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Australian National Review – As Public Trust Wanes, FDA Pledges To ‘Save Lives’ By Policing Online Content




As Public Trust Wanes, FDA Pledges to ‘Save Lives’ by Policing Online Content

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf has made combating “misinformation” a top priority for the agency, arguing it is a “leading cause of death” — though he admitted he can’t back up that claim with facts.

Since U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf began his second tenure as the agency’s head in February 2022, he has made combating “misinformation” one of his top priorities, arguing it is “a leading cause of preventable death in America now” — though “this cannot be proved,” he said.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press (AP), Califf, who also headed the FDA between 2016 and 2017, reiterated his pledge to “save lives” by policing online content.

One year into his second tenure as FDA commissioner — and despite waning public trust in the FDA — Califf has launched several FDA initiatives aimed “‘helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health’ in the face of a tsunami of confusing and misleading information.”

‘Easier’ to inform public when there were fewer communication channels

In his AP interview, Califf said increasing “distortions and half-truths” about vaccines and other medical treatments are “a leading cause of death in America.”

“Almost no one should be dying of COVID in the U.S. today,” he said, adding that people who deny themselves the vaccines “are dying because they’re misinformed.”

Combating “misinformation” is one of Califf’s priorities, along with “restructuring the agency’s food safety program and more aggressively deploying FDA scientists to explain vaccine decisions in the media.”

When he took the helm last year, Califf called for the FDA to be more proactive in “countering misinformation.” Upon being sworn in last year, he said:

“These kinds of distortions and half-truths that find their way into the public domain do enormous harm, both by leading people to behavior that is detrimental to their health and by causing them to eschew interventions that would improve their health.

“A purely reactive mode is not appropriate, particularly in this new era of social media.”

Califf said, at the time, that he expected to take about a year to develop a strategy to combat medical “misinformation,” in a process that would involve public meetings.

Six months into his term, on Aug. 5, 2022, Califf tweeted:

“The distortions and half-truths of misinformation and disinformation pose enormous dangers to the effectiveness of science and to public health itself, through the negative impact it has on individual behavior.

“That’s why I’ve made combating misinformation one of my priorities. Providing factual info is the key to helping people make the best informed decisions about their health.”

According to Pharma Intelligence, Califf’s interest in targeting so-called “misinformation,” particularly on social media platforms, stems from his previous job at Verily, a life sciences company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Califf has frequently panned the proliferation of communication channels and platforms for this alleged rise in “misinformation.”

Speaking at the TCT 2022 (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics) conference, Califf said the FDA in the past would make decisions and then employ a system it had in place to directly communicate those decisions to hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, insurers and others.

Now, FDA announcements are often met with “faux outrage and lies,” according to Califf, making it difficult for the “average patient to separate the truth from the lies.”

During an Aug. 3, 2022 conversation with the editor of Health Affairs, Califf said, “vaccines are basically working,” but nevertheless, millions of people are refusing them, leading him to admit that the FDA is “actually losing the battle on misinformation.”

Califf reiterated this sentiment in his interview with the AP. “We’re now in a 24/7 sea of information without a user guide for people out there in society,” he said. “So this requires us to change the way we communicate.”

Califf has made similar statements over the past 12 months.

Earlier this year, at the 2023 Innovations in Regulatory Science Summit, Califf said, “I actually believe that misinformation is the leading cause of death right now in the U.S. … We were just not prepared for what broad access to the Internet would do to communication channels.”

In an Aug. 22, 2022, article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Califf wrote that “the global information environment has been contaminated by misinformation and disinformation.” He added:

“The FDA must be more proactive in preempting and countering misinformation [there is a need for] collaboration across sectors to create an information environment in which decisions [by] consumers, patients, and clinicians are more likely to be informed by reliable information based on high-quality evidence from trustworthy sources.”

Speaking to CNN on May 8, 2022, Califf said though “almost no one” in the U.S. should be dying from COVID-19, misinformation was affecting the COVID-19 death toll. However, he conceded that there is “no way to quantify” this statement, although he claimed an “erosion of life expectancy” is an indicator lending credence to his claim.

Addressing the Health Journalism conference in April 2022, he again stated that misinformation “is now our leading cause of death,” citing examples such as the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

A statement by Califf on the FDA’s website also repeats these claims, stating “I strongly believe that misinformation is a leading cause of preventable death in America now,” again accompanied by the following qualifier: “While, of course, this cannot be proved, the situation with COVID-19 is instructive.”

Comparing alternative therapies for COVID-19 to “snake oil,” Califf went on to say in the same statement that “most of the COVID-19 deaths since vaccines and antivirals became available were preventable if people had gotten updated on their vaccination status and, if high risk and infected, had they been treated with an authorized antiviral.”

