Tesla’s 2Q Sales Drop Amid Supply Chain, Pandemic Problems

Tesla’s sales from April through June fell to their lowest quarterly level since last fall, as supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions in China hobbled production of its electric vehicles.

The company on Saturday disclosed it sold more than 254,000 cars and SUVs from April through June, an 18% drop from the first three months of this year and also well below the pace in last year’s final quarter.

The last time Tesla sold fewer vehicles globally was in the third quarter of 2021, when it delivered 241,000.

On Friday, the rest of the industry reported a 21% drop in sales during the second quarter, as the average price for vehicles skyrocketed to a record of $45,844 amid soaring inflation, according to J.D. Power.

Tesla’s sales drop may be a harbinger of weaker second-quarter earnings for the Austin, Texas, company, which is the world’s top-seller of battery-powered vehicles and has posted net profits for nearly three years. Tesla plans to release its full results for the April-June period on July 20.

Like many other stocks, Tesla shares have been hard hit this year. But the 35% decline in Tesla’s stock price hasn’t been entirely tied to the company’s see-sawing fortunes.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also has made a $44 billion bid for Twitter, which he placed on hold after complaining that it has too many spam bot users who aren’t humans. Much of the erosion in Tesla’s value has occurred since Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder and then launched a takeover bid that has raised concerns he has too much on his already crowded plate

Musk has used his own Twitter account, which now has more than 100 million followers, to discuss the pandemic restrictions that forced the Shanghai factory to temporarily close during the quarter. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimated that more than 40% of Tesla’s sales come from China and that the Shanghai factory produced about 70,000 fewer vehicles due to the shutdowns.

But Tesla signaled things are getting better Saturday, saying it produced more vehicles during June than in any other month in its history. The company didn’t disclose the number of vehicles manufactured during June.

As of early Saturday afternoon, Musk hadn’t tweeted about Tesla’s second-quarter sales. But he created a bit of a stir late Friday with ending an uncharacteristically long nine-day silence on Twitter. His Friday tweets included one with him and four of his children meeting with Pope Francis.

Tesla’s latest delivery numbers came out a week after the release of an interview with Musk in which he described new factories in Austin and Berlin as “money furnaces” that were losing billions of dollars because supply chain breakdowns were limiting the number of cars they can produce.

In a May 30 interview with a Tesla owners’ club that was just released last week, Musk said that the Berlin and Austin plants and getting them functional “are overwhelmingly our concerns. Everything else is a very small thing,” Musk said, adding, “It’s all gonna get fixed real fast.”

Musk also has discussed making salaried workers return to offices and a possible 10% cut in Tesla’s work force due to a possible recession.

Supply chain breakdowns since the onset of COVID-19 two years ago have been especially debilitating for automakers, who get parts from all corners of the globe. A lack of computer chips needed to run cars’ computers compounded automakers’ problems and sent prices for used and new cars skyrocketing.

As the pandemic erupted in the U.S. in 2020, automakers had to shut factories for eight weeks to help stop the virus from spreading. Some parts companies canceled orders for semiconductors. At the same time, demand for laptops, tablets and gaming consoles skyrocketed as people stuck at home upgraded their devices.

By the time auto production resumed, chip makers had shifted production to consumer goods, creating a shortage of weather-resistant automotive-grade chips. Although Tesla has fared better than other automakers, the industry still can’t get enough chips.


© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Source link

After 2 Pandemic Years, a Summer Travel Bounce — and Chaos

At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, Thailand’s prime minister looked out at attendees and posed a question with a predictable answer.

“Are you ready?” Prayuth Chan-ocha asked, dramatically removing his mask and launching what’s hoped to be the country’s economic reset after more than two years of coronavirus-driven restrictions. When the crowd yelled its answer — yes, according to local media — it might have been speaking for the entire pandemic-battered world.

But a full recovery could take as long as the catastrophe itself, according to projections and interviews by The Associated Press in 11 countries in June. They suggest that the hoped-for rebound is less like a definitive bounce — and more like a bumpy path out of a deep and dark cave.

Some locales, such as the French Riviera and the American Midwest, are contributing to the climb more than others — like shuttered, “zero-COVID” China, which before the pandemic was the world’s leading source of tourists and their spending.

The human drive to bust out and explore is helping fuel the ascent, packing flights and museums despite rising coronavirus infections and inflation. But economic urgency is the real driver for an industry worth $3.5 trillion in 2019 that the United Nations estimates lost about that much during the pandemic. By some estimates, tourism provides work for one in 10 people on Earth.

Many places, particularly those that have loosened safety requirements, are seeing what passes for a go-go summer of sunny optimism and adventure.

“They are saying it’s the summer of revenge travel,” Pittsburgh resident Theresa Starta, 52, said as she gazed across one of Amsterdam’s canals at crowds thronging to the Dutch capital. “Everything seems so bad all around the world, so it’s nice to see some things coming back.”

“The road to a full recovery is very long, but at least we are back on it,” said Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Association in Bangkok.

Despite the roaring return of travelers, challenges and uncertainty cast shadows over the post-pandemic landscape. Full recoveries are generally not expected until at least 2024. Concerns hovered around a long list of issues, including inflation, supply chain problems, rising infection rates and labor shortages.

