FBI Responds to Kidnapping by Killing the Innocent Hostage—Criminals Just Fine

hostagehostage

Houston – A community is shocked and searching for answers after an innocent father was tied up and taken hostage by men who claimed they were with “the cartel,” and then shot and killed by the same FBI agents who were supposed to rescue him.

Ulises Villadares was at home with his 12-year-old son when two men forced their way into the house with guns and took both Villadares and his son hostage. According to a report from Click2Houston, the men started by tying up the home’s residents and then searching for Villadares’ brother, who they claimed owed them $8,000.

The men then took Villadares from the home, leaving his son alone. They left the young boy tied up and told him that if he called the police, they would kill his father. The report noted that the boy was eventually able to free himself, and he reached out to a neighbor who let him call his uncle.

The uncle then received a call from an unknown number, with a man on the line claiming that he was with “El Cartel Del Golfo,” and that Villadares was being held for a ransom of $20,000. While the men who kidnapped him repeatedly said that they would kill him if anyone contacted police, it was not the gang members who murdered Villadares.

The Conroe Police Department was called, and they reached out to the FBI for assistance with the hostage situation. FBI agents tracked the anonymous call Villadares’ brother received to a nearby Best Western hotel.

Jimmy Tony Sanchez, 38, and Nicholas Chase Cunningham, 42, were arrested at the hotel, according to the report, and they now face charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Cunningham told the officers that Villadares was being held at his girlfriend’s house.

However, the details of what happened when officers arrived at the house, and why they opened fire on Villadares when he was tied up, are still not clear. Click2Houston reported:

“Investigators and the FBI went to the house where FBI agents made entry into the home where Villadares was being held. Court records indicate that authorities found Villadares’ with his hands bound with tape. According to sources, FBI agents accidentally shot Villadares. He was taken to LBJ Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

Neighbors told Click2Houston that they heard multiple gunshots around 3 a.m. on Thursday. “We just heard gunshots. It was like four, pop, pop, pops,” one neighbor said.

Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis told KHOU News that Villadares’ son is in CPS custody and had not yet been told about this dad’s murder.

“The system failed, whether it was accidental or not, the man is not going home to his family,” Dupuis said.

The two men who kidnapped Villadares and the girlfriend who allowed him to stay as a hostage in her home could face capital murder charges—even though they did not shoot the man, according to Dupuis.

During a press conference, Houston FBI Public Affairs Officer Christina Garza admitted that there were several people in the home, including two children, when the FBI agents entered, and opened fire on Villadares.

The names of the FBI agent who is responsible for shooting and killing Ulises Villadares has not yet been released, and it is not clear if he will face any charges.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/fbi-shoots-and-kills-hostage/

Pakistan responds angrily to Trump tweet accusing of ‘lies & deceit’, summons US ambassador

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

    

Pakistan lashed out Monday after President Trump accused its leaders of “lies & deceit” and suggested the United States would withdraw financial assistance to the nuclear-armed nation it once saw as a key ally against terrorism.

U.S. Ambassador David Hale was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the president’s statement, U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said. Pakistan lodged a strongly worded protest and asked for clarification about Trump’s comments, according to two foreign office officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, called a Cabinet meeting for Tuesday and a meeting of the National Security Committee on Wednesday to discuss Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet.

It was the president’s latest broadside against Pakistan after a speech in August in which he demanded its leaders crack down on the safe havens enjoyed by Taliban militants fighting U.S.-backed forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s face was plastered across TV channels in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif went on Geo TV, the country’s biggest news channel, to respond.

“We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said.

He said that Trump was disappointed that the U.S. was losing its 16-year war in Afghanistan and trying to blame Pakistan. He also said Pakistan was “ready to publicly provide every detail of the U.S. aid that it has received.”

Pakistani officials maintain the billions it has received from the U.S. were mainly reimbursements for supporting U.S.-led coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban regime that sheltered Al Qaeda.

Opposition politician Shireen Mazari called Trump “shameless.”

“We have sacrificed our citizens & soldiers fighting [your] war which we [should] never have done,” Mazari said.

Afghan officials have cheered Trump’s tough talk against Pakistan, which Kabul accuses of sponsoring terrorist attacks on Afghan soil. But some analysts say Trump is playing a dangerous game by challenging Pakistan’s security establishment, which many U.S. officials view as essential to forging a peace agreement with the Taliban.

Still, Pakistan has periodically taken steps to show it is cooperating against militants. In October, security forces freed two hostages, including an American woman, held by a Taliban-linked group for five years.

On Monday, Pakistan passed an order prohibiting donations to people and groups under United Nations Security Council sanctions. The move was seen as targeting Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, who runs a high-profile political organization in Pakistan despite a $10-million reward issued by the U.S. for information leading to his conviction.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/372832-Pakistan-responds-angrily-to-Trump-tweet-accusing-of-lies-deceit-summons-US-ambassador

WATCH: GRPD Union President Responds to Video of Handcuffing of 11-Year-Old and Chief’s Comments

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The fallout continues after an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed and held at gunpoint earlier this month by Grand Rapids Police officers during a search for a stabbing suspect.

The Grand Rapids Police Union president spoke to FOX 17 about the issue, after Police Chief David Rahinsky called the incident “nauseating” and said changes need to be made within the department.

Union president Andy Bingel represents the nearly 250 officers that work for the department. He says the officers are in disbelief over how the situation has been handled and adds that “unrepairable damage” has been done between Chief Rahinsky and his officers.

The story has gained national attention. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Chief Rahinsky released a short clip of body camera footage showing 11-year-old Honestie Hodges held at gunpoint and placed in handcuffs during a search for a suspect on Dec. 6.

“I was in disbelief,” said Bingel. “I’m speaking on behalf of the members, because we are all in disbelief.”

Bingel says it was the chief’s statements in that press conference that struck a nerve.

“What you will see on the body worn camera is the juvenile was treated the same way we would’ve treated any adult,” said Rahinsky. “When you’re dealing with an 11-year-old, it’s inappropriate.”

“I don’t know why he made those comments the way he made them,” said Bingel. “I really don’t, and it’s really baffling for all the membership.”

Bingel says the chief did not speak to the officers involved in the incident before that press conference.

“I think the chief should’ve taken a step back and talked to his command staff,” said Bingel. “He’s surrounded by a lot of great command, experienced command ,and he really didn’t seek much input. I think there’s been a lot of damage done, and I don’t think he acted quick enough to restore that.”

