Cover for No Agenda Show 1020: Undercount of Color
March 29th, 2018 • 2h 57m

1020: Undercount of Color


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

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TSLA Short
''Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.'' | Sovereign Man
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:23
Just a few days ago, shareholders of Tesla approved an almost comical pay package for their cult leader CEO Elon Musk that could potentially put $50 BILLION in his pocket over the next decade.
Let's put this figure in perspective: at $5 billion per year, Musk would make more than every single CEO in the S&P 500. COMBINED.
In other words, if you add up the salaries of all the CEOs of the 500 largest companies in America, it would still be less than the $5 billion per year that Mr. Musk stands to earn.
That's pretty astounding given that Tesla's own 2017 4th quarter financial report (page 24) states that Elon ''does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla''.
Or more importantly, that under Musk's leadership, Tesla's chronic financial incontinence has racked up more than $4.97 billion in operating losses for its shareholders.
Or that the company has been under SEC investigation (without bothering to disclose this fact to shareholders).
Yet they saw fit to reward him with the largest CEO pay package in the history of the world.
This is precisely the type of behavior that is only seen during periods of extreme irrationality when financial markets are at their peak'... and poised for a serious correction.
I'll close this brief letter today quoting John Thompson, Chicago-based value investor and Chief Investment Officer of Vilas Capital Management.
Thompson is one of the few hedge fund managers who has consistently outperformed the market, and his fund is betting big against Tesla. What follows are some passages about Tesla from Thompson's recent investor updates:
I think Tesla is going to crash in the next 3-6 months. . .
. . . partially due to their incompetence in making and delivering the Model 3, partially due to falling demand for the Model S and X, partially due to the extreme valuation, partially due to their horrendous finances that will imminently require a huge capital raise, partially due to a likely downgrade of their credit rating by Moody's from B- to CCC (default likely) which should scare their parts suppliers into requiring cash on delivery (a death knell), partially due to the market's recent falling appetite for risk, and partially due to our suspicions of fraudulent accounting activities, evidenced by 85 SEC letters/investigations and two top finance people leaving in the last month. . .
Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.
The company cannot survive the next twelve months without access to capital from Wall Street Banks or private investors.
We estimate that Tesla will need roughly $8 billion in the next 18 months to fund operating losses, capital expenditures, debts coming due, and working capital needs.
However, it appears that due to past SEC investigations and current investigations (which terrifyingly have not been disclosed by the company), it will likely be difficult for Tesla to access public markets.
According to a recent analyst report, there have been 85 SEC requests for additional information and disclosures in the last 5 years.
This compares to Ford Motor Company's total of zero over the same time frame. This means that Tesla is pushing many, many boundaries.
When a company is under formal investigation, it is difficult, if not impossible, to raise capital from public markets as these investigations must be made public, which generally craters the equity and debt values.
Therefore, Tesla investors better hope there are a number of Greater Fools in China or elsewhere to keep the company solvent.
At some point, the music stops and there aren't any open chairs.
No matter how good a social investment makes you feel as it is going up, extreme anger will result if most or all of your money is permanently lost, especially when it is due to false and misleading statements by senior company officers.
This is when the [Department of Justice] steps in and escorts untruthful managements to their new living quarters.
. . . As a reality check, Tesla is worth twice as much as Ford* yet Ford made 6 million cars last year at a $7.6 billion profit while Tesla made 100,000 cars at a $2 billion loss.
Further, Ford has $12 billion in cash held for ''a rainy day'' while Tesla will likely run out of money in the next 3 months.
. . . I have never seen anything so absurd in my career.
Moody's downgrades Tesla credit rating on Model 3 production delays
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 16:06
The price on Tesla's eight-year junk bond, which matures in 2025, fell to its lowest since it was issued in August. It hit 90.8 cents late Tuesday afternoon just ahead of the Moody's announcement, according to IHS Markit. The yield, which moves inversely to price, rose to 6.91 percent, the data showed.
Tesla raised a more-than-expected $1.8 billion in August for that junk bond offering to fund accelerated production for its Model 3 sedan, despite poor appetite at the time for risky assets.
Traders have been betting heavily against the electric car maker's bonds amid growing worries about the electric car maker's ability to deliver on its production goals. Ninety-nine percent of lendable supply for shorting Tesla's high-yield bond has been used, Sam Pierson, director, securities finance, at IHS Markit said in a Monday note.
Tesla had $3.4 billion in cash and securities at the end of last year, and $1.9 billion through its asset-based lending facility, the Moody's release said. "This liquidity position is not adequate to cover:
1) the approximately $500 million in minimum cash that we estimate Tesla must maintain for normal operations;
2) a 2018 operating cash burn that will approximate $2 billion if Tesla maintains high discretionary capital expenditures to increase capacity; and
3) convertible debt maturities of approximately $1.2 billion through early 2019. These cash needs will likely require Tesla to undertake a near-term capital raise exceeding $2 billion."
"These cash needs will likely require Tesla to undertake a near-term capital raise exceeding $2 billion," Moody's said in the release.
NTSB investigating fiery Tesla crash that killed driver | News | Mountain View Online |
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:39
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fiery car crash on Highway 101 that killed the driver of a Tesla Model X last Friday. On Tuesday, Tesla officials blamed the severity of the crash on a missing protective freeway barrier, called a crash attenuator, and announced that the company also is investigating the accident.
San Mateo resident Wei Huang, 38, was identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as the driver who later died of his injuries after his Tesla collided with a median at freeway speeds, triggering a three-vehicle accident and causing the car to catch fire.
The NTSB announced over social media Tuesday morning, March 27, that the agency is investigating the fatal crash and the emergency response from the Mountain View Fire Department.
The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. March 23, when the Tesla Model X struck the barrier separating the Highway 85 carpool flyover lane from southbound Highway 101, according to California Highway Patrol officials. The Tesla careened into two lanes of Highway 101, where it was struck by a Mazda and then an Audi. Huang was transported to Stanford Hospital, where he died of his injuries later that day.
Emergency fire crews arrived at the crash shortly after 9:30 a.m. and found that the front end of the Tesla had "substantial damage," exposing the vehicle's lithium ion battery and causing it to catch fire, according to Mountain View Fire Chief Juan Diaz.
In a blog post Tuesday, Tesla officials stated that the company is "deeply saddened" by the fatal accident, and is assisting in the investigation. The vehicle's logs, which could provide a window into what happened leading up to the crash, have not been retrieved yet due to the "extensive damage" of the collision, according to the statement.
The blog claims that the damage to the Model X was so severe because the attenuator barrier -- a safety barrier that divides the highway from the carpool flyover -- had "either been removed or crushed" in a prior collision and had never been fully replaced, leaving little cushion between the tip of the barrier and the cement median.
"We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash," according to the company statement.
Tesla vehicle batteries are designed to prevent fires from occurring rapidly, giving occupants time to get out safely, and witnesses at the scene of the crash reported that no occupants were in the Model X when it caught fire, according to the post.
Electric vehicle fires are typically put out by blasting a large quantity of water -- 3,000 gallons -- directly on the battery to bring down the temperature of the cells, which can overheat and reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees, said fire Chief Diaz.
Diaz said the department was put in a difficult situation. Fire crews had 500 gallons of water at the scene, but getting any more would have required running 2,000 feet of thick fire hose across Highway 101, which would have been catastrophic for traffic in both directions, Diaz told the Voice . But letting the car continue to burn on a busy highway, destroying the battery, would have been a bad choice as well, he said.
"In the middle of the Highway 101 freeway, that's not something we want to do," he said. "And it's not good for the environment with the byproducts of combustion."
Fire crews used the available supply of water and contacted the manufacturer of the vehicle, Palo Alto-based Tesla, to assist in getting the battery's temperature under control. Diaz said the engineers essentially disassembled a portion of the car battery on the spot, and that subsequent thermal imaging showed that the battery was no longer unstable.
Fire engines escorted the tow truck that removed the Tesla all the way to the impound yard out of an abundance of caution, Diaz said. Car batteries are capable of reigniting for 24 hours after cooling.
The challenging situation was made worse by the significant damage caused by collision itself. Diaz said that Tesla vehicles are built to be very safe, with features to help first responders deal with lithium ion batteries that ignite, but in this case emergency crews had no access to the battery's disconnect wires because they were destroyed on impact. This is the first time the department has dealt with this kind of problem, Diaz said, and he commended his department's response to the dangerous situation.
"I'm frankly very proud of how the Mountain View firefighters handled the event," he said.
NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil told the ==P Voice== that the two investigators assigned to the incident came to Mountain View on Tuesday to conduct what the agency calls a "field investigation" of the crash, which is narrow in scope and examines specific safety issues rather than an all-encompassing accident investigation.
"It's going to focus on the post-crash fire that resulted in this accident, and steps that were taken and necessary to make the vehicle safe for removal from the scene," O'Neil said.
It's unclear whether the Telsa's automated control system aboard the vehicle was active at the time of the crash. According to Tesla's blog post, its "Autopilot" system has been engaged roughly 85,000 times on the same stretch of road since 2015, and company representatives aren't aware of any accidents. "There are over 200 successful Autopilot trips per day on this exact stretch of road," the post said.
NTSB investigative teams typically spend about five to 10 days working at the scene of the crash, depending on the complexity of the incident, before starting work on publishing the results. O'Neil said the investigation may or may not lead to a preliminary report a few weeks after reviewing the accident, and it's possible the accident report will be rolled into a larger investigative review of similar accidents.
O'Neil said reports on car batteries and the appropriate response to incidents like the accident on Friday are important, given that electric cars are increasingly common on roadways and emergency responders need a good strategy to render the vehicles safe. He said the report is not aimed at affixing blame or liability on the fire department or any of the involved parties, instead taking a close look at what could be done to help save lives and mitigate the effects of the accident.
"The report looks at whether there's something that could be done or should be done," he said. "It's not that we think there's a problem, it's that we want to explore that issue."
Tesla representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump is as bad as Weinstein-promising a role on the Apprentice
Post show Check list in the show
Rosanne show
'Roseanne' Revival's Huge Debut Stuns Hollywood, Prompts Soul-Searching | Deadline
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 03:56
Roseanne made a triumphant return Tuesday night, blowing past projections with a 5.2 adults 18-49 rating and 18.2 million total viewers for the debut of its revival, which drew 10% more viewers than the original series finale 21 years ago.
While nostalgia was expected to bring in eyeballs, no one predicted such a huge turnout on premiere night for the blue-collar family sitcom with a Donald Trump-supporting protagonist, especially among the younger demographic. But then, few predicted that Trump would become the Republican nominee and would win the presidential election when he first announced his candidacy.
Both Trump and Roseanne were able to tap into the often overlooked and underserved working-class audience. Not surprisingly, the top TV markets where Roseanne delivered its highest ratings were in states handily carried by Trump in the election. No. 1 was Tulsa in Oklahoma, which Trump won with 65.3% of the vote. It was followed by Cincinnati, Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri. The only marquee city from a blue state in the Top 10 was Chicago at No. 5 '-- the area where the series is set. ABC focused some of its marketing efforts in the region with a preview of the revival at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival.
The top market of the country, New York, was not in the Top 20; No.2 Los Angeles was not in the Top 30. And yet, Roseanne delivered the highest demo rating for any comedy telecast in 3 1/2 years, since the fall 2014 season premiere of TV's biggest comedy series of the past five years, The Big Bang Theory.
Related'Roseanne' Review: ABC's Stilted Revival Misses Cues But Plays Trump Card WellThere no doubt was an element of nostalgia and curiosity about how the characters from the original series have changed and about the new generation of the Conners. But Roseanne went beyond that. Its youngest 18-49 viewers when the series originally aired on ABC from 1988-97 are now at the very top or outside of that ad-friendly demographic range, in which last night's premiere posted a staggering 5.2 Live+same day rating with no lead-in. It came largely from new viewers who were children or not even born during Roseanne's initial run.
Somehow Roseanne transcended age, recruiting droves of young viewers for a show whose two leads, Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, are both 65, well outside of the 18-49 demo. It tapped into the zeitgeist of Middle America, tackling its economic problems '-- and political leanings '-- head-on. There was curiosity how Roseanne would address Trump, which the show did in the first episode. In an encouraging sign, the novelty did not wear off, with the second episode rating even higher than the opener.
ABC did a major marketing campaign for Roseanne, including a three-day stunt during SXSW in Austin that drew huge crowds, and a tie-in with NASCAR, which is hugely popular in the flyover states.
And then there was Barr. Always a firebrand, she did not shy away from controversy, flipping off Jimmy Kimmel and talking candidly about her political views while promoting the show, generating a slew of provocative headlines in the process.
That could've gone either way, possibly alienating viewers. But it worked, leaving many TV insiders shellshocked today by the magnitude of the revival's ratings success that revealed the untapped potential of comedies that provide realistic portrayal of blue-collar America. What's more, Roseanne did that while also making a social commentary, something rarely seen since All in the Family, Norman Lear's 1970s classic that has long been rumored to get a reboot.
The TV business always has been reactionary, so when something works, others immediately look for ways to replicate it. ABC, NBC and CBS all have classic sitcom revivals featuring the original casts on deck with Roseanne, Will & Grace and CBS' upcoming Murphy Brown.
Related'Roseanne' Revival Premiere Gets Easter Sunday Rerun On ABCFox, which was on the revival forefront with dramas 24: Live Another Day, Prison Break and The X-Files, is the only major network without a sitcom re-do, so its executives likely will take a look at the library. Like Roseanne, Fox has a popular blue-collar sitcom in Married'... with Children, but its two stars, Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal, are on other comedy series. Also hard to pull off would be That '70s Show or Malcolm in the Middle revivals with the original stars.
CBS also has a classic, hugely popular blue-collar family comedy in its library, Everybody Loves Raymond, though several of the Emmy-winning series' celebrated cast members are no longer alive.
Meanwhile, if Roseanne continues to be a ratings juggernaut, ABC, which is close to renewing the revival for a second season, should look into bringing back its other big blue-collar sitcom hit of the 1990s, Home Improvement, which starred another open Trump sympathizer, Tim Allen.
ABC was strongly criticized by the right in May when it canceled Allen's long-running sitcom Last Man Standing despite its strong viewership. It was a rare broadcast comedy with a central character who is a political conservative and devout Christian adhering to traditional American values that appeals to viewers in the Heartland.
With The Middlegoing away, there is a vacuum in representing middle-class families on broadcast TV, and the success of Roseanne no doubt will help get more blue-color sitcoms on the air. We might see that happening as soon as next month when the broadcast networks pick their new series for next season out of the dozens of pilots currently in production.
RelatedFox News Stars Celebrate 'Roseanne': ''Proud Deplorable Smashes Expectations''
Roseanne revival is a wake-up call for Hollywood | New York Post
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 04:24
At the beginning of March, the Academy Awards featured performers talking about ''intersectionality'' and Dreamers and jokes about how an Oscar-nominated movie about a gay awakening was made to annoy Mike Pence '-- and the show got the lowest ratings in history.
Tuesday night, the premiere episode of the revival of ''Roseanne'' featured a working-class grandmother saying grace before dinner and concluding with thanks for ''making America great again'' '-- and the show got the highest ratings of any network program in six years.
Hollywood is now faced with indisputable evidence that there's a huge potential audience out there for programs that don't actively insult 63 million Trump voters.
It might seem easy to dismiss the ''Roseanne'' numbers as the result of audience nostalgia and excitement. But consider this: The TV world was thrilled when the reboot of ''Will and Grace'' was watched by 15 million people, especially since ''Will and Grace'' is exactly the kind of woke urban show the TV world loves.
But ''Roseanne'' blew ''Will and Grace'' away; its audience was 20 to 25 percent larger. And the original ''Roseanne'' went off the air 20 years ago, a decade before ''Will and Grace'' took its initial final bow. It might have just been old news. But boy oh boy, it isn't.
One might also point out that the first ''Roseanne'' episode on Tuesday (ABC aired two) was absolutely sensational. Bruce Rasmussen's script centered on a political feud between the Trumpy Roseanne and her Hillary-centric sister Jackie '-- and it was funny and barbed and fair, unquestionably one of the best renderings of the cross-ideological tension in America since Trump came down the escalator nearly three years ago.
But of course the people who watched in droves couldn't have known the episode was going to be good. They might, however, have seen the news reports about Roseanne Barr's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's show last week, when he complained to her that she had once been so liberal.
Barr, who remains among the most confrontational people on earth, was having none of it.
''I'm still the same,'' she shouted. ''You all moved!'' And she yelled at him about how his hunger to get rid of Trump would just leave an opening for the very same Mike Pence whom Kimmel had made fun of in his Oscar monologue.
''A lot of us, no matter who we voted for, we don't want to see our president fail,'' Barr said. ''Because we don't want Pence!''
So what America might have known about the new ''Roseanne'' before tuning in was that it was going to be the very rarest of birds at this cultural moment '-- a Hollywood product that wasn't going to use Trump as a punchline or use a Trump supporter as a comic punching bag.
Perhaps more important, her appearance signaled that the new ''Roseanne'' was going to be true to the spirit of the old. The original show was properly hailed as a detailed depiction of the lives of the American working class '-- and if any fictional characters of the past 30 years were going to vote for Trump, it was going to be the Conners.
Indeed, it was precisely people like Dan and Roseanne Conner whose votes for Trump made the difference in the election (although the Conners live in Illinois, which voted for Hillary).
Another way in which the new ''Roseanne'' gets it right was revealed in the second episode that aired Tuesday night. They have to deal with the fact that their 9-year-old grandson seems to have a taste for cross-dressing. And although Dan arms him with a penknife so he can defend himself, he does so only because he fears for the boy's safety, not because he is sickened by the kid's behavior.
As Henry Olsen has written, ''these voters are not motivated by social issues. They are, as the conservative Canadian political analyst Patrick Muttart says, 'morally moderate' . . . Donald Trump's lack of a firm grounding in traditional Republican social policy was, for these voters, a plus.'' (This might help explain Roseanne Barr's shriek of horror at Jimmy Kimmel that his effort to get Trump might cause a Pence presidency.)
The world between the coasts has just sent a message to the major domos of our popular culture. The message is: We're conscious enough of our differences to shut you down when you set yourselves against us (the Oscars) but we are ready to provide enthusiastic support for your efforts if you treat us with respect.
How will Hollywood respond?
China's Space Station May Crash to Earth on April Fools' Day - The New York Times
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:51
China originally planned to use the thrusters to guide Tiangong-1 to splash harmlessly into an ocean. But in 2016, an apparent malfunction ended communications with the spacecraft. (The Chinese have not been very forthcoming about that, either.)
Since then, Tiangong-1 has gradually been dropping lower and lower as it rubs up against the wisps of the upper atmosphere. On Monday, it was at an altitude of about 130 miles, dropping more than a mile every day, and its descent is accelerating.
It's difficult to make exact predictions; the atmosphere puffs up and deflates depending on the barrage of particles in the solar wind and how that phenomenon speeds or slows the rate of falling. If a calculation is off by half an hour, the predicted impact site could be on the other side of the planet. Earlier this month, a solar storm appears to have moved up the timetable for the crash by a few hours.
Indeed, space agencies like the E.S.A. are using Tiangong-1 as a learning exercise to compare their prediction models.
The dynamics of the falling spacecraft can also affect the timing. Radar measurements indicate that Tiangong-1 is tumbling, about once every three minutes, said Stijn Lemmens, an analyst at the E.S.A.'s space debris office in Darmstadt, Germany. But in this case, the tumbling seems to be neither hastening nor extending Tiangong-1's remaining days.
Stuff of this size drops out of the sky every year or so.
NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which weighed about 12,000 pounds, made a similar uncontrolled return to Earth in 2011, and 26 large pieces, the heaviest about 330 pounds, were expected to reach the surface. The spacecraft ended up in the Pacific Ocean.
Even much larger spacecraft have fallen without hurting people. Skylab, America's first space station, weighed nearly 10 times as much as Tiangong-1 and when it crashed in 1979, pieces landed in Western Australia without incident.
When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry in 2003, the seven astronauts aboard were killed, but no one on the ground was hurt as more than 82,000 pieces of debris weighing 85,000 pounds showered the United States from West Texas to southwest Louisiana.
Only one person is known to have been hit by space debris. In 1997, a six-inch piece of metal believed to have come from a Delta 2 rocket, brushed the shoulder of Lottie Williams, a woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was not hurt.
A version of this article appears in print on March 27, 2018, on Page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: China's Space Station May Crash to Earth on April Fools' Day.
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ITM Adam,
Just a piece of vernacular that I've noticed my millenial
friends using recently that is above and beyond the contractions you've been
taunting John with on the show.
"Pretty" and "Very" have been contracted
all the way to "P" and "V"- as in "That is v
cool." or "I'm feelin' p good." To emphasize things, they just
say the actual letter louder- "VEE sweet, my dude."
What is really strange about this is that I've noticed it
more in talking than in text- it does come up in text, though less frequently.
-Sir Pent
A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta, and Security Experts Shudder - The New York Times
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 16:05
Part of what makes the attack on Atlanta so pernicious are the criminals behind it: A group that locks up its victims' files with encryption, temporarily changes their file names to ''I'm sorry'' and gives the victims a week to pay up before the files are made permanently inaccessible.
Threat researchers at Dell SecureWorks, the Atlanta-based security firm helping the city respond to the ransomware attack, identified the assailants as the SamSam hacking crew, one of the more prevalent and meticulous of the dozens of active ransomware attack groups. The SamSam group is known for choosing targets that are the most likely to accede to its high ransom demands '-- typically the Bitcoin equivalent of about $50,000 '-- and for finding and locking up the victims' most valuable data.
In Atlanta, where officials said the ransom demand amounted to about $51,000, the group left parts of the city's network tied in knots. Some major systems were not affected, including those for 911 calls and control of wastewater treatment. But other arms of city government have been scrambled for days.
The Atlanta Municipal Court has been unable to validate warrants. Police officers have been writing reports by hand. The city has stopped taking employment applications.
Atlanta officials have disclosed few details about the episode or how it happened. They have urged vigilance and tried to reassure employees and residents that their personal information was not believed to have been compromised.
Dell SecureWorks and Cisco Security, which are still working to restore the city's systems, declined to comment on the attacks, citing client confidentiality.
Ms. Bottoms, the mayor, has not said whether the city would pay the ransom.
The SamSam group has been one of the more successful ransomware rings, experts said. It is believed to have extorted more than $1 million from some 30 target organizations in 2018 alone.
It is not ideal to pay up, but in most cases, SamSam's victims have said that they can more easily afford the $50,000 or so in ransom than the time and cost of restoring their locked data and compromised systems. In the past year, the group has taken to attacking hospitals, police departments and universities '-- targets with money but without the luxury of going off-line for days or weeks for restoration work.
Investigators are not certain who the SamSam hackers are. Judging from the poor English in the group's ransom notes, security researchers believe they are probably not native English speakers. But they cannot say for sure whether SamSam is a single group of cybercriminals or a loose hacking collective.
Ransomware emerged in Eastern Europe in 2009, when cybercriminals started using malicious code to lock up unsuspecting users' machines and then demanding 100 euros or similar sums to unlock them again. Over the past decade, dozens of online cybercriminal outfits '-- and even some nation states, including North Korea and Russia '-- have taken up similar tactics on a larger scale, inflicting digital paralysis on victims and demanding increasing amounts of money.
Cybersecurity experts estimate that criminals made more than $1 billion from ransomware in 2016, according to the F.B.I. Then, last May, came the largest ransomware assault recorded so far: North Korean hackers went after tens of thousands of victims in more than 70 countries around the world, forcing Britain's public health system to reject patients, paralyzing computers at Russia's Interior Ministry, at FedEx in the United States, and at shipping lines and telecommunications companies across Europe.
A month later, Russian state hackers deployed similar ransomware to paralyze computers in Ukraine on the eve of the country's independence day. That attack shut down automated teller machines in Kiev, froze government agencies and even forced workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to monitor radiation levels manually. Collateral damage from that attack affected computers at Maersk, the Danish shipping conglomerate; at Merck, the American-based pharmaceutical giant; and even at businesses in Russia.
Attempted ransomware attacks against local governments in the United States have become unnervingly common. A 2016 survey of chief information officers for jurisdictions across the country found that obtaining ransom was the most common purpose of cyberattacks on a city or county government, accounting for nearly one-third of all attacks.
The survey, conducted by the International City/County Management Association and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, also found that about one-quarter of local governments reported that they were experiencing attacks of one kind or another, successful or not, at least as often as once an hour.
Yet less than half of the local governments surveyed said they had developed a formal cybersecurity policy, and only 34 percent said they had a written strategy to recover from breaches.
Experts said government officials needed to be more aggressive about preventive measures, like training employees to spot and sidestep ''phishing'' attempts meant to trick them into opening the digital door for ransomware.
''It's going to be even more important that local governments look for the no-cost/low-cost, but start considering cybersecurity on the same level as public safety,'' said David Jordan, the chief information security officer for Arlington County, Va. ''A smart local government will have fire, police and cybersecurity at the same level.''
Ms. Bottoms, who took office as mayor of Atlanta in January, acknowledged that shoring up the city's digital defenses had not been a high priority before, but that now ''it certainly has gone to the front of the line.''
''As elected officials, it's often quite easy for us to focus on the things that people see, because at the end of the day, our residents are our customers,'' Ms. Bottoms said. ''But we have to really make sure that we continue to focus on the things that people can't see, and digital infrastructure is very important.''
During the ransomware attack, local leaders have sometimes been able to do little but chuckle at a predicament that was forcing the city to turn the clock back decades.
Asked on Monday how long the city might be able to get by doing its business strictly with ink and paper, Ms. Bottoms replied: ''It was a sustainable model until we got computer systems. It worked for many years. And for some of our younger employees, it will be a nice exercise in good penmanship.''
Security researchers trying to combat ransomware have noticed a pattern in SamSam's attacks this year: Some of the biggest have occurred around the 20th of the month.
Allan Liska, a senior intelligence analyst at Recorded Future who has been tracking the group, said in an interview that he believed that SamSam gains access to its victims' systems and then waits for weeks before encrypting the victim's data. That delay, Mr. Liska said, makes it harder for responders to figure out how the group was able to break in '-- and easier for SamSam's hackers to strike twice.
The Colorado Department of Transportation was able to restore its systems on its own after a SamSam attack, without paying SamSam a dime. But a week later, the hackers struck the department again, with new, more potent ransomware.
''They are constantly learning from their mistakes, modifying their code and then launching the next round of attacks,'' Mr. Liska said.
Alan Blinder reported from Atlanta, and Nicole Perlroth from Boulder, Colo.
A version of this article appears in print on March 28, 2018, on Page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Atlanta Hobbled by Major Cyberattack That Mayor Calls 'a Hostage Situation'.
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Boeing hit by WannaCry virus, fears it could cripple some jet production | The Seattle Times
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 23:30
Boeing has been hit by the WannaCry computer virus. Some airplane production may be affected
By Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Boeing was hit Wednesday by the WannaCry computer virus, raising fears within the company that it could cripple some vital airplane production equipment.
Mike VanderWel, chief engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering, sent out an alarming memo calling for ''All hands on deck.''
''It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,'' VanderWel wrote, adding that he's concerned the virus will hit equipment used in functional tests of airplanes ready to roll out and potentially ''spread to airplane software.''
Indicating widespread alarm within the company at the potential impact, VanderWel said the attack required ''a battery-like response,'' a reference to the 787 in-flight battery fires in 2013 that grounded the world's fleet of Dreamliners and led to an extraordinary three-month-long engineering effort to find a fix.
''We are on a call with just about every VP in Boeing,'' VanderWel's memo said.
The WannaCry virus, which exploits a flaw in Windows to gain access to a network, attacks computer's software using ''ransomware.''
It locks users out of their computers until they pay a fee, sometimes in cryptocurrency, or other type of ransom.
The virus first surfaced in a May 2017 worldwide cyberattack. At the time, the Trump Administration blamed North Korea for the attacks.
Afterwards, Microsoft issued patches to plug the vulnerability. However, older computers may not receive patches and many businesses don't automatically update their systems but wait to do updates in batches to make sure the upgrade doesn't affect other software.
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for information.
Shut Up Slave!
Microsoft Bans ''Offensive Language'' from Skype '' Professional Troublemaker
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 14:17
This morning, I got the kind of e-mail that most of us ignore: ''Update to our terms of service'' from Microsoft. But I love waking up to read a good contract in the morning, so I had a look at the summary of changes to the ''Microsoft Services Agreement,'' which applies to things like Skype, Office 365, OneDrive, and a whole list of other services. The summary turned out to be a 27 bullet point document of mostly bland changes '-- except for point 5:
5. In the Code of Conduct section, we've clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. We've also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.
Looking through the full text of the new agreement, I found the relevant change in Section 3(a)(iv):
Don't publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).
So wait a sec: I can't use Skype to have an adult video call with my girlfriend? I can't use OneDrive to back up a document that says ''fuck'' in it? If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I've deposited in my account? (And are we no longer allowed to shoot people in Call of Duty? Animated violence doesn't really get any more ''graphic'' than this Microsoft-approved video game offers.)
And how are they going to enforce this ban? Are they going to be looking through my Skype sessions? Section 3(b):
When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue.
Got it.
What's clear here is that Microsoft is reserving the right to cancel your account whenever they feel like it. They do nothing to define ''offensive language'' (or ''graphic violence,'' for that matter) and in 2018 when anyone can be offended by anything, these terms allow Microsoft staff to play unrestrained censor if and when they choose. Given that Google's YouTube uses that power to remove politically ''sensitive'' videos (like those on legal firearm modifications), should we expect that Microsoft will also be removing content and users to earn PR points with the politically correct movement du jour?
What's also clear is that they reserve the right to go through your private data, and these terms seem to pretty clearly allow them to watch and listen to your Skype calls, so long as they are ''investigating'' something. The terms don't appear to require any complaint to be filed against you '-- just that an employee decide that they want to ''investigate.''
I'll be setting my Skype account not to renew itself.
[Update '' I've been banned from Reddit's /r/Microsoft for sharing this story'...
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Tommy Robinson suspended from Twitter for 'hateful conduct'
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 18:45
Former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson has been suspended from Twitter.
The social network has declined to say how long his account will be taken down for.
It is believed the far-right figure's profile had violated the platform's policies on "hateful conduct" - but it is not known what triggered the suspension.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is widely seen as an anti-Islam activist and had more than 400,000 followers on the platform.
