1116: GND-MOU-ROI

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 51m
February 28th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Lori Wolfe, Jacobina Kunnen, Baron JD of Silicon Valley

Associate Executive Producers: Gabriel McCall, Alex Van Abel, Chris Black, Wes Harris, Sir Rob Wales of the Great Southern Land, Kevyn Silverman

Cover Artist: Adam at Sea

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
1:21
Alex Jones Appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience
Woodstock
8:11
The Oscars
Woodstock
20:04
Michael Cohen Hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Woodstock
39:29
Evidence for Man-Made Global Warming Hits Gold Standard
Woodstock
43:14
Producer Note: Severn Cullis-Suzuki at Rio Summit 1992
Woodstock
47:49
Producer Note: Skipping School for a Political Agenda
Woodstock
50:19
Ocasio-Cortez Cooking Livestream
Woodstock
58:12
Kamala Harris Asked About The Green New Deal
Woodstock
1:00:00
Bill Gates: Nuclear is Cheaper Than Coal in China
Woodstock
1:10:14
Credits
Woodstock
1:45:10
India vs. Pakistan
Woodstock
1:52:58
Huawei Executive Defends 5G at Mobile World Congress
Woodstock
1:56:08
The Wall Street Journal: How 5G Will Change So Much More Than Your Phone
Woodstock
2:03:26
AC's Final OTG Strategy
Woodstock
2:08:48
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Disagrees With Trump on the Meaning of a Memorandum of Understanding
Woodstock
2:12:03
Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos Shortly Detained in Venezuela
Woodstock
2:13:29
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Under Fire for Corruption Scandal
Woodstock
2:16:35
Donations
Woodstock
2:26:32
Birthdays & Title Changes
Woodstock
2:28:27
Trump-Kim Vietnam Summit
Woodstock
2:31:29
US Government Sexual Deviants Blackmailing Scheme
Woodstock
2:34:46
US Allegedly Considering Extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans
Woodstock
2:35:46
Pinterest Restricts Vaccine Search Results
Woodstock
2:39:41
Measles Outbreak
Woodstock
2:45:47
End of Show
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Oscars
FYI, Freddie Mercury Was Bi: Why Bisexual Awareness Week Matters - Queereka
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:49
[TW: Bisexual Erasure, Biphobia, Suicide]
In the aftermath of Kim Davis, there's a new meme spreading around social media highlighting people who did their jobs regardless of their personal beliefs. Examples include Agent Scully, Ron Swanson, and Winston from ''Ghostbusters.'' Unfortunately, this meme isn't without its problem. Specifically, there is a picture of Freddie Mercury that says, ''Didn't actually like fat-bottom girls. Still did his job.''
Actually, Mercury did like fat-bottom girls. In fact, he wrote the Queen song ''Love of My Life'' about Mary Austin, his lover of seven years.
Contrary to popular belief, Mercury was, according to his obituary, '' a self-confessed bi-sexual [sic]'' who had both male and female lovers. Not a lot of people realize this, though, and it's because to this day, people don't think bisexuality is real.
When it comes to sexuality, people have a very dichotomous view: you like either boys or girls, and that's it. Although, as bisexual activist Shiri Eisner wrote, monosexism is a heterosexual construction, there is, unfortunately, a lot of biphobia within the LGBTQ community. Dan Savage is infamous for saying that, whenever he meets a young self-identified bisexual, he replies, ''I was, too, when I was your age.'' Kurt from ''Glee'' once said, ''Bisexual is a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change.'' Arielle Scarella once did a video documenting lesbians saying how ''gross'' bisexuality is (although, to be fair, she followed up that video by documenting bisexual women reacting to biphobia). Despite it's inclusive-sounding acronym, far too often the B and T are ignored in the LGBTQ community.
This is why we need Bisexuality Awareness Week. Not only is bisexual erasure annoying, but it can be fatal. According to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission's report on bisexual invisibility, in 2008, no grants in the United States geared towards LGBTQ activism specifically addressed bisexuality. The report also shows that bisexuals have a higher risk of suicide and poorer mental health than the general population. The report suggests there is a correlation between the lack of bisexual visibility and poor mental health among bisexuals.
When I was teenager and discovering my bisexuality, I didn't have many bisexual heroes. Sure, there was David Bowie, but even he was portrayed in the media as being essentially a straight man who experimented in the '70s. There were hardly any resources that validated falling in love with anyone of any gender. The general idea was you can ''fool around'' when you're young, but eventually you ''pick a side'' once you get married. This resulted in nearly ten agonizing years trying to follow a heteronormative script that just wasn't me.
With the high risk of suicide among bisexuals, we need to stop bisexual erasure. We need to celebrate fluid sexuality as a legitimate orientation. We need to address bi-specific issues in LGBTQ activism. And for fuck's sake, we need to stop erasing bisexual people's identities.
Green Book is Racist
Oscars 2019: Why 'Green Book' should never have won best picture
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 09:57
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From first-time wins to steamy live performances, the 2019 Oscars had plenty of must-see moments. Courtesy A.M.P.A.S.(C) 2019
"Green Book" would have been a good best picture winner in 1990, when "Driving Miss Daisy" took the top Oscar. Or in 2006, so we wouldn't have had to hear about "Crash" for the next decade.
But in 2019? Not so much. "Green Book" winning Sunday at the 91st Academy Awards just felt really wrong, especially during an awards season where the story of a black classical musician and his white driver in the 1960s Jim Crow South has never quite been all right.
The movie navigated filmmaker controversies '' director Peter Farrelly exposing himself, now-Oscar-winning screenwriter Nick Vallelonga's controversial 9/11 tweets '' as well as the family of one of its subjects, Dr. Don Shirley, calling it "a symphony of lies" and the story coming under fire for portraying race from a white point of view.
Jim Burke (far left), Charles B. Wessler, Nick Vallelonga, Peter Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie pose with their best picture Oscars for "Green Book." (Photo11: DAN MacMEDAN/USA TODAY)
And somehow "Green Book" still won best picture. It's a head-scratcher of a choice when sitting right there in the category were "Black Panther," the blockbuster Marvel superhero movie that was a humongous, game-changing win for black representation, and Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," which depicted a racist past that mirrors our current tumultuous times.
Oscars 2019: The winners list
Everything we overheard at the Oscars:What really happens in the wings
Oscar gold: 'Green Book' wins best picture, overcomes backlash with three awards
It's also the wrong choice on a night where Lee stood exultant with the first non-honorary Oscar of his long career and Hannah Beachler of "Black Panther" became the first African-American woman to win for production design. "Green Book" ending the ceremony triumphant was odd, a dunderheaded decision at worst and a dull one at best. (Also, if your movie is about race relations, maybe don't have your trophy-room pictures be only of white filmmakers?)
Following the movie's victory lap, social media wasn't having it '' then again, "Green Book" has never exactly been a hit there. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted a Wikipedia article where people could find out more about the origins of the real Green Book. "Some of Green Book's best friends are black movies," NBC News reporter Alex Seitz-Wald shared.
Many people cannot believe that Green Book won best picture over films like BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma, Black Panther or A Star is Born. #Oscarshttps://t.co/EMiG002id7
'-- Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) February 25, 2019The newest best picture's victories didn't go over all that well in the room, either: "Green Book" filmmakers were met with an underwhelming response after winning for original screenplay, and it didn't get much more rousing when they won the night's main prize '' even after getting emotional words earlier in the night from civil-rights icon John Lewis and Octavia Spencer, a consultant and producer on the movie, the latter joining Farrelly and fellow filmmakers to accept the final Oscar of the evening. She doesn't seem like the sort who suffers fools lightly.
Recap: 5 must-know moments from the Oscars
More: First win for Spike Lee was the right thing '-- but it could have been better
'Finally the door is wide open': Oscars' big winner is diversity as winners make history
"I thought I was courtside at the Garden. The ref made a bad call," Lee said in the Oscars press room afterward, after being seen visibly angry when "Green Book" was named best picture. In this case, misery loves company, live as well as online.
Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen, right) is driver, confidante and security for famous pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a 1962 concert tour of the South in "Green Book." (Photo11: UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
The lone saving grace: a supporting actor win for "Green Book" star Mahershala Ali, who plays Shirley opposite Viggo Mortensen's racist-but-getting-better Tony Lip. It's the latest of many awards that one of our greatest thespians will take now and in the future.
But what will become of "Green Book" the movie, heretofore known forever as "the 2019 best picture winner"? "Black Panther" will get a sequel that will make roughly a bajillion dollars. "BlacKkKlansman" will give serious heat to Lee's next projects. And "Green Book" will make a bunch of future Oscar worst-of lists where '' move over, "Miss Daisy," and scoot over, "Crash" '' it'll have some company.
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The Oscars forgot R. Lee Ermey in this years Memorium - We Are The Mighty
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 16:26
Marine Corps veteran and beloved character actor R. Lee Ermey was missing from the "In Memoriam" segment of the 2019 Academy Awards telecast.
Ermey, who passed away in April 2018, is best remembered for his role as Gunny Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's classic movie "Full Metal Jacket," a legendary performance that should have made him a lock to be included in the video segment.
Ermey also played memorable roles in "Se7en," "Mississippi Burning," "The X-Files," "Toy Story 2" and that 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." He also hosted the TV shows "Mail Call" and "Lock 'N Load With R. Lee Ermey."
Other Hollywood legends left out of the tribute include Verne Troyer (Mini-me in the "Austin Powers" movies); the incredible Dick Miller (best known for playing a WWII vet in the "Gremlins" movies); Danny Leiner (director of the classics "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Dude, Where's My Car?"); Carol Channing (Oscar-nominated for her role in "Thoroughly Modern Millie"); Sondra Locke (Oscar-nominated for her role in "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"); and the director Stanley Donen ("Charade," "Singin' in the Rain" and the unfortunate 80s sex comedy "Blame It on Rio.").
We can all take a moment to remember Ermey with the "Left from Right" clip from "Full Metal Jacket." RIP, Gunny.
This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.
2020
'Sustained and ongoing' disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates - POLITICO
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 17:07
Recent posts that have received widespread dissemination include racially inflammatory memes and messaging involving former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and, Sens Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. | POLITICO illustration/Getty Images
2020 Elections
A coordinated barrage of social media attacks suggests the involvement of foreign state actors.
A wide-ranging disinformation campaign aimed at Democratic 2020 candidates is already underway on social media, with signs that foreign state actors are driving at least some of the activity.
The main targets appear to be Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), four of the most prominent announced or prospective candidates for president.
Story Continued Below
A POLITICO review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hints at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary.
The cyber propaganda '-- which frequently picks at the rawest, most sensitive issues in public discourse '-- is being pushed across a variety of platforms and with a more insidious approach than in the 2016 presidential election, when online attacks designed to polarize and mislead voters first surfaced on a massive scale.
Recent posts that have received widespread dissemination include racially inflammatory memes and messaging involving Harris, O'Rourke and Warren. In Warren's case, a false narrative surfaced alleging that a blackface doll appeared on a kitchen cabinet in the background of the senator's New Year's Eve Instagram livestream.
Not all of the activity is organized. Much of it appears to be organic, a reflection of the politically polarizing nature of some of the candidates. But there are clear signs of a coordinated effort of undetermined size that shares similar characteristics with the computational propaganda attacks launched by online trolls at Russia's Internet Research Agency in the 2016 presidential campaign, which special counsel Robert Mueller accused of aiming to undermine the political process and elevate Donald Trump.
''It looks like the 2020 presidential primary is going to be the next battleground to divide and confuse Americans,'' said Brett Horvath, one of the founders of Guardians.ai, a tech company that works with a consortium of data scientists, academics and technologists to disrupt cyberattacks and protect pro-democracy groups from information warfare. ''As it relates to information warfare in the 2020 cycle, we're not on the verge of it '-- we're already in the third inning.''
An analysis conducted for POLITICO by Guardians.ai found evidence that a relatively small cluster of accounts '-- and a broader group of accounts that amplify them '-- drove a disproportionate amount of the Twitter conversation about the four candidates over a recent 30-day period.
Using proprietary tools that measured the discussion surrounding the candidates in the Democratic field, Guardians.ai identified a cohort of roughly 200 accounts '-- including both unwitting real accounts and other ''suspicious'' and automated accounts that coordinate to spread their messages '-- that pumped out negative or extreme themes designed to damage the candidates.
This is the same core group of accounts the company first identified last year in a study as anchoring a wide-scale influence campaign in the 2018 elections.
Since the beginning of the year, those accounts began specifically directing their output at Harris, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren, and were amplified by an even wider grouping of accounts. Over a recent 30-day period, between 2 percent and 15 percent of all Twitter mentions of the four candidates emanated in some way from within that cluster of accounts, according to the Guardians.ai findings. In that time frame, all four candidates collectively had 6.8 million mentions on Twitter.
''We can conclusively state that a large group of suspicious accounts that were active in one of the largest influence operations of the 2018 cycle is now engaged in sustained and ongoing activity for the 2020 cycle,'' Horvath said.
Amarnath Gupta, a research scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California at San Diego who monitors social media activity, said he's also seen a recent surge in Twitter activity negatively targeting three candidates '-- O'Rourke, Harris and Warren.
That increased activity includes a rise in the sheer volume of tweets, the rate at which they are being posted and the appearance of ''cluster behavior'' tied to the three candidates.
''I can say that from a very, very cursory look, a lot of the information is negatively biased with respect to sentiment analysis,'' said Gupta, who partnered with Guardians.ai on a 2018 study.
According to the Guardians.ai analysis, Harris attracted the most overall Twitter activity among the 2020 candidates it looked at, with more than 2.5 million mentions over the 30-day period.
She was also among the most targeted. One widely seen tweet employed racist and sexist stereotypes in an attempt to sensationalize Harris' relationship with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. That tweet '-- and subsequent retweets and mentions tied to it '-- made 8.6 million ''potential impressions'' online, according to Guardians.ai, an upper limit calculation of the number of people who might have seen it based on the accounts the cluster follows, who follows accounts within the cluster and who has engaged with the tweet.
Another racially charged tweet was directed at O'Rourke. The Twitter profile of the user where it originated indicates the account was created in May 2018, but it had authored just one tweet since then '-- in January, when the account announced it had breaking news about the former Texas congressman leaving a message using racist language on an answering machine in the 1990s. That tweet garnered 1.3 million potential impressions on the platform, according to Guardians.ai.
A separate Guardians.ai study that looked at the focus of the 200 account group on voter fraud and false and/or misleading narratives about election integrity '-- published just before the midterm elections and co-authored by Horvath, Zach Verdin and Alicia Serrani '-- reported that the accounts generated or were mentioned in more than 140 million tweets over the prior year.
That cluster of accounts was the driving force behind an effort to aggressively advance conspiracy theories in the 2018 midterms, ranging from misinformation about voter fraud to narratives involving a caravan coming to the United States, and even advocacy of violence.
Horvath asserts that the activity surrounding the cluster represents an evolution of misinformation and amplification tactics that began in mid-to-late 2018. The initial phase that began in 2016 was marked by the creation of thousands of accounts that were more easily detected as bots or as coordinated activity.
The new activity, however, centers on a refined group of core accounts '-- the very same accounts that surfaced in the group's 2018 voter fraud study. Some of the accounts are believed to be highly sophisticated synthetic accounts operated by people attempting to influence conversations, while others are coordinated in some way by actors who have identified real individuals already tweeting out a desired message.
Tens of thousands of other accounts then work in concert to amplify the core group through mentions and retweets to drive what appears, on the surface, to be organic virality.
Operatives with digital firms, political campaigns and other social media monitoring groups also report seeing a recent surge in false narratives or negative memes against 2020 candidates.
A recent analysis from the social media intelligence firm Storyful detected spikes in misinformation activity over social media platforms and online comment boards in the days after each of the 2020 candidates launched their presidential bids, beginning with Warren's announcement on Dec. 31.
Fringe news websites and social media platforms, Storyful found, played a significant role in spreading anti-Warren sentiment in the days after she announced her candidacy on Dece. 31. Using a variety of keyword searches for mentions of Warren, the firm reported evidence of ''spam or bot-like'' activity on Facebook and Twitter from some of the top posters.
Kelly Jones, a researcher with Storyful who tracked suspicious activity in the three days after the campaign announcements of Harris, Warren, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), said she's seen a concerted push over separate online message boards to build false or derogatory narratives.
Among the fringe platforms Storyful identified were 4Chan and 8Chan, where messages appeared calling on commenters to quietly wreak havoc against Warren on social media or in the comments section under news stories.
According to a Guardians.ai analysis, Sen. Kamala Harris attracted the most overall Twitter activity among the 2020 candidates it looked at, with more than 2.5 million mentions over the 30-day period. She was also among the most targeted. | Elise Amendola/AP Photo
''Point out that she used to be Republican but switched sides and is a spy for them now. Use this quote out of context: 'I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets,''' wrote one poster on the 4Chan message board.
''We're seeing a lot of that rhetoric for nearly each candidate that comes out,'' Jones said. ''There is a call to action on these fringe sites. The field is going to be so crowded that they say 'OK: Operation Divide the Left.'''
An official with the Harris campaign said they suspect bad actors pushing misinformation and false narratives about the California Democrat are trying to divide African Americans, or to get the media to pay outsized attention to criticism designed to foster divisions among the Democratic primary electorate.
Researchers and others interviewed for this story say they cannot conclusively point to the actors behind the coordinated activity. It's unclear if they are rogue hackers, political activists or, as some contend, foreign state actors such as Russia, since it bears the hallmarks of earlier foreign attacks. One of the objectives of the activity, they say, is to divide the left by making the Democratic presidential primary as chaotic and toxic as possible.
Teddy Goff, who served as Obama for America's digital director, broadly described the ongoing organized efforts as the work of ''a hodgepodge. It's a bit of an unholy alliance.''
''There are state supporters and funders of this stuff. Russia. North Korea is believed to be one, Iran is another,'' he said. ''In certain cases it appears coordinated, but whether coordinated or not, there are clearly actors attempting to influence the primary by exacerbating divisions within the party, painting more moderate candidates as unpalatable to progressives and more progressive candidates as unpalatable to more mainstream Dems.''
A high-ranking official in the Sanders campaign expressed ''serious concerns'' about the impact of misinformation on social media, calling it ''a type of political cyber warfare that's clearly having an impact on the democratic process.'' The official said the Sanders campaign views the activity it's already seeing as involving actors that are both foreign and domestic.
Both Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, have reported taking substantial measures since 2016 to identify and block foreign actors and others who violate platform rules.
While Twitter would not specifically respond to questions about the Guardians.ai findings, last year the company reported challenging millions of suspect accounts every month, including those exhibiting ''spammy and automated behavior.'' After attempts to authenticate the accounts through email or by phone, Twitter suspended 75 percent of the accounts it challenged from January to June 2018.
In January 2019, Twitter published an accounting of efforts to combat foreign interference over political conversations happening on the platform. Earlier efforts included releasing data sets of potential foreign information operations that have appeared on Twitter, which were composed of 3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, that originated in Russia, and 770 other accounts that potentially originated in Iran.
''Our investigations are global and ongoing, but the data sets we recently released are ones we're able to reliably attribute and are disclosing now,'' a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO. ''We'll share more information if and when it's available.''
Facebook says it has 30,000 people working on safety and security and that it is increasingly blocking and removing fake accounts. The company also says it has brought an unprecedented level of transparency to political advertising on its platform.
At this early stage, the campaigns themselves appear ill-equipped to handle the online onslaught. Their digital operations are directed toward fundraising and organizing while their social media arms are designed to communicate positive messages and information. While some have employed monitoring practices, defensive measures typically take a backseat '-- especially since so much remains unknown about the sources and the scale of the attacks.
One high-level operative for a top-tier 2020 candidate noted the monumental challenges facing individual campaigns '-- even the ones with the most sophisticated digital teams. The problem already appears much larger than the resources available to any candidate at the moment, the official said.
Alex Kellner, managing director with Bully Pulpit Interactive, the top digital firm for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, warns that campaigns that don't have a serious infrastructure set up to combat misinformation and dictate their own online messaging will be the most vulnerable to attack in 2020.
''I think this is going to be a serious part of any successful campaign: monitoring this and working with the platforms to shut down bad behavior,'' Kellner said.
Kellner said that even though platforms like Twitter and Facebook have ramped up internal efforts to weed out bad actors, the flow of fake news and misinformation attacks against 2020 candidates is already strong.
''All the infrastructure we've seen in 2016 and 2018 is already in full force. And in 2020 it's only going to get worse,'' Kellner said, pointing to negative memes attacking Warren on her claims of Native American heritage and memes surrounding Harris' relationship with Brown.
The proliferation of fake news, rapidly changing techniques by malicious actors and an underprepared field of Democratic candidates could make for a volatile primary election season.
''Moderates and centrists and Democratic candidates still don't understand what happened in 2016, and they didn't realize, like Hillary Clinton, that she wasn't just running a presidential campaign, she was involved in a global information war,'' Horvath said. ''Democratic candidates and presidential candidates in the center and on the right who don't understand that aren't just going to have a difficult campaign, they're going to allow their campaign to be an unwitting amplifier of someone else's attempts to further divide Americans.''
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Opinion | Uncle Joe's Family Web - The New York Times
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:58
Feb. 23, 2019 Image Is this Joe Biden's time? He's deciding whether to find out. Credit Credit Yasmina Chavez/Las Vegas Sun, via Associated Press WASHINGTON '-- It's a truism in Washington that when politicians say they're not running so they can spend more time with their families, something else, possibly something salacious, is afoot.
But with Joe Biden, his family history is so tragic and so fraught, calculations about how a presidential run would affect his wounded clan are not code for some other problem.
Biden's appeal for 2020 is that he comes across as a warm, blue-collar, touchy-feely paternal figure, sometimes talking too much, sometimes saying the wrong thing, like calling parts of Asia ''the Orient.'' At 76, he's been through it all, and then some.
But as he prepares to present himself as a seasoned patriarch who can lead the country in a smooth, classy way, unlike the current occupant of the Oval, he must grapple with the painful reality of his life as the head of a family that has messily spilled into the tabloids, a brood that is still brooding and suffering the reverberations of 46-year-old Beau Biden's death from brain cancer in 2015.
The last time Biden thought about running, in 2016, he was in a miasma of grief about Beau, his oldest son '-- the former Delaware attorney general whom Joe Biden fervently hoped might be president some day.
Grief aside, Barack Obama and his coterie of top aides did not think the vice president was the right person to protect and extend the Obama legacy.
But there was a school of thought that, given the monumental effort it took to dismantle the Clinton machine, it would be better to move on from Hillary. Some Biden allies felt that his powerful story of rising above personal loss '-- his first wife and infant daughter died in a car crash just before Christmas in 1972 '-- could be a superpower to connect with suffering Americans and that such a raw quest would be good therapy for him.
But Obama felt differently. He could make it up to Hillary and feminist activists for hopscotching over the New York senator who might have blown out the glass ceiling in 2008.
