Immunity Passports Would Hinder the Future of Work

They say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I don’t know where this saying originated from but, it came to mind when I first learned of the idea of “immunity passports.” Wikipedia describes immunity passports as a “…document attesting that its bearer is immune to a contagious disease.” The hope that some people have is that once you present such paperwork to an employer, you would be absolved from any restrictions keeping you from working, moving about in public places or traveling. While only a concept that many people praise, I am very much against it.

The idea of an immunity passport has been going viral (pun intended) due to the Covid-19 pandemic as it has been touted as a means of speeding up economic recovery. UK, Germany and Italy have all been considering the idea.

IMMUNITY PASSPORTS ARE NOT A NEW IDEA

The idea of an immunity passport is not new. In fact, the first time it was introduced it was widely rejected. Why? Technological constraints. Before World War 1, you pretty much did not need a passport to travel abroad. If you could get a job and secure accommodations, traveling across borders was not difficult or inconvenient.   When WW1 broke out, countries began monitoring their borders for security reasons. However, once the war was over, the intent was to revert back to the pre-war conditions of travel as indicated by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles when it was stated, “…will make provision to secure and maintain freedom of communications and of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of all Members of the League.” [Article 23, section E]

So, what happened? The Spanish Flu happened! Once people realized that the Spanish Flu was deadlier than World War 1, they realized that a borderless world would make the next pandemic all the more deadly.  As a result, passports mutated from being a vehicle to regulate movement for the sake of national security into a means of also protecting national public health. Moreover, with so much post-war reconstruction and recovery taking places, people from healthier locales where preferred more  than those where Spanish Flu was more dominant. And just like that, the temporary measure of passports (as we know them) became a permanent fixture in international relations and an important safeguard against future pandemics being brought in by foreign carriers.   

However, that was not enough for those who feared a later resurgence of the Spanish Flu.

By the mid-1920s governments begun to demand compulsory medical examinations for all those who would like to visit their countries. It was even proposed that passports should include a “general medical certificate” page. The idea was that every traveller would undergo a thorough medical exam before embarking on a cross-border trip. Thus, when they arrived at their destination, travellers would be able to prove that they were in good health and not contagious. Some delegates even insisted that passports should include “vaccination certificates” providing the full immunization record of their owners.”

So, what happened? Technology was too limiting at the time. Questions that promoted discussions on the topic included:

  • What if travelers became infected when enroute to and/or from their destinations?
  • How can this information be tracked consistently and on a global basis?
  • What about the privacy of the traveler? (As one delegate at the 1926 Passport Conference in Geneva observed, many travellers objected to having their finger-prints taken,” let alone subject themselves to an intrusive medical exam.)  

Fast forward from 1920’s to present day and we have China using a health code application for smartphones. How does it work?  

“Users with a red code have to go into government quarantine or self-quarantine for 14-days, users with an amber code will be quarantined for seven days, while users with a green code can move around the city freely, according to a statement issued by Hangzhou authorities.”

In addition to China’s technology, we have the event of the airline – Emirates, mandating a Covid-19 test for its passengers. To quote a recent press release

“Emirates in coordination with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will be introducing additional precautions. Passengers on today’s flight to Tunisia were all tested for COVID-19 before departing from Dubai. Emirates is the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers. The quick blood test was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and results were available within 10 minutes. This test was conveniently done at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3.”

WHY IMMUNITY PASSPORTS ARE A BAD IDEA

So, as of this writing, there is technology and processes available for facilitating a type of immunity passport. There are several reasons why I think this is a bad idea.   

  1. To my knowledge, a doctor’s order is needed for a diagnostic test. For people without health care or a primary care physician, getting access to testing could be a huge barrier to obtaining an immunity passport.
  2. Issuing immunity passports depend on tests that (as of today) are not 100% accurate.  What about false positives — in which a test result says people have coronavirus antibodies when they don’t — could lead people to believe they have immunity when they don’t. If they reenter society, they could spread the virus or get sick themselves. Even tests that accurately show that a person has coronavirus antibodies may not necessarily mean that they are immune to the virus.
  3. And while governments have been stressing that this is being considered as a temporary measure, the birth of the passport after the Spanish Flu pandemic is an illustration of how something introduced during a state of emergency can easily become a new normal.
  4. Immunity passports could split the world into two groups – those who can live a normal life and those confined to shelter in place quarantines for an indefinite period of time. How quickly will some people be marginalized from society if they cannot attain an immunity passport and thereby roam freely in public? How will that affect the suicide rate? How will that affect the domestic abuse rate? How will that affect the overall mental health of a significant percentage of the population?  
  5. And my biggest concern – privacy. Hackers can already steal information about you online and companies like Facebook and Google monetize your data by selling it to 3rd parties. What mischief could be done when someone has access to your blood data which means that they also have access to your DNA. Could someone with this information frame you for a crime you didn’t commit? Okay, maybe I’m overthinking things; then again, maybe I’m not.

