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 TeasersMichelle Malkin Blogview

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My column this week focuses on MTX, a “digital transformation services” company raking in hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds for contact tracing apps and virtual call centers to monitor American citizens. I interviewed Texas privacy activist Lynn Davenport about MTX’s $295 million contract earlier this week. You can watch here:

***

Look out. An “army of contact tracers” is about to be unleashed on America. Corporations, political lobbyists and government bureaucracies all win. Privacy, freedom and family autonomy all lose. Big time.

You may have already heard of the aptly named House Bill 6666, sponsored by Illinois Dem. Bobby Rush. Known as the Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act, the legislation would allocate $100 billion in public funding to “eligible entities” to “conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, and related activities such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.” The cash could be used to hunt down infected individuals, quarantine them in their homes for undefined periods under unknown conditions and subsidize a hiring spree of untold thousands of trackers from nonprofits, schools and medical facilities.

As for “other purposes,” the proposal does not define them — leaving Swamp public health bureaucrats and their pet grantees’ imaginations to run wild. What recourse or appeals process to citizens have when the “experts” get diagnoses and assessments wrong? Or when, say, homeschool families refuse to submit to intrusive phone call monitoring or forced quarantine? What are the opt-in or opt-out mechanisms? H.R. 6666 is silent on all these fundamental issues of autonomy and sovereignty. Feel safer yet?

This federally supported surveillance-state bonanza comes on top of the $631 million in Centers for Disease Control funding for contact tracing already in the pipeline after the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, plus another $75 billion in proposed contact-tracing spending embedded in the House Democrats’ supplemental stimulus bill known as the HEROES Act.

Who benefits? Let’s take one prominent entrant into the “digital transformation services” arena: a company called MTX. Founded in Albany, New York, and now based in Frisco, Texas, the small software company is raking in hundreds of millions of tax dollars to construct “virtual call centers” of 25,000 COVID data-mining agents. In Chicago, MTX has partnered with Google to create an app so residents can “pre-register” for the vaunted coronavirus vaccine and receive alerts on treatments and testing. In Georgia, the company nailed a five-year government contract for a new online contact-tracing platform. In New York and Massachusetts, MTX’s mission has spread to monitoring jobless claims and child care facilities.

Lynn Davenport, a Texas public school mom and student privacy activist, reports that MTX is “also donating its newly launched tracking application to all public school districts in the U.S.” Generous… or opportunist? As Davenport and other education technology watchdogs who have documented the proliferation of billions of dollars in invasive student data-mining schemes often remind us: “When it’s free, YOU (and your children) are the product.” Never forget: The price of “free” apps is access to your kids’ search engine queries, website and video browsing, and undoubtedly just around the corner: their temperature, weight and mental health.

Contact tracing makes sense for some types of infectious disease epidemics. But with something as widespread as COVID-19, with possibly hundreds of millions of asymptomatic people, it amounts to yet another cost-ineffective, virtue-signaling boondoggle.

Sure, they tell us our privacy is guaranteed. Medical privacy is sacrosanct in America, right? But did you know that the U.S. Health and Human Services has quietly relaxed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act data security and privacy requirements for pandemic testing sites, which will allow Big Pharma interests and other business interests to access previously protected personal health information?

Nothing to see here; move along.

If you do try to see and know more, good luck. Houston Chronicle reporters tried to shed sunlight on MTX’s deal with top Texas GOP officials and were lucky to obtain a heavily redacted copy of the company’s $295 million contract (paid with your money and mine). You know that creepy phrase “Operation Warp Speed” being used to ram a COVID vaccine through expedited, short-circuited clinical trials? Well, the same phrase applies to the adoption of these high-stakes contracts. Both anti-establishment Republicans and Trump-skeptical Democrats in Texas have raised red flags about the failure by Gov. Greg Abbott to provide advance notice to the state legislature of the enormous deal. The state took a hasty two days to approve MTX’s proposal after putting the project out for bid. The scheme was rolled out in just a little over two weeks.

