leadership is not fulfilling.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in a letter to Twitter board chair Bret Taylor. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.

“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.

“Twitter has extraordinary potential,” Musk declared. “I will unlock it.”

Still, he signaled that he has also planned an out if he needs one.

“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a stakeholder,” he wrote.

Regardless, in light of the blocking maneuver that Twitter just made, it seems the ball is now in Musk’s court. While he did hint that he has a “plan B” for this Game of Thrones drama, we’ll soon see just how serious he is about righting Twitter’s anti-free speech ship.

If nothing else, this episode of corporate theater has certainly shown just how hard these leftist, Big Tech giants will fight to quash free speech, continue to prevent conservatives from having the freedom to express themselves online, and control the political narrative to keep left-wing Democrats in power.

The gate keepers of the left have been squalling for Musk’s head ever since he announced his interests in preserving free speech. Clinton operative Robert Reich, for instance, was infuriated by Musk’s efforts, calling Musk’s aims “dangerous nonsense.”

Further showing what he thinks of our constitutional right to free speech, Reich added that Musk’s ideas about a free and open Internet is “the dream of every dictator, strongman, and demagogue.”

Then there was wild-eyed never Trumper and neoconservative Max Boot who revealed his inner fascist by quixotically claiming that to save freedom and democracy, we need to curtail free speech.

On Thursday, Boot whined that he is “frightened” by Musk’s free speech advocacy and added, “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.”

Finally, Twitter’s own extremist, left-wing employees also went apoplectic over the idea that conservatives and Trump supporters would be allowed to speak freely on Twitter. According to reports, many of Twitter’s employees jumped to their own Twitter accounts to lament Musk’s intentions.

Whatever Musk does with this Twitter drama, he has fully proven that Democrats, Big Tech, and the left are intent on taking 100 percent control of the media and the Internet to screen out any ideas that might lead to the loss of their political power.

And to heck with the U.S. Constitution.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths keep rising

NATIONAL

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths keep rising

by: GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

Posted: Apr 5, 2022 / 12:34 AM CDT

Updated: Apr 5, 2022 / 12:50 AM CDT

Source

https://www.borderreport.com/news/national/states-look-for-solutions-as-u-s-fentanyl-deaths-keep-rising/

As the addiction and overdose crisis that has gripped the U.S. for two decades turns even deadlier, state governments are scrambling for ways to stem the destruction wrought by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

In statehouses across the country, lawmakers have been considering and adopting laws on two fronts: reducing the risk to users and increasing the penalties for dealing fentanyl or mixing it with other drugs. Meanwhile, Republican state attorneys general are calling for more federal action, while some GOP governors are deploying National Guard units with a mission that includes stopping the flow of fentanyl from Mexico.

“It’s a fine line to help people and try to get people clean, and at the same time incarcerate and get the drug dealers off the streets,” said Nathan Manning, a Republican state senator in Ohio who is sponsoring legislation to make it clear that materials used to test drugs for fentanyl are legal.

The urgency is heightened because of the deepening impact of the drugs. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the nation had hit a grim milestone. For the first time, more than 100,000 Americans had diedof drug overdoses over a 12-month period. About two-thirds of the deaths were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, which can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, heroin or prescription opioids. Texas lawmakers failed to legalize fentanyl testing strips last year, but there’s still a push for access

The recent case of five West Point cadets who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine during spring break in Florida put the dangers and pervasiveness of the fentanyl crisis back in the spotlight.

The chemical precursors to the drugs are being shipped largely from China to Mexico, where much of the illicit fentanyl supply is produced in labs before being smuggled into the U.S.

While users sometimes seek out fentanyl specifically, it and other synthetics with similar properties are often mixed with other drugs or formed into counterfeit pills so users often don’t know they’re taking it.

Advocates say test strips can help prevent accidental overdoses of drugs laced with fentanyl. The strips are given out at needle exchanges and sometimes at concerts or other events where drugs are expected to be sold or used.

Thomas Stuber, chief legislative officer at The LCADA Way, a drug treatment organization in Ohio that serves Lorain County and nearby areas, has been pushing for the test strip legislation. It also would ease access to naloxone, a drug that can be used to revive people when they’re having opioid overdoses.

“This is a harm-reduction approach that has received a lot of acceptance,” he said. “We cannot treat somebody if they’re dead.”

Since last year, at least a half-dozen states have enacted similar laws and at least a dozen others have considered them, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In West Virginia, the state hardest hit by opioids per capita, lawmakers passed a bill this month to legalize the testing strips. It now heads to the governor.

The measure was sponsored by Republican lawmakers. But state Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat whose district includes central Charleston, has also been pushing for more access to fentanyl strips. He said the situation got worse last year when a state law tightened regulations on needle exchanges, causing some of them to close.

Pushkin, who also is in long-term addiction recovery, is pleased with the passage of the testing strip bill but upset with another measure passed this month that would increase the penalties for trafficking fentanyl. That bill also would create a new crime of adding fentanyl to another drug.

“Their initial reaction is, ‘We have to do something,’” he said. “It’s not just about doing something, it’s about doing the right thing that actually has results.”

But for many lawmakers, making sure that tough criminal penalties apply to fentanyl is a priority.

California Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, a Republican, introduced a measure that would make penalties for dealing fentanyl just as harsh as those for selling cocaine or heroin. The Republican represents Orange County, where there were more than 600 reported fentanyl-related deaths last year.

“This is sending messages to those who aren’t afraid of selling these drugs that there’s a longer, bigger penalty than you might think,” said Nguyen, whose bill failed to advance from her chamber’s public safety committee in a 5-2 vote last week. She said after the bill failed that she was considering trying again. 

She said committee members stressed compassion for drug users, something she said she agrees with.

“The less available these pills are out there, the better it is,” Nguyen said. “And that is going after the drug dealer.”DEA: We save lives in Middle America by stopping fentanyl at the border

The same day her measure failed to advance, a Democratic lawmaker in California announced a different bill to increase fentanyl-dealing penalties.

The National Conference of State Legislatures found 12 states with fentanyl-specific drug trafficking or possession laws as of last year. Similar measures have been introduced or considered since the start of 2021 in at least 19 states, the Associated Press found in an analysis of bills compiled by LegiScan. That does not include measures to add more synthetic opioids to controlled substance lists to mirror federal law; those have been adopted in many states, with bipartisan support.

Fentanyl has been in the spotlight in Colorado since February, when five people were found dead in a suburban Denver apartment from overdoses of fentanyl mixed with cocaine.

Under state law, possession with intent to distribute less than 14 grams of fentanyl is an offense normally punishable by two to four years in prison. But fentanyl is so potent that 14 grams can represent up to 700 lethal doses, under a calculation used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

“It’s making it impossible to hold the dealer accountable for the deadliness of the drugs they’re peddling,” Colorado House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Democrat, said in an interview.In El Paso, fentanyl, an OD, and unknown reasons for Downtown jail deaths

He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week unveiled a bill also backed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that would increase penalties for dealers with smaller amounts of fentanyl and in cases where the drug leads to a death. The legislation also would increase the accessibility of naloxone and test strips while steering people who possess fentanyl into education and treatment programs.

Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for harm-reduction measures, is skeptical of the legislation that would increase criminal penalties.

“We have the largest incarceration rate in the entire world and we’re also setting records in terms of overdose deaths,” she said.

Democratic governors are focusing primarily on harm reduction methods. Among them is Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker, who released a broad overdose action plan last month.

Several Republican governors and attorneys general have responded to the rising death toll with administrative enforcement efforts and by pushing for more federal intervention.

Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for states to help secure the border with Mexico. Along with trying to keep people from entering the U.S., stopping the flow of fentanyl was cited as a reason. Several other Republican governors have sent contingents of state troopers or National Guard units. 

The Texas Military Department said that from March 2021 through earlier this month, its troops near the border confiscated more than 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) of fentanyl. By comparison, federal authorities reported confiscating about 11,000 pounds (4,990 kilograms) in 2021 — still a fraction of what entered the country.Gov. Greg Abbott brags about his border initiative. The evidence doesn’t back him up.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed about 2,700 cases involving crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs, up nearly tenfold from 2017. Even so, Republican state officials are critical of federal efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the country.

In January, 16 GOP state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to exert more pressure on China and Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl. Those are steps that Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of National Drug Control Policy, said are already being taken.

In March, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for more enforcement on fentanyl trafficking and harsher penalties. 

“Fentanyl is killing Americans of all walks of life in unprecedented numbers,” Morrisey said in a statement emailed to the AP, “and the federal government must respond with full force, across the board, using every tool available to stem the tide of death.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TOP STORIES

Medicare enrollees to get free COVID-19 tests at …

Haitians look forward to filing asylum claims when …

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

Shelter for Ukrainian migrants opens in Tijuana

Top Stories 

MORE STORIES

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths …

Medicare enrollees to get free COVID-19 tests at …

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick releases top 2023 legislative …

California church on a mission to help Ukrainian …

Divided reactions to the end of Title 42 by migrant …

What’s next for Texas, as neighboring New Mexico …

Hundreds line up to buy legal cannabis across Texas …

More Stories 

BorderReport Video

nullPrevious

KXAN News Today

6 hours ago

TDEM expanding statewide outreach

6 hours ago

CapMetro riders can request a drop off between stops …

6 hours ago

Austin Police joins 30 by 30 Initiative to increase …

6 hours ago

City officials concerned Austin airport is understaffed, …

6 hours ago

APD launches new unit to review officer use of force …

6 hours ago

3 more protesters hurt by less-lethal rounds in May …

6 hours ago

1 adult dies, 3 children taken to hospital after …

6 hours ago

Monday overnight First Warning Forecast

7 hours ago

Texas police investigating multiple middle schoolers …

8 hours ago

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick releases top legislative priorities …

10 hours ago

Texas lawmakers weigh border security spending as …

10 hours ago

Next

More Videos 

EL PASO CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

End of Title 42 will ‘open floodgates to illegal …

4 hours ago

Haitians look forward to filing asylum claims when …

10 hours ago

Parrots in a box: CBP stops 2nd bird-smuggling attempt …

16 hours ago

Texans flock to cannabis dispensaries across New …

3 days ago

DHS says Title 42 ending on May 23 but removals of …

4 days ago

At least 10,000 in Juarez waiting for Title 42 rollback, …

4 days ago

View All Julian Resendiz 

SOUTH TEXAS CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

11 hours ago

Divided reactions to the end of Title 42 by migrant …

3 days ago

New congressional caucus formed to study border security …

4 hours ago

South Texas congressman Filemon Vela has stepped …

4 days ago

Lights Out campaign urges Texans to dim night lights …

4 days ago

Environmental groups, feds reach deal blocking military …

6 days ago

View All Sandra Sanchez 

CALIFORNIA CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

Shelter for Ukrainian migrants opens in Tijuana

12 hours ago

Court orders Pakistani asylum-seeker to continue …

2 weeks ago

Amazon launches program to help refugees

2 weeks ago

State Department issues travel warning for Tijuana …

2 weeks ago

Fence to prevent migrants from squatting at border …

2 weeks ago

Pakistani asylum-seeker continues journey in U.S. …

2 weeks ago

View All Salvador Rivera 

NUMBER OF PEOPLE ARRESTED: 700+NUMBER OF PEOPLE CHARGED WITH INSURRECTION *O* ZERO!

