1108: Sarcasm

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 49m
January 31st, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Cal of Lavender Blossoms

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Up in Seattle, Anonymous, Sir Isaac, Knight of the Firearms Instructors, Lee Olivares, Big Merv, Sir Jackson Butler Knight of the Transistors

Cover Artist: Uncle Cave Bear

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
3:47
Polar Vortex Hits the US
Woodstock
19:12
Thousands of Belgian Students Skip Class to Protest Against Climate Change for the 4th Week in a Row
Woodstock
22:05
John Williams on the Cost of Living and Inflation
Woodstock
29:23
Mo Brooks Says an Existing Law Authorizes Border Wall Construction
Woodstock
38:22
Trump Disagrees with Intelligence Chiefs
Woodstock
49:41
Pet-Friendly Apartment Buildings Testing DNA of Uncleaned Poop
Woodstock
51:33
Purina Brings Dog Food Containing Crickets and Fish Heads to Market
Woodstock
54:40
Rare: Putting Glitter on Your Dog’s Testicles is a Trend Now, Apparently
Woodstock
55:41
Kamala Harris Announces Her 2020 Presidential Campaign
Woodstock
1:03:34
Kamala Harris Evokes Sandy Hook Shooting in Remarks About Gun-Law Reform
Woodstock
1:05:41
Ben Shapiro's Poorly Executed Sarcasm
Woodstock
1:15:59
Credits
Woodstock
1:31:38
Bernie Sanders is a Dingbat
Woodstock
1:32:21
Kirsten Gillibrand Announces Her 2020 Presidential Campaign
Woodstock
1:34:07
Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Explores Running as Independent Candidate for 2020 Elections
Woodstock
1:42:05
Producer Notes: Venezuela
Woodstock
1:45:37
Joanna Hausmann: What's Happening in Venezuela? Just the Facts
Woodstock
1:47:29
Trump's Venezuela Strategy
Woodstock
1:54:19
Venezuela
Woodstock
1:59:14
The Lunar Rock Big Bertha Originated on Earth 4 Billion Years Ago
Woodstock
2:03:52
Donations
Woodstock
2:11:51
Birthdays & Title Changes
Woodstock
2:15:41
Allan Nairn on Democracy Now: "Elliott Abrams is a War Criminal Who Has Abetted Genocide"
Woodstock
2:22:40
Pi-hole
Woodstock
2:26:07
Facebook Loses Apple Developer Certificate After Paying Users for Data Collection
Woodstock
2:29:41
Johnny English Strikes Again
Woodstock
2:31:27
5G
Woodstock
2:33:59
Canberra, Australia Among the First Cities to Test Optus 5G Network
Woodstock
2:35:15
Indictment Against Huawai Alleges Conspiracy to Steal T-Mobile's Trade Secrets
Woodstock
2:39:50
Massachusetts Attorney General Alleges Purdue Pharma Tried to Shift Blame for Opioid Addiction
Woodstock
2:44:31
Man on the Street Interview: Cold War Was About Freeing the Slaves
Woodstock
2:45:20
End of Show
Woodstock
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TODAY
CUE:NA-1108-START
Note from Jennifer re: Greg
Dear Adam & John,
I am deeply saddened to let you know that my fiance, Sir
Greg Davies, the Heavy Metal Historian, passed away in his home on the morning
of January 29, 2019. The Barrett's Esophagus condition may have indirectly
contributed to Greg's death, but the most likely immediate cause was a heart
attack. He was only 41 years old.
In his short time upon this Earth, Greg was a dynamic force
in the lives of so many people, many of whom have reached out to me since the
news broke. From his home town of Perth, Australia, to the UK, to all around
the US and indeed all around the world, condolences and fond memories have come
in. I am touched and honored by all of the support expressed by those who knew
him, even if it was only online, but the No Agenda community's support has been
especially comforting during this difficult time.
One of your Producers (my apologies to him, I cannot find
his name now to give proper credit) had suggested that donations in the amount
of $20.99 be made to the show in Greg's honor. The reason for this particular
donation amount is inspired by Greg's common internet handle cGt2099. He had a
huge internet presence and worked in IT, so it is only fitting that a memorial
donation in this amount has been promoted. He would have saluted this with two
horns up.
Memorial arrangements have not been finalized yet, but his
family and I have decided upon a huge party open to anyone who wishes to come.
I will post details online once we have the date set.
I know Greg contributed several jingles and pieces of
artwork over the years. May we have a 69 Dudes and a Putin Don't Worry Be Happy
in his honor? And may we also have some Estate Settlement Goat Karma?
With much love and appreciation,
Dame Jennifer Wieda of the Gypsy Nation
Lawton Oklahoma
Venezuela
Boots on the ground report
EXECUTIVE SUMARY.-
In Latin America what has been going on from the 60s to the
present day is a battle between the civilized world and the Castro in Cuba with
the help from russia.
All guerrilla movements in Latin America have been and
continue to be financed, trained and supported by Cuba and the Cuban G2, now
with Venezuelan money.
Today Venezuela is being run by raul castro and the Cuban
G2.
Maduro legally can not be the Venezuelan president because
he was not born in Venezuela, he was born in Colombia.
Six years ago, the elections were stolen, but because they
had money, they bought the international silence.
In last year's fraudulent election most opposition
candidates were either in jail or in exile.
Since they no longer had money to buy consciences, the world
said that they did not recognize these elections.
According to the Constitution, the elected President must be
sworn in to the National Assembly, and that did not happened.
Today the situation is that there is no president elected,
because the elections where rigged, so the president of the Assembly is,
according to the Constitution, the President-in-Charge, with the mandate to
make a new election process asap.
Thanks to the efforts of President Trump and guys like Marco
Rubio, with the support of the international community, it seems that the days
of the dictatorship of Venezuela are over. So in this case actually the US are
the good guys.
Interesting notes:
-The dictator and military generals of Venezuela to this day
are one of the biggest drug cartels in the world.
-maduro has two nephews in jail in New York, for drug
trafficking in the US.
-maduro and most of the generals in Venezuela have open
cases in the International Criminal Court for human rights violations. Right
now as I write this email, the regime is killing people who participated in the
mass demonstrations against the government, of last week throughout Venezuela,
they go to their homes and just kill them.
-In the last 2 years more than 4 million people have left
Venezuela fleeing a dictatorial regime where there is no food or medicine
unless you are with the regime, or have dollars to buy them at higher prices
than international.
One of the things I learned in no AGENDA is not to believe
in the media, but to make my own information gathering, please search the
Internet what is really happening in Venezuela. Do your own research.
Excuse my English
Give my respects to john and tell him I’ve reading his
articles in PC-Magazine for many years.
Crude properties from Ryan the Refiner
John/Adam,
Wanted to offer a bit of background re: Venezuelan crude you
discussed on Sunday’s episode. The majority of the crude produced in
Venezuela comes from the Orinoco belt region, and is in fact a heavy, high
sulfur crude, not the light Bolivian crude you spoke of (Venezuela does have
some light production, albeit not as high quality as you spoke of, and it’s a
small portion of the total).
The reason that we run a lot of Venezuelan crude in the US
Gulf Coast area is that throughout the 90s and early 2000s (pre shale oil boom)
it was thought that the amount of light, sweet crude would be declining
worldwide. US refiners invested in upgrading capacity and equipment
modifications (tower internals, metallurgy upgrades, etc) to process this
heavy, sour crude, which typically trades at a (sometimes steep) discount to a
light, sweet barrel due to its lower quality. This holds true not for
just the heavy Venezuelan crudes, but also Mexico and Canada have heavy crudes
that require more advanced refineries to process. The proximity to
Venezuela (and Mexico, although their production is lower) make them logical
choices for the refiners in the area.
This worked out well until US shale took off.
Initially, the US had export restrictions on crude oil (set in place in the
late 70s/early 80s) which meant all of our light production needed to be
consumed within the US. This caused some price dislocations prior to the
export ban being lifted (these dislocations/discounts still to some extent
persist today, even with some exports due to crude logistics, and typically the
heavy barrels still trade at a discount, but not as steep as it once
was).
Naturally US refiners pushed to run as much light crude as
possible, but with the changes made to run the heavier crudes, running lighter
crudes can actually limit total capacity below where it would be with the
“ideal” crude slate. This has to do with how the atmospheric distillation
towers are configured, and minimum required rates on some downstream upgrading
units such as cokers, that were built to process the heavy parts of the crude
that were expected in the diet.
Additionally, since Chavez nationalized all the oil assets
in the mid 2000s, Venezuelan production has been declining due to the lack of
expertise required to operate the facilities, and the use of PDVSA as a piggy
bank for the socialist government policies. Current production stands at
less than half what it was at its peak. This has driven the incentive for
US refiners in the Gulf to get access to heavy Canadian barrels via the
Keystone pipeline system.
Amid the declining production and increased light crude in
the diet, refiners there want to keep a certain amount of heavy crude in their
diet, thus why those Venezuelan barrels (or some heavy barrels) are important.
The potential of cutting off all crude from Venezuela could pose a real
challenge for US Gulf Coast refiners who depend on those barrels to maximize
throughput and efficiency in their operations.
Regarding Citgo, they are owned by PDVSA and operate three
refineries in the US. But when you go to a Citgo station (or almost any
branded station, for that matter) you are not necessarily getting gasoline
produced from that company’s refinery (many stations are not linked to
companies that even refine oil, and many refineries don’t have branded stations
at all). Gasoline is produced to a common standard and put into pipelines
to be sent to terminals. As long as the product you produce meets those
common standard, it’s a fungible barrel. This method means you don’t
physically have to ship “your” barrel to “your” station, but can instead
procure the most efficient barrel. Unless the branded stations happen to
be geographically close to an existing refinery that has a truck rack (not all
do), it’s a toss up (and probably unlikely) those barrels actually came from
that refinery. It is a common misconception, so I figured I would mention
it.
ITM
Sir Ryan the Refiner
Statement '' Visit of Delegation of CARICOM Member States to the UN Secretary-General | Caribbean News Service
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:20
On Monday, 28 January 2019 a delegation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), comprising Dr Timothy Harris, Chairman of CARICOM; Mia Mottley and Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Ministers of St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively, and Peter David, Foreign Minister of Grenada, Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, as well as the Permanent Representatives of these countries met with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The CARICOM delegation expressed its grave concern over the untenable situation in Venezuela. The delegation strongly urged that further deterioration would seriously aggravate the plight of Venezuelans. The Caribbean Community is steadfast that the region must remain a Zone of Peace.
The CARICOM delegation emphasised its commitment to the tenets of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter which calls on states to refrain from the threat or the use of force. CARICOM has been consistent in the critical importance it accords to the key principles of non interference and non-intervention. CARICOM reaffirmed the view that there was an urgent need for meaningful dialogue leading to a peaceful internal solution for the Venezuelan people. The Caribbean Community is resolute in its belief that it is never too late for dialogue since the consequences of no dialogue will be dire.
The United Nations Secretary General extended his offer of good offices, circumstances permitting, to facilitate dialogue and negotiation between the parties. The CARICOM delegation indicated its readiness to work assiduously to bring the parties to the negotiating table.
To this end, the visiting CARICOM Heads of Government today engaged with various Permanent Representatives '' Canada, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the African Union. They also engaged with the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Foreign Minister of Mexico with a view to reduce tensions and build a platform for dialogue. Futher engagements will take place in the next few days as the situation remains fluid.
Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.
Venezuela Has 20 Tons of Gold Ready to Ship. Destination Unknown - Bloomberg
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 03:47
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5G
America Pushes Allies to Fight Huawei in New Arms Race With China - The New York Times
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 05:08
Image Huawei's offices in Warsaw. Polish officials recently came under pressure from the United States to bar Huawei from building its 5G communications network. Credit Credit Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign minister, arrived in Washington last week for a whirlwind of meetings dominated by a critical question: Should Britain risk its relationship with Beijing and agree to the Trump administration's request to ban Huawei, China's leading telecommunications producer, from building its next-generation computer and phone networks?
Britain is not the only American ally feeling the heat. In Poland, officials are also under pressure from the United States to bar Huawei from building its fifth generation, or 5G, network. Trump officials suggested that future deployments of American troops '-- including the prospect of a permanent base labeled ''Fort Trump'' '-- could hinge on Poland's decision.
And a delegation of American officials showed up last spring in Germany, where most of Europe's giant fiber-optic lines connect and Huawei wants to build the switches that make the system hum. Their message: Any economic benefit of using cheaper Chinese telecom equipment is outweighed by the security threat to the NATO alliance.
Over the past year, the United States has embarked on a stealthy, occasionally threatening, global campaign to prevent Huawei and other Chinese firms from participating in the most dramatic remaking of the plumbing that controls the internet since it sputtered into being, in pieces, 35 years ago.
The administration contends that the world is engaged in a new arms race '-- one that involves technology, rather than conventional weaponry, but poses just as much danger to America's national security. In an age when the most powerful weapons, short of nuclear arms, are cyber-controlled, whichever country dominates 5G will gain an economic, intelligence and military edge for much of this century.
The transition to 5G '-- already beginning in prototype systems in cities from Dallas to Atlanta '-- is likely to be more revolutionary than evolutionary. What consumers will notice first is that the network is faster '-- data should download almost instantly, even over cellphone networks.
It is the first network built to serve the sensors, robots, autonomous vehicles and other devices that will continuously feed each other vast amounts of data, allowing factories, construction sites and even whole cities to be run with less moment-to-moment human intervention. It will also enable greater use of virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools.
But what is good for consumers is also good for intelligence services and cyberattackers. The 5G system is a physical network of switches and routers. But it is more reliant on layers of complex software that are far more adaptable, and constantly updating, in ways invisible to users '-- much as an iPhone automatically updates while charging overnight. That means whoever controls the networks controls the information flow '-- and may be able to change, reroute or copy data without users' knowledge.
In interviews with current and former senior American government officials, intelligence officers and top telecommunications executives, it is clear that the potential of 5G has created a zero-sum calculus in the Trump White House '-- a conviction that there must be a single winner in this arms race, and the loser must be banished. For months, the White House has been drafting an executive order, expected in the coming weeks, that would effectively ban United States companies from using Chinese-origin equipment in critical telecommunications networks. That goes far beyond the existing rules, which ban such equipment only from government networks.
Nervousness about Chinese technology has long existed in the United States, fueled by the fear that the Chinese could insert a ''back door'' into telecom and computing networks that would allow Chinese security services to intercept military, government and corporate communications. And Chinese cyberintrusions of American companies and government entities have occurred repeatedly, including by hackers suspected of working on behalf of China's Ministry of State Security.
But the concern has taken on more urgency as countries around the world begin deciding which equipment providers will build their 5G networks.
American officials say the old process of looking for ''back doors'' in equipment and software made by Chinese companies is the wrong approach, as is searching for ties between specific executives and the Chinese government. The bigger issue, they argue, is the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Chinese government, the fading line between independent business and the state and new laws that will give Beijing the power to look into, or maybe even take over, networks that companies like Huawei have helped build and maintain.
''It's important to remember that Chinese company relationships with the Chinese government aren't like private sector company relationships with governments in the West,'' said William R. Evanina, the director of America's National Counterintelligence and Security Center. ''China's 2017 National Intelligence Law requires Chinese companies to support, provide assistance and cooperate in China's national intelligence work, wherever they operate.''
The White House's focus on Huawei coincides with the Trump administration's broader crackdown on China, which has involved sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods, investment restrictions and the indictments of several Chinese nationals accused of hacking and cyberespionage. President Trump has accused China of ''ripping off our country'' and plotting to grow stronger at America's expense.
Mr. Trump's views, combined with a lack of hard evidence implicating Huawei in any espionage, have prompted some countries to question whether America's campaign is really about national security or if it is aimed at preventing China from gaining a competitive edge.
Administration officials see little distinction in those goals.
''President Trump has identified overcoming this economic problem as critical, not simply to right the balance economically, to make China play by the rules everybody else plays by, but to prevent an imbalance in political/military power in the future as well,'' John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump's national security adviser, told The Washington Times on Friday. ''The two aspects are very closely tied together in his mind.''
The administration is warning allies that the next six months are critical. Countries are beginning to auction off radio spectrum for new, 5G cellphone networks and decide on multibillion-dollar contracts to build the underlying switching systems. This past week, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it had concluded its first high-band 5G spectrum auction.
The Chinese government sees this moment as its chance to wire the world '-- especially European, Asian and African nations that find themselves increasingly beholden to Chinese economic power.
''This will be almost more important than electricity,'' said Chris Lane, a telecom analyst in Hong Kong for Sanford C. Bernstein. ''Everything will be connected, and the central nervous system of these smart cities will be your 5G network.''
Image Both the United States and China believe that whichever country dominates 5G will gain an economic, intelligence and military edge for much of this century. Credit Fred Dufour/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images A New Red Scare?So far, the fear swirling around Huawei is almost entirely theoretical. Current and former American officials whisper that classified reports implicate the company in possible Chinese espionage but have produced none publicly. Others familiar with the secret case against the company say there is no smoking gun '-- just a heightened concern about the firm's rising technological dominance and the new Chinese laws that require Huawei to submit to requests from Beijing.
Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's founder, has denied that his company spied for China. ''I still love my country. I support the Communist Party of China. But I will never do anything to harm any other nation,'' he said earlier this month.
Australia last year banned Huawei and another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, from supplying 5G equipment. Other nations are wrestling with whether to follow suit and risk inflaming China, which could hamper their access to the growing Chinese market and deprive them of cheaper Huawei products.
Government officials in places like Britain note that Huawei has already invested heavily in older-style networks '-- and has employed Britons to build and run them. And they argue that Huawei isn't going away '-- it will run the networks of half the world, or more, and will have to be connected, in some way, to the networks of the United States and its allies.
Yet BT Group, the British telecom giant, has plans to rip out part of Huawei's existing network. The company says that was part of its plans after acquiring a firm that used existing Huawei equipment; American officials say it came after Britain's intelligence services warned of growing risks. And Vodafone Group, which is based in London, said on Friday that it would temporarily stop buying Huawei equipment for parts of its 5G network.
Nations have watched warily as China has retaliated against countries that cross it. In December, Canada arrested a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States. Ms. Meng, who is Mr. Ren's daughter, has been accused of defrauding banks to help Huawei's business evade sanctions against Iran. Since her arrest, China has detained two Canadian citizens and sentenced to death a third Canadian, who had previously been given 15 years in prison for drug smuggling.
''Europe is fascinating because they have to take sides,'' said Philippe Le Corre, nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ''They are in the middle. All these governments, they need to make decisions. Huawei is everywhere.''
Image A Huawei store in Warsaw. This month, the Polish government made two high-profile espionage arrests, including an employee of Huawei. Credit Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times Growing SuspicionsThis month, the Polish government made two high-profile espionage arrests: a former intelligence official, Piotr Durbajlo, and Wang Weijing, an employee of Huawei. The arrests are the strongest evidence so far that links Huawei with spying activities.
Mr. Wang, who was quickly fired by Huawei, has been accused of working for Chinese intelligence agencies, said a top former Polish intelligence official. Mr. Wang, according to American diplomats, was the handler of Mr. Durbajlo, who appears to have helped the Chinese penetrate the Polish government's most secure communications network.
A senior American official said the case was a prime example of how the Chinese government plants intelligence operatives inside Huawei's vast global network. Those operatives potentially have access to overseas communications networks and can conduct espionage that the affected companies are not aware of, the official said.
Huawei said Mr. Wang had brought ''disrepute'' on the company and his actions had nothing to do with its operations.
Mr. Wang's lawyer, Bartlomiej Jankowski, says his client has been caught up in a geopolitical tug of war between the United States and China.
American and British officials had already grown concerned about Huawei's abilities after cybersecurity experts, combing through the company's source code to look for back doors, determined that Huawei could remotely access and control some networks from the company's Shenzhen headquarters.
On careful examination, the code that Huawei had installed in its network-control software did not appear to be malicious. Nor was it hidden. It appeared to be part of a system to update remote networks and diagnose trouble. But in some circumstances, it could also route traffic around corporate data centers '-- where firms monitor and control their networks '-- and its mere existence is now cited as evidence that hackers or Chinese intelligence could use Huawei equipment to penetrate millions of networks.
American officials and academics say Chinese telecommunications companies have also temporarily hijacked parts of the internet, rerouting basic traffic from the United States and Canada to China.
One academic paper, co-written by Chris C. Demchak, a Naval War College professor, outlined how traffic from Canada meant for South Korea was redirected to China for six months. That 2016 attack has been repeated, according to American officials, and provides opportunity for espionage.
Last year, AT&T and Verizon stopped selling Huawei phones in their stores after Huawei begin equipping the devices with its own sets of computer chips '-- rather than relying on American or European manufacturers. The National Security Agency quietly raised alarms that with Huawei supplying its own parts, the Chinese company would control every major element of its networks. The N.S.A. feared it would no longer be able to rely on American and European providers to warn of any evidence of malware, spying or other covert action.
Image An assembly line at Huawei's cellphone plant in Dongguan, China. The company has already surpassed Apple as the world's second biggest cellphone provider. Credit Qilai Shen/Bloomberg The Rise of HuaweiIn three decades, Huawei has transformed itself from a small reseller of low-end phone equipment into a global giant with a dominant position in one of the crucial technologies of the new century.
Last year, Huawei edged out Apple as the second-biggest provider of cellphones around the world. Richard Yu, who heads the company's consumer business, said in Beijing several days ago that ''even without the U.S. market we will be No. 1 in the world,'' by the end of this year or sometime in 2020.
The company was founded in 1987 by Mr. Ren, a former People's Liberation Army engineer who has become one of China's most successful entrepreneurs.
American officials say the company started through imitation, and even theft, of American technology. Cisco Systems sued Huawei in 2003, saying it had illegally copied the American company's source code. The two companies settled out of court.
But Huawei did not just imitate. It opened research centers (including one in California) and built alliances with leading universities around the world. Last year, it generated $100 billion in revenue, twice as much as Cisco and significantly more than IBM. Its ability to deliver well-made equipment at a lower cost than Western firms drove once-dominant players like Motorola and Lucent out of the telecom-equipment industry.
While American officials refuse to discuss it, the government snooping was a two-way street. As early as 2010, the N.S.A. secretly broke into Huawei's headquarters, in an operation, code-named ''Shotgiant,'' a discovery revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor now living in exile in Moscow.
Documents show that the N.S.A. was looking to prove suspicions that Huawei was secretly controlled by the People's Liberation Army '-- and that Mr. Ren never really left the powerful army unit. It never found the evidence, according to former officials. But the Snowden documents also show that the N.S.A. had another goal: to better understand Huawei's technology and look for potential back doors. This way, when the company sold equipment to American adversaries, the N.S.A. would be able to target those nations' computer and telephone networks to conduct surveillance and, if necessary, offensive cyberoperations.
In other words, the Americans were trying to do to Huawei the exact thing they are now worried Huawei will do to the United States.
Image President Trump met with Andrzej Duda, his Polish counterpart, last year. Mr. Duda has suggested that the United States build a $2 billion base and training area, which Mr. Duda only half-jokingly called ''Fort Trump.'' Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times A Global CampaignAfter an uproar in 2013 about Huawei's growing dominance in Britain, the country's powerful Intelligence and Security Committee, a parliamentary body, argued for banning Huawei, partly because of Chinese cyberattacks aimed at the British government. It was overruled, but Britain created a system to require that Huawei make its hardware and source code available to GCHQ, the country's famous code-breaking agency.
In July, Britain's National Cyber Security Center for the first time said publicly that questions about Huawei's current practices and the complexity and dynamism of the new 5G networks meant it would be difficult to find vulnerabilities.
At roughly the same time, the N.S.A., at a series of classified meetings with telecommunications executives, had to decide whether to let Huawei bid for parts of the American 5G networks. AT&T and Verizon argued there was value in letting Huawei set up a ''test bed'' in the United States since it would have to reveal the source code for its networking software. Allowing Huawei to bid would also drive the price of building the networks down, they argued.
The director of the N.S.A. at the time, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, never approved the move and Huawei was blocked.
In July 2018, with these decisions swirling, Britain, the United States and other members of the ''Five Eyes'' intelligence-sharing alliance met for their annual meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Chinese telecommunications companies, Huawei and 5G networks were at the top of the agenda. They decided on joint action to try to block the company from building new networks in the West.
American officials are trying to make clear with allies around the world that the war with China is not just about trade but a battle to protect the national security of the world's leading democracies and key NATO members.
On Tuesday, the heads of American intelligence agencies will appear before the Senate to deliver their annual threat assessment, and they are expected to cite 5G investments by Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei, as a threat.
In Poland, the message has quietly been delivered that countries that use Chinese telecommunications networks would be unsafe for American troops, according to people familiar with the internal discussions.
That has gotten Poland's attention, given that its president, Andrzej Duda, visited the White House in September and presented a plan to build a $2 billion base and training area, which Mr. Duda only half-jokingly called ''Fort Trump.''
Col. Grzegorz Malecki, now retired, who was the head of the Foreign Intelligence Agency in Poland, said it was understandable that the United States would want to avoid potentially compromising its troops.
''And control over the 5G network is such a potentially dangerous tool,'' said Mr. Malecki, now board president of the Institute of Security and Strategy. ''From Poland's perspective, securing this troop presence outweighs all other concerns.''
Adam Satariano, Joanna Berendt and Katie Benner contributed reporting.
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A Robot Named 'Tappy': Huawei Conspired To Steal T-Mobile's Trade Secrets, Says DOJ : NPR
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 04:11
A Justice Department indictment unsealed on Monday details an alleged conspiracy by the Chinese device maker Huawei to steal the details of a T-Mobile robot. Here, a woman uses her smartphone outside a Huawei store in Beijing on Tuesday. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images A Justice Department indictment unsealed on Monday details an alleged conspiracy by the Chinese device maker Huawei to steal the details of a T-Mobile robot. Here, a woman uses her smartphone outside a Huawei store in Beijing on Tuesday.
Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images The Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments of Chinese telecom device maker Huawei on Monday. But only one of them reads like the script of a slapstick caper movie.
That would be the one that describes the U.S. government's case alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile, the wireless service company.
In the indictment, the government says that between June 2012 and September 2014, Huawei repeatedly made efforts to steal information about the design of a T-Mobile robot. The robot's name, adorably, is "Tappy."
We would like to include a photo here of Tappy, but photographing the robot is expressly prohibited by T-Mobile, and Tappy is kept under very tight security in a lab at T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.
Tappy's job is to test devices before they go to market. With a rubber-tipped robotic arm, it touches the device screen, imitating a human using the phone '-- while at the same time tracking problems, measuring how long tasks take to complete, and monitoring how much battery is drained by each task.
At least at the time of the events in the indictment, Tappy was apparently the envy of other mobile companies, and only T-Mobile employees were allowed to operate Tappy. But eventually the company allowed employees from its phone suppliers to access and operate the robot '' so long as they signed nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. Those agreements specifically barred suppliers' employees from attempting to reverse engineer Tappy, or to take photos or videos of it.
Meanwhile, Huawei China was reportedly trying to build its own device-testing robot '-- named, less cutely, "xDeviceRobot" '-- and it was not finding much success. And Huawei's devices weren't faring well on T-Mobile's Tappy tests, failing more often than devices made by competitors.
In May 2012, Huawei USA asked if Huawei China could license the Tappy technology, and T-Mobile said no.
That's when Huawei began attempting to steal the design secrets of Tappy, according to the indictment.
On a June 2012 conference call, a Huawei China engineer made a list of questions for Huawei USA employees to answer, including technical specifications, photos from multiple angles, and component serial numbers.
Two months later, T-Mobile granted access to Huawei USA's engineers so they could test Huawei's phones before releasing them. Those engineers started asking questions about Tappy's workings to the T-Mobile engineers, who weren't forthcoming.
Huawei China allegedly continued to pester Huawei USA employees to dig up the intel, and they in turn continued to ask T-Mobile folks about Tappy's design. One of the Huawei engineers, known in the indictment only as "A.X.", took and sent unauthorized photos of the robot to Huawei China, but it wasn't enough, and they asked for more.
Huawei USA's Director of Technical Acceptance, identified as "R.Y.", wrote back to Huawei China: "Once again, we CAN'T ask TMO any questions about the robot. TMO is VERY angry the questions we asked." R.Y. suggested Huawei China send its own engineer to Bellevue to see Tappy in action.
An engineer, "F.W.", arrived from China. A.X. and another U.S. counterpart sneaked the visiting engineer into the lab to see and photograph Tappy. They were caught '' twice, and F.W. was ordered out of the facility.
T-Mobile then banned Huawei employees from the lab, but relented and allowed A.X. access.
Then, in May 2013, A.X. allegedly made a very bold move, removing Tappy's arm and putting it in his laptop bag. T-Mobile employees confronted him about the missing arm. He denied having it, and that night he and F.W. measured and photographed the arm. The next day, A.X. said he had "found" Tappy's arm in his bag. It was then that T-Mobile finally revoked A.X.'s credential to the lab.
You might think the alleged hijinks end there. But they do not.
Huawei was very nervous about having been caught. Just a year before, the House Intelligence Committee had put out a report finding that Huawei was a potential threat to national security, with a "pattern of disregard" for U.S. intellectual property rights. And it had been sued by Motorola and Cisco for stealing IP.
Huawei China told T-Mobile that internal investigations in the U.S. and China "confirmed" that A.X. and F.W. had acted alone in the arm-borrowing episode, and that both employees were terminated for cause. Huawei then sent T-Mobile a redacted version of the investigation report, which allegedly contained false information intended to show that Huawei China had not asked for or orchestrated these events.
A civil lawsuit over the Tappy incident awarded T-Mobile $4.8 million in damages in 2017, The Associated Press reports. "Huawei said in an emailed statement Tuesday that it denies any violations of U.S. law, and that the Tappy allegations were already a settled matter between it and T-Mobile," according to the AP.
Huawei now faces ten counts in federal court: conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets, seven counts of wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.
The Justice Department evidently has a juicy pile of Huawei emails with which to argue its case. But one detail from the indictment is perhaps the most telling of all.
In July 2013, even as it argued that the Tappy incident was the result of a couple rogue employees, Huawei China launched a formal policy of awarding bonuses to employees who stole confidential information from competitors. It emphasized, the indictment says, "that no employees would be punished for taking actions in accordance to the policy."
Italian Court Orders Public Safety Campaign - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:41
In a victory for advocates of precaution, an Italian court has ordered the government to launch a campaign to advise the public of the health risks from mobile and cordless phones.
The information campaign must begin by July 16.
The court in Rome reached its decision last November, but the announcement was only made yesterday. The decision is here.
Today, the government announced that it would not appeal the ruling, Stefano Bertone told Microwave News. Bertone is with the law firm of Ambrosio and Commodo in Turin, and is helping represent a citizens group called APPLE, which sued to force the government to act. APPLE is an acronym for the Association for the Prevention of and Fight Against Electrosmog.
In a joint press release, three different ministries '--of Health, of Environment and of Education and Research'-- acknowledge that there is a need to raise public awareness on how to use mobile phones safely.
''This case has important implications not only in Italy, but worldwide,'' Bertone said. ''At the moment, health and safety information is contained '--or, I should say, buried'-- in cell phone manuals. This is not good enough. If it was, the court would have agreed with the government that sufficient information is already available.''
In October 2012, the Italian Supreme Court affirmed a ruling granting a claim for workers compensation filed by a businessman who claimed that his use of a cell phone for 12 years had caused a tumor to develop on one of his cranial nerves (the trigeminal nerve). Gino Angelo Levis, a founder of APPLE, was an expert witness for the plaintiff.
Today's local coverage from La Repubblica is here, and from Corriere della Sera here.
The Associated Press story was picked up by the New York Times and the Washington Post Web pages.
APPLE's press release is here.
*
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Build the Wall
Denmark builds anti-pig border fence amid swine flu fears - BBC News
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:04
Image copyright EPA Image caption Wild boar can carry swine flu across borders - and cripple entire farming communities Denmark has started building a 70km (43-mile) fence along its border with Germany in an effort to control the migration of wild boar.
There are fears that African swine fever, which has been found in two dead wild boar in Belgium, could threaten Denmark's huge pig industry.
If the disease spreads, it could jeopardise almost $1.7bn (£1.3bn) in pork-product exports from Denmark.
But some opponents have questioned how effective the $12m (£9m) fence will be.
African swine fever is harmless to humans, but can be carried by both wild and domestic pigs. It is usually fatal within days, and there is no cure and no vaccine.
And Denmark produces about 28 million pigs a year. The industry is worth 30bn Danish kroner ($4.6bn, £3.5bn).
If there were an outbreak of African swine fever, "exports to non-EU countries would have to shut down", the government said.
The Minister for Environment and Food, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, said the government was determined "to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark. And now we can finally get started on erecting our wild boar fence".
When completed later this year, the border fence will:
Be 1.5m (5ft) tall, and at least 50cm (1.6ft) deep to stop boar burrowing underHave about 20 gaps at border crossing points and waterwaysHave at least one gate ever kilometre and steps elsewhere so humans can climb over itHave 20cm (8 in) square openings every 100m (300ft) for small animals to move throughDenmark is also easing hunting restrictions, "allowing wild boar hunts around the clock", and stepping up fines for livestock transport that has not been properly disinfected. Such hunting measures have also been introduced in other countries such as France and Poland.
Image copyright AFP Image caption In Poland, animal rights activists try to stop hunters shooting wild boar as the country also moves against swine flu Critics say the construction of a fence is political, so that officials can be seen to be taking action, rather than a practical solution. They point to the large gaps at roads, and wild boar populations that live near the water - and can swim from one country to another.
There are also environmental concerns about the effect on other animals.
But a single case at one farm could result in culling the entire livestock to control its spread.
That happened in Lithuania, which was hit by the disease in 2014 and has been containing it ever since.
Algis Baravykas from the Lithuanian Pig Producers Association told BBC Radio last year that thousands of animals have been killed.
"The very first outbreak, it was a farm of about 20,000 pigs - we had to kill all the animals," he said.
"They're not used to killing healthy animals... it's a very sad event," he said.
[USC07] 10 USC 284: Support for counterdrug activities and activities to counter transnational organized crime
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 23:22
§284. Support for counterdrug activities and activities to counter transnational organized crime(a) Support to Other Agencies.-The Secretary of Defense may provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of any other department or agency of the Federal Government or of any State, local, tribal, or foreign law enforcement agency for any of the purposes set forth in subsection (b) or (c), as applicable, if-
(1) in the case of support described in subsection (b), such support is requested-
(A) by the official who has responsibility for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of the department or agency of the Federal Government, in the case of support for other departments or agencies of the Federal Government; or
(B) by the appropriate official of a State, local, or tribal government, in the case of support for State, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies; or
(2) in the case of support described in subsection (c), such support is requested by an appropriate official of a department or agency of the Federal Government, in coordination with the Secretary of State, that has counterdrug responsibilities or responsibilities for countering transnational organized crime.
(b) Types of Support for Agencies of United States.-The purposes for which the Secretary may provide support under subsection (a) for other departments or agencies of the Federal Government or a State, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies, are the following:
(1) The maintenance and repair of equipment that has been made available to any department or agency of the Federal Government or to any State, local, or tribal government by the Department of Defense for the purposes of-
(A) preserving the potential future utility of such equipment for the Department of Defense; and
(B) upgrading such equipment to ensure compatibility of that equipment with other equipment used by the Department.
(2) The maintenance, repair, or upgrading of equipment (including computer software), other than equipment referred to in paragraph (1) for the purpose of-
(A) ensuring that the equipment being maintained or repaired is compatible with equipment used by the Department of Defense; and
(B) upgrading such equipment to ensure the compatibility of that equipment with equipment used by the Department.
(3) The transportation of personnel of the United States and foreign countries (including per diem expenses associated with such transportation), and the transportation of supplies and equipment, for the purpose of facilitating counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime within or outside the United States.
(4) The establishment (including an unspecified minor military construction project) and operation of bases of operations or training facilities for the purpose of facilitating counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of the Department of Defense or any Federal, State, local, or tribal law enforcement agency within or outside the United States.
(5) Counterdrug or counter-transnational organized crime related training of law enforcement personnel of the Federal Government, of State, local, and tribal governments, including associated support expenses for trainees and the provision of materials necessary to carry out such training.
(6) The detection, monitoring, and communication of the movement of-
(A) air and sea traffic within 25 miles of and outside the geographic boundaries of the United States; and
(B) surface traffic outside the geographic boundary of the United States and within the United States not to exceed 25 miles of the boundary if the initial detection occurred outside of the boundary.
(7) Construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.
(8) Establishment of command, control, communications, and computer networks for improved integration of law enforcement, active military, and National Guard activities.
(9) The provision of linguist and intelligence analysis services.
(10) Aerial and ground reconnaissance.
(c) Types of Support for Foreign Law Enforcement Agencies.-
(1) Purposes.-The purposes for which the Secretary may provide support under subsection (a) for foreign law enforcement agencies are the following:
(A) The transportation of personnel of the United States and foreign countries (including per diem expenses associated with such transportation), and the transportation of supplies and equipment, for the purpose of facilitating counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime within or outside the United States.
(B) The establishment (including small scale construction) and operation of bases of operations or training facilities for the purpose of facilitating counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of a foreign law enforcement agency outside the United States.
(C) The detection, monitoring, and communication of the movement of-
(i) air and sea traffic within 25 miles of and outside the geographic boundaries of the United States; and
(ii) surface traffic outside the geographic boundaries of the United States.
(D) Establishment of command, control, communications, and computer networks for improved integration of United States Federal and foreign law enforcement entities and United States Armed Forces.
(E) The provision of linguist and intelligence analysis services.
(F) Aerial and ground reconnaissance.
(2) Coordination with secretary of state.-In providing support for a purpose described in this subsection, the Secretary shall coordinate with the Secretary of State.
(d) Contract Authority.-In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary may acquire services or equipment by contract for support provided under that subsection if the Department of Defense would normally acquire such services or equipment by contract for the purpose of conducting a similar activity for the Department.
(e) Limited Waiver of Prohibition.-Notwithstanding section 376 1 of this title, the Secretary may provide support pursuant to subsection (a) in any case in which the Secretary determines that the provision of such support would adversely affect the military preparedness of the United States in the short term if the Secretary determines that the importance of providing such support outweighs such short-term adverse effect.
(f) Conduct of Training or Operation To Aid Civilian Agencies.-In providing support pursuant to subsection (a), the Secretary may plan and execute otherwise valid military training or operations (including training exercises undertaken pursuant to section 1206(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 (Public Law 101''189; 103 Stat. 1564) 2 for the purpose of aiding civilian law enforcement agencies.
(g) Relationship to Other Support Authorities.-
(1) Additional authority.-The authority provided in this section for the support of counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime by the Department of Defense is in addition to, and except as provided in paragraph (2), not subject to the other requirements of this chapter.
(2) Exception.-Support under this section shall be subject to the provisions of section 375 1 and, except as provided in subsection (e), section 376 1 of this title.
(h) Congressional Notification.-
(1) In general.-Not less than 15 days before providing support for an activity under subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a written and electronic notice of the following:
(A) In the case of support for a purpose described in subsection (c)-
(i) the country the capacity of which will be built or enabled through the provision of such support;
(ii) the budget, implementation timeline with milestones, anticipated delivery schedule for support, and completion date for the purpose or project for which support is provided;
(iii) the source and planned expenditure of funds provided for the project or purpose;
(iv) a description of the arrangements, if any, for the sustainment of the project or purpose and the source of funds to support sustainment of the capabilities and performance outcomes achieved using such support, if applicable;
(v) a description of the objectives for the project or purpose and evaluation framework to be used to develop capability and performance metrics associated with operational outcomes for the recipient;
(vi) information, including the amount, type, and purpose, about the support provided the country during the three fiscal years preceding the fiscal year for which the support covered by the notice is provided under this section under-
(I) this section;
(II) section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2763 );
(III) peacekeeping operations;
(IV) the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement program under section 481 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2291 );
(V) Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs;
(VI) counterdrug activities authorized by section 1004 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (10 U.S.C. 374 note ) 1 and section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (Public Law 105''85); or
(VII) any other significant program, account, or activity for the provision of security assistance that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State consider appropriate;
(vii) an evaluation of the capacity of the recipient country to absorb the support provided; and
(viii) an evaluation of the manner in which the project or purpose for which the support is provided fits into the theater security cooperation strategy of the applicable geographic combatant command.
(B) In the case of support for a purpose described in subsection (b) or (c), a description of any small scale construction project for which support is provided.
(2) Coordination with secretary of state.-In providing notice under this subsection for a purpose described in subsection (c), the Secretary of Defense shall coordinate with the Secretary of State.
(i) Definitions.-In this section:
(1) The term "appropriate committees of Congress" means-
(A) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
(B) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
(2) The term "Indian tribe" means a Federally recognized Indian tribe.
(3) The term "small scale construction" means construction at a cost not to exceed $750,000 for any project.
(4) The term "tribal government" means the governing body of an Indian tribe, the status of whose land is "Indian country" as defined in section 1151 of title 18 or held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Indian tribe.
(5) The term "tribal law enforcement agency" means the law enforcement agency of a tribal government.
(6) The term "transnational organized crime" means self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary, or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption or violence or through a transnational organization structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms.
(Added §384 and renumbered §284, Pub. L. 114''328, div. A, title X, §1011(a)(1), title XII, §1241(a)(2), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2381, 2497.)
References in TextSection 376 of this title , referred to in subsecs. (e) and (g)(2), was renumbered section 276 of this title by Pub. L. 114''328, div. A, title XII, §1241(a)(2), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2497.
Section 1206(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991, referred to subsec. (f), is section 1206(a) of Pub. L. 101''189, which is set out as a note under section 124 of this title .
Section 375, referred to in subsec. (g)(2), was renumbered section 275 of this title by Pub. L. 114''328, div. A, title XII, §1241(a)(2), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2497.