Also in the same statement, Califf said the FDA “will be working on a strategy to fulfill our stated mission of ‘helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health’ in the face of a tsunami of confusing and misleading information,” doing so in collaboration with the Reagan-Udall Foundation as part of a new project this year.

The Reagan-Udall Foundation “is an independent 501(c)(3) organization created by Congress ‘to advance the mission of the FDA to modernize medical, veterinary, food, food ingredient, and cosmetic product development, accelerate innovation, and enhance product safety.’”

In other statements made last year, Califf cited digital technologies as “the real crux” of the spread of supposed misinformation, stating “everyone has access, almost everyone has a cell phone, and the minute something is said by the FDA, for example, there’s an avalanche of conflicting, differing opinions.”

Referring to that era as “the good old days,” Califf bemoaned the loss of the previous “hierarchy of information transmission” where “the patients were at the end of that funnel.”

FDA takes to Twitter, Instagram, YouTube to craft its message

In his interview with the AP, Califf said he believes “the FDA’s word is still one of the most highly regarded pieces of information people want to see.”

According to PR Week, “That leaves the FDA with its current option: crafting the messaging itself. There is, however, a bit of a problem when the messaging is left in the FDA’s hands.”

PR Week in August 2022 quoted Jeffrey Blevins, Ph.D., a University of Cincinnati journalism professor, who said that, up until now, the FDA’s social media strategy has been ineffective.

“The reason why a lot of their previous approaches are ineffective is they approach the problem like a professor would: here’s information, here are facts, here’s straightforward stuff,” Blevins said. “People tend to respond to emotional content more so than anything on social media.”

According to the AP, the FDA’s answer to this is “Short YouTube videos, long Twitter threads and other online postings debunking medical misinformation, which the agency says includes bogus COVID-19 remedies like ivermectin, the “anti-parasite drug intended for farm animals.”

On April 26, 2022, for instance, the FDA tweeted, “Hold your horses y’all. Ivermectin may be trending, but it still isn’t authorized or approved to treat COVID-19.”

And on Instagram, the FDA created memes of Scooby-Doo and SpongeBob urging Americans to get boosted and ignore misinformation, the AP reported.

Califf told the AP that the FDA keeps track of “new misinformation trends online” and makes quick decisions as to when — or whether — to intervene.

PR Week cited a TikTok trend that went viral last year — the “NyQuil Chicken” challenge, which involved people cooking chicken breast in cough syrup — to claim that “there’s a clear pattern of health misinformation trending across social media platforms,” including “when hydroxychloroquine was promoted as a treatment for COVID-19.”

Blevins told PR Week the lack of social media regulation by government “undercuts agencies like the FDA to be able to reach out to TikTok and say, ‘Hey, this is problematic.’”

Nevertheless, according to Fierce Pharma, Califf has “fully embraced” Twitter and, despite it being taken over by Elon Musk — who pledged freedom of speech on the site — “is now imploring users to stay on the site.”

“The easy thing to do would be to abandon using Twitter, but that’s not the right thing for us to do at this time,” Califf said.

“More than ever before, it’s important that FDA continues to use Twitter for good and do everything in our power to protect the public from potential harm,” Califf said, adding he still “believe[s] in the power of social media being used for good.”

Does the public trust the FDA and its messaging efforts?

Leticia Bode, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, culture and technology at Georgetown University, told the AP the FDA is “moving in the right direction” on the issue of “misinformation.”

Bode cited the agency’s “Just a Minute” series of “fact-checking” videos featuring Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as an example.

However, Brendan Nyhan, Ph.D., professor of political science at Dartmouth College, told the AP, “FDA’s YouTube videos have a miniscule audience,” adding that those who are watching them “are not the people we typically think about when we think about misinformation.”

According to Pharma Intelligence, FDA officials, perhaps cognizant of this, have “joked about the possibility of having a regular TV segment to explain its activities,” although “Califf believes the networks would not want it.”

Other communication experts interviewed by the AP “also questioned whether [the FDA is] reaching enough people to have an impact — and whether separate FDA controversies are undercutting the agency’s credibility.”

“In the last two years the FDA has come under fire for its controversial approval of a questionable Alzheimer’s drug as well as its delayed response to a contaminated baby formula plant, which contributed to a national supply shortage,” the AP noted.

Perhaps illustrating the impact of this credibility crisis, a May 2021 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that positive ratings of the public health system in the U.S. dropped by nearly 10 points over the past decade.

And a 2022 study by The COVID States Project found that a third of respondents who “believe coronavirus vaccine misinformation” understand that they are “in disagreement with scientists and medical experts.”

Lawrence Gostin, J.D., LL.D., a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told the AP, “If you’re trying to counteract misinformation on social media your first job is to clarify, simplify and explain things in an understandable way to the lay public. I don’t think anyone could say that [the] FDA has done a good job with that.”

