Audits Show Lax Oversight by Wisconsin Agency Counting Foxconn Jobs

August 11th, 2017

From, Taiwan’s Foxconn, Assembler of iPhones, Considering Wisconsin Plant:

My guess is that the plant will be centered around robotic manufacturing and the thousands of workers thing is being thrown out there for political fodder to secure corporate welfare from the state.

And now…

Via: Reuters:

The Wisconsin agency tasked with holding Foxconn accountable for delivering up to 13,000 jobs in exchange for $1.5 billion in state payroll tax credits has a history of failing to verify job-creation claims and rewarding companies that fall short of quotas, according to state audits.

The deal to secure Foxconn’s proposed LCD screen plant announced late last month is one of the largest economic development agreements in U.S. history and counts President Donald Trump, who rode into office on promises of creating manufacturing jobs, as one of its proponents.

A May audit found the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) did not independently verify jobs numbers claimed by recipients of tax credits and posted inaccurate jobs figures online. Earlier such reports by the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau identified similar shortcomings in 2013 and 2015.

Some lawmakers expressed skepticism after the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislature Fiscal Bureau estimated it will take at least 25 years for the state to break even on its tax break even if Foxconn creates 13,000 jobs.

The payback period would grow longer if that many jobs do not materialize, the bureau found.

Trump Threatens Venezuela with Unspecified ‘Military Option’

August 11th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday threatened military intervention in Venezuela, a surprise escalation in Washington’s response to Venezuela’s political crisis.

Venezuela has appeared to slide toward a more volatile stage of unrest in recent days, with anti-government forces looting weapons from a military base after a new legislative body usurped the authority of the opposition-controlled congress

“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump told reporters.

Guam: ‘Take Cover, Avoid Bomb Flash’

August 11th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Guam posted emergency guidelines on Friday to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack after a threat from North Korea to fire missiles in the vicinity of the U.S. Pacific territory.

Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency said on Thursday its army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near Guam as North Korea and the United States engaged in increasingly heated rhetoric this week over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

North Korea did not threaten Guam with a nuclear attack, but the crisis between Pyongyang and the United States has stirred fears that a nuclear conflict could break out in the region.

While the governor of Guam shrugged off the North’s missile warning and said there was no heightened threat, the government has issued a preparedness fact sheet.

In language that evoked the specter of nuclear conflict during the Cold War, the guidelines cover what to do before, during and after a nuclear attack.

“Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you,” it said. “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”

North Korea Warns of Nuclear War, Trump Says U.S. Is ‘Locked and Loaded’

August 11th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying what he called U.S. military solutions were “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.

Russia, China and Germany expressed alarm at the escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington, while the Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would move ahead as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonize North Korea.

Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, kept up the war of words on Twitter and again referenced North Korea’s leader. “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he wrote. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Tesla Is Looking to Test Self-Driving, Electric Trucks With No Driver On Board

August 10th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Tesla Inc is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Meanwhile, California officials are meeting with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

‘You Will Get Chipped – Eventually’

August 9th, 2017

Mmm hmm.

Via: USA Today:

You will get chipped. It’s just a matter of time.

“It will happen to everybody,” says Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.”

Related: Cyborgs at Work: Employees Getting Implanted with Microchips

Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions

August 9th, 2017


Via: Bloomberg:

Steady improvements in American life expectancy have stalled, and more Americans are dying at younger ages. But for companies straining under the burden of their pension obligations, the distressing trend could have a grim upside: If people don’t end up living as long as they were projected to just a few years ago, their employers ultimately won’t have to pay them as much in pension and other lifelong retirement benefits.

Monsanto’s Weed Killer Crisis

August 9th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

As the U.S. growing season entered its peak this summer, farmers began posting startling pictures on social media: fields of beans, peach orchards and vegetable gardens withering away.

The photographs served as early warnings of a crisis that has damaged millions of acres of farmland. New versions of the herbicide dicamba developed by Monsanto and BASF, according to farmers, have drifted across fields to crops unable to withstand it, a charge authorities are investigating.