His supporters have rallied around the hashtag #IAmTommy to protest the suspension.
Robinson, who left the EDL in 2013 but has remained politically active since, was suspended by the platform earlier this month before having his account reactivated. His profile has been suspended multiple times in the past.
The English Defence League's official Twitter account has also been suspended before.
A new account listed under the group's name is currently active on Twitter and has about 100 followers.
Mr Robinson's Facebook page is currently still active.
He was also one of a number of right-wing figures to see his verified status removed in November after Twitter issued new guidelines for "blue tick" accounts in the wake of public pressure.
Hacking the grid from Producer Bill
A few years after 9/11 the US government had all major
Industrial Automation systems manufacturers take a copy of there systems to
their Idaho National Labs (INL) facility so they could test the systems so they
could see how vulnerable they are. They claimed that they could 'hack'
most systems within 10 seconds and 'destroy' the process they were controlling.
It took them several hours to mess with the system I designed for reasons
explained below.
An Industrial Control system has two major node types:
Controller that are directly connected to the equipment, and Operator Stations
that send commands from the operators to the Controllers connected to the
equipment. Since most process control equipment uses standard Ethernet and
standard TCP/IP for communications the people at INL had a program that would
snoop network traffic and see which nodes were initiating communication and
which were receiving the communication. The program at INL would then create
their own IP Packets and scramble the data section of the packets and send them
to the Controllers. They figured that if you sent enough scrambled data it would
eventually cause damage to the equipment or blow something up by opening a
valve at the wrong time or cause some other bad state for the process. Even if
they simple took the Controllers off line the operators could not control the
equipment and that can be very dangerous.
My system gave then some trouble because I registered my own
packet type to add some redundancy functionality that I could not achieve with
TCP/IP. Their program could not figure out the packet type and could not work
until they made adjustments.
The point is that because vendors are driven to standards to
lower cost and make their products commodities they are easy to hack. This
'scramble data' technique meant the 'hacker' did not need to know anything
about the equipment they were evaluating or the process they were disrupting.
It could have been a Power Plant, Chemical Plant, Oil Refinery, etc. All they
had to do was get their little program on the network and they are good to go.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I guess it
is best to keep my name out of the discussions.
Best Regards,
Note from OPCW producer
Dear John and Adam,
I take my job seriously, so when we get a gag order about
the OPCW mission in London, I abide by the rule. What I can say though is that
what we eventual will know is not what the public might get to know. It's up to
the British Government. It's like we have gone back to 2003 with the WMD. I
hope not.
The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning '' Consortiumnews
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:11
Applying the principle of cui bono '' who benefits? '' to the case of Sergei Skripal might lead investigators away from the Kremlin as the prime suspect and towards Western intelligence agencies, argues James O'Neill.
By James O'Neill
The suspected nerve agent attack upon former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, which also affected his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last Sunday, has given rise to too much speculation, too much hysteria, and too little analysis or insight. It has provided ammunition for the Russophobic Western media to make accusations that it was another example of Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular disposing of a supposed enemy of the Kremlin.
Sergei Skripal was found critically with his daughter on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident in the UK. Photo: Getty
As with the Mueller investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election there are accusations with varying degrees of wildness, but little or no actual evidence that would get past first base in any independent court of law.
First, what are the known facts, only some of which have been accurately reported in the western mainstream media? The victim (assuming it was a deliberate attack upon him and his daughter) was formerly a Colonel in the Russian military intelligence service (the GRU). This is the largest of the Russian intelligence agencies and, as with its western equivalents, has a wide variety of functions, of which ''spying'' is only one.
In the early 1990s Skripal was recruited by an MI6 agent Pablo Miller, whom the British media declined to name. Miller was an MI6 agent in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Miller's main task was recruiting Russians to provide information about their country to the British. An interesting fact, possibly coincidental, was that the MI6 officer under diplomatic cover in Moscow at this time was Christopher Steele. Steele was later to become better known as the principal author of the infamous Trump dossier.
When Steele returned to London, he ran MI6's Russia desk between the 2006 and 2009. The information that Skripal disclosed would have been given to Steele, first in Moscow and later in London.
Skripal was arrested in 2004. In 2006 he was convicted of treason and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. In 2010 he was released as part of a prisoner exchange deal with Russian spies in U.S. jails. He went to live in the United Kingdom where he has lived in supposed retirement ever since. Another interesting fact, although again possibly coincidental, is that Salisbury, where Skripal lived, is only about 12 kilometres from Porton Down, the U.K.'s principal research centre for nerve agents.
If the Russians had wanted to kill him, they had ample opportunity to do so during the years when he was imprisoned or the eight years he lived in retirement in Salisbury. If they did wish to kill him, it is not a very credible that they would do so very publicly and by a means that could not be bought off the shelf in the local pharmacy. The handling and the administering of these very dangerous substances require professional expertise. The obvious candidates for the attempted murder are therefore government agencies, but which government is the unanswered question.
This is where the facts become thinner, but the interesting connections of Skripal offer scope for some tentative hypotheses. While living in Salisbury, Skripal became friendly, according to a report in the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph, with none other than the aforementioned Pablo Miller '' whom the Telegraph declined to name but has since been identified on the web.
Miller is now working with a British security consultancy named Orbis Business Intelligence. Again according to the Telegraph, Miller's association with this company has now been removed from Miller's LinkedIn profile.
The obvious question again is: why do so now?
Orbis is the same private intelligence agency as that of Christopher Steele. It seems more than a mere coincidence that the same three men who had personal and professional links going back to the 1990s should have a continuing association at the same time as the Steele dossier was being compiled and later as the so-called Russiagate inquiry was imploding. Former FBI Director James Comey described the Steele dossier as ''salacious and unverified'' in a Senate hearing.
The former British ambassador Craig Murray has suggested on his blog that a motive for the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter was to further promote the anti-Russian hysteria that inflicts the Western media and the body politic.
That is certainly plausible, and it has certainly been one of the consequences, as the abysmal coverage of the ABC among other outlets makes clear. But an alternative hypothesis presents itself in the light of the above facts, and this hypothesis has not even been mentioned, let alone discussed by our major media.
My admittedly speculative hypothesis (but I would argue, not an unreasonable one) is that Skripal was likely involved in the production of the Steele dossier. He was therefore in a position to offer potentially very damaging information into the circumstances of the Steele dossier. As noted above, that particular narrative has not only spectacularly collapsed, but the revelations reflect very badly on, among others, the U.S. intelligence community, the FBI, the Democratic National Committee, the Obama White House and the Clinton campaign.
In any major criminal enquiry one of the basic questions the investigation asks is: who had the means, the motive and the opportunity? Framed in that light, the Russians come a distant fourth behind the other prime suspects; the U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies themselves, and those elements of the deep state that sought to prevent Trump winning, and subsequently to undermine his presidency. The primary motive being ascribed to the Russians is revenge for Skripal's treachery more than a decade ago.
A second major question asked in any criminal investigation is cui bono '' who benefits? It is difficult to perceive a credible argument that Russia is a beneficiary of Skripal's poisoning.
Further support for the hypothesis that this was a false flag operation comes in this statement that British Prime Minister to Theresa May made to the UK Parliament. The statement was frankly absurd and could only have been made when the intention was to further demonize and punish Russia, rather than any attempt to establish the truth and apply ordinary principles of evidence and factual analysis.
May's argument is thoroughly deconstructed on the Moon of Alabama website, which pointed out that Russia had destroyed all left over stocks from the Soviet Union's chemical weapon program and does not currently produce chemical weapons. Further, there are any number of governments capable of carrying out the Salisbury attack. ''If someone is run-over by a BMW is it 'highly likely' that the German government is responsible for it?'' the Moon of Alabama asks.
The obfuscations of the British reinforce in the view that Skripal was dangerous to the anti-Trump forces and the authorities therefore sought to have them removed. There is ample precedent for such actions and those familiar with the ''suicide'' of Dr. David Kelly will recognize the parallels.
The chances of the truth emerging have become vanishingly small at the same time as a serious conflict with Russia becomes correspondingly greater.
James O'Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst. He can be reached at
German authorities approve gas pipeline from Russia
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:45
Parts of the pipeline at a north German harbour. Photo: DPA
German authorities on Tuesday issued a final approval for a new gas pipeline from Russia, risking higher tensions with eastern neighbours fearful of European energy dependence on Moscow.The Federal Agency for Maritime Navigation and Hydrography (BSH) issued the approval after investigating the environmental and commercial impact of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the authority said in a statement.
Some 85 kilometres of the 1,225-kilometre pipeline from the Narva Bay on Russia's border with Estonia to Lubmin in northeastern Germany will run through German territory.
Along with a previously issued approval from the mining authority based in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coastal Stralsund constituency, the permit lifts the final hurdle to construction on the German side.
Approvals are still needed from Russian, Finnish, Danish and Swedish authorities.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the pipeline and a subsidiary of Russian state-controlled energy firm Gazprom, said it was "pleased" with the result and hoped to secure the outstanding permits "in the coming months".
The pipeline project remains controversial in Germany as well as European Union neighbours like Poland and Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who fear it could be used as a tool to boost Russian influence over the bloc.
Moscow notoriously used gas prices to pressurise Ukraine during a mounting conflict with its former satellite which saw Russia annex the Crimean peninsula in 2014 -- prompting EU sanctions in response.
Meanwhile, a rare cross-party alliance of high-ranking German politicians from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats last month warned against allowing Nord Stream 2 to go ahead.
It would "split the EU politically and call into question our solidarity with Poland, our Baltic neighbours, Slovakia and Ukraine, but also Sweden and Denmark," they wrote in a letter to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
And the European Commission said last year it sees "no need" for Nord Stream 2 as it pursues energy security and diversity of gas supply across the 28-member bloc.
Merkel has said she believes Nord Stream 2 is a purely "economic project" with no need for political intervention.
FaceBag Analytica
Mark Zuckerberg - Person of the Year 2010 - TIME FLASHBACK
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 18:28
By Lev Grossman Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
Martin Schoeller for TIMEOn the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2010, Mark Zuckerberg was leading a meeting in the Aquarium, one of Facebook's conference rooms, so named because it's in the middle of a huge work space and has glass walls on three sides so everybody can see in. Conference rooms are a big deal at Facebook because they're the only places anybody has any privacy at all, even the bare minimum of privacy the Aquarium gets you. Otherwise the space is open plan: no cubicles, no offices, no walls, just a rolling tundra of office furniture. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, who used to be Lawrence Summers' chief of staff at the Treasury Department, doesn't have an office. Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and co-founder and presiding visionary, doesn't have an office.
The team was going over the launch of Facebook's revamped Messages service, which had happened the day before and gone off without a hitch or rather without more than the usual number of hitches. Zuckerberg kept the meeting on track, pushing briskly through his points '-- no notes or whiteboard, just talking with his hands '-- but the tone was relaxed. Much has been made of Zuckerberg's legendarily awkward social manner, but in a room like this, he's the Silicon Valley equivalent of George Plimpton. He bantered with Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, a director of engineering who ran the project. (Boz was Zuckerberg's instructor in a course on artificial intelligence when they were at Harvard. He says his future boss didn't do very well. Though, in fairness, Zuckerberg did invent Facebook that semester.) Apart from a journalist sitting in the corner, no one in the room looked over 30, and apart from the journalist's public relations escort, it was boys only. (See pictures of Mark Zuckerberg's inner circle.)
The door opened, and a distinguished-looking gray-haired man burst in '-- it's the only way to describe his entrance '-- trailed by a couple of deputies. He was both the oldest person in the room by 20 years and the only one wearing a suit. He was in the building, he explained with the delighted air of a man about to secure ironclad bragging rights forever, and he just had to stop in and introduce himself to Zuckerberg: Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, pleased to meet you.
They shook hands and chatted about nothing for a couple of minutes, and then Mueller left. There was a giddy silence while everybody just looked at one another as if to say, What the hell just happened?
It's a fair question. Almost seven years ago, in February 2004, when Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, he started a Web service from his dorm. It was called, and it was billed as "an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges." This year, Facebook '-- now minus the the '-- added its 550 millionth member. One out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account. They speak 75 languages and collectively lavish more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. Last month the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day. (See a Zuckerberg family photo album.)
What just happened? In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over.
Facebook has merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life: nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook account, but 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. It's a permanent fact of our global social reality. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here. (See pictures of Facebook's overseas offices.)
Zuckerberg is part of the last generation of human beings who will remember life before the Internet, though only just. He was born in 1984 and grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., the son of a dentist '-- Painless Dr. Z's slogan was, and is, "We cater to cowards." Mark has three sisters, the eldest of whom, Randi, is now Facebook's head of consumer marketing and social-good initiatives. It was a supportive household that produced confident children. The young Mark was "strong-willed and relentless," according to his father Ed. "For some kids, their questions could be answered with a simple yes or no," he says. "For Mark, if he asked for something, yes by itself would work, but no required much more. If you were going to say no to him, you had better be prepared with a strong argument backed by facts, experiences, logic, reasons. We envisioned him becoming a lawyer one day, with a near 100% success rate of convincing juries."
Learn more about the extended version of this article, available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.
Picture yourself as TIME's Person of the Year. Create and share your TIME Person of the Year cover.
Next Only Connect
Facebook Delays Home-Speaker Unveil Amid Data Crisis - Bloomberg
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 18:12
Facebook Inc. has decided not to unveil new home products at its major developer conference in May, in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network's data-privacy practices, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company's new hardware products, connected speakers with digital-assistant and video-chat capabilities, are undergoing a deeper review to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data, the people said. While the hardware wasn't expected to be available until the fall, the company had hoped to preview the devices at the largest annual gathering of Facebook developers, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal plans.
The devices are part of Facebook's plan to become more intimately involved with users' everyday social lives, using artificial intelligence -- following a path forged by Inc. and its Echo in-home smart speakers. As concerns escalate about Facebook's collection and use of personal data, now may be the wrong time to ask consumers to trust it with even more information by placing a connected device in their homes. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.
Facebook has faced a public reckoning this month about its treatment of user data, sparked by reports that political-advertising firm Cambridge Analytica obtained information on 50 million users without their permission. The reports spiraled into a crisis for Facebook, which is sending Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress on privacy in the coming weeks.
The social-media company had already found in focus-group testing that users were concerned about a Facebook-branded device in their living rooms, given how much intimate data the social network collects. Facebook still plans to launch the devices later this year.
At the developer conference, set for May 1, the company will also need to explain new, more restrictive rules around what kinds of information app makers can collect on their users via Facebook's service. The Menlo Park, California-based company said in a blog post this week that for developers, the changes ''are not easy,'' but are important to ''mitigate any breach of trust with the broader developer ecosystem.''
'-- With assistance by Mark Gurman
Facebook cuts ties to data brokers in blow to targeted ads
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 04:06
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O ) said on Wednesday it would end its partnerships with several large data brokers who help advertisers target people on the social network, a step that follows a scandal over how Facebook handles personal information.
The world's largest social media company is under pressure to improve its handling of data after disclosing that information about 50 million Facebook users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook adjusted the privacy settings on its service on Wednesday, giving users control over their personal information in fewer taps.
Facebook has for years given advertisers the option of targeting their ads based on data collected by companies such as Acxiom Corp (ACXM.O ) and Experian PLC (EXPN.L ).
The tool has been widely used among certain categories of advertisers - such as automakers, luxury goods producers and consumer packaged goods companies - who do not sell directly to consumers and have relatively little information about who their customers are, according to Facebook.
''While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people's privacy on Facebook,'' Graham Mudd, a Facebook product marketing director, said in a statement.
Shares in Acxiom traded down more than 10 percent to $25 after Facebook's announcement after the bell. Shares in other data brokers were largely unchanged. A representative for Acxiom could not immediately be reached for comment.
Facebook declined to comment on how the change could affect its ad revenue.
Advertisers would still be able to use third-party data services to measure how well their ads performed by examining purchasing data, Facebook said.
Facebook's website lists nine third-party data providers that it has worked with, including Acxiom, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud (ORCL.N ), TransUnion (TRU.N ) and WPP PLC (WPP.L ).
None of the companies could immediately be reached for comment.
Facebook on Wednesday also put all its privacy settings on one page and made it easier to stop third-party apps from using personal information. Privacy settings had previously been spread over at least 20 screens, Facebook said.
Facebook said in a blog post it had been working on the updates for some time but sped things up to appease users' anger over how the company uses data and as lawmakers around the globe call for regulation.
Facebook's shares closed up 0.5 percent at $153.03 on Wednesday. They are still down more than 17 percent since March 16, when Facebook first acknowledged that user data had been improperly channeled in 2014 via a third-party app to Cambridge Analytica, which was later hired by Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Slideshow (2 Images) The data leak has raised investor concerns that any failure by big tech companies to protect privacy could deter advertisers, who are Facebook's lifeblood, and lead to tougher regulation.
SCRUTINY FROM LAWMAKERSFacebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly apologized for the mistakes the company made and has promised to crack down on abuse of the Facebook platform and restrict developers' access to user information.
There is a new Facebook page - called Access Your Information - where users can see what they have shared and manage it.
''The biggest difference is ease of access in settings, which fulfills Mark Zuckerberg's promise to make the privacy process and permissions more transparent to users,'' Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said.
It was uncertain whether the changes will satisfy lawmakers.
They were announced ahead of a stringent European Union data law which comes into force in May. It requires companies to give people a ''right to portability'' - to take their data with them - and imposes fines of up to 4 percent of global revenue for companies breaking the law.
Lawmakers in the United States and Britain are still clamoring for Zuckerberg himself to explain how users' data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.
He plans to testify before Congress, a source briefed on the matter said on Tuesday. Facebook has said it has received invitations to testify and that it is talking to legislators.
Zuckerberg and the CEOs of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O ) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N ) have been invited to testify at an April 10 hearing on data privacy. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and U.S. Senate Commerce Committee have also asked Zuckerberg to appear at a hearing.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has opened an investigation into Facebook, and attorneys representing 37 states are also pressing Zuckerberg to explain what happened.
Reporting by David Ingram and Julia Fioretti; Additional reporting by Laharee Chatterjee and Arjun Panchadar; Editing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman
The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Wanted His New Company To Work With Trump Campaign's Manager
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 10:55
Tolga Akmen / AFP / Getty Images Christopher Wylie outside a press conference in London on March 26.
Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica cofounder who recently blew the whistle on the political consulting firm's improper procurement of the personal data of millions of Facebook users, had the same data set when he was establishing a business of his own in 2014, according to information obtained by BuzzFeed News. The following year, that company, Eunoia Technologies, subsequently pitched Republican political operative Corey Lewandowski on microtargeting tools that could be deployed on behalf of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Emails from 2014 provided to BuzzFeed News show that Eunoia possessed a database of more than 50 million Facebook profiles at the time. That same information '-- and Facebook's wider data collection policies in general '-- are now being scrutinized following reports by the New York Times and the Observer of London that Cambridge Analytica improperly acquired it from a company called Global Science Research (GSR), which originally collected it for academic purposes.
GSR, Cambridge Analytica, and Wylie said they have since deleted the data. Cambridge Analytica, which Donald Trump's presidential campaign employed throughout 2016 to build ad-targeting profiles on potential voters, claimed in a statement Friday that none of the Facebook information in question was used for the election. And while there is no current indication Eunoia used the database or pitched it to Lewandowski, the fact that Wylie's little-known startup '-- which was a wholly distinct entity from Cambridge Analytica '-- possessed it at all is the latest in a string of revelations in Facebook's data crisis and further evidence that the company is unable to track how the personal profile information it collects is employed and distributed by third parties.
Other documents from Eunoia, which marketed ad microtargeting services to corporate and political clients, reveal that in the spring of 2015 Wylie's startup pitched elections-related work to Trump's eventual campaign manager, Lewandowski. One source, who declined to be named for fear of endangering personal and business relationships confirmed the authenticity of these documents; another person, who had direct knowledge of Eunoia's meeting with Lewandowski, confirmed the Wylie-led startup's interest in working for the fledgling Trump campaign.
Since blowing the whistle on Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, SCL Group, Wylie has said very little about Eunoia and his aspirations for it. He also has not spoken at all about his startup's meeting with Lewandowski, who would go on to lead the Trump campaign. In response to BuzzFeed News' questions about Eunoia last week, Wylie's lawyer, Tamsin Allen, said that her client ''has not worked for Republican clients since leaving [Cambridge Analytica]'' and that his company had ''no data or assets.''
''Eunoia was a personal service company that has no data or assets.''
The documents obtained by BuzzFeed and subsequent interviews with sources do not always cast Wylie in a flattering light, but they also do not call into question his claims about the improper transfer of Facebook user data to political consulting entities. After responding to an initial request for comment, Wylie's attorney went dark and did not answer the questions BuzzFeed News put to her Tuesday.
In a four-hour hearing of the UK Commons select committee on digital culture, media, and sport on Tuesday, Wylie was asked by committee chair Damian Collins if he had benefited from the GSR data set on other projects that he'd worked on outside of Cambridge Analytica.
''I didn't do any contracts or do any, you know, work with that data,'' Wylie replied. ''I haven't worked with any clients '... That data got deleted, I believe, in 2015 on my end.''
Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that Wylie discussed plans to ''build the NSA's wet dream'' in late 2013 while still working at Cambridge Analytica. ''Our goal is first to make it an extremely profitable company,'' he wrote in late 2013. ''Then we will cleanse our souls with other projects, like using the data for good rather than evil. But evil pays more."
According to two people who knew Wylie at this time, the SCL microtargeting specialist had approached a number of colleagues about leaving their jobs to join him in a new company. According to one person, Wylie hoped to model his firm after Palantir Technologies, the CIA-backed, Silicon Valley data-mining company.
''He was very much trying to build this company and his vision was, 'I want to build SCL without [Cambridge Analytica CEO] Alexander Nix,''' said one person who talked to Wylie about his new venture. Last week, Cambridge Analytica suspended Nix pending an investigation after he was recorded by the UK's Channel 4 touting his firm's ability to influence foreign elections and discussing techniques to entrap and blackmail political candidates. Cambridge Analytica did not return a request for comment.
Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP / Getty Images Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix speaks during the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon in November.
By the beginning of 2014, Wylie had put together a presentation for a company called According to its pitch deck, which was seen and published in part by BuzzFeed News, the company said it could ingest users' social media activity to build ''psychographic'' profiles for marketers who could then target ads to specific users and possibly influence behavior. By the winter of that year, Wylie was having conversations about his idea with Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including one who spoke to BuzzFeed News and received a note that said the products that Wylie had promised had been used for previous political clients.
Wylie's lawyer previously said that presentation was ''never a serious pitch,'' and it's not clear how it was used. That said, similarities in documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News suggest it was a precursor to Eunoia.
After leaving Cambridge Analytica and SCL in late June of 2014, Wylie pivoted his focus to Eunoia '-- Greek for ''beautiful thinking'' '-- formulating a company that could perform so-called psychographic modeling and targeting for its clients. By August, he was working at Eunoia with Tobias Kloepper, a one-time SCL data scientist who would obtain Facebook data for the young startup. Emails viewed by BuzzFeed News indicate that Aleksandr Kogan, a data scientist and founder of GSR, shared a database of more than 50 million Facebook users with Kloepper.
Kogan and Kloepper did not respond to requests for comment. It's unclear if Wylie ever used that data, with the whistleblower noting in front of a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that he eventually deleted it because ''I wasn't going to do anything with it.''
Correspondence between Wylie and an acquaintance from September 2014 show that, while Wylie was particularly interested in courting fashion industry clients, he claimed to also have meetings with Monsanto, the American Petroleum Institute, and Ford. A Eunoia fashion-focused presentation from the time obtained by BuzzFeed News said the company had a ''database that contains the information of hundreds of millions of individual consumers with emails, Facebook/Twitter IDs and mailing addresses,'' while a separate company brochure specifically discusses targeting voters for potential political clients. Neither document mentions the specific GSR data set of 50 million Facebook users, and it's unclear if Eunoia ever put that data to use.
''The heart of our work stems from a rigorous scientific understanding of human behavior, which in turn allows us to engineer more responsive audiences and engage consumers more precisely,'' read the brochure. ''To do this, we have developed a series of algorithms that can predict the personality traits of individual voters by analyzing their voterfile [sic], social, online and consumer data.''
Neither the presentation nor the brochure mention the provenance of that "social, online and consumer data."
Provided to BuzzFeed News A presentation slide for fashion clients from Eunoia Technologies.
According to one person, GSR gave its data to Eunoia after Kogan had negotiated an agreement where the startup would receive the information without charge as part of a data-sharing agreement between the two parties. Wylie never provided Kogan with data of his own, this person said, and GSR moved to cancel its agreements with Eunoia in early 2015. Eunoia appears to never have officially launched; a separate source told BuzzFeed News that it was unable to secure funding.
The contested data set, which GSR harvested using a 2014 Facebook personality quiz where users permitted the app to obtain personal information about themselves and their friends, has kick-started investigations from governments around the world. In the US, multiple members of Congress have asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Capitol Hill about the social network's data policies and how the information of more than 50 million users could have ended up in the hands of a company doing elections consulting work.
As BuzzFeed News has learned, the spread of the Facebook data was not confined to Cambridge Analytica. Wylie may have had access to the data set for more than a year after founding Eunoia, with Facebook only acting to address the violation of its rules in late 2015, after the release of a story in the Guardian. GSR was told to delete its data in December 2015, according to a source, while Wylie said in testimony in front a parliamentary committee Tuesday that he believed he deleted the GSR data ''some time in 2015'' after being contacted by Kogan.
Earlier this month, after learning that several outlets were working on stories about the Trump campaign''hired data analysis company, the social networking giant moved to suspend the Facebook accounts of Cambridge Analytica, SCL, and Wylie. Facebook declined to comment for this story.
"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,'' Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post last Wednesday. He added that the company would investigate ''all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014.'' The company took out full-page ads in several newspapers last Sunday apologizing for the mistake.
Asked last week if Eunoia had used any data sets on Facebook users, Wylie's lawyer, Allen, was adamant. ''Eunoia was a personal service company that has no data or assets,'' she wrote.
Provided to BuzzFeed News In an interview with NBC's Today show last week, Wylie drew a line between Cambridge Analytica and Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. ''What I do know is that Cambridge Analytica was meeting with Corey Lewandowski in 2015 before Trump had even announced and offering the services that I'm talking about right now,'' he said.
What Wylie didn't say is that Eunoia Technologies also met with Lewandowski around the same time. According to one source, Lewandowski met with representatives of the company, including Tadas Jucikas, a former SCL employee, and Mark Gettleson, Eunoia's communications and marketing strategist, around Easter Sunday 2015 in the lobby of a New York Central Park hotel. Wylie did not attend the meeting, said the person, but he was well aware of it and its purpose to discuss voter microtargeting for a possible presidential candidate.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski arrives at Trump Tower in December 2016 in New York City.
While Trump's campaign went on to work with Cambridge Analytica later in 2016, the person said that Lewandowski met with Eunoia, in part, because the Alexander Nix operation was already working for Ted Cruz's presidential election team at the time. According to that source, that meeting included ''high-level discussions'' about microtargeting techniques and did not include any talk about Facebook data.
Jucikas declined to comment. Gettleson did not respond to multiple requests for comment, including phone calls, emails, and a visit to his London home. Lewandowski, who became Trump's official campaign manager when the billionaire announced his candidacy in June 2015, did not respond to a request for comment.
Emails obtained by BuzzFeed News further corroborate the pitch to the Trump campaign. In April 2015, following the meeting with Lewandowski, Gettleson, a political operative with UK's liberal democratic party, sent an email with the subject line ''Trump'' to a graphic designer who had been designing business cards and brochures for the company. The email included an attachment labeled ''Trump-Handout,'' which contained a list of various political microtargeting products and services offered by the company. The graphic designer made a few adjustments to the document and placed its contents on official Eunoia stationery before sending it back to Gettleson in a PDF called ''eunioa_stationary_introletter.'' It's unclear if these documents were then sent to Lewandowski or if Eunoia had any further meetings with Trump's eventual campaign manager.
Provided to BuzzFeed News An email exchange with Eunoia Technologies marketing strategist Mark Gettleson
A cache of documents sent to BuzzFeed News by a source, which included business contracts and pitch decks, reveal other individuals who, to varying degrees, were associated with the fledgling startup. Many of those people did not want to talk about their involvement with the company or did not return BuzzFeed News' requests for comment. Ray Larson, a former strategist for Canada's liberal party, did not respond to emails and a phone message; Brent Clickard, a former colleague of Wylie's at SCL declined to comment. A source close to Clickard said that while he spoke with Wylie about working at Eunoia, the pair never formalized an agreement.
Alfredas Chmieliauskas, a London-based employee of Palantir, said he had ''no idea'' why his name was on Eunoia's business documents, adding that while Wylie knew ''a former school friend of mine ... we never had a working relationship of any sort.'' On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Chmieliauskas, while at Palantir, began corresponding with Wylie in 2013 and later gave him the idea to develop the quiz app, eventually employed by Kogan, to harvest Facebook user data. Wylie also visited with Palantir, with a company spokesperson later confirming that Palantir and Cambridge Analytica considered working together at one point.
Correspondence from Wylie that was given to BuzzFeed News show Wylie bragging to an acquaintance in late 2013 about the prospect of someone from Palantir wanting to join his idea for a startup.
''A guy from Palantir wants to join the team,'' Wylie wrote. ''He knows Tadas [Jucikas] ... apparently senior ... meeting him next week.''
It is not clear if these people, who denied having official work relationships with Eunoia or did not reply altogether, knew that the company had access to a data set with more than 50 million Facebook users or that its associates were meeting with potential presidential campaigns.
''You guys are a bunch of assholes, and you can put that on the record."
According to a source, Eunoia also sought to hire Mark Block, the former chief of staff to 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain who had a brief spell of notoriety for smoking a cigarette in a campaign ad. Block's name and that of his associate, Linda Hansen, were printed on a proof sheet of draft Eunoia business cards given to BuzzFeed News by a second source.
''You guys are a bunch of assholes, and you can put that on the record,'' Block said when asked about his relationship with Eunoia and Wylie. Block, who reportedly introduced Steve Bannon to SCL and worked for the company's elections division as its head of US sales, according to an archived version of SCL's website, declined to say anything more.