And one more point…

HOW IMMUNITY PASSPORTS WOULD HINDER WORK

Could companies openly discriminate and not hire people without immunity passports? I am not an expert on labor laws so, I was very intrigued by a quote from this article on the matter.

“In a near future with immunity passports, employers could make decisions about hiring and who can come back to work based on immunity — and it might be legal. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990, requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. But Mohapatra says there’s a legal question of whether not having immunity would be considered a disability. “Those people might not be protected,” she says.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is another law that offers protection against employer discrimination, but it wouldn’t apply in the case of Covid-19 since it’s an infectious disease, not a genetic condition.

If employers could deny work to those who are not immune, Mohapatra says it would be a big step back from these current protections. “We have tried so hard to make sure that employers cannot use health information for hiring and firing decisions and that people can be employed regardless of their health status,” she says. “I don’t think it’s at all far-fetched to consider how this could be a slippery slope.”

If employers begin requiring coronavirus tests or immunity certificates for current or prospective employees, Kass says governments should step in to enact strong anti-discrimination policies so that employers don’t penalize older adults, those who are immunocompromised, and those who haven’t been exposed to the virus yet. People who can’t work should also have financial help and access to health care, she says.”

Moreover, in addition to these legal considerations, how about matters of false paperwork? Its already a well-known secret that the market for fake college degrees booms on the dark web; at least at one point. That being the case, it is very likely that a black market for false immunity passports will also boom.  And if that happens, how accurately could we track future pandemics? If anyone can get a fake passport, is anywhere in society truly safe from potential exposure?  

I’m curious, if you found yourself in a difficult situation and circumstances prohibited you from finding work, would you consider buying a fake immunity passport? Please click here and take the poll.  Likewise, leave a comment below. I would very much like to hear your opinion.

*This article was originally posted on the Proactive Talent blog back on May 19, 2020. Check out this recent information.

Subscribe to my podcast – NOW!

And here’s a quote from a recent Boston News article – “Travelers buying fake negative COVID-19 test results before traveling to certain countries

BOSTON (WHDH) – Travelers are buying fake COVID-19 test results on the black market as some airlines are now requiring proof of a negative virus test before passengers can board a plane to certain countries.

Forged negative tests have been reported in France, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

Police in Paris say they recently busted a ring hawking doctored coronavirus tests.

People are reportedly paying up to $300 for the fake documents.

And here are a couple of more examples of this growing trend from overseas.

The Next American Civil War is Upon Us

Yesterday, the media declared Joe Biden as President-Elect of the United States. People celebrated. People lamented. It was the very spark of a new civil war. You see, many are under the impression that the media calls out the winner of the election. They do not. When George Bush ran against Al Gore for the US Presidency, the media declared Al Gore as the winner. Yet, there were recounts and indeed George Bush was the winner, much to the chagrin of Al Gore supporters. All of which helped to fuel the leftist-hatred of George Bush. Today, history is repeating itself before our very eyes. (Check out the video below.)

Despite the celebrations and media reports, Joe Biden is not the President of the United States… yet. This is why.

The winner of the Presidential election is not official until the Electoral College meets and casts their votes. As of now, the Electoral College cannot decide anything because of the various lawsuits in play. The video below explains how the Electoral College works.

Court proceedings are guaranteed to happen in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona. Here are links to articles as further proof of that.

It has been speculated that the Supreme Court won’t allow any litigation to proceed beyond inauguration as that would lead to a constitutional crisis. As such, a relatively quick decision on election matters is likely. There is historical precedent for this. Check out this quote from the History.com article, “How the 2000 Election Came Down to a Supreme Court Decision

After lawsuits, challenges and recounts, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount of undervotes in all of Florida’s 67 counties, which was quickly appealed by Bush, and the case headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to Busch, the Supreme Court had telegraphed its displeasure with how things were going in Florida a week or so before by sending the first Bush plea to the court back to the Florida Supreme Court by a 9-0 vote, “saying basically, ‘We would rather not get involved, but you are messing this up. Fix it.’”

The Florida Supreme Court ignored the warning signal and pressed forward with its call for a recount, and the case was returned to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, according to Hasen’s book, put the Florida election under a microscope, examining election machines, voter lists, vote-counting rules, the state’s poorly drafted election statutes, partisan election officials and the role of courts.

