Original Article By Ken Macon At ReclaimTheNet.org
Last week, popular restaurant booking app OpenTable announced that it would introduce a new feature allowing its clients to easily implement vaccine mandates and users to show proof of vaccination. The news comes as more cities in the US and the rest of the world mandate vaccine passports for outdoor and indoor venues and events.
OpenTable is ignoring concerns about civil liberties and said it was partnering with security company CLEAR, which provides a digital vaccine certification system.
“To help diners easily provide proof of vaccination at restaurants, OpenTable and secure identity company CLEAR are partnering to offer diners a simple way to show proof of vaccination through CLEAR’s digital vaccine card,” the restaurant booking app said last week, linking to a new blog post to announce the initiative.
OpenTable will allow restaurants to indicate whether they have vaccination mandates.
To use the new feature, users will have to create a CLEAR account through the OpenTable web app or mobile app. The next step will be connecting their COVID-19 vaccine certificate with OpenTable, which they can then present at establishments with vaccine mandates.
Such developments are in anticipation that more cities and jurisdictions will implement vaccine mandates as the controversial and invasive system becomes normalized around the world. So far, in the US, three major cities have vaccination mandates; Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
OpenTable’s new vaccine certification feature might be used in these cities and even by restaurants in other areas that are yet to implement mandates but have not prohibited their implementation by private businesses.
Original Article By Yashu Gola At Cointelegraph.com
Bitcoin bulls remain pressured under $50,000 in the week that would shed more light on the Federal Reserve’s taper outlook based on non-farm payroll numbers.
The heavy selling in the U.S. dollar market at the end of last week assisted Bitcoin (BTC) to climb above $49,000. However, BTC struggled to extend its climb above $50,000, a psychological resistance level, as investors remained cautious about the Federal Reserve’s taper timing.
In detail, the Fed chairman Jerome Powell delivered a mildly dovish outlook during his speech on Friday at the annual Jackson Hole symposium. At one point, he refrained from providing hints regarding when the Fed would start unwinding its $120 billion a month asset purchasing program.
Powell noted that they would begin tapering sometime by the end of 2021, albeit admitting that the fast-spreading Delta variant of the Covid-19 could play spoiler.
“We will be carefully assessing incoming data and the evolving risks,” he said.
“Timing and pace of taper will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff.”
At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that annual Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price, which the Fed considers its preferred inflation metric, remained unchanged at 3.6%, about 1.6% higher than the central bank’s intended target.
Things to focus on next week
The first half of the week has no major macroeconomic events that could directly or indirectly impact Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market.
But on Sep. 1, the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Research Institute will reveal August’s private sector employment data. Additionally, investors will likely watch the ISM Manufacturing PMI for its Prices Paid component. In doing so, they could gauge input price pressures in the manufacturing sector to determine inflation.
On Friday, the Non-farm Payroll (NFP) data expects to show that the U.S. economy added 763,000 jobs in August, about 19% lower than July’s print of 943,000. As a result, disappointing job data could delay the Fed’s decision to taper its asset purchase program and help boost the price of risk assets, including Bitcoin.
Technically, Bitcoin has been trending inside a short-term ascending channel, hinting at a move towards the lower trendline (near $47,000) for a potential pullback towards the upper trendline (above $50,000).
An extended sell-off below the Channel’s lower trendline could risk crashing the BTC/USD exchange rates towards the 200-4H exponential moving average (200-4H EMA; the yellow wave) at near $44,600.
The downside target appears closer to the one visible on the weekly chart.
The BTC/USD exchange rate has been testing the 0.786-line (near $50,779) of the Fibonacci retracement graph following a 75.36% bullish move. As a result, an extended pullback move from the said price ceiling brings Bitcoin’s next downside target near the 0.618-Fib line (around $43,886).
Conversely, a neutral RSI reading (below 70) may assist the bulls to reclaim $50,000 for a bullish breakout move. In doing so, they could target levels near $60,000 as their next upside target.
Original Article By Caroline Frost On Deadline.com
“I’m in a lot of meetings now, where people tell me, ‘This will never get on because it’s not woke enough,’” Ash Atalla, award-winning comedy producer of hits including The Office and The IT Crowd, told a spirited panel at the Edinburgh TV Festival assembled to discuss the question of how TV makers can properly represent diverse Britain in all its forms.
“I’m amazed how fast the white people have thought, ‘We can’t get on television,’” he continued. “That’s come in hard and fast in the last two years, and it’s a bewildering experience to be in those meetings after 15 years of the opposite. Now white people think there’s no place for them.”