 
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I’m glad the FBI was able to crack the iPhones of the Pensacola naval air base shooter, which confirmed that radicalized Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani had communicated with al-Qaida to carry out a “special operation.” Three young American patriots died in Alshamrani’s December 2019 attack. The more information we have to prevent the needless slaughter of U.S. military members on U.S. soil the better.

But Attorney General William Barr’s announcement of the Pensacola jihadist’s unlocked phones yesterday raises more questions than it answers. Why haven’t the American people been informed yet of basic details regarding how Alshamrani got into our country? Why have we resumed foreign flight training while lockdowns have put nearly 37 million citizens out of work — and while national security concerns about the A-2 visa for foreign military trainees remain unresolved? Why weren’t all temporary foreign visa programs for both civilian and military pilots from around the world immediately frozen as part of President Donald Trump’s so-called immigration ban?

In January, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and fellow committee members Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf for a “timeline of Alshamrani’s nonimmigrant visa vetting process, the specific vetting actions conducted, whether he was interviewed by U.S. officials and whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was made aware of any documents provided by the Saudi government indicating terrorist sympathies.”

The letter also sought information on “how many A visa holders were refused entry by Customs and Border Protection and how many of those refusals were Saudi nationals, as well as details on DHS monitoring of visiting foreign military personnel’s social media and any such monitoring conducted in Alshamrani’s case.”

Was biometric data collected?

Were any red flags shared by Saudi Arabia, and did our consular officials follow up on any warnings?

The three GOP senators also asked Wolf about what “diplomatic courtesies or other differences from regular nonimmigrant visa arrivals are afforded on arrival to individuals on an A visa?”

It’s ancient history, but those of us who care about a functioning immigration and entrance system remember how lazy and pandering State Department bureaucrats didn’t even bother to interview the 9/11 Saudi hijackers in person when they applied for fast-track visas. The Bush administration set up the so-called “Visa Express” program to allow Saudis to skip the lines and wait times.

We also remember that when the FBI was warned before 9/11 by Phoenix-based agent Kenneth Williams that Arab Muslim pilots should be monitored because his investigation found “a coordinated effort by Usama Bin Laden to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation universities and college,” the FBI ignored Williams. He had called on his superiors to conduct nationwide sweeps of aviation schools and surveillance of suspicious visa applicants. Had the feds done so, of course, Muslim grievance-groups would have been up in arms and hindsight hypocrite columnists like former New York Times’ finger-wagger Maureen Dowd would have screamed “Islamophobe” faster than a speeding bullet.

Government officials insist that the vetting is rigorous. But a 2017 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction exposed how untold numbers of A-2 foreign pilot trainees from the Middle East have simply disappeared for more than a dozen years. In 2014, I reported on the alarming phenomenon of Muslim deserters in 2014 who had been granted visas for serving as interpreters in Afghanistan and Iraq. “We generally don’t know who we are training. We have little reliable information,” one U.S. official told RAND Corp. researchers. Their study “found significant problems with current U.S. vetting practices in relation to security assistance.”

Why would we continue to put our soldiers, pilots, sailors and citizens at such unnecessary risk? Follow the money. The Pensacola joint training program was part of the $30 billion sale of F-15s to the Saudis — engineered by Hillary Clinton and her pay-for-play State Department.

Is it too much to ask President Trump, who campaigned on “America first,” “build the wall” and “drain the swamp,” to put some flesh on those bones and shut down the Saudi terror pilot pipeline?

Michelle Malkin’s email address is [email protected] To find out more about Michelle Malkin and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
 
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This Mother’s Day weekend, my family defied government pandemania. We drove out east from Colorado Springs to the tiny town of Calhan for a lovely little hike in the purple-and-gold-hued Paint Mines archeological district. Unmasked, we basked in the sunshine, fresh air and freedom. The park was teeming with moms like me who put family bonding over “social distancing.”

We were not alone — and that was a glorious thing.

There is nothing public health fossil Dr. Anthony Fauci can do or say to stop me from making the best choices for my children’s health, sanity and resilience. He appeared before the Senate on Tuesday to heckle states like Colorado not to get back to business — back to life — too soon and too quickly. “Needless suffering and death” will occur, he told The New York Times. “I think we better be careful (that) we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune from the deleterious effects,” he testified.

