Report: New York’s Pilot Program Vaccine Passports Are Easy To Fake

Attorney and privacy advocate Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, took only 11 minutes to obtain someone else’s vaccine passport in New York, according to the Washington Post.

The state of New York launched the country’s first vaccine passport program in early April, formally called an Excelsior Pass. The pilot program forces New Yorkers to demonstrate proof of a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test within six hours to gain access to entertainment and arts venues, such as Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center. In order to register for the pass, residents must provide their full name, address, date of birth, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card. Then the individual is assigned a scannable QR code.

Cahn noted, however, that he “experienced glitches” when he received a QR code. Worse, all information above can be obtained through a vaccination card. Since this is the case, the report says fraud could be a major issue. With people posting videos and pictures online of themselves receiving the vaccine and their vaccine cards, it is conceivable that any posted data can easily be extracted and forged for someone else to obtain a vaccine passport.

Cahn obtained a fraudulent vaccine passport by merely using Twitter and searching for public information. He noted that the passes are the “worst of both worlds,” because the legitimacy problem makes the passes less effective in facilitating public health.

“We need to pay attention to what the private sector is doing as well as what governments are doing and make sure that we regulate if we have to and make sure that they’re fair to everybody,” Nicole Hassoun, a professor at Binghamton University who specializes in public health and ethics told CNBC in March regarding vaccine passports.

The development of the Excelsior Pass in New York was led by IBM, which created the program, through its Digital Health Pass Program. In September, the company received about $23 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to “develop digital health solutions that help address the COVID-19 pandemic.” The other groups awarded contracts include Vibrent Health in Virginia; the University of California, San Francisco; Shee Atiká Enterprises LLC in Alaska; PhysIQ in Chicago; iCrypto Inc. in California; and Evidation Health Inc. in California.

Empire State Development spokeswoman Kristin Devoe told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday that the “Excelsior Pass is a voluntary system that creates a digital copy of a preexisting paper record — it is not a standalone identification document.” That being said, there clearly remain heavy privacy implications, in addition to the blurred lines between how the government will interact with the private sector on the issue of vaccine passports.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration said there will be “no federal mandate” for vaccine passports. In March, the Washington Post reported that the White House is working with private corporations to develop vaccine passports — with coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients playing a major role.

Despite the words from press secretary Jen Psaki, states across the country have taken executive action against vaccine passports or are currently putting forth legislation. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis led the charge on April 2, with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott doing the same on April 7.

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ICE Gave $87 Million To A Former Biden Official’s Nonprofit To Oversee Border Crisis Housing

President Joe Biden’s administration overlooked certain contenders in a contract bidding process to pay an organization run by a former Biden-Harris transition leader more than $87 million to place illegal migrant families 1,200 hotel beds in Arizona and Texas, according to the Washington Examiner.

While contracts from the federal government are usually bid on by various organizations, multiple sources, and data reported by the Examiner indicated that Family Endeavors, run by former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer and the senior official who evaluated Biden’s picks for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, outright won the contract without any competitors.

“Information obtained through the Federal Procurement Data System indicates that ICE never opened the contract to outside companies and organizations but went with an internal candidate who had significant insider connections,” the Examiner reported.

Family Endeavors had contracted with the federal government on smaller projects before, such as working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Acquisition Service. Most of these contracts, the Examiner noted, however, were less than $1.5 million apiece, making the new $87 million contract “more than double the money it took in last year.”

Despite the Family Endeavors’ lack of experience as an ICE contractor, the immigration agency wrote off the breach of federal contract law benefitting the nonprofit as an “unusual and compelling urgency” that provided “short term” solutions to the influx of migrants in HHS’s care.

Lorenzen-Strait reportedly entered the contract just two months after he left the Biden campaign to join Family Endeavors as its senior director for migrant services and federal affairs. Before that, he worked under the now-director of ICE Tae Johnson to manage border detention facilities. According to the Examiner, Johnson “would have the final say on the $87 million contract.”

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Democrat-Run New York And Pennsylvania Lead US In Shuttering The Most Small Businesses Through Lockdown

New data from tech giant Facebook reveals that New York and Pennsylvania, both Democratic strongholds run by Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Tom Wolf respectively, have had the greatest number of small businesses in the nation crumble during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Facebook study makes an effort to skirt the issue of lockdowns and claims that “strictness of [non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as lockdowns] did not seem to be correlated with higher rates of closed [small and medium-sized businesses].” The rational follow-up is, given the extensive data that points otherwise, how is this hypothesis even drawn?

Facebook published its first “Global State of Small Business Report,” which collected data from more than 35,000 small businesses in 27 countries affected by the pandemic and, evidently, government responses. The report found that New York and Pennsylvania maintained the highest rate of small business closure in the United States, tied at 31 percent.