"There were discussions about politics and some other ex [Cambridge Analytica] staff wanted to continue working in Republican politics," Wylie's lawyer said in an email to earlier questions last week. "However they parted ways with Mr Wylie to set up their own company that does work for Republican clients. ... Mr Wylie has not worked for Republicans since leaving CA and does not wish to in the future."
Charlie Warzel and Mark Di Stefano contributed additional reporting to this story.
Ryan Mac is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology and power.
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Fraudulent Web Traffic Continues to Plague Advertisers, Other Businesses - WSJ
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:18
In a recent study, Adobe found that about 28% of website traffic showed strong ''non-human signals,'' leading the company to believe that the traffic came from bots or click farms. The company studied traffic across websites belonging to thousands of clients.
Adobe is currently working with a handful of clients in the travel, retail and publishing industries to identify how much of their web traffic has non-human characteristics. By weeding out that misleading data, brands can better understand what prompted consumers to follow their ads and ultimately visit their websites and buy their products.
''It's really about understanding your traffic at a deeper level. And not just understanding, 'I got this many hits.' What do those hits represent? Were they people, malicious bots, good bots?'' said Dave Weinstein, director of engineering for Adobe Experience Cloud.
While hardly the first study of online fraud, Adobe's findings are one more indication of how the problem has roiled the fast-changing ad, media and digital commerce industries, while prompting marketers to rethink their web efforts.Non-human traffic can create an ''inflated number that sets false expectations for marketing efforts,'' said Mr. Weinstein.
Marketers often use web traffic as a good measure for how many of their consumers saw their ads, and some even pay their ad vendors when people see their ads and subsequently visit their website. Knowing more about how much of their web traffic was non-human could change the way they pay their ad vendors.
Advertisers have told Adobe that the ability to break down human and non-human traffic helps them understand which audiences matter ''when they're doing ad buying and trying to do re-marketing efforts, or things like lookalike modeling,'' he said. Advertisers use lookalike modeling to reach online users or consumers who share similar characteristics to their specific audiences or customers.
Ad buyers can also exclude visitors with non-human characteristics from future targeting segments by removing the cookies or unique web IDs that represented those visitors from their audience segments.
In addition to malicious bots, many web visits also come from website ''scrapers,'' such as search engines, voice assistants or travel aggregators looking for business descriptions or pricing information. Some are also from rivals ''scraping'' for information so they can undercut the competition on pricing.
While bots from big search engines and aggregators tend to overtly present themselves as bots, and can easily be discounted from human web traffic, a small percentage of scrapers generate visits even if they're not intentionally posing as visitors, said Mr. Weinstein.
''We realized that with the growth of things like Alexa and Google Home and other assistants, increasingly more and more traffic is going to be automated in nature,'' he said. ''In the long term, real humans at real browsers will be a diminishing portion of traffic.''
While there aren't any plans to monetize a tool that can analyze non-human web traffic for clients, Adobe eventually could use it to sell something like a ''bot score,'' said Mr. Weinstein. For now, the company will likely just build the function into its existing analytics products.
Obama Staffer: Facebook Let Us Seize Data | The Daily Caller
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:26
Facebook is embroiled in a political controversy over the manner its social data was utilized by the Trump campaign, but a former Obama campaign staffer argues the social media company has been allowing this type of behavior since at least 2012.
The social media giant is being lambasted for failing to verify that data from an estimated 50 million users was deleted by the Steve Bannon-led firm, Cambridge Analytica.
However, a former Obama campaign staffer has come forward to claim that Facebook turned a blind eye to the same issue in 2012.
Carol Davidsen, former director of Obama for America's Integration and Media Analytics, reveals the manner the Democratic presidential campaign was freely given access. Furthermore, she openly claims that Facebook gave the Obama campaigners a pass because of their political affiliation.
''Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn't stop us once they realized that was what we were doing,'' Davidsen wrote on Twitter.
''They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn't have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,'' she continued.
Davidsen even showed an example of how the data sets were utilized.
The social media company's attitude towards the Trump campaign's use '‹'‹of Facebook data, however, couldn't be more different.
''In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe,'' Facebook stated in a Friday blog post. ''He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc.''
''Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted,'' the statement continued. ''We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.''
Mark Zuckerberg's company saw its shares plummet after the news broke that the Trump campaign had utilized Facebook data during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
If Davidsen's accusation is indeed true, it could prove a serious problem for Facebook. In the case of the Trump campaign, Facebook's allowance for the misuse of its data was an accidental oversight; as far as the Obama campaign goes, it appears that it was completely intentional.
Washington Monthly | No, Obama Didn't Employ the Same Strategies as Cambridge Analytica
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:27
Following reports that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of people on Facebook, the company signaled to right-wing media what their response should be. They took to Twitter with a lie that mirrors much of what we've heard from Trump over the last couple of years: ''Obama did it too.''
Obama's 2008 campaign was famously data-driven, pioneered microtargeting in 2012, talking to people specifically based on the issues they care about.
That is a fairly accurate description of data-driven microtargeting, which doesn't have a lot to do with the kind of psychological profiling done by Cambridge Analytica. But the issue is not just how the data was used, it's also how CA managed to compile 3,000-5,000 data points on approximately 230 million people. What we now know is that they used free personality quizzes, where people were told that their information was only going to be used for research purposes, and gathered not only all of their Facebook data in the process, but swept up all of the data from their Facebook friends as well.
Here's the response from someone who knows a thing or two about what the Obama campaign actually did:
Nevertheless, right-wing media picked up the ball that Cambridge Analytica tossed to them and carried their message forward. Here's Ben Shapiro at The Hill in a piece titled, ''What's genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump.''
The Guardian reported that President Obama's reelection team was ''building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.''
What, exactly, would Obama be doing? According to The Guardian, Obama's new database would be gathered by asking individual volunteers to log into Obama's reelection site using their Facebook credentials. ''Consciously or otherwise,'' The Guardian states, ''the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page '-- home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends '-- directly into the central Obama database.''
While Shapiro doesn't bother to provide a link to the Guardian article he is referencing, I'm pretty sure it's this one written by Ed Pilkington and Amanda Michel. Let's take a look at what they said about the Obama campaign.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out '' for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president '' he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user's personal information with a third party.
Notice that this was an invitation that came directly from the Obama campaign, which the volunteer could either chose to accept or reject. From there, the information went into a central database.
The Obama database incorporates Vote Builder, a store of essential information such as age, postal address, occupation and voting history drawn from the voter files of 190 million active voters. It lines up and matches those voter files with data gathered from online interactions with the president's supporters '' notably the millions of pieces of information its army of canvassers collected across the nation during the 2008 race, a list of email addresses of supporters that it has amassed and that now stands at about 23 million, as well as the contact information of Obama's 25 million Facebook fans.
Here is how they used Facebook information to not only microtarget their campaign messages, but reach out to the friends of their supporters.
The significance of the fusion of Facebook and voter file data is hard to overemphasise. ''This is the Moneyball moment for politics,'' says Sam Graham-Felsen, Obama's chief blogger in 2008. ''If you can figure out how to leverage the power of friendship, that opens up incredible possibilities.''
First among those possibilities is that the campaign can distribute customised content designed specifically for its Facebook fans to share with their much wider circle of friends. The messages can be honed to a particular demographic '' age, gender, etc '' as well as set of interests, and targeted on the most hotly contested parts of the most crucial battleground states'...
Goff said the campaign was focused on building relationships through social media. An Obama message would be crafted so that ''not only can it be passed to your friends but to those friends that we think are most in need of passing it on to''.
The bottom line is that if you are sent a message from your Facebook friend encouraging you to turn up to an event or donate to Obama, you are vastly more likely to respond than if the request comes from an anonymous campaign staffer.
In other words, the Obama campaign used Facebook as a community organizing tool, which is pretty much the opposite of stealing data in order to engage in psychological warfare.
But the nuance of that will be lost on the consumers of right-wing media, which is the story of how we got here in the first place.
UPDATE: Part II on how the approach of Cambridge Analytica differed from the Obama Campaign is here.
Nancy LeTourneauNancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.
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Leaked: Cambridge Analytica's blueprint for Trump victory | UK news | The Guardian
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:34
The document reveals how US voters were targeted by thousands of different ads on social media. Photograph: Getty Images
The blueprint for how Cambridge Analytica claimed to have won the White House for Donald Trump by using Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is revealed for the first time in an internal company document obtained by the Guardian.
The 27-page presentation was produced by the Cambridge Analytica officials who worked most closely on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
A former employee explained to the Guardian how it details the techniques used by the Trump campaign to micro-target US voters with carefully tailored messages about the Republican nominee across digital channels.
Brittany Kaiser, former Cambridge Analytica director: 'I voted for Bernie' - videoIntensive survey research, data modelling and performance-optimising algorithms were used to target 10,000 different ads to different audiences in the months leading up to the election. The ads were viewed billions of times, according to the presentation.
The document was presented to Cambridge Analytica employees in London, New York and Washington DC weeks after Trump's victory, providing an insight into how the controversial firm helped pull off one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern history.
''This is the debrief of the data-driven digital campaign that was employed for Mr Trump,'' said Brittany Kaiser, 30, who was Cambridge Analytica's business development director until two weeks ago, when she left over a contractual dispute.
She is the second former employee to come forward in less than a week, talking exclusively to the Guardian about the inner workings of the firm, including the work she said it conducted on the UK's EU membership referendum.
She said she had access to a copy of the same document now obtained by the Guardian, and had used it to showcase the campaign's secret methods to potential clients of Cambridge Analytica.
Explainer on Cambridge Analytica files''There was a huge demand internally for people to see how we did it,'' Kaiser said of the 2016 race. ''Everyone wanted to know: past clients, future clients. The whole world wanted to see it. This is what we were allowed to confidentially show people if they signed a non-disclosure agreement.''
Kaiser claims to be committed to human rights, but many would argue her career at Cambridge Analytica tells a different story. She has worked extensively for the firm, pitching business to clients in countries that have a history of exploitation by western political mercenaries, including Lithuania, Benin, Ethiopia and Libya.
Cambridge Analytica has a reputation among political operatives for exaggerating its role in campaigns. A senior Trump campaign official who said they saw the document about a year ago claimed it took credit for some work that was done by the Republican national committee and Trump's digital director, Brad Parscale.
Kaiser did not work on the campaign but said she gleaned information about how it was orchestrated during discussions with senior staff, including the now suspended chief executive, Alexander Nix.
None of the techniques described in the document are illegal. However, the scandal over Cambridge Analytica's acquisition of data from more than 50 million Facebook users is lifting the lid on an industry that has learned how to closely track the online footprint and daily lives of US voters.
Despite the advances made in data-led political campaigning, these were techniques that, according to the presentation, Trump did not have access to when Cambridge Analytica joined his campaign in early June 2016.
The Republican nominee, who had just secured sufficient delegates to become the party's candidate, still had ''no speakable data infrastructure'' and ''no unifying data, digital and tech strategy'', the document states.
A sample of Cambridge Analytica's 'Trump for President' debrief. Photograph: Cambridge Analytica Photograph: Cambridge AnalyticaKaiser said Cambridge Analytica staff told her they were stunned when they arrived at Trump's headquarters in Trump Tower, New York.
''There was no database of record. There were many disparate data sources that were not connected, matched or hygiened,'' she said of the process of ordering, sorting and cleaning enormous data sets. ''There was no data science programme, so they weren't undertaking any modelling. There was no digital marketing team.''
One of the first things Cambridge Analytica did, she said, was work with data supplied by the party's data trust and other data acquired through an initiative called Project Alamo.
The document contains very little information about how the campaign used Facebook data. One page, however, suggests Cambridge Analytica was able to constantly monitor the effectiveness of its messaging on different types of voters, giving the company and the campaign constant feedback about levels of engagement on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
Photograph: Cambridge AnalyticaThe feedback loop meant the algorithms could be constantly updated and improved to deliver thousands of different messages to voters depending on their profile.
The level of information the company could glean about voters '' and the apparent appetite among Silicon Valley companies to cash in on the advertising bonanza '' is illustrated on another page which shows how the Trump campaign used a prime piece of marketing real estate on election day: YouTube's entire masthead.
Kaiser said Hillary Clinton's campaign had reserved the space on Google's video-hosting platform but was so confident of victory that it gave it up. ''Google called us and said this ad space is now available, immediately,'' Kaiser said. ''That's what I was told.''
The Trump campaign seized the opportunity, showing two different ads to different categories of voters according to the detailed geographical information of visitors to the YouTube home page.
Voters in areas where people were likely to be Trump supporters were shown a triumphant-looking image of the nominee, and help finding their nearest polling station.
Those whose geographical information suggested they were not fervent Trump supporters, such as swing voters, were shown photos of his high-profile supporters, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, a celebrity from the reality TV show Duck Dynasty, and Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Photograph: Cambridge AnalyticaOne of the most effective ads, according to Kaiser, was a piece of native advertising on the political news website Politico, which was also profiled in the presentation. The interactive graphic, which looked like a piece of journalism and purported to list ''10 inconvenient truths about the Clinton Foundation'', appeared for several weeks to people from a list of key swing states when they visited the site. It was produced by the in-house Politico team that creates sponsored content.
The Cambridge Analytica presentation dedicates an entire slide to the ad, which is described as having achieved ''an average engagement time of four minutes''. Kaiser described the ad as ''the most successful thing we pushed out''.
Politico said editorial journalists were not involved in the campaign, and similar ads were purchased by the Bernie Sanders and Clinton campaigns.
Advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Google and the music-sharing app Pandora were used to help convince 35,000 supporters to install an app used by the most active supporters.
According to the presentation, Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign also used a new advertising technique offered by Twitter, launched at the start of the election year, which enabled clients to kickstart viral tweets.
The ''conversational ads'' feature was used to encourage Trump's followers to tweet using a set of pre-determined hashtags.
The campaign also took advantage of an ad opportunity provided by Snapchat, enabling users to swipe up and immediately see a preloaded web page. While not useful for securing donors, Cambridge Analytica deemed the tool useful for engaging potential voter ''contacts'', according to the presentation.
One of the final slides explains how the company used paid-for Google ads to implement ''persuasion search advertising'', to push pro-Trump and anti-Clinton search results through the company's main search facility.
Photograph: Cambridge AnalyticaOne slide showed how the company ensured that voters searching the words ''Trump Iraq War'' would encounter paid-for search results that were favourable to his campaign. ''Control The First Impression,'' the slide says, with an arrow pointing to a search result that states: ''Hillary Voted for the Iraq War '' Donald Trump opposed it.''
''That's a Google manipulation thing,'' Kaiser said, adding that while a ''general person'' probably did not know how easy it was to pay for ads to appear high in Google search results, it was considered ''an old-school tactic'' in her industry.
Facebook's Zuckerberg Expects to Testify at Congressional Hearing - WSJ
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 22:04
It would mark Mr. Zuckerberg's first public testimony in front of U.S. lawmakers. Mr. Zuckerberg, who has rarely strayed beyond carefully managed public appearances, now is resigned to the fact that he will have to testify, the people said. Facebook officials are currently preparing for this inevitability.
Many details have yet to be hammered out, the people added, and Mr. Zuckerberg hasn't formally accepted any requests for him to appear. In an interview with CNN last week, Mr. Zuckerberg said he would be open to testifying if he was the ''right person'' to do so.
On March 21, after days of silence on the matter, Mr. Zuckerberg announced a series of steps meant to rein in outsiders' access to Facebook user data.
The news intensified political pressure on Facebook, which was already under fire for failing to detect Russian-backed manipulation of its platform and for allowing fabricated news articles, violent live videos and other forms of objectionable content spread across its services.
Congressional aides who were briefed by Facebook staffers last week said the meetings left some 60 questions unanswered. Facebook officials promised to answer them at a later date, including whether firms other than Cambridge Analytica mishandled user data.
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Mr. Zuckerberg to appear at an April 10 hearing on data privacy. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) also invited Sundar Pichai, chief executive of AlphabetInc.'s Google, and TwitterInc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.Facebook's current data crisis involving Cambridge Analytica has angered users and prompted government investigations. To understand what's happening now, you have to look back at Facebook's old policies from 2007 to 2014. WSJ's Shelby Holliday explains. Illustration: Laura Kammerman
. Last week, bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation separately called on Mr. Zuckerberg to testify about Facebook's privacy and data-use standards.
It isn't yet clear which committees Mr. Zuckerberg would appear before. A spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it is working with Facebook ''to determine a day and time for Mr. Zuckerberg to testify. A representative for the Senate Judiciary Committee declined to comment beyond the announcement Monday. A spokesman for the Senate Commerce Committee couldn't be immediately reached.
A Facebook spokesman reiterated Tuesday it had received and was reviewing U.S. lawmakers' invitations. Twitter declined to comment Tuesday, and Google didn't immediately respond. CNN earlier reported the news that Mr. Zuckerberg was coming to terms with the fact that he will need to testify.
Facebook's shares extended their recent decline on Tuesday, falling 4.9% in a broader market drop. Facebook's market value has dropped by more than $95 billion since March 16.
And shares in Twitter plunged Tuesday, ending down 11.4% after short-selling firm Citron Research said in a post on Twitter that it is the social media company most vulnerable to privacy regulation because of the way it sells user data.'‹
''Twitter is public by its nature,'' the social-media company tweeted from an official account following the Citron report. Twitter said its data-licensing business doesn't sell users private messages'--something Citron claimed Twitter did.
On Monday, Mr. Zuckerberg declined to appear before a U.K. parliamentary committee seeking evidence on how companies acquire user data from Facebook, choosing to send a deputy instead, according to a letter from Facebook published by the parliamentary committee. The letter said either Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's chief technology officer, or Chris Cox, the chief product officer, would appear before the committee after the Easter parliamentary recess.
''Facebook fully recognizes the level of public and parliamentary interest in these issues and support your belief that these issues must be addressed at the most senior levels of the company by those in an authoritative position to answer your questions,'' said Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy of Facebook UK, in a letter Monday. ''As such Mr. Zuckerberg has personally asked one of his deputies to make themselves available to give evidence in person to the committee.''
'--Jenny Gross and Siobhan Hughes contributed to this article.
How the Obama Campaign Used Facebook to Connect with Young Voters |
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 23:01
Social networks are transforming the way campaigns are conducted.
Larry Downing / ReutersPresident Barack Obama reaches out to shake hands after speaking at a campaign event at the University of Cincinnati on Nov. 4, 2012
In the final weeks before Election Day, a scary statistic emerged from the databases at Barack Obama's Chicago headquarters: half the campaign's targeted swing-state voters under age 29 had no listed phone number. They lived in the cellular shadows, effectively immune to traditional get-out-the-vote efforts.
For a campaign dependent on a big youth turnout, this could have been a crisis. But the Obama team had a solution in place: a Facebook application that will transform the way campaigns are conducted in the future. For supporters, the app appeared to be just another way to digitally connect to the campaign. But to the Windy City number crunchers, it was a game changer. ''I think this will wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign,'' says Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign's digital director.
That's because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the app gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. What's more, Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. ''People don't trust campaigns. They don't even trust media organizations,'' says Goff. ''Who do they trust? Their friends.''
The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. And in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind. A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter. ''We are not just sending you a banner ad,'' explains Dan Wagner, the Obama campaign's 29-year-old head of analytics, who helped oversee the project. ''We are giving you relevant information from your friends.''
Early tests of the system found statistically significant changes in voter behavior. People whose friends sent them requests to register to vote and to vote early, for example, were more likely to do so than similar potential voters who were not contacted. That confirmed a trend already noted in political-science literature: online social networks have the power to change voting behavior. A study of 61 million people on Facebook during the 2010 midterms found that people who saw photos of their friends voting on Election Day were more likely to cast a ballot themselves. ''It is much more effective to stimulate these real-world ties,'' says James Fowler, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, who co-authored the study.
Campaign pros have known this for years. A phone call or knock on the door from someone who lives in your neighborhood is far more effective than appeals from out-of-state volunteers or robo-calls. Before social networks like Facebook, however, connecting a supportive friend to a would-be voter was a challenge. E-mail, for instance, connects one person to a campaign. Facebook can connect the campaign, through one person, to 500 or more friends.
Because it took more than a year to build the system, it was deployed only in the campaign's homestretch. The Romney team used a far less sophisticated version of the technology. Political strategists on both sides say that in the future they intend to get the system working sooner in primaries in key states and with more buy-in from supporters, who will have a greater understanding of their role in the process. ''Campaigns are trying to engineer what the new door knock is going to look like and what the next phone call is going to look like,'' says Patrick Ruffini, a Republican digital strategist who worked on George W. Bush's 2004 campaign. ''We are starting to see.''
And the technology is moving fast. In 2008, Twitter was a sideshow and Facebook had about one-sixth its current reach in the U.S. By 2016, this sort of campaign-driven sharing over social networks is almost certain to be the norm. Tell your friends.
''We need to take back control'': Brexit whistleblower Shahmir Sanni on why there must be a new EU referendum
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 09:53
On the evening of 26 March, minutes after he took to the stage at London's Frontline Club, Shahmir Sanni, the Brexit whistleblower, began to weep. The trigger was a reference to No 10 aide Stephen Parkinson's recent outing of him as gay. ''I came out to my mum the day before yesterday,'' Sanni told the crammed room as he spoke alongside fellow whistleblower Christopher Wylie. '' I hate talking about it, because I get...'' As he persisted through tears, Sanni said of his former partner: ''He [Parkinson] knew, he knew that I wasn't out to my mum.''
Sanni, whose intense brown eyes command your attention, lamented that he had been ''stripped'' of ''what was the most important conversation for me to have with my mother and my sisters and my family.'' He fears for the safety of his relatives in Pakistan, where homosexuality is illegal. But he is also aggrieved that the story has diverted attention from his defining mission: to expose the alleged illegality of Vote Leave.
The day after Sanni's appearance, I met him at the Frontline Club, a media institution devoted to ''independent journalism'', in Norfolk Place, Paddington. He was joined by Kyle Taylor, the amiable and idealistic director of the Fair Vote Project, a new non-aligned electoral rights campaign. The organisation was launched on 25 April after Sanni's stunning claim in the Observer: that Vote Leave broke electoral law during the EU referendum campaign by co-ordinating its activities with another group, BeLeave, to which it donated £625,000 in order to avoid breaching the £7m spending limit.
Rather than being provided to BeLeave, the youth organisation that Sanni, now 24, ran with 23-year-old fashion student Darren Grimes, most of the money was allegedly channelled to Aggregate IQ, the Canadian data firm (linked to Cambridge Analytica) that Vote Leave used for its digital advertising.
Sanni told me: ''There were emails sent from the head of outreach of Vote Leave [Cleo Watson] to the head of compliance, i.e. the lawyer, saying 'Shahmir and Darren, the only experience they've had of finances is with their student loans, so obviously they're not the best ones to be handling this money.' From the get-go this was a process that was guided and directed by Vote Leave staff members, knowing full well that co-ordination between two campaign groups [Vote Leave and BeLeave] isn't allowed.''
Taylor added: ''This massive payment was made to AIQ but then nothing changed. And if nothing changed, then whatever money was paid by BeLeave should have been recorded as part of Vote Leave spending. The body of evidence that suggests this is overwhelming.'' (A 54-page dossier of photographs, emails and Facebook chats showing alleged co-ordination has been published.)
Sanni's allegations bear the imprimatur of three senior barristers (Clare Montgomery QC, Helen Mountfield QC and Ben Silverstone of Matrix Chambers) who concluded that Vote Leave may have ''spent huge sums unlawfully'', that there are ''grounds to suspect'' that campaign director and former Michael Gove aide Dominic Cummings ''conspired to break the law'' and that Stephen Parkinson and fellow No. 10 aide Cleo Watson may have ''conspired with others to commit offences''.
Having assessed the issue twice (and found in favour of Vote Leave), the UK Electoral Commission had already opened a new investigation following a judicial review launched by the Good Law Project. Seventeen days after the Electoral Commission first intervened, Victoria Woodcock, the chief operating officer of Vote Leave, accessed a shared Google drive and removed herself, Cummings and Henry de Zoete (another former Gove aide and Vote Leave's digital director) from more than 100 files. ''We don't yet know why this was done but it is certainly ambiguous and requires explanation," said the lawyers.
''What I'm hoping is that there is a police investigation into this, particularly the senior members of Vote Leave,'' said Sanni. ''In my mind, this is me trying to shake everyone: 'They're fucking with you, you're taking it, you're not questioning it.'''
Vote Leave and its senior staff, it should be said, have denied all allegations. '' They know that they cheated,'' Sanni replied when I put this to him. ''Why aren't they presenting their own evidence? Why aren't they showing evidence that there was no coordination?''
Sanni, a polite but forceful character, speaks with the indignance of someone who believed - and still believes - in the Brexit cause. Having emigrated to Britain with his Pakistani family when he was 15, he ''never had a European identity''. ''The idea of the European Union as this bloc which only benefits European didn't ever sit well with me.''
He denounced the EU's free movement policy as discriminatory (''If you're going to have free movement, it should be free movement for everyone'') and excoriated the Common Agricultural Policy for impoverishing farmers in the developing world.
''It was also about sovereignty, independence, 'taking back control', which is what a lot of the Brexiteers voted for,'' Sanni continued. ''The ironic part is that we've lost control of democracy in that process. I was voting Leave to protect our democracy and sovereignty but the opposite has happened, that's why I'm so impassioned now.''
Sanni has lent his support to the Fair Vote Project, which is campaigning for a re-run of the 2016 referendum (''let's take back control of our democracy''). Taylor told me: ''The issue is too big to have half the country or more than half the country, wonder 'was that actually the result? Is this the future the country wants?' That's first and foremost, let's be certain, everybody play by the rules.'' Rather than a vote on the government's anticipated Brexit deal, Taylor believes that ''on the basis of fairness, it has to be the same vote posed in the same way''.
Like Sanni, Taylor, a US (C)migr(C), spoke of how Vote Leave's alleged actions offended the notion of ''fair play'' that attracted him to the UK. ''I'm an immigrant of choice, everything about being in the UK: none of it's a right, it's a privilege. I think when you see it as a privilege it means more, because you have to believe it to stay.''
But unlike Sanni, who would vote Leave in a new referendum, Taylor is a devoted Remainer (he was previously field campaigns director of the pro-EU Best for Britain). ''It's kept the peace,'' he said of the EU. But he added of his relationship with Sanni (who he met for the first time last week): ''We've yet to have a fiery conversation because the issue at hand is the electoral system.''
The Fair Vote Project's initial funding was provided by ByLine Festival, the event founded by entrepreneur Stephen Colegrave and journalist and author Peter Jukes. ''We need to raise £20,000 this week to keep going,'' Taylor revealed. ''Any donation over £500 will be listed on our website so people know exactly who's funding this.''
On the evening of 29 March, the group will hold a rally in Parliament Square. As I spoke to Sanni and Taylor, MPs were staging an emergency debate on the allegations against Vote Leave.
Theresa May and Boris Johnson, however, have unreservedly dismissed the claims. Johnson, that reliably trustworthy source, tweeted: ''Utterly ludicrous, #VoteLeave won fair & square - and legally.''
May, meanwhile, told MPs: ''Whether they voted Leave or Remain, many are frankly tired of the old arguments and the attempts to refight the referendum over the past year.'' To the outrage of the Labour benches, she also defended Stephen Parkinson, her political secretary and former Home Office aide, defying demands to sack him (''My political secretary does a very good job'').
''Any statements issued were personal statements,'' May said of Parkinson's outing of Sanni (which first appeared on Dominic Cummings' blog on 23 March). This, Sanni told me, was ''a lie''. ''It was an official Downing Street statement that the comms team sent to a major press organisation [the New York Times].''
I put Parkinson's explanation to Sanni: '' That [their relationship] is the capacity in which I gave Shahmir advice and encouragement, and I can understand if the lines became blurred for him, but I am clear that I did not direct the activities of any separate campaign groups.''
Sanni replied; ''Number one, I wasn't his boyfriend during the campaign, it was just a fling. Was Darren [Grimes] his boyfriend too? Was Tom Harwood [the chair of Vote Leave's student wing] his boyfriend too? Was Cleo Watson my boyfriend?''
His only motive, he insisted, was to establish the truth. ''I have no personal gain from this. In fact, I'm losing more than I'm gaining. I've lost the opportunity to come out to my mother. I've lost, well, I haven't lost my job - yet.''
Sanni is still employed as the digital campaign manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, the libertarian group founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott - the chief executive of Vote Leave. ''John O'Connell, the CEO, has been very professional and supportive,'' Sanni said. ''His view was 'I don't understand what's going on, I'm going to let you handle it, this is up to the Electoral Commission to decide, I'm not going to get involved. I'm your employer and so I'll give you leave to sort this out and then we'll have a meeting.'''
Does Sanni, I asked, fear for his own safety? ''To be honest, I don't care,'' he replied. ''I would much rather be assaulted in public than outed. But that's already happened to me, so bring that on, I don't care.''
In the face of personal and political insecurity, Sanni remained defiant. ''The senior members of Vote Leave think that they understand the British public. They think that the British public, particularly Leavers, are stupid enough to believe it's just another Remain campaign.
''But being a Brexiteer myself I know, from communicating with Leavers from Birmingham to Manchester to London and online constantly, is that if anyone cares about democracy it's Brexiteers. They [Vote Leave] don't realise that the British public aren't stupid and aren't going to fall for it. That's why I'm impassioned and encouraged.''
Indian billionaire proposes funding Facebook rival
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:27
Indian billionaire proposes funding Facebook rivalMarch 28, 2018Anand Mahindra is offering to help fund a rival to FacebookAn Indian billionaire who promised to help fund a rival to Facebook said Wednesday he had been "overwhelmed" with the response as the world grapples with concerns about data privacy.
Anand Mahindra, whose Mahindra Group business empire spans everything from cars to real estate, sparked a flurry of brainstorming as Facebook reels from a scandal over the misuse of its user data.
The social media giant has been under pressure to explain how data on up to 50 million users was allegedly taken from Facebook and used in political campaigns.
Mahindra earlier this week urged India's tech entrepreneurs to devise "our own social networking company" and offered seed funding to startups to get the better ideas rolling.
The invitation provoked a flood of proposals, even from his own chief digital officer Jaspreet Bindra who was tempted by his boss's offer.
"To say I'm overwhelmed by the responses to my call for social network startup proposals would be an understatement!" Mahindra posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
"The good thing is that it's clear there's an explosion in entrepreneurial energies in this country. Let the games begin!"
