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Twitter CEO Says Employees Can Work From Home Forever If They Want

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email on Tuesday that they could keep working from home indefinitely, even after COVID-19 lockdowns end.

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Twitter CEO Says Employees Can Work From Home Forever If They Want
Photo Credit: Twitter

(TMU) – This week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told his employees that they will never be required to come back to the office if they don’t want to, and will now permanently have the option of working from home, even after the current pandemic is over.

Dorsey said that he wanted to decentralize the company’s workforce anyway, which has made this shift a bit easier for them.

A spokesperson for Twitter told reporters this week that the company has cancelled all in-person events for the rest of the year, and said that they did not expect to see offices open in the next few months.

“We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere,” the spokesperson said, according to NBC.

“The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return,” she added.

Other tech companies have also made a smooth transition into allowing their employees to work from home, but no one else has so enthusiastically embraced the new way of doing things as Twitter has.

Google has closed its offices through most of the rest of the year, but some employees will return to work this summer. Facebook will be following a similar plan, opening offices again this summer but allowing employees to stay home through the rest of the year.

Twitter employees, on the other hand, will be able to work from home forever as long as they get their jobs done.

Opening offices will be our decision. When and if our employees come back, will be theirs,” the spokesperson said.

Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey have made numerous unexpected moves in recent years, from the ban of all political advertising on Twitter to Jack Dorsey’s promise to pledge a significant portion of his entire wealth towards charity. Thus far, Twitter is one of the only major social media platforms to turn down advertising money from politicians. Despite years of controversy about inauthentic activity on Facebook influencing elections, the website still plans to allow political ads in this coming election season. Likewise, Google and YouTube will also still allow political ads on their platforms.

As we reported last month, Dorsey announced that he will be pledging $1 billion to help fund coronavirus economic relief efforts, and said that the remaining funds will be put divided amongst a variety of other charities. This donation is not only large in scale, but is also a relatively large portion of Dorsey’s overall wealth—roughly 28% of his total 3.9 billion net worth. The money will come from his personal stake in Square Inc., the payment processing company that he also co-founded.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Widespread, Even Among Medical Professionals

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COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Widespread, Even Among Medical Professionals
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

It’s no secret that vaccine hesitancy is at an all-time high, even among many physicians and scientists. This has actually been observed for a while. For example, one study published in the journal EbioMedicine  in 2013 outlines this point, stating in the introduction:

Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts and science. These two dimensions are at the core of vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviours and attitudes varying according to context , vaccine and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.

At a 2019 conference on vaccines put on by the World Health Organization this fact was emphasized by Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is referenced, as you can see, by the authors in the study above. At the conference, she emphasized that safety concerns among people and health professionals seem to be the biggest issue regarding vaccine hesitancy.

She also stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

We have to ask ourselves the question, why? Vaccines are not a one size fits all product, in the US alone nearly $4 billion has been paid out to families of vaccine injured children, and a number of studies are calling into question their safety. Aluminum, for example, seems to be a concern. You can and read about why here, but that’s just one of multiple examples.

Here’s an example of a vaccine injury I recently wrote about regarding the HPV vaccine.

Below is an article that was recently published Jeremy Loffredo, a reporter for The Defender. It goes into details about vaccine hesitancy among health professionals when it comes to the new COVID vaccines that are about to hit the market. 

As details on the latest COVID vaccine contenders flood the news cycle on a daily basis, reports of concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine are widespread among many demographics, even including the professional medical community.

As vaccine hesitancy grows agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), are stepping up efforts to build vaccine confidence through public relations and communications campaigns.

Surveys reveal vaccine hesitancy

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles’ Karin Fielding School of Public Health surveyed healthcare personnel working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As the Washington Post reported, they found that two thirds (66.5%) of healthcare workers “intend to delay vaccination,” meaning they do not intend to get the COVID vaccine when it becomes available. They plan instead on reviewing the data once it’s widely administered and proven safe.

Seventy-six percent of the vaccine-hesitant healthcare workers cited the “fast-tracked vaccine development” as a primary reason for their concerns. Typically, vaccines take between eight to 10 years to develop, Dr. Emily Erbelding, an infectious disease expert at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in an article titled, “The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that’s risky.”

The coronavirus vaccine frontrunners — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — are expected to make their debut in January. The pharmaceutical giants have exponentially accelerated the average safety and review timeline for vaccine development and production, to get the vaccines to market in under a year. Erbelding admitted that the accelerated pace will involve “not looking at all the data.”

Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a video that the number of physicians expressing hesitancy was “unprecedented” and “posed a real risk” to public confidence in vaccines.

A recent Gallup poll showed that only 58% of Americans plan on getting the COVID vaccine when it’s available. An October poll conducted by Zogby found that nearly 50% of Americans have concerns about the safety of the coming COVID vaccines.

A new collaborative survey project by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Langer Research found that Black and Latinx Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about the coming COVID vaccine.

The survey, as reported in the Washington post, claims to be “one of the largest and most rigorous conducted on this topic to date.” It found that only 14% of Black Americans trust that a vaccine will be safe, while only 34% of Latinx Americans trust it will be safe.

