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Today’s News: May 13, 2020

World News

As US Feuds With China, Canada Partners on Vaccine

Newsmax – Canada is actually partnering with a Chinese firm to test one of the vaccines in development, while the United States is feuding with China over that country’s responsibility for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic on the world.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

TX AG TELLS LARGEST COUNTIES THEY’RE “EXCEEDING LAWFUL AUTHORITY”

Infowars – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties and to the mayors of San Antonio and Austin on Tuesday, warning their “local public health orders that exceed the county’s and city’s lawful authority and that are likely to confuse residents.”

The letter to Austin and Travis County added, “We hope you will act quickly to correct mistakes like these to avoid further confusion and litigation challenging the county’s and city’s unconstitutional restrictions.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt are accused of violating Texans’ religious liberties, restricting essential services, and encouraging an “Orwellian” contact-tracing program.

KXAN reports Attorney General Paxton is concerned about the following issues:

Places of Worship: The letter states the local order attempts to restrict essential services, including those provided by houses of worship

Contact-tracing: The letter alleges the city’s order encourages restaurants to keep track of customers that dine-in the restaurant. The letter acknowledges that the order only recommends keeping a tally of names, but it “forces restaurants into submission by threatening to release the names of the restaurants that don’t comply.” The letter goes on calling the city’s order “Orwellian” and “raises privacy concerns.”

Masks: The letter states neither the County nor the city can impose civil or criminal penalties for not wearing a mask in public.

Shelter-in-Place: The letter alleges Gov. Abbott’s executive order does not include a mandatory shelter-in-place, but the city/county order does. The state’s order only requires Texans to minimize social gatherings and in-person contact outside of the same household.

Criminal Offenses: The letter states the local health order attempts to impose a criminal penalty for violations. Gov. Abbott modified the state’s order on May 7 eliminating the penalty of confinement for violating state/local orders.

A similar letter sent to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins echoes the letter sent to Travis county regarding places of worship, masks and shelter-in-place laws.

Paxton’s letter to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg again warned: “local public health orders that exceed the county’s and city’s lawful authority.”

In addition to the previously listed issues, Paxton stated Bexar county’s order contradicts the governor’s order by imposing criminal penalties for violations.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he doesn’t believe his order goes against Governor Abbott’s, claiming, “Up to this point, we have avoided the naked politicization of the virus crisis. I will not follow the AG down that road. The City’s Order complements, incorporates, and does not conflict with the Governor’s Order. We will continue working to keep our community safe to the fullest extent allowed by law.”

$138 MILLION GOVERNMENT CONTRACT WILL FUND PRODUCTION OF 500 MILLION PRE-FILLED COVID-19 VACCINE “INJECTION DEVICES”

Michael Snyder – Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any stranger, two U.S. government agencies have taken things to an entirely new level. 

The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have just put out a press release that is absolutely jaw dropping, but so far hardly anyone is talking about it.

According to the press release, a 138 million dollar contract has been awarded to ApiJect Systems America for two projects known as “Project Jumpstart” and “RAPID USA”.

Apparently the goal of these projects is to have vast numbers of “injection devices” ready to go once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.  The following comes directly from the official website of the Department of Defense

“Today the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announce a $138 million contract with ApiJect Systems America for “Project Jumpstart” and “RAPID USA,” which together will dramatically expand U.S. production capability for domestically manufactured, medical-grade injection devicesstarting by October 2020.

Spearheaded by the DOD’s Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), in coordination with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the contract will support “Jumpstart” to create a U.S.-based, high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes beginning later this year by using well-established Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) aseptic plastics manufacturing technology, suitable for combatting COVID-19 when a safe and proven vaccine becomes available.

Today, there are about 328 million people living in the United States.  But the press release states that the plan is to produce “over 500 million prefilled syringes” in 2021

The contract also enables ApiJect Systems America to accelerate the launch of RAPID USA manufactured in new and permanent U.S.-based BFS facilities with the ultimate production goal of over 500 million prefilled syringes(doses) in 2021. This effort will be executed initially in Connecticut, South Carolina and Illinois, with potential expansion to other U.S.-based locations. RAPID will provide increased lifesaving capability against future national health emergencies that require population-scale vaccine administration on an urgent basis.