India has the world's highest number of Facebook users with 241 million active members, according to a report published last June by Amsterdam-based firm The Next Web.
India's information technology ministry last week formally requested that Cambridge Analytica'--the data analysis company at the centre of the Facebook firestorm'--provide clarity over its practices by the end of the month.
That followed reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party and the opposition Congress had used the firm in previous elections, sparking a series of alleged data abuses which both sides deny.
India's IT minister warned Facebook against any abuse of social media in elections. India is preparing for general elections in 2019 and there are also a number of state polls due this year and next.
Explore further:India asks Cambridge Analytica for information on data
(C) 2018 AFP
Indian billionaire proposes funding Facebook rivalMarch 28, 2018Anand Mahindra is offering to help fund a rival to Facebook
An Indian billionaire who promised to help fund a rival to Facebook said Wednesday he had been "overwhelmed" with the response as the world grapples with concerns about data privacy.
Anand Mahindra, whose Mahindra Group business empire spans everything from cars to real estate, sparked a flurry of brainstorming as Facebook reels from a scandal over the misuse of its user data.
The social media giant has been under pressure to explain how data on up to 50 million users was allegedly taken from Facebook and used in political campaigns.
Mahindra earlier this week urged India's tech entrepreneurs to devise "our own social networking company" and offered seed funding to startups to get the better ideas rolling.
The invitation provoked a flood of proposals, even from his own chief digital officer Jaspreet Bindra who was tempted by his boss's offer.
"To say I'm overwhelmed by the responses to my call for social network startup proposals would be an understatement!" Mahindra posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
"The good thing is that it's clear there's an explosion in entrepreneurial energies in this country. Let the games begin!"
India has the world's highest number of Facebook users with 241 million active members, according to a report published last June by Amsterdam-based firm The Next Web.
India's information technology ministry last week formally requested that Cambridge Analytica'--the data analysis company at the centre of the Facebook firestorm'--provide clarity over its practices by the end of the month.
That followed reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party and the opposition Congress had used the firm in previous elections, sparking a series of alleged data abuses which both sides deny.
India's IT minister warned Facebook against any abuse of social media in elections. India is preparing for general elections in 2019 and there are also a number of state polls due this year and next.
Explore further:India asks Cambridge Analytica for information on data
(C) 2018 AFP
How To Change Your Facebook Settings To Opt Out of Platform API Sharing | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 04:04
You shouldn't have to do this. You shouldn't have to wade through complicated privacy settings in order to ensure that the companies with which you've entrusted your personal information are making reasonable, legal efforts to protect it. But Facebook has allowed third parties to violate user privacy on an unprecedented scale, and, while legislators and regulators scramble to understand the implications and put limits in place, users are left with the responsibility to make sure their profiles are properly configured.
Over the weekend, it became clear that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, got access to more than 50 million Facebook users' data in 2014. The data was overwhelmingly collected, shared, and stored without user consent. The scale of this violation of user privacy reflects how Facebook's terms of service and API were structured at the time. Make no mistake: this was not a data breach. This was exactly how Facebook's infrastructure was designed to work.
In addition to raising questions about Facebook's role in the 2016 presidential election, this news is a reminder of the inevitable privacy risks that users face when their personal information is captured, analyzed, indefinitely stored, and shared by a constellation of data brokers, marketers, and social media companies.
Tech companies can and should do more to protect users, including giving users far more control over what data is collected and how that data is used. That starts with meaningful transparency and allowing truly independent researchers'--with no bottom line or corporate interest'--access to work with, black-box test, and audit their systems. Finally, users need to be able to leave when a platform isn't serving them '-- and take their data with them when they do.
Of course, you could choose to leave Facebook entirely, but for many that is not a viable solution. For now, if you'd like keep your data from going through Facebook's API, you can take control of your privacy settings. Keep in mind that this disables ALL platform apps (like Farmville, Twitter, or Instagram) and you will not be able to log into sites using your Facebook login.
Log into Facebook and visit the App Settings page (or go there manually via the Settings Menu > Apps ).
From there, click the "Edit" button under "Apps, Websites and Plugins." Click "Disable Platform."
If disabling platform entirely is too much, there is another setting that can help: limiting the personal information accessible by apps that others use. By default, other people who can see your info can bring it with them when they use apps, and your info becomes available to those apps. You can limit this as follows.
From the same page, click "Edit" under "Apps Others Use." Then uncheck the types of information that you don't want others' apps to be able to access. For most people reading this post, that will mean unchecking every category.
Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower: Facebook Able to Listen to You at Home and Work | Trending
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:49
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christoper Wylie, appearing before a committee of British MPs on Tuesday, said that Facebook has the ability to spy on users in their homes and offices.
The British parliament is investigating Cambridge Analytica's involvement in the Brexit election. MP Damian Collins, who chaired the committee, asked Wylie whether Facebook has the ability to listen to what people are talking about in order to better target them with ads.
"There's been various speculation about the fact that Facebook can, through the Facebook app on your smartphone, listen in to what people are talking about and discussing and using that to prioritize the advertising as well," Collins said. "Other people would say, no, they don't think it's possible. It's just that the Facebook system is just so good at predicting what you're interested in that it can guess." He asked for Wylie's thoughts on the possibility.
"On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it... not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context," Wylie said. "So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you're in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment." He clarified, "It's not to say they're listening to what you're saying. It's not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself" is possible.
Wylie continued: "There's audio that could be useful just in terms of are you in an office environment, are you outside, are you watching TV?"
Senate's female members push for harassment vote
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:18
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
The Senate's 22 female members joined together Wednesday in a bipartisan push for their leaders to overhaul its workplace misconduct rules, airing "deep disappointment" that the chamber hasn't already moved.
The House approved its own revamp of Congress' system for handling harassment and discrimination on the job last month, and negotiators in both parties had come close to attaching a bipartisan, bicameral deal to the government spending package that President Donald Trump signed last week. But that momentum fizzled last week amid a dispute over whether to keep House-passed language holding lawmakers personally liable for discrimination settlements tied to their behavior, as well as harassment claims.
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As a result of the impasse, House-passed changes to Capitol Hill's office misconduct rules remain in limbo, awaiting Senate action. And all 22 female senators, Republicans and Democrats alike, warned on Wednesday that the upper chamber's "inaction stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives."
"Survivors who have bravely come forward to share their stories have brought to light just how widespread harassment and discrimination continue to be throughout Capitol Hill," the female senators wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"No longer can we allow the perpetrators of these crimes to hide behind a 23-year-old law," the 22 senators continued, referring to the 1995 statute that established the Hill's current framework for handling workplace misconduct complaints.
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who had led talks on the issue as top Democrat on the Rules Committee; Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democratic leader; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), author of a popular bipartisan bill beefing up the Hill's harassment safeguards.
House Republican leaders worked alongside Democrats to craft the bipartisan Hill harassment legislation that passed last month, a rare case of successful cross-aisle negotiations helped along by a wave of sexual misconduct scandals last year that prematurely ended the careers of a half-dozen lawmakers in both parties.
But the Senate's work moved more slowly, and House sources pointed a finger at upper-chamber leaders' reluctance to force lawmakers to pay up for discrimination settlements as a leading factor in the stalling of talks on attaching harassment reform to the $1.3 trillion government spending measure.
"Sen. McConnell supports members being personally, financially liable for sexual misconduct in which they have engaged," spokesman David Popp said by email.
Senate Democrats said last week that their caucus was not opposed to leaving intact the stronger, House-passed language on liability for discrimination claims.
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"We strongly agree that the Senate should quickly take up legislation to combat sexual harassment on Capitol Hill," Schumer said in a statement.
Among the marquee provisions of the House-passed bill '-- aside from a requirement that lawmakers personally pay the cost of harassment or discrimination claims connected to their behavior '-- are the elimination of mandatory counseling and mediation for victims alleging harassment and public reporting on the total cost to taxpayers of settling office misconduct claims on Capitol Hill.
The House already has approved changes to its own rules that create an Office of Employee Advocacy to represent harassment victims in the chamber, a response to last year's bipartisan outcry over a current system that provides ample protections for alleged perpetrators. The Senate's failure to follow suit creates "an inequity," as the female senators put it in their Wednesday letter.
"Senate staff who face similar harassment or discrimination must pay personally for legal representation or represent themselves through complicated legal proceedings" while House employees are afforded "access to free legal representation," the senators wrote.
Their letter also requests floor time on the issue, asking McConnell and Schumer to "bring before the full Senate legislation that would update and strengthen the procedures available to survivors of sexual harassment and discrimination in congressional workplaces." How soon the Senate will act, however, remains to be seen.
Popp noted that Senate Rules Committee members in both parties are "continuing to work on legislation. I don't yet have a prediction on when that will be completed."
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Repeal the 2nd
Parkland students: our manifesto to change America's gun laws | Editorial staff of the Eagle Eye | US news | The Guardian
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 03:10
A s a student publication, the Eagle Eye works to tell the stories of those who do not have a voice. Today, we are the ones who feel our voice must be elevated.
In the wake of the tragedy that occurred at our school on 14 February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, our lives have changed beyond what we ever imagined. We, along with our publication, have been transformed. We will remain so for the rest of our lives.
embedWe have a unique platform not only as student journalists, but also as survivors of a mass shooting. We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce. We cannot stand idly by as the country continues to be infected by a plague of gun violence that seeps into community after community, and does irreparable damage to the hearts and minds of the American people.
That's why the Eagle Eye has come together and proposed these following changes to gun policy. We believe federal and state governments must put these in place to ensure that mass shootings and gun violence cease to be a staple of American culture.
We will be marching this Saturday, 24 March, for those that we loved and lost, and we write this in the hope that no other community or publication will ever have to do the same.
The changes we propose:
Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high-velocity roundsCivilians shouldn't have access to the same weapons that soldiers do. That's a gross misuse of the second amendment.
These weapons were designed for dealing death: not to animals or targets, but to other human beings. The fact that they can be bought by the public does not promote domestic tranquility. Rather, their availability puts us into the kind of danger faced by men and women trapped in war zones.
This situation reflects a failure of our government. It must be corrected to ensure the safety of those guaranteed the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Madyson Kravitz, Dara Rosen Photograph: Ali Smith for the GuardianBan accessories that simulate automatic weaponsHigh-capacity magazines played a huge role in the shooting at our school. In only 10 minutes, 17 people were killed, and 17 others were injured. This is unacceptable.
That's why we believe that bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories that simulate the effect of military-grade automatic weapons should be banned.
In the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas, 58 people were killed and 851 others were injured. The gunman's use of bump stocks enabled vast numbers of people to be hurt while gathered in one of the most iconic cities in America. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. That's why action must be taken to take these accessories off the market.
Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checksWe believe that there should be a database recording which guns are sold in the United States, to whom, and of what caliber and capacity they are.
Just as the department of motor vehicles has a database of license plates and car owners, the Department of Defense should have a database of gun serial numbers and gun owners. This data should be paired with infractions of gun laws, past criminal offenses and the status of the gun owner's mental health and physical capability.
Together with universal background checks, this system would help law enforcement stop a potentially dangerous person before they commit a gun crime.
Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcementAs seen in the tragedy at our school, poor communication between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement may have contributed to a disturbed person with murderous tendencies and intentions entering a school and gunning down 17 people in cold blood.
We must improve this channel of communication. To do so, privacy laws should be amended. That will allow us to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or to others from purchasing firearms. That could help prevent tragedies such as the Parkland massacre.
Taylor Yon, Leni Steinhardt, Emma Dowd Photograph: Ali Smith for the GuardianClose gun show and secondhand sales loopholesThanks to loopholes, people who otherwise wouldn't be able to buy firearms are able to purchase them at gun shows and secondhand sales. The existence of these loopholes reflects the ineptitude of state and federal legislators.
If we are serious about preventing people from purchasing deadly weapons, we must monitor sales that take place at gun shows and on secondhand markets. This is especially urgent given the danger posed by mentally unstable and violent individuals armed with firearms.
Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reformThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be allowed to conduct research on the dangers of gun violence. The fact that they are currently prohibited from doing so undermines the first amendment. It also violates the rights of the American people.
It is hypocritical to rally people to protect the second amendment, while remaining silent on the ways that blocking research violates one of our most basic constitutional freedoms.
Raise the firearm purchase age to 21In a few months from now, many of us will be turning 18. We will not be able to drink; we will not be able to rent a car. Most of us will still be living with our parents. We will not be able to purchase a handgun. And yet, we will be able to purchase an AR-15.
Why is it that we will be able to legally obtain a weapon that has the ability to fire over 150 rounds and kill 17 people in about six minutes? That is unacceptable. It makes no sense that to buy a handgun, you have to be 21, but a gun of mass destruction and devastation like the AR-15 can be purchased when one is just becoming an adult.
With the exception of those who are serving the United States in the military, the age to obtain any firearm must be raised to 21.
Brianna Fisher, Zoe Gordon Photograph: Ali Smith for the GuardianDedicate more funds to mental health research and professionalsFederal and state government should earmark more funds specifically for mental health services. Those with mental health issues, especially those who express aggressive, violent, suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts should have the opportunity to receive the help they need regardless of their economic status.
Schools specifically should receive more funds in order to hire more psychologists and guidance counselors who can aid students suffering from PTSD, depression and other debilitating mental illnesses.
Many of those who commit mass shootings suffer from these kinds of illnesses. It is essential that more funds be dedicated to mental health research.
Increase funding for school securityWe believe that schools should be given sufficient funds for school security and resource officers to protect and secure the entire campus. As a school of over 3,000 students, teachers and faculty, Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school was only supplied funds to hire one on-campus armed resource officer by the state.
Without backup, this officer's hesitation proved to be disastrous and allowed for the senseless deaths of people who were killed on the third floor of the 1200 building.
Though this idea has been proposed in the past, these funds should not be appropriated from the already scarce funding for public education. Governments should find resources to secure the millions of children that attend public schools without taking away from the quality of education that is offered at these institutions.
The Eagle Eye is the newspaper of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.Editorial staff: Madyson Kravitz, Dara Rosen, Taylor Yon, Leni Steinhardt, Emma Dowd, Brianna Fisher, Zoe Gordon, Kyra Parrow, Carly Novell, Rebecca Schneid, Kevin Trejos, Suzanna Barna, Nikhita Nookala, Richard Doan, and Christy Ma
What America's gun fanatics won't tell you - MarketWatch
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 13:06
Alexander Hamilton said a ''well-regulated militia'' would help safeguard the freedom of the new republic because it would make the creation of a professional, mercenary army ''unnecessary.''Can we please stop pretending that the Second Amendment contains an unfettered right for everyone to buy a gun? It doesn't, and it never has. The claims made by the small number of extremists, before and after the Orlando, Fla., massacre, are based on a deliberate lie.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn't just say Congress shall not infringe the right to ''keep and bear arms.'' It specifically says that right exists in order to maintain ''a well-regulated militia.'' Even the late conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia admitted those words weren't in there by accident. Oh, and the Constitution doesn't just say a ''militia.'' It says a ''well-regulated'' militia.
What did the Founding Fathers mean by that? We don't have to guess because they told us. In Federalist No. 29 of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton explained at great length precisely what a ''well-regulated militia'' was, why the Founding Fathers thought we needed one, and why they wanted to protect it from being disarmed by the federal government.
The Second Amendment is an instrument of government. It's not about hunting or gun collecting or carrying your pistol into the saloon.
And there's a reason absolutely no gun extremist will ever direct you to that 1788 essay because it blows their baloney into a million pieces.
A ''well-regulated militia'' didn't mean guys who read Soldier of Fortune magazine running around in the woods with AK-47s and warpaint on their faces. It basically meant what today we call the National Guard.
It should be a properly constituted, ordered and drilled (''well-regulated'') military force, organized state by state, explained Hamilton. Each state militia should be a ''select corps,'' ''well-trained'' and able to perform all the ''operations of an army.'' The militia needed ''uniformity in '... organization and discipline,'' wrote Hamilton, so that it could operate like a proper army ''in camp and field,'' and so that it could gain the ''essential '... degree of proficiency in military functions.'' And although it was organized state by state, it needed to be under the explicit control of the national government. The ''well-regulated militia'' was under the command of the president. It was ''the military arm'' of the government.
Read:It's time for Americans to stand up to the NRA
The one big difference between this militia and a professional army? It shouldn't be made up of full-time professional soldiers, said the Founding Fathers. Such soldiers could be used against the people as King George had used his mercenary Redcoats. Instead, the American republic should make up its military force from part-time volunteers drawn from regular citizens. Such men would be less likely to turn on the population.
And the creation of this ''well-regulated militia,'' aka the National Guard, would help safeguard the freedom of the new republic because it would make the creation of a professional, mercenary army ''unnecessary,'' wrote Hamilton. ''This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it,'' he wrote.
That was the point. And that was why they wanted to make sure it couldn't be disarmed by the federal government: So a future ''tyrant'' couldn't disarm the National Guard, and then use a mercenary army to impose martial law.
The Founding Fathers didn't call the republic's new force an ''army'' because that term more than two centuries ago called to mind the British army, foreign mercenaries, tyrants and kings. So they said ''militia'' instead. But they meant a real body. Hamilton was scathing about the idea that the ''militia'' could just mean every Bob, Billy and Benjamin with his musket. Such amateurs would stand no chance in modern warfare against professionals, he wrote. And requiring every citizen to become a professional would be ridiculous, he said. It would be ''a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss,'' he wrote. Taking people away from their work in order to train them ''would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country.''
Also see:U.S. investors might squeak past Brexit worries
The Second Amendment is an instrument of government. It's not about hunting or gun collecting or carrying your pistol into the saloon. The Founding Fathers left it up to us to pass sensible laws about all these things. The Constitution is about government.
Today we have a professional army, anyway. Military matters have become so complex that no part-time soldiers could do it all. So you could argue that makes the Second Amendment null and void, like the parts in the Constitution about slaves and Indians being counted as ''three-fifths'' of a person in the Census.
The Moneyologist:I inherited $15 million and it has mostly been a nightmare
But even if you still want to defend the Second Amendment, it should apply only to those who volunteer to join the ''select corps'' of their National Guard, undergo rigorous training to attain ''proficiency in military functions'' and perform the ''operations of an army,'' serve as ordered under the ultimate command of the president and be subject to military discipline.
So if you're running around waving your AK-47 under the Second Amendment, and you haven't shown up yet at your local National Guard headquarters, you're not a ''patriot.'' You're a deserter.
Under 10 Percent Of Protesters Were Kids | The Daily Caller
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:24
A sociologist on MSNBC threw cold water on all the media's claims that the March For Our Lives protests were spontaneous and led by the nation's children during a ''Morning Joe'' segment on Monday.
University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher conducted a study of the demographics of Saturday's march in Washington, D.C., and discovered that only less than 10 percent of those in the crowd were under the age of 18.
While Fisher tried to make it sound like these individuals were all potential voters, it is likely that many of those who showed up were simply run-of-the-mill liberal activists.
The study was done by going through the crowds with tablets and conducting surveys of participants and then extrapolating trends from the data collected, according to Fisher.
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White House pushes states to adopt new gun confiscation laws | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 22:03
President Donald Trump's school safety commission will convene for the first time this Wednesday, just days after students held marches across the country and in Washington and demanded new government action on guns.
One of the commission's first orders of business will be a review of the federal funds for school safety and background check compliance set aside for states by Congress last week in a massive spending bill.
A senior administration official said Monday that the committee comprised of four cabinet secretaries will also be looking at whether the money can be put toward grants for states that are interested in passing extreme risk protection orders that authorize law enforcement to temporarily seize mentally ill individuals' guns.
President Donald Trump 's school safety commission will convene for the first time this Wednesday, just days after students held marches across the country and in Washington and demanded new government action on guns
Only six states have laws in place giving police and families the right to petition the courts for the temporary restraining orders, including Florida, which only just passed the measure as part of a package of reforms it's implementing in the wake of Parkland.
The five others are Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington and Oregon.
The White House said it had asked the Justice Department to look into existing funding that it could direct to states interested in pursuing such laws as it pushed back on complaints that Trump had talked a big game on gun violence prevention only to cave to the gun lobby when it came to writing federal legislation.
In the end, Trump was only willing to put his weight behind two widely-supported, bipartisan bills that addressed background checks and training, funding to prevent school violence and a proposal to arm teachers in schools.
He left the rest to a school safety committee led by his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
On Monday, the White House said that it was also lobbying state governors and attorneys general on the extreme risk protection orders.
'To some people that will sound insufficient, or that will sound like that's a say something do nothing premise,' the official said of the calls to state officials. 'The paucity of information and the general ignorance about the existence of [the orders] is pretty pervasive, so getting people to look into this and see that they're actually working in the jurisdictions where they're implemented, that's a pretty big thing.'
The senior official could not say which states were ready to bite while noting that Tennessee's Bill Haslam had created a school safety task force and that Nevada's Brian Sandoval and Colorado's John Hickenlooper had made favorable comments about laws that would keep individuals who are deemed unstable away from firearms.
The official said the White House would be putting more heat on governors and attorneys general in calls on Tuesday.
'Just that bully pulpit power alone,' the official said, 'will have enormous benefits in sort of making sure that these are enacted nationwide.'
Trump's school safety committee is led by his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She's seen here at a White House event in February
Arkansas Attorney General and Republican Attorneys General Association head Leslie Rutledge signaled her support for the orders in a Monday statement provided to
'In order to protect our constitutional Second Amendment freedoms while ensuring safe and responsible firearm ownership, it is important to give families and specified individuals a way to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who have made statements or exhibited behavior demonstrating that they're a threat to themselves or others,' a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.
Republicans have been especially concerned about the effect such orders would have on individuals' Second Amendment right to bear firearms.
On Monday, the White House said that the laws can be crafted in a way that are sensitive to due process protections and Americans' constitutional right to wield guns.
The senior official said that the White House is working closely with DOJ to 'drill down' on ways to make the orders most effective and to provide technical assistance to states that want to adopt the measures.
'It will be in the near term that we are able to determine what money is available to states,' the official also said, bringing up Trump's school safety commission.
The committee that meets this week for the first time is entirely devoid of Democrats or any educators or law enforcement officials who are not part of his Cabinet, inviting criticism from opponents of the president.
Only DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will have a say in the report advising the the president on what he should back.
The White House had previously deferred its stance on raising the minimum age for purchasing certain firearms from 18 to 21 until the committee has finished its work.
Now it says the commission will seek out federal funding that can be directed to states interested in pursuing the extreme risk protection orders that are backed by politicians from both political parties.
'We're searching,' the official said, 'flipping over every stone.'
Several senators have proposed federal laws that would authorize state and local officials to confiscate mentally unwell individual's guns, but they lost steam after President Trump withheld his support for them.
A spending bill that Trump approved Friday effectively excused federal lawmakers from Washington for a two-week, spring break. They're unlikely to take up major firearms legislation when they they get back.
An administration official said Monday that Trump supports federal legislation like the 'red flag' law that Florida Sens. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, proposed last week in theory, but he believes that a one-sized fits all policy is not the best solution.
'At this point, at this time, we still think the best way is to put this on the radar screen of state governors, state legislators, states attorneys general, and urge and sort of gently prod with incentivization -- IE money -- for them to adopt these things,' the official said.
Most American states have only part-time legislatures, however, and many have already adjourned or are about to adjourn for the rest of the calendar year.
The official said Monday in a defense of the White House approach that those states could still form task forces to look into the issue before the next legislative session or convene for an emergency discussion on gun violence prevention.
Opinion | John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment - The New York Times
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 21:34
Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.
That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.
Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that ''a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.'' Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.
[For more on the gun legislation debate and other issues,subscribe to our Opinion Today newsletter.]
For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a ''well regulated militia.''
During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating ''one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.''
In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger's and others' long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment's limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.
That decision '-- which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable '-- has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.'s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.
That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday's marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States '-- unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.
Correction: An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misidentified the 18th-century firearm depicted. It is a musket, not a rifle.
Parkland student targets Ingraham's advertisers after tweet about college rejections | TheHill
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:59
One of the student survivors of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting is calling for people to target Fox News host Laura Ingraham's advertisers after she posted a critical tweet about him being rejected from colleges.
Ingraham had tweeted a Daily Wire story earlier Wednesday about Parkland student David Hogg not getting into four colleges he had applied to.
''David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates,)'' she tweeted.
David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)
'-- Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 28, 2018
Hogg replied a few hours later, tweeting at the Fox News host and asking who her biggest advertisers were.
He later tweeted out a list of Ingraham advertisers, telling people to contact those companies.
Working on a list rn !
'-- David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 29, 2018
Pick a number 1-12 contact the company next to that #
Top Laura Ingraham Advertisers
1. @sleepnumber
2. @ATT
3. Nutrish
4. @Allstate & @esurance
5. @Bayer
6. @RocketMortgage Mortgage
7. @LibertyMutual
8. @Arbys
9. @TripAdvisor
10. @Nestle
11. @hulu
12. @Wayfair
'-- David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 29, 2018
Hogg has emerged as a national figure in the weeks since the mass shooting at his Florida high school that left 17 people dead. He helped to organize and lead the March for Our Lives in D.C. on Saturday.
Many had criticized Ingraham for criticizing Hogg over his college rejections, including lawmakers.
Just a Fox News host attacking a school shooting survivor for getting rejected from colleges. What a world.
'-- Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) March 28, 2018
A professional troll who trolls a high school kid who survived a mass shooting and watched his friends get murdered deserves to be trolled mercilessly in return.
'-- James Morrison (@JamesPMorrison) March 28, 2018
I have to ask - @IngrahamAngle - honestly, what kind of a mother bullies a HS student who survived a school shooting and a massacre? These kids know more about grace and class than you'll ever understand.
'-- Rep. Nydia VelazquezNydia Margarita VelasquezParkland student targets Ingraham's advertisers after tweet about college rejectionsPrivatizing Puerto Rico's energy utility could be Whitefish 2.0Looming decision by Trump administration on Puerto Rico has implications for taxpayersMORE (@NydiaVelazquez) March 28, 2018
When I was in high school, we had a "Wall of Shame" where we all posted our rejection letters as a form of class-wide catharsis. Everyone did it and supported each other. All those 18-year-olds were more mature than Lauren Ingraham.
'-- Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt) March 28, 2018
1. The constant barrage of nasty personal attacks against the Parkland student activists is both startling & proof of their effectiveness.
'-- Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 28, 2018
His friends are dead.
He's asking us to save other children from being killed.
One of the organizers of massive protests.
Fox News host mocks him for some colleges rejecting him even though he has an impressive GPA.
Guess @davidhogg111 has really gotten under Fox News' skin.
'-- Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) March 28, 2018
Emotional Support Mammals
Dogs through pre-check
Just took a flight tonight, as I do every two weeks on the SJC
to SAN route. At least for small dogs, I witnessed one in Pre-Check get the
walk through metal detector treatment with its owner. So apparently all a
terrorist has to do is get pre-check and that’s the in for the implanted
United States Census - Wikipedia
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:16
The United States Census is a decennialcensus mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, which states: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States ... according to their respective Numbers ... . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years."[1][2] The United States Census Bureau (officially the Bureau of the Census, as defined in Title 13 U.S.C. § 11) is responsible for the United States Census.
The first census after the American Revolution was taken in 1790, under Secretary of StateThomas Jefferson; there have been 22 federal censuses since that time.[2] The current national census was held in 2010; the next census is scheduled for 2020 and will be largely conducted using the Internet.[3] For years between the decennial censuses, the Census Bureau issues estimates made using surveys and statistical models, in particular, the American Community Survey.
Title 13 of the United States Code governs how the Census is conducted and how its data are handled. Information is confidential as per 13 U.S.C. § 9. Refusing or neglecting to answer the census is punishable by fines of $100, for a property or business agent to fail to provide correct names for the census is punishable by fines of $500, and for a business agent to provide false answers for the census is punishable by fines of $10,000, pursuant to 13 U.S.C. § 221-224.
The United States Census is a population census, which is distinct from the U.S. Census of Agriculture, which is no longer the responsibility of the Census Bureau. It is also distinct from local censuses conducted by some states or local jurisdictions.
A woman with a Hollerith pantograph punch, the keyboard is for the 1920 US Census population card
This 1940 Census publicity photo shows a census worker in Fairbanks, Alaska. The dog musher remains out of earshot to maintain confidentiality.Decennial U.S. Census figures are based on actual counts of persons dwelling in U.S. residential structures. They include citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors and undocumented immigrants. The Census Bureau bases its decision about whom to count on the concept of usual residence. Usual residence, a principle established by the Census Act of 1790, is defined as the place a person lives and sleeps most of the time. The Census Bureau uses special procedures to ensure that those without conventional housing are counted; however, data from these operations are not considered as accurate as data obtained from traditional procedures.[4]
The Census also uses hot deck imputation to assign data to housing units where occupation status is unknown. This practice has effects across many areas, but is seen by some as controversial.[5] However, the practice was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Utah v. Evans.
Certain American citizens living overseas are specifically excluded from being counted in the census even though they may vote. Only Americans living abroad who are "Federal employees (military and civilian) and their dependents living overseas with them" are counted. "Private U.S. citizens living abroad who are not affiliated with the Federal government (either as employees or their dependents) will not be included in the overseas counts. These overseas counts are used solely for reapportioning seats in the U. S. House of Representatives."[6]
In the United States' recent censuses, Census Day has been April 1.[7] However, it was previously in August, as per these instructions given to U.S. Marshals: "All the questions refer to the day when the enumeration is to commence, the first Monday in August next. Your assistants will thereby understand that they are to insert in their returns all the persons belonging to the family on the first Monday in August, even those who may be deceased at the time when they take the account; and, on the other hand, that they will not include in it infants born after that day."[8]
Disadvantaged minorities are statistically more likely to be undercounted. For example, the Census Bureau estimates that in 1970 over six percent of blacks went uncounted, whereas only around two percent of whites went uncounted. Democrats often argue that modern sampling techniques should be used so that more accurate and complete data can be inferred. Republicans often argue against such sampling techniques, stating the U.S. Constitution requires an "actual enumeration" for apportionment of House seats, and that political appointees would be tempted to manipulate the sampling formulas.[9]
Groups like the Prison Policy Initiative assert that the census practice of counting prisoners as residents of prisons, not their pre-incarceration addresses, leads to misleading information about racial demographics and population numbers.[10]
In 2010 Jaime Grant, then director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Policy Institute, thought of the idea of a bright pink sticker for people to stick on their census envelope which had a form for them to check a box for either "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight ally," which her group called "queering the census."[11] Although the sticker was unofficial and the results were not added to the census, she and others hope the 2020 census will include such statistics.[11]
In 2015 Laverne Cox called for transgender people to be counted in the census.[12]
Censuses had been taken prior to the Constitution's ratification; in the early 17th century, a census was taken in Virginia, and people were counted in nearly all of the British colonies that became the United States.