Over 700 people have been arrested in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021. This website provides current information about each one, including relevant news articles, an arrest map, and list of those currently incarcerated. We also provide ways for you to contact those in prison, and to help cover their legal and living expenses. If you would like to provide corrections, updates, or requests, please please contact us.

American Gulag

Latest News

Prosecutors Claim Father-Son Household Conversation Represents ‘Obstruction of Justice’

Posted March 11, 2022

AmericanGulag/TGP VISITS Jeremy Brown, J6 Political Prisoner, in Pinellas County Jail

Posted March 10, 2022

Read This Father’s Letter to His Infant Son from Prison

Posted March 7, 2022

Footage Shows Further Coordination Between Plainclothes Group Breaking Window

Posted February 27, 2022

BONUS CONTENT: Jake Lang D.C. Protest Street Interviews

Posted February 26, 2022

Latest Political Prisoner Updates

BLM Supporter Finds Unity at J6 Peaceful Protest in D.C. and Receives APPLAUSE After Speaking

Posted February 25, 2022

CLICK HERE FOR MORE NEWS

Christopher Moynihan

Abram Markofski

Aaron Mostofsky

Aaron James Mileur

Aaron James

Matthew Perna

Alan Hostetter

Adam Mark Weibling

Adam Johnson

Alan William Byerly

Andrew Griswold

John A. Schubert

Amy Schubert

Corinne Montoni

Derek Gunby

Brian Christopher Mock

Christopher Worrell

Kash Lee Kelly

Matthew T. Krol

Ralph Joseph Celetano, III

Zachary Jordan Alam

Zachary Rehl

Adam Avery Honeycutt

Zvonimir Joseph Jurlina


CLICK HERE FOR MORE PRISONER UPDATES

Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

The could possibly be the rabbit hole from Hell… Some of it seems like it could make sense but that’s how the work. I wonder what one would find if they dug deep – real deep and followed the money Trail on this subject???

Anthropogenic land use changes drive a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and modify the transmission of endemic infections. These drivers include agricultural encroachment, deforestation, road construction, dam building, irrigation, wetland modification, mining, the concentration or expansion of urban environments, coastal zone degradation, and other activities. These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, disease introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. The Working Group on Land Use Change and Disease Emergence grew out of a special colloquium that convened international experts in infectious diseases, ecology, and environmental health to assess the current state of knowledge and to develop recommendations for addressing these environmental health challenges.

The group established a systems model approach and priority lists of infectious diseases affected by ecologic degradation. Policy-relevant levels of the model include:

specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels.

The group recommended creating Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training, based at regional universities and/or research institutes with close links to the surrounding communities.

The centers’ objectives would be 3-fold:

a) to provide information to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health;

b) to facilitate fully interdisciplinary research from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences and train professionals who can conduct interdisciplinary research; and

c) to engage in science-based communication and assessment for policy making toward sustainable health and ecosystems.

Human-induced land use changes are the primary drivers of a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and also modifiers of the transmission of endemic infections (Patz et al. 2000).

These land use changes include:

  • deforestation
  • road construction
  • agricultural encroachment
  • dam building
  • irrigation
  • coastal zone degradation
  • wetland modification
  • mining
  • the concentration or expansion of urban environments
  • and other activities.

These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, pathogen introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. These are important and complex issues that are understood only for a few diseases. For example, recent research has shown that forest fragmentation, urban sprawl, and biodiversity loss are linked to increased risk for Lyme disease in the northeastern United States (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001). Expansion and changes in agricultural practices are intimately associated with the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia (Chua et al. 1999; Lam and Chua 2002), cryptosporidiosis in Europe and North America, and a range of food-borne illnesses globally (Rose et al. 2001). Road building is linked to the expansion of bushmeat consumption that may have played a key role in the early emergence of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (Wolfe et al. 2000), and simian foamy virus has been found in bushmeat hunters (Wolfe et al. 2004).

In recognition of the complexity of land use change and the risks and benefits to human health that it entails, a special colloquium titled “Unhealthy Landscapes: How Land Use Change Affects Health” was convened at the 2002 biennial meeting of the International Society for Ecosystem Health (6–11 June 2002, Washington, DC) to address this issue. The invited experts worked to establish consensus on the current state of science and identify key knowledge gaps underlying this issue. This article condenses the working group’s report and presents a new research and policy agenda for understanding land use change and its effects on human health. Specifically, we discuss land-use drivers or human activities that exacerbate infectious diseases; the land–water interface, common to many infectious disease life cycles; and conclusions and recommendations for research and training from the working group.

Land-Use Drivers of Infectious Disease Emergence

The emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) resulting from land use change can be entirely new to a specific location or host species. This may occur either from “spillover” or cross-species transmission or simply by extension of geographic range into new or changed habitats. More than 75% of human diseases are zoonotic and have a link to wildlife and domestic animals (Taylor et al. 2001).

The working group developed an extensive list of processes by which land use affects human health (specifically, infectious disease occurrence) and of other factors that contribute to this relationship: agricultural development, urbanization, deforestation, population movement, increasing population, introduction of novel species/pathogens, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss, habit fragmentation, road building, macro and micro climate changes, hydrological alteration, decline in public health infrastructure, animal-intensive systems, eutrophication, military conflict, monocropping, and erosion (ranked from highest to lowest public health impact by meeting participants). The four mechanisms that were felt to have the greatest impact on public health were changes to the physical environment; movement of populations, pathogens, and trade; agriculture; and urbanization. War and civil unrest were also mentioned as a potentially acute and cross-cutting driver. Infectious disease agents with the strongest documented or suspected links to land use change are listed in Table 1.

Changes to the biophysical environment.

Deforestation.

Rates of deforestation have grown exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by rapidly increasing human population numbers, large swaths of species-rich tropical and temperate forests, as well as prairies, grasslands, and wetlands, have been converted to species-poor agricultural and ranching areas. The global rate of tropical deforestation continues at staggering levels, with nearly 2–3% of forests lost globally each year. Parallel with this habitat destruction is an exponential growth in human–wildlife interaction and conflict. This has resulted in exposure to new pathogens for humans, livestock, and wildlife (Wolfe et al. 2000). Deforestation and the processes that lead to it have many consequences for ecosystems. Deforestation decreases the overall habitat available for wildlife species. It also modifies the structure of environments, for example, by fragmenting habitats into smaller patches separated by agricultural activities or human populations. Increased “edge effect” (from a patchwork of varied land uses) can further promote interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts. This edge effect has been well documented for Lyme disease (Glass et al. 1995). Similarly, increased activity in forest habitats (through behavior or occupation) appears to be a major risk factor for leishmaniasis (Weigle et al. 1993). Evidence is mounting that deforestation and ecosystem changes have implications for the distribution of many other microorganisms and the health of human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations.

One example of the effects of land use on human health is particularly noteworthy. Deforestation, with subsequent changes in land use and human settlement patterns, has coincided with an upsurge of malaria and/or its vectors in Africa (Coluzzi 1984, 1994; Coluzzi et al. 1979), in Asia (Bunnag et al. 1979), and in Latin America (Tadei et al. 1998). When tropical forests are cleared for human activities, they are typically converted into agricultural or grazing lands. This process is usually exacerbated by construction of roads, causing erosion and allowing previously inaccessible areas to become colonized by people (Kalliola and Flores Paitán 1998). Cleared lands and culverts that collect rainwater are in some areas far more suitable for larvae of malaria-transmitting anopheline mosquitoes than are intact forests (Charlwood and Alecrim 1989; Jones 1951; Marques 1987).

Another example of the effects of land use on human health involves deforestation and noninfectious disease: the contamination of rivers with mercury. Soil erosion after deforestation adds significant mercury loads, which are found naturally in rainforest soils, to rivers. This has led to fish in the Amazon becoming hazardous to eat (Fostier et al. 2000; Veiga et al. 1994).

Habitat fragmentation.

This alters the composition of host species in an environment and can change the fundamental ecology of microorganisms. Because of the nature of food webs within ecosystems, organisms at higher trophic levels exist at a lower population density and are often quite sensitive to changes in food availability. The smaller patches left after fragmentation often do not have sufficient prey for top predators, resulting in local extinction of predator species and a subsequent increase in the density of their prey species. Logging and road building in Latin America have increased the incidence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2001), which in some areas has resulted from an increase in the number of fox reservoirs and sandfly vectors that have adapted to the peridomestic environment (Patz et al. 2000). Foxes, however, are not very important reservoirs for leishmaniasis in Latin America (Courtenay et al. 2002), and a more important factor in the transmission cycle includes domestic dogs.

Ostfeld and Keesing (2000) have demonstrated that smaller fragments in North American forests have fewer small mammal predators. Results suggest that the probability that a tick will become infected depends on not only the density of white-footed mice but also the density of mice relative to that of other hosts in the community. Under this scenario, the density effect of white-footed mice, which are efficient reservoirs for Lyme disease, can be “diluted” by an increasing density of alternative hosts, which are less efficient at transmitting Lyme disease. These results suggest that increasing host diversity (species richness) may decrease the risk of disease through a “dilution effect” (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001).

Extractive industries.

Gold mining is an extractive industry that damages local and regional environments and has adverse human health effects, because mercury is used to extract gold from riverbeds in the tropical forests. Not only does mercury accumulate in local fish populations, making them toxic to eat (Lebel et al. 1996, 1998), but mercury also suppresses the human immune system. Also, in gold-mining areas, more mosquito-breeding sites and increased malaria risk result from digging gem pits in the forest and from craters resulting from logging; broader disease spread occurs as populations disperse throughout the region (Silbergeld et al. 2002).

Movement of populations, pathogens, and trade.

The movement of humans, domestic animals, wildlife populations, and agricultural products through travel, trade, and translocations is a driver of infectious disease emergence globally. These sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate movements of infectious disease and vectors (e.g., the introduction of smallpox and measles to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors) will continue to rise via continually expanding global travel and by development of Third World populations. Human introduction of pathogens, hosts, or materials into new areas has been termed “pathogen pollution” (Daszak et al. 2000).

Land use changes drive some of these introductions and migrations and also increase the vulnerability of habitats and populations to these introductions. Human migrations also drive land use changes that in turn drive infectious disease emergence. For example, in China’s Yunnan Province, an increase in livestock populations and migration has led to an increase in the incidence of schistosomiasis (Jiang et al. 1997). In Malaysia, a combination of deforestation, drought, and wildfires has led to alterations in the population movements and densities of flying foxes, large fruit bats known to be the reservoir for the newly emergent zoonosis Nipah virus (Chua et al. 1999). It is believed that the increased opportunity for contact between infected bats and pigs produced the outbreak of the disease in pigs, which then was transmitted to people in contact with infected pigs (Aziz et al. 2002).

Another example of human-induced animal movement on a much larger scale is the international pet trade. This movement of animals involves many countries and allows for the introduction of novel pathogens, such as monkeypox, with the potential to damage ecosystems and threaten human and animal health. Monkeypox was originally associated with bushmeat hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius); after a localized epidemic emerged in humans, monkeypox persisted for four generations via human-to-human contact (Jezek et al. 1986).