Also, Obama and his strategists thought Biden had hit his ceiling, had his day, had too many gaffes. Hillary, Obama thought, was an impressive and loyal cabinet member who was great in meetings.
It escaped the attention of Professor Obama that a populist rage was rising, and that a multimillionaire taking a fortune from Goldman Sachs on the eve of her campaign might not suit the moment. Uncle Joe may be the epitome of the establishment, but at least the teetotaler knows how to talk to Joe Sixpack.
The president told his faithful vice president that it was Hillary's turn and Biden tried to accept it. Biden had known for years that the party would want to follow the first African-American president with the first woman president.
As they pushed him aside, giving him the Medal of Freedom to assuage the dis, the Obama team told reporters that Biden was too emotionally fragile to compete. As one former Obama strategist recently reiterated to me, ''You've got to be able to make it to the end of a sentence without crying to run for president.''
Hunter Biden and the ailing Beau had wanted their father to run. They did not want a Clinton restoration. Biden succumbed to pressure and gave way to Hillary. And the rest is sordid history. Members of Obama's inner circle say the former president realizes now he should not have christened Hillary the successor, that he should have let Bernie, Joe and Hillary fight it out.
As Donald Trump's reality-TV family took over the White House, Biden had to deal with his own family's scandalous headlines.
''Beau Biden's Widow Having Affair With His Married Brother,'' blared Page Six. ''Hunter Biden's Estranged Wife Claims He Spent 'Extravagantly' on Drugs, Alcohol, Prostitutes and Strip Clubs,'' blasted People. ''Kathleen Biden Sobs in Court as She Details the Collapse of Her Marriage to Hunter But He's No-Show,'' screeched The Daily Mail.
Joe and Jill Biden gave a statement to Page Six's Emily Smith about the Hamlet-like union of Beau's widow, Hallie, and Beau's brother, Hunter (which now seems to have dimmed): ''We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. They have mine and Jill's full and complete support and we are happy for them.''
It was understandable that, having lost so many close to him, Biden would hold the troubled Hunter tight. And he was doubtless upset about the public nature of the divorce.
Still, his statement upset Kathleen's friends and became a running topic at Washington dinner parties, where guests worried about Kathleen being frozen out; though Joe is close to her three daughters, the new family dynamic led to awkward moments at soccer games and family holidays. (While covering the Obama White House, I got to know Hunter as well as Kathleen, who became good friends and Soul Cycle mates with Michelle Obama.)
Kathleen Buhle Biden, as she is now known, has not spoken publicly about this; she passionately pushed her father-in-law's candidacies over the years, including the last time, when others were trying to push him out, and does not want this drama to interfere in any way.
In a statement to Vanity Fair, Hunter Biden also said his travails should not deter his father from running: ''We don't pretend that we are different from families all over America that have to face the loss of loved ones, or have to deal with the fallout of divorces.''
But not all families have to stomach Donald Trump's low blows, as Biden will if he runs. And Biden will have to temper that Irish temper of his.
Charlie Kirk on Twitter: "Hey Democrats, here's your 2020 field: @KamalaHarris @CoryBooker @ewarren @SenGillibrand @amyklobuchar @BernieSanders Every single one of them just voted to allow a live baby to be left to die if it survives a botched abortion
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:03
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H.R. 1382: To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit certain donations to Inaugural Committees, to establish limitations on donations to Inaugural Committees, to require certain reporting by Inaugural Committees, and for other purpos
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 19:11
Introduced: Sponsor: Rep. Mary Scanlon [D-PA5]
This bill was referred to the House Committee on House Administration and House Committee on Oversight and Reform which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.
1 cosponsor is on those committees.
Govtrack.us Summary
Green New Deal
AOC is what the out of touch dems created with their fear mongering propaganda
Evidence for man-made global warming hits 'gold standard': scientists | Reuters
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:33
OSLO (Reuters) - Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a ''gold standard'' level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: Ocean water is pushed up by the bottom of a pinnacle iceberg as it falls back during a large calving event at the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
''Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,'' the U.S.-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years.
They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth's surface had reached a ''five-sigma'' level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming.
Such a ''gold standard'' was applied in 2012, for instance, to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle, a basic building block of the universe.
Benjamin Santer, lead author of Monday's study at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, said he hoped the findings would win over skeptics and spur action.
''The narrative out there that scientists don't know the cause of climate change is wrong,'' he told Reuters. ''We do.''
Mainstream scientists say the burning of fossil fuels is causing more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.
U.S. President Donald Trump has often cast doubt on global warming and plans to pull out of the 197-nation Paris climate agreement which seeks to end the fossil fuel era this century by shifting to cleaner energies such as wind and solar power.
Sixty-two percent of Americans polled in 2018 believed that climate change has a human cause, up from 47 percent in 2013, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
SATELLITE DATA Monday's findings, by researchers in the United States, Canada and Scotland, said evidence for global warming reached the five sigma level by 2005 in two of three sets of satellite data widely used by researchers, and in 2016 in the third.
Professor John Christy, of the University of Alabama in Huntsville which runs the third set of data, said there were still many gaps in understanding climate change. His data show a slower pace of warming than the other two sets.
''You may see a certain fingerprint that indicates human influence, but that the actual intensity of the influence is minor (as our satellite data indicate),'' he told Reuters.
Separately in 2013, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is ''extremely likely'', or at least 95 percent probable, that human activities have been the main cause of climate change since the 1950s.
Peter Stott of the British Met Office, who was among the scientists drawing that conclusion and was not involved in Monday's study, said he would favor raising the probability one notch to ''virtually certain'', or 99-100 percent.
''The alternative explanation of natural factors dominating has got even less likely,'' he told Reuters.
The last four years have been the hottest since records began in the 19th century.
The IPCC will next publish a formal assessment of the probabilities in 2021.
''I would be reluctant to raise to 99-100 percent, but there is no doubt there is more evidence of change in the global signals over a wider suite of ocean indices and atmospheric indices,'' said Professor Nathan Bindoff, a climate scientist at the University of Tasmania.
Reporting by Alister Doyle, editing by Ed Osmond and Angus MacSwan
Teacher confronted
So I've emailed a few times about education conversations. I
wanted to drop a note about the Sunrise people and student protests.
The fact that a teacher skipped school with her students is
ridiculous. The teacher is either doing this illegally or with the permission
from the administrator. Either way it is beyond the scope, to say the least. I
teach in one of the most liberal schools in Washington state (which is saying
something) and I would never be allowed to skip school with my students to
fulfill some kind of political agenda. As teachers, we are legally liable for
their protection and physical being.
I also need to tell you a quick story, because I think
you'll enjoy it. I teach high school biology and thankfully do my job well. I
teach kids to calm down and not worry about the environment/things they can not
control. I had a student interrupt me and ask "do you believe in climate
change?". I looked at her and just decided I'm tired of giving an eff so I
said, "no, but I don't need to believe anything. Climate is not a
religion."
The next day in my science meeting one of the other teachers
waited for a quiet moment and asked (in front of everyone) "nathan, i
heard from a student that you don't believe in global warming. Can that be
true?". I just looked at him and said it was true. The room paused and
everyone looked at me with shock. Another teacher said, "Explain"
which I responded with, No. I quietly packed up my stuff, and said "I
knew this would happen and I don't appreciate it" and walked out. The
first teacher followed me to my room to ask more questions where I ripped into
him about how unprofessional and immature he acted. Believe it or not he ended
up apologizing the next day and agreed he overstepped.
I share that with you because there are crazy teachers but
there are plenty of us standing for truth. I work hard to teach my students
about the realities of this world and to take a positive approach. The vast
majority of teachers are simply teaching what is given to them. The real issue
is Pearson Review and higher ed.
Thank you for everything you do and I love the show.
Producer Nathan
Almost every country in the world can power itself with renewable energy | Popular Science
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 09:59
The country's energy mix is under scrutiny. A report commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry acknowledges that low natural gas prices'--not renewables'--are behind the recent closure of coal energy plants, and that the grid has managed to withstand the increasing presence of renewable energy. According to an unrelated study published this week in the journal Joule, the world is poised to give up fossil fuels altogether.
The research lays out renewable energy roadmaps'--the mix of resources a given country would need to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy'--for 139 countries collectively responsible for more than 99 percent of the global carbon emissions. According to the resulting analysis, the planet is pretty much ready to go 100 percent renewable by 2050.
Fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil are not renewable resources. It took an extremely long time for the Earth to produce them, and they're going to run out. And now that we know them to be significant contributors to human-caused climate change, trying to replace them is basically a no-brainer. Still, many regard renewable energy as the flighty, less dependable sibling of our go-to fossils. But according to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources accounted for roughly 15 percent of total electricity generation and 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2016. Some of that investment in renewable energy is being led by places that we tend to associate with petroleum, like Texas, where wind energy provided more than 12 percent of that state's electricity in 2016.
Even the United States military has vowed to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources. And this is more practical than environmental: A hybrid electric tank uses less gas, and doesn't need to refuel as often. Also: solar panels don't explode the same way a gas tank does.
But could the world really give up on fossil fuels entirely? Jacobson and his colleagues used available data to assess how much wind, geothermal, and solar energy each of the 139 countries they studied has at its disposal, and how much of that it would take to achieve 80 percent renewable energy usage by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
''I was surprised by how many countries we found had sufficient resources to power themselves with 100 percent wind, water, and solar power,'' says Jacobson. The countries could all function using the renewable energy potential contained within their own borders, and most could do it while relying mainly on technologies that already exist.
For small nation-states, like Singapore, the task of going totally renewable would be hard'--but doable. Most countries could manage by mixing energy generation into existing landscapes'--putting solar panels on rooftops, for example, or placing wind turbines on ranch land'--while also creating dedicated renewable energy power plants like solar farms.
And according to the researchers, this process would actually decrease the amount of land dedicated to energy production overall.
''The entire renewable energy footprint [...] is on order of 1.15 to 1.2 percent of the world's land,'' says Jacobson. ''But keep in mind that 20 percent of the world's land is used for agriculture. In the United States, if you just look at oil and gas, there are 1.7 million active oil and gas wells and 2.3 million inactive wells. Collectively they take up somewhere between one to two percent of the U.S. land area. And that's not counting the refineries, the pipelines, or coal and nuclear infrastructure.''
And then there's the fact that we wouldn't have the oil spills and chemical leaks associated with transporting and refining fossil fuels. Renewable energies involve a relatively fixed amount of land use; wind and solar energy doesn't run out, so a solar farm erected today will still be pumping out electricity in a few decades. And even as those panels wear out, new ones can be erected on the same site. Coal seams run out and oil wells run dry, so we're constantly pressing new locations into service. Tens of thousands of new oil wells are drilled annually.
''We would reduce, we think, the footprint on the land,'' says Jacobson.
The study builds on earlier research by Jacobson that analyzed the technological feasibility'--and the socio-economic benefits'--of switching to renewable energy. That research suggested that the gradual shift to 100 percent renewable energy would lower the social cost of energy, especially deaths associated with fossil fuel pollution.
''With oil and gas, you have to keep drilling and mining, and pollution keeps going on forever,'' says Jacobson. ''Worldwide, we have more than 4 million air pollution deaths from it. Things have to change'--they're not sustainable as they are.''
He calculated that renewable energy could prevent 4.6 million premature deaths a year by 2050, simultaneously adding 24.3 million jobs to the economy. It would also save more than $50 trillion dollars a year in climate- and pollution-related costs.
The first major step is (literally) electrifying: if all energy sectors (including transportation, heating/cooling, industry, and agriculture) start running on electricity instead of gas and oil, a nation's overall energy usage goes down.
''When you're driving a car, only 17 to 20 percent of the energy in the gasoline goes to move the car. The rest is waste heat,'' says Jacobson. ''Whereas in an electric car, 80 to 86 percent of the electricity goes to move a car. You need one-fourth to one-fifth of the energy to drive an electric car than to drive a gasoline car.''
That's one reason why both France and Britain are pushing to ban all non-electric cars by 2040. Germany is working toward a ban on internal combustion engines by 2020.
''By electrifying everything, just doing that, the power demand will go down because of the efficiency of electricity,'' says Jacobson. Averaged across sectors, there's a 23 percent reduction in energy demand just by switching to electricity. And when that electricity comes directly from renewable sources like solar and wind instead of coal, the savings keep getting better. According to Jacobson, 12.6 percent of global electric energy use goes toward mining, refining, and transporting fossil fuels (and uranium for nuclear power). Electrification plus a switch to renewables leads to a 36 percent reduction in demand'--with no significant change in quality of life.
''We think a transition is possible and its beneficial in multiple ways, and there's little downside to a transition,'' says Jacobson. ''Like anything, you don't want to change'--and it's hard to change if something is working right now. But right now things are working with humongous side effects.''
A Green New Deal is fiscally responsible. Climate inaction is not | Opinion | The Guardian
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 15:33
I n the coming days, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, plans to hold a vote on the Green New Deal resolution recently introduced by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA). Despite polls showing broad bipartisan support for a Green New Deal, McConnell hopes his ploy will divide Democrats and boost the GOP talking point that the plan is fiscally irresponsible.
While McConnell and other critics seem to think that they can defeat the Green New Deal by repeating a tired mantra '' ''we can't afford to do it'' '' the real question is: how can we afford not to? Without bold action to tackle climate change, toxic pollution and economic and racial inequity, our society will only see rising fiscal burdens. A Green New Deal would not only help us avoid mounting costs '' it also would stimulate broad-based demand in the economy by investing in real drivers of economic prosperity: workers and communities. That's in stark contrast to the GOP's expensive recent policy priority '' the nearly $2tn tax cuts of 2018 '' which did little more than enrich stateless mega-corporations and the wealthiest investors.
A Green New Deal is first and foremost about justice '' prioritizing working people, communities of color and others who bear the brunt of stagnant wages, polluted air and water, and climate impacts. It's about acting at the speed and scale that equity and science demand. But if opponents want to debate the plan's straight economic merits, Green New Deal backers should welcome the opportunity. The plan is also about fiscal foresight.
While some people talk about the costs of climate change as far-off hypotheticals, there's growing evidence that costs are already here. On 6 February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA released findings that climate change impacts in 2018 directly resulted in 247 deaths and $91bn in damages. The longer-term fiscal implications are also becoming clearer. In November, 13 US federal agencies reported that, under current emissions trajectories, the US economy would bear more than $500bn per year in costs due to labor and agricultural losses, sea level rise and extreme weather impacts by the end of the century. This annual half-trillion-dollar burden didn't account for many unpredictable second-order costs of climate change, like the implications of mass forced migrations driven by water scarcity and flooding. These are risks that the Pentagon has been highlighting for a decade.
A Green New Deal would help to seriously reduce climate pollution and cut these long-term liabilities, whether by supporting a transition to 100% clean energy, expanding access to clean public transportation, or spurring innovation in clean manufacturing. While some impacts of climate change are now inevitable, a Green New Deal also would help communities mitigate costly damage by investing in urban green spaces to prevent flooding, restoring wetlands to buffer hurricanes, protecting houses from forest fires, and shielding coastlines from sea level rise. In addition to supporting community resilience, this would reduce long-run costs for the federal government and for the states and municipalities that tend to shoulder the biggest burdens in emergencies.
Of course, a Green New Deal isn't just about managing risks '' it's also about creating economic opportunities. The plan would create millions of jobs with family-sustaining wages for workers whose inflation-adjusted pay hasn't budged since the 1970s. Whether replacing lead pipes, weatherizing homes, manufacturing components for light rail, or rehabilitating damaged ecosystems, a Green New Deal would put money in the pockets of the workers who are most impacted by rising economic inequality. Given that low-income workers tend to spend more of their available money than the wealthy, this targeted effort to boost working class wages would strengthen growth, reduce the income gap, and ultimately improve the nation's economic fundamentals.
Even people who deny the evidence that inequality is slowing economic growth must admit that a Green New Deal would address other long-term liabilities. The plan would invest in the kinds of infrastructure upgrades that nearly everyone agrees are needed '' not only to create good jobs, slash pollution and build community resilience, but also to support economic growth. Renewal of our energy, water and transportation infrastructure is long overdue '' and today's low borrowing costs make the investment all the more prudent. Looking to the long-term, a Green New Deal also would spur innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing through policies like ''Buy Clean'' that direct tax dollars for public projects to the most efficient, least polluting forms of production.
Contrast these forward-looking investments with a spending deal that many opponents of a Green New Deal so ardently championed: the Republican tax cuts of 2018. While backers of the GOP tax package billed it as a vision of fiscal responsibility '' a program that would ''pay for itself'' according to the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin '' the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the deal will now add $1.9tn to the national debt over a decade.
And it's not as if this money has gone toward solving real challenges. Much of the large sum has gone to share buybacks that serve one purpose: lining the pockets of the richest investors. Recent economic analysis show that the short-term stimulus effect of the tax cuts has now been mostly exhausted.
Some in the GOP seem to think that fiscal responsibility means spending billions to prop up the financial interests of billionaires and corporate polluters. A Green New Deal offers a better definition: laying the groundwork for a more vibrant and equitable economy that sustains the communities and physical resources on which our society is built.
Mitch McConnell and fossil fuel lobbyists are hiding behind flimsy talking points to justify the costly path of continued inaction on climate and inequality. Backers of a Green New Deal should stand up to this hypocrisy and reclaim the mantle of real social and economic responsibility.
Justin Talbot-Zorn is the senior advisor for policy and strategy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Ben Beachy is the director of the Sierra Club's Living Economy Program. Rhiana Gunn-Wright is the policy director for New Consensus.
Canada's health organizations demand action to prevent catastrophic climate change | National Observer
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 12:04
In an unprecedented move, five national health organizations representing doctors, nurses, medical officers, and public health professionals gathered in Ottawa to call for urgent action to prevent catastrophic climate change on Feb. 5.
It is an election year and all of our organizations '-- the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the Urban Public Health Network (UPHN), the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) '-- agree that climate change is too important to the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren to be treated as a wedge issue in the upcoming federal election.
"The health impacts of climate change are already devastating." The mental and physical health of Canadians is already being harmed by climate change. Last year, tens of thousands of Canadians had their lives, homes or jobs threatened by wildfires, power outages, tornadoes and floods; millions in western Canada were forced to breath toxic air pollution as wildfire smoke blanketed their communities for days or weeks at a time; and millions in central and eastern Canada suffered through searing heat for much of the summer.
On a global scale, the health impacts of climate change are already devastating. The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, reported in 2018 that 712 extreme weather events occurred around the world in 2017, resulting in US$326-billion in economic losses '-- nearly a three-fold increase in economic losses over 2015. It also found that: 157 million more people were exposed to heat waves in 2017 than were exposed in 2000; insect and water-borne diseases are increasing in some regions of the world; and agricultural yield potential is decreasing in the 30 countries for which data were available. It concluded that the ''trends in climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities demonstrate an unacceptably high level of risk for the current and future health of populations across the world.''
Fiona Hanley, Canadian Nurses Association, Dr. Courtney Howard, President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Dr. Gigi Osler, President, Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Kim Perrotta, Executive Director, CAPE, Dr. Alex Summers, Urban Public Health Network (UPHN), and Ian Culbert, Executive Director, Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) on Parliament Hill Feb. 5, 2019. Photo courtesy CAPEThe health impacts we experience today pale in comparison to those expected if we allow global warming to increase to two degrees Celsius. The 2018 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report portrays a world with 2C of warming as one with higher sea levels, significant loss of biodiversity, prolonged heat waves, water shortages, shrinking food supplies, disruptions in transportation systems, exploding numbers of refugees displaced by flooding coastlines and parched lands, and increased global strife. It concludes that, if global warming reaches 2C, each year hundreds of millions of people will be forced into poverty by water scarcity, severe droughts, declining crop yields, and flooding along coastal areas.
This bleak picture is not some distant future. The IPCC concluded that the world, which has already warmed by 1C, is on course to warm by 1.5C between 2030 and 2050 and by 2.6 to 4.8C by 2100. It estimated that we have 12 years to act and that we have to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, and cut them to zero by 2050, if we are to prevent global warming from reaching 2C.
The good news is that many of the policies needed to fight climate change will produce significant and immediate health benefits and healthcare savings across Canada. With the burning of fossil fuels responsible for 7,100 air-pollution related premature deaths and $53.5-billion in health-related costs per year, climate solutions directed at cars, trucks, coal plants, industry, and oil and gas extraction would save many lives, reduce rates of heart disease, asthma and lung cancer, and cut healthcare costs for the people of Canada, all while reducing carbon emissions. With chronic diseases costing Canada nearly $200-billion per year in treatment and lost-time, increased levels of physical activity resulting from investments in public transit, cycling and walking, as well as the promotion of diets rich in plant-based proteins would save lives, reduce rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and cut healthcare costs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have 12 years to implement the policies needed to prevent climate change that would result in catastrophic impacts for human health and instability of our global community. We are the last generation that will have this chance. We are the generation that will determine how stable, how healthy, how habitable the world is for our children and grandchildren. The party elected in Canada's 2019 election will determine the fate of future generations. It is imperative that the party elected in 2019 treat climate change like the public health crisis it is.
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NASA Happily Reports the Earth is Greener, With More Trees Than 20 Years Ago''and It's Thanks to China, India
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 09:47
NASA Earth ObservatoryThe world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and the data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India.
This surprising new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world's biggest populations are leading the improvement in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries. In 2017 alone, India broke its own world record for the most trees planted after volunteers gathered to plant 66 million saplings in just 12 hours.
The greening phenomenon was first detected by researchers using satellite data in the mid-1990s, but they did not know whether human activity was one of its chief, direct causes.
This new insight was made possible by a nearly 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument orbiting the Earth on two satellites. It's called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, and its high-resolution data provides very accurate information, helping researchers work out details of what's happening with Earth's vegetation, down to the level of 500 meters, or about 1,600 feet, on the ground.
WATCH: Island on the Brink of Disaster Plants Thousands of Trees and is Now a Poster Kid for Adapting to Climate Change
Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s '' which amounts to a 5% increase.
''China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet's land area covered in vegetation '' a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,'' said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University and lead author of the study.
MORE: People Have Passively Planted Over 30 Million Trees Simply by Surfing the Web
An advantage of the MODIS satellite sensor is the intensive coverage it provides, both in space and time: MODIS has captured as many as four shots of every place on Earth, every day for the last 20 years.
''This long-term data lets us dig deeper,'' said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center and a co-author of the new work. ''When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.''
China's outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there '' and 82% of the greening seen in India '' comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.
CHECK OUT: German 12-Year-old Boy Plants 1Million Trees, Takes Over UN Program to Plant a Trillion More
The land area used to grow crops '' more than 770,000 square miles '' is comparable in China and India and it has not changed much since the early 2000s; yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits, and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.
How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.
''But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,'' Nemani said. ''This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.''
LOOK: 700 Acres of Massive 1,000-Year-old Redwoods Are Being Turned into a Public Park
The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world, which is dominated by India and China, does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain, but overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings.
''Once people realize there's a problem, they tend to fix it,'' he said. ''In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn't good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That's what we see in the satellite data.''
