Friday, July 29, 2022

How the CDC Coordinated With Big Tech To Censor Americans

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coordinated with social media companies and Google to censor users who expressed skepticism or criticism of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a trove of internal communications obtained by America First Legal and shared exclusively with the Washington Free Beacon.

Over the course of at least six months, starting in December 2020, CDC officials regularly communicated with personnel at Twitter, Facebook, and Google over "vaccine misinformation." At various times, CDC officials would flag specific posts by users on social media platforms such as Twitter as "example posts."

In one email to a CDC staffer, a Twitter employee said he is "looking forward to setting up regular chats" with the agency. Other emails show the scheduling of meetings with the CDC over how to best police alleged misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Although many of the posts flagged by the CDC contained false information about the COVID-19 vaccines, the efforts to police misinformation also resulted in mistaken acts of censorship. An April 2021 email from a CDC staffer to Facebook states that the "algorithms that Facebook and other social media networks are apparently using to screen out posting by sources of vaccine misinformation are also apparently screening out valid public health messaging, including [Wyoming] Health communications."

The communications reveal a high level of coordination between the government and tech industry during the pandemic and raise questions about the extent to which other private companies are working with the federal government to censor the public. The Biden administration has faced criticism for engaging in what some have called "Orwellian" practices, such as the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security Disinformation Governance Board. The Free Beacon reported that the now-shuttered disinformation board arranged a meeting with a Twitter executive who blocked users from sharing stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The CDC’s effort to police alleged disinformation expanded to other federal agencies as well. An internal March 2021 email from a senior CDC staffer states "we are working on [sic] project with Census to leverage their infrastructure to identify and monitor social media for vaccine misinformation."

One email shows a senior CDC official appeared at Google's 2020 "Trusted Media Summit." The conference, according to its website, was "for journalists, fact-checkers, educators, researchers and others who work in the area of fact-checking, verification, media literacy, and otherwise fighting misinformation."

One of the organizers of the conference asked the senior CDC official for permission to post her remarks on YouTube. That official declined, saying she was not authorized to speak publicly.

In the same email chain with a senior CDC official, a Google staffer offers to promote an initiative from the World Health Organization about "addressing the COVID-19 infodemic and strengthen community resilience against misinformation." That same Google staffer offers to introduce the CDC official to a Google colleague who is "working on programs to counter immunization misinfo."

Facebook also awarded the CDC with $15 million in ad credits for the company’s platforms in April 2021, according to several emails.

"This gift will be used by CDC's COVID-19 response to support the agency's messages on Facebook, and extend the reach of COVID-19-related Facebook content, including messages on vaccines, social distancing, travel, and other priority communication messages," an internal CDC memo reads.

A Facebook official says the platform has been transparent about its work with public health organizations "to address health misinformation." The platform also says it has asked its internal oversight board to assess whether its "current COVID-19 misinformation policy is still appropriate now that the pandemic has evolved."

Tensions between the CDC’s powers and protecting the public’s civil liberties have arisen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci called a judge overruling the CDC’s mask mandate "disturbing."

Concerns about the CDC’s judgment has also led the Democratic-controlled cities of New York and San Francisco to ignore the agency’s guidance on monkeypox vaccinations.


Smoking Linked to ‘Severe’ COVID-19 Complications

Individuals who reported smoking or vaping tobacco prior to COVID-19 hospitalization had a far likely higher chance of suffering severe complications as compared with nonsmokers, a recent study has found.

Researchers, who published their peer-reviewed findings in PLOS One, said they examined data on adults aged 18 and older who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in 107 hospitals across the United States from January 2020 to March 2021. Those who were identified as smokers reported their status to the hospital, and people were categorized as smokers if they smoked cigarettes or vaped with e-cigarettes.

Records were found for 4,086 people who smoked and for 1,362 people who didn’t smoke, researchers said. They noted that there was no information about the duration of smoking or former smoking status.

“The study findings indicate smoking or vaping are associated with more severe COVID-19 independent of age, sex, race or medical history,” said a news release on a study published on Tuesday.

Smokers were 45 percent more likely to die of COVID-19 and 39 percent more likely to be placed on a mechanical ventilator than those who didn’t smoke, according to the study.

“Although the excessive risk due to smoking was independent of medical history and medication use,” the news release said, “smoking was a stronger risk factor for death in people between 18-59 years of age and those who were white or had obesity.”