The new information comes days before Cuomo is set to increase state taxes as part of a $212 billion spending plan. Taxes will reportedly increase by $4.3 billion dollars. The fiscal year 2021-2022 plan supported by the governor will increase personal taxes for people making over $1 million a year and for couples earning over $2 million a year. In addition, the plan intends to increase the corporate franchise tax rate for businesses earning $5 million or more a year in profits. The New York Senate signed off on the measure on Wednesday, and four of the 10 provisions will head to the State Assembly for a vote.

Similarly, in February, Wolf proposed a $37.8 billion spending plan, which includes the first personal income tax increase in Pennsylvania since 2003, as first noted by Penn live. The state’s personal income tax rate would move from 3.07 percent to 4.49 percent and allocate about half of all funding to the public education system. In addition to this tax hike, Wolf proposed a $12 minimum wage “with a path to $15/hour,” and $145 million in reserves from the Workers Compensation Security Fund to go toward small businesses — those that have somehow survived his harsh pandemic restrictions, that is.

New York leads the pack for the most reductions in employment across the country — at 38 percent. New York is second only to Hawaii in having the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., at 8.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pennsylvania ranks not much higher at 40, with an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Even while the state forced businesses to shutter their doors, it did not stop the death rate from climbing. In terms of COVID-19 death rates, New York ranks second in the nation with 259 per 100,000 people. Pennsylvania ranks 11th-highest in death rates, at 198 per 100,000 people, according to data from Becker’s Hospital Review.

Analytics firm TrendMacro published a report in September citing that states that instituted harsh lockdowns like New York and Pennsylvania fared worse economically and even had more severe outbreaks than freer states. “The five places with the harshest lockdowns — the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — had the heaviest caseloads,” the study noted.

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Did Big Government Make The Pandemic Economy Worse?

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, John Tamny, author of “When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason” and Vice President at FreedomWorks, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss how federal government’s decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic made the U.S. economy worse.

“Let’s not forget that historically, economic growth has always been the biggest enemy of death and disease whereas poverty has easily been the biggest killer mankind has ever known,” Tamny explained. “Yet, when given a choice in March of 2020, politicians chose contraction as a virus mitigation strategy.”

This “one-size-fits-all” strategy based on the decisions of a few people, Tamny argued, did nothing but destroy the economy.

“It also blinds us to the information that tells us, why is it spreading more in New York? Why does it seem to hit New York so hard? Why does it seem to hit Florida, with so many old people not as difficult? What are the answers to this? We didn’t really get that because they chose one-size-fits-all in so many instances,” Tamny said.

Listen here:



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Clown Show: Pete Buttigieg ‘Bikes’ To Work After SUVs Drive Him Part Of The Way

If you ever wondered what would happen if that white, upper-class student body president, you know the one who used your student activity fees to pay for bike lanes on campus, were actually in charge of a federal bureaucracy, look no further than our Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

CNN reporter DJ Judd shared a video that appears to show a team of Secret Service agents unloading Buttigieg’s bike from the back of an SUV, then at least two SUVs following him as he mounts the bike and rides to the White House.

Presumably, the location where Buttigieg mounts the bike is closer to his destination than his house or his office at the Department of Transportation, which is about three miles from the White House.

Buttigieg has been sighted riding to and fro around the capital since he joined the Biden administration, and has received the expected fawning media coverage of it.

Of course, having two armored SUVs in tow as you “bike to work” is certainly not reducing your carbon footprint, but at least it looks like you care, right?

While “biking to work” in a way that is neither a shorter nor a more environmentally-conscious commute is extremely on-brand for a millennial college-town mayor-turned-McKinsey consultant, it also perfectly encapsulates the role of D.C. bureaucrats: Devise the more expensive, more complicated path to accomplish a simple task, all for the sake of optics.

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Jimmy Kimmel Fails Trying To Rip Americans Skeptical Of Mandatory Vaccine Passports

Late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel backed vaccine passports on his show Tuesday night and contradicted his own argument against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on voter identification laws. Kimmel said DeSantis and the GOP should support vaccine passports because of election security measures, producing a false equivalency.

“Unfortunately, many Republicans aren’t on board with [vaccine passports], including Ron DeSantis, the terrible governor of Florida,” Kimmel said, proceeding to play a clip of the governor in his Monday press conference vowing to ban vaccine passports in Florida.

“You want to go to a movie theatre, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game? No. You want to go to a theme park? No. So, we’re not supportive of [vaccine passports],” DeSantis said in the clip played by Kimmel.

“Right, which is very rich coming from the party that wants nine forms of identification before you can vote,” Kimmel said, to which there was applause in the crowd.

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Kimmel’s argument flips one of the many reasons conservatives argue against vaccine passports. Kimmel claimed that if Republicans support voter ID laws, then they should support vaccine passports.