This research was published online this week in the journal Nature Sustainability.
(Source: NASA Ames)
Plant Some Positivity Amongst Your Friends By Sharing The Good News To Social Media'...
GeenStijl: Heel Holland LOLT om "klimaatpsycholoog"
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:30
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Met ‰ireann tells staff to look on bright side of climate change
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:42
Met ‰ireann staff have been advised not to talk in terms of ''despair'' over climate change but to use positive language to show people they can make a difference.
An internal memo says using words like ''inevitable'' could create a feeling that nothing can be done and lead to ''inaction'' from the public.
The advice is contained in a new set of guidelines for Met ‰ireann staff issued in January and released under the Freedom of Information Act.
''We can discuss the choice we face between a future with more climate change and larger increases in extreme weather, and one with less. The future is in our hands,'' it says.
A third of adults regard climate change as most pressing environmental challenge Children's climate uprising a minefield for parents, schools and teachers Large-scale intervention in climate system not a magic wand for global warming Human influenceMet ‰ireannn said the new advice came in response to increased queries about weather and the human influence on climate change.
The advisory suggested using metaphors such as ''the weather on steroids'' or how global warming was ''stacking the deck'' towards more and more extreme weather events.
It advised saying something like: ''Heat-trapping gases act like steroids in the climate system, increasing the odds of extreme heat, heavy downpours, and some other types of extreme events.''
Extreme eventsIt said this would communicate that, while extreme events occur naturally, they were happening more frequently and more intensely.
The document said that if Ireland experiences a drought or heatwave, it was correct to point to the increase of such events due to human activities.
It also said it was no longer appropriate to say a severe weather event was categorically not linked to climate change. Instead, staff were advised to say these things were ''more than likely part of the trend of increasing extreme events''.
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Scromiting
A typical reaction
Adam
Stop please stop anyone who says this happened to them is
lying.
I have been a producer of cannabis for 25 years I own a
100 acre cannabis farm We supply to medical patients and Adult use across the
country. Our farm grows around 20 tons of cannabis in summer alone.
I know thousands of cannabis users and never in 25 years
have I ever seen this heard of this anything we were very closely with doctors,
patients and caregivers and never once have I heard and when inquired upon this week was laughed at by multiple health
care practitioners in one room. None of whom have been able to find me a case
here in British Columbia you know home of BC Bud place where more people smoke
pot then attend church.
Now as for “dabs” This is nothing more then hash oil with
the wax and lipids removed
After refined its is nearly 90-99% thc or cbd I have
personally and watched people dab multiple grams of cannabis at a time.
If this is happening there is only one reason for it
illegal chemicals sprayed or fed to plants and residues
As much as I love you you need to stop talking about weed
cause while you
smoke it you make your self sound stupid.
Cannabis extracts that are properly made the safest way
to consume cannabis
as well as the safest way to add cannabis to edibles.
Our extracts are tested and certified clean and safe
They are also when made correctly free from all
carbons,Tars, wax, fats that
create health problems and allow for exact dosing for
patients.
Our research lab and greenhouse it over looks Canada second largest
cannabis grow phase one 25 acres of 100
Any Collusion?
Court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:02
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Donald Trump was in full deflection mode.
The Democrats had blamed Russia for the hacking and release of damaging material on his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump wasn't buying it. But on July 27, 2016, midway through a news conference in Florida, Trump decided to entertain the thought for a moment.
''Russia, if you're listening,'' said Trump, looking directly into a television camera, ''I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing'' '-- messages Clinton was reported to have deleted from her private email server.
Actually, Russia was doing more than listening: It had been trying to help Republican Trump for months. That very day, hackers working with Russia's military intelligence tried to break into email accounts associated with Clinton's personal office.
It was just one small part of a sophisticated election interference operation carried out by the Kremlin '-- and meticulously chronicled by special counsel Robert Mueller.
We know this, though Mueller has made not a single public comment since his appointment in May 2017. We know this, though the full, final report on the investigation, believed to be in its final stages, may never be made public. It's up to Attorney General William Barr.
We know this because Mueller has spoken loudly, if indirectly, in court '-- indictment by indictment, guilty plea by guilty plea. In doing so, he tracked an elaborate Russian operation that injected chaos into a U.S. presidential election and tried to help Trump win the White House. He followed a GOP campaign that embraced the Kremlin's help and championed stolen material to hurt a political foe. And ultimately, he revealed layers of lies, deception, self-enrichment and hubris that followed.
Woven through thousands of court papers, the special counsel has made his public report. This is what it says.
RUSSIA, LOOKING TO INTERFERE
The plot began before Bernie Bros and ''Lock Her Up,'' before MAGA hats and ''Lyin' Ted,'' before there was even a thought of Trump versus Clinton in 2016. It started in 2014, in a drab, concrete building in St. Petersburg, Russia.
There, a group of tech-savvy Russian nationals, working at an organization called the Internet Research Agency, prepared ''information warfare against the United States of America.'' The battleground would be the internet, and the target was the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Using a game plan honed on its own people, the troll farm prepared to pervert the social networks '-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram '-- that Americans had come to depend on for news, entertainment, friendships and, most relevantly, political discourse.
It would use deception, disinformation and the expansive reach of the electronically connected world to spread ''distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.'' Ultimately, it would carry a budget in the millions, bankrolled, according to an indictment, by Yevgeny Prighozin, a man so close to the Russian president that he is known as Putin's chef. (Prighozin's company has denied the charges).
It was a long game. Starting in mid-2014, employees began studying American political groups to see which messages fell flat and which spread like wildfire across the internet. The organization surreptitiously dispatched employees to the U.S. '-- traveling through states such as Nevada, California and Colorado'-- to collect on-the-ground intelligence about an America that had become deeply divided on gun control, race and politics.
As they gathered the research, the trolls began planning an elaborate deception.
They bought server space and other computer infrastructure in the U.S. to conceal the true origin of the disinformation they planned to pump into America's social media blood stream. They began preparing networks of fake accounts they would use like sock puppets to masquerade as U.S. citizens.
The Russian trolls set up accounts that appeared to be associated with Black Lives Matter, the Tennessee GOP, Muslim and Christian groups and the American South. By late 2015, as Clinton sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, and as American media still saw Trump as a longshot to emerge from a crowded Republican field, the Internet Research Agency began secretly buying online ads to promote its social media groups.
By February 2016, they were ready. A memo circulated internally. Post content about ''politics in the USA,'' they wrote, according to court papers, and ''use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump'-- we support them).''
As disinformation scrolled across American computer screens, an entirely different Russian operation readied its own volley.
In March 2016, as Clinton and Trump began to emerge as the leaders of their respective parties, Russian military intelligence officers began setting a trap.
Hackers in Russia's military intelligence, known as the GRU, started sending dozens of malicious emails to people affiliated with Clinton's campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
Like Watergate, it was a break-in. But this time, the burglary tools were emails disguised to fool people into sharing their passwords and in turn provide hackers unfettered access to their emails. The goal was to collect as many damaging documents as possible that could be released online and damage Clinton's candidacy.
In a few short weeks, the hackers had penetrated their targets and hit the motherlode: the private Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
___
A RECEPTIVE CAMPAIGN
While the Russians were hacking, a young Trump campaign adviser named George Papadopoulos received some startling news in London.
It was April 26, 2016. While traveling through Europe, he had connected with a Maltese academic. The professor, a middle-aged man with thinning gray hair named Joseph Mifsud, had taken a keen interest in Papadopoulos upon learning that he had joined the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser. To dazzle his young friend, Mifsud boasted of his high-level Russian connections and introduced him to a woman named Olga '-- a relative, he claimed, of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mifsud and Olga wanted Papadopoulos to arrange a meeting between Trump aides and Russian officials. Eager to ingratiate himself with the campaign, Papadopoulos brought up his newfound connections in a meeting with Trump and several high-ranking campaign officials, saying he could broker a Trump-Putin summit. When he raised the idea, his lawyers later said, Trump nodded with approval and deferred to another aide in the room, future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said the campaign should look into it. Sessions would later say he remembered telling Papadopoulos that he wasn't authorized to speak for the campaign.
When he walked into a London hotel for breakfast with Mifsud, Papadopoulos expected to discuss Russia's ''open invitation'' to meet with Trump. But the conversation quickly turned to another subject. Mifsud confided in Papadopoulos that Russia had ''dirt'' on Clinton. What kind of dirt? ''Thousands of emails.''
What happened next remains a mystery. Prosecutors haven't revealed exactly where Mifsud got his information or what Papadopoulos might have done with it. The encounter, the first known instance of a Trump aide hearing of stolen emails, would later help kick-start the Russia investigation. But at the time, it was just one of many connections already established between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Unbeknownst to the public, Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen had been trying to broker a business deal in Russia for the Republican candidate. The proposal was for a Trump Tower Moscow. A letter of intent was signed. Cohen had discussed it with Trump and his children. Cohen had even gone so far as to reach out to the Kremlin directly for help, speaking with an official about ways to secure land and financing for the project.
While Cohen pursued the deal, another person with Russia ties joined the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort, a longtime Washington insider, had made millions as a political consultant for Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Over that time, Manafort developed a close relationship with a man named Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI says has ties to Russian military intelligence. Manafort also had worked for a Russian billionaire named Oleg Deripaska who is close with Putin.
But in March 2016, Manafort was looking for a comeback. His business had dried up after Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia. The millions that Manafort had hidden from the IRS while enjoying a lavish lifestyle were largely gone. With the Trump campaign, Manafort saw an opportunity to get back on his feet. He and his protege, Rick Gates, quickly worked their way into the highest levels of the campaign, and they began trying to make sure old clients had heard about their new positions.
As Trump clinched the Republican nomination, Manafort and those around him began preparing for a general election battle against Clinton.
The Russians did, too. The Internet Research Agency boosted its support of Trump '-- and disparagement of Clinton. Using stolen identities and bank account information, the troll farm also began buying political ads on social media services, according to Mueller.
''Donald wants to defeat terrorism ... Hillary wants to sponsor it,'' read one. ''Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote,'' read another.
Meanwhile, hackers with the GRU secretly implanted malicious software '-- called X-Agent '-- on the computer networks of the DNC and the DCCC. It allowed them to surreptitiously search through the political operatives' computers and steal what they wanted. As the hackers roamed the Democratic networks, a separate group of Russian intelligence officers established the means to release their ill-gotten gains, registering a website, DCLeaks.com.
By May, the Democratic groups realized they had been hacked. The DNC quickly hired a private cybersecurity company, CrowdStrike, to identify the extent of the breach and to try to clear their networks of malware. But they kept it quiet until they knew more.
On the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos continued to push for a Trump-Putin meeting, unsuccessfully.
At the same time, another Russian outreach found a willing audience in Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
In early June, Trump Jr. exchanged a series of emails with a British publicist representing Emin Agalarov, a pop singer in Russia, whose father had partnered with the Trumps on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Emin Agalarov and Trump Jr. had become friendly, and the publicist, Rob Goldstone, had become a common intermediary between the two wealthy sons.
Over email, Goldstone brokered a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. He said the lawyer had documents that could ''incriminate'' Clinton and they were being shared as part of the Russian government's support of the Trump campaign. ''Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer,'' Trump Jr. wrote back.
The meeting was held at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9. Trump Jr. attended along with Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Participants in the room would later say the meeting was a bust, consumed by a lengthy discussion of Russian adoption and U.S. sanctions. To Trump Jr., the information wasn't useful ammunition against Clinton. He was less concerned that it came from Russia.
Days later, on June 14, the DNC publicly announced it had been hacked, and pointed the finger at Russia.
By then, the Russian hackers had launched DCLeaks.com. According to Mueller , the DNC announcement accelerated their plans.
They created a fake online persona called Guccifer 2.0, which quickly took credit for the hack. Through Guccifer, the hackers masqueraded as a ''lone Romanian hacker'' and released caches of stolen material.
The efforts attracted the attention of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group led by Julian Assange from his exile within Ecuador's embassy in London.
On June 22, 2016, the group sent a private message to Guccifer: ''Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.''
Over the next several weeks, WikiLeaks requested any documents related to Clinton, saying they wanted to release them before the Democratic National Convention when they worried she would successfully recruit Sanders supporters.
We ''think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary ... so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting,'' WikiLeaks wrote.
Using Guccifer, the Russian intelligence officers transferred the files to WikiLeaks, hoping for a big online splash.
They wouldn't have to wait long.
___
LEAKS AND CIGARS
July 22 was supposed to be a big Friday for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The former secretary of state was planning to announce Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. The party's convention was just days away.
But at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, WikiLeaks stole the limelight, releasing more than 20,000 stolen DNC emails.
The cascade of stolen material was almost immediately picked up by American news outlets, conservative pundits and Trump supporters, who in the wake of Clinton's FBI investigation for using a private email server, were happy to blast out anything with ''Clinton'' and ''emails'' in the same sentence.
So was Trump. After publicly questioning that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic groups, he took to the stage in Florida to make his famous call to Russia, ''if you're listening.'' He would later begin praising WikiLeaks.
Smelling a possible political advantage, the Trump campaign reached out to Roger Stone, a close confidant of Trump's who is known for his bare-knuckles brand of political mischief. Stone had been claiming to have connections to WikiLeaks, and campaign officials were looking to find out when Wikileaks would drop its next batch of documents.
According to an indictment against Stone, after the first release of DNC documents, ''a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information'' WikiLeaks had regarding Clinton's campaign.
In August, Stone began claiming he had inside information into Assange's plans. At the same time, he was privately sending messages to a radio host and a conservative conspiracy theorist '-- both of whom had claimed to have connections to WikiLeaks '-- seeking anything they knew. (No evidence has emerged that these messages made it to Assange).
That same month there was a meeting that went to the ''heart'' of the Russia investigation, according to a Mueller prosecutor. It involved Manafort, and it remains an enigma, at least to the public.
Court papers indicate Manafort had previously shared polling information related to the Trump campaign with Kilimnik, his old Russian pal. According to emails and court papers, Manafort '-- looking to make money from his Trump access '-- had also been in touch with Kilimnik about providing private briefings for the billionaire Deripaska. (There's no evidence such briefings ever occurred).
Meeting with Manafort and Gates at New York's Grand Havana Room cigar bar on Aug. 2, 2016, Kilimnik brought up a possible peace plan for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. What happened at that meeting is in dispute and much of it remains redacted in court papers.
But the Mueller prosecutor would note: The men left separately to avoid unwanted attention.
As the campaign entered the final stretch and Trump's advisers waited for the next WikiLeaks dump, Russian trolls'-- who had gained hundreds of thousands of social media followers '-- were barraging Americans with pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rhetoric, using Twitter hashtags such as ''#MAGA'' and ''#Hillary4Prison.''
By early October, Stone was looking for more. On Oct. 3, 2016, ahead of an expected news conference by Assange, Stone exchanged messages with Matthew Boyle, a writer at Breitbart who was close to Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon.
''Assange '-- what's he got? Hope it's good,'' Boyle wrote to Stone.
''It is,'' Stone wrote back. ''I'd tell Bannon but he doesn't call me back.''
Hours later, Assange held a news conference in which he appeared to waffle on whether he would release additional documents about Clinton.
Bannon reached out to Stone: ''What was that this morning???'' Stone chalked it up to a ''security concern'' and said WikiLeaks would be releasing ''a load every week going forward.''
By Oct. 7, the Trump campaign was embroiled in its own scandal. The Washington Post released audio of Trump bragging about sexually harassing and groping women. But within hours, WikiLeaks gave Trump's team a break.
The first set of emails stolen from Podesta's accounts popped onto WikiLeaks' website. Stone's phone lit up. It was a text message from a Bannon associate.
''well done,'' it read.
___
A SERIES OF LIES
The first documented lie in the Russia investigation happened on Jan. 24, 2017, in the White House office of freshly appointed national security adviser Michael Flynn.
It was the Tuesday after Trump's inauguration, and Flynn was settling in after a whirlwind presidential transition.
Since Trump's victory in November, Flynn had become part of Trump's inner circle '-- and the preferred contact between the Trump team and Russia. In late December, Flynn had asked Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., to reject or delay a U.N. vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Days later, as the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia for election-meddling, Flynn implored Kislyak not to escalate a ''tit-for-tat'' fight over punishment imposed on Moscow for election interference.
But on that Tuesday, when FBI agents asked Flynn about those conversations, he lied. No, he said, he hadn't made those requests of Kislyak.
Days later in Chicago, other FBI agents confronted Papadopoulos as he had just stepped out of the shower at his mother's home. Though his mother would later say she knew it was a terrible idea, he agreed to go to their office for questioning, where he misled them about his conversations with Mifsud, the Maltese professor.
Months later '-- after Mueller's May 2017 appointment '-- Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project, saying it ended much sooner than June 2016. Cohen would later say he was trying to be loyal to Trump and match the public messaging of a president who had adamantly denied any business dealings with Russia.
Even when Trump aides tried to come clean and cooperate with Mueller's team, they couldn't keep their stories straight.
As he was working out a plea agreement with Mueller, Gates lied to investigators about his and Manafort's Ukrainian lobbying work. Manafort pleaded guilty and agree to cooperate but a judge later determined he had also misled Mueller's team about several matters, including about his interactions with Kilimnik. Those lies voided the plea deal.
The deceptions played out as Mueller methodically brought criminal cases. He indicted the Russian hackers. He did the same to the troll farm. He exposed Manafort's tax cheating and his illicit foreign lobbying, winning at trial and putting the 69-year-old political operative at risk of spending the rest of his life in prison. And one by one, his team got guilty pleas from Flynn, Papadopoulos and others .
Most recently, he indicted Stone, accusing him of witness tampering and lying to Congress about his efforts to glean information about the WikiLeaks disclosures. Despite emails showing him repeatedly discussing WikiLeaks with Trump advisers and others, Stone told lawmakers he had no records of that sort. (Stone has pleaded not guilty.)
In the backdrop of all this is Trump and his family.
Mueller's grand jury heard testimony from several participants of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by Trump Jr., but no charges have been filed.
The mercurial president himself has made no secret of his disdain for the Mueller investigation and his efforts to undermine it. Mueller has investigated whether any of Trump's actions constituted obstruction of justice, but the special counsel hasn't gone public with what he found.
And it's unclear if he ever will.
___
Read AP's coverage of the Russia probe: https://apnews.com/TrumpInvestigations
Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues - The Washington Post
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:05
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) speaks on Capitol Hill on Feb. 6. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat, represents California's 28th Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.
And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week's Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.
For the past two years, we have examined Russia's interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow's effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.
But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist's name, we must say it.
I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.
The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president's intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power.
[President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars]
To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn't like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse.
Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.
That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.
This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president's conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.
[Congress did its job on the border deal. It needs to do it again by amending the emergency act.]
If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come?
Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War.
If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.
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FBI: Mueller Struck Deal To Free Billionaire Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 21:27
Special Counsel Robert Mueller personally intervened in the FBI's investigation of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, striking a deal that allowed him avoid prosecution.
According to a series of bombshell FBI documents released on Thursday, known child predator Jeffrey Epstein had a professional relationship with then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
''Epstein has also provided information to the FBI as agreed upon,'' says one of the FBI documents. ''Case agent advised that no federal prosecution will occur in this matter as long as Epstein continues to uphold his agreement with the state of Florida.''
Truepundit.com reports: Twitter sleuth @Techno_Fog mined an interesting gem from the files, showing that Epstein likely served as an informant to the FBI. Robert Mueller's FBI in 2008.
Wait. Was pedophile Jeffrey Epstein an informant for Mueller's FBI?
From the 5/24/18 FBI Vault release: "Epstein has also provided information to the FBI as agreed upon."
Is that why he escaped serious charges for molesting over twenty girls? pic.twitter.com/K4suAumD85
'-- Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 24, 2018
Epstein is a controversial figure and friend of the Clinton family, alleged to run the sexual ''Lolita Express'' to his private island.
The FBI's release includes heavily redacted pages and also a large number of deleted pages, among other unredacted documents.
The Doc links are below:
File Jeffrey Epstein Part 01 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 02 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 03 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 04 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 05 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 06 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 07 of 08File Jeffrey Epstein Part 08 of 08
Jeffrey Epstein: https://t.co/8t12X3OQue
'-- FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) May 24, 2018
Trump's tax returns and the Democrats' coming fight to get them - Vox
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:40
Liberals have been wanting to get their hands on Donald Trump's tax returns for years. Now, with Democrats holding a House majority with subpoena power, they have a real possibility of getting them.
But they have to be careful about how they go about it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters this month that she's aware of the ''impatience'' on the matter but wants to do it right. ''It's not a question of just sending a letter. You have to do it in a very careful way,'' she said, according to NPR.
Democrats are looking into an obscure 1924 law that would allow them to request Trump's returns from the Treasury Department. Republicans and the White House are preparing for a fight, and even Democrats appear split on how aggressively to proceed.
There are plenty of reasons for Congress to want to take a look at a president's or candidate's tax returns: The documents can help lawmakers to identify potential conflicts of interest, suggest ways to reform current tax law, and conduct oversight of the IRS, which is supposed to audit the president's and vice president's taxes. And in Trump's case, the argument for reviewing his tax returns is even clearer. He has refused to separate himself from his vast business empire, and questions about whether he is profiting from the presidency have dogged him his entire tenure in the White House.
''The really clear argument is in favor of simply requiring [releasing tax returns] of everyone,'' Joe Thorndike, a tax historian and director of the Tax History Project, told me. ''The issue is clearly bigger than Donald Trump, although he is the current problem.''
How Democrats could get Trump's tax returns, explainedDemocrats are looking to invoke Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, a statute dating back to 1924. It authorizes the Ways and Means Committee to get the tax return information (personal or business) of any taxpayer '-- including the president '-- from the Treasury Department.
Essentially, that means Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) would request Trump's returns from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Mnuchin would, theoretically, have to comply. If he doesn't, a court battle would likely ensue. The committee then could vote to have some or all of the tax returns released to the rest of the House, so all members would have access to it '-- increasing the odds they would get out to the public. There's a debate as to whether that could then be made public; I'll get to that later.
University of Virginia law professor and former Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff George Yin laid out how the process would work in testimony earlier this month. He explained that the authority of Congress to request tax return information was added in 1924 as a co-equal branch of government, and before, only the president had such authority to request and disclose tax returns. Per his testimony:
Section 6103(f) does not place any conditions on the exercise of the authority to obtain tax return information by the Ways and Means Committee. Moreover, it provides no basis for the Treasury Secretary to refuse a request. I believe both features were intentional. Since the president at the time had unconditional access to tax returns, Congress wanted to give its committees the same right.
In 1976, Congress made changes to the law in a couple of key ways relevant to today. First, they eliminated language allowing the committee to submit only ''relevant or useful'' information to the House. But Yin says the committee still needs a reason to send information to the entire House. Second, they eliminated the ability of the president and any congressional committees not related to tax to disclose tax return information to the public. But tax committees still have that authority, meaning Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Senate Finance Committee.
Basically, a handful of committees can still lawfully request someone's tax returns and at the very least send them to the rest of the House or Senate, assuming they have a legitimate purpose for doing so.