Section 1004 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991, referred to in subsec. (h)(1)(A)(vi)(VI), is section 1004 of Pub. L. 101''510, which was set out as a note under section 374 of this title prior to being repealed by Pub. L. 114''328, div. A, title X, §1011(b), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2385.
Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998, referred to in subsec. (h)(1)(A)(vi)(VI), is section 1033 of Pub. L. 105''85, div. A, title X, Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 1881, which is not classified to the Code.
Amendments2016-Pub. L. 114''328, §1241(a)(2), renumbered section 384 of this title as this section.
2020
Extramarital affair with Kamala Harris? Former San Francisco mayor, 84, admits it happened | Fox News
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:24
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown addressed his past extramarital relationship with U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris in his weekly column Saturday, saying he may have boosted the presidential hopeful's career.
"Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago," Brown wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was [California] Assembly speaker. And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco."
Brown, 84, pointed out that he also helped the careers of other prominent California Democrats, such as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
KAMALA HARRIS' NEW BOOK PUBLISHED WITH PRAISE FOR 'LEADERSHIP' OF NOW-DISGRACED FORMER AIDE
"The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I 'so much as jaywalked' while she was D.A.,'' Brown wrote. "That's politics for ya."
Brown appointed Harris -- about 30 years younger than Brown and just a few years out of law school '' to two well-paid state commission assignments on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
KAMALA HARRIS SAYS PRESIDENT SHOULD 'OPEN UP' TRUMP TOWER TO FEDERAL WORKERS FURLOUGHED BY SHUTDOWN
"Whether you agree or disagree with the system, I did the work," Harris said in a 2003 interview with SF Weekly. "I brought a level of life knowledge and common sense to the jobs."
"The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I 'so much as jaywalked' while she was D.A.''
'-- Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco
The former mayor also connected Harris with campaign donors, which helped her outraise her opponent for San Francisco district attorney, Business Insider reported. Brown's involvement in her election raised questions as to how Harris would remain impartial, given his enormous political clout.
Questions about Brown's relationship with Harris began anew after she announced her 2020 presidential bid on Martin Luther King Day.
During his two terms as mayor of San Francisco, Brown was known for his charm, arrogance and ego, according to a 1996 profile in People magazine.
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Named one of the world's 10 sexiest men by Playgirl magazine in 1984, Brown sometimes attended parties with his wife on one arm and a girlfriend on the other, according to a reporter quoted by the magazine.
Brown and Harris broke up in 1995 but remained political allies. In Saturday's column, Brown said Harris is "riding a buzz wave the likes of which we haven't seen in years."
Fox News contacted Harris' office for a response to Brown's claims but did not receive a response.
For the past decade or so, Brown has reportedly been linked with Sonya Molodetskaya, a Russian refugee and socialite. He is said to be separated from wife Blanche Vitero, whom he married in 1958.
Brown and Vitero have three children, while Brown also fathered a child in 2001 with his former fundraiser, Carolyn Carpeneti, according to the Chronicle.
Texas Republicans fear Trump could lose the state in 2020
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:20
| January 29, 2019 07:00 AM
T op Republicans in Texas are sounding the alarm about 2020, warning President Trump could lose the usually reliably red state unless he devotes resources and attention to it typically reserved for electoral battlegrounds.
Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey has delivered this message to the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, GOP donors, and activists in the state. Nationally, Republican operatives and donors have historically taken Texas for granted and directed their financial and organizational muscle to more competitive regions. Separately, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, up for re-election next year, has spoken with new RNC co-chairman Tommy Hicks, a Lone Star State native, about concerns that Trump could lose the state.
Along with other senior Texas Republicans, Dickey and Cornyn are moving to secure the money and grassroots support needed to withstand a feared Democratic surge statewide in 2020. If left unchecked, they are convinced Texas could turn blue in a presidential contest for the first time since 1976.
''We are talking to everyone,'' Dickey told the Washington Examiner this month while attending the RNC's annual winter business meeting in New Mexico. ''The challenges we face in Texas are very real.''
Texas controls 38 votes in the Electoral College, a massive haul without which Trump would be unlikely to reach 270 and win a second term. Dependably Republican for decades, Texas nearly elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections. Last year, two traditionally GOP Texas seats in the House of Representatives flipped to the Democrats, and the GOP lost several swing seats in the state legislature.
Chris Homan, a veteran GOP operative in Texas who worked several 2018 contests, said Republicans suffered because Democrats were more energized, more organized, and better funded. Homan worries Republicans could be overwhelmed again in 2020, costing Trump the state and, possibly as a result, the White House.
''Because of what happened organically on the Democrat side, Republicans in Texas have a large organizational gap that exists. In 2018, we simply did not have the kind of people and activists at the scale the Democrats enjoyed. This is a significant advantage the Democrats have going into this cycle,'' Homan said.
Some Republicans argue that the Democrats' success in Texas in 2018 might have been a fluke.
First term presidents typically lose seats in Congress in midterm elections. And, in Texas, Democratic Senate nominee Beto O'Rourke boosted Democrats down ticket with a campaign that, while falling just short, spent more than $70 million on the ground. That's a gargantuan sum unlikely to be equaled in a presidential election cycle with plenty of other states on the map where money goes farther than it does in Texas, where campaigning and running ads is expensive.
This is of little comfort to many Republicans.
The Trump campaign is monitoring developments in the state, prepared to raise the threat level. O'Rourke is a possible presidential candidate, and another Texan, former Cabinet official Julian Castro, announced his bid for the Democratic nomination a few weeks ago. If either were on the ticket, even as the running mate, Texas would automatically be in play, fret Republican operatives focused on 2020.
Texas, for years, has been taken for granted, so much so that teams of grassroots volunteers, known in the state as ''strike forces,'' deploy elsewhere. Texas' wealthy Republican donors often do the same with their checkbooks. To avoid getting caught flatfooted, Cornyn is holding discussions with party officials at all levels, from the RNC to the National Republican Senatorial Committee '-- the party's campaign arm in the Senate '-- to individual members of Texas' GOP delegation in Congress.
''A lot of what it's going to take is a unified effort,'' Cornyn said. ''If Texas turns back to a Democratic state, which it used to be, then we'll never elect another Republican [president] in my lifetime.''
Al Weaver contributed to this report.
Elizabeth Warren's plan to tax the super-rich has been tried before. Here's what happened.
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 22:50
(C) Justin Wan Image: Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a campaign event in Iowa on Jan. 5, 2019. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has made a splash with her plan for a "wealth tax" on the super-rich, a major break from typical Democratic proposals that target income, investment gains and inheritances.
While wealth taxes aren't a new invention and a handful of developed nations currently have them in place, they are on the decline: The number nations that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with a wealth tax dropped from 12 to four from 1990 to 2017, according to a report by the organization last year.
With inequality hitting new heights, though, Democrats running for president have made finding new ways to tax the rich and distribute the benefits downward a key part of their economic message. Wealth taxes are making a comeback in policy discussions abroad as well, led by French economist Thomas Piketty's call for a global tax on the rich.
Now economists are debating what other countries can tell us about the Warren Ultra-Millionaires Tax and whether it's useful to tie their experiences to the United States.
One prominent case study is Switzerland, where a longstanding series of wealth taxes account for about 1 percent of GDP each year. That's a much higher share than in other countries with a wealth tax and it's similar to what Warren's advisers predict her own tax would raise.
"The comparison everyone is thinking of is Switzerland, because it's probably the best precedent for a reasonably effective wealth tax," Ari Glogower, a professor at Ohio State University who researches wealth taxes, told NBC News.
The country's wealth tax may offer some insight into one looming question over Warren's wealth tax, which is whether its targets would find ways to avoid paying it. It's an important debate, because Warren's counting on her tax to raise a lot of money for social programs: $2.75 trillion over 10 years, according to an estimate by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, two economists advising her campaign.
Under Warren's proposal, households with over $50 million in assets would pay a 2 percent tax on their net worth every year. The rate would rise to 3 percent on assets over $1 billion. Warren's plan would affect just 75,000 households total.
Taxes on wealth in Switzerland are not fixed, but set by 26 regional governments with rates that varied from 0.13 percent to 1 percent per year in 2016, according to the OECD report. They also are much broader, affecting not just millionaires, but many middle-class households as well.
A study of the country's tax system by Jonathan Gruber and several other economists found that for every 0.1 percent taxes on wealth went up in an area, the wealth taxpayers reported to the government dropped by 3.5 percent.
"When you tax people's wealth, they manage to somehow reduce their taxable wealth," Gruber told NBC News. "We don't know if it's by saving less or by hiding it."
Critics point to these shifts as evidence that a wealth tax is an inefficient way to collect taxes. While the IRS can easily check the price of a publicly traded stock, it may be hard to value a privately held company or a rare art collection until it's sold, which is often a source of legal battles in calculating estate taxes. But unlike an estate, which is taxed once at death, the government would have to figure out the value every year.
"It's really difficult to enforce," said Alan Cole, a former adviser to House Republicans on tax policy. "That's why almost everyone goes the capital gains tax route and very few go the wealth tax route."
The OECD's report found that countries with wealth taxes have tended to collect relatively similar amounts of revenue over time even as the overall wealth in their countries increased at much faster rates. This suggests taxpayers either found new ways to get around them or that legislators and tax collectors weren't keeping pace with annual growth.
Anticipating this concern, Warren's plan includes a pledge to bolster the IRS, require a minimum number of audits, and use a variety of techniques to indirectly value more difficult to price assets.
While they expect the rich to succeed in shielding some of their assets, Warren advisers Saez and Zucman peg the number at 15 percent total based on a survey of existing research. In a letter to Warren, they wrote that Gruber's study was an "outlier" and that studies of wealth taxes in other countries like Sweden and Denmark showed less tax avoidance.
As Gruber noted, Switzerland's broad tax base makes it a less than exact comparison. But the tax rate in Warren's plan would also be much higher, giving its targets more motive to avoid it. They would also be more likely to have skilled accountants and lawyers to help them out.
"It doesn't mean it's a bad idea or it won't raise money," Gruber said. "Elizabeth Warren's tax would raise money, it's a question of how much."
At the same time, some argue recent changes in finance make it harder for the rich to hide assets from tax collectors.
Lily Batchelder, a professor at New York University and former economic adviser under President Barack Obama, pointed to The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a 2010 U.S. law in coordination with other governments around the world that requires banks to report activity by American citizens.
"It's certainly not perfect and there's more work to be done, but compared to even five years ago, the landscape has really changed," she said. "So people who are looking at this from five or 10 or 20 years ago are missing that."
Gruber's study does cut against another top concern raised by critics of a wealth tax '-- that it will cause taxpayers to pack up and move. Even with lower-tax options inside the same country, their research found little sign of people moving to avoid higher rates.
The fear that the ultra-rich will not just lowball their fortunes, but pack up and take them to a rival country, is a significant reason the wealth tax has declined. In France, President Emmanuel Macron replaced the country's decades-old wealth tax with a narrower tax on real estate partly in response to data suggesting 60,000 millionaires had left the country since 2000.
In one prominent case, famed actor G(C)rard Depardieu moved across the border to less-taxed Belgium while criticizing France's policies. It wasn't just the wealth tax '-- the previous government also imposed a 75 percent tax rate on income for millionaires, a policy that bears similarities to a proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D- N.Y.
Warren's plan would apply to Americans based on citizenship, not where they live or where their money is earned, so the ultra-rich couldn't easily move to avoid it. If they renounced their citizenship, they'd have to pay a one-time 40 percent "exit tax" on their net worth.
Yellow Jackets
'Red scarves' march in Paris against yellow-vest violence - BBC News
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:03
Image copyright Reuters Image caption The red scarves say they are defending democracy and opposing violence A group calling itself the red scarves has held a march in Paris to counter weeks of anti-government protests by the yellow-vest movement.
The "foulards rouges" are demanding an end to the violence witnessed at yellow-vest (gilets jaunes) rallies.
The gilets jaunes movement grew out of fuel tax protests in November.
It now embraces wider discontent with President Emmanuel Macron and has seen some of the most serious street violence in Paris since 1968.
But the weeks of TV footage showing clashes with riot police and damage to public monuments have triggered a counter-movement. The red scarves now have about 21,000 followers on Facebook.
More than 10,000 people took part in Sunday's march, Le Figaro reported.
"People are tired of the roadblocks. They are bad for business, and children are prevented from getting to school on time," red scarves spokesman Alex Brun told French broadcaster RFI.
Ahead of Sunday's rally in Paris, the red scarves put out a joint statement with similar-minded groups.
"We denounce the insurrectional climate installed by the yellow vests. We also reject the threats and constant verbal abuse (aimed at non-yellow vests)," they announced in a joint manifesto.
Image copyright AFP Image caption "Don't touch my republic" this red scarf protester declared Image copyright AFP Image caption Police kept gilets jaunes and foulards rouges apart during Sunday's rally However, according to French media, a split has already emerged among the red scarves over whether or not to show support for President Macron.
One of the organisers of Sunday's march, Laurent Souli(C), has rallied supporters on Facebook to back the president, RFI reported.
Mr Brun, on the other hand, said the "foulards rouges" were "an apolitical citizens' movement". He said the best way to resolve problems caused by the yellow vests was to take part in Mr Macron's "Grand Debate" rather than confronting protesters on the street.
Some red-scarf leaders had urged members not to attend Sunday's rally.
The Grand Debate involves town-hall meetings nationwide to address protesters' concerns.
Across France, about 69,000 people took part in the 11th consecutive weekend of yellow-vest protests the interior ministry said. That is about 15,000 fewer than last weekend.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption France fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?
The Gilet Jaune and 'France Profonde' | OffGuardian
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 15:39
The fight for democracy in the deep countrysideDavid StuddertOn the 12th December The Guardian published an article entitled 'If you want to understand the Gilets Jaunes you have to leave Paris'. The article had little by way of analysis, devoting itself to a standard 'look at me I live in France' one up man-ship. The ostensible topic, the Gilets Jaunes and questions concerning why now, who and where '' surely the key questions '' were largely ignored or under-developed.
I too live in France, about 800 kilometres from Paris: in South West France. My department is one of the poorest in the country. Moreover, even within this department, the area where I reside is backward in a developmental and progressivist sense: there are no motorways, the towns are little more than villages, there is little by the way of hospitals, work or facilities and, despite its fantastic natural beauty in the shade of the Pyrenees, the towns display an obvious air of poverty, unemployment and civic decay.
Support for the Gilets Jaunes is everywhere. One in two cars display some sort of yellow vest on their dash. In the conversations at local bars, in the anger and ferocity filling the language of placid individuals, in the complaints of small shop-keepers and finally, in the Christmas newsletter from the mayor of my village.
It's an anger that's has been building for a long time. The two lane main road from Auch to Toulouse has been blocked by strikers, farmers or truckers, on a dozen occasions in the last two years. Two months before the initial protests in Paris, a worker at the local hardware store spent 10 minutes listing to me all the complaints which subsequently informed the protests.
But more evidence of the long-standing anger now exploding is contained in the prolonged, spontaneous, entirely local and informal guerrilla campaign targeting French radar speed cameras.
A campaign which means that, currently, it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of the radars across France are out of service.
In my department, only one out of twenty-seven is still intact and that remaining one has been wrapped in state plastic bags to avoid 'citizen decommissioning'.
The figures are staggering nationwide: 18 radars are out of service in the Alpes-Maritimes, 18 in the Var (out of 21), 60% in the two departments of Eure and Seine-Maritime, 25 out of 34 in Tarn-et- Garonne, 14 out of 15 in Cantal, 20 out of 30 in Allier, half in Indre, Morbihan and Ni¨vre, 19 out of 34 in Eure-et-Loire, 25 out of 27 in C´tes-d'Armor , 10 out of 16 in the Cher, 16 out of 33 in the Yonne and 40 out of 57 in the Gard.
In Nord-pas-de-Calais, the Voix du Nord counted at the beginning of December 5 intact radar out of 70, in the Puy-de-D´me only one remains from 22, in Dordogne 3 out of 24. In the Alpes de Haute-Provence they are all out of order, 18 out of 28 are in Haute-Loire, 14 out of 27 in the Landes, 19 out of 23 in Dordogne, 10 out of 21 in Mayenne, 33 out of 44 in Oise, 22 out of 24 in the Channel, 10 out of 27 in Haute-Sa´ne '' one of the least affected departments with Corr¨ze (5 out of 21). Most of these have been destroyed with a combination of metal grinders and tyres filled with petrol.
The Gilets Jaunes' demands are based in part around driving. In a lot of ways their struggle is a struggle for movement, basic movement, entry level requirement movement like getting to work; the movement required to live in the most immediate sense. This is the social world of practices and everyday actions. It is not the world of globalist abstractions.
These demands for movement concern police speed practices lowering the speed limit for revenue raising, and of course the price of diesel. The war against the speed cameras informal, spontaneous, uncoordinated, is the fight of the social world against the state noose, a desperate desire to breathe. Yet the demands of my very local group (composed of the small local town and surrounding villages) include the following as well: 'No to the carbon tax for individuals, yes for polluters. Really force manufacturers to provide us with products that are not overwrapped, more ecological, more intelligent. Coherent and efficient public transport in our countryside'.
Yet they are also demanding reversion to 75% minimum inflation indexation of wages allowance for disability pensioners; revision of retirement and taxation brackets. True increase in purchasing power without help from the SS. Political will to cancel tax evasion. Suppression of privileges for the elected and their home. Tax transparency. Possibility of visibility of expenditures of all state agencies by taxpayers.
In other words, these are the demands of an impoverished populace in rural locations, currently reliant on cars and with little income. As the local mayor put it in his strongly worded Christmas newsletter, an abandonment of rural areas in the service of the profit from excessive recentralisation and the ideologically led development of metropolitan centres.
Now the Gilet Jaune have emerged into public view via Television and the abstract world of global news; now, for the last ten weeks, there have gathered on a unprepossessing roundabout down the road, a tiny group of somewhere between 10 and 16 people waving Gilets Jaune banners and wearing yellow vests.
The two local gendarmes stand quietly watching these people hand out flyers, barbecue their lunch on an overturned oil drum and encourage motorists honking their support. It's freezing cold across the bare landscape of clay fields. For the most part the Gilets Jaunes on this roundabout are middle aged men, though there is a regular stream of both women and some younger men. All of them are dressed in multiple layers of cheap clothing and every time a car passes, (this is not a heavily trafficked road), they leap and run to them calling and yelling for support, not in an aggressive manner but with enthusiasm and energy. And this is the same throughout the region.
On a recent trip of forty five minutes I encountered 7 of these roundabout protests. All were bigger, some have set up tents, many decorated with the French tricolor; all of them have BBq's blazing, all of them exhibit a friendly fervour as if they have suddenly discovered they are not alone. They offer passing motorists demands clearly printed locally, some of which mirror wider demands, some which are particular to the area. Many of these roundabout groups have strong female contingents and youth presence. Evidence for this wider support is everywhere: the local farmer who lent them his field adjacent to a roundabout so the Gilets could erect a cabin for cups of tea. Trucks honk continually, cars too, three quarters of the cars have yellow vests on their dashboard or trailing behind. In every village houses are decked with yellow vests dangling from windows or nailed to doors and this is repeated all over France as even a cursory glance at Gilets Jaunes Facebook sites confirms. Motorways are being blocked, not continually but steadily, all over the country, either by groups of protestors or truck drivers or farmers.
Nor is this support simply confined to what could be loosely termed working class people. Support, at least in my area, covers everyone, working and middle class people alike. It includes for instance the woman PA for a managing director of quite a big company; a woman who, despite having worked at the company for 16 years, is still being paid what is colloquially referred to as the 'smic', the minimum wage.
Indeed almost all the people around here are paid the bare 'smic' no matter what their qualifications, something true of 80% of provincial France. Another woman described as basically running a large storage facility, performing all admin, doing the accounts is, despite her university degree, similarly only earning 'smic'. For this middle class social capital she travels almost two hours a day.
All complain constantly about taxes; uniformly they claim to have nothing left at month's end. These are all real examples and along with that there exist other more pernicious impositions draining their income. The common practice concerning Public holidays for instance; many of which in France fall on Tuesdays or Thursdays. In such circumstances, companies will commonly announce a compulsory closure on the intervening Monday or Friday; in the process making what is termed in France a 'jour de pont': a week end bridge. Of course, workers don't get paid for this compulsory bridge. If they want to be paid they take it as part of their annual leave.
In this area, the Gilets Jaunes ARE the social world, all the people and all the world. And because they are so diverse their protests didn't begin with the certainty of ideology, or a traditional political affiliation or indeed any wild ideas concerning 'the correct organisation of the working class' or the purity of the race. Things are far too serious for that.
The people protesting at the local roundabout are, in effect protesting on behalf of the being-ness of their entire social world. Further, as proved by the endless YouTube/Facebook posts, the spontaneous actions of these people are simultaneously mirroring actions, ideas and perspectives appearing all over the entire rural world of France, everywhere outside Paris.
The Gilets Jaunes is the revolt of France Profonde '' the social world of Deep France, defined as:
an expression used originally by Parisians to designate the provinces in opposition to Paris. More generally, it refers to the most remote regions of France, without urbanization and rooted in tradition. It can have a pejorative connotation depending on the context.'
The hint of class prejudice in the final line is crucial. Paris, even before it was the nominated as the single globalist city for France, for long before that, Paris has sneered at and despised Deep France.
Simply by its existing, Deep France is in revolt against globalisation and therefore against Paris and the French state. But it is something else that really terrifies and disgusts Parisians of all political persuasions, left and right, concerning France Profonde. France Profonde is also a revolt in the name of something positive, a vision of France as a place of equality, a place of valued parts, not one single globalised whole no matter how pure.
What's more, Paris knows that, whether it be the industrialised North or the rurality of the south, it is this ragged positive vision, shared at the level of personal and communal being-ness which unites the Gilets against the state.
Deep France is more a feeling and a meaning in common than an ideology. Which is why it is ragged and uneven and hybrid and diverse. As it should be.
This is the vision contained in the dirty flags that strew the country roundabouts or the dirty scraps of yellow vest, poking from an upstairs window.
And if this positive vision were encapsulated in abstraction, then it is through their vision of equality, fraternity, equality and liberty, the three words that best reflect the contradictions and truths within their own lives. A slogan which encapsulates for them what they are, what their world is and why it needs to be protected. It is a demand both from them and in protection of their lived experience. And this is why it is not xenophobic nationalism, indeed not nationalism at all. It is far too particular, far too local far too concrete.
This is why the term 'those left behind' is yet another silly liberal metropolitan designation. If the Gilet on my roundabout wanted to be in Paris they'd have been there a long time ago. Lots of people they know already are. What these people are doing instead is standing up for their culture, their own place and their own understanding both of what it means, and of their place in it. They are here because they want to be'...who they are.
And that's why the Gilet movement won't go away. The concrete nature of their demands reveals a concrete understanding of their own lives, of its meaning and their place in their own particular space.
Round here, all over France, Deep France, the people, the Gilets Jaunes are being strangled and having trouble breathing '-- on Facebook they are saying so:
This situation is becoming unsustainable. Unbreathable even. When I see our dear president. That some have elected, who is mocking people who are at 40 '‚¬ / week (see less like me and so many others) saddens me. Really and sincerely. I'M 27 years old. For 8 days I'm at 0,32 '‚¬ on my account. I (on) live with 550,93 '‚¬ of RSA a month. No, I'm not ashamed to talk about it, I'm not ashamed at least. I have been in the family for several years. With some financial participations when I can and when I get to find an interim mission or just a simple job, no matter what nature. Next month I have to find a housing. But with 550 '‚¬ I do how Mr President? Rent around my house is at 400 '‚¬ minimum for 17 m2'... 150 '‚¬ for (on) Live 30 days? My phone package, loads (water / elec), my tobacco (because yes as we report it some smoke) and to finish the food of my cats and mine. It's just impossible. Currently my fridge is empty, I don't know how I'm going to do the end of the month I even wonder if I shouldn't go search in the trash and put aside my dignity (I'll probably have the face masked and hooded so don't stop me thanks, I'm not a breaker).
The worst part about this is that I say that not to complain or ask for money or anything. I say that because there are probably hundreds of thousands of people who are worse than in my case. And it saddens me. Really and sincerely. It makes me nightmares, no longer finding sleep.I don't know if this post is of great use, I just needed to say what I had on my heart because it weighs me. I needed to express myself a little bit and I thought here would have been the best place. It may be possible to raise awareness of people who do not understand why we are fighting and that we all have a different perspective.
You will forgive me for the few mistakes and the few provocation in this letter.
It is the concreteness of their demands coupled with the materiality of their sociality upon the street and at the roundabout which contrasts the Gilets Jaunes so markedly with the shiny abstractions of Paris: Macron, Austerity, the EU, the banks, the globalisers clustered around him, ideologues of both Left and Right; Paris, a culture of symbols and representation in all its shapes, tasks and forms.
Macron the president of abstraction, conjures another abstraction: 'the national debate'. His acting out of this new simulacrum makes him even more hated and despised. In turn, he and the French state become increasingly puzzled. The authorised television culture, the mainstream media and the government (who can tell them apart?), are increasingly paralysed by this revolt. The globalist world strikes back on a cultural level: gathers philosophers in the person of Bernard Henri Levy; it poses questions of radical sixties chic symbols like baby boomer Cohn Bendit, all the time not realising that among the Gilets, these are two of the most hatred individuals in France. The only answer global France has to France Profonde in fact, is more police violence and more abstract representation.
Seven weeks after the supposed abandonment of the diesel tax, diesel prices start creeping up again and the state believes people won't notice. In everything Macron says, week after week, he manages to somehow insult the people, even as he's claiming to listen.And yet, despite this constant shiny tv propaganda which isn't working, the truth is somewhat different. Slowly, slowly, the struggle for breath that drives the Gilets Jaunes, is, week by week, immobilising Macron and the state.
And the Gilets Jaunes are achieving this reversal entirely with their particularity '' their list of demands, because these demands are lived demands '' lived in the demonstrations, lived in their own communal particular, lived at work, month by month.
Every week the Gilets demonstrate and every working week they return again to experience the conditions that fuel more demonstrations, more communication, more determination.
In the weekly spaces of appearance: the Paris demos, the roundabouts, the newsletters and the conversations, the Gilets Jaunes find their own meaning in common; a meaning which unites everyone, which transcends ideology. And this meaning in common is what makes it easy to tell a real Gilet.
Abstractions like 'reform', 'revolution', 'working class', 'revolutionaries' and 'reformist', 'popularism', 'boufs'; essentialist categories like race, identity, workers, nationalists, fascists, troublemakers, blah blah, these names and the actions they perform, are from a disappearing politics, a twentieth century politics of neat forms, endless demarcations, barriers, issues; most of all a Twentieth Century politics of removal, representation and calcification.
This language and this thinking no longer fit the Gilets. For them, it is a hollow formal language describing neither their social being-ness nor their life.
In the best quote of the entire 10 weeks, one said:
How can I think about the end of the world, I can barely think to the end of the month.'
France Profonde is coming together and is finding its own meanings and social power and they are doing this by being with each other in action together. It is they who are getting stronger, weekend by weekend and the paralysed state which is diminishing, even as it does nothing, even as nothing changes; even as its police force blind a twenty year old women in one eye. Even as forty seven people die or are badly injured.
Copyright David Studdert 27/1/2019
OTG
PSA: if you get a Roku, ENSURE YOU HAVE A NETWORK-WIDE AD BLOCKER! : pihole
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 12:16
PSA: if you get a Roku, ENSURE YOU HAVE A NETWORK-WIDE AD BLOCKER! Roku sends data about your whole network home. If you have one, BLOCK THESE DOMAINS:
Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL | WIRED
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 18:59
In September, members of Google's Chrome security team put forth a radical proposal: Kill off URLs as we know them. The researchers aren't actually advocating a change to the web's underlying infrastructure. They do, though, want to rework how browsers convey what website you're looking at, so that you don't have to contend with increasingly long and unintelligible URLs'--and the fraud that has sprung up around them. In a talk at the Bay Area Enigma security conference on Tuesday, Chrome usable security lead Emily Stark is wading into the controversy, detailing Google's first steps toward more robust website identity.
Stark emphasizes that Google isn't trying to induce chaos by eliminating URLs. Rather, it wants to make it harder for hackers to capitalize on user confusion about the identity of a website. Currently, the endless haze of complicated URLs gives attackers cover for effective scams. They can create a malicious link that seems to lead to a legitimate site, but actually automatically redirects victims to a phishing page. Or they can design malicious pages with URLs that look similar to real ones, hoping victims won't notice that they're on G00gle rather than Google. With so many URL shenanigans to combat, the Chrome team is already at work on two projects aimed at bringing users some clarity.
"What we're really talking about is changing the way site identity is presented," Stark told WIRED. "People should know easily what site they're on, and they shouldn't be confused into thinking they're on another site. It shouldn't take advanced knowledge of how the internet works to figure that out."
"A key challenge is avoiding flagging legitimate domains as suspicious."
Emily Stark, Google Chrome
The Chrome team's efforts so far focus on figuring out how to detect URLs that seem to deviate in some way from standard practice. The foundation for this is an open source tool called TrickURI, launching in step with Stark's conference talk, that helps developers check that their software is displaying URLs accurately and consistently. The goal is to give developers something to test against so they know how URLs are going to look to users in different situations. Separate from TrickURI, Stark and her colleagues are also working to create warnings for Chrome users when a URL seems potentially phishy. The alerts are still in internal testing, because the complicated part is developing heuristics that correctly flag malicious sites without dinging legitimate ones.*
For Google users, the first line of defense against phishing and other online scams is still the company's Safe Browsing platform. But the Chrome team is exploring complements to Safe Browsing that specifically focus on flagging sketchy URLs.
Google
"Our heuristics for detecting misleading URLs involve comparing characters that look similar to each other and domains that vary from each other just by a small number of characters," Stark says. "Our goal is to develop a set of heuristics that pushes attackers away from extremely misleading URLs, and a key challenge is avoiding flagging legitimate domains as suspicious. This is why we're launching this warning slowly, as an experiment."
Google says it hasn't started rolling out the warnings to the general user population while the Chrome team refines those detection capabilities. And while URLs may not be going anywhere anytime soon, Stark emphasizes that there is more in the works on how to get users to focus on important parts of URLs and to refine how Chrome presents them. The big challenge is showing people the parts of URLs that are relevant to their security and online decision-making, while somehow filtering out all the extra components that make URLs hard to read. Browsers also sometimes need to help users with the opposite problem, by expanding shortened or truncated URLs.
"The whole space is really challenging because URLs work really well for certain people and use cases right now, and lots of people love them," Stark says. "We're excited about the progress that we've made with our new open source URL display 'TrickURI' tool and our exploratory new warnings on confusable URLs."
The Chrome security team has taken on internet-wide security issues before, developing fixes for them in Chrome and then throwing Google's weight around to motivate everyone to adopt the practice. The strategy was particularly successful over the last five years in stimulating a movement toward universal adoption of HTTPS web encryption. But critics of the approach fear the drawbacks of Chrome's power and ubiquity. The same influence that has been used for positive change could be misdirected or abused. And with something as foundational as URLs, critics fear that the Chrome team could land on website identity display tactics that are good for Chrome, but don't actually benefit the rest of the web. Even seemingly minor changes to Chrome's privacy and security posture can have major impacts on the web community.
Additionally, a tradeoff of that ubiquity is being beholden to risk-averse corporate customers. "URLs as they work now are often unable to convey a risk level users can quickly identify," says Katie Moussouris, founder of the responsible vulnerability disclosure firm Luta Security. "But as Chrome grows in enterprise adoption, rather than the consumer space, their ability to radically change visible interfaces and underlying security architecture will be reduced by the pressure of their customers. Great popularity comes not only with great responsibility to keep people safe, but to minimize churn in features, usability, and backwards compatibility."
If it all sounds like a lot of confusing and frustrating work, that's exactly the point. The next question will be how the Chrome team's new ideas perform in practice, and whether they really wind up making you safer on the web.
*Correction January 29, 10:30pm: This story originally stated that TrickURI uses machine learning to parse URL samples and test warnings for suspicious URLs. It has been updated to reflect that the tool instead assess whether software displays URLs accurately and consistently.
More Great WIRED StoriesOne man's epic quest for his Cambridge Analytica dataThe pitfalls of Facebook merging all its chat appsEnding the government shutdown won't fix flight delaysDrones drop poison bombs to fight a rat invasionHave phones become boring? They're about to get weird👠Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our picks, gift guides, and best deals all year roundðŸ'(C) Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter
Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them | TechCrunch
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 04:17
Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a ''Facebook Research'' VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user's phone and web activity, similar to Facebook's Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms.
Facebook admitted to TechCrunch it was running the Research program to gather data on usage habits, and it has no plans to stop.
Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android ''Facebook Research'' app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook's involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as ''Project Atlas'' '-- a fitting name for Facebook's effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.
Facebook's Research app requires users to 'Trust' it with extensive access to their data
We asked Guardian Mobile Firewall's security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that ''If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps '' including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.'' It's unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user's device once they install the app.
The strategy shows how far Facebook is willing to go and how much it's willing to pay to protect its dominance '-- even at the risk of breaking the rules of Apple's iOS platform on which it depends. Apple could seek to block Facebook from continuing to distribute its Research app, or even revoke it permission to offer employee-only apps, and the situation could further chill relations between the tech giants. Apple's Tim Cook has repeatedly criticized Facebook's data collection practices. Facebook disobeying iOS policies to slurp up more information could become a new talking point. TechCrunch has spoken to Apple and it's aware of the issue, but the company did not provide a statement before press time.
Facebook's Research program is referred to as Project Atlas on sign-up sites that don't mention Facebook's involvement
''The fairly technical sounding 'install our Root Certificate' step is appalling,'' Strafach tells us. ''This hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this.''
Facebook's surveillance appFacebook first got into the data-sniffing business when it acquired Onavo for around $120 million in 2014. The VPN app helped users track and minimize their mobile data plan usage, but also gave Facebook deep analytics about what other apps they were using. Internal documents acquired by Charlie Warzel and Ryan Mac of BuzzFeed News reveal that Facebook was able to leverage Onavo to learn that WhatsApp was sending more than twice as many messages per day as Facebook Messenger. Onavo allowed Facebook to spot WhatsApp's meteoric rise and justify paying $19 billion to buy the chat startup in 2014. WhatsApp has since tripled its user base, demonstrating the power of Onavo's foresight.
Over the years since, Onavo clued Facebook in to what apps to copy, features to build and flops to avoid. By 2018, Facebook was promoting the Onavo app in a Protect bookmark of the main Facebook app in hopes of scoring more users to snoop on. Facebook also launched the Onavo Bolt app that let you lock apps behind a passcode or fingerprint while it surveils you, but Facebook shut down the app the day it was discovered following privacy criticism. Onavo's main app remains available on Google Play and has been installed more than 10 million times.
The backlash heated up after security expert Strafach detailed in March how Onavo Protect was reporting to Facebook when a user's screen was on or off, and its Wi-Fi and cellular data usage in bytes even when the VPN was turned off. In June, Apple updated its developer policies to ban collecting data about usage of other apps or data that's not necessary for an app to function. Apple proceeded to inform Facebook in August that Onavo Protect violated those data collection policies and that the social network needed to remove it from the App Store, which it did, Deepa Seetharaman of the WSJ reported.
But that didn't stop Facebook's data collection.
Project AtlasTechCrunch recently received a tip that despite Onavo Protect being banished by Apple, Facebook was paying users to sideload a similar VPN app under the Facebook Research moniker from outside of the App Store. We investigated, and learned Facebook was working with three app beta testing services to distribute the Facebook Research app: BetaBound, uTest and Applause. Facebook began distributing the Research VPN app in 2016. It has been referred to as Project Atlas since at least mid-2018, around when backlash to Onavo Protect magnified and Apple instituted its new rules that prohibited Onavo. [Update: Previously, a similar program was called Project Kodiak.] Facebook didn't want to stop collecting data on people's phone usage and so the Research program continued, in disregard for Apple banning Onavo Protect.
Facebook's Research App on iOS
Ads (shown below) for the program run by uTest on Instagram and Snapchat sought teens 13-17 years old for a ''paid social media research study.'' The sign-up page for the Facebook Research program administered by Applause doesn't mention Facebook, but seeks users ''Age: 13-35 (parental consent required for ages 13-17).'' If minors try to sign-up, they're asked to get their parents' permission with a form that reveal's Facebook's involvement and says ''There are no known risks associated with the project, however you acknowledge that the inherent nature of the project involves the tracking of personal information via your child's use of apps. You will be compensated by Applause for your child's participation.'' For kids short on cash, the payments could coerce them to sell their privacy to Facebook.
The Applause site explains what data could be collected by the Facebook Research app (emphasis mine):
''By installing the software, you're giving our client permission to collect data from your phone that will help them understand how you browse the internet, and how you use the features in the apps you've installed . . . This means you're letting our client collect information such as which apps are on your phone, how and when you use them, data about your activities and content within those apps, as well as how other people interact with you or your content within those apps. You are also letting our client collect information about your internet browsing activity (including the websites you visit and data that is exchanged between your device and those websites) and your use of other online services. There are some instances when our client will collect this information even where the app uses encryption, or from within secure browser sessions.''
Meanwhile, the BetaBound sign-up page with a URL ending in ''Atlas'' explains that ''For $20 per month (via e-gift cards), you will install an app on your phone and let it run in the background.'' It also offers $20 per friend you refer. That site also doesn't initially mention Facebook, but the instruction manual for installing Facebook Research reveals the company's involvement.
Facebook's intermediary uTest ran ads on Snapchat and Instagram, luring teens to the Research program with the promise of money
Facebook seems to have purposefully avoided TestFlight, Apple's official beta testing system, which requires apps to be reviewed by Apple and is limited to 10,000 participants. Instead, the instruction manual reveals that users download the app from r.facebook-program.com and are told to install an Enterprise Developer Certificate and VPN and ''Trust'' Facebook with root access to the data their phone transmits. Apple requires that developers agree to only use this certificate system for distributing internal corporate apps to their own employees. Randomly recruiting testers and paying them a monthly fee appears to violate the spirit of that rule.
Security expert Will Strafach found Facebook's Research app contains lots of code from Onavo Protect, the Facebook-owned app Apple banned last year
Once installed, users just had to keep the VPN running and sending data to Facebook to get paid. The Applause-administered program requested that users screenshot their Amazon orders page. This data could potentially help Facebook tie browsing habits and usage of other apps with purchase preferences and behavior. That information could be harnessed to pinpoint ad targeting and understand which types of users buy what.
TechCrunch commissioned Strafach to analyze the Facebook Research app and find out where it was sending data. He confirmed that data is routed to ''vpn-sjc1.v.facebook-program.com'' that is associated with Onavo's IP address, and that the facebook-program.com domain is registered to Facebook, according to MarkMonitor. The app can update itself without interacting with the App Store, and is linked to the email address PeopleJourney@fb.com. He also discovered that the Enterprise Certificate indicates Facebook renewed it on June 27th, 2018 '-- weeks after Apple announced its new rules that prohibited the similar Onavo Protect app.
''It is tricky to know what data Facebook is actually saving (without access to their servers). The only information that is knowable here is what access Facebook is capable of based on the code in the app. And it paints a very worrisome picture,'' Strafach explains. ''They might respond and claim to only actually retain/save very specific limited data, and that could be true, it really boils down to how much you trust Facebook's word on it. The most charitable narrative of this situation would be that Facebook did not think too hard about the level of access they were granting to themselves . . . which is a startling level of carelessness in itself if that is the case.''
''Flagrant defiance of Apple's rules''In response to TechCrunch's inquiry, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed it's running the program to learn how people use their phones and other services. The spokesperson told us ''Like many companies, we invite people to participate in research that helps us identify things we can be doing better. Since this research is aimed at helping Facebook understand how people use their mobile devices, we've provided extensive information about the type of data we collect and how they can participate. We don't share this information with others and people can stop participating at any time.''
Facebook's Research app requires Root Certificate access, which Facebook gather almost any piece of data transmitted by your phone
Facebook's spokesperson claimed that the Facebook Research app was in line with Apple's Enterprise Certificate program, but didn't explain how in the face of evidence to the contrary. They said Facebook first launched its Research app program in 2016. They tried to liken the program to a focus group and said Nielsen and comScore run similar programs, yet neither of those ask people to install a VPN or provide root access to the network. The spokesperson confirmed the Facebook Research program does recruit teens but also other age groups from around the world. They claimed that Onavo and Facebook Research are separate programs, but admitted the same team supports both as an explanation for why their code was so similar.
Facebook's Research program requested users screenshot their Amazon order history to provide it with purchase data
However, Facebook claim that it doesn't violate Apple's Enterprise Certificate policy is directly contradicted by the terms of that policy. Those include that developers ''Distribute Provisioning Profiles only to Your Employees and only in conjunction with Your Internal Use Applications for the purpose of developing and testing''. The policy also states that ''You may not use, distribute or otherwise make Your Internal Use Applications available to Your Customers'' unless under direct supervision of employees or on company premises. Given Facebook's customers are using the Enterprise Certificate-powered app without supervision, it appears Facebook is in violation.
Facebook disobeying Apple so directly could hurt their relationship. ''The code in this iOS app strongly indicates that it is simply a poorly re-branded build of the banned Onavo app, now using an Enterprise Certificate owned by Facebook in direct violation of Apple's rules, allowing Facebook to distribute this app without Apple review to as many users as they want,'' Strafach tells us. ONV prefixes and mentions of graph.onavo.com, ''onavoApp://'' and ''onavoProtect://'' custom URL schemes litter the app. ''This is an egregious violation on many fronts, and I hope that Apple will act expeditiously in revoking the signing certificate to render the app inoperable.''
Facebook is particularly interested in what teens do on their phones as the demographic has increasingly abandoned the social network in favor of Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook's acquisition Instagram. Insights into how popular with teens is Chinese video music app TikTok and meme sharing led Facebook to launch a clone called Lasso and begin developing a meme-browsing feature called LOL, TechCrunch first reported. But Facebook's desire for data about teens riles critics at a time when the company has been battered in the press. Analysts on tomorrow's Facebook earnings call should inquire about what other ways the company has to collect competitive intelligence.
