20190812 Director new preface re the word “Revolution”:
The title of my debut documentary “Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」” was decided in 2004, so 15 years ago. The rationale is similar to “industrial revolution” or “internet revolution”, ideas for improvement. Nothing to do with violence.
In 2010, after fighting members in courts for years, Costco settled a Class Action lawsuit (*Ref-3) for backdating membership renewal. Costco was forced to pay millions of harmed US members benefits valued at $38.8 million & lawyers’ fee of $5.38 million.
11 years later in 2021, it seems Costco kept acting dishonestly & deceitfully by backdating benefits of 105 million members in 12 countries & 803 locations this way:
2021 Bottom Line: ~100+ million customers in 799 locations still have their benefits backdated & faces slapped. It seems Costco kept behaving deceitfully with little integrity and treats only customers in 4 locations fairly. The question remains “When will Costco stop slapping customers in the face?” posed 2009 by the nonprofit consumer organization Consumer Reports. (*Ref-2)
During renewal, Costco members in 7 countries are shortchanged up to 2 months. In 3 countries, rip off are up to 12 months. Members in only 2 countries are safe. US$3.54 billion profit in membership fee accounting for 88% of net income in 2020 shows these months of fees paid worldwide by millions of members for ZERO benefit takes unfair advantage of members to enrich Costco shareholders’ pockets.
Costco backdates your membership and give you up to 2 months LESS benefits after you pay 12 FULL months fee in SEVEN ( 7 ) countries. The SIX insidious Costco contractual words of “renewed within 2 months after expiration” count 12 months from your PAST expiration date (the rip off) instead of basing on the day you pay to renew which is how members are treated fairly with respect by Costco China & Costco Spain. Read Costco’s own contract wordings for yourself in countries listed below!
You get up to 2 months LESS benefits in these 7 countries:
For the following THREE ( 3 ) countries, Costco demands an outrageous backdating of up to 12 months LESS benefits after you pay 12 FULL months fee. Costco counts 12 months from your OLD “date of membership” (contract language of Costco France) or “expiration date of the membership” (contract language of Costco Korea). No mentioning of “within 2 months” here, making things actually far far worse. For example, your membership expires on December 31st and you haven’t gone to Costco for almost a year. You go shopping for Christmas gifts and pay to renew on December 24th. Your membership would have expired merely days later on December 31st because the 12 months are counted from your OLD “expiration date” months and months ago.
You get up to 12 months LESS benefits in these 3 countries:
Oxford Dictionary defines “Rip Off” as “cheat someone, especially financially“. Decide for yourself if Costco‘s behaviours discussed in this report meet this definition of “rip off” or there are simply a lot of “misunderstanding”?
New & long time Costco members caught in the scheme
Since the world plunged into Covid19 global pandemic in March 2020, millions of grocery shoppers in US, Canada, UK, and around the world have become brand new Costco members and started bulk buying. Who can forget news and social media photos of empty shelves of “essential goods” from toilet paper, household cleaning items, flour to even dry pasta. When medical experts advise us to physical distance and stay at home, bulk-buying at places like Costco seems like a good way to reduce our risk of contracting Covid19.
It may surprise some long time Costco members who have no idea that they have been caught in Costco‘s scheme for years. So the millions of new members who recently joined Costco since March of 2020 need to pay special attention and arm yourselves with knowledge in order to avoid being ripped off. For the record, this reporter’s family has a Costco membership. We shop at Costco periodically. One recent Costco experience was bad enough that it became the proverbial last straw and impetus to conduct this in-depth research and share with you these findings so you can judge Costco for yourself.
Guess what item
So what item does Costco rip members off the most? Hint: Some members get ripped off depending on your shopping habits and can add up to millions of dollars a year. Cosmetic, Costco chickens, or diamond rings? No, it’s what gets you in the door … your membership! For fiscal year ending August 30th 2020, Costco made a whopping $3.54 billion from membership fees.
By this reporter’s estimation (see below), Costco is potentially ripping off members worldwide from US$15 million to US$59 million a year, give or take a few million dollars. Not small change. So how does this scheme work?
The most troubling time of your Costco membership year
Costco membership agreements have pages of fine print. How many of the millions of new (since the start of the pandemic in March 2020) or existing 105.5 million worldwide members/cardholders have actually carefully read every word of the membership legal contract before they signed on the dotted line? One member in 50,000 or less?
You are not alone if you didn’t have time to read before signing it. Few years ago this reporter spent almost 10 minutes standing at the membership counter to read the legal fine print before giving up and signed on the dotted line without finishing like everyone else. Yes, this reporter is happy to say that bit of embarrassment has finally been corrected while researching for this report. Let’s take a quick look of the legal mumble-jumble and see if you notice the problem before it is explained with examples. Ready?
“Memberships renewed within 2 months after expiration of the current membership year will be extended for 12 months from the expiration date. Memberships renewed more than 2 months after such expiration will be extended for 12 months from the renewal date. All renewals will be assessed at the membership fee in effect on the date the membership fee is paid.”
