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The New Normal A.K.A. “the Great Reset”

“As trust in traditional institutions declines, new players are taking their place…”

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The New Normal A.K.A. “the Great Reset”

If you go to the World Economic Forum’s site and create an account with your email, then click on “COVID-19.”

There you will find a roadmap on how COVID-19 will be used to transition our society into a “New Normal,” or as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said:

“Nobody goes back. We go forward. It is going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal.”

Once on this map, you can click on a variety of topics such as “The Media’s Role During COVID-19” and be met with links to articles, videos, sub-categories, etc.

Summary:

“COVID-19 threatens to become one of the most difficult tests faced by humanity in modern history. As the pandemic has spread it has taken lives, stirred anxiety and political drama, overwhelmed health systems, and triggered potentially lasting geopolitical change. The International Monetary Fund says the global economy is headed for a deep recession in 2020, and Oxfam International has warned that half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the unfolding crisis. Around the world, desperate efforts are underway to contain what has become a profoundly disruptive outbreak.”

The Media’s Role During COVID-19:

“Balancing the public’s need for critical information with business interests can be tricky

A global pandemic makes sources of information about social impact, risk factors, and the latest recommendations from public officials on slowing the spread of the disease critical. During any outbreak, whether it is COVID-19, SARS, or Ebola, the media plays a key role as agenda-setter – by distilling complex data into easily digestible and useful information. However, COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on several challenges faced by the media as the public looks to it to function as a public-health educator. The first involves balancing the public’s right to critical and timely health information with the media industry’s business objectives. Some news outlets, including major publications like The New York Times and The Financial Times, are granting people access to coronavirus-related news without the need for a subscription. Others, such as The Boston Globe, have come under fire for maintaining their paywall policy even for articles about the pandemic. Restrictions placed on the right to information potentially penalize the poor, who may not be able to get the most accurate health-related news and information – thereby making them more susceptible to misinformation.

Another big challenge facing media outlets as they cover COVID-19 is the set of unintended consequences of constant exposure to sometimes inaccurate views and information – often referred to as the “infodemic.” Concerns have also been raised about people’s mental health as they steadily consume negative news while making disruptive lifestyle adjustments – like working from home and limiting social interaction due to shelter-in-place measures. One survey of Chinese citizens conducted relatively early in the pandemic found that social media exposure was significantly associated with depression and anxiety. Meanwhile irresponsible media coverage has been blamed for fuelling racist assaults on people of Chinese origin, for being potential carriers of a “Chinese” disease. Perhaps the most difficult challenge facing the media is the need to communicate in a way that restores faith in scientific institutions, amid a constant barrage of misinformation related to everything from the concept that exposure to sunlight or cleaning products can prevent COVID-19, to the notion that it does not affect young people. Disseminating such ideas could severely undermine official public health recommendations, and put the public at greater risk.

This key issue is curated in partnership with Dr. Edmund W.J. Lee, Public Health Communications Scientist and Research Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

Response and Recovery:

“Public officials and companies walk a fine line as they attempt to reopen economies

The reopening of many economies as COVID-19 recedes has been accompanied by intense debate about whether peoples’ lives should be put at risk to keep commerce flowing. By mid-May 2020, China had largely reactivated its factories, even as it was not immediately clear whether a sufficient number of people around the world would be able to buy what they produce. In Singapore, officials went from receiving praise for their response to the outbreak to abruptly having to close businesses and schools when a second wave of cases struck the city-state in April. And in the US, individual states were largely left to devise their own plans for reopening even as the country remained the epicentre of the pandemic – and as public health officials warned of the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early. US President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion relief package in April that includes aid for small businesses, and in May the European Commission unveiled a €1.85 trillion post-pandemic recovery plan. Meanwhile demand has grown for bailouts for large businesses similar to what was administered during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Public officials have also sought to find the right balance when it comes to monetary policy. Central banks have responded to the pandemic by cutting interest rates in ways designed to encourage more consumer activity, for example. Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark rate to a record low, as the US Federal Reserve, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Bank of England, Bank Negara Malaysia, and the Bank of Canada took similarly drastic action. In another echo of the global financial crisis, some central banks triggered emergency bond-buying programs aimed at bolstering bond prices and curbing related interest rates (when the US Federal Reserve announced it would slash its benchmark rate, it also said it would kick off a $700 billion “quantitative easing” asset-purchase program). The European Central Bank, without much room to maneuver on interest rates, unveiled its own, €750 billion quantitative easing program in response to the pandemic. The central bank in China, where COVID-19 was originally detected in late 2019, has said it will use a variety of measures to limit the cost of borrowing for hard-hit companies.”

