Rumble — FAUCI’S NEW GOAL: CONTROL
Two years into the pandemic, the tired narrative of legacy media & public health authoritarians like Fauci, has almost completely reversed from driving fear of the Covid, to ‘we must learn to live with this virus’. So why have Fauci & Co. made such an abrupt ‘about face?’
On a warm spring morning in 1976, when Beth Pratt was 7 years old, she noticed a “For sale” sign posted in the woods near her home just north of Boston.
“I asked my mom what it meant,” she recalled. “She said the land was up for sale and would soon be flattened by bulldozers.”
The next day, Pratt went door to door in her neighborhood of old elms and deep porches asking for donations to save one of her favorite outdoor playgrounds. Then she called the phone number on the sign and made an offer: $5.
After several seconds of silence, the person on the other end of the line said, “Wonderful. Just $40,000 more and that property is all yours.”
Today, Pratt is still raising money for causes she believes in. At 52, Pratt heads the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign, which seeks to raise funds to build an $87-million bridge that will allow isolated clans of cougars to cross a 10-lane stretch of the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills.
To get a full measure of her dedication to the cause, start with the campaign’s poster puma, P-22. A likeness of the lone mountain lion prowling the chaparral-covered slopes in Griffith Park is tattooed on Pratt’s upper left arm.
Groundbreaking is just around the corner. The thought of it brings a proud smile to her face.
“When I took on this assignment I thought, well, how hard can it be?” Pratt said, shaking her head. “I didn’t dream it would grow into a nearly $100-million project that would consume almost 10 years of my life.”
An artist’s rendering of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, set to break ground in late January.
(Living Habitats and National Wildlife Federation)
When it is completed, the 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide bridge will be the largest and most expensive of its kind in the world — and the only one designed to save a species from extinction.
It is crucial, scientists say, to restoring gene flow among small, isolated populations of cougars trapped south of the freeway that roars with 300,000 vehicles each day in the Santa Monica Mountains and cougars confined to the north in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.
Recent scientific studies suggest there’s an almost 1 in 4 chance that Southern California mountain lions, which have the lowest genetic diversity documented for the species aside from the critically endangered Florida panther, could become extinct within 50 years.
The next few months are vital for those cougars and for Pratt, regional executive director in California for the federation. As of early December, the effort still needed $5 million to meet deadlines and contractual obligations.
Beth Pratt works in her office at her home in Midpines, Calif., near Yosemite National Park. Her ability to raise considerable amounts of money owes, in part, to a group of connected L.A. Westsiders.
(Gary Kazanjian / For The Times)
Yet Pratt looked pleased on a recent morning, writing grant proposals and soliciting donations over the phone in her home near Yosemite National Park. Her living area is filled with artistic renderings and life-size cardboard cutouts of mountain lions.
She had reason to be pleased. Future historians may look back on the second decade or so of 21st century American architecture as the Age of Wildlife Crossings. Congress in November passed a national infrastructure package that for the first time sets aside $350 million in federal funding for wildlife crossings to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in all 50 states.
This would not have been the situation most people would have predicted when Pratt took on the tricky fundraising job. Wildlife bridge proposals, she quickly learned, come with a hitch: You need money to get past the blueprints, but you need blueprints to generate donations.
It’s rare these days — and almost impossible — to see a big-bucks urban wildlife project survive such long odds, particularly in a region that is home to unbearable traffic jams, smog and cookie-cutter planned developments.
Her ability to raise money in breathtaking amounts owes, in part, to a group of connected L.A. Westsiders — celebrities, corporate leaders and philanthropists — who have ready cash and enjoy throwing elegant private fundraisers for progressive causes.
Beth Pratt, a self-described “goofy, loud, middle-class Boston Irish woman” who dresses in blue jeans and worn tennis shoes, relaxes at her home in Midpines, Calif.
(Gary Kazanjian / For The Times)
While the Westside may not be the natural habitat of a self-described “goofy, loud, middle-class Boston Irish woman” who dresses in blue jeans and worn tennis shoes, Pratt learned that she could successfully coax the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Barbra Streisand without changing habits.