But in fact, one of the chief contradictions those on the Right point out with vaccine passports — which The Washington Post reports the Biden administration is backing for people to prove their vaccination status — is the fact Democrats are actively opposing voter ID laws (in support of H.R. 1), but now advocating for a coronavirus ID.

Democrats oppose the new Georgia election bill signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on the grounds that it requires voter ID for absentee ballots. The left deems this measure racist, while simultaneously pushing for vaccine passports, which would effectively ban anyone who has not been vaccinated from frequenting venues or traveling.

It’s worth pointing out Biden’s administration is having to address vaccine hesitation, notably among Black and Latino Americans. So by Kimmel’s logic, documentation to prove COVID-19 vaccinations is not racist, but the ID requirements to cast a legal ballot in an election are.

Kimmel employs hyperbole to say it is supposedly contradictory that DeSantis opposes vaccine passports, claiming he “wants nine forms of identification before you can vote.” This is false. In reality, you only need one form of identification to vote, with several states not even requiring a photo ID and accepting things like bank statements, or something with your name and address.

On the contrary, GOP members are now fighting against a radical Democratic Party seeking to eliminate voter ID altogether — and thus seeking to protect just one form of ID.

“Ron DeSantis isn’t the only dope who opposes the passport,” Kimmel said, before playing a clip of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene saying vaccine passports are “Biden’s mark of the beast.”

“None other than Klan Mom herself Marjorie Taylor Greene believes there are biblical implications,” Kimmel said.

Kimmel contradicted himself once more, saying, “Poor Joe Biden. How can you reach across the aisle when the other side thinks you have hooves?”

For starters, there has been no attempt by Biden to “reach across the aisle,” since he has governed from the far-left side of the aisle and is on pace to have signed the most executive orders by any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to The American Presidency Project.

Biden has also continued to call Republicans racist, claiming the GOP’s efforts to oppose H.R. 1 is “makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” alluding to segregation laws which southern Democrats favored at a greater rate than Republicans. Taylor Greene, along with a lot of other Americans, is skeptical of an unprecedented attempt to digitize and categorize the confidential data of millions of Americans.

Kimmel acknowledges that “we now have controversies where we never had them before,” and in the process dunks on himself. While he attempts to make the argument that the GOP makes a big fuss over everything the Democrats aim to legislate, his reliance on vaccine passports as something completely new to American culture further validates DeSantis and Greene’s points.

Since vaccine passports are unchartered water, and precisely something “we never [have] had,” the talk show host is unintentionally spot-on. Americans are not insane for being skeptical of a potential program that would require them to inject something in their bodies in order to participate in civic life.

Keep doing your thing though, Jimmy. The more you try to make arguments, the more you demonstrate the insanity of the modern-day left.

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Ron DeSantis Vows To Ban ‘Vaccine Passports,’ Slams Them As ‘Totally Unacceptable’

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis denounced so-called “vaccine passports” in a Monday press conference — a policy currently being tested in New York State and one the Biden administration is reportedly developing, according to The Washington Post. Vaccine passports are digital credentials, a way of proving the carrier has received a COVID-19 immunization before frequenting a venue or traveling.

DeSantis said he would take “an executive function” and “emergency function” and urged the state Republican legislature to propose legislation banning vaccine passports.

“We always said we wanted to provide [the vaccine] for all but mandate it for none,” DeSantis said. “While it was advised to take, particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it. It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society.”

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the Biden administration is working with Big Tech to develop vaccine passport technology. Five administration officials told the media outlet that coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients is leading the operation.

In January, 30 international airlines penned a letter to Zients urging the U.S. to implement vaccine passports for all citizens for travel. This followed an executive order by Biden instructing government agencies “to assess the feasibility” of COVID-19 documentation requirements.

On March 2, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo initiated an “excelsior pass” plan that will require residents to demonstrate they have received the vaccine to gain access to Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. The plan will start on April 2 and apply to several other “arts, entertainment, and event venues.”

“As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus,” Cuomo said.

White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt claims the Biden administration is not “viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens.” Slavitt added that “we view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do,” which corroborates with the reports that Microsoft, Mayo Clinic, and more than 225 organizations have “pledged” to use an application being developed by the Vaccination Credential Initiative.

The Florida governor said in the press conference that by sometime this week the state will have administered the vaccine to 75 percent of seniors, or 3.5 million individuals.

“You want the fox to guard the henhouse? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do. It’s important to be able to do it [get the vaccine], but at the same time, we are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally.”

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Meet The New Pentagon ‘Diversity Chief’ Who Compared Trump To Hitler

The U.S. Special Operations Command’s newly-hired “chief of diversity and inclusion” shared anti-Trump memes on Facebook, namely one that likens the former president to Adolf Hitler.