Irked by Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s very necessary reminder that no federal infectious disease bureaucrat is the “end-all” decider of our fate, Fauci warned against reopening schools because children in New York are “presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome.”

How dare you accuse us parents of being “cavalier” with our children’s health, Fauci, when you are scaring them with dubious, unverified claims connecting a few cases of an alleged mystery pediatric disease to the coronavirus?

How dare you toss around so cavalierly the uncorroborated specter of “Kawasaki syndrome” (a rare but treatable disease) while untold numbers among the 57 million K-12 students suffer from the effects of panic-induced anxiety, depression, phobias and isolation?

Here are some actual facts about Fauci’s Kawasaki hype: Peer-reviewed studies over the last several years have identified multiple theories of the inflammatory disease’s etiology, including genetic factors, environmental triggers, superantigens, bacterial infections and viruses. A blinded, case-control retrospective study on kids at Children’s Hospital in Denver investigating whether one strain of human coronavirus infection was a factor among Kawasaki syndrome patients “failed to demonstrate an association.” The Mayo Clinic diseases and conditions information website states that “scientists don’t believe the disease is contagious from person to person.” Moreover, the Mayo Clinic states: “Kawasaki disease is usually treatable, and most children recover from Kawasaki disease without serious problems.”

Now, he says, face coverings “should be a very regular part” of our daily lives.

Dutiful reporters ignore the flip-flop, slavishly acting as stenographers for Fauci and the rest of the dishonest “deep state.” “Masks are here to stay,” The Washington Post Lifestyle section chirped last week. To which I say:

Hell, no.

Thanks to a brilliant and effective doctor, she learned to confront her fears instead of cowering from them. She learned that avoiding risks at all costs carries its own unacceptable risks. Every member of my family benefited from embracing the exposure therapy ethos. We cannot hide from germs, people or adversity. My daughter has remained strong in the face of mass hysteria and refused to withdraw from the world — working, seeing friends and living life.

As Dr. Judy Mikovits, author of “Plague of Corruption” and star of the documentary, “Plandemic,” which social media platforms have banned everywhere, “Fear is a very powerful immune-suppressant.” By holding our children hostage, federal scare-mongers with vested financial interests and ideological agendas are making our most precious and vulnerable members of the American family sick.

 
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Do you know who these two race-hustlers are? If you pay attention, you know that Black Lives Matter co-founder Shaun King (a.k.a. Talcum X, Martin Luther Cream, or W.E.B. De Fraud) and lawyer Lee Merritt are Morehouse College buddies who have been partners in anti-white, anti-cop agitation for upwards of two decades.

On Tuesday, King posted a leaked video that immediately went viral of “Just a Jogger” Ahmaud Arbery, whose family Merritt represents. Dissatisfied with the results of a Waycross, Georgia, D.A.’s decision in February not to arrest two armed white men involved in chasing and fatally shooting Arbery, whom they suspected of burglary, someone in possession of the clip somehow got it into social media master King’s hands. King’s post of the purloined video has racked up more than 7 million views, whipping up instant, knee-jerk outrage from LeBron James to Whoopi Goldberg to Joe Biden to some of the same ConInc virtue-signaling simps who threw the Covington boys under the bus.

Gee, who could have leaked the video to King, such that it “emerged” out of nowhere and rocketed into the media stratosphere?

If you pay attention, you will recall that Shaun King and Lee Merritt teamed up to perpetrate the Sherita Dixon-Cole hate crime hoax of 2018. Dixon-Cole, who is black, falsely accused innocent white Texas state trooper Daniel Hubbard of raping her during a traffic stop. Her lawyer was Merritt. King “broke” the viral story and everything was going swimmingly until law enforcement released the 2-hour bodycam video showing…no such thing.

Oops.

The admitted liar was not prosecuted based on a technicality. Incredibly, King secured a job with the Harvard-affiliated Fair Punishment Project, which in part conducts research to prevent wrongful convictions and went on to headline the Innocence Project’s 2019 annual gathering. Merritt received no sanctions and went on to perpetrate more frauds and hoaxes.