Last year when Tim Cook was asked what he'd do in Mark Zuckerberg's position in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said ''I wouldn't be in this situation . . . The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product. We've elected not to do that.'' Zuckerberg told Ezra Klein that he felt Cook's comment was ''extremely glib.''
Now it's clear that even after Apple's warnings and the removal of Onavo Protect, Facebook is still aggressively collecting data on its competitors via Apple's iOS platform. ''I have never seen such open and flagrant defiance of Apple's rules by an App Store developer,'' Strafach concluded. If Apple shuts the Research program down, Facebook will either have to invent new ways to surveil our behavior amidst a climate of privacy scrutiny, or be left in the dark.
Additional reporting by Zack Whittaker.
Facebook will pull its data-collecting VPN app from the App Store over privacy concerns - The Verge
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 04:13
Facebook will soon pull a mobile VPN app called Onavo Protect from Apple's App Store, after the iPhone maker declared it violated the store's guidelines on data collection, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Onavo, which began as an Israeli analytics startup focused on helping users monitor their data usage, was acquired by Facebook in 2013. Its VPN provider then became a data collection tool for Facebook to monitor smartphone users' behavior outside its core apps, helping inform Facebook's live video strategy, competition from other social apps, and its decision to acquire companies including WhatsApp.
Onavo Protect is a VPN service Facebook used to monitor users' smartphone behavior
''We've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used,'' said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement given to The Verge. ''As a developer on Apple's platform, we follow the rules they've put in place.''
Apple did not forcibly pull the app, but it does seem to have pressured Facebook into removing it. According to the Journal, Apple informed Facebook earlier this month that Onavo Protect violated new privacy rules, implemented back in June, that restrict developers' ability to create databases out of user information and sell it to third parties.
Onavo Protect also allegedly violated a part of the iOS developer agreement that regulates how app makers make use of data outside the core function of the software. Onavo Protect is a VPN service, and yet Facebook has been using the traffic routed through its private servers for broad analytic purposes. Apple was not immediately available for comment
According to the report, discussions between Apple and Facebook occured last week, and Apple suggested that Onavo Protect be voluntarily removed from the App Store. Facebook agreed, and the app is scheduled to be pulled later today. Users who have already downloaded Onavo Protect can continue using it on iOS devices, but Facebook will be unable to issue updates. The Android version of the app will remain in Google's Play Store, WSJ notes.
Update 8/22, 6:58PM ET: Added statement from Facebook.
Facebook Shares Slide After Apple Revokes Developer Certificate | Zero Hedge
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 19:44
Following publication of an explosive report about how Facebook deliberately ignored Apple's iOS developer guidelines and sidestepped the app store to offer a controversial data harvesting app directly to consumers (the app was targeted at teens), Apple has delivered the Silicon Valley version of a punch to the nose by revoking Facebook's developer certificate.
Apple announced its decision to revoke the certificate in a terse statement published Wednesday morning.
NEW: Apple now says it has revoked Facebook's iOS developer certificate, which Apple intends to be used for a company's employees to sideload apps without needing the App Store, not for the purpose FB used.Apple's statement: pic.twitter.com/IvFHUfOZPq
'-- Alex Heath (@alexeheath) January 30, 2019As one tech blogger speculated, Facebook probably believed that their apps are "too popular" and that the company could "do what they like". By revoking the certificate, which will prohibit Facebook from developing internal apps on iOS, Apple is sending a message that this is decidedly not the case, and no developer is too big to ignore Apple's rules.
Facebook shares are sliding on the news...
...and Apple shares are also ticking lower:
However, Apple has spared Facebook the ultimate punishment. It hasn't removed its apps from the App Store, which would be significantly more damaging both to Facebook's users metrics and, we imagine, its share price.
Fitness trackers 'overestimate' calorie burning - BBC News
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 12:26
Image caption The test involved a volunteer doing exercise with an oxygen monitor to accurately measure calorie usage Popular brands of fitness trackers can overestimate the number of calories burned while walking by more than 50%, tests have found.
Researchers at Aberystwyth University found all products - ranging from £20 to £80 in price - were inaccurate during walking and running tests.
Dr Rhys Thatcher said devices had an "inherent tendency" to over-measure.
Fitbit said its product was based on "extensive research", but others said theirs were "not medical devices".
The tests, carried out for the BBC X-Ray programme, measured the amount of oxygen a volunteer used during ten minute walking and running sessions on a treadmill, before comparing it to the various fitness trackers.
The Fitbit Charge 2, which is the best selling fitness tracker on the market, was very accurate in testing calories burned while running, underestimating by 4%. But when measuring walking, it overestimated by more than 50%.
Cheaper devices - the Letscom HR and the Letsfit - underestimated the number of calories burned while running by 33% and 40% respectively.
But both were far more accurate in the walking test. The Letscom overestimated by 15.7% while the Letsfit was only 2% above the official measurement.
"If you want to know the exact number of calories that you are burning during an exercise session then it doesn't matter which device you use, you have to interpret the data with some caution," Dr Thatcher said.
Image caption Dr Rhys Thatcher from Aberystwyth University conducted the research He added the inaccuracies were not important if they were being used as a motivational tool or to track progress.
Fitbit said it was confident about the performance of its product.
Letscom and Letsfit said their devices depend on data such as height and stride for accuracy and are not scientific devices, giving only estimations.
X-Ray is on BBC One Wales at 19:30 GMT on Monday 28 January
Google's Sidewalk Labs Plans to Package and Sell Location Data on Millions of Cellphones
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:34
Most of the data collected by urban planners is messy, complex, and difficult to represent. It looks nothing like the smooth graphs and clean charts of city life in urban simulator games like ''SimCity.'' A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, has set out to change that.
The program, known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city's patterns of movement. Like ''SimCity,'' Replica's ''user-friendly'' tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas. It's an appealing prospect for planners making critical decisions about transportation and land use. In recent months, transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have signed up to glean its insights. The only catch: They're not completely sure where the data is coming from.
Typical urban planners rely on processes like surveys and trip counters that are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and outdated. Replica, instead, uses real-time mobile location data. As Nick Bowden of Sidewalk Labs has explained, ''Replica provides a full set of baseline travel measures that are very difficult to gather and maintain today, including the total number of people on a highway or local street network, what mode they're using (car, transit, bike, or foot), and their trip purpose (commuting to work, going shopping, heading to school).''
To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations '-- creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city's real-world patterns but that ''obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people,'' as Bowden told The Intercept.
The program comes at a time of growing unease with how tech companies use and share our personal data '-- and raises new questions about Google's encroachment on the physical world.
If Sidewalk Labs has access to people's unique paths of movement prior to making its synthetic models, wouldn't it be possible to figure out who they are, based on where they go to sleep or work?Last month, the New York Times revealed how sensitive location data is harvested by third parties from our smartphones '-- often with weak or nonexistent consent provisions. A Motherboard investigation in early January further demonstrated how cell companies sell our locations to stalkers and bounty hunters willing to pay the price.
For some, the Google sibling's plans to gather and commodify real-time location data from millions of cellphones adds to these concerns. ''The privacy concerns are pretty extreme,'' Ben Green, an urban technology expert and author of ''The Smart Enough City,'' wrote in an email to The Intercept. ''Mobile phone location data is extremely sensitive.'' These privacy concerns have been far from theoretical. An Associated Press investigation showed that Google's apps and website track people even after they have disabled the location history on their phones. Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were turned off. The company has also been caught using its Street View vehicles to collect the Wi-Fi location data from phones and computers.
This is why Sidewalk Labs has instituted significant protections to safeguard privacy, before it even begins creating a synthetic population. Any location data that Sidewalk Labs receives is already de-identified (using methods such as aggregation, differential privacy techniques, or outright removal of unique behaviors). Bowden explained that the data obtained by Replica does not include a device's unique identifiers, which can be used to uncover someone's unique identity.
However, some urban planners and technologists, while emphasizing the elegance and novelty of the program's concept, remain skeptical about these privacy protections, asking how Sidewalk Labs defines personally identifiable information. Tamir Israel, a staff lawyer at the Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, warns that re-identification is a rapidly moving target. If Sidewalk Labs has access to people's unique paths of movement prior to making its synthetic models, wouldn't it be possible to figure out who they are, based on where they go to sleep or work? ''We see a lot of companies erring on the side of collecting it and doing coarse de-identifications, even though, more than any other type of data, location data has been shown to be highly re-identifiable,'' he added. ''It's obvious what home people leave and return to every night and what office they stop at every day from 9 to 5 p.m.'' A landmark study uncovered the extent to which people could be re-identified from seemingly-anonymous data using just four time-stamped data points of where they've previously been.
There are also lingering questions about how Sidewalk Labs sets limits about the type and quality of consent obtained. As the past year's tsunami of privacy breaches has shown, many users do not understand how closely they are being tracked and how often their data is being resold to advertisers or third parties or programs like Replica. ''We need to do a better job in ensuring the type of express consent commensurate with sensitivity of data is actually being enforced when data is collected,'' Israel noted. Consent has historically been defined by broad and vague terms of service, leveraging companies' knowledge of intricate technical details at the expense of users too pressed for time to read '-- let alone understand '-- their jargon-laden privacy policies. The Times investigation found, for instance, that ''the explanations people see when prompted to give permission are often incomplete or misleading.'' Even while they may retain a broad right to sell or share location data in an opaque privacy policy, many apps do not explicitly tell their users that they are doing so.
It's difficult to evaluate who might be consenting when it's not clear where the data comes from. Sidewalk Labs explains that Replica's data is purchased from telecommunications companies and companies that aggregate mobile location data from different apps. ''We audit their practices to ensure they are complying with industry codes of conduct,'' said Bowden. ''No Google data is used. This extensive audit process includes regular reporting, interviews, and evaluation to ensure vendors meet specified requirements around consent, opt-out, and privacy protections.''
Yet because the exact sources of data have not been revealed, it is unclear whether Replica draws from the ranks of unregulated apps that profit from indefinite privacy policies to continuously collect users' precise whereabouts. Publicly available documents from cities piloting or purchasing Replica offer conflicting information about Replica's exact sources of data. A document from the Illinois Department of Transportation describes Replica's data sources as ''mobile carrier data, location data from third-party aggregators and Google location data, to generate travel data for a region.'' This data sample, it adds, ''is not limited to Android devices'' and ''is collected from individuals for months at a time, allowing for a complete picture of individual travel patterns.'' In Portland, documents filed with its city council state that the data is sourced from ''Android Phones and Google apps.'' Officials at the Portland Bureau of Transportation told Oregon Public Broadcasting that some of the sources of Sidewalk Lab's mobile location data may also come from other sources, not yet known to them. Minutes from a regional transit planning meeting for Kansas City suggest that it's possible for Replica ''to get data on things like Uber & Lyft,'' while a city PowerPoint states that the tool is ''based off of Google data.''
At stake with Replica is the value that can be produced by aggregating data about our movements and then selling it back to governments. The program was originally pitched by Sidewalk Labs ''to support the development'' of Quayside, the controversial ''smart'' city planned for Toronto's eastern waterfront. (A Sidewalk Labs spokesperson told The Intercept that there are no plans to bring Replica to Toronto.) Yet Torontonians have been watching Replica's plans closely. Some see the project as an example of the way the proprietary tools and techniques developed by Sidewalk Labs at Quayside might be exported '-- or imported '-- to other cities, without creating any additional economic benefits for the residents who have produced this data.
''Replica is a perfect example of surveillance capitalism, profiting from information collected from and about us as we use the products that have become a part of our lives,'' said Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's Privacy, Technology, and Surveillance Project. ''We need to start asking, as a society, if we are going to continue to allow business models that are built around exploiting our information without meaningful consent.''
"Surveillance Capitalism": Google Sister Company To Package And Sell Location Data From Millions Of Cellphones | Zero Hedge
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 04:57
A subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, Sidewalk Labs, is using real-time mobile location data from millions of cellphone users collected over long periods of time in order to help urban planners make critical decision on transportation and land use. The program, known as Replica, gathers and anonymizes cellphone user data, then models simulations which allow civil engineers see when, how and where people travel in Urban areas.
"Replica provides a full set of baseline travel measures that are very difficult to gather and maintain today, including the total number of people on a highway or local street network, what mode they're using (car, transit, bike, or foot), and their trip purpose (commuting to work, going shopping, heading to school)," wrote Nick Bowden of Sidewalk Labs last year.
The problem? According to The Intercept, transportation authorities in cities adopting the technology such as Kansas City, Portland and Chicago have no clue where the data is coming from, and Sidewalk's lack of transparency has raised questions over privacy rights.
"The privacy concerns are pretty extreme," said urban technology expert and author, Ben Green, in an email to The Intercept. "Mobile phone location data is extremely sensitive."
An Associated Press investigation showed that Google's apps and website track people even after they have disabled the location history on their phones. Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were turned off. The company has also been caught using its Street View vehicles to collect the Wi-Fi location data from phones and computers. -The Intercept
While Sidewalk claims that the data they collect from unspecified third-party vendors is "de-identified" - a process by which an individual's identifying information is stripped from the dataset," location data can be used to "re-identify" a person based on their habits.
"It's obvious what home people leave and return to every night and what office they stop at every day from 9 to 5 p.m," said Tamir Israel, a staff lawyer at the Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic.
If Sidewalk Labs has access to people's unique paths of movement prior to making its synthetic models, wouldn't it be possible to figure out who they are, based on where they go to sleep or work? ''We see a lot of companies erring on the side of collecting it and doing coarse de-identifications, even though, more than any other type of data, location data has been shown to be highly re-identifiable,'' he added. -The Intercept
In short - while Sidewalk claims to go to great lengths to safeguard privacy because the data they use is already de-identified (using methods such as aggregation, differential privacy techniques, or outright removal of unique behaviors, according to The Intercept), their lack of transparency means we have no way to know if this is true or not.
Sidewalk says they buy their data from telecommunications companies and companies which aggregate mobile location data from various apps. "We audit their practices to ensure they are complying with industry codes of conduct," said Bowden. "No Google data is used. This extensive audit process includes regular reporting, interviews, and evaluation to ensure vendors meet specified requirements around consent, opt-out, and privacy protections."
Yet because the exact sources of data have not been revealed, it is unclear whether Replica draws from the ranks of unregulated apps that profit from indefinite privacy policies to continuously collect users' precise whereabouts. Publicly available documents from cities piloting or purchasing Replica offer conflicting information about Replica's exact sources of data. A document from the Illinois Department of Transportation describes Replica's data sources as ''mobile carrier data, location data from third-party aggregators and Google location data, to generate travel data for a region.'' This data sample, it adds, ''is not limited to Android devices'' and ''is collected from individuals for months at a time, allowing for a complete picture of individual travel patterns.'' In Portland, documents filed with its city council state that the data is sourced from ''Android Phones and Google apps.'' Officials at the Portland Bureau of Transportation told Oregon Public Broadcasting that some of the sources of Sidewalk Lab's mobile location data may also come from other sources, not yet known to them. Minutes from a regional transit planning meeting for Kansas City suggest that it's possible for Replica ''to get data on things like Uber & Lyft,'' while a city PowerPoint states that the tool is ''based off of Google data.'' -The Intercept
"Replica is a perfect example of surveillance capitalism, profiting from information collected from and about us as we use the products that have become a part of our lives," says Brenda McPhail who heads up the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project.
"We need to start asking, as a society, if we are going to continue to allow business models that are built around exploiting our information without meaningful consent."
Walgreens Tests New Smart Coolers - The Atlantic
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:29
Walgreens is piloting a new line of ''smart coolers'''--fridges equipped with cameras that scan shoppers' faces and make inferences on their age and gender. On January 14, the company announced its first trial at a store in Chicago in January, and plans to equip stores in New York and San Francisco with the tech.
Demographic information is key to retail shopping. Retailers want to know what people are buying, segmenting shoppers by gender, age, and income (to name a few characteristics) and then targeting them precisely. To that end, these smart coolers are a marvel.
If, for example, Pepsi launched an ad campaign targeting young women, it could use smart-cooler data to see if its campaign was working. These machines can draw all kinds of useful inferences: Maybe young men buy more Sprite if it's displayed next to Mountain Dew. Maybe older women buy more ice cream on Thursday nights than any other day of the week. The tech also has ''iris tracking'' capabilities, meaning the company can collect data on which displayed items are the most looked at.
Crucially, the ''Cooler Screens'' system does not use facial recognition. Shoppers aren't identified when the fridge cameras scan their face. Instead, the cameras analyze faces to make inferences about shoppers' age and gender. First, the camera takes their picture, which an AI system will measure and analyze, say, the width of someone's eyes, the distance between their lips and nose, and other micro measurements. From there, the system can estimate if the person who opened the door is, say, a woman in her early 20s or a male in his late 50s. It's analysis, not recognition.
Where's my robot lawn mower? Roomba-maker now has an answer
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 14:29
The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.
BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) '-- Robot vacuums have now been around long enough that you might watch one bump around a living room and think, why isn't there a robot that could mow my lawn? Turns out, it's not for lack of trying.
For more than a decade, iRobot, the company behind the Roomba vacuumbot, has been working '-- and working '-- on robotic lawn mowers. Now it finally has something to show for the effort, though it's come at a cost.
''Honestly, this robot drove me insane,'' said iRobot CEO Colin Angle after showing off Terra, the company's long-awaited first lawn mower. ''It has been an obsession.''
The flat square autonomous grass-cutter that Angle's company is unveiling Wednesday resulted from a protracted engineering struggle that included dead-end experiments and a conflict with radio astronomers.
Angle and his colleagues have been fielding the question, ''So, when are you going to mow my lawn?'' since the company starting selling Roombas in 2002. But teaching a robot to navigate a typical American yard without destroying its flowerbeds was harder than it first seemed. ''There was a lot of despair and frustration on the journey,'' Angle said.
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Engineers threw every technology and mechanical design they could at the secret project, which they hid behind tall, opaque fences abutting a freeway just outside iRobot's Massachusetts headquarters. The test lawn included a picnic table and other obstacles.
The first problem was helping the robot identify its location so it wouldn't get lost and miss spots. Satellite-based GPS technology didn't do the trick; it was too ''finicky'' because interference from tree branches or nearby houses could render it useless, Angle said.
Also ineffective was the sophisticated computer vision that powers the latest Roombas. The technology didn't work well outside because camera lenses can get blocked by leaves or dirt, and its machine-learning algorithms get confused as the mower bumps up and down. Laser range-finders and ground-based beacons presented different challenges.
The company made so many attempts that several early lawnbot prototypes can be spotted in the 2008 heist film ''21.'' They make their appearance in a scene where Angle plays a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announcing the winner of a robotics competition. The current Terra looks nothing like those prototypes.
''We had given up,'' Angle said of the project. ''We probably gave up twice.''
Ultimately, though, financial pressure on the robot maker to diversify its product lineup raised the stakes. (After spinning off its defense robotics division in 2016, iRobot is almost exclusively a seller of vacuums. The main exception is the Braava robotic mop, which accounts for a fraction of total revenue.)
Robotic lawn mowers also started to proliferate in Europe, where they're now a roughly $300 million industry. Those robo-mowers, however, require homeowners to set up a perimeter of boundary wires to keep the machines in a confined area.
Angle said that works well in Germany, where backyards are typically small, flat and rectangular, but not in the meandering lawns of the United States. American lawn culture also sets a higher bar for what a cut should look like: straight, back-and-forth lines are prized, he said.
The company finally found its answer in a radio technology based on ''ultra-wide'' bandwidths that would guide the mowers with the help of beacons situated around the lawn, combined with the map-making memory that iRobot already uses for its vacuums. But that idea ran afoul of astronomers who said the radio signals could interfere with their studies of interstellar chemistry.
IRobot eventually won permission from the Federal Communication Commission to use ultra-wide bandwidth for wireless robotic lawn mowers '-- though not before Harvey Liszt, spectrum manager for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, argued to the FCC that ''there is already a competitive market for robotic lawn mowers using wire loops, which has somehow failed to stanch the stream of ghastly accidents and spilt gasoline that iRobot associates with the mundane practice of lawn-mowing.''
The quiet, electric-power mower sports twin mulching blades that are meant to work slowly on a lawn '-- instead of the typical once-a-week cut with a push mower, it can maneuver around a lawn daily or a few times a week '-- and returns to its station when complete. Users can schedule the machine with a phone app; if it runs down on juice while moving, it will return to its dock to recharge, then resume where it left off.
The robot will first launch in Germany, where iRobot hopes to capitalize on an existing market where perimeter-based models made by Husqvarna, Bosch and other firms are already popular. The mowers will go on sale in the U.S. in 2020 after an invite-only beta launch later this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Ministry of Truthiness
''Learn to Code'': The Twitter Meme Attacking Media - The Ringer
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:57
Last week, more than 1,000 jobs were eliminated at publishers including BuzzFeed and Verizon-owned Yahoo/AOL. Beginning Friday, Twitter was flooded with messages from freshly laid-off journalists, as well as condolences from their former colleagues. Media Twitter was simultaneously mourning the vicious cutbacks and condemning the VC publisher culture that necessitated them.
Many people retweeted requests for work, lauded the talents of the unfairly fired, or criticized BuzzFeed for its poor handling of the situation. But there was one frequently tweeted phrase that stood out from the sympathy: ''Learn to code.''
Think of all the code you could be learning instead of wasting time like that
'-- Skip Choices (@mashxtowin) January 28, 2019 What sounds like innocuous career advice is, in many cases, part of targeted harassment. The phrase ''learn to code'' was added to Know Your Meme four days ago, where it's described as ''an expression used to mock journalists who were laid off from their jobs, encouraging them to learn software development as an alternate career path.'' Part of the Know Your Meme entry explains that those posting the phrase ''believe those news organizations have been shitting on blue-collar workers for years.'' Additionally, writer Talia Lavin posted screenshots from 4chan that suggest the ''learn to code'' tweets were a targeted attack by the notorious online message board. ''Learn to code'' is more than internet schadenfreude. It's also the most recent rallying cry of an anti-media faction.
There was word Twitter was taking down ''learn to code'' tweets because they fall under the umbrella of abusive content, but a Twitter spokesperson clarified its position in an email: ''It's more nuanced than what was initially reported. Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals'--a policy that's long been against the Twitter Rules.'' Twitter also directed me to its policy on targeted harassment, which prohibits ''behavior that encourages others to harass or target specific individuals or groups with abusive behavior.'' I also asked Twitter whether it was able to identify coordinated efforts directed at the mass of recently laid-off writers, or whether it could tell where those efforts were coming from, but the company did not respond as of publishing.
This tweet linked is misleading, wrong. Here's full statement from Twitter spokesperson. If you tweet "learn to code" as part of a *targeted harassment campaign,* that's a violation. The problem is the harassment, not the seemingly innocuous phrase itself https://t.co/9lyKWQRfnP pic.twitter.com/HcBwKgHBbl
'-- Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) January 28, 2019''Learn to code'' has reached its saturation point now, but the steam has been building for years'--in fact, many journalists once criticized the idea that ''learning to code'' is a viable solution to societal ills. In 2013, intense backlash followed programmer Patrick McConlogue's mission to teach a homeless man named Leo Grand to code instead of giving him cash. ''What will the man choose? Money, or the opportunity to be some startup guy's insane vanity project,'' then''Valleywag reporter Sam Biddle wrote at the time. (Grand was swiftly labeled ''the homeless coder,'' and, as of 2015, he was still homeless.) The entire incident served to epitomize tech workers' detachment from reality and a potential insensitivity for human struggle. ''Learn to code'' was thus turned into a joke by some in the media, poking fun at the idea that it is the only avenue to success.
if your baby's first words weren't "hello world" i'm sorry they will never learn to code
'-- Casey Johnston (@caseyjohnston) December 29, 2014In 2014, BuzzFeed's Katie Notopoulos created a quiz called ''Should You Learn to Code?'' ridiculing Silicon Valley's unfailing belief that code is the answer (Notopoulos herself received plenty of ''learn to code'' tweets this weekend). Tech PR executive Ed Zitron tweeted a joke in 2015 about the stupidity of screaming ''learn to code'' at someone. (In his case, a dog.) Now the phrase is being weaponized by the anti-media hordes, not so much to defend code as the end-all be-all'--an ethos derided by plenty of journalists'--but to shout it back at them with some sort of false and absurd victory as their jobs are taken away. ''I think it's a dumb and despicable thing to say to someone and that I hope that came across in that joke,'' Zitron told me via DM when I asked about the 2015 tweet. ''I also have never used it as an insult,'' he says. ''[I] didn't even know it was a thing to do until the 4chan stuff happened. [It's a] ridiculous idea that you tell someone to learn to code and they somehow will became prosperous. Like it's some sort of solution. It's so dumb.''
It's not only the timing of the obnoxious unsolicited advice that takes it to a place of abuse'--it's also the targeting. ''It's just straight up spamming them,'' he says, in a way meant to be ''cruel and hurtful.'' Through this lens, tweeting ''learn to code'' can be viewed as similar to the alt-right use of parentheses to label Jewish people, or how racists turned Pepe the Frog into a hate symbol'--a way to covertly harass someone in a manner that is difficult for Twitter to detect. Before writing off ''learn to code'' as a harmless joke, it might be important to remember that it's being hurled at a profession the president of the United States has at best belittled and at worst supported violence against. ''Learn to code'' is not a viral phrase that's being spammed to out-of-work journalists; it's a targeted attack disguised as a meme.
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The Fall Of Facebook Has Only Just Begun | Zero Hedge
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:31
Via 13D Research,
The fall of Facebook has only begun. The platform is broken and neither human nor machine can fix it.Even after losing roughly a third of its market cap, it still may prove one of the great shorts of all time.
''There's no mental health support. The suicide rate is extremely high,'' one of the directors of the documentary, ''The Cleaners'' told CBS News last May. The film is an investigative look at the life of Facebook moderators in the Philippines. Throughout his 2018 apology tour, Mark Zuckerberg regularly referenced the staff of moderators the company had hired as one of two key solutions'Š'--'Šalong with AI'Š'--'Što the platform's content evils. What he failed to disclose is that the majority of that army is subcontractors employed in the developing world.
For as long as ten hours a day, viewing as many as 25,000 images or videos per day, these low-paid workers are buried in the world's horrors'Š'--'Šhate speech, child pornography, rape, murder, torture, beheadings, and on and on. They are not experts in the subject matter or region they police. They rely on ''guidelines'' provided by Facebook'Š'--'Š''dozens of unorganised PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets with bureaucratic titles like 'Western Balkans Hate Orgs and Figures' and 'Credible Violence: Implementation standards','' as The New York Times reported last fall. The rules are not even written in the languages the moderators speak, so many rely on Google Translate. As a recent op-ed by John Naughton in The Guardian declares bluntly in its headline, ''Facebook's burnt-out moderators are proof that it is broken.''
As we noted in last week's issue, 41 of the 53 analysts tracked by Bloombergcurrently list Facebook as a buy, with ''the average price target'... $187, which implies upside of nearly 36%.'' That optimism springs from a basic assumption: the company's monopolistic data dominance means it can continue extracting more from advertisers even if controversy after controversy continues to sap its user growth. Given the depth and intractability of Facebook's problems, this is at best short-sighted.
The platform's content ecosystem is too poisoned for human or machine moderators to cleanse. Users are fleeing in droves, especially in the company's most valuable markets. Ad buyers are already shifting dollars to competitors' platforms. Governments are stepping up to dramatically hinder Facebook's data-collection capabilities, with Germany just this week banning third-party data sharing. The company is under investigation by the FTC, the Justice Department, the SEC, the FBI, and several government agencies in Europe. It has been accused by the U.N. of playing a ''determining role'' in Myanmar's genocide. An executive exodus is underway at the company. And we believe, sooner or later, Facebook's board will see no option but to remove Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg.
The market is drastically underestimating the peril the company is in. In the very short term, the user backlash may simply hinder its revenue growth. In the longer-term, however, the institutionalized failure to see and respond to the platform's downsides may render Facebook the Digital Age's Enron'Š'--'Ša canonized example of how greed and corruption can fell even the mightiest.
According to data recently released by Statcounter, Facebook's global social media market share dropped from 75.5% in December 2017 to 66.3% in December 2018. The biggest drop was in the U.S., from 76% to 52%. As Cowen survey results released this week suggest, these engagement declines will continue to depress the company's earnings. Surveying 50 senior U.S. ad buyers controlling a combined $14 billion in digital ad budgets in 2018, 18% said they were decreasing their spend on Facebook. As a result, Cowen estimates the Facebook platform will lose 3% of its market share.
No doubt Facebook's struggles are not just about the headline scandals. For years, one innovation priority after another has fallen flat, from VR to its video push to its laggard position in the digital-assistant race. The company's most significant ''innovation'' success of the past few years was copying the innovation of a competitor'Š'--'Špilfering Snapchat's ephemerality for its ''moments'' feature.
However, it's the scandals that have most crippled the company's brand and revealed the cultural rot trickling down from its senior ranks. Consider just the most-sensational revelations that emerged in 4Q18:
Oct. 17: The Verge reports that Facebook knew about inaccuracies in the video viewership metrics that it provided to advertisers and brands for more than a year. ''The inflated video views led both advertisers and media companies to bet too much on Facebook video.''
Nov. 14: The New York Times publishes an investigative report that reveals Facebook hired a conservative PR firm to smear competitors and minimize the company's role in Russia's 2016 election meddling.
Dec. 5: British lawmakers release 250 pages of internal Facebook emails that show that, ''the company's executives were ruthless and unsparing in their ambition to collect more data from users, extract concessions from developers and stamp out possible competitors,'' as The New York Times reported.
Dec. 14: Facebook reveals that a bug allowed third-party app developers to access photos people may not have shared publicly, with as many as 6.8 million users potentially affected.
Dec. 17: Two Senate reports reveal the shocking extent of Russia's efforts on social media platforms during the 2016 election, including the fact thatInstagram was their biggest tool for misinformation.
Dec. 18: The New York Times reports that Facebook gave the world's largest technology companies far more intrusive access to user data than previously disclosed, including the Russian search firm Yandex.
Dec. 20: TechCrunch reports that, ''WhatsApp chat groups are being used to spread illegal child pornography, cloaked by the app's end-to-end encryption.''
Dec. 27: The New York Times obtains 1,400 pages of Facebook's moderation guidelines and discovers an indecipherable mess of confusing language, bias, and obvious errors.
Scandal after scandal, the portrait of the company is the same: Ruthlessly and blindly obsessed with growth. Overwhelmed by that growth and unwilling to take necessary steps to compensate. Willing to lie and obfuscate until the truth becomes inescapable. And all the time excusing real-world consequences and clear violations of user and client trust because of the cultish belief that global interconnectedness is an absolute good, and therefore, Facebook is absolutely good.
The scale of Facebook's global responsibility is staggering. As Naughton writes for The Guardian:
Facebook currently has 2.27bn monthly active users worldwide. Every 60 seconds, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos are uploaded to the platform. Instagram, which allows users to edit and share photos as well as videos and is owned by Facebook, has more than 1bn monthly active users. WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service that is also owned by Facebook, now has 1.5bn monthly active users, more than half of whom use it several times a day.
Relying on tens of thousands of moderators to anesthetize the digital commons is both inadequate, and based on the reported working conditions, unethical and exploitative. AI is not the solution either, as we explored in WILTW April 12, 2018. According to Wired, Facebook has claimed that 96% of the adult and nude images users try to upload are now automatically detected and taken down by AI. That sounds like a success until you consider that that error rate means 1.3 million such images made it to the public in the third quarter of 2018 alone (30.8 million were taken down).
In fact, the company has acknowledged that views with nudity or sexual content have nearly doubled in the 12 months ending in September. And detecting nudity is a far easier task for a rules-based algorithm than deciding the difference between real and fake news, between hate speech and satire, or between pornography and art.
Facebook has economically and culturally empowered hundreds of millions of people around the world. It cannot be blamed for every destabilized government, war, or murder in every region it operates. However, more and more, it's clear that one profit-driven platform that connects all of the world's people to all of the world's information'Š'--'Šthe vision Zuckerberg has long had for his invention'Š'--'Šis a terminally-flawed idea. It leads to too much power in the hands of too few. It allows bad actors to centralize their bad actions. And it is incompatible with a world that values privacy, ownership, and truth.
Governments are waking up to this problem. So is the public. And no doubt, so are competitive innovators looking to expand or introduce alternatives. Collectively, they will chip away at Facebook's power and profitability. Given the company's leaders still appear blinded by and irrevocably attached to their business model and ideals, we doubt they can stave off the onslaught coming.
* * *
This article was originally published in ''What I Learned This Week'' on January 17, 2018. To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, visit 13D.com or find us on Twitter @WhatILearnedTW.
France fines Google nearly $57 million for first major violation of new European privacy regime - The Washington Post
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:27
Tony RommStaff writer covering technology policy
January 21Google has been fined nearly $57 million by French regulators for violating Europe's tough new data-privacy rules, marking the first major penalty brought against a U.S. technology giant since the regionwide regulations took effect last year.
France's top data-privacy agency, known as the CNIL, said Monday that Google failed to fully disclose to users how their personal information is collected and what happens to it. Google also did not properly obtain users' consent for the purpose of showing them personalized ads, the watchdog agency said.
To French regulators, Google's business practices ran afoul of Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation. Implemented in 2018, the sweeping privacy rules, commonly referred to as GDPR, have set a global standard that has forced Google and its tech peers in Silicon Valley to rethink their data-collection practices or risk sky-high fines. The United States lacks a similar, overarching federal consumer privacy law, a deficiency in the eyes of privacy rights advocates that has elevated Europe as the world's de facto privacy cop.
Despite Google's recent changes to comply with the E.U. rules, the CNIL said in a statement that ''the infringements observed deprive the users of essential guarantees regarding processing operations that can reveal important parts of their private life since they are based on a huge amount of data, a wide variety of services and almost unlimited possible combinations.''
In response, Google said it is ''studying the decision to determine our next steps,'' adding: ''People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We're deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR.''
French regulators began investigating Google on May 25 '-- the day GDPR went into effect '-- in response to concerns raised by two groups of privacy activists. They filed additional privacy complaints against Facebook and its subsidiaries, photo-sharing app Instagram and messenger service WhatsApp, in other E.U. countries.
''We are very pleased that for the first time a European data protection authority is using the possibilities of GDPR to punish clear violations of the law,'' said Max Schrems, the leader of the nonprofit Noyb.eu (None of Your Business). ''It is important that the authorities make it clear that simply claiming to be compliant is not enough.''
The French fine could presage even tougher scrutiny of Google and the rest of Silicon Valley in Europe, which already has demonstrated its willingness to punish U.S.-based tech companies for their missteps. In recent years, E.U. officials have penalized Apple for its tax practices, probed Facebook for multiple privacy scandals and slapped Google with a record-breaking fine on charges it sought to undermine its corporate rivals. U.S. consumer advocates on Monday strongly encouraged Washington to follow Europe's lead.
''The big question now is why the Federal Trade Commission failed to act against the tech firms over these many years,'' said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The FTC is Washington's top privacy and security watchdog.
Under the E.U.'s data privacy law, tech giants including Google must give users a full, clear picture of the data they collect, along with simple, specific tools for users to consent to having their personal information harnessed. In both cases, France said that Google had erred.
Full details about what Google does with users' personal information are ''excessively disseminated across several documents,'' according to the CNIL. The lack of transparency is even more jarring to users, the watchdog said, because of the sheer volume of services Google operates '-- including its Maps service, YouTube and its app store.
Even though Google users can modify their privacy settings when they create an account, French regulators said it still isn't enough '-- partly because the default setting is for Google to display personalized ads to users. Meanwhile, Google requires people who sign up to agree to its terms and conditions in full to create their accounts, a form of consent that the CNIL faulted because it requires users to agree to everything '-- or not use the service at all.
Some consumer advocates still bristled that France had not gone far enough. La Quadrature du Net, one of the groups that filed the complaint against Google, lamented it is ''very low in comparison to Google's annual turnover.''
While the group said it appreciated the initial move to fine Google, they felt that the French regulators had focused only on a small portion of the tech company's alleged violations. They said they hoped that the enforcement agency would respond soon to the rest of their complaint, and they noted that the maximum possible fine is more than $4.7 billion.
Estelle Mass(C), a data protection expert at the advocacy group Access Now, described the French ruling as ''the first big signal'' about Europe's willingness to enforce GDPR. Other companies, she said, had engaged in practices similar to Google, raising the possibility that additional U.S. tech giants could face fines of their own.
''Google is not the only one doing this,'' Mass(C) said. ''This is significant for Google as a company but also for other actors.''
Quentin Ari¨s and Michael Birnbaum in Brussels and James McAuley in Paris contributed to this report.
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USA Today Drops Cheri Jacobus After Comments About Pedophilia
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:55
USA has dropped columnist Cheri Jacobus after the the political strategist and frequent TV pundit insulted Republican consultant and Trump ally Michael Caputo's daughters and suggested that they be used at ''parties'' by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
''Our editors in the opinion section became aware of the tweet by freelance columnist Cheri Jacobus just after noon today,'' a spokesperson for the company told TheWrap Thursday evening.
''An hour later after researching the issue, our editors let Jacobus know that she would no longer be writing for USA TODAY,'' the spokesperson added. ''We have asked her to remove the USA TODAY affiliation from her bio.''
Also Read: After Sam Seder Returns to MSNBC, Jeffrey Lord Asks, What About Me?
By Friday morning, Jacobus '-- who once proudly boasted of her affiliation with USA Today in her Twitter profile '-- had removed any mention of the paper.
Also on Friday, The Hill moved to sever its ties with Jacobus as a columnist as well. ''She was a contributor until February and no longer is,'' a rep for the Washington, D.C.-based site told TheWrap. ''The Hill has no plans to publish her in the future.''
Jacobus offered an explanation for her provocative online statements. ''My tweet was in response to his attacks on me,'' Jacobus told TheWrap in a statement which also accused Caputo of harassing her with tweets urging her to commit suicide.
In the original tweet from Thursday '-- which still remained live on Twitter at press time '-- Jacobus got personal with fellow Republican Caputo: ''Are your daughters ugly like you? Or can Trump use them at the Epstein parties so they can survive when you're broke, bitter, along and in prison for treason?''
are your daughters ugly like you? Or can Trump use them at the Epstein parties so they can survive when you're broke, bitter, along and in prison for treason?
'' Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) July 19, 2018
Epstein is a reference to Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier and Bill Clinton mega-donor who was convicted in 2008 of soliciting sex from an underage girl and served 13 months in custody.
Also Read: Donald Trump Advisor Out After Tweeting 'Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead'
The barb came as part of a series of back and forths between the Caputo and Jacobus, which swiftly became intensely personal. But Jacobus took it a bit further. In another response, which also remains live, she seemed to suggest that Caputo's ''illegitimate'' daughter commit suicide.
your illegitimate daughter contemplating the pavement because her loser dad is a traitor? Keep it up #BadDad
'' Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) July 19, 2018
The tweets sparked a swift backlash, particularly in conservative media, with Caputo himself leading the charge and demanding USA Today take action.
''I'm sure it's totally normal for one of your columnists to Tweet suggesting the rape of toddler girls. Right?'' he said. The remarks were also taken up by Internet provocateurs including Mike Cernovich, leading to thousands more harassing tweets toward the paper.
.@usatodayopinion I'm sure it's totally normal for one of your columnists to Tweet suggesting the rape of toddler girls. Right? pic.twitter.com/dmTRN6yLbI
'-- Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) July 19, 2018
Also Read: USA Today Editorial Scorches Trump as 'Inveterate Liar'
Jacobus, a #NeverTrump Republican, is most well known for losing a $4 million defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump in December 2017.
Jacobus accused the president of hurting her career after he chided her as a ''real dummy'' on Twitter. Trump's ire had been stirred after Jacobus suggested in January, 2016 that he skipped a GOP primary debate in Iowa because he was a ''bad debater.''
''I have been trashed and ruined on Twitter,'' she told the New York Times a month later in a sympathetic piece documenting the then-still relatively new phenomenon of Trump's Twitter hostility.
17 Times Fox News Hosts Criticized Donald Trump, From Charlottesville to Helsinki (Photos) It's been known for a long time that Donald Trump is a fan of Fox News. And, in turn, the conservative network is a fan of his, often running positive stories about the administration that Trump then uses to fuel his Twitter feed. But Fox News isn't always on board the Trump Train. Here are 17 times Fox News gave Trump the business.
Megyn Kelly calls Trump out on womenTrump famously feuded former anchor Kelly after she asked him a tough question at a Republican primary debate about derogatory statements he's made about women. Trump took it personally, judging by his response on Twitter and in interviews. He later famously said Kelly must have had "blood coming out of her wherever" regarding the question. Watch the debate question here.
Fox News
Kelly to Trump: "Facts matter"Trump kept hammering at Kelly on Twitter and elsewhere. When he called her out for not using the IBT poll when he was leading the Republican primary field, Kelly rebuked him with a tweet showing she did use the poll. "Facts matter," she wrote.
Twitter
Fox mocks Trump with statement on debate skipping pollAfter polled his Twitter followers to see if he should drop out of a Fox-hosted Republican primary debate, Fox responded artfully with a sarcastic statement that it had learned from "secret" sources Trump might be treated unfairly as president by foreign leaders.
Getty
Bill O'Reilly calls out Trump's tweet with totally wrong stats"The O'Reilly Factor" grilled Trump in a Nov. 2015 interview about his tweet that erroneously said black people killed whites at a rate of 81 percent, while whites kill blacks at a rate of 15 percent. O'Reilly told Trump, "You shouldn't tweet." Trump did not take that advice.
Fox News
Shepard Smith backs CNN on Russia reportingAnchor Shep Smith was on Team CNN after Trump's January press conference, in which he refused to take a question from CNN's Jim Acosta, saying, "You're fake news." Smith said, "neither they (CNN) nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling or delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States." Watch it here.