Gostin said the FDA’s reliance on experts to craft public health messages, which are then channeled through the media and “are often laden with scientific jargon,” results in “utter confusion” among the public.

“It’s not fair, but it doesn’t take too many negative stories to unravel the public’s trust,” Bode conceded.

But Califf stands by the power of the FDA’s word — and its seal of approval for medical products. In a statement on the FDA’s website, he wrote:

“If you turn on the television or social media, you readily see the power and value of the FDA’s approval or clearance — both advertisers and newscasters refer to ‘FDA approval’ as an important stamp of quality of a product.”

However, according to the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), several current and former FDA commissioners have said that “the agency needs partners in combatting public health misinformation, and industry, clinicians, patient advocates and academic leaders all have a role to play.”

Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., who served as FDA Commissioner 2002-2004, said that even though there are low levels of trust in public health agencies, people still do trust their own physicians, community leaders and those who are “close to their experience,” and that the FDA should utilize such individuals in its messaging.

In several recent statements, Califf also made this point. He told attendees at the TCT 2022 conference:

“The government can’t fix this problem. There is too much mistrust already. We need all of you to take this problem seriously, stay involved in your communities and make sure the truth is communicated to people in a way that they understand.”

According to RAPS, Califf has “called out the academic community for not doing more on the misinformation front and said some of their criticism of FDA and other public health agencies is having unintended consequences.”

Califf last year referred to academics as the “Twitterati,” saying this group includes “many of my friends,” who may disagree with 5% of what the FDA does, but “would only talk about the other 5%.”

On March 31, 2022, during the Stat Breakthrough Science Summit, Califf said:

“We also need to call out our friends in academic medical centers, universities, other places, who as far as I’m concerned are by and large asleep at the wheel right now.

“They need to be paying a lot of attention to what people who live in their areas are taking as the truth and focusing on getting the truth to those people.”

Speaking to the Association of Health Care Journalists, Califf also implored journalists to play a part, asking them to “avoid clickbait, lean into fact checking, make sure the headline matches the copy, and take other steps to responsibly convey news about Covid-19 and other pressing health concerns.”

“People are distracted and misled by the medical information Tower of Babel, but journalists like yourselves play an important role here and your work has a tremendous impact on public trust,” he added, while he told Fierce Pharma, “I encourage you to use your voices to bring that light to the surface to drown out the darkness. Be a part of the solution.”

And in his most recent AP interview, Califf said, “Anyone who thinks the government’s going to solve this problem alone is deluding themselves. We need a vast network of knowledgeable people who devote part of their day to combating misinformation.”

According to Blevins, this means the onus falls on public interest groups, NGOs, educators and parents.

FDA’s ‘Rumor Control’ initiative developed out of ‘Virality Project’

The FDA already has launched a number of initiatives to counter “misinformation” — most notably the “Rumor Control” initiative inaugurated on Aug. 5, 2022.

“Rumor Control” “debunks a long list of false claims about vaccines, such as that they contain pesticides,” according to the AP, which reported that a “Google search for ‘vaccines’ and ‘pesticides’ brings up the FDA’s response as a top result, because the search engine prioritizes credible websites.”

“The growing spread of rumors, misinformation and disinformation about science, medicine, and the FDA, is putting patients and consumers at risk,” according to the FDA’s Rumor Control webpage. “We’re here to provide the facts.”

The initiative asks the public to do “three easy things” to “stop rumors from spreading”: “don’t believe the rumors,” “don’t pass them along” and “get health information from trusted sources like the FDA and our government partners.”

However, according to Endpoints News, the FDA’s “Rumor Control” initiative “raised a few eyebrows as any government webpage attempting to control a storyline would.”

Endpoints noted that “messaging like, ‘Don’t believe the rumors,’ may even end up being counterintuitive and difficult for the general public to understand in context.”

“Rumor Control” appears to have been inspired by an initiative developed by the Virality Project, “a coalition of research entities” from six institutions “focused on supporting real-time information exchange between the research community, public health officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, and social media platforms.”

The Virality Project says its objective “is to detect, analyze, and respond to incidents of false and misleading narratives related to COVID-19 vaccines across online ecosystems, enabling civil society and health communicators to ultimately mitigate the impact of narratives which might otherwise undermine the public’s confidence in the safety of evidence-based policies in the United States.”

The project claims it provides “actionable situational awareness and response capabilities for public health officials and other partners on the front lines of providing accurate vaccine-related information to the public.”

The Virality Project described the “Rumor Control” webpage as “a centralized website offered by a trusted voice sharing facts and information in order to anticipate and respond to emerging narratives,” adding:

“This approach to debunking misinformation draws on literature suggesting that debunking messages coming from rumor control centers can help prevent rumor spread.