COVID-19’s Workforce Impact:

“The pandemic has triggered widespread job losses, as many remain in precarious roles on the frontlines

The number of jobless claims made in the US between the implementation of COVID-19 shutdown measures in mid-March 2020 and mid-May topped 38 million, though they receded to below 1 million per week by September. Meanwhile analysts speculated that China’s unemployment rate may have reached 10% amid the crisis, though the official figure remained at 6%. Around the world, organizations have had to reckon with a new reality where they cannot support the number of employees they could previously, or cannot expect employees to travel to an office in ways that put them at increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus. In Washington, one of the first US states to see a spike in confirmed cases, firms including Amazon and Microsoft quickly asked Seattle-area staff to work from home, and Twitter told its employees that many may work from home permanently. However, other people have not been fortunate enough to be able to work from home; the death toll among National Health Service and social care workers in the United Kingdom topped 300 by late May, and employees at meatpacking plants in the US have been disproportionately exposed to infection.

In China, the economic slowdown triggered by the outbreak initially caused many companies to implement pay cuts and layoffs. The number of newly-reported COVID-19 cases on a daily basis in China began levelling off in late February, however, and businesses there have generally reopened, according to the country’s industry ministry and media reports. Not every region of the world has followed the same trajectory – according to the International Labour Organization, the number of working hours in lower-middle-income countries declined by 15.6% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, while the share of labour income lost due to work-hour declines in those countries was 15.1% for the first three quarters of the year (for high-income countries, 9% of labour income was lost during the same period). In response to spikes in unemployment, policy-makers around the world have sought to deploy relief. In late April, the European Union unveiled a €100 billion unemployment scheme, for example, and in July Australia committed to spending the equivalent of nearly $12 billion to extend a wage subsidy program for businesses affected by the pandemic.”

Avoiding COVID-19 Infection and Spread:

“While people in many places were initially told to stay home, restrictions have now been eased

According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 virus infects people of all ages – though older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of getting a severe form of the disease. The WHO recommends that people frequently wash their hands with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, and that they maintain a comfortable distance between themselves and others if they must venture outside. People coughing or sneezing pose a particular threat, as this can spray droplets containing the virus. Rules requiring people to stay home in a bid to limit social contact have been implemented with varying degrees of severity around the world – and in many places have now been relaxed. The WHO also recommends that people avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, as hands can pick up viruses from surfaces. Anyone with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing is advised to seek medical help. There is evidence that masks can help limit the spread of the coronavirus, and they should generally be worn in public places. In a bid to bust coronavirus-related myths, the WHO says there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19, and that drinking bleach will not only not protect you but may in fact kill you.

There have been abundant examples of irresponsible behaviour in the face of the spreading pandemic. Mask hoarding became an issue, to the point where the French government felt compelled to requisition all current and future local stocks of protective masks in order to ensure they will be available for health workers and patients. Some of the more egregious examples of irresponsible behaviour have included attempting to assign blame for (or assign a nationality to) the outbreak, attempting to sell “nonmedical immune boosters” as a means to ward off infection, and suggesting that the severity of COVID-19 has been hyped for political purposes. Shortcomings have also been exposed when it comes to official preparation for such an outbreak, particularly in terms of testing capabilities and activity. For example, by the beginning of March South Korea had performed more than 100,000 tests for the coronavirus on patients, or more than 2,000 per million people, while the US had tested less than 500 people in total at the same point. Faulty test kits were initially distributed in the US in February, and there were subsequent delays in delivering testing kits to states.”