Before June was over, chaos had come to define travel in the summer of 2022. Airports and airlines that had cut back during the depths of the pandemic s truggled to meet the demand, resulting in cancelled flights, lost baggage and other, assorted nightmares. Spooked tourists booked trips on shorter notice, making it harder for hotels, tour operators and others to plan, industry insiders said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, too, added risk to the uneven recovery and contributed to inflation — a factor that could become a major obstacle even as other pandemic pain recedes.

“It’s really the fall season that is of concern,” said Sandra Carvao, chief of market intelligence and competitiveness at the U.N. World Tourism Organization. If inflation continues to rise, particularly interest rates, “families will have to rethink their spending.”

For all of the lifted virus travel restrictions, safety is not likely to recede as a concern.

“The most important thing for people when they decide to go on vacation is health and safety. Always has been,” said Simon Hudson, a professor of tourism at the University of South Carolina, who is writing a book about the pandemic recovery. “This is going to take awhile.”

Starting with the bright spots, the U.N. reported that during the first quarter of 2022, international arrivals almost tripled over the same three months last year. March this year produced the healthiest results since the start of the pandemic, with arrivals climbing to nearly 50% of 2019 levels. That could rise to as much as 70% of 2019 arrivals by the end of this year, the UNWTO said in projections it revised in May.

That’s produced encouraging signs in certain places, from Israel to the United States, Italy, Mexico and France. Resets like Thailand’s are all the rage. Big plans for 2023 are in the offing in the United States, such as a cruise featuring some of Broadway’s biggest stars.

Those projections are playing out on the ground, generally in places that had aggressive and agile restrictions early-on and adapted by lifting many protections as vaccinations rose and the omicron variant proved less lethal than other variants.

Foreign tourists are flocking to places like the French Riviera, where supply-chain issues are making everything more expensive — including champagne, one restauranteur said.

“It’s been summer here since spring, every single night,” said Elie Dagher, a manager of La Villa Massenet in Nice. Since April, he said, the bistro has been packed with visitors from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, but especially the United Kingdom and the United States.

In Branson, Missouri, known for its country music shows and outdoor attractions, no rebound is necessary. It hosted a record 10 million visitors last year and appears to be on pace to top that, said Lynn Berry, spokeswoman for the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Jeff Johnson, co-owner of Shepherd of the Hills adventure park, attributes that to a short shutdown in 2020, a loyal customer base drawn from nearby states and cities like St. Louis and Kansas City. “When we reopened,” he said, “it never slowed down.”

In Italy, tourists — especially from the United States — returned this year in droves. The run-up to Easter was especially notable in Rome, reflecting pent-up demand to visit perennial all-star sites like the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum.

“There’s a huge craving to travel, just like popping a (cork) from a bottle,” said Bernabò Bocca, president of the national hotel association Federalberghi. The moment Italy loosened safety measures in April, “a tsunami of bookings arrived from the United States at a speed never seen before.”

Hopes are high for Thailand, too, in the wake of its announcement last month that the country was dropping virtually all requirements other than proof of vaccination, or in its absence, a negative coronavirus test.

Already the return of tourists has breathed new life into local tourism. Bangkok’s famous backpacker street, Khao San Road, almost deserted last year, is getting up to 5,000 visitors a day — promising numbers but a far cry from the 30,000 daily visitors before the pandemic, according to Ruangwattanakul, the business association president.

Thailand is an instructive look at the struggle to recover, with China a major factor. By 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for a quarter of foreign arrivals in Thailand, but there are no signs that they will return in such numbers.

The fitful nature of the post-pandemic climb could be seen from Israel to India.

“I think we are moving in the right direction,” said restaurant owner Vaibhav Khulbe in Dharmsala, India, where 4 million visitors are expected in country this year, compared to 11 million in 2019.

As elsewhere in the world, Israel is struggling to match its record-setting tourism of 2019, when 4.5 million people visited. Despite lifting all restrictions, Israel expects less than half that — about 2 million visitors — this year, Tourism Ministry officials say. Added to the other concerns, political strife is an issue after a wave of deadly Palestinian violence inside Israel in the spring, along with the collapse of the government last month.

Still, the ministry is reporting a steady, though gradual, climb. An unusual convergence of springtime religious holidays for Jews, Christians and Muslims helped boost visitors in April. By May, the number of visitors had risen to about 57% of the same month two years earlier.

But the recovery has been uneven for many, particularly in the occupied West Bank.

“We were expecting really more people to come at least this month, like May, June, but still it’s very slow,” said Wisam Salsaa, manager of The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, the storied ancient city where President Joe Biden is expected to visit in July during a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Designed by London-based artist Banksy and brimming with color, the hotel is locally run and well-known — but struggling. It expanded physically during the pandemic but has been forced to whittle its staff from about 50 people to 32 now. In June, its occupancy rate stood at about 30%.

“Tourism here,” Salsaa said, “is very fragile.”


© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Source link

Millions Plan to Travel for July 4 Despite Airline, Gas Struggles

AAA predicts that 47.9 million Americans will either hit the road or take a flight during Independence Day weekend, according to a June 21 news release.

