1040: Pardon Me

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 52m
June 7th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Anonymous in Norcal, Sir Marcellus, Tiffany Fiedler

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Don Silva, Mike Sabers

Cover Artist: Scott Williams


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Ieder huisje heeft z'n kruisje
Unemployment Day | San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:03
Unemployed? Enjoy A Day At The Fair
Free admission for unemployed on June 13
If you are currently unemployed, you can receive two free admission tickets on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Present a current EDD debit card or form dated no earlier than July 1, 2017, at the Will Call booth at the O'Brien Gate.
What's Happening June 13
talk about south korean guy at whole foods and reunification
Tmobile Digits
WhatsApp fiasco
whole foods in the amazon prime app
Simon Cowell not used mobile phone in 10 months and might sell Britain's Got Talent to BBC | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:40
Music mogul, 58, confessed he switched off for the sake of his mental health He also revealed he is considering letting the BBC buy Britain's Got TalentAlso discussed his son Eric, four, who he bans from watching screens too much ByKatie Hind For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 17:00 EDT, 2 June 2018 | Updated: 19:11 EDT, 2 June 2018
His phone book is crammed with numbers of the rich and famous.
But if any of the A-listers try to call Simon Cowell, he won't answer '' because his mobile is off. And it has been for ten months.
In an astonishing confession, the television mogul revealed he had become so distracted and irritated by his phone that he made himself uncontactable for the sake of his mental health and happiness.
He told The Mail on Sunday: 'I literally have not been on my phone for ten months.
Simon Cowell has confessed he has not used his mobile phone in 10 months for the sake of his 'mental health and happiness'
'The difference it made was that I became more aware of the people around me and way more focused.
'The thing I get irritated with is when you have a meeting everyone's on their phone '' and I was probably in that place too. You can't concentrate.
'It has been so good for my mental health. It's a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made me happier.'
The 58-year-old '' who recently struck his first deal with the BBC by selling it the rights to contest The Greatest Dancer '' also revealed he is considering an offer from the Corporation to buy Britain's Got Talent.
Speaking ahead of tonight's BGT final, he said: 'You always wonder if the show would work better on the BBC. I have thought about that a lot recently.'
He is also thinking about how to boost TV audiences, and credits his four-year-old son, Eric, with helping in his quest.
The star limits the time his son is allowed to spend on his iPad and instead sits with him to watch TV shows.
'When you talk to a lot of TV people they always talk about this 18-34 demographic, I'm more interested in bringing in the very young viewers, like Eric's age, because if you get them watching television, they will hopefully keep watching it.
'That's what we need to do to ensure the future of television.'
Cowell (pictured far right on Britain's Got Talent this week) also admitted he is considering selling the talent show to the BBC
Apple iOS has new features to limit phone use -
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:29
More and more people are worried about the detrimental effects of long-term significant phone use, something that has been linked to loneliness and depression .
At its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple ( AAPL ) rolled out a new, long-awaited digital health feature, addressing these rising concerns.
The features will help users understand their own phone use, from the amount of time spent on the phone itself to more detailed breakdowns.
Apple's Do Not Disturb function that blocks notifications is gaining functionality to allow it to turn off when a person leaves a location, like a movie theater, or when a specific amount of time passes.
The new operating system, iOS 12, will also feature new tools to manage notifications, grouping them together to trim things down. The Siri tool will also suggest notification changes for apps that are not in use.
A focus on health and monitoringFor some users, the biggest feature in digital health is Apple's new ''Reports App'' app that delivers weekly reports about phone usage, individual app usage, and more granular data about how often the phone is picked up (''pickups'') and when.
To correct any issues, Apple has a companion app called ''Screen Time,'' which establishes custom limits for overall phone usage, app usage, content, and time usage. When a user's self-allotted time is up, there is a notification advising them to stop. (A user can ignore the notification like a snooze button.)
For parents, the tool allows them to monitor their children's usage as well as their own, and even give an ''allowance.'' When a child reaches the limit, they are cut off.
These moves from Apple come after strong voices from its own investors calling for Apple to focus on healthy use of its products. Earlier this year, prominent investors Jana as well as the California State Teachers' Retirement System had been concerned about digital well-being and brought the issue up as a reputational issue the company needed to face. The two investors control around $2 billion of Apple stock.
Following the comments, Apple had teased these features, referring to them as parental tools earlier in 2018.
''[Apps] try to draw us in for fear of missing out,'' said Apple's Crag Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. ''We may not even recognize how distracted we've become.''
The Cupertino, California-based company follows Google's well-being tools in the Android P operating system . Google's tools have a feature called ''Dashboard,'' which contains detailed insights about user habits, allowing someone to see how much time they are spending '-- or wasting '-- on YouTube and other apps.
These new tools in iOS 12 and MacOS are accompanied by new features from Apple in the realm of augmented reality, showing the tricky balance companies have between promoting immersiveness as well as digital well-being.
Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann. Confidential tip line: emann[at]oath.com.
Facebook employee morale is low
Zuckerberg: How Facebook uses your browsing data
What Facebook is changing about your privacy settings
FaceBag Analytica
Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends - The New York Times
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 03:40
As Facebook sought to become the world's dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users' personal information.
Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers '-- including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung '-- over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals, most of which remain in effect, allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, ''like'' buttons and address books.
But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company's privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.
Facebook came under intensifying scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators after news reports in March that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.
In the furor that followed, Facebook's leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users' friends. But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions.
''You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy,'' said Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the security of mobile apps. ''But the problem is that as more and more data is collected on the device '-- and if it can be accessed by apps on the device '-- it creates serious privacy and security risks.''
In interviews, Facebook officials defended the data sharing as consistent with its privacy policies, the F.T.C. agreement and pledges to users. They said its partnerships '-- which it decided to begin winding down in April '-- were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners' servers. The officials added that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.
The company views its device partners as extensions of Facebook, serving its more than two billion users, the officials said.
''These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,'' said Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president. Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of ''the Facebook experience,'' the officials said.
Some device partners can retrieve Facebook users' relationship status, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, among other data. Tests by The Times showed that the partners requested and received data in the same way other third parties did.
Facebook's view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user's Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.
In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions.
''It's like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,'' said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant who formerly served as the F.T.C.'s chief technologist.
How One Phone Gains Access to Hundreds of Thousands of Facebook AccountsBy Rich Harris and Gabriel J.X. Dance
Details of Facebook's partnerships have emerged amid a reckoning in Silicon Valley over the volume of personal information collected on the internet and monetized by the tech industry. The pervasive collection of data, while largely unregulated in the United States, has come under growing criticism from elected officials at home and overseas and provoked concern among consumers about how freely their information is shared.
In a tense appearance before Congress in March, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, emphasized what he said was a company priority for Facebook users.''Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own,'' he testified. ''You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it.''
But the device partnerships provoked discussion even within Facebook as early as 2012, according to Sandy Parakilas, who led Facebook's third-party advertising and privacy compliance department at the time.
''This was flagged internally as a privacy issue,'' said Mr. Parakilas, who left Facebook that year and has recently emerged as a harsh critic of the company. ''It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled.''
The partnerships were briefly mentioned in documents submitted to German lawmakers investigating the social media giant's privacy practices and released by Facebook in mid-May. But Facebook provided the lawmakers with the name of only one partner '-- BlackBerry, maker of the once-ubiquitous mobile device '-- and little information about how the agreements worked.
The submission followed testimony by Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president for global public policy, during a closed-door German parliamentary hearing in April. Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, one of the lawmakers who questioned Mr. Kaplan, said in an interview that she believed the data partnerships disclosed by Facebook violated users' privacy rights.
''What we have been trying to determine is whether Facebook has knowingly handed over user data elsewhere without explicit consent,'' Ms. Winkelmeier-Becker said. ''I would never have imagined that this might even be happening secretly via deals with device makers. BlackBerry users seem to have been turned into data dealers, unknowingly and unwillingly.''
In interviews with The Times, Facebook identified other partners: Apple and Samsung, the world's two biggest smartphone makers, and Amazon, which sells tablets.
An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.
Samsung declined to respond to questions about whether it had any data-sharing partnerships with Facebook. Amazon also declined to respond to questions.
Usher Lieberman, a BlackBerry spokesman, said in a statement that the company used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages. Mr. Lieberman said that the company ''did not collect or mine the Facebook data of our customers,'' adding that ''BlackBerry has always been in the business of protecting, not monetizing, customer data.''
Microsoft entered a partnership with Facebook in 2008 that allowed Microsoft-powered devices to do things like add contacts and friends and receive notifications, according to a spokesman. He added that the data was stored locally on the phone and was not synced to Microsoft's servers.
Facebook acknowledged that some partners did store users' data '-- including friends' data '-- on their own servers. A Facebook official said that regardless of where the data was kept, it was governed by strict agreements between the companies.
''I am dumbfounded by the attitude that anybody in Facebook's corporate office would think allowing third parties access to data would be a good idea,'' said Henning Schulzrinne, a computer science professor at Columbia University who specializes in network security and mobile systems.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how loosely Facebook had policed the bustling ecosystem of developers building apps on its platform. They ranged from well-known players like Zynga, the maker of the FarmVille game, to smaller ones, like a Cambridge contractor who used a quiz taken by about 300,000 Facebook users to gain access to the profiles of as many as 87 million of their friends.
Those developers relied on Facebook's public data channels, known as application programming interfaces, or APIs. But starting in 2007, the company also established private data channels for device manufacturers.
At the time, mobile phones were less powerful, and relatively few of them could run stand-alone Facebook apps like those now common on smartphones. The company continued to build new private APIs for device makers through 2014, spreading user data through tens of millions of mobile devices, game consoles, televisions and other systems outside Facebook's direct control.
Facebook began moving to wind down the partnerships in April, after assessing its privacy and data practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Mr. Archibong said the company had concluded that the partnerships were no longer needed to serve Facebook users. About 22 of them have been shut down.
The broad access Facebook provided to device makers raises questions about its compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the F.T.C.
The decree barred Facebook from overriding users' privacy settings without first getting explicit consent. That agreement stemmed from an investigation that found Facebook had allowed app developers and other third parties to collect personal details about users' friends, even when those friends had asked that their information remain private.
After the Cambridge Analytica revelations, the F.T.C. began an investigation into whether Facebook's continued sharing of data after 2011 violated the decree, potentially exposing the company to fines.
Facebook officials said the private data channels did not violate the decree because the company viewed its hardware partners as ''service providers,'' akin to a cloud computing service paid to store Facebook data or a company contracted to process credit card transactions. According to the consent decree, Facebook does not need to seek additional permission to share friend data with service providers.
''These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook's F.T.C. consent decree,'' Mr. Archibong, the Facebook official, said.
But Jessica Rich, a former F.T.C. official who helped lead the commission's earlier Facebook investigation, disagreed with that assessment.
''Under Facebook's interpretation, the exception swallows the rule,'' said Ms. Rich, now with the Consumers Union. ''They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. And this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.''
To test one partner's access to Facebook's private data channels, The Times used a reporter's Facebook account '-- with about 550 friends '-- and a 2013 BlackBerry device, monitoring what data the device requested and received. (More recent BlackBerry devices, which run Google's Android operating system, do not use the same private channels, BlackBerry officials said.)
Immediately after the reporter connected the device to his Facebook account, it requested some of his profile data, including user ID, name, picture, ''about'' information, location, email and cellphone number. The device then retrieved the reporter's private messages and the responses to them, along with the name and user ID of each person with whom he was communicating.
The data flowed to a BlackBerry app known as the Hub, which was designed to let BlackBerry users view all of their messages and social media accounts in one place.
The Hub also requested '-- and received '-- data that Facebook's policy appears to prohibit. Since 2015, Facebook has said that apps can request only the names of friends using the same app. But the BlackBerry app had access to all of the reporter's Facebook friends and, for most of them, returned information such as user ID, birthday, work and education history and whether they were currently online.
The BlackBerry device was also able to retrieve identifying information for nearly 295,000 Facebook users. Most of them were second-degree Facebook friends of the reporter, or friends of friends.
In all, Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends, The Times found.
Facebook Data Scandal: When Obama Harvested Facebook Data On Millions To Win In 2012, Everyone Cheered | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis - IBD
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:26
Privacy: Facebook faces what some are calling an "existential crisis" over revelations that its user data fell into the hands of the Trump campaign. Whether or not the attacks on the social media giant are justified, the fact is that the Obama campaign used Facebook (FB) data in the same way in 2012. But the reaction from the pundits and press back then was, shall we say, somewhat different.
According to various news accounts, a professor at Cambridge University built a Facebook app around 2014 that involved a personality quiz. About 270,000 users of the app agreed to share some of their Facebook information, as well as data from people on their friends list. As a result, tens of millions ended up part of this data-mining operation.
Consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which paid for the research, later worked with the Trump campaign to help them target advertising campaigns on Facebook, using the data they'd gathered on users.
But while the Trump campaign used Cambridge Analytica during the primaries, it didn't use the information during the general election campaign, relying instead on voter data provided by the Republican National Committee, according to CBS News. It reports that "the Trump campaign had tested the RNC data, and it proved to be vastly more accurate than Cambridge Analytica's."
Since this involves the Trump campaign, the news accounts have been suffused with dark conspiratorial tones. The Times article talks about how Trump consultants "exploited" Facebook data, and quotes a source calling it a "scam." It has been widely described as a massive data breach.
But Facebook had been promoting itself to political parties looking for a new way to reach voters.
Nor was this the first time Facebook users had their data unwittingly shared with a political campaign.
In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends.
According to a July 2012 MIT Technology Review article, when you installed the app, "it said it would grab information about my friends: their birth dates, locations, and 'likes.' "
The campaign boasted that more than a million people downloaded the app, which, given an average friend-list size of 190, means that as many as 190 million had at least some of their Facebook data vacuumed up by the Obama campaign '-- without their knowledge or consent.
If anything, Facebook made it easy for Obama to do so. A former campaign director, Carol Davidsen, tweeted that "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."
This Facebook treasure trove gave Obama an unprecedented ability to reach out to nonsupporters. More important, the campaign could deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users.
The campaign readily admitted that this subtle deception was key to their Facebook strategy.
"People don't trust campaigns. They don't even trust media organizations," Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign's digital director, said at the time. "Who do they trust? Their friends."
According to a Time magazine account just after Obama won re-election, "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."
The effort was called a "game-changer" in the 2012 election, and the Obama campaign boasted that it was "the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for the campaign."
The only difference, as far as we can discern, between the two campaigns' use of Facebook, is that in the case of Obama the users themselves agreed to share their data with the Obama campaign, as well as that of their friends.
The users that downloaded the Cambridge app, meanwhile, were only told that the information would be used for academic purposes. Nor was the data to be used for anything other than academic purposes.
It's an important distinction, to be sure, and Facebook is right to be attacked for its inability to control how its user data were being gathered and shopped around. (Facebook tightened its privacy rules on data sharing apps in 2015.)
But keep in mind that it wasn't the Trump campaign that solicited the collection of the data. And, as we said, it didn't use the data in the general election campaign.
Obama, in contrast, was collecting live data on active users right up until Election Day, and at a scale that dwarfed anything the Trump campaign could access.
More important, the vast majority of people involved in these data-mining operations had no idea they were participating. And in the case of Obama, they had no way of knowing that the Obama campaign material cluttering their feed wasn't really just political urgings from their friends.
There is one other big difference: how these revelations were received by pundits and the press. In 2012, Obama was wildly celebrated in news stories for his mastery of Big Data, and his genius at mining it to get out the vote.
We were told then about how the campaign "won the race for voter data," and how it "connected with young voters." His data analytics gurus were treated as heroes.
This is not to say that Facebook doesn't deserve criticism. Clearly, its data-protection policies have been slipshod.
But the recent fury exposes a massive double standard on the part of those now raising hell.
When Obama was exploiting Facebook users to help win re-election, it was an act of political genius. When Trump attempted something similar, with unclear results, it's a travesty of democracy and further evidence that somehow he stole the election.
Note: This editorial was updated to more accurately describe how the Trump campaign used Cambridge Analytica data.
Meet The New Censors: Facebook's Zuckerberg, Twitter's Dorsey And YouTube's Wojcicki
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Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence - The New York Times
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:21
Facebook's logo at an internet conference in Beijing in April. The social network has struck data-sharing partnerships with at least four companies in China. Credit Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China's government, the social media company said on Tuesday.
The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL.
The four partnerships remain in effect, but Facebook officials said in an interview that the company would wind down the Huawei deal by the end of the week.
Facebook gave access to the Chinese device makers along with other manufacturers '-- including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung '-- whose agreements were disclosed by The New York Times on Sunday.
The deals were part of an effort to push more mobile users onto the social network starting in 2007, before stand-alone Facebook apps worked well on phones. The agreements allowed device makers to offer some Facebook features, such as address books, ''like'' buttons and status updates.
Facebook officials said the agreements with the Chinese companies allowed them access similar to what was offered to BlackBerry, which could retrieve detailed information on both device users and all of their friends '-- including religious and political leanings, work and education history and relationship status.
Huawei used its private access to feed a ''social phone'' app that let users view messages and social media accounts in one place, according to the officials.
Facebook representatives said the data shared with Huawei stayed on its phones, not the company's servers.
Senator John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who leads the Commerce Committee, has demanded that Facebook provide Congress with details about its data partnerships. ''Facebook is learning hard lessons that meaningful transparency is a high standard to meet,'' Mr. Thune said.
His committee also oversees the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating Facebook to determine whether the company's data policies violate a 2011 consent decree with the commission.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia pointed out that concerns about Huawei were not new, citing a 2012 congressional report on the ''close relationships between the Chinese Communist Party and equipment makers like Huawei.''
''I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers,'' said Mr. Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.
''All Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were controlled from the get-go '-- and Facebook approved everything that was built,'' said Francisco Varela, a Facebook vice president. ''Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers.''
Banned in China since 2009, Facebook in recent years has quietly sought to re-establish itself there. The company's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has tried to cultivate a relationship with China's president, Xi Jinping, and put in an appearance at one of the country's top universities.
Last year, Facebook released a photo-sharing app in China that was a near replica of its Moments app, but did not put its name on it. And the company has worked on a tool that allowed targeted censorship, prompting some employees to quit over the project.
Still, Facebook has struggled to gain momentum, and in January an executive in charge of courting China's government left after spending three years on a charm campaign to get the social media service back in the country.
None of the Chinese device makers who have partnerships with Facebook responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Huawei, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, is a point of national pride for China and is at the vanguard of the country's efforts to expand its influence abroad. The company was the recipient of billions of dollars in lines of credit from China's state-owned policy banks, helping to fuel its overseas expansion in Africa, Europe and Latin America. Its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former engineer in the People's Liberation Army.
The United States government has long regarded the company with suspicion, and lawmakers have recommended that American carriers avoid buying the network gear it makes. In January, AT&T walked away from a deal to sell a new Huawei smartphone, the Mate 10.
United States officials are investigating whether Huawei broke American trade controls by dealing with Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. The Trump administration has taken aim at Huawei and its rival ZTE in recent weeks, and in April the Federal Communications Commission advanced a plan to bar federally subsidized telecom companies from using suppliers that are considered national security threats.
Facebook has not entered into a data-sharing agreement with ZTE, officials at the social network said.
TCL, a consumer electronics firm, has accused the Trump administration of bias against Chinese companies and last June dropped a bid to buy a San Diego-based company that makes routers and other hardware.
Lenovo, a maker of computers and other devices, recently shelved ambitions to acquire BlackBerry after the Canadian government signaled that such a deal could compromise national security.
Nicholas Confessore, Michael Forsythe and Paul Mozur contributed reporting.
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F-Silicon Valley
EU states agree rules to make search engines pay for news | Reuters
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:26
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Search engines like Google (GOOGL.O ) and Microsoft's Bing (MSFT.O ) could be made to pay for showing snippets of news articles under draft copyright rules endorsed by European Union ambassadors on Friday.
The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau The measure, which is not yet final, would allow press publishers to ask search engines to pay them for showing their articles for up to one year after publication.
The original proposal from the European Commission had foreseen giving publishers the right to ask for payment for up to 20 years.
The EU copyright reform package would also force websites like YouTube to seek a license from rightsholders for displaying their content, for example a music video, or prevent it from being accessible.
News publishers have had an acrimonious relationship with the likes of Google in the past, whom they blame for revenue and readership declines. Google has tried to remedy that by establishing the Digital News Initiative which funds publishers' digital projects.
The tech industry says measures like ''snippet taxes'' do not lead to greater remuneration for the media as search engines channel millions of clicks to news sites enabling them to make money via online advertising.
But news publishers cheered Friday's agreement, calling it a ''decisive step in the right direction''.
''We remain confident that policy makers will continue showing support for an exclusive right to underpin investment in the free and democratic European press,'' said News Media Europe (NME), the European Newspaper Publishers' Association, the European Publishers Council and the European Magazine Media Association.
Thomson Reuters is a member of the European Publishers Council.
The tech industry said the agreement would hurt internet users and the digital sector.
The new so-called neighboring right for press publishers ''will extend to the smallest extracts of text, despite overwhelming stakeholder opposition and irrefutable evidence that this right does not increase remuneration for press publishers nor contribute to quality journalism in Europe,'' said EDiMA, which represents Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, among others.
Spain and Germany introduced similar laws in the past, causing Google News to pull out of Spain and Germany's biggest news publisher Axel Springer to scrap a bid to block Google from running snippets of articles from its newspapers following a plunge in traffic.
The copyright reform proposals would also affect the music industry, which has waged a campaign against YouTube whom they accuse of making money off their content without remunerating them properly.
YouTube said it paid the music industry over $1 billion in 2016 from ad revenue alone and allows artists to make money from fan-uploaded music content.
Following Friday's agreement, member states will have to negotiate a final copyright reform deal with the European Parliament, which has not yet agreed its position.
Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Toby Chopra
Save Your Internet '' Delete article 13
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:28
Use this tool to ensure your representative is speaking up and stopping rules that impose censorship through content filtering.
You can use our points below to help construct an original message in your own words.
In order to use the tool, you will need to authorise the 'New/Mode Twitter Tool' to use your Twitter account. Please note that you can revoke this permission afterwards in your Twitter account settings under the section 'Apps'.
Creativity and free speech will be harmed by Article 13 because algorithms struggle to tell the difference between infringement and the legal use of copyrighted material vital to research, commentary, parodies and more. This is far too high a cost for enforcing copyright. No filter can possibly review every form of content covered by the proposal including text, audio, video, images and software. Article 13's mandate is technically infeasible and it is absurd to expect courts in 27 EU Member States to be constantly working out what the ''best'' filters might be. It is a bad idea to make Internet companies responsible for enforcing copyright law. To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, platforms are sure to err on the side of caution and overblock. To make compliance easier, platforms will adjust their terms of service to be able to delete any content or account for any reason. That will leave victims of wrongful deletion with no right to complain '' even if their content was perfectly legal.
EUR-Lex - 52016PC0593 - EN - EUR-Lex
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:30
Brussels, 14.9.2016
COM(2016) 593 final
Proposal for a
on copyright in the Digital Single Market
(Text with EEA relevance)
{SWD(2016) 301 final}{SWD(2016) 302 final}
' Reasons for and objectives of the proposal
The evolution of digital technologies has changed the way works and other protected subject-matter are created, produced, distributed and exploited. New uses have emerged as well as new actors and new business models. In the digital environment, cross-border uses have also intensified and new opportunities for consumers to access copyright-protected content have materialised. Even though the objectives and principles laid down by the EU copyright framework remain sound, there is a need to adapt it to these new realities. Intervention at EU level is also needed to avoid fragmentation in the internal market. Against this background, the Digital Single Market Strategy adopted in May 2015 identified the need ''to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU''. This Communication highlighted the importance to enhance cross-border access to copyright-protected content services, facilitate new uses in the fields of research and education, and clarify the role of online services in the distribution of works and other subject-matter. In December 2015, the Commission issued a Communication 'Towards a modern, more European copyright framework' . This Communication outlined targeted actions and a long-term vision to modernise EU copyright rules. This proposal is one of the measures aiming at addressing specific issues identified in that Communication.
Exceptions and limitations to copyright and neighbouring rights are harmonised at EU level. Some of these exceptions aim at achieving public policy objectives, such as research or education. However, as new types of uses have recently emerged, it remains uncertain whether these exceptions are still adapted to achieve a fair balance between the rights and interests of authors and other rightholders on the one hand, and of users on the other. In addition, these exceptions remain national and legal certainty around cross-border uses is not guaranteed. In this context, the Commission has identified three areas of intervention: digital and cross-border uses in the field of education, text and data mining in the field of scientific research, and preservation of cultural heritage. The objective is to guarantee the legality of certain types of uses in these fields, including across borders. As a result of a modernised framework of exceptions and limitations, researchers will benefit from a clearer legal space to use innovative text and data mining research tools, teachers and students will be able to take full advantage of digital technologies at all levels of education and cultural heritage institutions (i.e. publicly accessible libraries or museums, archives or film or audio heritage institutions) will be supported in their efforts to preserve the cultural heritage, to the ultimate advantage of EU citizens.
Despite the fact that digital technologies should facilitate cross-border access to works and other subject-matter, obstacles remain, in particular for uses and works where clearance of rights is complex. This is the case for cultural heritage institutions wanting to provide online access, including across borders, to out-of-commerce works contained in their catalogues. As a consequence of these obstacles European citizens miss opportunities to access cultural heritage. The proposal addresses these problems by introducing a specific mechanism to facilitate the conclusion of licences for the dissemination of out-of-commerce works by cultural heritage institutions. As regards audiovisual works, despite the growing importance of video-on-demand platforms, EU audiovisual works only constitute one third of works available to consumers on those platforms. Again, this lack of availability partly derives from a complex clearance process. This proposal provides for measures aiming at facilitating the licensing and clearance of rights process. This would ultimately facilitate consumers' cross-border access to copyright-protected content.
Evolution of digital technologies has led to the emergence of new business models and reinforced the role of the Internet as the main marketplace for the distribution and access to copyright-protected content. In this new framework, rightholders face difficulties when seeking to license their rights and be remunerated for the online distribution of their works. This could put at risk the development of European creativity and production of creative content. It is therefore necessary to guarantee that authors and rightholders receive a fair share of the value that is generated by the use of their works and other subject-matter. Against this background, this proposal provides for measures aiming at improving the position of rightholders to negotiate and be remunerated for the exploitation of their content by online services giving access to user-uploaded content. A fair sharing of value is also necessary to ensure the sustainability of the press publications sector. Press publishers are facing difficulties in licensing their publications online and obtaining a fair share of the value they generate. This could ultimately affect citizens' access to information. This proposal provides for a new right for press publishers aiming at facilitating online licensing of their publications, the recoupment of their investment and the enforcement of their rights. It also addresses existing legal uncertainty as regards the possibility for all publishers to receive a share in the compensation for uses of works under an exception. Finally, authors and performers often have a weak bargaining position in their contractual relationships, when licensing their rights. In addition, transparency on the revenues generated by the use of their works or performances often remains limited. This ultimately affects the remuneration of the authors and performers. This proposal includes measures to improve transparency and better balanced contractual relationships between authors and performers and those to whom they assign their rights. Overall, the measures proposed in title IV of the proposal aiming at achieving a well-functioning market place for copyright are expected to have in the medium term a positive impact on the production and availability of content and on media pluralism, to the ultimate benefit of consumers.
' Consistency with existing policy provisions in the policy area
The Digital Single Market Strategy puts forward a range of initiatives with the objective of creating an internal market for digital content and services. In December 2015, a first step has been undertaken by the adoption by the Commission of a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market .
The present proposal aims at addressing several of the targeted actions identified in the Communication 'Towards a modern, more European copyright framework'. Other actions identified in this Communication are covered by the 'Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes' , the 'Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the cross-border exchange between the Union and third countries of accessible format copies of certain works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled' and the 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society' , adopted on the same date of this proposal for a Directive.
This proposal is consistent with the existing EU copyright legal framework. This proposal is based upon, and complements the rules laid down in Directive 96/9/EC , Directive 2001/29/EC , Directive 2006/115/ EC , Directive 2009/24/EC , Directive 2012/28/EU and Directive 2014/26/EU . Those Directives, as well as this proposal, contribute to the functioning of the internal market, ensure a high level of protection for right holders and facilitate the clearance of rights.
This proposal complements Directive 2010/13/EU and the proposal amending it.
' Consistency with other Union policies
This proposal would facilitate education and research, improve dissemination of European cultures and positively impact cultural diversity. This Directive is therefore consistent with Articles 165, 167 and 179 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Furthermore, this proposal contributes to promoting the interests of consumers, in accordance with the EU policies in the field of consumer protection and Article 169 TFEU, by allowing a wider access to and use of copyright-protected content.
' Legal basis
The proposal is based on Article 114 TFEU. This Article confers on the EU the power to adopt measures which have as their object the establishment and functioning of the internal market.
' Subsidiarity (for non-exclusive competence)
Since exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights are harmonised at EU level, the margin of manoeuver of Member States in creating or adapting them is limited. In addition, intervention at national level would not be sufficient in view of the cross-border nature of the identified issues. EU intervention is therefore needed to achieve full legal certainty as regards cross-border uses in the fields of research, education and cultural heritage.
Some national initiatives have already been developed to facilitate dissemination of and access to out-of-commerce works. However, these initiatives only exist in some Member States and are only applicable on the national territory. EU intervention is therefore necessary to ensure that licensing mechanisms for the access and dissemination of out-of-commerce works are in place in all Member States and to ensure their cross-border effect. As regards online exploitation of audiovisual works, to foster the availability of European works on video-on-demand platforms across the EU, there is a need to facilitate negotiations of licensing agreements in all Member States.
Online distribution of copyright-protected content is by essence cross-border. Only mechanisms decided at European level could ensure a well-functioning marketplace for the distribution of works and other subject-matter and to ensure the sustainability of the publishing sector in the face of the challenges of the digital environment. Finally, authors and performers should enjoy in all Member States the high level of protection established by EU legislation. In order to do so and to prevent discrepancies across Member States, it is necessary to set an EU common approach to transparency requirements and mechanisms allowing for the adjustment of contracts in certain cases as well as for the resolution of disputes.
' Proportionality
The proposal provides for mandatory exceptions for Member States to implement. These exceptions target key public policy objectives and uses with a cross-border dimension. Exceptions also contain conditions that ensure the preservation of functioning markets and rightholders' interests and incentives to create and invest. When relevant, and while ensuring that the objectives of the Directive are met, room for national decision has been preserved.
The proposal requires Member States to establish mechanisms aiming at facilitating the clearance of copyright and related rights in the fields of out-of-commerce works and online exploitation of audiovisual works. Whereas the proposal aims at ensuring a wider access and dissemination of content, it does so while preserving the rights of authors and other rightholders. Several safeguards are put in place to that effect (e.g. opt-out possibilities, preservation of licensing possibilities, participation in the negotiation forum on a voluntary basis). The proposal does not go further than what is necessary to achieve the intended aim while leaving sufficient room for Member States to make decisions as regards the specifics of these mechanisms and does not impose disproportionate costs.
The proposal imposes obligations on some information society services. However, these obligations remain reasonable in view of the nature of the services covered, the significant impact of these services on the online content market and the large amounts of copyright-protected content stored by these services. The introduction of a related right for press publishers would improve legal certainty and their bargaining position, which is the pursued objective. The proposal is proportionate as it only covers press publications and digital uses. Furthermore, the proposal will not affect retroactively any acts undertaken or rights acquired before the date of transposition. The transparency obligation contained in the proposal only aims at rebalancing contractual relationships between creators and their contractual counterparts while respecting contractual freedom.
' Choice of the instrument
The proposal relates to, and in some instances modifies, existing Directives. It also leaves, when appropriate and taking into account the aim to be achieved, margin of manoeuver for Member States while ensuring that the objective of a functioning internal market is met. The choice of a Directive is therefore adequate.
' Ex-post evaluations/fitness checks of existing legislation
The Commission carried out a review of the existing copyright rules between 2013 and 2016 with the objective to ''ensure that copyright and copyright-related practices stay fit for purpose in the new digital context'' . Even if it started before the adoption of the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda in May 2015 , this review process was carried out in the spirit of the Better Regulation guidelines. The review process highlighted, in particular, problems with the implementation of certain exceptions and their lack of cross-border effect and pointed out to difficulties in the use of copyright-protected content, notably in the digital and cross-border context that have emerged in recent years.
' Stakeholder consultations
Several public consultations were held by the Commission. The consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules carried out between 5 December 2013 and 5 March 2014 provided the Commission with an overview of stakeholders' views on the review of the EU copyright rules, including on exceptions and limitations and on the remuneration of authors and performers. The public consultation carried out between 24 September 2015 and 6 January 2016 on the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy provided evidence and views from all stakeholders on the role of intermediaries in the online distribution of works and other subject-matter. Finally, a public consultation was held between the 23 March 2016 and 15 June 2016 on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the 'panorama exception'. This consultation allowed collecting views notably on the possible introduction in EU law of a new related right for publishers.
In addition, between 2014 and 2016, the Commission had discussions with the relevant stakeholders on the different topics addressed by the proposal.
' Collection and use of expertise
Legal and economic studies have been conducted on the application of Directive 2001/29/EC, on the economic impacts of adapting some exceptions and limitations, on the legal framework of text and data mining and on the remuneration of authors and performers.
' Impact assessment
An impact assessment was carried out for this proposal . On 22 July 2016, the Regulatory Scrutiny Board gave a positive opinion on the understanding that the impact assessment will be further improved . The final Impact Assessment takes into account comments contained in that opinion.
The Impact Assessment examines the baseline scenarios, policy options and their impacts for eight topics regrouped under three chapters, namely (i) ensuring wider access to content, (ii) adapting exceptions to digital and cross-border environment and (iii) achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. The impact on the different stakeholders was analysed for each policy option; taking in particular into account the predominance of SMEs in the creative industries the analysis concludes that introducing a special regime would not be appropriate as it would defeat the purpose of the intervention. The policy options of each topic are shortly presented below.
Access and availability of audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms: A non-legislative option (Option 1), consisting in the organisation of a stakeholder dialogue on licensing issues, was not retained as it was deemed insufficient to address individual cases of blockages. The chosen option (Option 2) combines the organisation of a stakeholder dialogue with the obligation for Member States to set up a negotiation mechanism.
Out-of-commerce works: Option 1 required Member States to put in place legal mechanisms, with cross-border effect, to facilitate licensing agreements for out-of-commerce books and learned journals and to organise a stakeholder dialogue at national level to facilitate the implementation of that mechanism. Option 2 went further since it applied to all types of out-of-commerce works. This extension was deemed necessary to address the licensing of out-of-commerce works in all sectors. Option 2 was therefore chosen.
Use of works and other subject-matter in digital and cross-border teaching activities: Option 1 consisted in providing guidance to Member States on the application of the existing teaching exception in the digital environment and the organisation of a stakeholder dialogue. This was considered not sufficient to ensure legal certainty, in particular as regards cross-border uses. Option 2 required the introduction of a mandatory exception with a cross-border effect covering digital uses. Option 3 is similar to Option 2 but leaves some flexibility to Member States that can decide to apply the exception depending on the availability of licences. This option was deemed to be the most proportionate one.
Text and data mining: Option 1 consisted in self-regulation initiatives from the industry. Other options consisted in the introduction of a mandatory exception covering text and data mining. In Option 2, the exception only covered uses pursuing a non-commercial scientific research purpose. Option 3 allowed uses for commercial scientific research purpose but limited the benefit of the exception to some beneficiaries. Option 4 went further as it did not restrict beneficiaries. Option 3 was deemed to be the most proportionate one.
Preservation of cultural heritage: Option 1 consisted in the provision of guidance to Member States on the implementation of the exception on specific acts of reproduction for preservation purposes. This Option was rejected as it was deemed insufficient to achieve legal certainty in the field. Option 2, consisting in a mandatory exception for preservation purposes by cultural heritage institutions, was chosen.
Use of copyright-protected content by information society services storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users: Option 1 consisted in the organisation of a stakeholder dialogue. This approach was rejected as it would have a limited impact on the possibility for rightholders to determine the conditions of use of their works and other subject-matter. The chosen option (Option 2) goes further and provides for an obligation for certain service providers to put in place appropriate technologies and fosters the conclusion of agreements with rightholders.
Rights in publications: Option 1 consisted in the organisation of a stakeholder dialogue to find solutions for the dissemination of press publishers' content. This option was deemed insufficient to ensure legal certainty across the EU. Option 2 consisted in the introduction of a related right covering digital uses of press publications. In addition to this, Option 3 leaves the option for Member States to enable publishers, to which rights have been transferred or licensed by an author, to claim a share in the compensation for uses under an exception. This last option was the one retained as it addressed all relevant problems.
Fair remuneration in contracts of authors and performers: Option 1 consisted in providing a recommendation to Member States and organising a stakeholder dialogue. This option was rejected since it would not be efficient enough. Option 2 foresaw the introduction of transparency obligations on the contractual counterparts of creators. On top of that, Option 3 proposed the introduction of a remuneration adjustment mechanism and a dispute resolution mechanism. This option was the one retained since Option 2 would not have provided enforcement means to creators to support the transparency obligation.
' Regulatory fitness and simplification
For the uses covered by the exceptions, the proposal will allow educational establishments, public-interest research institutions and cultural heritage institutions to reduce transaction costs. This reduction of transaction costs does not necessarily mean that rightholders would suffer a loss of income or licensing revenues: the scope and conditions of the exceptions ensure that rightholders would suffer minimal harm. The impact on SMEs in these fields (in particular scientific and educational publishers) and on their business models should therefore be limited.
Mechanisms aiming to improve licensing practices are likely to reduce transaction costs and increase licensing revenues for rightholders. SMEs in the fields (producers, distributors, publishers, etc.) would be positively affected. Other stakeholders, such as VoD platforms, would also be positively affected. The proposal also includes several measures (transparency obligation on rightholders' counterparts, introduction of a new right for press publishers and obligation on some online services) that would improve the bargaining position of rightholders and the control they have on the use of their works and other subject-matter. It is expected to have a positive impact on rightholders' revenues.
The proposal includes new obligations on some online services and on those to which authors and performers transfer their rights. These obligations may impose additional costs. However, the proposal ensures that the costs will remain proportionate and that, when necessary, some actors would not be subject to the obligation. For instance, the transparency obligation will not apply when the administrative costs it implies are disproportionate in view of the generated revenues. As for the obligation on online services, it only applies to information society services storing and giving access to large amounts of copyright-protected content uploaded by their users.
The proposal foresees the obligation for Member States to implement negotiation and dispute resolution mechanisms. This implies compliance costs for Member States. However, they could rely in most cases on existing structures, which would limit the costs. The teaching exception can also entail some costs for Member States linked to the measures ensuring the availability and visibility of licences for educational establishments.
New technological developments have been carefully examined. The proposal includes several exceptions that aim at facilitating the use of copyright-protected content via new technologies. This proposal also includes measures to facilitate access to content, including via digital networks. Finally, it ensures a balanced bargaining position between all actors in the digital environment.
' Fundamental rights
By improving the bargaining position of authors and performers and the control rightholders have on the use of their copyright-protected content, the proposal will have a positive impact on copyright as a property right, protected under Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ('the Charter'). This positive impact will be reinforced by the measures to improve licensing practices, and ultimately rightholders' revenues. New exceptions that reduce to some extent the rightholders' monopoly are justified by other public interest objectives. These exceptions are likely to have a positive impact on the right to education and on cultural diversity. Finally, the Directive has a limited impact on the freedom to conduct a business and on the freedom of expression and information , as recognised respectively by Articles 16 and 11 of the Charter, due to the mitigation measures put in place and a balanced approach to the obligations set on the relevant stakeholders.
The proposal has no impact on the European Union budget.
' Implementation plans and monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements
In accordance with Article 22 the Commission shall carry out a review of the Directive no sooner than [five] years after the date of [transposition].
' Explanatory documents
In compliance with recital 48 of the proposal, Member States will notify the Commission of their transposition measures with explanatory documents. This is necessary given the complexity of rules laid down by the proposal and the importance to keep a harmonised approach of rules applicable to the digital and cross-border environment.
' Detailed explanation of the specific provisions of the proposal
The first title contains general provisions which (i) specify the subject-matter and the scope of the Directive and (ii) provide definitions that will need to be interpreted in a uniform manner in the Union.
The second title concerns measures to adapt exceptions and limitations to the digital and cross-border environment. This title includes three articles which require Member States to provide for mandatory exceptions or a limitation allowing (i) text and data mining carried out by research organisations for the purposes of scientific research (Article 3); (ii) digital uses of works and other subject-matter for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching (Article 4) and (iii) cultural heritage institutions to make copies of works and other subject-matter that are permanently in their collections to the extent necessary for their preservation (Article 5). Article 6 provides for common provisions to the title on exceptions and limitations.
The third title concerns measures to improve licensing practices and ensure wider access to content. Article 7 requires Member States to put in place a legal mechanism to facilitate licensing agreements of out-of-commerce works and other subject-matter. Article 8 guarantees the cross-border effect of such licensing agreements . Article 9 requires Member States to put in place a stakeholder dialogue on issues relating to Articles 7 and 8. Article 10 creates an obligation for Member States to put in place a negotiation mechanism to facilitate negotiations on the online exploitation of audiovisual works.
The fourth title concerns measures to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. Articles 11 and 12 (i) extend the rights provided for in Articles 2 and 3(2) of Directive 2001/29/EC to publishers of press publications for the digital use of their publications and (ii) provide for the option for Member States to provide all publishers with the possibility to claim a share in the compensation for uses made under an exception. Article 13 creates an obligation on information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders and to prevent the availability on their services of content identified by rightholders in cooperation with the service providers. Article 14 requires Member States to include transparency obligations to the benefit of authors and performers. Article 15 requires Member States to establish a contract adjustment mechanism, in support of the obligation provided for in Article 14. Article 16 requires Member States to set up a dispute resolution mechanism for issues arising from the application of Articles 14 and 15.
The fifth title contains final provisions on amendments to other directives, the application in time, transitional provisions, the protection of personal data, the transposition, the review and the entry into force.
2016/0280 (COD)
Proposal for a
on copyright in the Digital Single Market
(Text with EEA relevance)
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 114 thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,
After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,
Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee ,
Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions ,
Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,
(1) The Treaty provides for the establishment of an internal market and the institution of a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted. Harmonisation of the laws of the Member States on copyright and related rights should contribute further to the achievement of those objectives.
(2) The directives which have been adopted in the area of copyright and related rights provide for a high level of protection for rightholders and create a framework wherein the exploitation of works and other protected subject-matter can take place. This harmonised legal framework contributes to the good functioning of the internal market; it stimulates innovation, creativity, investment and production of new content, also in the digital environment. The protection provided by this legal framework also contributes to the Union's objective of respecting and promoting cultural diversity while at the same time bringing the European common cultural heritage to the fore. Article 167(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires the Union to take cultural aspects into account in its action.
(3) Rapid technological developments continue to transform the way works and other subject-matter are created, produced, distributed and exploited. New business models and new actors continue to emerge. The objectives and the principles laid down by the Union copyright framework remain sound. However, legal uncertainty remains, for both rightholders and users, as regards certain uses, including cross-border uses, of works and other subject-matter in the digital environment. As set out in the Communication of the Commission entitled 'Towards a modern, more European copyright framework' , in some areas it is necessary to adapt and supplement the current Union copyright framework. This Directive provides for rules to adapt certain exceptions and limitations to digital and cross-border environments, as well as measures to facilitate certain licensing practices as regards the dissemination of out-of-commerce works and the online availability of audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms with a view to ensuring wider access to content. In order to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright, there should also be rules on rights in publications, on the use of works and other subject-matter by online service providers storing and giving access to user uploaded content and on the transparency of authors' and performers' contracts.
(4) This Directive is based upon, and complements, the rules laid down in the Directives currently in force in this area, in particular Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council , Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council , Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council , Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council , Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council .
(5) In the fields of research, education and preservation of cultural heritage, digital technologies permit new types of uses that are not clearly covered by the current Union rules on exceptions and limitations. In addition, the optional nature of exceptions and limitations provided for in Directives 2001/29/EC, 96/9/EC and 2009/24/EC in these fields may negatively impact the functioning of the internal market. This is particularly relevant as regards cross-border uses, which are becoming increasingly important in the digital environment. Therefore, the existing exceptions and limitations in Union law that are relevant for scientific research, teaching and preservation of cultural heritage should be reassessed in the light of those new uses. Mandatory exceptions or limitations for uses of text and data mining technologies in the field of scientific research, illustration for teaching in the digital environment and for preservation of cultural heritage should be introduced. For uses not covered by the exceptions or the limitation provided for in this Directive, the exceptions and limitations existing in Union law should continue to apply. Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC should be adapted.
(6) The exceptions and the limitation set out in this Directive seek to achieve a fair balance between the rights and interests of authors and other rightholders on the one hand, and of users on the other. They can be applied only in certain special cases which do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the works or other subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholders.
(7) The protection of technological measures established in Directive 2001/29/EC remains essential to ensure the protection and the effective exercise of the rights granted to authors and to other rightholders under Union law. This protection should be maintained while ensuring that the use of technological measures does not prevent the enjoyment of the exceptions and the limitation established in this Directive, which are particularly relevant in the online environment. Rightholders should have the opportunity to ensure this through voluntary measures. They should remain free to choose the format and the modalities to provide the beneficiaries of the exceptions and the limitation established in this Directive with the means to benefit from them provided that such means are appropriate. In the absence of voluntary measures, Member States should take appropriate measures in accordance with the first subparagraph of Article 6(4) of Directive 2001/29/EC.
(8) New technologies enable the automated computational analysis of information in digital form, such as text, sounds, images or data, generally known as text and data mining. Those technologies allow researchers to process large amounts of information to gain new knowledge and discover new trends. Whilst text and data mining technologies are prevalent across the digital economy, there is widespread acknowledgment that text and data mining can in particular benefit the research community and in so doing encourage innovation. However, in the Union, research organisations such as universities and research institutes are confronted with legal uncertainty as to the extent to which they can perform text and data mining of content. In certain instances, text and data mining may involve acts protected by copyright and/or by the sui generis database right, notably the reproduction of works or other subject-matter and/or the extraction of contents from a database. Where there is no exception or limitation which applies, an authorisation to undertake such acts would be required from rightholders. Text and data mining may also be carried out in relation to mere facts or data which are not protected by copyright and in such instances no authorisation would be required.
(9) Union law already provides certain exceptions and limitations covering uses for scientific research purposes which may apply to acts of text and data mining. However, those exceptions and limitations are optional and not fully adapted to the use of technologies in scientific research. Moreover, where researchers have lawful access to content, for example through subscriptions to publications or open access licences, the terms of the licences may exclude text and data mining. As research is increasingly carried out with the assistance of digital technology, there is a risk that the Union's competitive position as a research area will suffer unless steps are taken to address the legal uncertainty for text and data mining.
(10) This legal uncertainty should be addressed by providing for a mandatory exception to the right of reproduction and also to the right to prevent extraction from a database. The new exception should be without prejudice to the existing mandatory exception on temporary acts of reproduction laid down in Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29, which should continue to apply to text and data mining techniques which do not involve the making of copies going beyond the scope of that exception. Research organisations should also benefit from the exception when they engage into public-private partnerships.
(11) Research organisations across the Union encompass a wide variety of entities the primary goal of which is to conduct scientific research or to do so together with the provision of educational services. Due to the diversity of such entities, it is important to have a common understanding of the beneficiaries of the exception. Despite different legal forms and structures, research organisations across Member States generally have in common that they act either on a not for profit basis or in the context of a public-interest mission recognised by the State. Such a public-interest mission may, for example, be reflected through public funding or through provisions in national laws or public contracts. At the same time, organisations upon which commercial undertakings have a decisive influence allowing them to exercise control because of structural situations such as their quality of shareholders or members, which may result in preferential access to the results of the research, should not be considered research organisations for the purposes of this Directive.
(12) In view of a potentially high number of access requests to and downloads of their works or other subject-matter, rightholders should be allowed to apply measures where there is risk that the security and integrity of the system or databases where the works or other subject-matter are hosted would be jeopardised. Those measures should not exceed what is necessary to pursue the objective of ensuring the security and integrity of the system and should not undermine the effective application of the exception.
(13) There is no need to provide for compensation for rightholders as regards uses under the text and data mining exception introduced by this Directive given that in view of the nature and scope of the exception the harm should be minimal.
(14) Article 5(3)(a) of Directive 2001/29/EC allows Member States to introduce an exception or limitation to the rights of reproduction, communication to the public and making available to the public for the sole purpose of, among others, illustration for teaching. In addition, Articles 6(2)(b) and 9(b) of Directive 96/9/EC permit the use of a database and the extraction or re-utilization of a substantial part of its contents for the purpose of illustration for teaching. The scope of those exceptions or limitations as they apply to digital uses is unclear. In addition, there is a lack of clarity as to whether those exceptions or limitations would apply where teaching is provided online and thereby at a distance. Moreover, the existing framework does not provide for a cross-border effect. This situation may hamper the development of digitally-supported teaching activities and distance learning. Therefore, the introduction of a new mandatory exception or limitation is necessary to ensure that educational establishments benefit from full legal certainty when using works or other subject-matter in digital teaching activities, including online and across borders.
(15) While distance learning and cross-border education programmes are mostly developed at higher education level, digital tools and resources are increasingly used at all education levels, in particular to improve and enrich the learning experience. The exception or limitation provided for in this Directive should therefore benefit all educational establishments in primary, secondary, vocational and higher education to the extent they pursue their educational activity for a non-commercial purpose. The organisational structure and the means of funding of an educational establishment are not the decisive factors to determine the non-commercial nature of the activity.
(16) The exception or limitation should cover digital uses of works and other subject-matter such as the use of parts or extracts of works to support, enrich or complement the teaching, including the related learning activities. The use of the works or other subject-matter under the exception or limitation should be only in the context of teaching and learning activities carried out under the responsibility of educational establishments, including during examinations, and be limited to what is necessary for the purpose of such activities. The exception or limitation should cover both uses through digital means in the classroom and online uses through the educational establishment's secure electronic network, the access to which should be protected, notably by authentication procedures. The exception or limitation should be understood as covering the specific accessibility needs of persons with a disability in the context of illustration for teaching.
(17) Different arrangements, based on the implementation of the exception provided for in Directive 2001/29/EC or on licensing agreements covering further uses, are in place in a number of Member States in order to facilitate educational uses of works and other subject-matter. Such arrangements have usually been developed taking account of the needs of educational establishments and different levels of education. Whereas it is essential to harmonise the scope of the new mandatory exception or limitation in relation to digital uses and cross-border teaching activities, the modalities of implementation may differ from a Member State to another, to the extent they do not hamper the effective application of the exception or limitation or cross-border uses. This should allow Member States to build on the existing arrangements concluded at national level. In particular, Member States could decide to subject the application of the exception or limitation, fully or partially, to the availability of adequate licences, covering at least the same uses as those allowed under the exception. This mechanism would, for example, allow giving precedence to licences for materials which are primarily intended for the educational market. In order to avoid that such mechanism results in legal uncertainty or administrative burden for educational establishments, Member States adopting this approach should take concrete measures to ensure that licensing schemes allowing digital uses of works or other subject-matter for the purpose of illustration for teaching are easily available and that educational establishments are aware of the existence of such licensing schemes.
(18) An act of preservation may require a reproduction of a work or other subject-matter in the collection of a cultural heritage institution and consequently the authorisation of the relevant rightholders. Cultural heritage institutions are engaged in the preservation of their collections for future generations. Digital technologies offer new ways to preserve the heritage contained in those collections but they also create new challenges. In view of these new challenges, it is necessary to adapt the current legal framework by providing a mandatory exception to the right of reproduction in order to allow those acts of preservation.
(19) Different approaches in the Member States for acts of preservation by cultural heritage institutions hamper cross-border cooperation and the sharing of means of preservation by cultural heritage institutions in the internal market, leading to an inefficient use of resources.
(20) Member States should therefore be required to provide for an exception to permit cultural heritage institutions to reproduce works and other subject-matter permanently in their collections for preservation purposes, for example to address technological obsolescence or the degradation of original supports. Such an exception should allow for the making of copies by the appropriate preservation tool, means or technology, in the required number and at any point in the life of a work or other subject-matter to the extent required in order to produce a copy for preservation purposes only.
(21) For the purposes of this Directive, works and other subject-matter should be considered to be permanently in the collection of a cultural heritage institution when copies are owned or permanently held by the cultural heritage institution, for example as a result of a transfer of ownership or licence agreements.
(22) Cultural heritage institutions should benefit from a clear framework for the digitisation and dissemination, including across borders, of out-of-commerce works or other subject-matter. However, the particular characteristics of the collections of out-of-commerce works mean that obtaining the prior consent of the individual rightholders may be very difficult. This can be due, for example, to the age of the works or other subject-matter, their limited commercial value or the fact that they were never intended for commercial use. It is therefore necessary to provide for measures to facilitate the licensing of rights in out-of-commerce works that are in the collections of cultural heritage institutions and thereby to allow the conclusion of agreements with cross-border effect in the internal market.
(23) Member States should, within the framework provided for in this Directive, have flexibility in choosing the specific type of mechanism allowing for licences for out-of-commerce works to extend to the rights of rightholders that are not represented by the collective management organisation, in accordance to their legal traditions, practices or circumstances. Such mechanisms can include extended collective licensing and presumptions of representation.
(24) For the purpose of those licensing mechanisms, a rigorous and well-functioning collective management system is important. That system includes in particular rules of good governance, transparency and reporting, as well as the regular, diligent and accurate distribution and payment of amounts due to individual rightholders, as provided for by Directive 2014/26/EU. Additional appropriate safeguards should be available for all rightholders, who should be given the opportunity to exclude the application of such mechanisms to their works or other subject-matter. Conditions attached to those mechanisms should not affect their practical relevance for cultural heritage institutions.
(25) Considering the variety of works and other subject-matter in the collections of cultural heritage institutions, it is important that the licensing mechanisms introduced by this Directive are available and can be used in practice for different types of works and other subject-matter, including photographs, sound recordings and audiovisual works. In order to reflect the specificities of different categories of works and other subject-matter as regards modes of publication and distribution and to facilitate the usability of those mechanisms, specific requirements and procedures may have to be established by Member States for the practical application of those licensing mechanisms. It is appropriate that Member States consult rightholders, users and collective management organisations when doing so.
(26) For reasons of international comity, the licensing mechanisms for the digitisation and dissemination of out-of-commerce works provided for in this Directive should not apply to works or other subject-matter that are first published or, in the absence of publication, first broadcast in a third country or, in the case of cinematographic or audiovisual works, to works the producer of which has his headquarters or habitual residence in a third country. Those mechanisms should also not apply to works or other subject-matter of third country nationals except when they are first published or, in the absence of publication, first broadcast in the territory of a Member State or, in the case of cinematographic or audiovisual works, to works of which the producer's headquarters or habitual residence is in a Member State.
(27) As mass digitisation projects can entail significant investments by cultural heritage institutions, any licences granted under the mechanisms provided for in this Directive should not prevent them from generating reasonable revenues in order to cover the costs of the licence and the costs of digitising and disseminating the works and other subject-matter covered by the licence.
(28) Information regarding the future and ongoing use of out-of-commerce works and other subject-matter by cultural heritage institutions on the basis of the licensing mechanisms provided for in this Directive and the arrangements in place for all rightholders to exclude the application of licences to their works or other subject-matter should be adequately publicised. This is particularly important when uses take place across borders in the internal market. It is therefore appropriate to make provision for the creation of a single publicly accessible online portal for the Union to make such information available to the public for a reasonable period of time before the cross-border use takes place. Under Regulation (EU) No 386/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council , the European Union Intellectual Property Office is entrusted with certain tasks and activities, financed by making use of its own budgetary measures, aiming at facilitating and supporting the activities of national authorities, the private sector and Union institutions in the fight against, including the prevention of, infringement of intellectual property rights. It is therefore appropriate to rely on that Office to establish and manage the European portal making such information available.
(29) On-demand services have the potential to play a decisive role in the dissemination of European works across the European Union. However, agreements on the online exploitation of such works may face difficulties related to the licensing of rights. Such issues may, for instance, appear when the holder of the rights for a given territory is not interested in the online exploitation of the work or where there are issues linked to the windows of exploitation.
(30) To facilitate the licensing of rights in audiovisual works to video-on-demand platforms, this Directive requires Member States to set up a negotiation mechanism allowing parties willing to conclude an agreement to rely on the assistance of an impartial body. The body should meet with the parties and help with the negotiations by providing professional and external advice. Against that background, Member States should decide on the conditions of the functioning of the negotiation mechanism, including the timing and duration of the assistance to negotiations and the bearing of the costs. Member States should ensure that administrative and financial burdens remain proportionate to guarantee the efficiency of the negotiation forum.
(31) A free and pluralist press is essential to ensure quality journalism and citizens' access to information. It provides a fundamental contribution to public debate and the proper functioning of a democratic society. In the transition from print to digital, publishers of press publications are facing problems in licensing the online use of their publications and recouping their investments. In the absence of recognition of publishers of press publications as rightholders, licensing and enforcement in the digital environment is often complex and inefficient.
(32) The organisational and financial contribution of publishers in producing press publications needs to be recognised and further encouraged to ensure the sustainability of the publishing industry. It is therefore necessary to provide at Union level a harmonised legal protection for press publications in respect of digital uses. Such protection should be effectively guaranteed through the introduction, in Union law, of rights related to copyright for the reproduction and making available to the public of press publications in respect of digital uses.
(33) For the purposes of this Directive, it is necessary to define the concept of press publication in a way that embraces only journalistic publications, published by a service provider, periodically or regularly updated in any media, for the purpose of informing or entertaining. Such publications would include, for instance, daily newspapers, weekly or monthly magazines of general or special interest and news websites. Periodical publications which are published for scientific or academic purposes, such as scientific journals, should not be covered by the protection granted to press publications under this Directive. This protection does not extend to acts of hyperlinking which do not constitute communication to the public.
(34) The rights granted to the publishers of press publications under this Directive should have the same scope as the rights of reproduction and making available to the public provided for in Directive 2001/29/EC, insofar as digital uses are concerned. They should also be subject to the same provisions on exceptions and limitations as those applicable to the rights provided for in Directive 2001/29/EC including the exception on quotation for purposes such as criticism or review laid down in Article 5(3)(d) of that Directive.
(35) The protection granted to publishers of press publications under this Directive should not affect the rights of the authors and other rightholders in the works and other subject-matter incorporated therein, including as regards the extent to which authors and other rightholders can exploit their works or other subject-matter independently from the press publication in which they are incorporated. Therefore, publishers of press publications should not be able to invoke the protection granted to them against authors and other rightholders. This is without prejudice to contractual arrangements concluded between the publishers of press publications, on the one side, and authors and other rightholders, on the other side.
(36) Publishers, including those of press publications, books or scientific publications, often operate on the basis of the transfer of authors' rights by means of contractual agreements or statutory provisions. In this context, publishers make an investment with a view to the exploitation of the works contained in their publications and may in some instances be deprived of revenues where such works are used under exceptions or limitations such as the ones for private copying and reprography. In a number of Member States compensation for uses under those exceptions is shared between authors and publishers. In order to take account of this situation and improve legal certainty for all concerned parties, Member States should be allowed to determine that, when an author has transferred or licensed his rights to a publisher or otherwise contributes with his works to a publication and there are systems in place to compensate for the harm caused by an exception or limitation, publishers are entitled to claim a share of such compensation, whereas the burden on the publisher to substantiate his claim should not exceed what is required under the system in place.