Fox News
Chris Wallace bucks Trump calling media "enemy of the public"After his press conference in January 2017, Trump continued his attack on media he doesn't like on Twitter. Anchor Chris Wallace wasn't having it on "Fox & Friends." Wallace said Trump's comments "crossed an important line" and said they were dangerous.
Fox News
Smith calls Trump out on terrorism lieSmith isn't a fan of Trump's false assertions. When Trump said the media "doesn't want to report" terrorist attacks, Smith took him to task. "The White House knows that it was false or could have learned that it was false with a quick Google check, but either did not do so or decided not to tell the truth.'' Watch it here.
Fox News
Wallace says the media is too easy on TrumpIn an interview with TheWrap, Wallace said he thinks Sunday political shows in particular should be tougher on Trump. "I think if anything, the media has treated him too well. By that I mean they've allowed him to play by different rules." Read the full interview.
Fox News
O'Reilly tells Trump Putin is "a killer"In a February interview, O'Reilly brought up Trump's apparent refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin, calling the Russian president "a killer." Trump famously responded by saying, "What, you think our country is so innocent?" Watch it here.
Fox News
Smith wails on Trump's refusal to talk about Russia hacksNobody on Fox hits Trump harder than Shep Smith. "We have a right to know'... You call us 'fake news' and put us down like children for asking questions on behalf of the American people." Watch it here.
Fox News
Smith backs CNN and rebukes Trump's 'fake news' assertionTrump's favorite insult against media he doesn't like is to call it "fake news." But Shep Smith again supported CNN against the president after Trump's anti-media speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee. Watch it here.
Fox News
Neil Cavuto tells Trump he's the problem, not mainstream mediaResponding to Trump's tweet claiming the mainstream media wants him off social media, Cavuto called out Trump for losing track of his own agenda. "Mr. President, it is not the fake news media that's your problem, it's you," Cavuto said. Watch it here.
Fox News
Smith blasts Trump administration on Russia: "Lie after lie after lie"Shep Smith was at it again following the news breaking about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. He took the Trump administration to task for its many lies about meetings with Russia, including Jared Kushner failing to report the meeting on his security clearance forms. "My grandmother used to say, 'What a tangled web we weave when first we try to deceive,'" Smith declared on air, leaving fellow anchor Chris Wallace speechless. Watch it here.
Fox News
Eboni K. Williams slams Trump's remarks about Charlottesville
Following the Unite the Right rally in which a counter-protester was murdered, Trump blamed "both sides" for the violence. On "Fox News Specialists," host Eboni K. Williams took Trump to task for not standing up to white nationalists and white supremacists who support him, calling his initial remarks about the rally "cowardly and dangerous."
Watch the clip here.
Fox News Brian Kilmeade calls Trump tweet "ridiculous" blaming U.S. for Russia relations
In a rare sight in the lead up to the summit in Helsinki between Trump and Putin, Trump tweeted, "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" On "Fox and Friends," a show that has been extremely favorable to Trump (he even calls in), host Brian Kilmeade said of the tweet, "That's by far the most ridiculous tweet of late, and that is insulting to past administrations. He can't be saying that going into the Russian summit." Watch the clip here.
Fox News Cavuto blasts Trump's performance in Helsinki: "disgusting"
Neil Cavuto took Trump to task more than once after his Helsinki press conference with Putin. When former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Tom Dupree said Trump could have rebuked Putin for his Russia's attack on U.S. elections, Cavuto said, "But he didn't and that's what made it disgusting. That's what made his performance disgusting. I'm sorry, it's just the only way I feel. It's not a right or left thing for me, it's just wrong." Watch it here.
Fox News Trish Regan says Trump "should have defended us" against Putin
Fox Business host Trish Regan got mad about Trump's performance on her show "The Intelligence Report." "He should have defended us," she said. "He should have defended his own intelligence community. Or just don't take the meeting! Don't go to Helsinki if you can't look the guy in the eye and tell him what's what!" Watch it here.
Fox News Donald Trump's favorite network, Fox News, isn't always rosy on what he says and does, especially when he backs Russia over the U.S. intelligence community
It's been known for a long time that Donald Trump is a fan of Fox News. And, in turn, the conservative network is a fan of his, often running positive stories about the administration that Trump then uses to fuel his Twitter feed. But Fox News isn't always on board the Trump Train. Here are 17 times Fox News gave Trump the business.
Dogs are People Too
Doggie DNA
Purina Wants Your Dog to Save the Planet by Eating Fish Heads - Bloomberg
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:20
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Putting Glitter on Your Dog's Testicles is a Trend Now, Apparently | Rare
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 15:40
Beloved American prize wizard Bob Barker used to give us a daily reminder to spay and neuter our pets but, if this latest trend hits the mainstream, we should probably just start sterilizing all humans. A glittered dog scrotum. That's where we're at as a society. We're so far up Maslow's pyramid that we're not even dipping our own nutsacks in glitter. We've moved on to our dogs. How far removed from the threat of starving to death to do you have to be to pay to have someone do this? This is the type of thing that's so unnecessarily extravagant that when the working class sees it they start getting an urge to cut off the heads of the rich.
We, as a species, need a new predator. We've been at the top of the food chain for too long. Somebody hurry up and invent, then piss off, artificial intelligence. Humans have become the animal kingdom equivalent of a foppish, ridiculously bewigged French noble whose diet is mostly foie gras and whose hobbies include pretending to be poor and'... decorating his poodle's balls. There's actually absolutely nothing more foppish and French than glittering a poodle's balls.
The ''trend'' first hit wide public awareness after being shared on the Royal Paws Pet Salon Facebook page. The North Carolina pet salon, however, is not a purveyor of sparkling dog balls. They posted the pictures for entertainment purposes only and assured their customers that they would absolutely not be partaking in testicular bedazzlement.
Some people have called the scrotal decoration animal cruelty but you can at least be satisfied in knowing that the only thing being hurt is these dogs' pride. The glitter, which is edible, is applied to the dog scrotums with corn syrup (so, sugar). It's not dangerous for the dogs, who've licked far worse things than their own balls and sugar.
Is this really how we're repaying dogs for being the best?
Watch: Slobbery Smooches: Why Does My Dog Love to Lick Me?
Any Collusion?
The end of Russia's 'democratic illusions' about America (By Stephen Cohen) '-- RT Op-ed
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 17:27
How Russiagate has impacted a vital struggle in Russia.
For decades, Russia's self-described ''liberals'' and ''democrats'' have touted the American political system as one their country should emulate. They have had abundant encouragement in this aspiration over the years from legions of American crusaders, who in the 1990s launched a large-scale, deeply intrusive, and ill-destined campaign to transform post-Communist Russia into a replica of American ''democratic capitalism.'' (See my bookFailed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.) Some Russian liberals even favored NATO's eastward expansion when it began in the late 1990s on the grounds that it would bring democratic values closer to Russia and protect their own political fortunes at home.
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Their many opponents on Russia's political spectrum, self-described ''patriotic nationalists,'' have insisted that the country must look instead to its own historical traditions for its future development and, still more, that American democracy was not a system to be so uncritically emulated. Not infrequently, they characterize Russia's democrats as ''fifth columnists'' whose primary loyalties are to the West, not their own country. Understandably, it is a highly fraught political debate and both sides have supporters in high places, from the Kremlin and other government offices to military and security agencies, as well as devout media outlets.
In this regard, Russiagate allegations in the United States, which have grown from vague suspicions of Russian ''meddling'' in the 2016 presidential election to flat assertions that Putin's Kremlin put Donald Trump in the White House, have seriously undermined Russian democrats and bolstered the arguments of their ''patriotic'' opponents. Americans, who may have been misled by their own media into thinking that Russia today is a heavily censored ''autocracy'' in which all information is controlled by the Kremlin, may be surprised to learn that many Russians, especially among the educated classes but not only, are well-informed about the Russiagate story and follow it with great interest. They get reasonably reliable information from Russian news broadcasts and TV talk shows; from direct cable and satellite access to Western broadcasts, including CNN; from translation sites that daily render scores of Western print news reports and commentaries into Russian (inosmi.ru being the most voluminous); and from the largely uncensored Internet.
How many Russians believe that the Kremlin actually put Trump in the White House is less clear. Widespread skepticism is often expressed sardonically: ''If Putin can put his man in the White House, why can't he put a mayor in my town who will have the garbage picked up?'' Others, who believe the allegation, often take some pleasure, or schadenfreude, from it, having grown resentful of US ''meddling'' in Russian political life for so many years. (In recent history, the remembered example is the Clinton administration's very substantial efforts on behalf of President Boris Yeltsin's reelection in 1996.)
But what should interest us is how Russiagate allegations have tarnished America's democratic reputation in Russia and thereby undermined the pro-American arguments of Russia's liberal democrats, who were never a very potent political or electoral force and whose fortunes have already declined in recent years. Consider the following:
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- Russian democrats argue that their country's elections are manipulated and unfair, including, but not only, those that put and kept Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. ''Patriotic nationalists'' now reply that Russiagate rests on the allegation, widely reported and believed in the United States, that an American presidential election was successfully manipulated on behalf of the desired candidate and that the entire US electoral system may be vulnerable to manipulation.
- Russian democrats protest that oligarchic and other money has corrupted Russian politics. Their opponents argue that special counsel Robert Mueller's convictions and other indictments - in the cases of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, for example -prove that American political life is no less corrupt financially.
- Going back to Soviet times and continuing today, a major complaint of Russian democrats has been the shadowy, malevolent role played by intelligence agencies, particularly the KGB and its successor organization. Patriotic nationalists point to disclosures that their US institutional counterparts, the CIA and FBI, played a secretive and major role in the origins of Russiagate allegations against Trump as a presidential candidate and since his inauguration.
- Russian democratic dissidents have long protested, and been stifled by, varying degrees of official censorship. Their Russian opponents argue that campaigns now underway in the United States against ''Russian disinformation'' in the media are a form of American censorship.
- Many Russians distrust their media, particularly ''mainstream'' state media. Their opponents retort that American mainstream media is no better, having undertaken a kind of ''war'' against President Trump and along the way having had to retract dozens of widely circulated stories. In this connection, we may wonder what Russian skeptics made of an astonishingly revealing statement by the media critic of The New York Times - an authoritative newspaper in Russia as well - on January 21 that the ''ultimate prize'' for leading American journalists is having ''helped bring down a president.'' By now, Americans may not be shocked by such a repudiation by the Times of its own professed mission and standards, but for Russian journalists, who have long looked to the paper as a model, the reaction was likely profound disillusionment.
Read more
- Putin's Russian democratic critics often protest his ''imperial'' foreign policies, so imagine how they interpreted this imperial statement by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen on January 15: ''Nations, like children, crave predictability. They need to know the rules. The United States is like a parent. Other countries look to it for guidance and to enforce the rules. Trump has utterly failed in that regard.'' Any Russian with a medium-range memory is unlikely to miss this echo of the Soviet Union's attitude toward the ''children'' it ruled. And yet, a columnist for The Washington Post - also an authoritative newspaper in Russia - emphasizes Trump's failure to ''enforce the [imperial] rules'' as a Russiagate indictment.
- Perhaps most Russians who are informed about Russiagate believe that all the various allegations against Trump are actually motivated by US elite opposition to his campaign promise to ''cooperate with Russia.'' This means, as Russia's ''patriotic nationalists'' have always argued, that Washington will never accept Russia as an equal great power in world affairs, no matter who rules Russia or how (whether Communist or anti-Communist, as is Putin). To this, Russia's liberal democrats have yet to find a compelling answer.
One Russian, however, who personifies biographically both that system's recent democratic experiences and its nationalist traditions, has had a mostly unambiguous reaction to Russiagate. Despite US mainstream-media claims that Russian President Putin is ''happy'' with the ''destabilization and chaos'' caused by Russiagate in the United States, such consequences are incompatible with what has been Putin's historical mission since coming to power almost 20 years ago: to rebuild Russia socially and economically after its post-Soviet collapse in the 1990s, and to achieve this through modernizing partnerships with democratic nations - from Europe to the United States - in a stable international environment. For this reason, Putin himself is unlikely to have plotted Russiagate or to have taken any real satisfaction from its woeful consequences.
Which leaves us with an as-yet-unanswerable question. Eventually, Trump and Putin will leave office. But the consequences of Russiagate, both in America and in Russia, will not depart with them. What will be the subsequent, longer-term consequences for both countries and for relations between them? From today's perspective, nothing good.
By Stephen F. Cohen
This article was originally published by The Nation.
Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of politics and Russian studies at Princeton and NYU. Cohen's book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate has just been published. This commentary is based on his most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show. Now in their fifth year, previous commentaries are at TheNation.com.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Is There a Secret Hiding in Roger Stone's Indictment? '' Rolling Stone
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:12
Hours after he was roused from his Florida home in a pre-dawn raid by armed federal agents, Roger Stone, President Trump's longtime friend and former political adviser , appeared on Fox News to announce that the charges against him were ''thin indeed.'' But Stone's indictment may not be the last word from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In fact, it may only be the opening move.
A small note stamped on Stone's indictment suggests that more charges may be forthcoming '-- possibly involving Russian collusion. That note states that there is a ''related case'' involving Stone, the 66-year-old self-described ''dirty trickster'' who has Nixon's face tattooed on his back. That ''related case'' is likely a much bigger criminal conspiracy involving a dozen Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Clinton campaign.
More from the Roger Stone docket: Stone's case is related to the indictment of 12 GRU officers for hacking the Clinton campaign. This suggests that additional charges may be filed against Stone. 1/ pic.twitter.com/9dbFMYtyZQ
'-- Seth Hettena (@seth_hettena) January 28, 2019
The earlier indictment of the Russian intelligence officers, filed in July, referenced online conversations that Stone '-- described as ''a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump'' '-- had in August and September of 2016 with ''Guccifer 2.0,'' an online cutout adopted by members of the GRU, Russia's military agency. The GRU officers also used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to send documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee in July 2016 to WikiLeaks, identified in the indictment as ''Organization 1,'' according to the indictment.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel's office, declined Rolling Stone 's request for comment for this story. Messages left with Stone's attorney, Robert Buschel, were not returned.
A ''related case'' has several possible meanings in the Washington, D.C., courthouse where Stone's case will be prosecuted. It could mean that there is another sealed indictment pending against Stone and the GRU officers. Another possibility '-- more likely in Stone's case '-- is that the ''prosecution against different defendants arises from a common wiretap, search warrant, or activities which are a part of the same alleged criminal event or transaction.'' Judge Amy Berman Jackson is hearing both Stone's case and the GRU case (as well as the case of Stone's friend and former business partner, Paul Manafort .)
Additional charges that Stone could face related to the GRU indictment may hinge, at least in part, on what he said under oath to the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017. Most of the seven counts Stone currently faces relate to charges of lying before the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks. The indictment revealed that a senior Trump campaign official ''was directed'' '-- by whom, it's not clear '-- to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information WikiLeaks had regarding the Clinton Campaign.
While Stone's testimony remains secret, a report released by the House Intelligence Committee in March 2018 noted that Stone described his communications with Guccifer 2.0 as ''innocuous'' and stated that he denied taking action in response to Guccifer 2.0's messages.
Stone has stated that he began communicating with Guccifer 2.0 on August 14th, 2016 after Twitter restored the @Guccifer_2 account following a brief suspension.
''Delighted you are reinstated. Fuck the State and their MSM lackeys,'' Stone wrote in a private message. Guccifer 2.0 responded: ''wow thank u for writing back and thank you for an article about me!!! do u find anything interesting in the docs i posted?'' Stone and Guccifer 2.0 also exchanged tweets publicly.
The Smoking Gun, an online investigative site, was also communicating with Guccifer 2.0. In August 2016, The Smoking Gun asked Guccifer 2.0 whether they were in contact with Stone. ''why r u asking?,'' Guccifer 2.0 replied. ''the fbi's tracing me, reading my dm [direct messages] and giving u hints. No?
According to his prepared remarks before the House Intelligence Committee later released to the press, Stone testified that his only exchanges with Guccifer 2.0 ran through September 9th, 2016. However, a report prepared by Democrats on the committee noted that on election night 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent Stone a direct message.
''Happy?'' Guccifer 2.0 wrote. ''We are now more free to communicate.''
Overwhelming Evidence Of Collusion | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:51
NASA prominently features this graph of ''global temperature'' showing very close agreement between different data sets by different government agencies since 1880.
NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming
I am going to show you the evidence now why the only way this could have happened is via collusion between the agencies. There is not enough data available to generate a coherent global long-term temperature record, much less have close agreement by independent agencies.
In 1978, the New York Times reported there was too little temperature data from the Southern Hemisphere to draw any reliable conclusions.
International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30'Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere
New York Times, January 5, 1978
The report, prepared by German, Japanese and American specialists, appears in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature, the British journal. The findings indicate that from 1950 to 1975 the cooling, per decade, of most climate indexes in the Northern Hemisphere was from 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius, roughly 0.2 to 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Data from the Southern Hemisphere, particularly south of latitude 30 south, are so meager that reliable conclusions are not possible, the report says. The 30th parallel of south latitude passes through South Africa, Chile and southern Australia. The cooling trend seems to'extend at least part way into the Southern Hemisphere but there have been indications of warming at high southern latitudes.
https://www.nytimes.com/1978/01/05/archives/international-team-of-specialists-finds-no-end-in-sight-to-30year.html
In 1981, NASA's James Hansen reported the same thing. There is little historical data from the Southern Hemisphere and oceans.
Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide | Science
In this 2009 Climategate E-mail, Phil Jones from CRU said there was very little ship data in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere. and that the historical data in those regions was ''mostly made up.''
di2.nu/foia/foia2011/mail/2729.txt
Maps from NOAA show that there was very little quality thermometer data outside of the US in the year 1900.
A Critical Review of Global Surface Temperature Data Products by Ross McKitrick :: SSRN
Same story in 1920. Very little quality data outside of the US, Western Europe, Japan and parts of Australia.
station-counts-1891-1920-temp.png (825—638)
There are still very large areas of missing data, represented by gray in the NOAA map below.
201809.gif (1052—743)
However, the lack of data doesn't stop NOAA from declaring record heat in places with no thermometer data.
Fake Data '' The Basis Of Climate Science | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog
The US has the only high quality long term temperature set covering a large area in the world, and the US temperature record is massively tampered with '' to turn 90 years of cooling into warming.
NOAA US Data Tampering Update | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog
No legitimate scientist would alter data like this. If they have theories about possible issues with the data, the correct way to handle it is to put error bars on the graph '' not alter the data and present it as if it is the actual thermometer data. That is fraud, not science. Between 1999 and 2016, NASA completely altered the shape of the US temperature graph to turn seventy years of cooling into warming.
NASA 1999 NASA 2016
As far as global temperatures go, NASA has massively altered their own surface temperature record over the past 20 years, and have doubled pre-2000 warming. How can four different independent agencies come up with four very similar graphs, when NASA doesn't even agree with themselves from 20 years ago?
Spreadsheet Data
NASA surface temperature graphs have completely erased the post-1940 cooling seen in 1974 NCAR graphs.
NCAR 1974 NASA 2018
This removal of the ''1940's blip'' was done intentionally. Climate scientists openly discussed their desire to get rid of the 1940s warmth.
di2.nu/foia/1254108338.txt
But historical records show that the time around the 1940 was very warm '' with glaciers rapidly melting in Greenland, North America and Europe.
17 Dec 1939, Page 15 '' Harrisburg Sunday Courier
18 Feb 1952 '' POLAR ICE THAW INCREASING
This warmth of the 1930s and 1940s, turned rapidly into cooling '' which has been largely erased in current NASA temperature graphs.
January 30, 1961 '' NYTimes
U.S. and Soviet Press Studies of a Colder Arctic '' The New York Times
12 Jun 1975, Page 10 '' The Ogden Standard-Examiner at Newspapers.com
TIME Magazine Archive Article '-- Another Ice Age? '-- Jun. 24, 1974
A recent meeting of climate experts in Bonn, West Germany, produced the unanimous conclusion that the change in global weather patterns poses a severe threat to agriculture that could lead to major crop failures and mass starvation.
Climate Changes Endanger World's Food Output '' The New York Times
Wayback Machine
12 Jun 1974, Page 20 '' at Newspapers.com
21 Jul 1974, 13 '' The Des Moines Register at Newspapers.com
25 Nov 1981, 13 '' Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com
OIL SPILLS CALLED PERIL TO CLIMATE '' The New York Times
Climatologists Are Warned North Pole Might Melt '' The New York Times
Youngstown Vindicator '' Google News Archive Search
16 Apr 1970, 18 '' The Boston Globe at Newspapers.com
02 Jun 1975, Page 76 '' Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com
09 Mar 1980, 4 '' The Dispatch at Newspapers.com
https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/default/files/8983
15 Apr 1973, 59 '' The Post-Crescent at Newspapers.com
11 Oct 1975, Page 41 '' Daily Independent Journal at Newspapers.com
14 Apr 1973, Page 8 '' Iowa City Press-Citizen
THE ROLE OF NOAA'S CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIMATE SERVICES
The Genesis Strategy '' The New York Times
29 Jan 1974, 5 '' The Guardian at Newspapers.com
The National Geographic Archive | November 1976 | page 1
TimesMachine: December 29, 1974 '' NYTimes.com
21 Jul 1974, 13 '' The Des Moines Register at Newspapers.com
'Žwww.denisdutton.com/newsweek_coolingworld.pdf
I've worked with global temperature data, and know that you can produce any shaped global temperature graph you want by picking the right set of stations. There are grossly inadequate amounts of both historical and current data to produce a meaningful long term temperature graph for the earth. Much of the data is fake '' by their own admission.
The best temperature data set (by far) is the US data, which has been altered by NOAA and NASA over the past 20 years to turn 90 years of cooling in to warming. Global temperatures have also been massively altered over the past 45 years. And climate scientists colluded to remove the 1940s blip.
There is no conceivable way this graph could have been produced without lots of collusion between the four ''independent'' agencies.
Mueller Alleges His Probe Was Targeted By Russia-Based Disinformation Effort '' Talking Points Memo
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 23:03
Evidence given by prosecutors to the defense team in the ongoing prosecution of a Russian troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was altered and posted online as part of a ''disinformation campaign'' to discredit the Russia probe, special counsel Robert Mueller's team alleged in a court filing Wednesday.
''Certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense's possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system,'' prosecutors write in the filing.
The allegation comes amid an ongoing dispute in the case against Concord Management over whether the defense team can ferry ''sensitive material'' obtained during discovery to its client in Russia.
Mueller does not accuse defense counsel of involvement in the document release, but was adamant in insisting that the government's servers were not breached.
The special counsel alleges that ''non-sensitive discovery materials have been misused in a manner inconsistent with the terms of'' a protective order that the judge issued in the case.
Specifically, Mueller alleges that discovery provided by the government made its way into a webpage containing more than 300,000 files. That information included ''junk material'' irrelevant to the case, Facebook memes allegedly produced by the Internet Research Agency, and actual documents provided by the special counsel in the course of the litigation.
A Twitter account with the handle ''@HackingRedstone'' posted a link to the web portal containing the files in October.
''Enjoy the reading!'' the account tweeted.
According to the filing, an unnamed individual also sent a Twitter DM to an unidentified journalist about the information on the same day that HackingRedstone appeared.
That reporter then purportedly alerted the special counsel's office to the breach. The webpage containing the files was deactivated ''after a request from the government,'' the filing states.
Mueller alleges that the account that posted the discovery to the online portal can be linked back to Russia.
''A representative of the online file-sharing portal has confirmed to the FBI that the specific account used to publish the matching discovery materials was registered on October 19, 2018 by a user with an IP address that resolves to Russia,'' prosecutors allege in a footnote.
The special counsel describes being advised of the issue by Concord's lawyers on the day after HackingRedstone published the link.
''Defense counsel advised that the vendor hired by the defense reported no unauthorized access to the non-sensitive discovery,'' prosecutors write. ''Defense counsel concluded, 'I think it is a scam peddling the stuff that was hacked and dumped many years ago by Shaltai Boltai,' referencing a purported hack of Concord's computer systems that occurred in approximately 2014.''
Prosecutors add that the defense's ''hypothesis is not consistent'' with the presence of ''actual discovery materials'' on the website.
The special counsel also describes technical details that were scraped from the publicized discovery. The names and numbering of the documents in question ''significantly match the non-public names and file structure'' of the discovery materials, prosecutors write. Also, a database program called ''Relativity'' was purportedly used to sort and store the filings, for example, suggesting ''that the data was not taken from the Special Counsel's Office or the U.S. Attorney's Office, because the government has not used Relativity databases to store data related to this case.''
The Mueller filing comes amid an ongoing discovery dispute in the case.
Concord has objected to the limitations placed on its American legal team regarding the sharing of discovery in the case. Mueller had sought to block discovery being shared to those outside the legal team '-- and particularly Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Kremlin-aligned executive of the company who was also charged by Mueller but has not submitted to the court's jurisdiction '-- for national security reasons.
Late last year, the company requested that the judge loosen those restrictions in a series of filings alleging that prosecutors were being too aggressive in deeming certain discovery materials '-- including spam emails and naked selfies '-- sensitive for national security reasons. Concord's lawyers argued that sharing those materials with Prigozhin '-- known in Russia as ''Putin's Chief'' for the facilities services he provides to the Kremlin '-- and others outside the legal team is necessary for their defense in the case.
In Wednesday's filings, Mueller called out Prigozhin in the most explicit terms yet for trying to have his cake and eat it too by hiring lawyers to defend his company in court, while refusing to appear in the U.S. to fight the charges.
That he is not being allowed access to discovery is ''a problem of Concord's own making,'' Mueller says.
''After all, it was (apparently) Prigozhin's choice to have Concord enter an appearance in this criminal case, knowing that he was under indictment but declining to appear himself, let alone accept notice of the indictment,'' the filing says.
Mueller wrote elsewhere in the document that allowing the discovery to make its way to Russia could pose a threat to national security.
''Unwarranted disclosure of that information overseas, in a country adverse to this litigation, would allow that country and actors in that country to learn of these techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining U.S. national security interests, including investigations into the conduct of those foreign actors,'' prosecutors write.
Read the filing below:
Agenda 2030
US Military Eyes Tiny Nuclear Reactors for Deployed Troops - Defense One
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:59
The Strategic Capabilities Office wants to fund prototypes, picking up on decades of intermittent research
Getting fuel to remote operating bases is a big problem for the U.S. military. In 2008, during the height of combat in Iraq, the Government Accountability Office estimated that more than 900,000 gallons of fuel went to bases for basic power needs like lighting and refrigeration (on top of the 6.7 million gallons the military burned that year in jets and ground vehicles.) The U.S. military's Strategic Capabilities Office has put out a request for information about small nuclear reactors that could deploy to the sorts of hillside forward bases U.S. troops set up in places like Afghanistan.
According to the request for ''Project Dilithium,'' the reactor should fit on a truck and a C-17 aircraft and generate from one to 10 megawatts of electric power for three years without refueling. Soldiers have to be able to stand it up in 72 hours and take it down in a week. It's got to be meltdown-proof. The office is looking to fund three different prototype designs and will then select a winner from among them.
The idea of deployable nuclear reactors only seems outlandish. In fact, the research has a long history in the military.
In 1954, the Army launched the Nuclear Power Program, under its Corps of Engineers developed a variety of nuclear reactor cores of different sizes. They were deployed to places like Fort Greely, Alaska; Sundance, Wyoming; Camp Century, Greenland; even a barge in Lake Gatun in the Panama Canal. All functioned well with no safety issues. But the military lost interest in the projects before too long. Oil was cheap and there was already a supply and logistics infrastructure to deliver it.
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The idea re-emerged in the 2000s, when hauling fuel to remote bases in Afghanistan proved costly '-- and perilous to convoy crews and frontline troops alike. In 2011, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA , picked Army Col. Paul Roege to manage a six-year, $150 million program to develop small, modular, nuclear reactors for forward bases. Roege's first step: figure out just how much electricity the troops needed.
''Your basic case is a brigade-size base, 1,000-plus soldiers,'' Roege said. ''You might want two, 5-megawatt reactors'...those type of basic operational requirements. That was probably enough to get us started on a prototype. Then you get into the specifics with the services in terms of security, safety.''
But then came sequestration, and tough financial choices. Then- DARPA Director Regina Dugan faced a the prospect of cutting money out of several programs or going after select big ones. The nascent program to develop small nuclear reactors was shoved overboard.
It was only recently that the military returned to the subject. In 2016, a Defense Science Board Study concluded, ''There is an opportunity for exploration of the use of nuclear energy applications at forward and remote operating bases and expeditionary forces.'' The board concluded that the best approach for these super small reactors was radioisotope thermoelectric generators. They work simply: as the reactor fuel '-- either plutonium-238 or strontium-90 '-- decays, it slowly but surely releasing lots of heat, which is converted by thermocouples into electricity. NASA uses these generators to to power satellites and other spacecraft; the Soviets once used them to power Arctic lighthouses.The study proposes Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado and the Clear Air Force Station in Alaska as the most likely sites to host the reactors at first.
Last October, the U.S. Army put out its own study. Declared that small, mobile nuclear reactors present ''a classic example of disruptive innovation,'' the study said, ''The return of nuclear power to the Army and DOD will have a significant impact on the Army, our allies, the international community, commercial power industry, and the nation. U.S. nuclear industry growth affects the nation economically and geopolitically. With nuclear industry growth, there is significant potential for generating thousands of jobs'... while provid[ing] a deployable, reliable, and sustainable option for reducing petroleum demand and focusing fuel forward to support
Combatant Commander ( CCDR ) priorities and maneuver in multi-domain operations.''
Currently, Idaho National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab are working toward new designs for modular nuclear power. Andy Erickson, the deputy principal associate director of Global Security at Los Alamos, recently forecast that microreactors could be ready for deployment in ''less than five years.''
But there's a lot to overcome, mostly in terms of regulations and skepticism. The Army study notes that the ''existing nuclear regime, and its supporting treaties and other international agreements, are fashioned to support large, stationary nuclear facilities, not small, mobile, [nuclear power plants.] The rules have not kept pace with progress.''
There's also a lot of confusion around the topic of nuclear power generally, especially after the 2012 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, a sensational event that obscured the fact that nuclear energy is far cleaner and safer than alternatives like oil and coal. Roege recalled many frustrating conversations spent trying to convince others that deployable nuclear power was worth further investigation. ''We never got very far because most people don't believe it's something that could happen. Whenever the topic comes up, people dismiss it.''
If it can work, it beats the alternative, hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel trucked over dangerous enemy terrain.
It seems there are fewer people dismissing the idea, now.
Are record snowstorms proof that global warming isn't happening? | NOAA Climate.gov
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 03:54
No. Snowstorms require two things: moisture and freezing air temperatures. There are plenty of places where winter temperatures would have to rise by 10, 20, even 30 degrees Fahrenheit before it would stop snowing. Until then, snowstorms remain quite possible, and natural climate patterns and random variability will still lead to winters that are unusually cold and snowy in different locations.
One way to demonstrate that record snowstorms aren't incompatible with a warmer climate is to look back at the historical record snowstorms and the seasonal conditions that spawned them. An analysis of such storms between 1961-2010 showed that while most extreme snow storms did occur in seasons that were colder and wetter than average, about 35 percent of snow seasons that produced extreme snow events were warmer than average, and 30 percent were drier than average.
Summarizing that analysis as part of a ''state of the science'' review of climate change and extreme storms in 2014, a group of scientists concluded:
even if temperatures continue to warm as they have over the past several decades for the next few decades at least, then such record storms are possible, as they have been observed during otherwise warmer- and drier-than average seasons.
Not only are severe snowstorms possible in a warming climate, they may even be more likely. According to the Third National Climate Assessment, there is some evidence that cold season storms in the Northern Hemisphere have become both more frequent and more intense since 1950. Extremely heavy snowstorms also increased in number during the last century in northern and eastern parts of the United States, although they have been less frequent since 2000.
As far as what physical causes have led to observed trends in extreme storm activity, the scientists who participated in the assessment concluded that the current level of understanding is ''relatively low.'' While the explanation for these trends remains elusive, warming has made the atmosphere wetter and this may be leading to more extreme rain and snowfall in these storms.
Scientists have measured a significant increase in water vapor in the surface atmosphere over land and ocean relative to the 1970s. This global increase is consistent with the long-term warming trend in our planet's average surface temperature. Warmer air temperatures fuel more evaporation, leading to a wetter atmosphere, which increases rain or snow totals.
The precipitation boost may be especially significant for coastal winter storms like Nor'easters, such as the one that buried Boston in mid-February. These storms draw much of their intensity from the extreme contrast between cold air over land and warmer, wetter air from over the ocean. Warmer ocean temperatures may make the air aloft warmer and moister, amplifying the contrast. That wetter air is then brought into the storm system, producing large amounts of snow.
The connection between rising global temperatures and changes in mid-latitude winter storms may be uncertain, but influences of warming on snow on the ground is not. The 2014 NCA report concluded that snow cover on land in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past several decades, especially in late spring. This is due in part to higher temperatures that shorten the time snow spends on the ground. In the United States, they wrote,
Very snowy winters have generally been decreasing in frequency in most regions over the last 10 to 20 years, except in the Northeast where things have continued as normal. Total seasonal snowfall has generally decreased in southern and some western areas, increased in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes region, and not changed in other areas, such as the Sierra Nevada, although snow is melting earlier in the year and more precipitation is falling as rain versus snow.
As far as what's to come in the future, model projections generally show that the average tracks of mid- and high-latitude storms will shift toward the poles in both hemispheres. But the models reach a range of different conclusions about changes in storm intensity.
While researchers sort out the science and overcome the challenges involved in making predictions, it's certain that snowstorms will not be going away anytime soon. Earth has plenty of wiggle room before it warms so much that we will stop seeing snow anywhere in the winter.
References
Kunkel, K. E. et al., 2013: Monitoring and understanding trends in extreme storms: State of knowledge. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00262.1. URL
Vose, R. S. et al., 2013: Monitoring and understanding changes in extremes: Extratropical storms, winds, and waves. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, in press, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00162.1. URL
Walsh, J., D. Wuebbles, K. Hayhoe, J. Kossin, K. Kunkel, G. Stephens, P. Thorne, R. Vose, M. Wehner, J. Willis, D. Anderson, S. Doney, R. Feely, P. Hennon, V. Kharin, T. Knutson, F. Landerer, T. Lenton, J. Kennedy, and R. Somerville, 2014: Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 19-67. doi:10.7930/J0KW5CXT. URL
Related Links
Climate Change and Extreme Snow in the U.S.
CllimateKey Message 9: Changes in Storms. From the digital version of the Our Changing Climate Chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment.
Know the dangers of nor'easters. NOAA.gov.
Prof Guus Berkhout: Stop The Doom-And-Gloom Mongering - The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 12:54
Professor Guus Berkhout is setting up a new international climate institute in the Netherlands.
Jan van Friesland interview with Guus BerkhoutProfessor Guus Berkhout is considered an energetic optimist. After an impressive scientific career in geophysics, science does not let him go. And certainly not when it comes to the Earth's climate. According to him, climate research is much more than just making computer models. He emphasizes utilization of the Earth's climate history being hidden in the geological and archaeological archives as well as the absolute necessity to differentiate between climate change and environmental degradation.
Q: What do you show there?
Well look, this is an email from a grandchild that was sent to me by his grandfather. Just a child in high school. This shows how negative teachers think about CO2. It also reveals the strength of the indoctrination of the climate movement in education. I do get more of these alarming messages. With that misleading knowledge, children start protesting on the streets '... '
Children are abused to spread the CO2 apocalypse
Q: Two camps seem to be emerging, with both parties presenting each other with a doom scenario: if the climate plans are not implemented, things will go wrong! And if the climate plans are implemented, things will also go wrong. Where does this division come from?
If you are prepared to listen carefully, you will notice that the two camps are broadly in agreement: yes, the Earth is warming up! And yes, CO2 is a warming factor! And yes, we need to prepare for a new energy system. '
Q: So, everything is fine you would think?
Well, at first there was a constructive conversation indeed. But the problems arose when the climate movement started to exaggerate. Terrifying doom stories were spread and human CO2 was the only culprit. That also happened in a very aggressive way. Think of the apocalyptic films of Al Gore. One disaster after another would hit us. The general public was shocked by all these terrifying stories. '
As a counter-reaction, the climate movement insulted dissenters as 'deniers', a very bad framing that refers to the holocaust deniers. '
Q: Hasn't there been criticism of this fallacy right from the start?
Yes, a number of renowned scientists, including Nobel Prize winners, quickly put the brakes on by reassuring society with a clear disapproval. Their message was that the terrestrial climate system is incredibly complicated and that we do not yet have the knowledge to draw such extreme conclusions with such certainty. It's really not five to twelve! Those scientists were fiercely blamed for that dissent. '
Counter arguments are not tolerated Q: People didn't hear a positive story anymore?
Indeed, the doomsday scenario became a kind of religion. When the scientific criticism from outside the climate movement became broader and more extensive, and cost calculations also showed that implementing the extremely expensive climate measures could seriously disrupt society economically, things really went wrong. As a counter-reaction, the climate movement called dissenters 'deniers', a very bad framing that refers to the holocaust deniers. '
Q: But true scientists will not be stopped, will they?
Unfortunately, it did at first. Their critical articles were no longer welcome and, even worse, their research was excluded from funding. For these dissidents a cordon sanitaire was laid by official bodies and mainstream media. The only sound that the general public has heard in recent decades was: 'human CO2 heats up the Earth! '.
Q: You hear it all around, do you?
Sure, that message was and is being rammed into the audience. The discussion is no longer about climate change, but about CO2 reduction. A sad narrowing down of a very complex issue. Fortunately, we now see a tipping point on the horizon. Because science can measure better and better, we find out that the predictions of climate models do not match measurements. That is scientifically unacceptable. And we also see that the costs are definitely going to pass bearing. Everything suggests that costs will exceed many hundreds of billions in The Netherlands alone. And hardworking citizens are now rightly asking themselves: 'But what are the benefits of this billion-dollar circus?
Q: Why does one CO2 camp find more support in left-wing politics and another more support in right-wing politics?
Left-wing politics has always been committed to a better environment. But in recent years, the environmental movement has been step by step exploited by the climate movement. In this way, climate and environment were presented as one and the same theme and climate change also became a favourite with the Left. The mixing of both movements now causes a lot of confusion. Many people who say they are very concerned about climate change actually mean that they are very concerned about the natural environment, such as air pollution. '
I regularly give lectures on climate and environment and before the beginning there are always people coming to me with vicious remarks such as: ''So, you are the one who wants to screw-up our Earth''.
The cutting down of forests and the subsequent production, transport and incineration of wood pellets are issues that go against everything the environmental movement stands for.
Q: You could also say: there is a common front?
Indeed, they thought they were making a smart strategic move with it. But the combination of the two movements has been a very unfortunate development for everyone. After all, in the case of climate change it is still very uncertain exactly what and how much the influence of mankind is, but in the case of the environment, the influence is absolutely clear. Human activity is becoming increasingly dominant and is polluting the natural environment, depleting natural resources and threatening biodiversity. These three are the classic concerns of the environmental movement and are more topical than ever in this day and age! But unfortunately, these noble concerns have now been completely overshadowed by the monomaniacal CO2 measures. The environmental movement is now beginning to realise that they made a cardinal mistake.
Burning bio-mass is even worse than burning coal
The first clear controversy now plays and is about the role of biomass. The cutting-down of forests and the subsequent production, transport and incineration of wood pellets are issues that go against everything the environmental movement stands for. There are even business models on the drawing board that want to cut down forests for pellets and then place solar panels on the vacant bare ground. This way a double business model is created.'...'...'... . How have environmental organisations been able to get this far from their mission? '
Q: Where do you stand in all this?
I am a geophysicist and in my research I make the history of the Earth's climate visible, which is called 'geo-imaging'. After all, to understand the present you need to know the past. The geological archive contains rich climate information and tells us the primeval story of climate change: it is of all times. The archive shows very nicely that hot and cold periods have alternated regularly. This happened in fits and starts, two steps forward and then one step backward. For an illustration, we really do not have to go back to the great ice ages.
In the Middle Ages, around 800, we had the Middle-age Warm Period. Then there was plenty of agriculture in Greenland! And in the Dutch golden age, around 1600, we were in the middle of the Little Ice Age. The Dutch great painters show beautiful scenes from that cold period. From the end of that small ice age, around 1850, we are in a warming up period, of course again with fits and starts. Nothing special, I say. These are the natural movements in the climate system. Soon it will go down again. '
Q: We are getting harsh winters again?
It's not about whether, but about when. As a geophysicist, I warn that it is highly unlikely that the natural movements would have stopped abruptly after 1850. And that since then only mankind would be responsible for this warming. However, this extreme message is exactly what the IPCC has made clear with great emphasis in its latest report SR 1.5. According to the report, nature's contribution is marginal and will remain marginal in the future. The IPCC derives all these certainties purely from its theoretical model! '
There are still many essential questions that need to be answered. For example, why is the amount of ice at the South Pole increasing?'
Q: Is a misleading image created?
Yes, because reality tells IPCC people to be less arrogant. You can't stop climate change by simply turning a CO2 button. Until today nobody knows exactly what the complex interactions are between the radiation of the sun, the dynamic cloud cover, the inhomogeneous Earth surface, the energy-rich gulf stream and the water-vapour rich atmosphere. Note that IPCC is referring to the greatest details in the atmosphere, but they should not forget that the heat capacity of oceans is a factor 1000 higher than that of the atmosphere! The amount of heat that the gulf stream in the oceans drag from the equator to the poles is gigantic compared to the modest amount of heat in the atmosphere. With this in mind, can we ask the question whether the ice cap at the North Pole melts now due to the higher temperature in the atmosphere or due to the influence of the warm Gulf Stream? And why is the amount of ice at the South Pole increasing? There are still many essential questions that need to be answered. The great certainties that the IPCC wants us to believe, with a certainty of even > 95%, cannot be maintained. Bertrand Russell once said: 'The fools are self-confident and the wise are filled with doubt. ' 'I like to say it in my own way: 'Through criticism of the content, science is where it is now and I am the scientist I have become.'