The 3.7% increase from last year, close to the numbers seen in 2019, comes as gas prices have skyrocketed and airlines continue to struggle to recover from restrictions imposed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said AAA Travel Vice President Paula Twidale.

“People are ready for a break, and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation.”

Around 42 million of the 47.9 are reportedly planning to drive over the holiday weekend, at a time when gas prices are nearing $5.00 per gallon nationwide, according to the company’s data.

In California specifically, gas prices were at an average of $6.318 on Monday. The highest in the Midwest was Illinois, at $5.435. In the North, New York was at $4.957, with the South by far the lowest, all states being around $4.50 per gallon.

Drivers should expect the most protracted travel delays heading into the weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, in the air cancellations continue to plague the industry as they suffer from a substantial pilot shortage, with U.S.-based airlines warning customers that service will be cut by 10% to 15% this summer.

The Federal Aviation Administration has pushed back on attempts by airlines to point the finger at them, emphasizing on Friday the amount of COVID relief the industry has received, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“People expect when they buy an airline ticket that they’ll get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably, and affordably,” the agency said. “After receiving $54 billion in pandemic relief to help save the airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met.”


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Source link

House Lawmakers Pass Bill Extending Pandemic School Meal Waivers

House lawmakers have passed a bill extending pandemic school meal waivers but are now waiting on the Senate to approve it, reports NPR.

Free school lunches are set to expire June 30.

Lawmakers in both chambers on Tuesday reached a bipartisan deal that increases the number of students who could qualify for meals based on income.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced the new $3 billion deal, along with Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. The legislation, called the Keep Kids Fed Act, would extend some of the waivers passed by Congress at the start of the pandemic that gave relief from regulations to monitor how, when and who gets school meals.

The waivers allowed for lunches to be delivered to students and for students to grab lunches to-go. Prior to the pandemic, federal laws required meals to be served in “congregate” settings, and families had to meet income requirements to receive free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

The legislation would mean COVID-19 rules for school meals through the end of next school year.

“[Waivers] really provided a lifeline, because in a lot of rural and suburban communities, poverty is so widely dispersed over large geographies,” said Jillien Meier, director of partnerships and campaign strategies at No Kid Hungry. “So even if 49% of your kids in your community qualifies for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program, you can’t operate an open summer meal site.”

“This will give our schools and summer meal programs much-needed support to deal with ongoing food service issues,” Stabenow said in a news release. “Congress needs to act swiftly to pass this critical help.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is blocking the bill, but Democrats are still hopeful it will get through.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Source link

Half of Americans Didn’t Save During Pandemic, Leaving No ‘Savings Cushion’ Amid Recession Fears


Roughly half of Americans did not build up savings during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey by YouGov, as fears mount that a recession could be looming on the horizon.

YouGov’s survey covered 20,000 adults across 18 major economies including Sweden, Spain, Australia, China, and India, and challenges the idea that households within the world’s major economies have a savings cushion that could bolster spending amid a potential economic downturn.

According to the survey, shared exclusively with Bloomberg, 51 percent of respondents stated that they had not added to their savings during the global pandemic, with Germany seeing the lowest rate of savings at 39 percent, while Italy stood at 40 percent.

The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada also saw results below 50 percent when respondents were asked if they had added to their savings.

Elsewhere, the survey showed that of those who did manage to build up their savings during the pandemic, just 53 percent have managed to hold onto them, while 26 percent have spent the savings on bills or other essential purchases.

Another 13 percent said they spent the cash on holidays and social events after lockdown restrictions were lifted, while 19 percent used their savings on home improvements or to move into a new house.

The latest survey comes as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said June 19 that she expects the U.S. economy to slow in the months ahead, but remained optimistic that a recession is “not at all inevitable,” despite concerns among economists that a downturn is on the horizon.

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Yellen said that consumer spending remains strong, in spite of increased prices for everything from fuel to food, and that bank balances among Americans remain “high,” allowing for them to weather increased inflation.

“It’s clear that most consumers, even lower-income households, continue to have buffer stocks of savings that will enable them to maintain spending,” Yellen said. “So I don’t see a drop-off in consumer spending as a likely cause of the recession in the months ahead, and the labor market is very strong, arguably the strongest of the postwar period.”

The national saving rate was about 4.4 percent in April 2022, the lowest since September 2008, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) published on May 27.

Separate data from Northwestern Mutual’s 2022 Planning & Progress Study showed that the average amount of personal savings dropped 15 percent from $73,100 in 2021 to $62,086 in 2022, although year-over-year numbers show that savings levels remain high, with 60 percent of those surveyed stating that they’d been able to build up their personal savings over the past two years.

However, inflation has reached a 40-year-high, surging to 8.6 percent in May, leaving Americans splashing out more for everyday essentials.

In an effort to bring down those inflation figures, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate three-quarters of a percentage point on June 15 and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he expects “either a 50-basis-point or a 75-basis-point increase” at the July meeting.

“Overall economic activity appears to have picked up after edging down in the first quarter,” the Federal Open Market Committee said on June 15. “Job gains have been robust in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher energy prices, and broader price pressures.”

“The Committee is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective,” the statement added.