Throughout the years, the country's needs and interests became more complex. This meant that statistics were needed to help people understand what was happening and have a basis for planning. The content of the decennial census changed accordingly. In 1810, the first inquiry on manufactures, quantity and value of products occurred; in 1840, inquiries on fisheries were added; and in 1850, the census included inquiries on social issues, such as taxation, churches, pauperism, and crime. The censuses also spread geographically, to new states and territories added to the Union, as well as to other areas under U.S. sovereignty or jurisdiction. There were so many more inquiries of all kinds in the census of 1880 that almost a full decade was needed to publish all the results. In response to this, the census was mechanized in 1890, with tabulating machines made by Herman Hollerith. This reduced the processing time to two and a half years.[13]
For the first six censuses (1790''1840), enumerators recorded only the names of the heads of household and a general demographic accounting of the remaining members of the household. Beginning in 1850, all members of the household were named on the census. The first slave schedules were also completed in 1850, with the second (and last) in 1860. Censuses of the late 19th century also included agricultural and industrial schedules to gauge the productivity of the nation's economy. Mortality schedules (taken between 1850 and 1880) captured a snapshot of life spans and causes of death throughout the country.
The first nine censuses (1790''1870) were conducted by U.S. Marshals before the Census Bureau was created.[14] Appointed US Marshals of each judicial district hired assistant marshals to conduct the actual enumeration. The census enumerators were typically from the village or neighbourhood and often knew the residents. Before enabling self-identification on the censuses, the US Census Bureau relied on local people to have some knowledge of residents. Racial classification was made by the census enumerator in these decades, rather than by the individual.
NumYearDate TakenPopulationNotes11790August 2, 17903,929,32621800August 4, 18005,308,48331810August 6, 18107,239,88141820August 7, 18209,638,45351830June 1, 183012,866,02061840June 1, 184017,069,453The census estimated the population of the United States at 17,100,000. The results were tabulated by 28 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.71850June 1, 185023,191,876The 1850 census was a landmark year in American census-taking. It was the first year in which the census bureau attempted to record every member of every household, including women, children and slaves. Accordingly, the first slave schedules were produced in 1850. Prior to 1850, census records had only recorded the name of the head of the household and tabulated the other household members within given age groups.81860June 1, 186031,443,321The results were tabulated by 184 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.This was the first census where the American Indians officially were counted, but only those who had 'renounced tribal rules'. The figure for the nation was 40,000.
91870June 1, 187039,818,449101880June 1, 188050,189,209This was the first census that permitted women to be enumerators.111890June 2, 1890[n 1]
62,947,714Because it was believed that the frontier region of the United States no longer existed, the tracking of westward migration was not tabulated in the 1890 census.[15] This trend prompted Frederick Jackson Turner to develop his milestone Frontier Thesis.The 1890 census was the first to be compiled using the new tabulating machines invented by Herman Hollerith. The net effect of the many changes from the 1880 census (the larger population, the number of data items to be collected, the Census Bureau headcount, the volume of scheduled publications, and the use of Hollerith's electromechanical tabulators) was to reduce the time required to fully process the census from eight years for the 1880 census to six years for the 1890 census.[16] The total population, of 62,947,714, was announced after only six weeks of processing (punched cards were not used for this family, or rough, count).[17][18] The public reaction to this tabulation was disbelief, as it was widely believed that the "right answer" was at least 75,000,000.[19]
This census is also notable for the fact it is one of only three for which the original data are no longer available. Almost all the population schedules were destroyed following a fire in 1921.
121900June 1, 190076,212,168131910April 15, 191092,228,496141920January 1, 1920106,021,537This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 100 million.151930April 1, 1930[n 2]
122,775,046161940April 1, 1940132,164,569This is the most recent Census where individuals' data have now been released to the public (by the 72-year rule.).171950April 1, 1950150,697,361Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2022.181960April 1, 1960179,323,175Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2032.191970April 1, 1970203,302,031This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 200 million. Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2042.201980April 1, 1980226,545,805Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2052.211990April 1, 1990248,709,873Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2062.222000April 1, 2000281,421,906Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2072.232010April 1, 2010308,745,538For the first time since 1940, the 2010 Census is a short-form-only census, as the decennial long form has been replaced by the American Community Survey.This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 300 million. Because of the 72-year rule, this census will be available for public inspection on April 1, 2082.
^ Taken one day late because June 1 was a Sunday. ^ In the Alaska Territory, census-taking began on October 1, 1929. Respondent confidentiality Edit The principal purpose of the census is to divide the house seats by population. In addition, collected data are used in aggregate for statistical purposes.[20] Replies are obtained from individuals and establishments only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. The confidentiality of these replies is very important. By law, no one'--neither the census takers nor any other Census Bureau employee'--is permitted to reveal identifiable information about any person, household, or business. Without such protections, those living without documentation in the United States would be deterred from submitting census data.
By law (Pub.L. 95''416, 92 Stat. 915, enacted October 5, 1978), individual census records are sealed for 72 years,[21] a number chosen in 1952[22] as slightly higher than the average female life expectancy, 71.6.[23] The individual census data most recently released to the public is the 1940 census, released on April 2, 2012. Aggregate census data are released when available.
Historical FBI use of data Edit Under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), using primarily census records, compiled (1939''1941) the Custodial Detention Index ("CDI") on citizens, enemy aliens, and foreign nationals, who might be dangerous. The Second War Powers Act of 1941 repealed the legal protection of confidential census data, which was not restored until 1947. This information facilitated the internment of Japanese-Americans, following the Japaneseattack on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the internment of Italian- and German-Americans following the United States' entry into World War II.[24][25]
In 1980, four FBI agents went to the Census Bureau's Colorado Springs office with warrants to seize Census documents, but were forced to leave with nothing. Courts upheld that no agency, including the FBI, has access to Census data.[26]
The census records and data specific to individual respondents are not available to the public until 72 years after a given census was taken, but aggregate statistical data derived from the census are released as soon as they are available. Every census up to and including 1940 is currently available to the public and can be viewed on microfilm released by the National Archives and Records Administration, the official keeper of archived federal census records. Complete online census records can be accessed for no cost from National Archives facilities and many libraries,[27] and a growing portion of the census is freely available from non-commercial online sources.[28][29][30]
Census microdata for research purposes are available for censuses from 1850 forward through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), and scanned copies of each of the decennial census questionnaires are available online from many websites. Computerized aggregate data describing the characteristics of small geographic areas for the entire period from 1790 to 2010 are available from the National Historical Geographic Information System.
Regions and divisions Edit
US Census Bureau Population RegionsThe bureau recognizes four census regions within the United States and further organizes them into nine divisions. These regions are groupings of states that subdivide the United States for the presentation of data. They should not be construed as necessarily being thus grouped owing to any geographical, historical, or cultural bonds.
^ Constitution of the United States ^ ab "Decennial Census - History - U.S. Census Bureau". Retrieved 2015-03-19 . ^ Morello, Carol (March 28, 2013). "2020 Census will be done by Internet". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 April 2013 . ^ Smith, Annetta; Smith, Denise (2001). U.S Census Bureau Census Special Reports Series CENSR/01-2. US GPO. ^ Meng, Xiao-Li (1994). "Multiple-Imputation Inferences with Uncongenial Sources of Input". Statistical Science. 9 (4): 538''558. doi:10.1214/ss/1177010269. JSTOR 2246252. ^ "Census Help". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017 . ^ Arendt, Britta (April 3, 2010). "Census Day has passed - still time to be counted". Grand Rapids Herald-Review. ^ "Instructions for the 1820 US census". The Upper St. John River Valley. ^ Michael Teitelbaum; Jay Winter (30 August 1998). "Why People Fight So Much About the Census". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2014 . ^ "The Problem". Prisoners of the Census. September 26, 2005. Retrieved 2010-03-24 . ^ ab "' Queering the census' movement aims to get single gays counted". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2015-03-19 . ^ Mic. "Laverne Cox Calls for Transgender People to Be Counted Differently in Census Reporting". Mic. Retrieved 2015-09-29 . ^ Martin Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray, "Computer a History of the Information Machine - Second Edition", Westview Press, pages 14-19 2004 ^ ^ Porter, Robert; Gannett, Henry; Hunt, William (1895). "Progress of the Nation", in "Report on Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890, Part 1". Bureau of the Census. pp. xviii''xxxiv. ^ Report of the Commissioner of Labor In Charge of The Eleventh Census to the Secretary of the Interior for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1895. Washington, DC: United States Government Publishing Office. July 29, 1895. OCLC 867910652. Retrieved November 13, 2015 . Page 9: "You may confidently look for the rapid reduction of the force of this office after the 1st of October, and the entire cessation of clerical work during the present calendar year. ... The condition of the work of the Census Division and the condition of the final reports show clearly that the work of the Eleventh Census will be completed at least two years earlier than was the work of the Tenth Census." '--'‰Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor in Charge ^ "Population and Area (Historical Censuses)"(PDF) . United States Census Bureau. ^ Truesdell, Leon E. (1965) The Development of Punch Card Tabulation in the Bureau of the Census 1890-1940, US GPO, p.61 ^ Austrian, Geoffrey D. (1982) Herman Hollerith - Forgotten Giant of Information Processing, Columbia, pp.85-86 ^ "What is the purpose of the Census? What is the data used for?". ^ "The "72-Year Rule" ". U.S. Census Bureau. ^ "The 1940 Census: 72-Year-Old Secrets Revealed". ^ "Life expectancy in the USA, 1900-98". ^ Minkel, JR (2007-03-30). "Confirmed: The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II". Scientific American. Retrieved 2009-11-02 . ^ El Nasser, Haya (2007-03-30). "Papers show Census role in WWII camps". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-11-02 . ^ Boyle, Mary (March 24, 2000). "Springs once tested Census' confidentiality". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Archived from the original on June 5, 2010. ^ National Archives and Records Administration. "How can I search the Census Records?". Retrieved December 13, 2008 . ^ "Discover your Ancestors". Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. ^ "The USGenWeb Free Census Project". Retrieved 2010-03-24 . ^ "The USGenWeb Census Project". Retrieved 2010-03-24 . Anderson, Margo J.The American Census: A Social History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-04014-8Anderson, Margo J. The American Census: A Social History, Second Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0-300-19542-2Anderson, Margo J. Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56802-428-2.Dorman, Robert L. "The Creation and Destruction of the 1890 Federal Census," American Archivist, 71 (Fall''Winter 2008), 350''83.Kr¼ger, Stephen. "The Decennial Census", 19 Western State University Law Review 1, (Fall 1991); available at HeinOnline(subscription required) Lavin, Michael R. "Understanding the Census: A Guide for Marketers, Planners, Grant Writers, and Other Data Users". Kenmore, NY: Epoch Books, 1996. ISBN 0-89774-995-2.U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. Measuring America: the decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000. 2002
What is the Census? - 2010 Census
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:15
"The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of 10 years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct."
-- Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States
Watch Census historian,
Margo Anderson, describe the origins of the census in the Constitution
The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
The 2010 Census represented the most massive participation movement ever witnessed in our country. Approximately 74 percent of the households returned their census forms by mail; the remaining households were counted by census workers walking neighborhoods throughout the United States. National and state population totals from the 2010 Census were released on December 21, 2010. Redistricting data, which include additional state, county and local counts, will be released starting in February 2011.
View the 2010 Census data
View the 2010 Census form
Battery Cars
Electric Cars in Israel - Better Place
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:28
Electric Cars in Israel - Better Place
We did have battery switching electric cars in Israel for a couple of years until the company that built the system, Better Place, collapsed in the largest private bankruptcy in Israeli history. Something like $850m in VC funding disappeared.
In buying the car we all had to have a private parking spot and the company installed a private charging station at our homes. The battery switching was only for long trips. I can't understand anybody who'd own an EV without having a private parking spot with their own charge station. Shared lots are a disaster.
I had the car. When it worked it was fantastic. After the battery switching stations stopped working I carried on using the car for about 2.5 years until finally getting rid of it last year when the range had dropped to 80km. When brand new the battery was giving about 130km (design capacity was 160km). The batteries and cars were from Renault but functionally similar to the Nissan Leaf. The batteries didn't have any water cooling system (Tesla does) and they have performed very poorly in Israel's hot climate hence 50% degradation in 5 years. Charing LiON batteries to full in hot conditions wrecks them.
In the end, after a class action legal threat that never got near court, Renault's importer gave some of us a decent amount of cash back for the car and scrapped it. I'm driving a Hyundai Ioniq hybrid and I love it. After filling up its very small gas tank (45l or less than 12 US Gal) my car tells me I have 1001km range.
Best wishes from Israel and thank you for your courage.
Sir Brian of London
Benoeming EU-topman Selmayr leek volgens Europees Parlement op coup | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:05
De omstreden benoeming van Martin Selmayr tot de hoogste ambtenaar van de Europese Commissie had veel weg van ''een coup" maar hoeft niet te worden teruggedraaid. Dat blijkt uit een ontwerpresolutie van het Europees Parlement.Het parlement doet onderzoek naar de 'flitspromotie' die commissievoorzitter Jean-Claude Juncker voor zijn huidige ex-stafchef per 1 maart regelde.
In de resolutie stelt het parlement dat de gevolgde procedure ''de grenzen van de wet wellicht heeft opgerekt". Volgens EU-commissaris G¼nther Oettinger (personeelsbeleid) is de benoeming van Selmayr tot secretaris-generaal volledig volgens de regels verlopen, zei hij dinsdag op een hoorzitting in het parlement.
De 47-jarige Selmayr had gesolliciteerd op de functie van adjunct-secretaris-generaal. Maar Juncker schoof de jurist uit Duitsland door naar de hoogste ambtelijke post. Volgens critici riekt de kwestie naar vriendjespolitiek en schaadt ze de reputatie van de EU.
PensioenDe Duitser is opvolger van de Nederlander Alexander Italianer, die in februari onverwacht aankondigde op 1 maart met pensioen te gaan. Juncker regelde daarop in enkele minuten de benoeming van Selmayr.
Vrijdag zei Juncker dat hij Selmayr niet zal vragen op te stappen. Ook Eurocommissaris Frans Timmermans zei eerder achter de benoeming van de Duitser te staan.
Wil jij elke ochtend direct weten wat je 's nachts gemist hebt en wat er die dag gaat gebeuren? Abonneer je dan nu op onze Dit wordt het nieuws-nieuwsbrief!
China is taking the first steps to pay for oil in yuan instead of US dollars this year: Sources
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:16
China is taking its first steps towards paying for imported crude oil in yuan instead of the U.S. dollar, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, a key development in Beijing's efforts to establish its currency internationally.
Shifting just part of global oil trade into the yuan is potentially huge. Oil is the world's most traded commodity, with an annual trade value of around $14 trillion, roughly equivalent to China's gross domestic product last year.
A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as early as the second half of this year, two of the people said.
Regulators have informally asked a handful of financial institutions to prepare for pricing China's crude imports in the yuan, said the three sources at some of the financial firms.
"Being the biggest buyer of oil, it's only natural for China to push for the usage of yuan for payment settlement. This will also improve the yuan liquidity in the global market," said one of the people briefed on the matter by Chinese authorities.
China is the world's second-largest oil consumer and in 2017 overtook the United States as the biggest importer of crude oil. Its demand is a key determinant of global oil prices.
Under the plan being discussed, Beijing could start with purchases from Russia and Angola, one of the people said. Both, like China, are keen to break the dollar's global dominance.
Russia and Angola are two of the top suppliers of crude oil to China, along with Saudi Arabia.
The move would mark a major step in reviving usage of the currency of the world's second-largest economy for offshore payments after several years of on-again, off-again measures.
If successful, it could also trigger shifting other product payments to the yuan, including metals and mining raw materials.
All three sources, who spoke to Reuters on the condition that they not be named, said the plans were at early stages. Officials at some of China's state oil companies said they had not heard of such plans.
California Uber alles
Jerry Brown's Legacy: A $6.1 Billion Budget Surplus in California - WSJ
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:29
LOS ANGELES'--California Gov. Jerry Brown appears poised to exit office next year with a top political priority in hand: free from the massive budget deficits that had weighed on his predecessors.
Buoyed by tax increases passed under his administration and a strong economy, Mr. Brown said Wednesday that the state is projecting a $6.1 billion surplus for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
(2) Why is the state of California bankrupt? - Quora
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:31
California is not bankrupt but it is insolvent. California's liabilities vastly exceed its assets. A State cannot declare bankruptcy but that may change someday. See, The Case for Allowing U.S. States to Declare Bankruptcy
California has an unfunded pension liability estimated by some to be half a trillion dollars. See, California's unfunded pension debts may be larger than acknowledged Here is one observer that says the debt is well over a trillion. Golden State Pension Deficit: $1.2 Trillion
Essentially, in order to have anyone willing to work a California government job'--whether state, county or local, rather than pay up front, governmental organizations have hidden their rich benefits from the public by granting modest salaries but huge pensions.
These pension rights are staggering. Your typical firefighter in California retires with an income that would require a self-employed person to have saved over $3.5 million dollars to earn. An appropriate pay-as-you-go salary that would take the value of the promised pension and pay it up front would have most state employees taking home well over $500,000 per year. Politicians know that they are making promises they can't keep, but the California miracle just keeps chugging along'--they make just barely enough to pay their pension obligations and keep the state running, barely.
A dentist in one of California's prisons retired at a salary of over $650,000 a year. See, California's unfunded pension debts may be larger than acknowledged There are currently over twenty thousand people drawing a more than six-figure pension from the State of California's pension fund.
Look up what happened in the City of Bell. The City Manager and Police Chief voted themselves some incredible salaries and benefits because the citizens didn't know enough about their government to object. In my opinion, exactly the same thing is happening in the State of California albeit on an exponentially larger scale, i.e. more dollars, more workers.
As did the citizens of Bell, the day will come when the good folk of California finally understand the sheer size and scope of the bill they have incurred for the retirement benefits secured by the various government workers' unions. There was a brief glimmer of hope when Arnold tried to break the union's power in this area, but that failed. All Four of Schwarzenegger's Ballot Initiatives Fail Had Arnold limited his reformatory efforts to just the unions, there may have been hope for the state. However, at present it is all but guaranteed that the State of California will have to restructure its obligations, i.e. default on its pensions.
Now, some people disagree. Some believe that California is such a huge and independent economy that it can, in essence, print its own money. Others are convinced that the State is too big to fail. Observers of our financial history will note that most large institutions in the United States are not allowed to fail'--the federal government will ride to the rescue and force the state to scale back.
And, where does all the California Pension money end up? Most of the pensioners leave California and buy properties in other western states where the living is cheaper. In a real way, California's taxpayers are subsidizing the economies of most of the intermountain west. Why CalPERS retirees flee California
There is a terrible disaster on the horizon'--it will inflict incredible suffering on many innocent families who rely on California to keep its pension promises.
U.S. Strikes Qaeda Target in Southern Libya, Expanding Shadow War There - The New York Times
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 22:59
The road in southern Libya between Sebha and Ubari in 2013. Ubari is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Credit Paul Schemm/Associated Press BENGHAZI, Libya '-- The United States military carried out its first ever drone strike against Qaeda militants in southern Libya this weekend, signaling a possibly significant expansion of the American counterterrorism campaign in the North African nation.
Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north '-- eight since President Trump took office. In 2016, the military conducted nearly 500 airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt over several months to destroy the Islamic State's stronghold there.
But the attack on Saturday that the military's Africa Command said had killed two militants '-- later identified by a spokeswoman as belonging to Al Qaeda's branch in northwestern Africa '-- took place in the country's southwest, a notorious haven for a deadly mix of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria.
''This appears to be the continuation of expanding AFRICOM activity in Libya's ungoverned areas,'' said Deborah K. Jones, who served as United States ambassador to Libya from 2013 to 2015, referring to the Africa Command.
A missile fired by the American drone struck a house in Ubari, 435 miles south of Tripoli, in an area close to major oil fields that was wracked by violent ethnic feuding in 2015. Pictures in Libyan news media outlets showed a mutilated corpse lying in the rubble of a house, and a pair of shrapnel-ridden vehicles nearby. Local residents were quoted by the media outlets as saying the house had been frequented by foreigners.
In a statement, the military's Africa Command said the strike had targeted militants with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an affiliate also known as AQIM, and had been carried out in coordination with the United Nations-backed unity government in Tripoli. ''At this time, we assess no civilians were killed in this strike,'' the statement said.
The strike came as the Trump administration has been reassessing the American military commitment in North and West Africa after the ambush in Niger last fall that killed four American soldiers. The Pentagon has been preparing to fly armed drone missions from Niger's capital, Niamey, a step that diplomats and analysts say could further widen the Pentagon's shadow war in this part of the continent.
In a sign of how the Pentagon has sought to obscure its operations in Libya and other parts of northwestern Africa, the Africa Command did not announce the strike on Saturday.
It responded to questions from The New York Times late Saturday with a terse statement after media reports about the strike circulated in Libya. The statement did not identify where the drone had originated.
Earlier this month, in response to a Times query, the Pentagon acknowledged for the first time that Green Berets working with government forces in Niger had killed 11 Islamic State fighters in a firefight in December. No Americans were hurt in that fight, the Pentagon said.
Ubari is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya's borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area's seminomadic tribesmen are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and illegal migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.
Some have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.
The area erupted into conflict in 2014 when a century-old peace treaty between the Tuareg and Tebu ethnic groups collapsed over a dispute about control of the fuel smuggling trade. The fighting, which occurred independently of the broader struggle for control of Libya after the 2011 overthrow of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, raged for a year, killing hundreds and leaving many families displaced.
The Tebu and Tuareg eventually struck a peace agreement, and a neutral militia currently keeps the peace in Ubari, but tensions remain. In November, Turkish engineers working at the city power station were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, as was a Pakistani engineer at the station who went missing this month, according to local news media reports.
While some Tebu groups have allied with the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, Tuareg factions have allied with Qaeda, which is also believed to have profited from the trade in smuggled fuel.
In the statement on Saturday, Robyn M. Mack, a spokeswoman for the United States Africa Command, said that it was still assessing the results of the strike and that the purpose had been ''to deny terrorists freedom of action and degrade their ability to reconsolidate.''
But the command did not answer several other questions: Who were the two dead militants, and why were they important enough to kill with an airstrike? What role, if any, did France play in a region of Libya in which it has also conducted counterterrorism operations? And, most significantly, to what extent is the attack the start of an escalating campaign against a broad spectrum of extremists in northwestern Africa, or a one-off strike against high-profile Qaeda operatives?
''Beginning a concerted strike campaign against AQIM or other AQ elements in the Sahel, akin to what we are doing in Yemen and Somalia, would mark a significant expansion of our counterterrorism efforts,'' said Luke Hartig, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Obama administration.
''If this is going to be the start of a broader campaign, it would be helpful to hear more from the administration about the threat posed by AQIM and why it merits putting our people in harm's way and conducting strikes,'' Mr. Hartig said.
A senior French security official said France had played no role in the strike, but added that Paris was ''very happy of this continued commitment of the U.S. to counterterrorism in Libya.''
Questions about whether the American military, under the Trump administration, is seeking to blur the expanding scope of operations in Africa were raised this month when it was revealed that the United States had carried out four airstrikes in Libya between September and January that Africa Command did not disclose at the time. The military has said it will acknowledge such missions if asked about them, even if it does not affirmatively disclose them in a news release.
Ms. Mack said that Saturday's attack was the first airstrike the United States had conducted against Al Qaeda in Libya. In fact, the United States conducted an airstrike in eastern Libya in June 2015 against Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of the 2013 terrorist seizure of an Algerian gas plant that left 38 foreign hostages dead. Mr. Belmokhtar was a longtime Qaeda operative with ties to senior Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. Western intelligence officials today remain divided over whether he is dead.
American efforts to hunt down Islamists in Libya's vast deserts rely heavily on surveillance and airpower but also on alliances with the armed groups vying for control of Libya. Mohamed El Sallak, a spokesman for the United Nations-backed unity government, said on Twitter that the attack in Ubari on Saturday was part of the ''strategic cooperation between Libya and the United States in the fight against terrorism.''
But in Ubari, armed Tebu and Tuareg groups have sided with different sides in Libya's chaotic struggle, and the unity government is by no means the dominant player.
Some control a stretch of southern border, while others have allied with militias from the coastal cities of Misurata and Benghazi. The rising force now in the south is Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army based in Benghazi.
Since his forces ousted the last Islamist militias from Benghazi in December, Mr. Hifter has focused on the south, where he exerts influence through his fleet of aging warplanes and alliances with local armed groups.
In Sebha, the largest southern city, Mr. Hifter and the rival United Nations-backed government are vying for control through local proxies. In Ubari, 110 miles to the west, Mr. Hifter has allied with an ethnically mixed militia that is composed of former Qaddafi loyalists and more recent recruits.
Declan Walsh reported from Benghazi, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Suliman Ali Zway contributed reporting from Berlin.
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Strike in Libya Targeted Qaeda Haven . Order Reprints | Today's Paper | Subscribe Site IndexnewsopinionartslivingmoreSite Information Navigation
Tempe police chief: Uber crash likely 'unavoidable' for any driver
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 03:43
An Uber vehicle cruises in Tempe, Aug. 25, 2017, near Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
A fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber likely was "unavoidable" based on an initial police investigation and a review of video, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir told The Arizona Republic on Tuesday.
Moir said, however, that any charging decision would be up to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
The crash is believed to be the nation's first pedestrian death involving an autonomous vehicle.
Elaine Herzberg, 49, of Mesa, was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside any crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre at about 10 p.m. Sunday when she was hit, police said. She died of her injuries.
Self-driving Uber vehicle strikes, kills 49-year-old woman in Tempe
The car, a Volvo operated by San Francisco-based Uber, was in autonomous mode when it hit Herzberg, police said. Uber has not disputed the official narrative from police.
The vehicle had a backup operator behind the wheel, which is common in case the vehicle has to be taken out of self-driving mode. Officials identified the operator as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez.
At a news conference Monday, Sgt. Ronald Elcock, Tempe police spokesman, said impairment didn't appear to be a factor for Vasquez or Herzberg.
CLOSEArizona Republic reporters Ryan Randazzo and Bree Burkitt discuss an Uber self-driving vehicle collision on March 18, 2018, that killed a Mesa woman.
Police have said the Volvo had a video camera that recorded the crash. The Volvo was traveling about 40 mph and made no visible attempt to brake in the video, Elcock said.
The speed limit in the area is 35 mph.
"It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway," Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle after viewing the footage.
A large median at the site of the crash has signs warning people not to cross mid-block and to use the crosswalk to the north at Curry Road instead. But the median also has a brick pathway cutting through the desert landscaping that accommodates people who do cross at that site.
What you need to know about self-driving cars in Arizona
Stephanie Sedlak, a spokeswoman for Uber, said the company is aware of Moir's comments but it would not have any comment until a full investigation is done.
"We're waiting for the results of the investigation," she said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also part of the investigation. The agency said in a statement that a team of four investigators will go through Uber's equipment and video to help determine what caused the crash, in addition to looking at "the vehicle's interaction with the environment, other vehicles and vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and bicyclists." Human performance also will be examined.
CLOSETempe police speak at a press conference to address the accident where a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian.
Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said that when Tempe police finish the investigation, a prosecutor will review the case to determine if charges should be filed.
"We will assist as needed and await a submittal to conduct a charging review, if appropriate," Jacinto said.
She added, "Not all vehicular incidents, even those that result in the tragic loss of life, ultimately present a case for a criminal prosecution."
Uber touts corporate policy to offer felons a second chance
A year ago, a vehicle struck a self-driving Uber SUV in Tempe. In that case, police found the driver of the other vehicle at fault and said the Uber car was obeying the law.
Uber has been carrying customers in the self-driving cars in limited parts of Tempe and Scottsdale, in addition to other locations in North America.
The company on Monday paused its self-driving car operations in the Phoenix area, as well as in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
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Bitcoin is Gaining Legitimacy in Europe, as Transferable Value
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:23
Join our community of 10 000 traders on for just $39 per month.Earlier this week, a Dutch court described bitcoin as a transferable value during a case that requested Koinz Trading BV to pay mining proceeds worth $5,000, or 0.591.
The court explicitly stated that property rights apply to bitcoin, given that as a cryptocurrency, it is able to transfer value in a peer-to-peer manner. The court went on to note that the cryptocurrency is a legitimate transferable value.
''Bitcoin exists, according to the court, from a unique, digitally encrypted series of numbers and letters stored on the hard drive of the right-holder's computer. Bitcoin is 'delivered' by sending bitcoins from one wallet to another wallet. Bitcoins are stand-alone value files, which are delivered directly to the payee by the payer in the event of a payment. It follows that a Bitcoin represents a value and is transferable. In the court's view, it thus shows characteristics of a property right. A claim for payment in Bitcoin is therefore to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification,'' the court document translated by Cointelegraph read.
Differences in Bitcoin RegulationIn the US, cryptocurrencies are considered as commodities, at least by the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In Japan, the government acknowledged cryptocurrencies as a legal currency, allowing citizens and businesses to utilize cryptocurrencies to send and receive money. In the Philippines, cryptocurrencies are seen as a remittance method, that provides an efficient method for transaction settlement.
Generally, while cryptocurrencies as a whole are considered as different types of assets or money, they are considered legitimate by most governments. The Dutch court, if it had decided cryptocurrencies was not a legitimate transferable value, it would have requested the company to pay the proceeds in Euros. However, that was not the case, as the court specifically ordered the business to pay 0.591 bitcoin to the petitioner.
In many regions, the legality of bitcoin still remains unclear. In India for instance, the government has offered no additional information apart from an ambiguous message that bitcoin is neither legal or illegal. Consequently, businesses have integrated their own Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems, to stay compliant with the country's existing regulations on financial companies, which can highly impractical and costly.