(37) Over the last years, the functioning of the online content marketplace has gained in complexity. Online services providing access to copyright protected content uploaded by their users without the involvement of right holders have flourished and have become main sources of access to content online. This affects rightholders' possibilities to determine whether, and under which conditions, their work and other subject-matter are used as well as their possibilities to get an appropriate remuneration for it.
(38) Where information society service providers store and provide access to the public to copyright protected works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users, thereby going beyond the mere provision of physical facilities and performing an act of communication to the public, they are obliged to conclude licensing agreements with rightholders, unless they are eligible for the liability exemption provided in Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council .
In respect of Article 14, it is necessary to verify whether the service provider plays an active role, including by optimising the presentation of the uploaded works or subject-matter or promoting them, irrespective of the nature of the means used therefor.
In order to ensure the functioning of any licensing agreement, information society service providers storing and providing access to the public to large amounts of copyright protected works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users should take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure protection of works or other subject-matter, such as implementing effective technologies. This obligation should also apply when the information society service providers are eligible for the liability exemption provided in Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC.
(39) Collaboration between information society service providers storing and providing access to the public to large amounts of copyright protected works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users and rightholders is essential for the functioning of technologies, such as content recognition technologies. In such cases, rightholders should provide the necessary data to allow the services to identify their content and the services should be transparent towards rightholders with regard to the deployed technologies, to allow the assessment of their appropriateness. The services should in particular provide rightholders with information on the type of technologies used, the way they are operated and their success rate for the recognition of rightholders' content. Those technologies should also allow rightholders to get information from the information society service providers on the use of their content covered by an agreement.
(40) Certain rightholders such as authors and performers need information to assess the economic value of their rights which are harmonised under Union law. This is especially the case where such rightholders grant a licence or a transfer of rights in return for remuneration. As authors and performers tend to be in a weaker contractual position when they grant licences or transfer their rights, they need information to assess the continued economic value of their rights, compared to the remuneration received for their licence or transfer, but they often face a lack of transparency. Therefore, the sharing of adequate information by their contractual counterparts or their successors in title is important for the transparency and balance in the system that governs the remuneration of authors and performers.
(41) When implementing transparency obligations, the specificities of different content sectors and of the rights of the authors and performers in each sector should be considered. Member States should consult all relevant stakeholders as that should help determine sector-specific requirements. Collective bargaining should be considered as an option to reach an agreement between the relevant stakeholders regarding transparency. To enable the adaptation of current reporting practices to the transparency obligations, a transitional period should be provided for. The transparency obligations do not need to apply to agreements concluded with collective management organisations as those are already subject to transparency obligations under Directive 2014/26/EU.
(42) Certain contracts for the exploitation of rights harmonised at Union level are of long duration, offering few possibilities for authors and performers to renegotiate them with their contractual counterparts or their successors in title. Therefore, without prejudice to the law applicable to contracts in Member States, there should be a remuneration adjustment mechanism for cases where the remuneration originally agreed under a licence or a transfer of rights is disproportionately low compared to the relevant revenues and the benefits derived from the exploitation of the work or the fixation of the performance, including in light of the transparency ensured by this Directive. The assessment of the situation should take account of the specific circumstances of each case as well as of the specificities and practices of the different content sectors. Where the parties do not agree on the adjustment of the remuneration, the author or performer should be entitled to bring a claim before a court or other competent authority.
(43) Authors and performers are often reluctant to enforce their rights against their contractual partners before a court or tribunal. Member States should therefore provide for an alternative dispute resolution procedure that addresses claims related to obligations of transparency and the contract adjustment mechanism.
(44) The objectives of this Directive, namely the modernisation of certain aspects of the Union copyright framework to take account of technological developments and new channels of distribution of protected content in the internal market, cannot be sufficiently achieved by Member States but can rather, by reason of their scale, effects and cross-border dimension, be better achieved at Union level. Therefore, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.
(45) This Directive respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Accordingly, this Directive should be interpreted and applied in accordance with those rights and principles.
(46) Any processing of personal data under this Directive should respect fundamental rights, including the right to respect for private and family life and the right to protection of personal data under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and must be in compliance with Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council .
(47) In accordance with the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 of Member States and the Commission on explanatory documents , Member States have undertaken to accompany, in justified cases, the notification of their transposition measures with one or more documents explaining the relationship between the components of a directive and the corresponding parts of national transposition instruments. With regard to this Directive, the legislator considers the transmission of such documents to be justified,
Article 1 Subject matter and scope
1. This Directive lays down rules which aim at further harmonising the Union law applicable to copyright and related rights in the framework of the internal market, taking into account in particular digital and cross-border uses of protected content. It also lays down rules on exceptions and limitations, on the facilitation of licences as well as rules aiming at ensuring a well-functioning marketplace for the exploitation of works and other subject-matter.
2. Except in the cases referred to in Article 6, this Directive shall leave intact and shall in no way affect existing rules laid down in the Directives currently in force in this area, in particular Directives 96/9/EC, 2001/29/EC, 2006/115/EC, 2009/24/EC, 2012/28/EU and 2014/26/EU.
Article 2 Definitions
For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) 'research organisation' means a university, a research institute or any other organisation the primary goal of which is to conduct scientific research or to conduct scientific research and provide educational services:
(a) on a non-for-profit basis or by reinvesting all the profits in its scientific research; or
(b) pursuant to a public interest mission recognised by a Member State;
in such a way that the access to the results generated by the scientific research cannot be enjoyed on a preferential basis by an undertaking exercising a decisive influence upon such organisation;
(2) 'text and data mining' means any automated analytical technique aiming to analyse text and data in digital form in order to generate information such as patterns, trends and correlations;
(3) 'cultural heritage institution' means a publicly accessible library or museum, an archive or a film or audio heritage institution;
(4) 'press publication' means a fixation of a collection of literary works of a journalistic nature, which may also comprise other works or subject-matter and constitutes an individual item within a periodical or regularly-updated publication under a single title, such as a newspaper or a general or special interest magazine, having the purpose of providing information related to news or other topics and published in any media under the initiative, editorial responsibility and control of a service provider.
Article 3 Text and data mining
1. Member States shall provide for an exception to the rights provided for in Article 2 of Directive 2001/29/EC, Articles 5(a) and 7(1) of Directive 96/9/EC and Article 11(1) of this Directive for reproductions and extractions made by research organisations in order to carry out text and data mining of works or other subject-matter to which they have lawful access for the purposes of scientific research.
2. Any contractual provision contrary to the exception provided for in paragraph 1 shall be unenforceable.
3. Rightholders shall be allowed to apply measures to ensure the security and integrity of the networks and databases where the works or other subject-matter are hosted. Such measures shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve that objective.
4. Member States shall encourage rightholders and research organisations to define commonly-agreed best practices concerning the application of the measures referred to in paragraph 3.
Article 4 Use of works and other subject-matter in digital and cross-border teaching activities
1. Member States shall provide for an exception or limitation to the rights provided for in Articles 2 and 3 of Directive 2001/29/EC, Articles 5(a) and 7(1) of Directive 96/9/EC, Article 4(1) of Directive 2009/24/EC and Article 11(1) of this Directive in order to allow for the digital use of works and other subject-matter for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching, to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved, provided that the use:
(a) takes place on the premises of an educational establishment or through a secure electronic network accessible only by the educational establishment's pupils or students and teaching staff;
(b) is accompanied by the indication of the source, including the author's name, unless this turns out to be impossible.
2. Member States may provide that the exception adopted pursuant to paragraph 1 does not apply generally or as regards specific types of works or other subject-matter, to the extent that adequate licences authorising the acts described in paragraph 1 are easily available in the market.
Member States availing themselves of the provision of the first subparagraph shall take the necessary measures to ensure appropriate availability and visibility of the licences authorising the acts described in paragraph 1 for educational establishments.
3. The use of works and other subject-matter for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching through secure electronic networks undertaken in compliance with the provisions of national law adopted pursuant to this Article shall be deemed to occur solely in the Member State where the educational establishment is established.
4. Member States may provide for fair compensation for the harm incurred by the rightholders due to the use of their works or other subject-matter pursuant to paragraph 1.
Article 5 Preservation of cultural heritage
Member States shall provide for an exception to the rights provided for in Article 2 of Directive 2001/29/EC, Articles 5(a) and 7(1) of Directive 96/9/EC, Article 4(1)(a) of Directive 2009/24/EC and Article 11(1) of this Directive, permitting cultural heritage institutions, to make copies of any works or other subject-matter that are permanently in their collections, in any format or medium, for the sole purpose of the preservation of such works or other subject-matter and to the extent necessary for such preservation.
Article 6 Common provisions
Article 5(5) and the first, third and fifth subparagraphs of Article 6(4) of Directive 2001/29/EC shall apply to the exceptions and the limitation provided for under this Title.
CHAPTER 1 Out-of-commerce works
Article 7 Use of out-of-commerce works by cultural heritage institutions
1. Member States shall provide that when a collective management organisation, on behalf of its members, concludes a non-exclusive licence for non-commercial purposes with a cultural heritage institution for the digitisation, distribution, communication to the public or making available of out-of-commerce works or other subject-matter permanently in the collection of the institution, such a non-exclusive licence may be extended or presumed to apply to rightholders of the same category as those covered by the licence who are not represented by the collective management organisation, provided that:
(a) the collective management organisation is, on the basis of mandates from rightholders, broadly representative of rightholders in the category of works or other subject-matter and of the rights which are the subject of the licence;
(b) equal treatment is guaranteed to all rightholders in relation to the terms of the licence;
(c) all rightholders may at any time object to their works or other subject-matter being deemed to be out of commerce and exclude the application of the licence to their works or other subject-matter.
2. A work or other subject-matter shall be deemed to be out of commerce when the whole work or other subject-matter, in all its translations, versions and manifestations, is not available to the public through customary channels of commerce and cannot be reasonably expected to become so.
Member States shall, in consultation with rightholders, collective management organisations and cultural heritage institutions, ensure that the requirements used to determine whether works and other subject-matter can be licensed in accordance with paragraph 1 do not extend beyond what is necessary and reasonable and do not preclude the possibility to determine the out-of-commerce status of a collection as a whole, when it is reasonable to presume that all works or other subject-matter in the collection are out of commerce.
3. Member States shall provide that appropriate publicity measures are taken regarding:
(a) the deeming of works or other subject-matter as out of commerce;
(b) the licence, and in particular its application to unrepresented rightholders;
(c) the possibility of rightholders to object, referred to in point (c) of paragraph 1;
including during a reasonable period of time before the works or other subject-matter are digitised, distributed, communicated to the public or made available.
4. Member States shall ensure that the licences referred to in paragraph 1 are sought from a collective management organisation that is representative for the Member State where:
(a) the works or phonograms were first published or, in the absence of publication, where they were first broadcast, except for cinematographic and audiovisual works;
(b) the producers of the works have their headquarters or habitual residence, for cinematographic and audiovisual works; or
(c) the cultural heritage institution is established, when a Member State or a third country could not be determined, after reasonable efforts, according to points (a) and (b).
5. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 shall not apply to the works or other subject-matter of third country nationals except where points (a) and (b) of paragraph 4 apply.
Article 8 Cross-border uses
1. Works or other subject-matter covered by a licence granted in accordance with Article 7 may be used by the cultural heritage institution in accordance with the terms of the licence in all Member States.
2. Member States shall ensure that information that allows the identification of the works or other subject-matter covered by a licence granted in accordance with Article 7 and information about the possibility of rightholders to object referred to in Article 7(1)(c) are made publicly accessible in a single online portal for at least six months before the works or other subject-matter are digitised, distributed, communicated to the public or made available in Member States other than the one where the licence is granted, and for the whole duration of the licence.
3. The portal referred to in paragraph 2 shall be established and managed by the European Union Intellectual Property Office in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 386/2012.
Article 9 Stakeholder dialogue
Member States shall ensure a regular dialogue between representative users' and rightholders' organisations, and any other relevant stakeholder organisations, to, on a sector-specific basis, foster the relevance and usability of the licensing mechanisms referred to in Article 7(1), ensure the effectiveness of the safeguards for rightholders referred to in this Chapter, notably as regards publicity measures, and, where applicable, assist in the establishment of the requirements referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 7(2).
CHAPTER 2 Access to and availability of audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms
Article 10 Negotiation mechanism
Member States shall ensure that where parties wishing to conclude an agreement for the purpose of making available audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms face difficulties relating to the licensing of rights, they may rely on the assistance of an impartial body with relevant experience. That body shall provide assistance with negotiation and help reach agreements.
No later than [date mentioned in Article 21(1)] Member States shall notify to the Commission the body referred to in paragraph 1.
CHAPTER 1 Rights in publications
Article 11 Protection of press publications concerning digital uses
1. Member States shall provide publishers of press publications with the rights provided for in Article 2 and Article 3(2) of Directive 2001/29/EC for the digital use of their press publications.
2. The rights referred to in paragraph 1 shall leave intact and shall in no way affect any rights provided for in Union law to authors and other rightholders, in respect of the works and other subject-matter incorporated in a press publication. Such rights may not be invoked against those authors and other rightholders and, in particular, may not deprive them of their right to exploit their works and other subject-matter independently from the press publication in which they are incorporated.
3. Articles 5 to 8 of Directive 2001/29/EC and Directive 2012/28/EU shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the rights referred to in paragraph 1.
4. The rights referred to in paragraph 1 shall expire 20 years after the publication of the press publication. This term shall be calculated from the first day of January of the year following the date of publication.
Article 12 Claims to fair compensation
Member States may provide that where an author has transferred or licensed a right to a publisher, such a transfer or a licence constitutes a sufficient legal basis for the publisher to claim a share of the compensation for the uses of the work made under an exception or limitation to the transferred or licensed right.
CHAPTER 2 Certain uses of protected content by online services
Article 13 Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users
1. Information society service providers that store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users shall, in cooperation with rightholders, take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders for the use of their works or other subject-matter or to prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightholders through the cooperation with the service providers. Those measures, such as the use of effective content recognition technologies, shall be appropriate and proportionate. The service providers shall provide rightholders with adequate information on the functioning and the deployment of the measures, as well as, when relevant, adequate reporting on the recognition and use of the works and other subject-matter.
2. Member States shall ensure that the service providers referred to in paragraph 1 put in place complaints and redress mechanisms that are available to users in case of disputes over the application of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.
3. Member States shall facilitate, where appropriate, the cooperation between the information society service providers and rightholders through stakeholder dialogues to define best practices, such as appropriate and proportionate content recognition technologies, taking into account, among others, the nature of the services, the availability of the technologies and their effectiveness in light of technological developments.
CHAPTER 3 Fair remuneration in contracts of authors and performers
Article 14 Transparency obligation
1. Member States shall ensure that authors and performers receive on a regular basis and taking into account the specificities of each sector, timely, adequate and sufficient information on the exploitation of their works and performances from those to whom they have licensed or transferred their rights, notably as regards modes of exploitation, revenues generated and remuneration due.
2. The obligation in paragraph 1 shall be proportionate and effective and shall ensure an appropriate level of transparency in every sector. However, in those cases where the administrative burden resulting from the obligation would be disproportionate in view of the revenues generated by the exploitation of the work or performance, Member States may adjust the obligation in paragraph 1, provided that the obligation remains effective and ensures an appropriate level of transparency.
3. Member States may decide that the obligation in paragraph 1 does not apply when the contribution of the author or performer is not significant having regard to the overall work or performance.
4. Paragraph 1 shall not be applicable to entities subject to the transparency obligations established by Directive 2014/26/EU.
Article 15 Contract adjustment mechanism
Member States shall ensure that authors and performers are entitled to request additional, appropriate remuneration from the party with whom they entered into a contract for the exploitation of the rights when the remuneration originally agreed is disproportionately low compared to the subsequent relevant revenues and benefits derived from the exploitation of the works or performances.
Article 16 Dispute resolution mechanism
Member States shall provide that disputes concerning the transparency obligation under Article 14 and the contract adjustment mechanism under Article 15 may be submitted to a voluntary, alternative dispute resolution procedure.
Article 17 Amendments to other directives
1. Directive 96/9/EC is amended as follows:
(a) In Article 6(2), point (b) is replaced by the following:
"(b) where there is use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source is indicated and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved, without prejudice to the exceptions and the limitation provided for in Directive [this Directive];"
(b) In Article 9, point (b) is replaced by the following:
"(b) in the case of extraction for the purposes of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source is indicated and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved, without prejudice to the exceptions and the limitation provided for in Directive [this Directive];"
2. Directive 2001/29/EC is amended as follows:
(a) In Article 5(2), point (c) is replaced by the following:
"(c) in respect of specific acts of reproduction made by publicly accessible libraries, educational establishments or museums, or by archives, which are not for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage, without prejudice to the exceptions and the limitation provided for in Directive [this Directive];"
(b) In Article 5(3), point (a) is replaced by the following:
"(a) use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source, including the author's name, is indicated, unless this turns out to be impossible and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved, without prejudice to the exceptions and the limitation provided for in Directive [this Directive];"
(c) In Article 12(4), the following points are added:
"(e) to examine the impact of the transposition of Directive [this Directive] on the functioning of the internal market and to highlight any transposition difficulties;
(f) to facilitate the exchange of information on the relevant developments in legislation and case law as well as on the practical application of the measures taken by Member States to implement Directive [this Directive];
(g) to discuss any other questions arising from the application of Directive [this Directive]."
Article 18 Application in time
1. This Directive shall apply in respect of all works and other subject-matter which are protected by the Member States' legislation in the field of copyright on or after [the date mentioned in Article 21(1)].
2. The provisions of Article 11 shall also apply to press publications published before [the date mentioned in Article 21(1)].
3. This Directive shall apply without prejudice to any acts concluded and rights acquired before [the date mentioned in Article 21(1)].
Article 19 Transitional provision
Agreements for the licence or transfer of rights of authors and performers shall be subject to the transparency obligation in Article 14 as from [one year after the date mentioned in Article 21(1)].
Article 20 Protection of personal data
The processing of personal data carried out within the framework of this Directive shall be carried out in compliance with Directives 95/46/EC and 2002/58/EC.
Article 21 Transposition
1. Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by [12 months after entry into force] at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.
When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.
2. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.
Article 22 Review
1. No sooner than [five years after the date mentioned in Article 21(1)], the Commission shall carry out a review of this Directive and present a report on the main findings to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.
2. Member States shall provide the Commission with the necessary information for the preparation of the report referred to in paragraph 1.
Article 23 Entry into force
This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union .
Article 24 Addressees
This Directive is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Brussels,
For the European Parliament For the Council
The President The President
After 10 Years, Nathan Myhrvold's $3 Billion Of Private Equity Funds Show Big Losses
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:09
Some 10 years ago, Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, raised nearly $3 billion for two private equity funds from financial investors and tech companies. These were not your typical funds. They were designed to invest in patents and innovations, not companies or their securities, over a lifespan of 20 years, as opposed to the usual 10 to 13 years. Halfway through their run, the funds are deep in the red.
Invention Investment Fund II was the bigger fund that Myhrvold's firm, Intellectual Ventures, raised in 2008. It has generated a -15.44% internal rate of return, according to data provided by the University of Texas Investment Management Co., one of Intellectual Ventures' investors.
Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
The other fund, Invention Development Fund, has posted an IRR of -24.7%. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has over the same period, which included the stock market crash of the Great Recession, produced an annualized return of 8.42%.
Intellectual Ventures has always maintained that ''traditional accounting rules don't accurately reflect the value of our patent portfolio.'' But the cash-on-cash returns of the funds also remain bleak. After 10 years, Invention Investment Fund II has returned 37 cents of each dollar it has invested. Invention Development Fund has returned 2 cents on each dollar invested. Neither fund has returned a penny to investors in the last two years.
''We continue to work diligently to generate returns for investors across all our funds through patent licensing, assets sales, joint ventures, and the creation of new companies,'' Intellectual Ventures said in a statement. ''We've created nearly 20 new businesses which have raised more than $700 million in venture funding of their own, inventions from our Global Good fund are being used in the fight against Ebola, and we have reached patent licensing agreements with many of the world's largest companies.''
Nevertheless, Myhrvold has washed his hands of Invention Development Fund. It is now being managed by a new firm, Allied Inventors Management, which was set up solely to run Invention Development Fund outside of Intellectual Ventures. The fund has been renamed Allied Investors Fund. ''The terms of the arrangement are subject to confidentiality agreement,'' said DG Kim, Allied's chief financial officer. ''As far as internal fund matters, I am bound and can't say anything really.''
Invention Development Fund's capital was initially deployed at Intellectual Ventures by Andre Lee, who played a central role in bringing down one of Asia's best known investment banks, Peregrine, in 1998. Lee was running Invention Development Fund while at the same time being barred by a Hong Kong court from being a director of a Hong Kong company.
Lee left Intellectual Ventures by 2011, the start of a trend that has seen the key people who raised money from financial investors for Intellectual Ventures' 20-year funds leave the firm. This is perhaps the biggest warning signal that Intellectual Ventures may serve for private equity investors thinking about locking up their money for two decades.
Three of Intellectual Ventures' four founders, Greg Gorder, Peter Detkin, and Ed Jung, have either left Intellectual Ventures or significantly diminished their roles at the firm. That has left Myhrvold as the only founder with a day-to-day role. But Myhrvold often seems to spend a lot of his time on his own passions, like writing a 2,400-page cookbook, a 2,600-page guide to baking bread and picking fights with asteroid-hunting scientists.
Some of the people who made the decision to invest institutional funds in Intellectual Ventures' funds have also moved on. Lindel Eakman helped push UTIMCO's investment in Intellectual Ventures, but he now runs his own investment firm. He once told Forbes it would only be fair to judge the investment after a decade had passed.
And here we are a decade later. Myhrvold did manage to raise a third Invention Investment Fund, but it appears to have been similar to Myhrvold's original fund, which catered not to financial investors but to tech companies concerned about patent wars that would impact their businesses and rivals. Microsoft contributed some 70% of Invention Investment Fund III's capital and Microsoft's Ireland subsidiary recently wrote down $136.5 million of its investment in the fund. IAM reported that the write-down indicated that the fund is closing and Intellectual Ventures is ceasing to buy patents.
In total Myhrvold's firm has acquired 95,000 patents and launched or been behind dozens of lawsuits, making it a giant patent troll. But Intellectual Ventures' litigation strategy has been dealt some setbacks. The nation's top patent court has thrown out patents Intellectual Ventures has tried to assert against companies like Capital One. This week a federal appeals court issued a ruling that will make it very difficult for Intellectual Ventures to assert a patent it had sued Ericsson for infringing.
Myhrvold has maintained his firm is all about promoting innovation. Maybe one of the venture-backed businesses Intellectual Ventures has a stake in will pan out. But he will really need some home runs if wants to make 20 years of illiquidity make sense for financial investors. After 10 years, they are yet to recoup most of their initial investment.
American tech giants are making life tough for startups - Into the danger zone
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:53
IT IS a classic startup story, but with a twist. Three 20-somethings launched a firm out of a dorm room at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016, with the goal of using algorithms to predict the reply to an e-mail. In May they were fundraising for their startup, EasyEmail, when Google held its annual conference for software developers and announced a tool similar to EasyEmail's. Filip Twarowski, its boss, sees Google's incursion as ''incredible confirmation'' they are working on something worthwhile. But he also admits that it came as ''a little bit of a shock''. The giant has scared off at least one prospective backer of EasyEmail, because venture capitalists try to dodge spaces where the tech giants might step.
The behemoths' annual conferences, held to announce new tools, features, and acquisitions, always ''send shock waves of fear through entrepreneurs'', says Mike Driscoll, a partner at Data Collective, an investment firm. ''Venture capitalists attend to see which of their companies are going to get killed next.'' But anxiety about the tech giants on the part of startups and their investors goes much deeper than such events. Venture capitalists, such as Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, who was an early investor in Twitter, now talk of a ''kill-zone'' around the giants. Once a young firm enters, it can be extremely difficult to survive. Tech giants try to squash startups by copying them, or they pay to scoop them up early to eliminate a threat.
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The idea of a kill-zone may bring to mind Microsoft's long reign in the 1990s, as it embraced a strategy of ''embrace, extend and extinguish'' and tried to intimidate startups from entering its domain. But entrepreneurs' and venture capitalists' concerns are striking because for a long while afterwards, startups had free rein. In 2014 The Economist likened the proliferation of startups to the Cambrian explosion: software made running a startup cheaper than ever and opportunities seemed abundant.
Today, less so. Anything having to do with the consumer internet is perceived as dangerous, because of the dominance of Amazon, Facebook and Google (owned by Alphabet). Venture capitalists are wary of backing startups in online search, social media, mobile and e-commerce. It has become harder for startups to secure a first financing round. According to Pitchbook, a research company, in 2017 the number of these rounds were down by around 22% from 2012 (see chart).
The wariness comes from seeing what happens to startups when they enter the kill-zone, either deliberately or accidentally. Snap is the most prominent example; after Snap rebuffed Facebook's attempts to buy the firm in 2013, for $3bn, Facebook cloned many of its successful features and has put a damper on its growth. A less known example is Life on Air, which launched Meerkat, a live video-streaming app, in 2015. It was obliterated when Twitter acquired and promoted a competing app, Periscope. Life on Air shut Meerkat down and launched a different app, called Houseparty, which offered group video chats. This briefly gained prominence, but was then copied by Facebook, seizing users and attention away from the startup.
The kill-zone operates in business software (''enterprise'' in the lingo) as well, with the shadows of Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet looming large. Amazon's cloud service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has labelled many startups as ''partners'', only to copy their functionality and offer them as a cheap or free service. A giant pushing into a startup's territory, while controlling the platform that startup depends on for distribution, makes life tricky. For example, Elastic, a data-management firm, lost sales after AWS launched a competitor, Elasticsearch, in 2015.
Even if giants do not copy startups outright, they can dent their prospects. Last year Amazon bought Whole Foods Market, a grocer, for $13.7bn. Blue Apron, a meal-delivery startup that was preparing to go public, was suddenly perceived as unappetising, as expectations mounted that Amazon would push into the space. This phenomenon is not limited to young firms: recently Facebook announced it was moving into online dating, causing the share price of Match Group, which went public in 2015, to plummet by 22% that day.
It has never been easy to make it as a startup. Now the army of fearsome technology giants is larger, and operates in a wider range of areas, including online search, social media, digital advertising, virtual reality, messaging and communications, smartphones and home speakers, cloud computing, smart software, e-commerce and more. This makes it challenging for startups to find space to break through and avoid being stamped on. Today's giants are ''much more ruthless and introspective. They will eat their own children to live another day,'' according to Matt Ocko, a venture capitalist with Data Collective. And they are constantly scanning the horizon for incipient threats. Startups used to be able to have several years' head start working on something novel without the giants noticing, says Aaron Levie of Box, a cloud and file-sharing service that has avoided the kill-zone (it has a market value of around $3.8bn). But today startups can only get a six- to 12-month lead before incumbents quickly catch up, he says.
There are some exceptions. Airbnb, Uber, Slack and other ''unicorns'' have faced down competition from incumbents. But they are few in number and many startups have learned to set their sights on more achievable aims. Entrepreneurs are ''thinking much earlier about which consolidator is going to buy them'', says Larry Chu of Goodwin Procter, a law firm. The tech giants have been avid acquirers: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft spent a combined $31.6bn on acquisitions in 2017. This has led some startups to be less ambitious. ''Ninety per cent of the startups I see are built for sale, not for scale,'' says Ajay Royan of Mithril Capital, which invests in tech.
This can be enriching to founders, who can go on to start another firm or provide financing to peers with smart ideas. To the extent that such exits provide more capital to spur innovation, this is no bad thing. The tech giants can help the firms they acquire grow more than they might have been able to do on their own. For example, Facebook's acquisition of Instagram took out a would-be competitor, but it has thrived under the social-networking giant's sway by adopting the technical infrastructure, staff and know-how that Facebook had in place.
Friend or foe?
But plenty of people in the Valley reckon the bad outweighs the good and that early, ''shoot-out'' acquisitions have sapped innovation. ''The dominance of the big platforms has had a meaningful effect on the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley,'' says Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, a private-equity firm, who was an early investor in Facebook. ''It's shifted the incentives from trying to create a large platform to creating a small morsel that's tasty to be acquired by one of the giants.''
And when startups are bullied into selling, as some are, it is even more worrying. Big tech firms have been known to intimidate startups into agreeing to a sale, saying that they will launch a competing service and put the startup out of business unless they agree to a deal, says one person who was in charge of these negotiations at a big software firm (which uses such tactics).
There are three reasons to think that the kill-zone is likely to stay. First, the giants have tons of data to identify emerging rivals faster than ever before. Google collects signals about how internet users are spending time and money through its Chrome browser, e-mail service, Android operating system, app store, cloud service and more. Facebook can see which apps people use and where they travel online. It acquired the app Onavo, which helped it recognise that Instagram was gaining steam. It bought the young firm for $1bn before it could mature into a real threat, and last year it purchased a nascent social-polling firm, tbh, in a similar manner. Amazon can glean reams of data from its e-commerce platform and cloud business.
Another source of market information comes from investing in startups, which helps tech firms gain insights into new markets and possible disrupters. Of all American tech firms, Alphabet has been the most active. Since 2013 it has spent $12.6bn investing in 308 startups. Startups generally feel excited about gaining expertise from such a successful firm, but some may rue the day they accepted funding, because of conflicts. Uber, for example, took money from one of Alphabet's venture-capital funds, but soon found itself competing against the giant's self-driving car unit, Waymo. Thumbtack, a marketplace for skilled workers, also accepted money from Alphabet, but then watched as the parent company rolled out a competing service, Google Home Services. Amazon and Apple invest less in startups, but they too have clashed with them. Amazon invested in a home intercom system, called Nucleus, and then rolled out a very similar product of its own last year.
Recruiting is a second tool the giants will use to enforce their kill zones. Big tech firms are able to shell out huge sums to keep top performers and even average employees in their fold and make it uneconomical for their workers to consider joining startups. In 2017 Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft allocated a combined a whopping $23.7bn to stock-based compensation. Big companies' hoarding of talent stops startups scaling quickly. According to Mike Volpi of Index Ventures, a venture-capital firm, startups in the firm's portfolio are currently 10-20% behind in their hiring goals for the year.
A third reason that startups may struggle to break through is that there is no sign of a new platform emerging which could disrupt the incumbents, even more than a decade after the rise of mobile. For example, the rise of mobile wounded Microsoft, which was dominant on personal computers, and gave power to both Facebook and Google, enabling them to capture more online ad dollars and attention. But there is no big new platform today. And the giants make it extremely expensive to get attention: Facebook, Google and Amazon all charge a hefty toll for new apps and services to get in front of consumers.
Seeing little opportunity to compete with the tech giants on their own turf, investors and startups are going where they can spot an opening. The lack of an incumbent giant is one reason why there is so much investor enthusiasm for crypto-currencies and for synthetic biology today. But the giants are starting to pay more attention. There are rumours Facebook wants to buy Coinbase, a cryptocurrency firm.
Regulators will be watching what the giants try next. Criticism that they have been too lax in approving deals where tech firms buy tiny competitors that could one day challenge them has been mounting. Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and Google's purchase of YouTube, before it was obvious how the pair might have taken on the giants, might well have been blocked today. To fight back against the kill-zone, regulators must closely consider what weapons to wield themselves.
Braking Algos
1. Tesla Brakes
- Episode 1036
John you
had a question as to how Tesla could just change an algo and make the brakes
better. Tesla uses a brake by wire setup. There are hydraulic
brakes on the vehicle but they are connected to basically a hydraulic
pump. The pressure is electronically controlled by the angle or force
exerted on the brake pedal (I am not absolutely sure as to which method Tesla
uses). So by changing a couple coefficients in an equation, you can
change how the pedal feels when stopping.
3. Copper in
Brake Pads - Non episode specific
I just
wanted to pass along that thanks to California, all brake pads must have less
than 0.5 percent copper by 2025. High levels of copper was detected in
the San Francisco Bay and one of our Directors was tapped to help in the
investigation as to the cause. It was found that as brake pads wear,
copper wears off onto the road ways and rain runoff carries this into the
bay. Which in turn kills aquatic life. California and Washington
have passed laws banning most copper with implementations in stages until
2025. see http://www.copperfreebrakes.org.
Since it is too costly to try and limit which brake pad goes to which state,
companies just made the change across the board. Copper had been a vital
ingredient in effective brake pads.
4. Made in
America Hoax
I always
chuckle when I see the bumper sticker "Are you out of a job yet? Buy
American." The Toyota Camry is probably the most american made car
in the US. MY own company designs all the US car model brakes here in
Detroit and we manufacture in Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
None of our brakes or components come from overseas. Even when companies
like Ford ask us to use cheap suppliers from China.
The 2011
Tsunami in Japan almost caused three iconic "American" vehicles to
stop production. All three cars had brake pads made in a plant that was
within the "No Go Zone" of the Fukushima Power Plant meltdown.
No, Akebono was not the company. We were asked to quote the production of
these brake pads to keep the cars rolling down the assembly line. The
three vehicles were the Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Pickup, Chevrolet Corvette, and the
Ford Mustang.
Any Collusion?
Report: Nearly 30 FBI Officials Want To Expose 'Corrupt' Hillary Investigation But Fear Being Blackballed - Sarah Palin
Sun, 03 Jun 2018 21:06
As many as 28 FBI officials are reportedly considering whether or not to testify against corruption they witnessed in the handling of the Hillary email investigation.
It is unclear what material or information they would offer, but Fox News' Sean Hannity said nearly 30 individuals are hoping they face a federal subpoena to expose what went on behind the scenes.
''We have an IG [Inspector General] report coming out, and I'm told as many as 28 people that have knowledge of the Clinton email server scandal want to be subpoenaed so they can tell the story of corruption at the highest levels of the bureau at that they love,'' Hannity said, as BizPac Review reports.
But, according to the report, these individuals are reportedly having to weigh the cost of potentially losing their careers.
Investigative reporter and Fox News contributor Sara Carter similarly commented that these individuals want to speak, but cannot come willingly. So, they are looking to testify under the guise they have to, via a subpoena.
''There are a lot of FBI agents that want to come out and speak,'' Carter said, per the report. ''A lot of them are current agents, which makes it very difficult for them, so they need to be subpoenaed. These are the things that Congress needs to act on.''
A report from the Daily Caller has more concerning why these officials do not come forward:
Sources tell The Daily Caller disgruntled FBI agents are too afraid of retaliation to speak out about the Bureau's many troubles.The sources say agents don't trust Congress to protect them from the consequences of testifying and claim whistleblower protection laws are ineffective.The FBI rarely punishes those who retaliate against whistleblowers, according to the agency itself.''These agents believe the sluggishness of the law exposes them to an inordinate risk of reprisal, so they have remained in hiding and afraid to speak the truth,'' the report claims.
Here's more:
The former White House official who maintained direct contact with at least two agents told TheDC they are ''hunkering down because they see good people being thrown to the dogs for speaking out and speaking out does nothing to solve the problems.'' He believes that ''Congress and DOJ are so weak and clueless and can't be trusted to follow through.''
According to transcripts he shared with TheDC, one special agent said, ''It's a question of basic credibility '-- Congress, the executive, and oversight are not seen to have any gravitas or seriousness. The inmates have been running the asylum and they don't respect, much less fear, their overseers. We know we'll be hung out to dry.''
The agent added, ''And don't get me wrong, there are still a few good people scattered about, but main Justice and the bureaucrats are running the show, want to run out the clock on this administration, and keep the status quo.''
''It'd be suicide,'' one special agent told the Daily Caller. ''This is a great opportunity for senior or [soon to be retiring] guys, not for someone like me.''
The agent also said, ''You still have a ton of bad people in place. Unless that changes, and I haven't seen any degree of seriousness on the part of ranking members nor staffers, I'm not meeting with anyone nor willing to be subpoenaed. I'm not coming forward until they get their act together. Right now, it'd be sacrificing a career for cheap political points.''
There is more than just the fear of retaliation which prevents agents like this from stepping forward. Bankruptcy from legal fees is another serious consideration:
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley defended the Whistleblower Protection Act he spearheaded after FBI agents insisted that only subpoenas would bring them forward to Congress. (RELATED: Grassley Defends Whistleblower Law, But FBI Agents Want Assurances That Legal Fees Are Covered If Dept. Retaliates)
''I've worked hard to strengthen legal protections, especially for FBI employees. You have a right to cooperate with Congressional inquiries, just as you have a right to cooperate with the Inspector General. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.''
Sen. Grassley's law does an appropriate job at protecting whistleblowers from unfair prosecution, but it is not prosecution that prevents agents from stepping forward'--it is the possibility of going bankrupt from attorneys' fees when defending themselves against retaliatory legal actions by their agency.
''Even with the enactment of the new law, what is the deterrent for retaliation against Whistleblowers? The FBI executives will just stall, ignore, and run out the clock until the victim runs out of money for legal fees or else retires,'' the agent also said.
Supreme Court rules for baker who wouldn't make same-sex wedding cake
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 16:12
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.
The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
But the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution's free speech guarantee.
Two of the court's four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also was the author of the landmark 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.
"The commission's hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion," Kennedy wrote.
But Kennedy also stressed the importance of gay rights while noting that litigation on similar issues is likely to continue in lower courts.
"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth," Kennedy wrote.
"The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market," Kennedy added.
@NBCNews tweetThe case marked a test for Kennedy, who has authored significant rulings that advanced gay rights but also is a strong advocate for free speech rights and religious freedom. Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.
The case pitted gay rights against religious liberty. President Donald Trump's administration intervened in the case in support of Phillips.
Mullins and Craig were planning their wedding in Massachusetts in 2012 and wanted the cake for a reception in Colorado, where gay marriage was not yet legal. During a brief encounter at Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the baker politely but firmly refused, leaving the couple distraught.
They filed a successful complaint with the state commission, the first step in the six-year-old legal battle. State courts sided with the couple, prompting Phillips to appeal to the top U.S. court. Phillips has said a backlash against his business has left him struggling to keep the shop afloat.
The case's outcome hinged on the actions of the Colorado commission. In one exchange at a 2014 hearing cited by Kennedy, former commissioner Diann Rice said that "freedom of religion, and religion, has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust."
Openly antagonisticKennedy noted that the commission had ruled the opposite way in three cases brought against bakers in which the business owners refused to bake cakes containing messages that demeaned gay people or same-sex marriage.
"Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that," said lawyer Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips. Waggoner said the decision "makes clear that the government must respect Jack's beliefs about marriage."
American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Louise Melling, who represents Mullins and Craig, said the high court made it clear that businesses open to the public must serve everyone.
"The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people," Melling added.
The case became a cultural flashpoint in the United States, underscoring the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.
Mullins and Craig said Phillips was using his Christian faith as pretext for unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation. Phillips' lawyers said his cakes are an art form - a "temporary sculpture" - and being forced to create one to commemorate a gay wedding would violate his constitutional rights to free speech and expression and free exercise of religion.
The litigation, along with similar cases around the country, is part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling. Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice.
Gay rights advocates said the case is just one part of a bigger struggle seeking greater legal protections for gay, bisexual and transgender people, including in the workplace, even as they fight efforts by conservatives to undermine gains secured in recent years.
Google to scrap controversial AI project with Pentagon after employees revolt '' reports '-- RT US News
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:43
Google decided not to renew a controversial AI contract with the Pentagon after receiving backlash from its employees, reports say. The company's staff earlier said they didn't want the product to be used for war.
Diane Greene, the CEO of Google Cloud, said the tech giant won't renew its contract with the Pentagon, Gizmodo and the New York Times report citing sources.
According to the information, during a weekly staff meeting, Greene explicitly cited the backlash among Google employees over ties with the US Defense Department, as many of them said the policy runs counter to the company's 'Don't Be Evil' principle. The phrase served as company's motto from its founding days but was dropped from the official code of conduct in 2015, following Google's reorganization, with Alphabet Inc. created as its parent company.
READ MORE: All-Seeing Eye: Google working with Pentagon on using AI for drone improvement
The contract in question, which expires in 2019, deals with Project Maven. It was officially launched last year by the US Department of Defense Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team. The project's goal is to create an AI program that will improve the targeting of drone strikes. The program would analyze video footage from drones, track the objects on the ground, and study their movement, applying the techniques of machine learning. Anti-drone campaigners and human rights activists complain that Maven will pave the way for AIs to determine targets on their own, without the help of human operators.
Read more
Internal emails, reviewed by Gizmodo, suggest that Google's leadership was initially very enthusiastic about the project, as it could lead to more military contracts in the future. The company's staff, on the other hand, rallied against the idea of company research being used to develop warfare technology.
Dozens of employees reportedly resigned in protest, and more than 3,000 employees signed a petition demanding the contract be canceled and a clear policy preventing involvement with the military be implemented. According to the reports, Google's leadership agreed to roll out a new policy next week.
Leaked internal emails also revealed that Google tried to conceal the scope of its dealings with the Pentagon. The head of company's cloud division once told employees that the budget for Project Maven was ''only'' $9 million, when it was soon to be increased to $15 million. The emails also showed plans of eventually expanding revenue from Maven and similar projects to $250 million.
Google was worried it could get negative press because of Maven, and that the company's involvement with the project would taint its reputation, the leaked emails suggest. ''This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google,'' one scientist from the cloud division wrote in 2017.
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Dogs are People too
Michigan State health physicist charged with bestiality with dog - Story | WJBK
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:17
(WJBK) - A Michigan State University health physicist has been charged with bestiality, according to the attorney general's office.
According to officials, 51-year-old Joseph Hattey of Holt, Mich., has been charged with two counts of committing a crime against nature (bestiality).
Hattey is accused of penetrating a dog with his penis and his hand. The attorney general's office says the acts did not occur on campus or with an animal owned by MSU.
Officials say the dog, a Bassett hound, is safe and in the custody of Ingham County Animal Control. The alleged incident happened between January 7, 2018 and March 8, 2018, according to the warrant.
The charge is a 15-year felony.
MSU released the following statement:
Michigan State University was informed by the MSU Police Department on April 17 of a criminal investigation against Joseph Hattey, a health physicist with the Environmental Health and Safety Unit (note this position does not work with students, patients or animals). Hattey was immediately put on administrative suspension, pending the investigation. The university has been and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials on this matter. MSUPD is providing digital forensic support in the investigation.
-Emily Guerrant, MSU Spokesperson
Nassar sentenced to 40-175 years in prison Nassar's ex MSU boss facing neglect, criminal sexual conduct charges Former MSU dean had video of Nassar 'treatment' on work computer: charges
Beware dog flu: scientists warn family pet could spark the next pandemic
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 01:51
Is this the face of a killer? Credit: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy T ake cover the next time your dog sneezes '' it could be passing on a new strain of a deadly flu virus with the potential to infect and kill millions around the world.
Scientists have warned that domestic dogs '' anything from a loyal labrador to a precious pug '' could be harbouring the virus that sparks the next big influenza pandemic.
New flu viruses are incubated in animals before they jump to humans.
The 1918 Spanish flu that killed between 50 and 100 million people is thought to have started in geese. And the milder 2009 "swine flu" pandemic was transmitted to humans via pigs, killing an estimated 245,000 people globally.
Now scientists have found domestic dogs are harbouring flu viruses with the potential to jump to humans, potentially turning man's best friend into one of our greatest threats.
The researchers from Icahn School of Medicine in New York sequenced the genomes of 16 influenza viruses obtained from pet dogs in southern China and found they contained segments similar to the H1N1 strain responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
Flu viruses have been observed in dogs before but now the viruses are changing and starting to interact with each other, creating the possibility they will mutate further and be passed to humans.
"This is very reminiscent of what happened in swine 10 years before the H1N1 pandemic," said Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, principal investigator of the study published in the journal mBio.
"In 2009 we were all looking for viruses in birds - there was no surveillance in pigs. Then, that pandemic came from pigs," he said.
T he researchers found the new viruses in pet dogs in China that had been taken to vets because they had respiratory problems. Previous research has only found pandemic-type flu viruses in dogs kept in confined conditions, such as kennels and dog farms in China where breeds such as golden retrievers and English sheep dogs are bred for their meat.
D r Garcia-Sastre said the findings meant that pet dogs should be seen as a potential breeding ground for influenza.
''The type of combinations of viruses that can [now] be created in dogs represent potential risk for a virus to jump to a dog into a human", he said.
The next steps will be to investigate whether humans have immunity against canine H1N1.
''If there is a lot of immunity against these viruses they will represent less of a risk but we now have one more host in which influenza virus is starting to have diverse genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, creating diversity in a host which is in very close contact to humans."
C ulling birds such as chickens or turkeys in their tens of thousands is the key to stopping an avian influenza outbreak but Dr Garcia-Sastre did not advocate such a drastic move for dogs, Chinese or otherwise.
"We should be thinking about better ways of reducing he burden of flu in dogs," he said. "Vaccinating them is something that's feasible, as well as preventing transmission in overcrowded conditions. We should also be monitoring dogs as potential sources of influenza - that's not something that's done at all at the moment," he said.
H e said pet owners did not need to change the way they treat their dogs - but should take them to the vet if they have any breathing problems.
Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security
Talking Tubes
Speech Recognition Tutorial for iOS
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 02:18
iOS 10's new Speech Recognition API lets your app transcribe live or pre-recorded audio. It leverages the same speech recognition engine used by Siri and Keyboard Dictation, but provides much more control and improved access.
The engine is fast and accurate and can currently interpret over 50 languages and dialects. It even adapts results to the user using information about their contacts, installed apps, media and various other pieces of data.
Audio fed to a recognizer is transcribed in near real time, and results are provided incrementally. This lets you react to voice input very quickly, regardless of context, unlike Keyboard Dictation, which is tied to a specific input object.
Speech Recognizer creates some truly amazing possibilities in your apps. For example, you could create an app that takes a photo when you say ''cheese''. You could also create an app that could automatically transcribe audio from Simpsons episodes so you could search for your favorite lines.
In this speech recognition tutorial for iOS, you'll build an app called Gangstribe that will transcribe some pretty hardcore (hilarious) gangster rap recordings using speech recognition. It will also get users in the mood to record their own rap hits with a live audio transcriber that draws emojis on their faces based on what they say. :]
The section on live recordings will use AVAudioEngine. If you haven't used AVAudioEngine before, you may want to familiarize yourself with that framework first. The 2014 WWDC session AVAudioEngine in Practice is a great intro to this, and can be found at apple.co/28tATc1. This session video explains many of the systems and terminology we'll use in this speech recognition tutorial for iOS.
The Speech Recognition framework doesn't work in the simulator, so be sure to use a real device with iOS 10 (or later) for this speech recognition tutorial for iOS.
Getting StartedDownload the sample project here. Open Gangstribe.xcodeproj in the starter project folder for this speech recognition tutorial for iOS. Select the project file, the Gangstribe target and then the General tab. Choose your development team from the drop-down.
Connect an iOS 10 (or later) device and select it as your run destination in Xcode. Build and run and you'll see the bones of the app.
From the master controller, you can select a song. The detail controller will then let you play the audio file, recited by none other than our very own DJ Sammy D!
The transcribe button is not currently operational, but you'll use this later to kick off a transcription of the selected recording.
Tap Face Replace on the right of the navigation bar to preview the live transcription feature. You'll be prompted for permission to access the camera; accept this, as you'll need it for this feature.
Currently if you select an emoji with your face in frame, it will place the emoji on your face. Later, you'll trigger this action with speech.
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the starter project. Here are some highlights of classes and groups you'll work with during this speech recognition tutorial for iOS:
MasterViewController.swift: Displays the list of recordings in a table view. The recording model object is defined in Recording.swift along with the seeded song data.RecordingViewController.swift: Plays the pre-recorded audio selected in the master controller. You'll code the currently stubbed out handleTranscribeButtonTapped(_:) to have it kick off file transcription.LiveTranscribeViewController.swift: Handles the Face Replace view, which leverages the code included in the FaceReplace folder. It currently displays live video and a collection view of emojis, attaching the selected emoji to any face in the live view. This is where you'll add code to record and transcribe audio.FaceReplace: Contains a library provided by Rich Turton that places emojis over faces in live video. It uses Core Image's CIDetector '-- but you don't need to understand how this works for this speech recognition tutorial for iOS. However, if you'd like to learn more, you can read about CIDetector here: apple.co/1Tx2uCN.You'll start this speech recognition tutorial for iOS by making the transcribe button work for pre-recorded audio. It will then feed the audio file to Speech Recognizer and present the results in a label under the player.
The latter half of the speech recognition tutorial for iOS will focus on the Face Replace feature. You'll set up an audio engine for recording, tap into that input, and transcribe the audio as it arrives. You'll display the live transcription and ultimately use it to trigger placing emojis over the user's face.
You can't just dive right in and start voice commanding unicorns onto your face though; you'll need to understand a few basics first.
Transcription BasicsThere are four primary actors involved in a speech transcription:
SFSpeechRecognizer is the primary controller in the framework. Its most important job is to generate recognition tasks and return results. It also handles authorization and configures locales.SFSpeechRecognitionRequest is the base class for recognition requests. Its job is to point the SFSpeechRecognizer to an audio source from which transcription should occur. There are two concrete types: SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest, for reading from a file, and SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest for reading from a buffer.SFSpeechRecognitionTask objects are created when a request is kicked off by the recognizer. They are used to track progress of a transcription or cancel it.SFSpeechRecognitionResult objects contain the transcription of a chunk of the audio. Each result typically corresponds to a single word.Here's how these objects interact during a basic Speech Recognizer transcription:
The code required to complete a transcription is quite simple. Given an audio file at url, the following code transcribes the file and prints the results:
let request = SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest(url: url)SFSpeechRecognizer()?.recognitionTask(with: request) { (result, _) in  if let transcription = result?.bestTranscription {    print("\(transcription.formattedString)")  }}SFSpeechRecognizer kicks off a SFSpeechRecognitionTask for the SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest using recognitionTask(with:resultHandler:). It returns partial results as they arrive via the resultHandler. This code prints the formatted string value of the bestTranscription, which is a cumulative transcription result adjusted at each iteration.
You'll start by implementing a file transcription very similar to this.
Audio File Speech TranscriptionBefore you start reading and sending chunks of the user's audio off to a remote server, it would be polite to ask permission. In fact, considering their commitment to user privacy, it should come as no surprise that Apple requires this! :]
You'll kick off the the authorization process when the user taps the Transcribe button in the detail controller.
Open RecordingViewController.swift and add the following to the import statements at the top:
import SpeechThis imports the Speech Recognition API.
Add the following to handleTranscribeButtonTapped(_:):
SFSpeechRecognizer.requestAuthorization {  [unowned self] (authStatus) in  switch authStatus {  case .authorized:    if let recording = self.recording {      //TODO: Kick off the transcription    }  case .denied:    print("Speech recognition authorization denied")  case .restricted:    print("Not available on this device")  case .notDetermined:    print("Not determined")  }}You call the SFSpeechRecognizer type method requestAuthorization(_:) to prompt the user for authorization and handle their response in a completion closure.
In the closure, you look at the authStatus and print error messages for all of the exception cases. For authorized, you unwrap the selected recording for later transcription.
Next, you have to provide a usage description displayed when permission is requested. Open Info.plist and add the key Privacy - Speech Recognition Usage Description providing the String value I want to write down everything you say:
Build and run, select a song from the master controller, and tap Transcribe. You'll see a permission request appear with the text you provided. Select OK to provide Gangstribe the proper permission:
Of course nothing happens after you provide authorization '-- you haven't yet set up speech recognition! It's now time to test the limits of the framework with DJ Sammy D's renditions of popular rap music.
Transcribing the fileBack in RecordingViewController.swift, find the RecordingViewController extension at the bottom of the file. Add the following method to transcribe a file found at the passed url:
fileprivate func transcribeFile(url: URL) {  // 1  guard let recognizer = SFSpeechRecognizer() else {    print("Speech recognition not available for specified locale")    return  }    if !recognizer.isAvailable {    print("Speech recognition not currently available")    return  }    // 2  updateUIForTranscriptionInProgress()  let request = SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest(url: url)    // 3  recognizer.recognitionTask(with: request) {    [unowned self] (result, error) in    guard let result = result else {      print("There was an error transcribing that file")      return    }        // 4    if result.isFinal {      self.updateUIWithCompletedTranscription(        result.bestTranscription.formattedString)    }  }}Here are the details on how this transcribes the passed file:
The default SFSpeechRecognizer initializer provides a recognizer for the device's locale, returning nil if there is no such recognizer. isAvailable checks if the recognizer is ready, failing in such cases as missing network connectivity.updateUIForTranscriptionInProgress() is provided with the starter to disable the Transcribe button and start an activity indicator animation while the transcription is in process. A SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest is created for the file found at url, creating an interface to the transcription engine for that recording.recognitionTask(with:resultHandler:) processes the transcription request, repeatedly triggering a completion closure. The passed result is unwrapped in a guard, which prints an error on failure.The isFinal property will be true when the entire transcription is complete. updateUIWithCompletedTranscription(_:) stops the activity indicator, re-enables the button and displays the passed string in a text view. bestTranscription contains the transcription Speech Recognizer is most confident is accurate, and formattedString provides it in String format for display in the text view.Note: Where there is a bestTranscription, there can of course be lesser ones. SFSpeechRecognitionResult has a transcriptions property that contains an array of transcriptions sorted in order of confidence. As you see with Siri and Keyboard Dictation, a transcription can change as more context arrives, and this array illustrates that type of progression.
Now you need to call this new code when the user taps the Transcribe button. In handleTranscribeButtonTapped(_:) replace //TODO: Kick off the transcription with the following:
self.transcribeFile(url: recording.audio)After successful authorization, the button handler now calls transcribeFile(url:) with the URL of the currently selected recording.
Build and run, select Gangsta's Paradise, and then tap the Transcribe button. You'll see the activity indicator for a while, and then the text view will eventually populate with the transcription:
Transcription and LocalesThe results aren't bad, considering Coolio doesn't seem to own a copy of Webster's Dictionary. Depending on the locale of your device, there could be another reason things are a bit off. The above screenshot was a transcription completed on a device configured for US English, while DJ Sammy D has a slightly different dialect.
But you don't need to book a flight overseas to fix this. When creating a recognizer, you have the option of specifying a locale '-- that's what you'll do next.
Note: Even if your device is set to en_GB (English '' United Kingdom) as Sam's is, the locale settings are important to Gangstribe. In just a bit, you'll transcribe text in an entirely different language!
Still in RecordingViewController.swift, find transcribeFile(url:) and replace the following two lines:
fileprivate func transcribeFile(url: URL) {  guard let recognizer = SFSpeechRecognizer() else {with the code below:
fileprivate func transcribeFile(url: URL, locale: Locale?) {  let locale = locale ?? Locale.current    guard let recognizer = SFSpeechRecognizer(locale: locale) else {You've added an optional Locale parameter which will specify the locale of the file being transcribed. If locale is nil when unwrapped, you fall back to the device's locale. You then initialize the SFSpeechRecognizer with this locale.
Now to modify where this is called. Find handleTranscribeButtonTapped(_:) and replace the transcribeFile(url:) call with the following:
self.transcribeFile(url: recording.audio, locale: recording.locale)You use the new method signature, passing the locale stored with the recording object.
Note: If you want to see the locale associated with a Gangstribe recording, open
Recording.swift and look at the
recordingNames array up top. Each element contains the song name, artist, audio file name and locale. You can find information on how locale identifiers are derived in Apple's Internationalization and Localization Guide here '--
apple.co/1HVWDQaBuild and run, and complete another transcription on Gangsta's Paradise. Assuming your first run was with a locale other than en_GB, you should see some differences.
Note: Keep in mind that your transcriptions may differ from the screenshots. The engine evolves over time and it does customize itself based on its knowledge of you.
You can probably understand different dialects of languages you speak pretty well. But you're probably significantly weaker when it comes to understanding languages you don't speak. The Speech Recognition engine understands over 50 different languages and dialects, so it likely has you beat here.
Now that you are passing the locale of files you're transcribing, you'll be able to successfully transcribe a recording in any supported language. Build and run, and select the song Raise Your Hands, which is in Thai. Play it, and then tap Transcribe to see the transcribed content.
Flawless transcription! Presumably.
Live Speech RecognitionLive transcription is very similar to file transcription. The primary difference in the process is a different request type '-- SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest '-- which is used for live transcriptions.
As the name implies, this type of request reads from an audio buffer. Your task will be to append live audio buffers to this request as they arrive from the source. Once connected, the actual transcription process will be identical to the one for recorded audio.
Another consideration for live audio is that you'll need a way to stop a transcription when the user is done speaking. This requires maintaining a reference to the SFSpeechRecognitionTask so that it can later be canceled.
Gangstribe has some pretty cool tricks up its sleeve. For this feature, you'll not only transcribe live audio, but you'll use the transcriptions to trigger some visual effects. With the use of the FaceReplace library, speaking the name of a supported emoji will plaster it right over your face!
Connect to the audio bufferTo do this, you'll have to configure the audio engine and hook it up to a recognition request. But before you start recording and transcribing, you need to request authorization to use speech recognition in this controller.
Open LiveTranscribeViewController.swift and add the following to the top of the file by the other imports:
import SpeechNow the live transcription controller has access to Speech Recognition.
Next find viewDidLoad() and replace the line startRecording() with the following:
SFSpeechRecognizer.requestAuthorization {  [unowned self] (authStatus) in  switch authStatus {  case .authorized:    self.startRecording()  case .denied:    print("Speech recognition authorization denied")  case .restricted:    print("Not available on this device")  case .notDetermined:    print("Not determined")  }}Just as you did with pre-recorded audio, you're calling requestAuthorization(_:) to obtain or confirm access to Speech Recognition.
For the authorized status, you call startRecording() which currently just does some preparation '-- you'll implement the rest shortly. For failures, you print relevant error messages.
Next, add the following properties at the top of LiveTranscribeViewController:
let audioEngine = AVAudioEngine()let speechRecognizer = SFSpeechRecognizer()let request = SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest()var recognitionTask: SFSpeechRecognitionTask?audioEngine is an AVAudioEngine object you'll use to process input audio signals from the microphone.speechRecognizer is the SFSpeechRecognizer you'll use for live transcriptions.request is the SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest the speech recognizer will use to tap into the audio engine.recognitionTask will hold a reference to the SFSpeechRecognitionTask kicked off when transcription begins.Now find startRecording() in a LiveTranscribeViewController extension in this same file. This is called when the Face Replace view loads, but it doesn't yet do any recording. Add the following code to the bottom of the method:
// 1let node = audioEngine.inputNodelet recordingFormat = node.outputFormat(forBus: 0)// 2node.installTap(onBus: 0, bufferSize: 1024,                format: recordingFormat) { [unowned self]  (buffer, _) in  self.request.append(buffer)}// 3audioEngine.prepare()try audioEngine.start()This code does the following:
Obtains the input audio node associated with the device's microphone, as well as its corresponding outputFormat.Installs a tap on the output bus of node, using the same recording format. When the buffer is filled, the closure returns the data in buffer which is appended to the SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest. The request is now tapped into the live input node.Prepares and starts the audioEngine to start recording, and thus gets data going to the tap.Because starting the audio engine throws, you need to signify this on the method. Change the method definition to match the following:
fileprivate func startRecording() throws {With this change, you likewise need to modify where the method gets called. Find viewDidLoad() and replace self.startRecording() with the following:
do {  try self.startRecording()} catch let error {  print("There was a problem starting recording: \(error.localizedDescription)")}startRecording() is now wrapped in a do-catch, printing the error if it fails.