The survey also found, in the context of COVID, only 19% of Black Americans trust drug companies, while less than a third trust the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “look after their interests.”

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical experts who advise the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fears surrounding the painful or harmful side-effects of the COVID vaccine are rooted in reality.

According to CNBC, during a virtual Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ meeting on Nov. 23, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer told fellow CDC officials that patients need to be aware that the side effects from the COVID vaccines “will not be a walk in the park.” Fryhofer acknowledged that side effects from the vaccines have been reported to mimic symptoms of a mild case of COVID, including muscle pain, fever, chills and headache.

Fryhofer, who explained that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID vaccines require two doses, worries that her patients might not come back for a second dose after experiencing potentially unpleasant side effects after the first shot.

As a participant of the Moderna vaccine trials noted “it was the sickest I’ve ever been.”

Health officials try to combat vaccine hesitancy

Despite this, officials at the forefront of the COVID response plan to combat vaccine safety concerns and hesitancy using, what some are calling, questionable psychological techniques.

For example, the WHO, which named “vaccine hesitancy” as the top global public health threat, has hired the PR firm Hill + Knowlton to identify micro-influencers, macro-influencers and “hidden heroes” on social media who could covertly promote the organization’s image as a COVID authority in order to “ensure WHO’s advice and guidance is followed.”

Cass Sunstein, the chairman of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Behavioural Insights, recently wrote an article in Bloomberg in which he promoted the use of popular celebrities, athletes and actors as tools for vaccine persuasion against those who “lack vaccine confidence.”

Trusted politicians, athletes or actors — thought to be ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’ — might explicitly endorse vaccination and report that they themselves have gotten the vaccine,” Sunstein wrote.

Then there’s the “Guide to COVID-19 Vaccine Communications,” developed by the University of Florida and the United Nations that aims to help governments improve COVID vaccine uptake. The authors of the guide promote the tactic of covertly using trusted community leaders to help with pro-vaccine information.

Citing vaccine hesitancy among the African American community, the guide suggests that barber shops and hair salons in predominantly black neighbourhoods might be tapped to help disseminate approved vaccine messaging.

This article (COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Widespread, Even Among Medical Professionals) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Senator Questions Mark Zuckerberg On Censorship After Facebook Whistleblower Comes Forward

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Senator Questions Mark Zuckerberg On Censorship After Facebook Whistleblower Comes Forward
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

The amount of censorship of information taking place on the internet today is truly staggering. It seems that any type of information which threatens the status quo or any information exposing wrong-doings of or threatens the interests of governments and big corporations is subjected to censorship. When it comes to COVID-19, for example, we’ve seen a large majority of doctors and scientists all over the world being censored by social media giants simply because their information and opinion opposes the World Health Organization and recommendations that governments are making. Not only are these voices silenced and completely unacknowledged by mainstream media, they are also heavily ridiculed.

In our opinion what’s taken place and happened to not only us, but to other platforms as well, has been very illegal, unethical and immoral. It’s happened on an even larger scale with Julian Assange, for example. To think that someone who has exposed war crimes and other wrongdoings of multiple governments and big corporations is currently fighting for his life is very disheartening. What does this say about the world we live in, when those who expose crimes, immoral and unethical actions by powerful entities are locked up? It’s easy to feel quite powerless in the face of Big Tech censorship, they can basically censor any piece of content they please and not only that, they can provide a new “fact-checked” article that tells a completely different story, and then spread it as if it were truth.

In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Edward Snowden (source) (More on Snowden’s thoughts here)

Below is a clip from a recent Judiciary Committee Hearing, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gets grilled by Sen. Josh Hawley about whether or not his company collaborates with Google and Twitter to censor information. Hawley brings up the fact that he was contacted by a Facebook whistleblower, and goes into more detail about questions about censorship that Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to have an answer for.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day, censorship of information only seems to have more people questioning what’s going on. If information is clearly false, why does it need to be “fact-checked” and censored? Why is there, as I’ve said before, a digital authoritarian Orwellian fact checker going around the internet telling people what is and what isn’t? Should people not have the right to examine information for themselves and determine what they wish to believe? Why are Big Tech companies working so closely with governments to control the narrative and shape our perception about what’s really going on?

Why do we hold on to ideas even when new evidence tells us it’s time to question them? What state of being identified so strongly with ideas of the mind that we think those ideas are our identity and that there is no other possibility? Why do we become so polarized in our beliefs, be it about COVID or even politics? Why can’t we all come together and have appropriate discussions instead of having Big Tech companies regulate information in the way they do, and literally have us on one side or the other?

This article (Senator Questions Mark Zuckerberg On Censorship After Facebook Whistleblower Comes Forward) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information

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Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower) to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here.

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defence.

In no case is this clearer than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.

You can watch the full conversation between Greenwald and Snowden below, the conversation is about 40 minutes long.