In the last 20 years the CO2 increase has thundered on, but the observed temperature does not show any increase anymore. That is an important indication that there must be much more going on than CO2 warming.
Q: Which group do you belong to?
(Laughing) In short, my message is as follows (Berkhout counts).
One: Since the small ice age, the LIA, the Earth has been warming up again with fits and starts, nothing new in the Earth's climate history. In the past 150 years, we can distinguish six different climate periods.
Secondly: The general public is rightly asking the climate movement for hard evidence that after the small ice age Mother Nature suddenly has no effect whatsoever on the Earth's climate. They also ask the climate movement what according their wisdom the correct temperature of the Earth should be?
And, very important, number three: CO2 certainly has a warming effect, but how much exactly is still very uncertain. This is also evident from the enormous margin in the warming factor that the IPCC itself maintains: 1.5-4.5 degrees. That's 300%!
Four: In the past century the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has steadily increased, but in none of the natural disasters do we see that an increase has taken place. On the contrary, we are even at a time period we often observe a downward trend.
Five: Within the last 20 years the CO2 increase has thundered on, but the observed temperature does not show any increase anymore. This is an important indication that much more is happening than CO2 warming.
And then last but not least, six: The Dutch climate plans cost many hundreds of billions. We will soon come up with the real figures, but the benefits of all these Dutch plans for the planet are nil, about 0.0003 degrees, and for the Dutch citizen they are very negative. The latter also applies to the business climate in our country. So why are we going to carry out these plans anyway? And don't forget that CO2 is also an indispensable building block for all life on Earth. My advice to administrators is therefore: You should not put billions into CO2 reduction, but billions into a much better protection of the natural environment: 'good stewardship'. I hope to come back to that later in this interview. '
Q: But if we reduce CO2, don't we also reduce air pollution?
That is certainly true, but if we want to combat a rat infestation, we will not start catching mice, will we? Reducing CO2 is an extremely difficult and expensive task, while the benefits are very uncertain. Air pollution '' think of soot particles, fine dust, SOx and NOx compounds, etc. '' is not only much more targeted to combat, it also guarantees high benefits for man and nature.'
Q: Doesn't science start with measurements?
The difference between science and religion is that scientific statements must always be verifiable with observations. Theoretical models should therefore always be validated by critically comparing model results with real measurements. If that has not happened, you may not apply theoretical models. The more complex the issue, the more important it is to make measurements. Information in the measurements shows the way how further develop these models. The history of science shows time and again that major theoretical breakthroughs were inspired by breakthroughs in measuring instrumentation.
The climate system is so complex that it is pre-eminently in climate science that measurements must show the way. But so far, theoretical models have played far too big a role in climate research. The course has to change now. Large-scale funding should be provided for scientific projects to drastically accelerate the development of new measuring instruments and measurement facilities.
How is it possible that IPCC never felt the need to invest in experimental facilities to thoroughly validate the warming theory of CO2 with measurements? '
By constantly telling that 97% of scientists confirm the story of the climate movement, the general public thinks it is the truth. The opposite is true.
Q: These poorly validated computer models describe a dreamworld. Yet, these climate models have an enormous impact, is't that right?
The power of the climate movement is the simple message: 'Human CO2 is the cause of warming; warming is causing a catastrophe; if we turn the CO2 button everything will be fine again'. I said it before, that message is being hammered into the public. Not knowledge but fear is used as an emotional driver.
What they have also smartly done is to regularly use climate change as a scapegoat. For example, the cause of much misery in Africa is attributed to climate change, even though the problems are of an ethnic, religious and political nature. But unfortunately that is not all. By constantly telling that 97% of scientists confirm the story of the climate movement, the general public thinks it is the truth. However, the opposite is true.
This consensus strategy is not new. For example, in the start to the financial crisis in 2007, everyone told everyone that the economy could grow indefinitely if everyone was making debts. If you didn't agree with that message, you would be called a fool. Of course, nobody wanted to be judged as such. Even if you didn't understand anything about the theory of 'growth by making debts'. They just parroted each other. Even the solid Dutch Rabobank, at that time the only bank in the world with a triple A rating, bought debt securities. At the time, the consensus was almost complete: if you want to grow, you have to get into debt! But we know how it ended.
Now we are in the same situation with the earth's climate. When I ask critical questions, it turns out that very few people know anything about the climate system. Everyone parrots everyone. Conclusion is that history shows time and again: 'Beware of people who use consensus as a truth argument'. The same also applies to activists who put small children forward.
Q: How do we move forward? The Netherlands would like to be an example country, wouldn't it?
First of all, be positive! Stop doom thinking and give way to the many opportunities that climate change also offers the world. And during realization, considering this extremely complex issue, you don't focus on just one solution. With all the great uncertainties until today, we just cannot afford this. National governments never must take the risk of following the CO2 scenario only, especially since it involves such extremely high costs. So stop all these urgent CO2 reduction measures! My advice is that countries base their climate policy on three scenarios:
Scenario 1: Climate adaptation
If Mother Nature alone is responsible for climate change, mankind has only one thing to do: adapt to change. Life on Earth has always been confronted with changes in the natural system. Darwin's theory of evolution shows that inventive adaptation is the best answer and has also led to ever-higher forms of life. This applies not only to plants and animals, but also to humans. Wanting to stop natural change is not only arrogant and naive, it is also negatively charged and it sets the clock back. Adaptation challenges give positive energy and stimulate innovation.
The Netherlands is champion in adaptation. Through the centuries we have fought against the water. And the Netherlands is also a global leader in adapting crops to new natural conditions. '
Wanting to be the best boy in the class by closing the relatively clean power plants in The Netherlands is downright stupidity. If politics does not stop this policy, it is the citizens' turn to take action! '
Scenario 2: CO2 reduction
If only human CO2 were responsible for terrestrial climate change, then humans would have to implement sensible CO2 reduction measures. The top priority in this scenario is to ban wood burning and close the most polluting coal-fired power plants in the world. Coal-fired power plants are still being built all over the world, particularly in developing countries. Starting to close the relatively clean power stations in The Netherlands is downright stupidity. It costs the Dutch citizen an extremely large amount of money and it is of no benefit to the climate.
Scenario 3: decomposition
If we are dealing with a complex mixture of natural forces and human influences, then we must first determine which part is caused by Mother Nature and which part is caused by humanity (decomposition). However, today we do not yet have this knowledge at all. So, in this scenario we must acquire this knowledge with high priority. If it turns out that both causes have a comparable influence, it should lead to a mixed adaptation-reduction policy.
Looking at everything we know today, the Netherlands should not become a leading country in CO2 reduction. That has no measurable influence (0.0003 degrees). Instead, it should invest in both climate adaptation and good stewardship. '
Political and commercial interests are becoming an increasingly important part of scientific research. Today, many scientists have lost their independent position in society.
Q: And what role do you expect science to play in this?
The greatest value of a scientist is his or her independent position in society. During my 40-year career as a professor I have seen that young scientists became more and more financially dependent on government and industry. Political and commercial interests have become an increasingly important part of their research. Many scientists have thus lost their independence. For this reason, I could not acquire young professors in my critical climate team. Only pensioners were and are still available. Only they can afford to think different from the main stream. That is extremely worrying. Are there still independent scientists to be found today? '
Q: it seems nobody cares about?
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is the guardian of integer scientific practices in our country. Particularly this organization should know that history of science tells us time and again that scientific progress never came about through consensus, but through stubborn scientists who dared to question existing concepts. It is in the interests of both science and humanity that these very dissidential thinkers are not silenced, as is currently being done by the IPCC, public media and commercial lobby clubs.
Academies of Sciences, we want to know what the real truth is, don't we? Moreoever, if politics misuses scientific results '' with major consequences for society '' then science should sound the alarm bell, should it not?
Doubt is the basis of all scientific progress. Scientists who have no doubt and are convinced that they are right, do not ask questions but look for a row. That is why we do not make any progress in the climate debate. '
Q: Despite everything, are you still optimistic for the future?
Yes, but then we have to start all over again. Far away from the political UN with its nonsensical, polluting and costly climate conferences. These conferences are nothing more than a travelling CO2 circus with bureaucratic climate clowns talking about everything except the climate system. They forget in their ignorance that politicians are also bound by the universal laws of nature. And UN's IPCC has completely screwed it up. It has degenerated into a political clique, full of manipulation and certainly not looking for the truth. That can never be put right again. The role of the IPCC can be seen as a dark period in the history of climate science. Stop it now! '
In connection with this, you probably may know the beautiful musical Jesus Christ Superstar, in which after the death of Jesus his followers sadly wonder: 'Could we start again, please?' A touching moment in the musical. That is also how I see it in climate research. We need to start all over again, with a whole new approach in a whole new organisation. In this new organisation, we will be organising climate research in a much broader way. No more exclusive shows of mathematical model makers. They are far too one-sided for solving the comprehensive climate problem. The IPCC has therefore made little progress in recent decades. Hardly any new insights have been added. To put that behind us, we need scientists from many more fields of science. '
We just founded the Climate Intelligence FoundationQ: What are your ideas about involving scientific areas?
Think especially of astronomers who have knowledge about the influences of the universe on planet Earth, especially the solar activity, the cosmic radiation and the gravitational forces. Think also of geologists who, together with geophysicists, map the properties of the deeper earth layers and who can reconstruct the climate history of the Earth from them. And also think of archaeologists who can derive climate information about the past thousands of years from the remains of human activities in the shallow surface layers. And certainly also think of oceanographers who can translate the physical and biological properties of oceans into heat flows. Bringing together solutions from many fields of science with totally different data sources together may provide an accurate picture of the Earth's climate. We call that 'consilience'. That is what I call true climate research.
Q: Will you contribute to this yourself?
(Cheerful) ''Yes, I have interesting news about that. We just founded the Climate Intelligence Foundation! Based on our current activities, the first major financier has come forward and we expect this to be the beginning of a new era. We are working on an ambitious plan that may bring about a turnaround in the polarising debate between activists and dissidents. After all, as I mentioned earlier, dissidents can hardly tell their story so far and are excluded from financing. That is now coming to an end.
Q: That sounds very interesting. Can you reveal anything more?
Climate Intelligence is a completely independent, non-profit organisation. It will extensively inform the general public about what is really going on in the Earth's climate. In its activities, it identifies the spread of one-sided information, warns against over-optimistic cost calculations, spotlights important new insights, stimulates the development of measuring instruments and, together with young researchers, also applies intelligent algorithms to climate data. Analysis of large data files combined with artificial intelligence ('big data science') is an indispensable tool in understanding complex systems. How is it possible that the IPCC still comes up with grotesque statements based on poorly validated computer models?
Even more exciting, there are plans to marginalize IPCC's scientifical influence by establishing with renowned critical scientists the Global Institute for Climate Intelligence, which will operate independently, with an open mind, with broad interdisciplinary teams and with emphasis on a large diversity of multidisciplinary measurements. Wouldn't that be wonderful? '
Full interview (in Dutch) see also: Guus Berkhout: Climate Thinking. Broadening The Horizons
Extreme cold gripping Midwest does not debunk global warming, experts say
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:25
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Jan. 30, 2019, 9:34 AM GMT
By James Rainey
The massive cold weather front descending over the Midwest this week has commentators straining for analogies (''Deep Freeze,'' ''Arctic Outbreak'' and ''Ice Age'') and at least some people wondering what has become of global warming.
President Donald Trump and radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh seemed bemused by the notion that the climate is warming at a time when most of America will be hunkering down against sub-freezing temperatures.
But climate authorities, including those inside Trump's government, said the record-setting cold does nothing to contradict the consensus on climate change. According to a tweet Tuesday morning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: ''Winter storms don't prove that global warming isn't happening.''
The discussion of climate and weather, and how much one influences the other, has become politically charged at a time when some political conservatives have rejected the scientific consensus about climate change: that greenhouse gases have warmed Earth's atmosphere and helped fuel heat waves, extreme storms, droughts and extreme wildfires.
This week's blast of cold air has been linked to a familiar phenomenon '-- the polar vortex.
That is the mass of cold air that typically blows counterclockwise over the Arctic. When the flow of the jet stream slows, it can be reconfigured and push the frigid air south, into the continental United States.
That's how Chicago can end up forecast for minus 22 degrees, as cold as the South Pole, with Milwaukee expected to get even colder, minus 28.
Scientists from inside and outside the U.S. government said Tuesday that it is important not to conflate individual weather events with longer term climate trends, without further evidence of connectivity. Craig Lassig / EPATrump made note of the extreme chill in a tweet Monday that concluded: ''What the hell is going on with Global Waming? (sic) Please come back fast, we need you!''
On his Tuesday morning radio program, Limbaugh picked up the thread. ''What Trump is basically saying is, 'How the hell can there be any global warming when we're gonna have record low temperatures and wind chills for two days in a row?' " opined the man who calls himself "El Rushbo." In an extended monologue, Limbaugh said the term ''climate change'' was created because ''warming has stopped'' and liberals want a catchall phrase to explain weather abnormalities.
One NOAA official denied that the agency's tweet about the cold snap was intended to refute Trump's declarations on the issue. "Our mission is to share timely and relevant contextual information with the public," said David Herring, who is program manager of the Climate.gov website for the science agency. "We get questions routinely when there are extreme weather events and whether there is a connection to climate science."
In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can't last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2019''A cold snap in the teeth of global warming is no more unusual than a cool day in summer. Both happen,'' said Ben Strauss, CEO and chief scientist at Climate Central, a science education non-profit. ''It's a bit like opening the freezer door '-- it cools you off if you stand there, but it tells you nothing about whether someone is turning up the room thermostat.''
Accounts about the polar vortex and other weather events focus on the here and now. But climate scientists study patterns over decades, centuries, even millenia. And scientists said the data clearly show long-term temperature increases on Earth.
''We ARE seeing an increase in record heat, and we are NOT seeing an increase in record cold,'' Michael E. Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Penn State said via email. ''The trend is in exactly the direction we would expect as a result of a warming planet. Over the past decade in the U.S., we have broken high temperature records TWICE as often as cold temperature records.''
In a stable climate, the ratio of new record highs to new record lows is approximately even, scientists said. But in the past year in the U.S., the clear warming trend has remained in evidence, with record high temperatures recorded nearly twice as often as record lows. Several days of low temperatures this week will not be nearly enough to reverse that trend.
Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, agreed that anomalous cases should not distract from what has become the norm. ''The basics '-- it's getting warmer on average, there are more anomalous highs than anomalous lows and there is more intense rainfall '-- covers 90 percent of the cases,'' Schmidt said.
Agreeing that a Midwestern cold snap does not debunk climate change, some scientists are trying to determine whether overall climatic shifts could actually help bring on more extreme cold.
The theory goes this way: Temperatures in the Arctic have warmed more dramatically than anywhere else on Earth. Those higher temperatures have made temperatures in the Arctic closer to the temperature in the lower latitudes. The lowering of the temperature disparity weakens the atmospheric barrier that kept the jet stream flowing in a relatively straight path around the globe. The troughs in this "wavier" jet stream dip into the Northern Hemisphere, bringing more cold weather. And the systems tend to linger, because the jet stream has slowed.
''There is a scientific discussion going on as to whether climate change is actually making it more likely for the jet stream to sometimes shoot Arctic air at us,'' said Climate Central's Strauss.
Trump has given no indication he is aware that scientists within his government are routinely affirming the general warming trend and the resulting challenges presented to humanity.
Jerry Taylor is president of the Neskanen Center, a libertarian-leaning Washington think tank that supports action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said Trump's put downs of climate science solidify his ties to a right-wing base, in which ''climate denialism is now a fundamental matter of identity.''
James Rainey is a reporter for NBC News, based in Los Angeles.
Is Earth's Magnetic Field Flipping Soon?
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 19:03
Earth's north magnetic pole is so out of whack that scientists need to update the global magnetic-field model they released only four years ago. Could that be a sign that the magnetic pole will flip soon?
The World Magnetic Model (WMM) '-- the name of the updated representation of the magnetic field of Earth '-- is expected to be released no earlier than Jan. 30. That's about two weeks later than planned, with the delay due to the government shutdown, according to a report in Nature.
The magnetic pole is moving erratically out of the Canadian Arctic and toward Siberia so unpredictably that it took scientists by surprise. That 2015 update was supposed to remain valid until 2020, Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, told Nature. [Earth's Colorful Atmospheric Layers Photographed from Space]
It's no news that the pole is moving; long-term records from London and Paris (kept since 1580) show that the north magnetic pole moves erratically around the rotational north pole over periods of a few hundred years or longer, Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist with the British Geological Survey who is involved in WMM updates, told Space.com in an email. He cited a 1981 study from the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.
But what's really catching attention is the acceleration in movement. Around the mid-1990s, the pole suddenly sped up its movements from just over 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year to 34 miles (55 kilometers) annually. As of last year, the pole careened over the international date line toward the Eastern Hemisphere.
The chief cause of the movement comes from the Earth's liquid-iron outer core, which is also called the "core field." Smaller factors also affect the movement. Those influences include magnetic minerals in the crust and upper mantle (especially for local magnetic fields) and electric currents created by seawater moving through an "ambient magnetic field," according to the 2015 report of the WMM.
"One of the reasons we can update the map is that the European Space Agency launched a set of highly accurate magnetic-field satellites in 2013," said Beggan, referring to Swarm.
"We have a superb data set from which we can make very good magnetic-field maps and update them every six to 12 months," Beggan added. "We noticed that the specification of the WMM was not being met in the high-latitude region around the pole, as the error exceeded 1 degree of grid angle on average. This triggered us to examine whether it was worth issuing a new update."
Flipping outWhat's more, the core field appears to be weakening '-- which may be a sign that the planet's magnetic field will flip. To better understand how that would happen, here's how the core field works, according to Ronald Merrill, an emeritus professor of Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington, who spoke to Space.com's sister site Live Science.
One easy way to imagine the field is to think of a bar magnet that runs through Earth's center and has a north pole and a south pole, said Merrill, who was not involved in the new WMM research. That magnet is strong, representing roughly 75 percent of the intensity of Earth's magnetic field at the surface.
Of course, a bar magnet is not a perfect representation '-- it's actually electric currents that generate the Earth's magnetic field '-- but the model makes it easier to imagine what's happening to Earth, Merrill added. Specifically, the "bar magnet" is not only moving, but also getting weaker, by roughly 7 percent every 100 years.
As for the other 25 percent of the magnetic field, Merrill said that's generated from another field, which you can picture as another moving bar magnet. Here's an interesting bit: As the central bar magnet loses intensity, this second, weaker magnetic field generates more influence on Earth's global magnetism. "And that's what's causing this field to move in the direction [of Siberia]," Merrill told Live Science.
Earth's north and south poles periodically swap locations, with the last flip happening about 780,000 years ago. (The poles also weakened temporarily and rapidly about 41,000 years ago, Beggan added, but never underwent a full flip.)) A 2018 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that Earth's magnetic field got weaker before the big changeover.
While any magnetic-field flip would still be thousands of years away, the effects could be profound on technology, if similar to today's technology. This is because the weaker magnetic field would be somewhat poorer at shielding Earth against the solar wind (the constant stream of charged particles emanating from the sun) and cosmic rays (blasts of radiation from deep space). Magnetic compasses would not be as accurate, and satellites that monitor the weather or carry telecommunications signals could be disrupted, said Monika Korte, head of GFZ Potsdam's working group on geomagnetic field evolution in Germany.
"Regarding increased radiation, that would go along with decreased shielding, [but] it seems that the atmosphere would still provide sufficient shielding at Earth's surface that humans and animals would not be significantly affected," she told Space.com in an email.
"However, all the effects we currently only see during strong solar/geomagnetic storms would likely increase and occur ... during moderate solar activity," she added. "This includes satellite outages or damage to satellites, increased radiation doses on long-distance aircraft and the ISS [International Space Station], [and] distortions of telecommunication and GPS signals."
Ongoing monitoring of the Earth's geomagnetic field (which includes the pole) will continue after the WMM release, principally through the European Space Agency Swarm mission, Korte said. But she noted that measuring the north magnetic pole's position is a challenge. That's because the pole is located in a remote area and the measurement of Earth's magnetic field is influenced by all magnetic-field sources '-- including the magnetic fields found in Earth's atmosphere (the ionosphere and magnetosphere).
"It will depend on the future magnetic field change, which we cannot predict, if another update to the model out of the usual schedule might be required," she added.
The next update to the WMM after this year's is expected early in 2020, Beggan said. You can read more about the WMM here.
Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.
Bankrupt California Utility Is Shedding Over $40 Billion Worth Of Green Energy Contracts - Conservative Daily News
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 23:05
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Bankrupt California Utility Is Shedding Over $40 Billion Worth Of Green Energy Contracts
Posted by: Michael Bastasch in Featured News, Money & The Economy, US News January 30, 2019
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may shed more than $40 billion worth of power purchase agreements after the California utility was driven into bankruptcy by liabilities for sparking deadly wildfires, The Wall Street Journal reports.
PG&E wants the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco to rule whether the company must honor $42 billion worth of contracts with about 350 different energy suppliers, mostly solar and wind plants.
The court's decision could have a major impact on California's renewable energy industry and power makeup. Many green energy suppliers only do business with PG&E, California's largest utility. Shedding those contracts would likely drive those companies under and cripple California's ability to meet energy goals set by the state government.
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''A lot of companies are in that position, where PG&E is responsible for 100% of their revenues,'' Credit Benchmark lead researcher David Carruthers told WSJ.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that mandated the state run on 100 percent green energy by 2045. It also bumped a previous target of 50 percent by 2030 to 60 percent.
The goals set by government officials were optimistic before PG&E filed for bankruptcy Tuesday. California's grid operator has paid surrounding states on several occasions to take excess power off California's grid caused by overproducing solar and wind farms.
PG&E filed bankruptcy as the ''only viable option'' to escape potentially $30 billion worth of liabilities for sparking major wildfires in 2017 and 2018. State investigators found the utility sparked a dozen major fires in 2017 through poorly maintained powerlines and equipment.
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Wildfires in 2018 are still under investigation, including the Camp Fire that killed 86 people and all but destroyed the town of Paradise. The fire is the deadliest in state history.
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Loud Booms Reported in the Chicago Area: Possible 'Frost Earthquakes'
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:07
Chicago residents on Jan. 30 reported hearing loud boom-like noises, but there were no earthquakes reported.
WGN-TV reported that the booms might ''have been cryoseisms, or frost quakes'' amid subzero temperatures.
According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, ''A cryoseism, or frost quake, is a natural phenomenon that produces ground shaking and noises similar to an earthquake, but is caused by sudden deep freezing of the ground.''
Area you hearing loud bangs? Some of those could be Cryoseisms! AKA Frost Quakes! @WGNMorningNews @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/I3cRIS4hdC
'-- Morgan Kolkmeyer (@MorganKolkmeyer) January 30, 2019
It adds: ''They typically occur in the first cold snap of the year when temperatures drop from above freezing to below zero, particularly if there is no snow cover to insulate the ground. The primary way that they are recognized is that, in contrast to an earthquake, the effects of a cryoseism are very localized.''
A number of viewers of WGN, based in Chicago, said they could hear them.
''I thought I was crazy! I was up all night because I kept hearing it,'' viewer Chastity Clark Baker wrote on Facebook. ''I was scared and thought it was the furnace. I kept walking through the house. I had everyone's jackets on the table in case we had to run out of here.''
Added another: ''Yes! I heard one last night. Checked my whole house with a huge knife in my hand!''
Wrote another: ''Thank you for reporting this because I was freaking out all night.''
Frost Quakes
Did you hear loud booms or banging sounds overnight? You might've been hearing Frost Quakes: http://via.wgntv.com/DAbuf
ç--± WGN TV 发布于 2019å¹´1æ'30日周三
The government website says that the vibrations of a cryoseism don't travel very far.
They don't ''release much energy compared with a true earthquake caused by dislocation of rock within the earth,'' the agency says.
According to the agency, ''On the other hand, since cryoseisms occur at the ground surface they can cause significant effects right at the site, enough to jar people awake. Cryoseisms typically occur between midnight and dawn, during the coldest part of the night. If conditions are right, they may occur in a series of booms and shakes over a few hours or even on successive nights.''
Did you hear loud booms or banging sounds overnight in Chicagoland? Those sounds might have been cryoseisms '-- or frost quakes.
ç--± WGN TV 发布于 2019å¹´1æ'30日周三
Polar VortexTemperatures in Chicago got to minus 20 at night, according to forecasters.
One of the coldest arctic air mass intrusions in recent memory is surging south into the Upper Midwest before spreading across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country,'' said the National Weather Service.
Wind chill warnings were in effect for much of the Midwest.
''Through late week, expect frigid temperatures, bitterly cold and life-threatening wind chills, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley,'' the NWS stated on its website.
The sun rises behind icicles formed on the harbor in Port Washington, Wis., on Jan. 30, 2019. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures. (Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo)''The heart of this cold'... is hitting us now. A lot of records are going to fall,'' said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the NWS's Weather Prediction Center in Maryland, Reuters reported.
With officials in Illinois and the Northern states advising residents to stay indoors, dashcam footage from one trucker taken outside Grand Rapids, Michigan gave a snapshot of hair-raising driving conditions.
''I about just got caught in a giant wreck; cars are into other pickups, there's people hurt. I gotta let you go.'' Jason Coffelt is heard saying in an Instagram posting dated Tuesday, as his truck is forced off the highway and pulls up just before a multi-vehicle accident. In neighboring Illinois, Chicago was bracing for one of its coldest days on record.
Chicago's lakefront is covered with ice on Jan. 30, 2019. (Teresa Crawford/AP Photo)Reuters contributed to this report
Vegas Massacre
FBI: Las Vegas gunman sought infamy, influenced by father's memory | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 04:01
A panel of experts with access to troves of evidence failed to determine why a gunman carried out the Route 91 Harvest festival attack, the FBI announced Tuesday.
The revelation smothered what many survivors saw as the last chance to better understand why the worst mass shooting in modern American history unfolded at a country music festival on the Strip.
In a three-page summary report, the agency also reiterated that gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, acted alone.
''Throughout his life, Paddock went to great lengths to keep his thoughts private, and that extended to his final thinking about this mass murder,'' the report stated. ''Active shooters rarely have a singular motive or reason for engaging in a mass homicide.''
The newly released report marks the first time the FBI has released any documentation from its investigation of the 10-minute attack, which left 58 concertgoers dead and more than 800 injured.
In a list of 10 key findings, it paints a picture of a largely apathetic man, declining in physical and mental health as he aged, who may have seen the attack as a way to attain infamy.
It is unclear whether the FBI will release a more comprehensive report on the investigation. In the weeks after the Las Vegas attack, the FBI released more than 1,500 pages of documents related to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre investigation.
''Fifteen months later and we get a three-page report with little to nothing in it that we didn't already know?'' Stacie Armentrout, co-founder of a local Route 91 survivors group, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday.
Las Vegas police released a separate, 187-page investigative report in August with similar findings. Armentrout had hoped the FBI report would provide answers that the police report could not, specifically for the question of motive.
''Each individual person now has to figure out how to come to grips with that,'' she said. ''Now we have to figure out how to move forward without that.''
No suicide note
The Oct. 1, 2017, attack ended when Paddock, who was positioned inside a Mandalay Bay hotel suite across from the festival, shot himself with a revolver.
Police have said he fired more than 1,000 rounds that night, using about a dozen different rifles equipped with bump stocks, which replicate automatic fire.
Investigators found no suicide note, video, manifesto or other form of explanation regarding the attack. The agency also found no evidence that Paddock was motivated by any ideological or political beliefs.
Instead, they determined that Paddock wanted to die by his own hands, possibly seeing suicide as an act of control in a life that seemed to keep spiraling into decline as he grew older: His financial status fell, his level of functioning slowly diminished, and he grew increasingly distressed at his inability to remedy those issues, the report said.
''It would be nice to have answers,'' said Las Vegas resident Mynda Smith, who lost her 46-year-old sister, Neysa Tonks, in the attack.
Smith and her family don't blame the FBI for not being able to reach any real conclusions, she said. That's just something else the gunman took when he did what he did.
Mostly, she's glad Paddock is dead so he can't inflict any more evil on the world.
''We'd much rather he be gone and be answerless,'' she said, ''than for him to be here and to have all the answers.''
Desire for 'infamy'
The experts concluded that Paddock's desire to die by suicide ''was compounded by his desire to attain a certain degree of infamy'' through a mass casualty attack.
In that aspect, the report noted, he may have been influenced by his father, a convicted bank robber who escaped federal prison in 1968 and landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was arrested nearly a decade later, largely absent from Paddock's life, and died in 1998.
''Paddock's father created a facade to mask his true criminal identity and hide his diagnosed psychopathic history, and in so doing ultimately achieved significant criminal notoriety,'' according to the report.
Paddock also had no known grievance with Mandalay Bay, Route 91 or anyone he killed.
Rather, investigators believe he picked the resort because it was tactically ''advantageous'' and that he decided to initiate the attack during the festival because he knew the crowd below would be densely packed with ''unsuspecting and vulnerable people.''
Throughout his life, Paddock was known to exhibit minimal empathy, primarily viewing others ''through a transactional lens of costs and benefits,'' the report noted.
''Paddock's decision to murder people while they were being entertained was consistent with his personality,'' the report stated. ''He had a history of exploiting others through manipulation and duplicity, sometimes resulting in a cruel deprivation of their expectations without warning.''
On the night of the attack, police found 50 pounds of the explosive compound Tannerite in Paddock's car, parked in the hotel's valet lot. He also sealed the stairwell door just outside his suite with an ''L'' bracket, which responding officers were able to bust by hand before breaching his room.
But experts believe Paddock never intended to escape, pointing to the many cameras he set up to ensure he could kill himself at a time of his choosing.
If anything, experts believe he may have started the attack early, spotting on those cameras an unsuspecting Jesus Campos '-- the Mandalay Bay security guard who was checking on a different matter in the 32nd-floor hallway minutes before Paddock began firing on the festival crowd below.
After at least one volley of gunfire, Paddock fired into the hallway, injuring Campos in the left calf.
Behavioral Analysis Unit
The report was compiled over the course of a year by a panel of experts convened by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. The experts came from such fields as threat assessment, cyber behavioral analysis, child sexual exploitation, psychology, psychiatry and law.
Findings from the panel were ready as early as November 2018, and according to the agency, they were initially shared with Las Vegas police. It is unclear why the report was not released to the public until Tuesday.
Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the FBI's Las Vegas office, told the Review-Journal in December 2017 that Paddock's motive was something ''everybody wants to know.''
But, he added, ''we may never know.''
The agency denied a request to speak with Rouse on Tuesday. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo also denied an interview request.
Shawna Bartlett, a Route 91 survivor who lives in Missouri, told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that she was not interested in knowing why the attack was carried out.
''I can't speak for others, but I can say that I think the general opinion is that nobody ever expected to get a motive,'' she said, ''and that even if we did, it wouldn't change anything.''
Knowing why might make her even more angry, she said.
''What instead needs to be glorified is the love, the positivity and the good things that have come from this,'' she said, her voice breaking. ''That in itself is a stronger story than why he did what he did.''
Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Rio Lacanlale and Henry Brean contributed to this report.
Roe v Wade
Democrats just legalized murdering their own children in New York, do you really think they won't murder Christians and Trump supporters next? '' DC Clothesline
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:37
(Natural News) Under a new law that just took effect in New York, a child may be aborted up to the due date or even during the birth itself. If that child survives the attempted abortion and is born alive, that child may be murdered on sight by an abortionist to ''complete'' the abortion.
When the law was passed, NY Democrats applauded and cheered in the state Senate chambers, and Cuomo ordered a prominent building lit up in pink light to signify the blood of children that Democrats are ecstatic to see spilled on a daily basis.
With this decision, New York has quite literally been taken over by Satanists and demons. They are called ''Demoncrats,'' and they now openly applaud the legalized murder of human babies.
The obvious question now becomes this: If these Demoncrats are thrilled about murdering their own children (i.e. future Demoncrats), do you think they will hesitate one bit to start murdering Christians, conservatives, Trump supporters or white people?
Make no mistake, the Demoncrat agenda is not simply the mass censorship of conservative, pro-Christian free speech, nor even the murder of President Trump. Their true agenda is a nationwide ethnic cleansing mass murder campaign against their political opponents, carried out in a way that will make the Holocaust look tiny in comparison.
Watch my video commentary here, which explains why these New York Demoncrats will ''burn in Hell'' for their heinous crimes against children (and why we must stop them now as a matter of self-defense against mass murder).
Brighteon.com/5995595332001
'm not the only one who has come to this realization, by the way. Columnist Kurt Schlichter has reached the same inescapable conclusion and now writes about it in a hard-hitting piece first published at TownHall.com.
Schlichter: The Left is gearing up to commit mass genocide across America, targeting white people for government executionsBelow, I reprint the most important paragraphs from Schlichter's article, which I consider a must-read piece for understanding and navigating our modern world:
The Dems are spooning with socialism, and the goal of socialism is written in blood on the pages of history. The unapproved must be liquidated, and they are making no secret that you are unapproved.
You better get your head in the game or you'll find your head in a guillotine '' definitely figuratively, maybe literally.
They hate you for not submitting, for being an obstacle to their rule.
Facts and evidence don't matter because the trial is already over and you've already been condemned because of who you are. You can't ever clear yourself with the left because they don't hate you for what you did or will do, but for who you are. That's where the babble about ''white privilege'' comes from '' if you're white and conservative you're wrong, and if you're not white and conservative, you're even'...wronger.
It's not about race or gender or orientation, but about power '' they want to take yours, to strip you of your sovereignty and make you kneel. Their SJW posturing is all a lie and a scam. They don't care about ending racism, sexism, homophobia, or any of the myriad other -isms and -phobias they blather about. Those poses are just weapons to be used to capture what they really want '' total power over you. They seek to shame you into submission, and if that won't work, then they'll do whatever it takes.
Do you think the Democrats of yesterday spent a lot of time weighing the evidence before lynching black men? Those Democrats murdered black men for two reasons '' because they wanted to send a message to other black men about the price of resistance, and because they enjoyed doing it.
When the Democrats of today were on Twitter mobbing those children from Kentucky for daring not to submit, couldn't you sense the hideous joy they felt screeching for the heads of those kids? Their souls are empty of morality and religion, and nature abhors a vacuum, so they filled that vacancy with pagan bloodlust.
Orwell wrote about the daily ''Two-Minute Hate,'' and how is this any different? These unloveable losers have nothing else in their lives, no connection with anything, so they find meaning by joining together with other misfit psychopaths so they can lose themselves in a frenzy of hatred where they get to play the role of righteous avengers.
Think of what they would do with real power'...
And understand that they might get it. The Democrat Party is not just listening to them. It's being transformed by them. Name the prominent Democrat politician who stood up and said, ''This Covington Kid crucifixion is wrong!''
Do you think that a leftist Supreme Court majority won't construe the First Amendment to exclude protection for ''hate speech,'' by which I mean any thoughts you might wish to express that they object to?
Do you think they won't turn the federal bureaucracy '' including law enforcement '' against their political enemies a thousand times harder than before, having been rewarded for the last decade of doing so?
Do you think they won't start tossing dissenters into prison? They do in England. You can go to jail for a tweet there '' and do you think the left thinks that's a bad thing, or a creative European innovation that needs to be imported?
How about the Second Amendment? Are you kidding? The idea that our citizenry maintains the ultimate veto over tyranny drives them bonkers.
Do you think they won't use violence to make you conform? Hell, Democrat presidential candidate Eric Swalwell is willing to nuke you for not giving up your guns. We know that because he said so.
It's time to stop pretending that people who hate our guts don't hate our guts, and that given the chance they won't act exactly like people who hate our guts would act.
The time to stop them is now, while we still can peacefully, before they quit tweeting about killing and start doing it beyond the occasional Bernie Bro at a ball field. We need to purge the weakhearts and Fredocons from positions of authority in our movement and be all-in for victory in 2020. In the meantime, we need to aggressively push our campaign to remake the courts. And it sure would not hurt to follow the Founders' advice to exercise our Second Amendment rights to reinforce the deterrent to tyranny that is an armed citizenry.
Read the full piece at TownHall.com.
Stay informed about the Democrat-led mass murder of children at Abortions.news.
