Archive for the ‘trump administration’ Category

Judge: Trump Admin‘s TikTok ban would cause “irreparable harm” to creators

October 30th, 2020
Visitors visit the booth of Douyin (TikTok) at the 2019 smart expo in Hangzhou, China, Oct. 18, 2019.

Enlarge / Visitors visit the booth of Douyin (TikTok) at the 2019 smart expo in Hangzhou, China, Oct. 18, 2019. (credit: Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images)

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has blocked a Trump administration order that would have banned TikTok from operating inside the United States as of November 12, finding that content creators who use the short-form video platform to make a living would suffer "irreparable harm" if the ban were to go through.

The "significant and unrecoverable economic loss caused by the shutdown of the TikTok platform" was grounds for granting an injunction, Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania wrote in a ruling (PDF) today.

President Donald Trump in August issued an executive order declaring TikTok (as well as another China-based app, WeChat) to be a national emergency. That order gave the Department of Commerce 45 days to put a list of banned actions into place. Commerce did so, prohibiting new TikTok downloads after September 20 and banning nearly every other TikTok feature after November 12.

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Posted in bytedance, china, Commerce Department, lawsuits, Policy, politics, tiktok, trump administration | Comments (0)

How the Trump admin devastated the CDC—and continues to cripple it

October 16th, 2020
A serious man in a business suit grimaces.

Enlarge / CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. (credit: Getty | Alex Edelman)

The CDC has been neutered, shamed, and blamed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and global crisis. From internal missteps that bungled the country’s rollout of diagnostic testing to blatant political interference and strong-arming on critical public health guidance, the CDC has gone from the world’s premier public health agency to a silenced, overridden, distrusted afterthought in the US response—an agency stripped of its ability to collect even basic health data from hospitals during a raging pandemic.

The heavy blows to the agency’s reputation and role have been well documented throughout the pandemic. President Trump and his administration have openly undermined the agency and, behind the scenes, attacked it while overriding expert public health advice on testing, school reopening, and the handling of outbreaks on cruise ships, among other things.

But while the broad strokes of the agency’s undoing were noted in real time, a set of new investigations and reports offers new details. In a sweeping investigative report by ProPublica, three journalists retraced a number of events, digging up emails, heated exchanges, and alarm within the agency. For instance, it provides fresh insight into how a single CDC researcher valiantly worked to develop diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus, only to fumble, producing tests contaminated with genetic sequences of the virus. That contamination produced false positive results in public health labs around the country, rendering the tests useless and losing precious time to get ahead of the disease's spread.

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Posted in birx, CDC, COVID-19, pandemic, public health, redfield, science, trump administration | Comments (0)

White House informally endorses letting pandemic spread unchecked

October 14th, 2020
Image of the White House.

Enlarge / Nobody from the White House went on record as supporting herd immunity. (credit: Congressional Budget Offic)

On Monday, the White House hosted a pandemic-focused call for the press "on background"—intended to provide a window into the administration's thinking, but not to provide quotes that could be attributed to any government official. During the call, the unspecified White House officials touted a document supporting the idea of herd immunity as a plan to control the pandemic, saying it reflected the administration's thinking.

The document, called the Great Barrington Declaration, was prepared by a libertarian think tank with the assistance of a handful of scientists who have been pushing the idea that COVID-19 isn't much of a threat. And it has attracted enough attention that the World Health Organization decided to address it. The result severely undercut whatever the White House intended to accomplish.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic," the WHO's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "It's scientifically and ethically problematic."

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Posted in CDC, COVID-19, pandemic, Policy, SARS-CoV-2, science, Trump, trump administration, White House, WHO | Comments (0)

Judge gives Trump admin. Friday deadline to delay or defend TikTok ban

September 24th, 2020
A stand of TikTok (Douyin) at The First International Artificial Products Expo Hangzhou on October 18, 2019, in Hangzhou, China.

Enlarge / A stand of TikTok (Douyin) at The First International Artificial Products Expo Hangzhou on October 18, 2019, in Hangzhou, China. (credit: Long Wei | VCG | Getty Images)

A federal judge today gave the Trump administration until Friday to either defend its planned ban of short-form-video app TikTok in court or hold off on it, adding one more wrinkle to the seemingly endless on-again, off-again saga.

If the government doesn't voluntarily postpone the planned TikTok ban by 2:30pm (EDT) on Friday, then it will have to show up for a hearing on Sunday morning, where he will rule on TikTok's request for an injunction on the ban, Judge Carl Nichols of the US District Court for DC said today.

Nichols said that the ban, if it takes effect, could prevent potentially hundreds of thousands of new users per day from signing up for TikTok. "I don't think [a ban] merely preserves the status quo," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Posted in bans, courts, Policy, tiktok, trump administration, White House | Comments (0)

Everything we know so far about Oracle not actually buying TikTok

September 21st, 2020
A casually dressed young woman shrugs while holding the logos of two competing companies.

Enlarge / ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

It was a weird weekend to end a weird summer for one of the country's most poular social media apps, TikTok. First, in August, the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok unless it found a US buyer. Then last weekend, one-time dark horse Oracle emerged victorious in a federally mandated contest to acquire TikTok. Except, it turns out, Oracle isn't actually acquiring TikTok at all—and Oracle and TikTok's current parent company, ByteDance, disagree on who is going to be in charge.