“At that point there were actually two key votes,” Hasen says. “The first was a 7-2 determination that the Florida recount, as it was being conducted, was unconstitutional on the grounds that there were no clear standards that were being applied consistently to all ballots. Then, by a 5-4 vote, the court declared that time had run out to devise a remedy. That stopped the process, with Bush ahead.”

The decision resulted in one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in American history. With the Florida win, Bush led Gore in electoral votes nationally 271-266, and, out of legal options, Gore conceded.

Subscribe to my podcast – NOW!

All that to say, it is still possible for President Trump to be sworn in despite the media coverage to the contrary. And whether or not President Trump is sworn in for another term, I think civil war is imminent and that scares me. Consider this scenario.

MEDIA: Joe Biden won the election.

SUPREME COURT: Donald Trump won the election.

MEDIA: Trump stole the election.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Yay! We stopped the steal.

BIDEN SUPPORTERS: I hate all things Trump. I want to burn things.

MEDIA: Trump is bad! Stay tuned to our networks as we fan the flames, increasing our ratings and thereby making more money with our commercials!!! I mean… Trump is bad! And now, sports and weather.

In an environment like this, which is unlikely to change anytime soon, its difficult to see a pathway to unity. Take for example what Don Lemon said recently on CNN. He said that he had to get rid of a lot of his friends because they were Trump supporters. He went as far as describing them to dug addicts. See for yourself in the clip below.

And consider Joy Reid’s recent comments where she called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “Uncle Clarence,” an intended racial slur. Why? She disagrees with his politics, so she feels that name calling is justified. See for yourself in the tweet below.

Whether or not Trump is re-elected for a second term, the political divisions in our society will not dissipate no matter who resides in the white house. Either way, one side will continue to accuse the other of cheating and gaffes made in jest or accident, will spread across the interwebs like wildfire. Case in point, I’m sure you’ve seen this famous gaffe where Joe Biden admits to having the ‘most extensive VOTER FRAUD organization’ in history.

So, where does this leave us? If you are an American citizen (or live in America) it seems inevitable that the topic of politics will present itself especially as the holidays loom near and traditional family gatherings happen. (Hopefully. Who knows with Covid?) Whether it is a discussion over software glitches or celebrations of Biden victories, there is the chance of conflict. Multiply these incidents by a nation and quite possibly a second Civil War could happen. How do we prevent this from happening, at least within our own sphere of influence? I have a few suggestions.

My first suggestion is to not involve yourself in political discussions. Avoid them, like the plague. Why? Academic studies have proven that if someone’s mind is made up on a topic, presenting opposing viewpoints based on facts will not matter. Consider a study calledExposure to Opposing Views Can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media.” It was conducted by several professors of Sociology, Political Science and Statistical Science from Duke University, Princeton University and New York University. The findings were published on March 19, 2018, so fairly recent. This is the summary of what they discovered.

There is mounting concern that social media sites contribute to political polarization by creating “echo chambers” that insulate people from opposing views about current events. We surveyed a large sample of Democrats and Republicans who visit Twitter at least three times each week about a range of social policy issues.

One week later, we randomly assigned respondents to a treatment condition in which they were offered financial incentives to follow a Twitter bot for one month that exposed them to messages produced by elected officials, organizations, and other opinion leaders with opposing political ideologies. Respondents were re-surveyed at the end of the month to measure the effect of this treatment, and at regular intervals throughout the study period to monitor treatment compliance.

We find that Republicans who followed a liberal Twitter bot became substantially more conservative post-treatment, and Democrats who followed a conservative Twitter bot became slightly more liberal post-treatment. These findings have important implications for the interdisciplinary literature on political polarization as well as the emerging field of computational social science.

My second suggestion is to not allow ignorance to dictate the winner of an argument. Quick, what’s in my left pocket? You have no idea? Then, you are obviously not as smart as I am and by extension, my arguments are superior to yours. As ludicrous as that statement is, apply it to any political disagreement. If you say Trump is __________ then why did he _________________? If you say Biden is___________ then why did he ______________? If you say I don’t know the answer to your query, does that mean you are any less competent than the next person? I think not. I think it simply means you don’t know the answer.

If winning the argument is that important to you, simply say, I don’t know but I will research an answer and get back to you. This causes both parties to be knowledgeable. For one, doing some homework will cause you to better develop your fact based points and for two, it will cause your opponent to research. Maybe in doing so, they will be swayed to your view without you having to engage further. And that brings me to my third suggestion.