Despite the concerns that lay ahead, Northwestern Mutual’s report found that 73 percent of American adults say they’ve adopted better financial habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all 73 percent expect to continue with those habits going forward, while 35 percent believe inflation will subside this year.

Follow

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.



Source link

How the Pandemic Response Changed My Thinking


Commentary

Looking back to the “before times”—meaning before the middle of March 2020—we were all quite naive about liberty, technology, the mob, and the state. Most of us had no idea what was possible and that the dystopia in movies could become real in our times, and so suddenly. The intellectual parlor games were over; the fight spilled over from the classrooms to the streets.

It’s even difficult for me to recreate the thinking behind my exuberant confidence that we faced a future of peace and progress forever, times when I could not conceive of circumstances that would disable the whole trajectory. I was previously sure that the state as we know it was melting away bit by bit.

Looking back, I had become like a Victorian-style Whig who never dreamed that the Great War could happen. To be sure, I might have been correct in my empirical observation that public institutions were losing credibility and had been for thirty years. And yet it is for this very reason that some major fear campaign was likely to come along to disrupt the trajectory. It had not occurred to me that it would succeed so marvelously.

The experience has changed all of us, making us more aware of the depth of the crisis and teaching us lessons we can only wish we did not have to learn.

#1 The Role of Information

My previous naivete, I think, was due to my confidence in information flows from my study of history. Every despotism of the past was marked by lack of access to truth. For example, how is it that the world believed that Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler were men of peace and could be skillfully managed via diplomatic relations? Why did people believe the reports emanating from The New York Times that there was no famine in Ukraine, that Mussolini had cracked the code to efficient economic planning, and that Hitler was over-the-top but essentially harmless?

My previous view has been that we did not know better because we did not have access to accurate reports. The same could be said about other egregious incidences of despotism from history. Humanity wallowed in darkness. The Internet fixes that, or so we (I) believed.

That turned out to be wrong. The speed and abundance of information actually amplified error. At the height of the pandemic response, anyone could have looked up the demographics of risk, the failings of PCR and masks, the history and significance of natural immunity, the absurdities of plexiglass and capacity restrictions, the utter futility of travel limits and curfews, the pointless brutality of school closures. It was all there, not just on random blogs but also in the scholarly literature.

But the existence of correct information was nowhere near enough. It turns out (and this is perhaps obvious now) that it is not the information availability as such that matters but people’s capacity to make sound judgments about that information. That is what was lacking all along.

Localized fear, parochial germophobia, general innumeracy, superstitious trust in talismans, meaningless ritualism, and population-wide ignorance of the achievements of cell biology overrode rational argumentation and rigorous science. It turns out that floods of information, even when it includes that which is accurate, is not enough to overcome weak judgment, a lack of wisdom, and moral cowardice.

#2 Trust in Big Tech

In the early years of their founding, companies like Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and even Facebook had a libertarian ethos bound up with the ideas of industrial disruption, free flow of ideas, and democratic participation. Legacy media was terrified. We came to see the new companies as the good guys and the old media as the bad guys. I wrote whole books heralding the dawn of the new, which in turn was connected to my confidence that more information would allow the best information to dominate public debate.

At some point in this trajectory, all these institutions became captured by a different ethos. How precisely this came to be has a mix of explanations. Regardless, it happened, and this became incredibly obvious and painful during the pandemic, as these CEOs volunteered their efforts to amplify CDC and WHO information no matter how wrong it turned out to be. The more users pushed back, the more brutal tactics of censorship and cancellation became the norm.

Clearly, I had not anticipated this but I should have. The long history of collaboration of big business with big government shows how they often work hand in glove (the New Deal is a case in point). In this case, the danger became especially pronounced because Big Tech has a very long and deep reach into our lives via location tracking and compelling notifications, to the point that nearly every American carries on his person what turned out to be a propaganda and compliance tool—the very opposite of the initial promise.

Another example of big business, and perhaps the preeminent one, was Big Pharma, which likely played a sizable role in policy decisions made very early on. The promise that the shot would fix everything turned out to be untrue, a fact which many are still unwilling to admit. But consider the expense of this misjudgment! It’s unthinkable.

#3 Administrative State Revealed

There are three kinds of states: the personal state, the elected/democratic state, and the administrative state. Americans think we live in the second type but the pandemic revealed something else. Under a state of emergency, it’s the bureaucracy that rules. Americans never voted for mask mandates, school closures, or travel restrictions. Those were imposed by edicts by “public health” officials who seem delighted by their power. Further, these policies were imposed without proper consultation. At times, it seemed like the legislatures and even the courts were utterly powerless or too cowardly to do anything.

This is a serious crisis for any people who imagine themselves to be free. The United States was not founded to be this way. The administrative state is a relatively new invention with the first full deployment tracing to the Great War. It has only gotten worse.

The apotheosis of the U.S. administrative state was surely the pandemic period. These times revealed the “political” class to be not much more than a veneer for something far less accountable. It became so bad that when a Florida judge ruled a CDC edict as inconsistent with the law, the CDC objected mostly on grounds that their authority cannot be questioned. This is not a tolerable system. It’s hard to think of a higher priority than containing this beast.

