You are browsing the archive for 2021 April 04.

Avatar of admin

by admin

'Vaccine passports' are a common feature in American history

April 4, 2021 in Blogs

By Mia Brett

With a large portion of the country getting vaccinated, we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. To protect public health, certain activities will obviously require people to be vaccinated, a kind of policy that has existed in some form or another since the American Revolution. Despite the longstanding established practice, the idea of a “vaccine passport” has people making bizarre comparisons to the Holocaust and tyrannical governments. It is common practice for people to provide their vaccination records in order to go to school, have certain jobs and travel to certain countries. The concept of a “vaccine passport” is just to streamline this process and make it easier for people to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination. If one doesn’t want to get vaccinated, they might just have to forgo participating in certain activities.

Compulsory vaccination laws are justified legally based on the state’s compelling interest in protecting the health and welfare of the population. It is common to restrain a little individual liberty in order to protect the safety of the larger society. Consider the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Our liberty must be restrained if said liberty has the likelihood of putting others at risk. This applies to gun laws, traffic laws, or bringing shampoo bottles on airplanes. If a person doesn’t want to get vaccinated, that is their choice. But they likely forfeit traveling, attending schools, or having certain jobs.

It is common to restrain a little liberty in order to protect the safety of the larger society. Consider the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

Compulsory vaccination policies in this country began during the American Revolution. Smallpox was a huge threat to the Continental Army and word of the disease was actually halting enlistments. In order to protect soldiers and the war effort, General Washington ordered all new recruits receive the “variolation” for smallpox in 1776. The policy was successful at eradicating smallpox among soldiers, which helped the Continental Army defeat the British invasion at Saratoga.

The first law that required the general population get vaccinated was passed in Massachusetts in 1809. The state empowered local boards of health …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Breaking down the differences among CBD, marijuana and hemp: Which are legal?

April 4, 2021 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Brandon McFadden, University of Delaware and Trey Malone, Michigan State University

New York recently became the 15th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

While 67% of U.S. adults support marijuana legalization, public knowledge about cannabis is low. A third of Americans think hemp and marijuana are the same thing, according to the National Institutes of Health, and many people still search Google to find out whether cannabidiol – a cannabis derivative known as CBD – will get them high, as marijuana does.

Hemp, marijuana and CBD are all related, but they differ in significant ways. Here’s what you need to know about their legality, effects and potential health benefits.

Hemp, marijuana and cannabanoidals

Both hemp and marijuana belong to the same species, Cannabis sativa, and the two plants look somewhat similar. However, substantial variation can exist within a species. After all, great Danes and chihuahuas are both dogs, but they have obvious differences.

Great Danes and chihuahuas are distant cousins, like marijuana and hemp.

Pixy, CC BY

The defining difference between hemp and marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC, meaning hemp-derived products don’t contain enough THC to create the “high” traditionally associated with marijuana.

CBD is a compound found in cannabis. There are hundreds of such compounds, which are termed “cannabinoids,” because they interact with receptors involved in a variety of functions like appetite, anxiety, depression and pain sensation. THC is also a cannabinoid.

Clinical research indicates that CBD is effective at treating epilepsy. Anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with pain and even anxiety – though scientifically the jury is still out on that.

Marijuana, containing both CBD and more THC than hemp, has demonstrated therapeutic benefits for people with epilepsy, nausea, glaucoma and potentially even multiple sclerosis and opioid-dependency disorder.

However, medical research on marijuana is severely restricted by federal law.

The Drug Enforcement Agency categorizes cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning it handles cannabis as if there is no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Scientists don’t know exactly how CBD works, nor how it interacts with other cannabinoids like THC to give marijuana its added therapeutic effects.

Retail CBD

CBD comes in food, tinctures and oils, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Texas GOP congressional candidate loses prominent supporters after racist comment about Chinese immigrants

April 4, 2021 in Blogs

By Patrick Svitek

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

A Republican candidate in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington, is facing intense backlash and has lost two of her biggest supporters after saying she does not want Chinese immigrants in the United States.

The comments by Sery Kim, a Korean American who served in the Small Business Administration under President Donald Trump, prompted California U.S. Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel to rescind their endorsements of her on Friday. Young Kim and Steel are the first Korean American GOP women to serve in Congress.