Pratt carries a backpack instead of a purse. At one Beverly Hills fundraiser, the host asked, “Are you going hiking after this?”
“I discovered that mountain lions are a great icebreaker when you don’t have much else in common,” she said. “For example, when I met my favorite actor, Viggo Mortensen, at a Santa Barbara film festival, I only talked about cougars and not about my 20-year crush on him.” Pratt shoved a furry P-22 figurine under his arm as a reminder.
Her other gifts are patience, energy, ambition and what Cinny Kennard, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation, described as “relentless competence.”
Between solicitations to prospective donors, Pratt has partnered with photographer Robb Hirsch to publish the first in-depth account of the wildlife in Yosemite in almost 100 years.
She also promotes the Liberty Canyon project during visits to local elementary schools and annually retraces the 20-mile odyssey that P-22 braved from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park. The cat’s route took him over concrete and backyards, commuter traffic and culverts.
A 2014 photo provided by the National Park Service shows a mountain lion known as P-22 in the Griffith Park area near downtown Los Angeles.
(National Park Service )
“Some of her supporters have been moved to tears,” said Paul Edelman, deputy director of natural resources for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, “seeing Beth emerge from the brush near the carousel at Griffith Park looking bedraggled, dusty and sunburned.”
When asked about her heroes, she quickly gives credit to Outdoor Afro founder Rue Mapp, who wants to bring healing hikes and what she calls the “outdoor Black experience” to more Americans.
A selfie taken by Beth Pratt with Outdoor Afro founder Rue Mapp, right, who wants to bring healing hikes and what she calls the “outdoor Black experience” to more Americans.
Pratt sensed a kindred spirit in Mapp after they met about a decade ago. They both have great faith in the transformative power of the outdoors, and they both were struggling through personal issues while launching unprecedented projects that would define their careers and nurture new cooperative relationships between the urban and the wild.
“We became professional confidants who bonded in our own brand of sisterhood,” said Mapp, 49, a former Morgan Stanley analyst whose Outdoor Afro has expanded into a nonprofit with chapters in 36 cities across the nation. “For us, it was like Stars Wars’ Yoda says, ‘Do or not do. There is no trying.’”
The #SaveLACougars campaign kicked off in 2014 after the National Wildlife Federation and the Santa Monica Mountains Fund joined forces to raise money for the project at Liberty Canyon, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
“Normally, the majority of funding for projects of this scale comes from government agencies and not private donations,” Pratt said. “But the incentive was powerful to act quickly and reach out to visionary private investors or the lions of L.A. County would vanish within our lifetime.”
One of Pratt’s first donors was veteran rocker David Crosby. “This has always been a very uphill project and Beth is a very brave, focused and strong girl,” he said. “I plan to be there when they cut the ribbon on that wildlife bridge.”
Beth Pratt’s home in Midpines, Calif., is filled with artistic renderings and life-size cardboard cutouts of mountain lions.
(Gary Kazanjian / For The Times)
Since 2020, wildlife biologists have discovered the physical manifestations of extremely low genetic diversity among several of the dozen cougars that roam the 275 square miles in and around the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area — a tail kinked like the letter “L,” only one descended testicle and abnormal sperm.
In the face of such a dire prognosis — what biologists call an extinction vortex — conservationists are stepping up calls for construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon.
As envisioned by architects and Caltrans, cougars would move unseen by humans over a reinforced concrete-and-steel wildlife crossing landscaped with native vegetation — including oak and willow trees — and irrigation systems, and shielded with sound walls and light deflectors to dampen the noise and glare of headlights below.
Fencing up to 12 feet high would funnel wildlife including mountain lions, bobcats, deer, coyotes, skunks, badgers, squirrels, mice and lizards over the passage. To reduce roadkill, fencing would also extend several miles in both directions from the project footprint.
Project partners include the California Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the National Wildlife Federation.
Because the bridge crosses the freeway, Caltrans will oversee design and construction — but the agency is not providing funding. Instead, most of the funds come from more than 3,000 private, philanthropic and corporate donors around the world, including a recent $25-million challenge grant from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation.