There is one last thing to do before you can kick off a recording '-- ask for user permission. The framework does this for you, but you need to provide another key in the plist with an explanation. Open Info.plist and add the key Privacy - Microphone Usage Description providing the String value I want to record you live.
Build and run, choose a recording, then select Face Replace from the navigation bar. You'll immediately be greeted with a prompt requesting permission to use the microphone. Hit OK so that Gangstribe can eventually transcribe what you say:
With the tap in place, and recording started, you can finally kick off the speech recognition task.
In LiveTranscribeViewController.swift, go back to startRecording() and add the following at the bottom of the method:
recognitionTask = speechRecognizer?.recognitionTask(with: request) {  [unowned self]  (result, _) in  if let transcription = result?.bestTranscription {    self.transcriptionOutputLabel.text = transcription.formattedString   }}recognitionTask(with:resultHandler:) is called with the request connected to the tap, kicking off transcription of live audio. The task is saved in recognitionTask for later use.
In the closure, you get bestTranscription from the result. You then update the label that displays the transcription with the formatted string of the transcription.
Build and run, and tap the Face Replace button in the navigation bar. Start talking, and you'll now see a real time transcription from speech recognition!
Note: Apple has hinted at some throttling limits, including an utterance duration limit of ''about one minute''. If you stay in live transcription long enough, you'll probably see it stop responding. Now you know why!
But there's a problem. If you try opening Face Replace enough times, it will crash spectacularly. You're currently leaking the SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest because you've never stopping transcription or recording!
Add the following method to the LiveTranscribeViewController extension that also contains startRecording():
fileprivate func stopRecording() {  audioEngine.stop()  request.endAudio()  recognitionTask?.cancel()}Calling stop() on the audio engine releases all resources associated with it. endAudio() tells the request that it shouldn't expect any more incoming audio, and causes it to stop listening. cancel() is called on the recognition task to let it know its work is done so that it can free up resources.
You'll want to call this when the user taps the Done! button before you dismiss the controller. Add the following to handleDoneTapped(_:), just before the dismiss:
stopRecording()The audio engine and speech recognizer will now get cleaned up each time the user finishes with a live recording. Good job cleaning up your toys! :]
Transcription segmentsThe live transcription below your video is pretty cool, but it's not what you set out to do. It's time to dig into these transcriptions and use them to trigger the emoji face replacement!
First, you need to understand a bit more about the data contained in the SFTranscription objects returned in SFSpeechRecognitionResult objects. You've been accessing these with the bestTranscription property of results returned to the recognitionTask(with:resultHandler:) closure.
SFTranscription has a segments property containing an array of all SFTranscriptionSegment objects returned from the request. Among other things, a SFTranscriptionSegment has a substring containing the transcribed String for that segment, as well as its duration from the start of the transcription. Generally, each segment will consist of a single word.
Each time the live transcription returns a new result, you want to look at the most recent segment to see if it matches an emoji keyword.
First add the following property to at the top of the class:
var mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration: TimeInterval = 0mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration tracks the timestamp of the last processed segment. Because the segment duration is from the start of transcription, the highest duration indicates the latest segment.
Now add the following to the top of startRecording():
mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration = 0This will reset the tracked duration each time recording starts.
Now add the following new method to the bottom of the last LiveTranscribeViewController extension:
// 1fileprivate func updateUIWithTranscription(_ transcription: SFTranscription) {  self.transcriptionOutputLabel.text = transcription.formattedString    // 2  if let lastSegment = transcription.segments.last,    lastSegment.duration > mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration {    mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration = lastSegment.duration    // 3    faceSource.selectFace(lastSegment.substring)  }}Here's what this code does:
This defines a new method that accepts an SFTranscription and uses it to update the UI with results. First, it updates the transcription label at the bottom of the screen with the results; this will soon replace similar code found in startRecording().This unwraps the last segment from the passed transcription. It then checks that the segment's duration is higher than the mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration to avoid an older segment being processed if it returns out of order. The new duration is then saved in mostRecentlyProcessedSegmentDuration.selectFace(), part of the Face Replace code, accepts the substring of this new transcription, and completes a face replace if it matches one of the emoji names.In startRecording(), replace the following line:
self.transcriptionOutputLabel.text = transcription.formattedStringwith:
self.updateUIWithTranscription(transcription)updateUIWithTranscription() is now called each time the resultHandler is executed. It will update the transcription label as well as triggering a face replace if appropriate. Because this new method updates the transcription label, you removed the code that previously did it here.
Build and run and select Face Replace. This time, say the name of one of the emojis. Try ''cry'' as your first attempt.
The speech recognizer will transcribe the word ''cry'' and feed it to the FaceSource object, which will attach the cry emoji to your face. What a time to be alive!
Note: For a full list of available keywords, open FaceSource.swift and look for the names array. Each of these map to one of the emojis in the faces array above it.
Usage GuidelinesWhile they aren't yet clearly defined, Apple has provided some usage guidelines for Speech Recognition. Apple will be enforcing the following types of limitations:
Per device per dayPer app per day (global limitations for all users of your app)One minute limitation for a single utterance (from start to end of a recognition task)Apple hasn't provided any numbers for device and app daily limits. These rules are likely to mature and become more concrete as Apple sees how third party developers use the framework.
Apple also emphasizes that you must make it very clear to users when they are being recorded. While it isn't currently in the review guidelines, it's in your best interest to follow this closely to avoid rejections. You also wouldn't want to invade your user's privacy!
Finally, Apple suggests presenting transcription results before acting on them. Sending a text message via Siri is a great example of this: she'll present editable transcription results and delay before sending the message. Transcription is certainly not perfect, and you want to protect users from the frustration and possible embarrassment of mistakes.
Where to Go From Here?You can download the completed sample project here. In this speech recognition tutorial for iOS, you learned everything you need to know to get basic speech recognition working in your apps. It's an extremely powerful feature where the framework does the heavy lifting. With just a few lines of code, you can bring a lot of magic to your apps.
There isn't currently much documentation on Speech Recognition, so your best bet is to explore the headers in the source for more detail. Here are a couple of other places to go for more info:
WWDC Speech Recognition API Session '' apple.co/2aSMrlwApple Speech Recognition sample project (SpeakToMe) '' apple.co/2aSO6HSQuestions? Comments? Come join the forum discussion below!
This speech recognition tutorial for iOS was taken from Chapter 7 of iOS 10 by Tutorials, which also covers the new changes in Swift 3, source editor extensions, Core Data updates, photography updates, search integration and all the other new, shiny APIs in iOS 10.
You'll definitely enjoy the other 13 chapters and 300+ pages in the book. Check it out in our store and let us know what you think!
TeamEach tutorial at www.raywenderlich.com is created by a team of dedicated developers so that it meets our high quality standards. The team members who worked on this tutorial are:
SFSpeechRecognitionRequest - Speech | Apple Developer Documentation
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 02:17
A request to recognize speech from an audio source.
iOS 10.0+ Framework
Speech On This Page
TopicsRelationshipsSee AlsoTopicsGetting Information About a Speech Recognition Request
var contextualStrings : [String] An array of phrases that should be recognized, even if they are not in the system vocabulary.
var shouldReportPartialResults : Bool A Boolean value that indicates whether partial, nonfinal results for each utterance are reported.
var taskHint : SFSpeechRecognitionTaskHint A value that indicates the type of speech recognition being performed.
var interactionIdentifier : String? A string that identifies the recognition request object associated with the request.
RelationshipsInherits From
NSObject Conforms To
CVarArg , Equatable , Hashable See AlsoRequesting Recognition and Monitoring Progress
class SFSpeechAudioBufferRecognitionRequest A request to recognize speech provided in audio buffers.
class SFSpeechURLRecognitionRequest A request to recognize speech in a recorded audio file.
class SFSpeechRecognitionTask A speech recognition task that lets you monitor recognition progress.
Your Phone Is Listening and it's Not Paranoia - VICE
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 02:14
A couple years ago, something strange happened. A friend and I were sitting at a bar, iPhones in pockets, discussing our recent trips in Japan and how we'd like to go back. The very next day, we both received pop-up ads on Facebook about cheap return flights to Tokyo. It seemed like just a spooky coincidence, but then everyone seems to have a story about their smartphone listening to them. So is this just paranoia, or are our smartphones actually listening?
According to Dr. Peter Hannay'--The senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterisk, and former lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University'--the short answer is yes, but perhaps in a way that's not as diabolical as it sounds.
For your smartphone to actually pay attention and record your conversation, there needs to be a trigger, such as when you say ''hey Siri'' or ''okay Google.'' In the absence of these triggers, any data you provide is only processed within your own phone. This might not seem a cause for alarm, but any third party applications you have on your phone'--like Facebook for example'--still have access to this ''non-triggered'' data. And whether or not they use this data is really up to them.
Whispering some sweet nothings to my phone
''From time to time, snippets of audio do go back to [other apps like Facebook's] servers but there's no official understanding what the triggers for that are,'' explains Peter. ''Whether it's timing or location-based or usage of certain functions, [apps] are certainly pulling those microphone permissions and using those periodically. All the internals of the applications send this data in encrypted form, so it's very difficult to define the exact trigger.''
He goes on to explain that apps like Facebook or Instagram could have thousands of triggers. An ordinary conversation with a friend about needing a new pair of jeans could be enough to activate it. Although, the key word here is ''could,'' because although the technology is there, companies like Facebook vehemently deny listening to our conversations.
''Seeing Google are open about it, I would personally assume the other companies are doing the same.'' Peter tells me. ''Really, there's no reason they wouldn't be. It makes good sense from a marketing standpoint, and their end-use agreements and the law both allow it, so I would assume they're doing it, but there's no way to be sure.''
With this in mind, I decided to try an experiment. Twice a day for five days, I tried saying a bunch of phrases that could theoretically be used as triggers. Phrases like I'm thinking about going back to uni and I need some cheap shirts for work. Then I carefully monitored the sponsored posts on Facebook for any changes.
I'd never seen this ad for "quality clothing" until I told my phone I needed shirts
The changes came literally overnight. Suddenly I was being told mid-semester courses at various universities, and how certain brands were offering cheap clothing. A private conversation with a friend about how I'd run out of data led to an ad about cheap 20 GB data plans. And although they were all good deals, the whole thing was eye-opening and utterly terrifying.
Peter told me that although no data is guaranteed to be safe for perpetuity, he assured me that in 2018 no company is selling their data directly to advertisers. But as we all know, advertisers don't need our data for us to see their ads.
''Rather than saying here's a list of people who followed your demographic, they say Why don't you give me some money, and I'll make that demographic or those who are interested in this will see it. If they let that information out into the wild, they'll lose that exclusive access to it, so they're going to try to keep it as secret as possible.
Peter went on to say that just because tech companies value our data, it doesn't keep it safe from governmental agencies. As most tech companies are based in the US, the NSA or perhaps the CIA can potentially have your information disclosed to them, whether it's legal in your home country or not.
So yes, our phones are listening to us and anything we say around our phones could potentially be used against us. But, according to Peter at least, it's not something most people should be scared of.
Because unless you're a journalist, a lawyer, or have some kind of role with sensitive information, the access of your data is only really going to advertisers. If you're like everyone else, living a really normal life, and talking to your friends about flying to Japan, then it's really not that different to advertisers looking at your browsing history.
''It's just an extension from what advertising used to be on television,'' says Peter. Only instead of prime time audiences, they're now tracking web-browsing habits. It's not ideal, but I don't think it poses an immediate threat to most people.''
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Still freaked out about all this? Check out our series Internet Hygiene for information on protecting yourself online.
Summary of H.R. 510: Rapid DNA Act of 2017 - GovTrack.us
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:05
Rapid DNA is a new technique that can analyze DNA samples in about 90 minutes, instead of days or even weeks as it took previously. A bill that passed the Senate and House last week would expand the use of this technology.
What the bill doesThe Rapid DNA Act establishes a system for Rapid DNA's nationwide coordination among law enforcement departments, by connecting it to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System.
Labelled S. 139 in the Senate and H.R. 510 in the House, the legislation was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI5).
Former FBI Director James Comey cited a real-life example of how the technology could be used effectively. ''[It will] allow us, in booking stations around the country, if someone's arrested, to know instantly'Š'--'Šor near instantly'Š'--'Šwhether that person is the rapist who's been on the loose in a particular community before they're released on bail and get away or to clear somebody, to show that they're not the person,'' Comey said in testimony.
Rapid DNA was used for the first time ever in a criminal investigation in 2013, to nab burglars who stole more than $30,000 worth of items from an Air Force Member's Florida home while they were serving in Afghanistan. Presumably more such cases would be solved and quickly with expanded use of rapid DNA.
What supporters saySupporters say it will save both time and taxpayer dollars by speeding up the DNA analysis process in a manner that's no less effective, reducing the backlog of samples waiting to be tested.
''It will enable officers to take advantage of exciting new developments in DNA technology to more quickly solve crimes and exonerate innocent suspects,'' Senate lead sponsor Hatch said in a press release. ''Under this legislation, rather than having to all send DNA samples to crime labs and wait weeks for results, trained officers will be able to process many samples in less than two hours.''
What opponents sayGovTrack Insider could not locate any members of Congress who expressed public opposition to the legislation, but some members of the public are concerned. The New Republic called the rise of rapid DNA ''troubling,'' citing the potential for privacy violations and misuses by immigration authorities. They also noted that the FBI already has DNA samples from more than 3.5 percent of Americans, a number likely to grow thanks to a 2015 Supreme Court decision allowing DNA samples to be taken without a warrant.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed doubts about the accuracy of Rapid DNA. ''Rapid DNA has only been tested on single-source samples'Š'--'Šlike a swab taken directly from a person's inner cheek,'' the EFF writes. ''And yet, Rapid DNA manufacturers are trying to convince law enforcement agencies to buy these machines to get through their backlog of rape kits and for low-level property crimes'Š'--'Šsituations where there's a very good chance the DNA came from multiple people'Š'--'Šsome of whom may have had no connection to the crime at all.
Votes and odds of passageThe legislation attracted a bipartisan mix of 12 Senate cosponsors, seven Republicans and five Democrats, and 24 House cosponsors, 17 Republicans and seven Democrats. It passed both the House and Senate on May 16, by a unanimous consent voice vote in both chambers, meaning no record of individual votes was recorded. It now goes to President Trump's desk, where he appears likely to sign it.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Aug 19, 2017.
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the House reported version is repeated here.)
Rapid DNA Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the DNA Identification Act of 1994 to require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to issue standards and procedures for using Rapid DNA instruments to analyze DNA samples of criminal offenders.
Rapid DNA instruments carry out a fully automated process to create a DNA analysis from a DNA sample.
DNA samples prepared by criminal justice agencies using Rapid DNA instruments in compliance the FBI-issued standards and procedures may be included in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
(Sec. 3) The bill amends the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to allow the FBI to waive certain existing requirements if a DNA sample is analyzed using Rapid DNA instruments and the results are included in CODIS.
Bilderberg Globalists Concerned About Populist Uprising in Europe
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:35
Bilderberg globalists are concerned about the populist uprising sweeping Europe.
The annual elitist confab is set to meet this week in Turin, an appropriate venue given that Italy has just elected an anti-mass migration, eurosceptic coalition government.
According to the group's official website, the number one topic of conversation at this year's secretive meeting will be ''populism in Europe''.
Having failed to install a former IMF technocrat after coalition talks between the 5 Star Movement and Lega parties temporarily broke down, globalists will undoubtedly be expressing alarm at the potential for Italy to be an example to the rest of Europe.
The country's new populist government has vowed to deport 500,000 migrants, re-assert localism over globalisation & monopoly capitalism, monitor mosques and reinvigorate the country's Christian heritage, all policies that directly contradict the neoliberal globalist consensus that Bilderberg represents.
The list of attendees for this year's Bilderberg conference, which begins on Thursday, has also been released, a roster that journalist Charlie Skelton describes as @fascinating & high-powered.''
#Bilderberg2018 a fascinating & high-powered list: Sec Gen #NATO; Gov Banks of England/Holland; Pres of Davos; 4 PMs, 2 Deputy PMs, the Dutch King and Henry Kissinger. CEOs of Shell, Airbus, Vodafone, Total. https://t.co/IhtVooq797 Background: https://t.co/2XQyi5VyKs #Bilderberg
'-- Charlie Skelton (@deYook) June 5, 2018
The clandestine group is also set to discuss, ''The US before midterms'' and the ''post-truth world,'' which includes efforts to combat so-called ''fake news''.
Although the mainstream media habitually dismisses Bilderberg as a mere ''talking shop'' with no actual power, there are innumerable examples of the group exerting its influence over world affairs.
In 2010, former NATO Secretary-General and Bilderberg member Willy Claes admitted that Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement decisions that are formulated during the annual conference of power brokers. If this is the case, it would violate laws in numerous countries that forbid politicians from being influenced by foreign agents in secret.
In 2009, Bilderberg chairman ‰tienne Davignon even bragged about how the Euro single currency was a brainchild of the Bilderberg Group.
CHAIRMAN STEERING COMMITTEECastries, Henri de (FRA), Chairman, Institut Montaigne
PARTICIPANTSAchleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Chairman Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG; Treasurer, Bilderberg Meetings
Agius, Marcus (GBR), Chairman, PA Consulting Group
Alesina, Alberto (ITA), Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Altman, Roger C. (USA), Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore
Amorim, Paula (PRT), Chairman, Am(C)rico Amorim Group
Anglade, Dominique (CAN), Deputy Premier of Quebec; Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation
Applebaum, Anne (POL), Columnist, Washington Post; Professor of Practice, London School of Economics
Azoulay, Audrey (INT), Director-General, UNESCO
Baker, James H. (USA), Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Barbizet, Patricia (FRA), President, Temaris & Associ(C)s
Barroso, Jos(C) M. Dur£o (PRT), Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Former President, European Commission
Beerli, Christine (CHE), Former Vice-President, International Committee of the Red Cross
Berx, Cathy (BEL), Governor, Province of Antwerp
Beurden, Ben van (NLD), CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
Blanquer, Jean-Michel (FRA), Minister of National Education, Youth and Community Life
Bot­n, Ana P. (ESP), Group Executive Chairman, Banco Santander
Bouverot, Anne (FRA), Board Member; Former CEO, Morpho
Brandtz...g, Svein Richard (NOR), President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
Brende, B¸rge (INT), President, World Economic Forum
Brennan, Eamonn (IRL), Director General, Eurocontrol
Brnabic, Ana (SRB), Prime Minister
Burns, William J. (USA), President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Burwell, Sylvia M. (USA), President, American University
Caracciolo, Lucio (ITA), Editor-in-Chief, Limes
Carney, Mark J. (GBR), Governor, Bank of England
Cattaneo, Elena (ITA), Director, Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, University of Milan
Cazeneuve, Bernard (FRA), Partner, August Debouzy; Former Prime Minister
Cebrin, Juan Luis (ESP), Executive Chairman, El Pa­s
Champagne, Fran§ois-Philippe (CAN), Minister of International Trade
Cohen, Jared (USA), Founder and CEO, Jigsaw at Alphabet Inc.
Colao, Vittorio (ITA), CEO, Vodafone Group
Cook, Charles (USA), Political Analyst, The Cook Political Report
Dagdeviren, Canan (TUR), Assistant Professor, MIT Media Lab
Donohoe, Paschal (IRL), Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
D¶pfner, Mathias (DEU), Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE
Ecker, Andrea (AUT), Secretary General, Office Federal President of Austria
Elkann, John (ITA), Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
‰mi(C), Bernard (FRA), Director General, Ministry of the Armed Forces
Enders, Thomas (DEU), CEO, Airbus SE
Fallows, James (USA), Writer and Journalist
Ferguson, Jr., Roger W. (USA), President and CEO, TIAA
Ferguson, Niall (USA), Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Fischer, Stanley (USA), Former Vice-Chairman, Federal Reserve; Former Governor, Bank of Israel
Gilvary, Brian (GBR), Group CFO, BP plc
Goldstein, Rebecca (USA), Visiting Professor, New York University
Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Editor-in-Chief and Anchor ''Otto e mezzo'', La7 TV
Hajdarowicz, Greg (POL), Founder and President, Gremi International Sarl
Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Chairman Foundation Bilderberg Meetings; Professor of Economics, Leiden University
Hassabis, Demis (GBR), Co-Founder and CEO, DeepMind
Hedegaard, Connie (DNK), Chair, KR Foundation; Former European Commissioner
Helgesen, Vidar (NOR), Ambassador for the Ocean
Herlin, Antti (FIN), Chairman, KONE Corporation
Hickenlooper, John (USA), Governor of Colorado
Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investments LLC
Hodgson, Christine (GBR), Chairman, Capgemini UK plc
Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners
Horowitz, Michael C. (USA), Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Hwang, Tim (USA), Director, Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative
Ischinger, Wolfgang (INT), Chairman, Munich Security Conference
Jacobs, Kenneth M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Lazard
Kaag, Sigrid (NLD), Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies
Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.
Kleinfeld, Klaus (USA), CEO, NEOM
Knot, Klaas H.W. (NLD), President, De Nederlandsche Bank
Ko§, –mer M. (TUR), Chairman, Ko§ Holding A.S.
K¶cher, Renate (DEU), Managing Director, Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research
Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University
Kragic, Danica (SWE), Professor, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH
Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR
Kravis, Marie-Jos(C)e (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; President, American Friends of Bilderberg
Kudelski, Andr(C) (CHE), Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
Lepom¤ki, Elina (FIN), MP, National Coalition Party
Leyen, Ursula von der (DEU), Federal Minster of Defence
Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chairman, KBC Group
Makan, Divesh (USA), CEO, ICONIQ Capital
Mazzucato, Mariana (ITA), Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London
Mead, Walter Russell (USA), Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
Michel, Charles (BEL), Prime Minister
Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Mitsotakis, Kyriakos (GRC), President, New Democracy Party
Mota, Isabel (PRT), President, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Moyo, Dambisa F. (USA), Global Economist and Author
Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates
Netherlands, H.M. the King of the (NLD)
Neven, Hartmut (USA), Director of Engineering, Google Inc.
Noonan, Peggy (USA), Author and Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
O'Leary, Michael (IRL), CEO, Ryanair D.A.C.
O'Neill, Onora (GBR), Emeritus Honorary Professor in Philosophy, University of Cambridge
Osborne, George (GBR), Editor, London Evening Standard
–zkan, Behl¼l (TUR), Associate Professor in International Relations, Marmara University
Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), CEO, Titan Cement Company S.A.
Parolin, H.E. Pietro (VAT), Cardinal and Secretary of State
Patino, Bruno (FRA), Chief Content Officer, Arte France TV
Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute
Pichette, Patrick (CAN), General Partner, iNovia Capital
Pouyann(C), Patrick (FRA), Chairman and CEO, Total S.A.
Pring, Benjamin (USA), Co-Founder and Managing Director, Center for the Future of Work
Rankka, Maria (SWE), CEO, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce
Ratas, J¼ri (EST), Prime Minister
Rendi-Wagner, Pamela (AUT), MP; Former Minister of Health
Rivera D­az, Albert (ESP), President, Ciudadanos Party
Rossi, Salvatore (ITA), Senior Deputy Governor, Bank of Italy
Rubesa, Baiba A. (LVA), CEO, RB Rail AS
Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Treasury Secretary
Rudd, Amber (GBR), MP; Former Secretary of State, Home Department
Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister
Sabia, Michael (CAN), President and CEO, Caisse de d(C)p´t et placement du Qu(C)bec
Sadjadpour, Karim (USA), Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Senz de Santamar­a, Soraya (ESP), Deputy Prime Minister
Sawers, John (GBR), Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners
Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy
Schneider-Ammann, Johann N. (CHE), Federal Councillor
Scholten, Rudolf (AUT), President, Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue
Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), Senior Fellow, Harvard University; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland
Simsek, Mehmet (TUR), Deputy Prime Minister
Skartveit, Hanne (NOR), Political Editor, Verdens Gang
Stoltenberg, Jens (INT), Secretary General, NATO
Summers, Lawrence H. (USA), Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital
Tops¸e, Jakob Haldor (DNK), Chairman, Haldor Tops¸e Holding A/S
Wahlroos, Bj¶rn (FIN), Chairman, Sampo Group, Nordea Bank, UPM-Kymmene Corporation
Wallenberg, Marcus (SWE), Chairman, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB
Woods, Ngaire (GBR), Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University
Yetkin, Murat (TUR), Editor-in-chief, H¼rriyet Daily News
Zeiler, Gerhard (AUT), President, Turner International
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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.
Hit them in the Harleys: EU fights Trump tariffs - BBC News
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 09:48
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Harley-Davidson motorbikes are one US product being targeted by planned EU tariffs You don't need to be a great military tactician to understand that when fighting a battle you need to hit your opponent where it hurts.
With that in mind, the European Union warned last week that it would retaliate to President Trump's tariffs on European steel and aluminium with import levies of its own on some pretty iconic US products.
Brussels said it planned to introduce retaliatory tariffs on items such as Harley-Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey.
The EU has informed the World Trade Organisation of its intentions, which also includes tariffs on numerous other American exports including Levi's jeans, and are now due to come into effect from early July.
But why exactly has Brussels chosen such specific products, and do past trade wars between the US and Europe suggest that the White House will now ultimately back down?
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bourbon is big business in its home state of Kentucky Meredith Crowley, international trade economist at the University of Cambridge, says that the EU is being far more politically savvy than just picking famous American goods. Instead it has chosen products made in states that are home to some key members of Trump's Republican Party.
"Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, home state of Mitch McConnell US Senate Majority Leader," she says.
"Harley-Davidsons are manufactured in Wisconsin, a swing state that is the home of the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
"The EU hopes these men will petition the president to save jobs in their home states by eliminating the US steel and aluminium tariffs."
Stephen Woolcock, a lecturer in economic relations at the London School of Economics, adds that the aim is "to have as much impact [as possible] on the policy debate in Washington".
There is, however, a risk to the EU's plans - it could antagonise consumers in Europe who resent suddenly having to pay a lot more for their bourbon or American jeans.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Levi's is another American brand that will be affected by the EU tariffs David Henig, a global trade policy expert at the European Centre for International Political Economy think tank, says the EU has to play "a really delicate game".
"The EU's planned retaliatory tariffs are more about sending a message [to Washington] than outright retaliation. It is about finding the best way to retaliate without further damaging the economy of the EU.
"But obviously the risk is that the move will annoy EU consumers, but we just don't know yet. Nobody really wants a trade war."
David Collins, law professor and global trade expert at London's City University, adds that the EU must avoid "earning the bad blood of its own people".
Global Trade More from the BBC's series taking an international perspective on trade:
While President Trump has undeniably been more bellicose about his willingness to introduce trade tariffs than past presidents, George W Bush also brought in tariffs on EU steel back in March 2002.
The EU quickly retaliated with levies on Florida oranges and juice, it what was an easy political target for two main reasons.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Florida orange juices are again being threatened with tariffs Firstly, Florida was (and remains) a key swing state, that President Bush had only won by just 537 votes in the 2000 US presidential election. With the 2004 election on the horizon, the EU guessed that Bush would not be happy about angry Floridian farmers.
Secondly, Bush's younger brother Jeb was governor of Florida at the time. "The EU was using tariffs to beat up the president's little brother," says Mr Collins.
According to reports at the time, President Bush agreed that the EU was being personal. He is said to have told the then European Commission President Romano Prodi: "Why are you attacking my family?"
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption How hogs and Harleys became weapons in a looming trade war.In December 2003, one year and nine months later, Bush backed down and removed the steel tariffs.
Brussels - which is also targeting Floridian orange juice this time around - must be hoping that history repeats itself.
However, analysts cautions that Trump is so independently minded and unpredictable that he may be a lot more stubborn than Bush.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Who knows if President Trump will back down over trade tariffs? "I speak to various trade experts in Washington, and they all admit they cannot predict the president's actions on trade," says Mr Henig.
"But given that he's moved on from steel and aluminium to threats on car imports, it seems on balance likely that this continues for a while yet.
"The president is probably not going to want to be open to accusations that he talked tough but didn't deliver."
Ms Crowley agrees that it is unclear if Trump will back down any time soon.
"It is unclear that the EU's strategy of targeting Republican congress members' districts will work because Trump is not personally close to either McConnell or Ryan.
"And, moreover, he doesn't seem to be too bothered about the possible loss of US jobs from either his own steel tariffs, which could cause job losses in cars, and other steel-using industries. Or from retaliatory tariffs from the EU, or Mexico, Canada and China."
A glypho by any other name: Bayer to bury Monsanto brand after takeover '-- RT Business News
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:20
Germany's pharmaceuticals and chemicals group Bayer will wrap up the $63 billion takeover of US agrochemical giant Monsanto on Thursday, ditching the seed maker's 117 year-old name.
The deal will create the world's largest maker of seeds and pesticides, with combined sales worth about '‚¬20 billion (over $23 billion).
Read more
''Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio,'' the German drugmaker said on Monday, adding that it had received all required approvals from regulatory authorities.
The company launched a '‚¬6 billion ($7 billion) rights issue on Sunday, shortly after clearing the last major antitrust hurdle in the US. The merged agrichemical division will be named Bayer Crop Science, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt which cited ''industry sources.''
The Bayer-Monsanto merger has been strongly criticized by environmentalists and farming groups. In a letter to the European Commission before its March approval of the merger, Friends of the Earth Europe said that more than a million people had signed petitions calling on EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to block ''this merger from hell.''
Last month, some 200 people demonstrated against the merger outside the German firm's annual general meeting. Bayer agreed to acquire Monsanto two years ago. It vowed not to take advantage of its market position to forcefully introduce genetically modified crops in Europe against consumers' will.
''We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground. Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill,'' said Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann.
Monsanto has a longstanding notorious reputation dating back to its production of Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant chemical used by the US military during the Vietnam War.
California recently added glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, to a list of cancer-causing chemicals. The state acted after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ruled glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. IARC said that along with other Monsanto chemicals Roundup could cause Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, autism, and cancer. Monsanto has rejected all allegations and scientific findings of carcinogenicity of the chemical.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
California Uber Alles
Bill Text - AB-1668 Water management planning.
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 07:07
Assembly BillNo. 1668 CHAPTER 15 An act to amend Sections 531.10, 1120, 10608.12, 10608.20, 10608.48, 10801, 10802, 10814, 10817, 10820, 10825, 10826, 10843, 10845, and 10910 of, to add Sections 1846.5 and 10826.2 to, and to add Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 10609) and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 10609.40) to Part 2.55 of Division 6 of, the Water Code, relating to water.
[ Approved by Governor May 31, 2018. Filed with Secretary of State May 31, 2018. ]
AB 1668, Friedman. Water management planning.
(1) Existing law requires the state to achieve a 20% reduction in urban per capita water use in California by December 31, 2020. Existing law requires each urban retail water supplier to develop urban water use targets and an interim urban water use target, as specified.
This bill would require the State Water Resources Control Board, in coordination with the Department of Water Resources, to adopt long-term standards for the efficient use of water, as provided, and performance measures for commercial, industrial, and institutional water use on or before June 30, 2022. The bill would require the department, in coordination with the board, to conduct necessary studies and investigations and make recommendations, no later than October 1, 2021, for purposes of these standards and performance measures. The bill would require the department, in coordination with the board, to conduct necessary studies and investigations and would authorize the department and the board to jointly recommend to the Legislature a standard for indoor residential water use. The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
The bill would require the department, in consultation with the board, to propose to the Governor and the Legislature, by January 1, 2020, recommendations and guidance relating to the development and implementation of countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans to address the planning needs of small water suppliers and rural communities, as provided. The bill would require the department, in consultation with the board and other relevant state and local agencies and stakeholders, to use available data to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability, no later than January 1, 2020, and would require the department to notify counties and groundwater sustainability agencies of those suppliers or communities.
(2) Existing law establishes procedures for reconsideration and amendment of specified decisions and orders of the board. Existing law authorizes any party aggrieved by a specified decision or order of the board to file, not later than 30 days from the date of final board action, a petition for writ of mandate for judicial review of the decision or order.
This bill would apply these procedures to decisions and orders of the board issued pursuant to the provisions described in paragraph (1), including existing provisions and those added by this bill.
(3) Existing law requires an agricultural water supplier to submit an annual report to the department that summarizes aggregated farm-gate delivery data using best professional practices.
This bill would require the annual report for the prior year to be submitted to the department by April 1 of each year, as provided, and to be organized by groundwater basin or subbasin within the service area of the agricultural water supplier, if applicable.
(4) Existing law requires an agricultural water supplier to prepare and adopt an agricultural water management plan with specified components on or before December 31, 2012, and to update those plans on or before December 31, 2015, and on or before December 31 every 5 years thereafter. Existing law requires the agricultural water supplier to submit copies of its plan to specified entities no later than 30 days after the adoption of the plan, and requires the department to prepare and submit to the Legislature, on or before December 31 in the years ending in 6 and one, a report summarizing the status of the plans.
This bill would revise the components of the plan and additionally require a plan to include an annual water budget based on the quantification of all inflow and outflow components for the service area of the agricultural water supplier and a drought plan describing the actions of the agricultural water supplier for drought preparedness and management of water supplies and allocations during drought conditions.
The bill would require an agricultural water supplier to update its agricultural water management plan on or before April 1, 2021, and thereafter on or before April 1 in the years ending in 6 and one. The bill would require an agricultural water supplier to submit its plan to the department no later than 30 days after the adoption of the plan. The bill would require the department to review an agricultural water management plan and notify an agricultural water supplier if the department determines that it is noncompliant, as provided. The bill would authorize the department, if it has not received a plan or determined that the plan submitted is noncompliant, to contract with certain entities to prepare or complete a plan on behalf of the agricultural water supplier.
The bill would require an agricultural water supplier to submit copies of its plan to specified entities no later than 30 days after the department's review of the plan. The bill would require the department to submit its report summarizing the status of the plans to the Legislature on or before April 30 in the years ending in 7 and 2.
(5) This bill would make its operation contingent on the enactment of SB 606 of the 2017''18 Regular Session.
Digest Key Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: YES Local Program: NO
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
531.10. (a) (1) An agricultural water supplier shall submit an annual report to the department that summarizes aggregated farm-gate delivery data, on a monthly or bimonthly basis, using best professional practices. The annual report for the prior year shall be submitted to the department by April 1 of each year. The annual report shall be organized by basin, as defined in Section 10721, within the service area of the agricultural water supplier, if applicable.
(2) The report, and any amendments to the report, submitted to the department pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted electronically and shall include any standardized forms,tables, or displays specified by the department.
(3) The department shall post all reports on its Internet Web site in a manner that allows for comparisons across water suppliers. The department shall make the reports available for public viewing in a timely manner after it receives them.
(b) Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the implementation of water measurement programs or practices that are not locally cost effective.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the requirements of this section shall complement and not affect the scope of authority granted to the department or the board by provisions of law other than this article.
1120. This chapter applies to any decision or order issued under this part or Section 275, Part 2 (commencing with Section 1200), Part 2 (commencing with Section 10500) of Division 6, Part 2.55 (commencing with Section 10608) of Division 6, or Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 10735) of Part 2.74 of Division 6, Article 7 (commencing with Section 13550) of Chapter 7 of Division 7, or the public trust doctrine.
1846.5. (a) An urban retail water supplier who commits any of the violations identified in subdivision (b) may be liable in an amount not to exceed the following, as applicable:
(1) If the violation occurs in a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years or during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on drought conditions, ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(2) For all violations other than those described in paragraph (1), one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
(b) Liability pursuant to this section may be imposed for any of the following violations:
(1) Violation of an order issued under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 10609) of Part 2.55 of Division 6.
(2) Violation of a regulation issued under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 10609) of Part 2.55 of Division 6, if the violation occurs afterNovember 1, 2027.
(c) Civil liability may be imposed by the superior court. The Attorney General, upon the request of the board, shall petition the superior court to impose, assess, and recover those sums.
(d) Civil liability may be imposed administratively by the boardpursuant to Section 1055.
10608.12. Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this part:
(a) ''Agricultural water supplier'' means a water supplier, either publicly or privately owned, providing water to 10,000 or more irrigated acres, excluding recycled water. ''Agricultural water supplier'' includes a supplier or contractor for water, regardless of the basis of right, that distributes or sells water for ultimate resale to customers. ''Agricultural water supplier'' does not include the department.
(b) ''Base daily per capita water use'' means any of the following:
(1) The urban retail water supplier's estimate of its average gross water use, reported in gallons per capita per day and calculated over a continuous 10-year period ending no earlier than December 31, 2004, and no later than December 31, 2010.
(2) For an urban retail water supplier that meets at least 10 percent of its 2008 measured retail water demand through recycled water that is delivered within the service area of an urban retail water supplier or its urban wholesale water supplier, the urban retail water supplier may extend the calculation described in paragraph (1) up to an additional five years to a maximum of a continuous 15-year period ending no earlier than December 31, 2004, and no later than December 31, 2010.
(3) For the purposes of Section 10608.22, theurban retail water supplier's estimate of its average gross water use, reported in gallons per capita per day and calculated over a continuous five-year period ending no earlier than December 31, 2007, and no later than December 31, 2010.
(c) ''Baseline commercial, industrial, and institutional water use'' means an urban retail water supplier's base daily per capita water use for commercial, industrial, and institutional users.
(d) ''CII water use'' means water used by commercial water users, industrial water users, institutional water users, and large landscape water users.
(e) ''Commercial water user'' means a water user that provides or distributes a product or service.
(f) ''Compliance daily per capita water use'' means the gross water use during the final year of the reporting period, reported in gallons per capita per day.
(g) ''Disadvantaged community'' means a community with an annual median household income that is less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median household income.
(h) ''Gross water use'' means the total volume of water, whether treated or untreated, entering the distribution system of an urban retail water supplier, excluding all of the following:
(1) Recycled water that is delivered within the service area of an urban retail water supplier or its urban wholesale water supplier.
(2) The net volumeof water that the urban retail water supplier places into long-term storage.
(3) The volume of water the urban retail water supplier conveys for use by another urban water supplier.
(4) The volume of water delivered for agricultural use, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (f) of Section 10608.24.
(i) ''Industrial water user'' means a water user that is primarily a manufacturer or processor of materials as defined by the North American Industry Classification System code sectors 31 to 33, inclusive, or an entity that is a water user primarily engaged in research and development.
(j) ''Institutional water user'' means a water user dedicated to public service.This type of user includes, among other users, higher education institutions, schools, courts, churches, hospitals, government facilities, and nonprofit research institutions.
(k) ''Interim urban water use target'' means the midpoint between the urban retail water supplier's base daily per capita water use and the urban retail water supplier's urban water use target for 2020.
(l) ''Large landscape'' means a nonresidential landscape as described in the performance measures for CII water use adopted pursuant to Section 10609.10.
(m) ''Locally cost effective'' means that the present value of the local benefits of implementing an agricultural efficiency water management practice is greater than or equal to the present value ofthe local cost of implementing that measure.
(n) ''Performance measures'' means actions to be taken by urban retail water suppliers that will result in increased water use efficiency by CII water users. Performance measures may include, but are not limited to, educating CII water users on best management practices, conducting water use audits, and preparing water management plans. Performance measures do not include process water.
(o) ''Potable reuse'' means direct potable reuse, indirect potable reuse for groundwater recharge, and reservoir water augmentation as those terms are defined in Section 13561.
(p) ''Process water'' means water used by industrial water users for producing a product or product content or water usedfor research and development. Process water includes, but is notlimited to, continuous manufacturing processes, and water used for testing, cleaning, and maintaining equipment. Water used to cool machinery or buildings used in the manufacturing process or necessary to maintain product quality or chemical characteristics for product manufacturing or control rooms, data centers, laboratories, clean rooms, and other industrial facility units that are integral to the manufacturing or research and development process is process water. Water used in the manufacturing process that is necessary for complying with local, state, and federal health and safety laws, and is not incidental water, is process water. Process water does not mean incidental water uses.
(q) ''Recycled water'' means recycled water, as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 13050.
(r) ''Regional water resources management'' means sources of supply resulting from watershed-based planning for sustainable local water reliability or any of the following alternative sources of water:
(1) The capture and reuse of stormwater or rainwater.
(2) The use of recycled water.
(3) The desalination of brackish groundwater.
(4) The conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater in a manner that is consistent with the safe yield of the groundwater basin.
(s) ''Reporting period'' means the years for which an urban retail water supplier reports compliance with the urban water usetargets.
(t) ''Urban retail water supplier'' means a water supplier, either publicly or privately owned, that directly provides potable municipal water to more than 3,000 end users or that supplies more than 3,000 acre-feet of potable water annually at retail for municipal purposes.
(u) ''Urban water use objective'' means an estimate of aggregate efficient water use for the previous year based on adopted water use efficiency standards and local service area characteristics for that year, as described in Section 10609.20.
(v) ''Urban water use target'' means the urban retail water supplier's targeted future daily per capita water use.
(w) ''Urban wholesale watersupplier,'' means a water supplier, either publicly or privately owned, that provides more than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually at wholesale for potable municipalpurposes.
10608.20. (a) (1) Each urban retail water supplier shall develop urban water use targets and an interim urban water use target by July 1, 2011. Urban retail water suppliers may elect to determine and report progress toward achieving these targets on an individual or regional basis, as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 10608.28, and may determine the targets on a fiscal year or calendar year basis.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the urban water use targets described in paragraph (1) cumulatively result in a 20-percent reduction from the baseline daily per capita water use by December 31, 2020.
(b) An urban retail water supplier shall adopt one of the following methods for determining its urban water use target pursuant to subdivision (a):
(1) Eighty percent of the urban retail water supplier's baseline per capita daily water use.
(2) The per capita daily water use that is estimated using the sum of the following performance standards:
(A) For indoor residential water use, 55 gallons per capita daily water use as a provisional standard. Upon completion of the department's 2016 report to the Legislature pursuant to Section 10608.42, this standard may be adjusted by the Legislature by statute.
(B) For landscape irrigated throughdedicated or residential meters or connections, water efficiency equivalent to the standards of the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance set forth in Chapter 2.7 (commencing with Section 490) of Division 2 of Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations, as in effect the later of the year of the landscape's installation or 1992. An urban retail water supplier using the approach specified in this subparagraph shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.
(C) For commercial, industrial, and institutional uses, a 10-percent reduction in water use from the baseline commercial, industrial, and institutional water use by 2020.
(3) Ninety-five percent of the applicable state hydrologic region target, asset forth in the state's draft 20x2020 Water Conservation Plan (dated April 30, 2009). If the service area of an urban water supplier includes more than one hydrologic region, the supplier shall apportion its service area to each region based on population or area.
(4) A method that shall be identified and developed by the department, through a public process, and reported to the Legislature no later than December 31, 2010. The method developed by the department shall identify per capita targets that cumulatively result in a statewide 20-percent reduction in urban daily per capita water use by December 31, 2020. In developing urban daily per capita water use targets, the department shall do all of the following:
(A) Consider climatic differences within the state.
(B) Consider population density differences within the state.
(C) Provide flexibility to communities and regions in meeting the targets.
(D) Consider different levels of per capita water use according to plant water needs in different regions.
(E) Consider different levels of commercial, industrial, and institutional water use in different regions of the state.
(F) Avoid placing an undue hardship on communities that have implemented conservation measures or taken actions to keep per capita water use low.
(c) If the department adopts aregulation pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) that results in a requirement that an urban retail water supplier achieve a reduction in daily per capita water use that is greater than 20 percent by December 31, 2020, an urban retail water supplier that adopted the method described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) may limit its urban water use target to a reduction of not more than 20 percent by December 31, 2020, by adopting the method described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b).
(d) The department shall update the method described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and report to the Legislature by December 31, 2014. An urban retail water supplier that adopted the method described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) may adopt a new urban daily per capita water use target pursuant to this updated method.
(e) An urban retail water supplier shall include in its urban water management plan due in 2010 pursuant to Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 10610) the baseline daily per capita water use, urban water use target, interim urban water use target, and compliance daily per capita water use, along with the bases for determining those estimates, including references to supporting data.
(f) When calculating per capita values for the purposes of this chapter, an urban retail water supplier shall determine population using federal, state, and local population reports and projections.
(g) An urban retail water supplier may update its 2020 urban water use target in its 2015 urban water management plan required pursuant to Part 2.6(commencing with Section 10610).
(h) (1) The department, through a public process and in consultation with the California Urban Water Conservation Council, shall develop technical methodologies and criteria for the consistent implementation of this part, including, but not limited to, both of the following:
(A) Methodologies for calculating base daily per capita water use, baseline commercial, industrial, and institutional water use, compliance daily per capita water use, gross water use, service area population, indoor residential water use, and landscaped area water use.
(B) Criteria for adjustments pursuant to subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 10608.24.
(2) The department shall post the methodologies and criteria developed pursuant to this subdivision on its Internet Web site, and make written copies available, by October 1, 2010. An urban retail water supplier shall use the methods developed by the department in compliance with this part.
(i) (1) The department shall adopt regulations for implementation of the provisions relating to process water in accordance with Section 10608.12, subdivision (e) of Section 10608.24, and subdivision (d) of Section 10608.26.
(2) The initial adoption of a regulation authorized by this subdivision is deemed to address an emergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code, and the department is hereby exempted for that purpose from the requirementsof subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1 of the Government Code. After the initial adoption of an emergency regulation pursuant to this subdivision, the department shall not request approval from the Office of Administrative Law to readopt the regulation as an emergency regulation pursuant to Section 11346.1 of the Government Code.
(j) (1) An urban retail water supplier is granted an extension to July 1, 2011, for adoption of an urban water management plan pursuant to Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 10610) due in 2010 to allow the use of technical methodologies developed by the department pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and subdivision (h). An urban retail water supplier that adopts an urban water management plan due in 2010 that does not use the methodologies developed by the department pursuant to subdivision(h) shall amend the plan by July 1, 2011, to comply with this part.
(2) An urban wholesale water supplier whose urban water management plan prepared pursuant to Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 10610) was due and not submitted in 2010 is granted an extension to July 1, 2011, to permit coordination between an urban wholesale water supplier and urban retail water suppliers.
10608.48. (a) On or before July 31, 2012, an agricultural water supplier shall implement efficient water management practices pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c).
(b) Agricultural water suppliers shall implement both of the following critical efficient management practices:
(1) Measure the volume of water delivered to customers with sufficient accuracy to comply with subdivision (a) of Section 531.10 and to implement paragraph (2).
(2) Adopt a pricing structure for water customers based at least in part on quantity delivered.
(c) Agricultural water suppliers shall implement additional efficient management practices, including, but not limited to, practices to accomplish all of the following, if the measures are locally cost effective and technically feasible:
(1) Facilitate alternative land use for lands with exceptionally high water duties or whose irrigation contributes to significant problems, including drainage.
(2) Facilitate use of available recycled water that otherwise would not be used beneficially, meets all health and safety criteria, and does not harm crops or soils.
(3) Facilitate the financing of capital improvements for on-farm irrigation systems.
(4) Implement an incentive pricing structure that promotes one or more of the following goals:
(A) More efficient water use at the farm level.
(B) Conjunctive use of groundwater.
(C) Appropriate increase of groundwater recharge.
(D) Reduction in problem drainage.
(E) Improved management of environmental resources.
(F) Effective management of all water sources throughout the year by adjusting seasonal pricing structures based on current conditions.
(5) Expand line or pipedistribution systems, and construct regulatory reservoirs to increase distribution system flexibility and capacity, decrease maintenance, and reduce seepage.
(6) Increase flexibility in water ordering by, and delivery to, water customers within operational limits.
(7) Construct and operate supplier spill and tailwater recovery systems.
(8) Increase planned conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater within the supplier service area.
(9) Automate canal control structures.
(10) Facilitate or promote customer pump testing and evaluation.
(11) Designate a water conservation coordinator who will develop and implement the water management plan and prepare progress reports.
(12) Provide for the availability of water management services to water users. These services may include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(A) On-farm irrigation and drainage system evaluations.
(B) Normal year and real-time irrigation scheduling and crop evapotranspiration information.
(C) Surface water, groundwater, and drainage water quantity and quality data.
(D) Agricultural water management educational programs and materials forfarmers, staff, and the public.
(13) Evaluate the policies of agencies that provide the supplier with water to identify the potential for institutional changes to allow more flexible water deliveries and storage.
(14) Evaluate and improve the efficiencies of the supplier's pumps.
(d) Agricultural water suppliers shall include in the agricultural water management plans required pursuant to Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 10800) a report on which efficient water management practices have been implemented and are planned to be implemented, an estimate of the water use efficiency improvements that have occurred since the last report, and an estimate of the water use efficiency improvements estimated to occur five and10 years in the future. If an agricultural water supplier determines that an efficient water management practice is not locally cost effective or technically feasible, the supplier shall submit information documenting that determination.
(e) The department shall require information about the implementation of efficient water management practices to be reported using a standardized form developed pursuant to Section 10608.52.
(f) An agricultural water supplier may meet the requirements of subdivisions (d) and (e) by submitting to the department a water conservation plan submitted to the United States Bureau of Reclamation that meets the requirements described in Section 10828.
(g) On or before December 31, 2013,December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2021, the department, in consultation with the board, shall submit to the Legislature a report on the agricultural efficient water management practices that have been implemented and are planned to be implemented and an assessment of the manner in which the implementation of those efficient water management practices has affected and will affect agricultural operations, including estimated water use efficiency improvements, if any.
(h) The department may update the efficient water managementpractices required pursuant to subdivision (c), in consultation with the Agricultural Water Management Council, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and the board. All efficient water management practices for agricultural water use pursuant to this chapter shall be adopted or revised by the department only after the department conducts public hearings to allow participation of the diverse geographical areas and interests of the state.
(i) (1) The department shall adopt regulations that provide for a range of options that agricultural water suppliers may use or implement to comply with the measurement requirement in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b).
(2) The initial adoption of a regulation authorized by this subdivision is deemed to address anemergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code, and the department is hereby exempted for that purpose from the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1 of the Government Code. After the initial adoption of an emergency regulation pursuant to this subdivision, the department shall not request approval from the Office of Administrative Law to readopt the regulation as an emergency regulation pursuant to Section 11346.1 of the Government Code.
CHAPTER 9. Urban Water Use Objectives and Water Use Reporting
10609. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that this chapter establishes a method to estimate the aggregate amount of water that would have been delivered the previous year by an urban retail water supplier if all that water had been used efficiently. This estimated aggregate water use is the urban retail water supplier's urban water use objective. The method is based on water use efficiency standards and local service area characteristics for that year. By comparing the amount of water actually used in the previous year with the urban water use objective, local urban water suppliers will be in a better position to help eliminate unnecessary use of water; that is, water used in excess of that needed to accomplish the intended beneficial use.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares all of the following:
(1) This chapter establishes standards and practices for the following water uses:
(A) Indoor residential use.
(B) Outdoor residential use.
(C) CII water use.
(D) Water losses.
(E) Other unique local uses and situations that can have a material effect on an urban water supplier's total water use.
(2) This chapter further does all of the following:
(A) Establishes a method to calculate each urban water use objective.
(B) Considers recycled water quality in establishing efficient irrigation standards.
(C) Requires the department to provide or otherwise identify data regarding the unique local conditions to support the calculation of an urban water use objective.
(D) Provides for the use of alternative sources of data if alternative sources are shown to be as accurate as, or more accurate than, the data provided by the department.
(E) Requires annual reporting of the previous year's water use with the urban water use objective.
(F) Provides a bonus incentive for the amount of potable recycled water used the previous year when comparing the previous year's water use with the urban water use objective, of up to 10 percent of the urban water use objective.
(3) This chapter requires the department and the board to solicit broad public participation from stakeholders and other interested persons in the development of the standards and the adoption of regulations pursuant to this chapter.
(4) This chapter preserves the Legislature's authority over long-term water use efficiency target setting and ensures appropriate legislative oversight of the implementation of this chapter by doing all of the following:
(A) Requiring the Legislative Analyst to conduct a review of the implementation of this act, including compliance with the adopted standards and regulations, accuracy of the data, use of alternate data, and other issues the Legislative Analyst deems appropriate.
(B) Stating legislative intent that the director of the department and the chairperson of the board appear before the appropriate Senate and Assembly policy committees to report on progress in implementing this chapter.
(C) Providing one-time-only authority to the department and board to adopt water use efficiency standards, except as explicitly provided in this chapter. Authorization to update the standards shall require separate legislation.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the following principles apply to the development and implementation of long-term standards and urban water use objectives:
(1) Local urban retail water suppliers should have primary responsibility for meeting standards-based water use targets, and they shall retain the flexibility to develop their water supply portfolios, design and implement water conservation strategies, educate their customers, and enforce their rules.
(2) Long-term standards and urban water use objectives should advance the state's goals to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
(3) Long-term standards and urban water use objectives should acknowledge the shade, air quality, and heat-island reduction benefits provided to communities by trees through the support of water-efficient irrigation practices that keep trees healthy.
(4) The state should identify opportunities for streamlined reporting, eliminate redundant data submissions, and incentivize open access to data collected by urban and agricultural water suppliers.
10609.2. (a) The board, in coordination with the department, shall adopt long-term standards for the efficient use of water pursuant to this chapter on or before June 30, 2022.
(b) Standards shall be adopted for all of the following:
(1) Outdoor residential water use.
(2) Outdoor irrigation of landscape areas with dedicated irrigation meters in connection with CII water use.
(3) A volume for water loss.
(c) When adopting the standards under this section, the board shall consider the policies of this chapter and the proposed efficiency standards' effects on local wastewater management, developed and natural parklands, and urban tree health. The standards and potential effects shall be identified by May 30, 2022. The board shall allow for public comment on potential effects identified by the board under this subdivision.
(d) The long-term standards shall be set at a level designed so that the water use objectives, together with other demands excluded from the long-term standards such as CII indoor water use and CII outdoor water use not connected to a dedicated landscape meter, would exceed the statewide conservation targets required pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 10608.16).
(e) The board, in coordination with the department, shall adopt by regulation variances recommended by the department pursuant to Section 10609.14 and guidelines and methodologies pertaining to the calculation of an urban retail water supplier's urban water use objective recommended by the department pursuant to Section 10609.16.
10609.4. (a) (1) Until January 1, 2025, the standard for indoor residential water use shall be 55 gallons per capita daily.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2025, and until January 1, 2030, the standard for indoor residential water use shall be the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended pursuant to subdivision (b).
(3) Beginning January 1, 2030, the standard for indoor residential water use shall be the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended pursuant to subdivision (b).
(b) (1) The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and may jointly recommend to the Legislature a standard for indoor residential water use that more appropriately reflects best practices for indoor residential water use than the standard described in subdivision (a). A report on the results of the studies and investigations shall be made to the chairpersons of the relevant policy committees of each house of the Legislature by January 1, 2021, and shall include information necessary to support the recommended standard, if there is one. The studies and investigations shall also include an analysis of the benefits and impacts of how the changing standard for indoor residential water use will impact water and wastewater management, including potable water usage, wastewater, recycling and reuse systems, infrastructure, operations, and supplies.
(2) The studies, investigations, and report described in paragraph (1) shall include collaboration with, and input from, a broad group of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, environmental groups, experts in indoor plumbing, and water, wastewater, and recycled water agencies.
10609.6. (a) (1) The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and recommend, no later than October 1, 2021, standards for outdoor residential use for adoption by the board in accordance with this chapter.
(2) (A) The standards shall incorporate the principles of the model water efficient landscape ordinance adopted by the department pursuant to the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act (Article 10.8 (commencing with Section 65591) of Chapter 3 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code).
(B) The standards shall apply to irrigable lands.
(C) The standards shall include provisions for swimming pools, spas, and other water features. Ornamental water features that are artificially supplied with water, including ponds, lakes, waterfalls, and fountains, shall be analyzed separately from swimming pools and spas.
(b) The department shall, by January 1, 2021, provide each urban retail water supplier with data regarding the area of residential irrigable lands in a manner that can reasonably be applied to the standards adopted pursuant to this section.
(c) The department shall not recommend standards pursuant to this section until it has conducted pilot projects or studies, or some combination of the two, to ensure that the data provided to local agencies are reasonably accurate for the data's intended uses, taking into consideration California's diverse landscapes and community characteristics.
10609.8. (a) The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and recommend, no later than October 1, 2021, standards for outdoor irrigation of landscape areas with dedicated irrigation meters or other means of calculating outdoor irrigation use in connection with CII water use for adoption by the board in accordance with this chapter.
(b) The standards shall incorporate the principles of the model water efficient landscape ordinance adopted by the department pursuant to the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act (Article 10.8 (commencing with Section 65591) of Chapter 3 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code).
(c) The standards shall include an exclusion for water for commercial agricultural use meeting the definition of subdivision (b) of Section 51201 of the Government Code.
10609.9. For purposes of Sections 10609.6 and 10609.8, ''principles of the model water efficient landscape ordinance'' means those provisions of the model water efficient landscape ordinance applicable to the establishment or determination of the amount of water necessary to efficiently irrigate both new and existing landscapes. These provisions include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Evapotranspiration adjustment factors, as applicable.
(b) Landscape area.
(c) Maximum applied water allowance.
(d) Reference evapotranspiration.
(e) Special landscape areas, including provisions governing evapotranspiration adjustment factors for different types of water used for irrigating the landscape.
10609.10. (a) The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and recommend, no later than October 1, 2021, performance measures for CII water use for adoption by the board in accordance with this chapter.
(b) Prior to recommending performance measures for CII water use, the department shall solicit broad public participation from stakeholders and other interested persons relating to all of the following:
(1) Recommendations for a CII water use classification system for California that address significant uses of water.
(2) Recommendations for setting minimum size thresholds for converting mixed CII meters to dedicated irrigation meters, and evaluation of, and recommendations for, technologies that could be used in lieu of requiring dedicated irrigation meters.
(3) Recommendations for CII water use best management practices, which may include, but are not limited to, water audits and water management plans for those CII customers that exceed a recommended size, volume of water use, or other threshold.
(c) Recommendations of appropriate performance measures for CII water use shall be consistent with the October 21, 2013, report to the Legislature by the Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Task Force entitled ''Water Use Best Management Practices,'' including the technical and financial feasibility recommendations provided in that report, and shall support the economic productivity of California's commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors.
(d) (1) The board, in coordination with the department, shall adopt performance measures for CII water use on or before June 30, 2022.
(2) Each urban retail water supplier shall implement the performance measures adopted by the board pursuant to paragraph (1).
10609.12. The standards for water loss for urban retail water suppliers shall be the standards adopted by the board pursuant to subdivision (i) of Section 10608.34.
10609.14. (a) The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and, no later than October 1, 2021, recommend for adoption by the board in accordance with this chapter appropriate variances for unique uses that can have a material effect on an urban retail water supplier's urban water use objective.
(b) Appropriate variances may include, but are not limited to, allowances for the following:
(1) Significant use of evaporative coolers.
(2) Significant populations of horses and other livestock.
(3) Significant fluctuations in seasonal populations.
(4) Significant landscaped areas irrigated with recycled water having high levels of total dissolved solids.
(5) Significant use of water for soil compaction and dust control.
(6) Significant use of water to supplement ponds and lakes to sustain wildlife.
(7) Significant use of water to irrigate vegetation for fire protection.
(8) Significant use of water for commercial or noncommercial agricultural use.
(c) The department, in recommending variances for adoption by the board, shall also recommend a threshold of significance for each recommended variance.
(d) Before including any specific variance in calculating an urban retail water supplier's water use objective, the urban retail water supplier shall request and receive approval by the board for the inclusion of that variance.
(e) The board shall post on its Internet Web site all of the following:
(1) A list of all urban retail water suppliers with approved variances.
(2) The specific variance or variances approved for each urban retail water supplier.