A Note From The Publisher: On January 17th I received another 30 day suspension from Facebook for sharing this article . The truth is a violation of community standards. We will keep publishing the truth, but please understand that we just lost a lot of traffic and I need you to help spread the word if we are to keep growing. I can't share anything on Facebook, but YOU can. Please do what you can to help. God Bless You, Dean Garrison
Virgina Late Term Abortion bill full text
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 19:22
2019SESSIONINTRODUCED19103112D1 HOUSEBILLNO.24912 OfferedJanuary 9,20193 PrefiledJanuary9,20194 ABILL toamend andreenact §§16.1-77, 18.2-73,18.2-74,18.2-76,and32.1-127 ofthe Code of5 Virginia, relatingtoabortions; eliminatecertainrequirements.6 ±±±±±±±±±±Patrons±±Tran, Adams,D.M.,Ayala, Carroll Foy,Carter, Gooditis, Guzman,Hope,Jones, J.C.,Kory,Krizek, Levine, Lopez,McQuinn, Rasoul,Reid,Rodman, Simon,Turpin, TylerandVanValkenburg;Senators: BoyskoandMcClellan7 ±±±±±±±±±±8 ReferredtoCommittee forCourts ofJustice9 ±±±±±±±±±±10 Beitenacted bythe General Assembly ofVirginia:11 1.That §§16.1-77, 18.2-73,18.2-74,18.2-76,and32.1-127 ofthe Code ofVirginia areamended12 andreenacted asfollows:13 §16.1-77. Civiljurisdiction ofgeneral districtcourts.14 Exceptasprovided inArticle 5(§ 16.1-122.1 etseq.), eachgeneral districtcourtshallhave, within15 thelimits ofthe territory itserves, civiljurisdiction asfollows:16 (1)Exclusive originaljurisdiction ofany claim tospecific personal property ortoany debt, fineor17 other money, ortodamages forbreach ofcontract orfor injury donetoproperty, realorpersonal, orfor18 anyinjury tothe person thatwould berecoverable byaction atlaw orsuit inequity, whentheamount19 ofsuch claim doesnotexceed $4,500exclusive ofinterest andanyattorney fees,andconcurrent20 jurisdiction withthecircuit courtshaving jurisdiction insuch territory ofany such claim whenthe21 amount thereofexceeds $4,500butdoes notexceed $25,000, exclusive ofinterest andanyattorney fees.22 However, this$25,000 limitshallnotapply withrespect todistress warrants undertheprovisions of23 §55-230, casesinvolving liquidated damagesforviolations ofvehicle weightlimitspursuant to24 §46.2-1135, norcases involving forfeitureofabond pursuant to§19.2-143.25 (2)Jurisdiction totry and decide attachment caseswhen theamount ofthe plaintiff(C)s claimdoesnot26 exceed $25,000 exclusive ofinterest andanyattorney fees.27 (3)Jurisdiction ofactions ofunlawful entryordetainer asprovidedin Article 13(§8.01-124 etseq.)28 ofChapter 3of Title 8.01, andinChapter 13(§55-217 etseq.) ofTitle 55,and themaximum29 jurisdictional limitsprescribed insubdivision (1)shall notapply toany claim, counter-claim or30 cross-claim inan unlawful detaineractionthatincludes aclaim fordamages sustained orrent against31 anyperson obligated onthe lease orguarantee ofsuch lease.32 (4)Except whereotherwise specifically provided,alljurisdiction, powerandauthority overanycivil33 action orproceeding conferreduponany general districtcourtjudge ormagistrate underorby virtue of34 anyprovisions ofthe Code.35 (5)Jurisdiction totry and decide suitsininterpleader involvingpersonalorreal property wherethe36 amount ofmoney orvalue ofthe property isnot more thanthemaximum jurisdictional limitsofthe37 general districtcourt.However, themaximum jurisdictional limitsprescribed insubdivision (1)shall not38 apply toany claim, counter-claim, orcross-claim inan interpleader actionthatislimited tothe39 disposition ofan earnest moneydeposit pursuant toareal estate purchase contract.Theaction shallbe40 brought inaccordance withtheprocedures forinterpleader asset forthin § 8.01-364. However, the41 general districtcourtshallnothave anypower toissue injunctions. Actionsininterpleader maybe42 brought byeither thestakeholder orany ofthe claimants. Theinitial pleading shallbeeither bymotion43 forjudgment, bywarrant indebt, orby other uniform courtformestablished bythe Supreme Courtof44 Virginia. Theinitial pleading shallbriefly setforth thecircumstances ofthe claim andshall name as45 defendant allparties ininterest whoarenot parties plaintiff.46 (6)Jurisdiction totry and decide anycases pursuant to§ 2.2-3713 ofthe Virginia Freedom of47 Information Act(§2.2-3700 etseq.) or§ 2.2-3809 ofthe Government DataCollection and48 Dissemination PracticesAct(§2.2-3800 etseq.), forwrits ofmandamus orfor injunctions.49 (7)Concurrent jurisdiction withthecircuit courtshaving jurisdiction insuch territory toadjudicate50 habitual offenders pursuanttothe provisions ofArticle 9(§ 46.2-355.1 etseq.) ofChapter 3of Title51 46.2.52 (8)Jurisdiction totry and decide casesalleging acivil violation described in§18.2-76.53 (9)Jurisdiction totry and decide anycases pursuant to§55-79.80:2 ofthe Condominium Act54 (§55-79.39 etseq.) or§55-513 ofthe Property Owners(C)Association Act(§55-508 etseq.).55 (10)(9)Concurrent jurisdiction withthecircuit courtstosubmit matters toarbitration pursuantto56 Chapter 21(§8.01-577 etseq.) ofTitle 8.01where theamount incontroversy iswithin thejurisdictional INTRODUCEDHB2491 1/30/1913:43
HB24912of 757 limits ofthe general districtcourt.Anyparty thatdisagrees withanorder byageneral districtcourt58 granting anapplication tocompel arbitration mayappeal suchdecision tothe circuit courtpursuant to59 §8.01-581.016.60 §18.2-73. Whenabortion lawfulduring secondtrimester ofpregnancy.61 Notwithstanding anyofthe provisions of§18.2-71 andinaddition tothe provisions of§18.2-72, it62 shall belawful forany physician licensedbythe Board ofMedicine topractice medicine andsurgery, to63 terminate orattempt toterminate ahuman pregnancy oraid orassist inthe termination ofahuman64 pregnancy byperforming anabortionor causing amiscarriage onany woman duringthesecond65 trimesterofpregnancy andprior tothe third trimester ofpregnancy providedsuchprocedure is66 performedinahospital licensed bythe State Department ofHealth oroperated bythe Department of67 BehavioralHealthandDevelopmental Services.68 §18.2-74. Whenabortion ortermination ofpregnancy lawfulaftersecond trimester of69 pregnancy.70 Notwithstanding anyofthe provisions of§18.2-71 andinaddition tothe provisions of§§ 18.2-7271 and18.2-73, itshall belawful forany physician licensedbythe Board ofMedicine topractice medicine72 andsurgery toterminate orattempt toterminate ahuman pregnancy oraid orassist inthe termination\73 ofahuman pregnancy byperforming anabortion orcausing amiscarriage onany woman inastage of74 pregnancy subsequent tothe second trimester, providedthatthefollowing conditions aremet:75 (a)1.Said operation isperformed inahospital licensed bythe Virginia StateDepartment ofHealth76 oroperated bythe Department ofBehavioral HealthandDevelopmental Services.77 (b)2.The physician andtwo consulting physicians certifycertifies andsoenter enters inthe hospital78 recordofthe woman ,that intheir thephysician(C)s medicalopinion, basedupontheirthephysician(C)s best79 clinical judgment, thecontinuation ofthe pregnancy islikely toresult inthe death ofthe woman or80 substantiallyandirremediably impairthemental orphysical healthofthe woman.81 (c)3.Measures forlife support forthe product ofsuch abortion ormiscarriage mustshallbe82 available andutilized ifthere isany clearly visibleevidence ofviability.83 §18.2-76. Informed writtenconsent required.84 A.Before performing anyabortion orinducing anymiscarriage orterminating apregnancy as85 provided in§18.2-72, 18.2-73,or18.2-74, thephysician shallobtain theinformed writtenconsent ofthe86 pregnant woman.However, ifthe woman hasbeen adjudicated incapacitated byany court ofcompetent87 jurisdiction orifthe physician knowsorhas good reason tobelieve thatsuch woman isincapacitated as88 adjudicated byacourt ofcompetent jurisdiction, thenonly after permission isgiven inwriting bya89 parent, guardian, committee, orother person standing inloco parentis tothe woman, maythephysician90 perform theabortion orotherwise terminatethepregnancy.91 B.At least 24hours before theperformance ofan abortion, aqualified medicalprofessional trained92 insonography andworking underthesupervision ofaphysician licensedinthe Commonwealth shall93 performfetaltransabdominal ultrasoundimagingonthe patient undergoing theabortion forthe purpose94 ofdetermining gestationalage.Ifthe pregnant womanlivesatleast 100miles fromthefacility where95 theabortion isto be performed, thefetal ultrasound imagingshallbeperformed atleast twohours96 beforetheabortion. Theultrasound imageshallcontain thedimensions ofthe fetus andaccurately97 portraythepresence ofexternalmembers andinternal organsofthe fetus, ifpresent orviewable.98 Determinationofgestational ageshall bebased uponmeasurement ofthe fetus inamanner consistent99 withstandard medicalpracticeinthe community fordetermining gestationalage.When onlythe100 gestationalsacisvisible duringultrasound imaging,gestational agemay bebased uponmeasurement of101 thegestational sac.Ifgestational agecannot bedetermined byatransabdominal ultrasound,thenthe102 patientundergoing theabortion shallbeverbally offeredotherultrasound imagingtodetermine103 gestationalage,which shemay refuse. Aprint ofthe ultrasound imageshallbemade todocument the104 measurementsthathave beentaken todetermine thegestational ageofthe fetus.105 Theprovisions ofthis subsection shallnotapply ifthe woman seeking anabortion isthe victim of106 rapeorincest, ifthe incident wasreported tolaw-enforcement authorities.Nothinghereinshallpreclude107 thephysician fromusing anyultrasound imagingthatheconsidersto be medically appropriate pursuant108 tothe standard medicalpracticeinthe community.109 C.The qualified medicalprofessional performingfetalultrasound imagingpursuant tosubsection B110 shallverbally offerthewoman anopportunity toview theultrasound image,receive aprinted copyof111 theultrasound imageandhear thefetal heart tones pursuant tostandard medicalpracticeinthe112 community,andshall obtain fromthewoman writtencertification thatthisopportunity wasoffered and113 whetherornot itwas accepted and,ifapplicable, verification thatthepregnant womanlivesatleast 100114 milesfromthefacility wherethe abortion isto be performed. Aprinted copyofthe ultrasound image115 shallbemaintained inthe woman(C)s medicalrecordatthe facility wheretheabortion isto be performed116 forthe longer of(i) seven yearsor(ii) theextent required byapplicable federalorstate law.117 D.For purposes ofthis section:118 "Informedwrittenconsent" meanstheknowing andvoluntary writtenconsentto abortion bya
3of 7119 pregnantwomanofany age, without undueinducement orany element offorce, fraud, deceit, duress, or120 otherformofconstraint orcoercion bythe physician whoisto perform theabortion orhis agent. The121 basicinformation toeffect suchconsent, asrequired bythis subsection, shallbeprovided bytelephone122 orinperson tothe woman atleast 24hours before theabortion bythe physician whoisto perform the123 abortion,byareferring physician, orby alicensed professionalor practical nurseworking underthe124 directsupervision ofeither thephysician whoisto perform theabortion orthe referring physician;125 however,theinformation insubdivision 5may beprovided insteadbyalicensed health-care126 professionalworkingunderthedirect supervision ofeither thephysician whoisto perform theabortion127 orthe referring physician. Thisbasic information shallinclude:128 1.Afull, reasonable andcomprehensible medicalexplanation ofthe nature, benefits, andrisks ofand129 alternativestothe proposed procedures orprotocols tobe followed inher particular case;130 2.An instruction thatthewoman maywithdraw herconsent atany time prior tothe performance of131 theprocedure;132 3.An offer forthe woman tospeak withthephysician whoisto perform theabortion sothat he133 mayanswer anyquestions thatthewoman mayhave andprovide furtherinformation concerningthe134 proceduresandprotocols;135 4.Astatement ofthe probable gestational ageofthe fetus atthe time theabortion isto be performed136 andthat fetal ultrasound imagingshallbeperformed priortothe abortion toconfirm thegestational age;137 and138 5.An offer toreview theprinted materials described insubsection F.Ifthe woman chooses to139 reviewsuchmaterials, theyshall beprovided toher inarespectful andunderstandable manner,without140 prejudiceandintended togive thewoman theopportunity tomake aninformed choiceandshall be141 providedtoher atleast 24hours before theabortion ormailed toher atleast 72hours before the142 abortionbyfirst-class mailor,ifthe woman requests, bycertified mail,restricted delivery.Thisoffer for143 thewoman toreview thematerial shalladvise herofthe following: (i)the Department ofHealth144 publishesprintedmaterials thatdescribe theunborn childandlistagencies thatoffer alternatives to145 abortion;(ii)medical assistance benefitsmaybeavailable forprenatal care,childbirth andneonatal care,146 andthat more detailed information\ onthe availability ofsuch assistance iscontained inthe printed147 materialspublished bythe Department; (iii)thefather ofthe unborn childisliable toassist inthe148 supportofher child, evenininstances wherehehas offered topay forthe abortion, thatassistance in149 thecollection ofsuch support isavailable, andthat more detailed information onthe availability ofsuch150 assistanceiscontained inthe printed materials published bythe Department; (iv)shehastheright to151 reviewthematerials printedbythe Department andthat copies willbeprovided toher free ofcharge if152 shechooses toreview them;and(v)astatewide listofpublic andprivate agencies andservicesthat153 provideultrasound imagingandauscultation offetal heart toneservices freeofcharge. Wherethe154 womanhasadvised thatthepregnancy isthe result ofarape, theinformation inclause (iii)may be155 omitted.156 Theinformation requiredbythis subsection maybeprovided bytelephone orinperson.157 E.The physician neednotobtain theinformed writtenconsent ofthe woman whentheabortion isto158 beperformed pursuanttoamedical emergency orspontaneous miscarriage."Medicalemergency" means159 anycondition which,onthe basis ofthe physician(C)s goodfaithclinical judgment, socomplicates the160 medicalcondition ofapregnant womanastonecessitate theimmediate abortionofher pregnancy to161 avertherdeath orfor which adelay willcreate aserious riskofsubstantial andirreversible impairment162 ofamajor bodily function.163 F.On orbefore October 1,2001, theDepartment ofHealth shallpublish, inEnglish andineach164 languagewhichisthe primary language oftwo percent ormore ofthe population ofthe165 Commonwealth,thefollowing printedmaterials insuch away astoensure thattheinformation iseasily166 comprehensible:167 1.Geographically indexedmaterials designedtoinform thewoman ofpublic andprivate agencies168 andservices available toassist awoman through pregnancy, uponchildbirth andwhile thechild is169 dependent,including,butnotlimited to,information onservices relatingto(i) adoption asapositive170 alternative,(ii)information relativetocounseling services,benefits,financial assistance, medicalcare171 andcontact persons orgroups, (iii)paternity establishment andchild support enforcement, (iv)child172 development,(v)child rearing andstress management, (vi)pediatric andmaternal healthcare,and(vii)173 publicandprivate agencies andservices thatprovide ultrasound imagingandauscultation offetal heart174 toneservices freeofcharge.The materials shallinclude acomprehensive listofthe names and175 telephonenumbersofthe agencies, or,atthe option ofthe Department ofHealth, printedmaterials176 includingatoll-free, 24-hour-a-day telephonenumberwhichmaybecalled toobtain, orally,suchalist177 anddescription ofagencies inthe locality ofthe caller andofthe services theyoffer;178 2.Materials designedtoinform thewoman ofthe probable anatomical\ andphysiological179 characteristicsofthe human fetusattwo-week gestational increments fromthetime when awoman can INTRODUCEDHB2491
HB24914of 7180 beknown tobe pregnant tofull term, including anyrelevant information onthe possibility ofthe fetus(C)s181 survivalandpictures ordrawings representing thedevelopment ofthe human fetusattwo-week182 gestationalincrements. Suchpictures ordrawings shallcontain thedimensions ofthe fetus andshall be183 realisticandappropriate forthe stage ofpregnancy depicted.Thematerials shallbeobjective,184 nonjudgmentalanddesigned toconvey onlyaccurate scientific information aboutthehuman fetusatthe185 variousgestational ages;and186 3.Materials containing objectiveinformation describingthemethods ofabortion procedures187 commonlyemployed,themedical riskscommonly associatedwitheach such procedure, thepossible188 detrimentalpsychological effectsofabortion, andthemedical riskscommonlyassociated withcarrying a189 childtoterm.190 TheDepartment ofHealth shallmake thesematerials availableateach local health department and,191 uponrequest, toany person orentity, inreasonable numbersandwithout costtothe requesting party.192 G.Any physician whofailstocomply withtheprovisions ofthis section shallbesubject toa$2,500193 civilpenalty.194 §32.1-127. Regulations.195 A.The regulations promulgated bythe Board tocarry outtheprovisions ofthis article shallbein196 substantial conformity tothe standards ofhealth, hygiene, sanitation, construction andsafety as197 established andrecognized bymedical andhealth careprofessionals andbyspecialists inmatters of198 public healthandsafety, including healthandsafety standards established underprovisions ofTitle199 XVIII andTitle XIXofthe Social Security Act,andtothe provisions ofArticle 2(§ 32.1-138 etseq.).200 B.Such regulations:201 1.Shall include minimum standardsfor(i)the construction andmaintenance ofhospitals, nursing202 homes andcertified nursingfacilitiesto ensure theenvironmental protectionandthelife safety ofits203 patients, employees, andthepublic;(ii) theoperation, staffingandequipping ofhospitals, nursinghomes204 andcertified nursingfacilities; (iii)qualifications andtraining ofstaff ofhospitals, nursinghomesand205 certified nursingfacilities, exceptthoseprofessionals licensedorcertified bythe Department ofHealth206 Professions; (iv)conditions underwhich ahospital ornursing homemayprovide medical andnursing207 services topatients intheir places ofresidence; and(v)policies relatedtoinfection prevention, disaster208 preparedness,andfacility security ofhospitals, nursinghomes,andcertified nursingfacilities. For209 purposesofthis paragraph, facilitiesinwhich fiveormore firsttrimester abortions permonth are210 performedshallbeclassified asacategory of"hospital" ;211 2.Shall provide thatatleast onephysician whoislicensed topractice medicine inthis212 Commonwealth shallbeon call atall times, though notnecessarily physicallypresentonthe premises,213 ateach hospital whichoperates orholds itselfoutasoperating anemergency service;214 3.May classify hospitals andnursing homesbytype ofspecialty orservice andmay provide for215 licensing hospitalsandnursing homesby bed capacity andbytype ofspecialty orservice;216 4.Shall alsorequire thateach hospital establish aprotocol fororgan donation, incompliance with217 federal lawand theregulations ofthe Centers forMedicare andMedicaid Services(CMS),particularly218 42C.F.R. §482.45. Eachhospital shallhaveanagreement withanorgan procurement organization219 designated inCMS regulations forroutine contact, whereby theprovider(C)s designated organprocurement220 organization certifiedbyCMS (i)isnotified inatimely manner ofall deaths orimminent deathsof221 patients inthe hospital and(ii)isauthorized todetermine thesuitability ofthe decedent orpatientfor222 organ donation and,inthe absence ofasimilar arrangement withanyeyebank ortissue bankin223 Virginia certifiedbythe Eye Bank Association ofAmerica orthe American Association ofTissue224 Banks, thesuitability fortissueand eyedonation. Thehospital shallalso have anagreement withatleast225 onetissue bankandatleast oneeyebank tocooperate inthe retrieval, processing, preservation, storage,226 anddistribution oftissues andeyes toensure thatallusable tissues andeyes areobtained frompotential227 donors andtoavoid interference withorgan procurement. Theprotocol shallensure thatthehospital228 collaborates withthedesignated organprocurement organizationtoinform thefamily ofeach potential229 donor ofthe option todonate organs, tissues,oreyes ortodecline todonate. Theindividual making230 contact withthefamily shallhavecompleted acourse inthe methodology forapproaching potential231 donor families andrequesting organor tissue donation that(a)isoffered orapproved bythe organ232 procurement organizationanddesigned inconjunction withthetissue andeyebank community and(b)233 encourages discretionandsensitivity accordingtothe specific circumstances, views,andbeliefs ofthe234 relevant family.Inaddition, thehospital shallwork cooperatively withthedesignated organprocurement235 organization ineducating thestaff responsible forcontacting theorgan procurement organization(C)s236 personnel ondonation issues,theproper review ofdeath records toimprove identification ofpotential237 donors, andtheproper procedures formaintaining potentialdonorswhilenecessary testingand238 placement ofpotential donatedorgans,tissues,andeyes takes place. Thisprocess shallbefollowed,239 without exception, unlessthefamily ofthe relevant decedent orpatient hasexpressed opposition to240 organ donation, thechief administrative\ officerofthe hospital orhis designee knowsofsuch opposition,241 andnodonor cardorother relevant document, suchasan advance directive, canbefound;
5of 7242 5.Shall require thateach hospital thatprovides obstetrical servicesestablish aprotocol foradmission243 ortransfer ofany pregnant womanwhopresents herselfwhileinlabor;244 6.Shall alsorequire thateach licensed hospitaldevelopandimplement aprotocol requiring written245 discharge plansforidentified, substance-abusing, postpartumwomenandtheir infants. Theprotocol shall246 require thatthedischarge planbediscussed withthepatient andthat appropriate referralsforthe mother247 andtheinfant bemade anddocumented. Appropriatereferralsmayinclude, butneed notbelimited to,248 treatment services,comprehensive earlyintervention servicesforinfants andtoddlers withdisabilities249 andtheir families pursuant toPart Hof the Individuals withDisabilities EducationAct,20U.S.C.250 §1471 etseq., andfamily-oriented preventionservices.Thedischargeplanning processshallinvolve, to251 theextent possible, thefather ofthe infant andanymembers ofthe patient(C)s extended familywhomay252 participate inthe follow-up careforthe mother andtheinfant. Immediately uponidentification, pursuant253 to§54.1-2403.1, ofany substance-abusing, postpartumwoman,thehospital shallnotify, subject to254 federal lawrestrictions, thecommunity servicesboardofthe jurisdiction inwhich thewoman residesto255 appoint adischarge planmanager.The community servicesboardshallimplement andmanage the256 discharge plan;257 7.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilityfullydisclose tothe applicant258 foradmission thehome(C)s orfacility(C)s admissions policies,including anypreferences given;259 8.Shall require thateach licensed hospitalestablish aprotocol relatingtothe rights and260 responsibilities ofpatients whichshallinclude aprocess reasonably designedtoinform patients ofsuch261 rights andresponsibilities. Suchrights andresponsibilities ofpatients, acopy ofwhich shallbegiven to262 patients onadmission, shallbeconsistent withapplicable federallawand regulations ofthe Centers for263 Medicare andMedicaid Services;264 9.Shall establish standards andmaintain aprocess fordesignation oflevels orcategories ofcare in265 neonatal servicesaccording toan applicable nationalorstate-developed evaluationsystem.Such266 standards maybedifferentiated forvarious levelsorcategories ofcare andmay include, butneed notbe267 limited to,requirements forstaffing credentials, staff/patient ratios,equipment, andmedical protocols;268 10.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilitytrainallemployees whoare269 mandated toreport adultabuse, neglect, orexploitation pursuantto§63.2-1606 onsuch reporting270 procedures andtheconsequences forfailing tomake arequired report;271 11.Shall permit hospital personnel, asdesignated inmedical staffbylaws, rulesandregulations, or272 hospital policiesandprocedures, toaccept emergency telephoneandother verbal ordersformedication273 ortreatment forhospital patientsfrom physicians, andother persons lawfully authorized bystate statute274 togive patient orders, subject toarequirement thatsuch verbal orderbesigned, withinareasonable275 period oftime nottoexceed 72hours asspecified inthe hospital(C)s medicalstaffbylaws, rulesand276 regulations orhospital policiesandprocedures, bythe person givingtheorder, or,when suchperson is277 notavailable withintheperiod oftime specified, co-signed byanother physician orother person278 authorized togive theorder;279 12.Shall require, unlessthevaccination ismedically contraindicated orthe resident declines theoffer280 ofthe vaccination, thateach certified nursingfacilityandnursing homeprovide orarrange forthe281 administration toits residents of(i) anannual vaccination againstinfluenza and(ii)apneumococcal282 vaccination, inaccordance withthemost recent recommendations ofthe Advisory Committee on283 Immunization Practicesofthe Centers forDisease ControlandPrevention;284 13.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilityregister withtheDepartment of285 StatePolice toreceive noticeofthe registration orreregistration ofany sexoffender withinthesame or286 acontiguous zipcode areainwhich thehome orfacility islocated, pursuant to§9.1-914;287 14.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilityascertain, priortoadmission,288 whether apotential patientisaregistered sexoffender, ifthe home orfacility anticipates thepotential289 patient willhave alength ofstay greater thanthree daysorinfact stays longer thanthree days;290 15.Shall require thateach licensed hospitalincludeinits visitationpolicy aprovision allowingeach291 adultpatient toreceive visitsfromanyindividual fromwhom thepatient desires toreceive visits,292 subject toother restrictions containedinthe visitation policyincluding, butnotlimited to,those related293 tothe patient(C)s medicalcondition andthenumber ofvisitors permitted inthe patient(C)s room294 simultaneously;295 16.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilityshall,upontherequest ofthe296 facility(C)s familycouncil, sendnotices andinformation aboutthefamily councilmutually developed by297 thefamily council andtheadministration ofthe nursing homeorcertified nursingfacility, andprovided298 tothe facility forsuch purpose, tothe listed responsible partyor acontact personofthe resident(C)s299 choice uptosix times peryear. Such notices maybeincluded togetherwithamonthly billingstatement300 orother regular communication. Noticesandinformation shallalsobeposted inadesignated location301 within thenursing homeorcertified nursingfacility. Nofamily member ofaresident orother resident302 representative shallberestricted fromparticipating inmeetings inthe facility withthefamilies or INTRODUCEDHB2491
HB24916of 7303 resident representatives ofother residents inthe facility;304 17.Shall require thateach nursing homeandcertified nursingfacilitymaintain liabilityinsurance305 coverage inaminimum amountof$1 million, andprofessional liabilitycoverage inan amount atleast306 equaltothe recovery limitsetforth in§8.01-581.15, tocompensate patientsorindividuals forinjuries307 andlosses resulting fromthenegligent orcriminal actsofthe facility. Failuretomaintain such308 minimum insuranceshallresult inrevocation ofthe facility(C)s license;309 18.Shall require eachhospital thatprovides obstetrical servicestoestablish policiestofollow whena310 stillbirth, asdefined in§ 32.1-69.1, occursthatmeet theguidelines pertainingtocounseling patientsand311 theirfamilies andother aspects ofmanaging stillbirthsasmay bespecified bythe Board inits312 regulations;313 19.Shall require eachnursing hometoprovide afull refund ofany unexpended patientfundson314 deposit withthefacility following thedischarge ordeath ofapatient, otherthanentrance-related fees315 paidtoacontinuing careprovider asdefined in§38.2-4900, within30days ofawritten request for316 suchfunds bythe discharged patientor,inthe case ofthe death ofapatient, theperson administering317 theperson(C)s estateinaccordance withtheVirginia SmallEstates Act(§64.2-600 etseq.);318 20.Shall require thateach hospital thatprovides inpatient psychiatric servicesestablish aprotocol319 thatrequires, forany refusal toadmit (i)amedically stablepatient referred toits psychiatric unit,direct320 verbal communication betweentheon-call physician inthe psychiatric unitandthereferring physician,321 ifrequested bysuch referring physician, andprohibits on-callphysicians orother hospital stafffrom322 refusing arequest forsuch direct verbal communication byareferring physician and(ii)apatient for323 whom thereisaquestion regarding themedical stability ormedicalappropriateness ofadmission for324 inpatient psychiatric servicesduetoasituation involving resultsofatoxicology screening,theon-call325 physician inthe psychiatric unitto which thepatient issought tobe transferred toparticipate indirect326 verbal communication, eitherinperson orvia telephone, withaclinical toxicologist orother person who327 isaCertified Specialist inPoison Information employedbyapoison control centerthatisaccredited by328 theAmerican Association ofPoisonControl Centerstoreview theresults ofthe toxicology screenand329 determine whetheramedical reasonfor refusing admission tothe psychiatric unitrelated tothe results330 ofthe toxicology screenexists,ifrequested bythe referring physician;331 21.Shall require thateach hospital thatisequipped toprovide life-sustaining treatmentshalldevelop332 apolicy governing determination ofthe medical andethical appropriateness ofproposed medicalcare,333 which shallinclude (i)aprocess forobtaining asecond opinion regarding themedical andethical334 appropriateness ofproposed medicalcareincases inwhich aphysician hasdetermined proposedcareto335 bemedically orethically inappropriate;\ (ii)provisions forreview ofthe determination thatproposed336 medical careismedically orethically inappropriate byaninterdisciplinary medicalreviewcommittee337 andadetermination bythe interdisciplinary medicalreviewcommittee regardingthemedical andethical338 appropriateness ofthe proposed healthcare;and(iii) requirements forawritten explanation ofthe339 decision reachedbythe interdisciplinary medicalreviewcommittee, whichshallbeincluded inthe340 patient(C)s medicalrecord.Suchpolicy shallensure thatthepatient, hisagent, orthe person authorized to341 make medical decisions pursuantto§54.1-2986 (a)are informed ofthe patient(C)s righttoobtain his342 medical recordandtoobtain anindependent medicalopinionand(b)afforded reasonable opportunity to343 participate inthe medical reviewcommittee meeting.Nothinginsuch policy shallprevent thepatient,344 hisagent, orthe person authorized tomake medical decisions pursuantto§54.1-2986 fromobtaining345 legalcounsel torepresent thepatient orfrom seeking otherremedies availableatlaw, including seeking346 courtreview, provided thatthepatient, hisagent, orthe person authorized tomake medical decisions347 pursuant to§54.1-2986, orlegal counsel provides writtennoticetothe chief executive officerofthe348 hospital within14days ofthe date onwhich thephysician(C)s determination thatproposed medical349 treatment ismedically orethically inappropriate isdocumented inthe patient(C)s medicalrecord;350 22.Shall require everyhospital withanemergency department toestablish protocols toensure that351 security personnel ofthe emergency department, ifany, receive training appropriate tothe populations352 served bythe emergency department, whichmayinclude training basedonatrauma-informed approach353 inidentifying andsafely addressing situationsinvolving patientsorother persons whopose arisk of354 harmtothemselves orothers duetomental illnessorsubstance abuseorwho areexperiencing amental355 health crisis;and356 23.(Effective March1,2019) Shallrequire thateach hospital establish aprotocol requiring that,357 before ahealth careprovider arrangesforairmedical transportation servicesforapatient whodoes not358 haveanemergency medicalcondition asdefined in42 U.S.C. §1395dd(e)(1), thehospital shallprovide359 thepatient orhis authorized representative withwritten orelectronic noticethatthepatient (i)may have360 achoice oftransportation byanair medical transportation providerormedically appropriate ground361 transportation byanemergency medicalservices provider and(ii)willbe responsible forcharges362 incurred forsuch transportation inthe event thattheprovider isnot acontracted networkprovider ofthe363 patient(C)s healthinsurance carrierorsuch charges arenot otherwise coveredinfull orinpart bythe364 patient(C)s healthinsurance plan.
7of 7365 C.Upon obtaining theappropriate license,ifapplicable, licensedhospitals, nursinghomes,and366 certified nursingfacilities mayoperate adultdaycare centers.367 D.All facilities licensedbythe Board pursuant tothis article whichprovide treatment orcare for368 hemophiliacs and,inthe course ofsuch treatment, stockclotting factors,shallmaintain recordsofall lot369 numbers orother unique identifiers forsuch clotting factorsinorder that,inthe event thelotisfound to370 becontaminated withaninfectious agent,thosehemophiliacs whohave received unitsofthis371 contaminated clottingfactormaybeapprised ofthis contamination. Facilitieswhichhaveidentified alot372 which isknown tobe contaminated shallnotify therecipient(C)s attendingphysician andrequest thathe373 notify therecipient ofthe contamination. Ifthe physician isunavailable,\ thefacility shallnotify bymail,374 return receipt requested, eachrecipient whoreceived treatment fromaknown contaminated lotatthe375 individual(C)s lastknown address. INTRODUCEDHB2491
Outrage as video shows Virginia abortion bill sponsor saying plan would allow termination up until birth | Fox News
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 20:55
Virginia Democrat Del. Kathy Tran is the sponsor of The Repeal Act, which seeks to repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions. (Kathyfordelegate.com)
The abortion debate erupted anew this week after a video surfaced showing the Democratic sponsor of a Virginia abortion proposal acknowledging it could allow women to terminate a pregnancy up until the moment before birth, for reasons including mental health.
''First New York, and now a proposed Virginia bill that would legalize abortion up to the moment of birth,'' tweeted Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. ''This is a sad commentary on the culture of death that continues to creep insidiously into the laws of our [country].''
Virginia Democratic Del. Kathy Tran is the sponsor of The Repeal Act, which seeks to repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions. The bill -- which was tabled in committee this week -- has the support of top Democrats in the state, including Gov. Ralph Northam.
NEW YORK 'CELEBRATES' LEGALIZING ABORTION UNTIL BIRTH
The bill would remove a number of restrictions currently in place regarding late-term abortions, including doing away with the requirement that two other physicians certify a third-trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death or impairment of her mental or physical health. The third trimester lasts until 40 weeks.
Todd Gilbert, the Republican House majority leader, questioned Tran about the bill during a hearing Monday. He asked Tran if a woman who has physical signs she is about to give birth could request an abortion if a physician said it could impair her "mental health."
"Where it's obvious that a woman is about to give birth. She has physical signs that she is about to give birth. Would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so-certified -- she's dilating," he asked.
''Mr. Chairman, that would be ... a decision that the doctor, the physician and the woman would make at that point,'' Tran replied.
''I understand that,'' Gilbert replied. ''I'm asking if your bill allows that.''
Tran replied: ''My bill would allow that, yes.''
Virginia Republicans shared video of the exchange, posting, ''Heartbreaking... This isn't in New York, this isn't in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia.''
''Virginia House Democrats proposed legislation to allow abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath'...Thankfully, our strong conservative majority was able to defeat this bill,'' the Virginia House of Delegates Republican Caucus posted on Facebook.
In promoting the bill, Tran has said it "eliminates medically unnecessary and unduly burdensome requirements that make it difficult for women to access abortions," recognizing that "women have the constitutional right to make healthcare decisions about their own bodies."
The effort in Virginia follows New York passing a bill last week loosening the restrictions on abortion, as New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington also pass new laws expanding abortion access or move to strip old laws from the books that limit abortions.
NEW YORK IS LATEST STATE PUSHING ABORTION LAWS AMID FEARS ROE VS. WADE WILL BE OVERTURNED
The loosening of the laws comes as pro-abortion activists fear the newly conservative Supreme Court will overturn the 1973 ruling that made abortions legal.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week directed the One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink Tuesday to celebrate the passage of "Reproductive Health Act."
Under the Reproductive Health Act, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother's due date if the woman's health is endangered or if the fetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman's life was at risk.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, 16 states could take steps to ban abortion. Four have laws that would trigger bans, while 12 others have anti-abortion laws on the books that have been ruled unconstitutional by courts or have not been enforced due to the 1973 Supreme Court decision, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization.
Fox News' Caleb Parke contributed to this report.
NWO
full members ' Members ' Club of Rome
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:59
Gurgulino de Souza, Heitor
EuroLand
Netherlands refuses Italy's request to accept migrants aboard rescue ship
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:06
Jan. 29, 2019, 7:25 AM ET / Updated Jan. 29, 2019, 7:30 AM ET
By Reuters
The Netherlands has refused an Italian request to take in 47 migrants on a humanitarian ship that is being blocked from Italian ports, saying there is a need to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants.
The Sea-Watch 3 is run by a German humanitarian group and flying a Dutch flag. It rescued the migrants from a rubber boat more than a week ago and has since been buffeted by high winds and 23-foot waves.
The anti-migrant policy of Italy's populist government forbids humanitarian boats which rescue migrants in the waters off Libya to enter Italian ports and disembark those they save from foundering smugglers' boats.
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the ship should go either to France, which he has accused of shirking its responsibilities amid the migrant influx, or to the Netherlands.
The Dutch Justice and Security Ministry, which oversees immigration policy, said on Monday that it would not take in any migrants from Sea-Watch until there was a long-term agreement on how to distinguish refugees from economic migrants.
"Those who are not entitled to international protection need to be sent back immediately on arrival at European borders," it said in a statement. "Without a clear perspective for such a structural solution, the Netherlands will not participate in ad hoc measures for the disembarkation."
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's office said in a statement that Rome would refer the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, reiterating that the government had no intention of allowing the boat to dock in Italy.
View this graphic on nbcnews.com The statement said that the government on Tuesday "will affirm that it's not Italy that must respond in this case in the light of national and international law."
It wasn't immediately clear if the court in Strasbourg had agreed to hear any case about Sea-Watch 3.
Conte's statement added that as soon as Dutch responsibility was ascertained, it would help open up a "human corridor" to let the migrants move to the Netherlands. He also promised to provide supplies and medical care if needed to the humanitarian boat, which is moored off the Sicilian coast.
The Sea-Watch 3. GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE / ReutersSea-Watch 3's plight is the latest in several cases of migrants stuck for days aboard rescue vessels since Conte's government pledged in June to drastically reduce the numbers of rescued migrants reaching Italian shores. About 600,000 migrants have reached Italy on rescue boats in recent years.
It is the second time in a month that the ship has been stranded at sea with rescued migrants and no safe port. The last standoff ended after 19 days and an agreement among eight E.U. countries, including Italy, to take in the migrants.
The Netherlands, which took in hundreds of thousands of migrants in the 1960s and 1970s, has adopted one of the tightest immigration policies in Europe following a public backlash.
Italy has questioned why Sea-Watch 3 had decided to brave stormy waters and head to Italy, rather than take the migrants to nearby Tunisia, asking whether Sea-Watch aimed to rescue people or "create an international incident."
Associated Press contributed.
Big Pharma
Scientists are working on a pill for loneliness | US news | The Guardian
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:42
L oneliness is part of the human condition. A primeval warning sign, like hunger or thirst, to seek out a primary resource: connection. Millions of years of evolution have shaped us into creatures who need social bonds in the same way that we need food and water.
And yet we increasingly find ourselves isolated. Loneliness is no longer a powerful enough driver to break us out of the silos created by modern life. Like our insatiable love of high-calorie foods, what was once an adaptive tool has become so misaligned with the way we live that it's causing, in the words of the former surgeon general Vivek H Murthy, an ''epidemic''.
It's hard to compare our collective loneliness against that of previous generations, as we simply haven't been measuring it consistently, but recent estimates suggest that anywhere from 22% to 75% of American adults are persistently lonely. A number of culture-wide structural changes might be to blame: more Americans live alone than ever before; fewer of us are marrying or having children; our average household size is shrinking. In many cases, these changes represent the availability of options where once the only accepted path was marriage and a nuclear family. But they also mean we are spending more time on our own. ''Western societies have demoted human gregariousness from a necessity to an incidental,'' writes John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist who studied social pain and passed away in March 2018, in his book Loneliness.
The trouble is that chronic loneliness doesn't just make you feel terrible '' it's also terrible for you. Loneliness elevates our risk of developing a range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive decline, and metastatic cancer. It also weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections. Left untended, even situational loneliness can ossify into a fixed state that changes brain structures and processes, says Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the Brain Dynamics Lab at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is also John Cacioppo's widow and was his research partner up until his death last year.
medium badgeAs a scientist, Stephanie Cacioppo has often viewed her life as an experiment. When John died, the practical elements of their joint research took on an urgent personal relevance.
People sometimes compare social loss to physical pain, but Stephanie finds the analogy inaccurate. After John's death, she went on long runs, pushing herself in near-freezing temperatures until her muscles and lungs screamed. ''I could handle the pain because I knew it would have an end,'' she says. ''The physical pain associated with running was less intense than the deep, heartfelt emotional pain of the loss of the love of my life.''
Stephanie says she's now relying on many of the social fitness exercises that the couple validated together, such as making an effort to express gratitude, doing something nice for someone else without expecting something in return, choosing to engage with strangers, and sharing good news with others. ''I am living proof of my science,'' she says. ''I apply it every day.''
Unlike depression and anxiety, loneliness has no recognized clinical form; there is no available diagnosis or treatment for feeling chronically isolated.She has also found relief in her work and in continuing her husband's legacy: ''If you have a sense of worth and life with a purpose, you will feel less lonely,'' Stephanie says. Today, that means continuing a body of research that she and her late husband were beginning to explore: a pill for loneliness.
It's less science fiction than it sounds. A number of clinical trials '' led by Stephanie and others '' are already under way, targeting the ways in which chronic loneliness changes the brain, as well as the havoc it unleashes on the nervous system. If there are pharmacological treatments for other social pains like depression and anxiety, why not loneliness?
Like depression and anxiety, loneliness is a universal part of the human experience. Unlike depression and anxiety, loneliness has no recognized clinical form; there is no available diagnosis or treatment for feeling chronically isolated.
Ellen Hendriksen, a clinical psychologist who specializes in anxiety, envisions a future in which that's no longer the case. Currently, social anxiety is considered a disorder only when it causes enough distress or impairment to interfere with a person's life. She can see the same distinction working for loneliness: ''Maybe we'll call this social isolation syndrome,'' Hendriksen suggests, adding that she thinks many of her patients would fit the criteria. Some people tell her that she's the only person they interact with for an extended period of time during the week.
Loneliness, according to Stephanie Cacioppo, is the result of biological signals that push us to reach out to others interacting with a dysfunctional mind that perceives social danger everywhere. She's focused on a promising intervention: a neurosteroid called pregnenolone, which has been shown to improve stress-related disorders and ease the hypervigilance in the brain that arises when a person is exposed to social threats. Cacioppo's goal is not to make people stop feeling lonely altogether, but to interfere with the ways loneliness affects the brain and body.
Technology has sanded away the necessity and inconvenience of interacting with other human beings
When mice are socially isolated, their levels of pregnenolone decrease, a shift that also occurs in lonely humans. In a 2013 study of 31 healthy people, another research team found that giving people oral doses of a compound called allopregnanolone '' derived from pregnenolone '' had a calming effect on the participants' amygdala and insula, which are the regions of the brain responsible for threat detection, emotional recall, and the anticipation of unpleasant reactions.
The Cacioppos started focusing on pregnenolone and allopregnanolone after preclinical trials showed that the compound could counteract some of the loneliness-related biological changes in brain and was well-tolerated in humans. Some antidepressants provide a similar effect but come with undesirable side effects, like drowsiness, nausea, and insomnia.
''If we could successfully reduce the alarm system in the minds of lonely individuals, then we could have them reconnect, rather than withdraw from others,'' Stephanie says.
That's the basis for her most recent study, in which researchers administered 400mg oral doses of pregnenolone to lonely but otherwise healthy individuals. The trial ran from May 2017 to June 2019; Stephanie and her team are now in the process of analyzing the data. She's cautiously optimistic that the results will show significantly reduced perceived loneliness among the people who received pregnenolone versus those who received a placebo. ''I'm interested in the effect size of what we are going to find,'' she says.
A 2016 review of pharmacological treatments co-authored by the Cacioppos explored the possibility of giving people the hormone oxytocin to combat chronic loneliness. Associated with breastfeeding, giving birth, and physical contact, the release of oxytocin in humans has been shown to ''promote pro-social behaviors, affiliation, and trust'', the authors wrote.
Meanwhile, Steve Cole, a professor of medicine, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine who has frequently collaborated with the Cacioppos, is exploring how to mitigate the way loneliness makes the body susceptible to a host of diseases. Beta blockers, heart medications developed in the 1960s, inhibit the body's response to adrenaline and may also ''turn out to be great at disconnecting the psychological experience of social threat and uncertainty from its biological consequences in the periphery'', Cole says. ''Even if we can't stop loneliness with a brain-targeted drug, we might still be able to protect lonely people from the adverse health consequences.''
Cole is hoping to validate the drug's ability to reduce the impact of stress on the body. At the moment, he is studying the impact of beta blockers on cancer patients, as stress has been shown to exacerbate the spread of the disease. If it is effective, there's reason to believe beta blockers could alleviate the destructive biological consequences of loneliness.
Given all the ways modern life is designed to make us feel untethered, how do we determine who needs a medical intervention versus who is simply in a social rut?
Just as thirst is a signal that you are dehydrated, loneliness is an indication that you are already suffering from a lack of connection, Stephanie Cacioppo tells me. It's true that many of us manage to pull ourselves out of a lonely funk, but she argues that we could still benefit from a pharmacological intervention to prevent descent into social isolation.
The vast majority of people experience loneliness in their lives. I ask her: does this mean all of us could benefit from such a treatment?
''Absolutely,'' she says.
If that makes you uncomfortable, you're not alone. ''I think we should be cautious about thinking of this as a disorder, and rather thinking about it instead as something that we all need: social connection,'' says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University who has studied social isolation. For many people, it's perhaps more helpful to view social connection as an integral part of our physical and emotional health, which can be improved through lifestyle adjustments.
I think about what makes us lonely on a recent subway ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan. As the train hurtles over the Manhattan Bridge, the subway car is silent, save for the muffled beats of a pop song. A woman up front is reading a book, and a few commuters are dozing. The rest of us are glued to our devices: heads bent, earbuds in, fingers scrolling. The trains sputters and then stops completely mid-bridge; plugged into our own curated digital landscapes, no one looks up. What was once a period of contemplation, boredom, small talk, confrontations, maybe even some light flirting, has been replaced by screens.
In addition to filling the blank spaces in our day, our phones double as a crutch to ''lean on when we are socially anxious or uncomfortable'', says Julia Bainbridge, a freelance writer and editor, who, in 2016, launched The Lonely Hour, a podcast dedicated to exploring the condition. The world is unpredictable, but our screens provide a convenient buffer against the possibility of spontaneous human interaction. Waiting for class to begin or for a friend at a bar? Instead of striking up a conversation with the person next to you and risking awkwardness, it's easier to simply look down at your screen.
Individually, these moments are innocuous, but Bainbridge worries about their collective weight. ''Living is hard sometimes,'' she says. ''It puts us up for the possibility of rejection, but putting yourself up for that, engaging in that way, is part of a really important piece of human development.''
Technology has sanded away the necessity and inconvenience of interacting with other human beings: we can work from home, order groceries online, stream movies from bed. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who participate in social groups '' whether they be social clubs, sports teams, community centers, volunteer organizations, or religious groups '' has fallen, Holt-Lunstad says.
In a dizzying number of ways, modern life is designed to disengage us from one another. And with such obvious barriers to connection, it may not seem worthwhile to pursue a pharmaceutical solution. ''We are such a medicated, comfortably numb society,'' Bainbridge says. In her own life, she sees loneliness not as a problem to be fixed, but a complicated, ambivalent state that adds depth to the experience of being a social creature in a fragmented world.