Mountain lions as a species are not threatened in California, but the state Fish and Game Commission has granted cougars in six regions from Santa Cruz to the U.S.-Mexico border “candidate status” to be listed as threatened sometime next year.
The action came in response to a petition co-sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity and the nonprofit Mountain Lion Foundation. It argues that six isolated and distinct cougar clans within those regions make up a subpopulation that is threatened by extinction.
“In car-centric California, what we do with our roads is critical to the future of mountain lions,” said Brendan Cummings, the center’s conservation director. “A new, more hopeful relationship is breaking ground on the side of the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon.
“This project is significant not just because it will directly benefit our endangered Southern California cougars,” he added, “but also because of what it represents: the most important step toward reimagining and rebuilding our infrastructure to ensure a continuing place for them and other wildlife in 21st century California and beyond.”
Not everyone is a believer, however. Critics ask why we should willingly share more space in our crowded world with stealthy, 140-pound predators who kill livestock and might menace us if we walk down a trail at night.
Pratt has answers. And there is an edge of impatience mixed with her self-effacing humor as she delivers them.
“I don’t want to see people hurt, but it’s important to put the risk in perspective,” she says. “Over the past century there’ve been less than 20 mountain lion attacks in California, six of them fatal. Yet, 3,000 to 4,000 people die every year on California’s highways.
“So c’mon,” she adds, “ask yourself when was the last time you helped pull an endangered lion back from the edge of extinction?”
There have been tumultuous years. But by perseverance and a generous measure of personal charm, Pratt has become California’s most recognizable promoter of wildlife crossings.
“Beth rocks,” said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis. “I’d like to see her apply her considerable organizing powers to other roads driving local lions toward extinction.”
How George Soros funded progressive ‘legal arsonist’ DAs behind US crime surge
Isabel Vincent 8 – 10 minutes
For the last several years, billionaire philanthropist George Soros has been quietly financing a revolution in criminal justice reform, doling out tens of millions of dollars to progressive candidates in district attorney races throughout the country amid movements to abolish bail and defund the police.
Working with an activist attorney, Soros, 91, mainly funnels cash through a complicated web of federal and state political action committees as well as non-profits from coast to coast, public records show.
Hungarian-born philanthropist Soros and his Open Society group of non-profits have mainly doled out cash to political action campaigns controlled by attorney and criminal justice reform activist Whitney Tymas, 60. She is the treasurer of the Justice and Safety PAC as well as 20 other similarly named groups at both the state and federal levels, according to public filings.
The goal of the myriad PACs is focused on electing progressives to end tough policing and mass incarceration, according to Tymas. “If we are to reach a place of true progress, it will take the sustained efforts of local elected prosecutors across the country to rectify and reimagine their role in the criminal legal system — not just as gatekeepers, but as active catalysts for change,” wrote Tymas in an opinion article last year.
Chicago’s Kim Foxx was Soros’ first success, contributing $300,000 to her first campaign in 2016, and another $2 million for her successful re-election run last month. AP
Her efforts coupled with Soros’ largesse have played an outsize role in some of the most controversial district attorney campaigns in the US, including George Gascon in Los Angeles as well as Larry Krasner in Philadelphia and Kim Foxx in Chicago, among others. Soros also donated $1 million to Alvin Bragg’s successful DA campaign in Manhattan, funneling the cash through the Color of Change political action committee, according to public filings.
“George Soros has quietly orchestrated the dark money political equivalent of ‘shock and awe,’ on local attorney races through the country, shattering records, flipping races and essentially making a mockery of our entire campaign finance system,” said Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center in Virginia. (Calls to Soros’ camp went unreturned on Thursday.)