If you pay attention, you will recall that Shaun King and Lee Merritt also teamed up to perpetrate the Jazmine Barnes hate crime hoax of 2019. Seven-year-old Jazmine, who is black, was slain in a drive-by shooting in Texas. Merritt was a legal advisor to the Barnes family. King used his mighty Twitter platform to spread conspiracy theories of a racist white truck-driving shooter and defame an innocent man named Robert Cantrell, whose family faced death threats as a result of the witch hunt. The real shooting suspects were black thugs, prompting King to swiftly attempt to cover his tracks and claim phony credit for tipping off the police.

The fiasco prompted several of his old SJW allies to resurrect charges of mishandling past fundraisers. King and Merritt continue to be dogged by criticism of their financial exploits. Last fall, Merritt represented some relatives of Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman reportedly shot by a white Forth Worth police officer while inside her home. King swooped in with a GoFundMe campaign for his college BFF’s client that Jefferson’s father called unnecessary, unauthorized, and exploitative.

Let me refresh your memory of more of Shaun King’s greatest race fraud hits, which have been duly noted not just watchdogs on the Blue Lives Matter Right, but some of King’s own former colleagues on the Black Lives Matter Left:

In 2014, King promoted the anti-cop “hands up, don’t shoot” lie debunked by none other than the Obama Justice Department, yet he still doesn’t care about the truth. “I’m not going to parse evidence or make some complex technical argument that Michael Brown did or didn’t have his hands up,” he defiantly retorted. “To me, it doesn’t matter if he did or he didn’t. It never has.”

 
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Schools remain shuttered across the country, 30 million Americans are out of work, and food banks are running low, but the edutech sector is booming. Silicon Valley companies are feasting on an exploding client base of quarantined students held hostage to “online learning.” Big Google is leading the way — and that is not OK.

Unsuspecting parents cheering all the software and hardware donations during the pandemic shutdown have no idea the privacy price their children are paying. This isn’t charity. It’s big tech recruitment of vulnerable generations of future Google addicts. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Google inked a deal to provide 4,000 “free” Chromebooks to students, along with “free” Wi-Fi to 100,000 families. In Kentucky, the Jefferson County public schools gave away 25,000 Chromebooks. In Philadelphia, public officials earmarked $11 million to purchase 40,000 Chromebooks for homebound kids.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai crowed a few weeks ago that the company now has 100 million students and educators hooked on Google Classroom. Bent on conquering the virtual meeting market, the online giant announced that its premium Google Meet videoconferencing features are now free to all 80 million customers of its G Suite for Education apps through the fall. Google Meet is racking up 2 million new users a day as school districts abandon Zoom, the dominant virtual meeting app that recently admitted “mistakenly” routing non-Chinese calls through its Beijing-based data centers.

But if educators think Google will provide more protections for American students than the ChiCom government, they’re blind, dumb or bought off. As I’ve chronicled regularly in this column over the past decade, the Silicon Valley giant has repeatedly breached federal privacy laws to extend its tentacles into children’s emails, browsing habits, search engine activity, voice memos and more without parental consent. Google’s information predators have previously admitted to unauthorized scanning and indexing of student email accounts and targeted online advertising based on search engine activity, as well as autosyncing of passwords, browsing history and other private data across devices and accounts belonging to students and families unaware of default tracking.

A new lawsuit seeking class-action status against Google filed in Illinois serves as a warning to all the millions of families enthralled by their pandemic-gifted Chromebooks. Father-of-two Clinton Farwell alleges that Google illegally collected personally identifying biometric information from his children through their public school-issued Chromebooks (loaded with G Suite for Education apps) dating back to 2015. His suit lays out how Google has “infiltrated” K-12 education with hardware and software primarily targeting students under the age of 13, whose face templates and voiceprints are illicitly collected, along with their: physical locations; websites they visit; every search term they use in Google’s search engine (and the results they click on); the videos they watch on YouTube; personal contact lists; voice recordings; saved passwords; and other behavioral information.

Despite signing a “Student Privacy Pledge” promising not to collect, share and retain private personal data, Google Chromebooks scan students’ faces and unique acoustic details of students’ voices to identify them by name, age, gender and location while using Google platforms. Farwell realized his kids’ biometric data was being stored in a vast database when he discovered they were required to speak and look into the laptops’ microphones and cameras in order to use the school products and apps.