Finding a Vaccine:

“More than one developer of a COVID-19 vaccine has found it to be effective in preventing the disease

Following the outbreak of a strain of the swine flu virus in 1976, public health officials in the US worried that they were faced with a repeat of the 1918 “Spanish flu” that infected roughly a third of the world’s population – and hurried to identify a vaccine. While the predicted epidemic never materialized, hundreds of people vaccinated that year developed a serious adverse reaction. That history informs the way researchers and officials now take a generally cautious approach to vaccine development. The World Health Organization took pains to communicate to the public that COVID-19 would require its own vaccine, and by mid-2020 multiple developers were taking on the considerable task. A few months after that, Pfizer and BioNTech announced promising trial data for their vaccine, followed shortly by similar news from Moderna – offering new hope for an end to the pandemic. Meanwhile clinical trials have continued to determine the ability of existing drugs to combat the effects of the disease. One drug designed to fight the Ebola virus, remdesivir, has demonstrated some ability to speed up recovery time for patients infected with COVID-19.

Some studies have suggested that the blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors can be used to help victims, and several efforts were commenced to use the blood of survivors to help develop the first real treatment for the disease; it can be difficult to obtain an accurate fatality rate in the midst of a pandemic, though experts estimated in March 2020 that it was about 1% for COVID-19, or ten times the rate of a typical flu. In mid-April, the WHO published a statement on behalf of a group of scientists, physicians, funders, and manufacturers aiming to speed the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. The group applauded community measures that have reduced the spread of the virus, and pledged to use the time gained by these efforts to develop a vaccine as rapidly as possible. However, the ultimate availability of any successful vaccine that is identified may depend on domestic politics. In the US, for example, Democrats have pushed for rules to ensure that a vaccine will be affordable, while Republicans have expressed concern that price controls might discourage companies from aggressively pursuing a solution.”

COVID-19’s Impact on Trade:

“The WTO has warned that global trade could decline by 9.2% in 2020

In October 2020, the World Trade Organization estimated that global merchandise trade volume would decline by 9.2% in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 – a more positive outlook than had been issued earlier in the year. Global banks, charged with managing the regular flows of finance necessary to keep trade afloat, have in many cases been compelled to figure out ways to keep their trading operations running as usual as they split up departments and isolate employees in a bid to limit the further spread of the coronavirus. Trade shows and conferences have also been severely impacted. Major annual events including the Geneva International Motor Show, the South by Southwest festival in Texas, and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona have been cancelled (in the case of the Geneva event, for the first time since 1904 for reasons other than a world war), while other normally-popular events have lost out on large numbers of attendees. As more aspects of global commerce are affected by COVID-19, the effects are likely to spread further – prompting a need for more responsive action from international organizations and central banks.

China was home to the first detected outbreak of COVID-19; it is also now commonly referred to as “the world’s factory” due to the significant amount of global manufacturing that takes place there. China accounted for about $4 trillion in manufacturing “value added” (a term that accounts for all net output) in 2018, or nearly a third of the global total for that year, according to World Bank data – and the country is home to seven of the ten busiest container ports in the world. Data published by China’s National Bureau of Statistics for the January-February 2020 period, when the number of confirmed cases in the country was rising sharply, reflect declines in domestic factory output, fixed asset construction activity, and retail sales – though figures for March marked the return to a trade surplus for the country. The shipping companies that bring goods from China to the rest of the world have had to reduce the number of vessels in operation due to lowered demand, however, and in some ways the pandemic has only worsened already-difficult trade relations between China and the US.”

COVID-19’s Impact on Travel:

“Demand for air travel evaporated and new border controls emerged as the coronavirus spread

Roughly one million Chinese tourists had been visiting Bali every year before the spread of COVID-19 reduced outbound travel from the world’s second-biggest economy to a relative trickle. Bali is not alone; in Australia, for example, Chinese tourists were estimated to have spent AUD $11.5 billion in 2019 alone, while in Switzerland Chinese tourists accounted for about one-fifth of the international tourists visiting the cities of Lucerne and Bern. Roughly a few months after the coronavirus was first detected, a European Union official announced that Europe’s tourism industry was losing €1 billion per month due to the decrease in arrivals from China. As the coronavirus spread globally, its impact on travel and tourism only broadened – as more would-be travellers from countries other than China began staying home. In July 2020, the UN Conference on Trade and Development estimated that the global tourism sector could lose out on about $3.3 trillion, equivalent to 4.2% of global GDP, as a result of the pandemic. It also estimated that for every $1 million lost in international tourism revenue, a country’s national income could drop by up to $3 million.