Some officers in the union believe “unrepairable damage” has been made. “That’s accurate,” said Bingel. “But you never want to give up hope, right?”

Bingel has 27 years in law enforcement on his resume and says the officers on scene that night were following protocol. He says that original video clip shown gives an incomplete picture of what really happened.

“They were furious that only a small portion was shown without the interaction they had with Honestie after the fact and how they talked to the mom and how they explained things to her,” said Bingel. “When you guys first saw it, they show Honestie being put in handcuffs, screaming, and then that’s it. That leaves only the imagination to wonder what happened next.”

Bingel agrees with Chief Rahinsky that changes need to be made, but for a different reason.

“I think communication is the number one change that needs to be improved upon,” said Bingel. “We need better communication with our commissioners, with our mayor, and with the community. We just need to remember that we’ve got a job to do, and we can’t let this distraction take away from serving the citizens. I don’t expect people outside of law enforcement to understand everything we do. As hard as they might try to understand, they’re not going to, and I think we need to realize that.”

While Bingel says many of the officers in the union feel that enough damage has been made, he is open to meeting with the chief to restore those bonds. He also says there’s a huge disconnect between the police department and city hall and wants to restore communication with them as well as the community.

Chief Rahinsky says there is still another 100 minutes of body camera footage to review. Their internal investigation should be completed in the next few days.

That stabbing suspect was eventually found and arrested at another home near that scene.

Source: http://fox17online.com/2017/12/18/grpd-union-president-responds-to-video-of-handcuffing-of-11-year-old-and-chiefs-comments/

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Filming Cops

  • If a cop treats an 11 year old like an adult the cunt deserves a bullet between the eyes.

  • Doesn’t matter a whit what happened after, period. Chief called out shitty policing, good on him. It’s time to abolish police unions, they stand between police and accountability in this country.

Source Article from http://filmingcops.com/watch-grpd-union-president-responds-video-handcuffing-11-year-old-chiefs-comments/

Zakharova responds to Boris Johnson: ‘Impossible to imagine anything more oligarchic than the UK’

Maria Zakharova

    

Earlier the UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson compared Russia with closed, nasty ancient Sparta

Russia has never been a “militaristic” country, unlike European states, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook in response to the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s comparing Russia with Sparta.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Johnson called Athens “the analogue of the United States and the West,” and Russia – like “closed, nasty, militaristic and antidemocratic” Sparta, adding though the countries need to cooperate.

“The comparison is incorrect,” Zakharova wrote. “Not even because Russia has never been a “militaristic” country, unlike European states. The essence of contradictions between Athens and Sparta was the oligarchy as the basic structure of the latter. I do not think it is possible to imagine anything more oligarchic than the UK, <…> thus, essentially, Boris Johnson is not right, of course.”

At the same time, Zakharova agreed with another statement by the UK foreign secretary. “The wars between Athens and Sparta weakened classical Greece, of what the Persians and Macedonians made use. Today’s feuds, launched and developed by the West, including on the European continent, undoubtedly, weaken the Western civilization and expose it to the threats like, for example, IS (the Islamic State terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia – TASS).”

“The game of frivolous historic comparisons, similar to those by the Foreign Office’s head, could take him even further, and on some day, he, so creative and extraordinary, will see in his country, for example, the Lesbos Island.”

TASS wrote earlier that the UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson plans to visit Moscow the week of December 18 to discuss with the Russian side, among other questions, the situation in Syria.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/371628-Zakharova-responds-to-Boris-Johnson-Impossible-to-imagine-anything-more-oligarchic-than-the-UK

'Leave my baby out of this': CNN's Poppy Harlow responds to Roy Moore spokeswoman over abortion stance

Jane Porter, spokeswoman for embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s campaign, appeared on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. And Porter began by telling CNN’s Poppy Harlow, who is pregnant, that she and Moore were standing up for Harlow’s unborn child.

“That’s the reason I volunteered to come down to speak for Judge Moore,” Porter said. “Because he’ll stand for babies like yours in the womb, where his opponent will stand for killing them up until the moment of birth.”

What Porter was actually doing on the CNN morning show was defending Moore amid allegations from nine women who have accused the former judge of sexual misconduct ranging from uncomfortable and unwanted overtures to assault. Most of the accusers said the incidents occurred when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s. Moore has fiercely denied the allegations.

The first woman to accuse Moore, Leigh Corfman, told the Washington Post that in 1979 — when she was 14 and Moore was 32 — Moore partially undressed her and himself, touched her over her undergarments and guided her hand to touch him. The age of consent in Alabama was, and remains, 16.

“I don’t believe her,” Porter said, claiming she was “sought after” by the newspaper. Corfman, though, said that she was reluctant to go on the record, and insisted she would only do so if the newspaper’s reporters found more accusers.

Porter said she believes those reporters “had an agenda.”

“One of the jobs of journalists is to not take an Academy Award performance at face value,” she said. “You need to dig into the facts.”

“Poppy, we need to make it clear that there is a group of nonaccusers that have not accused the judge of any sexual misconduct or anything illegal,” Porter said. “If people of a legal age share a meal together, that’s frankly none of my business.”

Porter also dismissed the allegation by Beverly Nelson, who says Moore assaulted her in 1977 when she was a 16-year-old waitress at a Gadsden, Ala., restaurant where Moore, then 30, was a regular customer. Moore even signed her high school yearbook in December of that year, she said.

“Everybody knows her yearbook is a forgery,” Porter said. Nelson’s attorney, Gloria Allred, has said her client will allow a handwriting expert to examine the yearbook if Moore submits to questioning under oath about the assault allegation.

Porter dismissed Allred as “an abortion activist.”

Porter was asked repeatedly by Harlow whether she believed any of the women who have come forward.

She said she does not. “These are people seeking revenge, much like criminals seeking revenge,” Porter said.

Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are competing in the Dec. 12 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he agreed to become Trump’s attorney general.

On Monday, President Trump formally endorsed Moore, saying he needs the Republican’s vote in the U.S. Senate.

“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more,” Trump tweeted. “No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”

Following Trump’s endorsement, the Republican National Committee, which had pulled its financial support of Moore amid the allegations, said it would resume funding for his campaign.

Trump also spoke with Moore to offer his full support.