He added that even having the discussion publicly is increasingly challenging for people, through fear of being castigated or cancelled.
Mobeen Azhar, broadcast journalist and presenter, told an opposite but equal story, of being asked to develop an idea with a familiar female TV professional, “who happens to be a woman with brown skin”. The series, meant to be about British Asian identity, hit a snag when the woman admitted to Azhar she’d grown up in the Middle East, had attended private school and knew nothing about the subject matter.
“That’s a tick box,” said Azhar. “That’s a department who wants to commission an individual, and that’s not helpful because that person doesn’t have the diversity of experience. I believe passionately in public service broadcasting, but if we’re going to represent the masses, the public, we need a higher bar for what diversity really is.”
GB News journalist Inaya Iman agreed, saying: “If you only look through the lens of identity, you’re going to have a narrow spectrum of opinion and ideology. We should avoid ticking a box, but see people in the fullness of who they are, not what category they tick.”
In a complex and wide-ranging discussion, Louisa Compton, Head of News, Current Affairs and Sport at Channel 4, pointed out that the actual word “woke” means “being alert to injustice and not wanting to offend anyone, which seem like fairly important principles. But it’s become the new shorthand for political correctness gone mad, the new dividing line. It just means being too right on for words. It can alienate some audiences who feel that the world is moving on faster and leaving them behind.”
A specially commissioned survey revealed that 62% of the viewing audience believes political correctness has gone too far, compared with only 19% of figures working within the TV industry.
Azhar said he found that depressing, but that the answer is not “to give Nick Ferrari a prime time show. The reason that this majority of the public think that, online there’s a whole section of society, including cis, straight, white, who are really worried that they keep being told they’re kind of evil. You need to take people with you. Big Brother in the 2000s did so much for trans representation. It wasn’t academic and dry, it took people with the programme.”
The survey found that 40% of the viewing audience say they’re proud of the UK, compared with only 20% of TV industry people.
Atalla said he doesn’t believe comedy has to be all-representative, saying: “We can just take a post of view, and just show a diverse world through our comedy. For example, if we know the Trump election wasn’t rigged, why do we have to represent so many people that frighteningly think it was? Their views are not correct scientifically, so how useful it is to spend time on it?”
He pointed out his job was much easier in comedy than it was for people wrestling with these quandaries in news and current affairs.
Speaking for the latter, Compton pointed out: “We don’t need to balance debate about something like climate change denial, but when you try to silence a group of people, it feeds into a sense of conspiracy.”
Iman worried about the excluding phrases of words like ‘anti-vaxxer’ and ‘denier’. “They’ve become expanded to include genuine perspectives that are critical.
“The best thing to do is to present a range of views so someone can make their own judgment, to trust people to hear a range of perspective and come to the one that rings most true with their own experience.”
The survey found that 63% of TV industry professionals see the British Empire as something to be ashamed of, compared with only 23% of viewing public.
Azhar reflected that news and current affairs staff face different challenges from program makers.
For the latter, he reflected: “I made a programme called Muslims Like Us – effectively a debate around who represents the Muslim community. We had to make that programme entertaining and watchable. What did it do? It took an audience with it. The bottom line of it was that people are just people, that’s what we learned from it. It’s that kind of programming we have to make to move forward the people who think PC’s gone mad, because it hasn’t.”
Original Article By Alexandra Steigrad On NewYorkPost.com
Vice Media quietly enacted a new round of layoffs Thursday, as the Brooklyn-based gonzo news company continued to shift its focus toward video content
A memo from Vice’s chief digital officer Cory Haik that was peppered with corporate-speak heralded the “growth period” of the last two years — and buried news of the layoffs 15 paragraphs down.
“As part of this continued global alignment we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to some of our friends and colleagues. We wish them well and thank them for their dedicated service over the years,” Haik wrote in the memo leaked to The Post.
Vice’s union, which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America East, put the total layoff number at 17. Calling the layoffs a “macabre ritual,” the union said in a statement that it is “dismayed that the company’s only acknowledgment of these layoffs came in the third-to-last paragraph of an 1,100-word email from the company’s Chief Digital Officer announcing managerial promotions, a ‘global alignment,’ and the achievement of arbitrary social media metrics.”
“We have worked in this industry long enough to know that today’s metrics are tomorrow’s punchline, and yesterday’s pivot is today’s clumsy tumble,” the union added. “What makes our work meaningful is the expertise and hard work of the people callously brushed aside today.”