Between 2015 and 2019, Soros and his affiliated political action committees spent more than $17 million on local DA races in support of left-wing candidates, according to the Capital Research Center, a non-profit that tracks lobbying and charitable giving. That number is expected to top $20 million in the last two years, according to estimates from the NLPC.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose parents were members of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group, wants to end mass incarceration and cash bail, earning Soros’ campaign dollars.AP
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this where federal election level money and resources are brought to bear and coordinated to effectively flip local level races where campaign finance restrictions make it almost impossible to counter,” said Anderson, adding that conservative opponents are hamstrung by local campaign finance laws that Soros doesn’t have to abide by because he is using independent expenditures and not directly coordinating with the campaigns.
Critics say the policies of Soros-funded DAs, which have included abolishing bail and, in the case of Chicago, placing hundreds of violent criminals on electronic tracking systems, have led to a spike in crime throughout the country. According to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report released in September, the country saw a 30 percent increase in homicides in 2020 — the largest single-year spike since they began recording crime statistics 60 years ago. The report also saw a 24 percent decrease in arrests across the country.
This year, Philadelphia, a city of 1.5 million, had more homicides than New York and Los Angeles, the country’s two largest cities. The city recorded 521 homicides — the highest since 1990 — compared to 443 in New York and 352 in Los Angeles. Chicago, the country’s third largest city, registered the highest number of homicides at 739, up three percent from the previous year.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, also backed by Soros, has presided over a crime spike since he was inaugurated in December 2020.AFP via Getty Images
“Everywhere Soros-backed prosecutors go, crime follows,” said Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton in a statement to The Post. “These legal arsonists have abandoned their duty to public safety by pursuing leniency even for the most heinous crime, and they often flat-out refuse to charge criminals for shoplifting, vagrancy and entire categories of misdemeanors.”
In Los Angeles, where critics say that criminal justice reforms have recently led to a wave of looting and violent crimes, Soros funneled more than $2.5 million into a California political action committee to support Gascon, who left the San Francisco District Attorney’s office to run against incumbent Jackie Lacey in 2020. The Cuban-born Gascon, who moved with his family to the US in 1967, said in his December 2020 inauguration speech that the rush to “incarcerate generations of kids of color” had torn the “social fabric of our communities. The status quo hasn’t made us safe.”
Boudin, whose parents were members of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group, echoed similar sentiments during his campaign in San Francisco. A former public defender and translator for former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Boudin has promised to end mass incarceration and cash bail. Former San Francisco homicide prosecutors Brooke Jenkins and Don Du Bain recently quit their jobs, two of 59 attorneys to resign since Boudin took office in January 2020.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has seen crime in his city skyrocket with more homicides than New York and Los Angeles, the country’s two largest cities.
Earlier this week, San Francisco mayor London Breed announced an emergency crackdown on crime after a spike in gun violence and lethal fentanyl overdoses in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood. “It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” she said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the b–ls–t that has destroyed our city.”
The problem begins with lax law enforcement at the DA level, according to critics.
“The only good Soros prosecutor is a defeated Soros prosecutor,” Cotton told The Post.
But that’s becoming increasingly rare as Soros and other progressive groups step up their funding.
Manhattan District Attorney-elect Alvin Bragg received $1 million from Soros in his election bid.AP
Chicago’s Kim Foxx was Soros’ first success. He contributed $300,000 to her first campaign in 2016, and a further $2 million for her successful re-election run last year. The Cook County State’s Attorney came under fire when her office dismissed all the charges in the original 16-count indictment against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in 2019, three weeks after a grand jury had issued it. Last week, Smollett was convicted of staging a false hate crime.
And Soros’ funding doesn’t end with electing progressive prosecutors. In October, Soros’ Open Society Policy Center donated $500,000 to Equity PAC, a Texas-based group that funds progressive causes and was working to oppose a ballot proposition that would have seen the capital city of Austin hire hundreds of new police officers amid a spike in violent crime. Although the city has seen a 10 percent rise in aggravated assaults over 2020, Proposition A was overwhelmingly defeated last month — apparently thanks to Soros’ cash injection, which funded ad campaigns throughout Austin.
Soros’ donation came a year after his non-profit funneled $652,000 to the Texas Justice and Public Safety PAC group that backed the election of Jose Garza, who assumed office as Travis County DA, based in Austin.
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