“He knows Judge Moore is a fighter,” Porter said of Trump’s phone call. “He’s denied all the false, baseless allegations. And he fully supports him.”

Later in the interview, Porter again made reference to Harlow’s pregnancy.

“Let’s leave my baby out of this,” Harlow said.

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/leave-baby-cnns-poppy-harlow-responds-roy-moore-spokeswoman-abortion-stance-155838461.html

How The FDA Responds When Asked To Prove That It’s Safe To Inject Mercury (Thimerosal) Into Babies







Background: Peter Patriarca, an FDA employee, admitted back in 1999, in a confidential e-mail obtained through FOIA, that, “… the greatest point of vulnerability on this issue is that the systematic review of thimerosal in vaccines by the FDA could have been done years ago and on an ongoing basis as the childhood immunization schedule became more complex.  The calculations done by FDA are not complex. I’m not sure if there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization policy bodies may have been “asleep at the switch” re: thimerosal until now”. 

Since 1999, an entire generation of children both in the US and internationally has continued to be exposed to thimerosal – and it is time for this to stop.  Nobody should be exposed to a known neurotoxin.

The Ongoing Saga: On March 30, 2017, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and the World Mercury Project (WMP) team met with the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues to discuss the agency’s ongoing refusal to ban thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, from vaccines in the United States. CBER is the division of the FDA responsible for approving and monitoring the safety of all biological products, including vaccines, allergenic products, blood and blood products, and cellular, tissue, and gene therapies.

At the meeting, we presented a large amount of research showing the toxicity of thimerosal in humans, animals and cellular models, including at levels similar to those resulting from vaccine exposures.  We expressed our alarm regarding the total lack of adequate safety testing of thimerosal prior to licensure, especially given its current use in vaccines approved for infants and pregnant women and its worldwide use in millions of vaccines given to children, particularly in developing countries.  Dr. Marks promised to look over the studies and seriously consider our concerns.

After many months of back and forth emails, Dr. Marks sent a letter to us on July 11th that didn’t even look like he was in the same meeting. World Mercury Project was dismayed by CBER’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From his follow-up response, it is clear that none of the information WMP provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  He made it clear in his letter that CBER does not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  His letter was simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

Below is my letter back to Dr. Marks. We are awaiting his response.

Re: Response to your letter regarding the use of mercury in prescription drugs and vaccines.

Dear Dr. Marks,

On March 30th, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and members of the World Mercury Project met with you and your colleagues at the FDA to discuss our concerns regarding the continued use of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, in prescription drugs and influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children.

During the meeting and in written letters following the meeting, we voiced concerns regarding:

  • Lack of adequate safety studies prior to marketing thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.
  • Thimerosal’s toxicity and ineffectiveness as a preservative.
  • Mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccine administration resulting in mercury levels known to cause adverse outcomes.
  • Exposure to vaccine-level thimerosal resulting in harmful depositions of inorganic mercury in the brain.
  • The California Environmental Protection Agency’s listing of all mercury-containing products as reproductive and developmental toxicants under their Proposition 65 law.

Thimerosal was removed from all over-the-counter products when the FDA issued final rules in the Federal Register in 1998 acknowledging that thimerosal is not generally recognized as being safe or effective (GRASE).  Why is this same product allowed in prescription drugs and vaccines?

At the end of our meeting, you reassured us that you would take our concerns seriously and would “follow the science” wherever it might lead you. For several months after our meeting, I contacted the FDA public liaison Ms. McNeill inquiring when we might expect to hear back from you regarding our concerns. Ms. McNeill told me that we had provided the agency with extensive information and that it was taking additional time to review the material.  I was hopeful that FDA might finally, therefore, implement the 2001 recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that pregnant women, infants and children not be exposed to thimerosal-containing vaccines.

On July 11th, we received your written response to our concerns. I was dismayed by your agency’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From your follow-up written response, it is clear that none of the information we provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  You make it clear in your letter that you do not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  Your letter is simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

You cite in your written response FDA’s mushy biologics regulations which define safety as “the relative freedom from harmful effect to persons affected, directly or indirectly, by a product when prudently administered, taking into consideration the character of the product in relation to the condition of the recipient at the time.” 21CFR 600.39(p). You report that in applying this elastic regulatory standard, “FDA must weigh the risk of a vaccine or any drug against its benefits when determining whether a product is safe. If the benefits of the vaccine or other pharmaceutical product outweigh the risks of its side effects, then the FDA finds the product to be safe.”  You further acknowledge that “the determination of a products safety is a relative rather than absolute measurement”,entirely subject to FDA’s “discretion and expertise.”  Even operating under these malleable standards, FDA should consider that vaccines are products given to healthy individuals, and their risks should be measured by an extremely high bar since they are not treating a disease.  Furthermore, FDA has no capacity to evaluate risks of thimerosal since, by FDA’s own admission to Congress, there has never been a long-term safety study performed on thimerosal in any human population including infants and pregnant women.

Vaccines containing thimerosal in the U.S. are predominantly influenza vaccines.   Furthermore, thimerosal is still widely used in vaccines given to tens of millions of children in the developing world and, since U.S. policy influences worldwide policy, FDA bears responsibility for these policies.  In the U.S., thimerosal-containing vaccines are administered to healthy six-month old infants, young children and pregnant women despite never having been safety tested in those populations.  According to their product inserts, influenza vaccines have been associated with an increased incidence of seizures and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Recent studies have linked influenza vaccines to miscarriageautism and, possibly, birth defects.  A significant percentage of influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal and studies should be done to see if thimerosal played a role in these outcomes.   There has been limited testing of influenza vaccines in animal models, however, there have not been any adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal studies are not always predictive of human response, the package inserts for flu vaccines reiterate that flu vaccines “should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed”. In addition, there are numerous VAERS reports of injuries from thimerosal-containing vaccines.  Therefore, it is imperative that vaccines administered to sensitive populations (pregnant women, infants and children) be held to the highest standards of safety.  I think parents and the American public would be appalled to learn that vaccine safety determinations are “relative” and are within an FDA employee’s “discretion and expertise.”  That discretion and expertise should actually require a factual basis, not just opinion.  Needless to say, these decisions should be guided by the precautionary principle.

I have organized the remainder of my response into addressing the erroneous claims made in your letter.