Human movement also has significant implications for public health. Not only are travelers (tourists, businesspeople, and other workers) at risk of contracting communicable diseases when visiting tropical countries, but they also can act as vectors for delivering infectious diseases to another region or, in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), potentially around the world. Refugees account for a significant number of human migrants, carrying diseases such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis and various parasites (Loutan et al. 1997). Because of their status, refugees become impoverished and are more exposed to a wide range of health risks. This is caused by the disruption of basic health services, inadequate food and medical care, and lack of clean water and sanitation (Toole and Waldman 1997). People who cross international boundaries, such as travelers, immigrants, and refugees, may be at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, especially those who have no immunity because the disease agents are uncommon in their native countries. Immigrants may come from nations where diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, and refugees may come from situations where crowding and malnutrition create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases such as cholera, shigellosis, malaria, and measles [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1998].

Zoonoses.

The importance of zoonotic diseases should be emphasized. Zoonotic pathogens are the most significant cause of EIDs affecting humans, both in the proportion of EIDs that they cause and in the impact that they have. Some 1,415 species of infectious organisms are known to be pathogenic to people, with 61% of them being zoonotic. Of the emerging pathogens, 75% are zoonotic, and zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than are nonzoonotic pathogens (Taylor et al. 2001). More important, zoonotic pathogens cause a series of EIDs with high case fatality rates and no reliable cure, vaccine, or therapy (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Nipah virus disease, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome). Zoonotic pathogens also cause diseases that have some of the highest incidence rates globally [e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)]. AIDS is a special case, because it is caused by a pathogen that jumped host from nonhuman primates and then evolved into a new virus. Thus, it is in origin a zoonotic organism (Hahn et al. 2000).

Because of the important role of zoonoses in current public health threats, wildlife and domestic animals play a key role in the process by providing a “zoonotic pool” from which previously unknown pathogens may emerge (Daszak et al. 2001). The influenza virus is an example, causing pandemics in humans after periodic exchange of genes among the viruses of wild and domestic birds, pigs, and humans. Fruit bats are involved in a high-profile group of EIDs that includes rabies and other lyssaviruses, Hendra virus and Menangle virus (Australia), and Nipah virus (Malaysia and Singapore), which has implications for further zoonotic disease emergence. A number of species are endemic to both remote oceanic islands and more populous suburban and rural human settlements; these may harbor enzootic and potentially zoonotic pathogens with an unknown potential for spillover (Daszak et al. 2000).

Thus, some of the current major infectious threats to human health are EIDs and reemerging infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on zoonotic pathogens transferring hosts from wildlife and domestic animals. A common, defining theme for most EIDs (of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and plants) is that they are driven to emerge by anthropogenic changes to the environment. Because threats to wildlife habitat are so extensive and pervading, many of the currently important human EIDs (e.g., AIDS, Nipah virus disease) are driven partly by human-induced changes to wildlife habitat such as encroachment and deforestation. This is essentially a process of natural selection in which anthropogenic environmental changes perturb the host–parasite dynamic equilibrium, leading to the expansion of those strains suited to the new environmental conditions and facilitating expansion of others into new host species (Daszak et al. 2001).

Agriculture.

Crop irrigation and breeding sites.

Agriculture occupies about half of the world’s land and uses more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water (Horrigan et al. 2002). Agricultural development in many parts of the world has increased the need for crop irrigation, which reduces water availability for other uses and increases breeding sites for disease vectors. An increase in soil moisture associated with irrigation development in the southern Nile Delta after the construction of the Aswan High Dam has caused a rapid rise in the mosquito Culex pipiens and consequential increase in the arthropod-borne disease Bancroftian filariasis (Harb et al. 1993; Thompson et al. 1996). Onchocerciasis and trypanosomiasis are further examples of vector-borne parasitic diseases that may be triggered by changing land-use and water management patterns. In addition, large-scale use of pesticides has had deleterious effects on farm workers, including hormone disruption and immune suppression (Straube et al. 1999).

Food-borne diseases.

Once agricultural development has expanded and produced food sufficient to meet local need, the food products are exported to other nations, where they can pose a risk to human health. The increase in imported foods has resulted in a rise in food-borne illness in the United States. Strawberries from Mexico, raspberries from Guatemala, carrots from Peru, and coconut milk from Thailand have caused recent outbreaks. Food safety is an important factor in human health, because food-borne disease accounts for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year (CDC 2003). Other dangers include antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as Cyclospora, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and other pathogenic E. coli strains associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome in children (Dols et al. 2001).

Secondary effects.

Agricultural secondary effects need to be minimized, such as the emerging microbial resistance from antibiotics in animal waste that is included in farm runoff and the introduction of microdams for irrigation in Ethiopia that resulted in a 7-fold increase in malaria (Ghebreyesus et al. 1999).

Urbanization.

On a global basis, the proportion of people living in urban centers will increase to an unprecedented 65% by the year 2030 (Population Reference Bureau 1998). The 2000 census shows that 80% of the U.S. population now lives in metropolitan areas, with 30% living in cities of 5 million or more. The environmental issues posed by such large population centers have profound impacts on public health beyond the city limits (Knowlton 2001).

Alterations of ecosystems and natural resources contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious disease agents. Human encroachment of wildlife habitat has broadened the interface between wildlife and humans, increasing opportunities for both the emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife and their transmission to people. Rabies is an example of a zoonotic disease carried by animals that has become habituated to urban environments. Bats colonize buildings, skunks and raccoons scavenge human refuse, and in many countries feral dogs in the streets are common and the major source of human infection (Singh et al. 2001).

Infectious diseases can also pass from people to wildlife. Nonhuman primates have acquired measles from ecotourists (Wallis and Lee 1999). Also, drug resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria of wild baboons living with limited human contact is significantly less common than in baboons living with human contact near urban or semiurban human settlements (Rolland et al. 1985).

The Land–Water Interface

Another major driver of infectious disease emergence results from the land–water interface. Land use changes often involve water projects or coastal marine systems in which nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algal blooms.

Currently the seventh Cholera pandemic is spreading across Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1992, a new serogroup (Vibrio cholerae O139) appeared and has been responsible for epidemics in Asia (Colwell 1996). The seasonality of cholera epidemics may be linked to the seasonality of plankton (algal blooms) and the marine food chain. Studies using remote-sensing data of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton have shown a correlation between cholera cases and sea surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal. Interannual variability in cholera incidence in Bangladesh is also linked to the El Niño southern oscillation and regional temperature anomalies (Lobitz et al. 2000), and cholera prevalence has been associated with progressively stronger El Niño events spanning a 70-year period (Rodo et al. 2002). This observation on cholera incidence may represent an early health indicator of global climate change (Patz 2002).

Infectious diseases in marine mammals and sea turtles could serve as sentinels for human disease risk. Sea turtles worldwide are affected by fibropapillomatosis, a disease probably caused by one or several viruses and characterized by multiple epithelial tumors. Field studies support the observation that prevalence of this disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae (Aguirre and Lutz, in press). This represents the breakdown of the land–water interface, to the point that several pathogens typical of terrestrial ecosystems have become established in the oceans. Toxoplasmosis in the endangered sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents an example of pathogen pollution. Massive mortalities in pinnipeds and cetaceans reaching epidemics of tens of thousands are caused by four morbilliviruses evolving from the canine distemper virus (Aguirre et al. 2002). Additionally, overfishing has myriad ramifications for marine ecosystems and sustainable protein food sources for human populations.

Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that completes its life cycle within the intestine of mammals, sheds high numbers of infectious oocysts that are dispersed in feces. A recent study found that 13% of finished treated water still contained Cryptosporidium oocysts, indicating some passage of microorganisms from source to treated drinking water (LeChevallier and Norton 1995). The protozoan is highly prevalent in ruminants and is readily transmitted to humans. Thus, management of livestock contamination of watersheds is an important public health issue.

One example of how overexploitation of a natural water resource led to infectious disease is that of Lake Malawi in Africa. Overfishing in the lake reduced the population of snail-eating fish to such a level that snail populations erupted. Subsequently, schistosomiasis incidence and prevalence markedly rose after this ecologic imbalance (Madsen et al. 2001).

Recommendations from the Working Group

Conceptual model: bringing land use into public health policy.

The recommendations stemming from the international colloquium are highly relevant to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a broad multiagency/foundation-sponsored scientific assessment of degraded ecosystem effects on human well-being. A conceptual framework of the MEA already provides an approach to optimize the contribution of ecosystems to human health (MEA 2003). This framework offers a mechanism to a) identify options that can better achieve human development and sustainable goals, b) better understand the trade-offs involved in environment-related decisions, and c) align response options at all scales, from the local to the global, where they can be most effective. This conceptual framework focuses on human well-being while also recognizing associated intrinsic values. Similar to the MEA, focus is particularly on the linkages between ecosystem services and human health. Workshop participants developed a conceptual model (Figure 1). Like the MEA, it assumes a dynamic interaction between humans and ecosystems that warrants a multiscale assessment (spatial and temporal).

By using this framework, policy makers may approach development and health at various levels. These levels include specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels. For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlinkage between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).

As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost. In rich and temperate-climate communities, the infectious disease shifts tend to be more disease specific, for example, in the case of Lyme disease and habitat fragmentation.

Research on deforestation and infectious disease.

Considering the deforestation that usually accompanies agricultural development, new conservation-oriented agriculture should be pursued. As discussed above, water project development and modern livestock management present major health disease risks. However, often the secondary unintended consequences can also wreak havoc; for example, a leaking dam may present greater risks than the reservoir itself. A distressingly large number of development projects not only have adverse effects on human health but also fail to attain their primary economic purposes in a sustainable manner.

Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by forest destruction, desertification, or land-use conversion, affects human and wildlife health and ecosystem processes. There is already much research undertaken by landscape ecologists on the consequences of habitat fragmentation for wildlife, especially larger animals. It would be important to study the effects of landscape fragmentation on public health hazards. Such research could entail three components. The first component consists of gathering baseline data, including using historical data where possible and beginning monitoring programs where necessary. Key data include identifying and quantifying the relevant pathogen load of wildlife, livestock, and human communities in fragmented landscapes. The goals of this data collection are, first, to identify key infectious diseases, both chronic and emergent or reemergent and, second, to document the consequences of fragmentation on relative abundance of wildlife and subsequent pathogen load. For example, the loss of large predators in fragmented habitats in the northeastern United States has led to a superabundance of rodent vectors for Lyme disease.

The second component of the research program would involve health impact modeling, primarily in three areas: a) estimating changes in the relative abundance of organisms, including infectious disease vectors, pathogens, and hosts; b) projecting potential vector or transmission shifts (e.g., should the Nipah virus shift to pulmonary as well as neurologic expression in humans as in swine); and c) projecting the impact of infectious diseases in a region on different geographic scales.

The results of these analyses, if successful, could support the third component of research: development of decision-support tools. Improved decisions on land-use policy could be made from a better understanding of costs and benefits to health and environmental decision makers. In all probability, however, they will be very location specific. For example, to construct an irrigation scheme in India would likely invite a malaria epidemic, whereas the same activity in sub-Saharan Africa may have little effect on malaria transmission. It is worth mentioning that costs and benefits could depend on the time course over which they are assessed. For example, some land-use changes can lead to short-term increases in transmission followed by longer-term decreases (e.g., irrigation and malaria in Sri Lanka) or vice versa (e.g., deforestation and cutaneous leishmaniasis in Latin America).

Policies to reduce microbial traffic/pathogen pollution.

In today’s interconnected world, it becomes very important to invest in the worldwide control of infectious diseases in developing countries, for example. It is also necessary to control transport to stem the flow from one place to the next.