My third suggestion is to choose your battles wisely. For some people, politics is like a religion and they wrap their personal identities in it. Just as you are unlikely to convince a Jewish person to adopt the Muslim faith, it is unlikely to convince a hardened (insert political party defender here) to jump ship. Although, it is certainly possible to do so.  This is where discernment comes into play. If your intention is to persuade people away from the opposing party, take the advice of the late, great, Herman Cain who said repeatedly on his talk show and in interviews, “You save the saveable. Some people are just never going to get it. Don’t waste a huge amount of time on those.”

Subscribe to my podcast – NOW!

My other suggestions can be summed up with this:

  • Be polite. If you remain calm and take the high road, there’s a chance they will do the same.
  • Stick to the facts without being defensive. Keep emotion out of it. If the sky is blue, do I have to explain that? It just is.
  • Limit contact with people who simply want to be difficult. Agree to disagree and preserve relationships when possible.

My hope in sharing this is that it will help us as a society better get along with the other. However, I am not ignorant that some will be triggered by this article anyway. That’s fine. I’m okay with people disagreeing with me. But, if we ever were before, are we still friends now?

Jim

Voting is broken. This will fix it!

Are you frustrated about the Presidential election? Me too. Despite all the drama, I think there is an opportunity to prevent a repeat of voter fraud and/or suspected voter fraud. I talk about it in this podcast episode. Tune in to hear my ideas. And please share my podcast and subscribe to my blog now. Thank you in advance.

Links related to this podcast:

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

It is 3 days after the 2020 Presidential Election and that is simply unacceptable to me. With all of our technology and workforce available, there is really no reason why this should be the case. The skeptical side of me leans towards the notion that the complications in counting the votes is rooted in some nefarious intent. Whereas the more optimistic side of me suggests that I should not underestimate the potential of human incompetence. Either way, I see a simple solution for all of this. I am presenting them here with the hope that future elections do not suffer the foibles of this one. 

Subscribe to my podcast – NOW!

CANCEL EARLY VOTING AND BAN MAIL-IN BALLOTS

We have an absentee voting system in place. This process was in place prior to 1992 and I believe it would still work if removed. I think when you have more ways to vote then, you have more ways to commit fraud and that applies to all parties. If you are concerned about Covid, plan on traveling or have moved away, voting absentee is simple and fair.

Mail-in ballots are a vehicle for cheating and error. Although you can only legally vote one time, receiving multiple mail-in ballots may encourage  overzealous supporters to vote more than once. Maybe this was by design, maybe not. Either way, I think it should be abolished. 


VOTER ID 

When the topic of Voter ID is brought up, some will immediately cry out that making ID mandatory to vote disenfranchises segment of our society. I never understood that logic when ID is required for so many other things (i.e. Opening a bank account, renting a car, buying alcohol, applying for welfare or food stamps) and people remain silent. Plus, it is insulting to believe that minorities (i.e. African Americans) can get a Drivers License but are somehow incapable of securing a Voter ID card. I think the video below best illustrates my point. 


DECIDE THE WINNER ON ELECTION DAY OR THE DAY AFTER (At the latest…) 

While I understand and am sympathetic to all the extra votes that have come in this year, why do we not have people working in shifts? If hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, et cetera can work 24 hours why can we not handle an election that way? Why is this so difficult when a Presidential Election happens every 4 years?!! It just seems so ludicrous to me. 

KEEP YOUR RECEIPT

Bank records have been online for decades. Congressional voting records have been online for decades as well. Why not have a system in place that operates like this?

  1. People vote in person or via absentee ballot, as per normal.
  2. The voter is given a receipt as proof of their vote.
  3. That vote is logged into an online system that the voter can access and verify that their vote is accurately counted.
  4. On the day of the election, the results are announced and voters can check to see if their vote if their vote was changed.
  5. If there is suspected fraud, voters can bring their vote receipts and have those counted again in-person by scanning their receipts at a polling station. They can also do this randomly for so many weeks after the election to insure system integrity. 
  6. After the election has been settled, the voter information is purged for the sake of privacy. (However, voters can still keep their voting receipts as a secondary precaution.)

PUBLICLY SHAME ELECTION MEDDLING

The FBI has a famous “most wanted” list available online and in post offices around the country. I propose something similar for those convicted of election meddling and that they be displayed no less than 90 days prior to elections of any kind but especially prior to a Presidential election. To start this effort off, I would nominate for the “Election Meddling List” any and all responsible for the alleged crimes highlighted in these articles. 