“Psychologists have concluded that messengers that are perceived as having high trustworthiness and expertise are most effective at debunking falsehoods, meaning a debunking approach that aggregates facts from trusted subject matter experts could be ideal.

“Additionally, in the vaccine context, a study suggests that trustworthy sources of information highlighting expert consensus around known vaccine-related facts and findings can increase general support for vaccines.”

“Strong partnerships with community-specific subject matter experts and liaisons are critical to this workflow. Partners can include state and local government offices, civil society members, NGOs, and individual organizers” who “will also be the core amplifiers of Rumor Control postings to each target audiences,” the Virality Project adds.

“Rumor Control” isn’t the only FDA anti-“misinformation” effort. In April 2022, during National Minority Health Month, the FDA’s parent agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), launched its “Give Your Community a Boost” initiative.

This effort aimed to increase “health promotion through combatting misinformation and building trust with diverse communities,” including creating “multi-media outreach materials to address vaccine confidence and support FDA efforts to combat COVID-19,” including translation of COVID-19 vaccine information into more than 20 languages.

HHS, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also recently launched a grant application process for the development of a “public health tool” to predict vaccine “misinformation trends.” The final grantee will be selected on March 7.

Califf also supported the establishment of a “better evidence-generation system” that will utilize “expert networks” to develop “reliable information” and fact-check, and the release of information related to complete FDA response letters, as another potential means of fighting purported “misinformation.”

According to the AP, Califf also supports the concept of “prebunking” by “introduc[ing] people to emerging information and explain[ing] why it’s false before they encounter it elsewhere.”

However, the AP said prebunking “presents challenges for large government agencies” which may not be nimble enough to quickly react to new trends.

The Virality Project developed a set of “pre-bunk strategies for public health communicators,” stating that according to “recent misinformation research on inoculation theory, pre-bunking misleading narratives before they reach a large audience potentially offers an important tool for public health communicators.”

Regarding vaccines, suggested strategies include explaining “how the vaccine works,” detailing “what to expect from vaccination,” streamlining “communication about vaccine updates” and showcasing “the stories of community members,” with a “focus on themes, not incidents,” being “upfront about uncertainties,” avoiding “data and statistics” and adapting “to the contexts of communities.”

Adapting pro-vaccination messages for specific communities was also the idea behind the Mercury Project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and other nonprofits, with an aim toward “nudging” various communities to achieve “differential impacts across socio-demographic groups.”

According to RAPS, some former FDA commissioners, including Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served 2017-2019, also suggested giving the pharmaceutical industry “more leeway to counter false or misleading information about products” via their own messaging.

“I think sponsors need to have the ability to defend their products in the marketplace of ideas when there’s true misinformation,” said Gottlieb.

Califf appears supportive of this idea, telling the 2023 Innovations in Regulatory Science Summit, “The Internet has 24×7 freedom, but those whose products are being vilified have their hands tied because of all the regulations and issues that they worry about.”

Separately, Califf told this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, “It’s very hard for the industry to respond to that because there’s so many checks and balances of the rights of industry that have speech about their product. So that’s an issue that we’re going to need to think through and address,” though he warned against “let[ting] loose the reins too much.”

As far back as 2014, the FDA was concerned about the ability of firms to respond to “misinformation” posted online, issuing a guidance document suggesting a firm’s communication should “be relevant and responsive to the misinformation,” “be limited and tailored to the misinformation,” “be non-promotional in nature, tone, and presentation,” “be accurate” and provide full disclosure of affiliation.

Too little, too late for the FDA?

Nevertheless, the FDA may be facing an uphill battle, as multiple factors are combining to foster public mistrust toward the agency.

For instance, in January, Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response, resigned over concerns about the FDA’s oversight structure and the ongoing infant formula shortage.

A 2022 study by The BMJ found that the FDA gets 65% of its funding for drug evaluation from industry user fees, while another 2022 study found that 95% of the members of an HHS committee that establishes dietary guidelines for Americans have one or more conflicts of interest with industry actors.

As previously reported by The Defender, members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee have also been found to have conflicts of interest with the very pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers they are meant to be regulating — as also noted in a 2000 House of Representatives report.

The FDA also recently come under fire for a series of questionable approvals, including of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the COVID-19 bivalent boosters, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, a COVID-19 antiviral pill developed by Merck, and, going back to 1983, Zantac — despite likely knowledge it may cause cancer.

The efforts by the FDA and other federal agencies to delay the release of documents related to COVID-19 vaccines, including the so-called “Pfizer documents,” documents pertaining to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted to the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine and CDC vaccine injury data from the V-safe database, may also contribute to public mistrust.