This is going to take a change more far reaching than a shift in which party controls the legislature. It is going to take foundational change, the establishment of walls of separation, paths of accountability, juridical limits, and, ideally, abolition of whole departments. That’s a tough agenda, and it simply cannot happen without public support which in turn depends on the cultural conviction that we simply cannot and will not live this way.

#4 The Issue of Inequality

With economics education, I never really took issues of wealth inequality as such very seriously. How possibly could it matter what the “gap” between the rich and the poor happens to be so long as there is mobility between the classes? It doesn’t somehow hurt the poor that others are rich; you can even make the opposite case.

I always found the idea of class itself to be largely exaggerated and even irrelevant from the point of view of political economy, a Marxian construct that has no real impact on social organization. Indeed, I’ve long suspected that those who say otherwise were seizing on class as a way of dividing up the social order that is otherwise universally cooperative.

And so it would be in a free society. That is not where we are today. And this much we know: the professional class exercises outsized influence over the affairs of state. That much should be exceedingly obvious, though I’m not sure that it was to me before 2020. What we saw was the unfolding of a coercive social system that favored the professional class over the working class, a group rendered nearly voiceless for the better part of two years.

Now it is very obvious to me why a society with entrenched social classes really matters for the operation of politics. Without class mobility both up and down the social ladder, the ruling class becomes protective of its rank and deeply fearful of losing it, even to the point of pushing policies to entrench its privileges. Lockdown was one of them. It was a policy constructed to deploy the working classes as sandbags to bear the burden of herd immunity and keep their betters clean and protected. It’s truly impossible to imagine that lockdown would ever have happened in absence of this class stratification and ossification.

#5 The Mob

Along with my confidence in information flows comes an implicitly populist sense that the people find intelligent answers to important questions and act on them. I believe that I always accepted that as an ideological prior. But the covid years showed otherwise.

The mob was unleashed in ways I’ve never witnessed. Walk the wrong way down the grocery aisle and expect to get screamed at. Millions slapped masks on their kids’ faces out of fear. The compliance culture was out of control, even when there was zero evidence that any of these “nonpharmaceutical interventions” achieved their goal. The non-compliers were treated as disease spreaders, subjected to demonization campaigns from the top that quickly trickled down to coronajustice warriors at the grassroots.

The cultural divisions here became so intense that families and communities were shattered. The impulse toward segregation and stigmatization became extreme. It was infected vs uninfected, masked vs not, vaccinated vs not, and finally red vs blue—severe indictments of others manufactured entirely in the name of virus management. Truly, I had no idea that such a thing would be possible in the modern world. This experience should teach us that the onset of tyranny is not just about top-down rule. It’s about a whole-of-society takeover by a manufactured mania.

Perhaps some form of populism will lead us out of this mess, but populism is a two-edged sword. It was a terrified public that backed the irrational response to the virus. Today the rational seem to outnumber the irrational but that could easily flip the other way.

What we really need is a system that is safe for freedom and human rights that protects those ideals even when the madness of crowds—or the arrogance of intellectuals or the lust for power of the bureaucrats—wants to scrap them. And that means revisiting the very foundations of what kind of world in which we want to live. What we once believed was a settled matter has been completely upended. Figuring out how to recover and restore is the great challenge of our times.

So, yes, as with millions of others, my naivete is gone, replaced by a harder, tougher, and more realistic understanding of the great struggles we face. People in wartime in the past must have gone through such similar transformations. It affects us all, personally and intellectually. It’s the great moment when we realize that no outcome is baked into the fabric of history. The lives we live are not granted to us by anyone. That we must make for ourselves.

From the Brownstone Institute

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Follow

Jeffrey Tucker is founder and president of the Brownstone Institute. He is the author of five books, including “Right-Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty.”



Source link

CDC Data: US Wasted 82-Plus Million COVID Vaccine Doses During Pandemic

The United States wasted more than 82 million COVID vaccine doses from December 2020 to May 2022, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports NBC News.

The 82 million figure covers U.S. territories, states, federal agencies, and pharmacies.

It also accounts for roughly 11% of the total number of vaccine doses used during that period.

Pharmacy retail giants CVS and Walmart were reportedly responsible for more than 25% percent of the wasted COVID vaccines during that 17-month stretch, partly due to the sheer volume of vaccines handled.

Also, Costco, DaVita, Health Mart, Publix, and Rite Aid discarded fewer overall doses than CVS and Walmart, but still wasted more than a quarter of vaccines received — well above the national average.

Within the U.S., Alaska and Oklahoma discarded the highest percentage of vaccine doses — at 27% (1 million doses) and 28% (4 million doses), respectively. 

What constitutes a “wasted” or “discarded” vaccine dose?

  • Doses that expired on pharmacy shelves before being properly used.
  • Doses spoiled by electricity outages, specifically affecting refrigerators or freezers.
  • Doses that were tossed at the end of the day when no one wanted the last few doses in an opened vial.

Coronavirus vaccines come in multidose vials, which means all the doses must be used within hours, once the vials are opened — or discarded.

Either way, the amount of discarded doses runs similar to other World Health Organization estimates for large-vaccination campaigns.