Furthermore, smoking was associated with a greater risk factor for death in individuals aged 18 to 59 and among those who were white or obese, the study found.

“In general, people who smoke or vape tend to have a higher prevalence of other health conditions and risk factors that could play a role in how they are impacted by COVID-19,” said the study’s senior author, Aruni Bhatnagar with the University of Louisville.


Democrats Want You To Suffer

Our friends at CNS News have another must-read article on a recent House hearing featuring the insufferable Pete Buttigieg, Biden's Secretary of Transportation.

As Craig Bannister reported, Buttigieg testified that one of the "benefits" of high gas prices was to drive Americans to buy electric cars, “The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles,” Transportation Secretary testified at a House hearing on Tuesday.

As MRCTV notes, indifference to the hardship that higher prices inflict on average Americans is nothing new to Biden’s administration:

“Pete Buttigieg, the brilliant mastermind who brought us the gas tax and the notion that everyone who can’t afford gas should just buy a $60,000 electric car, is the latest in the Biden administration to brush off the crippling prices Americans are paying at the pump, saying that the more pain we all feel while fueling up our cars, the more ‘benefit’ all those Prius owners will have.

“When he isn’t taking months off to recover from his surrogate baby-mama's childbirth, Buttigieg is offering up nuggets of wisdom like this one, blurted Tuesday during a congressional hearing on high gas prices.”

Senator Ted Cruz was quick to tweet a response, saying "The cruelty is the point."

Jesse Kelly, host of the Jesse Kelly Show put it this way in a tweet from his must-follow Twitter feed:

They’re not going to solve the problems because in their minds, they aren’t problems. To them, the only problem is you. Your love of freedom. Your car. Your food. Your different political beliefs.

All our leaders think the problem is YOU.

However, the Democrats’ glee in the suffering of non-Tesla driving Americans is about to come back to bite them on Election Day.

NBC News reports, from moms in Pennsylvania to Black voters in Georgia, key groups of voters crucial to Democratic victories in 2020 are getting hit the hardest by record levels of inflation.

Inflation has been cited as a top concern by voters across the board, but economists and pollsters say it isn’t affecting all Americans in the same way. Those with lower incomes, Blacks and Hispanics, and those under 40, are being hit particularly hard given they tend to spend a greater share of their income on food, fuel and housing — areas that have seen some of the biggest price increases over the past year, surveys and polls show.

For Democrats, those demographic groups are the ones they need the most to turn out in November to hang on to power in Washington, or if nothing else, stem their losses. In 2020, it was Black voters in areas like Atlanta, white working class voters in Pennsylvania and young voters in college towns in Michigan and Wisconsin that helped tip crucial swing states in President Joe Biden’s favor.

Yet much of that coalition falls into the categories economists and pollsters say are getting hit the hardest.

In an NBC News poll in May, 79% of people who described themselves as poor or working class said they were falling behind financially, while 60% of those who described themselves as middle class and 46% of higher income earners said they were struggling to keep up financially.

Another group especially concerned with inflation were voters with children and those younger than 50. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, 49% listed cost of living as a top concern compared with 21% of seniors.

“What’s been the through-line is economic concerns, and the Democrats have tried to address these concerns, but what voters are saying is that so far it isn’t good enough,” said Jeff Horwitt, a Democratic pollster with Hart Research who worked on the NBC poll. “Particularly for voters that are critical to Democrats doing well in November — younger voters, African Americans, Hispanics — these are voters who are feeling more pain than other voters, and they’re looking for real solutions.”

Horwitt said that in one recent survey of union members, 20% said they drive more than 100 miles roundtrip to work, making them especially susceptible to the impact of high gas prices… and we might add, unlikely to buy a Tesla or other electric vehicle with a limited range and problematic refueling requirements.

We think Ted Cruz had it right when he tweeted "The cruelty is the point," because cruelty has always been the first choice of totalitarians when they are faced with a people management problem. Stalin chose to starve the Kulaks in Ukraine and Mao chose to starve millions during the Great Leap Forward, rather than admit they were wrong. From the same perspective, even if it is their blue collar supporters who are getting hit the hardest, it is much better for Biden and Buttigieg to bankrupt America’s working families than to admit they are wrong and get American energy flowing, American agricultural products to market and inflation under control.




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