Efforts by the federal government, including HHS, to censor social media content critical of COVID-19 vaccines and countermeasures may be a further contributing factor to this growing mistrust.

And while public health authorities in other countries have, in some cases, begun to come forward with admissions that the COVID-19 vaccines resulted in cases of myocarditis and death, no such admissions appear to be forthcoming from the FDA at this time.

For Califf though, the biggest risk to the FDA’s credibility is that, in the current political environment, “people who don’t believe in public health” may end up being in charge of public health.


World News

Australian National Review – Ellen Brown: The Looming Quadrillion Dollar Derivatives Tsunami





Ellen Brown: The Looming Quadrillion Dollar Derivatives Tsunami

By Investment Watch Blog

via scheerpost:

Technically, the cutoff for SIFIs is $250 billion  in assets. However, the reason they are called “systemically important” is not their asset size but the fact that their failure could bring down the whole financial system. That designation comes chiefly from their exposure to derivatives, the global casino that is so highly interconnected that it is a “house of cards.” Pull out one card and the whole house collapses. SVB held $27.7 billion in derivatives, no small sum, but it is only .05% of the $55,387 billion ($55.387 trillion) held by JPMorgan, the largest U.S. derivatives bank.


Credit Suisse’s $39 Trillion Derivative Debt Poses Significant Threat to US Financial System.

  • The U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, is under a lot of pressure due to the deteriorating condition of Credit Suisse, a Swiss banking giant. Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, Yellen was given increased powers to oversee financial stability in the U.S. banking system. The legislation made Yellen the Chair of the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council (F-SOC), whose meetings include the heads of all of the federal agencies that supervise banks and trading on Wall Street. It is Yellen’s authorization that would be required before the Federal Reserve could create any more emergency bailout programs for mega banks.
  • Recently, the US Treasury was reviewing US banks exposed to Credit Suisse, looking into how many billions of dollars of underwater derivatives US banks were on the hook for as a counterparty to Credit Suisse, and U.S. banks exposure to Credit Suisse’s other major counterparties that U.S. banks do business with.
  • Credit Suisse was making headlines for two years, and serious problems at Credit Suisse have raised alarm bells in the US financial system. Credit Suisse is a global, systemically significant, too-big-to-fail bank that operates in the US and is deeply interconnected throughout the global financial system. Its failure could have widespread and largely unknown repercussions, which is why the US financial system and economy need to be adequately protected.
  • The recent revelations about Credit Suisse’s deteriorating state have raised concerns about contagion risks in the banking industry, particularly in light of the staggering amount of secret derivative debt being held by foreign banks. According to a report by the Bank for International Settlement, this unreported exposure is 10 times greater than their capital, with an estimated $39 trillion of dollar debt held off balance sheets.
  • This poses potential threats to dollar swap lines and with a significant portion of derivative trades still not being centrally cleared, a layer of opacity is added to an already unaccountable system. The quarterly derivatives report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found that four US mega banks held 88.6% of all notional amounts of derivatives in the US banking system, with a total notional amount of $195 trillion.

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World News

Australian National Review – UCSF Orders Their Doctors To Ignore COVID Vaccine Injuries





UCSF Orders Their Doctors to Ignore COVID Vaccine Injuries

By Steve Kirsch

They don’t file VAERS reports either. That’s a violation of federal law. I had a bunch of questions for their media relations department, but they ghosted me. Here’s what I wanted to know.

Dr. Josh Adler is executive vice president and chief clinical officer at UCSF Health as well as vice dean for clinical affairs at the UCSF School of Medicine. I wondered if he would like to see these questions answered as well. So I asked him.

Executive summary

I sent a list of questions to UCSF media relations on March 20 at 10am PST. I also emailed and called the head of media relations at UCSF to let her know about my questions.

Their response: silence.

You know what that means, don’t you?