So that would be enough “injection devices” to vaccinate every man, woman and child in the entire country one and a half times.

Wow.

Right now, researchers all over the globe are racing toward the development of a vaccine, but as I have discussed previously, that is not going to be an easy task.

And on Tuesday Dr. Anthony Fauci openly admitted to a U.S. Senate committee that there is no guarantee that a vaccine “is actually going to be effective”

In addition, because there are multiple strains of COVID-19 already running around out there, one vaccine may not be able to cover them all.  So this could create a need for “multiple vaccines”, and this is something that NIH Director Francis Collins has openly acknowledged

CORONAVIRUS “MISINFORMATION” EVENT CANCELLED AFTER CRITICS POINT OUT IT WAS SPONSORED BY HUAWEI

Infowars – An event organised by the National Association of Black Journalists on coronavirus ‘misinformation’ was cancelled after it was pointed out that the biggest sponsor was the Chinese technology company Huawei, which has extensive ties to the communist Chinese government.

The ‘webinar’ event, titled “The Rise of Misinformation”, was scheduled to feature such virus expert luminaries as CNN commentator Van Jones and pop star will.i.am, but was scrapped by NABJ, with the organisation saying it had “become a distraction from other priorities.”

NABJ claimed that Huawei had no ‘editorial control’ over the event, but outsiders had charged that having the company as a sponsor was a bizarrely poor decision.

“Isn’t Huawei under close watch from the Department of Justice for conducting domestic surveillance, stealing trade secrets, and providing misstatements to the FBI?” the Spectator noted.

“And isn’t Huawei working alongside the Chinese government in Xinjiang to persecute the Uighur minority group?” the report continued, pointing out that the cancelled event was aimed at specifically highlighting the  effect of coronavirus on minority groups.

After it was cancelled, CNN’s Van Jones quickly claimed that he had been planning to back out of the event regardless:.

BUSTED: Contact Tracing Data May Be Sent To WHO And Law Enforcement, Used To Quarantine People

National File – Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) policy confirms that “Contact Tracing” data may be sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) and to law enforcement authorities “to place someone under quarantine or isolation.” The Contact Tracing records, stored at the CDC and elsewhere, can also be sent to the Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, congressional offices, and to various medical and legal departments and contractors. Democrats are currently seeking $100 billion in a bill that would authorize grants to conduct contact tracing at people’s homes. Meanwhile, Americans are fearing the political implications of contact tracing, considering that Chelsea Clinton is on the board of trustees of one official contact tracing group that has accepted large sums of money from Bill Gates and George Soros organizations.

HHS records show a System of Records Notice (SORN 09-20-0171) in the Federal Register marking the creation of the record system called “Quarantine- and Traveler-Related Activities, Including Records for Contact Tracing Investigation and Notification…” The records pertain to “Individuals subject to quarantine or isolation orders, ill travelers (i.e., passengers and crew), contacts of ill travelers, and/or individuals exposed or suspected of being exposed to serious communicable diseases.” The records include: “Passenger and crew manifests from conveyances carrying individuals subject to 42 CFR parts 70 and 71, case reports, illness response forms, medical assessments, medical records (including but not limited to clinical, hospital and laboratory data and data from other relevant tests), name, address, date of birth, and related information and documents collected for the purpose of carrying out agency responsibilities under sections 311 and 361-368 of the Public Health Services Act.” The records are being stored at: “Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for the Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Disease (NCPDCID), Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, NE., Building 16; MS E03, Atlanta, GA 30333. Records may occasionally be stored at Quarantine Stations located at key ports of entry and at contractor sites.”

Washington State Decides to Require Phone Numbers to Get Into Restaurants—a Plan Oregon Abandoned

Civil liberties lawyers question the constitutionality of requiring businesses to track this information.

Willamette Week – If restaurants in Washington state want to reopen, they will need to take down the contact information, such as name, phone number and time of visit, of diners who walk through their doors, The New York Times reported Monday.

That way, if there is an outbreak, officials can more effectively trace who came in contact with an infected person.