Your Claim:  The agency evaluates whether a preservative contained in a product is at such levels that when used at the recommended dose is not toxic to the recipient and that the “FDA … has repeatedly found that the vaccines currently being marketed that contain thimerosal are safe…”

WMP Response: Please show us the data used to evaluate thimerosal safety in infants and pregnant women.  We do not believe they exist.

In an email discussion regarding the use of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children, in 1999, Dr. William  Egan, acting Director of the Center for Drugs and Biologics (CDER), recommended that the statement, “The chronic, daily ingestion reported (in several studies-primarily Seychelles study) greatly exceeds the amount of mercury that a pregnant woman would receive from a single annual dose of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine”  might well be deleted.”  Egan went on to justify his recommendation by saying that the statement “…in some ways is misleading.  I am not sure that I would want to argue, for example, that one could take the allowed amount of mercury for a year and administer it as a bolus injection with the same outcome as having it spaced out evenly over the year: the issue then becomes one of how much of a bolus can one give at one time without harmful effect and this data does not exist (or at least I’m not aware of them).”  

Dr. Egan was right then and he is right today; such safety data do not exist.  In fact, many toxicologists believe that large bolus dose exposures such as those resulting from thimerosal-containing vaccines are more harmful in comparison to small daily dose exposures that the body is much more capable of excreting without overburdening detoxification pathways in the body. This concern is supported by research that found a mercury dose given acutely may produce toxic effects, whereas the same dose distributed over a period of time may give no evidence of poisoning. (Koos and Longo,1976).

Your Claim: “Thimerosal has a long record of safe and effective use in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines with no ill effects other than occasional hypersensitivity and minor local reactions at the site of injection.”.

WMP Response:  There is ample evidence provided in multiple studies by federal agencies and independent scientists that spans the last 90 years which documents that thimerosal is neither an effective nor a safe vaccine preservative.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1948 titled “The bacteriostatic and bactericidal actions of some mercurial compounds on hemolytic streptococci,” the authors vigorously argued that thimerosal was ineffective as a “disinfectant, germicide and antiseptic.”  In the review of the literature in this paper, the authors cited eight studies from 1928, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1944 all of which drew similar conclusions.

In 1975, the FDA convened a panel of experts to evaluate mercury-containing over-the-counter (OTC) products.  The panel issued its reports in 1980 and in 1982.  The FDA issued a report of the panel’s findings in the Federal Register where they concluded that “some mercury-containing preparations are not effective and others are not safe and effective for OTC topical antimicrobial use”.

With respect to thimerosal in particular, that panel found evidence from 1950 which concluded that “thimerosal was no better than water in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal infections.” Additionally, citing a 1935 study, the panel reported that thimerosal was “35.3 times more toxic for embryonic chick heart tissue than for Staphylococcus aureus.” Most of the literature reviewed addressed mercury’s lack of antibacterial properties. One review published in 1971 titled, “Three thousand years of mercury. A plea for abandonment of a dangerous, unproven therapy,” addressed mercury’s lack of effectiveness against fungal contamination as well.  

The FDA-appointed expert panel concluded that “thimerosal was not safe for OTC topical use because of its potential for cell damage if applied to broken skin and its allergy potential.  It is not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriostatic action can be reversed.”  However, it wasn’t until 1998 that the FDA issued its final report banning the use of thimerosal in topical OTC products because it was not “safe and effective.”

There are also several more recent published reports of thimerosal’s failure as a preservative.  Clusters of disease from Group A streptococcus infections were traced back to multi-dose vials of diphtheria toxoid, pertussis, and tetanus toxoid (DPT) vaccine which were contaminated after being opened.  Additionally, in 2004, a Chiron plant that manufactured Fluvirin was forced to close because its vaccine was contaminated with Serratia marcescens.   This vaccine used thimerosal as a preservative. In this case and in the many others cited, thimerosal failed to prevent bacterial growth.

In response to the reports from the FDA expert panel who reviewed the use of thimerosal in over-the-counter products in the 1980’s, the FDA published in the April 22, 1998 Federal Register Status of Certain Additional Over-the-Counter Drug Category II and III Active Ingredients. (April 22, 1998);63(77):19799-19802. 21 CFR Part 310 [Docket No. 75N-183F, 75N-183D, and 80N-0280 concluding that the use of thimerosal in over the counter products is not “generally recognized as safe or effective” (GRASE).

In the final rulemaking, the FDA states that “safety and effectiveness have not been established for the ingredients (mercury-based preservatives) included in this current final rule and manufacturers have not submitted the necessary data in response to earlier opportunities. The agency’s experience has been that under these circumstances companies have not submitted data in response to yet another opportunity. Consumers will benefit from the early removal from the marketplace of products containing ingredients for which safety and effectiveness has not been established.”

The World Mercury Project would like to know how is it possible that one division of the FDA recognizes that there is absolutely no safety or effectiveness data available for the use of mercury in over the counter products and essentially bans its use, while your FDA division of blood and biologics continues to recklessly allow its widespread use in over 100 prescription products including vaccines?

Your claim: “Under the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997, the FDA conducted a comprehensive review of the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines.  Conducted in 1999, this review found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than local hypersensitivity reactions (Ball et al. 2001).”

WMP Response:  It’s disturbing that according to internal emails obtained by FOIA, Dr. Ball never conducted an extensive review of reports of harm.  On November 23, 1998, Dr. Leslie Ball of the FDA asked internal reviewers to perform a Medwatch query on thimerosal.  Medwatch is the FDA’s database for reporting adverse drug events.   On January 7, 1999, Dr. Ball was informed by Fredrick Varricchio of FDA that there were 7000 reports containing the word thimerosal on FDA’s Medwatch.  He stated, “I have some results for you.  Problem is that there are 7000 reports that mention thimerosal. What to do now.  Obviously looking at all 7,000 is a brute force approach.”  Dr. Ball responded by saying, “perhaps you can get records on a subset of 50 or so we can look at them and get a general feel for what’s been reported before we go any further.”  In a subsequent email on January 19th, Mr. Varricchio noted that the “plan is to get whatever is on the summary for every 100th report.” This means that only 70 adverse events out of 7000 reported to the FDA were actually reviewed by Dr. Ball and her team. This email calls into question the findings reported by Dr. Ball and also suggests that an extensive investigation has never been conducted by the FDA with regard to adverse events associated with the use of thimerosal.  Would you allow any other medical product to be widely used based on review of one percent of the information available?