But this might not be that big of a hurdle. ''Evidence that Trump has abused our tax laws is plentiful,'' Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who has been making the case for pursuing Trump's tax returns under Section 6103 essentially since Trump was inaugurated, said in an emailed statement to Vox. He cited a New York Times investigation into Trump and his family's tax practices that suggested the family for years engaged in a number of schemes to avoid taxes, and leaked pages from Trump's 1995 and 2005 tax returns; the 1995 ones show a nearly $1 billion loss.
''Americans have a right to know if their president has paid his taxes, if he has followed the law, and if he is free from financial conflicts of interest,'' Pascrell continued. ''The law is clear. Under 6103, the Ways and Means Committee chairman is entitled to request Trump's tax returns '-- and the Treasury secretary is obligated to deliver them. That's all there is to it.''
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), now the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, speaks at a news conference in June 2018 in Washington, DC.Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images Even if they have a plan, it won't be easyNeal is proceeding prudently in an effort to be on as solid a footing as possible if and when he asks for Trump's returns. Dan Rubin, a spokesperson for Neal, told Politico at the start of the year that he wants to ''lay out a case about why presidents should be disclosing their tax returns before he formally forces him to do it.''
But whenever they go for it, the White House promises to be ready. Politico's Nancy Cook reported that the Treasury Department is ''readying plans to drag the expected Democratic request for Trump's past tax filings '... into a legal quagmire of arcane legal arguments.'' In other words, Mnuchin probably isn't just going to happily hand over Trump's taxes. A Treasury Department spokesperson did not return a request for comment on their plans.
In parallel, Republicans are also coming to Trump's defense, trying to paint Democrats' efforts as ones of extreme partisanship and arguing that seeking Trump's tax returns is a breach of privacy. They previewed their arguments at a Ways and Means Committee hearing on tax law and legislation related to presidential tax returns at the start of the month.
''Every single American has a right to privacy and personal information contained in their tax return,'' Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) argued in the hearing. He warned that releasing Trump's returns would open a ''Pandora's box'' for Congress to go after virtually anyone's returns.
Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center who testified at the hearing, said the slippery slope arguments Republicans employed are absurd. ''This is so different. [Trump] oversees the entire executive branch. In my view, the whole request by the Ways and Means Committee ought to pursue their legislative oversight responsibility, part of the checks and balances of the Constitution,'' he said.
There's a debate over whether making Trump's tax returns public is legalRichard Nixon was the first president to normalize releasing his tax returns, when questions about his tax practices came to light as part of a lawsuit (completely unrelated to the Watergate break-in). He released his tax returns in December 1973 in an effort to quell suspicions, but that's not what happened: The Joint Committee on Taxation found he owed about $475,000 to the government.
After Nixon resigned, presidents since started releasing their tax information as a matter of tradition. Trump, however, hasn't released any '-- and he doesn't have any plans to.
But even if Democrats get Trump's tax returns, it's legally questionable if they can make the information public.
Ken Kies, the managing director of the Federal Policy Group whom Republicans called to testify in the Ways and Means Committee hearing, testified that it would be a felony for a member of Congress or staff to publicly disclose tax returns, punishable for up to five years in prison. Others, however, disagreed.
Lin told me he believes that Kies is incorrect in his reading and that Trump's returns or information from them, if they get from the committee to the House, could also be made public. ''The act of submitting to the House creates the possibility of public disclosure, and, in fact, that was what Congress intended when it drafted this entire provision,'' he said.
Rosenthal concurred, and pointed to a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee report from 2015 that concluded making taxpayer information available to the Senate and the public as part of an investigation into whether the IRS targeted certain political groups ''is clearly permissible under section 6103.''
Republicans argue that they're afraid that committee Democrats will leak Trump's tax information once they get it. But it's not clear how much water that argument holds.
''Republicans are trying to feel their way forward on how they can raise objections,'' Rosenthal said.
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law in the Oval Office in December 2017.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Democrats are building their caseDemocrats also appear to be trying to build a case for why they are pursuing Trump's tax returns so they have a better shot if it does end up in court '-- a probable outcome. They are on firmer ground pursuing Trump's tax returns out of their legislative and oversight duties and not because of a partisan fishing expedition.
John Kovensky at Talking Points Memo recently delved into the matter:
The key test that Democrats would face in any future court battle comes down to whether they have established that Congress has a legitimate purpose in requesting the returns. Asking for them just to release them immediately, or out of spite or a desire to humiliate, could serve as a reason for a judge to strike down the request.
A couple of court cases serve as precedent in the matter. One is Kilbourn v. Thompson, an 1880 Supreme Court case dealing with whether Congress could compel testimony after the House issued a subpoena related to a bankruptcy. The court essentially ruled that the nature of the dispute was between private parties and wasn't within Congress's legislative or oversight scope. Another is McGrain v. Daugherty, a 1927 case related to the Teapot Dome Scandal, a bribery scandal in the federal government. In that case, the party subpoenaed refused to comply with a Senate investigation, and the court held that Congress could compel testimony because in that case it was under its oversight purview.
''My reading is that as long as the inquiry fit within one or both of those two responsibilities [oversight and lawmaking], that should be a legitimate purpose, at least based on this case law,'' Lin said.
Democrats appear to be aware of what's at stake.
''I think the idea here is to avoid the emotion of the moment and make sure that the product stands up under critical analysis,'' Neal told CNN in January. ''And it will.''
The news moves fast. Catch up at the end of the day: Subscribe to Today, Explained, Vox's daily news podcast, or sign up for our evening email newsletter, Vox Sentences.
Micahel Cohen Ope ing statement full.pdf
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:50
1 TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL D. COHEN COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FEBRUARY 27, 2019 Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today. I have asked this Committee to ensure that my family be protected from Presidential threats , and that the Committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. Thank you for your help and for your understanding. I am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the Committee's questions truthfully, and to offer the American people what I know about President Trump. I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility. It is for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable , and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and tru thful. Never in a million years did I imagine, when I accept ed a job in 2007 to work for Donald Trump, that he would one day run for P resident, launch a
2 campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actually win. I regret the day I said ''yes'' to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way. I am ashamed of my own failings , and I publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the Southern District of New York . I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty '' of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.
3 I will explain each in a few moments. I am providing the Committee today with several documents. These include: ' A copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account '' after he became president - to reimburse me for the hush money payment s I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign ; ' C opies of financial statements for 2011 '' 2013 that he gave to such institutions as Deutsche Bank ; ' A copy of an article wi th Mr. Trump's handwriting on it that report ed on the auction of a portrait of himself '' he arranged for the bidder ahead of time and then reimbursed the bidder from the account of his non -profit charitable foundation, with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs ; and ' C opies of letters I wrote at Mr. Trump's direction that threa tened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.
4 I hope my appearance here today, my guilty plea, and my work with law enforcement agencies are steps along a path of redemption that will restore faith in me and help this country understand our president better. *** Before going further, I want to apologize to each of you and to Congress as a whole . The l ast time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I'm here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump. I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false '' our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign. Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That's not how he operates. In conversati ons we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell
5 me there's no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he wa s telling me to lie. There were at least a half -dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me ''How's it going in Russia?'' '' referring to the Moscow Tower project. You need to know that Mr. Trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it. To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow re al estate project . And so I lied about it , too '' because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie. And he made it
6 clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to Congress. **** Over the past two years, I have been smeared as ''a rat'' by the President of the United States. The truth is much different, and let me take a brief moment to introduce myself. My name is Michael Dean Cohen. I am a blessed husband of 24 years and a father to an incredible daughter and son. When I married my wife, I promised her that I would love her, cherish her, and protect her. As my father said countless times throughout my childhood, ''you my wife, and you my children, are t he air that I breathe.'' To my Laura, my Sami, and my Jake, there is nothing I wouldn't do to protect you. I have always tri ed to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity, and compassion '' qualities my parents ingrained in my siblings and me since childhood. My father survived the Holocaust thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. He was helped by many who put themselves in harm 's way to do what they knew was right.
7 That is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need. Mom and Dad'...I am sorry that I let you down. As many people that know me best woul d say, I am the person they would call at 3AM if they needed help. I proudly remember being the emergency contact for many of my children's friends when they were growing up because their parents knew that I would drop everything and care for them as if they were my own. Yet, last fall I pled guilty in federal court to fel onies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1. For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump. It is painful to admit that I was motivated by ambition at times. It is even more painful to admit that many times I ignored my consc ience and acted loyal to a man when I should not have. Sitting here today, it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong. For that reason , I have come here to apologize to my family, to the government, and to the American people. ***
8 Accordingly, let me now tell you about Mr. Trump. I got to know him very well , working very closely with him for more than 10 years , as his Executive Vice President and Special Counsel and then personal attorney when he became President . When I first met Mr. Trump, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant , and an icon. Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself -- that you were somehow changing the world. I wound up touting the Trump narrative for over a decade. That was my job. Always stay on message. Always defend. It monopolized my life. At first, I worked mostly on real estate developments and other business transactions. Shortly thereafter , Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings. Over time, I saw his true character revealed. Mr. Trump is an enigma. He is complicated, as am I. He h as both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.
9 Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intentio n to lead this nation '' only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ''greatest infomercial in political history.'' He never expected to win the primary. He never expecte d to win the general election . The campaign '' for him '' was always a marketing opportunity. I knew early on in my work for Mr. Trump th at he would direct me to lie to further his business interests. I am ashamed to say, that when it was for a real estate mogul in the private sector, I considered i t trivial. As the President, I consider it significant and dangerous. But in the mix, lying for Mr. Trump was normalized, and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it, either . A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.
10 As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of e mails. In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump's office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speaker phone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that w ould damage Hillary Clinton's campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ''woul dn't that be great.'' Mr. Trump is a racist . The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries ''shitholes.'' In private, he is even worse. He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn't a ''shithole .'' This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.
11 While we were once driving through a struggling neig hborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would n ever vote for him because they were too stupid. And yet I continued to work for him. Mr. Trump is a cheat. As previously stated, I'm giving the Committee today three years of President Trump's financial statements, from 2011 -2013 , which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buf falo Bills and to Forbes . Th ese are Exhibit s 1a, 1b, and 1c to my testimony. It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. I am sharing with you two newspaper articles, side by side, that are examples of Mr. Trump inflating and deflating his assets , as I said, to suit his financial interests. These are Exhibit 2 to my testimony.
12 As I noted, I'm giving the Committee today an article he wrote on , and sent me , that reported on an auction of a portrait of Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 3A to my testimony. Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at a n Art Hamptons Event . The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000 . Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organiza tion, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself . Please see Exhibit 3B to my testimony. And it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners , many of whom were small businesses , that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it. And y et, I continued to work for him.
13 Mr. Trump is a conman. He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person . I respect her greatly '' and she did not deserve that. I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to Ms. Clifford's attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign that was demanded by Ms. Clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with Mr. Trump . This is Exhibit 4 to my testimony. Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line o f Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign. I did that , too '' without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do or how it would impact me, my family, or the public. I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later. A s Ex hibit 5 to my testimony shows , I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank
14 account on August 1, 2017 '' when he was President of the United States '' pursuant to the cover -up , which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me '' the word used by Mr. Trump's TV lawyer -- for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf. Th is $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year '' while he was President. The Presi dent of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by Mr. Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York . So p icture this scene '' in February 2017, one month into his presidency, I'm visiting President Trump in the Oval Office for the first time . It's truly awe -inspiring, he's showing me around and pointing to different paintings, and he says to me something to the effect of '...Don't worry, Michael, your January and February reimbursement checks are coming . They were Fed -Exed from New York and it takes a while for that to get through the White House system. As he promised, I received the first check for the reimbursement of $70,000 not long thereafter.
15 When I say conman, I'm talking about a man who decla res himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never r elease his grades or SAT scores. As I mentioned, I'm giving the Committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump's direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump's grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without h is permission. These are Exhibit 6. The irony wasn't lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades. As you can see in Exhibit 7 , Mr. Trump declared ''Let him show his records'' after calling President Obama ''a terrible student. '' The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make i t better. In fact, h e did the opposite. When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employee s' salaries in half '' including mine '' he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving ''someone like him'' that much money back .
16 During the campaign, Mr. Trump said he did not consi der Vietnam Veteran , and Prisoner of War, Senator John McCain to be ''a hero '' because he likes people who weren't captured. At the same time, Mr. Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft. Mr. Trump claimed it was becaus e of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was n o surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment. He finished the conversation with the following commen t. ''You think I'm stupid, I wasn't going to Vietnam.'' I find it ironic , President Trump , that you are in Vietnam right now. And y et, I continued to work for him. *** Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.
17 Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, ''Dirt on Hillary Clinton.'' Something clicked in my mind. I r emember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when s omething peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk '' which in itself was unusual. People didn't just walk b ehind Mr. Trump's desk to talk t o him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: ''The meeting is all set.'' I remember Mr. Trump saying, '' Ok good'...let me know.'' What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meetin g of any significance alone '' and certainly not without checking with his father. I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump's knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on
18 Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked b ehind his dad's desk that day -- and that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don Jr. was talking about when he said, ''That's good'...let me know.'' *** Over the pa st year or so, I have done some real soul searching. I see now that my ambition and the intoxication of Trump power had much to do with the bad decisions I made. To you, Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, the other members of this Committee, and th e other members of the House and Senate, I am sorry for my lies and for lying to Congress. To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most . For those who question my motives for being here today, I understand. I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your ''fixer,'' Mr. Trump. I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I tried so ha rd to provide for my family. My testimony certainly doe s not diminish
19 the pain I caused my family and friends '' nothing can do that. And I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump. And, by coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by the President and his lawyer '' trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel. Mr. Trump called me a ''rat'' for choosing to tell the truth '' much like a mobster would do when one of his me n decide s to cooperate with the government. As Exhibit 8 shows , I have provided the Committee with copies of Tweets that Mr. Trump posted, attacking me and my family '' only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize them for what they are : encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family. I never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family '' and unleash his TV -lawyer to do the same. I hope this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will make it clear: As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to inti midate witnesses before congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable. I wish to especially thank Speaker Pelosi for her statements in Exhibit 9 to protect this institution and me , and the Chairman of the House Permanent
20 Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff and Chairman Cummings for likewise defending this institution and my family against the attacks by Mr. Trump , and also the many Republicans who have admonished the President as well . I am not a perfect man. I have done things I am not proud of, and I will live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life. But today, I get to decide the example I set for my children and how I attempt to change how history will remember me. I may not be able to change the past, but I can do right by the A merican people here today. Thank you for your attention. I am happy to answer the Committee's questions. #####
WikiLeaks on Twitter: "WikiLeaks' DNC publication (July 22, 2016) was also publicly promoted for over a month before hand, from June 12 onwards. https://t.co/4vpQ67GB29"
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 04:10
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Brexit
Labour Party Leader, Under Pressure, Backs a New Brexit Referendum - The New York Times
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 23:11
Image The Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on Monday. Credit Credit Vickie Flores/EPA, via Shutterstock LONDON '-- Britain's opposition Labour Party said on Monday that it was prepared to support a second referendum on withdrawal from the European Union, a shift that could have significant ramifications for the fate of Brexit and for the country's future.
After the resignations of nine Labour Party members last week, and amid the prospect of more, the party's leader, Jeremy Corbyn, dropped his longstanding resistance to a second vote on leaving the bloc.
Mr. Corbyn's support for a new vote is certainly no guarantee a new vote will happen. Still, it will cheer pro-European Britons, who have been fighting to reverse the outcome of the 2016 referendum decision.
The Labour statement on Monday was lacking in detail, and it was not immediately clear when the amendment for a second vote would be put forward in Parliament and what question, exactly, it proposed to put to the people.
Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, but so far there is no agreement among lawmakers on how to proceed. An exit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May was rejected by an overwhelming 230-vote margin last month.
If there is no agreement, the country risks a possibly chaotic ''no-deal exit'' from the bloc, without any negotiated agreement.
Analysts raised doubts about whether a Labour amendment calling for a second vote would come this week, when Parliament is scheduled to vote on a series of amendments proposed by lawmakers. They suggested it was more likely that Labour would make its move next month, when Mrs. May's Brexit proposed deal is scheduled to be reconsidered.
At the moment, it is unlikely that a second vote would win a majority in Parliament because most lawmakers still oppose the idea. But if Mrs. May's Brexit plan is rejected next month for a second time, then the calculation in Parliament could change.
Mr. Corbyn could choose to support two Labour lawmakers, Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, who are drawing up an amendment that would support Mrs. May's deal '-- but only in return for a confirmatory referendum on it, with voters given the alternative of backing the May deal or remaining in the bloc.
While Labour lawmakers have long opposed a no-deal Brexit, they have been divided on whether to put the stay/leave question back to the people.
The party campaigned in the 2016 referendum against Brexit, but many of Labour's traditional supporters in the north and middle of the country ignored its advice. That has left lawmakers representing those areas in a quandary, with some insisting that Brexit must go ahead to respect the views of their voters.
But most Labour members and voters in London and other big cities adamantly oppose Brexit.
One of the reasons cited by the Labour rebels, eight of whom quit last week to join an independent grouping, was Mr. Corbyn's failure to oppose Brexit strongly enough. Without his support, there was no chance of a second referendum ever being authorized by lawmakers.
Monday's announcement suggests that their departure has already proved effective in pressuring Mr. Corbyn, who is a lifelong critic of the European Union, to fall into line with those in the party who support a so-called people's vote.
''One way or another, we will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May's overwhelmingly rejected deal,'' Mr. Corbyn said in the statement.
''This is why, in line with our conference policy, we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favor of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country,'' Mr. Corbyn said.
At last year's Labour Party conference, members agreed that the party's main priority would be to push for a general election, but if it failed to secure one, all options would remain under consideration, including a people's vote.
Labour failed to bring down the government through a confidence motion last month but has been slow to move toward a second referendum. Mr. Corbyn has been accused of keeping in the background on Brexit, preferring to criticize and oppose Mrs. May's Brexit plan, rather than stopping it, as long as he can avoid blame for its consequences.
On Monday David Lammy, a lawmaker who favors another referendum, welcomed Mr. Corbyn's statement backing a second vote.
''This is a big step toward uniting our party and most importantly our country,'' he wrote on Twitter. ''No Brexit deal meets the fantasy promised in 2016. So the only way any specific form of Brexit can be made legitimate is through ratification in a #PeopleVote which includes the option to remain.''
Richard Corbett, the leader of Labour's lawmakers in the European Parliament, described the move toward a second vote as a ''very important step.''
''Given that we don't want a catastrophic no deal, we don't want Theresa May's disastrous deal, and as it becomes clearer that she won't go for an alternative deal, the only option left is stopping Brexit via a public vote,'' he said.
One analyst said Mr. Corbyn's shift on the issue was more about internal Labour Party politics than securing a second vote.
''It was always likely Corbyn would edge toward supporting some kind of referendum as the Brexit endgame approached,'' said Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. ''But he has not done this in the expectation that the Commons will support a referendum '-- it won't. This is him trying to keep a divided party united and shoring up a decline in his poll numbers.''
May Offers A Vote On Delaying Brexit, Expanding Options As EU Deadline Looms : NPR
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 15:30
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says that the House of Commons could vote on March 14 to "seek a short, limited extension to Article 50" '-- the exit clause in the EU Constitution that was triggered after the Brexit vote. Peter Nicholls/Reuters hide caption
toggle caption Peter Nicholls/Reuters U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says that the House of Commons could vote on March 14 to "seek a short, limited extension to Article 50" '-- the exit clause in the EU Constitution that was triggered after the Brexit vote.
Peter Nicholls/Reuters U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says she's open to the possibility of delaying Britain's exit from the European Union that's planned for March 29, publicly accepting that option for the first time as she promised lawmakers a chance to vote on the question.
May announced the strategy shift as Britain stares down an important deadline, with less than five weeks before its scheduled exit from the EU.
Addressing the House of Commons, May offered three new commitments:
To hold a "meaningful vote" on embracing an EU exit deal by March 12; If the March 12 vote fails, to hold another vote on March 13 "asking this House if it supports leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement;" If those votes fail, to vote on March 14 on whether to "seek a short, limited extension to Article 50" '-- the exit clause in the EU Constitution that was triggered after the Brexit vote. All three of those votes would promise enormous political drama. But as May made clear, the March 13 vote would also put lawmakers on the record on a crucial Brexit question.
Driving the point home, May said the vote would mean that "the United Kingdom will only leave without a deal on the 29th of March if there is explicit consent in the House for that outcome" '-- a responsibility-sharing statement that elicited grumblings and cross-talk in the chamber.
"If Parliament opposes leaving with no deal '-- as expected '-- the government would seek a vote on whether to extend Brexit until the end of June at the latest," NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. "Of course, the European Union would still have to approve such an extension and has made it clear it would want an explanation of how a delay would help resolve the Brexit conundrum which has paralyzed British politics."
The possibility of a Brexit delay would offer a way to minimize the potentially chaotic effects of leaving the EU without a deal in place, as Britain's negotiations have failed to produce a breakthrough agreement. Despite urging from within her own party, the option of a delay is something May had dismissed.
On Tuesday, May reiterated that she doesn't want to see an extension. And she noted that any extension beyond June would put the U.K. in the awkward position of participating in the EU's new parliamentary elections.
"What kind of message would that send to the more than 17 million people who voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago now?" the prime minister asked.
May visited the House of Commons on the same day her office published a paper assessing Britain's readiness for leaving the EU without an exit deal that would establish rules for future economic, security and logistical relationships.
"I believe that if we have to, we will ultimately make a success of no-deal," May said, touching off a roar of protests from her critics in the chamber.
But, she said, the best option is to leave the EU with a deal in place.
May also said her government plans to hold talks with the EU about "alternative arrangements to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland" '-- a complicated sticking point in the plan for Britain to exit the European Union.
May said she and her team '-- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay and U.K. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox '-- have been in "focus discussions with the EU to find a way forward that will work for both sides, and we are making good progress in that work."
Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will support Brexit referendum - BBC News
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:09
Image copyright HOC Jeremy Corbyn says Labour will back another EU referendum after his alternative Brexit plan was again defeated in the Commons.
But the Labour leader said he will also continue to push for "other available options" including a general election.
John McDonnell said the party would table an amendment for a referendum when the "meaningful vote" on Theresa May's deal returns to Parliament.
The shadow chancellor also told ITV's Peston show he would vote for remain.
It came as MPs voted to endorse Theresa May's Brexit strategy - but only after she made a series of concessions.
The PM also faced a Brexiteer rebellion, after 20 Tory MPs voted against proposals, backed by the government, to delay the UK's 29 March departure date if there is a no-deal scenario.
But Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was not among the 20 Tory rebels, offered an olive branch to Mrs May, as she continues to seek concessions from the EU on the controversial Irish backstop clause.
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Seat vacant
The chairman of the European Research Group of Brexiteer Tories said he disagreed with those who were demanding changes to the legal text of the withdrawal agreement and would accept an appendix to it.