(3) The data supporting approval of each variance.
10609.15. To help streamline water data reporting, the department and the board shall do all of the following:
(a) Identify urban water reporting requirements shared by both agencies, and post on each agency's Internet Web site how the data is used for planning, regulatory, or other purposes.
(b) Analyze opportunities for more efficient publication of urban water reporting requirements within each agency, and analyze how each agency can integrate various data sets in a publicly accessible location, identify priority actions, and implement priority actions identified in the analysis.
(c) Make appropriate data pertaining to the urban water reporting requirements that are collected by either agency available to the public according to the principles and requirements of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (Part 4.9 (commencing with Section 12400)).
10609.16. The department, in coordination with the board, shall conduct necessary studies and investigations and recommend, no later than October 1, 2021, guidelines and methodologies for the board to adopt that identify how an urban retail water supplier calculates its urban water use objective. The guidelines and methodologies shall address, as necessary, all of the following:
(a) Determining the irrigable lands within the urban retail water supplier's service area.
(b) Updating and revising methodologies described pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) of Section 10608.20, as appropriate, including methodologies for calculating the population in an urban retail water supplier's service area.
(c) Using landscape area data provided by the department or alternative data.
(d) Incorporating precipitation data and climate data into estimates of a urban retail water supplier's outdoor irrigation budget for its urban water use objective.
(e) Estimating changes in outdoor landscape area and population, and calculating the urban water use objective, for years when updated landscape imagery is not available from the department.
(f) Determining acceptable levels of accuracy for the supporting data, the urban water use objective, and compliance with the urban water use objective.
10609.18. The department and the board shall solicit broad public participation from stakeholders and other interested persons in the development of the standards and the adoption of regulations pursuant to this chapter. The board shall hold at least one public meeting before taking any action on any standard or variance recommended by the department.
CHAPTER 10. Countywide Drought and Water Shortage Contingency Plans
10609.40. The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:
(a) Small water suppliers and rural communities are often not covered by established water shortage planning requirements. Currently, most counties do not address water shortages or do so minimally in their general plan or the local hazard mitigation plan.
(b) The state should provide guidance to improve drought planning for small water suppliers and rural communities.
10609.42. (a) No later than January 1, 2020, the department, in consultation with the board and other relevant state and local agencies and stakeholders, shall use available data to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability. The department shall notify counties and groundwater sustainability agencies of those suppliers or communities that may be at risk within its jurisdiction, and may make the information publicly accessible on its Internet Web site.
(b) The department shall, in consultation with the board, by January 1, 2020, propose to the Governor and the Legislature recommendations and guidance relating to the development and implementation of countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans to address the planning needs of small water suppliers and rural communities. The department shall recommend how these plans can be included in county local hazard mitigation plans or otherwise integrated with complementary existing planning processes. The guidance from the department shall outline goals of the countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans and recommend components including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Assessment of drought vulnerability.
(2) Actions to reduce drought vulnerability.
(3) Response, financing, and local communication and outreach planning efforts that may be implemented in times of drought.
(4) Data needs and reporting.
(5) Roles and responsibilities of interested parties and coordination with other relevant water management planning efforts.
(c) In formulating the proposal, the department shall utilize a public process involving state agencies, cities, counties, small communities, small water suppliers, and other stakeholders.
10801. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The waters of the state are a limited and renewable resource.
(b) The California Constitution requires that water in the state be used in a reasonable and beneficial manner.
(c) The efficient use of agricultural water supplies is of great statewide concern.
(d) There is a great amount of reuse of delivered water, both inside and outside the water service areas of agricultural water suppliers.
(e) Significant noncrop beneficial uses are associated with agricultural water use, including the preservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.
(f) Significant opportunities exist in some areas, through improved irrigation water management, to conserve water or to reduce the quantity of highly saline or toxic drainage water.
(g) Changes in water management practices should be carefully planned and implemented to minimize adverse effects on other beneficial uses currently being served.
(h) Agricultural water suppliers that receive water from the federal Central Valley Project are required by federal law to prepare and implement water conservation plans.
(i) Agricultural water users applying for a permit to appropriate water from the board are required to prepare and implement water conservation plans.
10802. The Legislature finds and declares that all of the following are the policies of the state:
(a) The efficient use of water shall be pursued actively to protect both the people of the state and the state's water resources.
(b) The efficient use of agricultural water supplies shall be an important criterion in public decisions with regard to water.
(c) Agricultural water suppliers shall be required to prepare water management plans to achieve greater efficiency in the use of water.
10814. ''Person'' has the same meaning as defined in Section 10614.
10817. ''Water use efficiency'' means the efficient management of water resources for beneficial uses, preventing waste, or accomplishing additional benefits with the same amount of water.
10820. (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an agricultural water supplier shall prepare and adopt an agricultural water management plan in the manner set forth in this chapter on or before December 31, 2012, and shall update that plan on December 31, 2015.
(2) (A) The agricultural water management plan shall be updated on or before April 1, 2021, and thereafter on or before April 1 in the years ending in six and one. The plan shall satisfy the requirements of Section 10826.
(B) An agricultural water supplier shall submit its plan to the department no later than 30 days after theadoption of the plan. The plan shall be submitted electronically and shall include any standardized forms, tables, or displays specified by the department.
(b) (1) The department shall review each plan that is due pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a). The department may coordinate its review with the Department of Food and Agriculture and the board.
(2) The department shall notify an agricultural water supplier that it is not in compliance with this part if the department determines that actions are required to comply with the requirements of this part or if a supplier fails to update a plan as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a). The department shall identify the specific deficiencies and the supplier shall have 120 days to remedy anidentified deficiency. The department may provide additional time to remedy a deficiency if it finds that a supplier is making substantial progress toward remedying the deficiency. An agricultural water supplier that fails to submit corrective actions or a completed plan shall not be in compliance with this part.
(3) If the department has not received a plan or the department has determined that the plan submitted does not comply with the requirements of this part, and a revised plan has not been submitted, the department may undertake the following actions:
(A) Contract with a state academic institution or qualified entity to prepare or complete an agricultural water management plan on behalf of the supplier. The costs and expenses related to preparation or completion of aplan, including the costs of the contract and contract administration, shall be recoverable by the department from the supplier.
(B) If a supplier does not provide data necessary for the preparation or completion of a plan to the department or the contracting entity as determined by the department in accordance with subparagraph (A), the department may assess a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per day, not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), until data is made available.
(4) (A) A plan prepared or completed pursuant to paragraph (3) shall be deemed the adopted plan for the supplier.
(B) Any action to challenge or invalidate the adequacy of the plan prepared or completed pursuant toparagraph (3) shall be brought against the supplier for whom the plan was prepared.
(c) Every supplier that becomes an agricultural water supplier after December 31, 2012, shall prepare and adopt an agricultural water management plan within one year after the date it has become an agricultural water supplier.
(d) A water supplier that indirectly provides water to customers for agricultural purposes shall not prepare a plan pursuant to this part without the consent of each agricultural water supplier that directly provides that water to its customers.
10825. (a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this part to allow levels of water management planning commensurate with the numbers of customers served and the volume of water supplied.
(b) This part does not require the implementation of water use efficiency programs or practices that are not locally cost effective.
10826. An agricultural water management plan shall be adopted in accordance with this chapter. The plan shall do all of the following:
(a) Describe the agricultural water supplier and the service area, including all of the following:
(1) Size of the service area.
(2) Location of the service area and its water management facilities.
(3) Terrain and soils.
(4) Climate.
(5) Operating rules andregulations.
(6) Water delivery measurements or calculations.
(7) Water rate schedules and billing.
(8) Water shortage allocation policies.
(b) Describe the quantity and quality of water resources of the agricultural water supplier, including all of the following:
(1) Surface water supply.
(2) Groundwater supply.
(3) Other water supplies, including recycled water.
(4) Source water quality monitoring practices.
(5) Water uses within the agricultural water supplier's service area, including all of the following:
(A) Agricultural.
(B) Environmental.
(C) Recreational.
(D) Municipal and industrial.
(E) Groundwater recharge, including estimated flows from deep percolation from irrigation and seepage.
(c) Include an annual water budget based on the quantification of all inflow and outflow components for the service area of the agricultural water supplier. Components of inflow shallinclude surface inflow, groundwater pumping in the service area, and effective precipitation. Components of outflow shall include surface outflow, deep percolation, and evapotranspiration. An agricultural water supplier shall report the annual water budget on a water-year basis. The department shall provide tools and resources to assist agricultural water suppliers in developing and quantifying components necessary to develop a water budget.
(d) Include an analysis, based on available information, of the effect of climate change on future water supplies.
(e) Describe previous water management activities.
(f) Identify water management objectives based on the water budget to improve water system efficiency or to meet other water managementobjectives. The agricultural water supplier shall identify, prioritize, and implement actions to reduce water loss, improve water system management, and meet other water management objectives identified in the plan.
(g) Include in the plan information regarding efficient water management practices required pursuant to Section 10608.48.
(h) Quantify the efficiency of agricultural water use within the service area of the agricultural water supplier using the appropriate method or methods from among the four water use efficiency quantification methods developed by the department in the May 8, 2012, report to the Legislature entitled ''A Proposed Methodology for Quantifying the Efficiency of Agricultural Water Use.'' The agricultural water supplier shall account for all water uses,including crop water use, agronomic water use, environmental water use, and recoverable surface flows.
10826.2. As part of its agricultural water management plan, each agricultural water supplier shall develop a drought plan for periods of limited water supply describing the actions of the agricultural water supplier for drought preparedness and management of water supplies and allocations during drought conditions. The drought plan shall contain both of the following:
(a) Resilience planning, including all of the following:
(1) Data, indicators, and information needed to determine the water supply availability and levels of drought severity.
(2) Analyses andidentification of potential vulnerability to drought.
(3) A description of the opportunities and constraints for improving drought resilience planning, including all of the following:
(A) The availability of new technology or information.
(B) The ability of the agricultural water supplier to obtain or use additional water supplies during drought conditions.
(C) A description of other actions planned for implementation to improve drought resilience.
(b) Drought response planning, including all of the following:
(1) Policies and a process fordeclaring a water shortage and for implementing water shortage allocations and related response actions.
(2) Methods and procedures for the enforcement or appeal of, or exemption from, triggered shortage response actions.
(3) Methods and procedures for monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the drought plan.
(4) Communication protocols and procedures to inform and coordinate customers, the public, interested parties, and local, regional, and state government.
(5) A description of the potential impacts on the revenues, financial condition, and planned expenditures of the agricultural water supplier during drought conditions that reduce water allocations,and proposed measures to overcome those impacts, including reserve-level policies.
10843. (a) An agricultural water supplier shall submit to the entities identified in subdivision (b) a copy of its plan no later than 30 days after review of the plan pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10820.
(b) An agricultural water supplier shall submit a copy of its plan to each of the following entities:
(1) The department.
(2) Any city, county, or city and county within which the agricultural water supplier provides water supplies.
(3) Any groundwater management entity within which jurisdictionthe agricultural water supplier extracts or provides water supplies.
(4) The California State Library.
10845. (a) The department shall prepare and submit to the Legislature, on or before April 30, 2022, and thereafter in the years ending in seven and years ending in two, a report summarizing the status of the plans adopted pursuant to this part.
(b) The report prepared by the department shall identify the outstanding elements of any plan adopted pursuant to this part. The report shall include an evaluation of the effectiveness of this part in promoting efficient agricultural water management practices and recommendations relating to proposed changes to this part, as appropriate.
(c) The department shall provide a copy of the report to each agriculturalwater supplier that has submitted its plan to thedepartment. The department shall also prepare reports and provide data for any legislative hearing designed to consider the effectiveness of plans submitted pursuant to this part.
(d) This section does not authorize the department, in preparing the report, to approve, disapprove, or critique individual plans submitted pursuant to this part.
10910. (a) Any city or county that determines that a project, as defined in Section 10912, is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) under Section 21080 of the Public Resources Code shall comply with this part.
(b) The city or county, at the time that it determines whether an environmental impact report, a negative declaration, or a mitigated negative declaration is required for any project subject to the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to Section 21080.1 of the Public Resources Code, shall identify any water system whose service area includes the project site and any water system adjacentto the project site that is, or may become as a result of supplying water to the project identified pursuant to this subdivision, a public water system, as defined in Section 10912, that may supply water for the project. If the city or county is not able to identify any public water system that may supply water for the project, the city or county shall prepare the water assessment required by this part after consulting with any entity serving domestic water supplies whose service area includes the project site, the local agency formation commission, and any public water system adjacent to the project site.
(c) (1) The city or county, at the time it makes the determination required under Section 21080.1 of the Public Resources Code, shall request each public water system identified pursuant to subdivision (b) todetermine whether the projected water demand associated with a proposed project was included as part of the most recently adopted urban water management plan adopted pursuant to Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 10610).
(2) If the projected water demand associated with the proposed project was accounted for in the most recently adopted urban water management plan, the public water system may incorporate the requested information from the urban water management plan in preparing the elements of the assessment required to comply with subdivisions (d), (e), (f), and (g).
(3) If the projected water demand associated with the proposed project was not accounted for in the most recently adopted urban water management plan, or the public water system has no urban water management plan, thewater supply assessment for the project shall include a discussion with regard to whether the public water system's total projected water supplies available during normal, single dry, and multiple dry water years during a 20-year projection will meet the projected water demand associated with the proposed project, in addition to the public water system's existing and planned future uses, including agricultural and manufacturing uses.
(4) If the city or county is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), the water supply assessment for the project shall include a discussion with regard to whether the total projected water supplies, determined to be available by the city or county for the project during normal, single dry, and multiple dry water years during a 20-year projection, will meet the projected water demandassociated with the proposed project, in addition to existing and planned future uses, including agricultural and manufacturing uses.
(d) (1) The assessment required by this section shall include an identification of any existing water supply entitlements, water rights, or water service contracts relevant to the identified water supply for the proposed project, and a description of the quantities of water received in prior years by the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), under the existing water supply entitlements, water rights, or water service contracts.
(2) An identification of existing water supply entitlements, water rights, or water service contracts held by the publicwater system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), shall be demonstrated by providing information related to all of the following:
(A) Written contracts or other proof of entitlement to an identified water supply.
(B) Copies of a capital outlay program for financing the delivery of a water supply that has been adopted by the public water system.
(C) Federal, state, and local permits for construction of necessary infrastructure associated with delivering the water supply.
(D) Any necessary regulatory approvals that are required in order to be able to convey or deliver the water supply.
(e) If no water has been received in prior years by the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), under the existing water supply entitlements, water rights, or water service contracts, the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), shall also include in its water supply assessment pursuant to subdivision (c), an identification of the other public water systems or water servicecontractholders that receive a water supply or have existing water supply entitlements, water rights, or water service contracts, to the same source of water as the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), has identified as a source of water supply within its water supply assessments.
(f) If a water supply for a proposed project includes groundwater, the following additional information shall be included in the water supply assessment:
(1) A review of any information contained in the urban water management plan relevant to the identified water supply for the proposed project.
(2) (A) A description of anygroundwater basin or basins from which the proposed project will be supplied.
(B) For those basins for which a court or the board has adjudicated the rights to pump groundwater, a copy of the order or decree adopted by the court or the board and a description of the amount of groundwater the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), has the legal right to pump under the order or decree.
(C) For a basin that has not been adjudicated that is a basin designated as high- or medium-priority pursuant to Section 10722.4, information regarding the following:
(i) Whether the department has identified the basin as being subject to critical conditionsof overdraft pursuant to Section 12924.
(ii) If a groundwater sustainability agency has adopted a groundwater sustainability plan or has an approved alternative, a copy of that alternative or plan.
(D) For a basin that has not been adjudicated that is a basin designated as low- or very low priority pursuant to Section 10722.4, information as to whether the department has identified the basin or basins as overdrafted or has projected that the basin will become overdrafted if present management conditions continue, in the most current bulletin of the department that characterizes the condition of the groundwater basin, and a detailed description by the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), of the efforts beingundertaken in the basin or basins to eliminate the long-term overdraft condition.
(3) A detailed description and analysis of the amount and location of groundwater pumped by the public water system, orthe city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), for the past five years from any groundwater basin from which the proposed project will be supplied. The description and analysis shall be based on information that is reasonably available, including, but not limited to, historic use records.
(4) A detailed description and analysis of the amount and location of groundwater that is projected to be pumped by the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), from any basin from which the proposed project will be supplied. The description and analysis shall be based on information that is reasonably available, including, but not limited to, historic use records.
(5) An analysis of the sufficiency of the groundwater from the basin or basins from which the proposed project will be supplied to meet the projected water demand associated with the proposed project. A water supply assessment shall not be required to include the information required by this paragraph if the public water system determines, as part of the review required by paragraph (1), that the sufficiency of groundwater necessary to meet the initial and projected water demand associated with the project was addressed in the description and analysis required by subparagraph (D) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 10631.
(g) (1) Subject to paragraph (2), the governing body of each public water system shall submit the assessment to the city or county not later than 90 days from the date on which therequest was received. The governing body of each public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this act pursuant to subdivision (b), shall approve the assessment prepared pursuant to this section at a regular or special meeting.
(2) Prior to the expiration of the 90-day period, if the public water system intends to request an extension of time to prepare and adopt the assessment, the public water system shall meet with the city or county to request an extension of time, which shall not exceed 30 days, to prepare and adopt the assessment.
(3) If the public water system fails to request an extension of time, or fails to submit the assessment notwithstanding the extension of time granted pursuant to paragraph (2), the city or county may seek a writof mandamus to compel the governing body of the public water system to comply with the requirements of this part relating to the submission of the water supply assessment.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, if a project has been the subject of a water supply assessment that complies with the requirements of this part, no additional water supply assessment shall be required for subsequent projects that were part of a larger project for which a water supply assessment was completed and that has complied with the requirements of this part and for which the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), has concluded that its water supplies are sufficient to meet the projected water demand associated with the proposed project, in addition to theexisting and planned future uses, including, but not limited to, agricultural and industrial uses, unless one or more of the following changes occurs:
(1) Changes in the project that result in a substantial increase in water demand for the project.
(2) Changes in the circumstances or conditions substantially affecting the ability of the public water system, or the city or county if either is required to comply with this part pursuant to subdivision (b), to provide a sufficient supply of water for the project.
(3) Significant new information becomes available that was not known and could not have been known at the time when the assessment was prepared.
(i) Forthe purposes of this section, hauled water is not considered as a source of water.
SEC. 20. This act shall become operative only if Senate Bill 606 of the 2017''18 Regular Session is enacted and becomes effective.
It's Now Against The Law In California To Shower And Do Laundry On The Same Day '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 07:06
Politics SecurityIt's Now Against The Law In California To Shower And Do Laundry On The Same DayGovernor Jerry Brown is retiring but not before he passes a few draconian laws as parting gifts for California. Two bills were signed into law on Thursday of last week to ''help California be better prepared for future droughts and the effects of climate change.''
The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, according to their wording, and not just for use in times of crisis. To make a long story short, now that these bills are law, it's illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry in the same day because you'll exceed your ''ration.''
Here's the wording of the new laws.Senate Bill 606 establishes a ''governing body'' to oversee all water suppliers, both private and public and will require extensive paperwork from those utility companies.
Assembly Bill 1668 is where it gets personal. This establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years.
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
If you're wondering how the government would know how much water your family is using, the utility providers will be obligated to rat you out of face massive fines. And they're encouraged to spy in all sorts of creative ways. They ''shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.''
Some analysisNow, if you're wondering where I get my assertion that you can't shower and do laundry on the same day, here's some math:
An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of waterA load of laundry uses about 40 gallons of waterA bathtub holds 80 to 100 gallons of waterA dishwasher uses 6 gallons of waterThere are also standards to be established for outdoor use such as landscaping, caring for livestock, and gardening, but those numbers don't seem to be available at this time. Maybe Californians just get to wait in suspense to see if their chickens are allowed to have water on the same day as their vegetables. Back when I lived in California, we were only ''allowed'' to water our gardens two times per week, which, in that heat, as you can imagine, didn't lead to very productive gardens.
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Moon Bases
Elon Musk's SpaceX Delays Plans for First Space Tourists to Circle Moon - WSJ
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:45
SpaceX has indicated it won't launch a pair of space tourists to loop around the moon this year as previously announced, the latest sign that technical and production challenges are disrupting founder Elon Musk's plans for human exploration of the solar system.
A new timetable for the flight'--now postponed until at least mid-2019 and likely longer'--hasn't been released by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name of the closely held company.
Over the weekend, company spokesman James Gleeson confirmed the private moon launch has been postponed, without indicating when it might occur. ''SpaceX is still planning to fly private individuals around the moon and there is growing interest from many customers,'' Mr. Gleeson said in an email.
The delay comes amid SpaceX's own projections of a nearly 40% drop in launches next year from as many as 28 anticipated for 2018. The decline primarily reflects a global slump in manufacturing orders and launch contracts for large commercial satellites.
SpaceX also is confronting industry doubts about market demand for its Falcon Heavy rocket, the company's newest and biggest launcher, which had its maiden blastoff in February. ''People don't think it's serious enough yet to figure out how to use it,'' Thomas Mueller, SpaceX's chief propulsion technology officer, said in May, speaking to attendees on the sidelines of a space conference in Los Angeles. Mr. Mueller declined to elaborate or respond to questions.
Industry officials and SpaceX competitors have said the latest variant of the company's smaller Falcon 9 rocket'--upgraded to provide more thrust than earlier versions'--is capable of putting most of the current generation of large and small satellites into required orbits. Those improvements have ''eliminated much of the commercial need for the Falcon Heavy,'' according to Charles Miller, a consultant and space entrepreneur.
Regardless of when tourist voyages start, Mr. Musk and his team already have revolutionized the launch industry by accomplishing two goals that historically were considered impossible: SpaceX has slashed rocket prices with the Falcon 9 and pioneered fully reusable main stages, including engines. The company seeks to refly those parts 10 times with minimal refurbishment.
Before 1 a.m. local time Monday, a Falcon 9 rocket launched a large communications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES SA, optimized to serve mobile and residential customers along with airlines and maritime users throughout the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. The uneventful liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, followed by routine separation of the upper stage from the previously flown rocket's lower stage, marked the fifth time Mr. Musk's company has been contracted to carry an SES satellite to high-earth orbit. The successful mission occurred on the eighth anniversary of Falcon 9's first launch, also from the same facility.
But Mr. Musk's vision of quickly using the Falcon Heavy for moon missions has been upended. In February 2017, Mr. Musk announced with some fanfare that before the end of 2018, SpaceX intended to send two paying customers around the moon and back to earth using an automated Dragon capsule launched by the company's most powerful rocket. The passengers were never identified, but the company said they already had paid ''a significant deposit'' and preparations were under way for health tests and training for the estimated weeklong trip.
At the time, SpaceX expected to complete unmanned flight tests of the Dragon capsule and then repeatedly transport astronauts to and from the international space station, before using it to carry paying passengers deeper into the cosmos.
But that schedule has now slipped, with the company telling the National Aeronautics and Space Administration it is targeting the first astronaut test flight no earlier than December 2018. Congressional investigators have said that could drag well into 2019, with approval for routine operational flights coming many months later.
Earlier this year, Mr. Musk also suggested at least some proposed Falcon Heavy missions intended to transport people probably would take a back seat to development of an even bigger launcher designed for deeper space exploration.
Mr. Gleeson, the company spokesman, indicated private missions around the moon and elsewhere, presenting an opportunity for humans ''to travel faster and farther into the solar system than any before them,'' amount to ''an important milestone as we work toward our ultimate goal'' of establishing large-scale settlements on Mars. Mr. Musk has talked about first establishing a base on the lunar surface.
Some industry experts and analysts see huge risks for SpaceX from potentially suffering a major malfunction, or even fatal accident, involving tourists, before its Dragon capsule is certified to fly NASA astronauts into orbit.
''SpaceX faces much higher stakes'' than carrying paying passengers as soon as it envisioned, according to Charles Miller, a consultant and space entrepreneur who served on President Donald Trump's transition team for NASA. ''Company leaders can't risk'' sacrificing the agency's trust or ''prompting hearings before Congress'' if there is a catastrophic problem on a private mission, he said in an interview.
Mr. Musk hasn't signaled interest in soliciting federal funds to help defray the cost of tourist flights, even as the Trump administration has made public-private partnerships the centerpiece of its drive to accelerate space exploration. Around the time Mr. Trump came into office, Mr. Miller and other NASA transition team participants drafted a memo that sketched out plans, among other things, for ''private American astronauts, on private space ships'' to circle the moon as early as 2020. More recently, the agency has rolled out a multiyear blueprint promoting small private lunar landers, and then transitioning to joint industry-government efforts to develop manned vehicles.
Renowned for pushing employees and managers by setting ambitious goals that often end up being unattainable, Mr. Musk has a history of missed deadlines involving the Falcon Heavy. Not only was it several years late in blasting off in February, but the high-profile flight coincided with market shifts toward dramatically smaller satellites requiring rockets with less power.
With more than five million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy is particularly suited to carry extra-large commercial satellites and propel the heaviest military or spy spacecraft into hard-to-reach orbits. But the rocket still must demonstrate its reliability before Pentagon brass will put the most expensive spy satellites on it.
SpaceX, for its part, is betting that in the next few years, the Falcon Heavy will become more broadly competitive due to anticipated retirements of ultrareliable, legacy U.S. and European launchers.
But for corporate customers at this point, existing Falcon 9 upgrades have ''eliminated much of the commercial need for the Falcon Heavy,'' according to Mr. Miller. The SpaceX spokesman declined to comment
The Southern California company has three commercial Falcon Heavy launches listed on a roughly $10 billion manifest that totals 40 missions.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, said in an MSNBC interview last month that she expected about 18 launches overall in 2019, comparable to 2017. That would be sharply off internal company targets prepared in early 2016.
Documents circulated to prospective investors during that period projected SpaceX's launch rate climbing to more than 40 in 2018 and 52 the year after. The 2019 total included eight Falcon Heavy missions and 20 launches dedicated entirely to deploying a proposed SpaceX satellite constellation.
Corrections & Amplifications The Falcon Heavy rocket had its maiden blastoff in February. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the launch was in March. (June 3, 2018)
Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com
Directed Energy Weapons
A Medical Mystery Grows as U.S. Consulate Workers in China Fall Ill - The New York Times
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 11:32
Americans working at the United States Consulate in Guangzhou, China, developed unexplained ailments after hearing strange sounds in at least two apartment complexes, including The Canton Place apartments, above. Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times GUANGZHOU, China '-- A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening American diplomats and their families '-- which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China '-- has widened as the State Department evacuated at least two more Americans from China on Wednesday.
The Americans who were evacuated worked at the American Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, and their colleagues and family members are being tested by a State Department medical team, officials said. It is unclear how many of them are exhibiting symptoms, but a State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday evening that ''a number of individuals'' had been sent to the United States for further testing.
For months, American officials have been worried that their diplomats have been subjected to targeted attacks involving odd sounds, leading to symptoms similar to those ''following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury,'' the State Department says.
The cases in China have broadened a medical mystery that started in 2016, when American Embassy employees and their family members began falling ill in Havana. In all, 24 of them were stricken with headaches, nausea, hearing loss, cognitive issues and other symptoms after saying they heard odd sounds. The issue has roiled relations with Cuba, which immediately fell under suspicion, and led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats.
But with Americans now exhibiting similar symptoms in Guangzhou, American officials have raised suspicions about whether other countries, perhaps China or Russia, might be to blame.
That is sure to complicate already strained relations with both countries over a variety of economic, political and security issues. Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 American presidential election, trade disputes have erupted with China and American officials fear that the Chinese are undermining relations with North Korea ahead of a summit meeting with President Trump planned for next week.
The new illnesses in China come just weeks after American officials reported finding their first case here in Guangzhou, where a consulate employee got sick. Some American officials in this city live in apartment complexes filled with other foreigners and wealthy Chinese; that is where the ailing employees were subjected to unusual noises.
But it remains unclear whether the illnesses are the result of attacks at all. Other theories have included toxins, listening devices that accidentally emitted harmful sounds or even mass hysteria.
The mystery spread to China this spring, when the first employee fell ill, and fears escalated last month when the government warned other employees to seek medical attention if they experienced unusual ailments. So far this week, another employee, his wife and their two children were evacuated after the parents exhibited neurological symptoms. Officials said they expected that at least some others would be flown out of the country as well.
The illnesses appear more widespread than the State Department initially reported last month, when it said that one person had ''reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.''
Image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made investigating the medical cases in China and Cuba a priority for the State Department. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the symptoms of the first American employee in Guangzhou to report being ill ''are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba.''
There are roughly 170 American diplomats or employees in Guangzhou, as well as their family members, and a senior American official said a sizable number had undergone or would soon undergo testing by the State Department doctors who arrived on May 31.
The officials cautioned that no final determination had been made about what caused the illnesses.
The latest American employee evacuated from Guangzhou is Mark A. Lenzi, a security engineering officer at the consulate. He left Wednesday evening with his wife and two children after having suffered in recent months from what he described in an interview as neurological symptoms.
On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo said in a statement that the symptoms in the first case discovered in Guangzhou were similar to the ones experienced by the 24 Americans who became ill in Havana. He said that the cause had not yet been established.
The injuries in Cuba, like those in China, followed disturbing sensations of sounds and vibrations that have been described variously as the noises made by cicadas, static, metal sheets waving or, in Mr. Lenzi's case, marbles rolling around a metal funnel.
After the injuries were diagnosed in Cuba, the Trump administration expelled 15 Cuban diplomats, saying Cuban officials had failed to adequately to protect American diplomats. The Cuban government denied any involvement and questioned whether any ''attacks'' had taken place. American officials suggested it was too soon to consider such a response in China, though they have raised it with the Chinese government.
On May 23, the State Department disclosed that an employee stationed in China had complained of ''subtle and vague, but abnormal sensations of sound and pressure'' over several months from late 2017 until April. That employee, who was evacuated, was not identified.
''We are not aware of any similar situations in China, either inside or outside of the diplomatic community,'' the department said in the health alert. It advised others with ''concerns about any symptoms or medical problems'' to consult a doctor.
The disclosure caused anxiety and anger among American government employees in China. Others have since come forward to report similar experiences or symptoms.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, the State Department's spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said that ''a number of individuals'' had been sent to the United States for further testing and that the medical examinations continued in Guangzhou.
In 2016, diplomats at the United States Embassy in Havana were mysteriously stricken. Was it an attack? There is no official explanation, but the episode has played a big role in America's current political disengagement with Cuba. Published On April 18, 2018Among those who reported symptoms was Mr. Lenzi. In an email sent to the entire staff of the consulate, he complained that the first employee was evacuated in April, but that no one was told of the health concerns until a month later '-- after doctors in the United States had found evidence of brain trauma. The initial health alert, he said in an interview, suggested it was an isolated case. ''They knew full well it wasn't,'' he said.
The consulate, which opened in 2013, is a state-of-the-art building designed to withstand electronic eavesdropping and other security and intelligence threats.
In an interview before leaving China, Mr. Lenzi said that he had lived in the same apartment tower as the officer evacuated in April. It is one of several high-rise buildings in The Canton Place, a modern complex built around a plaza and bordered by restaurants, cafes and galleries. Another diplomat who reported symptoms was at a different upscale building near the consulate.
Mr. Lenzi said that over the past year he and his wife had experienced similar physical symptoms, including headaches, sleeplessness and nausea, and on three or four occasions they heard odd noises, though they did not put them together until the disclosures last month.
Even if people are evacuated for further tests, that does not necessarily mean that they have suffered injuries or illnesses, the officials emphasized. Only 25 percent of those evacuated from Cuba, for example, were later found to have health problems.
Image The United States Consulate in Guangzhou, left. The building, which opened in 2013, is designed to withstand electronic eavesdropping and other threats. Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times But the Chinese cases have raised alarms inside the State Department. Now led by Mr. Pompeo, the department appears eager to avoid the criticism it faced over what some called its handling of the Cuba cases.
In addition to the department's medical team, William E. Todd, the acting director general of the Foreign Service, and Michael T. Evanoff, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, flew to Guangzhou to assess the situation. Their visit was not announced in advance, and they were not made available to comment before departing on Wednesday.
In Tuesday's statement, Mr. Pompeo said he had created a health care task force to examine ''the unexplained health incidents that have affected a number of U.S. government personnel and family members stationed overseas.''
The statement left open the possibility that there have been similar events at other American embassies or consulates. One American official said that he was aware of reports of isolated episodes, but that there did not appear to be any discernible pattern.
Guangzhou is a major commercial hub of 14 million people on the Pearl River, about 75 miles north of Hong Kong. In addition to the embassy in Beijing and the consulates in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, the United States operates consulates in Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Wuhan.
Mr. Lenzi worked for the diplomatic security department, and he believes that his work could have made him a target. Before joining the Foreign Service in 2011, he worked with the International Republican Institute, funded by Congress, promoting democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia '-- two countries where Russia has denounced American involvement.
Steven Lee Myers reported from Guangzhou, and Jane Perlez from Beijing.
Follow Steven Lee Myers and Jane Perlez on Twitter: @stevenleemyers and @JanePerlez.
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Cuba to China, Strange Illness Baffles the U.S.
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Hate Trumps Love
After Weeks of Press Speculation and 'Rough Patch,' Melania Returns to Public Role
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 01:19
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- There she was, outside the White House walls.
First lady Melania Trump re-emerged Wednesday shoulder-to-shoulder with her husband, President Donald Trump, at the head of a conference table at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington.
''She had a little rough patch, but she's doing great,'' the president said at the top of a meeting on hurricane readiness.
''We're very proud of her, she's done a fantastic job as first lady,'' he added.
''People love you. The people of our country love you. Thank you, honey.''
TRENDING: Report: James Comey 'Defied Authority' While Serving as FBI Director
The appearance was her first outside the White House since May 10.
In the interim, the first lady underwent a kidney procedure and recuperated in the hospital for five days, according to the White House.
But there was no explanation of why she remained out of the public eye for weeks longer.
Her husband complained earlier Wednesday that speculation in the media has been ''so unfair, and vicious.''
Are you glad that Melania Trump is back?Trump tweeted Wednesday that during his wife's recovery, ''they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse.''
The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife and our great First Lady, Melania. During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse. All Fake, she is doing really well!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
He added: ''All Fake, she is doing really well!''
On Monday, the first lady strolled into a White House event Monday for military families and swept away the wild speculation that she was incapacitated or had otherwise vanished.
The White House did not allow journalists to cover the Gold Star event out of respect for the families, which meant Melania Trump was seen in person only by the 40 or so families and administration officials who attended.
RELATED: Giuliani Says Trump's NK Strategy Left Kim Begging for Summit
Others had to keep an eye on social media.
Video posted on Twitter showed the first lady, who wore a black sleeveless dress and her trademark stilettos, strolling into the East Room accompanied by the president.
Facebook has greatly reduced the distribution of our stories in our readers' newsfeeds and is instead promoting mainstream media sources. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.
Cockroach sushi? Inside a farming revolution that could cure cancer, compost waste '' and shake up menus | South China Morning Post
Sun, 03 Jun 2018 21:05
SocietyHundreds of cockroach farmers across China are unleashing the insects' potential in the country's war on waste, in medicine, and deep or stir-fried
Yujing Liu UPDATED : Sunday, 3 Jun 2018, 10:50PM
At a facility in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, three billion cockroaches are eating 15 tonnes of kitchen waste each day to solve the long-time environmental problem of what to do with mountains of discarded food.
And as restaurants selling cockroach dishes emerge across China, envisioning a future in which a hated insect can be a solution to human food shortages is becoming a little less difficult.
Growing commercial enthusiasm for cockroaches and a more open attitude to the insects is driving more people into the market and fuelling new ideas for their use.
Gooddoctor workers are quickly covered in their centre's inhabitants. Photo: Handout
The number of cockroach farmers in Shandong alone has tripled to about 400 in the past three years, according to Liu Yusheng, president of Shandong Insect Industry Association and an entomology professor at Shandong Agricultural University.
''There have been huge developments in cockroach breeding and research in the past few years,'' Liu said.
About 2,000km (1,200 miles) away, in the southwestern city of Xichang in Sichuan province, stands a two-storey building in which 6 billion cockroaches are bred to be turned into ulcer-curing drugs.
''This is like a five-star hotel for cockroaches,'' said Geng Funeng, chairman of Gooddoctor Pharmaceutical Group, whose facility it is.
Perfectly ordinary-looking from the outside, with nicely maintained lawns and glass outer walls reflecting the sky, a faint odour gives away its purpose '' a mixture of mustiness, oiliness and bitterness. It is the distinctive smell of the billions of cockroaches kept inside.
Breeding success
A metre-wide ditch surrounds Gooddoctor's breeding facility, in which hundreds of carp in the moat wait hungrily to devour any escaping cockroach.
To enter the building, visitors must put on shoe covers and white lab coats. On the first floor, a dimly lit corridor leads to four dark, damp rooms packed with rows of stacked cupboard squares.
Between the cupboard layers are millions of roaming cockroaches '' the species Periplaneta americana, the Latin name of the American cockroach.
Gooddoctor's breeding and processing base in Xichang. Photo: Gooddoctor Pharmaceutical Group
Cockroaches like dark, narrow spaces, two workers explained as they shook one of the cupboard squares to demonstrate. Hundreds of glistening roaches fell from it into a basin on the floor before crawling quickly onto the workers' arms, torsos and hair.
Wen Jianguo, the manager of the factory, said he was ''more shocked and curious than scared'' when he first came to the company 13 years ago.
''I was startled and wanted to learn more about them,'' Wen said.
Tanks at Gooddoctor's base, which can kill 6 tonnes of cockroaches and extract the essence from them. Photo: Zoe Chen
His family has become very supportive of his career since his mother's long-time stomach pain was cured after taking kangfuxin ye, the potion produced by Gooddoctor, for just a month.
A centralised system keeps temperatures in the breeding rooms at 28 and 33 degrees Celsius (82 to 91 Fahrenheit), and manages conditions including the humidity, air flow, cleanliness and pressure.
Upstairs, a set of giant shiny metal tanks connected to the breeding rooms by pipes kill 6 tonnes (6.6 short tons) of cockroaches at a time with heat and extracts the essence from them.
A versatile cure
Workers operating in aseptic rooms with fingerprint door locks produce over 600,000 bottles of the healing potion each day.
''The effectiveness of cockroaches has been tested by the bodies of our ancestors and proven by lab experiments,'' Geng said.
The insects cover the walls of the Qiaobin Agricultural Technology building in Shandong province. Photo: 3g.163.com
Cockroaches and other insects including scorpions and centipedes have been ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Geng said kangfuxin ye, made entirely from cockroaches, can cure oral and peptic ulcers, skin burns and wounds, and even prevent stomach cancer. Patients can drink the potion to cure ulcers, and apply it externally to skin wounds.
A giant indoor farm in China is breeding 6 billion cockroaches a year. Here's why
As the drug made its way into thousands of Chinese hospitals over the years, the breeding factory expanded to 12,000 square metres (129,000 sq ft) from a modest 20 square metres two decades ago.
And the company is poised to open a second breeding centre next year which it says will be three to five times the size of the current one, powered by artificial intelligence and big data.
Workers in Qiaobin's kitchen waste operation in Zhangqiu city. Photo: 3g.163.com
The system, developed with input from Zhejiang University, will minimise the presence of human beings in the production line, it says.
''Humans should right the wrong perceptions they have on cockroaches. They are good insects, not pests,'' Geng said.
Environmentally superior?
Across the country, in the countryside of Shandong, hundreds of individual farmers are breeding cockroach eggs and selling the larvae to a handful of bigger companies engaged in drug manufacturing or kitchen waste composting businesses.
Qiaobin's facility looks unremarkable from the outside, yet is anything but. Photo: Handout
Their pioneer is Li Yanrong, founder of Qiaobin Agricultural Technology, based in Zhangqiu city. Its 3 billion cockroaches eat 15 tonnes '' a quarter '' of the city's daily kitchen waste every day.
Cockroaches devour virtually everything, and can consume food weighing up to 5 per cent of their own weight each day, according to Li.
''Cockroaches have been eating plants and organic matter since hundreds of millions of years ago,'' he said. ''They are experts in waste composting.''
Cockroaches involved in kitchen waste composting inside the Qiaobin facility. Photo: 3g.163.com
Waste composting by cockroaches is environmentally superior to traditional methods such as burying and burning, it is argued, because it does not create groundwater pollution, greenhouse gas or frustration among residents neighbouring landfill sites.
Insufficient processing of kitchen waste in China has created scope for criminal activities including recycling cooking oil from restaurant waste to sell ''gutter oil'', a food safety scandal that has haunted the country for many years.
Baking and milling
''There is no better way of processing kitchen waste than feeding it to cockroaches,'' Li said.
Founded seven years ago, Li's firm will complete construction of a new breeding centre in July.
The new factory will house 4 to 5 billion cockroaches and, Li said, be able to process all of the waste in Zhangqiu city as well as in a few neighbouring city districts.
An artist's impression of the new Qiaobin factory. Photo: Handout
Its production process will be entirely automated, from breaking the food waste into small pieces and paste to transporting it to a feeding trough to be eaten by the roaches.
''Based on our current rate of expansion, it will take only three to four years for us to process all the kitchen waste in China,'' Li said.
Li has discovered even more uses for cockroaches. After they die, his firm bakes and mills them into high-protein powder to be added to chicken feed.
Baked and dried cockroaches that Qiaobin mills into powder for animal feed. Photo: Handout
The powder has been found to reduce body fat and boost immunity in the 1,000-plus chickens he has raised, he said.
Cockroaches are more than 60 per cent protein, far exceeding the level of around 20 to 30 per cent in beef and chicken.
Many have looked into the possibility of cockroaches providing food for humans. Restaurants already sell cockroach dishes in major cockroach-farming provinces, including Shandong, Sichuan and Yunnan, Liu noted.
Moulting cockroaches, which are soft and light yellow in colour, are usually deep-fried or stir-fried and seasoned with spice and salt.
Fried cockroaches. Photo: Handout
Although nobody has made a commercial venture selling edible cockroaches on a large scale, Liu said he believed businesses would soon make the move.
''They can easily mill the moulting cockroaches and make flour with them,'' he said.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation published a report in 2013 suggesting people should start eating insects as one solution to food shortages.
It's no gag: cockroach milk is one of the world's most nutritious and calorie-rich substances, scientist says
Milk can be made from the Diploptera punctata cockroach, the only variant of cockroach known to give birth rather than lay eggs. It is found mostly on Pacific islands.
A 2016 study by Indian researchers suggested cockroach milk contained more than three times as much energy as milk from cows '' although they added that they had no evidence yet that it was safe for human consumption.
Similar ideas have inspired Li Bingcai, a cockroach farmer in Sichuan province's rural Yibin city who got into the business just two years ago.
Chickens raised on cockroach powder by Qiaobin Agricultural Technology. Photo: Handout
''I plan to produce food products like cockroach meatballs and cockroach flour in two years,'' Li said. ''I've always wanted to make food products from the beginning.''
Li now sells 10kg (22lbs) of cockroaches a month to two local restaurants, where cockroaches are made into dishes.
''People were scared of them at first, but now so many are eating them,'' Li said. ''The taste is special and they are full of protein.''
Modern ways
For Gooddoctor, it took sustained effort over a decade to gain acceptance among doctors trained in modern Western medicine. Researchers at the firm have published dozens of articles about its product in both Chinese and English-language medical journals.
Cockroaches: everything you never wanted to know
But despite its kangfuxin ye potion having proven effective in treating ulcers and skin wounds, the company has been unable to fulfil modern Western medicine's requirement to isolate a single active chemical substance from cockroaches, for use in drug manufacturing.
Kangfuxin ye on the production line at Gooddoctor Pharmaceutical Group's centre. Photo: Handout
Instead, kangfuxin ye, a prescription drug approved by Chinese medicine authorities, contains multiple compounds extracted from the insects, including various amino acids and peptides.
Geng, Gooddoctor's chairman, hopes that multiple-substance drugs '' such as those used in traditional Chinese medicine '' will one day be recognised by the international science community.
''The human body is made of multiple compounds,'' Geng said. ''So multiple-substance is better than single-substance.''
Changing attitudes
Enthusiasm for the cockroach industry is reaching government level, with local authorities in Zhejiang province having signed contracts with Qiaobin to set up cockroach factories to process kitchen waste.
And Gooddoctor, with over 100 staff in its research and development department, receives millions of yuan of government funding for its research programmes each year.
'They're like my children': The woman who keeps 100,000 cockroaches in her home
Government attitudes towards the cockroach industry has ''transformed from indifference to recognition and approval'' over the past few years, Liu said.
This was partly driven by mounting pressure to address waste and pollution problems, he said.
There is a history of insects' acceptability as ingredients for Chinese medicine, as pets, and even as food. Yet in selling the idea to the general public, especially those living in big cities, there is still a way to go.
That, for the pioneers in this evolving field, remains the next frontier.
VIDEO - More Than 92 Million Users Personal Info Stolen At DNA Website MyHeritage - YouTube
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:14
VIDEO - North Korea Destroys Missile Testing Launch Site Days Before Meeting With President Trump! - YouTube
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:12
VIDEO - Bill Clinton: Media Treated Obama 'Differently' Because They 'Liked Having the First African-American President'
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:04
Former Democratic
President Bill Clinton.
(YouTube, CBS)
(CNSNews.com) -- In a CBS Sunday Morning interview with Mo Rocca, former Democratic President Bill Clinton said the news media liked former President Barack Obama more than they like President Donald Trump because they ''liked having the first African-American president.''
Clinton also said that if a Democrat were president with the current controversies surrounding Trump, ''impeachment hearings would have begun already.''
Clinton brought up these points during a discussion about his new book, co-authored with James Patterson, The President is Missing.
Rocca asked Clinton, ''Do you think that the press has been fair to President Trump?'' referring to the investigation of Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"I think they have tried by and large to cover this investigation based on the facts," Clinton said. "I think if the roles were reversed '' now, this is me just talking, but it's based on my experience! '' if it were a Democratic president, and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have begun already."
President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (YouTube)
"If there were a Democrat in power right now?" Rocca asked.
"Yes,'' said Clinton. ''And most people I know believe that the press would have been that hard, or harder. But these are serious issues.''
"You hear from Trump supporters who say, 'You know, the press slobbered all over President Obama, he could do no wrong. And now this guy can do no right. What gives, that there's a kind of whiplash?'" Rocca asked.
"Well, they did treat him differently than other Democrats and Republicans," Clinton replied.
''Why?'' Roccca asked, to which Clinton responded with, ''Because that was the political press.''
Clinton continued, "You know, I don't know. They liked him, and they liked having the first African-American president. And he was a good president, I think. I don't agree with President Trump's assessment of his service.''
VIDEO - Bill Clinton: 'I Did The Right Thing' During Monica Lewinsky Scandal | TODAY - YouTube
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:57
VIDEO - State Department Confirms U.S. Won't Pay for North Korea's Accommodations in Singapore - YouTube
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:47
VIDEO - The 10th Justice: The 10th Justice: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission - EP 3
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:22
Mar 23, 2018
Argued on December 5th, 2017, with a decision of the Court stillpending, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commissionasks whether Baker and Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips violatedColorado's Anti-discrimination law by denying his services toCharlie Craig and David Mullins who requested a custom made cakefor their gay wedding; the wedding being something Jack Phillipscannot celebrate due to his strong, sincerely held Christianvalues. More broadly, the Court is being asked: (1)if the baking ofa custom cake constitutes speech, and as such falls under 1stamendment protections, as well as what other actions, events,occupations, and justifications fall inside or outside 1stamendment protections; (2) does the speech being conveyed in acustom work showcase the person making the custom work (the baker),or showcase the message being requested (the gay couple) and doesthe person doing the custom work have a right to object; (3) doesthe government have the right to compel a citizen to participate inacts that contradict their religious beliefs; and (4)do the remedyprocedures outlined in the Colorado Anti-discrimination law violatethe free exercise and establishment clauses of theConstitution.[LINK DUMP]
VIDEO - Jeb Bush: 'I don't know' if I'd ever run again, but I'd never do what Trump did to get elected
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:07
Jeb Bush, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, told CNBC on Thursday he feels like a "fish out of water" in the current state of divisiveness in America.
Asked if he'd ever consider running for president again, the 66-year-old former Florida governor said: "I don't know. I love policy. I love my country. But this political environment right now, I'm not suited for. To be honest with you. I'm a fish out of water. I can't imagine having to attack someone to make yourself look strong."
In the "Squawk Box" interview, Bush said he did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election and did not vote for Hillary Clinton.
However, Bush said, "I'm not a 'never Trumper.'" He said fellow Republicans should take the president to task when he does things that hurt the country but praise him when he does positive things.
WATCH: Jeb Bush takes on soaring college costsCNBC's before the bell news roundup
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VIDEO - 'Our valedictorian:' Wake County family buys massive billboard space to congratulate son :: WRAL.com
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:43
By Kasey Cunningham, WRAL reporter & Hannah Webster, WRAL.com editor
Wake County, N.C. '-- If you have driven east on U.S. Highway 264 in Wake County recently, you may have noticed a unique billboard.
A local family is attempting to honor their high school graduate, who they say is not being honored by the school district.Senior Josh Allmon said he's worked incredibly hard at East Wake High School and has earned the title of valedictorian, whether the school system recognizes it or not.
Pledge stays the same, valedictorians could go at Wake County schoolsWhy some schools are getting rid of class valedictoriansHis family said he has the highest grade point average of the 270 students in the class of 2018.
"It shows up on my transcript as No. 1,'' he said. ''Being friends with everyone, I know that it's about two-tenths of a GPA point."
But this year, East Wake High, adopted the Latin honors system ranking system, which does away with individual student rankings.
All other Wake County high schools will follow suit next year.
Allmon's family was upset their son would not be formally honored.
''That meant that my son, Josh, would not be recognized as the same as the other schools in Wake County," his father, Garry Allmon, said.
He said, aside from his son's stellar 5.31 GPA, he has excelled in extracurricular activities and sports.
''Played sports at East Wake, was the president of two honor societies and (involved in student government)," Garry Allmon said.
The family purchased space on a billboard to carry the message: ''Congratulations Josh Allmon. You will always be our valedictorian. East Wake Class of 2018.''
The digital billboard was a bit of a surprise to Josh.''I didn't actually think you would do it because I figured it would be so expensive,'' he said.
A digital billboard of that size typically costs around $1,800 for 10 days, but the proud father said he would have paid more.
"I just wanted to show my son there are people out there that really are proud of you, of what (he) did and accomplished,'' he said.Josh said he's getting calls and text messages congratulating him on his accomplishments. But for him, the billboard is sending a bigger message.
''Hopefully, people outside of the school will see that it's an issue and how the policies are affecting the students,'' he said.
The billboard will be up until June 12, the day of the East Wake High graduation ceremony.
He will attend North Carolina State University in the fall and plans to study chemical engineering and paper science engineering with a minor in business.
VIDEO - Mueller team zeroes in on encrypted apps as witness turn in phones
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:08
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs and potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Donald Trump, sources told CNBC.
Since as early as April, Mueller's team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones, the sources said.
While it's unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren't previously disclosed to them.
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
Manafort accused of tamperingThe revelation that Trump associates are giving Mueller access to their encrypted apps comes as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being accused by investigators of tampering with witnesses through the same types of programs.
On Monday, the special counsel filed a claim that Manafort tampered with witnesses after he was indicted in February for money laundering and illegally acting as a foreign agent.
For evidence, a deputy of Mueller's listed two apps, WhatsApp and Telegram, that they say Manafort used to contact the witnesses in his case. The filing also says that those conversations were provided to Mueller in May, a month after witnesses say they were approached to provide their phones.
Representatives from WhatsApp, Signal and Dust did not return requests for comment. A representative for Confide could not be reached.
Encryption to protect privacyThe encrypted applications are used to keep conversations private and give users the ability to have discussions without being monitored.
WhatsApp, for instance, markets itself as a way to securely communicate with people overseas.
"With WhatsApp, you'll get fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free, available on phones all over the world," the website says.
Dust dubs itself a "safer place to text," and pushes its platform as a way to keep messages secretive as well as giving its users the ability to erase messages off of other people's phones, according to their website.
"All your messages automatically 'dust' (erase) in 24 hours or as soon as they're read '' you choose which," the site explains.
Dust was also the app reportedly used between longtime Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, a real estate developer who has claimed to have ties to Russian oligarchs, when they tried to complete a deal for Trump Tower Moscow. The plan ultimately fell apart.
Legal experts aren't surprised It isn't surprising that witnesses are voluntarily giving over possible evidence to federal investigators, experts said.
"It's just more typical for law enforcement to ask for consent for the obvious reason because it's much easier than applying to a court to get judicial permission," said Robert Ray, who acted as independent counsel during the Bill Clinton Whitewater investigation.
He added, though, that it's "not commonplace, but not all that unusual, either," for prosecutors to seek evidence from witnesses' phones.
"There's nothing wrong with asking people to voluntarily provide information to the FBI for whatever investigation," said Michael German, a retired FBI agent and current fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program. "And to the extent that that's a voluntary action is where the rub is."
'-- CNBC's Kevin Breuninger and Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.
WATCH: The Trump-Russia ties hiding in plain sight
VIDEO - YouTube heritage dna data breach
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 11:04
VIDEO - YouTube
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:58
VIDEO - Facebook enlists anchors from CNN, Fox News, Univision for news shows | Reuters
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:41
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would introduce U.S. news programs this year hosted by Anderson Cooper of CNN, Shepard Smith of Fox News and Jorge Ramos of Univision to try to improve the quality of news on the social network.
Facebook is paying the three companies and other news organizations to produce shows for its video service, known as Watch, in the hopes of countering false news stories and boosting the social network's fledgling video ad business.
The shows would be original to Facebook and would launch in the coming months with ad breaks, said Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of global news partnerships.
''We tried to assemble a diverse set of partners who are already doing quality news who are also really adept at engaging the audience,'' Brown, a former television anchor, said in an interview.
Time Warner Inc's CNN, Fox News and Univision generally appeal to different audiences.
Other programs on Facebook Watch would be produced by ABC News, owned by Walt Disney Co, Advance Publications' Alabama Media Group and websites ATTN: and Mic, with more to be announced later, Brown said. Some shows would appear daily and others less frequently.
The shows will experiment with social media features such as polls, she said.
Social sites have struggled to reduce fake news stories, sensationalism and hoaxes that spread easily on social media. The posts have been blamed for political divisions worldwide and violence in countries such as Sri Lanka.
''There's been a real effort to down-rank clickbait sensationalism,'' Brown said.
On the business side, Facebook has turned to video as a source of advertising revenue as inventory in its News Feed becomes scarce.
Facebook competes for content and ad revenue with companies such as Alphabet Inc's YouTube, Snap Inc and Twitter Inc.
Facebook will share ad revenue with the companies in addition to paying them to produce the programs, Brown said. She declined to disclose terms.
Facebook has had a rocky relationship with news organizations as it piles up advertising profits while paying little for content, but news executives expressed satisfaction with the latest arrangement.
''Facebook's very committed to making Watch happen, and they want to bring content that they think will do well both for the publishers and for advertisers,'' Jason Ehrich, Fox News senior vice president, said in an interview.
Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Peter Cooney
VIDEO - Six bodies found hanged from bridges in Mexico - CNN
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 01:15
By Flora Charner, Fidel Gutierrez and Kiarinna Parisi, CNN
Updated 7:18 AM EST, Fri December 22, 2017
Mexico City (CNN) The bodies of six men were found Wednesday hanging from bridges in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, the state's attorney general's office said.
Four bodies were found in the municipality of Los Cabos, the other two near the state capital of La Paz. The bodies were found suspended from three bridges located near the two main international airports and the highways leading to the popular beach resort of Cabo San Lucas.
Authorities have not released the identities of the deceased nor said who they believe to be responsible for the deaths.
Baja California Sur Gov. Carlos Mendoza Davis wrote on Twitter that he "condemns the acts and any expression of violence."
The six cases are being investigated as homicides, the attorney general's office said.
Violence in the Baja California Sur region has increased in the past three years, due to an ongoing territorial dispute between the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels.
Mexico's notoriously ruthless drug gangs have regularly hanged victims from bridges and highway overpasses in places like Mexico City, but it is unusual for bodies to be seen near tourist areas.
In August, the US State Department issued an updated travel warning, cautioning tourists that the state experienced an "increase in homicide rates" compared to the same period in 2016.
"While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by US citizens," the State Department says.
Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, told HLN that the region is a "safe and secure destination, as it always has been."
The area, which sees 2 million international visitors per year, will get 200 new police officers early next year.
Los Cabos is also making progress on expanding its surveillance system, Esponda told HLN, adding new cameras and wiring existing hotel security cameras into a centralized crime reporting system. A military base is being built, too, he said.
CNN's Steve Almasy contributed to this report.
VIDEO - The Late Show on Twitter: "TONIGHT: Stephen offers @BillClinton the opportunity for a do-over regarding a question he was asked in an interview earlier this week. #LSSC #BillClinton https://t.co/vgHSWOpY6N"
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 12:01
toayc @ toayc
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton Still sounds tone deaf
View conversation · Jay Thomas Kirby @ JayThomasKirby
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton Don't listen to them Bill, they are just looking for an excuse to be outraged. WE know you made a mistake and that it wasn't assault or harassment. Reasonable people can disagree about how it was handled, but, I still support you.
View conversation · Richelle D-M @ MakingCostumes
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton Captions please
View conversation · Safa ðŸ'ðŸ'' @ SafaMarwa85
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton You don't have to apologize to Monica Lewinsky she loved you she was crazy about your every kisses she was old enough to tell you No Mo !
View conversation · Scott Holyk @ ScottHolyk
12h Replying to
@JayThomasKirby @colbertlateshow @BillClinton It was harassment.How much more of a power imbalance can you get than intern<leader of the free worldYou obviously care deeply that Bill's feelies were hurt. Why don't you care about the harm to the woman?
View conversation · Safa ðŸ'ðŸ'' @ SafaMarwa85
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton And you were not Monica Lewinsky first married men she dated she told on her interview she dated a married man before Bill Clinton never apologize to Monica Lewinsky!
View conversation · Jay Thomas Kirby @ JayThomasKirby
12h Replying to
@ScottHolyk @colbertlateshow @BillClinton There is this book I think you should read, you might like it, it's called a dictionary.
View conversation · Scott Holyk @ ScottHolyk
12h Replying to
@toayc @colbertlateshow @BillClinton He was all ''I'm not tone deaf... look how I'm asking you to acknowledge how much pain this has caused me''
View conversation · Jay Thomas Kirby @ JayThomasKirby
12h Replying to
@ScottHolyk @colbertlateshow @BillClinton You're comment is sexist and oblivious.
View conversation · Safa ðŸ'ðŸ'' @ SafaMarwa85
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton @MonicaLewinsky @MonicaLewinsky she dated a married man before Bill Clinton don't feel sorry for her and don't apologize to her she was 21 years old she could've say no no no !
View conversation · Scott Holyk @ ScottHolyk
12h Replying to
@JayThomasKirby @colbertlateshow @BillClinton Why can't you engage in rational discourse?Can you not see that there is a exceptionally large power imbalance between an intern and the Commander in Chief?
View conversation · Safa ðŸ'ðŸ'' @ SafaMarwa85
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton @MonicaLewinsky I'm pretty sure Monica she still has feelings for Bill romantically!
View conversation · Scott Holyk @ ScottHolyk
12h Replying to
@JayThomasKirby @colbertlateshow @BillClinton Says the person who treats an assaulter as the true victim of his crime.What is sexist about my comment? What am I oblivious of? Why are your tweets so far away from civil rational discourse?