I am also, Sir, frankly shocked at your unwillingness to acknowledge the robust body of literature that has been published the last 18 years since concerns regarding thimerosal first surfaced within the FDA in 1999.

There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies that document the toxicity of thimerosal. Many of these investigated levels of mercury known to occur from vaccine exposure in cell and animal models.  In 2013, Jose G. Dorea published a meta-analysis of thimerosal research related to vaccine exposure.  Dorea searched major databases for human and experimental studies that addressed issues related to early life exposure to TCVs. The author concluded that: “ a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants; b) etHg metabolism related to neurodevelopmental delays has been demonstrated experimentally and observed in population studies; c) unlike chronic Hg exposure during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental effects caused by acute (repeated/cumulative) early life exposure to TCV-etHg remain unrecognized; and d) the uncertainty surrounding low-dose toxicity of etHg is challenging but recent evidence indicates that avoiding cumulative insults by alkyl-mercury forms (which include Thimerosal) is warranted.”  Dorea emphasized the importance of “a) maintaining trust in vaccines while reinforcing current public health policies to abate mercury exposure in infancy; b) supporting WHO policies that recommend vaccination to prevent and control existing and impending infectious diseases; and c) not confusing the ‘need’ to use a specific ‘product’ (TCV) by accepting as ‘innocuous’ (or without consequences) the presence of a proven ‘toxic alkyl-mercury’ (etHg) at levels that have not been proven to be toxicologically safe.”

For your convenience, I have included a sampling of 35 abstracts that represent the more current state of the science regarding thimerosal that has emerged since 1999 as an appendix.  Even if Dr. Ball’s review had been adequate at that time, surely 18 years of further research should prompt an updated evaluation by the FDA.

Your Claim: A 2014 modeling study by your own Centers for Biologics Evaluation and Research employee, Dr. Robert Mitkus, showed that “peak body burdens of mercury following episodic exposures to thimerosal in this worst case did not exceed the corresponding safe body burden of mercury from MeHg at any time”.

WMP Response:  The Mitkus study reported that the body burden of mercury in infants, over the first 4.5 years of life following yearly exposures to thimerosal from annual flu vaccines, was two orders of magnitude lower than that estimated for exposures to the lowest regulatory threshold for MeHg over the same time period. The author relies completely on these findings to conclude that their pharmacokinetic analysis supports the safety of thimerosal when used as a preservative at current levels in certain multi-dose infant vaccines in the United States. Mitkus fails to acknowledge the past levels of exposure that infants received from vaccines starting in the late 1980s and extending well into 2000, that were 187.5 mcg etHg the first year of life versus 12.5 mcg etHg from flu vaccines annually. He also makes the assumption that there are no other mercury exposures outside of thimerosal, which is not supported by either established science or common sense.

The model developed by Mitkus relied solely on blood levels and did not take into consideration the accumulation of mercury in the brain tissue.  Data from the Burbacherstudy that assessed exposures from both methyl and ethyl mercury in infant non-human primates, based on vaccine level exposures, found that although there was little accumulation of Hg in the blood with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants did occur. In fact, there was a much higher proportion of inorganic Hg in the brain of thimerosal monkeys than in the brains of MeHg monkeys (up to 71% vs. 10%). Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the thimerosal-exposed monkeys were approximately twice that of the MeHg monkeys. Burbacher concluded that “the safety of thimerosal drawn from blood Hg clearance data in human infants receiving vaccines may not be valid, given the significantly slower half-life of Hg in the brain as observed in the infant macaques.”  But that is exactly what Mitkus does in his model and reports in his study.

Mitkus also makes the statement that thimerosal is more quickly and extensively metabolized to inorganic mercury in the brain than is MeHg and that process of dealkylation “may be” a detoxification step.  According to Burbacher, who is the author of the studies relied on by Mitkus in the development of his model, the statement that dealkylation may be a detoxification process is purely speculative and has not been established.  Mitkus is referring to previous reports that have indicated that dealkylation of Hg is a detoxification process that helps to protect the central nervous system (Magos 2003Magos et al. 1985). These reports are largely based on histology and histochemistry studies of adult rodents exposed to Hg for a short period of time. The results of these studies indicated that damage to the cerebellum was observed only in MeHg-treated animals that had much lower levels of inorganic Hg in the brain than animals comparably treated with ethylmercury. Moreover, the results did not indicate the presence of inorganic Hg deposits in the area where the cerebellar damage was localized (granular layer). In contrast, previous studies of adult M. fascicularis monkeys exposed chronically to MeHg have indicated that demethylation of Hg occurs in the brain over a long period of time after MeHg exposure and that this is not a detoxification process (Charleston et al. 199419951996Vahter et al. 19941995). Results from these studies indicated higher inorganic Hg concentrations in the brain 6 months after MeHg exposure had ended, whereas organic Hg had cleared from the brain. The estimated half-life of organic Hg in the brain of these adult monkeys was consistent across various brain regions at approximately 37 days (similar to the brain half-life in the Burbacher study). Stereologic and autometallographic studies on the brains of these adult monkeys indicated that the persistence of inorganic Hg in the brain was associated with a significant increase in the number of microglia in the brain. (Charleston et al. 19941995,1996). The microgliosis and neuroinflamation documented in the brains of the adult monkeys in association with deposits of inorganic mercury are two hallmark findings in brain tissue of both children and adults with autism.  Neuropathological studies of brain tissues from cerebellum, midfrontal, and cingulate gyrus obtained at autopsy from 11 patients with autism demonstrated the presence of an active neuroinflammatory processes in the cerebral cortex, white matter and, most notably, the cerebellum.  In a subsequent study, microglia appeared markedly activated in five of 13 cases with autism, including two of three under age six, and marginally activated in an additional four of 13 cases. The authors concluded that microglial activation “represents a neuropathological alteration in a sizeable fraction of cases with autism. Given its early presence, microglial activation may play a central role in the pathogenesis of autism in a substantial proportion of patients.”