Image copyright PA Image caption Is Jacob Rees-Mogg softening his stance? Writing in The Daily Mail, he said: "I really do not mind what form of words the Attorney General and the EU agree on regarding the backstop - as long as it expires before the next election and has the same legal status as the deal."
Other leading figures in the ERG, including deputy chairman Steve Baker, have previously dismissed the legal annex to Mrs May's agreement being negotiated by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.
Labour's Brexit proposals - which would see the UK join an EU customs union - were defeated by 323 votes to 240, a bigger margin than the last time MPs voted on them.
Mr Corbyn confirmed to MPs on Monday he would back another public vote if such a defeat took place - after resisting calls to do so from pro-EU Labour MPs.
'Full weight'After Wednesday's vote, Mr Corbyn said: "We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome.
"We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election."
Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson have put forward a compromise plan to back Mrs May's deal with the condition that it is then put to a confirmatory public vote.
Former shadow cabinet minister Owen Smith, a longstanding critic of Mr Corbyn, said: "Now that Labour's version of Brexit has been rejected by Parliament, I expect Jeremy Corbyn to throw his full weight behind campaigning for a public vote."
Labour MP David Lammy, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for another referendum, said: "It's become clear today that there is no majority in the House for May's deal, but also that Labour's alternative plan cannot command a majority either.
"In the key votes ahead of us we must extend Article 50 to take a catastrophic no-deal off the table and use that time to put this decision back to the people to decide if they back the government's botched Brexit deal or staying in our current EU deal."
But Labour former minister Caroline Flint said the party should not back a further referendum despite the defeat of Mr Corbyn's plan.
She said: "I think the British public want us to get on with this and sort out a deal that works."
She said Labour's leadership should "engage in negotiation, to use the leverage you have got, to get a better deal".
Government concessionsMPs also rejected an SNP motion saying the UK should not leave the EU without a deal "under any circumstances" - by 324 votes to 288.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper's amendment, which the government supported, was backed by 502 votes to 20, with a small group of Tory Brexiteers voting against it.
The amendment contained Mrs May's commitment on giving MPs a vote on delaying Brexit if both her deal and no-deal are rejected by MPs.
Mrs May announced this policy as she promised MPs a meaningful vote on her deal by 12 March - just 17 days before the UK is set to leave the EU.
The move was designed to head off a possible defeat when MPs voted on Ms Cooper's amendment.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Did Theresa May's latest statement rule out a no-deal Brexit, and what might happen next?Ms Cooper did not drop her amendment, because she wanted to hold the prime minister to her word - although the government has said it accepted the proposal.
Conservative MP Alberto Costa's amendment, which seeks to protect the rights of UK citizens in the EU and vice versa, even if there is a no-deal Brexit, was nodded through by MPs, after the government said they supported it.
Mr Costa said he was still forced to resign as an aide to Scottish Secretary David Mundell because of a convention that members of the government cannot table amendments to government motions.
Conservative MP Caroline Spelman opted not to put her amendment - calling for the PM's promise to give MPs a vote on delaying Brexit to be made legally binding - to the vote, after reassurances by the government.
Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis accused Jeremy Corbyn of being "happy to ignore the biggest democratic vote in our nation's history" by saying he would back another referendum.
Candanavia
The Lavelin Trudeau Scandal Rundown
ITM,
Wanted to try and give a summary with links and clips where
I can find them on some strange stuff going on here in Canada.
The thrust of the issue is in relation to a very large
Canadian company SNC-Lavelin and Trudeau trying to influence a legal matter
relating to the company.
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is a Montreal-based company that
provides engineering, procurement, and construction services in various
industries including; mining and metallurgy, oil and gas, environment and
water, infrastructure, and clean power. (Wikipedia).
The main allegation is that Trudeau himself as well as
others who work with or for him attempted to influence our attorney general
(Jodi Raybold) that the option of a remediation agreement would serve as
an alternative to prosecution for the Quebec-based global engineering company,
which is facing bribery and fraud charges related to contracts in Libya.
In essence there would be no criminal trial and less issues for the company.
Skip to 56 seconds in this clip for a good rundown by an MP
on the timeline of events that transpired https://globalnews.ca/news/4996058/trudeau-justice-committee-snc-lavalin-affair/
Essentially, in September the company was informed that they
would not be getting a remediation agreement and from that point until January
it appears that significant pressure was put on Raybold to change her mind.
Then in Janaury, Trudeau shuffled his cabinet which Raybold is a part of and
was shifted to a different ministry, no longer being the attorney general. In
her place was put David Lametti a lawyer and MP who is based in Montreal close
by to the company. Should also be noted that Trudeau is from Montreal as well.
Shortly after the shuffle Raybold resigned from Trudeaus cabinet.
And in the midst of all this a few very odd things were said
by major players.
Michael Wernick who is the top civil servant in the country
who essentially no one has ever heard of or heard from before decided to speak
to this matter to the Justice committee. What I found disgusting was in this
clip if you go to 1:08, before even really addressing the SNC issue, he decides
to give his opinion on the state of politics in Canada and that someone will be
assassinated in the election. Great way to whip people up into a frenzy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXoffOVdd8U
Then Trudeaus Principal Secretary aka main advisor resigned
shortly after the scandal broke and in his letter of resignation decided to
take a paragraph of the one page document to say: "I also need to say this
(and I know it’s a non sequitur). Our kids and grandkids will judge us on one
issue above all others. That issue is climate change. I hope the response to it
becomes the collective, non-partisan, urgent effort that science clearly says
is required. I hope that happens soon."
Sir Bram of Upper Candanavia
NOKO
Trump-Kim summit: Here's North Korea deal they may strike in Vietnam - Vox
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:33
A tentative deal between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be finalized over the next two days at their summit in Vietnam has emerged '-- and while it may still change, the current agreement looks like a huge win for Kim.
The US? Not so much.
Under the current iteration of the agreement, described to me by two people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic issues, the US would agree to lift some sanctions on North Korea and improve ties between the two countries in exchange for a commitment from Kim Jong Un to close down a key nuclear facility.
Here's the outline of the tentative deal as described to me:
Both countries will sign a peace declaration to symbolically end the Korean War. That conflict ended in an armistice (basically a truce), not an actual peace treaty, in 1953, which means the war is technically still ongoing. The agreement would effectively, although not officially, end hostilities between the two countries and dramatically improve their relations.North Korea will agree to return more remains of US troops who died during the Korean War, although it's unclear how many of the thousands will come home and when. Last year, following the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, North Korea returned the remains of 55 American service members.The US and North Korea will establish liaison offices '-- which are quasi-embassies with minimal authorities '-- in each other's nations. That will be the first concrete step toward normalizing diplomatic ties between the two longtime enemies.North Korea will agree to stop producing materials for nuclear bombs at its Yongbyon facility. In exchange, the US will push to lift some UN sanctions on Pyongyang so it can pursue joint economic projects with South Korea.Again, it's entirely possible that this tentative deal will change '-- perhaps even dramatically '-- between now and when Trump and Kim meet on February 27 in Vietnam. But the deal as it currently stands comports with what many expected heading into the summit.
In other words, it isn't a major surprise that this is the deal on offer. The problem, though, is that Trump may be giving more than he's getting.
Why this deal is both good and bad for TrumpIf agreed to, the most controversial part of this deal will be the promise from Kim to shutter the Yongbyon facility in exchange for some modest sanctions relief.
Here's why: the people familiar with the current deal say there are no specific details and no timetable for how North Korea will end nuclear-fuel production at the Yongbyon facility. Instead, Trump and Kim will agree in principle to the closure and working-level staff will finalize the details in future talks.
That's likely to pique some North Korea experts.
North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility is ''the heart of their nuclear program,'' a top expert told the Washington Post last week. It's the only place (that we know of) where the country can make plutonium for nuclear bombs. If it shuts down, Pyongyang's ability to make plutonium-fueled nuclear weapons will be severely curtailed.
That wouldn't mean the end of its nuclear program '-- not by a long shot '-- but it would be a concrete gesture that would help signal that Kim may actually be serious about dismantling the program eventually.
That said, it's one thing for Kim to say he'll close the facility, an another thing entirely for him to actually do so.
Rebecca Hersman, a nuclear expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me that for this to be a real concession, Kim would have to let international inspectors into the facility to verify that nuclear-material production had really ended. Without those inspections, there's no way to know if Kim has followed through on his promise.
That's a move the leader may be reluctant to take. And even if he did so, he could always just restart the shuttered facility once the inspectors left '-- as his father, Kim Jong Il, did twice before after deals with the US collapsed.
That, in part, is why experts want any deal on closing Yongbyon to be extremely detailed. ''An agreement on the dismantlement of such a site has to be worded deliberately and concisely so technical experts can watch and verify each step in the process,'' said Grace Liu of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
But if Trump moves to lift sanctions before Kim actually ends all production at Yongbyon, he will have offered a major concession without getting anything substantive in return.
The rest of the deal, however, looks pretty good.
By signing a peace declaration, both sides will reduce tensions with one another by saying they are no longer warring enemies. By establishing liaison offices, Washington and Pyongyang will take an important step to normalizing their relations. And by returning more troop remains to the US '-- something people close to the negotiations tell me is personally very important to Trump '-- North Korea will show it's serious about staying in America's good graces.
So there's a lot to like in this potential deal. But it doesn't really move the needle much on the fundamental goal of denuclearizing North Korea, and mostly just rewards Kim with much-needed sanctions relief for doing little more than continuing to show up for talks and making some vague promises. It that sense, the deal isn't great for Trump, but is a pretty big win for the North Korean leader.
But if this serves as a building block to more deals down the line '-- leading North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program in the long run '-- then it's possible we'll all look back on Hanoi fondly in a few years' time.
TASS: World - Trump, Kim Jong Un expected to sign joint agreement on February 28
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 18:51
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WASHINGTON, February 27. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plan to sign a joint agreement on Thursday on the outcomes of the summit in Hanoi, the White House informed on Wednesday.
According to Trump's agenda for February 28, the US and North Korean leaders plan to meet at 14:05 local time (10:05 Moscow time) to take part in the ceremony of signing a joint agreement. The White House did not specify the details of the agreement.
The US president has informed on Twitter that he held a "great meeting" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, and he is looking forward to continuing the discussion.
"Great meetings and dinner tonight in Vietnam with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Very good dialogue," he said. "Looking forward to continuing our discussions tomorrow!" Trump added.
On Wednesday, Trump and Kim Jon Un kicked off the second US-North Korean summit in history, expressing hope for good results. The North Korean leader stated that together, Pyongyang and Washington overcome problems and distrust, while Donald Trump called Kim Jong Un "a great leader".
The dinner at Metropole hotel, attended by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, deputy chief of the Workers' Party of Korea Kim Jong Chul and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, lasted for over two hours.
The White House press pool informed on Wednesday that during the dinner in Hanoi, Trump and Kim Jong Un tried a shrimp cocktail prepared by chefs at the hotel, and grilled steak with a pear kimchi, made by North Korean chefs brought in for the summit. For dessert, the leaders enjoyed a chocolate lava cake. Trump and Kim Jong Un also had a non-alcoholic dried persimmon punch digestif.
In other media
To prohibit lifting of United States sanctions imposed with respect to North Korea. (H.R. 1369) - GovTrack.us
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 19:10
History Feb 26, 2019
Introduced
Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.
If this bill has further action, the following steps may occur next:'--
Passed Committee
'--
Passed House
'--
Passed Senate
'--
Signed by the President
H.R. 1369 is a bill in the United States Congress.A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.
How to cite this information.We recommend the following MLA -formatted citation when using the information you see here in academic work:
GovTrack.us. (2019). H.R. 1369 '-- 116th Congress: To prohibit lifting of United States sanctions imposed with respect to North Korea. Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1369
''H.R. 1369 '-- 116th Congress: To prohibit lifting of United States sanctions imposed with respect to North Korea.'' www.GovTrack.us. 2019. February 27, 2019 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1369>
To prohibit lifting of United States sanctions imposed with respect to North Korea, H.R. 1369, 116th Cong. (2019).
{{cite web|url=https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1369|title=H.R. 1369 (116th)|accessdate=February 27, 2019|author=116th Congress (2019)|date=February 26, 2019|work=Legislation|publisher=GovTrack.us|quote=To prohibit lifting of United States sanctions imposed with respect to North Korea.}}
show another citation format:MLAAPABlue BookWikipedia TemplateWhere is this information from?GovTrack automatically collects legislative information from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources. This page is sourced primarily fromCongress.gov, the official portal of the United States Congress.Congress.gov is generally updated one day after events occur, and so legislative activity shown here may be one day behind. Data via the congress project.
OTG
OTG includes surface go and dongle
Shared Work Spaces tracking
I work for a very well known shared coworking space company
and wanted to share some of the great innovative initiatives being tested.
1. Floor heat mapping. They want to know where people tend
to congrats the most.
2. Desk sensors so they know where and how long people are
sitting at desks and open tables
3. Bathroom access sensor! Yes they just installed
"counters" to see how often people go in/out of the bathroom. But
don't worry they assured us the IOT enabled boxes are just gathering how often
the bathrooms are used.
4. Conference room usage. You booked a conference room for 6
people but only 1 showed up. What's up?
I'm sure none of this captures your unique phone ID as your
logged in the company app or using the companies free wifi. Oh wait they just
bought a company that uses open wifi sensors to suck up unique phone ids to
know whose in the building and where.
Looking forward to your sarcastic tone and JCDs
thoughts.
Please keep my information annonomius as I'm still work
here, living the dream.
Landlords tracking you and selling data
ITM Adam,
I have a little note for the show you might be interested
in. I rent an apartment in Massachusetts, and I just got a call from my
landlord. Aparently he just started getting notices offering to sell him
information on his current tenants!
It turns out he keeps our monthly rent in a Tenant Escrow
account, and there is a service that is buying information from banks not of
the contents of the account, but of its frequency of action- so if the renter
pays a little late, they find out. He gets a check mailed directly from us to
him, then deposits it at his bank- there is no other route for this information
to get out, but there it is!
This information is being bought by banks to justify jacking
up mortgage rates and the like when you decide to but a house!
I’ll try to find out more and let you know if I find
anything, but that is what I know so far.
-Sir Pent
Report: Home Assistants with 'Moral AI' Could Call Police on Owners | Breitbart
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:33
The Daily Mail reported that home assistants could soon report their owners to the police for breaking the law based on a ''Moral A.I.'' system, if the ideas of academics in Europe are implemented.
The newspaper reported that academics at the University of Bergen in Norway discussed the idea of a ''moral A.I.'' for smart home assistants, like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, during a conference.
Moral A.I. would reportedly make home assistants have to ''decide whether to report their owners for breaking the law,'' or whether to stay silent.
''This would let them to weigh-up whether to report illegal activity to the police, effectively putting millions of people under constant surveillance,'' the Daily Mail explained, adding that Dr. Marija Slavkovik, who led the research, ''suggested that digital assistants should possess an ethical awareness that simultaneously represents both the owner and the authorities '-- or, in the case of a minor, their parents.''
''Devices would then have an internal 'discussion' about suspect behaviour, weighing up conflicting demands between the law and personal freedoms, before arriving at the 'best' course of action,'' the Mail noted.
In an interview with the Mail, Slavkovik declared, ''There is [already] an ethical conflict between people in one family, let alone between people and manufacturer, or shareholders of the manufacturer and programmers'... If we want to avoid Orwellian outcomes it's important that all stakeholders are identified and have a say, including when machines shouldn't be able to listen in. Right now only the manufacturer decides.''
Home assistants, most notably Google Home and Amazon Echo devices, have been at the center of privacy and security concerns since their release.
Amazon Echo devices have been known to scare owners by randomly laughing, and telling one crying woman, ''It's going to be OK,'' after she lost her job.
One Amazon Echo device even recorded a family's conversation before sending it to a random contact, while an ''error'' granted a German man access to another user's 1,700 voice recordings.
A report last year also indicated that Amazon Echo devices can be hijacked.
This month, it was revealed that Google failed to disclose a ''secret'' microphone on its home security product Nest Secure.
The company's failure to disclose the microphone was only discovered after Google announced that users ''would now be able to use Google Assistant'' on the security devices.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Senate demands Google CEO answer for hidden Nest microphone - CNET
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:13
The Nest Secure home security system
Tyler Lizenby/CNET The US Senate Commerce Committee wants explanations from Google CEO Sundar Pichai about a recent controversy at Nest, the smart-home device company Google owns.
Last week, the search giant drew criticism because its Nest Secure hub, a web-connected home security system, includes a microphone, but it was never disclosed in hardware specs, marketing materials or on Nest's website.
The microphone's existence became apparent after Google announced earlier this month it was bringing its Assistant software to the Nest Secure. The Assistant, which lets people check flight information or turn off the lights in their houses, relies heavily on voice commands -- and a microphone -- when its on devices without screens.
At the time, Google said it was an "error" that the microphone was omitted from the product specs. The company also said the mic has never been activated.
But that hasn't satisfied committee members, who wrote a letter to Pichai demanding more information.
"Google's failure to disclose a microphone within its Nest Secure product raises serious questions about its commitment to consumer transparency and disclosure," the letter dated Feb. 25 says. "As consumer technology becomes ever more advanced, it is essential that consumers know the capabilities of the devices they are bringing into their homes so they can make informed choices."
The letter demands Pichai follow up with the committee by March 12. The committee also wants an "in-person briefing" on the issue by March 29. The letter was written by Senate Republicans Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Thune of South Dakota and Jerry Moran of Kansas.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.
The controversy comes as Google -- and the rest of Silicon Valley -- deal with broader scrutiny over privacy and data collection. Google has gotten blowback from lawmakers and the public for its use of data location on its Android phones, as well as the access it gives third-party software makers to read people's emails on Gmail.
The committee wants Pichai to specifically address six questions:
Has a microphone always been a component of the Nest Secure home security and alarm system device?When and how did Google become aware that a microphone was not listed on the Nest Secure's technical specifications available to consumers?What steps has Google taken to inform purchasers of Nest Secure devices that the device contains a previously undisclosed microphone?Please describe Google's process for developing technical specifications for its products. At what stage of this process did the error take place that resulted in the omission of the microphone's presence in the Nest Secure device? Has Google taken steps to prevent such an error from reocurring in the technical specifications for other Google products?Is Google aware or has Google ever been aware of any third party using the Nest Secure microphone for any unauthorized purpose?Is Google aware of similar omissions in the technical specifications for any other Google products?The Senate also points out that the undisclosed microphone leaves consumers vulnerable to spying from hackers.
"Moreover, even if Google was not using the Nest Secure microphone to record any information or it was turned off by default, there is still risk that hackers or other outside entities could have activated the microphone to illicitly record information," the letter says.
Nest has suffered other privacy controversies recently. Last month, a hacker infiltrated the Nest Cam security camera of a San Francisco Bay Area family by using a password obtained from a third-party breach. The hacker convinced the family that the US was under nuclear attack from North Korea. In December, another hacker took over the camera of a man in Arizona to warn him of security vulnerabilities. In another case that month, a hacker told a couple through the device that he'd kidnap their child.
BlackBerry lawsuit accuses Twitter of patent infringement - CNET
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:18
BlackBerry is accusing Twitter of illegally using its mobile messaging technology
James Martin/CNET BlackBerry on Wednesday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Twitter, accusing the social network of illegally using the former phone giant's mobile messaging technology.
Calling Twitter a "relative newcomer," the lawsuit accuses the microblogging site of co-opting BlackBerry's technology for use in several services, including the main Twitter app and Twitter Ads, the companies advertising platform. BlackBerry said Twitter's alleged infringement of six patents -- which cover notifications, silencing notifications and push technology, among other things -- has deprived it of revenue to which it's entitled.
With BlackBerry's inventions, Twitter "has succeeded in diverting consumers away from BlackBerry's products and services" and toward its own by misappropriating features that made BlackBerry "a critical and commercial success in the first place," according to the 98-page complaint (see below).
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for Central California, seeks compensation for lost revenue and unspecified enhanced damages.
Twitter declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Nearly a decade ago, BlackBerry was one of the world's largest smartphone makers. One of the core services found on its older phones is BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), a secure way to exchange text and images and an early competitor to the likes of WhatsApp. But in the years since, BBM's functions have largely been replaced by the growing popularity of messaging features on social networks and text messaging services.
BlackBerry has in the past several years retreated into supplying software and services for corporate and government clients. Its phones remain on the market only because Chinese consumer electronics maker TCL, best known for budget televisions, pays BlackBerry for the rights to use its name.
BlackBerry filed a similar lawsuit against Facebook in March 2018, saying the company infringed on its mobile messaging tech for its own Messenger, as well as its Instagram photo sharing app and WhatsApp messaging service.
BlackBerry v. Twitter by jonathan_skillings on Scribd
Law Enforcement Can Do Whatever It Likes With Consumer DNA Data - Bloomberg
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:23
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5G Is The ''Stupidest Idea In The History of The World''- Washington State Biochemistry/Medical Science Prof '' Collective Evolution
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 14:14
The Facts:The Cochrane Collaboration recieved a $1.15 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, and lo and behold, a little over a year later, Cochrane was busy putting out a review that sang the praises of the HPV vaccine.
Reflect On:If we know that our healthcare industry is nothing more than a business that is only concerned about profit, can this knowledge be more that a source of frustration and actually contribute to our awakening?
Anyone who has looked into the inner workings of the Western healthcare system''especially with regards to the relentless promotion of vaccines''can see that it is primarily a 'business', where 'health' is secondary at best. Following the money shows that vaccine research is primarily funded (or pseudo-funded through shell companies) by the pharmaceutical industry.
Such industry-funded research is demonstrably structured in ways that ensure that vaccines can be said to be safe and are not causally linked to serious conditions like autism. As this Health Impact News article points out,
ALL industry funded studies are designed to protect the company's financial investment. That is THE overriding primary bias. In vaccine clinical trials in particular, there is a built-in bias; namely, the comparator arm. The so-called ''placebo-controlled'' comparative vaccine studies do not use a genuine placebo. They include an adjuvant such as aluminum or mercury in the so-called ''placebo'' comparators both of which generate serious adverse effects. They use these adjuvants precisely in order to mask the serious risks posed by vaccines.
CDC ComplicityBut even this strategy is not fool-proof, and when things don't work according to plan, more direct means are employed. As we saw in the case of CDC researcher William Thompson, deliberately deleting or fudging data is often in play if causal links with serious conditions like autism are indeed established in their studies. And the fraudulent behavior that we actually hear about is probably just the tip of the iceberg. For every brave whistleblower like Thompson who risks his livelihood, reputation, and possibly even his life to bring this information to the public, the vast majority of people privy to this knowledge have likely been kept silent by the carrot (continued employment and funding, promotions, outright bribes) or the stick (fear of loss of employment, damage to reputation, physical harm, or murder).
A supposedly neutral government agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry to give the official government stamp of approval on vaccine safety. Furthermore, the CDC is a business partner of the pharmaceutical industry, acting as a wholesaler and distributor of vaccines with an annual purchasing budget of $4 billion. Conflict of interest? Nothing to see here, right?