Improved monitoring of trade is warranted in order to target infectious disease introductions. In the attempt to prevent the invasion of a pathogen (and drug-resistant organisms) into the vulnerable areas subject to land use changes, we need to pay greater attention to controls at the sources. We need to document and map these trades and investigate the vectors, the infectious diseases they harbor, and the populations they threaten. Risk assessment should guide surveillance and the development of test kits, targeting point-of-origin intervention to preempt these processes. Assessments must further include nonmarket costs (usually to the detriment of the environment and long-term sustainable health). We should communicate to both the exporters and consumers the need to make their trades clean, economically viable, and certified “clean and green” by an independent scientific agency at the source and/or destination. Additionally, strategies for screening travelers for pathogens that may be introduced to a region should be improved.

Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training.

One approach to developing the issues to which this article draws attention is the creation of a system of regional- or subregional-based interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training. Based at regional universities and/or research institutes but with very close links to the surrounding communities, these centers would have the following objectives:

  • Providing information based on good science to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health, including the factors that contribute to specific infectious disease outbreaks. The new research agenda must gather information on household and community perspectives about proposals for the use of their land. These perspectives are key to assessing the cost/benefit of a proposed project. Training local professionals in environmental, agricultural, and health science issues, with a particular focus on granting degrees in a new “trans”-discipline linking health and the environment, would be emphasized.
  • Acting as centers of integrated analysis of infectious disease emergence, incorporating perspectives and expertise from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences. Research activities would range from taxonomy of pathogens and vectors to identifying best practices for influencing changes in human behavior to reduce ecosystem and health risks.
  • Incorporating a “health impact assessment” as an important cross-sectorial decision-making tool in overall development planning (parallel to an environmental impact assessment), along with the need for doing more research.
  • Equipping professionals with the ability to recommend policy toward maintaining ecosystem function and promoting sustainable public health for future generations. For example, the link between forest fragmentation and Lyme disease risk could lead to preserving more intact tracts of forest habitat by planning “cluster” housing schemes.
Implementing research and policy programs.

In selecting areas for research and the placement of centers of excellence, it is important to choose geographically representative, highly diverse areas around the world. In addition, research projects should take place in regions or landscapes that have both well characterized and less characterized patterns of infectious disease emergence or transmission for comparison purposes. Local health and environment professionals, who are in the best position to understand local priorities, should make the choices within each region for initial research areas and sites.

Addressing trade-offs among environment, health, and development.

There are some inherent trade-offs when considering land-use change and health. They are ethical values, environmental versus health choices, and disparities in knowledge and economic class. Trade-offs are between short-term benefit and long-term damage. For example, draining swamps may reduce vector-borne disease hazards but also destroy the wetland ecosystem and its inherent services (e.g., water storage, water filtration, biologic productivity, and habitats for fish and wildlife). Research can help decision making by identifying and assessing trade-offs in different land-use-change scenarios. Balancing the diverse needs of people, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem will always be a prominent feature.

Conclusions

When considering issues of land use and infectious disease emergence, the public needs to be attentive to entire ecosystems rather than simply their local environs. Although we may not live within a certain environment, its health may indirectly affect our own. For example, intact forests support complex ecosystems and provide essential habitats for species that are specialized to those flora and that may be relevant to our health. If these complex relationships are disrupted, there may be unforeseen impacts on human health, as the above examples clearly demonstrate.

Encouraging initiatives.

Three new initiatives are rising to the challenges presented above. The first initiative, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), was formed recently to address these health challenges at the interface of ecology, wildlife health, and public health (Figure 2). At its core, conservation medicine champions the integration of techniques and partnering of scientists from diverse disciplines, particularly veterinary medicine, conservation biology, and public health. Through the consortium, therefore, these experts work with educators, policy makers, and conservation program managers to devise approaches that improve the health of both species and humans simultaneously [more information is available from the CCM website (CCM 2004)].

The second initiative, the new international journal EcoHealth, focuses on the integration of knowledge at the intersection of ecologic and health sciences. The journal provides a gathering place for research and reviews that integrate the diverse knowledge of ecology, health, and sustainability, whether scientific, medical, local, or traditional. The journal will encourage development and innovation in methods and practice that link ecology and health, and it will ensure clear and concise presentation to facilitate practical and policy application [more information is available from the EcoHealth website (EcoHealth 2004)].

The third initiative, the MEA, is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human health and well-being and for options in responding to those changes. This assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and will help to meet the assessment needs of international environmental forums, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as the needs of other users in the private sector and civil society [more information is available from the Millennium Assessment Working Groups website (Millennium Assessment Working Groups 2004)].

Challenges ahead.

As this working group of researchers continues to work on these topics, we face three challenges. First, strong trans-disciplinary research partnerships need to be forged to approach the research with the degree of creative thinking and comprehensiveness required by the nature of the problems. Second, if the work is to influence policy, the choice of questions and the research must be undertaken collaboratively with the local community and also through discussion with decision makers in government, industry, civil society, and other sectors. Third, investigators must consider how they can integrate their findings into the social, economic, and political dialogue on both the environment and health, globally and locally. As links between land use and health are elucidated, an informed public will more readily use such discoveries to better generate political will for effective change.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1 A systems model of land use change that affects public health. This model shows relationships between drivers of land use change and subsequent levels of environmental change and health consequences. Various levels of investigation and intervention are evident and range from specific risks factors and determinants of population vulnerability to larger institutional and economic activity.
Figure 2 The main elements converging under the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. Conservation medicine combines conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, and public health. Adapted from Tabor (2002).

Table 1

SOURCE :

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.6877

Philadelphia Child Shot, National Media Silent For Specific Reason

Philadelphia Child Shot, National Media Silent For Specific Reason

THE NATIONAL MEDIA WAS SILENT

A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed by Philadelphia police nearly two weeks ago.

Did this make your nightly news? Did basketball teams boycott their games? Was there performative outrage across the country accompanied by violent riots?

Local reports explain Thomas Siderio Jr. was fleeing police when he was shot in the back. It is undetermined whether Siderio was armed.

Siderio is white, like most Americans shot by police, by the way, so he will not be revered like other victims of police shootings.

Folks like Siderio are killed by police at nearly double the rate each year as black people.

Dead Caucasians, however, do not score political points for perpetually angry left-wing bigots. The activists and media usually ignore their deaths because facts interrupt the outrage machine’s Big Lie that police are “systemically racist.”

Walter Wallace, for example, was a black Philadelphian killed by police 17 months ago after attacking them with a weapon. Following a domestic dispute call, Wallace rushed toward the police officers arriving at the scene. Backing away, the cops demanded he drop his weapon, yet he refused. Since police eventually killed Wallace, the incident made national news and led to hooligans rioting and looting in large cities.

For young Siderio, there was no outrage.

As for further particulars, police say he fired a gun at them while they sat in a car, injuring one officer. Police returned fire as Siderio, and a friend ran away. Like the Wallace case, police only used their guns because they felt threatened. Police officers — at least those I know — want to protect us.

Big Tech, as usual, is also culpable via its bigotry and biases.

Internet searches for the Wallace incident show his race in almost every news story; whereas, a search for Siderio rarely lists his race in headlines. Race is clearly only mentioned to vilify police or augment “systemic racism” claims for the New York Times and CNN’s ratings. This is why people enormously overestimate how many blacks are killed annually by U.S. police officers.

“This happened less than a mile from where I live, and I did not know about it until you emailed me,” a Philadelphia resident told me on Tuesday morning. “Thankfully, there was no looting, I guess. It seems more accurate information could destroy the Black Lives Matter and associated movements, which are mostly kept alive by ensuring we the people remain ignorant of truths.”

A.J. Kaufman is a columnist for Alpha News and here at The Lid.

the national media was silent

Ballot Bombshells: 20 episodes exposing fraud, illegalities and irregularities in 2020 election

Ballot Bombshells: 20 episodes exposing fraud, illegalities and irregularities in 2020 election

Illegal rule changes, ballot harvesting, Iranian voter hack are among the many now-confirmed serious irregularities, putting the lie to the “perfect election” narrative.

After the 2020 election ended with Joe Biden declared the winner, the federal cybersecurity agency declared it was a perfectly secure vote. Months later, federal prosecutors admitted two Iranian nationals hacked into a state’s database and stole the identities of 100,000 voters in an effort to influence the election.

Likewise, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared it was “outrageous” to think his state’s 2020 election needed to be investigated. Now, two separate courts have concluded that state election regulators illegally changed rules, allowing tens of thousands to cast ballots in an unlawful manner.

And that probe Evers so stubbornly resisted just provided evidence of fraudulent vote-collecting operations that exploited vulnerable residents in nursing homes.

Georgia’s elections chief similarly expresses confidence to this day in his state’s declaration that Joe Biden won in 2020, but he now admits the state’s largest county ran a vote counting operation so dysfunctional that the state may take over the county. He also has launched a probe into potential illegal harvesting of ballots that he says may result in prosecutions.

And Arizona, one of the first states to move to no-excuse mail-in voting years ago, has now begun an urgent effort to return to traditional in-person voting with paper ballots after investigations called into question more than 50,000 ballots cast in November 2020 and tens of thousands more verification signatures.

For more than a year, Democrats and their allies in the corporate media have decried what they call the “Big Lie” that America’s 2020 election was flawed or stolen. But almost weekly now, revelations are emerging that the election was, in fact, marred by illegalities, irregularities and mismanagement like former President Donald Trump has argued, leaving a nation increasingly doubting the reliability of its election system.

recent poll found that 40% of Americans no longer believe in the legitimacy of the winner of either of the last two presidential elections, a stunning number for a country globally held as the gold standard for constitutional republics built on democracy.

“We have a lot of work to do,” former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell told Just the News on Wednesday. “And so I never sugarcoat this, because there’s substantial voter dissatisfaction with the the lack of security of our ballots. And they are very concerned that folks who are voting are folks who are not eligible to vote. And so you can’t have a system where illegal ballots negate the casting of legal ballots.”

The 2020 election results almost certainly won’t be reversed, no matter how widespread the calls for decertification grow. But the opportunity to take the many failures of the last election seriously to improve Americans’ confidence in voting in the 2022 and 2024 elections looms large, experts told Just the News.

“We need to make sure our voting rolls are clean,” Wisconsin State Rep. Janel Brandtjen told Just the News. She oversees the Assembly committee on election integrity and blasted Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for vetoing legislation designed to fix many problems identified in the Dairy State.

“At this point, there is no downside to cheating in Wisconsin, when you have a governor that’s shutting down a lot of the things that we’ve thought in the past as Republicans and Democrats that would make a fair and transparent election,” she added.