The questions I sent them

  1. The UCSF Chief Medical Officer has issued a verbal directive that medical staff (doctors, nurses, techs, etc.) are specifically instructed NOT to associate the COVID vaccine to any injuries. So even if they believe the vaccine caused the injury they are NOT allowed to talk to the patient about it. Can you explain how this is in a patient’s best interest? World health authorities such as Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Germany for Health, have publicly admitted that the rate of severe vaccine injury is 1 in 10,000 and the V-safe data in the US shows the rate of severe injury (requiring medical care) is actually 100X higher: 8 SEVERE INJURIES per 100 fully vaccinated people. So why is the UCSF medical staff forbidden to make an association??
  2. I’ve been told that the staff are told not to ask if the person was recently vaccinated with the COVID vaccine because that would suggest to the patient that the COVID vaccine might have caused their medical condition. Is this true? So the patient must offer it to the doctor because the doctor isn’t allowed to ask? How does that improve clinical outcomes?
  3. I’ve been told that 70% of the Radiology Department (in Marin specifically) requested and were granted religious exemptions after seeing what happened to people who received the COVID vaccine. If it wasn’t 70%, what is the number?
  4. I’ve been told that the placentas of a majority of vaccinated women who give birth are not normal (calcified, blood clots, etc.). This started happening after the shots rolled out. Can you tell me what percentage was observed and why nobody at the hospital is speaking out to the press about this situation?
  5. Most troubling to me is that I was not able to find anyone who currently works at UCSF (including doctors, nurses, and lab techs) who would talk to me on the record for fear of being fired. Why would these doctors and nurses have such a fear? Will you guarantee in writing that any staff member who speaks out about any of the points above will be protected and not be fired just for speaking out? Have you fired anyone for speaking the truth? Who?
  6. With all the chatter about fear and intimidation tactics, have you issued WRITTEN assurances to the staff that 1) it is OK to ask about COVID vaccine status, 2) that it is OK to write vaccine exemptions when warranted such as allergic reactions, 3) that if they believe the vaccine caused an injury that they are free to talk about it with the patient and 4) that staff members who talk publicly about what they are seeing in the clinic with respect to vaccine-associated injuries/deaths and don’t violate any confidentiality/HIPAA rules will be protected from being fired? I want to know whether TRUE speech is protected and whether UCSF has notified staff of this in WRITING. If not, why not? Do fear and intimidation tactics yield better health outcomes?
  7. My friend Tim Damroth told me he suffered a cardiac arrest 2 minutes after getting his first COVID shot. He was in such pain since the shot that his UCSF doctors prescribed a nerve block shot. But in order to get the nerve block shot, UCSF required him to be fully vaccinated (i.e., 2 shots)! He asked for a vaccine exemption, but the UCSF doctors told him that UCSF doesn’t allow them to write any vaccine exemptions, even for people who almost died after getting the shot. So Tim got another shot in order to get the medical care he needed but this made his pain much worse. Can you confirm whether COVID vaccination is still required to get certain medical care at UCSF? If it isn’t still required, when did the requirement end? Can you explain the rationale for requiring vaccination to give a shot? Do you deny treatment to people with life threatening conditions if they are not fully vaccinated? How vaccinated must they be to be treated? 2 shots? 3 shots? I just talked to Tim and he will be delighted to sign a HIPAA consent to allow UCSF to talk about his case and all his medical records publicly so everyone can learn what happened to him. Are you proud of the way he was treated? Do you have any regrets?
  8. If you believe that COVID vaccine and masks are effective, why would you subject a patient to have to be vaccinated before receiving medical care? This is nonsensical in light of the Cleveland Clinic study which clearly showed that vaccines increase risk of getting COVID which would seem to put the staff at higher risk. You are clearly ignoring that study. On what basis? Nobody has been able to debunk the study. The precautionary principle of medicine requires that you hold off your vaccine requirement until you can resolve the ambiguity.
  9. How many UCSF staff have died within 6 months of receiving a COVID vaccine shot? Were autopsies done? Did they do the histopathology studies to rule out the COVID vaccine as a cause of death? Can we see the slides?
  10. How many UCSF staff have been seriously injured from the COVID vaccine?
  11. Why didn’t any doctor at UCSF file a VAERS report on the vaccine injuries of , Jan Maisel, and Angela Wulbrecht. This is required by law. was a former Chief Medical Officer at UCSF. Maisel is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF. Wulbrecht was a top UCSF nurse. All of their injuries were required by law to be reported, yet no VAERS reports were filed. Why not? What are you doing to correct the problem?
  12. UCSF ultrasound technicians with decades of experience have seen an unprecedented number of menstrual irregularities in women who have been vaccinated. Why aren’t any of them warning the public about this? Is the public better off if nobody knows about this?
  13. I talked to one of the funeral homes used by UCSF. They are seeing a 20X higher rate of perinatal deaths after the COVID vaccines rolled out. This is a disaster. Why isn’t anyone saying anything about this? Why did the funeral director decline to be named for fear of being fired? Why isn’t UCSF just publishing the numbers to warn the community? How does keeping this information secret result in superior clinical outcomes?
  14. Nearly all of the UCSF neurologists know that the COVID vaccines have caused serious injuries to huge numbers of UCSF patients. Can you explain why none of them are speaking out publicly about what they are observing in the clinic?
  15. Why not make public health information from the hospital public? The information can be easily anonymized to protect privacy. Wouldn’t making medical records such as age/admission date/COVID vaccine dates/reason for admission be a huge public service? If the vaccine really works, everyone would know it. If the vaccine doesn’t work, everyone would know it. Why don’t we have data transparency?
  16. Is anyone at UCSF calling for data transparency from the CDC? If the death-vax records were public, we could instantly know whether the shots are beneficial or harmful. Is there a reason these records are not public and nobody at UCSF is calling for these records to be made public? Do we get better health outcomes when the CDC keeps the data from public view? The data can be easily anonymized to satisfy any HIPAA requirements. I personally released a subset of the death-vax records from Medicare. So I know it can be done. Oh, and it showed the vaccine were causing an enormous amount of excess deaths.
  17. How long do you think you can get away with hiding all these vaccine injuries from public view?
  18. Is this really in the public interest to keep all this stuff secret and engage in fear and intimidation tactics? Is there a paper in a peer-reviewed medical journal showing superior patient outcomes when the public is kept in the dark about vaccine injuries?