Probably the only hope for people who want the objective truth about vaccine safety is with independent research companies. Sadly, it looks like one of the biggest and most respected companies of this kind have fallen under the control of corporate big money.
The Cochrane CollaborationThe Cochrane Collaboration, now known simply as Cochrane, is an international and independent non-profit organization established in 1993 aimed at providing up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare available worldwide. Cochrane produces and disseminates systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and diagnostic tests, and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other interventional studies.
Up until recently, the Cochrane Collaboration had been considered the ''gold standard'' in scientific integrity. That is, until it started making the move a few years ago from being a principled, proudly independent research company to one that started to come under the influence of certain sponsors based on 'donations' like this one proudly announced on their website:
Once again, we are starkly confronted with what seems to be the underlying reality of the world we live in. Do we see any conflict of interest in the Cochrane Collaboration accepting over a million dollars from HPV vaccine-pusher Bill Gates? Do we have any reason to believe that this donation is designed to 'support the development of Cochrane's next generational evidence system,' or do we suspect that this is just a bribe to garner Cochrane's support and seal of approval for the HPV vaccine?
Well, fortunately, we didn't have to wait very long for the answer to that question. A Cochrane Systematic Review from May 2018 entitled 'Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomaviruses to prevent cervical cancer and its precursors' appears as the perfect payback for Gates' 'donation' a mere year and a half earlier. In it, the reviewers came to conclusions that were sure to have pleased Gates:
There is high'certainty evidence that HPV vaccines protect against cervical precancer in adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 26'...We did not find an increased risk of serious adverse effects. Although the number of deaths is low overall, there were more deaths among women older than 25 years who received the vaccine. The deaths reported in the studies have been judged not to be related to the vaccine. Increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes after HPV vaccination cannot be excluded, although the risk of miscarriage and termination are similar between trial arms.
Cochrane Regional Members RevoltFor some of the researchers affiliated with one of Cochrane's regional member centers (the Nordic Cochrane Centre), Cochrane's HPV review was so biased that they felt compelled to write an exhaustive critique of it, entitled 'The Cochrane HPV vaccine review was incomplete and ignored important evidence of bias,' published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. Their conclusions demonstrate that they have taken notice of the change of policy at Cochrane and saw evidence of undue influence and conflicts of interest:
Part of the Cochrane Collaboration's motto is 'Trusted evidence'. We do not find the Cochrane HPV vaccine review to be 'Trusted evidence', as it was influenced by reporting bias and biased trial designs. We believe that the Cochrane review does not meet the standards for Cochrane reviews or the needs of the citizens or healthcare providers that consult Cochrane reviews to make 'Informed decisions', which also is part of Cochrane's motto.
This review was co-written by one of the 'old guards' of the Cochrane Collaboration, Peter Gotzsche. Peter has published more than 70 papers in ''the big five'' (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Ann Intern Med and N Engl J Med) and his scientific works have been cited 30,000 times (source). With about 80 others, he helped start The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 with the founder, Sir Iain Chalmers, and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year.
Among other things, Peter has been an outspoken critic of the pharmaceutical industry, and saw his role in the Cochrane Collaboration as a counterbalance to their undue influence in the healthcare field. He is the author of the book Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare. The video below will give you a taste of his stance on the pharmaceutical industry:
Cochrane Dumps Peter GotzscheAs if the agenda could not be more obvious, the newly centralized Governing Board of this formerly serious 'collaboration' of researchers and reviewers suddenly removed Peter Gotzsche from Cochrane without any clear justification. Notably, this was the first action taken against any member of the Cochrane Collaboration in its entire 25-year history. In a letter to members of the collaboration, Peter eloquently describes the unfortunate direction that Cochrane is taking, which exemplifies the capacity of big money and big business to run roughshod over anyone that gets in the way of their profits.
Nordic Cochrane CentreRigshospitalet, Dept. 7811Blegdamsvej 92100 Copenhagen , Denmark
Tel: +45 35 45 71 12E-mail:general@cochrane.dkwww.nordic.cochrane.org
14 September 2018
A moral governance crisis: the growing lack of democratic collaboration and scientific pluralism in Cochrane.
I regret to inform you that I have been expelled from membership in the Cochrane Collaboration by the favourable vote of 6 of the 13 members of the Governing Board. No clear reasoned justification has been given for my expulsion aside from accusing me of causing ''disrepute'' for the organization. This is the first time in 25 years that a member has been excluded from membership of Cochrane.
This unprecedented action taken by a minority of the Governing Board is disproportionate and damaging to Cochrane, as well as to public health interests. As a result of this decision, and a number of broader issues concerning the inadequate governance of Cochrane, in accordance with its principles and objectives, four other members of the Board have resigned.
As a result, the Cochrane Collaboration has entered an unchartered territory of crisis and lack of strategic direction. A recovery from this dire situation would call for the dissolution of the present board, new elections and a broad based participatory debate about the future strategy and governance of the organization.
In just 24 hours the Cochrane Governing Board of thirteen members has lost five of its members, four of which are centre directors and key members of the organization in different countries. Recently the central executive team of Cochrane has failed to activate adequate safeguards, not only technical ones (which are usually very good) to assure sufficient policies in the fields of epistemology, ethics and morality. Transparency, open debate, criticism and expanded participation are tools that guarantee the reduction of uncertainty of reviews and improve the public perception of the democratic scientific process. These are conditions and tools that cannot be eliminated, as has happened recently, without placing into serious doubt the rigorous scientific undertaking of Cochrane and eroding public confidence in Cochrane's work. My expulsion should be seen in this context.
There has also been a serious democratic deficit. The role of the Governing Board has been radically diminished under the intense guidance of the current central executive team and the Board has increasingly become a testimonial body that rubber-stamps highly finalized proposals with practically no ongoing in-put and exchange of views to formulate new policies. On dozens of issues the Board can only vote yes or no with very little opportunity to amend or modify the executive team ́s proposals.
This growing top-down authoritarian culture and an increasingly commercial business model that have been manifested within the Cochrane leadership over the past few years threaten the scientific, moral and social objectives of the organization. Many Cochrane centres have sustained negative pressure and a lack of productive dialogue with the CEO of the central office. Upon alerting the Cochrane leadership of these worrisome tendencies that negatively affect the operability and social perception of our scientific work, the Nordic Cochrane Centre has received a number of threats to its existence and financing. Many of the directors or other key staff of the oldest Cochrane centres in the world have conveyed their dissatisfaction with the senior central staff's interactions with them. While the declared aims of interactions with the central office is to improve the quality of our work, the heavy-handed approach of some of the central staff has sometimes created a negative environment for new scientific initiatives, open collaboration and academic freedom.
There has also been criticism in Cochrane concerning the over-promotion of favourable reviews and conflicts of interest and the biased nature of some scientific expert commentary used by the knowledge translation department of Cochrane.
At the same time, Cochrane has been giving less and less priority and importance to its civic and political commitment to promoting open access, open data, scientific transparency, avoiding conflicts of interest and, in general, not promoting a public interest innovation model. I feel that these issues are intricately related to providing ''better evidence'' as the Cochrane motto professes. Recently the Cochrane executive leadership has even refused to comment publicly on new health technology policies, open access policies and other key advocacy opportunities despite the fact that an auditing of Cochrane fulfilment of objectives has shown a total failure to comply with Cochrane advocacy objectives. There is stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests.
The excuse of lack of time and staff (around 50) is not credible.There has also been great resistance and stalling on the part of the central executive team to improving Cochrane's conflict of interest policy. A year ago, I proposed that there should be no authors of Cochrane reviews to have financial conflicts of interests with companies related to the products considered in the reviews. This proposal was supported by other members of the Board, but the proposal has not progressed at all.
The Cochrane executive leadership almost always uses the commercial terms of ''brand'', ''products'' and ''business'' but almost never describes what is really a collaborative network with the values of sharing, independence and openness. To the chagrin of many senior leaders in Cochrane, the word ''Collaboration'', which is part of our registered charity name, was deleted from communications about Cochrane. Nevertheless, it is precisely ''collaboration'' that is the key to what distinguished Cochrane from other scientific organisations where competition is at the forefront. The collaborative aspect, social commitment, our independence from commercial interests and our mutual generosity are what people in Cochrane have always appreciated the most and have been our most cherished added-value.
Often it is forgotten that we are a scientific, grass-roots organisation whose survival depends entirely on unpaid contributions from tens of thousands of volunteers and substantial governmental support throughout the world. We make a substantial contribution to people's understanding and interpretation of scientific evidence on the benefits and harms of medical interventions, devices and procedures that impact the population.
Our work informs government legislation globally, it influences medical guidelines and drug approval agencies. Therefore, the integrity of the Cochrane Collaboration is paramount. We pride ourselves on being global providers of ''trusted evidence'' on a foundation of values such as openness, transparency and collaboration.
However, in recent years Cochrane has significantly shifted more to a business -a profit-driven approach. Even though it is a not-for-profit charity, our ''brand'' and ''product'' strategies are taking priority over getting out independent, ethical and socially responsible scientific results. Despite our clear policies to the contrary, my centre, and others, have been confronted with attempts at scientific censorship, rather than the promotion of pluralistic, open scientific debate about the merits of concrete Cochrane reviews of the benefits and harms of health care interventions.
Because of this moral governance crisis of the Cochrane Collaboration, I decided to run for a seat on the Governing Board and was elected in early 2017, with the most votes of all 11 candidates. It was considered an achievement, especially since I was the only one who had questioned aspects of our leadership. Regrettably today, I have been expelled because of my ''behaviour'', while the hidden agenda of my expulsion is a clear strategy for a Cochrane that moves it further and further away from its original objectives and principles. This is not a personal question. It is a highly political, scientific and moral issue about the future of Cochrane. As most people know, much of my work is not very favourable to the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Because of this Cochrane has faced pressure, criticism and complaints.
My expulsion is one of the results of these campaigns.
What is at stake is the ability of producing credible and trustworthy medical evidence that our society values and needs.
Peter C G¸tzsche,
Professor, Director, MD, DrMedSci, MSc, Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet, Dept 7811
Peter has recently written a book about the whole affair entitled 'Death of a whistleblower and Cochrane's moral collapse.' He will be hosting an important symposium in Copenhagen on March 9th, 2019 where he will be announcing the opening of the 'Institute for Scientific Freedom.' He explains his reasons for the need to create such an institute here.
The TakeawayAs disheartening as this story is, it also contributes to our growing awareness of the world around us and the true levers of power in the healthcare field. The days are gone when we had a naive trust that the pledge to 'do no harm' was the backbone of Western healthcare. When we reach a critical mass of people who see our system for what it is, as revealed by stories like these, we will have the power to simply step away from it.
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Huawei belooft miljoeneninvestering in Nederland | NOS
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 22:02
Nando Kasteleijnredacteur Tech
Er wordt door Huawei gekeken naar de bouw van een onderzoekscentrum in Nederland, dat er nog dit jaar zou moeten komen. Dat heeft de president West-Europa van het bedrijf gezegd in antwoord op vragen van de NOS, in een rondetafelgesprek met journalisten op een grote telecombeurs in Barcelona.
"Ik wil deze gelegenheid aangrijpen om te zeggen dat we meer gaan investeren in Nederland", zei Vincent Pang. Hij prees de openheid van de Nederlandse markt en benadrukte dat zijn bedrijf zich altijd zal houden aan de nationale wetten. Het gaat om een investering van miljoenen euro's.
Over de plannen van het bedrijf bestaat nog veel onduidelijkheid. Het is bijvoorbeeld de vraag of het die miljoenen euro's ook wil investeren in 5G-netwerken. Een Nederlandse woordvoerder kon geen nadere details geven. De optie dat het onderzoekscentrum toch niet naar Nederland komt lijkt nog wel open te liggen, Huawei zoekt bijvoorbeeld nog naar een locatie.
AfluisterenHuawei heeft hier al een distributiecentrum en is een belangrijke partner voor de telecombedrijven in Nederland. Tegelijkertijd hebben staatssecretaris Keijzer en premier Rutte laten weten dat Nederland niet na¯ef moet zijn over de gevaren van 5G en Huawei.
De vrees is dat de Chinezen via 5G-apparatuur van Huawei communicatie zullen afluisteren. Maar tot nu toe is er geen bewijs dat de Chinese fabrikant ooit aan zulke spionage heeft meegewerkt.
Het gesprek in Barcelona stond geheel in het teken van de rol die Huawei speelt bij de aanleg van 5G in Europa. "We weten dat dit is waar iedereen over praat", zei Pang. En providers wachten op dit moment zelfs met investeren in de nieuwe mobiele technologie, zei een analist afgelopen week tegen The New York Times. "Er is zoveel onzekerheid over wat ze kunnen doen met Huawei."
Vanaf dit jaar zal 5G naar verwachting beschikbaar komen in een aantal Europese landen. De opvolger van het huidige mobiele netwerk is naar verwachting veel sneller. Huawei wordt gezien als een belangrijke leverancier van netwerkapparatuur.
Tegelijkertijd hebben diverse EU-landen hun zorgen geuit. Het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Duitsland hebben wel gezegd dat ze het bedrijf niet willen uitsluiten, maar ze willen wel een manier vinden om om te gaan met de risico's.
Er gaan ook berichten rond dat de Europese Commissie overweegt om Huawei uit te sluiten. Maar snelle besluitvorming is niet te verwachten, klinkt het in Brussel: de EU-lidstaten zijn nogal verdeeld over wat er moet gebeuren.
We hadden de uitdagingen rondom 5G beter moeten inschatten. Vincent Pang, president West-Europa Huawei Op de vraag of Huawei zich de zorgen over de 5G-apparatuur van het bedrijf aanrekent, antwoordde Pang dat hij "niet denkt dat we iets fout hebben gedaan. Maar als je me vraagt wat we beter hadden kunnen doen, dan denk ik dat we de uitdagingen op dit vlak beter hadden moeten inschatten."
Ook verwees Pang naar een recent interview van de oprichter van Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, met de BBC. Die zei dat hij zijn medewerking zou weigeren als Huawei door de Chinese overheid zou worden gedwongen om te spioneren. Hij zou nog liever het bedrijf verkopen als dat niet kan. "Dat is een heel duidelijke boodschap", zei Pang.
Enorme standEr is niet alleen veel media-aandacht voor Huawei op het Mobile World Congress, het bedrijf zelf is ook prominent aanwezig. De beurs is streng beveiligd, bezoekers moeten bij de ingang hun ID-bewijs laten zien. In een van de hallen valt de enorme stand van Huawei meteen op (volgens een woordvoerder is die overigens even groot als vorig jaar).
Het bedrijf heeft een groot deel van de hal afgehuurd voor het tonen van onder meer zijn 5G-technologie. De eerste drie dagen van de beurs kun je alleen bij hen terecht op afspraak. Die werkwijze hanteren meer partijen, maar door de grootte van Huawei's stand valt het wel extra op.
De NOS kreeg de gelegenheid om een uur onder begeleiding op de stand rond te lopen. Het bedrijf schermt met statistieken: zo laten ze zich erop voorstaan dat er wereldwijd al meer dan 40.000 5G-antennes van Huawei zijn geplaatst. Ook heeft het al meer dan 30 contracten binnengesleept.
Een Nederlandse medewerker van het bedrijf zegt dat 75 procent van de uitrol in Azi plaatsvindt. De overige 25 procent is in Europa, in de VS mag het bedrijf niet werken.
Grote sponsorDe plek waar de 5G-technologie wordt gepresenteerd is overigens niet de enige stand van Huawei. In een andere hal hebben ze er een waar de nieuwste smartphones worden gepresenteerd. Hier staat Huawei precies tegenover concurrent Samsung.
Verder is Huawei een van de belangrijkste sponsors van de beurs. Het logo staat gedrukt op het keycord van de ruim 100.000 bezoekers. Met andere woorden: zorgen over spionage of niet, je kunt niet om ons heen.
Intel ends 5G modem alliance with Beijing-backed chipmaker - Nikkei Asian Review
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 15:28
BARCELONA, Spain -- Intel has ended a partnership to share its latest 5G modem chips with China's second largest mobile chipmaker amid concerns that the technology transfer could cause problems in Washington, sources have told Nikkei Asian Review.
The U.S. chip giant last year hailed the deal with state-backed Unisoc as a "multiyear" venture that would give it access to China's massive chip market, while the technology transfer partnership was seen as important to Beijing's ambitions to build a cutting edge domestic chip industry.
However the collapse of the partnership less than 12 months after it was unveiled at last year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona signals that Washington's long campaign to contain China's dominance of high tech industries is having an effect.
The U.S. has barred public agencies from using devices or equipment from certain Chinese companies and is lobbying allies to block Huawei, China's telecommunications equipment provider, from next generation 5G infrastructure.
Intel insisted that the partnership had not been ended due to political pressure from Washington.
The decision to end the Unisoc partnership was "just made recently," said Robert Topol, general manager of Intel's 5G Strategy and Program Office, in briefing at this year's MWC Barcelona, the industry's biggest annual event. "We decided mutually that we would not continue the partnership."
However sources familiar the situation said current economic tension between Washington and Beijing was one factor, along with others.
"Internally, former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was the advocate and the initiator for the deal... but now he is gone," one person with direct information told the Nikkei Asian Review. "At the same time, Intel has been concerned the closer ties with the Chinese government-sponsored company could somehow upset U.S. authorities given the current tensions between the two sides."
In 2014, Intel invested $1.5 billion for a 20% stake in the Tsinghua Unigroup subsidiary that controls Unisoc. Topol told Nikkei he was not aware of any change to Intel's investment in the Chinese company.
The end of the alliance is a blow to Unisoc, a unit of the state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup, which was previously known as Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA. It had hoped that the partnership would help it to close the technology gap with industry rivals Qualcomm and MediaTek. PC chip king Intel had also hoped to expand its mobile business, which has long trailed in China, through Unisoc's ties with Beijing.
But the U.S. company's strategy has changed amid trade tensions and after the removal of Krzanich as CEO in June following revelations that he had had a consensual relationship with an employee.
"It's not a big deal for Intel to lose the partnership with Unisoc," said Sean Yang, an analyst with market consultancy CINNO. "Intel still could engage with other potential Chinese customers to expand its market there. But for China's Unisoc, it could mean losing the opportunity to quickly learn from someone in the industry who has the capability to build that technology."
Unisoc declined to comment on the Intel partnership. But in Barcelona on Tuesday, the Chinese company said it plans to introduce a 5G modem chip designed in-house without help from Intel.
The partnership's end comes amid a U.S. crackdown on Chinese tech companies that includes allegations of intellectual property theft against Huawei Technologies and economic espionage charges involving Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, a maker of dynamic random access memory chips.
But President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet on Monday that the U.S. has made substantial progress in trade talks with China, even on important structural issues including intellectual property protection and technology transfer. Trump also indicated that Washington could include its treatment of Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE in a trade deal.
Intel last year described the tie-up with the Tsinghua Unigroup unit as a long-term strategic engagement including a series of product collaborations using the American company's latest 5G XMM 8000 modem offerings. Modem chips help determine the quality of phone calls and data transfer speed, an essential enabler for fifth-generation mobile networks.
Intel's latest 5G chip offering XMM 8160 will be ready this year, Topol said, with heavy adoption in devices starting in 2020.
Unisoc recorded 11 billion yuan ($1.64 billion) in revenue for 2018, according to Taipei-based TrendForce. The company serves as a supplier to Vivo, TCL, ZTE, Lenovo, Micromax, Lava and Samsung Electronics' entry-level handset models.
How 5G Will Change So Much More Than Your Phone - WSJ
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:01
The current generation of wireless technology ushered in a host of new smartphone applications that helped put the mobile phone at the center of e-commerce, socializing and navigation.
The next wave of wireless'--5G'--will supercharge cellphones, but its real strength lies in its potential to power the ''Internet of Things,'' a byword for everything electronic other than the smartphone.
That includes factory production lines that get instructions over the air instead of through wires; driverless cars that receive incredibly detailed information about road conditions in real time; sports broadcasts that let viewers see the game from a dizzying number of angles, and get a host of new statistics superimposed on the screen to reflect the action; and wearable devices that monitor a patient's physical condition and beam the information to doctors.
These are just some of the developments that may be in store as 5G networks evolve and as carriers look for growth opportunities outside of the mature cellphone market in developed countries. Here's a rundown of how this new telecom technology could transform six industries, how long those changes might take and what obstacles stand in the way.
Flexibility in the factoryFactories have relied on physical wires for more than a century'--for good reason. A spotty wireless connection can cause machinery to move too slowly or misfire, with expensive and potentially dangerous consequences.
Wireless engineers say 5G's emphasis on slashing latency'--the amount of time that machines take to respond to each other'--could challenge that status quo. The network's responsiveness would allow robotic assembly lines to take instructions over the air or grab the latest specifications for a product without lagging, so they could remain on the job all the time. Mobile robots could also be on the move constantly without having to plug in.
''This is sort of the Holy Grail of factory automation,'' says Gerhard Fettweis, a professor of mobile communications at Germany's TU Dresden. ''There's nothing nailed to the floor.''
In Germany, cellphone carrier Deutsche Telekom AG launched in 2018 a pilot factory program designed to test what kinds of machines benefit from enhanced wireless service. The program's specially designed 4G networks will get a 5G upgrade once new wireless spectrum is available for use, a spokesman says.
Telecom companies in Germany and China have so far shown the most interest in fostering 5G manufacturing, according to Chetan Sharma, industry analyst for his eponymous consulting firm. He predicts growing interest from manufacturers that might face sudden orders that their existing workforce can't fulfill.
Still, he doesn't expect wireless networks to touch every part of the production process right away. A slower-growing company that makes metal goods or paper products, for instance, isn't likely to spend precious capital on wireless technology. And he doesn't think that factory owners are likely to start cutting the cord on robotics soon.
Mr. Sharma says computer-chip makers must first develop specialized hardware for the sector before factories will be willing to risk installing wireless 5G machinery, a process that will take several years. ''Redoing the manufacturing workflow demands certainty,'' he says.
Cars get fueled up with dataExperts expect to see vehicles equipped with 5G modems in the coming years. Still, what the next generation of connected cars will look like is an often-contentious question.
Some telecom-industry leaders paint a futuristic picture of driverless vehicles getting real-time information about traffic and hazards as they move, and then reacting to them. It is a vision that takes advantage of the strength of 5G networks'--their ability to juggle swarms of simultaneous connections, allowing sensors in cars and on streets to provide uninterrupted streams of precise data.
But skeptics say telecom companies are overselling the capabilities of 5G when it comes to vehicles. The next generation of wireless networks, like its predecessors, will sometimes fail. And it might take years for even urban areas to get 5G signals everywhere.
''Nobody in their right mind would make a driverless car dependent on the wireless network for critical functions like braking and steering,'' says Craig Moffett, analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson. Any reliance on a 5G connection, he says, ''would require ubiquitous networks, which we won't have in our lifetimes.''