However, it’s still an “alarming” amount of waste for health experts to process, citing two reasons:

1) A number of poorer countries are struggling to get an adequate supply of COVID vaccine doses. 

2) Less than half of fully vaccinated Americans reportedly have received a booster shot for COVID.

“It’s a tremendous loss to pandemic control — especially in the context of millions of people around the world who haven’t even been able to get a first dose,” said Dr. Sheela Shenoi, an infectious disease expert at the Yale School of Medicine.

Pharmacies such as CVS and Rite Aid prioritized offering the vaccine on demand. 

In other words, if a person getting a shot means opening a new vial and wasting the unused dose, it was a necessary tradeoff.

CVS wasted or discarded nearly 11.8 million of its doses, or 13% of the total allotment.

“We often have to open a multidose vial at the end of the day for a single walk-in,” the company said in a statement. 

“Those vials have a very limited shelf life, which unfortunately means unused vaccine will be disposed of. The same challenge is faced by others administering vaccinations.”

Walgreens, which wasted or discarded 8.3 million doses, pointed to no-show appointments, cancellations, and open vials expiring as reasons for its vaccines waste.

And what about overall demand?

“The demand has plateaued or is coming down, and that leads to open-vial wastage — especially with multidose vials,” said Ravi Anupindi, a professor of operations research and management at the University of Michigan.

“It’s a demand problem,” added Anupindi.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Source link

Survey: 1 in 3 Americans Tried Alcohol Delivery Service During Pandemic

One in 3 Americans say they have tried alcohol delivery services since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and 3 of 5 said they still use them, according to a poll released Sunday by Get Circuit, a company that offers routing software solutions for dispatchers and drivers to simplify multiple-stop mapping and save hours each day.

Forty-four percent of respondents said the main reason they tried alcohol delivery was convenience, while 35.9% said they did so out of laziness and 34.2% said they had a desire to try something new.

Other reasons included having visitors (32.9%), boredom (32.5%), need for specific alcohol (32%), cost-effectiveness (30.9%), inability to shop in person (30.2%), and supporting a local business (28.1%).

Additionally, 4 out of 5 Americans said they believed alcohol delivery could help prevent drunk driving. The poll also found that 95.4% of Americans consumed everything from an alcohol delivery before ordering their next.

The pandemic more than doubled food-delivery apps’ business after states issued shelter-in-place orders and restaurants had little choice but to sign on with apps. The boom continued in 2022, according to Tech Crunch.

The survey polled 1,001 people who have tried alcohol delivery services in the United States.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Source link

Despite Setback, UN Push for More Power Marches On


Despite a setback at the World Health Organization’s 75th annual meeting in Geneva in late May, the push to further empower the United Nations agency is moving ahead, remaining a major threat to U.S. national sovereignty and self-government, according to leading experts.

Following some minor changes to the International Health Regulations (IHR) approved at the recent WHO meeting, the U.N. health organization and its member governments are working on new, far-reaching amendments to the global rules. Those will be submitted in September.

At the same time, WHO leaders and member governments are also developing a new International Pandemic Treaty. The looming international agreement, which is still being drafted, is expected to hand vast new powers to the WHO if approved.

Both the amendments and the treaty being negotiated are aimed at empowering the WHO to fight global health crises such as pandemics, according to U.S. State Department and WHO officials.

However, American lawmakers at the state and federal levels are pushing back hard. Experts in international law and healthcare told The Epoch Times that the ultimate goal is to impose “medical tyranny” on humanity, not protect health.

“This is just another major totalitarian power grab by the CDC, the WHO, Bill Gates, Big Pharma, the Biowarfare Industry, the People’s Republic of China, and others to impose their medical tyranny upon the human race,” said Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois.

Epoch Times Photo World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva Switzerland, on July 3, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via Reuters)

Boyle, who wrote the 1989 legislation implementing the Biological Weapons Convention that was unanimously approved by Congress, said the WHO power grab needs to be opposed “at all costs,” urging U.S. lawmakers to get involved in stopping it now.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Boyle did not hold back, calling the WHO a “criminal organization” that is “completely rotten, corrupt, and despicable.” He urged strongly against giving the WHO any more power or money.

“It is nothing more than a front organization for Pharma, the biowarfare industry, and Gates,” added Boyle, referring to billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, saying it should be allowed to “rot on the vine” and then “twist slowly, slowly in the wind.”

The international law professor, who has worked on numerous high-profile cases, also argued that leading WHO officials should be considered for potential prosecution for crimes against humanity.

Among other concerns, Boyle pointed to the WHO’s sponsorship of the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology, which many suspect is the source of the outbreak of the global CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, as well as the agency’s role in promoting COVID-19 vaccines, which he called “dangerous frankenshots.”

Boyle, who has been meeting with state prosecutors across America recommending indictments of key government officials, recently released the book “Resisting Medical Tyranny” making the legal case for prosecutions of senior U.S. officials behind what he called “criminal mandates.”

Now, Boyle is calling on U.S. senators to join forces against the WHO plan. To start with, he urged senators to create and circulate a letter saying they intend to reject any new WHO pandemic treaty that may come before them for ratification.

