Computer scientists urge Clinton campaign to challenge election results

CNN 

(CNN)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is being urged by a number of top computer scientists to call for a recount of vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to a source with knowledge of the request.

The computer scientists believe they have found evidence that vote totals in the three states could have been manipulated or hacked and presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday.
The scientists, among them J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the Clinton campaign they believe there is a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners, according to the source
The group informed John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines, which the group said could have been hacked.
Their group told Podesta and Elias that while they had not found any evidence of hacking, the pattern needs to be looked at by an independent review.
Neither Halderman nor John Bonifaz, an attorney also pressing the case, responded to requests for comment on Tuesday evening. Their urging was first reported by New York magazine.
A message left with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team also was not immediately returned.
There were widespread concerns about hacking ahead of this month’s election, including the Obama administration accusing Russia of attempting to breach voter registration data. But election officials and cybersecurity experts said earlier this month that it is virtually impossible for Russia to influence the election outcome.
A former Clinton aide declined to respond to questions about whether they will request an audit based on the findings.
Additionally, at least three electors have pledged to not vote for Trump and to seek a “reasonable Republican alternative for president through Electoral College,” according to a statement Wednesday from a group called the Hamilton Electors, which represents them.
“The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as the last line of defense,” one elector, Michael Baca, said in a statement, “and I think we must do all that we can to ensure that we have a reasonable Republican candidate who shares our American values.”
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AIDS United: A Harm Reduction Compendium

 

As a result of the opioid epidemic, the concept of harm reduction has come into increasing prominence in the United States. Harm reduction is a strategy designed to reduce harmful consequences of drugs, sex, or other risky behavior by focusing specifically on reducing the harms associated with that behavior rather than focusing on the risk or illegality of the behavior. AIDS United has long advocated for harm reduction policies such as legalizing and funding syringe services programs (SSPs) and allowing or even requiring that condoms be available in prison. With the 11th National Harm Reduction Conference hosted by the Harm Reduction Coalition in sunny San Diego just around the corner, this seems like a good time to provide an overview of some of AIDS United’s current harm reduction activities.

Harm Reduction Conference

AIDS United is participating heavily in this year’s National Harm Reduction Conference as a sponsor, as presenters and exhibitors, and as participants. AIDS United staff are leading several pre-conference workshops designed to help syringe service organizations and harm reduction organizers expand their capacity and increase their sustainability in an era of federal funding for syringe services. AIDS United is participating in a host of workshops throughout the conference – including a funders’ roundtable and a session diving into the federal implementation of syringe services funding – as well as tabling in the exhibitor hall for the duration. We will also be offering on-site technical assistance for any programs looking to apply for – or assist their health department in applying for – federal funding for SSPs.

Federal Funding Implementation

AIDS United has continued to monitor the implementation of federal funding for SSPs, and has produced a variety of resources for advocates and CBOs over the last year. In June, we released a webinar explaining the various implementation guidance documents released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as well as the role Community Based Organizations (CBOs) could play in guiding their jurisdiction’s “Determination of Need” process. A follow-up webinar, examining what we’ve learned over the first year of federal funding availability, can be expected in the new calendar year. This fall, we released a series of fact sheets, including an SSP-101 and fact sheets aimed at CBOs and SSP advocates. We continue to offer capacity building and technical assistance for programs interested in expanding services using federal funds through our CDC-funded capacity building program Getting to Zero and our policy department. Finally, we continue to work with our partners within the Coalition for Syringe Access to build upon the victories won in late 2015.

Funding

The Syringe Access Fund (SAF) is a funding collaborative of Elton John AIDS Foundation, Irene Diamond Fund, Levi Strauss Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and AIDS United. It is the largest private funding collaborative for syringe access in the United States. The Fund is currently in the first year of its 9th funding round, with grantees across the country continuing to offer lifesaving services and critical policy advocacy on behalf of people who inject drugs. The Round 10 RFA, covering 2018-2019, is expected to be released in Fall, 2017. To date, the Syringe Access Fund has provided more than $17 million in grants to syringe services programs.

Policy Advocacy

AIDS United continues to support harm reduction policy responses to substance use, and in July became the first national HIV advocacy organization to publicly endorse Supervised Injection Facilities as an HIV/HCV prevention strategy for people who inject drugs, alongside expanded access to Medication Assisted Treatment, layperson-naloxone distribution, Good Samaritan protections, syringe services programs, and non-abstinence based housing first permanent supportive housing programs. This endorsement, supported by our Public Policy Committee, firmly centers harm reduction approaches to HIV prevention for people who inject drugs. With the opioid epidemic continuing to rage, AIDS United expects to only deepen our commitment to advancing harm reduction responses to this public health crisis.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department – Friday, October 28, 2016

As STD Rates Soar, Prevention Spending Cuts Continue to Loom Large

 

Infectious diseases don’t take breaks. Humanity has plenty of advantages over communicable diseases, but by and large, policy makers and the public have a disconcerting tendency to only pay attention to public health in times of crisis. In the midst of an outbreak, we are prone to take swift and demonstrative action to address whatever problems face us. However, as soon as that outbreak subsides, our reaction is too often to take our foot off the gas and refocus our energy on issues that suddenly seem more pressing.