This sets Washington apart from Oregon, where last week Gov. Kate Brown’s office revised the draft of a reopening plan to remove the requirement that businesses keep a log of customers for contact tracing purposes. When the governor’s office released final guidance for restaurants May 8, it did not include a requirement for restaurants to collect such information.

As WW previously reported, some civil liberties lawyers questioned the constitutionality of the state requiring businesses to keep such logs. However, the lawyers pointed out, it is probably perfectly legal for businesses to require customers to provide this information, since they may leave a place of business if they so choose.

In theory, says Andrew Schpak, an employment litigation lawyer in Portland, this form of data collection would give the government a list of all the places a person has visited.

“It’s similar to ideas of gun background checks: Why does the government have the right to know who I am or where I was?” Schpak says. “Let’s think of the worst-case scenario: Are people going to be excited to write their names on a porn log or a weed dispensary [log]?”

Gorsuch’s pivotal vote could favor Oklahoma tribe in controversial Native American rape case

Fox – Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will likely be the deciding vote in a high-profile rape case that hinges on whether or not a portion of Oklahoma falls under state jurisdiction or that of the Indian reservation.

Jimcy McGirt, 71, has served almost 23 years of his 500-year prison sentence for raping, molesting and sodomizing a 4-year-old girl in 1996. McGrit is appealing the decision, arguing that the crime was committed on Muscogee (Creek) Nation territory, which he says is an Indian reservation and not a part of Oklahoma, which became a state in 1907.

If true, a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma — including Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city — remains an American Indian reservation, a question the Supreme Court failed to resolve a year ago. In addition, McGrit’s case would then be tried by a federal court, which can sometimes be advantageous to the defendant.

The state argues that the territory was never technically a reservation to begin with, and if it ever were, Congress has since stripped it of its status as such.

Last year, eight justices on the Supreme Court heard arguments about the same jurisdiction issue in a different case involving a convicted murderer, but the decision was split 4-4 and the justices shelved the issue until a full court could decide on the matter.

Gorsuch didn’t participate in the earlier case because he took part in it when he served on the appeals court in Denver before becoming a justice in 2017.

Meet the faithless electors: How a call between a tech worker and a Jamba Juice employee turned into a Supreme Court case

Fox – The 2020 presidential election may be well underway and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election long over, but the Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a case that is part of the continuing fallout from that contentious race and has the potential to affect the outcome of future presidential elections.

The cases, centered around “faithless electors,” will decide a question that has never before been tested in the Supreme Court: Can states exercise control over members of the Electoral College even after they have been selected and seated? There are many state laws that purport to do just that, but this is the first time any of them have actually been used after electors failed to vote the way they pledged.

UPDATE: Health Dept. Shuts Colorado Restaurant That Opened Dining Room

CBS – A Castle Rock restaurant that defied the state’s public health order and opened on Mother’s Day has been shut down — for at least 30 days — by the health department. C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen on Trail Boss Drive let dozens of patrons dine inside on Sunday — despite the coronavirus outbreak. Video of the packed dining room went viral.

South Dakota Gov. threatens legal action on checkpoints

Reuters – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Monday threatened to take legal action against two Native American tribes who have set up vehicle checkpoints in an attempt to contain the coronavirus that has impacted other Native American reservations.

The Republican said during a news conference that she will seek legal clarity in a lawsuit against the nine checkpoints set up by the Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes that she claims have restricted the travel of essential services.

“I certainly understand the spirit behind (the checkpoints),” the first-term governor said. “It’s a priority that we make sure that if somebody needs an ambulance on a reservation, one could get to them. I am not sure of that today.”

Noem, a Republican, was among the few U.S. governors who did not issue stay-at-home orders.

It is unclear where or when a lawsuit will be filed. A spokesman with the state attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment.

On Friday, Noem gave the tribes 48 hours to remove the checkpoints.

Americans renouncing citizenship at highest levels on record.

Newswire – Americans are renouncing their citizenship at the highest levels on record, according to research by the Enrolled Agents and accountants Bambridge Accountants New York.