Here are 20 of the most important revelations uncovered by Just the News over the last 15 months of reporting, complete with substantiating evidence and links”

  1. A Foreign Intrusion. Federal authorities have confirmed that two Iranian nationals successfully hacked into a state computer election system, stole 100,000 voter registrations and used the data to carry out a cyber-intimidation campaign that targeted GOP members of Congress, Trump campaign officials and Democratic voters in the November 2020 election in one of the largest foreign intrusions in U.S. election history. The defendants “were part of a coordinated conspiracy in which Iranian hackers sought to undermine faith and confidence in the U.S. presidential election,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams declared in an indictment.
  2. Alleged Bribery. The former state Supreme Court justice appointed by the Wisconsin Legislature to investigate the 2020 election concluded that millions of dollars in donations to election administrators in five Democrat-heavy municipalities from the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life violated state anti-bribery laws and corrupted election practices by turning public election authorities into liberal get-out-the-vote activists. “The Zuckerberg-funded CTCL/ Zuckerberg 5 scheme would prove to be an effective way to accomplish the partisan effort to ‘turnout’ their desired voters and it was done with the active support of the very people and the governmental institution (WEC) that were supposed to be guarding the Wisconsin elections administrative process from the partisan activities they facilitated,” Justice Michael Gableman wrote.
  3. Illegal ballot harvesting in Wisconsin. Gableman also exposed an extensive vote collection operation, known as ballot harvesting, in nursing homes in which third-party activists illegally collected the ballots of vulnerable residents, some of whom lacked the mental or physical capacity to vote or were forbidden from voting by guardianship agreements. State election regulators “unlawfully directed the municipal clerks not to send out the legally required special voting deputies to nursing homes, resulting in many nursing homes’ registered residents voting at 100% rates and many ineligible residents voting, despite a guardianship order or incapacity,” Gableman wrote in his explosive report.
  4. Ballot harvesting probe in the Peach State. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced he has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that liberal activists engaged in illegal ballot harvesting, collecting ballots from voters and delivering them in violation of state law. Raffensperger said he is planning to issue subpoenas to identify a whistleblower who admitted he engaged in the operation, and there could be prosecutions. The True the Vote election integrity group says in a formal state complaint that the man, identified as John Doe, admitted his role and identified nonprofits who funded it at $10 per ballot delivered. The watchdog group also claims it has assembled cell phone location records pinpointing the alleged harvesting by as many as 240 activists.  
  5. Bad voter signatures? A review of Maricopa County’s mail-in ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimated that more than 200,000 ballots with signatures that did not match voter files were counted without being reviewed, more than eight times the number the county acknowledged.
  6. 50,000 Arizona ballots called into question. An extensive audit by Arizona’s Senate officially called into question more than 50,000 ballots cast in the 2020 election, including voters who cast ballots from residences they had left. The tally in question is nearly five times the margin of Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
  7. Illegal ballot drop boxes. A Wisconsin judge has ruled the widespread use of ballot drop boxes in 2020 was unlawful, and the state Supreme Court let that ruling stand. That means drop boxes can’t be used in future elections starting in April. It also means that tens of thousands of ballots in the 2020 election were cast unlawfully.
  8. Foreign voters found on Texas rolls. An audit of Texas voter rollsidentified nearly 12,000 noncitizens suspected of illegally registering to vote and nearly 600 cases in which ballots may have been cast in the name of a dead resident or by a voter who may also have voted in another state. Officials are now in the process of removing the foreign voters and deciding whether prosecutions are warranted.
  9. Foreign voters found on Georgia  rolls. An audit by Georgia’s Secretary of State has identified more than 2,000 suspected foreigners who tried to register to vote in the state, though none reached the point of casting ballots. Raffensperger says prosecutions may be forthcoming.
  10. Unconstitutional mail-in voting. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has concluded the state law that opened the door to no-excuse mail-in voting in 2020 was unconstitutional and that mail-in voting can only be enacted by a constitutional amendment. “A constitutional amendment must be presented to the people and adopted into our fundamental law before legislation authorizing no-excuse mail-in voting can be placed upon our statute books,” the court ruled. About 2.5 million voted by mail in Pennsylvania in 2020, votes now called into question by the ruling.
  11. More noncitizen voters. The Gableman investigation in Wisconsin also found noncitizens had made it onto the state voters rolls in violation of state law. The Wisconsin Election Commission failed “to record non-citizens in the WisVote voter database, thereby permitting non-citizens to vote, even though Wisconsin law requires citizenship to vote — all in violation of the Help America Vote Act,” the investigator wrote.
  12. Ballot chain of custody issues. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has opened an investigation into the handling of drop box ballots last November in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds following a media report that there were problems with chain of custody documentation in DeKalb County.
  13. Fulton County irregularities. Georgia’s handpicked election monitor for Fulton County, the state’s largest voting district, documented two dozen pages of mismanagement and irregularities during vote counting in Atlanta in November 2020, including double-scanning of ballots, insecure transport of ballots and violations of voter privacy. The revelations prompted the state to take steps to possibly put Fulton County in receivership, empowering state officials to run the elections. Most of Fulton County’s election officials have left their jobs.
  14. Errant vote counting. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp referred the audited November 2020 election results in Fulton County to the State Election Board after multiple reviews found three dozen significant problems with absentee ballot counting, including duplicate tallies, math errors and transposed data. Kemp’s referral calls into question hundreds of ballots in the official count.
  15. Dirty voter rolls. Michigan’s official state auditor has found that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson failed to adhere to state election law by properly updating and reconciling Michigan’s qualified voter roll. This oversight, according to the audit, increased the risk of ineligible voters casting ballots.
  16. Illegal exemptions from voter ID. The Wisconsin Supreme Courtruled as many as 200,000 voters were allowed to illegally skip voter ID for absentee ballots by claiming they were indefinitely confined by COVID when there was no such legal authority to do so. Biden beat Trump by about 20,000 votes in the state.
  17. Uneven enforcement of election laws. The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau identified more than 30 problems with the administration of elections in 2020, including unlawful orders and uneven enforcement of the law and urged  lawmakers to make sweeping improvements.
  18. More illegal harvesting. In Arizona, a half dozen people have already been indicted on charges of illegal harvesting in a probe by Attorney General Mark Brnovich that shows signs of expanding. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Democrats’ arguments and concluded Arizona’s ban on harvesting was constitutional.
  19. Voter fraud in MichiganMichigan charged three women in connection with voter fraud schemes, including efforts to cast ballots on behalf of non-consenting nursing home residents.
  20. Still more nursing home fraud. In Wisconsin, Racine County Sheriff  Christopher Schmaling announced his investigators have secured evidence that eight out of 42 residents at a local nursing home had been recorded as casting absentee ballots that their families said was not possible because the residents didn’t possess the cognitive ability to vote.

Here is a required reading list for anyone interested in the above issues:

The Gableman Report

Iranian Hackers Indictment

Pennsylvania court ruling striking down mail-in voter law

Georgia state memo on irregularities in Fulton County vote counting

Kemp referral on erroneous vote counting

Georgia Ballot Harvesting Complaint

WHO ARE THE DIRECTORS OF THE SHOW?

The world seems be lost in a never ending state of chaos and confusion. Division is becoming the end goal. Usually that nonsense calms down after presidential elections but it hasn’t. It has been snowballing since Trump ran for office! I knew politicians weren’t going to agree with him necessarily but for Pete’s sake! ENOUGH is enough.

The ongoing demand for control has to stem from something much deeper or someone that is directing the show from behind the red velvet curtain. Things are so out of hand, that they have forgotten who they are. FREE PEOPLE! FREE AMERICANS! FREEDOM US WHAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON! WE ARE NOT A SOCIALIST COUNTY? So what is going on?

The Great Reset

Let’s look at The Great Reset that we all keep hearing about. Here’s a little bit of information on this new agenda that is not actually very new at all come to find out.

The Great Reset is the name of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), held in June 2020. It brought together high-profile business and political leaders, convened by Charles, Prince of Wales and the WEF, with the theme of rebuilding society and the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

WEF chief executive officer Klaus Schwab described three core components of the Great Reset:

International Monetary Fund director Kristalina Georgieva listed three key aspects of the sustainable response: green growth, smarter growth, and fairer growth.

1. the first involves creating conditions for a “stakeholder economy”;

2. the second component includes building in a more “resilient, equitable, and sustainable” way—based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics which would incorporate more green public infrastructure projects;

3. the third component is to “harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” for public good. In her keynote speech opening the dialogues,

The launch of The Great Reset

At the launch event for the Great Reset, Prince Charles listed key areas for action, similar to those listed in his Sustainable Markets Initiative, introduced in January 2020.

In June 2020, the theme of the January 2021 50th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was announced as “The Great Reset”, connecting both in-person and online global leaders in Davos, Switzerland with a multi-stakeholder network in 400 cities around the world. The Great Reset was also to be the main theme of the WEF’s summit in Lucerne in May 2021, which was postponed to 2022.

The World Economic Forum generally suggests that a globalised world is best managed by a self-selected coalition of multinational corporations, governments and civil society organizations (CSOs). It sees periods of global instability – such as the financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic – as windows of opportunity to intensify its programmatic efforts. Some critics hence see the Great Reset as a continuation of the World Economic Forum’s strategy of focusing on connotated activist topics such as environmental protection and to disguise the organization’s true plutocratic goalssocial entrepreneurship

By mid-April 2020, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 recession, the 2020 Russia–Saudi Arabia oil price war and the resulting “collapse in oil prices”, the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, described possible fundamental changes in an article in The Economist. Carney said that in a post-COVID world “stakeholder capitalism” will be tested as “companies will be judged by ‘what they did during the war,’ how they treated their employees, suppliers and customers, by who shared and who hoarded.” The “gulf between what markets value and what people value” will close.

In a post-COVID world, it is reasonable to expect that more people will want improvements in risk management, in social and medical safety nets, and will want more attention paid to scientific experts. This new hierarchy of values will call for a reset on the way we deal with climate change, which, like the pandemic, is a global phenomenon. No one can “self-isolate” from climate change so we all need to “act in advance and in solidarity”. In his 2020 BBC Reith Lectures, Carney developed his theme of value hierarchies as related to three crises—credit, COVID and climate.

According to a May 15, 2020 WEF article, COVID-19 offers an opportunity to “reset and reshape” the world in a way that is more aligned with the United Nations 2030

In June 2020, Klaus Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 1971 and is currently its CEO, described the three core components of the Great Reset.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as climate change, inequality and poverty gained even greater urgency during the pandemic.

This includes resetting labour markets, as more people work remotely speeding up the process of the “future of work”. The reset will advance work already begun to prepare for the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution by upskilling and reskilling workers. Another post-COVID concern raised by the WEF is food security including the “risk of disruptions to food supply chains”, and the need forglobal policy coordination” to preventfood protectionism from becoming the post-pandemic new normal.”.

In her June 3, 2020 keynote address opening the Great Reset forum, a joint initiative of the WEC and the Prince of Wales, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that there has been a “massive injection of fiscal stimulus to help countries deal with this crisis” and that it was of “paramount importance that this growth should lead to a greener, smarter, fairer world in the future”.

Georgieva listed three aspects of the Great Reset; green growth, smarter growth and fairer growth. Government investments and government incentives for private investors could “support low-carbon and climate-resilient growth” such as “planting mangroves, land restoration, reforestation or insulating buildings.” With low oil prices, the timing was right to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and introduce carbon pricing to incentivize future investments. READ THAT AGAIN… INCENTIVE FOR FUTURE INVESTMENTS.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to shape an economic recovery and the future direction of global relations, economies and priorities.

In one of the Great Reset Dialogues, John Kerry and other members of a WEF dialogue discussed how to rebuild the “social contract” in a post-COVID world.

According to Prince Charles, the economic recovery must put the world on a path to sustainability, which would include carbon pricing. Prince Charles emphasized that the private sector would be the main drivers of the plan. The market should adapt to the current reality by aiming for fairer results, ensuring that investments are aimed at mutual progress including accelerating ecologically friendly investments, and to start a fourth industrial revolution, creating digital economic and public infrastructure. According to Klaus Schwab, they would not change the economic system, but rather improve it to what he considers to be “responsible capitalism”. HA!