For over a decade, funding to combat sexually transmitted diseases (STD) has been given the short shrift by Congress and state legislatures that is all too common with regards to health issues. Since 2003, Congress has not provided a single funding increase for STD programs, while, simultaneously, more than half of all state and local STD programs have undergone large budget cuts.

The result of this institutionalized neglect of STD prevention and treatment has been a startling, but not altogether surprising, resurgence in STD rates, with the recent release of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) report showing the highest number of combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis ever recorded in the United States. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis, congenital syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia rose by 19 percent, 6 percent, 13 percent, and 6 percent respectively, but those numbers only tell part of the story.

This sharp spike in STD rates over the past year is just the most recent and most pronounced manifestation of a disturbing epidemiological trend that shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Between 2003–the last year that Congress provided a funding increase for STD programs–and 2015, the recorded number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis increased by a staggering 333 percent. During the same period, the number of reported cases of chlamydia rose by 174 percent. The number of reported cases of gonorrhea have gone up by a comparatively low 18 percent, but this modest increase is countered by the severity of antibiotic resistant strains that are becoming increasingly prevalent.

It is not a coincidence that this surge in STD cases has come at a time when the budgets of state and local STD programs are being slashed. Much like our aging roads and bridges, America’s public health infrastructure is woefully underfunded and is being pushed to its breaking point. As Bill Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, put it at a congressional briefing on STD prevention back in April, “Our mantra has been to ‘do more with less,’ but now we’re doing less with less. The public’s health is in danger.”

At that same congressional briefing, Dr. Gail Bolan, the CDC’s director of STD Prevention, gave a dour diagnosis for the trajectory of STD infection in the United States if state and local STD programs continue to be underfunded or abandoned. “For those of you who are not clinicians, in most people’s assessment, congenital syphilis is a sentinel event.” Bolan said. “It is a failure of the health care system and it is a failure of the public health system. And in a society that invests as much as we do in our health care and in our public health we should not be seeing this number of congenital syphilis cases in the United States.”

One would think that Congress would immediately react to such a dire warning and would circle the wagons and work to nip this burgeoning STD crisis in the bud. Unfortunately, with the lame duck session quickly approaching, Congress may decide to double down on its neglect of the nation’s sexual health. In the Senate’s current Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill for FY2017, there is a proposed $5 million cut to the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, while the House version merely continues the flat funding that has led to a 40% reduction in the Division of STD Prevention’s buying power since 2003.

Out of sight, out of mind, is not an acceptable approach for Congress or state and local governments to take regarding any public health issue, much less one with the destructive personal and financial implications of sexually transmitted disease. For the millions of Americans who contract STDs each year, and particularly for populations like men who have sex with men who bear a disproportionate brunt of this burden, what do these proposed cuts in funding say about the government’s opinion of them and their wellbeing? It is hard to interpret a call to slash STD program funding in the wake of this recently released CDC data as anything other than a disregard by elected officials for the health of their constituents and it cannot be allowed to stand. As Congress completes its funding of federal programs for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, AIDS United will join other advocates in demanding increased funding for STD prevention. The latest surveillance data call for no less from us.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department – Friday, October 28, 2016

Celebrating the Legacy of AmeriCorps

This summer, the AIDS United AmeriCorps program drew to a close after 22 years. Over the years, the program trained and placed over 800 AmeriCorps Members in HIV-focused community-based organizations, where they gained frontline experience in the fight against HIV. I consider myself fortunate to have been one of these Members.

My experience in the AIDS United AmeriCorps program was formative. In addition to developing my understanding of the HIV epidemic and its surrounding stigmas and disparities, the program was the start of my career in public health and the beginning of lifelong friendships. More recently, as the manager of this program, I had the privilege to meet and learn from dozens of passionate people united to make a difference in the HIV epidemic.

The legacy of the AIDS United AmeriCorps program demonstrates that anyone can make change. Seemingly small actions like taking extra the time during a counseling session to answer questions, organizing a community cleanup, or simply lending an ear can have a profound effect on both AmeriCorps members and the people and community they serve. Multiply this by almost one thousand members over 20+ years and these individual actions have created a movement.

A look back at what has been accomplished is monumental. In 20+ years over 800 members:

  • served over 1.4 million service hours,
  • conducted over 100,000 HIV tests, and
  • reached almost 500,000 people through education and outreach.

Each number represents a life changed. It’s people seeking HIV treatment for the first time, learning their HIV status, or being linked to supportive services.

Even after they complete their service, a majority of program alumni work in community-based organizations, medicine, and social services agencies. Many, specifically work in HIV. Their contributions to the fight against HIV are critical. We have the tools to end the epidemic, but it will take persistent work to counter the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic. Knowing there is a cohort of AmeriCorps alumni engaged in the movement makes me hopeful that we will get there.

WAD 2016

Please see attachment concering our collaboration with IRCHD and IRCHAAN for the upcoming WAD 2016.

PLEASE RSVP ASAP!!!!

 

 

 

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PMBSGN Annual Thanksgiving Dinner 2016

Good Evening network members,

 

On November 16th, 2016. We are having our annual thanksgiving dinner support group meeting.

Please note if you would like to attend this event and learn about our future events and trainings RSVP us ASAP!

CALL 772-453-1067 or email us @ pmbsgn@aol.com

 

 

 

 

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