I would very much like to see this done and I solicit the assistance of any and all likeminded individuals. I do not think that this is the conclusion of the matter. Are there any other means to protect our voting system I have missed? Please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!

Jim 

Is this proof that Trump will win the 2020 Election?

Over the past few weeks I have been inundated with political advertising in email, snail mail, television, radio and text messages… so… many… text messages. How did they get my number? I am getting them from both sides of the aisle. Sigh. I will be so glad when this election is over. As I find myself anxious for the conclusion, I am equally curious as to who will win. I have seen both sides already claiming victory. A “blue wave” is coming says Democrats, so get ready. Check out this quote from CBS News.

Wall Street firms are increasingly advising their clients to prepare for a “Blue Wave” of victories in next month’s national election. Such an outcome would land Joe Biden in the White House and give Democrats a majority in both chambers of Congress.

In the past month, at least five of Wall Street’s top strategists have sent reports to investors predicting a Democratic sweep. Goldman Sachs told clients in a research note earlier this week that the odds of Biden winning the presidency and Democrats gaining a majority in the Senate is roughly 65%. Analysts with the investment bank pointed out that stock prices have been rising since September, coinciding with political polls tilting increasingly toward Biden. 

Goldman also wrote that stocks and other investments that tend to rise when investors expect more inflation have lead the market higher since mid-September. This “reinflation trade,” as it is called on Wall Street, is being fueled in part by expectations that a Blue Wave next month will increase the likelihood of lawmakers approving another major round of federal spending on unemployment benefits, cash payments for Americans and other stimulus measures. 

Simultaneously, the Republicans are dancing in the streets over the “red wave” that is sure to come. In USA Today, President Trump touted that a “big, beautiful red wave” was coming on Election Night, ignoring the multiple national polls that show him trailing to rival Joe Biden. Here’s a video on that.

I understand that both sides have an interest in confidently bragging on victories they have not won yet. I can respect that. However, I respect data more so I did some digging. Although I could be wrong, very wrong, I am predicting that President Trump will win the election and bigly. Why? Google Trends data.

I looked up “how to vote” on Google Trends and noticed a very sharp spike around the time of early voting. Makes sense to me. People who have never voted before wanted answers ahead of the barrage of political advertising they were likely being subjected to.

If I were a first time voter and I wanted to know how to vote democrat, I would likely Google that phrase. I think my thinking was inline because that was a popular search this past year. Around the time of early voting, there was a gradual trend upward suggesting to me that there lots of people wanting to vote Democrat for the first time.

Google Trends lets you compare searches so I overlapped the results of “how to vote Democrat” (indicated in blue) with “how to vote Republican” (indicated in red) and I saw a greater advantage for Republicans, albeit not by a wide margin.

So, at this point, my thinking is that its a horse race and all the talk of waves was just political blustering. However, that changed with my last search – “how to vote for Trump.” Umm… wow. The results towered over both major parties.

After seeing this, I wanted to go a bit deeper. I compared “how to vote biden” with “how to vote trump” and compared the results over all. Trump had the lead by a wide margin during early stage voting.

Something else that can be done on Google Trends is that you can see where in the USA the majority of those searches are done. If more people have been searching for Biden in GA then GA would look blue on the Google Trends map. As of now, based on Google Trends data, the country is almost completely red. (Color intensity represents percentage of searches.)

I am not a political analyst so, take this with a grain of salt. Both sides are pretty polarized at this point so, whomever can get first time voters on their side may very well win. If that is indeed the case then, it looks like the wave will be red. Of course, I could be wrong. As with anything I share that may be triggering, please head over to Google Trends and conduct your own research. Here is a link to my last search.

Whether I am right or wrong, Election Day is almost here so this post will soon be a bragging right or a post of shame. Either way, I am leaving it posted. Enjoy.

Jim

P.S. Are you listening to my podcast? If not, please subscribe and pass it on.

Subscribe to my podcast – NOW!

What has Trump done for Black America?

In the last Presidential debate, President Donald Trump said, “…with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, no one has done more for the black community than Trump.” As spirited as the debate was that comment resonated with me more than all the rest. It made me wonder. What has President Trump done for African Americans? If anything… Is he truly the greatest President for blacks since Abraham Lincoln? Is he as racist as so many people want me to believe? I wanted to know for myself so I did my own research. Tune in to hear what I found out. | Special thanks to my sponsor Black History Quiz: https://blackhistoryquiz.com 

Links related to this episode can be found here:

NOTE: In the thumbnail of this podcast is a picture of Donald Trump with Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. Details can be found here.