“Assuming you can get 34 senators to sign that Circular Letter, that would make the Pandemic Treaty Dead on Arrival here in the United States on its face alone,” Boyle said. “That then might kill off this WHO Pandemic Treaty in its infancy when next the [World Health Assembly] meets to consider it.”

The WHO Amendments

Without much media fanfare, WHO member states held the 75th World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva from May 22 through 27 to discuss major changes to the organization’s International Health Regulations (IHR).

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control describes the IHR as “legally binding.” The global health rules also played a major role in the coordinated worldwide response to the CCP virus pandemic.

The 13 amendments to the IHR were proposed in January by the Biden administration with the backing of almost 50 other governments.

Biden remark on mass shooting
Biden remark on mass shooting President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 2, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Among other changes, the amendments would have further empowered the WHO and its director-general to declare international health emergencies, even without the approval of the targeted nation or government.

While ostensibly focused on health issues, governments around the world have increasingly argued that other issues, including climate change, gun violence, and racism, constitute public-health emergencies. Critics point out that this means almost anything could come under the purview of the WHO.

Lawmakers and activists across the country spent weeks sounding the alarm about the amendments before they were considered last month.

Critics referred to it as “dictatorial” and a “power grab” by the WHO and some of its leading members at the expense of the autonomy of nation-states.

Following public backlash, legal analysts and researchers following the developments said the latest bid to empower the WHO has been stopped—for now.

According to the U.S. State Department and the WHO, the main change made to the IHR at the summit was an amendment changing the length of time for future amendments to take effect from two years to one.

Also approved was the creation of a working group to help draft and consider more amendments.

“The United States supported these amendments and was pleased to see broad support for these procedural improvements at the WHA,” a spokesman for the U.S. State Department told The Epoch Times.

Philadelphia
Philadelphia A sign on a door asks people to wear masks in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 15, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Senior U.S. officials and news reports in major media also gave the impression that this was a major step forward for the Biden administration’s agenda of even more aggressive changes.

For instance, Sheba Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, celebrated the changes as “a significant achievement.”

But independent investigative researcher James Roguski, a key figure behind the opposition to the WHO amendments, told The Epoch Times the Biden administration “got spanked” and was dealt a huge defeat.

“For the media to suggest that this is any kind of victory for Biden is ridiculous, it’s a lie,” he said, arguing that what happened was a victory for the sovereignty of nations and a blow to efforts to centralize more power at the WHO.

Roguski acknowledged that it was a “challenge” to find out what really happened. “That’s how they play this game,” he said.

He also argued that the threat is not gone.

“These people are incorrigible, they are relentless, they will never stop,” Roguski said, noting that the WHO was still pursuing amendments to the IHR to be considered going forward as well as the pandemic treaty being worked on this summer.

Both the WHO and the Biden administration also indicated that the effort to bring in reforms empowering the WHO was still moving forward.

“The United States will continue to discuss with other WHO member states proposed amendments designed to clarify early-warning triggers for international response to pandemic threats, promote rapid information sharing by countries and WHO, and improve WHO processes around determinations of public health emergencies,” the State Department spokesman said.

While the amendments did not get through this time, the communist Chinese regime did score some major victories. Among them: Beijing-backed WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was given another 5-year term at the helm, and Beijing secured a spot on the WHO’s Executive Board.

The International Pandemic Treaty

Even as governments work on new amendments to submit by September, they are also drafting a new International Pandemic Treaty that could be more significant still.

“This makes the amendments look like child’s play,” said Roguski, citing WHO language on “One Health, all of society approach.”

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo A sign of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Boyle, the international law professor, said it seemed like the withdrawn IHR amendments might be simply rolled into the new pandemic treaty, as well as other policies aimed at making the WHO far more powerful.

In Congress, critics are also sounding the alarm about the treaty.

“The WHO’s radical ‘pandemic treaty’ is a dangerous globalist overreach,” said U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) while announcing a new bill to rein in the global agency. “The United States of America must never give more power to the WHO.”

“The WHO is a puppet for Xi Jinping, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and helped Beijing cover up the origins of COVID-19,” the senator continued, adding that public health policy for America should be decided by Americans rather than “globalist puppets working for Communist China.”

Leading WHO figures have been open about their desire to further empower the U.N. agency using the proposed pandemic treaty.

“We need stronger systems and tools,” opined WHO Director-General Tedros, who has proposed everything from sanctions on nations that defy the WHO to tighter controls over “misinformation” online.

Earlier this year, outlining his plans to the WHO Executive Committee, Tedros said it was a priority to “urgently strengthen WHO as the leading and directing authority on global health, at the center of the global health architecture.”

“We are one world, we have one health, we are one WHO,” he added.

Entrenching the sort of policy responses prescribed by the WHO during the recent COVID crisis is also on the agenda, according to leading figures involved in the process.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and administrator of the United Nations Development Program, speaks with reporters on April 14, 2016. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

“On an ongoing basis, every country must utilize all the public health tools available to curb transmission,” said former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, co-chair of the WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, in recent comments about what the new agreement should accomplish. “That’s masking, it’s social distancing, it’s testing and contact tracing, it’s isolation and quarantine, it’s the proven menu for endeavoring to stop transmission of a disease.”