Within Europe, the spread of the coronavirus has tested a core belief in fluid cross-border travel and trade. It has also drawn a line under the European Union’s lack of control over an area where most authority resides with national governments. Spain and Portugal partially sealed their borders, while Austria prevented people from crossing into the country from Italy – the hardest-hit EU member state in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases – without a health certificate (Austria also reintroduced border controls with Switzerland). Germany, too, sealed borders (with the exception of goods and commuters), and the Czech Republic followed an initial restriction on entry to the country from 15 countries including fellow EU members with a broader ban on all inbound foreign travel. The European Commission said in a statement that while member states have the ability to temporarily implement controls at internal EU borders in the event of a serious threat, those controls must remain an exception – and must respect the principle of proportionality. The commission acknowledged that while it can issue opinions about the necessity of such measures, it cannot veto them.”

COVID-19’s Impact on Financial Markets:

“The pandemic has injected volatility into stock markets, and assets of all types have been impacted

Investors around the world have had to contend with the sweeping impact of COVID-19 on financial markets and asset prices. The initial effect was broadly de-stabilizing; in mid-March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a measure of 30 of the most prominent publicly traded stocks in America, registered its second-worst day of trading in its 124-year history. For many Americans, particularly those who are saving for retirement with 401(k)-style accounts, the troubled stock market hit close to home. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40, Switzerland’s SMI, and Germany’s DAX also took coronavirus-related hits, while in Asia Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index recorded its sharpest one-day drop since 1990. Bond prices also declined sharply, while gold – usually a safe haven for investors – declined in value. Meanwhile as the spread of COVID-19 depleted oil demand, an oil-market war erupted between Saudi Arabia and Russia – which resulted in the price per barrel suffering a steep decline. While stock markets in the US and elsewhere had erased their COVID-related losses by August 2020, they remained sensitive to political developments – particularly to plans for addressing the crisis with financial stimulus.

As markets were knocked off balance, expectations increased for many different types of policy-makers to step in with stimulus measures aimed at safeguarding investors and global growth – by, for example, lowering (already low) interest rates as a means to potentially facilitate more lending and consumer activity. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde announced that the bank was ready to take measures to address the impact of the worsening outbreak (the ECB later unveiled an emergency, €750 billion bond-buying program), and central banks including those in the US and Australia swiftly moved ahead with related rate cuts – in Australia’s case, bringing its benchmark lending rate to a record low. Negotiations in the US in October 2020 over a new stimulus package illustrated the sensitivity of financial markets to the twists and turns of the coronavirus response; while investors had anticipated some sort of spending package would be announced for counteracting the effects of COVID-19 prior to the November presidential election, when one deadline for a deal passed without signs of progress, the Dow fell by more than 400 points in a single day.”

But that is just the surface… If you click into the subcategories, you get even more slides of content such as this…

Responding to Shifts in Power:

As trust in traditional institutions declines, new players are taking their place

Civic participation takes place in an always-moving, ever-changing environment. On one hand, trust in governments and traditional institutions like the political parties, trade unions, and churches that have served as counterparts to civic movements is declining in many parts of the world (in countries where the bulk of the population is unaffiliated with a political party, popular support for representative democracy tends to be lower, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of public opinion in 35 countries). On the other hand, other stakeholders are filling in the gaps. Global corporations are gaining power, in particular the technology companies that are pro-actively taking part in policy and political discussions. One example of this is the series of campaigns and activities launched by Microsoft on the idea of “Digital Peace” and the notion of a Digital Geneva Convention. This trend of broader corporate participation in public life is becoming increasingly mainstream, as was made clear by a statement issued in 2019 by the Business Roundtable (an organization that includes CEOs of the biggest US companies) that the goal of corporations should not only be to maximize shareholder value – but also community value.