EuropeHowever, in Europe, at least within the EU, bitcoin is considered as an asset and a transferable value. In the recent G20 Summit, an international forum participated by the 20 leading economies of the world, global financial watchdog Financial Stability Board (FSB) emphasized that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are considered assets, and they do not pose danger to the stability of the global financial industry.
''The FSB's initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become significantly more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system,'' read the statement of the FSB.
Conclusively, if the global cryptocurrency market and businesses within it continue to function as a strictly regulated market with compliant businesses, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will always be considered as legitimate assets.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Hong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst / Writer. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Offering cryptocurrency news and Insights Into Asian Market (South Korea, Japan, and more).
Gender Reassignment
Sex-change treatment for kids on the rise - CBS News
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:23
CHICAGO - A small but growing number of teens and even younger children who think they were born the wrong sex are getting support from parents and from doctors who give them sex-changing treatments, according to reports in the medical journal Pediatrics.
It's an issue that raises ethical questions, and some experts urge caution in treating children with puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.
An 8-year-old second-grader in Los Angeles is a typical patient. Born a girl, the child announced at 18 months, "I a boy" and has stuck with that belief. The family was shocked but now refers to the child as a boy and is watching for the first signs of puberty to begin treatment, his mother told The Associated Press.
Pediatricians need to know these kids exist and deserve treatment, said Dr. Norman Spack, author of one of three reports published Monday and director of one of the nation's first gender identity medical clinics, at Children's Hospital Boston.
"If you open the doors, these are the kids who come. They're out there. They're in your practices," Spack said in an interview.
Switching gender roles and occasionally pretending to be the opposite sex is common in young children. But these kids are different. They feel certain they were born with the wrong bodies.
Some are labeled with "gender identity disorder," a psychiatric diagnosis. But Spack is among doctors who think that's a misnomer. Emerging research suggests they may have brain differences more similar to the opposite sex.
Spack said by some estimates, 1 in 10,000 children have the condition.
Offering sex-changing treatment to kids younger than 18 raises ethical concerns, and their parents' motives need to be closely examined, said Dr. Margaret Moon, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' bioethics committee. She was not involved in any of the reports.
Some kids may get a psychiatric diagnosis when they are just hugely uncomfortable with narrowly defined gender roles; or some may be gay and are coerced into treatment by parents more comfortable with a sex change than having a homosexual child, said Moon, who teaches at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
It's harmful "to have an irreversible treatment too early," Moon said.
Doctors who provide the treatment say withholding it would be more harmful.
These children sometimes resort to self-mutilation to try to change their anatomy; the other two journal reports note that some face verbal and physical abuse and are prone to stress, depression and suicide attempts. Spack said those problems typically disappear in kids who've had treatment and are allowed to live as the opposite sex.
Guidelines from the Endocrine Society endorse transgender hormone treatment but say it should not be given before puberty begins. At that point, the guidelines recommend puberty-blocking drugs until age 16, then lifelong sex-changing hormones with monitoring for potential health risks. Mental health professionals should be involved in the process, the guidelines say. The group's members are doctors who treat hormonal conditions.
Those guidelines, along with YouTube videos by sex-changing teens and other media attention, have helped raise awareness about treatment and led more families to seek help, Spack said.
His report details a fourfold increase in patients at the Boston hospital. His Gender Management Service clinic, which opened at the hospital in 2007, averages about 19 patients each year, compared with about four per year treated for gender issues at the hospital in the late 1990s.
The report details 97 girls and boys treated between 1998 and 2010; the youngest was 4 years old. Kids that young and their families get psychological counseling and are monitored until the first signs of puberty emerge, usually around age 11 or 12. Then children are given puberty-blocking drugs, in monthly $1,000 injections or implants imbedded in the arm.
In another Pediatrics report, a Texas doctor says he's also provided sex-changing treatment to an increasing number of children; so has a clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles where the 8-year-old is a patient.
The drugs used by the clinics are approved for delaying puberty in kids who start maturing too soon. The drugs' effects are reversible, and Spack said they've caused no complications in his patients. The idea is to give these children time to mature emotionally and make sure they want to proceed with a permanent sex change. Only 1 of the 97 opted out of permanent treatment, Spack said.
Kids will more easily pass as the opposite gender, and require less drastic treatment later, if drug treatment starts early, Spack said. For example, boys switching to girls will develop breasts and girls transitioning to boys will be flat-chested if puberty is blocked and sex-hormones started soon enough, Spack said.
Sex hormones, especially in high doses when used long-term, can have serious side effects, including blood clots and cancer. Spack said he uses low, safer doses but that patients should be monitored.
Gender-reassignment surgery, which may include removing or creating penises, is only done by a handful of U.S. doctors, on patients at least 18 years old, Spack said. His clinic has worked with local surgeons who've done breast removal surgery on girls at age 16, but that surgery can be relatively minor, or avoided, if puberty is halted in time, he said.
The mother of the Los Angeles 8-year-old says he's eager to begin treatment.
When the child was told he could get shots to block breast development, "he was so excited," the mother said.
He also knows he'll eventually be taking testosterone shots for life but surgery right now is uncertain.
The child attends a public school where classmates don't know he is biologically a girl. For that reason, his mother requested anonymity.
She said she explained about having a girl's anatomy but he rejected that, refused to wear dresses, and has insisted on using a boy's name since preschool.
The mother first thought it was a phase, then that her child might be a lesbian, and sought a therapist's help to confirm her suspicion. That's when she first heard the term "gender identity disorder" and learned it's often not something kids outgrow.
Accepting his identity has been difficult for both parents, the woman said. Private schools refused to enroll him as a boy, and the family's pediatrician refused to go along with their request to treat him like a boy. They found a physician who would, Dr. Jo Olson, medical director of a transgender clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Olson said the journal reports should help persuade more doctors to offer these kids sex-changing treatment or refer them to specialists who will.
"It would be so nice to move this out of the world of mental health, and into the medical world," Olson said.
(C) 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Six Week Cycle
Father of Pulse gunman was FBI informant, widow's attorneys say - CBS News
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:02
ORLANDO, Fla. - Attorneys for the widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen are calling for a mistrial after they say prosecutors revealed that Mateen's father was an FBI informant. CBS affiliate WKMG reports that prosecutors sent an email on Saturday that stated Seddique Mateen was a confidential FBI source from 2005 until 2016, according to a motion filed by the defense.
Omar Mateen's widow, Noor Salman, is on trial in federal court on charges of aiding and abetting her husband, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents. If convicted, she could get life in prison.
Her husband killed 49 people and injured at least 68 others when he opened fire inside Pulse on June 12, 2016 before he was shot to death by police.
WKMG reports that the email sent by prosecutors stated that Seddique Mateen is also being investigated for money transfers to Turkey and Pakistan.
Seddique Mir Mateen, father of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen
CBS News
Salman's lawyers allege the new revelation prevented them from investigating whether or not Seddique Mateen knew of his son's plans to attack the nightclub.
According to the motion, defense lawyers allege that the decision not to give Noor Salman a polygraph was possibly "based on the FBI's desire to implicate Noor Salman, rather than Seddique Mateen in order to avoid scrutiny of its own ineptitude with the latter."
"Mateen's father played a significant role in the FBI's decision not to seek an indictment from the Justice Department for false statements to the FBI or obstruction of justice against Omar Mateen" during its 2013 investigation into his alleged threats, the motion stated.
Meanwhile, attorneys in federal court Monday will try to convince jurors that Salman didn't help her husband as he prepared for the attack on the gay nightclub.
Federal prosecutors rested their case Thursday. Mateen and his wife exchanged text messages during the attack, according to evidence presented to a jury.
"I love you babe," Mateen wrote in his last text message at 4:29 a.m.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Man has 'world's worst' super-gonorrhoea - BBC News
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 23:19
Image copyright Getty Images A man in the UK has caught the world's "worst-ever" case of super-gonorrhoea.
He had a regular partner in the UK, but picked up the superbug after a sexual encounter with a woman in south-east Asia.
Public Health England says it is the first time the infection cannot be cured with first choice antibiotics.
Health officials are now tracing any other sexual partners of the man, who has not been identified, in an attempt to contain the infection's spread.
He picked up the infection earlier in the year.
The main antibiotic treatment - a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone - has failed to treat the disease.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, from Public Health England, said: "This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics."
Discussions with the World Health Organization and the European Centres for Disease Control agree this is a world first.
Image copyright CAVALLINI JAMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Of those infected, about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognisable symptoms.
But symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.
Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.
Analysis of the man's infection suggests one last antibiotic could work. He is currently being treated and doctors will see if it has been successful next month.
So far no other cases - including in the British partner - have been discovered, but the investigation is still under way.
Dr Hughes added: "We are following up this case to ensure that the infection was effectively treated with other options and the risk of any onward transmission is minimised."
Doctors have long been warning this could happen.
In 2015, there was an outbreak of azithromycin-resistant gonorrhoea centred on Leeds.
The fear is the bug could eventually become untreatable by any antibiotic.
Dr Olwen Williams, the president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said: "The emergence of this new strain of highly resistant gonorrhoea is of huge concern and is a significant development.
"We are concerned that the problem will worsen due to the dramatic cuts that have been delivered to the public health budget.
"Worryingly this has left sexual health services at 'tipping point', with clinic closures coming at the worst possible time."
Follow James on Twitter.
Agenda 2030
Vegas Massacre
Federal Agents Zeroed In On New Mystery Man in Las Vegas Shooting; But FBI Brass Protected Him From Interrogations '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:08
FeaturedPoliticsSecurityFederal Agents Zeroed In On New Mystery Man in Las Vegas Shooting; But FBI Brass Protected Him From InterrogationsFear and Lying in Las Vegas Part IV
The hushed FBI investigation unfolding inside the FBI's public Broadway show version of the Las Vegas shooting investigation started when a witness claimed he hid outside Mandalay Bay in the bushes for hours after the stream of gunfire started raining down on concert goers on Oct. 1.
The same man also claimed he was inside the room next door to the shooter when gunfire erupted on 22,000 country western fans '-- mostly Trump supporters '-- at an outdoor concert in the shadow of the MGM resort's sprawling Mandalay Bay resort.
The same man who said he saw shooters gun down a security guard outside the hotel suite he shared with Stephen Paddock, even though that information was never divulged publicly at the time.
The same man who described to news media '-- minutes after the attack '-- in detail the tools in Paddock's suite used for the attack days before such physical evidence was released to the public.
The same man who went to great lengths '-- using techniques few would know or employ absent training '-- to mask his phone and social media accounts to shield his location before and during the attack.
The same man FBI agents were never allowed to interview and told to forget about, despite pleadings from intelligence veterans that this individual was an imperative person of interest in the shooting investigation.
''We cleared Mandalay Bay within two hours,'' one FBI agent recalled while replaying the video of a witness statement over and over, searching for discrepancies. ''There was nobody hiding in any bushes.''
That was the first clue. Subsequent clues grew bigger and bolder.
The agent found many additional statements that didn't match up with reality either. And other agents were likewise nailing down evidence that disputed the official FBI narrative curated by FBI Las Vegas SAC Aaron Rouse and his inner circle. The official line continues to be the shooter, Stephen Paddock was a mysterious lone wolf who had no help killing 58 people and maiming another 500 from his hotel-suite perch on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay.
He gambled too and he was angry about something, though no one in charge of the probe is saying exactly what.
There is the story the FBI and Las Vegas officials along with MGM brass have carefully curated '-- the story they need you to believe about that deadly night.
Then there is the truth pasted together by FBI agents and Intelligence veterans with evidence the FBI brass seemingly wants to keep far away from the public record.
Neither story looks very similar. In fact the official narrative has not held up to the test of time even though that time frame has been just six months.
This is the story that they don't want folks to know.
And soon you'll understand why.
FBI brass at every turn fought to conceal credible evidence that countered the official, polished Las Vegas narrative. That includes painting Paddock as the sole mystery man of the attack, while shielding the identity of the real mystery man:
Brian Hodge.
Hodge, a 37-year-old Australian living in the United States, went from media witness to person of interest ''almost overnight,'' one FBI agent said. Yet FBI brass led by Rouse refused agents permission to interrogate Hodge, who soon fled the city after the attack but did eventually return. Only to leave the country. Then return again. Unbeknownst to Hodge and FBI brass, Bureau insiders and intelligence veterans were ignoring a stand down order and tracking Hodge. And they tailed him to many interesting places following the Las Vegas deadly shooting. More on that later.
''He did a series of radio and media interviews in Australia that were compelling,'' the FBI insider said. ''He unknowingly divulged information during those interviews that only law enforcement knew about at the time.''
The FBI source said Hodge described details of the attack and tools Paddock used that were only known to a handful of federal and local law enforcement official at the time.
''We were still processing the crime scene and Hodge was discussing evidence no one else could have known about,'' the FBI official said. ''He was giving interviews to Australian media literally while this scene was unfolding. I'm talking minutes after Paddock's body was found in the suite, Hodge was live on air on his phone.''
With the difference in time zones between Las Vegas and Australia, Hodge was being piped into homes during prime time, approximately 9 pm to 11 pm which was literally at the same time the Las Vegas mayhem was unfolding. Strangely, FBI agents noticed, Hodge never spoke to any media in the United States.
How did the Australian media locate Hodge so quickly? FBI insiders said he was posting on social media and then calling the media for interviews. The challenge for investigators is that soon after the shooting, Hodge began to scrub his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts '-- not only of Vegas-related posts, but of many more.
''He began deleting his online DNA so to speak,'' one intelligence veteran said, ''Even though we were told not to we were able to recover many things that were deleted.''
But not before key facts were deciphered by agents. Hodge previously lived and worked in the casino industry on the Gold Coast of Australia. Stephen Paddock's girlfriend, Mary Lou Danley, likewise previously lived and worked in the casino industry on the Gold Coast of Australia, sources said.
Strange. Small world.
Hodge's perhaps most revealing radio interview '-- conducted by Triple M News in Melbourne '-- really raised eyebrows at the FBI. A portion of it is below:
Intelligence veterans isolated immediate red flags after combing this interview, sources said.
Hodge details how victims were mowed down by gunfire below Mandalay Bay as reported by his ''team.'' FBI sources said Hodge was likely staying alone at Mandalay Bay. Therefore, what ''team?'' Intelligence agents tracked Hodge after the shooting and never pinpointed any travel companions, officials said.Hodge said Paddock used a special hammer to break the Mandalay Bay's ''double-pained'' glass prior to the attack. That is true. But how did Hodge know about the hammer days before it was divulged to the public? How did Hodge know what kind of glass was employed by Mandalay Bay? And how did Hodge know the glass was punched out with a hammer instead of gun fire? Remember, Hodge was divulging these details live in Australia via phone literally minutes after the attack.The shooting scene was over 400 yards away from Mandalay Bay. It was night and the venue was likewise dark except for the stage area. How could Hodge's alleged ''team'' '-- who were supposedly fleeing the hotel in panic '-- see bodies dropping from 400 yards away in the dark through a mirrored exterior window?Hodge said he had the room next to Paddock. But that room 32-134 was breached by Las Vegas Metro SWAT after Paddock was found dead on the other side of a door adjoining the two rooms. One large window was broken in Hodge's supposed room too which police believe gunfire originated from.How did Hodge know when Paddock checked into the hotel suite? How did he know Paddock? Records show Hodge checked into Mandalay Bay the day before the shooting. How would he know Paddock checked in days earlier?''These are red flags you pick up when listening to Hodge's interviews,'' one FBI insider said. ''His testimony changes too from interview to interview, you can see him adding new details, things that he never talked about initially. He's telling a story and adding new wrinkles. That's an important sign as well.''
Hodge makes several bizarre posts to his Facebook account in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Then he deletes the posts hours later. Among the strangest is the following in which he claims that he is staying in room 32134 and Paddock was in room 32135. The post is uploaded on Oct 2, 2017 at 00:27 PST, again, amid the unfolding chaos at Mandalay Bay.
Hodge elaborates on this revelation in his first media interview with Australian newspaper The Daily Advertiser story, which again, was published amid the chaos in Las Vegas:
''He was approached by a woman who had a frantic look on her face and urged Mr Hodge and his co-workers to run.
''At the woman's urging, Mr Hodge rushed his team into an elevator and rode it down to the back of the casino.
''He and his team escaped from the hotel and hid in the bushes outside of the casino, ensuring they stayed close to the side of the building.
''Mr Hodge said he saw flashlights and then police, who encouraged them to walk to the other side of the building with their hands above their head.
''They were ushered back into the hotel, which was completely abandoned, and then encouraged to walk down the Las Vegas Strip until they reached safety.''
Hodge, in this interview, maintains police ushered his 'group' back into Mandalay Bay. But the hotel at that time was being evacuated. Also, Hodge claims his team was with him as he was taking the elevator to the 32nd floor '-- before he ushered people back into the elevator after a woman warned him of gunfire. But during radio interviews Hodge said his team members were already back in their rooms witnessing people in the concert venue getting cut down by bullets.
And how did Hodge know the shooter was next to his room, per the Facebook post, if he was ushered back into the elevator long before he reached his room at the opposite end of the hallway?
Also, it is important to note that The Daily Advertiser in Australia published this story during the time frame when Hodge claimed he was still hiding in the bushes outside Mandalay Bay.
In another Australian news account published just an hour later in the Courier & Mail, Hodge said the shooter was next to his room with a machine gun.
''Another Australian man staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort has spoken about his close call with the Las Vegas gunman '' claiming he launched his murderous attack from the room next door.
Australian Brian Hodge, who previously worked at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, claimed he was staying in the room next to the shooter on level 32 at the Las Vegas resort.
'There were multiple people dead and multiple shooters. I was just hiding waiting for police to come get us.
''We were hiding in the bushes outside waiting for the police.'' Mr Hodge said he was staying in room 32134 while the gunman was in room 32135.
''It was a machine gun from the room next to me,'' he said.
''My floor is a crime scene. They killed a security guard on my floor.'''
FBI sources point out here that Hodge's account had flipped. Now, according to his testimony to the Courier & Mail, the shooting started from the suite next to his room and the shooter was firing off what sounded like machine-gun fire.
''At that point in the investigation there was no public report that a security guard had been shot,'' one FBI source said. ''We wanted to know how Hodge knew this information at such an early stage. And why he thought the guard was killed. There was an early report that one police officer had been shot but Hodge specifically mentioned a security guard.
''That's certainly worth following up.''
Also, federal law enforcement sources note that Hodge never mentioned arriving on the 32nd floor via the elevator. Instead, he was in his hotel room when the shooting began. The same hotel room with the broken window and a pair of new gloves found lying on the bed. (Paddock was wearing his gloves when he was found dead.)
In the Sydney Morning Herald, Hodge claimed police escorted him out of the hotel and told him the gunman was in room 32135, just one room away from his room.
''I'm just glad I didn't make it back to my room,'' Hodge said, failing to mention details about the elevator or being next to Paddock when the shooting commenced. Or hiding in bushes.
FBI agents wanted a chance to question Hodge about his ever-evolving eye-witness accounts: Was he next to the shooter or in the elevator? Was his room actually somewhere else in the hotel and Hodge was grandstanding or spreading misinformation as a cover? How did he know about the special hammer found in Paddock's room days before law enforcement divulged that fact to the public?
Even a cabal of retired FBI agents and current intelligence officials echoed similar Hodge-related red flags to Las Vegas FBI brass and LVMPD in the weeks following the shooting, urging officials to green light the federal interrogation of Hodge. Intelligence agents sought permission to question him at his workplace or apartment in Los Angeles.
But officials refused, FBI sources said. To the dismay of many.
But why was Hodge untouchable?
Even the fact that the room Hodge maintains he rented had camera wires running from a food cart in the hallway '-- which the FBI maintains Paddock set up as security cameras in each room '-- into Hodge's room (32-134).
See the photo below:
''There is so much physical evidence here that warrants Hodge as a person of interest that is't hard to believe he wasn't told to stay in Las Vegas after the shooting for questioning,'' one FBI source said. ''Especially with what we know about his cell phone.''
What did the FBI know about Hodge's phone?
The three or four hours he said he was hiding in the bushes outside Mandalay Bay,'' one FBI insider said. ''We ran his cell phone during and after the shooting. He wasn't anywhere near Mandalay Bay after the shooting.''
So if he wasn't hiding in the bushes, where was Hodge while he was giving radio and newspaper interviews to foreign media about surviving the massacre?
Turns out, he went to great lengths to keep his locations hidden.
But the FBI knows.
And you will too in the next story (Part V) of True Pundit's Fear and Lying in Las Vegas series.
Help Support True Pundit's Independent Voice by Contributing Today!The Series: Fear and Lying in Las Vegas
Part 1
FBI Insiders Blow Whistle on Massive Las Vegas Cover Up; Agents Told Not to Investigate Key Evidence Including ISIS Terror Link to Mandalay Bay Massacre
Part 2
Key Forensic Evidence in Las Vegas Shooting Sidestepped; FBI Brass Applauded Ignorance While Loved Ones Buried Their Dead
Part 3
HIDDEN MOTIVE: Hushed FBI Intel Report Reveals Vegas Shooting Triggered by Paddock's Anti-Trump Politics
Help Support True Pundit's Independent Voice by Contributing Today!FOLLOW US!
World War 3: Turkey President Erdogan calls for army of Islam to wage war against Israel | World | News |
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:07
Less than a month ago the Turkish state's mouthpiece the daily Yeni Şafak ran an article for Erdogan titled ''A call for urgent action'' and on the newspaper's website headlined ''What if an army of Islam formed against Israel?''
It called for the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint army to simultaneously attack Israel from all sides.
The article said: ''If the member states of the OIC unite militarily, they will form the world's largest and most comprehensive army.
''The number of active soldiers would be at least 5,206,100, while the defence budget would reach approximately $175billion (£124billion).''
This was accompanied by an interactive map providing formation of military forces for a joint Muslim attack on Israel.
World War 3: Erdogan called for an army of Islam Related articles EU BACKLASH: Rogue states' anger brewing as £3BN sent to Turkey EU leaders to meet Turkey's President Erdogan over refugee deal The article provided additional details of the plan, saying: ''It is expected that 250,000 soldiers will participate in the first of a possible operation.
''Land, air and naval bases of member states located in the most critical regions will be used.
''Joint bases will be constructed in a short period of time'... It is possible for 500 tanks and armoured vehicles, 100 planes and 500 attack helicopters and 50 ships to mobilise quickly.''
Erdogan did not deny his support for the report and has on several occasions said he would like to resurrect the Ottoman Empire.
The tyrant has established military bases in Qatar and Somalia and recently reached an agreement with Sudan to acquire a Sudanese island in the Red Sea to be used as a military base.
World War 3: There was a map for a joint Muslim attack on Israel He has also repeatedly threatened to invade Greek islands in the Mediterranean and has recently invaded Syria under the pretext of fighting Kurdish terrorism.
Erdogan has also locked up journalists and activists who have spoken out against his regime.
But the European Union is urging members to approve a further '‚¬3.7billion (£3.28billion) to help Turkey deal with Syrian refugees who arrived in their country.
Brussels will now push to get Turkey the extra '‚¬2.7 billion (£2.4billion) from national governments, some of whom may be unwilling to pump new cash into the country.
Europe's relations with Erdogan has been fraught in recent years but the EU depends on Turkey to keep a tight lid on immigration from the Middle East, where the war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and pushed millions from homes.
World War 3: Turkey has recently invaded Syria under the pretext of fighting Kurdish terrorism However, a draft document seen by Politico notes that if countries do not contribute and order the money be taken from the EU budget only, ''standard EU rules would apply and the member states would be excluded from the governance of the facility (for refugees in Turkey).''
Top EU officials will meet Erdogan on March 26 in the Bulgarian city of Varna despite misgivings among many on the European side.
The bloc's top migration official Dimitris Avramopoulos will announce on Wednesday that the European Commission proposes the extra funding on projects benefiting Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Turkey has accepted 3.5 million refugees from Syria, and the EU is already spending a first '‚¬3billion (£2.1billion) instalment to help them.
War on Weed
McConnell to introduce bill legalizing hemp -
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:23
March 26 (UPI) -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he will introduce a bill to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances and legalize it as an agricultural product nationwide.
McConnell announced his plans to introduce the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 while in his home state of Kentucky, where the potential of hemp farming has popular support.
"Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky's agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future," McConnell said.
The Senator from Kentucky pointed to the University of Kentucky's industrial hemp research pilot program, which he said revealed many "successes" that could be had in the state through hemp farming.
Kentucky's Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, added that the program has "established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement."
Politico reported that several senators from both parties have expressed support for the bill and that it could be included in the next farm bill, due in September.
"The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will help Kentucky enhance its position as the leading state on hemp production," McConnell's office said in a statement. "This legislation also will remove the federal barriers in place that have stifled the industry, which will help expand the domestic production of hemp. It will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - allowing them to continue their impressive work with the support of federal research dollars."
Other states with agricultural bases looking to get involved in hemp production are also eager to see it pass.
Geoff Whaling, chairman of the National Hemp Association and owner of a farm in Pennsylvania, told Penn Live that his state could soon begin farming 100,000 acres of hemp.
"This is big," he said.
War on Men
Top Videogame Companies Unite to Combat Toxicity with the Fair Play Alliance :: Games :: News :: Fair Play Alliance :: Paste
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:59
The toxic nature of player interactions within videogame communities, streaming services and chat clients has long been a detriment to an otherwise enthralling realm of media. Unfortunately, many players have been pushed away from or actively chosen not to engage with elements of a game or service as the level of malevolence within these spaces has risen in recent years.
Now, the companies that build and provide those spaces are uniting to make those spaces better for all who want to participate. During GDC 2018 in San Francisco, more than 30 top videogame companies announced a partnership to combat the growing toxicity on streaming platforms and multiplayer games, known as the Fair Play Alliance.
Along with the announcement of its formation, the Fair Play Alliance issued their mission statement on their official website.
''We provide an open forum for the games industry to collaborate on research and best practices that encourage fair play and healthy communities in online gaming. We envision a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play''
The FPA launched with an all-day summit where discussions around creating and maintaining welcoming environments with their games and platforms were held.
The roster of companies joining together to push back against the rise of online hate and exclusivity is made up of industry giants such as Blizzard, Riot, Xbox, and Epic and communal hubs for players such as Discord and Twitch, among others. The move is unprecedented and greatly needed as individual companies have been fighting the abusive elements of their communities in battles that seem even more futile as they grow in size and popularity.
Now, these companies and the players whose lives they hope to enrich have an established entity specifically aimed at eliminating the grossest aspect of the gaming industry as a whole. Hopefully the Fair Play Alliance's efforts will be able to accelerate what their members have been attempting to do for years.
NA-Tech News
Oracle vs. Google is still a thing, thanks to US federal court
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 09:48
The root of the complaint stems back to the fact that Google wanted to make it easy for Java developers to create software for Android, but didn't actually want to pay Oracle to license the programming language. It used Java APIs (application programming interfaces), which Oracle took issue with. The question is, does Oracle's copyright cover the way its code is arranged? Google claimed it didn't, but apparently the US Court of Appeals disagrees.
Google has already removed Java APIs from Android, but that isn't enough. This case is huge in terms of precedents when it comes to technology and what copyright actually covers. If Google loses once and for all, it could mean a fine in the billions, depending on whether Oracle demands royalties for every Android device, as has been rumored.
VIDEO - Man Claims To Be On "Mission For Secret Government Agency" After Arrested With Arsenal Of Weapons! - YouTube
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 14:16
VIDEO - Motion reveals Pulse gunman's father was FBI informant
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:34
ORLANDO, Fla. - Attorneys for Noor Salman called for a mistrial after they say new details from prosecutors reveal that Pulse gunman Omar Mateen's father was an FBI source and is currently under a criminal investigation.
According to a motion filed by the defense, prosecutors sent an email on Saturday that stated Seddique Mateen was a confidential FBI source from 2005 through June 2016.
The email also stated that Seddique Mateen is being investigated for money transfers to Turkey and Pakistan after documents were found in his home on the day of the Pulse attack.
Salman's attorneys claim the late disclosure of the information prevented them from exploring whether or not Seddique Mateen knew of his son's plans to attack the nightclub on June 12, 2016.
[RECOMMENDED: Meet key players in Stormy Daniels scandal | Fla. to have own time zone?]
Judge Paul Byron ruled Monday afternoon that the mistrial would not be granted because Salman's attorneys were not harmed by the government's failure to disclose that Seddique Mateen was a confidential informant.
The government email to Salman's attorneys also states that in 2012, "An anonymous tip indicated that Seddique Mateen was seeking to raise $50,000-$100,000 via a donation drive to contribute toward an attack against the government of Pakistan."
According to the motion, the defense states that the decision not to give Noor Salman a polygraph was possibly "based on the FBI's desire to implicate Noor Salman, rather than Seddique Mateen in order to avoid scrutiny of its own ineptitude with the latter."
The defense also said Seddique's connection with the FBI played a role in a 2013 investigation into Omar Mateen for allegedly making threats against coworkers.
''Mateen's father played a significant role in the FBI's decision not to seek an indictment from the Justice Department for false statements to the FBI or obstruction of justice against Omar Mateen'' during its 2013 investigation into his alleged threats," the motion stated.
Seddique Mateen previously made headlines when he attended a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton less than two months after the Pulse attack. He was positioned directly behind Clinton during her speech in Kissimmee.
"What went into your decision about going to this event right near Orlando, where this Pulse nightclub shooting happened?" Mateen was asked.
"I wish my son joined the Army and fought ISIS and destroyed ISIS," he said. "That would be much better."
A campaign official said Clinton did not know Mateen was at the rally.
READ -- Motion shows Pulse gunman's father was FBI informant
Meanwhile, attorneys in federal court will try to convince jurors that Salman didn't help her husband as he prepared for the attack on the Pulse nightclub in June 2016.
Salman is on trial, charged with providing material support to a foreign terror organization, the Islamic State group, and with obstructing justice.
Her attorneys will present their case on Monday.
[MORE PULSE COVERAGE: Monday court session | Remembering the 49 | Pulse page]
Federal prosecutors rested their case Thursday. Details about what the couple did and where they were in the days prior to the shooting was presented last week in court.
Her husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured at least 68 others when he opened fire inside Pulse before he was shot to death by police.
If convicted, she faces life in prison.
[SEE THESE? Break-ing news: TV mistakes | Tattoo spell check | World's craziest beach]
Watch News 6 and stay with for updates.
Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.