A similar lawsuit by the New Mexico Attorney General’s office filed in federal court in February exposed how Chromebooks and G Suite for Education apps mined students’ Gmail accounts for advertising purposes. The New Mexico AG’s brief also bolstered my previous exclusive reports, based on whistleblowing by Missouri teachers Brooke Henderson and Brette Hay, on Google’s access to student profiles and family computer passwords through the default Chrome Sync function — which can only be blocked by creating a passphrase buried in settings that school officials never inform students about (let alone their parents left in the dark from the moment schools require kids to create Google logins as early as kindergarten).

And now governments are entrusting Google to help develop contact-tracing technology on the promise that they won’t collect location data, won’t exploit data for commercial purposes, and won’t grant access to unauthorized parties? Fox, meet henhouse.

 
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The Great Toilet Paper Scare of 2020 has come to end, but don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The Spring Meat Stampede is here.

At my local Costco in Colorado Springs on Monday, fresh chicken breast was nowhere to be found. Nationwide, bacon prices doubled. Wholesale pork prices for ham, ribs and loins rose between 12% and 32% over the last seven days. COVID-19 outbreaks among the nation’s major meat processing plants have shut down nearly 20% of the country’s fresh pork production. Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods has shuttered five facilities so far because of sick and no-show workers; Tyson Foods warns “the food supply is breaking” and “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” by May 1 after the mega-corporation idled its largest pork plant in Iowa, a beef plant in Washington state and another meatpacking facility in Indiana.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel the nation’s biggest meat processors to stay open and stave off shortages. How exactly the feds will “address liability issues” (which Tyson Foods execs complained about to Trump) and force union leaders to comply remains unclear. Whether the order actually heads off mass hysteria is also iffy. As we saw with the toilet paper rush, Chicken Little-ism is contagious. Warnings about shortages induce shortages. Admonitions of “Don’t hoard the Charmin” failed in the face of mob behavior. Same with “Don’t hoard the hocks.”

With meat prices rising, the economic landscape looks bleak. While gas is less than $2 a gallon, much of the nation is still locked down and off the streets, out of the cars and in no hurry to get on planes or trains. The latest Consumer Price Index summary reveals rising rent prices and costs of medical care services on top of spiking meat prices. With nearly 26 million Americans now out of work, signs of impending stagflation loom. That “V-shaped recovery” is more like a “P.D.” recovery: Pipe Dream.

More candor from all the Beltway “experts” about what we face would be helpful to our suffering citizenry. While we’re at it, this nation must confront the dangers of dependency on the globalized, homogenized methods of producing meat and other key products in our food supply, which is concentrated in the hands of a quarter of giant multinational corporations who press for unlimited alien workers in exchange for low food prices. An estimated 30% of America’s meat production employees are foreign-born. As usual, “Open Borders Inc.” reaps all the benefits while we’re left holding an empty grocery bag.

Just one example: Tyson fundamentally transformed Waterloo, Iowa, by working with faith-based government contractors to ship in thousands of low-wage Burmese refugees to fill jobs at the meat plant now at the center of a coronavirus outbreak. Since 2002, 9,143 refugees from 37 countries have resettled in Iowa (which doesn’t include so-called secondary migration, or friends and relatives moving to Iowa from their primary settlement location). Taxpayer-subsidized Catholic Charities, Lutheran Services and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants have reaped millions dumping them across Central Iowa — and abandoning them in cultural, linguistic and economic ghettos at the mercy of exploitative employers.

As Refugee Resettlement Watch founder and investigator Ann Corcoran reports, “The dark underbelly of the giant globalist meatpacking industry in the US is being exposed as large numbers of slaughterhouse workers are creating US hotspots for the spread of the Chinese virus.”

A decentralized system of meat and poultry production would enhance food security, national security and public health. Demographic conquest fueled by big business’ insatiable appetite for cheap labor, by contrast, is making us sick to our stomachs in more ways than one.

Michelle Malkin’s email address is [email protected] To find out more about Michelle Malkin and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.