In a relatively short period of time, social media has substantially changed the ways we access and share information. Now, only a minimal political apparatus is necessary to win elections – as demonstrated by the populist Five Star Movement in Italy. Spontaneous civic movements have quickly emerged in Algeria, Hong Kong, and France, by syncing online and disperse decision-making across flat organizational structures. At the same time, many people are being left behind, and having their rights denied – particularly women’s right to speak up and be counted. In addition, in an era of hyper-mobility and hyper-connectivity, a large number of people are failing to keep up with the pace of change – and lack the infrastructure to enable them to get on board. High levels of digital illiteracy and still-relatively-low levels of access to the internet in many parts of the world are striking examples of this; for example, while 82.5% of people in Europe were online as of late 2019, just 28.2% of Africans were online, according to the International Telecommunications Union.”

There is simply too much content to give you here, perhaps I already gave too much as the point if for you to browse the knowledge base yourself…

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Costco issues toilet paper warning

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Costco issues toilet paper warning

Costco Wholesale is having trouble fulfilling toilet paper orders.

The membership-only warehouse retail chain is issuing a warning to customers that have purchased the common household item online, saying they may face delays in receiving their orders.  

“Due to increased volumes, you may see a slight delay in the processing of this order,” Costco’s customer service team said in a purchase order confirmation email viewed by FOX Business

The retailer noted that the company is “working to fulfill everything as quickly as possible” and that customers will get a follow-up email with tracking information once an order has shipped.

The warning notice comes after the company indicated that it would reinstate purchase limits at some of its store locations as customers reportedly stockpile goods once again – mimicking the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Read more on Fox 5 New York…

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Mark Levin smashes 1M sold for American Marxism, top 2021 book

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Mark Levin smashes 1M sold for American Marxism, top 2021 book

Conservative talker Mark Levin’s record-selling new book, American Marxism has raced past the 1 million mark and is now America’s top seller despite receiving little to no attention in the establishment press.

“We are thrilled about the astounding success of American Marxism and its enormous appeal to the general public,” said Jennifer Long, deputy publisher for Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Levin told Secrets on Thursday that his book has led to a movement he hopes will turn the 2022 midterm elections into a huge victory for conservatives and a rejection of President Joe Biden’s leftist policies.

“We’re running out of time. You know, there are tens of millions of people in this country who have no voice in academia, the media, Big Tech, even in politics. And we’re not going to roll over and play dead,” he said.

“This is a movement. And it’s a movement that’s not on too many radar screens from a strategic perspective,” he added.

His book tackles the Left’s attempt to rewrite U.S. history, take over American institutions, and erase conservatism.

Here’s how Threshold described it: “In American Marxism, Levin seeks to rally the American people to defend their liberty, traditions, families, and the Constitution from a counterrevolution to the American Revolution that seeks to destroy the existing civil society. Levin explains how the core elements of Marxist ideology have been uniquely tailored to and applied to American society and are now pervasive throughout the culture, forming a variety of sub-movements surrounding such issues as ‘climate change,’ ‘genderism,’ ‘critical race theory,’ etc.”

Read more on the Washington Examiner…

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States Rationing Liquor

Why Liquor Shortages Caused By The COVID-19 Pandemic Persist In Some States

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States Rationing Liquor

A fair warning for your next trip to the liquor store: Several states across the U.S. are still experiencing booze shortages related to COVID-19, and it’s unclear when supply will be able to meet demand.

Early in the pandemic, it was common to find libations low in stock after some liquor stores briefly closed amid statewide lockdowns and skyrocketing consumer demand for alcohol.

But continued reports of shortages from Vermont to New Jersey to Ohio persist more than a year later, and some states are rationing their liquor supply amid ongoing supply chain issues.

The Pennsylvania state board in charge of consumer liquor sales announced last week that it was limiting customers to two bottles of certain alcoholic beverages per day. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said the purchase limit on select items — including Hennessy Cognac, Buffalo Trace bourbon and Patrón tequila — will be in place for the “foreseeable future.”

Read more on NPR…

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