In responding to the Mitkus study, I also need to refer back to previous meetings with FDA CBER employees. When FDA assigned its pediatrician, Dr. Leslie Ball, to oversee the review, analysis and public reporting of thimerosal, Dr. Ball had little knowledge of toxicology or thimerosal.  In 1999, Dr. Ball and her colleagues conducted an analysis that was prompted by the Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997 which required FDA to compile a list of drugs and food that contain “intentionally” introduced mercury compounds and provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the exposure levels. They reported that the limits of exposure to mercury for an infant in the first year of life should be between 200-230 mcg total.  Infants are exposed to approximately 80 to 100 mcg of organic mercury from environmental sources alone.  Therefore, additional exposures from thimerosal-containing vaccines should be below 120 to 130 mcg the first year of life according to the FDA’s own findings.  At the time this analysis was done, American children were routinely receiving 187.5 mcg of organic mercury during the first year of life from vaccines.  This means American children were being exposed to cumulative levels of organic mercury in excess of federal safety guidelines.

The FDA consulted with an expert in the field of toxicology, Dr. Barry Rumack, MD, to better understand the potential impact of these exposure levels.  Dr. Rumack had a private consulting practice where he offered “toxicologic and pharmacologic evaluation of drugs, biological and potentially toxic or hazardous agents for government and industry”.  After creating several scenarios based on infants’ ages and weights, Dr. Rumack modeled both blood and body burden levels.

The models predicted sharp peaks of mercury concentrations in both blood and tissue, in a stair step sequence following each of the new thimerosal-containing vaccines given during the first six months of life.  Based on these models, Rumack predicted exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dosing American children with mercury levels far exceeding all three federal safety guidelines established by EPA, FDA and ATSDR.  There was no point in time from birth to approximately 16-18 months of age that infants were below the EPA guidelines for allowable mercury exposure.  In fact, according to the models, blood and body burden levels of mercury peaked at six months of age at a shockingly high level of 120 ng/liter. To put this in perspective, the CDC classifies mercury poisoning as blood levels of mercury greater than 10 ng/liter.  What is even more concerning is that the models developed by Dr. Rumack did not take into account background exposures from environmental and dietary sources of mercury.

In reporting the mercury exposure levels that result from thimerosal containing vaccines, the FDA chose not to report the findings from Rumack and Ball.  Instead, they averaged the exposures over the first six months of life, even though the exposures only occurred at birth, two, four, and six months of age or during four days out of 180 days.  In doing so, the agency could report that the exposures were below FDA and ATSDR guidelines in an effort to minimize concern.

In discussing this with independent toxicologists, I have been told that averaging exposures is not appropriate due to the fact that large bolus dose exposures are known to be more injurious than small daily dose exposures. If the FDA had reported the exposure levels from a daily dose perspective, it would reveal that infants were being exposed to mercury far in excess of ALL federal safety guidelines: FDA, ATSDR and EPA.

For example, my son at two months of age weighed 5 kg and received 62.5mcg Et Hg from his vaccines.  According to the EPA methyl mercury guidelines of .1 mcg per kg per day, his maximum exposure level for that one day was 0.5 mcg of mercury.  He received 125 times his daily allowable exposure level or 125 days of his daily allowable exposure. An analogy would be that it would be allowable to give my infant son a ½ tsp of Tylenol four times a day (320 mg), but if I gave him a 30-day dose of Tylenol (9,600 mg) on one day, it would be lethal. When I personally asked Dr. Ball why she reported the mercury exposure levels in this deceptive fashion, she responded, “That is what I was told to do.”

In a subsequent email to her superiors at FDA on July 6th, 1999 (six months after she had started her review of thimerosal), marked as being highly important and confidential and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Ball asked Norman Baylor, PH D, Director of the Office of Vaccines Research Review, “Has the application of these calculations as exposure guidelines received the sign off by toxicologists?  In prior discussions, the toxicologists seemed reluctant to state any Hg (mercury) level was “safe”.” Although there was no response back from Dr. Baylor in the FOIA documents we received, it is obvious that the answer was no.

By 2000, there was already a mountain of evidence that thimerosal was unsafe and ineffective.  For example, in 1987 the Commission of the European Communities initiated a research project on 10 known or suspected spindle poisons including thimerosal. In 1993, as described in Mutation Research, 287 (1993) 17-22 thimerosal was identified as a strong inhibitor of microtubular assembly, a process which is essential for proper neuronal development.  In 2000, Stajich et al.  measured blood Hg levels in newborns administered the Hepatitis B vaccine, containing 12.5 mcg ethyl mercury, and found elevated post-immunization concentrations relative to pre-immunization levels in all neonates studied.  Levels of blood mercury after exposure in low birth weight infants were 7.36 mcg/L (± 4.99).  One infant was found to have mercury levels of 23.6 mcg/L after exposure, which supports the inter-individual variability of mercury intoxication.  The study subjects had measurable blood Hg concentrations prior to immunization, indicating that risk assessment must include background mercury levels from other sources.

I also find it disturbing that safety assessments you reference take the position that thimerosal is a necessary ingredient for influenza vaccines.  This, of course, is not true.  Influenza manufacturers presently make approximately two-thirds of the U.S. influenza vaccine supply without the use of thimerosal by placing the vaccine in a single dose vial or syringe, which completely eliminates the need for a preservative.

Your Claim:   The scientific evidence collected over the past 15 years does not show any evidence of harm, including serious neurodevelopmental disorders from the use of thimerosal in vaccines. The Institute of Medicine report from 2004 concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a link between thimerosal and autism based on several epidemiological studies.

WMP Response:  A causal relationship between autism and vaccinations cannot be proven or rejected based on evidence from population-based epidemiologic studies – period. Epidemiological studies, by definition, are not designed to prove causality; they can provide only statistical associations.  Therefore, the committee’s conclusion that the “body of epidemiologic evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship…” has no scientific meaning.

Further, in the IOM report the committee admitted that population-based studies would not be able to detect subpopulations that could be genetically more vulnerable to mercury at lower doses than typical. On page 139, the report states that “This hypothesis cannot be excluded by epidemiological data from large population groups that do not show an association between a vaccine and an adverse outcome.  Depending upon the frequency of the genetic defect, a rare event caused by genetic susceptibility could be missed even in large study samples.”