Klaus SchwabGerman economist, founder of World Economic Forum

The Short Scoop on Klaus Martin Schwab

Schwab was born on 30 March 1938 and is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

During the earlier years of his career, he served on a number of company boards, such as The Swatch Group, The Daily Mail Group, and Vontobel Holding. He is a former member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group

The Swiss radio and television corporation SRF mentioned the salary level of Klaus in the context of ongoing public contributions to the WEF and the fact that the Forum does not pay any federal taxes. Moreover, the former Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung journalist Jürgen Dunsch made the criticism that the WEF’s financial reports were not very transparent since neither income nor expenditure were broken down. I’m certain there are very good reasons for concerns about how he maintained his wealth over the years but that’s another dig for another day.

The Bilderberg Group Meetings are secret and by invitation only

The Bilderberg meeting (also known as the Bilderberg Group) is an annual conference established in 1954 to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. The group’s agenda, originally to prevent another world war, is now defined as bolstering a consensus around free market Western capitalism and its interests around the globe.

The conference was initiated by several people, including Polish politician-in-exile Józef Retinger who, concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in Western Europe, proposed an international conference at which leaders from European countries and the United States would be brought together with the aim of promoting Atlanticismbetter understanding between the cultures of the United States and Western Europe to foster cooperation on political, economic, and defense issues.

Participants include political leaders, experts from industry, finance, academia, and the media, numbering between 120 and 150. Attendees are entitled to use information gained at meetings, but not attribute it to a named speaker. This is to encourage candid debate, while maintaining privacy – a provision that has fed conspiracy theories from both the left and right.

In 2002 in Them: Adventures with Extremists, author Jon Ronson wrote that the group has a small central office in Holland [sic] which each year decides what country will host the forthcoming meeting. The host country then has to book an entire hotel for four days, plus arrange catering, transport and security. To fund this, the host solicits donations from sympathetic corporations such as Barclays, Fiat Automobiles, GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz, Nokia and Xerox.

List of the Bilderberg Group Meetings Participants from the United States

Senators

Governors

Concerns about lobbying have arisen.

Ian Richardson sees Bilderberg as the transnational power elite, an integral, and to some extent critical, part of the existing system of global governance”, that is “not acting in the interests of the whole”. An article in The Guardian in June 2017 criticized the world view expressed in an agenda published by the Bilderberg group.

This should give you a general idea of what the Bilderberg Group is about but if you want to further your knowledge you can read more about the them, their meetings, goals and activities on their website at https://www.bilderbergmeetings.org

For a list of their FAQ’s go here

See also

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF)

In the view of some critics, the WEF is exercising too much influence on global systems and institutions. The picture shows George Soros during a Davos session on redesigning the international monetary system.
George Soros speaking at the Word Economic Forum

In the view of some critics, the WEF is exercising too much influence on global systems and institutions. The picture shows George Soros during a Davos session on redesigning the international monetary system.

This brings me to the Plandemic

Since these “Globalist” seemed to be so concerned about the all of us normal folks and managed to sling trillions and trillions of money around like it grew on tree’s… Just who were the winners from lockdown nation?

And now that we have actual evidence of collateral damage from the lockdowns around the world why is almost the entire world protesting and demanding freedom? Why are we all in a bad way still and having such a difficult time getting back to normal? One would think that the current gas prices, food shortages in certain areas and the overall economic crisis would persuade even those on the far left who generally support the heavy hand of government to take a look around and question the people in power that are controlling the pathetic narrative. It would be apparent to a first grader they are all about complete control.

Big businesses scored a “$1.4 trillion payday” during the pandemic. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft increased their profits by 45% last year. “Wow, bring back more pandemics!” they must be shouting around the boardroom table.

Shutting down the economy hurt the poor the most and vastly widened the chasm between rich and poor. Lockdowns squashed small startup businesses, hurt low-income workers whose jobs were first in line to be destroyed, and devastated educational advances of children in the worst school districts.

For example, we have learned that high-achieving children did fine with remote learning. However, those who scored below average in school performance or from low-income families without computer skills tended to tune out and shut down online lessons completely. We know from teachers that as many as one-third of children rarely, if ever, even turned on a computer during the lockdowns. The long-term educational setbacks for these children as they grow to adult age could be devastating.

It’s not rocket science to figure out that the wealthy got wealthier! So, Just who were the BIG winners from lockdown nation? Let’s start with the corporate titans: Walmart, Google, Amazon, Walgreens, Apple, McDonald’s, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, etc. THEY’ were rewarded with the designation of “essential” by the politicians. Their doors stayed open. They raked in dollars by the millions.

You can find all the information you need to confirm these facts. For instance there was is a headline from MarketWatch earlier this month: “Big Tech’s pandemic year produces mind-boggling financial results.” There was also was this nugget from the front page of The New York Times: “Wealth inequality is the highest since World War II.” George Soros, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett won the lottery.

I’m usually not a Big Tech or Big Pharma basher and actually like to see the stock market rise. It means people are making money. If these corporations make great products or can sell valuable services that people need, I am all for it! Yay for capitalism. Everyone’s happy.

But within the case of of our current situation, we see the hypocrisy of the left in the media shining big and bright. The left denounces inequality, but it embraces the policies that allow the uneven playing field. The entire situation baffles me to the core.

History lessons keep repeating Thema. They are like a skip on a vinyl record. Why on earth would anyone want to relive these deliberately concocted scenerios ridden with fear and oppression? What happened to faith in personal judgment. Big government creates economic unfairness. It never solves it.. When will people turn off the TV and stop believing the propaganda and LIVE LIFE?

Worldwide Movement: Massive Freedom Convoy Formed in Helsinki, Finland Against COVID-19 Mandates and High Fuel Taxes – Cops Detain 55 Protesters

www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/02/worldwide-movement-massive-freedom-convoy-formed-helsinki-finland-covid-19-mandates-high-fuel-taxes-video/

A massive freedom convoy was organized on Friday outside parliament in Helsinki, Finland demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government, cutting 50% of fuel prices, and an end to all COVID restrictions.

Finland was enthusiastic about the Canadian convoy and the Finns set up a Facebook group that has gathered more than 45,000 members in just two days. The group name was called “CONVOY FINLAND 2022.”
CONVOY FINLAND 2022″ is expected to resume daily through Wednesday, February 9, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

TRENDING: National Archives Raids Mar-a-Lago to Retrieve Trump White House Record Boxes – All They Found Were Mementos, Gifts and Letters From World Leaders

The demands to release the blockade of Helsinki are as follows:
  • All corona measures and restrictions in Finland shall be abolished and abolished permanently and permanently.
  • Fuels (both petrol and diesel) must be cut by 50% of the current tax.
  • The current Finnish government must resign.

It was reported that Finland will begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions in mid-February.

Watch on Twitter below

https://twitter.com/ElectionWiz/status/1489736937011396613?s=20&t=02Dt0QQspqGZvHAcXbwlvw

MEANWHILE…. CANADA

GoFundMe removes Convoy to Canberra campaign, refunds $179,000 to donors

Reference links below

Convoy to Canberra https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/gofundme-removes-convoy-to-canberra-campaign-refunds-179000-to-donors/ar-AATzWNt

Canada Convoy https://abc7news.com/freedom-truck-convoy-ottowa-canada-protests-2022/11542456/

What a beautiful time to be alive! What a wonderful push for FREEDOM AND LIBERTY WE ARE WITNESSING AT THIS MOMENT!

I try to keep my opinion out of my blogs. BUT, this Texas Patriot can’t completely do that here. 😁 I love the United States, I love all my fellow citizens, non-citizens across the world regardless of color , creed/religious beliefs, vaccine status, views, political stance, etc. I can still love humanity and disagree with someone else’s position in life.

Just when you think you can’t hold up that long handled shovel in order to dig down the rabbit hole to continue digging up the truth or stand another second of reading the misleading, lying headlines or researching one more published journal written by yet ANOTHER! scientist or listen to one more video put out by another self-proclaimed someone who has ALL the truthful contacts in their pocket…………………

IT HAPPENED!!!!! IT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS!

I much more prefer to base my reliance on action rather than words! It hit me like a ton bricks this morning! I’m not witnessing a “select” group of anyone! Whether it be Elites, red/blue politician’s, a chosen political party. This is not a representation of a respective race, a certain gender or group/organization. The resplendent representation is NOT that of those who are only concerned with their own wellbeing or a social group who are standing up for just one “particular” opinion!

IT OCCURRED TO ME….

It occurred to me as I was listening to horns honking by these Truckers that this was WAY MORE than I realized! I feel like I have been on this battlefield forever although I actually have not. Sometimes… after a while my tank runs dry, my emotions shut down and I will have days when it’s just so overwhelmingly depressing that I literally feel myself transcending into a world of my own in order to continue my research and cope with the findings. My very own O-zone. I don’t know a true Patriot that doesn’t feel this way from time to time. However, we go forward. We know God wins in the end. We know that the light ALWAYS outshines the darkness. It’s worth every second of it to us. Hard but worth it. With that said I WELCOME the times when something REALLY HITS ME in such a profound way! The moments… the AH-HA MOMENTS. Call it whatever… waking up a little bit more or discernment, clarity, revealing thought from God, a revelation out of the blue, a divulged moment, a spiritual growth moment, leveling up to another conscious (which I might add that “consciousness” in my opinion is not something we level up to by the way… We ALL were born with one… We ALL have a conscious AND WE ALL CHOOSE HOW TO USE IT). Being from Texas…. I’ll just keep it simple and call it “a brain fart

I am grateful. I proudly state that I believe that I am witnessing a sincere, unapologetic and profound rebellion of normal people who represent ALL OF HUMANITY! They are representing everyone from the everyday blue collar worker’s of the world, and the honest hard-working person in spite of how much money they bring home. Their convoy is fighting for the ones who don’t have a dime left over after paying their bills as well as those who have more than enough to live on and more than most of society.

They are courageously putting their own lives in an increasingly danger of being harmed physically, jailed, fired from their jobs, their own general wellbeing at risk. They are sacrificing the comforts, stability of their financial circumstances, the emotional, possibly physical wellbeing of their children, spouse’s /partners, and families. I am certain it is an extremely and stressful position to be in for ALL INVOLVED…

These trucking convoyers are ALSO representing the silent sleepers that are hidden in the darkness. They are fighting for the individual who is afraid to speak out for what they truly believe in their hearts but scared to admit for whatever reason. Those who have convinced themselves to not think outside the box they are comfortable living in and the individual who has been convinced by whomever to think, react or what not think and how not to react. They are representing those who can’t or won’t speak as a hole! Those who can’t because they are no longer here, those who are too fearful to speak because of fear of losing their jobs and the one’s who are TOO YOUNG and those who are too set in their ways to see things from a different perspective.

Humbled and Proud…

Thousands and thousands of true Patriots from across the world have been fighting in one form or another for such a long time trying to expose the truth as we have come see it based on endless hours of research on our own time for no other reason than to learn the truth about the world we live in and to expose any corruption that may exist in our world because we are hopelessly devoted to honestly and humanity. We are persistent people. We are also humbled when we are able to contribute to ANYONE we might be able to help for the greater good. We are people of spirit of service to others. This is I know to be fact. I thank each and every one of them and pray for a healthy and safe journey, wherever that journey may lead.