To make things easier to explain, we will use a concrete example with dates. Let’s say your membership expired on November 30th, 2020 (actually our family’s case), if you renew your membership within 2 months after expiration, even on January 30th, 2021, that is the last day of that “within 2 months” period, then you are one of the members that have been “ripped off“.
How so? Costco‘s contractual language forces you to pay 12 months of membership fee but only give you 10 months of membership benefits. Your renewed membership expiration date is unfairly backdated for two full months to November 30th, 2021, a rip off of 1/6 of the fee paid by loyal & renewing members! Making membership renewal time the most troubling time of your Costco membership. The kicker is that brand new customers signing up on the same date of January 30th, 2021 as you would get an honest expiration date of January 31, 2022.
“Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world:
When day comes we ask ourselves, ‘where can we find light in this never-ending shade, the loss we carry, a sea we must wade?’
We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. And the norms and notions of what “just is” isn’t always just-ice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew; that even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that ‘everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.’ If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it, because being American is more than a pride we inherit – it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. So while once we asked ‘how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,’ now we assert: ‘how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens but one thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west, we will rise from the winds swept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rinsed cities of the midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South.We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.“
20210120 CNN Anderson Cooper did a great interview with Amanda, check out the following video (AC360 tweet, YouTube). Amanda explained to Anderson the origin of the line “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it” is tweets she read. She is inspired by words she read instead of images she sees. And they talked about the last few lines.
On Jan 15, 2021, I tweeted I was “Looking forward to poet #AmandaGorman’ #InauguralPoem #TheHillWeClimb on Jan 20th. Until then, watching Amanda, first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2017, performing her poems in 2019 at The Museum of Contemporary Art.”
“It is a strange thing to have to say in this world today that it takes courage to be a scientist. I used to think that it only took brains. And now you need to be brave and courageous as well to do science in the face of the anti-science movement that we see. And the ideologic politics that has come to this process.” – Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO (video source: 2020 Nov 23, WHO Media briefing on COVID-19 (time code 39m 24s))
How do you define high-risk health workers? Essential workers?
High-risk medical conditions push you to the front of the vaccine line. How do you prove you have them when you get there?
How do you vaccinate special populations when there are little or no data on how the vaccines work for them? [K: children, pregnant people]
How widely can Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine be used, given its taxing storage requirements? [K: “Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, which uses messenger RNA technology, must be shipped and stored at -70 Celsius.”]
How will Pfizer and BioNTech’s ordering system affect the potential rollout of its vaccine?
With air travel slowed, can vaccines get where they need to go quickly?
How can officials keep a highly coveted resource safe from theft — and prevent counterfeits?
Above Pix Full Credit: NIAID (NIH) Flickr post //Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: NIAID //
Comments Off on #Covid19 Clinical Report & Does Convalescent Plasma Work? (Remember the time recovered Tom Hanks & Wife Rita donating plasma?) | covid19, Health Sciences & Medicine | Permalink Posted by kempton
Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.
The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical-care beds and ventilators.
“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.
Flu season and other respiratory infections common in the fall could put added pressure on the system if COVID-19 flares up in a big way.
Tam said there were many lessons learned from the spring, when the government was ill-prepared and without enough protective equipment for health-care workers, and feared a massive surge of COVID-19 would overwhelm the health-care system.
“We are much better prepared than we were before,” she said.
The pair [Kyle McGowan, the chief of staff, and Amanda Campbell, the deputy chief of staff,] had been criticized by Trump administration officials for not being loyal enough. McGowan started working in Health and Human Services under then-Secretary Tom Price. He first served as director of external affairs for HHS before moving to the CDC. CNN has reached out to HHS for comment about the departures.
When our politician ask CDN stars for Covid help, they obliged as only good CDNs would!
“Many will have heard Russia’s announcement that they have approved a coronavirus vaccine. I’ve already had several people ask me what I think of it, so let me be clear: I think it’s a ridiculous publicity stunt. If it’s supposed to make Russia look like some sort of biotechnology powerhouse, then as far as I’m concerned it does the opposite. It makes them look desperate, like the nation-state equivalent of a bunch of penny-stock promoters. The new airliner design prototype just got off the ground – time to sell tickets and load it full of passengers, right?
Why so negative? Look at what’s being claimed – the first coronavirus vaccine to receive regulatory approval. But “regulatory approval” is not some international gold standard, and these sorts of decisions show you why. Let’s be honest: there is no way that you can responsibly “approve” a vaccine after it’s only been into human trials for what numerous reports say is less than two months. That’s about enough time to do the first steps, a Phase I trial that gives you some idea of immune response across more than one dose. It is simply not enough time to do a reasonable efficacy workup as well, and absolutely not enough time to get any sort of reading on safety. Here’s a good article going into those timelines in more depth.”