View conversation · Blue State Snooze @ BlueSnoozeBlue
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton The President's Brain Is Missing
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton pic.twitter.com/FpuqKE1TpH View conversation · Stephen Herreid @ StephenHerreid
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton twitter.com/StephenHerreid'... View conversation · Stephen Herreid @ StephenHerreid
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton twitter.com/StephenHerreid'... View conversation · Judson McCulloch @ JudsonMcCulloch
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton LOL The next time one of these leftist scolds wags their fingers at you and lectures you about sexism or Trump never forget how utter full of shit they are.
View conversation · Shane Styles @ shaner5000
12h Replying to
@colbertlateshow @BillClinton Whew, thank god he's a Democrat, otherwise it would look pretty unseemly to give him a redo for his shitty responses to his own Me Too moments.
View conversation ·
VIDEO - YouTube now s fake news out of context Trump
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 11:57
VIDEO - Ex-Navy sailor pardoned by Trump says he's suing Comey and Obama | Fox News
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 11:31
A former Navy sailor who is one of five people to receive a pardon from President Donald Trump is planning to file a lawsuit against Obama administration officials, alleging that he was subject to unequal protection of the law.
Specifically, Kristian Saucier, who served a year in federal prison for taking photos of classified sections of the submarine on which he worked, argues that the same officials who meted out punishment to him for his actions chose to be lenient with Hillary Clinton in her use of a private email server and handling of classified information.
His lawyer, Ronald Daigle, told Fox News on Monday that the lawsuit, which he expects to file soon in Manhattan, will name the U.S. Department of Justice, former FBI Director James Comey and former President Barack Obama as defendants, among others.
''They interpreted the law in my case to say it was criminal,'' Saucier told Fox News, referring to prosecuting authorities in his case, ''but they didn't prosecute Hillary Clinton. Hillary is still walking free. Two guys on my ship did the same thing and weren't treated as criminals. We want them to correct the wrong.''
Daigle said that a notice about the pending lawsuit was sent to the Department of Justice and others included in it in December. There is usually a six-month period that must lapse before the lawsuit actually is filed.
''We'll highlight the differences in the way Hillary Clinton was prosecuted and how my client was prosecuted,'' Daigle said. ''We're seeking to cast a light on this to show that there's a two-tier justice system and we want it to be corrected.''
While campaigning, and after taking office, Trump frequently voiced support for Saucier, who in March became the second person he pardoned.
Trump often compared the Obama administration's handling of Saucier's case with that of Clinton.
Kristian Saucier. (Courtesy of Saucier family)
Saucier, who lives in Vermont, pleaded guilty in 2016 to taking photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was stationed in Groton, Connecticut, in 2009. He said he only wanted service mementos, but federal prosecutors argued he was a disgruntled sailor who had put national security at risk by taking photos showing the submarine's propulsion system and reactor compartment and then obstructed justice by destroying a laptop and camera.
Saucier said that he recognized he had erred in taking the photos, which he said he wanted to show only to his family to show them where he worked. But he lashed out at Obama officials, saying that his prosecution was politically motivated, prompted by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton's emails.
''My case was usually something handled by military courts,'' he said. ''They used me as an example because of [the backlash over] Hillary Clinton.''
Saucier, 31, said that the pardon has enabled him to pick up the pieces and rebuild his life with his wife and young daughter.
A felony conviction left him scrambling to find work; he finally landed a job collecting garbage. Now, he works on design and engineering projects for an industrial boiler company.
''Things are starting to go in the right direction,'' Saucier said. ''I work with a group of really great people, I get to use my skills set.''
Because of the loss of income during his imprisonment, as well as earning below his potential when he collected garbage, he and his wife Sadie lost their home to foreclosure.
Debt collectors called and his cars were repossessed.
''With a pardon there's no magic wand that that gets waved and makes everything right,'' he said, ''But I try to stay positive and look forward.''
He praises the pardons that Trump has granted after his, and takes exception at the criticism.
''The Obama administration singled out Dinesh for things most people don't even get charged for,'' Saucier said. ''President Trump noticed that my career was exemplary and that I didn't deserve what happened to me.
Conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who was pardoned by Trump last week, had pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud.
Trump tweeted Thursday: "Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D'Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!"
D'Souza was sentenced in 2014 to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to violating federal election law by making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate campaign in the names of others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.
VIDEO - Wife of Guilty Trump aide: He deserves a Trump pardon
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:14
The Beat with Ari Melber
Wife of Guilty Trump aide: He deserves a Trump pardon 04:39
Zephyr Teachout: I'll be 'ready' for Trump's 'protective pardon' 07:36
Watergate prosecutor: Paul Manafort is 'toast' 20:25
Michael Eric Dyson: Trump's 'cynical exploitation' of race 07:04
Giuliani's bizarre new argument against a Trump-Mueller interview 03:50
Melber on Trump's self-pardon claim: Pardons are for criminals 13:40
Play AllBEST OF MSNBC Brian Williams Brian Williams Brian Williams The Last Word Brian Williams The Last Word
VIDEO - Cable Fearmongering: Everything Is a 'Constitutional Crisis'
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 22:32
The Chicken Littles of cable news are in a full-scale panic over the latest fantasy disaster that hasn't happened yet. Over the weekend, TV talking heads burst into flame in anticipation of the supposed ''constitutional crisis'' that might ensue if President Trump were to pardon himself '' which he has not done, and which his lawyer has flatly stated he ''has no intention'' of doing.
If it seems cable TV is perpetually consumed with speculation about a non-existent ''constitutional crisis,'' that's because they are. Two weeks ago, Chuck Todd led off MSNBC's MTP Daily by proclaiming: ''The constitutional crisis alarm bells are ringing,'' and asked with apparent concern, ''Is anybody listening?''
Todd's dire warning was a reaction to an entirely different story: the President's demand for an investigation into whether the FBI had used an informant to spy on his 2016 campaign. This also sparked an emotional diatribe by CNN analyst Max Boot, who ranted that Trump's behavior was ''a shocking breach of democratic norms,'' and an ''assault on the Constitution.''
What follows is a compilation of clips from the past month's cable news coverage demonstrating the liberal media's attempts to frighten viewers with conjecture about the ''constitutional crisis'' that supposedly lurks just around every corner. Watch below:
VIDEO - Chris Matthews: There Is So Much Elitism in the Democrat Party, 'It's Outrageous'
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 19:00
MSNBC host Chris Matthews said on Tuesday that the level of elitism in the Democratic party is "outrageous."
"There's too many elitists. There is so much elitism in the Democrat party, it's outrageous," Matthews said.
The "Morning Joe" segment was reflecting on the legacy of former Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, often called Bobby Kennedy, and how today's Democratic party has moved away from RFK's "common man" party to a party of elites. Matthews said a true Democrat thinks he's no better than anybody else and when the party remembers that, they will regain support among working class people.
"A true democrat, lower case 'd,' thinks they're no better than anybody else. That's what a Democrat is," Matthews said. "And the party regains that when white, black, hispanic people, everybody, starts to think of themselves as one of them instead of being better than them. [Then] they'll get back to the party of the people, and they're not there yet."
2016 Democratic presidential primary runner up and independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) has been a vocal critic of the Democratic party by saying it has abandoned the grassroots.
"A party that speaks to the pain of the working class in this country," Sanders said of what the Democrats needed to become. "The Democratic Party has got to take the lead, rally people, young people, working people, stand up to the billionaire class, and when we do that, you're going to see voter turnout swell. You're going to see people coming in and running for office. You're going to see Democrats regain control of the United States Congress."
Matthews says Democrats can't just focus on economic issues and that they have to do more to win back voters.
"It's not just economics. I don't buy the whole marxist argument, it's about economics, it's not all about economics," Matthews said. "It's about sensing your leaders give a damn about you personally."
This elitist attitude of Democrats has caused Matthews to root against them.
"I'm rooting against them even though I may agree with their policies," Matthews said. "I think there's a party attitude of elitism and I think they got to get over it. And it's too much talk into fund-raisers, because the people they talk to on these kind of shows are really the people they want their money from, and they're the elite."
He took a shot at former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D) on her lack of ability to identify with regular people.
"Hillary finally had a Bruce Springsteen concert the last night [before election day, 2016]. A little late in the game. Identify what the blue collar, the regular people identify with," Matthews said. "Just my speech, there are others, but that's one. That's something Bobby [Kennedy] would understand and Joe Biden would understand and a few other people would understand today and I think it's a real problem."
VIDEO - 8th Graders Get Bulletproof Graduation Gift at Pa. School
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 16:43
Home Latest News Investigations Weather 79° Traffic Entertainment All eighth graders from St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, were given a bulletproof Safe Shield insert for their backpacks as a graduation present.
(Published Monday, June 4, 2018)All eighth graders from St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, were given a bulletproof Safe Shield insert for their backpacks as a graduation present.
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VIDEO - YouTube 2:19 lava
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 07:04
VIDEO - Would Conservative Republicans Accept A Presidential Self-Pardon? : NPR
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:35
Rachel Martin talks to Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at National Review, about growing concerns around the White House response to the Russia inquiry, and an ambiguous outlook for midterm elections.
President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani tells ABC's "This Week" that the president has the power to pardon himself.
RUDY GIULIANI: He probably does. He has no intention of pardoning himself.
MARTIN: So he can, but he won't. Or will he? Or would he even need to? These are all questions that have come up after it was revealed that Trump's lawyer sent a letter to the special counsel earlier this year. And in that letter, the attorneys outlined all the reasons the president should not have to sit for an interview with Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation. Jonah Goldberg is with us in the studio this morning. He is senior editor for the conservative-leaning National Review.
Hi, Jonah.
JONAH GOLDBERG: Hey. It's great to be here.
MARTIN: All right. The argument the president's lawyers made in this memo is that he can't be guilty of obstruction in the Russia investigation because ultimately, he's the guy in charge of the Russia investigation. Does that jibe with you?
GOLDBERG: This is actually one of these fascinating sort of dorm-room arguments among conservative lawyers about what the Constitution says and doesn't say. The argument basically boils down to - among most of the really smart lawyers I know - that the president can fire anybody who works for the executive branch for any reason he wants. So therefore, it can't be unconstitutional to exercise your due authority. Most of them - most of the smart lawyers I talk to about this - and the conservative lawyers, I should say - also say that if you burnt papers or destroyed documents or evidence, that would be obstruction. So it's not that a president couldn't be guilty of obstruction, it's just that firing somebody who works for him for any reason...
MARTIN: Managing the staffing...
GOLDBERG: That's right.
MARTIN: ...Is somehow different.
GOLDBERG: ...Because he - the entirety of the executive branch is vested in one person. And so what he does as he runs the executive branch in terms of staffing can't be necessarily unconstitutional. The - I think part of the problem - the larger problem gets to this pardon thing. I think it's insane, the idea that the president can pardon himself, but it is ambiguous. You got to remember, when the Constitution was written, there were basically only three crimes at the federal level. It was, like, piracy, treason and one other. And so almost all criminal law was state-based, which the president cannot pardon. And so the idea that the Founding Fathers believed that the president could pardon himself for treason - I mean, maybe some thought it, maybe some didn't, but obviously, the second he tried to do something like that, they'd impeach him.
MARTIN: Right.
GOLDBERG: And I think any president who pardons himself, whether it's a Republican Congress or a Democratic Congress, should immediately look to whether or not they should impeach him.
MARTIN: Oh, backing up, we should just remind people that the whole reason the staffing issue, the firing of people is even something we're talking about in relationship to obstruction is because of James Comey, the former director of the FBI, who was fired by the president. So this is all about whether or not the president will sit for this interview. If he wants this to be done - this whole investigation - isn't the easiest way to just sit for the questioning and take it from Robert Mueller?
GOLDBERG: Yeah. I mean, look, you know, Trey Gowdy recently - or somewhat recently, you know, said the president needs to stop acting like he's guilty. According to the old rules - you know, earth logic, pre-Trump - one of the things that Trump should have simply done is ignored the Mueller investigation for all this time - if he's - if he truly did nothing wrong and just say, hey, look, I can't talk about that; there's an investigation going on - and get about his business. Instead, for over a year, he's obsessed about it, and he's acted as if he's got - he's worried about Mueller finding something about him - maybe it's his business; maybe it's something else - and...
MARTIN: Or just saying something wrong in the process and perjuring himself.
GOLDBERG: Well, yeah, but that's - in terms of the actual interview, it is amazing to listen to Rudy Giuliani and his other lawyers say, you know, there's just no way I'd let my client sit down and be under oath about anything, because they act as if they're just - like, he's an escaped monkey from a cocaine study, and they can't control him no matter what. And so they just - they don't want to have anything to do with it. I think that's a sort of a fascinating sort of admission.
MARTIN: Before we let you go, let's talk about trade. Sure. It's Monday. Let's talk some trade.
MARTIN: The G-7 had this big meeting over the weekend. People there are not so happy with the Trump administration's recent tariffs on steel and aluminum, especially on the EU and Canada - friends of America for a long time, we could say. People in the president's own party think this is a bad move - House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And it's not a tangential issue. I mean, this is a foundational issue to what the GOP is and has been. What are the stakes right now for the party in trying to craft its identity ahead of the midterms, especially?
GOLDBERG: It's - look, this is tough. This is one of the few issues where - and I think it's a little sad that this is the issue where some of the GOP find their backbone to sort of stand up, but it is one of these issues that really sort of divides movement conservatives, free-market conservatives. And it is something that is going to end up hurting a lot of members of Trump's own base if he keeps going because the people who voted disproportionately for Trump come from districts that are going to be targeted in these reciprocal trade wars.
MARTIN: And may be hurt as a result in their own pocketbook, yeah.
GOLDBERG: And may be hurt as a - yeah, as a economic matter. Yeah.
MARTIN: Jonah Goldberg, senior editor for National Review. Thanks, Jonah.
GOLDBERG: Great to be here. Thank you.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - YouTube Zuck bad lip reading
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:29
VIDEO - JimmyTwoTimes on Twitter: "@adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @ellisonbarber @andylevy https://t.co/KZSbeGN7Bp"
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:14
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO - CNN on Twitter: "Sen. Ted Cruz was speechless for 18 seconds after a reporter asked him whether President Trump can pardon himself https://t.co/eJ8dngiH5D https://t.co/dgxfnsfuIK"
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 00:04
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO - Apple: We're Going to Pick the News Stories You Read
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:34
"Top stories are handpicked by the Apple News editorial team," Susan Prescott said.
Apple's Vice President of Product Marketing Susan Prescott made an alarming announcement that Apple would be selecting the top news stories that appear in Apple News during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.
According to Prescott, Apple News' editorial team will be selecting the top news stories of the day for millions of potential readers.
''News is a personalized feed where you can see all the stories you want to read, pulled together from trusted sources, and our top stories are handpicked by the Apple News editorial team,'' Prescott said.
Prescott did not say what the criteria would be for Apple News to consider a source ''trusted,'' but conservatives will find this announcement particularly alarming.
Last year, Apple announced that it hired to head Apple News Lauren Kern, who previously served as executive editor for the liberal New York Magazine.
Apple's hiring of Kern raised questions about the Cupertino-based company's impartiality when it comes to news.
Last August, Apple News was criticized for selecting anti-Trump stories as its top news story of the day.
VIDEO - WOKE? Maxine Waters plays to empty seats as only 10 millennials show up to campaign event - The American MirrorThe American Mirror
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 15:52
Maxine Waters likes to say millennials love her, but if her own campaign event is any indication, that might be more rhetoric than reality.
79-year-old ''Auntie Maxine'' held a Meet & Greet Tweet-A-Thon on Sunday for two hours, and while it's hard to know what she hoped the outcome would be, but the turnout seemed to be underwhelming.
#VoteMaxineWaters on June 5th #reclaimingmytime #auntiemaxine pic.twitter.com/0yZtnPX1YJ
'-- Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) June 3, 2018
''Come join top social media influencers for a tweet-a-thon in support of Auntie Maxine, our fearless champion in Congress who taught us how to reclaim our time!'' the flyer read.
''Millennials come energized & ready to get out the vote!'' her campaign urged.
But a video posted of the event by Waters' campaign shows only a handful of millennials actually attended.
Tweet-a-thon https://t.co/oimMj7HQw2
'-- Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) June 3, 2018
Waters used the event to allow attendees to gripe about what they think is wrong with America.
''When you come here you always have an open mic, you can say whatever you want to say,'' Waters said.
Moments later, Waters took the microphone back to address the small group.
The camera showed empty tables, likely intended to be filled with fans of the liberal darling.
''We're going to take back the House,'' she predicted to the group.
She said pro-Trump forces ''think they're going to take me out.''
She predicted, ''I ain't goin'.''
Waters spent quite a bit of time attacking her main rival, Republican Omar Navarro.
After criticizing Navarro for having Roger Stone, Joe Arpaio, and Michael Flynn appear on his behalf, Waters argued her opponent should have certain beliefs merely because of his last name.
''He has a last name that is Latin. He's Cuban and what a lot of our people don't understand is he supports the president building a wall. He's opposed to DACA, he does not support DACA, and in addition to that, he is not worried at all, has not said a word about what is happening at the border,'' Water said.
The so-called ''jungle primary'' is June 5th.
VIDEO - Comfortably Smug on Twitter: "Wow. Bill Clinton having a meltdown on the Today show when asked if he had apologized to Monica Lewinsky https://t.co/PQ4WrXU1ez"
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 13:07
Log in Sign up Comfortably Smug @ ComfortablySmug Wow. Bill Clinton having a meltdown on the Today show when asked if he had apologized to Monica Lewinsky
pic.twitter.com/PQ4WrXU1ez 4:51 AM - 4 Jun 2018 Twitter by: Comfortably Smug @ComfortablySmug Talk about Solo @ Substandardfan
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug I'm sure it's fine
View conversation · Comfortably Smug @ ComfortablySmug
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug New header image
pic.twitter.com/pCZFZezTrv View conversation · O Infante, Seu Jim Morrissey A1 @ heimaeyus
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Please put Bill Clinton in jail
View conversation · Lauren White @ laurenoffwhite
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Defensive, much?
View conversation · LaLa Cherry @ LaLaSeckNC
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug ''Meltdown''? Where? Frustration sure...it was 20 years ago...asked and answered...
View conversation · StanleyFosha @ stanleyfosha
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug I did not have apologetic communications with that woman!
View conversation · Comfortably Smug @ ComfortablySmug
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug I'm not a body language expert but I think Bill Clinton's crossed arms and red face mean he's calm and open to answering questions thoughtfully
pic.twitter.com/fxhsqlJaHQ View conversation · Bob Lee Swagger @ _KevB
1h Replying to
@LaLaSeckNC @ComfortablySmug Yeah, I see someone who is slightly annoyed. Calling it a "Meltdown" worked though because I did click expecting him to flip a table and walk out middle fingers in the air.
View conversation · Aelfred The Great @ aelfred_D
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug ''Header''
View conversation · Lauren Fritts @ laurenfritts
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug More on body language: I'd say Patterson is SHOOK
View conversation · Comfortably Smug @ ComfortablySmug
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Wow it is so unlike a Clinton to say that actually, they are the victim, and that everyone else is to blame
pic.twitter.com/Txv61kqMrO View conversation · Comfortably Smug @ ComfortablySmug
1h Replying to
@laurenfritts He knows this is a trainwreck in progress
View conversation · Alan Cole @ AlanMCole
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Smug, we have to help our friend Maggie! The cowards are gonna try to ratio her for this awesome tweet:
twitter.com/maggieNYT/stat'... View conversation · O Infante, Seu Jim Morrissey A1 @ heimaeyus
1h Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Clintons blaming others? ?????
View conversation · Grady Ward @ grady_ward_
59m Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Monica Lewisnky not relevant to the Trump catastrophe?Here is a good way to deal with it.
pic.twitter.com/tm9ePal46T View conversation · Travesham @ Travesham
58m Replying to
@ComfortablySmug I was watching it muted and his eyes bug out and he aggressively sits forward when the question lands...not used to coming under friendly fire.
View conversation · Dan Daniels @ dan_themandan
56m Replying to
@ComfortablySmug @BillClinton @BillClinton: Sorry I ruined that purty blue dress. But you ruined one of my fine Cuban cigars so uh guess that makes us even. Heh heh.
View conversation · Matt Gorman @ mattsgorman
53m Replying to
@ComfortablySmug It's not the first time Clinton has answered that question this way. Here's an exchange between him and Peter Jennings from 2004:
youtube.com/watch?v=3wJMO7'... View conversation · K.D. Cormican @ kimberlyC74
53m Replying to
@ComfortablySmug Get ready for some Chelsea deflection tweets....
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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:35
VIDEO - YouTube CBd ads risk for youtubers
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:43
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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:35
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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:34
VIDEO - FBI agent does a backflip in a club, drops his gun and accidentally shoots someone, police say - U.S. - Stripes
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:34
It was after midnight at the Mile High Spirits bar near downtown Denver, and things were going well for the man in the middle of the dance floor. Patrons surrounded him and women smiled at him, some with their phones out, as he showed off his freestyle dance moves.
Then, he swung his arms back and squatted, as if to prepare for his next big move. He jumped up, arching his back and swinging his arms above his head. But as he was about to land his backflip, a gun flew out from his holster at the back of his pants. He landed and as he picked up his gun from the floor, it fired.
He tucked his gun back into his holster and walked away from the dance floor, raising both his hands. Patrons began to scatter, and the women who had been smiling at him just seconds earlier stared, a look of open-mouthed shock on their faces.
The incident, which occurred at 12:45 a.m. Saturday, was captured in a 32-second video obtained by ABC affiliate KMGH.
The man was an off-duty FBI agent, according to the Denver Police Department, which did not identify him. He accidentally fired his gun as he was picking it up from the floor, striking another bar patron in the lower leg, police said. That patron was taken to a hospital and is in good condition.
Denver police spokesman Marika Putnam said she does not know what type of gun the agent was carrying.
The police department's homicide unit is investigating the incident, and the Denver district attorney's office will decide on criminal charges, if any.
Special Agent Amy Sanders, spokeswoman for the FBI's Denver field office, said the agency cannot provide details, citing personnel matters.
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:22
24-34-301. Definitions.
Statute text
As used in parts 3 to 8 of thisarticle, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Age" means achronological age of at least forty years.
(1.1) "Agency" or"state agency" means any board, bureau, commission, department,institution, division, section, or officer of the state.
(1.5) "Commission" meansthe Colorado civil rights commission created in section 24-34-303.
(1.6) "Commissioner" meansa member of the Colorado civil rights commission.
(2) "Director" means thedirector of the Colorado civil rights division, which office is created insection 24-34-302.
(2.5) "Disability" has thesame meaning as set forth in the federal "Americans with Disabilities Actof 1990", 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq., and its related amendments andimplementing regulations.
(3) "Division" means theColorado civil rights division, created in section 24-34-302.
(4) (Deleted by amendment, L. 93, p.1655, 59, effective July 1, 1993.)
(4.1) "Housing" means abuilding, structure, vacant land, or part thereof offered for sale, lease,rent, or transfer of ownership; except that "housing" does notinclude any room offered for rent or lease in a single-family dwellingmaintained and occupied in part by the owner or lessee of said dwelling as hisor her household.
(4.2) "Housingaccommodations" means any real property or portion thereof that is used oroccupied, or intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as thehome, residence, or sleeping place of one or more persons but does not includeany single family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish forcompensation not more than one room in that residence.
(4.5) "Marital status"means a relationship or a spousal status of an individual, including but notlimited to being single, cohabitating, engaged, widowed, married, in a civilunion, or legally separated, or a relationship or a spousal status of anindividual who has had or is in the process of having a marriage or civil uniondissolved or declared invalid.
(5) (a) "Person" means oneor more individuals, limited liability companies, partnerships, associations,corporations, legal representatives, trustees, receivers, or the state ofColorado and all of its political subdivisions and agencies.
(b) For the purposes of part 5 ofthis article, "person" does not include any private club not open tothe public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provideslodgings that it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, unlesssuch club has the purpose of promoting discrimination in the matter of housingagainst any person because of disability, race, creed, color, religion, sex,sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, national origin, orancestry.
(5.3) "Place of publicaccommodation" or "public accommodation" has the same meaning asset forth in Title III of the federal "Americans with Disabilities Act of1990", 42 U.S.C. sec. 12181 (7), and its related amendments andimplementing regulations.
(5.4) "Public entity" hasthe same meaning as set forth in Title II of the federal "Americans withDisabilities Act of 1990", 42 U.S.C. sec. 12131, and its relatedamendments and implementing regulations.
(5.5) "Public transportationservice" means a common carrier of passengers or any other means of publicconveyance or modes of transportation, including but not limited to airplanes,motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats, or taxis.
(5.6) "Qualified individualwith a disability" or "individual with a disability" has thesame meaning as set forth in the federal "Americans with Disabilities Actof 1990", 42 U.S.C. sec. 12131, and its related amendments and implementingregulations.
(6) "Respondent" means anyperson, agency, organization, or other entity against whom a charge is filedpursuant to any of the provisions of parts 3 to 8 of this article.
(6.5) "Service animal" hasthe same meaning as set forth in the implementing regulations of Title II andTitle III of the federal "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990",42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq.
(7) "Sexual orientation"means an individual's orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality,bisexuality, or transgender status or another individual's perception thereof.
(8) "Trainer of a serviceanimal" means a person who individually trains a service animal.
Source: L. 79: Entirepart R&RE, p. 923, 3, effective July 1. L. 86: (1) R&RE and(1.5) and (1.6) added, p. 930, 1, 2, effective May 8. L. 89: (4)amended, p. 1037, 1, effective July 1. L. 90: (5) amended, p. 447, 13, effective April 18. L. 92: (4)(b)(I) amended, p. 1121, 1,effective July 1. L. 93: (2.5) added and (4) amended, p. 1655, 59,effective July 1. L. 2008: (7) added, p. 1593, 2, effective May 29. L.2013: (4.5) added, (SB 13-011), ch. 49, p. 168, 26, effective May 1; (1)amended, (HB 13-1136), ch. 168, p. 554, 3, effective August 7. L. 2014:Entire section amended, (SB 14-118), ch. 250, p. 974, 1, effective August 6.
Cross references: Forthe legislative declaration contained in the 2008 act enacting subsection (7),see section 1 of chapter 341, Session Laws of Colorado 2008.
Law reviews. Forarticle, "Colorado Civil Union Act", see 42 Colo. Law. 91 (July2013). For article, "Transgender Discrimination Law: Developments UnderColorado and Federal Law", see 45 Colo. Law. 51 (Sept. 2016).
The object to be obtained bysubsection (4) and 24-34-402 (1) is to eliminate discrimination inemployment on account of physical handicaps. Gamble v. Levitz Furniture Co.,759 P.2d 761 (Colo. App. 1988) (decided prior to 1993 amendment to subsection(4)), cert. denied, 782 P.2d 1197 (Colo. 1989).
Definition of "handicap",as it appears in subsection (4), creates an ambiguity which requiresconsideration of extrinsic sources to interpret the term properly. Gamble v.Levitz Furniture Co., 759 P.2d 761 (Colo. App. 1988) (decided prior to 1993amendment to subsection (4)), cert. denied, 782 P.2d 1197 (Colo. 1989).
In defining"handicap", the general assembly meant to protect three types ofhandicapped individuals: Those with present impairments; those with pastimpairments, and those perceived as having impairments. Gamble v. LevitzFurniture Co., 759 P.2d 761 (Colo. App. 1988) (decided prior to 1993 amendmentto subsection (4)), cert. denied, 782 P.2d 1197 (Colo. 1989).
For an impairment to beconsidered a substantial limitation, it must prevent or severely restrict an individualfrom performing a major life activity and must be of a permanent orlong-term nature. Plaintiff's attention deficit disorder does not constitute asubstantial limitation. Tesmer v. Colo. High Sch. Activities Ass'n., 140 P.3d249 (Colo. App. 2006).
Applicant for employment washandicapped within the meaning of this section where he was treated asbeing substantially limited in one or more major life activities, even thoughhe possessed no such substantial limitation. Civil Rights Comm'n v. Fire Prot.Dist., 772 P.2d 70 (Colo. 1989) (decided prior to 1993 amendment to subsection(4)).
In order to demonstratestatus as a handicapped person, it is necessary for a plaintiff toestablish only one of the disjunctive propositions in subsection (4). Gamble v.Levitz Furniture Co., 759 P.2d 761 (Colo. App. 1988) (decided prior to 1993amendment to subsection (4)), cert. denied, 782 P.2d 1197 (Colo. 1989).
However, not all personswith physical impairments are entitled to relief; the impairment must besubstantial and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Civil RightsComm'n v. Fire Prot. Dist., 772 P.2d 70 (Colo. 1989) (decided prior to 1993amendment to subsection (4)).
Having AIDS or beingHIV-positive is a handicap within the definition of this section. Phelps v.Field Real Estate Co., 793 F. Supp. 1535 (D. Colo. 1991).
Austin-Bergstrom Airport unveils Bark&Zoom pet resort
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:19
Scott Airport Parking opened the newest, fastest and most eco-friendly pet hotel and parking facility in Austin on 13 May. Austin's One-Stop Park and Pet Hotel is the newest covered parking facility located at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Cutting the ribbon on Bark&Zoom are: Jim Smith, Executive Director, Austin-Bergstrom International; William McLeroy, Taurus Academy; Bradley Scott, President, Scott Airport Parking; and Chris Von Dohlen, Managing Director, Scott Airport Parking.
Bark&Zoom is a state-of-the-art pet hotel, which also includes covered airport parking. The pet hotel is operated by Taurus Academy, an Austin-based company with over 23 years in the pet care and training industry.
The environmentally-friendly facility features dog and cat boarding, a pet pool, indoor and outdoor play yards, Zoom Valet at self-park rates, and Car Care services.
Jim Smith, Executive Director, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, says: ''When we sought a new parking service that offered our customers something they had never had before in Central Texas, Scott Airport Parking delivered Bark&Zoom. This public/private partnership has transformed previously unused airport property into a service for pet owners flying Austin.''
Austin's One-Stop Park and Pet Hotel is the newest covered parking facility located at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.The environmentally-friendly facility features dog and cat boarding, a pet pool, indoor and outdoor play yards, Zoom Valet at self-park rates, and Car Care services.
The convenience of closer covered airport parking and pet boarding service under one roof means time and savings for ABIA travellers who are also pet owners. The new facility is open 24/7 and the services are available for the general public, not just those travelling through the airport.
''We are excited to bring this innovative addition to ABIA, which will provide a cost- and time-saving convenience for the travelling pet owners of the greater Austin area,'' states Bradley Scott, President of Scott Airport Parking.
Bark&Zoom has also partnered with ZippiVet for daily scheduled appointments and emergencies. The covered airport parking area of Bark&Zoom is managed by its sister facility, Park&Zoom.
Bark&Zoom is located at 2601 Cardinal Loop, just across from the airport on Highway 71, making one-stop drop-off and pick-up easy.
Pet Airways
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:19
Cargo holds of human airlines are no place for pets: they suffer immense mistreatment that sometimes leads to death. Pet Airways strives to provide the safest and most comfortable alternative to flying pets.By joining our mailing list, you'll stay up-to-date about Pet Airways news and learn about how you can help pets everywhere through our Shelter-Pet Relocation Program. We are grateful for your support!
Buffett, Dimon and Bezos to name health-care CEO within two weeks
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:10
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have chosen a CEO for their health-care venture and will likely reveal who that person is within two weeks, Buffett told CNBC on Thursday.
The trio announced in January they would partner to tackle rising health-care costs. Buffett said Thursday they've picked a leader and are "just tidying up a couple of things."
In an interview with CNBC's Becky Quick, Buffett and Dimon praised their incoming leader and acknowledged the daunting task ahead.
Health-care experts have expressed skepticism on whether the three, while business icons, could simplify the current system. Most agree there's plenty of costs to cut, but they doubt the companies can do it.
Getty Images (l) | CNBC (c-r)
Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon.
The interesting thing when interviewing job candidates, Buffett said, was they didn't run into one that "didn't think significant improvement was both possible and important."
"It isn't like there's anybody out there that's connected with the system that thinks we've already arrived at nirvana, and they know how difficult the job will be to make major changes," Buffett said. "They're all cheering for us to succeed.
"A number of them might not have wanted to be the one to help us succeed ... but nobody disagreed with the mission, the importance of it or the feasibility," Buffett said. "But it's also a very, very tough nut to crack, and it's going to take significant time. We've got the right person."
Buffett, Dimon and Bezos haven't outlined how exactly they plan to lower health-care costs. Dimon gave a bit more detail Thursday on where they could focus their efforts.
"This is a long-term thing," Dimon said. "We're not looking for immediate success, but there are a lot of ideas out there. There are a lot of things that can be done better. We know the fraud, the administrative costs, we know overuse and underuse of various drugs and specialized procedures. We know the end of life often costs far more than it should and is far more painful than it should be, and with big data, there's so many things to do."
Some employees have asked Dimon what the partnership means for them. His response: "We're just going to try to do it better."
"And you should expect we're going to do it the right way with the same kind of heart we've had before, which will improve your lives and improve your wellness, improve the outcomes, give you more choice, which I believe you if you do all those things, it will effectively be cheaper," he said. "And you'll have much healthier employees."
These three companies aren't the first to take on rising health-care costs. Many have tried unsuccessfully over the years on their own or through alliances. Even Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, hasn't been able to change the system.
The sex scandal that wouldn't lie down | The Independent
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:23
IT READS like the synopsis of a trashy airport novel: sex, movie stars, politicians, Arab princes, arms deals and the courageous investigation of an obstinate, incorruptible - and publicity-hungry - judge. But the evidence to be presented to a criminal court in Paris this week also has a disturbing side - or, rather, two disturbing sides.
The case uncovers the brutal methods used to snare young women - some as young as 15 - into a call-girl agency specialising in wealthy, high- profile clients. It also exposes attempts by the French government machine to block an investigation which might embarrass senior politicians and damage French interests abroad.
Six people are charged with the running of an international prostitution ring, whose call-girls entertained the actor Robert de Niro, the former tennis player, Wojtek Fibak, two senior (but unnamed) French politicians and several Gulf princes. The agency specialised in tricking, or trapping, star-struck teenage girls into selling their bodies with the promise of careers as models or actresses.
At one point, according to the report of the investigating judge, the agency became a kind of approved dealer in girls, operating with the connivance, if not the blessing, of the French foreign ministry and French secret services. By steering Middle East arms clients towards girls from a known, and closely watched, agency, there was thought to be a reduced risk of blackmail, or the leaking of secret negotiations.
Leaks from the French investigation last year suggested that the agency once brokered a $1m (pounds 625,000) deal for an Arab prince to spend a night with a Hollywood actress. The woman named by French magazines at the time has adamantly denied the story. The allegation does not form part of the final judicial report.
The two principal accused are Jean-Pierre Bourgeois, 51, a failed fashion and glamour photographer and Annika Brumark, 50, a Swedish former model and one-time beauty queen. They, and four others, will be charged before the Tribunal Correctionel in Paris tomorrow with procurement or complicity in procurement. (Prostitution is legal in France; procurement is not.) Mr Bourgeois also faces possible additional charges of rape.
The French Brigade de Repression de Proxenetisme (the equivalent of the Vice Squad) traced 89 young women - would-be models or actresses - who said they had been tricked or sometimes physically constrained by Ms Brumark and Mr Bourgeois into working for them. According to the judicial report, the girls were sometimes "sold on like cattle" to other call- girl agencies.
The files of clients' names seized by the police are said to include many well-known members of the sports and show-business jet-set on both sides of the Atlantic. The only names to emerge so far are De Niro, Fibak and the French film producer, Alain Sarde.
De Niro, despite a much publicised "arrest" in Paris while filming a movie earlier this year, was questioned only as a witness and occasional client of the network's prostitutes. He is suing the investigating magistrate, Frederic N'Guyen Duc Quang, following his highly publicised interrogation; the actor's lawyers accuse the investigator of deliberate publicity-seeking. Messrs Fibak and Sarde are the subject of a separate judicial investigation.
The client list is also said to have included two senior French centre- right politicians, whose names have not been leaked. Both the French foreign and interior ministries tried to squash or limit the investigation in its early months - the interior ministry because of the possible embarrassment to senior politicians, the foreign ministry because it did not want to upset Middle Eastern buyers of French armaments.
Judge N'Guyen is one of a new breed of judicial investigators in France who refuse to bow (as their predecessors routinely did) to political pressure. Even so, he only began to make real progress when the centre- right French government fell in June last year and was replaced by a Socialist- led government.
According to Judge N'Guyen's report, the photographer, Mr Bourgeois, hung about Parisian night clubs or casting agencies, scouting for possible victims. He picked on young women, often teenagers - mostly French, but also from Britain and eastern Europe - and invited them to his apartment in the respectable 17th arrondissement to take trial shots.
After gaining their confidence, the judge alleges, he persuaded them to pose for more revealing pictures. The girls were then convinced, if possible, that prostitution was the best way to get into modelling or movie careers. If they refused, they were blackmailed with the threat that the photographs would be sent to their families. In some cases, they were simply abducted. Several girls cited in the investigating judge's report accuse Mr Bourgeois of rape.
Pictures of the girls were then circulated among possible clients. The presence on the client list of a well-known movie producer such as Mr Sarde allegedly helped Mr Bourgeois and Ms Brumark to perpetuate the myth that prostitution was a prelude to stardom.
The agency's downfall came soon after it expanded to the lucrative Gulf market in 1996, with the alleged help of a third accused, Nazihbdullatif al-Ladki, a Lebanese businessman. Mr Bourgeois, according to the indictment, travelled to Latvia to scout for more victims, but his activities were reported by a local model agency and the French vice squad was alerted.
Chinese city gets 'smartphone zombie' walkway - BBC News
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:19
Image copyright The Paper Image caption Cycle and pedestrian lanes are no longer enough - Xi'an has its own lane for 'smartphone zombies' A city in northern China has introduced a special pedestrian lane on one of its roads, exclusively for slow-walking smartphone users, it's reported.
According to the Shaanxi Online News, the pavement along the Yanta Road in Xi'an has now got itself a special lane for "phubbers" - people who stare at their phones and ignore everything else around them.
The lane is painted red, green and blue, and is 80cm wide and 100m long. Pictures of smartphones along the route distinguish it from an ordinary pedestrian lane.
Shaanxi Online says that a large shopping mall, which looks onto the street, had been pushing to have the lane for a month.
It says that cars often come onto the pavement, which is a busy channel for pedestrians who might not be paying attention to their surroundings.
News website The Paper interviewed locals, who welcomed the introduction of the lane.
Wei Xiaowei said it was the first time he had seen such a thing and said he thought it was "pretty good".
"Everybody walking along here thinks that it's very safe; at the side of the road, there are cars, and the vehicles also come onto here, and sometimes only just avoid you."
Another local, Hu Shuya, says: "Young people's lives nowadays are fast, and they're always looking at their phones. This puts our minds at rest - those of us who are often looking at our phones - as it's a form of protection."
However, users of the popular Sina Weibo microblog view the lane largely with bemusement. One user says that young people's fascination with mobile phones nowadays "is as rife as smoking opium during the Qing Dynasty".
Another says that smartphone users have become like "blind people", and another user points out that phubbers using the lane may still risk bumping into each other.
Image copyright The Paper Image caption Shaanxi Online says that the lane reminds drivers that the lane is a busy pedestrian route Reporting by Kerry Allen
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Facebook Confirms Data-Sharing Deals With Chinese Tech Firms - WSJ
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:19
June 5, 2018 8:48 p.m. ET Facebook Inc. said Tuesday that it struck data partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics firms, including Huawei Technologies Co., a telecommunications-equipment maker that U.S. officials view as a potential tool for state-sponsored spying.
The four partnerships are among the roughly 60 that Facebook struck with device manufacturers starting in 2007 so they could recreate the Facebook service on their devices, a Facebook spokeswoman said. As of Tuesday, more than half of those partnerships have been wound down,...
Facebook Inc. said Tuesday that it struck data partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics firms, including Huawei Technologies Co., a telecommunications-equipment maker that U.S. officials view as a potential tool for state-sponsored spying.
The four partnerships are among the roughly 60 that Facebook struck with device manufacturers starting in 2007 so they could recreate the Facebook service on their devices, a Facebook spokeswoman said. As of Tuesday, more than half of those partnerships have been wound down, the spokeswoman added.
The social-media company said it plans to wind down its data-sharing partnership with Huawei by the end of the week. It isn't clear when Facebook will end partnerships with the three other companies: Lenovo Group Ltd., the world's largest personal-computer maker; Oppo Electronics Corp., a smartphone maker; and Chinese electronics conglomerate TCL .
Facebook officials defended the decision to work with Huawei and said that no data belonging to Facebook users was saved on Huawei servers. Facebook had a manager and an engineer review the apps before they were deployed to ensure the data wasn't saved on company servers, the Facebook spokeswoman said.
''Huawei is the third-largest mobile manufacturer globally and its devices are used by people all around the world, including in the United States,'' Francisco Varela, vice president of mobile partnerships, said in a statement. ''Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones.''
The New York Times earlier reported on Facebook's device partnerships with companies like Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. After the Times article, several lawmakers said they felt they had been misled by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who testified in April that Facebook restricted data access to outsiders in 2015.
''Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get go'--and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,'' Mr. Varela said. ''Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers.''
The company is dealing with the fallout related to Cambridge Analytica , a research firm that had ties to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and improperly obtained the data of 87 million Facebook users. The crisis sparked questions about Facebook's lax oversight of its platform, an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and two congressional appearances by Mr. Zuckerberg last month.
Facebook argues that the device partnerships are different from the data extended to third parties like academics and mobile apps. Facebook negotiated each device deal differently.
Still, lawmakers have raised several concerns about Facebook's partnership with Huawei, the subject of a 2012 report by U.S. congressional investigators who said the company could be exploited to spy or harm the U.S. telecommunications network. Huawei makes telecom equipment and smartphones.
''The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook's API to Chinese device makers like Huawei and TCL raises legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers,'' Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement Tuesday, referring to the website's application programming interface, or set of software-building tools.
It isn't clear why Facebook continued to maintain a relationship with Huawei despite the U.S. government's concerns. When asked, the Facebook spokeswoman said the company hasn't seen nor does it suspect any misuse of Facebook user data.
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com
IBM faces age-discrimination lawsuit, EEOC complaints | The Herald Sun
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:11
The long-time rumblings about age discrimination at IBM have finally produced a lawsuit. A 60-year-old Texas man alleges in a suit filed May 25 that he was improperly laid off amid the company's push to hire millennials.
Jonathan Langley, a former salesman in IBM's Hybrid Cloud unit, alleges the company sent him packing after a 24-year career that consistently "met or exceeded" the company's performance expectations. He also claims the company lied to investigators from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the reasons for his dismissal.
The reality is if he had "been younger, and especially if he had been a Millennial, IBM would not have fired him," the federal lawsuit says.
Langley's Austin-based legal team filed the case just before the Memorial Day holiday, and in it highlighted a recent ProPublica/Mother Jones report that alleges the company is systematically pushing out its older workers, tilting its in-house evaluation and layoff process even against high performers. According to the report, IBM had ''ousted an estimated 20,000 U.S. employees ages 40 and over since 2014, about 60 percent of its American job cuts during those years."
Steve Groetzinger, a Triangle resident and former salesman for the company's Security Division, says he was one of those targeted. Groetzinger, now 66, was working on a sales proposal to North Carolina's state government when he was laid off in 2016.
"When I looked around at all the people who've been laid off recently, there was a pattern," Groetzinger said. "Everybody was over 50."
Groetzinger isn't inclined to join the litigation '-- "I'm over it, I'm retired and I'm doing fine," he said '-- but he points out that other layoff victims aren't as lucky.
Some are "people a little younger than me who still had houses to pay off or kids in college," he said. "To them, this is really bad."
IBM, which employs thousands at its corporate campus in Research Triangle Park, has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years, including one just before the Memorial Day holiday that targeted workers in its Watson Health project.
Company Chief Financial Officer Jim Kavanaugh earlier this spring told investment analysts the company had taken "about a $610 million [job] action" in the first quarter of 2018, and ducked questions about whether that was the end of "workforce rebalancing" for the year.
After layoffs, social-media postings in forums such as Facebook's "Watching IBM" group regularly feature complaints that the targets were in their 60s, 50s and even late 40s.
IBM says it has done nothing wrong. "IBM complies with all applicable laws, and we will defend this case vigorously," company spokesman Doug Shelton said, referring to Langley's lawsuit.
The situation has led to complaints to the EEOC, which appears to be taking an interest the matter. Pro Publica reported recently that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has launched a nationwide probe of age bias at IBM. It cited as its sources ex-employees who had spoken with investigators and people familiar with the agency's actions, including a former general counsel for the EEOC. The EEOC does not comment on on-going investigations.
Litigation is the next frontier, but lawsuits are complicated by severance agreements that call for the use of arbitration to resolve age-discrimination claims.
Langley is suing IBM on his own, but the issue is serious enough that it could "potentially" spawn a class-action lawsuit against the company, said David Lopez, a former EEOC general counsel who's now with a San Francisco law firm, Outten & Golden, that specializes in employment law.
Nor is IBM the only tech-industry player that's under fire. Lopez and his firm are involved in a lawsuit that accuses a number of companies, Amazon among them, of using age-restricted employment ads on Facebook to exclude older workers.
"When you start peeling the onion, you start to see that age discrimination in the hiring process is pervasive," Lopez said.
Lopez is also representing a former IBM program manager from Georgia, Coretta Roddey, who suspects her "over 40" age has something to do with her inability to return to the company after stints elsewhere in the private sector.
Roddey said she left IBM on good terms and was deemed re-hireable. But subsequent interviews or recruiting contacts, including one with an IBM human-resources manager based in the Research Triangle Park, never turned into an offer. She's filed an EEOC complaint.
ANDE Corporation's Rapid DNA Identification System First to Receive FBI Approval Under New
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:05
WALTHAM, Mass. and LONGMONT, Colo. , June 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- ANDE® Corporation today announced that its ANDE Rapid DNA' Identification System has received National DNA Index System (NDIS) approval from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The approval allows accredited NDIS laboratories to process DNA samples using the ANDE system and search the resulting ANDE DNA IDs' against the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) program, without manual interpretation or technical review.
The ANDE system performs Rapid DNA Identification'--the fully-automated generation and interpretation of DNA IDs'--in less than two hours, outside the lab, by non-technical users. To learn more about ANDE and its Rapid DNA Identification System, please visit ANDE.com.The Rapid DNA Act of 2017 calls for DNA testing of arrestees in police booking stations, with the goal of identifying arrestees wanted in connection with rapes, murders, and other crimes while they are still in police custody (instead of being released within hours, without performing DNA identification, as is currently the case). By identifying suspects quickly, Rapid DNA testing of arrestees has the potential to identify repeat criminals, dramatically reducing the rate of violent crimes. The Rapid DNA Act of 2017 requires NDIS approval of Rapid DNA Systems to be used in police booking stations, and ANDE is the first and only system to receive this approval.
"This approval represents a major milestone for public safety, and I thank the FBI and the major laboratories that worked so diligently to make this a reality," said George Heinrichs , CEO of ANDE Corporation. "Most rapists and murderers are serial criminals, and Rapid DNA at the police station will link them to their earlier unsolved crimes while still in custody. We look forward to working closely with state and local Law Enforcement and the FBI to implement the ANDE system in police booking stations across the country."
The value of ANDE Rapid DNA Identification Systems in police booking stations is that law enforcement will be able to link arrestees to any violent crimes before they are released and to exonerate the innocent. The importance of booking station implementation is highlighted by several critical facts:
One in five women (18.3 percent) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives. 37.4% of female victims were first raped between ages 18-24, according to the Center for Disease Control. A study of over 400,000 prisoners in 30 states found that 71.3 percent of violent offenders and 82.1 percent of property offenders were rearrested for a new crime, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. 14 percent of all unsolved homicides and 18 percent of unsolved rapes contained evidence that was not submitted by law enforcement agencies to crime labs for analysis, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. To learn more about ANDE and its Rapid DNA Identification System, please visit ANDE.com.
About the NDIS ApprovalANDE accelerates the DNA processing from taking months or even years to less than two hours. A comprehensive developmental validation study evaluated the ANDE Rapid DNA Identification System's overall process''from inserting cheek swabs to ANDE DNA ID generation; testing included the instrument, A-Chip consumable, FlexPlex' chemistry, and automated data interpretation by the on-board Expert System Software. The forensic science community expects this validation process to be undertaken for any new scientific technology introduced in the criminal justice system. More than 2,000 samples were tested by leading forensic laboratories, and the ANDE system successfully produced accurate, reliable, reproducible, and robust results without manual processing. As of January 1, 2017 , the FBI implemented new standards expanding the CODIS Core Loci to a total of 20. ANDE's NDIS approval meets these new standards.
NDIS approval of the ANDE system is a major milestone in the United States as well as in the many countries that look to the FBI as a global leader in forensic DNA analysis. Rapid DNA policies have been developed by NDIS and SWGDAM (Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods), and developmental validation studies were designed to ensure that the ANDE Rapid DNA Identification System generates results equivalent to those from a forensic laboratory.
About the FBI's Rapid DNA Index System (RDIS)The FBI's Rapid DNA Initiative is focused on the integration of Rapid DNA into the booking station process. Following the passage of the Rapid DNA Act of 2017, the FBI has announced that quality standards and procedures for using NDIS-approved Rapid DNA systems in the police booking station are being developed. For more information, please visit https://www.fbi.gov/services/laboratory/biometric-analysis/codis/rapid-dna
About the ANDE Rapid DNA Identification SystemThe ANDE system performs Rapid DNA Identification'--the fully-automated generation and interpretation of DNA IDs'--in less than two hours, outside the lab, by non-technical users. The system consists of a ruggedized instrument, an expert system that performs data interpretation, and a single-use, all-in-one consumable chip that accepts an oral swab or forensic sample.
About ANDE CorporationANDE is the global leader in Rapid DNA. With a mission to use Rapid DNA to create a safer world, ANDE's pioneering work is already having major impacts in the wide range of applications in the U.S. and internationally. ANDE believes that moving DNA analysis from sophisticated laboratories to the police station, battlefield, borders, and disaster sites will dramatically transform public safety and strengthen national security. ANDE was founded in 2000 and has offices in Waltham, Massachusetts , Longmont, Colorado , and Washington, D.C.
ANDE®, ANDE DNA ID', ANDE RAPID DNA', and FlexPlex' are trademarks of ANDE Corporation.
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'Paint the town red' - the meaning and origin of this phrase
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:04
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Paint the town red'?Engage in a riotous spree.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Paint the town red'?The allusion is to the kind of unruly behaviour that results in much blood being spilt. There are several suggestions as to the origin of the phrase. The one most often repeated, especially within the walls of the Melton Mowbray Tourist Office, is a tale dating from 1837. It is said that year is when the Marquis of Waterford and a group of friends ran riot in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray, painting the town's toll-bar and several buildings red.
That event is well documented, and is certainly in the style of the Marquis, who was a notorious hooligan. To his friends he was Henry de la Poer Beresford; to the public he was known as 'the Mad Marquis'. In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he is described as 'reprobate and landowner'. His misdeeds include fighting, stealing, being 'invited to leave' Oxford University, breaking windows, upsetting (literally) apple-carts, fighting duels and, last but not least, painting the heels of a parson's horse with aniseed and hunting him with bloodhounds. He was notorious enough to have been suspected by some of being 'Spring Heeled Jack', the strange, semi-mythical figure of English folklore.
Melton Mowbray is the origin of the well-known Melton Mowbray pork pie - which could hardly have originated anywhere else. The town's claim to be the source of 'painting the town red' is more doubtful. It is at least plausible that it came from there of course, but no more plausible than Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire being the source of 'cock and bull story' or Ashbourne, Derbyshire being the source of 'local derby' (which they aren't). Unfortunately, plausibility is as far as it goes. The phrase isn't recorded in print until fifty years after the nefarious Earl's night out. If that event really were the source of the phrase, why would anyone, or in this case everyone, wait fifty years before mentioning it?
Further evidence for the event, but against it being the phrase's origin, comes from a text below a picture of the revellers, dated 1837. The picture is labelled A Spree at Melton Mowbray and subtitled Or doing the Thing in a Sporting-like manner.
The date of the painting is certainly contemporary with the alleged incident and was reported on in the the New Sporting Magazine, in July 1837:
Mr. R. Ackermann, 191, Regent Street, has just published two more of the series of Sporting Anecdotes, illustrative of certain disgraceful proceedings termed "sprees," which took place at Melton Mowbray last season. In that intitled "Quick work without a Contract, by tip-top Sawyers," three gentlemen (?) in scarlet coats, small-clothes, and silk stockings, - comme il faut, - are seen engaged in painting the sign of the White Swan red; and two others of the same class are perceived painting the window of the Post Office in the same manner. Another of those "bloods" is making a stroke with his brush at the back of a flying watchman ; two others, like regular gutter-bullies, are engaged in personal contest with two watchmen, and three MEN in scarlet have a single watchman down and are daubing his face with paint.
The rhyme itself is headed Quick work without a contract. By tip-top sawyers:
Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread, Milling the day-lights, or cracking the head; Go it ye cripples! come tip us your mauleys, Up with the lanterns, and down with the Charleys:
If lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak, Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak. Come the bounce with the snobs, and a [blank] for their betters, And prove all the Statutes so many dead letters.
That takes some deciphering but it is clearly a hymn of praise to going out and causing mayhem. It is heavy with the slang of the day and is in part translated into modern-day English like this:
To do was 'to rob or cheat'; sport was 'good fun or mayhem', so doing the thing in a sporting like manner would be to carry out the illegal revelry in high spirits.
Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread - spread here suggests the widespread mayhem,
Milling was fighting, so Milling the day-lights is the same as beating the living day-lights out of someone.
Go it ye cripples! - go it means, 'Keep at it! Fight hard'. Cripples may have its usual meaning, that is, disabled. A cripple was also a misshapen sixpence. Neither meaning seems to make much sense here though.
Come tip us your mauleys - shake hands.
Down with the Charleys - a Charley was a night watchman.
If lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak - lagged is caught or arrested; gammon was patter or humbug; a beak was (and still is) a magistrate.
Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak - Bribe the servants to keep them from informing. A billy could be either a truncheon or club or, more likely, a sovereign (£1) coin that bore the effigy of King William.
Come the bounce with the snobs - To bounce was either to beat, to make an explosion, to knock loudly (especially at a door), to brag or to bully. Any one of these is plausible. A snob was a person of low rank or a cobbler's apprentice.
and a [blank] for their betters - the blank I will leave to your imagination.
The picture portrays actual streets in Melton and it is very likely that it was a representation of a real event. The newspaper report describes the red paint in Ackermann's picture, although that is difficult to discern in later prints. Neither the text of the picture nor later reports mention the Marquis of Waterford or, more importantly, the phrase 'paint the town red'. Actually, as pointed out above, the first use of the phrase in print is quite a lot later - not until 1883 in fact, and in New York, not Leicestershire. The New York Times, July 1883 has:
"Mr. James Hennessy offered a resolution that the entire body proceed forthwith to Newark and get drunk... Then the Democrats charged upon the street cars, and being wafted into Newark proceeded, to use their own metaphor, to 'paint the town red'."
The other early references to the phrase also relate to America rather than England. The November 1884 edition of the Boston [Mass.] Journal has:
"Whenever there was any excitement or anybody got particularly loud, they always said somebody was 'painting the town red'."
The next is Rudyard Kipling. That's as English as you can get one would have thought. In this case though he too is referring to America - in his book Abaft Funnel, 1889:
"They would do their best towards painting that town [Chicago] in purest vermilion."
There are other theories too:
Jaipur (The Pink City) is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. The old buildings of the city are constructed from pink sandstone. In 1853 it was painted pink in honour of a visit from Prince Albert. If that were the origin though, why don't we paint the town pink?
William and Mary Morris in their Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins say it probably originated on the American frontier. They link it to 'red light district' and suggest that people out for a night 'on the town' might very well take it into their heads to make the whole town red. Well, they might, then again they might not.
It is sometimes said to come from the US slang use of "paint" to mean "drink", When someone's drunk their face and nose are flushed red, hence the analogy.
As so often, there are plausible suggestions but no conclusive evidence, so the jury is still out on this one. Based on what we currently have, it seems that the phrase originated in the USA around 1883 - there are many US citations of the phrase in print for that year and none earlier. How it came to be coined isn't known, but it could well have been the events in Melton in 1837 that prompted the coinage. I'm sure many people would join those in Melton Mowbray in believing the rogue Marquess as the originating source, but they don't have quite enough evidence for a conviction. However, they do make exceedingly good pies.
See other phrases that were coined in the USA.
Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:03
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- After striking an elusive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration found itself in a quandary in early 2016: Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank.
To spend it, Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America's financial system.
Those assurances notwithstanding, the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate.
Yet two years later, the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran.
"The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the Senate panel that conducted the investigation.
And Republican Rep. Ed Royce, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, accused Obama of trying to "hide a secret push to give the ayatollah access to the U.S. dollar."
Not so, former Obama administration officials said, arguing the decision to grant the license adhered to the spirt of the deal, which included allowing Iran to regain access to foreign reserves that had been off-limits because of U.S. sanctions. They said the public assurances that Iran would be kept out were intended to dispel incorrect reports about nonexistent proposals that would have gone much farther by letting Iran actually buy or sell things in dollars.
The former Obama officials disputed that the momentary access to U.S. banks to convert funds through the dollar constituted "access to the U.S. financial system." What's more, they dismissed the report as another example of a faulty approach to Iran policy by Republicans and by President Donald Trump, who last month withdrew the U.S. from the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.
"They continue to malign the deal in an effort to justify President Trump's unjustifiable decision," said Ned Price, who was Obama's White House National Security Council spokesman, referring to GOP lawmakers.
Still, the report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal's opponents. Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.
The Treasury Department license, issued in February 2016 and never disclosed, would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at Oman's Bank of Muscat from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into dollars. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system.
The situation resulted from the fact that Iran had stored billions in Omani rials, a currency that's notoriously hard to convert. The U.S. dollar is the world's dominant currency, so allowing it to be used as a conversion instrument for Iranian assets was the easiest and most efficient way to speed up Iran's access to its own funds.
"Yikes," one former Treasury official told colleagues in an email, as described by the report. "It looks like we committed to a whole lot beyond just allowing the immobilized funds to settle out."
The Obama administration approached two U.S. banks to facilitate the conversion, the report said, but both refused, citing the reputational risk of doing business with or for Iran.
Issuing the license was not illegal. Still, it went above and beyond what the Obama administration was required to do under the terms of the nuclear agreement, in which the U.S. and world powers gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.
The license issued to Bank Muscat stood in stark contrast to repeated public statements from the Obama White House, the Treasury and the State Department, all of which denied that the administration was contemplating allowing Iran access to the U.S. financial system.
Yet almost immediately after the sanctions relief took effect in January 2016, Iran began to complain that it wasn't reaping the benefits it had envisioned. Iran argued that other sanctions '-- such as those linked to human rights, terrorism and missile development '-- were scaring off potential investors and banks who feared any business with Iran would lead to punishment. The global financial system is heavily intertwined with U.S. banks, making it nearly impossible to conduct many international transactions without touching New York in one way or another.