Vice declined to comment.
The layoffs come just weeks after the company, which also owns female-focused site Refinery29 and fashion publication i-D, announced it was focusing on video again.
A source with knowledge clarified that Vice’s video pivot doesn’t mean it is doing away with the written word, noting that digital news reporting is thriving at Vice News. Thursday’s layoffs mainly came from Refinery29, as well as Vice’s lifestyle-centric digital sites like Noisey and Munchies, which cover music and food, respectively. Those sites will have fewer articles and more videos in the future.
While higher-ups at Vice insist that its move to video has been evolving over the past two years, the New York Times reported last month that the decision was more sudden, and that Vice would be “putting a greater emphasis on videos and other forms of visual storytelling.”
Laid-off Vice workers took to social media on Thursday to spill the news.
“In March of 2020 I said, ‘I’ll be laid off before I work in that office again’ and honestly it feels good to be right,” tweeted Kate Dries, who edits the magazine and features at Vice.
Other layoffs included the heads of various desks, including digital managing editor Meredith Balkus, Life editorial director Casey Johnson and writers Josh Terry and Jelisa Castrodale, who confirmed their departures on Twitter.
Founded as Vice magazine in 1994 by Shane Smith, the company steadily made its push to video and TV. By 2013, Vice had its own weekly news show on HBO. Three years later, it launched a cable channel, Viceland, which slumped in the ratings. By 2019, the HBO show and the cable channel were canceled and Smith was replaced as CEO by A&E boss Nancy Dubuc.
Under Dubuc there have been several rounds of reorganization, including the recent chopping of 155 jobs that primarily hit Vice’s digital teams.
Original Opinion Piece By David Z. Morris At Coindesk.com
OnlyFans this morning announced that it will reverse plans to ban sexually explicit material, saying in a statement that it has “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community.” That suggests it has reached a better banking arrangement: The platform, primarily known for hosting adult content creators, had openly and explicitly blamed banks for the original ban on explicit content.
The ban, announced just a week ago, was met with widespread outrage both from adult performers and, more generally, those concerned about the power of banks to effectively shut down businesses they don’t like by cutting off payments service. Public discussion of that threat, often referred to as “banking censorship,” was likely a key element in the reversal of the ban.
OnlyFans CEO Tim Stokely took a refreshingly clear and direct line on the porn ban, which was likely an existential threat to his very profitable firm. Speaking to outlets including the Financial Times, he explicitly placed blame on banks for blocking OnlyFans payments, saying that his company “had no choice” in the decision to ban explicit content. More than that, Stokely specifically named three banks that had refused to service OnlyFans: BNYMellon, JPMorgan Chase and Metro Bank.
Meanwhile, adult performers have been organizing protests against Mastercard scheduled for Sept. 1. Those may still continue and could be hugely embarrassing for banks and financial services – particularly to the degree they highlight payment processors’ ability to block pretty much any payment they please.
All of this marks a major defeat for efforts by social conservatives and other anti-porn activists to leverage the payments system to impose their views on society. It also appears to have more broadly raised awareness about the threat of banking censorship.
Mike Stabile, director of public affairs of the adult industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition, detailed the backlash to OnlyFans’ decision in a Twitter thread published before today’s reversal. He noted, first, that the pressure groups that have pushed banks to crack down on adult businesses “are scrambling” because “95% of coverage about OnlyFans supports [sex workers].”
Stabile says the push has been led by the Christian group Exodus Cry and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, formerly known (rather revealingly) as Morality in Media. Those groups lobbied Mastercard to impose a new anti-porn policy, according to Newsweek, that appears to have played a role in OnlyFans’ initial porn ban.
But, Stabile says, the groups “didn’t expect so much of the [OnlyFans] coverage to paint them as bad guys, or to talk about their religious campaign.”
Banks, it seems, have been caught similarly flat-footed by the response to the OnlyFans ban – particularly compared with the response when similar moves were made against PornHub last fall, leading to policy changes at that site.
“Very few people are talking about illegal content [as they did with PH (PornHub)],” Stabile wrote. “Everyone is talking about banking censorship.”
When the banks came for the public’s porn, they knew, for the first time, exactly where the problem was and the right people to yell at. For cryptocurrency advocates who have spent more than a decade banging on about the threat of bank censorship, this may come to be viewed as a watershed moment.
The next time a bank or payment processor tries to pull a similar stunt, they will be sure to think long and hard about the consequences.