Closing Comments: This kind of information almost begs the question, are we ready as a society to truly create and disseminate journalism that is honest, integral and bi-partisan? Why is it that these types of organizations fail or struggle? How do some media companies fail? Well, they no longer stay true to their mission. They fall to the pressure of politics and fall into ideology. How many other times did ideology change what media outlets reported? Yes, it’s almost impossible to have zero bias, but how close can we get to zero? How can we achieve this when media outlets that do not fit within the accepted framework and disseminate information that challenges the popular opinion are constantly being punished for simply putting out information?

As Snowden mentioned above, these Big Tech companies in collusion with governments are literally attempting to not only censor information, but change the behaviour of people as well, especially journalists. When you take away one’s business or livelihood as a result of non-compliance, you are in a way forcing them to comply and do/say things you the way you want them done/said. We’ve experienced massive amounts of censorship and demonetization, but we haven’t changed as a results of it.

…..

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This article (Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor Of Medicine

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COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies which has been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95%. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95%. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than COVID deaths.

Obviously, his comments are open to interpretation and similar comments floating around the internet have been refuted by Facebook ‘fact-checkers.

Bhattacharya has cited this study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization to come to his conclusion, along with, as mentioned above, many more.

These facts and many others are what inspired Bhattacharya, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology to create The Great Barrington Declaration.

The declaration strongly opposes lockdown measures that are being and have been put in place by various governments around the globe. The declaration has an impressive list of co-signers from renowned doctors and professors in the field from around the world, and now has nearly 50,000 signatures from doctors and scientists. The declaration also has approximately 660,000 signatures from concerned citizens.

The Declaration states,

The Declaration was written from a global public health and humanitarian perspective, with special concerns about how the current COVID-19 strategies are forcing our children, the working class and the poor to carry the heaviest burden.  The response to the pandemic in many countries around the world, focused on lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation, imposes enormous unnecessary health costs on people. In the long run, it will lead to higher COVID and non-COVID mortality than the focused protection plan we call for in the Declaration.

The declaration also states that as herd immunity builds, the risk of infection to all, including the most vulnerable, falls. Bhattacharya has explained that he and his colleagues don’t see herd immunity as a strategy but as a simple “biological fact,” adding, “It will eventually happen. That’s how epidemics end. So, the only question is how you get there with the least amount of human misery, death, and harm.” The best way, he said, is to “acknowledge who actually is in danger and devote enormous creativity, resources, and energy to protect them.”

The Declaration recommends implementing measures that protect the vulnerable without locking down the entire population, shutting down businesses and limiting people’s access to health-care.

Stefan Baral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said he supported adaptive interventions to protect at-risk people rather than broad lockdowns of entire populations. He said his mother lives in Sweden and “there’s nowhere else I would have wanted my mom to be. I love my mom and I feel she’s safe there.”

A report published in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May. According to the data, Covid-19 only accounts for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article suggests and also quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because Quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Bhattacharya has also cited an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicating that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

These are just a few many examples and concerns the declaration is referring to.

Another perspective on these survival rates? According to Professor Robyn Lucas, head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University,

Survival rates and the percentage of the population who have not died are two very different numbers, “They are using the whole population, rather than the number who have diagnosed infection. So this is not really ‘survival’ – to survive a disease you have to have the disease in the first place,” Prof Lucas told AAP FactCheck in an email. (source)

Why This Is Important: Never before have we seen so many renowned doctors, scientists, and experts in the field oppose the recommendations and actions taken by the World Health Organization and multiple governments to combat a health crises. The fact that there is a great divide among the scientific and medical community makes one ponder how governments can have the mandatory authority to lockdown our planet when there isn’t really a scientific consensus to do so.

What’s also quite concerning is the fact that big tech companies, like Facebook, have been actively censoring and flagging information and opinions that oppose those of the WHO and government health authorities. Unpopular opinions and recommendations aren’t really given any attention by mainstream media either and they’re often ridiculed by them. The Great Barrington Declaration is a great example.

Because of all the discrepancy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for governments to simply present the science and make strong recommendations and leave the citizenry to do what they’d like to do. To each his own, that’s just my opinion. I believe we are more than capable enough, and intelligent enough to determine the right course of action for ourselves. A lot of people have lost trust in their government and this is because actions taken by them have simply called into question whether or not they make decisions with humanities best interests at heart.

Are they really executing the will of the people?

When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen that this may not be the case. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine in the British Medical Journal.

It it, he states the following:

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

When we allow governments and give them the power to use force when so many people disagree with their recommendations, it makes one question just how much power do these entities have? And why? Why do we choose to be governed in such a way? Why aren’t we free to make our own decisions?

More important than facts is our ability to get along with one another and see from the perspective of another. We must understand why those who disagree with us feel the way they do, and they must try to understand us. Constantly arguing and disagreeing with each other and always being in a state of constant separation don’t solve anything. Now more than ever we need to respect one another and try see from a perspective that’s not our own. Can’t we find some middle ground and all get along? It’s ok to ask questions and challenge our governments, in fact, it should be encouraged.

Some Further Reading, If You’re Curious…

This article (COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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