Additional actions

On March 20 at 9:50pm I sent this email to Dr. Adler and cc’ed his assistant:


These should be easy questions for UCSF to answer, but they are ducking my questions for some reason. I just can’t figure it out. I don’t want to spread misinformation, and I’ve offered to correct any questions if they will supply evidence that I’m wrong, but all I hear is silence.

It’s not just me who wants answers to these questions. Pretty much all my readers want to know the answer too.

More importantly, I’d guess that most of the people who work at UCSF would want to know the answer to these questions as well.

But apparently UCSF management and the mainstream media don’t think any of these questions are important.

I wonder if any members of the UCSF Health Leadership Team are curious about the answer to any of these questions. And if not, why not? Do all of them think secrecy is the best way to go? Which questions do they not want to have answered and why? I’ve emailed Dr. Adler and I hope he will respond.

They can’t keep running from the truth. The longer they avoid answering these questions, the worse they look.

Some day there will be accountability. You can bank on that.

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World News

Australian National Review – Government-Backed Digital Money To Represent $213B In Payments By 2030





Government-backed Digital Money to Represent $213B in Payments by 2030

By Lucas Mearian

Digital currencies backed by government banks still face a mountain of challenges before they’ll be ready for prime time, but 114 countries are involved in various projects, either in the planning stage or all-out pilots.

The global value of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will grow dramatically from $100 million today to $213 billion by 2030, once the virtual money gains greater adoption for domestic payments, according to new data from Juniper Research.

By 2030, 92% of the total value transacted through CBDCs around the world will be paid domestically, as cross-border payment systems face an uphill battle for adoption, Juniper predicted.

The digital currency, which is backed by traditional fiat cash such as the US dollar or British pound, can bolster financial inclusion because customers don’t have to have a bank account to hold them; they can instead use encrypted “digital wallets” that exist in the cloud, on a desktop or laptop, or even on USB storage device.

With a cross-border CBDC payment system, immigrants, for example, could send money back to their countries of origin without having to pay what can be exorbitant fees for electronic money transfers. Businesses would also be able to make cross-border payments for goods and services with much cheaper, and faster, settlements.

Central-bank-backed digital currencies would also reduce the costs of printing and replacing mone, help improve fraud detection, and allow money paid to scammers to be more easily traced and recovered, according to Lou Steinberg, former Ameritrade CTO and managing partner at cybersecurity research firm CTM Insights.

“It would simplify and speed up cross-border payments and reduce the cost and complexity of processing checks, wires, etc.,” Steinberg said in an email reply to Computerworld. “Unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, a currency that is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States or other trusted government would provide certainty that the value of the currency is being carefully managed. A government can adjust everything from the money supply to interest rates as they manage and maintain the value of a fiat currency.”

Digital currencies also eliminate the anonymous nature of consumer cash transactions. In places such as China, where spending activity is closely monitored, that would let the government know what movies an individual is buying tickets for of whether they are spending money at a bar. Those are hard to track with cash.

The US has been a slow follower compared to other nations, such as China and its digital Yuan, in developing a CBDC. Australia, China, Thailand, Brazil, India, South Korea and Russia already have pilots or will begin test programs this year. By 2030, the Bank of England and UK Treasury are planning to launch a digital pound or ‘Britcoin’ CBDC.

It matters which nation’s digital currency achieves widespread adoption first because that government will be able to set the global rules for most others, according to Steinberg. “Whomever sets up large international payment systems first will have a de-facto standard, one which latecomers will have to adopt,” he said. “The US continues to study a digital dollar while others are making progress. We need to prioritize a system for international payments and settlement based on a digital dollar, almost the equivalent of a next-generation SWIFT network.”

The features and standards can be used to design in privacy or state surveillance and traceability. They can include limited use currency, such as a type of dollar that could only be used for stimulus but not saved, or a digital dollar food stamp.

“On the other hand, countries like Cuba have two types of currency, and limit the use of one type to foreigners only (so they know which of their citizens are collecting money from foreigners),” Steinberg said. “If we want western standards around privacy, we need to set the standards. If we want the dollar to maintain its role as a ‘reserve currency,’ we need to set the standards around cross-border networks. Showing up late to the game means you play by some else’s rules.”