Upon the Defense Department’s announcement of the hiring of Richard Torres-Estrada, several volatile posts were dug up. A comparison photo of Hitler and Trump Photoshopped next to each other, holding Bibles in the air, has caught the most eyes. Torres-Estrada posted it on June 2, 2020.

Screenshot of June 2, 2020, Facebook post from Richard Torres-Estrada

Screenshot of June 2, 2020, Facebook post from Richard Torres-Estrada

Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed Torres-Estrada’s post in a segment on Friday. “The point is, they’re the same,” Carlson said, saying clearly what the diversity director was trying to communicate. “So, this is the guy who now oversees hiring for the SEALs.”

“The Pentagon is now the Yale faculty lounge, but with cruise missiles. That should concern you,” Carlson said, harping on the extent to which the military has gone fully woke.

Carlson’s description of the military comes weeks after the Department of Defense went fully partisan and condemned Carlson for his critique of the department for introducing a flight suit for pregnant women. For some odd reason, the Defense Department decided to get involved in political affairs, and press spokesman John Kirby directed his staff to issue communications in response to the Fox News host’s claim. This is most certainly a violation of the department’s Principles of Information philosophy, which says the agency will not engage in “propaganda” or function like a public relations firm.

Torres-Estrada posted one photo of Trump on July 8, 2020, surrounded by quotes smearing him, and a “missing” sign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Feb. 19, 2021.

“Looks like the new diversity officer loves celebrating diversity with those who agree with him. Here is what he thinks of the rest of us — Mr. Torres-Estrada was not placed in US Special Operations command by mistake,” tweeted Joe Kent, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces chief warrant officer three.

“We are aware of the situation, and the command has initiated an investigation,” Ken McGraw, a spokesman for USSOCOM, told The Daily Caller News Foundation when prodded on Torres-Estrada’s posts.

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Senate Confirms Biden’s Deputy Budget Director Shalanda Young

The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, on Tuesday. Her nomination passed with a vote of 63-37.

Given that prior OMB director nominee Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination on March 3 after facing bipartisan opposition, Young is expected to be appointed the acting director. Tanden ruffled the feathers of both parties, after getting caught deleting thousands of ad hominem and conspiratorial tweets on Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a statement that day.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said in early March that Young was “a very serious candidate” to assume Tanden’s role after the withdrawal. According to Reuters, it is unclear whether the former congressional staffer will remain in the high-ranking position.

Young’s abortion support was a major deterrent for Republicans backing her nomination. In the written answers for her nomination, she claimed that being able to obtain an abortion is “a matter of economic and racial justice.”

“[E]liminating the Hyde Amendment is a matter of economic and racial justice because it most significantly impacts Medicaid recipients, who are low-income and more likely to be women of color,” Young wrote.

The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortion. Biden has notably flip-flopped on the legislative provision that Congress passed in 1973. In June 2019, Biden said that “I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”

“This is one where our country is so deeply divided on abortion, where we’ve been able to come together and decide, at a minimum, let’s not tell people with a deep view based on their conscience on this, that they have to pay taxpayer funds for abortion,” Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said upon voting “no” on Young’s nomination being moved forward.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Young’s support for abortion “ignores the devastating toll of abortion on black communities: an abortion rate four times higher than that of their white counterparts.”

“This isn’t justice – it is a profound injustice,” she said. “The fact is, the Hyde Amendment saves 60,000 lives every year.”

Young’s claim that abortion advances racial justice is contradictory, given that black females are four times more likely to obtain an abortion than a white woman, according to a government-funded study.

If Young is not propelled to the director OMB position, she will be the number two ranking member.

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Biden Pulls Nomination For Deputy Interior Secretary As Opposition Grew Against Progressive Pick

President Joe Biden pulled his nomination for deputy secretary of the Interior, Elizabeth Klein, on Monday as opposition grew among key votes on Capitol Hill over the progressive pick.

Klein, an environmental lawyer, previously served at the Department of Interior in the Clinton and Obama administrations. With a focus on renewable energy and climate change, Klein reportedly spooked Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski increasingly anxious about the Biden climate agenda curtailing her home state’s economic reliance on oil and gas, according to Politico.

While the Alaska senator’s opposition apparently stemmed from a concern over protecting her state’s oil and gas industry, Murkowski voted to confirm Biden’s radical pick to lead the agency charged with overseeing 20 percent of U.S. land and a quarter of the nation’s oil and gas production, former New Mexico Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland. The new secretary of Interior was sworn in last week.

Murkowski’s office did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.

A website accusing Klein of engaging in rampant ethics violations in pursuit of progressive environmental activism was also launched in recent weeks to torpedo Klein’s chances of Senate confirmation.

Politico reported Monday another former Interior Department figure under the Obama administration promoted by Murkowski is being considered for Klein’s replacement.

Tommy Beaudreau, also an Alaskan native is being vetted for the position, Politico wrote citing “two people familiar with the matter.”

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