Three sets of Q&As that I find very insightful. [K’s note: Love this quote: “The virus doesn’t have a brain. We are the one that have brains. […] how we can outsmart something doesn’t have a brain that we are not doing such a great job now.”]11:41 What are the keys to vaccines development? [HT Philip]12:38 Dr. Ryan’s answers.15:35 Dr. Bruce adds more. [… When it comes to a key to finding the vaccine …]
41:52 Q: When you talk about know your enemy, what is the virus trying to do?
42:13 Dr. Ryan: The virus doesn’t have a brain. We are the one that have brains. [… great answers ] Maria may have something to say about how we can outsmart something doesn’t have a brain that we are not doing such a great job now. #frank
42:59 Dr. Maria: [… “The goal of a virus is to make more virus. The goal of the virus is to, I would use the word “survive” if it was alive, it is NOT alive. It wants to reproduce. It wants to find individuals to …] […more great answers!]Read the rest of this entry »
Comments Off on 20200810 News Clippings – The virus doesn’t have a brain, Winter is coming, HK police arrest pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai & activist Agnes Chow | News Clippings, politics | Permalink Posted by kempton
More than 40 years ago, Buffett wrote, Murphy taught him an “indispensable” lesson about the importance of recognizing and controlling your emotions. “He said, ‘Warren, you can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow,’” Buffett recalled. “It was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received.”
Murphy’s point is that, often, in a heated situation, the smartest thing you can do is hold your tongue. If you lose your temper, you’re more likely to do something you might regret later on. And once it’s out there (especially in today’s technological world, where anything you say can go viral), you can’t take it back.
“It’s such an easy way of putting it,” Buffett continued. “You haven’t missed the opportunity. Just forget about it for a day. If you feel the same way tomorrow, tell them then — but don’t spout off in a moment of anger!”
“We're their closest allies… and he comes and backstabs us like this? Unacceptable,” said Ontario's @fordnation about U.S. President Trump imposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum. “We will come back swinging like they've never seen before.” pic.twitter.com/QioutphKCe
Comments Off on 20200807 News Clippings – Aluminum Tariffs, HK Carrie Lam sanctioned, Georgia student’s ‘good and necessary trouble’, No mask no flight | News Clippings, politics | Permalink Posted by kempton
Since covid19 kinda took over our world, I geek out and try to learn more about the science of this monster.
Anyway, one great source of scientific information I accidentally discovered (via Gladwell when he talked about himself interviewing Fauci when he was reporting on HIV-AIDS years ago) is a podcast call TWiV “This Week in Virology”. I started listening to TWiV in recent months hosted by a group of virologists that have been recording the TWiV podcast for 10+ years (e.g. Sept 2008: “TWiV 2: Polio is not dead”).
*Margaret: what are your thoughts on the Wuhan bioterrorism theory—intelligent people apparently are going into conspiracy theories? Quote from Ed Young in the Atlantic (quoting someone else) “Journalists still think of their job as producing new content, but if your goal is public understanding for COVID-19, one piece of new content after another doesn’t get you there, it requires a lot of background knowledge to understand the updates and the news system is terrible at providing that knowledge. Instead the staccato pulse of reports merely amplifies the wobbliness of the scientific process, turns incremental bits of evidence into game changers, and intensifies the already palpable sense of uncertainty that drives people towards misinformation.” Plain English explanations:
how do you know SARS-CoV-2 is not man-made, man altered, or genetically engineered? Evidence points to CoV-2 originating in nature NOT in a lab. First you would need a virus to start with that we can then engineer—from all the papers and genomes that are accessible in the databases, there was no virus that we had accessed that was close enough to CoV-2 that could have been human modified to the current form, except a bat virus from 2013 that is still genetically very different. Nobody took a virus that did not infect people and modified it so that it could: first, because scientists currently do not know how to do that, second, because there is nothing genetically close enough to be a precursor. Again scientists wouldn’t know what to do—the viruses being made have all had research into infecting animal vectors like mice, so there is a large gap in knowledge. While it is possible to chemically synthesize this virus from scratch, it is very unlikely that scientists would know what to make. There are differences from the 2013 bat virus in the receptor binding domain (RBD) and the furin cleavage site that make sense for increased infection capability and to make the virus pathogenic to people, but there are also a lot of accrued mutations (eg mistakes and changes in the RNA) that don’t appear to have any particular effect. It is hard to imagine how all of those random changes would have been picked up if this was being made in a lab—seeing all of the random mutations or genetic drift that would be seen if the virus was evolving in nature but not what you would see if the virus was evolving in the lab is the biggest indicator that this is not man-made. There are too many natural-looking mutations to be likely created. The furin site as an intention insertion is off-base as it is not necessary to infect humans. There are bits and pieces that people would not have thought to combine into a successful virus. Also, some of the changes to the RBD are novel and had a very unexpected impact on viral transmission, so this would be incredibly unlikely to have been found and used with no prior research. Bottom line: there is zero evidence that CoV-2 came from a lab and a ton of evidence that the virus came from nature