All together, 114 countries representing 95% of global GDP are investigating the creation of CBDCs, according to the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank. Only 10% have launched general CBDC networks. Sixteen percent of projects are in pilot stage, 30% are in development, and 27% are still in the research stage, according to the Atlantic Council.

“We are behind. The good news is that we are starting to realize this,” Steinberg said of the US.

This map by the Atlantic Council shows the maturity of CBDC projects around the globe.

In March 2022, for example, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for more research on developing a national digital currency through the Federal Reserve Bank, or “The Fed.” The order highlighted the need for more regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies, which have been used for nefarious activities such as money laundering. The Fed has been investigating the creation of a CBDC for years.

US lawmakers have also introduced bills that would allow the US Treasury to create a digital dollar. The electronic dollar would allow people to make payments using tokens on mobile phones or through cards instead of cash.

In November, the New York Federal Reserve Bank began developing a wholesale CDBC prototype. Named Project Cedar, the CBDC program hammered out a blockchain-based framework expected to become a pilot in a multi-national payments or settlement system. The project, now in phase 2, is a joint experiment with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to explore issues around the interoperability of the distributed ledger.

Juniper Research’s Maynard believes China will lead both domestic and cross-border CBDC use in 2030, “as it has had early pilots which have seen some success in the market.”

Since CBDCs are issued by central banks, they will be mainly targeted at domestic payments at first, with cross-border payments arriving as systems become established and links made between CBDCs used by individual countries. Crucial to CBDC success, however, will be cross-border and retail merchant acceptance.

CBDCs will also require a complex regulatory framework including privacy, consumer protection, and anti-money laundering standards, which need to be made more robust before adopting the technology, according to the Atlantic Council. Any new system of payment could also jeopardize the national security objectives of the country using them.

“They can, for example, limit the United States’ ability to track cross-border flows and enforce sanctions,” the group said. “In the long term, the absence of US leadership and standards setting can have geopolitical consequences, especially if China and other countries maintain their first-mover advantage in the development of CBDCs.”

Steinberg agreed, saying a fully distributed system has risks, “both that wallets will be electronically pick-pocketed, and that transaction validity (consensus) can be cheated. A well-designed system could be quite secure today and future proofed. A poorly designed one would lead to widespread theft and fraud,” he said.

The research by Juniper said to date there is still lack of commercial product development around CBDCs, with few well-defined platforms for central banks to leverage — a big limiting factor for the current market.

“While cross-border payments currently have high costs and slow transaction speeds, this area is not the focus of CBDC development,” said Nick Maynard, Juniper’s head of research. “As CBDC adoption will be very country specific, it will be incumbent on cross-border payment networks to link schemes together, allowing the wider payments industry to benefit from CBDCs.”

For success, any CBDC platform would need a full end-to-end financial network, including wholesale capabilities, digital wallet, and merchant acceptance, Juniper said.

Full end-to-end CBDC solutions, including wholesale capabilities and – most importantly – widespread merchant adoption central banks to generate buy in. That will mean leveraging platforms from experienced payments vendors, as well as having a public consultation model which involves key stakeholders at every stage.

“In order to achieve merchant adoption, it’s a chicken or egg scenario to an extent,” Maynard said. “Merchants will want to use the platform users are transacting in, but users will want to use the platform their favourite merchants and brands are on. As such, it will likely require a mix of incentives at both the user and merchant level to generate initial traffic.”

One of the challenges for central banks is figuring out how to enable a CBDC that adds value above existing payment systems, according to Gartner Research. The success of CBDCs also depends on “programmability” enabled by smart contracts, Gartner argued in a January report.

“In order to further justify investments into CBDCs, developers are experimenting with injecting programmability into CBDC-enabled payment value chains,” Gartner said. “Therefore, bank CIOs need to prepare for this transformation,”

As part of ongoing pilots of the digital Yuan, or e-CNY, for example, the Bank of China Chengdu is using smart contracts to manage the deposits for extracurricular school activities, such as field trips to museums. Using the e-CNY CBDC reduces reliance on third parties to deal with a refund if a class is canceled, or a student couldn’t attend, Gartner said.

Countries such as Russia and China see how payments that depend on US infrastructure and currencies can be affected by sanctions and are working to develop alternatives, Steinberg said.

“The one to watch is China,” Steinberg said, referring to the mBridge Project. “Domestically, they need to keep electronic payments from all moving to tech companies, and undoubtedly see benefits in increased consumer surveillance. Internationally, they piloted cross border payments and settlement with central banks in places like Thailand and UAE. That’s the current concern.”

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