As the Obama administration pondered how to address Iran's complaints in 2016, reports in The Associated Press and other media outlets revealed that the U.S. was considering additional sanctions relief, including issuing licenses that would allow Iran limited transactions in dollars. Democratic and Republican lawmakers argued against it throughout the late winter, spring and summer of 2016. They warned that unless Tehran was willing to give up more, the U.S. shouldn't give Iran anything more than it already had.
At the time, the Obama administration downplayed those concerns while speaking in general terms about the need for the U.S. to live up to its part of the deal. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top aides fanned out across Europe, Asia and the Middle East trying to convince banks and businesses they could do business with Iran without violating sanctions and facing steep fines.
"Since Iran has kept its end of the deal, it is our responsibility to uphold ours, in both letter and spirit," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in March 2016, without offering details.
That same week, the AP reported that the Treasury had prepared a draft of a license that would have given Iran much broader permission to convert its assets from foreign currencies into easier-to-spend currencies like euros, yen or rupees, by first exchanging them for dollars at offshore financial institutions.
The draft involved a general license, a blanket go-ahead that allows all transactions of a certain type, rather than a specific license like the one given to Oman's Bank Muscat, which only covers specific transactions and institutions. The proposal would have allowed dollars to be used in currency exchanges provided that no Iranian banks, no Iranian rials and no sanctioned Iranian individuals or businesses were involved, and that the transaction did not begin or end in U.S. dollars.
Obama administration officials at the time assured concerned lawmakers that a general license wouldn't be coming. But the report from the Republican members of the Senate panel showed that a draft of the license was indeed prepared, though it was never published.
And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the U.S. financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier.
According to the report, Iran is believed to have found other ways to access its money, possibly by exchanging it in smaller quantities through another currency.
Video recorded by Parkland school shooter released
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:00
PARKLAND, Fla. '--Three videos taken from the cellphone of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz were released on Wednesday.
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The videos, released by prosecutors, show Cruz detailing his plans to attack the school and kill as many people as he could.
''Hello, my name is Nik,'' one of the videos begins. ''I'm going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and a couple of tracer rounds.''
In two of the videos, you don't see Cruz. You only hear his voice.
It's in one of those videos where he gives a brief explanation for why he is attacking the school.
''I had enough of people telling me that I'm an idiot and a (expletive)
In the third video, he is looking right into the camera as he talks about mass murder.
''It's going to be a big event,'' he said. ''When you see me on the news, you'll all know who I am.''
He then giggles as he continues in a mocking voice.
''You're all going to die. Can't wait.''
It's unclear exactly when the videos were recorded. Cruz appears to be wearing different clothes in the two videos where you see his arm.
He also has a cast on his right wrist. He was not wearing a cast when he was arrested on Feb. 14 after the shooting.
KFC creating vegetarian version of its fried chicken in U.K. - CBS News
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 11:31
Colonel Sanders may be rolling over in his grave. Nearly four decades after the death of the man who founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food chain, KFC is devising a fake meat version with the colonel's tightly held original recipe of 11 herbs and spices.
The menu move comes as KFC's U.K. restaurants seek to adhere to new British government guidelines that advise overweight adults to eat just 400 calories at breakfast and then 600 more at lunch and again at dinner.
KFC U.K. told the Daily Mirror that it intends to cut the chain's per serving calorie counts by 20 percent by 2025, a year behind what the country's health service is proposing. A menu update later this year will include a reinvented veggie version of Col. Harland Sanders' fried chicken, the company told the British tabloid.
Other media reports suggested the faux bird food won't come to KFC in the U.K. until 2019.
"It's a tricky challenge, because our fans absolutely love our Original Recipe chicken, and we won't be changing the Colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices," Victoria Robertson, the head of food innovation for KFC U.K. and Ireland, told the Mirror.
The chicken run coincides with other attempts to bring meatless items to fast-food menus.
McDonald's last year added a soybean-based McVegan burger in Sweden and Finland, and also sells its Vegetable Deluxe burger in the U.K. Another chain, Pizza Hut, sells vegan pies at all of its stores in the U.K. (Pizza Hut, like KFC, is part of the publicly traded parent company Yum Brands.)
White Castle
In April, White Castle introduced a plant-based burger, the product of an alliance with a startup called Impossible Foods, at 140 locations in New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
That said, KFC's vegetarian offering is unlikely to come to the United States anytime soon, with KFC's U.S. team telling Foodbeast there are "no plans related to the U.K.'s test at this time."
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Opioids Are Responsible For 20% Of Millennial Deaths, "Crisis Will Impact US For Generations | Zero Hedge
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 11:30
She was the baby of the family, and spoiled. She was also quite beautiful. Tall, long, lean, great thick hair, big brown eyes, beautiful smile.
How do you say that beauty was a curse? Did beauty turn her into an addict? Was it being the baby of the family and spoiled?
There are other addicts in my family, namely my father. Along with mental health issues. When the two are combined, it is toxic. My father is very smart, was from a fine upstanding family in West Hartford, CT, upper middle class, officer corps (my grandfather was a Lt. Colonel in the Army Air Corps) and professional (my grandfather was an architect / builder and some of his buildings are still standing in CT and South Carolina). Not merely homes but beautiful structures, well designed and built to last.
My father left the east coast and moved to California. I know why, now. He could get away with things he would have been held accountable for if he had stayed in West Hartford. So you see a theme, here, developing, about personalities that are resistant to authority? That want only to live the life of a hedonist. The thing is, when you are tall, handsome, well spoken and from an upper-middle class family, like my father; or a natural beauty like my youngest sibling, people tend to make allowances. Many people are blinded by physical beauty. Or by pretty words.
Of course such beauty fades. The capacity for bullying people by over talking them has endured. He continues to bully staff into submission by merely talking. Is his use of language that good? Not really. He has the airs of his privileged upbringing and uses that to great benefit. At least for a while. Of course people see through his talk and big words, eventually.
I don't work in the medical field. I don't believe in psychology. As far as I can tell, modern psychology and psychiatry only make people weaker, and allow them to justify their bad behavior and poor choices, rather than holding people accountable for poor decision making.
My family, 100 years ago, was upper middle class. Now? Completely broken down. Divorce, a lack of religion in the household, low expectations. I look back and am bitter that my father threw away such a family legacy. For what? So he could have sex with random people in California, do drugs, and be a hippie? So that I could grow up in a ruined family?
So many factors to take into account, from welfare and LBJ to the free sex and party crowd in California. My father loved going the the Purple Haze club in SF in the late 60s. He had a wife (a second wife and three children, soon to be four). Why was he out at clubs at all hours? Away from home?
So of course, one answer is the genetic factor, where behaviors are inherited, genetically. The other is nurture. Where traits are encouraged by bad parenting or by society. In the end, the result was toxic for everyone in my family. Including me. No one wants to stand by and watch a family member party themselves to death. In the end, I was helpless to do anything but watch, from afar.
The reality is that my father married three times and admits to fathering two children from his first marriage, four from his second marriage, and one (finally a son) from his last marriage. My youngest sibling gave birth to three children, by three different fathers, one of whom landed in prison for murder. So who passed on their genes, poor thinking, and hedonism?
I have no children. And I am the responsible one in the family.
Facebook Partners With CNN, Fox, And Univision To Launch News Streaming Service - The Daily Caller
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:39
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook like button is seen in front of the Facebook logo, in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo - RC199CA02F60
Facebook will be launching a new video service incorporating original news reports from multiple major news networks, the social media site announced Wednesday.
CNN's Anderson Cooper, Fox News' Shepard Smith and Univision's Jorge Ramos are three of the paid contributors who will be producing original content for the new site, Watch.
''We tried to assemble a diverse set of partners who are already doing quality news who are also really adept at engaging the audience,'' Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of global news partnerships, said in an interview with Reuters.
The initiative seeks to ''down-rank click-bait sensationalism'' and reduce fake news stories that circulate on social media, said Brown. (RELATED: Facebook Suppresses Certain Media Outlets In Your Newsfeed. It Won't Tell You Which Ones)
Facebook also hopes to ramp up revenues from advertisements, which will be broadcasted along with the news videos on the site. New content is expected to air daily or weekly depending on the news cycle. Other paid contributors to Watch include ABC News, Publications' Alabama Media Group and websites ATTN: and Mic. Brown said they hope to add more networks as the service rolls out in the coming months.
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East Africa: Trump Against Rwanda in Trade War Over Used Clothes - allAfrica.com
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 09:53
Photo: Nation Media Group Bales of second-hand clothes being transported in Nakuru, Kenya. Rwanda has impounded hundreds of tonnes of used clothes, shoes and leather products being smuggled into the country.
When East African countries announced a ban on the import of second-hand clothes to help their own textile industries, this irked US President Donald Trump. All but Rwanda have now backtracked. What's at stake?
It's one of US President Donald Trump's trade wars that makes few headlines: The one over used clothes.
In 2016, member states of the East African Community (EAC) came up with a plan to ban second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019. The EAC doubled a common external tariff rate for worn clothing to $0.40 ('‚¬0.34) per kilogram. Rwanda increased its per-kilogram import tax to $2.50.
Trump threatened to retaliate, saying the tax goes against the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). At the end of March, Trump announced he would suspend the application of duty'‘free treatment to all AGOA-eligible goods in the clothing sector for the Republic of Rwanda within 60 days.
Rwanda didn't budge and let Trump's deadline run out last week. That means the US is now likely to impose tariffs on textile products and shoes from Rwanda.
"Legally speaking, the US has the right to impose a penalty because, within AGOA, Rwanda is supposed to remove all barriers to US goods," Christopher Kayumba, an analyst and senior lecturer at the University of Rwanda, told DW.
"But the spirit of AGOA is to help poor countries to evolve," he added.
"I was surprised that a country as big and rich as the US [would] insist on exporting its second-hand clothes to a poor country like Rwanda," he said.
Hampering Rwanda's development
"We see that second-hand clothes are undermining the textile industry within the country. In that sense it was surprising that the Trump administration would want to sanction Rwanda when Rwanda is trying to put in place the policy that will help it grow long-term," Kayumba said.
It all started in March last year, when American trade organization SMART -- the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association -- complained to the US Trade Representative's office, claiming the import ban harmed US industry. SMART claimed that at least 40,000 US-based jobs were at risk.
The Trump administration then put Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda under review for AGOA eligibility (Kenya was exempt from this review) regarding their decision to phase in an import ban on used clothing and shoes.
"The review found that this import ban harms the US used clothing industry and is inconsistent with AGOA beneficiary criteria for countries to eliminate barriers to US trade and investment," the US Trade Representative's Office wrote in a statement.
Tanzania and Uganda promised to reduce or eliminate their import barriers. But Rwanda was not willing to change its stance on its tariffs.
"Rwanda doesn't really export very much. They don't have large-scale, domestic manufacturers," said Ben Shepherd, a consulting fellow with Chatham House's Africa Program.
"There are big cost implications for them, because they are such a long way from ports whereas Kenya has a significant manufacturing industry; Tanzania to some extent and Uganda as well," Shepherd told DW.
"So the fright of a trade war with the US in terms of reciprocal power, getting into a difficult trading relationship with a major international player, you can see this would make them a bit more concerned because there is more at stake," he said.
"Rwandans can afford to pick a fight, because there is less to lose in terms of trade for them," Shepherd added. "They don't like to be pushed around and they don't like to see themselves being pushed around and are emerging as something of a leader in terms of an African confidence to push back against impositions of the outside world."
Depending on second-hand clothes?
And then there are the people in Rwanda who make a living from selling used clothes -- or those who simply can't afford more expensive items made in Rwanda.
"Banning second-hand clothes in the short term, of course it will affect those who work in the industry here -- I think about 400," said analyst Kayumba.
"But in the long-term I believe if it is banned totally -- that is, banning second-hand clothes and leather products from the US and all other countries including in Asia, I think it will help the leather industry and the textile industry to grow in Rwanda."
According to a study by the US Agency for International Aid (USAid), the US supplies almost 20 percent of total direct exports of used clothing to the EAC.
The quantity is significantly higher when indirect exports are added to the mix -- as in when the US ships clothing to the United Arab Emirates, China, Pakistan, India and other countries where garments are sorted, cleaned and repackaged for re-export to African countries.
But exporting used clothing to the EAC makes up such a small percentage of trade, says Garth Frazer, an associate professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Toronto. He has served as an advisor to both the Ugandan and Rwandan governments regarding trade policy.
"Used-clothing exports from the US to all EAC countries combined had an all-time peak of US$43 million in 2012, which is 0.003 per cent of American exports. This is a truly negligible industry from the American perspective," Frazer wrote. "Its trifling economic value is not surprising as this industry essentially takes items that might otherwise go to the garbage and ships them to Africa."
Frazer added that the US was more interested in "protecting tiny, marginal American industries than in being "a leader in development assistance."
In pictures: Peter Stringfellow 'King of Clubs' - BBC News
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 09:50
Getty ImagesBusinessman and nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow has died from cancer, aged 77.
PABorn in Sheffield in 1940, Stringfellow began running clubs in the 1960s before opening the first Stringfellows in Covent Garden, London in 1980.
Getty ImagesBeyond the West End, Stringfellow opened venues in Paris, Miami, Beverly Hills and New York, where he is pictured here in 1987.
Getty ImagesHis work meant he counted many celebrities among his acquaintances, from showbiz royalty to actual royalty.
PAStringfellow's autobiography, King of Clubs, was published in 1996 with anecdotes of bankruptcy, the New York mafia and "how a steelworker's son ended up with his name in lights".
Getty ImagesStringfellow's wardrobe choices often reflected his outgoing and flamboyant personality.
PAIn 2006, Stringfellow opened a lap dancing club in Dublin, but it closed just five months later amid pressure from local residents.
Getty ImagesStringfellow, pictured here with David Cameron at the Conservative Party ball, was a long time Conservative supporter until recently, when he sought to fight against Brexit.
Getty ImagesHe celebrated his 65th birthday with a party at his West End club, attended, among others, by TV personality Piers Morgan.
Getty ImagesMarried three times, and a grandfather to four, he is survived by his wife, former Royal Ballet dancer turned lap-dancer Bella, and four children.
George Papadopoulos Case Needs a Closer Look | National Review
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 09:40
George Papadopoulos(image via LinkedIn) Is the former campaign adviser accused of misrepresenting his subjective state of mind, not objective reality? C ongress should be taking a very hard look at the prosecution of George Papadopoulos. To these eyes, the harder one looks, the more the Papadopoulos case appears to be much ado about nothing. That is no small thing: The ''much ado'' here is a purported Trump''Russia conspiracy to subvert a presidential election.
There has always been something fishy about the charge filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Papadopoulos, who was a green-as-grass 28-year-old when he made the big primary-season move from Ben Carson''campaign novice to Trump-campaign novice. Peruse the ''Statement of the Offense,'' filed by Mueller's lead prosecutor on the case, Jeannie S. Rhee (who is fresh from a stint representing the Clinton Foundation '-- and donating $5,400 to the Hillary Clinton campaign). You find that there is collusion with Russia pouring off every one of the document's 13 pages '-- meetings with shadowy figures portrayed as Kremlin operatives, apparent schemes to undermine Mrs. Clinton, ambitious plans for pow-wows between candidate Trump and strongman Putin.
Yet . . . there is no charge having anything to do with ''collusion'' '-- in the criminal-law sense of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to commit ''cyber-espionage'' or otherwise sabotage the 2016 election.
Instead, after the big 13-page wind-up, Papadopoulos ends up pleading guilty to a minor false-statements charge '-- one that is convoluted and, in the scheme of things, trivial. In essence, Papadopoulos is said to have lied about the timing and scope of his contact with the Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud. Mueller, Rhee & Co. allege that Papadopoulos falsely claimed that the contacts started before he joined the Trump campaign. It turns out that they started on March 14, 2016; this was some time after he ''learned he would be a foreign policy advisor for the campaign'' (page 3, paragraph 4) but a week before the campaign's March 21 announcement that he was a campaign ''policy advisor'' (page 4, paragraph 6).
In concluding that this seems picayune, it is not my purpose to challenge the technical legal sufficiency of the charge. The requirement to prove a false statement was ''material'' (see Section 1001 of the federal penal code) is a very low hurdle. My point is '-- and has been '-- that, since allegations of ''collusion'' have roiled the nation and threatened a presidency for nearly two years, a ho-hum false-statements charge is a strange way to treat the one and only guy who, according to the special counsel, colluded up a storm.
But this only scratches the surface of strangeness.
While much that has gone on in the Mueller investigation is curious, I have assumed the candor of the special counsel's portrayal of the Papadopoulos case: The young man was approached by an agent of Russia, who eventually informed him (on April 26, 2016) that the Kremlin had ''dirt'' on the Democratic party's nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the form of ''thousands'' of ''emails of Clinton'' (pages 3''7). To my mind, then, the only questions involved (a) the nature of Mifsud's relationship to the Putin regime and (b) whether the emails in question were the hacked DNC emails (which Democrats have suggested) or the thousands of emails Clinton deleted from her homebrew server (which seemed to me more likely).
Yet, important reporting by the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel, and Lee Smith at Real Clear Investigations calls for a more exacting perusal of Mueller's allegations. Specifically: (1) Is Mueller really claiming that Papadopoulos was approached by an agent of Russia and (2) did this agent actually claim that the Russians' ''dirt'' involved emails '-- and if so, is there reason to believe he knew what he was talking about?
When one looks carefully at Mueller's statement of the offense, and at the one-count criminal-information to which Papadopoulos pled guilty, one realizes Mueller is not claiming that Mifsud and his associates truly were Kremlin operatives '-- only that Papadopoulos was under the impression that they were. The information legalistically accuses Papadopoulos of lying about his ''interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials'' (emphasis added). That is, Papadopoulos is accused of misrepresenting his subjective state of mind, not objective reality.
Mueller is not saying Mifsud and his associates really have close connections to Putin's regime. And as Lee Smith details, it is highly unlikely that they do. Mifsud himself has denied that he is a Russian operative, and those who know him well describe him as tied to Western intelligence agents. As for the Russian associates he introduced to Papadopoulos, they are: a woman who falsely claimed to be Putin's niece, and who falsely promised to introduce Papadopoulos to Russia's ambassador to Britain; and Ivan Timofeev, whom Mueller and Rhee pregnantly describe as ''the Russian MFA connection'' (as in Ministry of Foreign Affairs) but who is actually a young academic researcher running a think tank that has some sort of tie to the MFA but no discernible connections to Russian intelligence.
Two of Smith's sources, German lawyer Stephan Roh and French political analyst Thierry Pastor, are friends of Mifsud's who have written a book called The Faking of Russia-gate: The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis. According to them, Mifsud denies that he told Papadopoulos anything about emails related to Clinton '-- and, indeed, denies that he was told anything by Russians about such emails.
My first impression on reading that is: ''So what? Mifsud is probably lying.''
But then, once again, I examine Mueller's statement of the offense more carefully. It contains only a fleeting reference in which Papadopoulos says Mifsud told him that, among the ''dirt'' they had on her, ''the Russians had emails of Clinton''; ''they have thousands of emails.'' There is no other indication that Mifsud made such a claim to Papadopoulos or anyone else.
Again, so what, right? Papadopoulos is cooperating with Mueller and has said he heard Mifsud talk about emails. So what more do we need to know?
Well . . . maybe a lot.
Remember, there is no allegation that Mifsud actually knew that the Russians had Clinton emails, let alone that he ever showed Papadopoulos any such emails. The claim is that Mifsud was told by unidentified Russian officials that the Kremlin had the emails.
So, what happens after Mifsud, allegedly, told Papadopoulos the Russians had these emails? According to Mueller's statement of the offense, the following day Papadopoulos sends two emails to high-ranking Trump-campaign officials about his meeting with Mifsud, and neither one of them says anything about emails. It appears that Papadopoulos was myopically focused on the possibility '-- farfetched, but apparently real to Papadopoulos '-- that Mifsud could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.
Now, again, this does not mean Mifsud did not mention emails to Papadopoulos. But let's consider the critical events that Mueller and Rhee omit from the statement of the offense.
On approximately May 10, just two weeks after the April 26 meeting with Mifsud, Papadopoulos has his barroom meeting with the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Both Chuck Ross and Kim Strassel note that, in an interview with the Australian press, Downer recounted that Papadopoulos was not specific about what kind of material he'd heard Russia was holding. He did not say emails. He did not even say it was ''dirt'' on Clinton; only that whatever it was ''could be damaging to her.''
As Strassel observes, the New York Times blockbuster report that touted the Papadopoulos''Downer meeting as the catalyst for the FBI's Russia investigation does not actually say that Papadopoulos told Downer the Russians had emails. Moreover, Strassel's reporting contradicts the suggestion floated by the Times and government officials that Downer reported Papadopoulos's statements to Australian intelligence, which then passed them along to the FBI. Instead, Downer gave his information directly to . . . wait for it . . . the Obama State Department (that would be the State Department whose former boss was the Democratic nominee for president). This is consistent with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's revelation that the FBI's opening of a counterintelligence investigation was not predicated on any reporting from a foreign intelligence service.
Meanwhile, in September 2016, Stefan Halper, a British-American academic with longtime connections to the CIA, was tasked by the FBI to approach Papadopoulos. As Ross has reported, based on an unidentified source with knowledge of the conversation, Papadopoulos told Halper he knew nothing about any emails or Russian hacking '-- notwithstanding Halper's aggressive, loaded questioning on the subject.
It is very hard to understand what is going on here. But in light of the centrality of Papadopoulos to the Obama administration's purported suspicions about Trump-campaign ''coordination'' in Russia's election-meddling '-- suspicions that are said to have justified the use of the government's counterintelligence powers against the administration's political opposition '-- it is essential to nail down what the Papadopoulos prosecution has established.
Several questions suggest themselves:
' Is Special Counsel Mueller contending that Mifsud and his associates were authentic agents of Russia, or merely that Papadopoulos may have thought they were?
' What exactly does the special counsel allege that Mifsud told Papadopoulos the Russians were hoarding? Did Mifsud really say the Russians had emails? If so, exactly what emails?
' Lee Smith notes that the FBI interviewed Mifsud in February 2017, shortly after the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos. Did Mifsud deny being a Russian operative? Did he admit to telling Papadopoulos that the Russians had Clinton-related emails, or did he deny it (as he denied it to Smith's sources)?
' What if any role did the State Department play in the transmission to the FBI of Alexander Downer's account of his meeting with Papadopoulos? How did the State Department describe what Papadopoulos said? How does that description square with what Papadopoulos, Mifsud, and Downer told the FBI?
The nation has been led to believe that Papadopoulos was interacting with clandestine agents of Russia, who told him the Kremlin was in possession of thousands of emails that could damage Clinton '-- emails that media reporting has implied were the ones hacked from the DNC and published during the campaign. There are, however, grounds to believe an alternative version of events: A very low-level, inexperienced Trump-campaign adviser was interacting with a Maltese academic who had no real Kremlin ties and no inside information about whether Russia actually possessed damaging information about Clinton, in the form of emails or otherwise; this young campaign adviser then made a vague claim to an Australian diplomat, who did not hear him say anything about emails, and did not report the conversation to his government through regular channels.
After nearly two years of collusion banter, Congress needs to find out which of these accounts is closer to the truth.
Lame Cherry: Has Bill Clinton joined Team Trump
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 09:34
Look what I lead Bill around by....... As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.In examining the Liberty Daily headlines, something jumped out at me and see if you see it as I will weed out the rubbish for what matters.Bill Clinton Drops Truth Bomb: ‘Political Press’ Gave Obama Love Because of His Skin Color: ‘They Liked Having the First African-American President’President Trump Quotes Former Clinton Adviser Mark Penn to Slam Robert Mueller’s ‘Stormtrooper Tactics’Former Clinton Strategist Mark Penn: Robert Mueller has ‘Runaway Power,’ ‘Absolutely After’ TrumpReport: Dozens of FBI Agents Admit Agency Corrupted Hillary Probe, Considering Legal ActionThe Liberty DailyDo you see it? Does it not sort of look like American Whiteness is joining forces against Obama Britisher Blackness?Things just do not happen by accident. For Mark Penn to be trashing Obama on the left, and for Bill "that bright boy Obama" Clinton to be telling the world that the press covered up Obama's crimes because they liked his Designer Negro skin tone, and Donald John to be quoting the facts, indicates that something has been worked out between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. I am not saying this means Hamrod will be President, but I am indicating to you that there appears an alliance has formed and what is being the target for all of this crime is Birther Hussein Obama, and his cast of British colluders in the Obama regime.Think of it this way, the Clinton's do the heavy work in hammering Obama's skin tone, on the left, and Trump pounds Mueller on the right, as the DIA continues to roll on and roll this up. The Trump people have already said they will fight Mueller in court and wipe him out. This is transitioning to the Obama criminals who were looking to work for Hamrod. All the Clinton's have to do is throw their hands up and say, "Hey we never knew a thing about this", and it settles on the Obama legacy group of scoundrels.Bill Clinton going after Obama on race is only helping to emancipate Blacks from the Obama plantation, and as they are not voting for Hamrod, that means they are Kayne West coming home to the new Trump party.This blog informed all of you that the one salvation Donald Trump had was criminalizing Birther Hussein. That is fast approaching a reality and Donald John with the DIA can level the Animal Crackers like John Brennan and Robert Mueller, but it will take the Clinton's to cut the tie that binds, Obama to Blacks and the Puppy Press.I have absolutely no problem in this phase of sick old Hillary skating as White Democrats lynch image Obama to regain the party and end this community organized communism.Then again Bill Clinton is the smart one in the marriage, as Hillary wears overcoats in summer and whines, Bill is cutting his own deal as he is playing this to wipe out Obama and regain control over the Whitey Party and stoke the sore spot of impeachment on Trump and Bill got impeached for having his cock sucked by a girl in the Oval O.It must be a hell for an old man like Bill Clinton in having to fight all fronts, because his old wife is a dead weight and losing ground.Bill Clinton Slams Donald Trump's 'Embarrassing' Tweets: 'My Mother Would Ha…People Magazine 7h   Bill Clinton Suggests Trump Would Already Face Impeachment If He Were A DemocratFormer President Bill Clinton suggested an impeachment process for President Donald Trump would have been set in motion by now if he were…HuffPost 3h   Bill Clinton says he couldn't be elected now, bashes Donald TrumpBill Clinton did not hold back when he was asked about President Trump on CBS Sunday morning. https://www.usatoday.com /videos/news/politics/2018/06/03/   Bill Clinton admits he and Hamrod can not get elected. So the Trump bashing is a cover.  Of course Bill is rapist furious yet as he got the wood put to him for what Trump was up to. He leaves himself open though as Bill's mum was a whore party girl in Virginia Kelly who birthed a bastard Rockefeller named Bill.Clinton has to bash Trump to appeal to the radicals, but his Mark Penn is out there doing it for what is left of the Blue Dogs that all voted for Trump.There is one common enemy in this and that is the Obama community organized deep state which invaded America like a cancerous venereal disease and Bill Clinton just the vaccine for it.Nuff SaidagtG
Global warming: Coastal flooding worsens as sea levels rise
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:12
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just released its 2018 hurricane forecasts. Here's what you need to know. Just the FAQs
Sandy Garcia sits in her vehicle that was stuck in a flooded street on Sept. 30, 2015, in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Got flippers?
High-tide flooding is happening across the USA at twice the rate it was just 30 years ago, according to a new report released Wednesday.
And this flooding isn't necessarily caused by a storm, but by rising seas: As ocean levels rise because of global warming, flooding can now occur with high tides in many locations.
Also known as "sunny-day," "clear-sky" or "nuisance" flooding, 27 locations across the nation set or tied records for most days with floods from May 2017 to April 2018, the report said. Cities such as Boston and Atlantic City both had 22 days with high-tide floods.
"Due to sea level rise, the national average frequency of high-tide flooding is double what it was 30 years ago," the report said. William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and co-author of the report, said at a press briefing that "what used to be uncommon is now becoming fairly common."
More: May was warmest on record for USA, breaking mark set during Dust Bowl
Nationwide, the average of six flood days for each location was the highest on record.
Ben Horton. a Rutgers University researcher who was not involved in the study, called it "a warning, a shot across the bow. Across the whole of the U.S. coastline, we are in dire need of action," he said.
The report found tidal flooding was at record levels last year along parts of the southeast Atlantic and eastern Gulf coasts. It examined only coastal flooding, not inundation brought on by sudden, heavy rain or overflowing rivers.
"As they examine their risk, communities can use this information to help better mitigate and prepare for high tide flooding from long-term sea-level rise," according to NOAA.
These floods lead to road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and damaged property but are seldom life-threatening. They're mostly caused by climate-related sea-level rise, NOAA said.
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels causes glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to melt. Warmer water takes up more space that cooler water or ice, causing sea levels to rise.
Since 1880, the ocean has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, but it doesn't do so evenly. In the past 100 years, it's climbed about a foot or more in some U.S. cities.
In addition to sea-level rise, the loss of natural barriers and land subsidence '-- a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface because of underground movement of soil, rock and other materials '-- also contributes to flooding.
The effects of rising sea levels along most of the continental U.S. coastline are expected to become more noticeable and severe in the coming decades, likely more so than any other climate-change related factor, NOAA said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2M3yOO9
John Cusack on Twitter: "Let's go to streets -Who owns the streets? Civil disobedience - Require the government to leave if you are not satisfied with it. We need to kick Trump out of the office now He's ill, deranged and dangerous. He's putting chi
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 22:16
Log in Sign up John Cusack @ johncusack Let's go to streets -Who owns the streets? Civil disobedience - Require the government to leave if you are not satisfied with it. We need to kick Trump out of the office now He's ill, deranged and dangerous. He's putting children in cages - fuck the Nazi s- shut them down
9:49 PM - 5 Jun 2018 Samantha Sheldon @ SamanthaJaneS
17h Replying to
@johncusack 'Under the worst conditions, horrendous conditions, people still, you know, fight for their rights and don't just succumb'. - Noam Chomsky
View conversation · karynn @ karynn
17h Replying to
@johncusack Set a date, time and place. And a hashtag.
View conversation · CB Daring @ CBDaring
17h Replying to
@johncusack pic.twitter.com/Jx1uXMNShN View conversation · RedBessBonney @ RedBessBonney
17h Replying to
@johncusack I wish I could heart this multiple times.. no mistake - trump is dangerous. don't become complacent - read up on history - don't let him become the next hitler...
View conversation · molly secours @ mollmaud
17h Replying to
@johncusack How much? How many? Where are the grown ups?
View conversation · Jennifer 🇪🇺🇬🇧🇵🇹🇮🇪ðŸ‡...🇬🇹🇹 @ jammijen
14h Replying to
@johncusack We, the rest of the world, are watching and wondering why you haven't taken to the streets already. Where's America's backbone?
qz.com/1146093/americ'... View conversation · Jennifer 🇪🇺🇬🇧🇵🇹🇮🇪ðŸ‡...🇬🇹🇹 @ jammijen
14h Replying to
@karynn @johncusack One date, one time, one place won't cut it. Watch how other countries force change. They are in the streets every day for weeks, sometimes months.
qz.com/1146093/americ'... View conversation · Skip ' @ skipstomusic
12h Replying to
@johncusack pic.twitter.com/3ZjClpdixf View conversation · DJ 45Revolver @ 45Revoloo
11h Replying to
@johncusack Ok... but first... coffee
View conversation · USMC MICHAELS 🇺🇸 @ USMC_Michaels
4h Replying to
@johncusack Just one huge problem with your Coup Against Trump.You will have to go thru thousands of people like me.Good Luck with that Scumbag
pic.twitter.com/ZJfGtfQu8Q View conversation · #MAGA Smart @ IAmSoSmart
2h Replying to
@johncusack How cute, John, you're throwing a tantrum. When you're done, dont forget to lay down and take a nap.
pic.twitter.com/a6PRj0EJJ8 View conversation · Mrs Stacey #TheGreatAwakening @ Pigletscooter
2h Replying to
@johncusack Looks like he's having a meltdown. Anything to do with the Child Pipeline at CEMEX being shutdown?
#PedoWood#StopChildSexTrafficking#CEMEX#CemexTrafficsChildren #QAnon View conversation · Mrs Stacey #TheGreatAwakening @ Pigletscooter
2h Replying to
@johncusack @FBI and
6 others 18 U.S. Code § 2101, 18 U.S. Code § 2383, 18 U.S. Code § 2385Riot, Treason, Advocating overthrow of GovernmentGood job clown.
@FBI @SecretService @POTUS @USMarshalsGov @DeptofDefense @TheJusticeDept @FBILosAngeles View conversation · The Ÿlair Ÿ*tch Project ''"¸ @ blairanton
2h Replying to
@johncusack Guess you didn't get the memo. Obama had the kids in cages. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess you didn't say a word about it during Obama's 8 years? It's sad to see these actors I like losing their minds. You sound crazy John
View conversation · KMH @ Korey_Michael
2h Replying to
@johncusack LOL. You seem stable.
#TDS View conversation · Todd Doyle @ whizkids
2h Replying to
@johncusack americandigitalnews.com/2018/06/05/40k'... View conversation · james.rankine.phone@gmail.com @ PhoneRankine
2h Replying to
@johncusack Trump Accomplishments- Peace/ de-nuclearized zone NK (in progress)- '¬‡¸Unemployment/ Taxes- '¬†¸Wages/ Economy- No TPP- Destroyed ISIS & ANTIFA- Calls MSM Fake- EO vs Human Trafficking- Mass Arrest- Pedofiles- Draining Swamp (Resignations)- Politicans, CEO's/1
View conversation · Tore '¹¸ @ drlindeman
1h Replying to
@johncusack What happened?
#NXVIM got your name on it? You worried you gonna off yourself like
#KateSpade #Pain is here.
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Hate Symbols Database | ADL
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 21:43
This database provides an overview of many of the symbols most frequently used by a variety of white supremacist groups and movements, as well as some other types of hate groups.
Are we missing something?Submit a Hate Symbol to ADL at hate-symbols@adl.org
All the symbols depicted here must be evaluated in the context in which they appear. Few symbols represent just one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the Confederate Flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. Similarly, other symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist. The descriptions here point our significant multiple means but may not be able to relay every possible meaning of a particular symbol.
Hate on Display is a trademark of the Anti-Defamation League.
Inside the White House During the Syrian 'Red Line' Crisis - The Atlantic
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 12:32
In the course of a presidency, a U.S. president says millions of words in public. You never know which of them end up cementing a certain impression. For Barack Obama, one of those phrases would be ''red line.''
In August 2012, Obama was asked about what could lead him to use military force in Syria. ''We have been very clear to the Assad regime,'' he said, ''that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.'' We had received reports about a month earlier that the regime was preparing to use chemical weapons against the opposition, or transfer them to the terrorist organization Hezbollah. We issued private warnings to Iran, Russia, and the Syrian government; Obama made clear publicly to Assad that the world was watching, and that Assad would be held accountable by the international community should he use those weapons.
At first the warnings seemed to work. Weeks and months went by with no sign of chemical attacks in Syria. But then, towards the end of 2012, we received the first reports of small-scale chemical weapons use. The U.S. intelligence community was resistant to snap judgments, particularly after the experience of inaccurate statements made about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion. So it took a period of months before the intelligence community formally determined that the Assad regime had in fact used chemical weapons in April 2013. The question then became what we were going to do about it.
Our initial response was unsatisfying: Obama decided to publicize a decision to provide military support to the Syrian opposition. Almost by default, the responsibility for announcing this fell to me. By then, I had been a deputy national security adviser for nearly four years, and was known to be someone who was particularly close to Obama. Even though I had misgivings about our Syria policy, I wanted to do something about the catastrophe in Syria, just as I had advocated intervention in Libya. I had also internalized a certain ethos: If there was an issue that no one wanted to talk about publicly, I would do it. I thought it was part of my job, as Obama deserved to have someone willing to defend him. I sensed, though, that it would cost me, allowing me to be blamed for decisions I didn't make but that others didn't want to defend.
And defend it I did: on conference calls, in televised briefings, and in long conversations with reporters. I fought with lawyers to get clearance to say that Obama had decided to provide ''direct military support'' to the Syrian opposition, as we were in the impossible position of not being able to discuss details about a key element of our policy. Legally, we couldn't say what the support was; all I could say were things like: ''This is going to be different'--in both scope and scale'--in terms of what we are providing to the opposition.'' I was giving partial answers about an incremental response and felt as though whatever stockpile of credibility I had built up over four years was being drawn down.
Yet I was also wrestling with my own creeping suspicion that Obama was right in his reluctance to intervene militarily in Syria. Maybe we couldn't do much to direct events inside the Middle East; maybe U.S. military intervention in Syria would only make things worse.
On August 21, 2013, news broke of a catastrophic chemical-weapons attack in Syria; within a matter of days, the intelligence community had a ''high confidence assessment'' that a sarin gas attack had killed more than a thousand people in a suburb of Damascus, and that the Assad regime was responsible. There were harrowing accounts of how scores of people had been killed by clouds of gas on the outskirts of Damascus.
A couple of days later, I joined a National Security Council meeting where officials advised Obama, one after another, to order a military strike. This included the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marty Dempsey. Up to this point, he had argued that Syria was a slippery slope where there was little chance of success. Now he said that something needed to be done even if we didn't know what would happen after we took action.
Obama asked about the UN investigators who were going to the scene of the attack to obtain samples. Could something be done to get them out? The tone of the whole meeting suggested an imminent strike. The adviser who urged the most caution against military action was Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who raised questions about the legal basis for it and what would come next. What if we bombed Syria and Assad responded by using more of his chemical weapons? Would we put in ground troops to secure those stockpiles? At the end of the meeting, Obama said he hadn't yet made a decision but wanted military options prepared.
I walked outside and convened a conference call with the lead communicators for the government on national security. Pacing back and forth, I started to plan a public campaign to ramp up to a military intervention. The intelligence community would have to make its assessment public. DoD needed to prepare for an announcement of strikes. It felt energizing, as though we were finally going to do something to shape events in Syria.
Two days later, on a Monday morning as we sat outside the Oval Office waiting for the morning briefing with Obama, the director of national intelligence'--Jim Clapper'--looked agitated. A Vietnam veteran, former Air Force lieutenant general, and longtime intelligence professional, Clapper was an avuncular older guy with a bald head. He spoke in clipped sentences and had an easy rapport with Obama, who liked to needle him for always dropping paper clips on the rug in the Oval Office. Clapper never put spin on the ball; he told you what he knew and what he didn't know. I respected him as much as anyone in government.
When we entered the Oval Office, Clapper gave his usual summary of key intelligence. He indicated that all signs pointed to Assad's ordering a catastrophic sarin attack, but then he paused. The case, he said, was not yet a ''slam dunk.'' The assessment would firm up over time, as samples were gathered and information analyzed, but Clapper's choice of words was striking. ''Slam dunk'' was the exact phrase that George Tenet, then director of the CIA, had used to assure George W. Bush that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Clapper seemed to be signaling that he wasn't going to put the intelligence community in the position of building another case for another war in the Middle East that could go wrong.
His words hung in the air.
''Jim,'' Obama said, ''no one asked you if it was a slam dunk.''
I felt the burden on Obama. He had to respond to this awful event in Syria while bearing the additional weight of the war in Iraq'--which caused his own intelligence community to be cautious, his military to be wary of a slippery slope, his closest allies to distrust U.S.-led military adventures in the Middle East, the press to be more skeptical of presidential statements, the public to oppose U.S. wars overseas, and Congress to see matters of war and peace as political issues to be exploited.
Later in the day, Clapper said that the intelligence community would not prepare an assessment for public release. Instead, he suggested they share all of their information and judgments with me and I could write a U.S. government assessment, which they would review for accuracy and sign-off. It took me a moment to understand what he was suggesting. These were usually technical documents produced by teams of people in the intelligence agencies.
For the next two days, I sat at my desk poring over the information and turning it into a short, stark, and simple analysis. I watched publicly available videos of people lying disoriented on the floors of hospitals, looked at pictures of dead children. I felt waves of anxiety, anticipating how I might be hauled before Congress if things went terribly wrong after a military intervention. I was responsible for writing the public document that would justify the United States's going to war in Syria.
Obama remained focused on the United Nations inspection team that was on the ground in Syria. That afternoon, he called Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, and urged him to pull them out. Ban refused, saying that the team had to finish their work. ''I cannot overstate the importance of not remaining in Syria for a lengthy time,'' Obama said. Ban replied that it could take a few days. Obama pressed again, saying they should be out by the following night. To this day, I wonder if Obama would have launched a strike early that week if the UN team hadn't been in the way.
Obama's next call was to Angela Merkel. There was no foreign leader he admired more. Like him, she was a pragmatist, driven by facts, dedicated to international order, deliberate in her decision-making. I'd seen them sit together, sometimes for hours, with notepads in front of them, designing strategies that could keep the global economy crawling forward, or hold Afghanistan together. Now I sat in the Oval Office listening to Obama ask for her support for military action. Even if Germany didn't participate, the United Kingdom and France had indicated that they would. But her public support would show that the United States and Europe were united, and could help bring along the rest of the European Union. Merkel argued that the UN team should have the time to prepare and submit its report, at which point we should pursue a Security Council resolution authorizing action. If the Russians blocked us, then at least we would have tried. This would take several weeks. Obama knew a delay of that length would tie his hands, especially because there wasn't much public support for war in the United States. As the fresh horror of Assad's attack faded, the opposition to a U.S. strike would build. With any additional time, Assad could also put innocent civilians around potential targets as human shields.
I sat on the couch watching him make this case, waiting for Merkel's words in response. I don't want you to get into a situation where you are left on a limb, she said. Obama cradled the phone against his ear while the rest of us listened on speaker. She said she wanted to use the time to build agreement among the European countries. Then, she said, we have a situation where you are not exposed to vague allegations. This is what I say as a friend.
He hung up the phone. It was the first time I saw him look uneasy about acting in Syria. He asked those of us in the room for our opinion on the timing for military action. I plunged into the case I'd been making in meetings'--that only action by us would change the emerging dynamic, that the biggest concern in the United States and Europe was that we were going to have another Iraq War. Only by acting in a limited way, with air strikes that were over after a period of days, could we demonstrate that we weren't beginning an all-out war. He listened, but I knew he was skeptical that we could contain military action once we'd begun.
Just as things were stalling in Europe, congressional opposition to strikes was building at home. On Wednesday, a week after the chemical weapons attack, a large group of Republican members of Congress wrote Obama a letter that threatened him bluntly: ''Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.''
This was followed by a letter from the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. ''Even as the United States grapples with the alarming scale of the human suffering,'' it read, ''we are immediately confronted with contemplating the potential scenarios our response might trigger or accelerate. These considerations include the Assad regime potentially losing command and control of its stock of chemical weapons or terrorist organizations'--especially those tied to al-Qaeda'--gaining greater control of and maintaining territory.''
Boehner also focused on the need for congressional authorization: ''It is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution.''
After deriding Obama's response to Syria as weak, Republicans were now making the same warnings about action that we had used to publicly defend our inaction in the past. In doing so, they were signaling that Obama would be held accountable if these scenarios were realized, while seeking impossible guarantees that they wouldn't be. More ominously, a message was being delivered: Acting without going to Congress would be unconstitutional.
Our lawyers also had concerns. There was no firm international legal basis for bombing Syria'--no argument of self-defense, which justified our actions against al-Qaeda; no UN resolution such as we had had in Libya. Nor was there any domestic legal basis beyond the assertion that the president had the inherent power to take military action that did not constitute a ''war'' under the Constitution, which the Republicans were disputing. Some argued that the Republicans could even try to impeach Obama if he acted without congressional authorization'--hardly a wild thought, given their posture toward Obama.
On Thursday afternoon, McDonough convened the national-security team for a call with congressional leaders. One after the other, nearly all expressed some degree of support for strikes but demanded that Obama seek authorization. Some were quoting a candidate questionnaire that Obama had filled out for The Boston Globe in 2007, in which he had said, ''The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation'''--an argument that had also been mounted against Obama after we intervened in Libya.
I sat listening to all this, exhausted and getting angrier and angrier. For eight years, Republicans had defended Bush's ability to do whatever he pleased as commander in chief; now they were suddenly devoted to constitutional limits on the commander in chief? I'd spent two days reading detailed descriptions of people being gassed to death, watching video of children with vacant eyes lying on the floor of a makeshift hospital. Faced with this harsh reality, Congress was focused on creating a political trap.
During the meeting, we got word that the British Parliament had voted 285''272 against joining U.S.-led strikes on Syria after a debate filled with demands that the United Kingdom not follow the United States down the path to war as Tony Blair had followed George W. Bush. A shell-shocked David Cameron called Obama to apologize, explaining that he could no longer offer his support. The hangover from the Iraq War had left us staggering toward military intervention with next to no international support, and a Congress demanding that we go through the same divisive process of seeking authorization that had just failed in London.
On Friday morning, I sat at my desk rereading the assessment I'd written. I had checked every word with the deputy director of national intelligence, Robert Cardillo, who stepped up to help us out'--getting information declassified, editing the document, and giving us maps to release. Shortly after ''the United States Government Assessment of the Syrian Government's Use of Chemical Weapons'' was released, Kerry delivered his final case against Assad at the State Department. ''My friends,'' he thundered, ''it matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.''
We had a final National Security Council meeting that morning. Kerry suggested that we wait another week to bring other countries into a coalition. I argued that we had to act as soon as possible'--time was not our friend, and our military action was likely to change the public dynamic. Obama, who seemed increasingly focused on the factors aligning against us, pressed for the domestic and international legal basis that we could cite for taking action. There was no good answer, other than to point back to when NATO had acted without an international mandate in Kosovo. Still, throughout the day, the drama of Kerry's speech and the horrific details in the public assessment seemed to tilt things back in the direction of action. It felt as if all of the week's setbacks and preemptive criticisms were part of an unfolding drama that would inevitably conclude in cruise missiles hitting Syria.
Later that afternoon, I was in a meeting in McDonough's office discussing whether Obama had to address the nation in prime time as soon as the bombing began. McDonough, the sole voice against military action, got a note that Obama wanted to see him; he left and never returned. An hour later, I was back in the Situation Room when I got a note asking me to come to the Oval Office.
I walked in to find Obama alone and looking more relaxed than he had all week. Gone was the grave look that had been frozen on his face. ''I've got a big idea,'' he said.
''Well,'' I replied, ''you're the big idea guy.'' Sometimes, the more intense the moment, the more casual I would be with Obama in my comments.
A handful of aides trickled in. Obama laid out his thinking: He had decided to seek congressional authorization for strikes on Syria. At some point, he said, a president alone couldn't keep the United States on a perpetual war footing, moving from one Middle Eastern conflict to the next. In the decade since 9/11, we'd gone to war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. Now there was a demand that we go into Syria; next it would be Iran. ''It is too easy for a president to go to war,'' he said. ''That quote from me in 2007'--I agree with that guy. That's who I am. And sometimes the least obvious thing to do is the right thing.'' If he attacked Syria without congressional authorization, the Republicans would come after him, and it would be impossible to sustain any military engagement in Syria. If we got congressional authorization for an attack on Syria, we'd have more credibility'--legally, politically, and internationally. If we couldn't, we shouldn't act.
I sat slouched over on the couch across from him. I couldn't argue with anything he was saying, even though everything I'd been doing for the last few days'--and everything I'd been arguing for the last two years'--had been building up to a cruise missile strike on Syria the following day. It was as if Obama was finally forcing me to let go of a part of who I was'--the person who looked at Syria and felt that we had to do something, who had spent two years searching for hope amid the chaos engulfing the Arab world and the political dysfunction at home.
It was clear that Obama's mind was made up. Still, as always, he went around the room. One after the other, people voiced agreement with his direction. The only exception was Susan Rice, who had recently become national-security adviser. ''We needed to hold Assad accountable,'' she said. ''Congress is never going to give you this authority,'' she said'--the only person to offer that prediction. In the years to come, when nearly everyone involved in this drama decided to absolve themselves by saying that Obama should have bombed Assad without going to Congress, Susan never did.
When it was my turn, I told Obama I agreed with him. The downside of getting congressional authorization was, ironically, that we'd then have even more ownership over Syria; we'd be raising expectations around the world about what we were prepared to do and what we could achieve. But then I conceded that we had to, at some point, show that we meant what we said about not being on a permanent war footing. ''We keep saying that,'' I said, ''and I guess we have to show that we mean what we say.'' Speaking from my experience defending national security actions that we couldn't talk about'--from drone strikes to supporting the Syrian opposition'--I said I thought it was time to make decisions in the open.
Then I gave voice to the building frustrations I'd been feeling, the sense of being trapped in systems that don't work. ''In this Syria debate,'' I said, ''we've seen a convergence of two dysfunctions in our foreign policy'--Congress and the international community. They both press for action but want to avoid any share of the responsibility.'' All week, I had been thinking the answer to that problem was to go ahead and do something; now I saw Obama's reasoning for why that wouldn't work. ''At some point, we have to address that dysfunction head-on.''
The only caveat was the insistence by Rice and Obama's lawyers that we reserve the right to take action even if Congress didn't approve strikes'--a point that made sense, in terms of preserving flexibility, but which undercut the moral, ethical, and legal clarity of the stance Obama was taking. Obama called a couple of foreign leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Your decision was right, Netanyahu said, and history will be kinder than public opinion.
Over the next few days, we pivoted to seeking congressional support. In a meeting in the Cabinet Room between Obama and congressional leaders, Boehner pledged his support but said he would do nothing to help Obama get votes from within the Republican caucus. Senator Mitch McConnell, who would end up criticizing Obama for not launching a strike, refused to offer his support. ''Real profiles in courage,'' Obama said to us afterward.
Foreign policy luminaries endorsed authorization; Hillary Clinton announced her support; AIPAC lobbied in support of our position; so did the Saudi government'--but none of it mattered. No wave of support materialized in Congress or in public polls. One after another, members of Congress in both parties'--including people who had demanded that we take action in Syria'--announced that they would vote against authorizing it.
On Thursday, we flew to Russia, where the G20 was being held at a lavish Tsarist palace on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg. As we wandered the grounds, updates continued to pour in from Washington. A resolution authorizing the use of force had limped out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but looked increasingly uncertain; the picture in the House was worse. McDonough was quarterbacking a frantic communications and legislative operation despite a creeping sense of inevitable failure in Congress.
The next morning, I was dropped off at the villa where Obama was staying, which looked like a newly built and neatly appointed condominium that you might find alongside a golf course in Arizona. Obama was sitting at a table, wearing a gray T-shirt and black sweatpants. The television was playing the opening night game of the NFL season, a reminder of the time difference and just how far we were from home. The game was on mute, and I started to update him on how support was slipping away, how even hawks on Syria'--people like Marco Rubio'--were tying themselves in knots to justify opposing authorization. ''Maybe they just want to oppose you,'' I said. ''Or maybe no one wants to be on the record in support of another war.'' I left unspoken the fact that the war could take a bad turn'--like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
''Maybe we never would have done Rwanda,'' Obama said. The comment was jarring. Obama had written about how we should have intervened in Rwanda, and people like me had been deeply influenced by that inaction. But he also frequently pointed out that the people urging intervention in Syria had been silent when millions of people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ''There's no way there would have been any appetite for that in Congress.''
''You could have done things short of war,'' I said.
''Like what?''
''Like jamming the radio signals they were using to incite people.''
He waved his hand at me dismissively. ''That's wishful thinking. You can't stop people from killing each other like that.'' He let the thought hang in the air. ''I'm just saying, maybe there's never a time when the American people are going to support this kind of thing. In Libya, everything went right'--we saved thousands of lives, we didn't have a single casualty, and we took out a dictator who killed hundreds of Americans. And at home, it was a negative.''
I saw what he had been doing'--testing Congress, testing public opinion, to see what the real maneuvering room was for his office when it came to intervention in Syria. It was the same thing he'd done in Situation Room meetings on Syria and in his mind, testing whether anything we did could make things better there or whether it would turn out to be like Afghanistan and Iraq, if not worse. It wasn't just politics he was wrestling with. It was something more fundamental about America, our willingness to take on another war, a war whose primary justification would be humanitarian, a war likely to end badly. ''People always say never again,'' he said. ''But they never want to do anything.''
On the flight home, Obama mentioned that he'd had a private conversation with Putin on the margins of the summit. For years, Obama had proposed that the United States and Russia work together to address the threat from Syria's chemical weapons stockpile; for years, Russia had resisted. This time, Obama again suggested working together to remove and destroy Syria's chemical weapons. Putin agreed and suggested that John Kerry follow up with his Russian counterpart.
After we landed in Washington, Obama talked about the different ways in which the debate could play out. ''The thing is,'' he said, ''if we lose this vote, it will drive a stake through the heart of neoconservatism'--everyone will see they have no votes.'' I realized then that he was comfortable with either outcome. If we won authorization, he'd be in a strong position to act in Syria. If we didn't, then we would potentially end the cycle of American wars of regime change in the Middle East.
Kerry worked quickly to turn Putin's overture into an agreement that could be implemented in a country'--Syria'--that had never even acknowledged having chemical weapons. Four days after we got back to Washington, the Syrian government announced they would give them up. Five days later, on September 10, Obama addressed the nation and announced that we would pursue this diplomatic opportunity. The congressional vote never took place. Thousands of tons of chemical weapons would be removed from Syria and destroyed, far more than could have been destroyed through military action. The war would continue. Barack Obama would continue to keep the United States out of it.
This article has been adapted from Ben Rhodes's forthcoming book, The World as It Is.
Electric plane crash kills two people - CNET
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 11:43
The Magnus eFusion aircraft crashed last week in Hungary. The two pilots aboard died.
Siemens An electric plane crashed late last week, killing both pilots aboard, according to Siemens, which powered the plane.
The crash happened in Hungary on May 31 and involved an experimental Magnus eFusion aircraft. The cause of the accident is unknown.
"We cannot comment on eventual causes or any circumstances at this point of time," Siemens said in a statement. "We are working closely together with the authorities to clarify the cause of the accident."
The company said it decided to ground the aircraft until it learns the cause of the fatal accident.
The eFusion has lithium-ion batteries at the front of the plane, according to Engadget, which power Siemens' SP55D electric motor. The use of lithium-ion batteries has caused a stir, particularly after the FAA grounded all US Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes in 2013 after several failures. But there hasn't been any large-scale testing on the safety of batteries which directly power small plane motors, Engadget reports.
MyHeritage Statement About a Cybersecurity Incident MyHeritage Blog
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 11:38
Today, June 4, 2018 at approximately 1pm EST, MyHeritage's Chief Information Security Officer received a message from a security researcher that he had found a file named myheritage containing email addresses and hashed passwords, on a private server outside of MyHeritage. Our Information Security Team received the file from the security researcher, reviewed it, and confirmed that its contents originated from MyHeritage and included all the email addresses of users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017, and their hashed passwords.
Immediately upon receipt of the file, MyHeritage's Information Security Team analyzed the file and began an investigation to determine how its contents were obtained and to identify any potential exploitation of the MyHeritage system. We determined that the file was legitimate and included the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92,283,889 users who had signed up to MyHeritage up to and including Oct 26, 2017 which is the date of the breach. MyHeritage does not store user passwords, but rather a one-way hash of each password, in which the hash key differs for each customer. This means that anyone gaining access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords.
The security researcher reported that no other data related to MyHeritage was found on the private server. There has been no evidence that the data in the file was ever used by the perpetrators. Since Oct 26, 2017 (the date of the breach) and the present we have not seen any activity indicating that any MyHeritage accounts had been compromised.
We believe the intrusion is limited to the user email addresses. We have no reason to believe that any other MyHeritage systems were compromised. As an example, credit card information is not stored on MyHeritage to begin with, but only on trusted third-party billing providers (e.g. BlueSnap, PayPal) utilized by MyHeritage. Other types of sensitive data such as family trees and DNA data are stored by MyHeritage on segregated systems, separate from those that store the email addresses, and they include added layers of security. We have no reason to believe those systems have been compromised.
Steps We've Taken
Immediately upon learning about the incident, we set up an Information Security Incident Response Team to investigate the incident. We are also taking immediate steps to engage a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct comprehensive forensic reviews to determine the scope of the intrusion; and to conduct an assessment and provide recommendations on steps that can be taken to help prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.
We are taking steps to inform relevant authorities including as per GDPR.
We will be expediting our work on the upcoming two-factor authentication feature that we will make available to all MyHeritage users soon. This will allow users interested in taking advantage of it, to authenticate themselves using a mobile device in addition to a password, which will further harden their MyHeritage accounts against illegitimate access.
We set up a 24/7 security customer support team to assist customers who have concerns or questions about the incident.
What Our Users Should Do
MyHeritage users who have questions or concerns about this incident can contact our security customer support team via email on privacy@myheritage.com or by phone via the toll-free number (USA) +1 888 672 2875, available 24/7.
For all registered users of MyHeritage, we recommend that for maximum safety, they change their password on MyHeritage. The procedure for doing this is described in the MyHeritage FAQ article. Once MyHeritage releases the upcoming two-factor-authentication feature, we recommend to all our users to take advantage of it.
For now, there are no other actions that MyHeritage users need to take as a result of this incident. However, we always recommend that you take the time to evaluate your security practices. Please, avoid using the same password for multiple services or websites. It's good practice to use stronger passwords and to change them often.
Going Forward
As always, your privacy and the security of your data are our highest priority. We continually assess our procedures and policies and seek new ways to improve our approach to security. We understand the importance of our role as custodians of your information and work every day to earn your trust.
Thank you for your understanding.
Omer DeutschChief Information Security Officer, MyHeritageEmail: dpo@myheritage.com
Rambouillet ruse? Why Trump could be setting up his North Korea talks to fail '-- RT Op-ed
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 10:59
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book ''Divide and Ruin: The West's Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis'' was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and 'austerity'. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
President Trump has set the bar of success so high for his forthcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un, it is difficult to see how it could possibly be met.
As the New York Times noted last month, ''To meet his own definition of success, Mr. Trump will have to persuade Mr. Kim to accept 'complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization' of North Korea '-- something that Mr. Kim has shown no willingness to accept in the past, and few believe he will accede to in the future.''
Such denuclearization would involve ''the actual dismantlement of weapons, the removal of stockpiled uranium and plutonium bomb fuel from the country and a verification program that will be one of the most complex in history, given the vastness of North Korea's mountains.'' Furthermore, Trump has suggested that the North Koreans will gain nothing in return for this one-sided destruction of their defenses, until the process is all-but-complete; as one Trump official told the Wall Street Journal, ''When the president says that he will not make the mistakes of the past, that means the U.S. will not be making substantial concessions, such as lifting sanctions, until North Korea has substantially dismantled its nuclear programs''.
In other words - give up your leverage first; then we'll see. What Trump appears to seek is nothing less than a completely disarmed Korea that will pave the way for the ''Libya solution'' his people have openly suggested is the goal.
Obviously, North Korea will not go for that. The whole point of their nuclear program has been to ensure that their country avoids the fate of Iraq or Libya; which is why the intelligence community is generally united in their view that it will never be given up. According to Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution, ''virtually no North Korea analyst inside or outside of the US government expect Kim Jong-un to relinquish his nuclear weapons'', quoting former CIA analyst Jung Pak that Kim views nuclear weapons as both ''vital to the security of his regime and his legitimacy as leader of North Korea''.
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Meanwhile, the New York Times comments: ''ask the people who have seen past peace initiatives whether they think this one will work out any differently, and they have serious doubts that Mr. Kim will give up his nuclear program for any price'', whilst for Stratfor, the complete denuclearization of North Korea is ''a lofty goal that will be nearly impossible to ensure''.
So what is Trump doing? Surely he knows what he is proposing would be completely unacceptable to any North Korean leader, let alone Kim Jong-un?