  •     2,909 Americans gave up their citizenship in the first 3 months of 2020 
  •     Showing a 1,015% increase on the prior 3 months to December 2019 where only 261 cases were recorded
  •     2,072 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2019 in total
  •     This is the highest quarter on record, the previous record was 2,365 cases for the fourth quarter of 2016
  •       It seems that the pandemic has motivated U.S. expats to cut ties and avoid the onerous tax reporting

Americans must pay a $2,350 government fee to renounce their citizenship, and those based overseas must do so in person at the U.S. Embassy in their country. 

There are an estimated 9 million U.S. expats. The trend has been that there has been a steep decline over the last few years for U.S. citizens expatriating – the first 3 months of 2020 is a huge increase in the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship.

Under the IRS rules (section 6039g), every three months the U.S. Government publishes the names of all Americans who give up their citizenship. The first 3 months for 2020 had 2,909 Americans renouncing their citizenship, far more than the total of the four quarters for 2019 (2,072 Americans renounced).

Economy & Business

Congress Weighs Bailout for Local Newspapers, Broadcasters

WSJ – Congress is looking to help struggling local newspapers, TV and radio stations qualify for federal coronavirus aid, according to people familiar with the matter.

The coming coronavirus legislation expected to be introduced in the House as soon as this week will include a provision to expand newspapers’ and broadcasters’ eligibility for forgivable small business loans, the people said.

Trump calls on California to let Elon Musk reopen Tesla plant

Fox – President Trump on Tuesday gave his backing to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, calling on California to allow Musk to reopen his plant in the northern part of the state despite concerns over safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!” Trump tweeted.

Musk said Monday he was opening the Fremont, Calif. facility, in breach of county stay-at-home rules.

Musk tweeted, “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

He also wrote: “California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!”

The move comes amid growing pushback and frustration to lingering stay-at-home orders that have devastated businesses and sent the economy into freefall — a frustration that Trump has often shared and sympathized with.

Bd

Fox – Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Tuesday that he was “aware” at the time of the investigation started by Obama administration officials into Michael Flynn.

During an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Biden was pressed by George Stephanopoulos over what he knew about the Obama administration’s moves to investigate Flynn, and whether there was anything improper done.

“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden initially said, calling the topic a “diversion” from the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephanopoulos, though, pressed Biden again, questioning whether he attended an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 5, 2017—during the presidential transition period—where Flynn apparently was discussed.

Mega Church Pastor Says Churches Will Hold In-Person Services Sunday, Urges Others to Join

Breitbart – Mega church Pastor Brian Gibson of HIS Church announced on Monday that his churches in Texas and Kentucky will hold in-person services on Sunday, May 17, and is calling on congregations nationwide to join him.

Gibson recently launched “Peaceably Gather,” encouraging church leaders to sign a petition and stand in solidarity to resume in-person church services. The petition notes that the Constitution “guarantees freedom of religion and the right to assemble peacefully” and encourages congregations across the country to pledge to “exercise these sacred rights on Sunday, May 17th for Peaceably Gather Sunday.”

McConnell Pronounces Dem $3 Trillion Stim Bill ‘Dead on Arrival’

PJ Media – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate caucus took House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion extravaganza of waste and delusion and declared the package “dead on arrival.”

In truth, it was dead before it was born. Donald Trump doesn’t want another massive bailout bill and Mitch McConnell isn’t keen on the idea either. So, with an eye on November — and as a sop to their rabid, radical constituencies — House Democrats loaded up a “stimulus” bill with every left-wing fantasy, desire, wet dream, and “transformation” of the U.S. they could muster and threw it against a wall to see what would stick.

It didn’t work.

Science & Technology

Astronauts Could Live in Lava Tubes on Mars

Popular Mechanics – Scientists have long wondered how we might live in other atmospheres. On Mars, at least, the answer could be a network of large underground tunnels from millennia of high-intensity volcanism. These lava tubes, as they’re known, remain after fast-flowing lava burns through the ground on Mars. On Earth, they would be much smaller or crushed by gravity.

How can you tell if the lava tubes of Mars can protect astronauts? That’s complicated. Astrophysicist and combat veteran Antonio Paris has led this research from inception until publication and followup. He’s previously made the news as a U.S. Army intelligence officer and ufologist, and his paper on lava tubes recently appeared in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Paris and his team have gone through several interdisciplinary phases in identifying lava tubes and assessing them for habitability. First, he chose a specific place on Mars, Hellas Planitia, a name that means “Greek plain.” This part of Mars experiences less cosmic and solar radiation than much of the rest of the planet’s surface, and Paris says that sheltering astronauts in the deep lava tubes could reduce their exposure even more—into a key zone of survivability. By choosing the least radiated physical feature and the least radiated location, Paris has magnified the radiation-dampening effect of both.