As the crisis intensifies, new details provided to Reuters by independent researchers and regulators, and previously unreported testimony by a company employee, demonstrate the unusual way Monsanto introduced its product. The approach, in which Monsanto prevented key independent testing of its product, went unchallenged by the Environmental Protection Agency and nearly every state regulator.

Typically, when a company develops a new agricultural product, it commissions its own tests and shares the results and data with regulators. It also provides product samples to universities for additional scrutiny. Regulators and university researchers then work together to determine the safety of the product.

In this case, Monsanto denied requests by university researchers to study its XtendiMax with VaporGrip for volatility – a measure of its tendency to vaporize and drift across fields.

The researchers interviewed by Reuters – Jason Norsworthy at the University of Arkansas, Kevin Bradley at the University of Missouri and Aaron Hager at the University of Illinois – said Monsanto provided samples of XtendiMax before it was approved by the EPA. However, the samples came with contracts that explicitly forbade volatility testing.

“This is the first time I’m aware of any herbicide ever brought to market for which there were strict guidelines on what you could and could not do,” Norsworthy said.

Monsanto Was Its Own Ghostwriter for Some Safety Reviews

August 9th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

Academic papers vindicating its Roundup herbicide were written with the help of its employees.

The Strange Case of Wyndham Lathem, Andrew Warren and Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau

August 8th, 2017

Update: Latham Was Denied Security Clearance to Work in France

I wonder if French intelligence suspected or knew that he was contracting for U.S. DoD or intel agencies…

This article suggest that, “It may have been due to internal politics at the institution.” Although, if it was some sort of hissy fit at the institution (which is totally believable if you have had any dealings with people working in academia), that wouldn’t explain the French government’s refusal to grant the clearance.

Via: Chicago Tribune:

Six months before Wyndham Lathem became a suspect in a brutal stabbing death in his Near North Side home, French authorities denied the Northwestern University professor a security clearance to work at the prestigious Institut Pasteur, authorities said Tuesday.

A scientific committee with the Paris-based institute, which specializes in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, had initially approved Lathem’s application, according to institute spokeswoman Aurelie Perthuison.

Lathem, 42, began making arrangements to move his lab overseas and mentioned his affiliation with the institute during a conference in Lithuania last September.

But Lathem failed to get final approval from the government and his application was turned down early this year, the institute said.

“Wyndham Lathem did not receive security clearance from the French authorities,” Perthuison said in an emailed statement. “This clearance being essential for this type of position, the recruitment was not pursued.”

French authorities did not provide the reason for rejection, Perthuison said.

The security clearance serves as a background check on scientists who will be working with dangerous pathogens in France. “They need to make sure people who are working with the materials are professional and can be trusted,” she said.

Lathem is a well-published microbiologist known for his work on the plague of the Middle Ages known as the Black Death.

When I initially scanned stories about the murder of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, I had written off the situation as some sort of crime of passion.

However, an anonymous reader sent in a link that convinced me to look more closely.

Wyndham Lathem, who is accused of the murder of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, happened to be an Associate Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern and a plague expert.

Northwestern has cleansed his faculty profile already, but it remains visible on Wayback Machine. I’ll post the text from the Bio and Publications tabs below (Disclosures says that he has none for 2015):

Focus of Work
Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis are two bacterial pathogens that are very closely related, yet cause vastly different diseases in the mammalian host. Y. pestis is infamous for causing the devastating disease plague, while Y. pseudotuberculosis infection often results in a mild, self-limiting gastrointestinal illness. While genetically similar, the distinct mechanisms by which these two bacterial species interact with the host is of great interest to our group.

Shared amongst both pathogens is a protein called Hfq, which serves as a chaperone for small, non-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs). One set of projects in the lab centers on understanding the post-transcriptional regulatory networks controlled by Hfq and sRNAs in both Yersinia species, particularly as they relate to virulence. Our group is testing the hypothesis that the similarities and differences in sRNA gene content and expression between these species may explain how a relatively mild pathogen evolved into one of the most deadly known to mankind.