What you also failed to acknowledge is that several of the same epidemiological studies reviewed by the IOM in 2004 documented an association between thimerosal-containing vaccine exposures during infancy and the subsequent development of motor and phonic tics.  Tics are a family of neurological disorders that are also associated with a diagnosis of autism. A significant association between Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and a diagnosis of tic disorder (TD) has now been found in six epidemiological studies (Verstraeten et al. 2003Andrews et al. 2004Thompson et al. 2007Young et al, 2008Barile et al. 2012Geier et al. 2015).   The Thompson study states that, “The replication of the findings regarding tics suggests the potential need for further studies.”  Tozzi et al. 2009, also found trends towards increased motor and phonic tics with increased thimerosal exposure but these did not reach statistical significance, possibly because of the lack of a non-exposed control group. These studies employed various epidemiological methods such as case–control or cohort designs, and were conducted on cohorts of children from several different countries. In addition, several of these studies observed significant dose-dependent relationships between Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines and the risk of diagnosed TD. A study by Young et al. found a dose-dependent relationship between increasing Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines given between birth and seven months and also between birth and 13 months of age and the risk of a diagnosed TD. Researchers observed that, for a 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and seven months of age, the risk for diagnosed TD was significantly increased (3.39-fold). For the same 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and 13 months of age, the risk for diagnosed tics was also found to be significantly increased (4.11-fold).

Autism etiology and severity have also been associated with mercury levels.  In June of this year, the international journal Science of the Total Environment published a compelling study from the Republic of Korea. The study identifies a strong relationship between prenatal and early childhood exposure to mercury and autistic behaviors in five-year-olds.  The  MOCEH study examines environmental exposures during pregnancy and childhood and their effects on children’s growth and development. A unique feature is that it includes five different blood samples: maternal blood from early and late pregnancy; cord blood; and samples from children at two and three years of age. In addition, the study asks mothers to complete three follow-up surveys and—when their child reaches age five—the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), which assesses autistic behaviors.

The investigators report a significant linear relationship between mercury exposure and autistic behaviors (as indicated by a scaled score called an SRS T-score). Strikingly, they find that with a doubling of blood mercury levels at four time points (late pregnancy, cord blood, and at two and three years of age), SRS T-scores are significantly higher. They also looked specifically at SRS T-scores greater than or equal to 60. Sixty and above is the accepted threshold for detecting “mild to moderate” deficits of social behavior related to autism; scores of 76 or more are in the “severe” range. In these analyses, the same linear relationship holds for late pregnancy and birth (i.e., cord blood). With a doubling of blood mercury levels at these two time points, there is a 31% and 28% increase, respectively, in the risk of an SRS T-score of 60 or more. Finally, the researchers identify a stronger association between late-pregnancy mercury exposure and autistic behaviors in five-year-old boys versus five-year-old girls, perhaps due to mercury’s endocrine-disrupting properties.

Your Claim:  Schechter and Grether, 2008, showed that California’s rates of autism continued to rise while thimerosal was being phased out from three of the early childhood vaccines.

WMP Response:  This study has significant limitations in addressing what was really going on in the time period from 1999 to 2003.  Schechter and Grether estimated exposure for each birth cohort but made no attempt to look at the actual thimerosal exposures of individual children relative to their diagnosis.  In fact, looking at the data for the CDDS for the years immediately following their study, there was a notable flattening of the autism prevalence growth curve in the 2004-2006 birth cohorts, suggesting a possible effect of thimerosal phase-out.  At the same time, however, any downward effect on autism rates would have been blunted by three national autism awareness campaigns, by Autism Speaks, the CDC and the AAP , starting early in 2005 and continuing into 2006 which raised public awareness dramatically.

While thimerosal was being phased out of the Hepatitis B, Hib and DTaP vaccines over those four years, thimerosal exposure through influenza vaccines was increasing.  In 2004, the CDC started recommending flu shots for pregnant women in any trimester.  In 2004, over 90% of the supply of influenza vaccines contained thimerosal.  Studies of methyl mercury show that mercury is typically 1.7 times higher in cord blood than in maternal blood and there are no studies investigating the pharmacokinetics of ethylmercury in pregnancy.  Concurrently, in January 2003, the CDC recommended flu shots with thimerosal for all children starting at six months of age.  The idea that children were no longer being exposed to thimerosal was and is a fallacy.

Beyond California, in the spring of 2016, the CDC’s ADDM network finally reported the autism prevalence of children born in 2004.  For the first time that data did not show an increase in autism prevalence compared to the 2002 birth year cohort.  They both had a one in 68 prevalence.  This suggests that the removal of thimerosal from the three pediatric vaccines may have flattened autism rates prior to the widespread uptake of the flu vaccine and increased awareness. That same paper, based on children born in 2004, reported a prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders with IQ<70 of 4.0 per 1000.  This was a 15% drop from the previous report based on children born in 2002, when the prevalence of ASDs with IQ<70 was 4.7 per 1000.  Note that this had nothing to do with percentages of the ASD population or additional higher-functioning children being diagnosed – this meant that there were actually fewer severely affected children on a population basis.

Finally, your focus on autism ignores the evidence of thimerosal’s associations with a range of other disorders including ADHD, speech disorders, seizure disorders, autoimmunity and eczema and the broader associations of mercury with auditory and speech impairment, nephrotoxicity and somatosensory disorders.  According to the CDC, one in six American children of the thimerosal generation now suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder. An HHS funded study found that 54% of children have a chronic disease.  What evidence have you, if any, that thimerosal is not a major culprit in the epidemics that have devastated this generation?  “None” is the answer!

Dr. Marks, I perceive you to be a smart man and sincere in your desire to protect children from harm. Do you, as an individual, not as the Director of CBER, really believe that the continued use of thimerosal in products given to pregnant women, infants and children, when it is completely unnecessary, is appropriate? I’m appealing to you as the mother of a young man who will never be able to take advantage of his full potential because he was harmed by thimerosal and other sources of mercury. It is my life’s mission, much like the mother who started MADD, to protect all children from this completely unnecessary exposure to mercury. I ask that you please again take our concerns to heart and help support our efforts instead of regurgitating the inaccurate and indefensible positions of your agency.

Sincerely,

Lyn Redwood RN, MSN, Executive Director

World Mercury Project

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Mika Brzezinski responds to ‘disturbing’ Halperin harassment allegations

A day after being criticized for her reaction to political journalist and NBC News contributor Mark Halperin’s alleged sexual harassment of female colleagues, “Morning Joecohost Mika Brzezinski issued a lengthy statement about the embattled journalist who was a fixture on her show.