Some companies are pitching more-limited uses for 5G transportation, at least to start. AT&T Inc. executives have said that small, neighborhood-size 5G zones could be a good place for public-transit riders and car passengers to keep themselves amused by downloading video and games as they pass through the area.
''We think it's going to pop up in zones centered around campuses'' early on, John Donovan, chief of AT&T's telecom business, said in an interview last year.
An AT&T spokesman says the company is also developing technology with partners to allow cars to share information with each other and roadside service stations when they fall outside the range of a cell tower. That could mean sharing information about things like road hazards, or getting in touch with emergency services.
A new angle on sportsWhen South Korea's KT Corp. offered a version of its 5G technology at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last year, the telecom giant allowed visitors to fiddle with the angle from which they viewed an event'--such as seeing a game from the perspective of athletes.
That was a preview of how professional sports leagues are planning to reshape their content using 5G connectivity. For instance, viewers can expect to have regular sports enhanced with the same 5G boost as the Korean games. Technology under development will use a host of cameras and sensors installed throughout sports venues to let fans choose among numerous angles for viewing athletic contests.
''You can literally run around like LeBron James, '' says Roger Entner, chief of wireless-industry research firm Recon Analytics Inc.
Other technology wouldn't just offer new angles on the field of play, it would offer viewers more information about the action.
Intel Corp. experimented with attaching sensors to players and pucks at the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star game in January. Viewers could pull up a host of new statistics on their phones to see how fast shots went into the goal and how fast skaters moved down the ice. The steps were a precursor to providing fans more real-time statistics on their phones or customized on their television screens during games, once 5G is deployed.
More immersive movies and gamesHollywood studios and videogame companies are looking to leverage 5G's speed and ultralow latency to give viewers a much more immersive experience'--whether they're watching on a TV or with a headset.
''More so than sitting back and watching TV, you're going to be living life in a virtual world. People could be anywhere, including imaginary worlds,'' says Ron Yekutiel, chief executive of video-platform provider Kaltura.
Studios have tested applications that give a taste of what the 5G future might bring. But they're still trying to figure out just what content and pricing will get the best response from viewers.
A $20 virtual-reality experience in 2016 tied to the release of Twentieth Century Fox's film ''The Martian,''for example, received mixed reviews from audiences. The VR content allowed people to move through a Mars-like environment like the movie's hero, played by Matt Damon.
Robert Powers, executive director, global technology and business development for Fox Innovation Lab, says $8 to $15 is a more palatable price range for consumers for VR experiences. Fox is also working on augmented and mixed-reality experiences'--where computer-generated graphics are overlaid over real-world images'--that 5G will help facilitate.
For example, last summer the lab worked on a mixed-reality experience in which a person moved through a story using their mobile phone or wearable device in a public space like a theme park. While walking, the player followed prompts and saw superimposed figures that could move around and interact with the user.
A new doctor-patient relationshipIn the coming years, 5G will make it possible for doctors to have more interactions with their patients through new telemedicine avenues, such as high-quality videoconferencing and virtual reality, says Sandra Rivera, general manager of Intel's network-platforms group.
Boosters say the upgraded networks will make even bigger changes possible, such as having a doctor in one corner of the world operating on a patient in another with remote-controlled surgical machines. Less grand, but coming sooner, is a wave of changes bringing more-personalized care.
A therapist remotely treating a child with autism, for example, could use a VR headset to see the child's facial and body cues more clearly than is possible on today's video calls via mobile phones. Columbia University researchers, meanwhile, are working on virtual physical therapy helped by 5G's low latency. A patient wears a virtual-reality headset and moves controllers to manipulate digital versions of physical objects like a ball, mimicking motions in a traditional therapy session.
New sensors and wearable devices connected to 5G networks that generate data will also help flag abnormalities or adjust the dosage of medicine or therapeutic activities without in-person visits. Patients could wear sensors that monitor their activity, stress levels and blood sugar, with that data flowing to their physician, Ms. Rivera adds.
Later on, 5G's faster speed, lower latency and higher bandwidth could facilitate larger changes such as paramedics getting real-time instructions in an ambulance from a trained physician using high-definition cameras and virtual reality.
Making surveillance more preciseCameras and sensors already blanket the busier corners of the world without the help of 5G technology. But an experiment that Verizon Communications Inc. recently ran at a Houston testing center offered a peek at what the world could look like when faster wireless service becomes commonplace.
Early experiments suggest cameras and sensors with 5G enhancements could allow police departments to scan public places more quickly for suspects in their databases. It could also allow stores to track their customers' movements with more precision, perhaps allowing them to tailor marketing to them based on their behavior.
Engineers at the wireless carrier developed customized software that allows computers to process images near a cell tower rather than in a data center hundreds of miles away.
The test took advantage of two 5G benefits. Enhanced bandwidth allows cameras to pass data-heavy images over the air without degrading their quality. Lower latency also lets computers process images close to where they are captured, allowing them to quickly identify people and objects. Verizon says the on-site processing led its systems to find matching images twice as fast as they could using conventional methods.
Adam Koeppe, Verizon's senior vice president for network planning, says public-safety groups often ask for the ability to make better use of surveillance data. Similar technology could also be used by retailers to track foot traffic.
''This type of technology is not new,'' he says. ''The question is, how do you deploy it in a mobile environment?''
Mr. FitzGerald is a Wall Street Journal reporter in Washington, and Ms. Krouse is a Wall Street Journal reporter in New York. Email andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com and sarah.krouse@wsj.com.
New flaws in 4G, 5G allow attackers to intercept calls and track phone locations | TechCrunch
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:35
A group of academics have found three new security flaws in 4G and 5G, which they say can be used to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users.
The findings are said to be the first time vulnerabilities have affected both 4G and the incoming 5G standard, which promises faster speeds and better security, particularly against law enforcement use of cell site simulators, known as ''stingrays.'' But the researchers say that their new attacks can defeat newer protections that were believed to make it more difficult to snoop on phone users.
''Any person with a little knowledge of cellular paging protocols can carry out this attack,'' said Syed Rafiul Hussain, one of the co-authors of the paper, told TechCrunch in an email.
Hussain, along with Ninghui Li and Elisa Bertino at Purdue University, and Mitziu Echeverria and Omar Chowdhury at the University of Iowa are set to reveal their findings at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego on Tuesday.
''Any person with a little knowledge of cellular paging protocols can carry out this attack'... such as phone call interception, location tracking, or targeted phishing attacks.''Syed Rafiul Hussain, Purdue UniversityThe paper, seen by TechCrunch prior to the talk, details the attacks: the first is Torpedo, which exploits a weakness in the paging protocol that carriers use to notify a phone before a call or text message comes through. The researchers found that several phone calls placed and cancelled in a short period can trigger a paging message without alerting the target device to an incoming call, which an attacker can use to track a victim's location. Knowing the victim's paging occasion also lets an attacker hijack the paging channel and inject or deny paging messages, by spoofing messages like Amber alerts or blocking messages altogether, the researchers say.
Torpedo opens the door to two other attacks: Piercer, which the researchers say allows an attacker to determine an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) on the 4G network; and the aptly named IMSI-Cracking attack, which can brute force an IMSI number in both 4G and 5G networks, where IMSI numbers are encrypted.
That puts even the newest 5G-capable devices at risk from stingrays, said Hussain, which law enforcement use to identify someone's real-time location and log all the phones within its range. Some of the more advanced devices are believed to be able to intercept calls and text messages, he said.
According to Hussain, all four major U.S. operators '-- AT&T, Verizon (which owns TechCrunch), Sprint and T-Mobile '-- are affected by Torpedo, and the attacks can carried out with radio equipment costing as little as $200. One U.S. network, which he would not name, was also vulnerable to the Piercer attack.
The Torpedo attack '-- or ''TRacking via Paging mEssage DistributiOn. (Image: supplied)
We contacted the big four cell giants, but none provided comment by the time of writing. If that changes, we'll update.
Given two of the attacks exploit flaws in the 4G and 5G standards, almost all the cell networks outside the U.S. are vulnerable to these attacks, said Hussain. Several networks in Europe and Asia are also vulnerable.
Given the nature of the attacks, he said, the researchers are not releasing the proof-of-concept code to exploit the flaws.
It's the latest blow to cellular network security, which has faced intense scrutiny no more so than in the last year for flaws that have allowed the interception of calls and text messages. Vulnerabilities in Signaling System 7, used by cell networks to route calls and messages across networks, are under active exploitation by hackers. While 4G was meant to be more secure, research shows that it's just as vulnerable as its 3G predecessor. And, 5G was meant to fix many of the intercepting capabilities but European data security authorities warned of similar flaws.
Hussain said the flaws were reported to the GSMA, an industry body that represents mobile operators. GSMA recognized the flaws, but a spokesperson was unable to provide comment when reached. It isn't known when the flaws will be fixed.
Hussain said the Torpedo and IMSI-Cracking flaws would have to be first fixed by the GSMA, whereas a fix for Piercer depends solely on the carriers. Torpedo remains the priority as it precursors the other flaws, said Hussain.
The paper comes almost exactly a year after Hussain et al revealed ten separate weaknesses in 4G LTE that allowed eavesdropping on phone calls and text messages, and spoofing emergency alerts.
EuroLand
Mandatory speed limiters to be fitted to all new cars in Europe within three years | Evo
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:53
Sitting among a range of new safety features due for all new cars, the mandatory speed limiters come as part of a proposal from the European Transport Safety Council, recently approved by a group of key MEPs.
Dubbed Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), the limiters will use GPS data and/or traffic sign recognition cameras to determine the speed limit of the road a vehicle is travelling on. Engine power will then be limited to match this, preventing the car from exceeding the speed limit. It will be possible to override the system by pushing hard on the throttle, however the system will be engaged every time a car is started.
> Long-range speed cameras launched to spot offences from 1km away
If you think you can simply keep pressing a little harder on the throttle to break through the system, think again. ETSC also states that: 'If the driver continues to drive above the speed limit for several seconds, the system should sound a warning for a few seconds and display a visual warning until the vehicle is operating at or below the speed limit again.'
A feature already seen on models such as the new Ford Focus, the speed limiters will come alongside data loggers and a whole host of new safety measures such as lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking. It's not all quite as bad as you may think, as it will likely be a feature as easy to disable as it is to change your radio station, however the Safety Council does indicate that it intends to push for even stricter rules in the future, meaning a permanent system may come into force.
The push for the new safety tech is down to the supposed reduction it will bring in traffic collisions and lives lost; ETSC says the limiters will reduce collisions by 30 per cent and save 25,000 lives within 15 years of being introduced.
Roe v Wade
Senate Dems block bill to protect abortion survivors, calling it a GOP stunt | Fox News
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 00:30
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a GOP effort to introduce a billl meant to protect abortion survivors, which came in response to comments last week by Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam that seemingly endorsed post-birth abortions in certain cases.
Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse sought unanimous consent to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have required that "any health care practitioner present" at the time of a birth "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age."
The bill, which exempted the mother involved in the birth from prosecution, also would have required practitioners to "ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital."
It prescribed a possible term of imprisonment of up to five years for violations, not including penalties for first-degree murder that could also apply.
Abortion rights advocates at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., last month. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Sasse was joined in introducing the bill by several Republican lawmakerse, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
However, Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray objected to Sasse's bill, saying the legislation was unnecessary and amounted to a political stunt.
"We have laws against infanticide in this country," Murray said. "This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore, I object."
Sasse, speaking on the Senate floor, told his colleagues that "frankly, this shouldn't be hard" to pass.
"In this country, all of us are created equal," Sasse said. "Because if that equality means anything, surely it means that infanticide is wrong."
VA LT. GOV SUGGESTS NORTHAM COULD BE BEHIND LEAK OF BOMBSHELL SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATION
Sasse specifically charged that Northam had "tarnished the American idea of equality under law, betrayed the universal truth of human dignity, and turned the stomachs of civilized people not just in this country but in every country on earth" by "endorsing infanticide."
Sasse quoted Northam's comment in an interview with a local radio station last week.
"When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician, by the way," Northam said. "And it's done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that's non-viable."
Northam continued: "So in this particular example, 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. So I think this was really blown out of proportion."
The Virginia governor made the remark while discussing The Repeal Act, which sought to repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions. Virginia Democratic Del. Kathy Tran, a sponsor, was asked at a hearing if a woman about to give birth and dilating could still request an abortion.
Virginia Democrat Del. Kathy Tran is the sponsor of The Repeal Act, which seeks to repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
''My bill would allow that, yes,'' she said. Existing state law does not put an absolute time limit on abortions and Tran's legislation does not alter that, but it does loosen restrictions on the need to get additional certification from doctors.
The bill was tabled in committee last week.
Northam has since insisted his comments were taken out of context, and that criticisms directed against him were "shameful and disgusting."
His remarks, Sasse said Monday, were a symptom of a larger sentiment in the Democratic Party.
"Just a few years ago the abortion lobby was really clear in its talk in hoping that abortion would be 'safe, and legal, but rare,'" Sasse said. "This was the slogan. Abortion would be 'safe, legal, and rare,' Now we're talking about keeping the baby comfortable while the doctor have a debate about infanticide."
MS 15-WEEK ABORTION BAN RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
"If equality means anything, surely it means that infanticide is wrong."
'-- Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse
Northam and the Virginia Democratic political establishment have since become engulfed in controversy, with almost all prominent Democrats calling for Northam to resign, after the discovery of a racist photograph in his medical school yearbook page. The photograph reportedly was leaked by a "concerned citizen" unhappy with Northam's abortion comment.
Northam has resisted the calls for his resignation, and has reversed his previous statement confirming that he appeared as one of the people in the photograph. On Monday, Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, when asked by a reporter, pointedly did not rule out the possibility that Northam could have been pushing a newly revealed sexual assault allegation against Fairfax to derail his possible ascent to the governorship.
Demonstrators at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., this past Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, the Supreme Court is temporarily keeping a state law regulating abortion clinics on hold.
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Justice Samuel Alito said in a brief order Friday that the justices need more time to review arguments for and against the law, which requires doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was set to take effect Monday, though clinics have asked the high court to block its enforcement.
The clinics said at least one and maybe two of Louisiana's three abortion clinics would have to close if the law was allowed to take effect. A federal appeals court that upheld the law said it wasn't clear that any clinic would close.
Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Text - S.130 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 00:30
There is one version of the bill.
116th CONGRESS 1st Session
S. 130
To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Sasse (for himself, Mr. Barrasso , Mrs. Blackburn , Mr. Blunt , Mr. Boozman , Mr. Braun , Mr. Burr , Mr. Cassidy , Mr. Cornyn , Mr. Cotton , Mr. Cramer , Mr. Crapo , Mr. Cruz , Mr. Daines , Ms. Ernst , Mrs. Fischer , Mr. Grassley , Mr. Hawley , Mr. Hoeven , Mrs. Hyde-Smith , Mr. Inhofe , Mr. Isakson , Mr. Johnson , Mr. Kennedy , Mr. Lankford , Mr. McConnell , Mr. Moran , Mr. Perdue , Mr. Portman , Mr. Risch , Mr. Roberts , Mr. Rounds , Mr. Rubio , Mr. Scott of South Carolina, Mr. Thune , Mr. Tillis , Mr. Young , Mr. Graham , Mr. Wicker , and Mr. Enzi ) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
A BILL
To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title .
This Act may be cited as the ''Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act''.
SEC. 2. Findings .
Congress finds the following:
(1) If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.
(2) Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.
SEC. 3. Born-alive infants protection .
(a) Requirements pertaining to born-Alive abortion survivors .'--Chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1531 the following:
'' § 1532. Requirements pertaining to born-alive abortion survivors
''(a) Requirements for health care practitioners .'--In the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive:
''(1) D EGREE OF CARE REQUIRED; IMMEDIATE ADMISSION TO A HOSPITAL.'--Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall'--
''(A) exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and
''(B) following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.
''(2) M ANDATORY REPORTING OF VIOLATIONS.'--A health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, a physician's office, or an abortion clinic who has knowledge of a failure to comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) shall immediately report the failure to an appropriate State or Federal law enforcement agency, or to both.
''(b) Penalties .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Whoever violates subsection (a) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
''(2) I NTENTIONAL KILLING OF CHILD BORN ALIVE.'--Whoever intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive described under subsection (a), shall be punished as under section 1111 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.
''(c) Bar to prosecution .'--The mother of a child born alive described under subsection (a) may not be prosecuted for a violation of this section, an attempt to violate this section, a conspiracy to violate this section, or an offense under section 3 or 4 of this title based on such a violation.
''(d) Civil remedies .'--
''(1) C IVIL ACTION BY A WOMAN ON WHOM AN ABORTION IS PERFORMED.'--If a child is born alive and there is a violation of subsection (a), the woman upon whom the abortion was performed or attempted may, in a civil action against any person who committed the violation, obtain appropriate relief.
''(2) A PPROPRIATE RELIEF.'--Appropriate relief in a civil action under this subsection includes'--
''(A) objectively verifiable money damage for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of subsection (a);
''(B) statutory damages equal to 3 times the cost of the abortion or attempted abortion; and
''(C) punitive damages.
''(3) A TTORNEY'S FEE FOR PLAINTIFF.'--The court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action under this subsection.
''(4) A TTORNEY'S FEE FOR DEFENDANT.'--If a defendant in a civil action under this subsection prevails and the court finds that the plaintiff's suit was frivolous, the court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee in favor of the defendant against the plaintiff.
''(e) Definitions .'--In this section the following definitions apply:
''(1) A BORTION.'--The term 'abortion' means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device'--
''(A) to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant; or
''(B) to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant, with an intention other than'--
''(i) after viability, to produce a live birth and preserve the life and health of the child born alive; or
''(ii) to remove a dead unborn child.
''(2) A TTEMPT.'--The term 'attempt', with respect to an abortion, means conduct that, under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, constitutes a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in performing an abortion.
''(3) B ORN ALIVE.'--The term 'born alive' has the meaning given that term in section 8 of title 1, United States Code (commonly known as the 'Born-Alive Infants Protection Act').''.
(b) Technical and conforming amendments .'--
(1) The table of sections for chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ''1532. Requirements pertaining to born-alive abortion survivors.''.
(2) The chapter heading for chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking '' Partial-Birth Abortions '' and inserting '' Abortions ''.
(3) The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to chapter 74 and inserting the following: ''74. Abortion 1531''.
Gig Economy
Maryville man faces felony charge for dipping testicles in salsa
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 18:22
People usually dip chips in salsa. A Maryville man had another idea.
Howard Matthew Webb, 31, is accused of placing his testicles in a salsa container that was then delivered to a low-tipping customer last month. Maryville police arrested Webb on Friday on a charge of "adulteration of food, liquids or pharmaceuticals," a Class C felony.
The woman who received the salsa had ordered food Jan. 12 from a local Mexican restaurant through Dinner Delivered, an online food delivery service. Webb was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an independent contractor who worked for Dinner Delivered, general manager Aliyah Wilson told the Daily Times.
Howard Matthew Webb (Photo: Provided / Blount County Sheriff's Office)
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After the pair picked up the food from the restaurant, they made a video, according to an arrest warrant.
"Webb produced a video showing Webb placing his testicles in a salsa container and (the driver) is heard laughing and stating, 'This is what you get when you give an 89-cent tip for an almost 30-minute drive," Maryville Police Department investigator Rod Fernandez wrote in the warrant.
"Webb is heard saying, 'Oh, oh, it feels good ...' "
The 14-second clip made the rounds on Facebook, racking up hundreds of shares.
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Police opened an investigation after Dinner Delivered contacted them about the video, said Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp. The driver has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing, Crisp added.
Webb was not affiliated with the delivery service or the restaurant, Crisp said. It's unclear why he was in the vehicle.
The driver had worked for Dinner Delivered since November. She is now out of a job and "will never drive for Dinner Delivered again," Wilson told the Times.
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The company, which serves parts of East Tennessee and North Georgia, issued a refund for the order and found no evidence that anyone else's food had been tampered with, Wilson said.
Webb, who had been jailed in lieu of $45,000 bond, appeared in Blount County General Sessions Court on Tuesday morning. His preliminary hearing was set for March 12.
If convicted of the Class C felony '-- a jury would have to find he did the deed with the intent to cause "bodily injury" to another '-- Webb could face a sentence of three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
More: Thai restaurant scores low with foods at wrong temperature; others plagued by insects
Reach Travis Dorman at 865-342-6315 or at travis.dorman@knoxnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travdorman.
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Dockless Mobility
Shared scooters don't last long
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 21:54
Hello and welcome to Oversharing, a newsletter about the proverbial sharing economy. If you're returning from last week, thanks! If you're new, nice to have you! (Over)share the love and tell your friends to sign up here.
Scooters!They do not last long!
I took a look at data on scooter rides in Louisville, Kentucky, shared online as part of the city's open data policy. The latest data is available here. The data set I used was older and included monthly data on scooter trips from August through December. It also included a unique ''ID'' for each scooter, a detail that was key to my analysis and has been stripped out of subsequent data sets published by Louisville. The data doesn't differentiate between Bird and Lime, but as Bird started operations in August 2018 and Lime that November, you can assume it skews toward Bird.
With that preamble, here are some things I found:
The average lifespan of a scooter in Louisville from August to December was 28 days
Median lifespan was 23 days
If you stripped out scooter IDs that first appeared in December, to focus on older vehicles, the average lifespan increased slightly to 32 days and the median lifespan to 28 days
Still stripping out scooter IDs that started in December, the median scooter took 70 trips over 85 miles
Scooter lifespan is a key factor in scooter unit economics, as you may recall. The more trips and miles a single scooter can cover, the better for shared scooter companies, which have to recoup the cost of each vehicle before they can start making any money. In October, The Information reported that Bird was spending $551 per scooter with a goal of reducing that cost to $360. At the time, I said that meant Bird needed five rides a day on a $551 scooter for 5.25 months just to recoup the initial cost.
The picture painted by the Louisville data is even worse. Transit enthusiast Nathan Stevens also analyzed the Louisville data for Aug. 9 through Nov. 30, and I'm going to pull in some of what he found to back out scooter economics in Louisville:
Utilization
663 scooters in circulation
The average trip was 1.63 miles
The average trip lasted 18 minutes
The average scooter did 3.49 rides per day
Revenue
Both Bird and Lime charge $1 to unlock a scooter and $0.15 per minute
At 18 minutes, the average trip generated $3.70 in revenue (note that this, based on three months of data in Louisville is nearly identical to the $3.65 in revenue per ride Bird reportedly told investors it was averaging as of June)
At 3.49 rides per day, the average scooter generated $12.91 in revenue per day
General costs, based on reporting by The Information
Bird spent $1.72 per ride on charging costs
It spent another $0.51 per ride, on average, on repairs
Credit card fees cost $0.41 per ride
Customer support adds $0.06 per ride
Insurance is $0.05 per ride
Louisville-specific costs, from dockless vehicle policy (pdf)
$2,000 for a probationary license (required for the first six months of operation)
Additional $1,000 to receive full operating license
Annual $50 fee per dockless vehicle
Daily $1 fee per dockless vehicle
$100 fee per designated group parking area
Louisville daily scooter economics
A scooter generates $3.70 in revenue per ride
Deducting per-ride costs of charging, repairs, credit card fees, customer support, and insurance, leaves $0.95 per ride
Multiplied by 3.49 rides per day is $3.32 in net revenue per scooter per day
Minus the $1 daily fee leaves $2.32
Still with me? Ok. So, our scooter company walks away with $2.32 in revenue per day from the average scooter in Louisville. As we said at the beginning, Louisville data indicates that the average scooter was around for between 28 and 32 days. That means the typical scooter generated something like $65 to $75 in revenue for the company after most operating costs over its lifetime.