I BELIEVE IN PERSONAL FREEDOM! PERIOD! FREEDOM AND LIBERTY IS EXACTLY WHAT THESE BRAVE STAND TRUCKERS FOR AND I AM ON BOARD WITH WHATEVER IT TAKES TO STOP MANDATES! PERIOD!

THIS CONVOY WON’T BE STOPPED!

At least there is finally a group of STRONG MEN (and women) that are WILLING TO STAND UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF HUMANITY ACROSS THE WORLD!

The Ottawa, Canada Government is trying everything they can to stop the heroic #Truckers from intervening in their progressive propaganda.

MAYBE these Truckers can BRING THEIR CONVOY come to #Biden’s FailedBorder.

Maybe…. MAYBE the border will GET A LITTLE TRUE NEWS COVERAGE BY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA ( #CNN #ABC #CBS #MSN and so on) if our heroic Truckers start HONKING UP AND DOWN THE DISTASTEROUS Fully Open BORDER. Ya think?

Listen to music of the honking horns below. ❤️I love it!! ❤️

https://gettr.com/post/psilor8869

The mayor of Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency Sunday and a former U.S. ambassador to Canada said groups in the U.S. must stop interfering in the domestic affairs of America’s neighbor as protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictions continued to paralyze Ottawa’s downtown.

HA! Forget it! Not going to happen!

THEY ARE GOING FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. It gives the city some additional powers around procurement and how it delivers services, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.

Thousands of protesters descended in Ottawa again on the weekend, joining a hundred who remained since last weekend. Residents of Ottawa are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.

The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many U.S. Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

“Canada US relations used to be mainly about solving technical issues. Today Canada is, unfortunately, experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues. Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies,” Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted.

Heyman said “under no circumstances should any group in the USA fund disruptive activities in Canada. Period. Full stop.”

After crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund or redirect to charities the vast majority of the millions raised by demonstrators protesting in the Canadian capital, prominent U.S. Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis complained.

But GoFundMe had already changed its mind and said it would be issuing refunds to all. The site said it cut off funding for the organizers because it had determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to unlawful activity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called it an occupation.

https://abc7news.com/freedom-truck-convoy-ottowa-canada-protests-2022/11542456/

RELATED: Freedom convoy 2022: Truckers protest COVID vaccine mandate to cross Canada-US border

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxon tweeted: “Patriotic Texans donated to Canadian truckers’ worthy cause.” and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said on Fox News “government doesn’t have the right to force you to comply to their arbitrary mandates.”

“For some senior American politicians, patriotism means renting a mob to put a G-7 capital under siege,” tweeted Gerald Butts, a former senior adviser to Trudeau.

In Canada’s largest city, Toronto, police controlled and later ended a much smaller protest by setting up road blocks and preventing any trucks or cars from getting near the provincial legislature. Police also moved in to clear a key intersection in the city.

Many Canadians have been outraged over the crude behavior of the demonstrators. Some protesters set fireworks off on the grounds of the National War Memorial late Friday. A number have carried signs and flags with swastikas last weekend and compared vaccine mandates to fascism.

Protesters have said they won’t leave until all mandates and COVID-19 restrictions are gone. They are also calling for the removal of Trudeau’s government, though it is responsible for few of the measures, most of which were put in place by provincial governments.

Freedom truck convoy 2022: Ottawa declares state of emergency over COVID protests

TORONTO — The mayor of Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency Sunday and a former U.S. ambassador to Canada said groups in the U.S. must stop interfering in the domestic affairs of America’s neighbor as protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictions continued to paralyze Ottawa’s downtown.

Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. It gives the city some additional powers around procurement and how it delivers services, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.

Thousands of protesters descended in Ottawa again on the weekend, joining a hundred who remained since last weekend. Residents of Ottawa are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.

The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many U.S. Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

“Canada US relations used to be mainly about solving technical issues. Today Canada is, unfortunately, experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues. Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies,” Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted.

Heyman said “under no circumstances should any group in the USA fund disruptive activities in Canada. Period. Full stop.”

After crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund or redirect to charities the vast majority of the millions raised by demonstrators protesting in the Canadian capital, prominent U.S. Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis complained.

But GoFundMe had already changed its mind and said it would be issuing refunds to all. The site said it cut off funding for the organizers because it had determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to unlawful activity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called it an occupation. https://abc7news.com/freedom-truck-convoy-ottowa-canada-protests-2022/11542456/

RELATED: Freedom convoy 2022: Truckers protest COVID vaccine mandate to cross Canada-US border

ATTORNEY THOMAS RENZ DROPS BOMBS! HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS KILLING FOR CASH, THREATENING DOCS THE STEW PETERS SHOW

ATTORNEY THOMAS RENZ DROPS BOMBS! HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS KILLING FOR CASH, THREATENING DOCS THE STEW PETERS SHOW

EXCLUSIVE! “They get more money when they’re on Remdesivir, they get more money when they’re on the ventilator, and so they let them lay there and die and you can’t watch”.

Attorney Thomas Renz is taking on Tony Fauci, and anyone else that pushes these potentially deadly injections, refuses viable treatment to patients diagnosed with “COVID”.

Click Photo To Watch Interview

Renz Law
— Read on renz-law.com/

Tucker Carlson Drops Bombshell on Nat’l TV: Biden Is ‘Actively and Intentionally Breaking Federal Law’

Fox News host Tucker Carlson released a bombshell accusation against Joe Biden while on-air.

Tucker Carlson Drops Bombshell on Nat’l TV: Biden Is ‘Actively and Intentionally Breaking Federal Law’

By Staff – October 26, 2021

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson released a bombshell accusation against Joe Biden while on-air.

At the start of his program, Carlson criticized the Biden administration over their willful decision to ignore federal immigration law.null

Carlson directly accused Biden of intentionally breaking federal law.

Under previous circumstances, such actions have been an impeachable offense, Carlson notes.

The administration has turned a blind eye to illegal immigrants streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, Tucker claims. null

Carlson said, “It’s criminal, and not in a rhetorical sense.”

“Joe Biden is actively and intentionally breaking federal law even as he works to protect himself and his own family from the consequences of these lunatic policies,” he continued.

“Presidents have been impeached for less than that,” Carlson added.https://8f7e4df4c469fb53faddb5ab450d727f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“In fact, no American President, however, has been impeached not Andrew Johnson, not Richard Nixon, not Bill Clinton, not even Donald Trump has ever even been accused of crimes this flagrant or this serious, not even close.”

“According to new court documents, between January 20 and the end of March, just for example, the Biden administration refused to take custody of 37 illegal immigrants in the State of Texas. Many of these people had additional criminal records.”

Watch the clip:

Take a look at the transcript:

CARLSON: So the administration promptly shut down all workplace immigration raids. Now employers who hire illegal aliens in order to undercut American wages have the full protection of the Department of Homeland Security, because it’s not a corporate conspiracy or anything. Don’t you worry

Now, the rest of the world is fully aware of this. They follow these developments, they have the internet, too. As a result, as you just heard Bill Melugin say, a massive migrant caravan has formed in Southeastern Mexico, in the City of Tapachula.

We want to show even more footage of that, which you did not see in Bill’s report.

You can see the caravan is heading here and smashing through police barricades as it does.

CARLSON: Everybody sympathizes with migrants who want a better life in this country, of course. Our government’s primary concern always must be the welfare of American citizens in a country that’s rapidly getting poorer, which we are. But in general, you sympathize. But migrants who violently break through a police line? No, not allowed here, ever. There is no possible way the U.S. benefits from anyone who would do that. Period.

And by the way, in contrast to previous years, these migrants are not coming exclusively from Latin America, they are coming from as far away as China, and again why wouldn’t they come? The border is now open for everyone. It’s not just Central Americans.

FOX’s Griff Jenkins has been covering these caravans for years and this weekend, he went to Southwest Mexico and immediately saw something very different. Watch.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: We’re in the town of Huehuetan, 16 miles north of Tapachula where this caravan started. You can see them, some children playing on a swing set, but we’re seeing a lot of families, a lot of children out here, and we’re seeing migrants from many different countries not just Central America, which was what was the situation in 2019, that Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

But we see Haitians in here. We even met one woman from China that we couldn’t speak to her because she didn’t speak Spanish or English. Every migrant we talked to today said they’ve got one destination in mind and that’s the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So why are they coming? We don’t need to guess about that, ask the people who are coming here illegally. They’re not embarrassed to articulate it at all. They are coming because they know immigration enforcement under Joe Biden has been suspended in the United States.

The White House hasn’t simply ended workplace raids, they’ve also stopped turning people away at the border, so people just come in and they know they’ll never be forced to leave. Already, the administration has released more than 160,000 illegal migrants into the country with no supervision whatsoever, without telling the people into whose neighborhoods they’re moving, because they don’t care what American citizens think.

By the way, how many are vaccinated? You can’t go to events, you can’t have a job in this country without being vaccinated, but if you come here illegally, no problem. What does that tell you?

Now, tens of thousands of those migrants according to documents obtained by Fox News have already received work permits. Right. Soon they will receive free benefits and the healthcare that Joe Biden has promised them. That’s why they’re coming. Again just ask them and they’ll tell you.

Continue reading “Tucker Carlson Drops Bombshell on Nat’l TV: Biden Is ‘Actively and Intentionally Breaking Federal Law’”

Top News Organizations Run Huawei-Sponsored Puff PiecesChuck Ross and Santi Ruiz

October 27, 2021 5:00 am

Some of the country’s most prominent news organizations have partnership deals with telecom giant Huawei, which the U.S. government considers a national security risk because of links to the Chinese government.

Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Reuters, and Politico have all published news-style pieces commissioned by the Chinese telecom giant to advance its interests, according to a Washington Free Beacon review. Since July, Reuters has published two sponsored articles touting Huawei’s investments in the United Kingdom. The Journal has published 14 sponsored articles since last year, while Wired has hosted virtual events sponsored by the tech giant. Politico ran pro-Huawei content last year. The articles disclose that Huawei sponsors the content, though the company’s ties to the Chinese government may not be apparent to readers.

Huawei has come under fire for its cozy relationship with Beijing. Critics of Huawei, whose founder is an avowed member of the Chinese Communist Party, say the company’s links to the Chinese government pose risks to dissenters in China and could help the regime spy on foreign adversaries. The Trump administration put Huawei on an economic blacklist over those concerns, and the Biden administration has maintained the policy. Huawei has spent millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying to beat back the sanctions and to rehabilitate its image. The company has paid Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta $500,000 since August to lobby the White House, according to lobbying disclosures.

Media companies that partner with Huawei and other Chinese entities have drawn scrutiny in recent years as Beijing has mounted an aggressive foreign propaganda campaign. The Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post all ended partnerships with China Daily last year, citing concerns about working with state-run media outlets. The National Association of Black Journalists last year canceled an online event to discuss misinformation regarding coronavirus after backlash over Huawei’s sponsorship.

Huawei has sponsored events through Wired‘s “Brand Lab,” which offers the magazine’s clients “the chance to connect your brand to the Wired world.” Huawei sponsored a conversation with Brookings Institution fellow Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, whose think tank has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Huawei. That funding from Huawei has bought friendly write-ups of Huawei projects. The Brand Lab also has created friendly, unsigned opinion pieces on behalf of Huawei. In oneWired argues that although “computer chips make the digital world go round,” the United States risks “decoupling supply chains” and “dramatically impacting the bottom lines of businesses.” The piece blames the United States for pressuring Huawei and makes no reference to national security concerns.