But maybe this is the point. What if Trump, far from wanting to reach a deal, is actually deliberately pushing a proposal which is supposed to be rejected? After all, so long as he ensures his demands are unacceptable, he can offer the moon in return: recognition, technology, aid, lifting of sanctions, hell - why not? - even the removal of US troops from South Korea. Having such an offer rejected would allow Trump much more readily to be able to paint North Korea as the aggressor - unwilling to compromise, insincere in its desire for peace, etc, etc.
This is, after all, a time-honored tactic.
In February 1999, in the French town of Rambouillet, a series of meetings were convened between representatives of Kosovo's multiethnic population and the US with the ostensible aim of resolving the conflict between Kosovan separatists and the Yugoslav government. For its part, the Yugoslavs had proposed a ceasefire, peace talks, the return of displaced citizens, and the establishment of a devolved assembly for the province, with a wide degree of autonomy.
This would clearly have gone a long way to addressing the conflict; but that very fact made it completely unacceptable to the US, desperate to justify their coming onslaught against Yugoslavia. Instead, they needed a 'peace deal' that would be rejected by the Yugoslavs, who could then be painted as the aggressors, paving the way for war. To this end, the 'Rambouillet Peace Agreement' was formulated. The document demanded complete de facto independence for Kosovo, whilst still allowing the province to influence the rest of Yugoslavia by continuing to send representatives to its federal institutions. Yet, just in case even this one-sided arrangement was accepted by the Yugoslavs, in chapter seven of the agreement, the US inserted a crucial clause: that NATO ''personnel shall enjoy . . . with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including associated airspace and territorial waters'', whilst at the same time being "immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative or criminal, [and] under all circumstances and at all times, immune from [all laws] governing any criminal or disciplinary offences which may be committed by Nato personnel in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia''.
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In other words, Yugoslavia would have to not only submit to a full-scale occupation by NATO, but also give the occupiers the absolute and unaccountable right to abuse the population at will. Such a demand could never have been accepted by any sovereign country. But that, of course, was the point: this was an agreement penned precisely to be rejected, in order to paint the Serbs as the unreasoning aggressors. It worked perfectly: the 'agreement' was duly rejected, and the planned blitzkrieg of Yugoslavia followed, with 78 days of unrelenting aerial bombardment.
The same ruse was repeated the following year by US President Bill Clinton. At Palestinian-Israeli peace talks at Camp David, he made a proposal for a 'final settlement' of the conflict which allowed Israel to keep 80 percent of their illegal settlements along with sovereignty over a patchwork of roads linking them together and thereby cutting the West Bank into unviable bantustans - with refugees permanently denied the right to return to their homes in Israel. As former US president Jimmy Carter commented, ''There was no possibility that any Palestinian leader could accept such terms and survive - but official statements from Washington and Jerusalem were successful in placing the entire onus for failure on Yasir Arafat''.
Indeed, through the distortions of Western media, a narrative emerged that Israeli President Ehud Barak himself had made this so-called 'generous offer', the spurning of which demonstrated the Palestinians hatred for peace and unwillingness to settle for anything less than driving the Jews into the sea. In fact, the Israeli side themselves had never accepted Clinton's proposal, and had issued twenty pages of concerns they had with it. On the last of the Clinton-chaired meetings - the one from which Barak's supposed offer emerged, held in Taba in 2001 - Barak later said that ''it was plain to me that there was no chance of reaching a settlement'... Therefore I said there would be no negotiations and there would be no delegation and there would be no official discussions and no documentation''. Nevertheless, the official narrative, to this day, recalls that the Palestinians rejected the Israelis' 'generous offer' - and therefore only have themselves to blame for their continued slaughter.
The EU set up Yanukovych in the same way. In 2008, the EU and Ukraine agreed to negotiate what was supposed to be a trade agreement. Five years in the making, the EU Association Agreement was finally unveiled in 2013. But by then, the EU had included a clause on defense cooperation with the EU, effectively turning the country into an unofficial NATO member. Such a measure was guaranteed - and designed - to tear apart a country like Ukraine, a multiethnic polity with deep and historic ties to both Russia and Europe, whose unity rested on strict adherence to a policy of neutrality in terms of East-West rivalries. Furthermore, Yanokovych had an explicit democratic mandate for such neutrality, having been elected on precisely this basis. The Association agreement was duly rejected, as it was presumably intended to be - setting the stage for the Western-backed 'Maidan coup' and civil war which followed and continues to this day.
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So Western governments certainly have form in crafting proposals designed to be rejected, in order to justify escalation. And the US has every reason for doing so with North Korea today.
Trump's North Korea policy throughout last year was one of warmongering rhetoric and the ratcheting up of tensions. Whilst this was to some extent successful in bullying China and others into agreeing to harsher sanctions, this 'consensus' began to fall apart as Trump's team stepped up their war talk at the end of the year, with defense secretary Mattis warning of ''storm clouds...gathering'' and national security advisor McMaster claiming that the odds of war were ''increasing every day''.
This ramping up of tension did not go down well in either Korea, and rapid moves to de-escalate were undertaken, with North Korean involvement in the winter Olympics a symbolic, but important, signifier of greater North-South cooperation to come. Then, in his New Year address, Kim Jong-un began a diplomatic charm offensive with the South which gained rapid results. A summit was set up between the leaders of the two Koreas, which eventually took place in April when Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to cross the border into the South since the Korean war. The summit agreed to pursue denuclearization of the peninsula and to secure a formal Peace Treaty, with an outline peace arrangement to be reached by the end of the year.
This emerging detente between the two Koreas has hugely undermined Trump's warmongering. In an article entitled ''As Two Koreas Talk Peace, Trump's Bargaining Chips Slip Away'', Mark Landler pointed out that ''the talk of peace is likely to weaken the two levers that Mr. Trump used to pressure Mr. Kim'... A resumption of regular diplomatic exchanges between the two Koreas, analysts said, will inevitably erode the crippling economic sanctions against the North, while Mr. Trump will find it hard to threaten military action against a country that is extending an olive branch''. Landler went on to quote Jeffrey A. Bader, a former Asia advisor to Barack Obama, that, following the North-South rapprochement, said ''It becomes awfully hard for Trump to return to the locked-and-loaded, 'fire and fury' phase of the relationship''. Worse, ''Inside the White House, some worry that Mr. Kim will use promises of peace to peel South Korea away from the United States and blunt efforts to force him to give up his nuclear weapons''.
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Trump, therefore, urgently needs to snuff out this rapprochement if he is to return to the bellicosity that marked his Korea policy hitherto. As Landler wrote, ''Mr Kim...made a bold bet on diplomacy'' - and Trump needs to ensure that it fails. The best way of doing so is by putting himself at the head of it.
If Trump is indeed planning to use the Rambouillet ruse to reignite tensions against the North, it is important that he spin his designed-to-be-rejected offer as somehow incredibly generous. And in recent weeks there have indeed been moves in that direction.
First of all, Trump has appeared to accept that denuclearization might not need to happen in one fell swoop, telling reporters that whilst ''It would certainly be better if it were all in one'.... I don't think I want to totally commit myself.'' Next, Trump went out of his way to guarantee Mr. Kim's safety. ''He will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich,'' the president said. You can already imagine Trump's words when his 'generous offer' gets rejected: ''we offered him security. We offered him prosperity. We offered him phased elimination. And he rejected all of it''.
Fascinatingly, it turns out that Trump's national security advisor John Bolton has actually already suggested precisely the Rambouillet ruse. According to the New York Times, ''Two weeks before he was recruited as national security adviser, [Bolton] said a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was useful only because it would inevitably fail, and then the United States could move swiftly on to the next phase '-- presumably a military confrontation'... 'It could be a long and unproductive meeting, or it could be a short and unproductive meeting," he said on Fox News.
Even among officials who worry about war, there is sympathy for his view that ''failing quickly'' would be valuable. Meanwhile, Stratfor's analysis of the likely prospects for the forthcoming summit concluded that ''it may also reinforce the idea that if the two leaders can't negotiate a way out of the conflict, then perhaps a diplomatic solution isn't possible and talk of a military solution to the United States' North Korea problem could return...Without some change, we'll probably find ourselves back on the path to containment, if not on a course toward military action to end the North Korean nuclear and missile program once and for all''.
Whether military action is realistically possible against North Korea, however, remains a serious question. Most analysts agree that the fallout from any retaliation - both against the 28,000 US soldiers stationed in South Korea, and against US allies in Seoul and Kyoto - would be unacceptably high. James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, is typical in his view that there are ''no military options which would result in fewer than several hundred thousand casualties and perhaps as many as 2m to 3m''.
So if war is not on the cards, to what end would Trump seek the rejection of his offer?
One answer has already been suggested - to scupper the emerging North-South co-operation that threatens to erode US influence on the peninsula. Summit failure would give Trump a perceived 'moral right' to bully the South into ending its outreach and returning to the US position of isolating the North.
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But another reason could lie in Trump's trade war with China, the opening shots of which have only just been fired. Any supposed North Korean intransigence could provide Trump with cover for initiating secondary sanctions against North Korea's supposed 'allies'. Congressional law already allows Trump to initiate secondary sanctions against anyone trading with the victim of primary sanctions, but with the current atmosphere of rapprochement, it is difficult for Trump to justify using these against China at present.
A North Korean 'walk-out' would provide the perfect excuse for stepping up economic warfare against China under the guise of sanctioning Korea. Indeed, Trump has already been setting up China as a potential scapegoat for any failure to reach a deal, claiming that Kim's position had hardened following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. ''There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks after that meeting,'' Trump told reporters recently, ''I can't say that I'm happy about it.''
The entire trajectory of Trump is, after all, not one of conciliation, but of escalation - on all fronts. Escalation against immigrants, against the working class, against Iran, against China, and even against his supposed chums in Moscow. There is absolutely no reason to think that North Korea is some kind of magical exception to this golden rule.
Setting up a deal guaranteed to be rejected, but which can be spun as incredibly generous, is, of course, no mean feat. This is especially true given that Kim has now repeatedly stated that he is willing to give up his nuclear weapons. Indeed, this possibility cannot be entirely ruled out: after all, North Korea's conventional capacity alone - not to mention its mutual defense treaty with China - arguably provides as much deterrence as is necessary to prevent an invasion, as those casualty figures quoted above bear out. In this case, the devil will be in the detail - and more specifically in the timings of the granting of concessions. Trump is likely, in my view, to offer what appear to be very generous concessions, but make them contingent on unacceptably obtrusive verification measures or unachievable levels of 'proof' before any of them kick in. Perhaps they will just copy and paste chapter seven of the Rambouillet Agreement in its entirety. A secret clause demanding NATO occupation of all of North Korea would probably do the trick.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Donald Trump Is Getting Away With the Biggest Scandal in American History '' Mother Jones
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:37
Chip Somodevilla/Pool via CNP via AP
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The other evening I was on a cable news show to cover the latest Russia news of the day'--and I had an epiphany.
We were talking about a recent scoop from Michael Isikoff, the co-author of my latest book, Russian Roulette. He had reported that a Spanish prosecutor had handed the FBI wiretapped transcripts of a Russian official who was suspected of money laundering and for years had been trying to gain influence within the American conservative movement and the National Rifle Association. We then discussed a New York Times article revealing that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime fixer, had met with a Russian oligarch in January 2017, around the time a US company affiliated with this tycoon began making $500,000 in payments to Cohen. Next we turned to the latest in the so-called Spygate nonscandal'--the false claim, championed by Trump and his defenders, that the FBI infiltrated a spy into his presidential campaign for political purposes.
Then the show moved on. We had spent 15 or so minutes on these important developments, delving into the details'--but without referring to the essence of the story. And it hit me: Though it's clear Trump's presidency has been hobbled by the Russia scandal, the manner in which this matter plays out in the media has helped Trump.
Almost every day, Trump pushes out a simple (and dishonest) narrative via tweets and public remarks: The Russia investigation is a'...well, you know, a witch hunt. Or a hoax. Or fake news. He blasts out the same exclamations daily: Witch hunt, hoax! Hoax, witch hunt! That's his mantra.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
His synopsis is easy to follow. It encompasses (even if by ignoring) every new fact and revelation. It connects all the inaccurate and false dots Trump and his partisans toss out: Unmasking! Obama wiretapped Trump! The FBI improperly obtained warrants to conduct surveillance on his campaign advisers! And so on. He's the victim. The bad guys are the Dems, libs, prosecutors, and deep staters pursuing this huge nothing-burger for nothing but political gain. The Russia story, in Trump's telling, is a black-and-white tale of evildoers persecuting a great man'--him. Sad. And this bully uses his pulpit (and smartphone) to transmit this simple message nonstop.
A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018
The other side'--the accurate perspective'--isn't that complicated. In 2016, Vladimir Putin's regime mounted information warfare against the United States, in part to help Trump become president. While this attack was underway, the Trump crew tried to collude covertly with Moscow, sought to set up a secret communications channel with Putin's office, and repeatedly denied in public that this assault was happening, providing cover to the Russian operation. Trump and his lieutenants aligned themselves with and assisted a foreign adversary, as it was attacking the United States. The evidence is rock-solid: They committed a profound act of betrayal. That is the scandal.
But how often do you hear or see this fundamental point being made? The media coverage of the Trump-Russia scandal'--which has merged with Cohen's pay-to-play scandal, the Stormy Daniels scandal, and a wider foreign-intervention-in-the-2016-campaign scandal'--has yielded a flood of revelations. Yet the news reporting tends to focus on specific components of an unwieldy and ever-expanding story: a Trump Tower meeting between Trump aides and a Kremlin emissary; what special counsel Robert Mueller may or may not be doing; the alleged money-laundering and tax-evasion skullduggery of Paul Manafort; a secret get-together in the Seychelles between former Blackwater owner Erik Prince and a Russian financier; the Kremlin's clandestine exploitation of social media; Russian hackers penetrating state election systems; Michael Flynn's shady lobbying activities; Trump's attempted interference in the investigation; and so much more. It is hard to hold on to all these pieces and place them into one big picture.
Why aren't the 13 Angry and heavily conflicted Democrats investigating the totally Crooked Campaign of totally Crooked Hillary Clinton. It's a Rigged Witch Hunt, that's why! Ask them if they enjoyed her after election celebration!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018
These revelations do not emerge in chronological or thematic order. They arrive as part of the fusillade known as the daily news cycle. One day, we learn that Trump last year leaned on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Another day, we see headlines that Mueller has indicted Russian trolls. We learn that'--yikes!'--a former Trump campaign adviser has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts to put the campaign in secret contact with Putin's regime. We're told that Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign met with a shady character representing the princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who were secretly offering to help Trump. Or the big story is that Trump has acknowledged he dictated a false statement issued in his eldest son's name about the Trump Tower meeting. What's the connection? Is there a connection? And how is each new headline related to Putin's war on America? Attempting to track this whole damn thing'--while the nation experiences a larger hurricane of crazy'--can make one feel like Carrie Mathison on Homeland. Do you even have enough string or enough space on the bulletin board?
And that's just it. Trump has no bulletin board'--and no need for one. He only requires 280 characters. Or less. Sometimes just those two words'--witch hunt'--accompanied by other tweets designed to fog and distract by raising peripheral and non-evidence-based matters, such as the phony Uranium One scandal and other supposed examples of Democratic malfeasance. The problem is there is no organized force with as loud a bullhorn countering his disinformation in fundamental terms.
Why didn't the 13 Angry Democrats investigate the campaign of Crooked Hillary Clinton, many crimes, much Collusion with Russia? Why didn't the FBI take the Server from the DNC? Rigged Investigation!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2018
In the face of Trump's fact-free denials, who is reminding the public of the basics'--that Russia attacked, and that Trump aided and abetted the operation? If you watch cable news or are addicted to Twitter, you can see Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the Republicans and the forces of Fox News over the Russia probe on practically a daily basis. A few other Democratic members of his committee join the fray when the news cycle permits. But Sen. Mark Warner, (D-Va.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, prefers maintaining a lower profile. And there are no other Democratic bigwigs who have assumed the task of addressing the beyond-cable audience and fiercely reiterating and emphasizing the core narrative. When it comes to framing the overarching story, Trump practically has a monopoly.
''At the heart of the Russia scandal is the most fundamental issue for a democracy: the sanctity of elections.''This traces back to the weeks before and after the 2016 election. A month prior to Election Day, the US government declared that Russia had mounted a cyber attack and influence operation against the United States. (To call this action ''meddling'' is to diminish its full significance.) But at a time when Trump was being hammered by the Access Hollywood video and conventional wisdom held that he was toast, President Barack Obama and his aides chose not to generate a major fuss regarding this unprecedented disclosure. They feared amplifying the disorder the Russians were trying to cause and worried that Trump would seize upon a big White House reaction to bolster his claim that the election was being rigged against him. The White House let this dog lie. And most of the media focused instead on Trump's grab-them-by-the-pussy problem and the parallel (and not coincidental) release by WikiLeaks of the juicy emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta by Russian hackers.
Yet a few days following the election, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, confirmed the hacking of Democratic targets and the public dissemination of stolen emails was ''a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.'' He added, ''This was not something that was done casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily.''
In the subsequent weeks, few leaders of the Democratic Party complained vociferously about the Russian attack or the assistance the Trump campaign provided the Kremlin. When asked, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), the top two Democrats in Congress, would say they supported creating an inquiry. But neither were beating any drums. Democrats seemed too shocked at the results to move expeditiously. Perhaps they worried they would be accused of being sore losers. It took a month or two for the calls for an investigation to become loud enough to force GOP leaders on Capitol Hill to agree to such probes.
Meanwhile, Obama said little about the Russian attack. In early December 2016, the White House announced that Obama had called for an intelligence community assessment. At the end of the month, he hit Russia with sanctions for its intervention in the election, though the punishment was arguably not sufficiently tough. (Obama and his advisers did fear going too far and sparking a crisis with Moscow, at a time when Trump and his gang of inexperienced hands were about to take over.)
For his part, Trump kept insisting there was nothing much to talk about regarding Putin's intervention. Instead, he focused obsessively on denying the salacious allegations about him within the Steele memos and decried the fake news media, the vehicle through which information on the Russia scandal would reach the public.
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Once the congressional investigations were launched in early 2017, Democrats largely stepped back and ceded much of the rhetorical terrain to Trump. In normal circumstances, this might have been the responsible thing to do. But now Trump had the big-picture turf mostly to himself. There would be much debate in reaction to new developments, such as Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Largely, though, there was less discussion devoted to the controversy's basics.
In previous scandals, it was not necessary to remind the public repeatedly of the essential elements of the story. Once the scandalous activity was revealed, there was no argument over whether it had actually happened. No one disputed the Watergate burglary had transpired'--the issue was White House involvement and the cover-up. Ronald Reagan and his aides conceded the administration had sold arms to Iran and sent the profits to the contras fighting the leftist government of Nicaragua. The issue, again, was what the president knew'--and whether this had been illegal.
But this time, Trump and his amen chorus have been claiming there is no Russia scandal'--and insisting the real scandal is the existence of a secret FBI plot against him. They have promoted a perverted version of reality at a volume of 11. By merely forcing a debate over whether the Russia scandal truly exists, Trump clouds a tremendously important matter and scores at least a partial win. He has succeeded in diverting attention from his campaign actions that benefited Putin.
The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime.There is no O, it's called Fighting Back
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
Along with his shouts of ''witch hunt,'' Trump also incessantly declares, ''No collusion.'' This simplistic piece of shorthand aims at a straw man. Trump seems to be setting a bar that favors him: Unless evidence emerges that he personally met with Russian hackers, told them which Democratic Party emails to steal, and then provided guidance on how to release the material, then nothing wrong occurred. But the public record is already replete with serious wrongdoing committed by Trump and his aides. For example, after being secretly briefed in mid-August 2016 by the US intelligence community that Moscow was behind the hack-and-leak attack on the Democrats, Trump publicly claimed there was no reason to suspect the Russians.
With his ''no collusion'' chant, Trump is like an embezzler who yells, ''There was no murder'''--and asserts that is the only relevant benchmark. Think of what Trump did during the campaign in this fashion: A fellow is standing on a sidewalk in front of a bank. He is told the bank is being robbed. He can see armed men wearing masks in the bank. Yet when people pass by and ask what is happening in the bank, he says, ''There is no robbery. Nothing to see. Move along.'' Even if this person did not collude with the robbers, he is helping the gang perpetrate a crime. And in Trump's case, the criminal act was committed for his gain.
Much of the media framing of the Russia scandal has followed Trump's lead and adopted his collusion-centric perspective. The debate, such as it is, has become whether Trump directly collaborated with Moscow's covert operation'--and whether Trump, as president, tried to thwart the investigation and obstruct justice. The story is not driven by the serious offenses already established: Trump and his associates encouraged and assisted an attack from a foreign foe.
In this ongoing fight, it is Trump and his bumper stickers versus a media presenting a wide variety of disparate disclosures that come and go quickly in a hyperchaotic information ecosystem, often absent full context. No wonder then that a recent poll found that 59 percent of Americans said Mueller has uncovered no crimes. In fact, he has secured 17 criminal indictments and obtained five guilty pleas. Accurate news reporting alone does not always carry the day.
The Russia scandal is the most important scandal in the history of the United States. President Andrew Johnson was impeached (but not convicted) because he violated an act of Congress to remove a secretary of war. In the Teapot Dome scandal, the secretary of the interior in Warren Harding's administration leased federal lands at low rates to private oil companies, presumably in return for bribes. In Watergate, a president and his aides engaged in political skulduggery against political foes. President Bill Clinton lied about a sexual affair he had with a subordinate in the White House. All these scandals raised serious questions about integrity in government. But at the heart of the Russia scandal is the most fundamental issue for a democracy: the sanctity of elections.
An overseas enemy struck at the core of the republic'--and it succeeded. Trump and his minions helped and encouraged this attack by engaging in secret contacts with Moscow and publicly insisting no such assault was happening. This is far bigger than a bribe, a break-in, or a blow job. And, worse, the United States remains vulnerable to such a strike.
Yet the full impact of this scandal does not resonate in the daily coverage and discourse. In many ways, the media presents the Russia scandal mostly as a political threat to Trump, not as a serious threat to the nation. And many Americans, thanks to Trump and his allies, view it as a charade. All this shows how easy it is for disinformation and demagoguery to distort reality. That is a tragedy for the United States. For Trump'--and Putin'--that is victory.
Listen to David Corn discuss this idea on last week's episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:
Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore for Trump-Kim summit
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:32
NBA star turned Kim Jong Un soulmate Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore during President Trump's summit with the North Korean dictator next week, The Post has learned.
''The Worm'' will arrive in the country a day before the June 12 sitdown '-- and sources said he could even play some sort of role in the negotiations.
''No matter what you might think about his presence. One thing's for sure the ratings will be huge,'' a source said. ''A lot of times in situations that involve complex diplomacy countries like to identify ambassadors of goodwill and whether you agree with it or not Dennis Rodman fits the bill.''
The zany, 6-foot-7 ex-baller '-- who has struck up an unlikely bromance with the pint-sized, 5-foot-7 Kim, and has visited the rogue regime five times in the past '-- took some of the credit for getting the two leaders together.
In an April interview with TMZ, Rodman said that Kim didn't understand the president until he gave the North Korean strongman a copy of Trump's ghost-written book, ''The Art of the Deal,'' for his birthday in 2017.
''I think [Kim] didn't realize who Donald Trump was at that time, I guess, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are pretty much the same,'' Rodman told the website.
''I don't want to take all the credit. I don't want to sit there and say, 'I did this, I did that.' That's not my intention,'' Rodman told the website.
''My intention was to go over and be a sports ambassador to North Korea so people understand how the people are in North Korea. I think that has resonated to this whole point now.''
Darren Prince, Rodman's rep, said no trip to Singapore had been confirmed but that The Worm would be willing to go if his expertise were needed.
''He's talked about it, but no final trip or plans have been made,'' he said. Prince marveled at the treatment Rodman got years ago when he first decided to visit the North at Kim's invitation.
''It seemed like everyone [in the US] turned on him and now things seem to be happening, so he's just happy it's happening. He's just hoping for a great historic outcome,'' Prince said.
Trump and Kim will meet at a luxury resort on Sentosa Island for nuclear talks next week in Singapore, the White House said Tuesday. The historic meeting will be held at the Capella Hotel, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted.
''We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality,'' Sanders said. Trump and Kim's highly anticipated meeting is scheduled for June 12 at 9 a.m. Singapore time '-- or 9 p.m. on June 11 New York Time '-- after a flurry of on-again-off-again action.
Trump hopes to secure a nuclear deal with the North Koreans, seeking for Kim to give up his nuclear program, though he stressed last week that the process would likely take longer than a single meeting.
Located a quarter mile off the coast of the city-state, Sentosa Island is known for its high-end beach hotels, golf courses and amusement parks. A US advance team was spotted at the Capella Hotel last week meeting with North Korean officials in preparation for the summit.
Officials had also considered the Shangri-La Hotel, which hosts an annual international security summit and was the venue for a 2015 meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.
Additional reporting by Marisa Schultz
DNA Website MyHeritage Hacked; 92 Million User Accounts Exposed | Zero Hedge
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:29
Why are tertiary structures selfish? Because the amino acids are all wrapped up in themselves.
What did the snooty metacentric say to the telocentric? Two arms are better than one.
Morgan was very happy that his student Lillian Sampson discovered an attached female, but he had a glint in his eye when he discovered that his student Lillian Sampson was an unattached female.
Cell about to undergo mitosis to an interested geneticist: "I hope I have your divided attention"
What has four poles, two plates, a bunch of squiggley stuff and is purple? Meiotic grapes.
What do you call a Drosophila who likes to drink? A bar fly.
What did one Drosophila say to the other Drosophila? Your human is down!
How can you better understand genetics in cold weather? Put your codon!
Do you know why the geneticist went to dental school? He was looking for an oral high gene.
Why did the gene crossover? To get to the non sister homologue stupid!
Make like a melanogaster and buzz off!
What do you get when you cross a bridge with a bicycle? The other side.
What do you get when you cross a parrot with a lion? I don't know, but when it speaks you better listen.
A boy got a large gash on his arm and his sister (type AB) quickly gave him a blood transfusion from her blood to save him. Instead of feeling better, he started groaning loudly. What's the matter his sister asked? He replied: meiosis! (my "o" sis)
A boy was sitting, looking at epithelial cells on his big toe dividing, through an electron microscope his folks bought him for doing so well in genetics class. All of a sudden his sister came into the room, and being clumsy and offish walked on the foot he was looking at. His nerves being in good condition he felt, as well as saw this intrusion and cried out, "You're standing on my toe, sis!"
Why did the polyploid flower always get its own way? Because the diploid flower knew it was out numbered.
What do you call a 6-legged insect that can't speak? A mutant.
Roses are red, genes are blue, their mistakes are small and very rare, as long as you discount Newman's hair.
What ever happened to Gene? Oh, he moved to LA and hired a promoter and now he's a big operator. just last week he put an operon (opera on) in the Hollywood Bowl.
Where would one find genes retired from the human genetic pool? In an old folks genome.
Says he: "I can't help my behavior, it's in my genes"
Says she: " I don't care what's in your jeans, stay out of mine.
Q: How do you tell the difference between a male chromosome and a female chromosome?
A: Take down their genes (jeans)!
Q: How many zygotes does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 2 n' 4 poles
2018 Election Results, News, Candidates & Polls - NBC News
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:24
Senate primary
Candidate Percent Votes Dianne Feinstein Incumbent | Winner
43.4% 1,093,471 James Bradley 10.1% 253,130 Kevin de Leon 9.6% 242,754 Arun Bhumitra 5.5% 137,262 Paul Taylor 5.2% 130,390 Erin Cruz 4.4% 110,554 Tom Palzer 3% 74,636 Rocky De La Fuente 2.1% 52,349 Alison Hartson 2% 50,181 Pat Harris 1.7% 42,640 Kevin Mottus 1.6% 40,424 Jack Crew 1.6% 39,383 Patrick Little 1.5% 37,587 Jerry Laws 1.3% 32,824 Derrick Reid 0.9% 23,333 Adrienne Edwards 0.8% 19,596 Douglas Pierce 0.6% 16,026 Mario Nabliba 0.6% 15,904 Donnie Turner 0.5% 12,727 David Hildebrand 0.4% 10,586 Ling Ling Shi 0.4% 10,332 Herbert Peters 0.4% 10,150 David Moore 0.4% 9,059 Lee Olson 0.3% 8,578 Jason Hanania 0.3% 7,954 John Parker 0.3% 7,131 Don Grundmann 0.3% 6,528 Gerald Plummer 0.3% 6,408 Colleen Fernald 0.2% 5,931 Rash Ghosh 0.2% 4,487 Tim Gildersleeve 0.1% 3,581 Michael Girgis 0% 1,158 Governor primary
Candidate Percent Votes Gavin Newsom Winner
34.4% 847,854 John Cox Winner
26.4% 650,245 Travis Allen 11.2% 274,845 Antonio Villaraigosa 10.9% 267,923 John Chiang 8.4% 206,298 Delaine Eastin 2.5% 61,540 Amanda Renteria 1.4% 35,252 Robert Newman 0.8% 20,070 Peter Liu 0.5% 13,279 Jeffrey Taylor 0.5% 13,076 Michael Shellenberger 0.5% 11,125 Yvonne Girard 0.4% 9,888 Juan Bribiesca 0.3% 6,326 Gloria La Riva 0.2% 5,752 Zoltan Istvan 0.2% 4,881 Josh Jones 0.2% 4,700 Albert Mezzetti 0.2% 3,998 Nickolas Wildstar 0.2% 3,936 Robert Griffis 0.2% 3,933 Thomas Cares 0.1% 3,383 Akinyemi Agbede 0.1% 2,962 Christopher Carlson 0.1% 2,384 Hawk Mikado 0.1% 2,249 Johnny Wattenburg 0.1% 2,143 Desmond Silveira 0.1% 1,722 Klement Tinaj 0.1% 1,576 Shubham Goel 0.1% 1,469 House 22 primary
Candidate Percent Votes Devin Nunes Incumbent | Winner
58.1% 24,720 Andrew Janz Winner
31.5% 13,393 Bobby Bliatout 5% 2,146 Ricardo Franco 3.1% 1,312 Brian Carroll 1.3% 549 Bill Merryman 0.9% 392 House 48 primary
Candidate Percent Votes Dana Rohrabacher Incumbent
29.7% 16,697 Hans Keirstead 18.7% 10,513 Scott Baugh 18% 10,124 Harley Rouda 14.5% 8,125 Omar Siddiqui 4.8% 2,688 Rachel Payne 2.5% 1,412 John Gabbard 2.5% 1,395 Paul Martin 1.7% 933 Laura Oatman 1.6% 878 Michael Kotick 1.5% 862 Shastina Sandman 1.5% 856 Tony Zarkades 0.8% 467 Deanie Schaarsmith 0.8% 451 Brandon Reiser 0.5% 301 Stelian Onufrei 0.4% 239 Kevin Kensinger 0.4% 205 House 50 primary
Candidate Percent Votes Duncan Hunter Incumbent | Winner
48% 26,586 Ammar Campa-Najjar 15.2% 8,441 Josh Butner 13.7% 7,581 Bill Wells 13.3% 7,384 Patrick Malloy 6.5% 3,586 Shamus Sayed 2.1% 1,146 Richard Kahle 1.2% 691
June 5 Primary Elections: Live Coverage | FiveThirtyEight
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 04:10
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Secret Netflix codes to unlock hidden TV series and movie categories revealed
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 02:20
CRACKING THE CODE It's a really simple way to enjoy a hidden goldmine of new shows
By Sean Keach, Digital Technology and Science Editor and Matthew Dunn for News.com.au
21st May 2018, 9:10 am
Updated: 23rd May 2018, 9:35 am
By Sean Keach, Digital Technology and Science Editor and Matthew Dunn for News.com.au
IF you're tired of re-watching your favourite shows on Netflix, or simply want a little inspiration for your next one, we've got a solution.
We've collected dozens of secret codes which unlock super specific categories, including travel documentaries and B-horror films.
Getty - Contributor
You can unlock hyper-specific genres such as religious documentaries or cerebral French-language dramas New Netflix doc looks at the dangers of popping 'study drug' Adderall No longer will you find yourself making a selection from the recommended content.
This is where a collection of "secret codes" will be a godsend, News.com.au reports.
By making a small tweak to the Netflix URL, you will be able to unlock hyper-specific genres such as religious documentaries or cerebral French-language dramas from the 1960s.
To manually explore categories usually hidden by the streaming service, you will need to enter the following URL: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/INSERTNUMBER
Use the codes below to increase your viewing pleasureThen, simply replace the ''INSERTNUMBER'' component of the URL with one of the codes needed to access the alternative genres.
To get you started we have listed three collections of codes below, but the extensive list can be found in entirety here.
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A version of this story appeared on News.com.au
Why Kate Spade Won't See A Penny Of The $2.4 Billion Sale To Coach
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 01:15
Andrew Toth/Getty Images
Kate Spade fully cashed out of her eponymous fashion label in 2006. The company is slated to be sold for $2.4 billion. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
Luxury retailer Kate Spade is set to be acquired for $2.4 billion, and the woman for whom the brand is named won't see a dollar of it.
On Monday, news broke that fashion company Coach would purchase Kate Spade for $18.50 per share, or $2.4 billion. The announcement sent Kate Spade shares up 8% through 3 P.M. EST, while shares of Coach climbed nearly 5%.
The company's original founders, including Kate Spade and her husband, Andy Spade, cashed out of the business more than a decade ago. As a result, they will not receive anything from the proposed sale.
Reached through a representative, Ms. Spade declined to offer comment.
Also on Forbes:
Spade, a former accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine, launched her eponymous brand with her future husband, Andy, an advertising executive, in 1993. By 1998, annual revenues had reached $27 million.
In 1999, they sold a 56% stake to Neiman Marcus for $34 million. Then, in 2006, Spade and her two partners sold the remaining 44% to Neiman for a reported $59 million. Assuming the Spades split their share with partners, they would have walked away with $46.5 million before taxes.
A week after the second half of its acquisition, Neiman Marcus inked a deal to offload the entire Kate Spade company to fashion retailer Liz Claiborne for a reported $124 million, including debt. Liz Claiborne, which once held more than 40 subsidiary brands, subsequently changed its name to Fifth & Pacific in 2012, before rebranding again as Kate Spade & Co. two years later.
Ms. Spade, having missed out on the most lucrative portion of her company's history, is seeking to start anew with another brand, Frances Valentine, which she launched in 2016. Whether she can build, and hold on to, a fashion unicorn of her own remains to be seen.
Company representatives declined to comment on Frances Valentine's current financial figures.
Kate Spade & Co. Explores Sale - WSJ
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 01:13
Updated Dec. 28, 2016 4:37 p.m. ETHigh-end handbag and apparel maker Kate Spade & Co. is exploring a sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter, after coming under pressure from an activist shareholder.
The New York company is working with an investment bank and has contacted possible buyers, including other retailers, one of the people said. The process is at an early stage.
High-end handbag and apparel maker Kate Spade & Co. is exploring a sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter, after coming under pressure from an activist shareholder.
The New York company is working with an investment bank and has contacted possible buyers, including other retailers, one of the people said. The process is at an early stage.
As of Wednesday morning, Kate Spade had a market value of $1.9 billion. Its value has dropped amid a difficult retail environment.
In November, activist hedge fund Caerus Investors disclosed a small stake in Kate Spade and called for the company to consider a sale. It noted a sharp decline in the company's shares since the summer of 2014 and said the market had lost faith in management. ''We believe the best path for enhancing shareholder value is to pursue a sale of the company,'' the fund said then in a letter to the company.
A Kate Spade representative declined to comment Wednesday.
The shares traded as high as about $40 in 2014. They were down slightly at $14.51 midday Wednesday.
Kate Spade could attract a number of potential buyers. Coach Inc. has long been considered a good home for Kate Spade, given Coach's focus on handbags and accessories and its department-store presence. Coach could also help Kate expand abroad. But, Kate Spade could also attract luxury accessory makers, foreign buyers and buyout firms, in part because of its manageable size.
Kate Spade was once part of Fifth & Pacific Cos., which had formerly been known as Liz Claiborne Inc. While the rest of the retail conglomerate's brands faltered, Kate became the star of the company.
Liz Claiborne sold off the company's other brands, such as Juicy Couture and its namesake, until it was left with just Kate Spade. The overall company then was called Kate Spade & Co.
In addition to its own retail stores, the company's brands, which include men's label Jack Spade, are sold in department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. It also has outlet stores that sell some of its collection at lower price points.
For the third quarter ending Oct. 1, Kate Spade's sales increased 14.1% to $317 million.
The retail environment has been challenging, especially for designers that have significant exposure to department stores, where traffic has declined. U.S.-based luxury brands such as Kate Spade are also negatively affected by the strong dollar. Kate Spade's chief executive said on the company's latest earnings call that it has had to cope with a decrease in sales in tourist-dependent stores since late last year.
Write to Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com
Coach to Buy Kate Spade in $2.4 Billion Deal - WSJ
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 01:11
Coach Inc. agreed to acquire rival Kate Spade & Co. for $2.4 billion, as the handbag and accessories maker seeks to tap younger consumers amid slower growth in the handbag market.
Sales of handbags are lagging as women have traded down to smaller, less expensive purses and aggressive discounting both in stores and online has pressured profits. The proposed merger would combine two big U.S. players, creating a company with $5.9 billion in annual sales and 1,300 retail stores and outlets around the world.
On Monday, Coach Chief Executive Victor Luis said there is little overlap between customers of the two brands, especially since Coach has tried to move upscale in recent years. The attraction of Kate Spade was its appeal to younger shoppers, Mr. Luis said, adding that only 10% of consumers say they buy both brands.
''Kate Spade has the highest penetration among millennials within our competitive set,'' Mr. Luis said in an interview. ''Millennials offer a market that is substantial in terms of size and allows us to recruit younger customers.'' According to Jefferies analyst Randal Konik, millennials account for about two-thirds of Kate Spade's shoppers.
''I've been buying Kate Spade since I got my first job,'' said Bianca Damionne, a 22-year-old who works in New York City.
''I hope Coach doesn't change things, because I like Kate Spade now,'' she said on Monday while shopping in a Kate Spade shop on Fifth Avenue. ''The style, the colors, everything.''
The handbag market has slowed to about 2% annual growth from as much as 15% growth six years ago, said Craig Johnson, an analyst at Customer Growth Partners. Coach has responded by targeting a slightly older and wealthier client with higher-priced bags, creating a gap for younger 20-something shoppers that it can fill with Kate Spade, Mr. Johnson said.
The industry could see more consolidation, as rivals scramble to line up their own deals. ''If you want growth in North America, you will have to make an acquisition, because the market is saturated,'' said Neil Saunders, managing director of the research firm GlobalData Retail.
Mr. Luis said he still has confidence handbags and leather goods are better positioned than other corners of retail. ''Consumers continue to shift dollars away from apparel to handbags, accessories and footwear,'' he said.
Coach will pay Kate Spade shareholders $18.50 a share in cash. That represents a 28% premium to Kate's closing price as of Dec. 27, the last trading day before a Wall Street Journal report that Kate was exploring a sale of the company after coming under pressure from an activist shareholder. The company confirmed it was reviewing such options in February.
Kate Spade shares rose 8.3% to $18.38 on Monday, while Coach shares climbed 4.8% to $44.71.
The companies, both based in New York, have battled a retail environment that has been challenging, especially for designers with significant exposure to department stores, where traffic has declined. U.S.-based luxury brands are also hurt by a strong U.S. dollar.
Coach had revenue of $4.5 billion in the fiscal year ended July 2016, down from more than $5 billion a few years ago. Kate Spade, which shed several apparel brands to focus on its handbag business, had revenue of $1.4 billion in the year ended Dec. 31.
Sales at Coach started to grow again in recent quarters as it pulled back from department stores, closed a third of its full-priced stores in North America and cut back on promotions. The company said it plans to reduce online flash sales as well as distribution in off-price chains like T.J. Maxx for Kate Spade after the deal closes, which is expected to occur in the third quarter.
Mr. Luis said 35% of Coach stores overlap with Kate Spade stores in North America but he doesn't foresee widespread closures following the combination. However, analysts said there are still too many stores given sluggish traffic at malls.
''Anybody who's been to Woodbury Common outlets and seen two Coach (women and men) and two Kate Spade stores (accessories and apparel) all within 30 yards of each other doesn't need a rocket science degree to know that the combined company doesn't need all that space,'' Mr. Johnson said, referring to a shopping center outside of New York City.
Coach does plan to expand Kate Spade outside the U.S., particularly in China and Europe, where the brand has a few dozen stores and outlets. And Mr. Luis said there is an opportunity to buy out some joint venture partners or distributors in those regions.
Coach has been on the hunt for acquisitions as Mr. Luis seeks to build a collection of brands and respond to the rapid rise of Michael Kors Holdings KORS 4.90% Ltd. Coach approached Burberry Group PLC about a takeover last year but was rebuffed, according to people familiar with the situation, and it was seen by analysts as a potential suitor for Jimmy Choo, which put itself up for sale last month. Coach recently hired former Jimmy Choo CEO Joshua Schulman as president of its namesake brand.
But Choo, which is valued at over $1 billion by some estimates, would likely be too big for Coach to swallow in the wake of its Kate Spade deal. Mr. Luis said the company could make additional acquisitions in the near term, but they would likely be of a size similar to Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, a shoe maker it bought in 2015 for about $574 million.
Analysts say Kors is more concerned with turning around its own brand than buying a competitor at this point. It suffered from many of the same problems that plagued Coach, including overexpansion and heavy discounting. ''With Kors trading in such deep value territory,'' wrote Mr. Konik of Jefferies in a recent report, ''we believe share repurchases would be a better alternative for rewarding investors.''
The brands will be kept separate and there are no plans to cross-sell products at each other's stores, executives said. Mr. Luis said his intention was to retain key Kate Spade employees including Craig Leavitt, who will continue to serve as chief executive of the Kate Spade brand.
The transaction is subject to the tender of a majority of the outstanding Kate Spade shares as well as regulatory approvals.
Kate Spade can terminate the transaction if the company is offered a superior proposal from another suitor, and Coach can terminate the deal if Kate Spade's board no longer supports it. Either circumstance would require Kate Spade to pay Coach an $83.3 million termination fee. Either company can call off the deal if it isn't complete by Feb. 7.
Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com and Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson@wsj.com
Appeared in the May 9, 2017, print edition as 'Coach Goes Younger In Nabbing Kate Spade.'
Ex-dean William Strampel had MSU-themed pornography on computer, officials testify | MLive.com
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 18:46
Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel appears for his preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel, far left, appears for his preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Judge Richard Ball listens to evidence during former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
A computer submitted as evidence sits on the witness stand during former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel appears for his preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Brian Laity, a computer forensics expert with the Attorney General's Office, testifies about pornographic images and videos found on former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's work computer during Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Brian Laity, a computer forensics expert with the Attorney General's Office, testifies about pornographic images and videos found on former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's work computer during Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Bill Rollstin stands to his left. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Brian Laity, a computer forensics expert with the Attorney General's Office, testifies about pornographic images and videos found on former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's work computer during Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel appears for his preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Michigan State University student Leah Jackson testifies during Ex-Michigan State University dean William Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Judge Richard Ball listens to testimony during former Michigan State University dean William Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Former Michigan State University dean William Strampel listens to testimony during his preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
Michigan State University student Leah Jackson testifies during Ex-Michigan State University dean William Strampel's preliminary examination in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (Neil Blake | MLive.com)(Neil Blake)
EAST LANSING - William Strampel, the former dean of Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, had Spartan-themed pornography on his work computer, according to testimony at his preliminary examination Tuesday.
A forensic expert with the Attorney General's Office also found an hour-long video on one of Strampel's computers showing his MSU office. Bill Rollstin, lead attorney for the Attorney General's Office, alleged Strampel set the camera up to capture "attractive young woman" walking by his office.
Judge Richard Ball, of East Lansing 54B-District Court, ultimately wouldn't allow that footage to be entered into evidence, however. Strampel's attorney, John Dakmak, argued that there was no way to know why Strampel set the camera up. The evidence was being offered in connection with Strampel's felony count of misconduct in office.
Strampel, the former boss of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar, is also charged with one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of willful neglect of duty.
Dakmak on Tuesday also objected to the dozen of sexually explicit pictures being entered into evidence, arguing that they weren't relevant. Ball allowed the pictures, however, all of which were shown on a large screen in the courtroom just a few feet from where Strampel sat stone-faced at a defense table.
The images, many of which were found on Strampel's work-issued MSU computer, showed naked women and sex toys. The young women in some of the pictures were shown wearing Spartan gear. In one, a small Spartan logo was the only thing covering a woman's nipple, leaving the rest of her breast exposed.
Brian Laity, a forensic expert with the Attorney General's Office, testified Tuesday morning about how the images were scraped from Strampel's work computer, taken after a search warrant was executed on Strampel's MSU office Feb 2, and his home computer, which authorities took into possession on March 26.
The preliminary examination is being conducted so the judge can determine if there is probable cause that crimes were committed and Strampel committed them. The case would be bound over to circuit court for trial if that's the case.
Strampel is also accused of sexual misconduct with students.
Michigan State University student Leah Jackson testified she met with Strampel in June 2017 to request a waiver on a test. Jackson said Strampel immediately denied the request, then turned the conversation to sex and nude pictures during an hour-long meeting.
Jackson testified that Strampel started talking about what a young woman could do for older men in exchange for money and favors.
Strampel said something like: "All a 26-year-old has to do is put out for twenty minutes, then the 26-year-old can get whatever she wants ... " the woman testifed
Strampel also told the woman that he predicted she danced on the tables at a local East Lansing watering hole.
Strampel said: "I bet you've been dancing on tables there at Harpers," according to the woman's testimony.
The woman said Strampel also brought up lewd pictures during the hour-long meeting.
"He was talking about naked, nude pictures," she said.
Jackson said that there was a moment where Strampel offered her favors with her academic struggles in exchange for naked pictures.
"I thought he was suggesting I give him a (nude) picture so I could continue on in my education," she said.
The woman was so upset by the meeting that she brought her father to the next meeting she had with Strampel in December 2017.
"I was very scared," she said. "I almost went into a survival mode. I felt trapped in this room with this man discussing very uncomfortable, inappropriate things."
Strampel didn't make any physical contact with Jackson, according to testimony. But it is a alleged he touched another woman, a former MSU student who testified Strampel grabbed her by the buttocks while they were posing for a picture together. That woman is not being named because it is MLive's policy to not name victims of sexual assault.
The woman also testified that Strampel told her to spin around for him twice while in his office so he could get a better look at her and that he would comment on the size of her breasts, she testifed
Strampel also faces other charges related to the Nassar scandal. Testimony at preliminary examination didn't touch on that topic Tuesday morning.
Strampel oversaw the department where Nassar worked for decades as a sports medicine doctor before he was fired in 2016. Nassar is now in prison for possession of child pornography charges and was also sentenced earlier this year on charges that he sexually assaulted dozens of women under the guise of medical treatment.
According to an affidavit submitted in support of the charges, four women allege Strampel harassed them with actions such as: Requiring a female medical student to turn around in circles so he could observe her body; asking one female student what he had to teach her to be submissive and subordinate to men; and grabbing the buttocks of two female students.
Kate Spade, American Designer, Dead at 55 - The New York Times
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 16:47
Designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her collection in 2004. Credit Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press The American designer Kate Spade was found dead on Tuesday, according to police officials.
The police said that Ms. Spade, 55, was discovered unresponsive at a Park Avenue apartment, where she had hanged herself. She had left a note, but the official did not comment on what it said. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:26 a.m.
A housekeeper found Ms. Spade in her bedroom hanging from a red scarf tied to a doorknob, the police said. She was unconscious and the housekeeper called 911.
Ms. Spade's husband was at the scene. A police spokesman did not know the whereabouts of Ms. Spade's daughter.
Kate Spade, one of the first of a powerful wave of female American contemporary designers in the 1990s, built a brand on the appeal of clothes and accessories that made women smile. Her cheerful non-restraint struck a chord with consumers, as did her bright prints. She herself was the embodiment of her aesthetic, with her proto-1960s bouffant, nerd glasses, and kooky grin, which masked a business mind that saw the opportunities in becoming a lifestyle brand, almost before the term officially existed.
Ms. Spade and her husband-to-be, Andy, launched Kate Spade in 1993. Within a few years, she had opened a SoHo shop and was collecting industry awards, her name a shorthand for the cute, clever bags that were an instant hit with career women and, later, young girls, status symbols of a more attainable, all-American sort than a Fendi clutch or Chanel bag.
In 1999, the Spades sold the business to Neiman Marcus Group, which sold it to Liz Claiborne, Inc. in 2006. Ms. Spade became the very visible face of her brand.
The Spades left Kate Spade in 2007, and devoted themselves to other projects. Ms. Spade dedicated herself to her family and to philanthropy, and in 2016, together with her husband and two friends, launched a new venture, an accessories label called Frances Valentine. She was so committed to the project that she told interviews she had changed her surname from Spade to Valentine.
William K. Rashbaum and Ashley Southall contributed reporting.
Miss America is scrapping the swimsuit portion from its pageant - CNN
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 13:38
(CNN)The next edition of the Miss America pageant will scrap swimsuits and will be more inclusive to women of all sizes, the contest announced Tuesday.
Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, announced on "Good Morning America" that the event will no longer feature a swimsuit portion.
Miss America will be a competition, not a pageant, Carlson said on the show Tuesday.
"We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That's huge," she said.
Carlson also said the new Miss America competition will be more inclusive to women of "all shapes and sizes."
The official Miss America Twitter account tweeted a short video of a white bikini going up in a puff of smoke with the hashtag #byebyebikini.
It's not the only change coming
But the elimination of swimsuits isn't the only change coming to the 97-year-old event. The evening gown competition is being revamped as well. Carlson said contestants will be able to wear "whatever they choose."
The big changes to Miss America had been expected since the Miss America organization is now being
led entirely by women for the first time.Just last month Regina Hopper was appointed president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, and Marjorie Vincent-Tripp was named as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Foundation. They joined Carlson, who was named chairwoman in December.
The female trio takes over for the leaders of the Miss America Organization who resigned in December after the Huffington Post revealed that leaders and employees had sent emails disparaging pageant contestants, including references to their weight and sex lives.
A new era for the organization
In the statement announcing the new leaders, Miss America said the all-female team signaled a new era for the organization, best known for its widely televised pageants.
In another first, all three leaders are former pageant winners in the Miss America system.
Hopper, former CEO of Intelligent Transportation Society of America, was Miss Arkansas 1983. Vincent-Tripp, an assistant attorney general at the Florida Office of the Attorney General, was Miss America 1991. Finally, Gretchen Carlson, the advocate and former Fox News host, was Miss America 1989.
The next Miss America competition is September 9 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
CNN's Eric Levenson and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.
Nordstream 2 Reveals The Extent Of U.S. Weakness | Zero Hedge
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 13:07
Authored by Tom Luongo,
The latest twist of the Nordstream 2 Saga is the U.S. is now threatening to sanction the European companies acting as Gazprom's financier's for the pipeline. This threat has been there since President Trump signed the sanctions bill spearheaded by a dying John McCain last summer.
But, don't let appearances fool you. Trump wasn't reluctant about signing that bill. He welcomed it. He went to the Three Seas Summit with ''European Energy Security'' on his lips and trade tariffs/barriers in his heart.
He knew where this would lead. And so did we. The recent report from RT linked above reveals just how desperate the U.S. is to stopping Nordstream 2, and, frankly, it's pathetic.
''Everything is on the table. The administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to stopping the Nord Stream project,'' the source said, as cited by the media.
Last summer, Congress approved the so-called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The legislation allows the White House to introduce punitive measures against the participants of the energy project, investing over $5 million in those enterprises.
''We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk,'' a State Department spokeswoman told the media.
Trump and his increasingly erratic foreign policy inner circle continue to up the stakes for European companies and countries that do not go along with his plans to remake the world in his image.
Nordstream, along with Turkish Stream and potentially a revived Southstream into Bulgaria represent an existential threat to U.S. control over European politics and its economy.
Losing FaceSo, it's no wonder why the U.S. is taking such a hard-line approach to Nordstream 2.
But even if sanctions against companies like Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Uniper, Engie and Germany's Wintershall, the investors in Nordstream 2, pressure them to call their loans to Gazprom, if that's even possible without significant losses, that won't stop the pipeline from being built.
Because, it's not like Russia doesn't have the resources to reroute to Gazprom and offer ruble-denominated loans to cover any pull-out. It does.
Moreover, all legal challenges to the pipeline have failed. Permits have been issued. Oil prices are high so Russian government coffers are in good shape. Russian banks are carrying just 1.3% non-performing loans on their books and the Bank of Russia is, slowly, lowering interest rates.
So, at this point, you have to wonder what the point is of continuing the charade that Nordstream 2 can be stopped?
To my mind, the biggest issue is one of saving face at this point. The U.S. has invested so much political capital in stopping Nordstream 2, losing out and watching it get built is a monument to its lost influence in Europe.
Remember, Trump went, practically hat in hand, and tried to bribe German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop Nordstream 2 last month when she was in Washington to get him to not leave the JCPOA.
Neither budged. Trump wants Merkel to spend 3% of GDP on NATO. She moved it up to 1.5%. He slapped steel and aluminum tariffs on. He's mulling banning German luxury car imports. Bullies bully because they are weak.
Merkel visited Putin twice and resurrected an EU law that punishes companies for bending to foreign government demands.
But, as I've been saying for over a year now, Europe is staring a sovereign debt crisis in the face. Merkel's position as Chancellor in Germany is weak and could collapse by the end of Trump's first term.
Third Wave of OppositionIt is possible that Gazprom could run afoul of the EU's Third Energy Package over the part of the pipeline that crosses Germany's territorial waters if its European financiers pull out thanks to Trump's sanctions threats. But, even then, the worries over that are about tariff structure of delivered gas, not about ownership.
A deal can be worked out once the pipeline begins shipping gas, around the same time that a new deal with Ukraine's Naftogaz will be needed. Those two issues are linked but very solvable.
The Third Energy Package is why Southstream was originally canceled because the EU included a clause demanding the pipeline's owner and operator be unbundled. This means that Gazprom gets to build the pipeline but can only own 50% of it.
The U.S. put heavy pressure on the Bulgarian government to stop it as well, which ultimately cost them their jobs.
Nordstream 2 was designed to be a joint venture between Gazprom (50% ownership) and a 10% stake by the five companies I listed above. Poland nixed the JV in January of 2016, prompting the current arrangement with those five companies loaning their stake to Nordstream 2, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom, to build the pipeline.
The terms aren't as good this way, but it was the only way to get the pipeline off the ground. By having these companies from core EU countries invested, Nordstream 2 was a brilliant piece of political maneuvering, which would always lead us to the current situation.
Reality Strikes BackTrump is fighting against the economic tide with his opposition to Nordstream 2. He won't be able to stop Turkish Stream from bringing gas into Eastern Europe, the very countries he's trying to bolster with his opposition to Nordstream.
It is Poland and the Baltics who stand to lose the most over Nordstream 2. The Neocons that infest Trump's cabinet are still convinced they can pressure Russia into a mistake in Ukraine, dumping billions into a sinking ship to goad Putin into invading on behalf of the separatists in the Donbass.
He hasn't done it yet in nearly four years, it isn't likely to happen now, especially with UAF desertions rising catastrophically, no matter how many anti-tank guns we 'sell' them or hospitals they bomb.
They still dream of putting missile 'defense' systems on Russia's border to intimidate Putin into submission. They are, to paraphrase Darth Vader, as clumsy as they are stupid.
But, with the Russia inching closer to putting its hyper-sonic weapons into the field and Europe vulnerable financially and politically, this is the last chance they have to stop Eurasian integration and continue the Empire.
Trump is threatening people he has transitory leverage over in the EU. Nordstream 2 is a path to EU independence, not slavery to Russia. The EU's politics are not controlled by Russian imperatives. So, all talk of ''European Energy Security'' is complete nonsense.
This is about maintaining the post-WWII institutional control the U.S. and the U.K. have had for the past three generations. But, the rest of the world has had it. Europeans have had it with their leaders doing Washington's and Wall St.'s bidding.
This is where the populism is coming from. And if Merkel wants to last out her full term she has to stand up to Trump over Nordstream 2, back the companies she's supposed to protect from foreign influence and come up with a better way.
The rest of the world is ready to switch to euros and yuan to settle their trade. Iran, China and Russia are inviting Trump to act like he is. They want him to burn bridges, make unreasonable demands and transparently push policies against his allies' best interests.
It makes it easier for them to break down the barriers to new relationships. To end frozen conflicts like a divided Korea, an intractable Iran/Israel divide and a Russian/Japanese state of war.
If he pushes the world into a full-on trade war the subsequent debt deflation (beginning now) will not be controllable the way it was in previous iterations of strong dollar 'diplomacy.' And it may provide the perfect opportunity for Europe to find out just who its friends truly are.
* * *
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Governments And Social Media Companies Are Collaborating To Censor Anyone That Would Dare To Question Mainstream Media Narratives '' The American Dream
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 12:58
The era of free and unfettered speech on the Internet is rapidly ending. All over the world, national governments are working very closely with social media companies to take control of ''Internet news''. Up until recently, the Internet really was a wonderful marketplace of ideas, and ordinary people like you and I were empowered to share information with one another like never before in human history. But now the elite have seen the power that this can have, and they are cracking down hard. The term ''fake news'' has come to mean any source that would dare to question the official narratives that are being fed to us from the mainstream media, and in reality the push to censor ''fake news'' is really just an all-out effort to eliminate independent thought. Before the Internet, it was much easier for the elite to control the flow of information, and now they are taking unprecedented measures to control the flow of information in the digital age.
Just check out what is happening in France. A proposed law would give authorities the power ''to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false'''...
Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.
Social networks would have to introduce measures allowing users to flag up false reports, pass their data on such articles to authorities, and make public their efforts against fake news.And the law would authorise the state to take foreign broadcasters off the air if they were attempting to destabilise France '-- a measure seemingly aimed at Russian state-backed outlet RT in particular.
New measures under consideration by the European Union as a whole are even more draconian.
According to a Breitbart report, all social media companies would be forced to use ''content recognition technologies'' to ''monitor and control all uploads'''...
The European Union (EU) is less than a month away from voting to introduce aggressive new online copyright laws and ''widespread censorship'' measures, which critics say could strangle new media websites and stifle satire and online meme culture.
Unelected European Commission bureaucrats have drafted legislation which detractors say could force online platforms to monitor and control all uploads to some platforms with ''content recognition technologies''. They are also said to have proposed what has been termed a 'link tax', which could compel blogs and other websites to pay just to reference content.
To give you an idea of what that would look like in practice, all we have to do is to consider what is already happening over in China.
Internet censorship in China has already achieved legendary status, and the largest social media network in China has already blocked at least 500 million postings in the battle against ''fake news'''...
WeChat, China's biggest social media network with around one billion users, has so far blocked about 500 million postings in its fight against fake news, according to a report by a government body.
Apart from blocking the posts directly, Tencent's WeChat is working with hundreds of third-party organisations in an effort to block postings and quash ''rumours'' as part of its overall effort to ''safeguard cybersecurity'', according to a report released on Friday by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, an institute run by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
WeChat has built a mini-programme into its social messaging application dedicated to refuting ''rumours'', including postings on topics such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airline Flight 370 in 2014 and various other topics, such as ''cures'' for cancer. By the end of 2017, the programme has quashed ''rumours'' for over 19.7 million users and around 37 million alerts were sent out.