But how do you measure the levels of radiation in and out of the Mars tubes? Well, that’s where Earth’s lava tubes come in.

“To complement this investigation, moreover, 30 in-situ radiation monitoring experiments have been conducted at analog lava tubes located at Mojave, CA, El Malpais, NM, and Flagstaff, AZ,” Paris explains in his paper. By measuring the outside and “inside” (the lava tubes) radiation levels in these locations, Paris has developed an overall sense of how much the lava tube structure reduces exposure to that radiation. From there, translating to Mars involves some fairly straightforward cross-multiplying.

Health

Our ability to focus may falter after eating one meal high in saturated fat

Eurekalert – Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate – not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they’re working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study compared how 51 women performed on a test of their attention after they ate either a meal high in saturated fat or the same meal made with sunflower oil, which is high in unsaturated fat.

Their performance on the test was worse after eating the high-saturated-fat meal than after they ate the meal containing a healthier fat, signaling a link between that fatty food and the brain.

Researchers were also looking at whether a condition called leaky gut, which allows intestinal bacteria to enter the bloodstream, had any effect on concentration. Participants with leakier guts performed worse on the attention assessment no matter which meal they had eaten.

The loss of focus after a single meal was eye-opening for the researchers.

“Most prior work looking at the causative effect of the diet has looked over a period of time. And this was just one meal – it’s pretty remarkable that we saw a difference,” said Annelise Madison, lead author of the study and a graduate student in clinical psychology at The Ohio State University.

Madison also noted that the meal made with sunflower oil, while low in saturated fat, still contained a lot of dietary fat.

“Because both meals were high-fat and potentially problematic, the high-saturated-fat meal’s cognitive effect could be even greater if it were compared to a lower-fat meal,” she said.

Garlic: Worth the bad breath

NaturalNews – Garlic comes from Central Asia and northeastern Iran. However, it is a seasoning that is used all over the world. This spice is a relative to onion, leek, chives, and shallots. It is readily used for cooking and sautéing. The perks of garlic are many, and the health benefits have made many people fans.

  1. The most popular benefit of garlic is its ability to boost the immune system with its powerful ability to fight infection. Garlic contains antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. Garlic in raw form, can be rubbed on skin conditions that are fungi, virus, or bacterial related. One of the components called, ajoene, can help fight yeast infections.
  2. Garlic can also boost immunity. This spice is absolutely loaded with vitamin C. It also contains a high amount of potassium which means it helps with the absorption of other nutrients. The smell clears up lunge and throat problems.
  3. It helps fight off fatigue.
  4. It helps with digestive problems.
  5. Garlic is a major fighter against cancer. Studies have linked garlic consumption to a decreased risk for breast, stomach, colon, esophagus, and pancreatic cancer.
  6. Garlic is an anti-inflammatory. This spice contains diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone which have anti-arthritic properties.
  7. Garlic blocks the growing progress of fat cells which can help ward off obesity because of its sulfur containing compounds.
  8. Garlic can help cleanse the body of toxins. It activates the liver enzymes to get rid of waist.
  9. It helps with earaches when warmed up and dropped into the ear.
  10. It is a mosquito repellant.
  11. It can help get rid of warts.
  12. When boiled and drank as a tea, it can help get rid of a cough.
  13. Cooked garlic can lower cholesterol.
  14. Cooked garlic can lower blood pressure.

Garlic is quite the super food and incredibly great for our health. It might make your breathe stink, but the benefits far exceed a little aftertaste. The trick is to have a little parsley after, which actually negates the smell of garlic. Beyond using it in so many different recipes, not just traditional spaghetti, garlic is something we all can have a little more of. Garlic comes in fresh form, powdered, crushed, you name it. A little garlic a day can really help keep poor health away and is an incredible home remedy that is easy, convenient, and even tasty.