If you're confused, you're in good company. Here's our attempt to lay out everything we know about TikTok, Oracle, and their mysterious deal so far.

What is TikTok? Who owns it?

TikTok is an extremely popular short-form video app used worldwide. The app appeared in its current incarnation after its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, acquired US startup Musical.ly in 2017 and integrated it with its existing TikTok product under the TikTok name.

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Posted in bans, china, explainers, Policy, tiktok, trade war, Trump, trump administration, Wechat, White House | Comments (0)

“Shortsighted” and “Self-defeating”: US rejects global COVID-19 vaccine effort

September 1st, 2020
Close-up photograph of a gloved hand holding a tiny bottle of clear liquid.

Enlarge / A medical worker holds a bottle of a candidate COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University that is being tested in a trial in Soweto, South Africa. (credit: Getty | Gallo Images)

The Trump administration will not take part in a global effort to help develop and equitably distribute a COVID-19 vaccine—a decision experts called “shortsighted” and “self-defeating”—according to a report by The Washington Post.

The White House cited the involvement of the World Health Organization in its decision to shun the effort. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the WHO for being soft on China during the global health crisis, despite the fact that Trump himself repeatedly praised China for its “transparency” and response to the pandemic in January and February. At the end of May, Trump abruptly announced that he was “terminating our relationship” with the WHO, a move that alarmed public health experts.

White House spokesperson Judd Deere told the Post that “The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.”

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Posted in CEPI, COVID-19, gavi, pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, science, Trump, trump administration, vaccine, WHO | Comments (0)

TikTok CEO quits as company reportedly plans sale to Microsoft, Walmart

August 27th, 2020
TikTok logo next to inverted US flag.

Enlarge / TikTok's US operations may soon be part of every cool teen's favorite conglomerates, Microsoft and Walmart. (credit: SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images)

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who only began the job on June 1, is heading right back out the door again as the company plans a sale under pressure from the White House.

"In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for," Mayer wrote in an email to TikTok employees late Wednesday. "Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company."

Mayer praised employees' efforts, saying that "there is no doubt that the future [of TikTok] is incredibly bright." But at the same time, he added, "I understand that the role that I signed up for—including running TikTok globally—will look very different as a result of the US Administration’s action to push for a sell off of the US business."

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Posted in Biz & IT, Business, china, Gaming & Culture, kevin mayer, Policy, tiktok, Trump, trump administration, White House | Comments (0)

TikTok sues Trump admin., says ban is unconstitutional and political

August 24th, 2020
TikTok logo next to inverted US flag.

Enlarge / TikTok's US operations may soon be part of every cool teen's favorite code conglomerate, Microsoft. (credit: SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images)

TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, filed suit today in federal court arguing that President Donald Trump's efforts to ban the app or force a sale to a US firm are not grounded in facts but instead are part of an "anti-China political campaign."

An executive order curtailing TikTok's US operations "is not rooted in bona fide national security concerns," TikTok argues in its complaint (PDF). "Independent national security and information security experts have criticized the political nature of this executive order, and expressed doubt as to whether its stated national security objective is genuine," the company adds.

TikTok's complaint seeks to prevent the president and the Department of Commerce from "impermissively banning" the app, alleging that the authority under which the order was enacted (the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA) was a "gross misappropriation" and "a pretext for furthering the President's broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the US election."

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Posted in bytedance, china, Donald Trump, Policy, politics, tiktok, trade war, Trump, trump administration, White House | Comments (0)

Trump declares TikTok, WeChat “national emergency,” preps bans

August 7th, 2020
If the Trump administration has its way, these logos will be scarce inside the US in a few weeks.

Enlarge / If the Trump administration has its way, these logos will be scarce inside the US in a few weeks. (credit: Ivan Abreu | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The White House's campaign against the China-based developers of popular apps escalated dramatically in the last day, as President Donald Trump declared both TikTok and WeChat to be national emergencies and said the administration will ban or curtail their operations in September.

Trump late Thursday signed a pair of very similar executive orders "addressing the threat" allegedly posed by TikTok and WeChat.

"The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," both orders read. "The United States must take aggressive action against the owners" of the apps "to protect our national security."

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Posted in Biz & IT, bytedance, china, clean network, department of state, international relations, Policy, politics, Propaganda, State Department, Tencent, tiktok, Trump, trump administration, Wechat | Comments (0)

CDC delays new school-reopening guidance prompted by flak from Trump

July 17th, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Alex Wong)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not release new guidance documents on school reopening this week, contrary to recent comments from officials in the Trump Administration.

A CDC spokesperson told NPR in an exclusive that new documents would instead be published sometime before the end of the month. The delay comes amid fierce nationwide debate about schools reopening and how it can be done safely.

President Mike Pence announced July 8 that the agency would release new documents this week that would better guide schools in their efforts to safely reopen classrooms shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic—which is still engulfing much of the US. That announcement came just hours after President Trump blasted the CDC’s current recommendations in a series of tweets, calling them “very tough & expensive.” He also threatened to cut funding from schools that do not open before the November election.

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Posted in CDC, children, COVID-19, education, Infectious disease, pence, public health, redfield, SARS-CoV-2, school reopening, schools, science, trump administration | Comments (0)