“We cannot in good conscience continue to support her candidacy,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The candidate has been unapologetic, however, arguing that she was speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party and blaming the “liberal media” for the uproar. She said she “will not back down from speaking the truth” about the party.

Sery Kim made the anti-Chinese remarks earlier this week at a GOP forum in Arlington while responding to a question about U.S. immigration issues.

“I don’t want them here at all,” Kim said of potential Chinese immigrants. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.”

“And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean,” she added.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased since the coronavirus pandemic started in China. Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the pandemic and called the coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Kim’s remark came less than a month after the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent.

The comments have received condemnation from groups including the DFW Asian-American Citizens Council and AAPI Progressive Action, which works to build political power around Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Kim is one of 11 Republicans — and 23 candidates total — on the May 1 ballot to fill the GOP-leaning seat seat of Wright, who died earlier this year after …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

'ConspiracyTok’: The right-wing’s newest attempt at spreading conspiracy theories on social media

April 4, 2021 in Blogs

By Aysha Qamar

As social media platforms finally take to cracking down on conspiracy theories, right-wing propaganda has found a new home. Conspiracy theorists are flooding TikTok, a popular social media application known for its short videos, with misinformation and alt-right propaganda.

While this seems harmless as propaganda is not new to social media, the issue is these videos are making their way to a number of audiences because of TikTok’s recommendation algorithm. The algorism encourages users to follow accounts that are in their area or similar to their interests, by pushing multiple conspiracy theory accounts, TikTok’s algorithm is spreading extremist misinformation at a rapid rate, according to Media Matters. As a result, far-right conspiracy theories are creating massive communities on and offline.

The videos are mostly known on the platform as “ConspiracyTok” come from a community that regularly discusses conspiracy theories. According to Media Matters, while some accounts are dedicated to theories of why the earth is flat others are more harmful and spread misinformation about cultures and identities, including COVID-19. That in itself is harmful to the country specifically, Asian Americans who have been discriminated against and targeted due to these theories, however as TikTok’s algorithm promotes these videos more harm is done as misinformation reaches broader and often more vulnerable audiences.

A majority of TikTok users are GenZ users that are subject to influence from social media, as algorithms target youth members misinformation can have dire consequences. A fact it seems many alt-right TikTok users are taking advantage of. It only takes one video for a person’s entire feed to be filled with “ConspiracyTok.” The way TikTok’s account recommendation algorithm works is individual users are recommended to one another by not only distance but potential interest.

Meaning if you accidentally even stumble on one video you most likely will end up seeing more in the future. Additionally, if a user follows someone they are more likely to get recommendations of similar accounts. This has caused the massive spread of not only anti-vax misinformation but, QAnon-related theories, COVID-19 denial, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Of course, TikTok is working to ban and has banned many alt-right users from spreading misinformation but the issue is that this misinformation is not always easy to catch.

According to Media Matters, many conspiracy theorists pose as harmless users by posting a variety of content. This prevents …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz: Their unholy Trumpian alliance continues

April 4, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Although former President Donald Trump has been gone from the White House for over two months and Democrats control both the executive and judicial branches of the United States’ federal government, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party continues —and in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the most Trumpian alliances is that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. With the 38-year-old Gaetz facing allegations that he was sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl — allegations he has vehemently denied — Greene is rising to his defense just as he recently rose to hers.

Gaetz finds himself caught up in a broad sexual trafficking investigation being carried out by the U.S. Department of Justice. The far-right GOP congressman and devout Trump supporter is not the main target of the probe, but the allegation that he had a sexual relationship with an under-age girl and paid her to travel with him is one of the things the DOJ is investigating.

The brash and snarky Gaetz has alienated a lot of people on Capitol Hill, including fellow Republicans — and he has been quick to attack others in his party for being insufficiently devoted to Trump. But Greene, on March 31, proudly expressed her support for Gaetz.

The far-right congresswoman and QAnon supporter tweeted, “Remember all the conspiracy theories and lies like Trump/Russia collusion and propaganda that the media has spread around. Take it from me rumors and headlines don’t equal truth. I stand with @mattgaetz.”

Another far-right House Republican and Trump devotee who is standing by Gaetz is Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Jordan, a Tea Party activist and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, told CNN, “I believe Matt Gaetz.”