Clark and the pandemic panel also recommended vast new powers and authorities for the WHO, in addition to greater financial and political independence for the organization. The panel even called for the WHO to begin setting “benchmark” standards for national healthcare systems.

Clark did not respond to requests for comment from The Epoch Times by press time.

The State Department did not respond to questions about whether it would seek to add the Biden administration’s amendment proposals into the upcoming treaty, but confirmed to The Epoch Times that it was engaged in the process.

European governments have been more open about their views. The Council of the European Union, representing the body’s 27 member states, declared that the objective was a stronger WHO to serve “as the coordinating authority on global health matters.”

Meanwhile, the WHO downplayed its own role in the process. “WHO’s Member States will ultimately determine the goal of such an instrument,” a spokesman for the global agency told The Epoch Times.

According to the WHO spokesman, the agreement is expected “to promote global collaboration to prevent, prepare for and respond to crises in the future, and prevent a repeat of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The spokesman also said that it was expected that the agreement would “strengthen healthcare, starting at the community level,” while calling on the international community to “work together” to mitigate the impact of another virus like SARS-CoV-2.

End Goal: Global Tyranny?

Lawmakers, legal experts, and leading medical professionals are sounding the alarm about what they see as the ultimate objective of the WHO’s efforts: centralized global control over humanity.

Dr. Peter McCullough, chief of the Division of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, and author John Leake, co-authors of the new book “The Courage to Face COVID-19 Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex,” warned that there were shadowy forces at work behind the scenes.

“The World Health Organization is a key component of what we refer to in our new book as the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex,” they said in emailed comments to The Epoch Times. “Akin to the ‘military-industrial complex’ that President Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address, the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex (whose agenda is set by the Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum) aspires to establish global, centralized government by way of public health policy, especially in response to emerging infectious diseases—real, perceived, exaggerated, and fabricated.”

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo Dr. Peter McCullough in New York on Dec. 24, 2021. (Jack Wang/The Epoch Times)

Numerous other experts, doctors, and attorneys who spoke with The Epoch Times for this story also said the WHO was seeking to infringe on the rights of people under the guise of keeping them safe and healthy.

Political resistance is growing rapidly in the United States, too.

At the state level, lawmakers nationwide are in discussions about how to block the WHO’s moves in their jurisdictions.

The Kansas Senate passed a resolution that “strongly disapproved” of the organization’s efforts, saying they were aimed at usurping national sovereignty and placing the Unites States under “the control of an unelected international organization that is wholly unaccountable to the people of this country.”

In Washington, lawmakers are working as well. Bills that would defund the WHO and even withdraw the United States from the UN are gaining sponsors amid a growing public outcry over the WHO’s plans. Numerous members of the House and Senate, including the Freedom Caucus, have urged the Biden administration to resume the U.S. withdrawal initiated by President Donald Trump.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been publicly warning that the WHO is trying to create a “world government” with the power to impose mandates similar to those used during the COVID pandemic.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body is meeting this week to work on the pandemic treaty as the WHO works to engage “all stakeholders,” a WHO spokesman told The Epoch Times.

The goal is to have a draft of the proposed treaty by August.

Alex Newman

Follow

Alex Newman is a freelance contributor.

Newman is an award-winning international journalist, educator, author, and consultant who co-wrote the book “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children.” He is the executive director of Public School Exit, serves as CEO of Liberty Sentinel Media, and writes for diverse publications in the United States and abroad.



Source link

Monkeypox ‘Community Spread’ Causing Fear in Global Population

The recent spread of monkeypox among people around the world is fueling fears of another global pandemic like COVID-19.

”We don’t want people to panic or be afraid and think that it’s like COVID or maybe worse,” CNBC reported that Sylvie Briand, the World Health Organization’s director of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, said in a briefing on the outbreak Monday.

”This monkeypox disease is not COVID-19, it is a different virus.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States as of Friday afternoon. California and New York have five each, Colorado, Illinois and Utah have two confirmed cases each, and Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington state have one case each.

A Florida case is also counted, although the person tested positive in the United Kingdom, according to the agency.

The rare infection can be spread when a person comes into contact with an infected animal, person, or materials contaminated with the virus, a CDC fact sheet said.

It can spread between people ”primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.”

CNN reported Friday that there are 643 cases of monkeypox in dozens of countries where the virus was previously not encountered, indicating that it may have been spreading undetected for some time.

“The sudden appearance of monkeypox in many countries at the same time suggests there may have been undetected transmission for some time,” CNN reported that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

The virus is more common and has been circulating for decades in West and Central Africa, where research indicates ”sustained human to human transmission since at least 2017.”

”The public health risk could become high if this virus exploits the opportunity to establish itself as a human pathogen and spreads to groups at higher risk of severe disease such as young children and immunosuppressed persons,” the WHO said in a news release earlier this week. 

”A large part of the population is vulnerable to monkeypox virus, as smallpox vaccination, which confers some cross-protection, has been discontinued since 1980 or earlier in some countries.”

While it is not yet clear how the virus spread to other countries, the CDC reports that ”cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men.”

According to the CDC, monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than those of smallpox, beginning with headache, fever, muscle aches and exhaustion.

Monkeypox, however, causes swelling in the lymph nodes.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Source link