At least for now, there remain nonpharmacological strategies to rely on. If you're feeling the pain of social isolation but have a support system, it can pay to tell the people closest to you what you need. Last spring was a particularly lonely time for Bainbridge. She had recently moved from New York City, where she had a solid group of friends, to Atlanta, where she knew virtually no one. And so she requested a favor from her mom. The ask was simple: text her every day in the morning with an update, question, or random thought. The content mattered less than the act itself. ''It really helped me,'' she says. To this day, her mom still texts every morning.
Actively searching for meaning in your life, whether it's by joining a volunteer organization, movement, or religious group, also helps. It's less about meeting other people, at least at first, and more about finding purpose and taking part in something larger than yourself, Cole says. ''Self-focus promotes negative emotional states,'' while there is robust evidence that the ''neurobiology of helping others is one of the most rewarding things a brain can do''.
Stephanie Cacioppo has found a larger purpose in advancing the work she started with John. She recently heard a quote that has stuck with her: ''Mozart didn't die; he became music,'' she says. ''I believe my husband didn't die; he became theory. I am applying his theory.''
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here
Chiner$
Be a nice Chinese tourist| CCTV English - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 03:56
Chinese New Year Celebrations at Austin Restaurants - Eater Austin
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 14:01
Chinese New Year starts on Tuesday, February 5, marking the Lunar New Year. Auspicious dishes steeped in tradition are often the crux of the worldwide celebrations. Commemorate the Year of the Pig in Austin with your fill of long noodles, dumplings, sweet rice balls, and more traditional fare from big dinners at Wu Chow to festival fare at the many celebrations around town. Don't miss the lion dances and performances around town, like the one at Chinatown Center's annual party.
Some events fall either before or after the weekend of February 5. If Eater is missing any Chinese New Year celebrations, send it along through the tipline or in the comments below. This guide will be updated leading up to the holiday.
Chinatown CenterThe biggest Chinese New Year celebration will be held in the heart of far north Austin at the Chinatown Center. Expect a similar festivities like past years with theatrical dances, music, food, and firecrackers. Bonus: The center is home to a number of Asian restaurants, as well as the massive MT Supermarket.Location: Chinatown Center, 10901 North Lamar Boulevard, North AustinWhen: Saturday, February 16, 1 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, February 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wu ChowWu Chow is celebrating Lunar New Year with three days full of food. There will be dinner specials, dim sum specials, and a public party with lion dancers, stuffed pig toys, and food and drink. The restaurant is selling special Wu Chow toy pigs with all proceeds benefitting Austin Pets Alive.Location: Wu Chow, 500 West 5th Street, Downtown When: Dinner specials are available on Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2; dim sum specials are available on Sunday, February 3; and the Chinese New Year party takes place on Monday, February 4 from 5 to 9 p.m.
ChinatownTwo locations of the longtime Chinese restaurant are hosting Lunar New Year parties and dinners, with dishes like beef soup, five-spice prawns, ginger-scallion lobster, scallops, and more. Tickets are $75.Location: Chinatown, 2712 Bee Caves Road, Westlake; When: Tuesday, February 5 at the North Austin location; Wednesday, February 6 at the Westlake location; both dinners begin at 7 p.m. with lion dancing and firecrackers at 8 p.m.
Lin Asian BarThe new Clarksville Chinese restaurant is celebrating Lunar New Year with special dinner items as well as a lion dance show. While reservations are recommended, there will be walk-in availability.Location: Lin Asian Bar, 1203 West 6th Street, ClarksvilleWhen: Dish specials will be available from Tuesday, February 5 through Sunday, February 10; the lion dance show takes place on Friday, February 8 at 8 p.m.
Asian-American Resource CenterThe Asian-American Resource Center is throwing its Chinese New Year party with the Moonflower Performing Arts Group, which means dancing, music, tea ceremonies, a fashion show, and food. Tickets are $10.Location: Asian-American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road, Far North AustinWhen: Saturday, February 9, 5 to 9 p.m.
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Chinatown Austin 10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753 (512) 502-8888
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Austin Brewery Makes Fun of Electric Scooters With New Beer
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 14:12
Beer Scooter CommentaryAustin brewery Hi Sign Brewing made fun of those annoying electric scooters with its newest beer, the No Scooters Double IPA. The logo features a slash over a person on an electric scooter.
Round Rock BeerAhead of the opening of Pinthouse Pizza's Round Rock location in February, the brewpub is already brewing beer at the northern facility. It released cans of its new beer, the Crispy Waves, over the weekend, which is already sold out.
Historic Landmark ConsiderationThe East Sixth Street building that contains longtime Tex-Mex restaurant Cisco's is under historic landmark zoning consideration this week.
California RetirementEastside Cafe owner Elaine Martin is retiring to Palm Springs, California, after she shutters her groundbreaking and longtime restaurant this week on Thursday, January 31. Suerte owner Sam Hellman-Mass is taking over the space and will turn it into a new restaurant.
Bowling Alley's Axe ThrowingBowling alley restaurant and bar High 5 is adding the ever-so-trendy activity of axe-throwing to both of its Austin-area locations in North Shoal Creek and Lakeway.
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Jussie Smollett - Wikipedia
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 02:17
American actor
Jussie Smollett[4] (born June 21, 1982) is an American actor, singer, director and photographer. He began his career as a child actor in 1987 starring in commercials and films, including The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner's North (1994). In 2015, Smollett attracted international attention and received rave reviews for his portrayal of musician Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire. Smollett has also appeared in Ridley Scott's science fiction film Alien: Covenant as Ricks and in Marshall as Langston Hughes.
Early life Jussie Smollett was born in Santa Rosa, California, and is the third of six children born to Janet (n(C)e Harris) and Joel Smollett.[5] He has three brothers and two sisters: Jake, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz, several of whom are also actors.[6] His father was Jewish (his family emigrated from Russia and Poland). His mother is African-American.[7] Jussie Smollett graduated from Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus, NJ.[citation needed ]
Career Smollett began his acting career as a child, co-starring in the films The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner's North (1994). On television, he starred alongside his five real-life siblings in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own from 1994''95.[8] In 2012, Smollett returned to acting with the leading role in Patrik-Ian Polk's LGBT-themed comedy-drama The Skinny.[9] Also that year, he released an EP album titled The Poisoned Hearts Club.[6][10] He later guest-starred on The Mindy Project (2012) and Revenge (2014).
In 2014, Smollett was cast as Jamal Lyon'--a gay musician who struggles to gain his father's approval'--opposite Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the Fox drama series Empire.[11][12][13] His role was hailed as "groundbreaking" for its positive depiction of a black gay man on television.[14] Smollett reprised his role in subsequent seasons,[15] and directed an episode of the fourth season in 2017.[16]
In February 2015, Smollett confirmed that he had signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and would be releasing an album in the future.[17] Smollett co-wrote the songs "I Wanna Love You" and "You're So Beautiful" on the Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire album, which was released in March 2015.[18]
In June 2015, it was announced that Smollett would guest-star alongside his younger sister, Jurnee, on Underground, which aired in 2016.[19]
Personal life Smollett came out as gay during a televised interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015.[20][21]
In a 2016 interview with Out magazine, Smollett clarified his sexual orientation by stating "If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man." However, he stated his belief that openness to love is more important than gender, revealing that "If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I'm going to love that woman."[22] As a boy, Jussie Smollett had some romantic interest in girls.[23] When Smollett's gay character Jamal Lyon from Empire engaged in a heterosexual tryst with a female character, Smollett defended the plot development by stating that he and Empire creator Lee Daniels were trying to create a conversation about sexual fluidity in the gay community. Daniels has stated that "Jussie and I both share the same feeling that, yes, even though we are gay, we're sexual human beings. And we do occasionally want to sleep with a woman." Daniels stated that "We're showing life on Empire", in that both he and Smollett were incorporating their own sexual fluidity as gay men into Empire.[24]
2019 attack On January 29, 2019, Smollett was attacked in Chicago in what was being investigated as a hate crime.[25][26] Smollett said to police that he was attacked after leaving a fast-food restaurant by two men in ski masks, who made racial and homophobic slurs.[25] According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, the two suspects then "poured an unknown liquid" on Smollett and put a noose around his neck.[27] Smollett said that he fought off the attackers; he then admitted himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital from which he was released "in good condition" later that morning.[25][28] After TMZ claimed that Smollett had told police that the attackers were white and had referenced Donald Trump's Make America Great Again slogan,[29][30] claims that were repeated on social media, police representatives initially dismissed both claims,[30][31] before subsequently confirming that Smollett had described that the attackers had shouted "MAGA country" during the assault.[26] While TMZ wrote that the liquid poured on Smollett was bleach, it was mainly described in news reports as "an unknown chemical substance",[30] though CBS News reported that police officers described smelling bleach on his clothes.[32] In the day following the attack, figures from the television industry and campaigners condemned the attack on social media.[26]
Filmography Film Television Music videos Awards and nominations Discography Albums Singles Notes ^ "Good Enough" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but peaked at number 6 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[52] ^ "No Apologies" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but peaked at number 23 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[52] ^ "I Wanna Love You" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 7 on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[54] ^ "Money For Nothing" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 9 on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[54] ^ "Nothing To Lose" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but peaked at number 21 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[52] ^ "Powerful" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but peaked at number 12 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[52] ^ "Chasing the Sky" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 2 on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[54] ^ "Good People" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 3 on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[54] References ^ "Jussie Smollett Interview on Good Hope FM Cape Town South Africa". Youtube.com. December 30, 2017. minute 9:01-9:24 . Retrieved January 4, 2019 . ^ Mitchell, Gail (April 17, 2018). " ' Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Premieres 'Hurt People' Video, Slates 'Sum of My Music' Tour". Billboard. ^ Sharee, Toya (March 10, 2018). " ' Well That Doesn't Feel Like Freedom' Jussie Smollett Drops 'Sum Of My Music' And Talks Leaving Columbia Records". MadameNoire.com. ^ "Jurnee Smollett FACEBOOK LIVE Premiere Collectibles Smollettbook.com". YouTube. minute 54:30-54:46 . Retrieved May 31, 2018 . ^ "Jussie Smollett: 'I was NOT born in Brazil!! ' ". Good Day New York. February 13, 2015. 00:11 minutes in. Archived from the original on March 12, 2015 . Retrieved March 12, 2015 . I was born in northern California. ...[An unspecified source] says Brazil, makes me look really, really exotic and, like, cultured, but actually I was born in Santa Rosa, California. Note: TV Guide erroneously gives Santa Rosa, Brazil. ^ a b "Jussie Smollett". TVGuide.com . Retrieved March 9, 2015 . ^ Garmel, Marion (September 6, 1994). "You're never on your own in a big family". Indianapolis Star . Retrieved March 20, 2011 . (abstract only) ^ "The '94 TV Season: Who's New and Who's Back". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 49 (12): 27. October 1994. ISSN 0012-9011. ^ "Fall in Love with Jussie Smollett". The David Bridgeforth Quarterly Magazine. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015 . Retrieved January 8, 2015 . ^ "Jussie Smollett's Debut EP CD". RandomTandem.com. March 9, 2012. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 26, 2014). "Taraji P. Henson Nabs Female Lead in Fox's Lee Daniels Hip-Hop Drama 'Empire ' ". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015 . Retrieved January 8, 2015 . ^ Kay, Ariel (January 7, 2015). "Who Is Jamal on 'Empire'? Jussie Smollett Was in Your Favorite '90s Movies & Is Back on Your New Favorite Show". Bustle.com . Retrieved January 8, 2015 . ^ Thompson, Arienne (March 3, 2015). "Malik Yoba denies outing 'Empire' co-star as gay". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 10, 2015 . Retrieved March 9, 2015 . ^ "Being Gay And Black On TV Will Never Be The Same". BuzzFeed . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (January 11, 2017). " ' Empire' Renewed for Fourth Season at Fox". Variety . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ "Empire Season 4: A Prince Homage and Jussie Smollett's Directorial Debut". E! News . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ " ' Empire' star Jussie Smollett discusses Jamal's coming-out". Entertainment Weekly. February 26, 2015. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015 . Retrieved March 9, 2015 . ^ "Review: Jussie Smollett Wears Crown on 'Empire' Soundtrack". Associated Press. March 10, 2015 . Retrieved April 1, 2015 . ^ Gelman, Vlada; Gelman, Vlada (June 24, 2015). "Empire's Jussie Smollett Heads Underground Opposite Sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell". Tvline.com. ^ Portwood, Jerry (March 9, 2015). "Empire's Jussie Smollett Comes Out to Ellen". Out. Archived from the original on March 10, 2015 . Retrieved March 9, 2015 . ^ D'Addario, Daniel (March 9, 2015). " ' Empire': Why Star Jussie Smollett's Coming-Out Matters". Time. Archived from the original on March 9, 2015 . Retrieved March 9, 2015 . ^ "Jussie Smollett on How a Black Gay Man Can Save the World". Out Magazine . Retrieved May 6, 2017 . ^ Jussie Smollett (guest) (May 11, 2018). The Usher Song That Spoke To Jussie Smollett's Teenage Soul | Soundtracked | TRL. YouTube . Retrieved May 19, 2018 . ^ "Empire Sex Scandal: Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett Defend That Shocking Hook-Up". TV Insider . Retrieved May 6, 2017 . ^ a b c Gonzalez, Sandra (January 29, 2019). "Empire star Jussie Smollett attacked in possible hate crime". CNN . Retrieved January 29, 2019 . ^ a b c "Empire actor Jussie Smollett allegedly assaulted in possible hate crime, police say". CBS News. January 29, 2019 . Retrieved January 20, 2019 . ^ Michallon, Cl(C)mence (January 29, 2019). "Empire star Jussie Smollet assaulted in Chicago in suspected hate crime". The Independent . Retrieved January 30, 2019 . ^ Otterson, Joe (January 29, 2019). "Empire Star Jussie Smollett Assaulted in Chicago in Suspected Hate Crime". Variety . Retrieved January 29, 2019 . ^ "Jussie Smollett Tells Cops Attackers Shouted 'MAGA Country' ... Empire Calls in Armed Security". TMZ. January 29, 2019 . Retrieved January 30, 2019 . The 2 men'‰'--'‰both white and wearing ski masks'‰'--'‰viciously attacked Jussie as he fought back, but they beat him badly and fractured a rib. They put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him. ^ a b c Stidhum, Tonja Ren(C)e (January 29, 2019), "Jussie Smollett Reportedly Hospitalized in Chicago Following Racist, Homophobic Attack", The Grapevine, Gizmodo Media Group , retrieved January 30, 2019 ^ Soave, Robby (January 29, 2017). "Chicago Police Deny Claim That Jussie Smollett Identified Attackers as White, Can't Get Their Story Straight About Whether He Heard Them Say 'MAGA ' ". Reason . Retrieved January 30, 2019 . ^ "Empire actor Jussie Smollett had noose around his neck when officers arrived, police say". CBS News. January 30, 2019 . Retrieved January 30, 2019 . ^ "Alien: Covenant - Prologue: Last Supper". 20th Century Fox . Retrieved January 30, 2019 '' via YouTube. ^ "Recording - Creed, Empire Top NAACP Image Award Nominations; Full List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 4, 2016. ^ "Jussie Smollett Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved October 29, 2018 . ^ Sum of My Music by Jussie Smollett, March 2, 2018 , retrieved October 29, 2018 ^ "Empire Cast - Chart history - Billboard (Hot 100)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Jussie Smollett - Chart history - Billboard (Hot 100)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Empire Cast - Chart history - Billboard (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Jussie Smollett - Chart history - Billboard (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.com . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Empire Cast - Chart history - Billboard (Hot R&B Songs)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Jussie Smollett - Chart history - Billboard (Hot R&B Songs)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Empire Cast - Chart history - Billboard (Adult R&B Songs)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Jussie Smollett - Chart history - Billboard (Adult R&B Songs)". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ Hung, Steffen. "lescharts.com - Discographie Jussie Smollett". Syndicat National de l'‰dition Phonographique . Retrieved March 18, 2017 . ^ "Suche - Offizielle Deutsche Charts (Search: Jussie Smollett)". GfK Entertainment Charts . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Jussie Smollett". Hitparade.ch. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Jussie Smollett". Austriancharts.at. ^ "Conqueror by Empire Cast featuring Estelle and Jussie Smollett - Music Charts". Acharts.co . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ "Good Enough by Empire Cast and Jussie Smollett - Music Charts". Acharts.com. ^ "Ain't About The Money by Empire Cast featuring Jussie Smollett and Yazz - Music Charts". Acharts.co . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ a b c d "Chart Search (Jussie Smollett: Bubbling Under Hot 100". Billboard.biz . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ a b c "Why Isn't 'Empire's' Music Topping the Billboard Charts?". The Hollywood Reporter. February 25, 2015 . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . ^ a b c d "Chart Search (Jussie Smollett: Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard.biz . Retrieved November 15, 2018 . External links Jussie Smollett on IMDb
Booker Thankful for Support in the passage of Historic Anti-Lynching Bill | Afro
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 02:19
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia
Cory Booker was so moved by the unanimous passage of a historic '' and long overdue '' bill to make lynching a federal crime that he was stirred to quote Maya Angelou.
''History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again,'' Booker said as he thanked the Senators who agreed in a historic moment to stand up as one and make lynching a federal crime.
The effort was led by Democratic senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California (Source: Twitter.com)The bill would require an enhanced sentence for those who commit such crimes and judges would now be able to hand down life sentences to perpetrators.
''Gratitude,'' Booker said as earlier, the New Jersey Democratic Senator joined with California Democrat Kamala Harris in seeking the Senate's support.
Introduced to the Senate in June, the legislation still needs House approval and, of course, the signature of President Donald Trump.
Reportedly, there have been 200 previous attempts over the past century to pass similar legislation, but each had failed to this point. Between 1890 and 1952 in the United States, seven presidents petitioned Congress to end lynching, reads language in the bill.
The bill defines a person guilty of lynching as ''willfully, acting as part of any collection of people, assembled for the purpose and with the intention of '... (causing) death to any person.''
Between 1882 and 1968, the NAACP recorded 4,743 lynchings, 3,446 of which included victims who were black. In all, 73 percent of the people lynched were black, but the NAACP said not all lynchings were recorded at the time.
''Lynching is a dark and despicable aspect of our nation's history,'' said Senator Harris, who along with Booker are the center of swirling speculation about a 2020 presidential run. ''We must acknowledge that fact, lest we repeat it,'' she said.
As racial tension grew in the late 19th century, mostly in the South, lynchings became a popular way of resolving the anger whites had toward newly freed slaves in the middle of general economic problems.
However, Newsweek reported that 27 percent '' or 1,297 of the 4,743 total number of people lynched from 1882 to 1968 '' were white. The NCAAP said many whites were lynched in retaliation for aiding blacks, expressing anti-lynching sentiments or committing domestic crimes.
''This has been a long arc, a painful history and a shameful history in this body,'' Booker said.
''At the height of lynchings across this country, affecting thousands of people, this body did not act to make that a federal crime'... at least now, the United States Senate has acted. One hundred senators, no objections,'' he said.
Just one day before the Senate passed the anti-lynching legislation, President Donald Trump signed ''The First Step Act,'' a bill that provides a measure of criminal justice reform.
Booker co-sponsored The First Step Act.
He appeared on the ''Black Eagle'' Joe Madison's Sirius XM Radio Show to talk about that bill and to slow some of the rhetoric that it was a complete criminal justice reform overhaul .
''I just want everybody to know it is just a first step and I know there will be some people heralding it as the reform of the criminal justice system. That's a little a wrong and it's a lot wrong and even offensive because we have a lot more work to do,'' Booker said.
''But this bill, think of it as doing about three major things: one is a lot of sentencing reform, giving judges more flexibility to not go around the mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level drug offenders, correcting one of the biggest disgraces around the crack cocaine powder cocaine disparity,'' he said.
The bill makes that retroactive, which means about 2,660 people, 90 percent of whom are black will now find justice and have pathways to liberation after the wallowing in jail for years, disproportionately and wrongly because of what was in effect a racist policy, Booker said.
''It does a lot on the sentencing reform. Then it changes a lot of things inside prison that are just outrageous, from effectively ending juvenile solitary confinement on the federal level; ending the shackling of pregnant women and, when they're in prison, even just like basic acts of dignity,'' he said.
The legislation also ensures that a woman's feminine hygiene products are made available free to women in prison and the bill helps to prepare those who are leaving jail.
''With allowing for everything from re-entry programs and efforts to helping people earn time, shave off months and years to help them, because if they're participating in programs that will empower them when they get out,'' Booker said. ''And the fact the good time credit fix alone by making it a fairer system is going to help get rid of 33,000 years in prison alone with what they're doing.
''This is going to help a lot of people get pathways to liberation, sooner pathways to liberation immediately. It's going to stop some awful things that go on to people in prison.
''So, this is a good bill, but it is just a first step in a mile-long journey of criminal justice reforms we need to do from policing all the way through to re-entry.''
Women's March participant charged in incident with Infowars reporter - The Washington Post
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:01
Peter HermannReporter covering crime, specifically the D.C. police department
January 30 at 9:13 PMA participant in the Women's March on Washington earlier this month has been accused of inappropriately touching a video producer for Infowars as he conducted interviews at the event, according to D.C. police.
Isabel O'Shaughnessy, 21, was charged with misdemeanor sex abuse, and a police spokesman said she surrendered Wednesday. A Superior Court judge released her pending her next court appearance March 14.
The police spokesman identified O'Shaughnessy as a student at Catholic University of America. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment, and her attorney did not respond to a phone call to his office or to an email message.
Police said the incident occurred Jan. 19 as thousands of people marched through the nation's capital. The producer was conducting an interview at the time near New York Avenue and 14th Street Northwest.
The producer posted a video on the Internet on Jan. 21, saying on Twitter: ''Here is the moment I was sexually assaulted by a #WomensMarch2019 protester. She laughed about it. The crowd cheered. The police did nothing.'' Infowars was founded by Alex Jones, a conservative conspiracy theorist.
Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman, said the producer reported the incident on Jan. 23 and the investigation took several days before prosecutors signed off on an arrest warrant.
The arrest affidavit alleges O'Shaughnessy intentionally grabbed the producer in a private area. In an interview with police, she said she ''inadvertently brushed up against him'' and that he took her comments out of context in what was an ''emotionally charged situation.''
The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault, and the producer could not be reached for comment.
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Seeing Racism Everywhere: Photo Of Soot-Covered Coal Miners Criticized For 'Blackface' | Daily Wire
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:09
The New York Times isn't the only outlet claiming white people with soot on their faces are actually portraying ''blackface.'' For the Times, it was Mary Poppins and the chimney sweepers.
For an opinion writer for the Arizona Central, part of USA Today, it was a photo of blue-collar workers having a drink after work.
Opinion contributor Rashaad Thomas says he was in Phoenix recently at a holiday party. The restaurant he was in had photographs on the wall, as many do, but one in particular stood out to him. This photo showed a group of seven or so coal miners, covered head to toe in soot, their faces blackened to varying degrees, drinking beer at a pub. The photo also shows one man who doesn't appear to be covered in soot and an unhappy woman.
Thomas' friends told him, ''It's coal miners at a pub after work.'' He ''asked a Latinx and white woman for their opinion.'' The two said the photo appeared to be of coal workers having a drink after work.
This didn't sit well with Thomas, who asked to speak to a manager.
''Instead, I spoke with a white restaurant owner. I explained to him why the photograph was offensive. Evidently, someone else had made a similar comment about the photograph before,'' Thomas wrote.
This owner apparently told Thomas he would speak to other restaurant owners about the photo. Thomas asked him, while leaving, if he had done so yet. No, he had not immediately rushed to phone other restaurant owners during the holiday season about a complaint over an old photo of coal miners.
Thomas was incensed, and took to the Internet with his opinion, asking: ''Who determines what's offensive?''
He writes that the photo is offensive to him and reminded him of the movie ''Birth of a Nation.'' But since everyone else just sees soot-covered coal workers '-- including that ''white owner,'' it apparently wasn't offensive. Then Thomas includes this pivotal line:
''Fact: The photograph shows coal miners' faces covered in soot. The context of the photograph is not the issue.''
But the context of the photo is the issue. We can't allow people to just deem things racist that aren't actually racist. The media has been doing this for years.
''At the downtown Phoenix restaurant, my concern that the photograph of men in blackface was a threat to me and my face and voice were ignored,'' Thomas wrote. ''A business' photograph of men with blackened faces culturally says to me, 'Whites Only.' It says people like me are not welcome.''
So, an old photo of men who had just completed working a dangerous job for low pay was ''a threat'' to the ''face and voice'' of someone able to attend a party and publish his thoughts to the Internet?
At no time does Thomas say he was treated rudely or asked to leave, yet he says this photo, which few people would probably even notice or pay attention to, somehow said he was not welcome at this establishment?
War on Cash
Cash out: Eurozone banks stop issuing '‚¬500 note in fight against crime | Euronews
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:20
Moves to phase out the euro's highest-value banknote took a major step forward on Monday.
Central banks across Europe's single currency area stopped issuing the purple '‚¬500 bill amid concerns it makes life easier for criminals.
The banknote's association with money laundering and terrorist financing has earned it the nickname ''Bin Laden" in some circles.
The '‚¬500 note makes it easier to transport large sums of money. For example, '‚¬1 million in '‚¬500 bills weighs just 2.2kg, compared with more than 20kg if '‚¬50 denominations are used.
Germany and Austria are the only central banks in the euro area that will continue to issue the banknotes.
Nevertheless both countries '-- known for their reliance on cash, especially for the settlement of large sums '-- will stop issuing the bill on April 26.
At the start of this year, there were 521,630,046 '‚¬500 banknotes in circulation at a value of '‚¬260,815,023,000.
While the issuing of the banknote has stopped in most countries, it will continue to be legal tender.
Central banks in the euro area will also exchange '‚¬500 bills for smaller dominations of the currency for an unlimited period.
Armageddon!
Walmart needs hundreds of truck drivers and will pay them $87,500
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 16:04
Amid a mass nationwide truck driver shortage, Walmart has upped the ante by raising driver salaries to $87,500 a year, on average, beginning this February, in a bid to attract the hundreds of workers it needs to fill out its fleet in 2019.
The retail giant hired more than 1,400 new drivers last year, but as roughly two-thirds of the nation's freight is transported by truck and consumer demand for its wares increased last year '-- same-store sales grew 3 percent during 2018 '-- the company needs another large batch of fresh drivers to keep it running.
But the ultra-low unemployment rate and the job's challenging on-the-road lifestyle mean there are fewer workers interested in taking these roles. The American Trucking Association estimates there are 48,000 vacant trucking jobs, which may be why Walmart announced its wage increase.
Its drivers will earn an additional one cent per mile and extra pay for every arrival, bringing the average annual compensation to $87,500 and its all-in rate close to 89 cents per mile.
A salary just shy of $90,000 will definitely tip the scale in Walmart's favor as its competes for potential drivers. The median annual wage for most tractor-trailer truck drivers across the U.S. is $44,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or about $43,000 less than what Walmart says it will pay employees. And only 10 percent of truckers earn above $64,000.
Walmart also offers drivers three weeks of paid time-off in a driver's first year and quarterly bonuses for safe driving, according to Business Insider. They also enjoy a rarity in the trucking word: two days a week at home.
In addition to its benefits, Walmart is also making its on-boarding process faster in hopes of increasing its new driver recruitment. It slashed wait times between a candidate's initial review and their mandatory driving assessment in half, and added targeted one-on-one mentoring from veteran drivers to its new driver orientation practices.
All of this is a departure from the company's old system, in which candidates were given one chance to perform an assessment, and were judged based on their driving skills and ability to accurately complete safety scans before departure. This "one and done" test was so rigorous that only about 10 percent of candidates made it through the trial run, according to Yahoo Finance. Now, about 80 percent pass under the new trial process, Walmart told Business Insider.
But becoming a Walmart driver still requires that you not only pass this initial on-boarding process and driving checks, but that you have 30 months of experience in the past three years and a clean safety record.
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Clips
VIDEO - (2) Ł'RN 2K0D3 on Twitter: "@tomselliott @AOC . @THErealDVORAK @adamcurry I hope y'all have some clips of this stuff on today's show! #noagenda" / Twitter
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 15:42
Log in Sign up Tom Elliott @ tomselliott
17h .
@AOC: I acknowledge my "privilege" in being born "cisgendered""I'm a cisgendered woman, I will never know the trauma of feeling like I'm not born in the right body. That is a privilege I have no matter how poor my family was when I was born."
pic.twitter.com/QkviNMtLmv View photo · Ł'RN 2K0D3 @ ITMCitizen Replying to @tomselliott @AOC and 2 others .
@THErealDVORAK @adamcurry I hope y'all have some clips of this stuff on today's show!
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VIDEO - Democrats, Media Panic Over Howard Schultz Possibly Running for President | SUPERcuts! #653 - YouTube
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:24
VIDEO - Students in Belgium call for increased efforts to fight climate change | #EuronewsNow - YouTube
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:15
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton, Cuomo tout abortion rights - YouTube
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:11
VIDEO - Trial begins for pharma exec accused of using 'bribes and fraud' to sell fentanyl - ABC News
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:06
The first criminal trial of a pharmaceutical executive who marketed the drug fentanyl started Monday in Boston.
Interested in Opioid Epidemic? Add Opioid Epidemic as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Opioid Epidemic news, video, and analysis from ABC News.Federal prosecutors claim that John Kapoor was unhappy with the sales of the fentanyl spray his company developed to treat cancer pain, so he and others turned to "bribes and fraud" to try to sell it to patients without cancer.
Kapoor, the billionaire founder of the Arizona-based company Insys Therapeutics Inc., has entered a plea of not guilty. Kapoor, along with six other Insys executives, is facing charges relating to racketeering, mail fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of Alabama via Reuters A box of the Fentanyl-based drug Subsys, made by Insys Therapeutics Inc, in an undated photograph provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama. Kapoor's attorney Brian Kelly has previously said that his client "doesn't believe it's a strong case. He wants to fight this case," the Associated Press reported in November 2017, a month after Kapoor was arrested.
Prosecutors have charged Kapoor with the same criminal statute traditionally used to prosecute mobsters, accusing Kapoor and six others of a racketeering conspiracy that involved doctors on the take, dangerously high doses of fentanyl and insurers tricked into covering the cost of the drug.
"The defendants and their co-conspirators used bribes and kickbacks to try to cause practitioners to issue new prescriptions for the fentanyl spray, as well as increases in the dosage, and volume, of existing prescriptions for the fentanyl spray,'' the criminal complaint states. ''The bribes and kickbacks took different forms, including speaker fees and honoraria for marketing events, food and entertainment, administrative support, and fees paid to co-conspirator pharmacies."
Brian Snyder/Reuters John Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, arrives at the federal courthouse for the first day of the trial, in Boston, Jan.28, 2019. The defense has portrayed the trial as government overreach.
Insys Therapeutics said in August said it would pay $150 million to resolve a Department of Justice investigation related to its marketing of the fentanyl spray Subsys.
Kapoor was arrested in 2017 on the same day President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.
ABC News' Meghan Keneally contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Aaron Mat(C) on Twitter: "You'll never guess who is seizing on life-threatening cold weather in the U.S. to fear-monger about... Russia!'... "
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:17
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VIDEO - Canberrans among the first in Australia to test new Optus 5G network
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:58
Canberrans among the first in Australia to test new Optus 5G network
Skip to sections navigationSkip to contentSkip to footerA handful of Canberrans will be among the first people in Australia to trial Optus' new 5G Home Broadband network, which will be rolled out in a total of nine ACT suburbs by March 2020.
Optus Chief Executive Allen Lew unveiled two live 5G locations at Dickson and Manuka on Thursday. The only other live location in Australia is Glendenning in NSW.
"[5G] is a new mobile network that will offer unprecedented bandwidth, low latency, fast mobility and high capacity, which over the next few years will support a set of broad new applications for consumers and for enterprises," Mr Lew said.
"We are proud to be able to bring this to residences across Australia starting with two suburbs in Canberra, in Dickson and Manuka, and one in Glendenning in Sydney."
The network will be made available to 50 people in the live locations who lodge an expression of interest in the coming weeks, with the expectation that applicants will have it installed by July.
At present, the network will only operate via household broadband, to which users can connect their mobile devices. Handsets with Optus 5G capabilities will be tested from about June onwards.
The network has a guaranteed speed of 50Mbps. Australia has an average 4G download connection speed of 33.76Mbps, according to OpenSignal.
Optus Chief Executive Allen Lew announces the details of the telco's new 5G network. Credit: Jamila Toderas
Home Broadband packages will retail for $70 per month for unlimited data.
"Since it's a new technology we will be hand-holding the first 50 customers with professional installation and dedicated support ... but eventually all of the 5G home broadband customers will be able to get it from our stores and have it working immediately," Mr Lew said.
"I believe [manufacturers] are all busy developing their handsets '... indications are that the first 5G devices will come out at the middle of this year."
Optus said they are in talks with overseas manufacturers about bringing 5G-enabled handsets to Australia for testing once the global 5G standard is finalised.
The technology for Optus' roll-out of the 5G Home Broadband network in Australia has been developed with Nokia, who are supplying the core Radio Access Network and Fastmile 5G devices, which are the wireless modems users will have in their homes.
Mr Lew said chinese telco Huawei has no involvement in the development of the 5G Broadband network, but Optus would continue using their devices on the 4G network.
In August last year, the federal government banned Chinese telcos including Huawei from providing 5G technology to Australia.
"What has been very clear is that for 5G, we cannot use Chinese manufacturers at all in our infrastructure, and we've certainly made sure that that's the case," Mr Lew said.
"As far as other technologies, at this stage, only at the core [will we be] ripping out the Chinese vendors and not using Chinese. The rest of the radio equipment [for 4G] depend on the core, unlike 5G which has greater capability."
Mr Lew said the technology will be rolled out to 1200 locations by March 2020, including residential locations and other key hotspots surrounding airports, train stations, sports stadiums and CBD locations.
In October last year, Telstra unveiled several 5G network towers in the ACT. The telco's Chief Executive Andy Penn said yesterday that it is in "a good position" when it comes to the rollout of the superfast 5G technology.
Cassandra Morgan is a reporter at The Canberra Times. She was previously a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
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VIDEO - David Lammy on Twitter: "Nigel Farage exposed on @ClaireByrneLive. A charlatan who has built a career out of scapegoating migrants and the EU for national mistakes. The truth is he doesn't know what he's talking about. https://t.co/ZugllbN2OW"
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:23
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VIDEO - Ocasio-Cortez Attacks Howard Schultz, Embarrasses Herself With Major Mistake | Daily Wire
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:17
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to a criticism of her from former Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz on Wednesday by portraying herself as a victim of classism and ended up embarrassing herself.
"I respect the Democratic Party. I no longer feel affiliated because I don't know their views represent the majority of Americans. I don't think we want a 70 percent income tax in America," Schultz said in a CNBC interview on Monday. "The way I've come to this decision is, I believe that if I ran as a Democrat, I would have to say things that I know in my heart I do not believe, and I would have to be disingenuous."
"Why don't people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to 'work their way up' or that 'maybe they should start with city council first'?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Why don't people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to ''work their way up'' or that ''maybe they should start with city council first''? https://t.co/3d8Nenrvl5
'-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 30, 2019Ocasio-Cortez's tweet suggests that she most likely did not know about Schultz's background, which is a literal rags-to-riches story. Business Insider reported:
Schultz was born on July 19, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said growing up in the projects '-- "loosely described as the other side of the tracks" He experienced poverty at an early age. When Schultz was 7 years old, his father broke his ankle while working as a truck driver picking up and delivering diapers. At the time, his father had no health insurance or worker's compensation, and the family was left with no income. Schultz worked various low-level jobs '-- including as a bartender, which was Ocasio-Cortez's previous occupation '-- until he landed a sales role at Xerox. Schultz left Xerox for a role at a housewares company called Hammarplast, where he worked his way up to vice president. While working at Hammarplast, Schultz discovered Starbucks and later convinced Starbucks to hire him as the director of retail operations and marketing. Several years later, Schultz bought Starbucks and eventually went on to become a self-made billionaire. That is the very definition of someone "working their way up."
Ocasio-Cortez's tweet was widely mocked by commentators and media figures, who noted its absurdity:
Later on in his interview on CNBC, Schultz addressed Ocasio-Cortez's claim that billionaires represented a policy failure and that the U.S. was "immoral" for allowing an economic system that allowed for billionaires to exist.
"It's so un-American to think that way," Schultz responded. "I'm self-made. I came from the projects and took advantage of the promise of the country. I'm living proof of the American dream."
WATCH:
Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) saying billionaires are "policy failures" and America is "immoral" for allowing them: "It's so un-American to think that way. I'm self-made...I came from the projects...I'm living proof of the American dream" pic.twitter.com/vIsh5fpCLb
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 30, 2019
VIDEO - Mo Brooks on Twitter: "In today's Armed Services hearing, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood confirmed that existing federal law (10 U.S.C. 284) permits @realDonaldTrump to direct the military to #BuildTheWall without declaring a nati
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 23:07
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VIDEO - Michael Jackson - Billie Jean ( cover by Donald Trump ) - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 23:01
VIDEO - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She Will Not Shake Trump's Hand at SOTU
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 20:41
AOC as she now seems to go by, like some sort of rock star, says she will not shake President Trump's hand at the upcoming State of the Union address son February 5th.
Ocasio-Cortez told TMZ that she will attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address but will not shake his hand.
A TMZ reporter asked her if she will be in the ''front row, extending your hand,'' at the address to Congress.
''You know, probably not my hand, but I'll be there, and I'll be present to see and listen to what's going on,'' Ocasio-Cortez responded.
Ocasio-Cortez recently said ''there's ''no question'' that President Donald Trump is a racist.
''When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy, when you look at how he reacted to the Charlottesville incident, where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it's night and day,'' she said.
Well, I don't think that the President will be shedding any tears if he doesn't have to shake the hand of the socialist pushing AOC.
Tags: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, Donald Trump, House, KAG, Keep America Great, MAGA, Make America Great Again, President, President Trump, Senate, SOTU, State of the Union, Trump Continue Reading
VIDEO - "Moderate" Dem Virginia governor: Our new late-term abortion bill would allow babies to be killed ... after they're born
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 19:13
I must be exaggerating, you say? Watch.
Quote: ''If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.''
He's offering this to make the case that the new bill is less draconian than its right-wing critics claim. Yes, he allows, there will be situations where a child is delivered alive and then killed on the table on mom's instructions '-- the logical end point of liberal abortion laws, as pro-lifers have warned about for years. But it'll be ''kept comfortable.'' Why, they might even revive it if it isn't breathing when it's born, like saving the life of a death-row inmate during a suicide attempt so that he can be properly executed the next day.
What's all the fuss about?
Ralph Northam isn't a radical Democrat. He governs one of the more purplish blue states in the country. (He's also a '... pediatric neurologist by trade.) And yet the bill that state is now considering would allow abortion essentially up to, if not beyond, the moment of birth provided that the mother can find one doctor willing to sign off on it as necessary for health reasons. (Ross Douthat points to this study from the Guttmacher Institute as evidence that, contra pro-choice talking points, most women who seek late-term abortions don't so for medical reasons.) Current law requires the consent of two doctors; needless to say, it's easier to find yourself one Kermit Gosnell willing to fib about the medical necessity of an eleventh-hour termination than a pair.
The bill's Democratic sponsor was asked directly during a hearing yesterday whether her bill would allow an abortion right up to the point where the mother is about to give birth. Sure, said state Rep. Kathy Tran, so long as a doctor agrees.
To repeat: This is no longer a radical position. If you doubt that, consider that a guy who was primaried last year for not being progressive enough is leading the charge in New York for a similar ''kill 'em whenever'' approach to abortion.
Governor Andrew Cuomo dug in his heels today, defending signing a law legalizing abortion up until birth while lashing out at Catholic bishops, some of whom increasingly speak of his future excommunication'...
Earlier today, New York City's Cardinal Timothy Dolan did not mince words, saying that the abortion bill Cuomo signed into law is ''ghoulish, grisly, and gruesome.'''...
''Any thinking human being that would want a baby, allow a baby, to be aborted right up to the moment of birth'...anybody who thinks that a baby who survives a gruesome abortion procedure and that a doctor is no longer required to attempt to save that baby's life '' you don't have to be a Catholic to abhor those types of things,'' continued Dolan.
Why would anyone vote for this filth, especially on ''lesser of two evils'' grounds? Ask a progressive to name the most vicious thing Trump has done while in office and they're apt to cite his family separation policy at the border. Practically to a man or woman, all of those same people either enthusiastically support or comfortably tolerate a Democratic leadership that thinks actual out-of-the-womb infanticide is unproblematic. They're diseased. How could any righty, anti-Trump or not, support them?
Update: The only spin the left is offering on Northam's comments is that he must be describing an unviable fetus, a baby that's too sick to live for long after delivery. That'll probably be his spin too after the outrage wave reaches him. But that's missing the point: Although the idea of a doctor killing a child on the table after it's been born alive is especially gruesome, there seems to be no dispute that Tran's bill would allow the child to be killed right up to the point of birth. There's also nothing in the bill that I'm aware of that limits late-term abortion to ''unviable'' fetuses. There's a requirement about the mother's health, but that determination is left to the discretion of a single doctor. I refer you again to Cuomo, who's making no bones about the fact that he views this as a matter of ''choice'' and rights, not medical necessity. The best possible spin on Northam is that he'd agree to draw the line on when it's okay to kill the baby at the point it starts crowning. That's ''moderation'' in today's Democratic Party.
VIDEO - Pelosi's mafia ties explain Democrat opposition to border wall - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 18:51
VIDEO - EXCLUSIVE: Former Top FBI Official Reveals Problems in Trump Probe - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 17:58
VIDEO - DELUSIONAL: Waters Says Russia 'Sent' Manafort To Trump Campaign, Then Admits 'I Don't Have Proof'
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:49
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, floated an insane conspiracy theory on Monday, but then admitted she didn't have any proof to support her claim.