“Before we go to break, something I need say,” said Brzezinski on Friday morning’s broadcast. “Over the past 24 hours, there have been more disturbing reports of Mark Halperin’s treatments of younger, female coworkers. Behavior in these reports allegedly occurred one to two decades ago, and now we’re looking at it, we’re talking about it. Mark and Karen have been a part of ‘Morning Joe’s’ extended family for years. They’re our friends; we believe it’s important to stand with our friends for even the most difficult of times, but it’s even more important to demand the truth, even when the facts appear to be extremely painful.

“Yesterday morning, we woke up to reports of unnamed sources telling CNN that Mark made unwanted sexual advances and overtures toward them,” continued Brzezinski. “A day later, more revelations pointing to a possible pattern of unacceptable conduct. I’ve spoken to and heard from some of these women. I feel their pain and understand the difficult position they were in, because I have been through enough in this business to know what I hear. We are at a pivotal moment in history where unacceptable harassing behavior towards women will no longer be swept under the rug.”

Thursday morning Brzezinski issued a short statement mentioning that the allegations had occurred “decades ago” and that CNN’s story was filled with “unnamed sources.” CNN’s story also contained a Halperin statement in which he admitted to pursuing relationships with women junior to him and saying, “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain.” Brzezinski was criticized for what many felt was dismissing the accusations which became more numerous as the day continued.

According to the CNN story, Halperin allegedly pursued those relationships via groping, kissing and pressing himself against women without their consent. More accusers came forward over the course of Thursday, including conservative pundit Emily Miller, who was confronted aggressively by Halperin during a ‘Morning Joe’ appearance, a segment she attributed to as backlash for her declining his advances. A Washington Post story published Thursday alleged that Halperin had insisted a researcher sit on his lap, while a Daily Beast article alleged he had attempted to force himself onto a female colleague in an empty office. Halperin told the Post that he denied some of the allegations against him.

NBC suspended Halperin as a contributor Thursday.

“Yes, we do remain a nation of laws where everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, and nothing has been proven or adjudicated here,” Brzezinski said Friday, “but we’re also witnessing a larger movement of women speaking up about sexual harassment because the fear of being dismissed or not believed is melting away.”

She continued: “I’ll speak for both Joe and myself here: Our hearts break for Mark and his family, because he is our friend, but we fully support NBC’s decision here. We want to know more about these disturbing allegations, we want to hear the stories, we need to know what happened. We’re not going to avoid the story just because he is our friend. We will cover it and we’re going to pray for everybody involved.”

In the wake of the allegations, Halperin lost both the book deal and HBO deal for his account of the 2016 election. Game Change,” the bestselling book written with John Heileman covering the 2008 campaign, was turned into a popular television movie by HBO. During the 2016 campaign, Halperin had said there was “nothing illegal” about allegations that then candidate Donald Trump had sexually harassed women, adding he should “celebrate this story, politically.”

_____

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/mika-brzezinkski-speaks-disturbing-halperin-harassment-allegations-122331925.html

NFL Responds to Flagging TV Ratings with Even More Activism

In a season best described as one of perpetual “fourth-and-long” for the NFL, the league and its broadcast partners today received more bad news about TV ratings and their ever-thinning pocket books. How the NFL is responding to its second successive season of protest-induced slump is an astounding decision to pursue even more fan-alienating social justice activism!

Countless fans are boycotting the league, which only recently attempted to stop the disrespectful anthem protests. MRC President Brent Bozell previously asked football fans “to support our flag and turn off the NFL” for a week. Offended fans went well past that week as they continue to turn off/tune out the NFL.

The Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy wrote, “Through Week 5, the NFL TV numbers were down 7.2 percent, according to Nielsen data. That drop came on top of a 7 percent downturn last season.”

Dade Hayes of Deadline Hollywood reports that “Credit Suisse believes CBS will disappoint investors when it reports quarterly earnings on Nov. 2 due to softer ratings for Sunday NFL games. Analyst Omar Sheikh has trimmed his estimate of earnings per share by 5% to $1.08.”

Fellow Deadline Hollywood reporter Dominic Patten noted that Week 6 ratings for Monday Night Football were down 13 percent from the previous week, to just a 3.7 rating among adults 18-49. Last week’s ratings were inflated by a surge in viewers at halftime when the broadcast featured a trailer debut of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this misery index. Fewer people are watching and the league and its broadcast partners — CBS, NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN — are sitting on thinner pocket books as the season nears the mid point.

McCarthy bitterly recounted that TV networks have tried different tactics to stop the bleeding:

Three weeks ago, the NFL’s partner TV networks refused to show angry fans booing protesting players. Now, these worried networks are refusing to show any protests during the national anthem at all.

The TV partners flushed players’ historic social justice protests down the memory hole in Week 6.

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McCarthy added that as a league meeting in New York continues this week, “the NFL clearly wants to get back to football. The league’s TV business partners have gotten the memo. Their collective see-no-protest, hear-no-protest approach toward demonstrations during the national anthem will likely continue for the rest of the season.”

The NFL has shot gaping holes in McCarthy’s back-to-football statement, because even in crisis mode, the league continues to fumble, bumble and stumble. A story by Craig Bannister of CNSNews demonstrates the continued folly of the NFL degrading its own foundation:

National Football League (NFL) owners, executives, players and union leaders announced Tuesday that they’re making plans to “utilize our platform” to effectuate “social change.”

The NFL and NFL Players Association released a joint statement after a meeting Monday that discussed, among other things, players’ National Anthem protests at games. The statement declares their joint plans to use the NFL’s platform to change society and “address inequalities in our communities.”

And that’s not all. Bannister reports that on Monday, “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell used his platform to promote Senate legislation. Goodell and Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin issued a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and three other senators in support of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017.”

It’s getting to be a full “legislative session” for the NFL, which is also addressing the gender pay gap. Former NFL receiver and now CNN contributor Donte Stallworth said this:

“It’s also, again from what I’m hearing from players directly involved in these talks, they’re telling me it’s also about the gender pay gap, it’s also about housing discrimination, they have so many things that they are interested in and advocating for and they want the NFL to take ownership in and help be able to use the NFL’s platform,” Stallworth added.

That platform is getting shakier by the day. And all this comes on top of a Newsbusters report I filed 10 days ago about the radical causes supported by the NFL and its players’ union. They’re in cahoots with George Soros and Planned Parenthood, among others.

It’s fourth and long again, the NFL is backed up against the goal line and too foolish to punt on social activism.

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/culture/jay-maxson/2017/10/17/nfl-responds-flagging-tv-ratings-even-more-activism