VIDEO - NEW VIDEO SEPT 2011. WTC Building 7 Controlled Demolition (Visible Explosions) - YouTube
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:28
VIDEO - David Hogg and the conflicting stories - YouTube
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:25
VIDEO - How Hitler was Even More Evil Than You Think - Prof. Jordan Peterson - YouTube
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:02
VIDEO - Police deny Corey Feldman's stabbing claim, say no lacerations found
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:47
CLOSEActor Corey Feldman tweeted out photos after he was hospitalized when he says a stranger stabbed him in the abdomen. Buzz60
Corey Feldman in December 2016 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Corey Feldman says he was stabbed Wednesday night and is being hospitalized after what he's calling an "attempted homicide" '-- but police have a different story.
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Luis Garcia told USA TODAY an unknown person ''jabbed at Mr. Feldman's abdomen with an unknown object'' but no lacerations or other injuries were found. Feldman drove himself to a local West Valley hospital where he was treated and released. Police do not have a subject or weapon description.
The former child star shared the news via Twitter Tuesday morning along with photos of himself in a hospital gown.
He continued, saying he is "OK."
In a follow-up tweet, Feldman said the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incident.
Requests for comment from Feldman's representatives were not immediately returned.
In October, Feldman restated claims of sexual abuse he says experienced at the hands of Hollywood men. He first made allegations of pedophilia in Hollywood in his 2013 memoir Coreyography. In the book, he says battles with addiction that plagued his friend and co-star, Corey Haim, stemmed from childhood sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men in the film industry. Feldman also alleges that he was molested as a teenager.
Feldman launched a fundraising campaign to help make a documentary film on the alleged Hollywood pedophiles, which was met with criticism.
In November, he named actor Jon Grissom as one of the multiple men who molested him when he was a young teen during an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. A month later, The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office found his 1993 police report on the alleged Hollywood abusers, which they previously said didn't exist.
After opening an investigation, the LAPD said that the events were so long ago that the statute of limitations have expired on Feldman's allegations and detectives have no further avenues to pursue.
More:Corey Feldman identifies one of his molesters in interview with Dr. Oz
More:Corey Feldman defends plans for his film on alleged Hollywood pedophiles on 'Today'
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VIDEO - BAY AREA EXODUS: U-Haul running out of trucks as Bay Area residents relocate outside the area - YouTube
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:36
VIDEO - Apple CEO Tim Cook says Facebook should have regulated itself, but it's too late for that now - Recode
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:54
Apple CEO Tim Cook has doubled down on his call for regulation that would limit Facebook and others companies' ability to use customer data.
Speaking to Recode's Kara Swisher and MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Cook said he'd prefer that Facebook and others would have curbed their use of personal data to build ''these detailed profiles of people ... patched together from several sources.''
''I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation,'' he said. ''However, I think we're beyond that here.''
Cook has made a point of criticizing Facebook for both the Cambridge Analytica affair and its overall approach to consumer privacy in recent days. But it's not a new stance for him or the company: He made similar comments about Facebook and Google in 2015, and his predecessor Steve Jobs went out of his way to contrast Apple's privacy stance with rivals like Google in 2010.
Facebook and Google, of course, use consumer data as a core part of their lucrative advertising business. But while Apple has nibbled at the ad business a few times, it makes almost all of its money selling hardware to consumers.
Cook made that point again today: ''The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer '-- if our customer was our product. We've elected not to do that.''
Swisher posed a question for Cook: What would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? His answer: ''I wouldn't be in this situation.''
Cook's interview with Swisher and Hayes is part of Revolution, a collaboration between Recode and MSNBC. The full interview is scheduled to air on MSNBC on Friday, April 6 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT.
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VIDEO - ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Victim who died in Tesla crash had complained about auto-pilot |
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:40
"Walter was just a straight up, caring guy," Shawn Price told the ABC7 News I-Team.Friends and family are mourning the death of Apple engineer Walter Huang after he crashed in his Tesla in Mountain View Friday.
Tonight, the ABC7 I-Team has word of a major development in the investigation. His family says Huang complained about the Tesla's auto-pilot "before" the accident. Dan Noyes has an exclusive report.
RELATED: Fire chief says Tesla crash shows electric car fires could strain department resources
Walter Huang's family tells Dan Noyes he took his Tesla to the dealer, complaining that -- on multiple occasions -- the auto-pilot veered toward that same barrier -- the one his Model X hit on Friday when he died.
ABC7 News Photographer Dean Smith captured exclusive video today of investigators from the CHP's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team and National Transportation Safety Board at a San Mateo tow yard, inspecting the wreckage of the Tesla Model X involved in that fatal crash on southbound 101 Friday. We spotted them taking a control module out of the vehicle, tucking it into an evidence bag.
The NTSB told Dan Noyes from their Washington headquarters, they recovered both the restraint control module and infotainment module today.
NTSB Spokesman Christopher O'Neil said, "We're going to work with CHP and Tesla to download the information from those modules and then see what data is available to us that might give insights into what was going on during the accident sequence."
We're learning much more about the victim -- 38-year-old Walter Huang had a wife and two kids, lived in Foster City, worked for 13 years as a programmer at Electronic Arts. This past November, he got a job as an Apple engineer and bought his new Tesla, posting a picture on his Facebook page.
He showed the SUV to his friends and former co-workers; we spoke with two outside Electronic Arts today.
"He was proud," said Shawn Price. "He was showing the gull wings, I remember going, a little bit of jealousy, like well."
RELATED: Tesla driver killed in fiery crash on Highway 101 in Mountain View identified
Dan Noyes also spoke and texted with Walter Huang's brother, Will, today. He confirmed Walter was on the way to work at Apple when he died.
He also makes a startling claim -- that before the crash, Walter complained "7-10 times the car would swivel toward that same exact barrier during auto-pilot. Walter took it into dealership addressing the issue, but they couldn't duplicate it there."
Dan Noyes: "The family is telling me they provided an invoice to investigators, that the victim took the car in because it kept veering at the same barrier. How important is that information?"
Christopher O'Neil, NTSB: "That information has been received by the CHP, they've been acting on it for some time now."
Tesla would not comment on the information we've learned, and directed us to last night's blog post, "Our data shows that Tesla owners have driven this same stretch of highway with Autopilot engaged roughly 85,000 times since Autopilot was first rolled out in 2015. ... There are over 200 successful Autopilot trips per day on this exact stretch of road."
Tesla also posted these photos that raise another important question: they show what's called a "crash attenuator" or safety barrier in the proper condition ... and the way it was the day before Walter Huang's crash ... collapsed after a different accident.
Will Huang texted us, "That ultimately should've saved my brother's life. We've seen videos of similar crash with cushion and the driver walked out of it unharmed."
Walter Huang's friends are remembering his contributions to the gaming world. "He did some good stuff on some great games that I know some viewers out there will know him for," Shawn Price told the I-Team.
And they're missing his friendship during trips to the gym.
"We would get together just work it out and he to be there keeping you safe," said Price. "I mean that's what spotters do keep you safe and I know very much that he did the same thing for his family."
RELATED: Tesla claims missing safety barrier played role in deadly crash
"He slept with his kids when they had nightmares," Travis Hoffstetter told us. "He painted his daughters nails, he let his daughter paint his nails, just did like everything awesome that you should do as a dad he did."
We called, but no word from CalTrans about that collapsed safety barrier that Walter Huang hit. His friends are raising money for Walter's wife and kids, to handle the expenses of the funeral and life after his death. If you're interested, click here for the link.
Tesla released a statement that reads: "We've been doing a thorough search of our service records and we cannot find anything suggesting that the customer ever complained to Tesla about the performance of Autopilot. There was a concern raised once about navigation not working correctly, but Autopilot's performance is unrelated to navigation."
Caltrans also offered a statement: "We are reviewing the facts and circumstances of this incident and are cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board's ongoing investigation. Safety is our top priority and Caltrans will carefully evaluate the investigation's findings and take appropriate actions."
Click here for more stories and videos related to Tesla.(Copyright (C)2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
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VIDEO - China says North Korea's Kim pledged commitment to denuclearization
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:34
BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor.
After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had traveled to Beijing and met Xi during what China called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.
The visit was Kim's first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.
North Korea's KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim's pledge to denuclearize, or his anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.
China has traditionally been secretive North Korea's closest ally but ties have been frayed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons and China's backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.
China's Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tension and put forward proposals for talks.
''It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,'' Kim Jong Un said, according to the ministry.
North Korea was willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.
''The issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,'' Kim said.
'NUCLEAR UMBRELLA'Kim Jong Un's predecessors, grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il, both promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly maintained programs to develop them, culminating in the North's first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong Il.
The North had said in previous, failed talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
Many analysts and former negotiators believe this still constitutes North Korea's stance and remain deeply skeptical Kim is willing to give up the weapons his family has been developing for decades.
At first wrapped in secrecy, the announcement of Kim Jong Un's visit soon became the third-most discussed topic on China's Weibo microblogging site, although many state media outlets blocked their comments sections.
Widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times praised the meeting as proving naysayers wrong about Beijing-Pyongyang relations.
''China and North Korea maintaining their friendly relations provides a positive force for the whole region and promotes strategic stability in northeast Asia,'' it said in an editorial.
Kim's appearance in Beijing involved almost all the trappings of a state visit, complete with an honor guard and banquet at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
Kim and Xi also met at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Kim Il Sung planted a tree in 1959 that still stands.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, in this picture released to Reuters on March 28, 2018. Ju Peng/Xinhua via REUTERS State television showed pictures of the two men chatting and Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju, getting a warm welcome from Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan.
TRUMP BRIEFEDChina briefed Trump on Kim's visit and the communication included a personal message from Xi to Trump, the White House said in a statement.
''The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,'' it said.
Analysts said the meeting strengthened North Korea's position ahead of any meeting with Trump by aligning Beijing and Pyongyang while reassuring China it was not being sidelined in any negotiations.
''It seems that North Korea is not ready to deal with the United States without support and help from its longtime ally China,'' said Han Suk-hee, professor of Chinese Studies at South Korea's Yonsei University.
A top Chinese diplomat, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, will brief officials, including President Moon Jae-in, in Seoul on Thursday about the Beijing talks, the presidential office in Seoul said.
Kim told a banquet hosted by Xi the visit was intended to ''maintain our great friendship and continue and develop our bilateral ties at a time of rapid developments on the Korean peninsula'', according to KCNA.
Xi had accepted an invitation ''with pleasure'' from him to visit North Korea, KCNA said.
China made no mention of Xi accepting an invitation, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang pointed to a line in their statement citing Xi as saying he is willing to maintain regular communications with North Korea via visits and exchanges of envoys and messages.
Slideshow (18 Images) ''I have to say that China and North Korea have a tradition of high-level mutual visits,'' Lu told a daily news briefing.
China had largely sat on the sidelines as North Korea improved relations with South Korea recently, raising worry in Beijing that it was no longer a central player in the North Korean issue, reinforced by Trump's subsequent announcement of his proposed meeting with Kim Jong Un in May.
''China is North Korea's lifeline, so the notion, from a Chinese perspective, that Kim Jong Un could have had these other two meetings before meeting with Xi Jinping, I think the Chinese just thought that is not going to happen,'' said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie''Tsinghua Center in Beijing and the former White House representative to North Korea denuclearization talks from 2007-2009.
Additional reporting by Christine Kim and Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, David Stanway and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI and Ayesha Rascoe in WASHINGTON; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel
VIDEO - McConnell announces hemp legislation with Ky. Ag. Commissioner
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:24
By WKYT Newsroom |
Posted: Mon 4:16 PM, Mar 26, 2018 |
Updated: Mon 5:04 PM, Mar 26, 2018
FRANKFORT, Ky. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), on Monday announced a plan to introduce legislation in the US Senate to support Kentucky's hemp industry.
The announcement was made during the US Hemp Roundtable in Frankfort.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would legalize hemp, designating it an agricultural commodity while removing it from the federal list of controlled substances, according to a press release sent out by McConnell's office.
"Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky's agriculture heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future," Sen. McConnell said in the release.
If approved, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would give states more control over hemp regulations. It would also remove federal barriers, and give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive grants from the US Department of Agriculture.
"There was a lot of discussion about what is this? Is this the same as the illicit cousin? I think we've moved past that and most members of Senate understand that these are two very different plants," said Sen. McConnell.
Industrial hemp is chemically and genetically different than marijuana and can be used for numerous things like clothing, food, and oils.
Eighth-generation tobacco farmer Brian Furnish says he remembers a time when "tobacco was king". However, he says that is not the case anymore and he is looking for new ways to make a living.
"It is my opinion that in my lifetime hemp will be bigger than tobacco in Kentucky," said Furnish. Furnish and his brothers currently participate in an industrial hemp pilot program that Sen. McConnell cleared the way for back in 2014.
"We are right for it because we have the tobacco infrastructure that no one else has in the world. I've been in 70 countries and I've never seen tobacco barns there, we are full of them and there's no reason we can't fill them up from hemp," said Furnish.
Through that pilot program the state's Department of Agriculture has approved a little more than 12,000 acres to be grown in the state this year. Commissioner Quarles says they also now have 57 hemp processors in the state which is a 20% growth from last year.
"Obviously having the Majority Leader here speaks volumes about the importance of this issue not just for Kentucky but for all of America," said Commissioner Quarles.
The bill is being co-sponsored by US Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) is sponsoring a companion bill in the House.
VIDEO - Why putting a citizenship question on the census is a big deal - CNNPolitics
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:00
But the Trump administration's plan to put a citizenship question back on the US census is a big deal.
Even if talk about polls and statistics usually makes your eyes glaze over, here's why you should pay attention:
The census isn't just an academic exercise. It's the basis for deciding the number of representatives each state gets in Congress and how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed.
Here's a look at the issues at play -- and what's at stake:
Why is this coming up now?
The Justice Department asked officials to add the citizenship question, saying it needed better data on the voting age population to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. In a memo Monday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, whose department runs the census, said he was granting the Justice Department's request.Supporters say this is a common-sense question that simply makes sense to ask.
Critics argue that the Justice Department has other ways to get citizenship data without interfering with the census. They say the change is a political decision aimed at shifting the balance of power -- and that it's no coincidence administration officials made the push to add a question that runs the risk of significantly undercounting immigrant, minority and low-income populations.
What exactly are critics concerned about?
Advocates fear that when undocumented immigrants or people in immigrant families receive the census form in the mail, the citizenship question will stop them from completing and returning it.
Immigrant rights groups say this couldn't come at a worse time, as many in immigrant communities are already losing trust in officials and afraid to answer their doors.
"In the past, the census would always make a big effort to tell people that they don't share their information with other government agencies. I think that's something people will not take too seriously this time," said William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Demographers and other experts -- including several former directors of the census -- have warned that adding a citizenship question could result in reduced response rates and inaccurate answers.In his memo outlining the decision, Ross said he'd weighed concerns about an undercount, but didn't see enough evidence showing that the citizenship question would materially decrease response rates.
"I find that the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweigh fears about a potentially lower response rate," he wrote.
Who is the census supposed to count?
The decennial census is supposed to count everyone who lives in the United States, whether or not they are citizens.
That data is used to calculate all sorts of things, including the number of representatives each state gets in Congress, the number of votes each state gets in the Electoral College and the amount of federal funding local governments get for programs like Medicaid, Head Start and the National School Lunch Program.Are certain geographic areas more likely to lose representatives in Congress or federal funding?
The 2020 census is still years away. And it's too soon to say for certain how things will play out.
But if response rates drop significantly, some states could find themselves losing a House seat or federal funding.
States with large immigrant populations like Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Illinois could be affected, Frey said.
But it's important to note that population trends have shifted in recent years beyond these traditional gateways. Significant growth in immigrant populations has occurred largely in the Southeast, from small towns in rural communities to bigger cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta.
States like Georgia and North Carolina could see an impact, too, Frey said.
What are the political implications of this?
Even before the Commerce Department's announcement, the 2020 census was becoming a political flashpoint.
President Trump's re-election campaign sent an email to supporters last week, endorsing the idea of adding a citizenship question and slamming opponents of the move.
"The President wants the 2020 United States census to ask people whether or not they are citizens. In another era, this would be COMMON SENSE ... but 19 attorneys general said they will fight the President if he dares to ask people if they are citizens. The President wants to know if you're on his side," the email said.
Democratic lawmakers fired back on Tuesday, slamming the administration."Trump is worried about losing power so he's trying to take ours away," California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said on Twitter.
Hasn't this question been on the census before?
Yes, but not since 1950.
For years, however, it has appeared on the American Community Survey, an ongoing sample survey conducted by the Census Bureau.It's no surprise to see census questions shifting with the times, said Margo J. Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
"It was a big deal to ask if someone had a radio in 1930. In 1940, not so much," she said.
Citizenship questions were regularly on the census until 1950. In 1960, they were removed from the list.
"Lots of questions go off the census when they're not very important anymore," Anderson said. "In 1960, we had essentially had very low levels of immigration for 30-35 years. ... There weren't very many new immigrants coming. When you started collecting the data, there wasn't much to find out."
A citizenship question reappeared in 1970 on the long-form questionnaire sent to a sample of households at the time.
"We passed major new immigration legislation in 1965, and so the question became relevant again," Anderson said.
It remained on subsequent long-form questionnaires until they were discontinued after 2000. It became part of the American Community Survey, which the Census Bureau began using to collect more detailed household data in 2005.
So is this a done deal?
Not necessarily.
The state of California immediately challenged the plan, filing a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday. Former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder also blasted the move and said his organization, which focuses on voting enfranchisement and redistricting, would also pursue litigation against what he called an "irresponsible decision."
And some Democratic lawmakers are also trying to block the move in Congress.
This much is clear: With immigration increasingly a political flashpoint and midterm elections looming, debate about this controversial census question is just beginning.
CNN's Tal Kopan, Steve Brusk and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Stabbing rampage at Pa. high school leaves 21 injured - CBS News
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VIDEO - Facebook Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower testimony to U.K. parliament (Pt 2.) March 27, 2018 - YouTube
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:23
VIDEO - Facebook whistleblower says Canadian firm worked on software to find GOP voters - CBS News
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 18:33
Last Updated Mar 27, 2018 9:06 AM EDT
LONDON -- The whistleblower at the heart of the Facebook privacy scandal has testified before British lawmakers investigating the increasing rise of fake news. Christopher Wylie has alleged that Cambridge Analytica harvested details of 50 million Facebook users and used the material in U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.
It is alleged the material made it possible to micro-target users with campaign material.
Wylie told lawmakers on Tuesday that Canadian company AggregateIQ worked on software designed to identify Republican voters ahead of the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
"There's now tangible proof in the public domain that AIQ actually built Ripon, which is the software that utilized the algorithms from the Facebook data," Wylie said.
AggregateIQ told Reuters on Saturday that it had never worked with Cambridge Analytica.
On Tuesday, Cambrige Analytica released a statement, asserting Wylie would have "no direct knowledge of our work or practices" since July 2014.
Meanwhile, the BBC and others reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would not testify before British lawmakers about the scandal. Zuckerberg was instead planning to send his Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox to appear before the U.K. parliamentary committee, according to a letter, seen by various media outlets, sent from Facebook to the British Parliament.
The chair of the investigating committee called Zuckerberg's refusal to appear "absolutely astonishing," and urged him to reconsider.
Asked by one British parliamentarian whether he felt Zuckerberg should appear in London to answer lawmakers' questions, Wylie said, "Well, I'm here. I made my involvement known and have taken my share of responsibility -- and tried to make amends anyway that I can... I've spent, I think, the better part of year trying to work on this. Given the reaction to this story, having a meeting is the least that you can do."
In the U.S., Wylie has agreed to Democrats' requests to testify before and provide documents to the House Intelligence Committee.
Democrats had struck a defiant stance after Republicans' announcement last week. A lawyer for Wylie confirmed to CBS News that Wylie would appear and that the committee had been duly informed of his intention to do so. Committee officials said they were expecting both testimony and documents from Wylie in the coming weeks.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Christopher Wylie testifies on Cambridge Analytica
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 18:33
Markets data delayed by at least 15 minutes. (C) THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2018. FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice.
VIDEO - Christopher Wylie says his predecessor may have been killed | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 18:23
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie has today revealed his predecessor died mysteriously in a Kenyan hotel room - and may have been poisoned.
He said Dan Muresan was working for President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election campaign when he was found dead in 2012 amid reports a deal he was working on went 'sour'.
Giving evidence to the culture select committee of MPs, Mr Wylie told how rumours that Mr Muresan had been killed circulated around the controversial data firm.
And he heard talk the Kenyan police had been bribed not to enter the hotel room for 24 hours in a bid to cover up the possible murder.
He made the explosive comments to a committee of MPs investigating the spread of fake news.
Rumours that the death could have been murder will fuel concerns about Cambridge Analytica and the shady world it operated in.
Scroll down for video
Cambridge Analytica Christopher Wylie has today revealed that his predecessor died mysteriously in a Kenyan hotel room - and may have been poisoned.
Dan Muresan (pictured) was working for President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election campaign when he was found dead in 2012 amid reports a deal he was working on went 'sour', MPs were told
Giving evidence to the culture select committee of MPs today (pictured) Mr Wylie told how rumours that Mr Muresan had been killed circulated around the controversial data firm
He said: 'Cambridge Analytica was working with Kenyan politicians, but because in a lot of African countries if a deal goes wrong you pay for it.
Who was Dan Muresan, the former Cambridge Analytica employee who died in Kenya? Dan Muresan was found dead in 2012 amid suspicious circumstances, Parliament has been told (file pic)
Dan Muresan was Cambridge Analytica's elections chief when he died in mysterious circumstances in 2012.
He had been working for the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's reelection campaign when he died.
Rumours which later surfaced suggested he may have been poisoned after a deal went 'sour'.
Mr Muresan was the only child of Romania's former Agriculture Minister Ioan Avram Muresan, who is now serving a seven year jail stint for corruption.
His family reportedly chose to keep the cause of his death private - a choice Romanian citizens are offered/.
and the results of the postmortem were never revealed publicly.
He studied at the prestigious LSE university before moving to the Us where he got a master's degree in political management from the George Washington University.
He joined Cambridge Analytica working on their elections team and headed up campaigns in various states of south Africa, south-east Asia and eastern Europe.
At the time of his death, Romania's Foreign Ministry told the Bucharest Herald: 'The Romanian citizen was working with a British telecommunications company, being in Kenya for a while.
'He had not yet registered his presence on Kenyan territory with the Romanian diplomatic mission. The same source shows that after the police arrived, the body was taken by an undertaker company for an autopsy.'
'Dan was my predecessor....what I heard was that he was working on some kind of deal of some sort - I'm not sure what.
'The deal went sour.
'People suspected he was poisoned in his hotel room. I also heard that the police had got bribed not to enter the hotel room for 24 hours.'
He added: 'That is what I was told - I was not there so I speak to the veracity of it.'
Mr Wylie said that when he joined Cambridge Analytica in 2012 he did not know the name of his predecessor or what happened to him.
But he asked his colleagues after he could not find a file he was hunting for. It was then that he heard the rumours about the death, MPs were told.
Mr Muresan was the son of former Romanian Agriculture Minister Ioan Avram Muresan, who is now in prison for corruption charges.
His mysterious death made the news in his home country.
According to a report of his death which ran in 2012 in the Bucharest Herald, the 32 year-old had studied at the LSE in London and had coordinated election campaigns in Europe, Africa and the US.
Romania's Foreign Ministry told the Bucharest Herald at the time: 'The Romanian citizen was working with a British telecommunications company, being in Kenya for a while.
'He had not yet registered his presence on Kenyan territory with the Romanian diplomatic mission.
'The same source shows that after the police arrived, the body was taken by an undertaker company for an autopsy.'
Paul-Olivier Dehaye, an IT expert, told the committee: 'My understanding relating back to your predecessor Dan Muresan.
'There are stories that have come out in India'...he was working for Congress apparently according to reports.
'But apparently he was really paid for by an Indian billionaire who actually wanted Congress to loose.
'So he was pretending to work for one party while actually paid by someone else.'
He called for collaboration between the three countries to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr Muresan.
In a lengthy appearance in front of the select committee, Mr Wylie also made more claims about questionable activities carried out by the SCL Group, a strategic communications company linked to CA.
Christopher Wylie (pictured last night with Vote Leave whistleblower Shahmir Sanni) also said that Cambridge Analytica's parent company SCL was involved in the distribution of kompromat during the Nigerian elections in 2015 in an effort to intimidate voters
He claimed that SCL had been involved in a project in Nigeria in 2015 which had involved hacking the private information of Muhammadu Buhari, who was running for president.
Cambridge Analytica's parent company involved in distributing kompromat to intimidate voters in Nigeria, MPs hearCambridge Analytica's parent company was involved in the distribution of kompromat to try to intimate voters in the Nigerian election in 2015, a whistleblower today claimed.
Christopher Wylie said SCL was involved in a project involving the hacking the private information of Muhammadu Buhari, who was running for president.
He claimed AIQ distributed compromising material - known as kompromat - and videos designed of people having their throats slit to intimidate Mr Buhari's supporters.
He told MPs: 'The company utilised the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube.
'Black Cube on the Nigeria project was engaged to hack the now-president Buhari to get access to his medical records and private emails.
'AIQ worked on that project. AIQ was handed material in Nigeria from Cambridge Analytica to distribute online.
'That's distribution of kompromat and of incredibly threatening and violent video content which I've passed on to the committee.
'The videos that AIQ distributed in Nigeria with the sole intent of intimidating voters included content where people were being dismembered, where people were having their throats cut and bled to death in a ditch, they were being burned alive.
'There were incredibly anti-Islamic and threatening messages portraying Muslims as violent.'
Mr Wylie also alleged AIQ had worked on a project in Trinidad & Tobago, which involved attempting to harvest the internet data of the country's entire population.
He said: 'You've got AggregateIQ, who received 40 per cent of Vote Leave's spending, also involved in projects which involved hacked material and kompromat and distributing violent videos of people being bled to death to intimidate voters.
'This is the company that played an incredibly pivotal role in politics here.'
In a statement issued after the hearing, Black Cube said it has always operated within the law.
It said: 'Whilst we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie's testimony is a flagrant lie.
'We categorically declare that neither Black Cube, nor any of its affiliates and subsidiaries, have ever worked for, or engaged with, SCL, Cambridge Analytica, or any of their affiliates and subsidiaries.
'Black Cube has never operated in Nigeria nor has it worked on any project connected to Nigeria, and none of its employees have ever set foot in Nigeria.
'Black Cube will investigate this claim on a pro bono basis, and will reveal the truth and the motive behind Wylie's defamatory lie.'
They also threatened to sue Mr Wylie.
And he claimed AIQ had distributed compromising material - known as kompromat - and videos designed to intimidate Mr Buhari's supporters.
He said: 'The company utilised the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube.
'Black Cube on the Nigeria project was engaged to hack the now-president Buhari to get access to his medical records and private emails.
'AIQ worked on that project. AIQ was handed material in Nigeria from Cambridge Analytica to distribute online.
'That's distribution of kompromat and of incredibly threatening and violent video content which I've passed on to the committee.
'The videos that AIQ distributed in Nigeria with the sole intent of intimidating voters included content where people were being dismembered, where people were having their throats cut and bled to death in a ditch, they were being burned alive.
'There were incredibly anti-Islamic and threatening messages portraying Muslims as violent.'
In a statement issued after the hearing, Black Cube said it has always operated within the law.
It said: 'Whilst we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie's testimony is a flagrant lie.
'We categorically declare that neither Black Cube, nor any of its affiliates and subsidiaries, have ever worked for, or engaged with, SCL, Cambridge Analytica, or any of their affiliates and subsidiaries.
'Black Cube has never operated in Nigeria nor has it worked on any project connected to Nigeria, and none of its employees have ever set foot in Nigeria.
'Black Cube will investigate this claim on a pro bono basis, and will reveal the truth and the motive behind Wylie's defamatory lie.'
They also threatened to sue Mr Wylie.
in his evidence, Mr Wylie also alleged that AIQ had worked on a project in Trinidad & Tobago, which involved attempting to harvest the internet data of the country's entire population.
He said: 'You've got AggregateIQ, who received 40 per cent of Vote Leave's spending, also involved in projects which involved hacked material and kompromat and distributing violent videos of people being bled to death to intimidate voters.
'This is the company that played an incredibly pivotal role in politics here.
'Something that I would strongly recommend to the committee would be that they push the authorities here and give them the support they need to investigate this company.'
He said that SCL would help politicians win elections in African countries so it could use its influence to broker commercial deals and line their pockets.
Describing how SCL operates, Mr Wylie said: 'You can be a colonial master in these was very much like a privatized colonial operation'
He also revealed more details about the characters behind Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group.
He said that Alexander Nix, CA's chief executive, set up a fake office in Cambridge in a bid to woo Steve Bannon - Donald Trump's former chief strategist, who was more at home speaking to students than sitting in the firm's plush Mayfair offices.
He also revealed that Mr Nix was very wealthy.
He said: 'You have to remember that a lot of these people are very wealthy already.
'Alexander Nix in particular - there was one time when we were running late because he had to pick up a £200,000 chandelier.
'These are people who don't need to make a lot of money, but the thing that I learned is that for certain wealthy people, they need something to keep them occupied and they need projects.
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson (pictured after David Cameron announced he was resigning after losing the Brexit referendum) were the leading faces of the Vote Leave campaign
Mr Wylie told MPs that Vote Leave strategist Dominic Cummings (pictured) cheated election spending rules in the referendum by telling other organisations how to spend their money
'Going into the developing world and running a country is something that appeals to them.'
Cambridge Analytica has been plunged into controversy after Mr Wylie blew the whistle on claims that it harvested data from 50 million Facebook users without getting their permission.
My Wylie told MPs that thought Mr Nix was 'exceptionally misleading' in his evidence to the committee adding: 'Not just misleading but dishonest.'
He also accused Dominic Cummings, the strategist at Vote Leave who is credited with masterminding the victory, of finding ways of cheating in the Brexit referendum.
Mr Wylie said he found ways to bust spending limits by telling other Brexit backing organisations including BeLeave to used their money to pay for a digital advertising blitz by AIQ.
He said: 'This is cheating....if you cheat on an exam you get a fail if you chat on the Olympics you lose your medal. You should not win by cheating.'
He added: 'There could have been a different outcome in the referendum had there not been cheating.'