We are also interested in determining the mechanisms by which Y. pestis specifically causes primary pneumonic plague, a respiratory form of disease that Y. pseudotuberculosis does not produce. Therefore, another set of projects in the lab focuses on dissecting the mechanisms by which the Y. pestis virulence factor known as the plasminogen activator Pla, a bacterial cell surface-bound protease, controls the development of pneumonic plague. These include understanding the interaction of Y. pestis and Pla with the mammalian fibrinolytic and coagulation cascades, the identification of additional host substrates cleaved by Pla that lead to the development of a severe pneumonia, and the mechanisms by which Pla specifically induces an overwhelming inflammatory response in the lungs during infection.

Northwestern Scholars

View the Wyndham W Lathem Northwestern Scholars profile.

Northwestern Scholars is a searchable database of research expertise across all disciplines at Northwestern University. You can view collaboration networks among researchers within Northwestern and with external scholars.
Most Recent Publications

Early emergence of Yersinia pestis as a severe respiratory pathogen
Zimbler DL, Schroeder JA, Eddy JL, Lathem WW.
Nature Communications. 2015 Jun 30;6:doi:10.1038/ncomms8487.
ISSN: 20411723

Production of outer membrane vesicles by the plague pathogen Yersinia pestis
Eddy JL, Gielda LM, Caulfield AJ, Rangel SM, Lathem WW.
PLoS ONE. 2014 Sep 8;9(9):doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107002.
ISSN: 19326203

The Pla protease of Yersinia pestis degrades Fas ligand to manipulate host cell death and inflammation
Caulfield AJ, Walker ME, Gielda LM, Lathem WW.
Cell Host and Microbe. 2014 Apr 9;15(4):424-434.doi:10.1016/j.chom.2014.03.005.
PMID: 24721571 PMCID: 24721571 ISSN: 19313128

Posttranscriptional regulation of the Yersinia pestis Cyclic AMP receptor protein Crp and impact on virulence
Lathem WW, Schroeder JA, Bellows LE, Ritzert JT, Koo JT, Price PA, Caulfield AJ, Goldman WE.
mBio. 2014 Feb 11;5(1):doi:10.1128/mBio.01038-13.
PMID: 24520064 PMCID: 24520064 ISSN: 21612129

Other Selected Publications

Disruption of Fas-Fas ligand signaling, apoptosis, and innate immunity by bacterial pathogens
Caulfield AJ, Lathem WW
PLoS Pathogens 2014 Aug 7; 10(8):e1004252

Lathem was a co-chair of a conference in Washington DC called, “2017 ASM Biothreats: Research, Response and Policy,” which took place in February 2017. This Google cache page mentions Lathem, while the page on ASM’s server now does not.

The final program for the conference remains on ASM’s server as I write, and I’ve included a screen shot from it, just in case:

I wonder if something weird is happening here.

Wyndham Lathem was involved with gain-of-function research on a deadly pathogen. He was also a co-chair of a conference on “Biothreats” which featured speakers from DoD and many DoD affiliated companies.

Finally, Andrew Warren, a University of Oxford employee, inexplicably traveled to the U.S. (without telling friends or family) and is now accused, along with Lathem, of murdering Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau.

Imagine the coincidence…

A plague expert, with links to the DoD bioweapons milieu, is involved with a weird murder along with a foreign national, who happens to be from the same country where this happened several years ago:

Britain: Scientists Reconstruct Black Death Plague with Genetic Material Taken from Ancient Corpses Buried Under Royal Mint

Scientists Sequence Black Death Bacteria DNA


It would be interesting to know if Lathem had any overt DoD grants.

Here are a few other tidbits to consider:

U.S. Researchers Trying to Create Pandemic Avian Flu

Baxter International “Unintentionally” Sent Flu Samples to Companies that Contained H5N1 Avian Flu

Scientist Makes H5N1 Highly Contagious

New Bird Flu ‘Has Unique Traits’

Bird Flu Researchers to Continue Work on Engineered Virus

And Now… Plague Sweeps Through al Qaeda Terror Training Camp, Killing 40

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