Wired‘s news coverage of Huawei has often included defenses of the company and warnings that an “ill-considered” crackdown “could spell the end of a single, global internet” and could “backfire.”

The Journal has churned out 14 articles since August 2020 as part of the Huawei sponsorship. The articles, which the Journal posts to one of the company’s Twitter accounts, feature headlines like “Why AI Needs More Women,” “Conservation Through Connectivity,” and “Creating a Culture of Trust.” The material offers a positive view of technology companies and 5G technology, with some of the articles portraying Huawei as a force for social good. A sponsored article promoted in August says that Huawei technology can bring an end to so-called digital deserts by “promoting digital inclusion and connecting the disconnected around the world.” The article also quotes Afke Schaart, a former Dutch lawmaker who serves as Huawei’s senior vice president for global government affairs.

Reuters’s content is directed at the United Kingdom, which has banned Huawei’s equipment from being used on its high-speed wireless infrastructure. One article claimed that Huawei’s 5G will drive economic recovery for small- and medium-sized businesses. A Reuters piece published this month touted Huawei’s commitment to the conservation movement. The article quoted a Huawei executive saying that the company’s technology would “help protect the planet” and that Huawei is “committed to supporting conservation projects in many ecosystems, including oceans, rainforests, and mountains.”

A spokesman for the Journal declined to comment for this story. Reuters and Wired did not respond to requests for comment. Huawei also did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Published under: CCP, China, China Daily, Huawei, Politico, Propaganda, Reuters, Wall Street Journal

You can’t make this up: CNN’s HOME PAGE pop-up advertisement is for an injection for joint pain that also compromises your immune system’s ability to fight infection

You can’t make this stuff up! You just can’t!

(Natural News) Any natural health advocate knows better than to allow a quack doctor to prescribe them some medication that’s advertised on television or a mainstream media website, using common sense to figure out that the side effects alone are often worse than the condition being “treated.” That means the filthy-rich pharmaceutical companies that make those dangerous, deadly, untested drugs also pay for the script, the false-narrative, that’s being insidiously delivered with such poise and shocking photography and video coverage. The message is clear: Risk your health and life with toxic “medications” for the pain and dysfunction of your body because you can’t control your poor eating habits.

Got joint pain? CNN has something for that, and don’t you worry about Covid, because the main product advertised on CNN also depletes immune system function, setting you up for a big fall from guess what? So, if you have immense joint pain caused by the Covid vaccines, since they load up your blood with billions of sticky spike proteins, then ask your doctor about Enbrel, for joint pain, as it decimates your immune system.

It’s a circle jerk of a mad medical ride, this allopathic vaccination-then-prescription-medication nightmare. You ask for a medicine that you saw advertised on CNN to relieve the pain caused by chronic, severe inflammation from those spike proteins, the ones clogging your blood while lowering your immune system function, and you end up catching a “bad case” of Covid (and dying from it).

Of course, Enbrel prescription injections are advertised to the very people most likely to have already gotten the blood-clotting, heart inflaming China flu jabs, those who thought Joe Biden would be better than Trump. Here’s some important safety information, brought to you by CNN’s key sponsor, the makers of Enbrel, a medicine that affects your immune system. The warning is very clear about what can happen when you expose yourself to infections this bad. Keep reading.

CNN worsens Covid pandemic by pushing ads on their home page for Enbrel injections that lower immune system function and turn the human body into an infection breeding ground

Infections as a result of taking Enbrel include tuberculosis, viruses (think Covid here), bacteria and fungi that have spread throughout the body. Throughout being the key word there. “Some” patients have died from these infections. Really? How many? What percentage, we would like to know, even though we (natural health advocates) don’t watch CNN for news or health information. Check out the second paragraph where they warn you if you take Enbrel you may experience some “…cases of unusual cancers, some resulting in death,” and they go on to explain how this happened to teenagers and children, but adults shouldn’t worry about it. Nothing to see here.

Right now during the Covid pandemic, CNN’s key sponsor with front page coverage is ENBREL, a joint-pain medication that can help Covid find and kill you

Enbrel is a very dangerous drug that uses TNF blockers (tumor necrosis factor) which increases the likelihood of lymphoma cancers in humans under 18 years of age. Pharma is so bold to warn you to tell your doctor if you are taking any “herbals” when you ask him/her for a drug that causes cancer and a critically-reduced immune system during the Covid pandemic.

Also, if you have a weak immune system already, meaning if you’re overweight or obese, diabetic or border-line diabetic, or you smoke cigarettes, you may not want to engage Enbrel, although CNN thinks it’s a great drug to promote during Covid. The best.

Ads for deadly pharmaceutical drugs keep hoax media companies in business when ratings are in the gutter, so pushing Enbrel is ideal for the Counterfeit News Network right now. Enbrel even worsens any infections that you already have. Got joint pain?

Processed food consumption daily leads to chronic inflammation and fuels arthritis and joint pain, including sugar, canola oil, everything GMO, artificial sweeteners, gluten everything, and even tap water that’s fluoridated. Pile on some toxic China Flu spike protein jabs, a flu shot and some prescription medications that lower immunity while causing cancer and take a big guess where you end up – with a ventilator shoved down your windpipe and billions of spike proteins overworking your heart in the ICU.

Sunday, October 17, 2021 by: S.D. Wells
Tags: badhealth, badmedicine, Big Pharma, cnn enbrel, enbrel, enbrel cnn, enbrel dangers, enbrel death, enbrel side effects, immune system, immunity, lower immune system, news media, pandemic, pharma ads, Plandemic, weak immune system

Actress Kirstie Alley Warns Hollywood Is Putting Society on a Path to Accept Pedophilia: ‘Protect Your Children’

D Dipasupil/Getty Images
HANNAH BLEAU
3 Jul 2021

D Dipasupil/Getty Images
HANNAH BLEAU
3 Jul 2021

Actress Kirstie Alley issued a dire warning on Friday, noting that children are being exposed to “everything perverse on every kind of screen” and cautioning that Hollywood is conditioning society to be so “open minded” that it will soon “support” pedophilia as “just loving children.”

“Was watching TV …we’ve gone too far in my opinion. I feel sorry for our children. Their exposure to everything perverse on every kind of screen is mind boggling. And even more tragic, it’s being hyped as ‘normal,’” the Cheers star wrote.

“No other generation has had such easy access to the underbelly of humanity. SO many screens & chronic bombardment of images and concepts. Our current society would have been praising Caligula. Protect your children,” she continued in the series of tweets to her 1.5 million Twitter followers, confessing to have a “heavy heart” over what she described as the “shit that’s being crammed down our kid’s throats.”

“A ‘moral code’ is not old fashioned. Morals are simply guidelines for better survival. Explicit sexual ‘education’ and ‘select’ ideals being forced on kids is NOT better survival,” the Trump-supporting actress said before warning that society is on the path to accepting pedophilia.

“People are becoming so ‘open minded’ that down the road they will support pediphilia [sic] as people ‘just loving children’ You think I’m kidding. I’m not. It’s the direction this insanity is headed. You can ‘ok boomer’ me all you want but this is where we will veer unless we change,” Alley cautioned.

The Look Who’s Talking Now star faced some backlash on Twitter and publicly responded to some of her critics.

“My generation had zero public sex talk and zero sex education. In ‘health’ class we did learn about ‘periods’.. sort of. But I can honestly say sex came fairly naturally when the occasion arose,” she continued, later adding, “I love the way the twisty twists twist my fears about CHILDREN’s futures into I’m against ADULTS having their choice of partners. Funny how all roads lead to that. I could care less who adults love or sleep with. My topic today was children being exposed to dark things.”

Alley’s warning comes as major TV networks ramp up their display of what the left has dubbed “social justice” issues but what ends up — in many cases — being drag queens and the outright promotion of the LGBTQ agenda.

Last year, Cartoon Network, available to some 85 million U.S. households, promoted radical gender ideology in a social media post, telling children there are “many genders beyond ‘girl’ or ‘boy.’”

Nickelodeon has followed suit and even had Blue’s Clues teaming up with drag queen Nina West in a video celebrating pride month, featuring “cartoon version of the drag queen singing about all types of family arrangements, including transgender, gay, and supposed ‘non-binary’ parents and children,” as Breitbart News detailed.

Watch below: 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/d4vHegf3WPU?feature=oembedhttps://youtu.be/d4vHegf3WPU

That has not been the only recent case, either.

Watch below: 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xprabkl1LD4?feature=oembedhttps://youtu.be/d4vHegf3WPU

Over the past few years, Nickelodeon (owned by ViacomCBS) has repeatedly attempted to propagandize and sexualize its mostly prepubescent audience by sneaking adult sexuality into content aimed directly at children.

Homosexuality in Blues Clues & You. Transsexuals and bisexuals in popular shows such as SpongeBob SquarePantsThe Adventures of Korra, and Henry Danger. And more and more and more and more, not to mention its embrace of adult politics.

Alley is no stranger to triggering her critics, openly mocking the updated guidelines prioritizing diversity standards issued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year.

“This is a disgrace to artists everywhere…can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his fucking paintings,” Alley wrote at the time. “You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL”

Alley announced her full support of former President Trump in October last year after supporting him in 2016 and later went on to criticize the corporate media for fearmongering with its Chinese coronavirus coverage.

“They are broadcasting terror because it’s a deflection,” she told Tucker Carlson at the time. “When the thing came out with Biden, and is he in cahoots with China? Is he in cahoots with Ukraine? OK, let’s find out, I would say.”

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2021/07/03/actress-kirstie-alley-warns-hollywood-is-putting-society-on-a-path-to-accept-pedophilia-protect-your-children/

CNN lost 67% of its total viewers since January, when Donald Trump left the White House.

Ratings from Neilsen Media Research reported Tuesday indicated that CNN lost 67% of its total viewers since January, when Donald Trump left the White House.

During the primetime hours of 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (EST), CNN lost around 65% of its total viewers since January. In the critical 25-54 age demographic, the network lost 71% of its viewers for both the day and primetime.

CNN’s drop in viewers is larger than its competitors, but all major cable news shows have experienced a drop. MSNBC had the second-largest drop in viewership since January, losing 49% of its total viewership between January and May. In the 25-54 age demographic, the network lost 63% of its viewers. During primetime hours, MSNBC lost 42% of its total viewers and 58% of viewers between the ages of 25 and 54.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1397261975722151936&lang=en&origin=file%3A%2F%2F%2Fprivate%2Fvar%2Fcontainers%2FBundle%2FApplication%2F99790A9E-B60F-4B72-83F7-272DD12A5D11%2FDailyCaller.app%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

Fox News had the least substantial drop out of all networks, losing 12% of its total viewers and 15% of viewers between the ages of 25-54 between January and May. (RELATED: CNN Condemns ‘Abhorrent’ Pro-Hitler Tweets From Freelance Contributor, Says He Will Not Work With Company In ‘Any Capacity’ Again)

CNN’s New Day has taken a major hitin ratings. The show had its least-watched week of the year so far with 461,000 total viewers and 108,000 viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, and it has averaged less than 500,000 viewers for the past four consecutive weeks.

Fox News reached its 14th consecutive week at the number one spot for cable news viewers, with 2.1 million viewers during primetime and an average of 1.2 million viewers for the day.