He said Cambridge Analyica is not a legitimate firm and that 'no good' has come from it.
VIDEO - Bill Clinton Tells Vet to Shut Up... Watch What Happens Next
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 18:20
Bill Clinton showed his true colors back when he was campaigning for his wife in South Carolina and we should never forget that. There is no doubt he has no respect for those who serve in our military.
A former Marine drill sergeant asked Clinton about the VA's serious issues with providing veterans medical care. The former president seemed interested in what the man had to say.
But, Clinton's hostility came out when the veteran asked about Benghazi. He tried to bully the veteran into shutting up. Hillary's poor leadership helped cause the deaths of four Americans. They needed to keep average voters from hearing this.
Bill Clinton yelled at the Marine, ''Shut up and listen!'' What a disgusting way to speak to someone who served our country!
Disgustingly, the crowd of Democrats began booing the Marine. They booed a veteran who served our country who was asking about four Americans who were murdered overseas! They don't care about our military!
''I'm not your Commander In Chief anymore, but if I were I'd tell you to be polite and sit down,'' Clinton said. The Marine replied, ''I wouldn't listen! I would just raise my voice!''
The veteran was removed from the event by security. Someone who actually served our country was silenced and physically removed for Hillary Clinton's benefit. He continued speaking as he was being escorted out.
Bill Clinton showed how desperate they were to cover up the blood on Hillary's hands. He told the crowd, ''His mind has been poisoned by lies, and he won't listen.''
Unbelievable. They didn't even try to cover up their attempt to silence people on Benghazi. Anyone who speaks the truth is called a liar. And the media won't challenge the Clintons on it.
The next time the Clintons take a photo op with veterans or anyone in the military, remember how Bill treated this Marine.
You can see the full video below.
How would you have reacted if you were at this event? Please share your thoughts.
H/T: Q Political
VIDEO - Spank Trump's Rump - YouTube
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:24
VIDEO - CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Wild sideshow on Bay Bridge | KRON4 | KRON4
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:03
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - A wild sideshow on the Bay Bridge caused quite a stir over the weekend.
Cellphone video captured a sideshow that brought traffic to a dead stop on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge.
People KRON4 spoke with tell us that while they recognize sideshows are a very unique part of Bay Area culture, doing it on the bridge is raising some concerns.
"I definitely think that it should be mentioned that safety is a big issue with sideshows," Stacey Ditta said. "However, it has been a part of Bay Area culture as long as I can recall."
"Yeah, they are a part of Bay Area culture, but they are dangerous," Shawn Kashef added. "This video, they are on the bridge. That's crazy."
He calls sideshows on the Bay Bridge crazy.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Wild sideshow on...However, the California Highway Patrol says they're not unusual.
California Highway Patrol officer Robert Nacke agrees that sideshows are dangerous. In fact he says the passengers leaning outside of the windows could have been ejected if the driver lost control of the vehicle
"Absolutely, you got a lot of different things in play," Sgt. Robert Nacke said. "You got people operating vehicles on the edge of their performance envelope, you got stuff on the roadway. We know our Bay Area roads need some work. Obviously, we got stuff getting kicked up, but you're also risking the lives of people there participating, so the CHP takes it very seriously."
Observers tell KRON4 dozens of vehicles took part in stopping traffic on the Bay Bridge, allowing the sideshow to happen.
CHP officials say although it may be frustrating waiting for a sideshow to end, they recommend drivers stay in their vehicles until it is safe to continue driving.
VIDEO - American who escaped Al Qaeda captivity says FBI, under Mueller and Comey, betrayed him | Fox News
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 12:58
EXCLUSIVE '' After he escaped from Al Qaeda in Syria, American photojournalist Matt Schrier investigated his own kidnapping and uncovered what he describes as a pattern of "betrayal" by FBI agents handling his case.
Schrier is now asking hard questions of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who now leads the special counsel Russia probe, and former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May 2017.
"Not every FBI agent is bad. Some are very good people," Schrier told Fox News. "But the ones that are bad need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad, and who turn their head, need to be exposed."
In an exclusive cable interview that first aired Monday on "The Story" with Martha MacCallum, Schrier went in depth, sharing emails, financial records and formal letters of complaint, which backed up allegations that after he was taken hostage in 2012, the FBI monitored his accounts as Al Qaeda terrorists used his money to buy at least a dozen computers and tablets.
While he was tortured and held by al Nusra, the brutal Al Qaeda franchise in Syria, Schrier claimed the FBI put intelligence gathering ahead of his personal security, hoping to track the computers and tablets to learn more about Al Qaeda recruits and future plots. After his harrowing escape, Schrier started demanding answers from the FBI, which at the time of his kidnapping was led by Mueller.
Photojournalist Matt Schrier, seen before his abduction in 2012.
Since his return to the U.S. in mid-2013, Schrier shared documents with Fox News and explained, "I faxed-- I emailed them, probably between my mother and my father and me, between 50 and 100 complaints."
Comey took over from Mueller in September 2013, and Schrier said the stonewalling continued. "I was emailing him questions. I was forwarding him all these emails. I was demanding answers from him," Schrier said. "And I never got anything back."
Schrier said he has been unable to obtain credit cards or open new bank accounts because Al Qaeda stole his identity and passwords. Unable to get a lease for an apartment, Schrier said his FBI case manager suggested he temporarily live in a New York City homeless shelter.
"I just got clean clothes without bed bugs. I don't want to go through a situation where I have to deal with lice and bed bugs again. Like, no thank you."
The publisher for Comey's upcoming book, A Higher Loyalty, did not immediately respond to Fox News' questions. The Office of the Special Counsel referred Fox News to the FBI. The FBI did not dispute Schrier's account. An FBI spokesperson said the bureau could neither respond to specific questions nor make the agent assigned to Schrier's case available for an interview.
"The FBI's investigation into the kidnapping of Matthew Schrier remains open, therefore, we are not able to discuss investigative details surrounding this case. The FBI works closely with our federal partners not only to ensure that the U.S. Government does all that it can to safely recover Americans taken hostage overseas but to also assist victims who have been defrauded or further abused by a hostage-taker," the spokesperson said.
Schrier said the stonewalling continued after James Comey, seen here, took over the FBI. (AP, File)
A leading group that helps American hostages and their families, Hostage US, confirmed 2012 and 2013 represented a dark period.
"By the U.S. government's own admission, there were many problems relating to their engagement with families around this time, mixed messages from different parts of government," Hostage US CEO Rachel Briggs told Fox News. "President Obama ordered a review of the U.S. government's handling of hostages' cases in late 2014, which... led to a range of policy and procedural changes. The review came about largely because families themselves were vocal in their criticisms, and they should take the credit for the changes they brought about."
Briggs cited a new Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell -- a cross-government unit focused on hostage cases, as well as a Hostage Response Group at the National Security Council.
Schrier's story began in 2012 when, as a freelance photographer, he traveled to Syria, one of the most dangerous places on the planet for journalists to operate. Schrier said he wanted to witness history.
"I love military history and I'm not really the type who wants to photograph handshakes. So I thought it would be a great experience witnessing history, photographing history, bringing it back," Schrier explained.
Robert Mueller, seen here, served as FBI director at the time Schrier was kidnapped. (AP, File)
On New Year's Eve of 2012, instead of crossing back into Turkey, Schrier was kidnapped by the Al Qaeda franchise known as al Nusra. "ISIS pushed them out, but at that time, they were number one," Schrier said. "They were the guys you did not want to be held by."
Schrier spent the next seven months held in six prisons across Syria where he was routinely tortured and starved. "They caught me trying to escape a month and six days in, so they put a tire around my knees and they lock it in place by sliding a bar in the crook between the tire and your knee -- the back of your knees. And they flip you over so your feet are in the air and you're handcuffed... And they take a cable... about as thick as nightstick, and they whack your feet."
Six weeks after his disappearance, records reviewed by Fox News showed 10 computers were purchased using his accounts, after Schrier said his Al Qaeda kidnappers threatened him. "They sat me down in the office in a circle with the emir, three Canadians and another guy. And they put a piece of paper in front of me and said, basically, 'Write down all the passwords for every account you have, from Facebook to your credit cards to your bank accounts, we want your social security number.'"
At least two tablets were shipped to a Canadian address. Fox News called phone numbers listed under the name and address but there was no response. A February 2017 email reviewed by Fox News from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suggested a criminal case was being built, but there was no public evidence charges were pursued.
By February 2013, Schrier said the terrorists had everything to steal his identity. "They bought laptops, they bought tablets, they bought boots, you know, things to fight with. They practically rebuilt a Mercedes with parts. I mean, all sorts of stuff... They bought a Kama Sutra guide. They bought sunglasses, cologne."
At the same time, Schrier claimed the FBI was monitoring the transactions, and the bureau's point person for his family, agent Lindsey Perotti, misled his mother. Six months into his captivity, the FBI agent wrote Schrier's mother, "Everything at this point seems to indicate he is the one using his phone, credit card, and bank account." Despite working as a freelance war photographer, Schrier had not posted any new work.
"I'd been kept in the dark for extremely long periods of times, I'm infested with bedbugs," Schrier said. "Yet, according to the FBI, I'm speaking to people on my cellphone, I'm buying laptops and cologne and boots and sunglasses, maybe going into Turkey once in a while to get away from things, you know, just like all jihadis do, you know. 'Cause Southern Turkey's like the Hamptons, you know?"
Matt Schrier, left, in Azaz, Syria.
Schrier, from New York, hid the fact he was Jewish from his captors because he said it meant certain death.
Two intelligence officers, one current, the other former, told Fox News that Schrier's theory -- that the FBI was tracking Al Qaeda's online activity with his accounts, as well as the computer purchases -- suggested it was part of a larger operation.
"So they're monitoring my financial records straight off the bat. They're letting them steal this money. Why are they letting them steal the money, what's the angle? Well, what are they buying? They're buying laptops and tablets. If they intercept them, they do their little spy thing and then they deliver them right into the hands of Al Qaeda and they create, basically, a dream come true for the intelligence community, a way to infiltrate the enemy like never before, without them even knowing it," Schrier said.
He claimed the FBI's priority was running an intelligence operation and not an investigation to secure his release. Pressed by Fox News to back up the serious allegation, Schrier said, "Beyond a reasonable doubt, I have all the evidence, I have made one attempt after another to have this investigated so that the people responsible can be held accountable, nobody will return my calls, nobody will investigate this, despite all the evidence."
Halfway through his captivity, by April 2013, there was a conversation between FBI agent Perotti and a government official familiar with the case.
"He's like, 'Do you think that he joined them? Like, what's going on?' She's like, 'No, no, no. We're pretty sure he didn't join 'em based on his financial records.' Boom, she slipped. She admitted she was monitoring my financial records as of early April," Schrier said.
A government official backed up the account to Fox News.
Schrier said "bad" FBI agents "need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad, and who turn their head, need to be exposed."
Nearly five years after a harrowing escape, Schrier documented his story in a new book, "The Dawn Prayer."
The 39-year-old Schrier said he remained angry at how the FBI handled his case. "You know, what I needed help with was reestablishing a life for myself, which means a new social security number and rebuilding my credit."
Schrier emphasized that he still couldn't get a credit card though he was able eventuallly to recover more than $16,000 in stolen funds through PayPal and Citibank, but it took months. "You have the Witness Protection Program, you give new social security numbers to murderers and pimps and drug dealers. I'm a witness too and I didn't do any of that stuff. 'No -- can't help you.'"
After he returned, Schrier described a debrief for the FBI and CIA. The CIA had no comment for Fox News.
"I gave them more information than probably 50 informants could've given 'em. And that's when I went from feeling like, 'All right, I don't deserve anything,' to, 'You know what, yeah, yeah I deserve some things. I deserve a new social security number, I deserve decent health care, I deserve to be treated with respect.' I didn't ask for anything. I gave them Skype names, I gave them more than anyone in my situation has ever given them. I can say that definitively. And what I got in return was lies, betrayal, nothing," Schrier said.
An FBI spokesperson added, "The FBI offers assistance to victims to aid them in rebuilding their lives. We continue to work with our interagency and international law enforcement partners to gather intelligence as well as assess the possibility of bringing charges against those who victimized Mr. Schrier."
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
VIDEO - Sneak peek: 39 Days - a CBS News Special - YouTube
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:59
VIDEO - Student Hasn't Stopped Filming Since Florida School Shooting | Time
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:58
David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, knows what gunshots sound like: His father worked in law enforcement, and taught him about weapons and how to handle them. So when Hogg heard a ''pop'' while sitting in an AP environmental science class around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, he told his teacher it sounded strangely like a gunshot. But there had been a fire drill that very morning and talk of a ''Code Red'' exercise to prepare for an active shooter. This must just be a surprise drill, he reasoned.
And then the fire alarm sounded. Dutifully acting on it, Hogg and other students tried to exit the building. A janitor'--Hogg doesn't know his name but calls him an angel'--knew where the shots were coming from and sent the students back. Then a culinary arts teacher, Ashley Kurth, pulled Hogg and others inside, locked the door, and made them hide in a closet. Checking Twitter and Instagram, Hogg'--who's an editor at the school's TV station'--found the news that the shooting was real and ongoing.
The shots continued for what felt like an eternity. Hogg considered the possibility that he would not live to see the end of the day.
''While I was in there, I thought, 'What impact have I had? What will my story be if I die here?''' Hogg told TIME in the hours following the ordeal. ''And the only thing I could think of was, pull out my camera and try telling others. As a student journalist, as an aspiring journalist, that's all I could think: Get other people's stories on tape. If we all die, the camera survives, and that's how we get the message out there, about how we want change to be brought about.''
In the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting, in which at least 17 were killed and more than a dozen others wounded, that cry for change is echoing across this normally quiet, almost bucolic Florida community of 30,000 on the edge of the Everglades, which draws residents seeking sprawling homes and room to run horses. It's being heard across Broward County, whose sheriff, Scott Israel, is prodding Florida officials to provide more funding for mental health, as well as laws that would prevent a person with psychological problems from being able to legally acquire a gun. And it's becoming a rallying cry for people here and across the U.S. who are wondering what, if anything, changes from one mass shooting to the next.
''When do we say, that's not acceptable, something has to change?'' asked Hogg, 17, his voice breaking.
Hogg's sister Lauren, a freshman at the high school, is fearing the worst: one of her friends had still not been located late Thursday. Nikolas Cruz, the suspect who has been charged with 17 counts of murder, had been expelled from the school a year ago and appears to have targeted a building full of ninth-graders.
RELATED VIDEO: Florida Shooting Survivor Calls for ActionWill Gilroy is one of the freshmen who escaped the gunman's wrath. He is still waiting for word about classmates that haven't been located. Like Hogg, Gilroy thought the shooting wasn't real at first. But then he heard the sirens. He listened to his teacher's orders and crowded into a closet with about 20 others. He was in there, he says, for about an hour.
''It was hot in there. We were packed in tight,'' he told TIME. ''Some students were crying. The teacher had paper plates and we used them to fan ourselves.'' Inside the closet Gilroy began texting with his mother, Kristi Gilroy, who teaches second and third grade in at Country Hills Elementary just down the road. She too was on lockdown, with kids who stayed for after-school ccare. She was relieved to know her only son was alive. But the shooter was still at large. Cruz was eventually caught just down the road from their house, trying to escape with the rest of the crowd.
''My husband is ex-military, so it's not like we're anti-gun. But an AR-15?'' Kristi Gilroy said. ''You tell me, how big of a gun does a person need?'' Douglas is closed for the rest of the week as teens and teachers struggle to make sense of the carnage. But Kristi Gilroy faces the difficult job of going back to school Thursday, waiting for news of the dead and injured, which might, she feared, include children she'd taught when they were younger.
The usual questions arose Thursday about whether it was too soon to talk about gun control. Some local officials seemed ready to toss out the oft-heard script, the prayers for families and praise for first responders. ''Now, now is the time for this country to have a conversation about sensible gun control laws in this country,'' Broward County School Superintendent Robert W. Runcie told reporters. ''Our students are asking for that.''
President Trump spoke Thursday morning, taking on the grim task of comforter-in-chief, but offering no specific proposals.
''To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain,'' Trump said. ''We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.''
Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking to reporters on Thursday, said that she'd been sitting with parents until 3:30 a.m. ''Having to tell parents that a child, 14 years old, is dead, is the hardest thing you have to do in your career,'' she said, her eyes full of tears.
To some, however, words of comfort won't be enough. ''When do we actually stand up? I think it's the time that we all stand up,'' Hogg demanded. ''If you don't call your Congressman and do it again and again and not give up, it's going to be your child that's next. And that's horrifying.''
Meanwhile, Parkland waits. Waits for the names of the innocent who were gunned down before they could graduate, or in some cases, finish the ninth grade. Waits for news of funeral arrangements for a beloved football coach and security guard. Waits to hear if the children still in the hospital pull will through. Waits for someone to convince their teenagers that it's okay to go back to school, that they're safe, and that nothing like this will happen again.
VIDEO - Orlando Nightclub Shooter's Father Was FBI Informant, His Widow's Lawyers Say : The Two-Way : NPR
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:49
Seddique Mir Mateen, father of Omar Mateen, speaks with reporters in Fort Pierce, Fla., in 2016. Alan Diaz/APhide caption
toggle captionAlan Diaz/AP Seddique Mir Mateen, father of Omar Mateen, speaks with reporters in Fort Pierce, Fla., in 2016.
Alan Diaz/AP Updated at 6 p.m. ET
Seddique Mateen, the father of the man behind the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre, worked with the FBI as a confidential informant for more than a decade leading right up to the shooting, according to attorneys for the shooter's widow.
The defense team revealed the information in a motion filed just hours before calling their first witness on behalf of Noor Salman, who stands accused of aiding her husband, Omar Mateen, and obstructing state and local investigations. The attorneys argued that the case should be dismissed or declared a mistrial because prosecutors waited until Saturday '-- days after prosecution rested its case and nearly two weeks after the trial began '-- to acknowledge the shared history between Seddique Mateen and federal law enforcement.
U.S. District Judge Paul Byron denied that motion later Monday.
In the disclosure emailed to the defense Saturday, prosecutor Sara Sweeney said Mateen served as an informant "at various points" between January 2005 and June 2016. The note also revealed that the FBI launched an investigation of the elder Mateen after finding evidence he made money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan in the months leading up to the shooting.
These previous omissions "have placed Ms. Salman, the jury, and this Court in a dark wood where the search for truth has been thwarted," the motion states. "It is apparent from the Government's belated disclosure that Ms. Salman has been defending a case without a complete set of facts and evidence that the Government was required to disclose."
Defense attorneys argued that this evidence '-- which they say must be disclosed if it could impact the case, citing legal precedent '-- would have substantially changed their arguments in court. Specifically, they questioned whether the father had foreknowledge of Omar Mateen's attack and whether he "played a significant role" in the FBI's decisions to drop its investigations of his son in 2013 and 2014.
Immediately after the June 2016 massacre, which left Omar Mateen and his 49 victims dead at the club, Seddique Mateen condemned his son's actions on multiple media outlets.
"I apologize for what my son did. I don't know why he did it," he told NBC News at the time. "He is dead, so I can't ask him. I wish I knew."
The defense's case proceeded in the courtroom Monday as several witnesses took the stand. They argue that Salman, the sole person charged in connection with her dead husband's rampage, was a "simple woman" with a low IQ, easily influenced and badly abused by Omar Mateen '-- and, they assert, utterly ignorant of his violent designs on the club.
Closing arguments are expected later this week.
VIDEO - CNN's Van Jones Admits 'liberals Waste So Much Time Freaking Out About Trump' | Brutalist
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 23:48
CNN's Van Jones made a rare salient point on a Sunday broadcast, admitting that those on the left spend every waking minute ''freaking out'' about President Trump and have lost all perspective of when and when not to be outraged.
Jones was partaking in a panel on CNN's ''State of the Union''. When the discussion turned to Trump reshuffling his administration, host Brianna Keilar suggested that Trump was acting in order to distract from the Stormy Daniels gossip, as well as claims of Karen McDougal, a former playboy model.
CNN, bringing the conspiracy theories, as usual.
But Jones wasn't buying it.
''I just have to say, liberals and progressives spend so much time freaking out about every tweet, everything that Donald Trump does,'' Jones said.
Jones then suggested that the focus point of the changes to the Trump administration should be the track record of ''warmongers'' like John Bolton, who has advocated ''preemptive nuclear strikes'' against North Korea and Iran.
''Every day is armageddon, that then when somebody comes in who might bring us armageddon, we're out of adjectives,'' Jones noted, again referring to the constant autistic screeching of anti-Trumpers.
''I think Bolton is very dangerous, and I think we've exhausted ourself on everything else,'' Jones said, adding that ''This is a very important development in our country.''
VIDEO - Pulse gunman's father was an FBI informant under criminal investigation, attorneys say - CNN
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:01
According to a motion filed by the defense, Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney sent an email to the defense on Saturday -- in the middle of Salman's trial -- that stated Seddique Mateen was a confidential FBI source at various points in time between January 2005 through June 2016.
The email also stated that Seddique Mateen is being investigated for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan after documents were found in his home on June 12, 2016, the day of the Pulse attack. The dates of the money transfers were between March 16, 2016 and June 5, 2016, according to the email.
The revelation threatens to upend the case against Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen who is on trial for charges related to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016. Salman's defense attorneys say the failure to disclose this information earlier violated her due process rights, and they argue that they would have taken a different legal strategy if they had known about this earlier.Salman faces charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction for justice, as prosecutors say she knew about the coming massacre. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and her defense team has cast her as a victim rather than an accomplice.
The defense began its case today. The judge said in court Monday that he will take up the defense's motion this evening.
Defense attorneys criticize failure to disclose
Prosecutors informed Salman's counsel about Seddique Mateen's FBI status on Saturday -- more than a week after the trial began and after the prosecution rested its case.
"I have just received authorization to disclose the following information about Seddique Mateen," the email says, according to the defense motion. "If you should call S. Mateen to the stand, the government will not seek to elicit any of this information from him."
In addition, an anonymous tip on November 1, 2012 indicated Seddique Mateen was seeking to raise $50,000 to $100,000 via a donation drive to contribute toward an attack against the government of Pakistan, according to the email included in the defense motion.
Defense attorneys argued the late revelation is unconstitutional, citing the 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland. The Brady case ruled that prosecutors must turn over evidence that could be favorable to the accused over to the defense.
"It is apparent from the Government's belated disclosure that Ms. Salman has been defending a case without a complete set of facts and evidence that the Government was required to disclose," her attorneys write.
The attorneys further write that if they had known about Seddique Mateen's FBI status, they may have argued one of two theories with "strong support," they write.
"1) Omar Mateen and his father, rather than Ms. Salman, conspired to support ISIS; or 2) the FBI's focus on Ms. Salman was based on its own motive to avoid responsibility for its failures with its own informant, Seddique Mateen, as well as his son," Salman's attorneys write.
Seddique Mateen was on the prosecution's witness list, but was not called to testify in the trial.
Father spoke to CNN in 2016
Seddique Mateen spoke to CNN's Don Lemon in the days after the killing and said he was "shocked" to learn that his son gunned down 49 people at Pulse nightclub."I'm as shocked as you are because I didn't notice, as I said always in the past two days, I didn't notice anything, irregular behavior on his part or emotional behavior on his part," Seddique Mateen said. "He didn't get my attention just being not normal. If I did notice that, I would have (taken) care of him myself, I would have called law enforcement."
Seddique Mateen is originally from Afghanistan, according to US officials. He told CNN his son had been attentive to his work, his family and made regular visits to the family prior to the shooting."His act was a terror act, but as far him being a terrorist. I'm not aware of," Seddique Mateen said. "This is the worst thing that can happen for a father to see a son act like this."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the destination of money transfers for which Seddique Mateen is under investigation. The transfers were made to Turkey and Afghanistan.
CNN's Daniel Shepherd contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Protesters say ban assault weapons'...whatever they are - YouTube
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:57
VIDEO - CSPAN Guests Attack Infowars / Alex Jones On Gay Frogs - YouTube
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:27
VIDEO - Student Admits To Bullying Florida School Gunman And Says She Was Justified In Doing So!?!? - YouTube
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:12
VIDEO - Media Watch: White privilege outrage (26/03/2018)
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:01
But now to a story that is almost as stupid. Here's the promo for Friday night's Today Tonight in Adelaide:
ANNOUNCER: Having to apologise for being white.
GRAEME HAYCROFT: I think it's a disgrace.
ANNOUNCER: Nurses told to say sorry before treating Aborigines.
GRAEME HAYCROFT: You have real consequences.
ANNOUNCER: Politically correct or risk dismissal.
'-- Channel Seven, Today Tonight promo, 22 March, 2018
And those crazy claims weren't just on Seven. The trusty Daily Mail had them the day before:
Racist to its core. Outrage as nurses are subject to a new code where they must announce their 'white privilege' before treating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
'-- Daily Mail, 21 March, 2018
Is it April Fool's Day, I hear you ask? No, that's still a week away.
So where did it come from?
Take a bow Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott's former chief of staff, who told her Sky News viewers on Wednesday it was a story she ''almost can't believe''.
At least she got that bit right. She then went on to ask her guest:
PETA CREDLIN: Please tell me I'm wrong. As I understand it, this new code of conduct for nurses in Queensland requires obviously white nurses to announce they've got white privilege before they can look after patients of an Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander background. Am I right there?
'-- Sky News, Credlin, 21 March, 2018
And back came the answer from Graeme Haycroft of Queensland nurses' association the NPAQ:
GRAEME HAYCROFT: Yes, you are, except that it's not just Queensland, Peta, it's all of Australia, there's 350,000 nurses and midwives Australia-wide and they're all now subject to this new code.
'-- Sky News, Credlin, 21 March, 2018
So, is the story true? Well no. Although there is some basis to it.
There IS a new code for nurses and midwives, which came into effect this month, and it does talk about Indigenous patients, and the glossary does say this about white privilege:
GRAEME HAYCROFT: In relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, cultural safety provides a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgement of white privilege.
'-- Sky News, Credlin, 21 March, 2018
Now you might think that is pretty barmy stuff. But, the glossary is not the code that nurses must adhere to.
And nurses are not required, forced or even encouraged to announce their white privilege to patients before treating them, or indeed at all.
Yet that crazy claim has been gathering strength for weeks. Ever since Cory Bernardi first made it in January in his, quote, ''Weekly Dose of Common Sense'', where he dubbed it ''medical Marxism'' and claimed the code says:
Nurses must acknowledge white privilege and voice this acknowledgment if asked '...
'-- Senator Cory Bernardi's Weekly Dose of Common Sense, 31 January, 2018
True to form, The Daily Telegraph was first to seize on the story. Then, a few weeks later the Cairns Post cranked it up.
And last week the Daily Mail and followed the Credlin interview by revving it up again.
At which point Andrew Bolt and Chris Smith joined the fun:
ANDREW BOLT: What about if they're just within seconds of dying and the nurse has to fling themselves into action, but they have to stop, before, while they just announce their white privilege, oh too late.
CHRIS SMITH : Please keep your heart beating for one more beat, because sir I need to talk to you about my white privilege.
'-- 2GB, The Chris Smith Show, 22 March, 2018
Hilarious, eh?
So, who is driving all this outrage?
Answer: Credlin's interviewee, Graeme Haycroft, founder of the breakaway union, the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, which represents around 2500 '' yes, 2500 '' of Australia's 390,000 nurses and midwives.
Now Haycroft is not a nurse but a labour hire millionaire, who's made his fortune busting unions. He's also a former bigwig in the LNP, and a member of the fiercely anti-union HR Nicholls Society.
And he's been spreading fear about the code to anyone who'll listen, like the inimitable John Mackenzie, or Macca, on Cairns' 4CA:
JOHN MACKENZIE: '... When this issue emerged, everyone thought it was a practical joke. But it's far from a practical joke, isn't it?
GRAEME HAYCROFT: Well, yes, it's worse than that. It's an insidious form of racism and '... it's going to end up with a form of apartheid in the health system.
'-- Classic Hits 4CA, Mornings with John MacKenzie, 7 March, 2018
And a couple of weeks before that, Graeme Haycroft was getting 2GB's Michael McLaren in Sydney equally riled up:
MICHAEL MCLAREN: This all sounds ridiculous to me. What the hell is cultural safety? No one's ever heard of it.
'-- 2GB, Overnight with Michael McLaren, 13 March, 2018
So, what is cultural safety? Well, according to that new code from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia:
Rather than saying 'I provide the same care to everyone regardless of difference,' cultural safety means providing care that takes into account Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples' needs.
'-- Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia code of conduct for nurses and code of conduct for midwives, March, 2018
Doesn't sound too bad, you might think. But Haycroft '' who's using the issue to rally support for his union '' claims the code will see nurses lose their jobs. And here is how:
GRAEME HAYCROFT: If you've got an Aboriginal or Indigenous patient and they don't like the bedside manner of the nurse because the nurse is not acknowledging her white privilege, if she happens to be white, then a complaint can be lodged and there's no defence.
'-- 2GB, Overnight with Michael McLaren, 13 March, 2018
So, is that true? Well, no again, at least according to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, who drew up the code:
MEDIA WATCH: Are nurses encouraged to announce their 'white privilege' before treating indigenous patients?
MEDIA WATCH: Is there any requirement to acknowledge or announce 'white privilege' before treating a patient?
MEDIA WATCH: Can a nurse be sacked for NOT declaring or addressing their 'white privilege' to a patient?
NMBA: No. The recent criticisms from Mr Haycroft are based on completely untrue statements.
'-- Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia, 23 March, 2018
Graeme Haycroft told Media Watch he stands by his claims, and no doubt he'll be encouraged to keep on repeating them by conservative commentators who'd love to believe they're true.
But they are not. And he should not be allowed to make the claims unchallenged.
Read a statement from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Read a response to Media Watch from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
VIDEO - MHDC 2018 '' Live Stream! |
Sun, 25 Mar 2018 15:58
The official MHDC AV team will be streaming the conference live this weekend, so people not able to attend in person can still watch. We will be using YouTube and plan on having the cameras live by 8:45am when Scott-N7SS kicks things off. I'll be monitoring the chat room during the day, so if someone watching remotely would like to ask questions, you will still be able to.
I will do my best to post the slides for each talk prior to the talk starting, so you can follow along remotely.
Kenny, KU7M
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