Just think about that for a moment.
The Chinese are not just filtering out a few legitimately fake news stories.
The truth is that they are systematically censoring anything that does not fit the official narratives that they want the public to believe.
This is the greatest threat to freedom of speech that any of us have ever seen, and it has started in the United States too.
Late last year, YouTube made an announcement that it had decided to hire ''10,000 new moderators'' to ''flag content'''...
''Of course, all of this comes after YouTube announced in December that it would hire some 10,000 new moderators to flag content,'' Swann reported. ''And those moderators have been flagging at a stunning rate.''
He noted further that in several cases the moderators were pulling entire channels ''without any advance warning'' whatsoever, and that most of those channels were deemed ''either pro-gun or conservative.''
Since that time, conservative videos and conservative accounts have been ''disappearing'' in massive numbers.
Twitter is cracking down hard too. Multitudes of conservatives have been shadowbanned, and that happened to me too.
So I have started up a new Twitter account, and if you would like to follow it, you can find it right here.
On Facebook the censorship of conservatives has reached epic proportions, and now this week we learned that Facebook has decided to kill off the ''trending topics'' section and replace it with filtered news from ''trustworthy and quality sources''.
In essence, what they want to do is to take more control over what we see and what we think.
So what should we do?
Do we keep banging our heads against the wall and continue to use these platforms that are systematically censoring us, or do we try to create new ones? Kurt Schlichter seems to believe that the latter would be the better choice'...
Liberals want to win the victory they can't achieve at the ballot box by using their cultural power to systematically marginalize and exclude Normal Americans from every aspect of society '' and we can't let them. From the business world to Hollywood, we are seeing them react to their utter repudiation in recent elections by trying to intimidate us into silent conformity as the price of us being allowed to participate in the non-governmental institutions of society. We must therefore have a two-part response to this act of cultural warfare '' not only must we get right back in their smug little faces, but we must also build our own cultural institutions, ones that they can't control.
The militant Normals built this country; they can build their own institutions too.
But ultimately if governments are the ones mandating the censorship, there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Just yesterday I wrote about how the Department of Homeland Security is now compiling a comprehensive list of journalists, editors, correspondents, bloggers and ''social media influencers'', and I believe that is a very ominous sign.
The truth is that the battle to restore the U.S. Constitution is literally a battle to protect our most basic human rights.
If we do not have the freedom to think what we want and say what we want, it will only be a matter of time before all of our rights are gone.
And if the United States falls, there won't be any guardians of liberty and freedom remaining on the entire planet.
We must wake the masses up while there is still time, because we really are extremely close to losing everything.
Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
Retaliatory tariffs? Sanction the Trump Organization instead - Vox
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 12:56
Our trade partners are planning to respond to President Donald Trump's imposition of new taxes on steel and aluminum imported from those countries by hitting back with tariffs of their own '-- attempting to inflict economic harm on American companies and mobilize political pressure on Trump to relent.
This is a fine idea. (It's conventional for a reason.) But it does tend to founder on a few problems. One is that it's simply not clear whether Trump cares about the welfare of American citizens or even thinks about the potential political ramifications in a normal way.
Another is that, with overall economic conditions generally pretty good in the United States right now, you'd need to inflict a lot of retaliatory pain for it to be noticeable to normal Americans. Last but by no means least, the true perversity of trade war is that it's genuinely lose-lose.
Trump putting tariffs on foreign metal is bad for foreign metal-makers, but it's also bad for Americans who buy things made out of metal '-- which is basically all of us. Conversely, our allies can hit back with taxes on imported bourbon and orange juice to try to annoy Mitch McConnell and hurt Trump in a key swing state, but then foreigners will have to go without access to delicious bourbon and orange juice.
But there is a better way.
When China wanted to get Trump to let the Chinese tech conglomerate ZTE off the hook for repeatedly violating sanctions against North Korea, it didn't try to make concessions to the American people. It had a Chinese state-owned enterprise approve a huge loan to an Indonesian real estate project that will feature Trump-branded hotels, condos, and a golf course.
America's democratic allies probably can't (and certainly shouldn't) bribe Trump and his family in this way, but they both can and should do the opposite: work together on a package of targeted sanctions narrowly designed to inflict pain specifically on the Trump Organization.
Trump is provoking a crisis in America's alliance systemTrade spats are nothing new, but to impose these tariffs unilaterally, the Trump administration is invoking a 1962 legal provision that lets the president protect industries that are deemed vital to national security. The idea is that since the United States might need steel and aluminum as materials of war, we can't afford to become economically dependent on countries that might deprive of us access to imported metal during wartime.
This might make sense under some circumstances, but the countries Trump is taxing are not only friendly '-- they are literally bound to the United States by mutual defense treaties.
The idea that they represent a potential threat to America is either laughable or alarming, suggesting that Trump harbors aspirations of completely severing America's traditional diplomatic relationships.
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on new Trump tariffs: ''So what you are saying to us, and to all of your NATO allies, is that we somehow represent a national security threat to the United States '... Seriously?'' #CNNSOTU https://t.co/BVonQbOce4
'-- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 3, 2018In light of the unusual combination of geopolitical absurdity and delicacy that the situation poses, at a press conference last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached into the bag of rhetorical clich(C)s we normally see American officials deploy against authoritarian regimes abroad:
I want to be clear on one point: Americans remain our partners, our allies, and our friends. The American people [are] not the target of today's announcement. We hope that eventually common sense will triumph. Unfortunately, the actions taken today by the American government do not seem to be headed in that direction. This is not the American people. We have to believe that, at some point, common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.
While it's a good speech, the reality is that Trudeau's policy countermeasures are aimed at the American people, and so is what we know of Europe's response. The EU's idea is that if they punish Paul Ryan's constituents by levying new taxes on Wisconsin's Harley-Davidson motorcycles, it will induce Ryan to bring pressure to bear on Trump.
A better path would be to take Trudeau's analysis seriously '-- America's allies should come together and retaliate against Trump rather than retaliating against the American people.
Sanctioning the Trump OrganizationThe Canadian writer Scott Gilmore is also thinking along these lines, and makes the case for sanctioning the Trump Organization in Maclean's.
''Canada could add a tax to Trump properties equal to any tariff unilaterally imposed by Washington,'' he writes. ''The European Union could revoke any travel visas for senior staff in the Trump organization. And the United Kingdom could temporarily close his golf course.''
The potential points of leverage here are quite real. Trump has two golf courses in Scotland and one in Ireland. The wine list at BLT Prime in Trump's DC hotel is full of European vintages. Travel sanctions could also be painful. Donald Trump Jr. was vacationing in Spain as recently as April.
Hitting Trump personally might work on its own terms. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is chaired by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has committed to working to halt Trump's tariffs. So has Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who also sits on the committee. Both Corker and Flake have also, from time to time, offered commentary on Trump's basic unfitness for office. What they've never done is exerted their power as US senators to engage in meaningful oversight over his corruption and conflicts of interest. Directly injecting Trump's business interests into an international conflict might spur them to actually do their jobs.
Breaking: Senate Releases Unredacted Strzok-Page Texts Showing FBI Initiated MULTIPLE SPIES in Trump Campaign in December 2015
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 12:29
We report the truth - And leave the Russia-Collusion fairy tale to the Conspiracy media
by Jim Hoft June 4, 2018Guest post by Joe Hoft
The US Senate today released over 500 pages of information related to the Spygate scandal. Hidden in the information are unredacted Strzok '' Page texts that show the FBI initiated actions to insert multiple spies in the Trump campaign in December 2015. Once again Internet sleuths unearthed damning evidence that the FBI was engaged in Spygate long before they let on.
As we reported previously, according to far left Politico, Comey stated in March of 2017 under oath that the FBI investigation into the Trump '' Russia scandal started in July 2016:
FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Monday that his agency has been investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials since last July [2016].
The newly revealed timeline '-- which Comey detailed in a much-anticipated House Intelligence Committee hearing '-- means the FBI probe was occurring during the peak of an alleged Russian campaign to destabilize the presidential race and eventually help elect President Donald Trump.
But Comey appears to have lied about this.
A text message released today by the US Senate showed words that were redacted when the FBI released the same texts long ago. The texts show evidence of collusion and wrongdoing by Obama's FBI.
I'd call this evidence of collusion and wrongdoing'... https://t.co/CcTrao5bZE
'-- Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) June 4, 2018
The texts released today from corrupt FBI investigator Peter Strzok to corrupt FBI attorney Lisa Page state the following ''
BOMBSHELL- From DECEMBER 2015''The word LURES is redacted by FBI but not OIG; OCONUS LURES; OCONUS= Outside Contiguous US LURES= In this context LURES = SPIES '' multiple '' Is this an admission that the FBI wanted to run a baited Sting Op using foreign agents against Trump?''
1) BOMBSHELL- From DECEMBER 2015''The word LURES is redacted by FBI but not OIG
OCONUS= Outside Contiguous US
LURES= In this context LURES = SPIES '' multiple
Is this an admission that the FBI wanted to run a baited Sting Op using foreign agents against Trump? pic.twitter.com/OtLxlOEGsV
'-- Falco (@Nick_Falco) June 4, 2018
This is only the first day of the 500 pages of documents being released by the US Senate.Give this a few more days. God only knows what's here and what tomorrow's Senate Hearing with corrupt Obama FBI agent Bill Preistap will reveal.
Italians shocked by man's selfie after train accident in Piacenza - BBC News
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 12:25
Image copyright ANSA/GIORGIO LAMBRI/QUOTIDIANO LIBERTA Image caption The man took the selfie as paramedics treated the Canadian woman on the tracks at Piacenza station When a Canadian woman was hit by a train and badly injured in northern Italy, rescue services quickly went to her aid on the tracks.
But as they treated the victim a young man captured the scene from the station platform in a selfie that has provoked widespread anger.
He was himself pictured by a news photographer who complained "we have completely lost a sense of ethics".
Police caught the young selfie-taker and forced him to delete his picture.
The young Canadian woman caught up in the accident late last month was taken to hospital and had a leg amputated.
The man in white Bermuda shorts who took the selfie on a platform at Piacenza station has been investigated and does not appear to have committed a crime.
But the image of him pointing his mobile phone at the dramatic rescue scene has appeared on many front pages in Italy and attracted incredulity on social media.
Corriere della Sera said he appeared to be making a "V for victory" sign with one hand while taking the shot with the other.
A commentary in La Stampa spoke of a "cancer that corrodes the internet". The young man who took the selfie was not bad, argued Antonella Boralevi. Instead, he had turned off his soul and his personality and become an "automaton of the internet".
Radio host Nicola Savino told listeners that the human race was "galloping towards extinction". One user on Twitter said simply: "Nothing surprises me any more."
Journalist Giorgio Lambri, who photographed the scene on 26 May, wrote about his experience on Sunday for Piacenza newspaper Liberta under the headline: "The barbarism you don't expect: the 'selfie' in front of a tragedy."
He also posted his story on Facebook, suggesting an alternative headline of "Houston, we've got a problem", because of the man's apparent lack of moral compass.
You may also be interested in: Mr Lambri informed rail authorities about what had happened and the man has since been identified.
What remains unclear is how the young woman was hit by a train in the first place.
According to reports at the time, the control system for closing the train's doors was defective and the woman may have fallen out of the train while opening a door on the wrong side. However, there was also a suggestion that she may have been rushing to board the train as it was leaving the station.
EXPLOSIVE: Robert Mueller got it wrong, and we are about to see his Trump-Russia conspiracy theory disintegrate '' The Slog.
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 12:09
Special Counsel Mueller is not in a good place this morning. He is filibustering in an attempt to delay the legal proceedings that, effectively, accuse President Trump of conspiring with the Putin r(C)gime (to influence the 2016 White House race in his favour) by the use of fake news and false social media assertions. The fatal flaw in his case against Trump is that, for once, the President is innocent.
The man who was Time magazine's runner-up for Man of the Year in 2017 looks to be trailing in last position today. Whether he was simply duped, or US rogue elements set up the ''Putin'' NGOs to discredit the Russian leader in the first place, Robert Mueller is coming face to face with one certain reality: the alleged Kremlin social media black ops organisation (known variously as Fancy Bear or Big Bear) was in fact set up and run by anti-Putin groups which, while they are part of the Russian Federation, obviously do not have Russian as their first language.
Mueller's embarrassment is now turning into an odd m(C)lange of time wasting and desperate accusation. Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort '' indicted earlier this year '' was yesterday accused of attempting to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller said in a court filing. But the indictments against Manafort have no relevance to the 2016 election at all: they involve allegations of tax and bank fraud stemming from his past work as a political consultant in Ukraine. These too raise doubts because they suggest a fraud with such minimal gain, even the virulently anti-Trump New Yorker was forced to admit 'this is not a savvy criminal enterprise, this is confusing'.
All Mueller has to show for his work is action, not progress. His latest accusation against Manafort is that he coached witnesses in a trial accusing him of lobbying fraud. Again, the charge is immaterial to the Russian conspiracy theory. The Special Counsel is playing for time, and it shows: at rallies, placards have started to appear saying ''Hurry up Mueller'' and ''Mueller, what are you waiting for?''
As long ago as early April, a US judge dismissed Mueller's plea to delay the start of his ''case'' charging three Russian outfits and 13 Russian citizens with 'using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election'.
Mueller sought a delay for the obvious reason: the people involved in the companies don't check out as Russian military intellligence, and two of the three concerns aren't registered at all.
He has boobed, and he knows it.
Robert Mueller and James Comey were early players in the Stop Donald game. From the moment that Trump began to look like a credible Presidential candidate, they've been on his case. Ably assisted by the American media, these two FBI lifers have depicted Donald Trump as a predatory male, a sex pest, a pervert with odd tendencies filmed by the Russian GRU, a debtor in the pay of Putin, and a man who used his Russian contacts to ''steal'' the 2016 Presidential Election from Hillary Clinton.
While a substantial proportion of the allegations have the tell-tale ring of Truth to them, the main focus (especially since his victory) has been on extolling the evidence of Trump aide collusion with Russia, and Putin's culpability on charges of ''interfering in the US democratic process''.
Given the long and heavily-documented CIA history of interference in the politics of Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, the Ukraine, France and now India, this is a bit steep. But two wrongs don't make a right, so let's set all that to one side, before offering a simple conclusion: Comey having been summarily fired by the President he tried to trip up, Robert Mueller is now the sole standard bearer for the Russian Plot army. And Mr Mueller's ''case'' is falling apart.
The thing with Donald Trump is '' well, one of the many things he radiates if we're being honest '' one can't help but see him as the chubby kid at the back of the class with no mates. The gauche child nobody wants on his footie side, the one who keeps putting worms down the girls' tops and cracking unfunny jokes about poo before snorting with laughter. The one whose broad, smug smile so obviously hides a profoundly unhappy person whose right brain just won't stop telling him what a jerk he is really.
But none of that makes him a member of the Alt State Club '' and I still doubt that he has ever been a member. He's just a rich kid who screwed a lot of victims, borrowed a lot of money, and eventually blagged his way into the realm of the super-rich. Face it: if Trump had been the MIC's cup of tea, they wouldn't have spent the last five years trying to rubbish his reputation. No, their ''gal' in 2016 was Hillary, not Donald. She had Wall Street, Texan oil, the State Department and (via her time at the latter) the Pentagon rooting for her bigtime.
It's not hard to rubbish the Don's reputation, but he was in the right place at the right time'...as well as getting two lucky bounces. First off, his rival had a history that made his seem benign by comparison; and secondly, his predecessor had proved to be perhaps the most empty President the US republic ever elected to office.
Trump's timing was impeccable, in that the black population was once more alienated by Obama's failure, and the downmarket white voter was fed up of listening to an array of pc-riddled feminists and liberal commentators wittering on about a world they found both alien and wrong. Overlain upon that, the DNC chose precisely the wrong candidate, because Mrs Clinton was everything poor whites despise, and offered nothing that black America was remotely interested in. Unsurprisingly, a super-rich white woman winning out against the gender ceiling did not strike them as a terribly relevant triumph.
The obvious (although rarely stated) point I'm making here is that the Alt State was no more adept at reading the writing on the wall than the New York Times. Now that it's had time, after eighteen months, to get the measure of this tweetaholic windbag, unelected hegemony is being restored by giving the President misinformation, and surrounding him with senior staffers that represent the contemporary equivalent of a Horse's head gift from The Godfather.
Whether Donald Trump is smart enough to realise the nature of that strategy is a moot point. His ignorance of other cultures beyond the US, for instance make him a sucker for ''intelligence'' reports that are palpable fiction '' especially in relation to Ukraine, Syria and Putin's Russia. Also, his view of the American manufacturing landscape is nostalgic rather than real. All one can observe is that the advisers he has been ''given'' '' Gary Cohn, John Bolton, General McMasters, Jamie Dimon and Mike Pompeo '' do not seem to me like his A-list of close buddies. It also looks increasingly like his own economic and diplomatic agendas are not theirs'....especially in relation to Kim Jong Un.
However, when allowed to be, President Trump is very much his own man. His steel tariffs are, in my view, part of his dated manufacturing model; but they are a first step back from globalised mercantilism. His bombing of Syrian airfields and military establishments was just plain dumb, but he sticks to his view that he wants all US troops out of Syria, as he puts it, ''very soon'...just wait and see''. He continues to say that invading foreign countries ''is unAmerican''.
The Donald's tax cuts and anti-Dodd Frank deregulation suggest to me that he is either a cynical politician setting up a boom for 2020'....or a mathematically dyslexic buffoon who has fallen for more Dimon BS. Perhaps it's not an either/or thing: the impression one gets more and more with the President is that he is '' if I can stretch and mix metaphors just this once '' a curate's egg with attention deficit disorder and early signs of St Vitus Dance. Or as we British sometimes say, ''He''s all over the f**king place''.
For Special Counsel Robert Mueller, however, it is all over, period. It's time for him to put up: and being deficient in any credible evidence to put up, he will be forced to shut up.
Seymour Hersh on spies, state secrets, and the stories he doesn't tell - Columbia Journalism Review
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:35
By Elon Green June 4, 2018 5186 words Illustration by Anje Jager Editor's note: This is the first interview in a biweekly series of journalists on journalism. W hen a reporter has covered 50 years of American foreign policy disasters, the last great untold story may be his own.
That, more or less, is the premise behind a new memoir by Seymour Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been revealing secrets and atrocities '--and often secret atrocities'--to great acclaim since he exposed the My Lai Massacre in 1969.
Hersh's book, economically titled Reporter , is focused on the work. ''I don't want anybody reporting about my private life,'' he once said , and Hersh abides by his own request. In lieu of the personal, we're treated to the professional: Hersh's rise from the City News Bureau of Chicago to the United Press International to the Associated Press.
His breakthrough, however, was as a freelancer: Hersh, famously, received a tip about William Calley, a court-martialed Army lieutenant accused of killing 109 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in a village nicknamed '' Pinkville .''
Calley was elusive. Hersh drove into Fort Benning and found him under house arrest. For the resulting dispatches, Hersh was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 1970.
Hersh continued to report'--most notably, perhaps, for The New Yorker '--on post-9/11 activities; the Iraq War; Iran; and, contentiously , the killing of Osama bin Laden.
He is now at work on a book about former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Hersh and I recently met at his office in Washington, DC, where I found his desk covered in stacks of files. We talked, and kept talking over lunch, about myriad topics, including protecting sources, self-care, Gina Haspel, and revealing secrets.
THE OFFICE Let's talk about why you wrote the memoir in the first place: The book about Dick Cheney you were contracted to write was put on hold because you believed, with good reason, that you couldn't protect your sources.
I couldn't do it. I was giving my sources chapters '-- which I do, not all the time, but stuff that's relevant, sensitive '-- and they thought Cheney would figure out who was talking. They were worried.
So I had to go see Sonny Mehta [at Knopf], who paid me a lot of money for that Cheney book. Don't forget, when I got through with The New Yorker , by the time Obama's elected, I had a record of a lot of good work, so I signed a contract for a lot of money. I signed a contract in about '11 and I started working full-time '-- scads of interviews '-- and I was told within two months not to put anything in the computer by somebody who was still inside working for Cheney. And I said, ''Oh, god.'' I said, ''Don't worry about it. I'm not going to connect it to the internet.'' He says, ''You're not listening to me.'' I said, '' No. Fucking. Kidding .'' The guy said I couldn't protect him.
So I went to see Sonny Mehta. It was a lot of money. And they said, ''Do this memoir and we'll see if we can get you off the schneid .'' That's the only reason I ever did one.
Anyway, keep on going. Let's get a bunch done before we go eat.
You've got a photo of Henry Kissinger above your computer. He wasn't a nemesis, necessarily, but'...
You know, Kissinger used to insist when [ The Price of Power ] was coming out that he didn't know me. And one of the things I would always do, even with an archenemy, I would always call. And he would take the calls. The day after the book came out, I was supposed to go on Nightline . Was a very big show back in the '80s. Huge audience. But the night before I was on, [Ted Koppel] brought up my book. Kissinger was on; the papers that night were all full of my book. Kissinger said, ''This is outrageous. I've never met him. I don't know him.''
And so, here'... [Hersh produces a transcript of a taped phone call with Kissinger] I would call up and ask him about the secret bombing in Cambodia. He said, ''We're retroactively off the record.'' I said, ''We're talking off the record?'' He said, ''Okay, all right.'' I said, ''On background.'' But that means I can write it. He knows the difference between off the record and on background.
And so it turns out he was getting a transcript an hour after I called. He was getting a transcript after saying it was on background. The motherfucker! But that's just the way it was. Anyway, keep on going.
Bob Woodward once said his worst source was Kissinger because he never told the truth. Who was your worst source?
Oh, I wouldn't tell you.
You write that you chased the incredibly vague My Lai tip because you were convinced your colleagues in the Pentagon press room wouldn't. Why wouldn't they?
I was worried about The New York Times , if you notice, but I knew the guys in the Pentagon press room wouldn't do it. It was so hard to report there. Don't forget, anytime you saw a senior officer, they had to log [your name] in. If you had a good story, you had to see five or six different people with bullshit to mask the one guy that told you something important.
So it wasn't a matter of not wanting to tell the story?
I don't know. [Press room colleagues] treated me like some sort of rare, exotic animal.
I knew from my own experiences that the war was bad and shit. And by the way, I never thought for one minute that the fact that I learned OJT that the war sucked made me a lefty. I mean, I was. I am a liberal. But I was just somebody who knew the war sucked. I learned by just going to lunch with these guys. They were saying how we have to kill everybody because there are six lieutenant colonels and only one of you is gonna make colonel, and it's the one that kills the most. So in the last six months of your rotation as a battalion commander, you just fucking'....You got 2,000 deaths, man. That's how bad it was.
I was dead set against the war. It was the right thing to be. Anybody with any fucking brains was. Half the guys in the military were thinking of quitting.
We should go. We can get into a restaurant across the street. I can get my little salad. I don't eat much. I'm reading this book [gestures to James Comey's A Higher Loyalty ]. This guy is nuts. He's definitely strange .
LUNCH How do you document your interviews? Do you use shorthand? Tape record?
I take notes and I go over them. I have a good memory and use a lot of shorthand. All those little adjectives and adverbs, I've got a little dash for or something. I just write the keywords. My handwriting is bad, which is good. I understand it and nobody else does. Then I immediately annotate. I sit down, sometimes in the car if I'm on the road. I never tape anything.
Look, if I'm seeing a foreign president '-- they'd want to tape and I'd want to tape. But I have it transcribed by somebody else. Too boring.
But taping is good for capturing speech patterns and stuff like that.
When I talk about something secret and I show up with a tape recorder, I'm dead.
The New York Times's reliance on Kissinger wasn't shocking, but it was grotesque. Max Frankel calling him ''Henry.'' How do you think their friendliness with Kissinger affected coverage?
Horrible. They missed Watergate! He convinced them there was nothing there.
When I talk about something secret and I show up with a tape recorder, I'm dead.
Kissinger was beloved by reporters because he was accessible. Not much has changed; folks like Paul Ryan and John McCain still get glowing coverage just because they talk to reporters.
Of course. That's what it's all about. Trump does, too. The secret to Trump, I think, is he wants to be loved by The New York Times as much as by Fox News. He talks to them a lot, more than they tell you. He waits outside '-- apparently there's a corridor from the press room to the bathroom, and he's hanging around that corridor. He likes to yap.
Do you think the Times's desire to keep Trump talking makes them pull their punches?
No, I don't think they're pulling punches. I think they're overpunching . I mean, what are they going to do if they don't indict him? What are they going to do?
Given the amount of really horrible things you've covered over the years, you seem very stable emotionally.
I don't socialize with nobody '-- not with people in government, even my good sources. I have old friends. Most of them are not in government. I like tennis and sports. I had rotator cuff surgery recently, so I'm about a month away from getting back. I'll go the gym maybe today or tomorrow.
So it's really about having a boundary between work and the rest of your life'...
Yeah, there's a big boundary. Do I get depressed? Yes. But everybody should be, now.
Here, you have to have one of these. See what you're missing. [Hersh puts some tuna tartare on my plate.]
Thank you. You mentioned three instances of Richard Nixon beating his wife.
Oh, god.
You decided not to report on them or even tell an editor. If you got that same information today, what would you do?
I was talking to the Nieman fellows [about the beating incidents], after Nixon was gone. I thought it was off the record. The thing I misjudged is the anger of the women when I didn't realize [the abuse] was a crime. You will see, in the book you have, the readers' copy, that I changed it.
You know, my wife likes opera, and I've learned to like a lot of it '--Verdi, other stuff. And SiriusXM, which has an opera channel that we listen to in the car, announced that it's no longer going to play any operas conducted by [James] Levine . And that stuff seems crazy to me. But I assume that, for a lot of women, it would be right. I don't know. I'm still at a strange place on all this stuff. But at least you'll see the change I made '-- that was a heartfelt change. I'd thought about it.
But I wouldn't start an investigation, even now. I got it from inside the hospital. I had a problem from the beginning about reporting it, because the initial source came from '-- it was the doctor.
The secret to Trump, I think, is he wants to be loved by The New York Times as much as by Fox News. He talks to them a lot, more than they tell you. He waits outside'--apparently there's a corridor from the press room to the bathroom, and he's hanging around that corridor. He likes to yap.
So it was mostly about protecting the source? I misunderstood that in the book.
What I did do, I asked John Ehrlichman about it, and I was curious. Before he died, he was talking a lot to me. And he knew of other times Nixon did it. Everybody knew he did it , he said. Oy vey iz mir , as my father would say. I mean, what the fuck?
But I didn't even want to say that it was a source issue, because that would get back to the hospital. I should've kept my mouth shut. I never, never thought they were taping [the Nieman remarks].
On the other hand, as Jack Kennedy used to say, ''Nothing is off the record. Nothing .'' The Kennedys were tough.
How did you become acquainted with the chief of CIA Counterintelligence, James Angleton?
In '72, I got invited to one of those old-fashioned dinners by a senior Times guy, a very elegant man. After dinner, the women were excused. My wife said, ''Never again.'' Right? And we smoked cigars '-- it was the first time I ever met James Angleton. Come on.
Angleton was fascinating. Are there still people like him in the intelligence agencies?
No. He was smart '-- really, really smart. I think this Gina [Haspel] is very smart. I watched her testify. She's very bright. I know some things about her. Yeah, she did torture, but everybody knew about that the torture, including Congress. What I do know, from my friends, is the stuff she files is really good. Since she's been Acting Director for about three months, she's done great reporting.
Yeah, [Haspel] did torture, but everybody knew about that the torture, including Congress. What I do know, from my friends, is the stuff she files is really good.
In a memo to Abe Rosenthal in March of '75, while you were reporting on a Russian submarine, you wrote: ''I'm not going around shooting off my mouth about ongoing [reconnaissance] operations, but when one of the programs seems risky and over-priced, and there's a legitimate news peg, it doesn't make sense not to tell the American people about it.''
Then you noted, ''I was such a purist.'' Do you feel like you're now less or more of a purist?
If there's something they were doing that was right, I didn't touch it. But some of the operations that have been described to me as good turn out to be crazy, or stuff that seemed right turned out to be shit.
I saw an old senator yesterday, had to go to some fancy party in Georgetown. Full of spies and Brits. This town doesn't change. It was at a very fancy club, and there was British spy, a guy from MI6. All sorts of people from the Agency were there. I can't stand that stuff. I got outta there in an hour.
The whole source business '-- I know a bunch of people who are ''out'' that could get anything they wanted if I ask them.
So a source not being ''in'' is not necessarily an impediment to good information?
You have to be careful, but you have to deal with guys that are known to be good guys on the inside and trusted. It's very ideological, but you can get information. There's [an Agency] guy; I was screaming at him once about fucking up the FBI after 9/11. And he said to me, ''Sy, you don't get it. The FBI catches bank robbers and we rob banks.'' I thought to myself, Fuck! That's just exactly right. They're criminals, what the CIA does. It's all criminal activity. If you've ever watch The Americans , it's an exaggeration, but'....I tell my wife, ''They don't shoot people like that.'' Take out the killing and that's what people do. They do this kind of shit '-- stupid stuff.
Let's do a few more and get out of here. I need to go back to my office.
Again and again, your stories expose the deceit of politicians, but they also expose the reporters who defended them. Ted Koppel, who was critical about your reporting on Kissinger, later acknowledged that he'd been offered the job of State Department spokesman and ''struggled with it for about three or four weeks'' before turning it down.
Here's what got me about Ted'...
[Waitress: Any coffees or cappuccinos, gentlemen?]
No, I think just the check and we'll share it. We'll share it. That's what we should do. I always do that. You don't want to buy me and I don't want to buy you.
So anyway, here's what happened: It's very strange about Ted. I like him. I was in Jerusalem with my wife. I have a friend in Mossad, and he writes me. He was here undercover and I got to know him.
Israel is strange, man. Anyway, so I'm here for a wedding. He called up, this guy, his name is Dudu. I met him in the early '80s. He came up to me at a party and said, ''We ought to talk.'' He said he was a businessman, lived in Bethesda. And the thing about him, his oldest son '-- I coach soccer for kids. I had two kids early, and God knows, after dinner my wife would say, ''You take the 3-year-old, I'll take the 1-year-old.'' I'd say, ''No, no, no, I've got to go to my office because I'm saving America.'' You know what I mean? But I figured out, by the last kid, I'd go to his games and coach soccer for about 10 years. I coached soccer to the point where the boys were about 12. And after a practice I'd say, ''Let's go. We're going to run three miles now. Get in shape.'' And if I walked away and turned around quickly there'd be five of these: [gestures] Fuck you signs. That's when I gave up.
But anyway, what I learned later is that you can't save the world. So this guy from Mossad, we became friends. I liked him. There wasn't much I could do with him. One day I took him, there's a wonderful little German restaurant here called the Mozart Caf(C). And this was '86, '87'...
You had started to say something about Ted Koppel, if you want to finish that thought'...
I was in Jerusalem and we were at that wonderful hotel in East Jerusalem. Hard to get into. And he was there, and so we had a great time, this was about 10 years ago. And then before that, before I knew what he said in 2005, I didn't know about that till I was working on the book. I knew a little bit about it, I knew he'd been close to Kissinger because Kissinger was on his show all the time.
I was at an off-the-record thing after 9/11, on the First Amendment before the New York Bar. It was an off-the-record deal. And [Koppel] was on the platform. And off the record he was awesome about how fucked up things were '-- he got it. On the air he wasn't. I know he's bright. He's a refugee, you know what I mean? He's a landsman , in a way. But there's something muting about the business. I can't stand cable television. It's just so dumb .
In your memoir, you say, ''I can write now what I could not [in 1990], which was that the CIA had impeccable intelligence, conversation on nuclear issues in real-time, from deep inside the Pakistan nuclear establishment.'' Why couldn't you report that?
Because the person who told me was still in. [Now] he's long gone.
Did you run that by him while you were working on the book to make sure it was okay to disclose?
He's gone completely crazy. It's been 30 years.
BACK IN THE OFFICE In a footnote, you mentioned that George Soros asked to meet with you after one of your 9/11 stories in The New Yorker, and you initially declined. Why?
Because it was a story about intercepts of the Saudis. I knew he would guess correctly that there was a lot of talk about oil, so I thought his purpose was not necessarily marginal. I had never met George and I didn't wanna go. But he then went to Morton Abramowitz , who's a friend of mine, who had been ambassador to Thailand among other things. And Mort called up and said he's going to give me $50,000 [for Abramowitz]. Ten people are going to come to that dinner and [Soros] is gonna to pay $5,000 each to me if you come. So how could I say no? So I said yes and fuck if they didn't have it; they're all brokers.
Stock brokers?
Oil brokers! George is a master , man. I avoid those guys like the plague .
You write that you knew about atrocities during the Iraq War, including Americans destroying with acid the bodies of detainees who had died during torture. But you didn't report it because Cheney would have destroyed your sources. How did you protect your sources during the Bush years?
It was hard '--by not writing stuff I knew.
It wasn't so much about how you wrote about them, it's that you didn't write about them?
Here, don't speak. [Hersh produces a memo] You're just going to watch right there. I just happened to pull this out today. The classification on this is above the world. It's something about a brief on Gray Fox. I've never heard of Gray Fox and you've never heard of Gray Fox, ok? The date of this paper is [redacted].
That's a report to the Secretary of Defense about what's going on with Afghan detainee issues. That's some low-intensity work there, special ops. Specific issues about prisoners. What the fuck? I have never been able to find out what happened to [the prisoners]. I have some bad thoughts, because we thought everybody that was a tough little kid was Al Qaeda. I've asked everybody. It's scary. The capacity to do stupid fucking things in America is just fucking scary.
I don't publish that stuff. A lot of guys would just go with it. I want to know why . First of all, I don't know anything about what happened. The suggestion, obviously, is somehow some people were hurt or put away, but I don't know that, either. And I was worried about getting the source of all that exposed. I don't know if that was a memo written to five people or four or six or seven. And I can't be sure if there's some designator in it. You know, they're very sophisticated now in tracing papers.
You describe Mary McGrory as ''a fearless and moral voice.'' Who do you see as such a person today?
You're talking to somebody who grew up with a New York Times that had Tony Lewis, Tom Wicker, and Russell Baker writing columns. Now, there's some good stuff. But there's too many screeds about Trump from the columnists. Tom Friedman still runs around the world, but I don't see enough reporting being done by the columnists. Yes, we talk about immigration and shrieking about the president, but there's nobody writing about what to do and how to solve it.
If we could return to the Cheney book for a moment: You didn't want to publish the book because of threats to your sources, and the risk to their careers?
Prosecution! Obama's prosecuting. Remember the guy that went to jail? Risen's source? I don't know the inside story, but what the hell? He's prosecuting people left, right, and center.
I think there's a disproportionate amount of resources focused on the White House as opposed to Congress. Do you agree with that?
It's catnip, man; the White House is catnip. And Obama was catnip. I gave Obama a lot of slack. I know he lied about bin Laden; I just know it, I don't care if it's never proven, I don't care if anybody cares. I know he made a deal with the Pakistanis. I know that he made a deal not to tell and he told about it. The bottom line is he did order a hit; he did kill him; he worked closely with the Pakistanis. How could you not?
Were you reluctant to publish the bin Laden story?
I was eager to run it.
Just this week, there was a story in The New York Times about a book by a former head of the Pakistani intelligence service. He said the same thing. In the book, he said money was paid, which is also what I understand.
Did you suspect there would be backlash to your story?
Did I suspect there'd be backlash? My experience has been, when you have a major story like that'--if you go back and look, the White House controlled the story for two weeks. Reporters were begging for something different and exclusive. At one point, one of the big stories was about a dog that was brought by the SEALs on the trip. The dog was apparently barking in Urdu [ laughs ].
I'm just saying, when you have a story like that, in which everyone gets involved in briefings'-- McDonough, Brennan '-- this is obviously about reelection.
Did the backlash and disbelief from non-experts tell us anything about the importance of the official bin Laden narrative as put forth by the government and other reporting?
Well, it's not a new phenomenon that when there's a crisis, the White House controls the story. What I find pernicious now about cable television is that, at any given moment on any given day, the White House can give the networks the leak and they get right to it. No one verifies it. They just put out ''breaking story,'' ''breaking news.'' But I remember there was a lot of rage at my story, a lot of anger, and a lot of very good reporters said ''this can't be true.'' And I remember thinking to myself, Don't they have mothers? Hasn't anyone told them that, a year or two later, there might be a different story coming out?
But I'm used to this.
''I will return to the Cheney book when those who helped me learn what I did after 9/11 will not be in peril,'' you write. When would that be?
Now. One of the problems is, one of those who helped me is now working for this '--working still inside.
There's still a deep core '-- it's not paranoia, it's not something like a deep state. But I have to think of a way to incorporate what I have.
[Phone rings, Hersh answers and chats for several minutes.]
Even though he's not in office, Dick Cheney remains a threat to your sources?
Yeah. Directly.
And yet you're still doing the book.
Oh, my God. It's my meal ticket, man. I mean, we live hand to mouth. I think it's gonna be the next book.
Do younger CIA agents treat you differently than the older generation?
No, I hardly know them. There's no contact. There used to be a time, believe it or not, when I would go every year to meet the rising GS-12s of the National Security Agency. We would talk about the press. These are linguists and cryptographers. I used to always joke that I'm gonna leave self-addressed stamped envelopes here and stuff like that. But there's no contact anymore. They're too uptight. And maybe they're right to be. Maybe the press has changed.
I always thought my business as a reporter was to take a dispute and resolve it. I mentioned in the introduction about treating things as the tip. The first story the Times wrote on [Hillary Clinton's] email '-- that was off-the-top, flimsy, one or two days after they had it. They had no idea what a good story it was.
In the book I'm writing, I can segue into this stuff; I'm writing a lot about what was going on in the FBI. There was a lot going on that was counter-Trump, I will tell you that. I'm telling you, it's the missed story of all time.
OK, couple more. We gotta go.
I'm writing a lot about what was going on in the FBI. There was a lot going on that was counter-Trump, I will tell you that. I'm telling you, it's the missed story of all time.
Why did a presidential commission investigating the CIA believe you were working for foreign intelligence?
How'd you find that story?
I, um, just happened to be reading the Miami Herald.
Yeah! 'Cause Angleton was crazy. I had to be working for foreign intelligence. He's nuts. That's why I went to Colby. But nobody's asked me about that. Of course they were looking at me. There was a fascination with me in the CIA. There's a study called '' William Colby as Director of Central Intelligence 1973-1976 '' by Harold Ford, a historian. It was written in '93, declassified in 2011. And chapter seven is ''Hersh's Charges Against the CIA.'' There's 12 pages on me.
Two years before I published [the story on CIA operations against the anti-war movement], in December of '74 , they were tracking me that long. All sorts of intercepts of me. They're taping me every time I call Colby at home! Colby knew all about this criminal activity, and they never told Justice. So I went to see Larry Silberman , who was the number two man in Justice. So I go to Silberman, call him up and say, ''I better tell you something. The CIA's got this shit going on.'' So then, the day I'm writing the story, Silberman calls Colby, and he's taped. Taped even Silberman! Ford wrote that ''On 21 December, Silberman told Colby that Hersh had phoned to tell him in advance of Colby's meeting with Silberman on the 19th.''
The whole thing is amazing.
So Angleton really thought that you were'--
Oh, what else could he think? He was such a nut. They were so crazy. He used to talk to me, and tried to bribe me.
[Angleton] tried to bribe me not to do the domestic spying story. He gave me a story that I feared was true about something going on in Russia. And I thought, what the fuck is this? So I called Colby, not knowing they taped everything. I had his home number. I said, ''I got a problem, what the fuck is this?''
Colby told me later that was the final straw, and that's why he said he had to fire [Angleton] '-- because it was an ongoing operation.
Which I didn't write about. I have no idea if it's true or not because it's a whole hall of mirrors.
Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today. Elon Green is a writer in Port Washington, New York. He's an editor at Longform. Find him on Twitter @ElonGreen.
Sources: Wasserman Schultz Screamed At House Officials To Kill Hacking Probe, Intervened In Pakistani Criminal Matter | The Daily Caller
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:27
Ex-Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she intervened in a Pakistani land deal involving her then''IT aide Imran Awan, according to two House employees. The dispute came after Awan's father was charged with fraud in relation to the deal, and the mysterious exertion of political influence resulted in Pakistani authorities instead targeting the elderly alleged victims, according to a local report.
And when a House Office of Inspector General cybersecurity investigation found that Awan made ''unauthorized access'' to House servers, including the House Democratic Caucus' shortly before the election, Wasserman Schultz became ''frantic, not normal,'' ''making the rounds'' to House officials in an attempt to kill the investigation, one House employee told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Awan told people Wasserman Schultz chose the name for his daughter, Leza '-- a Jewish name '-- and that the Florida congresswoman's daughter regularly rode a horse that Awan kept at a boarding facility, sources with knowledge of the relationship told TheDCNF.
Wasserman Schultz cornered House Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko and called him a ''fucking Islamophobe,'' saying ''you will not so much as take away their parking spots,'' the two House employees said Kiko told them.
The congresswoman also told Kiko she had invited Awan's whole family to her daughter's bat mitzvah and said she had ''helped him with a land deal,'' the sources said. A spokesman for Kiko declined to comment on this story.
A 2009 article in the Pakistani publication Dawn, headlined ''Influential expat shields father from long arm of law,'' said Awan's father was facing criminal fraud charges involving a land deal, but Awan used political connections to pressure the police into targeting the alleged victims instead.
Awan's father purchased ''huge chunks of land from different farmers in 2008,'' but all the checks bounced, the report said. ''The police high-ups are 'ominously' indifferent to proceed against Awan,'' and it's ''noteworthy'' how they were ''complying with the desires of'' Awan, who the paper described as a ''White House employee.''
''About a dozen farmers of Chak 7-JB, Panjor, including five siblings '-- all aged between 57 and 70 '-- have given up hope of justice after they sold their agricultural lands to Ashraf Awan of Bole De Jhugi, who is father of White House employee Shahid Imran,'' Dawn reported. Imran Awan also goes by Shahid Imran Awan, Virginia court records show.
The police harassed the 19 would-be victims, including the five elderly brothers and even their lawyer, and charged them with ''frivolous'' cases, apparently to get them to stop trying to get the money they say they were owed, the paper said.
''Mohammad Abid, a victim of [Ashraf] Awan's alleged high-profile swindling, said that [Ashraf] Awan's son had easy access to the corridors of power and that's why he was able to [pressure] the police to dance to his tunes,'' Dawn reported.
The article details a series of people who say they were then subject to retaliation, including widow Bushra Bibi who said ''now Imran was threatening her with dire consequences.''
A third source, who's familiar with Imran Awan, told TheDCNF that Awan recounted the intervention in the foreign criminal matter and that Awan said it was Wasserman Schultz who intervened. A fourth source '-- a fellow House IT aide '-- previously told TheDCNF that Awan said now-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was involved.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal, one of the alleged victims, told TheDCNF that ''Imran came to Pakistan to get [his father] out of jail, since he had some [connections] in the Congress.''
Ashraf Awan's business partner in the land deal, Rashid Minhas, told TheDCNF that the elder Awan gave a USB to a Pakistani senator who is a former head of a Pakistani intelligence agency, and that Imran claimed his IT position in Congress gave him the power to ''change the U.S. president.'' Minhas is in prison for an unrelated fraud charge.
On July 25, 2016, the House Inspector General notified the Committee on House Administration that investigators had detected major cybersecurity violations by the Awan family. Awan, his wife, two brothers, his brother's wife, and even his elderly father were all being paid by various Democrats to manage their servers, with many of the members from Wasserman Schultz's Florida.
The finding came at a critical time for Democrats: It was three days after WikiLeaks published the first emails from a hacked on the DNC, setting the stage for Wasserman Schultz to lose her position as party chair and for Democrats to begin electioneering on a theme of Russian hacking.
In February 2017, Kiko and the House's top law enforcement official, Paul Irving, outlined serious violations in a letter to the committee, and the family was banned from the House computer network. The letter also noted that the House Democratic Caucus server disappeared soon after the IG report named it as key evidence.
But Wasserman Schultz refused to fire Awan, with her spokesman saying he would work on ''websites'' and ''printers,'' which a cybersecurity expert previously told TheDCNF would presumably involve network access.
The congresswoman also added Awan's wife, Hina Alvi, to her payroll in late 2016, after the investigation was in full swing, but before the family was banned from the network. Wasserman Schultz kept paying her until March 17 '-- 12 days after Alvi went to Pakistan with $12,000 in a suitcase.
Her actions so rattled the Administration Committee's Democratic staff director, Jamie Fleet, that he planted a negative story in Politico that revealed Wasserman Schultz, his fellow Democrat, was continuing to pay the suspect, two House sources said. The story also said Wasserman Schultz had a ''friendly personal relationship'' with Awan and Alvi.
Fleet did not respond to a request for comment.
Kiko said in an April 2018 hearing spurred by the scandal that he was powerless to stop members who refused to fire a bad actor. (RELATED: Hearing Reveals Congress Provided 'No Supervision' Of IT Aides, Missed Red Flags, But Members Block Proposed Reforms)
''Termination, now it's the member's responsibility '... We can revoke everything but they could still be employed,'' he said. He added that his office should have the authority to override members who would want to keep a rule-breaker on the government network.
Wasserman Schultz became fixated on finding out everything investigators knew about Awan, the House sources said. House investigators briefed her extensively with significant evidence about Awan and his family, including improper computer evidence.
Yet Wasserman Schultz said in a statement, ''my office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken, which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling.'' (RELATED: Own Wife Turns, Accuses Him Of Fraud, Violent Threats)
Wasserman Schultz was defending someone investigators allegedly told her was suspected of cybersecurity violations, despite having resigned from her position as DNC head following a devastating hack during the 2016 election.
Despite Wasserman Schultz's relationship with Awan, in April 2017 '-- two months after he was banned from the computer network '-- the IT aide appeared to put the congresswoman at risk. Capitol Police found a laptop with the username RepDWS in a phone booth at midnight along with a copy of Awan's ID, a letter to prosecutors and a note that said ''attorney client privilege,'' according to a police report. Awan's ID caused police to tie it to a criminal suspect and seize it, but the note kept them from looking at it.
That led to a tense exchange recorded on video in May 2017, in which Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the Capitol Police with ''consequences'' for not returning the laptop. When he refused, she mulled attempting to restructuring the Capitol Police's entire board so that her committee would have more leverage over it.
House sources told TheDCNF these exchanges were only a public glimpse into numerous such interactions, which were frequently profane, with every official she could buttonhole. One source said she also went to the Department of Justice and ''made a stink.''
Wasserman Schultz hired the House's former top lawyer, Bill Pittard '-- who had recently quit the House '-- to try to block prosecutors from seeing evidence, TheDCNF previously reported. Awan obtained legal representation from two lawyers who began their careers in Miami '-- one with experience in espionage cases and the other a former aide to Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz' district includes much of Miami.
One of Awan's lawyers told a judge he felt ''very strongly'' that prosecutors should not be able to look at the RepDWS laptop, mounting an attorney-client privilege argument. Prosecutors did not challenge the argument before the judge.
In August 2017, Imran and Hina were charged with four felony counts for gathering up money under allegedly false circumstances before wiring $300,000 to Pakistan in January. Prosecutors said the timing suggests that the Awans had learned of their investigation, which a spokeswoman for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, AshLee Strong, told TheDCNF was supposed to be secret. Capitol Police ''requested that the shared employees be allowed to continue to use their IT credentials until February [2017] because they didn't want to tip off the employees,'' she said.
Wasserman Schultz's brother is a prosecutor in the same office handling the case and has tweeted about it.
Gowen said the wire transfer instead had to do with the land deal, which he told the Washington Examiner was ''quickly souring.''
Wasserman Schultz did not respond to a request for comment.
Wajid Ali Syed reported from Faisalabad, Pakistan.
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Guatemala volcano: Death toll rises to 62 after Volcan de Fuego erupts - The Washington Post
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:26
The reported death toll in Guatemala has risen to 62 and could keep climbing after a volcano erupted with no warning Sunday, sending hot rivers of rock and gas into the surrounding villages at astonishing speed.
What follows is a chronological account of Volcan de Fuego's most violent eruption in decades, which affected nearly 2 million people, based on local reports.
Sunday was market day in many of the villages beneath the Volcan de Fuego, the BBC reported. People would have been enjoying the weekend, probably sitting down to lunch, when the top of the mountain exploded.
Fuego had erupted before '-- just a few months earlier, in fact, and many times before that. Rising into the sky about 25 miles west of Guatemala City, it is one of the most active volcanoes on the continent, the BBC wrote. Thus the name: Volcano of Fire.
[Guatemala volcano killed dozens with its pyroclastic flow. Here's what that is.]
But on Sunday, its fire was unlike any Guatemala had seen in more than a century.
A tendril of hot gas and black ash began to twist out of the volcano shortly before noon. It looked almost peaceful, at first.
A nearby hiker stopped and filmed the spectacle. In forests farther away, birds continued to chirp as the plume expanded, shrouding the mountain from which it issued.
But behind the shroud, a lahar was forming: a pyroclastic stew of hot mud, boulders, ash, gas and lava '-- a 1,300-degree river of hell that can move faster than anyone can run.
About three and a half hours after Fuego erupted, NBC reported, the lahar came down the mountain.
The Volcan de Fuego blows out a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, on June 3. (AP)Jorge Luis Altuve was on the volcano with Guatemala's mountain rescue brigade that day, he told the BBC, in search of someone who had disappeared days before.
''At first, we thought it had started to rain,'' he said. ''But then I heard something hitting my safety helmet, and I said to one of my colleague, 'This is not rain; these are stones!'''
The brigade spent hours descending the volcano in a night-dark cloud of ash.
The lahar beat them to the ground.
Hilda Lopez was at a party in San Miguel Los Lotes, at the base of the mountain. A baby had just been born in the village, she told the Associated Press.
Her neighbor shouted to the partyers: Come and see the lava. ''We didn't believe it,'' Lopez said, ''and when we went out, the hot mud was already coming down the street.''
Unlike the syrupy-slow lava that has been leaking from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in recent weeks, Fuego's pyroclastic flows raced toward the lowlands, taking people by surprise.
Several miles from the volcano, a crowd had gathered at a bridge along Highway 14 to watch Fuego's plume expand across the sky.
Some laughed in astonishment. Many filmed. Then suddenly they covered their mouths, turned and ran.
A torrent of ash hit with almost no warning '-- coming not from the sky, but along the ground beneath the bridge. This pyroclastic flow splashed over the guard rails, shooting boulders into the air like fireplace sparks.
Within 15 seconds, the bridge had been swallowed. It had become part of the cloud.
Two children were fatally burned while watching the eruption from such a bridge, the Associated Press reported.
Along the same highway, entire towns were consumed as thoroughly as that bridge. Molten rock set houses on fire. Telediario showed video of bodies encrusted in the hot, dark sludge that covered El Rodeo.
''Unfortunately, El Rodeo was buried,'' the general secretary of Guatemala's disaster management agency, Sergio Cabanas, told Sky News.
Thousands of people across the region were evacuated, the AP reported. Photos show some squeezed into the backs of pickup trucks '-- standing room only. In a video published by the Honduran outlet Noti Bomba, people wept in fear as they drove from a miles-high wall of ash.
Imgenes de la erupci"n de El Volcn de Fuego en Guatemala
Posted by Noti Bomba on Sunday, June 3, 2018
The military, police, Red Cross and unknown numbers of volunteers tried to rescue people who could not escape by themselves. Videos showed them moving single-file through the villages, on narrow paths between steaming pools of slurry.
The Guardian published a photo of a woman being carried across a street that had turned as black as the ash-choked sky. A firefighter wept as he departed the ruins of El Rodeo. A police officer tripped and fell beneath a blanket of steam. Hot volcanic gases overcame Juan Fernando Galindo as he tried to lead his neighbors out of danger, according to NBC.
Other villages were impossible to reach across the volcano flows Sunday. Lopez had escaped, but wept as she told the AP that she had to leave her mother in San Miguel Los Lotes, where at least 18 bodies were later counted.
Fuego's fires finally dimmed and cooled late Sunday night.
Come daylight, a huge gash of slurry bisected the mountainside, and the reported death toll rose from 25 to 33, then to 62, with many more feared lost in that sludge.
A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Guatemala after searches resumed Monday, though its impact was not immediately known.
The ground was still so hot in some areas that the rescuers' shoes melted, the AP reported. And inside the villages, ''workers told of finding bodies so thickly coated with ash they appeared to be statues.''
Ash had fallen across the country for miles '-- so much that soldiers had to sweep it off the airport runways in the capital. In photographs of Fuego's aftermath, buildings, cars, trees and corpses are all painted in the same dead grays.
The only spots of color in some photos are the living '-- the yellow T-shirt of someone in the middle of a ruined village, or the bright-blue dust mask of a man in El Rodeo who sat beside a pool filled with the ruins of his village and the remains of his neighbors.
Neighbors stand outside a temporary morgue near the Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango, Guatemala, on June 3. (Luis Soto/AP)More from Morning Mix:
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Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Attempted Witness Tampering - The New York Times
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:04
Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, tried to contact witnesses in the case against him by phone and through an encrypted messaging program, prosecutors said. Credit Shawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock WASHINGTON '-- Federal prosecutors on Monday accused President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and money laundering case.
In court documents, prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that violated the terms of Mr. Manafort's release while he awaits trial. They asked a federal judge to revise those terms or send him to jail until trial.
Prosecutors said that Mr. Manafort tried to contact witnesses by phone, through an intermediary and through an encrypted messaging program. One witness told the F.B.I. that Mr. Manafort was trying to ''suborn perjury,'' prosecutors said. Two witnesses provided the texts to the F.B.I., which also searched Mr. Manafort's cloud-based Apple account, according to court records.
A lawyer for Mr. Manafort did not respond to a message seeking comment. Neither the witnesses nor the intermediaries were named.
Mr. Manafort served as Mr. Trump's campaign chairman only briefly, but the relationship continues to haunt the Trump administration. Mr. Manafort is accused of violating federal lobbying, tax and money laundering laws as part of a complicated scheme in which he lobbied for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine and hid proceeds in foreign bank accounts.
The witnesses at issue in Monday's court filing relate to allegations that Mr. Manafort secretly retained a group of former European officials to act as lobbyists on issues related to Ukraine. Mr. Manafort paid them 2 million euros in 2012 and 2013, according to court documents.
Prosecutors say that was part of a secret lobbying campaign in the United States. Mr. Manafort argues the lobbying was focused on the European Union '-- a key point in his defense.
In court documents, prosecutors accused Mr. Manafort of trying to reach members of a public relations firm who could get word to the Europeans and help shape their story. ''They should say their lobbying and public relations work was exclusively in Europe,'' one of the public relations officials told the F.B.I. according to court documents.
Prosecutors provided the judge a summary of contacts that they said were made from February to April, while Mr. Manafort was under house arrest on a $10 million bond.
''We should talk,'' Mr. Manafort wrote in a WhatsApp message on Feb. 26 to one of the people at the public relations firm. ''I have made clear that they worked in Europe.''
When that witness avoided him or hung up, prosecutors said, Mr. Manafort worked through an unidentified intermediary.
''Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the U.S., and the purpose of the program was E.U.,'' the intermediary wrote in a Feb. 28 WhatsApp message, according to court documents.
Then in April, the same intermediary sent a message to another person. ''My friend P is looking for ways to connect to you to pass you several messages. Can we arrange that,'' the text read, according to court documents.
It is not clear exactly how the authorities learned of the communications, but prosecutors said that the witnesses provided them with copies of the messages in recent weeks.
Federal prosecutors have not identified the former European officials with whom Mr. Manafort worked. The coterie is identified in court records as the Hapsburg Group. Prosecutors said Mr. Manafort ''secretly retained a group of former senior European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States.''
In a June 2012 memorandum labeled ''Eyes Only,'' prosecutors said, Mr. Manafort described a plan to ''assemble a small group of high-level European highly influential champions and politically credible friends'' who did not have any obvious connection to the government of Ukraine.
Prosecutors say Mr. Manafort laundered more than $18 million, and spent the money on fine suits, real estate and expensive rugs. The charges are not directly related to Mr. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and Mr. Manafort's allies have said the case is intended to pressure him to give prosecutors damaging information about the president. Jailing Mr. Manafort while he awaits trial would increase that pressure, but Mr. Trump's lawyers say Mr. Manafort has nothing incriminating to provide.
Mr. Manafort was indicted in October alongside his longtime business associate Rick Gates, in what was the first salvo of the special counsel's investigation. Mr. Gates has since cut a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
In February, prosecutors added new charges, accusing Mr. Manafort of lying to banks to secure millions of dollars in loans. He is awaiting trial in both cases. He also has launched '-- unsuccessfully so far '-- a broadside attack to Mr. Mueller's authority.
Mr. Trump has tried to distance himself from Mr. Manafort and repeatedly noted that the charges are not related to Mr. Manafort's time as campaign chairman. And they do not address the central question of Mr. Mueller's investigation: whether anyone with the campaign conspired with Russia to try to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump's lawyer has floated the idea of a pardon for Mr. Manafort.
Mr. Mueller's team has previously complained about Mr. Manafort's actions while he awaits trial. Prosecutors said last year that Mr. Manafort and a longtime associate with ties to Russian intelligence helped draft an op-ed article about his lobbying work.
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Air Force freezes Trump's $24 million fridges for jet
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 00:01
By Ryan Browne and Zachary Cohen, CNN
Updated 7:13 PM EDT, Mon June 04, 2018
(CNN) The US Air Force has canceled a $24 million contract for new refrigerators for President Donald Trump's presidential jet.
The decision to cancel the contract was first revealed in a statement issued Monday by Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat who's the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.
An Air Force spokesperson confirmed that the contract had been canceled, adding that there are no plans at the moment to replace the refrigerators through a future contract.
"The Air Force is making the right decision [to] cancel the previously announced sole-source contract and hit restart on this process," Courtney said in the statement. "Even with the understanding that the Air Force One mission brings with it unique requirements and challenges, a $24 million sole-source contract just didn't pass the smell test."
'The smell test'Courtney said the decision to cancel the contract was made jointly by the Air Force and the White House Military Office, according to a letter he received from Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force.
In December, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract to replace two of the five "cold chiller units" aboard the aircraft used by Trump.
The new $24 million chiller units were intended to replace the refrigeration units being currently used, which, according to the Air Force, were part of "the original commercial equipment delivered with the aircraft in 1990."
"Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing, especially in hot/humid environments. The units are unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage," Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNN in January, when news of the contract first broke.
Air Force officials said at the time that the high price tag of the initial contract was due to the fact that Air Force One is a one-of-a-kind aircraft, many of its components require unique testing by the Federal Aviation Administration and the cost of the testing is included in the price of components.
Wilson's letter to Courtney said that "mitigation options exist to ensure food security" until a new version of the presidential aircraft, formally known as the VC-25, comes online.
The Air Force announced last year that it had finalized a deal to purchase two already built aircraft from Boeing to serve as the next generation of Air Force One, to fly future presidents around the world for decades to come.
In her letter, Wilson did say that if the new Air Force One planes are delayed, "the Air Force and White House Military Office will need to relook at" replacing the older variant's refrigerators.
About Us | The LIBRE Initiative
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 18:51
About Us Founded in 2011, The LIBRE Initiative® is a non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that advances the principles and values of a free and open society to empower the U.S. Hispanic community so it can thrive and contribute to a more prosperous America.LIBRE is dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives that protect our free and open society.
Our mission is to equip the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be prosperous. We are committed to developing a network of Hispanic pro-liberty activists across the United States so that our message reaches every corner of the country.
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