During an appearance on MSNBC's ''All In,'' Waters said she believes Paul Manafort, who briefly served as President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign chairman, was ''sent'' by Russia.
Get Your ''Build The Wall'' Coin For 50% And We'll Send Nancy Pelosi A Foam Brick!
''At the center of this question about whether or not the president colluded with Russia or Putin or the oligarchs et cetera is the question of sanctions. We know that Putin wants these sanctions lifted,'' Waters began.
''I've said from the beginning that I believe, and I don't have the proof, but I believe that Manafort was sent to the campaign to be there to ensure that they get Trump elected in every way that they possibly could, and this is in exchange for him lifting the sanctions,'' she continued.
The California Democrat then denounced the Treasury Department for overseeing the process of imposing of sanctions on Russian companies, saying she was not happy about it.
''Don't forget, our president has said that he believes the sanctions should be lifted one way or the other. So I just believe that Mnuchin is, of course, guided by the president. They're all a part of, you know, this relationship that they have with Russia and with Putin and with oligarchs,'' Waters said.
''I mean when you take a look at all of the allies of this president that's involved in this whole question, you cannot help but ask yourself what's at the bottom of this? And I think it has been asked more than one time, why are they all lying? I think it's about sanctions,'' she added.
She continued: ''I think it's very important for us to continue to pressure, to get those sanctions continued and enforced and not to do what we have just witnessed they are trying to do, and that is being involved with delisting on these sanctions.''
WATCH:
Host Chris Hayes responded by saying ''Hmm,'' but did not push back on Waters or ask her to provide any evidence to support her conspiracy theory.
It's certainly troubling to see a member of Congress claim that Manafort was a Russian ''plant'' sent to infiltrate the president of the United States and his administrations policies toward the Kremlin.
Her comments on Monday came after she went berserk on Sunday and said Trump needs to ''shut up.''
During an interview on CNN, the California Democrat attacked the president, claimed he is an incompetent leader who can't make a deal, and argued that he doesn't understand how Congress works.
VOTE NOW: Should Nancy Pelosi Be Removed From Office?
''First of all, he's talking about he's got to have a certain amount of money. He's also talking about how terrible it is with the rapists and the drug dealers, on and on and on,'' she continued, visibly getting animated and worked up.
''That's not how you enter a negotiation,'' Waters declared. ''You shut up and you shut down and you get into the negotiation and you legitimately lay your concerns on the table and people are prepared to talk about what they can and cannot do.''
WATCH:
Quite remarkable to see a sitting member of Congress go on live television and tell the president of the United States to ''shut up.''
Just last week, she demanded that Trump be impeached from office over the BuzzFeed report, which has been refuted as an absolute lie.
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VIDEO - The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:46
''[My staff] and I hope the people of Newtown don't have it crash on their head later.'' ''Connecticut Medical Examiner D. Wayne Carver II, MD, December 15, 2012
Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre. The public's general acceptance of the event's validity and faith in its resolution suggest a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled. The condition is reinforced through the corporate media's unwillingness to push hard questions vis- -vis Connecticut and federal authorities who together bottlenecked information while invoking prior restraint through threats of prosecutorial action against journalists and the broader citizenry seeking to interpret the event on social media.
Along these lines on December 19 the Connecticut State Police assigned individual personnel to each of the 26 families who lost a loved one at Sandy Hook Elementary. ''The families have requested no press interviews,'' State Police assert on their behalf, ''and we are asking that this request be honored.[1] The de facto gag order will be in effect until the investigation concludes'--now forecast to be ''several months away'' even though lone gunman Adam Lanza has been confirmed as the sole culprit.[2]
With the exception of an unusual and apparently contrived appearance by Emilie Parker's alleged father, victims' family members have been almost wholly absent from public scrutiny.[3] What can be gleaned from this and similar coverage raises many more questions and glaring inconsistencies than answers. While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place'--at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described.
The Accidental Medical Examiner
An especially important yet greatly underreported feature of the Sandy Hook affair is the wholly bizarre performance of Connecticut's top medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II at a December 15 press conference. Carver's unusual remarks and behavior warrant close consideration because in light of his professional notoriety they appear remarkably amateurish and out of character.
H. Wayne Carver II has an extremely self-assured, almost swaggering presence in Connecticut state administration. In early 2012 Carver threatened to vacate his position because of state budget cuts and streamlining measures that threatened his professional autonomy over the projects and personnel he oversaw.
Along these lines the pathologist has gone to excessive lengths to demonstrate his findings and expert opinion in court proceedings. For example, in a famous criminal case Carver ''put a euthanized pig through a wood chipper so jurors could match striations on the bone fragments with the few ounces of evidence that prosecutors said were on the remains of the victim.''[4] One would therefore expect Carver to be in his element while identifying and verifying the exact ways in which Sandy Hook's children and teachers met their violent demise.
Yet the H. Wayne Carver who showed up to the December 15 press conference is an almost entirely different man, appearing apprehensive and uncertain, as if he is at a significant remove from the postmortem operation he had overseen. The multiple gaffes, discrepancies, and hedges in response to reporters' astute questions suggest that he is either under coercion or an imposter. While the latter sounds untenable it would go a long way in explaining his sub-pedestrian grasp of medical procedures and terminology.
With this in mind extended excerpts from this exchange are worthy of recounting here in print. Carver is accompanied by Connecticut State Police Lieutenant H. Paul Vance and additional Connecticut State Police personnel. The reporters are off-screen and thus unidentified so I have assigned them simple numerical identification based on what can be discerned of their voices.
Reporter #1: So the rifle was the primary weapon?
H. Wayne Carver: Yes.
Reporter #1: [Inaudible]
Carver: Uh (pause). Question was what caliber were these bullets. And I know'--I probably know more about firearms than most pathologists but if I say it in court they yell at me and don't make me answer [sic]'--so [nervous laughter]. I'll let the police do that for you.
Reporter #2: Doctor can you tell us about the nature of the wounds. Were they at very close range? Were the children shot at from across the room?
Carver: Uhm, I only did seven of the autopsies. The victims I had ranged from three to eleven wounds apiece and I only saw two of them with close range shooting. Uh, but that's, uh y'know, a sample. Uh, I really don't have detailed information on the rest of the injuries.
[Given that Carver is Connecticut's top coroner and in charge of the entire postmortem this is a startling admission.-JT]
Reporter #3: But you said that the long rifle was used?
Carver: Yes.
Reporter #3: But the long rifle was discovered in the car.
State Police Lieutenant Vance: That's not correct, sir.
Unidentified reporter #4: How many bullets or bullet fragments did you find in the autopsy. Can you tell us that?
Carver: Oh. I'm lucky I can tell you how many I found. I don't know. There were lots of them, OK? This type of weapon is not, uh '... the bullets are designed in such a fashion that the energy'--this is very clinical. I shouldn't be saying this. But the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in [the tissue].
[In fact, the Bushmaster .223 Connecticut police finally claimed was used in the shooting is designed for long range field use and utilizes high velocity bullets averaging 3,000 feet-per-second, the energy of which even at considerable distance would penetrate several bodies before finally coming to rest in tissue.]
Reporter #5: How close were the injuries?
Carver: Uh, all the ones (pause). I believe say, yes [sic].
Reporter #6: In what shape were the bodies when the families were brought to check [inaudible].
Carver: Uh, we did not bring the bodies and the families into contact. We took pictures of them, uhm, of their facial features. We have, uh, uh'--it's easier on the families when you do that. Un, there is, uh, a time and place for the up close and personal in the grieving process, but to accomplish this we thought it would be best to do it this way and, uh, you can sort of, uh '... You can control a situation depending on the photographer, and I have very good photographers. Uh, but uh'--
Reporter #7: Do you know the difference of the time of death between the mother in the house and the bodies recovered [in the school].
Carver: Uh, no, I don't. Sorry [shakes head excitedly] I don't! [embarrassed laugh]
Reporter #8: Did the gunman kill himself with the rifle?
Carver: No. I'--I don't know yet. I'll-I'll examine him tomorrow morning. But, but I don't think so.
[Why has Carver left arguably the most important specimen for last? And why doesn't he think Lanza didn't commit suicide with the rifle?]
Reporter #9: In terms of the children, were they all found in one classroom or'--
Carver: Uhm '... [inaudible] [Turns to Lieutenant Vance] Paul and company will deal with that.
Reporter #9: What?
Carver: Paul and company will deal with that. Lieutenant Vance is going to handle that one.
Reporter #10: Was there any evidence of a struggle? Any bruises?
Carver: No.
Reporter #11: The nature of the shooting; is there any sense that there was a lot of care taken with precision [inaudible] or randomly?
Carver: [Exhales while glancing upward, as if frustrated] Both. It's a very difficult question to answer '... You'd think after thousands of people I've seen shot but I '... It's '... If I attempted to answer it in court there'd be an objection and then they'd win'--[nervous laughter].
[Who would win? Why does an expert whose routine job as a public employee is to provide impartial medical opinion concerned with winning and losing in court? Further, Carver is not in court but rather at a press conference.]
Reporter #12: Doctor, can you discuss the fatal injuries to the adults?
Carver: Ah, they were similar to those of the children.
Reporter #13: Doctor, the children you had autopsied, where in the bodies were they hit?
Carver: Uhm [pause]. All over. All over.
Reporter #14: Were [the students] sitting at their desks or were they running away when this happened?
Carver: I'll let the guys who'--the scene guys talk'--address that issue. I, uh, obviously I was at the scene. Obviously I'm very experienced in that. But there are people who are, uh, the number one professionals in that. I'll let them'--let that [voice trails off].
Reporter [#15]: How many boys and how many girls [were killed]?
Carver: [Slowly shaking his head] I don't know.
More Unanswered Questions and Inconsistencies
In addition to Carver's remarks several additional chronological and evidentiary contradictions in the official version of the Sandy Hook shooting are cause for serious consideration and leave doubt in terms of how the event transpired vis- -vis the way authorities and major media outlets have presented it. It is now well known that early on journalists reported that Adam Lanza's brother Ryan Lanza was reported to be the gunman, and that pistols were used in the shooting rather than a rifle. Yet these are merely the tip of the iceberg.
When Did the Gunman Arrive?After Adam Lanza fatally shot and killed his mother at his residence, he drove himself to the elementary school campus, arriving one half hour after classes had commenced. Dressed in black, Lanza proceeds completely unnoticed through an oddly vacant parking lot with a military style rifle and shoots his way through double glass doors and a brand new yet apparently poorly engineered security system.
Further, initial press accounts suggest how no school personnel or students heard gunshots and no 911 calls are made until after Lanza begins firing inside the facility. ''It was a lovely day,'' Sandy Hook fourth grade teacher Theodore Varga said. And then, suddenly and unfathomably, gunshots rang out. ''I can't even remember how many,'' Varga said.[5]
The recollection contrasts sharply with an updated version of Lanza's arrival where at 9:30AM he
walked up to the front entrance and fired at least a half dozen rounds into the glass doors. The thunderous sound of Lanza blowing an opening big enough to walk through the locked school door caused Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Scherlach to bolt from a nearby meeting room to investigate. He shot and killed them both as they ran toward him.
Breaching the school's security system in such a way would have likely triggered some automatic alert of school personnel. Further, why would the school's administrators run toward an armed man who has just noisily blasted his way into the building?
Two other staff members attending the meeting with Hochsprung and Scherlach sustained injuries ''in the hail of bullets'' but returned to the aforementioned meeting room and managed a call to 911.[6] This contrasted with earlier reports where the first 911 call claimed students ''were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns.''[7] Recordings of the first police dispatch following the 911 call at 9:35:50 indicate that someone ''thinks there's someone shooting in the building.''[8] There is a clear distinction between potentially hearing shots somewhere in the building and being almost mortally caught in a ''hail of bullets.''
How did the gunman fire so many shots in such little time?According to Dr. Carver and State Police, Lanza shot each victim between 3 and 11 times during a 5 to 7 minute span. If one is to average this out to 7 bullets per individual'--excluding misses'--Lanza shot 182 times, or once every two seconds. Yet according to the official story Lanza was the sole assassin and armed with only one weapon. Thus if misses and changing the gun's 30-shot magazine at least 6 times are added to the equation Lanza must have been averaging about one shot per second'--extremely skilled use of a single firearm for a young man with absolutely no military training and who was on the verge of being institutionalized. Still, an accurate rendering of the event is even more difficult to arrive at because the chief medical examiner admittedly has no idea exactly how the children were shot or whether a struggle ensued.
Where is the Photo and Video Evidence?Photographic and video evidence is at once profuse yet lacking in terms of its capacity to demonstrate that a mass shooting took place on the scale described by authorities. For example, in an era of ubiquitous video surveillance of public buildings especially no visual evidence of Lanza's violent entry has emerged. And while studio snapshots of the Sandy Hook victims abound there is little if any eyewitness testimony of anyone who's observed the corpses except for Carver and his staff, and they appear almost as confused about the conditions of the deceased as any layperson watching televised coverage of the event. Nor are there any routine eyewitness, photo or video evidence of the crime scene's aftermath'--broken glass, blasted security locks and doors, bullet casings and holes, bloodied walls and floors'--all of which are common in such investigations and reportage.
Why Were Medical Personnel Turned Away From the Crime Scene?Oddly enough medical personnel are forced to set up their operation not at the school where the dead and injured lay, but rather at the fire station several hundred feet away. This flies in the face of standard medical operating procedure where personnel are situated as close to the scene as possible. There is no doubt that the school had ample room to accommodate such personnel. Yet medical responders who rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary upon receiving word of the tragedy were denied entry to the school and forced to set up primary and secondary triages off school grounds and wait for the injured to be brought to them.
Shortly after the shooting ''as other ambulances from neighboring communities rolled up, sirens blaring, the first responders slowly realized that their training would be tragically underutilized on this horrible day. 'You may not be able to save everybody, but you damn well try,''' 44 year old emergency medical technician James Wolff told NBC News. '''And when (we) didn't have the opportunity to put our skills into action, it's difficult.'''[9]
In light of this, who were the qualified medical practitioners that pronounced the 20 children and 7 adults dead? Who decided that none could be revived? Carver and his staff are apparently the only medical personnel to have attended to the victims'--yet this was in the postmortem conducted several hours later. Such slipshod handling of the crime scene leaves the State of Connecticut open to a potential array of hefty civil claims by families of the slain.
Did a mass evacuation of the school take place?Sandy Hook Elementary is attended by 600 students. Yet there is no photographic or video evidence of an evacuation on this scale. Instead, limited video and photographic imagery suggest that a limited evacuation of perhaps at most several dozen students occurred.
A highly circulated photo depicts students walking in a single file formation with their hands on each others' shoulders and eyes shut. Yet this was the image of a drill that took place prior to the event itself.[10. See Correction] Most other photos are portraits of individual children. Despite aerial video footage of the event documenting law enforcement scouring the scene and apprehending one or more suspects in the wooded area nearby the school,[11] there is no such evidence that a mass exodus of children from the school transpired once law enforcement pronounced Sandy Hook secure. Nor are there videos or photos of several hundred students and their parents at the oft-referenced fire station nearby where students were routed for parent pick up.
Sound Bite Prism and the Will to Believe
Outside of a handful of citizen journalists and alternative media commentators Sandy Hook's dramatically shifting factual and circumstantial terrain has escaped serious critique because it is presented through major media's carefully constructed prism of select sound bites alongside a widespread and longstanding cultural impulse to accept the pronouncements of experts, be they bemused physicians, high ranking law enforcement officers, or political leaders demonstrating emotionally-grounded concern.
Political scientist W. Lance Bennett calls this the news media's ''authority-disorder bias.'' ''Whether the world is returned to a safe, normal place,'' Bennett writes, ''or whether the very idea of a normal world is called into question, the news is preoccupied with order, along with related questions of whether authorities are capable of establishing or restoring it.''[12]
Despite Carver's bizarre performance and law enforcement authorities' inability to settle on and relay simple facts, media management's impulse to assure audiences and readerships of the Newtown community's inevitable adjustment to its trauma and loss with the aid of the government's protective oversight'--however incompetent that may be'--far surpasses a willingness to undermine this now almost universal news media narrative with messy questions and suggestions of intrigue. This well-worn script is one the public has been conditioned to accept. If few people relied on such media to develop their world view this would hardly be a concern. Yet this is regrettably not the case.
The Sandy Hook tragedy was on a far larger scale than the past year's numerous slaughters, including the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and the Batman theater shooting in Colorado. It also included glaringly illogical exercises and pronouncements by authorities alongside remarkably unusual evidentiary fissures indistinguishable by an American political imagination cultivated to believe that the corporate, government and military's sophisticated system of organized crime is largely confined to Hollywood-style storylines while really existing malfeasance and crises are without exception returned to normalcy.
If recent history is a prelude the likelihood of citizens collectively assessing and questioning Sandy Hook is limited even given the event's overtly superficial trappings. While the incident is ostensibly being handled by Connecticut law enforcement, early reports indicate how federal authorities were on the scene as the 911 call was received. Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration's complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic'--and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama's political platform.
The move to railroad this program through with the aid of major media and an irrefutable barrage of children's portraits, ''heartfelt'' platitudes and ostensible tears neutralizes a quest for genuine evidence, reasoned observation and in the case of Newtown honest and responsible law enforcement. Moreover, to suggest that Obama is not capable of deploying such techniques to achieve political ends is to similarly place ones faith in image and interpretation above substance and established fact, the exact inclination that in sum has brought America to such an impasse.
Notes
[1] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, ''State Police Investigate Newtown School Shooting'' [Press Release] December 15, 2012.
[2] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, ''Update: Newtown School Shooting'' [Press Release], December 19, 2012.
[3] CNN, ''Family of 6 Year Old Victim,'' December 14, 2012, ''Sandy Hook School Shooting Hoax Fraud,'' Youtube, December 17, 2012.
[4] Hartford Courant, ''Finally 'Enough' For Chief Medical Examiner'' [Editorial], January 30, 2012.
[5] John Christofferson and Jocelyn Noveck, ''Sandy Hook School Shooting: Adam Lanza Kills 26 and Himself at Connecticut School,'' Huffington Post, December 15, 2012.
[6] Edmund H. Mahoney, Dave Altmari, and Jon Lender, ''Sandy Hook Shooter's Pause May Have Aided Escape,'' Hartford Courant, December 23, 2012.
[7] Jaweed Kaleem, ''Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: Newtown Connecticut Students, Administrators Among Victims, Reports Say,'' Huffington Post, December 14, 2012.
[8] RadioMan911TV, ''Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Newtown Police / Fire and CT State Police,'' Youtube, December 14, 2012. At several points in this recording audio is scrambled, particularly following apprehension of a second shooting suspect outside the school, suggesting a purposeful attempt to withhold vital information.
[9] Miranda Leitsinger, ''You Feel Helpless: First Responders Rushed to School After Shooting, Only to Wait,'' US News on NBC, December 20.
[10] http://thenetng.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sandy-Hook-Elementary-School-600—400.jpg. 12/25/12 Update/Correction: Note that this photo of approximately fifteen children allegedly being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary was reportedly produced on December 14. See Connor Simpson, Alexander Abad-Santos et al, ''Newtown School Shooting: Live Updates,'' The Atlantic Wire, December 19, 2012. Still, the paltry number of children confirms the claim that little photographic evidence exists of Sandy Hook's 600 students being moved from the facility on December 14. This photo was from a Tweet of a Sandy Hook drill published by the school's slain principal Dawn Hochsprung titled, ''Safety First.'' See Julia La Rouche, ''Principal Killed in Sandy Hook Tweeted Picture of Students Practicing an Evacuation Drill,'' Business Insider, December 16, 2012.
[11] Rob Dew, ''Evidence of 2nd and 3rd Shooter at Sandy Hook,'' Infowars Nightly News, December 18, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nCFHImNeRw. A more detailed yet less polished analysis was developed by citizen journalist Idahopicker, ''Sandy Hook Elem: 3 Shooters,'' December 16, 2012. See also James F. Tracy, ''Analyzing the Newtown Narrative: Sandy Hook's Disappearing Shooter Suspects,'' Memoryholeblog.com, December 20, 2012.
[12] W. Lance Bennett, News: The Politics of Illusion 9th Edition, Boston: Longman, 2012, 47.
Andrew Whooley provided suggestions and research for this article.
VIDEO - Kamala Harris on Twitter: "Enough is enough. We cannot wait for the next tragedy to act on gun violence.'... "
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:36
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VIDEO - US Coup in Venezuela Motivated by Oil and Corporate Interests - Militarist John Bolton Spills the Beans | The Grayzone
Wed, 30 Jan 2019 03:52
In an interview on Fox Business, Trump's hyper-militaristic National Security Adviser John Bolton admitted the US-led coup in Venezuela is motivated by oil and corporate interests.By Ben Norton
US President Donald Trump's hyper-militaristic National Security Adviser John Bolton spilled the beans in an interview on Fox Business, admitting that the United States government is working with corporations to target Venezuela's massive oil reserves.
''We're looking at the oil assets,'' Bolton said. ''That's the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We're looking at what to do to that.''
''We're in conversation with major American companies now,'' he continued. ''I think we're trying to get to the same end result here.''
''It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,'' Bolton admitted.
On January 23, the US government initiated a political coup attempt in Venezuela, seeking to replace the government of socialist President Nicols Maduro with Juan Guaid" and a neoliberal capitalist opposition that has pledged to privatize state assets and welcome in corporate partnerships.
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, and the democratically elected leftist government of former President Hugo Chvez kicked out US oil corporations and used his nation's natural resources to fund social services for poor and working-class Venezuelans.
The Trump administration has seized control of Venezuelan state assets in the US and given them to supposed ''interim president'' Juan Guaid", in a bid to fund his coup regime. On January 28, the US also imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, in an attempt to transfer control to the right-wing opposition.
TranscriptA full transcript of Bolton's exchange with Fox Business host Trish Regan on January 24 follows below:
JOHN BOLTON: ''We're looking at the oil assets. That's the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We're looking at what to do to that.
We want everybody to know, we're looking at all this seriously. We don't want any American businesses or investors caught by surprise. They can see what President Trump did yesterday. We're following through on it.''
TRISH REGAN: ''So if you think of a company like Citgo, which is owned by PDVSA, which is the state-run oil company there in Venezuela, we have a lot of those Citgo assets right here in the US. Is that something, for example sir, that you are looking at?''
JOHN BOLTON: ''Yeah look, we're in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo here in the United States. I think we're trying to get to the same end result here.
Venezuela is one of the three countries I called the 'Troika of Tyranny.'
It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.
It would be good for Venezuela; it would be good for the people of the United States. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way.''
Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.
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VIDEO - Some Dems float idea of primary challenge for Ocasio-Cortez | TheHill
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:17
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-CortezKamala Harris endorses Ocasio-Cortez's 'Green New Deal' Hillicon Valley: US files criminal charges against Huawei | Facebook unveils new plans to crack down on misinformation | Ocasio-Cortez hits tech giants over event with climate skeptics Overnight Energy: Trump hits Venezuela's state-owned oil company with new sanctions | EPA boasts of 2018 accomplishments | Ocasio-Cortez presses tech giants on climate MORE (D-N.Y.) has infuriated colleagues by aligning with a progressive outside group that's threatening to primary entrenched Democrats. Now some of those lawmakers are turning the tables on her and are discussing recruiting a primary challenger to run against the social media sensation.
At least one House Democrat has been privately urging members of the New York delegation to recruit a local politician from the Bronx or Queens to challenge Ocasio-Cortez.
''What I have recommended to the New York delegation is that you find her a primary opponent and make her a one-term congressperson,'' the Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told The Hill. ''You've got numerous council people and state legislators who've been waiting 20 years for that seat. I'm sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district.''
The New York delegation has eyed Ocasio-Cortez with skepticism ever since last summer when the 29-year-old self-described democratic socialist shocked the political world and defeated then-Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in what many thought would be a sleepy primary race. Crowley, a Queens powerbroker and affable House Democratic Caucus chairman, had been considered a possible future Speaker.
Many New York and Congressional Black Caucus lawmakers were also furious with Ocasio-Cortez after a recent Politico report stated she and the grass-roots group aligned with her, Justice Democrats, were considering backing a primary challenge to fellow New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries Hakeem Sekou Jeffries55 percent oppose impeachment proceedings against Trump: poll Republicans distance themselves from shutdown tactics The Hill's 12:30 Report '-- Stone indicted in Mueller probe | Says he's not guilty | Day 35 of shutdown | FAA briefly halts flights into LaGuardia MORE , a Black Caucus member and establishment insider who succeeded Crowley as caucus chairman.
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats have denied the report, but the group of insurgent progressives has vowed to target centrist Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and is eyeing other potential 2020 targets.
For now, New York Democratic lawmakers are playing nice with Ocasio-Cortez and her 2.6 million Twitter followers and say no one in the Empire State's delegation is currently contemplating backing a primary challenger against her.
''We are going to see what happens. Generally for me, I'm giving folks the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence. You might say one thing before you get in here, and then after you get to meet folks, you see what happens and how the body works '... things are different, so we'll see what happens,'' Rep. Gregory Meeks Gregory Weldon MeeksSome Dems float idea of primary challenge for Ocasio-Cortez Conservative leader Meadows condemns King comments 'in strongest sense' Corporate diversity is just another misguided policy from Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), whose district includes part of Queens, said in an interview.
''I can only tell you that the times I've spoken to her, and at the times she's been at the New York delegation meetings, she's been cooperative and wants to be a team player. That's what she said, so you gotta take her at her word until something changes,'' Meeks added.
Jeffries, the No. 4 House Democrat who some say could someday become Speaker, insisted none of his House colleagues have approached him to run a primary challenger against Ocasio-Cortez. In fact, the 48-year-old Jeffries said, delegation members this month lobbied Democratic leadership to grant Ocasio-Cortez's request that she be appointed to the House Financial Services and the Oversight and Reform committees.
''I don't think that is something the New York delegation would contemplate. As you can see, we are totally united behind each other. '... The New York delegation sticks together,'' Jeffries told The Hill. He said Ocasio-Cortez denied the news report that she was backing a challenger to him, ''so there was nothing to work through. I haven't seen a primary candidate emerge, so I assume when she denied it, she was correct that there was nothing to it.''
No potential challengers to Ocasio-Cortez have yet emerged. But one New York political insider noted that the Queens and Bronx district is home to many ambitious pols who are close to Crowley and don't like that a political outsider took his seat.
''She's pissing off a lot of people and has probably made a lot of enemies. '... A lot of people who are furious with her are Joe's allies, including some named Crowley,'' said the insider, referring to Crowley's cousin, Elizabeth Crowley, a former New York City councilwoman. ''She is a woman. She's been moving more to the left. She would be someone interesting.''
Elizabeth Crowley, 41, did not return a request for comment, but she has previously said she's eyeing a bid for Queens borough president in 2021. She lives in a neighboring Queens district.
For her part, Ocasio-Cortez doesn't seem particularly worried about a primary challenge. With her newfound fame, she will be a force of nature and fundraising powerhouse in the 2020 cycle; as a political newcomer in 2018, she raised an astounding $2 million last cycle and had more than $400,000 cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports.
Of all people, Ocasio-Cortez would not complain if she gets a primary challenger, her spokesman said.
''We believe in primaries as an idea. We're not upset by the idea of being primaried. We are not going to go out there being anti-primary '-- they are good for party,'' said Corbin Trent, a campaign spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez and a co-founder of Justice Democrats.
''If voters in the district feel that they can be better represented, that will be their choice on primary day,'' he continued. ''In the meantime, we're going to be doing our dead-level best to make sure we are representing the needs and the will of our constituents.''
Justice Democrats spokesman Waleed Shahid predicted a lopsided defeat for whoever tries to take on Ocasio-Cortez.
''Considering she's more popular and well-known than some of the Democratic presidential contenders, I think whoever challenges her will lose by huge margins,'' Shahid said. ''It's a quick way for some D.C. and Wall Street consultants to make some easy money.''
But it's not just Black Caucus members she has rubbed the wrong way. Ocasio-Cortez, whose mother was born in Puerto Rico, has also annoyed members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus by targeting one of their own: Cuellar. Earlier this month, she appeared in a Justice Democrats promotional video with her spokesman, Corbin, and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, touting a program recruiting progressive insurgents to run for Congress.
Justice Democrats is currently searching for a progressive to launch a primary challenge against Cuellar. Hispanic Caucus members aren't happy about those efforts but say they are taking a wait-and-see approach before intervening with Ocasio-Cortez, who joined the caucus this month.
''We're going to protect our members and we're going to protect our own. Full stop,'' said centrist Rep. Pete Aguilar Peter (Pete) Ray AguilarDem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members Dreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House DeGette dropped from chief deputy whip spot MORE (D-Calif.), a former whip for the Hispanic Caucus. ''There are plenty of [swing] races and seats that we can play in, and we want to devote our resources to that.''
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Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:04
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VIDEO - Venezuela Propaganda Debunked - People Are Against Coup - YouTube
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VIDEO - What's Happening in Venezuela?: Just the Facts - YouTube
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:13
VIDEO - Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada - YouTube
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:07
VIDEO - Kevin Kautzman on Twitter: "CC: @adamcurry and let's please find this guy and tell him to avoid small aircraft and hot tubs.'... "
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:34
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VIDEO - bevjoy on Twitter: "omg'... "
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:31
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VIDEO - Pro-Lesbian Radical Feminist Kara Dansky Denounced the Transgender Movement as a 'Man's Rights Movement' in a Powerful Speech at the Heritage Foundation Warning Against the 'Equality Act'
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:19
WASHINGTON, D.C. '-- Kara Dansky, a feminist lawyer and spokeswoman for Women's Liberation Front (WoLF), spoke against the so-called "Equality Act" at the Heritage Foundation on Monday, denouncing the transgender and gender identity movement as anti-women and anti-lesbian in particular. Her remarks echoed the London Pride March sign declaring that "Transactivism Erases Lesbians."
"This is a men's Rights movement '-- this is really a men's rights movement," Dansky declared, calling for men to stand up for women and denounce the transgender movement.
"Overwhelmingly women have been resisting this," Hacsi Horvath, a man who once identified as a woman and underwent surgery, said a few seconds before Dansky's remark. "And it's really shocking how many men on the internet are defending the whole trans thing. Straight men are all about the trans, and you have to wonder what the heck is going on."
Horvath agreed with Dansky in condemning transgender activism as a "Men's Rights movement," and Julia Beck '-- a lesbian and former member of the Baltimore mayor's LGBTQ Commission '-- nodded in agreement. Beck had been kicked off of the commission for opposing transgender identity.
"I got kicked off of the Baltimore mayor's LGBTQ commission '-- as the only lesbian '-- simply for stating biological facts," Beck said. "I was found guilty of 'violence.' My crime? Using male pronouns to talk about a convicted male rapist who identifies as transgender and prefers female pronouns."
"It doesn't matter that he sexually assaulted two women in a women's prison after being transferred there on account of his 'gender identity.' Oh no, it is far more criminal for me to call a male rapist 'he' than it is for him to rape," Beck argued.
Adding insult to injury, "the man who led my inquisition also identifies as 'transgender.' He is the president of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance and claims to be a lesbian," she added, bitterly. "I find that almost funny because everything he does makes life for women, girls, and lesbians worse."
"The meeting made one thing crystal clear: Inclusivity means all voices are welcome, except women's, except lesbians'," Beck said. "Everything is about the T now, entirely eclipsing the L, G, and B. The T is diametrically opposed to the first three letters in the acronym, and especially to the L."
https://pjmedia.com/trending/lesbian-feminist-transgender-activism-is-a-mens-rights-movement/
VIDEO - See the question that brought Kamala Harris to her feet
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:00
CNN Duration: 01:35 10 hrs ago
During a CNN town hall in Iowa, Democratic presidential contender Kamala Harris discussed not needing a male Democratic candidate to challenge and win against President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
VIDEO - Footage Of Shirtless Bernie Sanders Drunkenly Singing With Soviets In '88 Surfaces '' The Forward
Tue, 29 Jan 2019 04:51
The Schmooze January 28, 2019 By Jenny Singer Na Zdorovye and welcome to another round of Attempted Smear of Political Candidate Via Videos Of Their Youth Only Serves To Make Candidate More Appealing.
Forget dancing queen AOC or bangin' Beto or even that unsettling video of teenage Ted Cruz plotting world domination '-- this grainy footage of a topless, hammered Bernie Sanders singing ''This Land Is Your Land'' in the Soviet Union blows them all out of the political shark-filled water.
Travis Justin, a Navy veteran and leader of ''Draft Beto 2020,'' a group that is urging Texas representative Beto O'Rourke to seek presidential election, apparently first posted the video to Twitter. ''Recently discovered footage from 1988 reveals a shirtless Bernie Sanders with his wife, Jane, on their honeymoon in the USSR, drunkenly singing 'This Land Is Your Land' with a group of presumed Soviets,'' Justin captioned the clip, which was surfaced by another Sanders detractor on Twitter.
NEW: Recently discovered footage from 1988 reveals a shirtless Bernie Sanders with his wife, Jane, on their honeymoon in the USSR, drunkenly signing ''This Land Is Your Land'' with a group of presumed Soviets.H/T: @mgranville1pic.twitter.com/bpUsYRdZ7R'-- TOᑭ ᖇOᑭE TᖇAViS (@TopRopeTravis) January 28, 2019
It's true that in 1988 Bernie and Jane Sanders spent time in the Soviet Union immediately after their wedding, but Sanders was the mayor of Burlington at the time, and the trip, to Burlington's Soviet sister city, Yaroslavl, was a part of his official duties. Sanders wrote openly about it in his memoir, jokingly referring to it as a ''honeymoon.''
The video, which somewhat hilariously features a shirtless Sanders belting out the lyrics to the Woody Guthrie classic with a table of apparent locals, does look like a good time. But, as Leonid Bershidsky wrote in Bloomberg of the alleged ''honeymoon,'' which was brought up during the 2016 primary debates to suggest that Sanders has Communist affiliations, the Soviet Union in 1988 was ''hardly a place for an admirer of Communism to find comfort.''
So we will instead have to take comfort, or not, in this possible 2020 candidate's body acceptance, formidable glasses game, and willingness to reach across the table and break bread (or vodka) with people who are a different.
Next up, Twitter, we request footage of Howard Schulz getting schnapps-drunk at his kid's Bat Mitzvah and singing ''Sunrise, Sunset.''
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny
This story "Footage Of Shirtless Bernie Sanders Drunkenly Singing With Soviets In '88 Surfaces" was written by Jenny Singer.
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VIDEO - Barron Trump Time Travel Conspiracy John Titor - YouTube
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 17:15
VIDEO - Trump Says Number of Illegals Has Doubled Since 2015, Cites Astronomical Costs
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 12:54
President Donald Trump on Sunday said the number of illegal immigrants in America dwarfs any previously published official estimates.
''We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392. There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous! DHS,'' Trump tweeted.
Chief of Staff Mark Mulvaney was asked about the number during an appearance on the CBS program ''Face the Nation.''
We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392. There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous! DHS
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
TRENDING: Republican Florida Senator Urges Trump To Use Emergency Powers To End Immigration Crisis
''I'm not exactly sure where the president got that number this morning,'' Mulvaney said.
A December 2018 report from the Department of Homeland Security estimated that as of January 2015, there 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.
A November 2018 report from the Pew Research Center claimed that the number as of 2016 was 10.7 million and that the number had been declining.
Mulvaney suggested, though that the total ''has to be larger than 11 million'' because of the numbers of illegal immigrants who continue to enter the U.S.
Do you support President Trump's efforts to stop illegal immigration?''I think that number was accurate a couple of years ago. We know that it's going up because we know, for example, that 60,000 new illegals are coming across each month for the last three months,'' Mulvaney said.
He noted that given the porous nature of the border and the fact that illegal immigrants shy away from being counted, the number could be as high as ''30 or 40 million.''
Mulvaney said the issue is not the math, but the moral of the tweet.
''I think what you see him trying to do is point out how silly this debate is,'' Mulvaney said. ''This is not that much money in the greater scheme of things.''
RELATED: RNC Takes Stand, Announces 'Undivided Support' for Trump
Mulvaney said that Trump's figures put the cost of illegal immigration before the American public.
''I think he was trying to draw attention to the fact that while the Democrats are sitting here dug in '... that we're spending so much money on other things,'' he added. ''It's really quite absurd,'' he said.
Mulvaney said that before of the continued flow of illegal immigrants, Trump will build his Border Wall ''one way or another.''
Mulvaney did not rule out another federal shutdown if it helps make the wall a reality.
''He is willing to do whatever it takes to secure the border. He does take this very seriously. This is a serious humanitarian and security crisis,'' he said.
Mulvaney said that as America's commander in chief, Trump must defend the border.
''Is it worth it for the president to secure the nation? Keep in mind, he's not making this up. There really is a humanitarian crisis on the border. There really is a security crisis on the border.''
''I know that some people want to stick their head in the sand and say that's not the case but we have data that there are actually hundreds of known criminals in the next caravan that is coming up through Mexico today. These are not made up numbers.''
''So if you're the president of the United States and you know that you have to defend the nation, do you want to shut the government down? No. Do you want to declare a national emergency? No. But you do need and want to defend the nation and he's going to do that,'' Mulvaney said.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
VIDEO - Anderson Cooper 360° on Twitter: ".@ricksantorum: "You can't beat [Trump] up when he actually says... 'have it your way, Nancy, we'll do exactly what you want, we'll sit down... negotiate'" You can't say: "'He caved, he cratered, he's a wimp...th
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:39
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VIDEO - Brent Baker on Twitter: "Video: @TomBrokaw warns opposition to more Hispanics in U.S. fueled by intolerant Republicans. ''I hear, when I push people a little harder, 'I don't know whether I want brown grand babies.''' #MTP'... https://t.co/
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:14
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WSJ on 5G Wars-China's Huawei Indicted - Breaking Down the Charges.mp3
5g-china-race-dominate-high-tech.pdf
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  • 0:00
    I love Clinton you love Clinton there's
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    a song there
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    Adam Curry John C. Dvorak this is your
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    award-winning Gipper Nation Media
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    assassination episode 11 Oasis is no
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    agenda
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    Silicon Valley where the polar vortex
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    can't touch us I'm John see you tomorrow
  • 0:35
    sure it can polar vortex can touch
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    anybody anytime anywhere well it's a big
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    dam that broke
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    according to the global warmest s-- a
  • 0:46
    dam that broke no less yeah it's a dam
  • 0:48
    that broke well before we get to that
  • 0:50
    I'd like everyone to know this show
  • 0:52
    episode 1108 is dedicated to the memory
  • 0:56
    of sir greg davies the heavy-metal
  • 0:58
    historian he passed away a couple days
  • 1:01
    ago and i want to read a note from his
  • 1:05
    partner Dame Jennifer WIDA of the gypsy
  • 1:08
    nation John Adam and the no agenda
  • 1:11
    family I'm deeply saddened to let you
  • 1:13
    know that my fiance sir Greg Davies the
  • 1:15
    heavy-metal historian passed away in his
  • 1:16
    home on the morning of January 29th 2019
  • 1:19
    the Barrett's esophagus condition may
  • 1:22
    have indirectly contributed to Greg's
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    death but the most likely immediate
  • 1:25
    cause was a heart attack
  • 1:26
    he was only 41 years old in his short
  • 1:30
    time upon this earth Greg was a dynamic
  • 1:32
    force in the lives of so many people
  • 1:34
    many of whom have reached out to me
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    since the news broke from his hometown
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    of Perth Australia to the UK to all
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    around the u.s. and indeed all around
  • 1:41
    the world condolences and fond memories
  • 1:43
    have come in I'm touched and honored by
  • 1:45
    all of the support expressed by those
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    who knew him even if he was even even if
  • 1:49
    it was only online but the No Agenda
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    community support has been especially
  • 1:52
    comforting during this difficult time
  • 1:55
    one of your producers that suggested the
  • 1:57
    donations in the amount of $20.99 be
  • 2:00
    made to the show and Greg's honor the
  • 2:02
    reason for this particular donation
  • 2:03
    amount is inspired by Greg's common
  • 2:05
    internet handle
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    CGT 2099 he had a huge internet presence
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    and worked in IT so it's only fitting
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    that a
  • 2:13
    Oriol donation in this amount has been
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    promoted he would have saluted this with
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    two horns up memorial arrangements have
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    not yet been finalized but his family
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    and i have decided upon a huge party
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    open to anyone who wishes to come I will
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    post details online once we have the
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    date set I know Greg contributed several
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    jingles and pieces of artwork over the
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    years so can we have a 69 dudes and a
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    Putin don't worry be happy in his honor
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    and can we also have some state
  • 2:38
    settlement goat Karma with much love and
  • 2:41
    appreciation named Jennifer WETA
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    of the gypsy nation in Lawton Oklahoma
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    absolutely you've got and he will be
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    missed
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    yeah I believe he's the one who did the
  • 3:16
    artwork for show 10th anniversary show
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    there you go yeah yeah I emailed with
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    him just a couple weeks ago yeah he was
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    only United you know just around
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    Christmastime well fuck that sorry yeah
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    not good no all right wow you just got
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    real loud all of a sudden what are you
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    doing why are you doing this to me huh
  • 3:40
    no easy easy partner you back off just
  • 3:44
    back off man just a bit yes back to the
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    polar vortex then yeah the polar vortex
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    apparently is freezing everybody do some
  • 3:52
    weather reports including some that
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    include the well here let's start with
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    it
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    whether weather weather let's start I
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    got bad weather
  • 4:05
    global warming report from NBC the bad
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    weather than global warming report
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    across the globe the weather picture is
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    one of Fire and Ice
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    bone numbing record cold in the Midwest
  • 4:15
    fire and record heat in Australia 120
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    degrees and hotter this month what that
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    really means is that fires will be