You see where I'm going with this. Let's be generous and say the company paid $360 for each scooter, as Bird aims to. At the rates calculated above, that company only recoups $65 to $75 on the cost of each scooter'--in other words, it loses $295 to $285 per scooter. That doesn't even include the $50 annual fee per dockless vehicle, the $3,000 in combined licensing fees, or the $100 fee for each designated parking area. Plug in the $551 sticker price for a scooter, and the losses are even greater.
Bad as these numbers are, they maybe shouldn't be surprising. The electric scooters Bird deployed for shared commercial use, at least initially, were rebranded Xiaomi devices intended for use by a single owner with a weight limit of 200 pounds. The average American man weighs 197.9 pounds and the average woman 170.6 lbs. These scooters were also designed to be used in mild weather and on flat surfaces. They were absolutely not designed to be ridden multiple times a day in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of terrain by Americans who, on average, are barely under the scooter weight limit before you adjust for clothes and any baggage (physical, not emotional) they might be carrying. No doubt facing such inconvenient truths, Bird in October unveiled an electric scooter designed with Okai specifically for sharing. It will require great leaps in durability and far cheaper prices for scooters to pay for themselves.
Asked about the Louisville data, a Bird spokeswoman disputed the notion that the typical scooter last only 28 days. ''We have a dynamic fleet, move vehicles around, etc.,'' she said. ''Just because it looks like it was in Louisville for 28 days does not mean that was its entire lifespan.'' Asked where scooters taken out of circulation in Louisville would be moved to'--or what other cities Bird operates in near Louisville'--she didn't respond. I will assume they simply fly away.
More scooters!Consider this a PSA:
Lime, one of the world's largest electric scooter companies, is urging riders to be extra cautious while operating its devices because of a technical ''bug'' that can cause ''sudden excessive braking during use,'' the company announced in a statement over the weekend.
The company said testing has revealed that the sudden braking usually arises when scooters are being ridden downhill at top speed. The danger prompted Lime to issue remote updates aimed at fixing the glitch, which have led to a reduction in the number of braking incidents, the company said.
Surely that could never be a problem in a city like San Francisco which is totally, completely, and gloriously flat. Braking issues have also been reported in Switzerland and New Zealand. Lime claims the problem has affected less than 0.0045% of Lime rides, and said it could ''work to mitigate but cannot entirely eliminate'' such risks. True, you can never eliminate any risk totally, but imagine how this would be handled if the defect were discovered in a car. The automaker would issue a recall encouraging people to bring in their vehicles and get them fixed! Lime in theory has even more responsibility because it owns the scooters, not the users. Being told there's a 0.0045% chance that your shared electric scooter could spontaneously lock and toss you off is like being informed your smartphone has a tiny probability of combusting. The risk is minuscule, but perhaps one you would rather not take.
Deals.As Lyft and Uber gear up for initial public offerings, with Lyft expected to make its S-1 public sometime this week, discounts are back in style. Both ride-hail companies are ramping up their rider promotions as they vie for market share in the final stretch before an IPO. Lyft made the first move, The Information reported, and increased its US market share by around 4 percentage points.
It is funny how history repeats itself. Subsidies were also big when Uber and Lyft were first jockeying for control of the US market because more riders meant a better growth story and more dollars from investors. No matter that they were practically setting money on fire, they had hockey stick growth! Investors pledged all the dollars!
This time around, the IPO makes everything a bit more complicated (you might call it a complexifier). That's because once Lyft goes public, it will no longer be able to control what information gets out there, like that its market share is approaching 40%, and instead will have to break out detailed financials in quarterly and annual reports.
(As a side note, Lyft appears to be benefiting from a game of telephone where an ambiguous fact reported by Reuters a few weeks ago'--that ''Lyft plans to tell investors its U.S. market share is approaching 40 percent'''--has been repeated and aggregated and re-repeated and re-aggregated enough times to take on new life as an unqualified fact, with PitchBook writing in an analyst note today that Lyft's growth is ''robust'' and it ''recently achieved 40% market share in the US.'')
Rider sweeteners may look good now when all you hear about is market share, but freebies don't come cheaply and the spending is sure to make a dent on Lyft's bottom line. The company is likely aiming to stay ahead of those results by listing on the Nasdaq in late March, as the Wall Street Journal reported it plans to, long before first quarter numbers are due.
As of January, data analytics firm Second Measure, which analyzes anonymized purchases, took a somewhat more conservative view of Lyft's US ride-hail market share, estimating it at 29% in terms of sales, compared to 69% for Uber. That said, momentum over the last several years has been in Lyft's favor, with Lyft growing its share of sales while Uber's share has declined.
If my inbox is any indicator, Uber isn't sitting idle while Lyft doles out discounts. In the last week, Uber has emailed me twice to offer 50% off my next 10 rides, as well as 30% of 10 UberX rides. Lyft offered me 10% off 10 weekday rides earlier this month; my editor, who lives in San Francisco, recently noted that he was being ''extra aggressively'' pushed a Lyft promo for 25% off 10 weekday rides.
Stay tuned for Lyft's public S-1 filing to kick off a very crowded and not-at-all-exclusive 2019 🎉 IPO party 🎉.
Extreme fasting.''Eating is so last season; these days all the cool kids fast,'' begins this great critique of ''extreme fasting'' in Silicon Valley by Arwa Mahdawi at the Guardian:
Starving yourself and constructing rigid rules and rituals around when and how you eat is generally seen as a problem when it's teenage girls doing it; when tech bros do it, it's treated very differently. Indeed, in many ways it feels like Silicon Valley is inadvertently rebranding eating disorders.
As Mahdawi notes, fasting and ''biohacking'' are popular in Silicon Valley, where the human body exists first to be optimized. Fasting acolytes insist their minds are clearer after a sustained period of no food, and that our modern lifestyle of three meals a day is complicated and excessive. The newest trapping of luxury is to be able to afford to starve yourself. I once attended a fancy dinner hosted by a venture-capital firm where a VC sitting near me lavished praise on fasting and described himself as ''addicted'' to his alternate fasting days, all while tucking into an avocado crab salad and a silver tray of oysters served on ice.
This time last year.Uber and Lyft worsen congestion, Instacart's tipping bug, ''mass destruction'' of bike-share in France
Other stuff.DoorDash raises $40 million at $7.1 billion valuation. Daimler, BMW form $1.1 billion partnership to take on Uber. Uber Eats could sell India business to rival Swiggy. Boxed prepares for a big 2019. ViaVan will launch on-demand bus service in London. Airbnb growing fastest in emerging markets. On-demand logistics startup Lalamove raises $300 million. Real-estate buying site Casavo raises $7.9 million. Jump bikes more popular than Uber in Sacramento. London cabbies lose legal challenge to Uber. Lyft adds Shared Saver. Lyft all in on Amazon Web Services. De Blasio changes mind, endorses congestion pricing. DoorDash cyclist killed in LA hit-and-run. Pinterest files confidentially for IPO. Cara Delevingne spends $25,000 on Postmates. Uber and Lyft Are Officially Part of the Healthcare System. Finance blogger dreams up car-free community in Colorado. Illegal Airbnb empire. The Trauma Floor. Barnacle bike. All of a Sudden, Flying From LA to New York Is Taking Less Than Four Hours.
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Send tips, comments, and barnacled bikes to @alisongriswold on Twitter, or oversharingstuff@gmail.com.
SJWBLMLGBBTQQIAAPK
Trans athletes make great gains, yet resentment still flares
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 12:09
Feb. 25, 2019, 8:59 PM GMT
By The Associated Press
Across the U.S. and in many places abroad, transgender athletes are breaking barriers in high school, college and pro sports and being embraced by teammates and fans. But resentments can still flare when transgender women start winning and dominating their sport.
Exhibit A is a recent public exchange involving tennis great Martina Navratilova, who came out as a lesbian in 1981 and is a longtime gay-rights activist. She now stands accused of being ''transphobic'' after asserting that many transgender women '-- even if they've undergone hormone treatment '-- have an unfair advantage over other female competitors.
''A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires,'' Navratilova wrote in a Feb. 17 op-ed for The Sunday Times of London. ''It's insane and it's cheating.''
Supporters of trans inclusion in sports were aghast. One advocacy group, Athlete Ally, ousted Navratilova from its advisory board and said she would no longer be designated one of its ambassadors.
''Trans women athletes aren't looking to take over women's sport,'' Athlete Ally said. ''They are women and want to compete in the sport they love, just as any other athlete would.''
Navratilova's column reignited a social-media clash with Rachel McKinnon, a transgender Canadian track cyclist who in October won a world championship sprint event for women of ages 35 to 44.
Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon holds hands with Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen during the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Carson, California, in 2018. Craig Huffman / via AP fileNavratilova's argument is ''centered on a fabrication, fantasy, and a fiction,'' McKinnon said in an email to The Associated Press. ''She imagines a nonexistent cisgender man who will pretend to be a trans woman, convince a psychologist and a physician to prescribe hormone therapy, undertake the process for legal changer recognition, then wait the minimum 12 months of testosterone suppression required by the current IOC rules, compete, and then change his mind and 'go back to making babies'?''
''No such thing will ever happen,'' McKinnon wrote. ''This is an irrational fear of trans women.''
Overall, supporters of increased trans inclusion are heartened by the pace of progress for trans athletes. A growing number of state high school athletic associations in the U.S. enable them to play on teams based on their gender identity, and the NCAA has trans-inclusive guidelines for all its member schools.
The International Olympic Committee has allowed trans athletes to compete in its affiliated sports since 2003, but until 2016 it required them to first undergo sex-reassignment surgery. Under the new rules, which resemble the NCAA's guidelines, transgender male athletes can enter men's competitions without restrictions, while transgender female athletes need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain point for at least a year before their first competition.
Helen Carroll, a longtime college athletic director, basketball coach and LGBTQ-rights activist, said many trans women athletes train extra hard to offset hormone treatment and face undeserved skepticism when they excel.
''As long as trans people are losing and are not the best, everything is OK,'' Carroll said. ''As soon as they start winning, that's when the vitriol comes out about how they're really still a man.''
The vitriol can surface even at the high school level. In the track and field community in Connecticut, the dominance of transgender girl sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood has stirred resentment among some competitors and their families.
The phenomenon is not new. After trans Canadian mountain biker Michelle Dumaresq won the national title in British Columbia in 2006, second-place finisher Danika Schroeter donned a T-shirt provided by her boyfriend during the medal ceremony. It read: ''100% Pure Woman Champ.''
Dumaresq later told The National Post, a Canadian newspaper, ''That was the moment I stopped loving the sport. ... That kind of wrecked it for me.''
In Brazil, Tiffany Abreu became the first transgender player in the top women's volleyball league in 2017, five years after halting a career as a globe-trotting male player. She is grateful for support from fans and from teammates on her Sao Paolo-based club and hopes to make the national women's team ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
But Abreu's record performances have rankled Ana Paula Henkel, a four-time Olympian for Brazil in volleyball and beach volleyball. She vented her feelings in an open letter to the IOC in December, contending its policy was unfair.
''This rushed and heedless decision to include biological men, born and built with testosterone, with their height, their strength and aerobic capacity of men, is beyond the sphere of tolerance,'' Henkel wrote. ''It represses, embarrasses, humiliates and excludes women.''
McKinnon encountered resentment on an even larger scale after she won her world championship event last year.
Initially, she was elated, even though one of her top rivals pulled out of the final at the last minute. But then a photo rocketed across the internet showing her on the podium with the two smaller, skinnier runners-up.
Breitbart.com headlined its story, ''Biological Man Wins Women's World Cycling Championship,'' helping to trigger an avalanche of social-media attacks against McKinnon.
''I'm immensely proud of my accomplishment,'' McKinnon wrote a few days later. ''But not all of it has been positive. ... I'd say the negative comments have outweighed the positive by about 3,000 to one.''
In December, McKinnon surged back into social-media prominence, engaging in a sharp-edged Twitter exchange with Navratilova after the tennis legend made an initial foray into the debate.
''You can't just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,'' Navratilova tweeted. ''There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.''
Navratilova subsequently deleted the tweet and maintained public silence on the issue until defending her original position with the Sunday Times op-ed. McKinnon, meanwhile, said she is still training hard, amid duties as a college philosophy professor, and aspires to make Canada's Olympic team next year.
While the trend in the U.S. clearly has been toward more inclusion for transgender athletes, USA Powerlifting has incurred recent criticism for sticking by its policy of banning trans women from its competitions. The organization contends that regardless of testosterone levels, transgender women competitors generally have significant advantages in regard to bone density and muscle mass.
''These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away,'' the organization said. ''While MTF [male-to-female] may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over that of a female.''
Among those affected by the policy was trans woman JayCee Cooper, who won a women's state championship in Minnesota but was denied entry into a USA Powerlifting event.
Another trans female weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand, was warmly welcomed by many spectators when she competed last year in the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Hubbard was the favorite in the over-90-kilograms division but injured herself trying to set a games record.
''The crowd was absolutely magnificent '-- I felt just like a big embrace, and I wanted to give them something that reflected the best I could do,'' Hubbard said.
Most of the high-profile stories about trans athletes have involved transgender women; fewer transgender men have reached levels of achievement in men's sports events that generated news coverage.
Among the exceptions is Los Angeles-based Patricio Manuel, a super featherweight who won a unanimous decision in December in what was billed as the first pro boxing bout in the U.S. involving a transgender man. Scars were visible on Manuel's chest from breast-removal surgery.
One of the most prominent trans male athletes is Chris Mosier, a world-class triathlete who came out as trans in 2010. He created the web site transathlete.com as a resource for athletes, coaches and administrators and has advised a variety of sports organizations on how to create trans-inclusive policies.
''More and more leagues and organizations are understanding they need to have a policy in place and be proactive, as opposed to waiting for someone to say, 'I want to play,''' Mosier said. ''That leaves an organization scrambling and often making bad policy because they're on the defensive.''
Mosier is pleased by the trend among high school athletic associations toward more inclusivity. His web site lists only seven states as maintaining severely restrictive policies that limit transgender athletes to teams conforming with the gender on their birth certificate or require them to undergo sex-reassignment surgery or hormone treatment.
Among those states is Texas, where officials required transgender male Mack Beggs to compete in girls' wrestling competitions against his wishes; he won state titles in 2017 and 2018.
There are no authoritative statistics on the number of trans athletes competing in U.S. high schools and colleges, but the pool of transgender young people is sizable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in January that 1.8 percent of high school students questioned in a major multistate survey identified as transgender.
The NCAA's policy on transgender participation is generally praised by activists, although Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally, said numerous colleges in the NCAA don't follow the guidelines rigorously.
Mosier said the NCAA is working on a revision of the guidelines, and he hopes the new ones might take into account the increasing number of young Americans who consider themselves ''non-binary'' '-- identifying as neither male nor female.
''They still want to play sports,'' Mosier said.
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Dr. Seuss Books Can Be Racist, But We Still Keep Reading Them : Code Switch : NPR
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 15:29
This week, millions of students and teachers are taking part in Read Across America, a national literacy program celebrated annually around the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For over twenty years, teachers and students have donned costumes '-- often the Cat in the Hat's iconic red and white striped hat '-- and devoured books like Green Eggs and Ham.
But some of Seuss's classics have been criticized for the way they portray people of color. In And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example, a character described as Chinese has two lines for eyes, carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice, and wears traditional Japanese-style shoes. In If I Ran the Zoo, two men said to be from Africa are shown shirtless, shoeless, and wearing grass skirts as they carry an exotic animal. Outside of his books, the author's personal legacy has come into question, too '-- Seuss wrote an entire minstrel show in college and performed as the main character in full blackface.
In light of this, the National Education Association rebranded Read Across America in 2017, backing away from Seuss's books and Seuss-themed activities. They introduced a new theme of "celebrating a nation of diverse readers." Their website now highlights works by and about people of color.
But in many schools and libraries, the week is still synonymous with all things Seuss. Classrooms are decorated in colorful red and blue fish and children dress up as their favorite iconic characters, like Thing 1 and Thing 2, dreaming of the places they'll go.
That tension between Seuss and Seuss-free classrooms is emblematic of a bigger debate playing out across the country '-- should we continue to teach classic books that may be problematic, or eschew them in favor of works that more positively represent of people of color?
Part of the reason this debate is so complicated is because of the staying power of classic books. Think back to the works lining your school bookshelves. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the N-word appears more than 200 times. But for generations, people have argued that the book is vital in order to understand race relations in America in the late 1800s. And the trope of Jews as greedy and money-hungry is pretty clear in The Merchant of Venice. Yet Shakespeare is hailed for his keen understanding of human nature that continues to be relevant today.
Jaya Saxena, a writer whose work examines inclusivity in young adult literature, is in favor of revamping the canon. But she understands why teachers might continue to teach it. She says when she was in high school, her teachers used the classics to teach literary devices and styles of writing, not necessarily to prioritize certain narratives or worldviews. The Merchant of Venice, for example, is a prime example of allegory.
"The point was, here's what this book does well," Saxena says. "Maybe they weren't everybody's favorite books, but they were good examples of...the craft of writing."
And when lesson planning from year to year, it's easier for teachers to prioritize books they're already familiar with. But when these books include offensive stereotypes, teachers have to decide whether to continue teaching them and how.
"Not engaging [with problematic texts] at all runs too great a risk of not learning or understanding where the problems lie," says Larissa Pahomov, who teaches English at a high school in Philadelphia. "I believe there is a way to look at material that is stereotypical [and] racist and identify it for what it is, and then hopefully, in doing so, neutralize its effect."
When Pahomov read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with her seniors last fall, she was careful to teach students how to read the work through a critical lens that took the author's background into account. In class discussions, she made sure to emphasize that context to her students as they examined the work.
"What resources did he draw from to write this book, and this character? What has been the Native American reaction to this book specifically? What was the reaction of the psychiatric treatment community? How do we look at it now? What's the treatment of women? There were so many angles to discussing it," she says.
Pahomov notes that because her students are teenagers, having these conversations is possible. But books geared towards younger kids? Those discussions can get a lot more complicated.
Which brings us back to Dr. Seuss.
In a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Diversity in Youth Literature, researchers Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens found that only two percent of the human characters in Seuss's books were people of color. And all of those characters, they say, were "depicted through racist caricatures."
Those caricatures have a potent effect, even at an early age. Research shows that even at the age of three, children begin to form racial biases, and by the age of seven, those biases become fixed.
"One of the reasons for that is the images and experiences that they're exposed to regarding marginalized groups and people of color," Stephens says. "And so [Seuss' books] being mainstream, and being spread out all over the world, has large implications."
If kids open books and "the images they see [of themselves] are distorted, negative [or] laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society in which they are a part," Rudine Sims Bishop, a scholar of children's literature, wrote in a 1990 article.
But when they see themselves represented in a positive way, it can have a similarly powerful effect.
That's one of the reasons why first-grade teacher Emily Petersen says she won't be reading Dr. Seuss with her students this week, or ever.
"If I'm looking at a 6-year-old and choosing what story [I'm] going to teach them how to read through, I'm definitely going to choose the one that affirms and celebrates identities in a new way," she says.
For other teachers who want to help students affirm their identities, the NEA is offering grants and resources to help schools center literary works by and about people of color.
But the forces that have kept Dr. Seuss on the bookshelf for decades are strong. Often, schools plan their Read Across America events months in advance. Costumes, books and activities from previous years are ready to go. It can be difficult for teachers to deviate from these plans, especially when they've celebrated in the same way year after year after year. And with over 650 million of his books in circulation worldwide, just like his infamous cat, it looks like Dr. Seuss will keep coming back.
Ministry of Truthiness
European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Statement on the Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission asks online platforms to provide more details on progress made
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 12:11
European Commission - StatementBrussels, 28 February 2019
Today the European Commission published reports by Facebook, Google and Twitter covering the progress made in January 2019 on their commitments to fight disinformation. These three online platforms are signatories of the Code of Practice against disinformation and have been asked to report monthly on their actions ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
More specifically, the Commission asked to receive detailed information to monitor progress on the scrutiny of ad placement, transparency of political advertising, closure of fake accounts and marking systems for automated bots. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourov, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement:
"The online platforms, which signed the Code of Practice, are rolling out their policies in Europe to support the integrity of elections. This includes better scrutiny of advertisement placements, transparency tools for political advertising, and measures to identify and block inauthentic behaviour on their services.
However, we need to see more progress on the commitments made by online platforms to fight disinformation. Platforms have not provided enough details showing that new policies and tools are being deployed in a timely manner and with sufficient resources across all EU Member States. The reports provide too little information on the actual results of the measures already taken.
Finally, the platforms have failed to identify specific benchmarks that would enable the tracking and measurement of progress in the EU. The quality of the information provided varies from one signatory of the Code to another depending on the commitment areas covered by each report. This clearly shows that there is room for improvement for all signatories.
The electoral campaigns ahead of the European elections will start in earnest in March. We encourage the platforms to accelerate their efforts, as we are concerned by the situation. We urge Facebook, Google and Twitter to do more across all Member States to help ensure the integrity of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
We also encourage platforms to strengthen their cooperation with fact-checkers and academic researchers to detect disinformation campaigns and make fact-checked content more visible and widespread."
Main outcomes of the signatories' reports:
Facebook has not reported on results of the activities undertaken in January with respect to scrutiny of ad placements. It had earlier announced that a pan-EU archive for political and issue advertising will be available in March 2019. The report provides an update on cases of interference from third countries in EU Member States, but does not report on the number of fake accounts removed due to malicious activities targeting specifically the European Union.Google provided data on actions taken during January to improve scrutiny of ad placements in the EU, divided per Member State. However, the metrics supplied are not specific enough and do not clarify the extent to which the actions were taken to address disinformation or for other reasons (e.g. misleading advertising). Google published a new policy for 'election ads' on 29 January, and will start publishing a Political Ads Transparency Report as soon as advertisers begin to run such ads. Google has not provided evidence of concrete implementation of its policies on integrity of services for the month of January.Twitter did not provide any metrics on its commitments to improve the scrutiny of ad placements. On political ads transparency, contrary to what was announced in the implementation report in January, Twitter postponed the decision until the February report. On integrity of services, Twitter added five new account sets, comprising numerous accounts in third countries, to its Archive of Potential Foreign Operations, which are publicly available and searchable, but did not report on metrics to measure progress. Next steps Today's reports cover measures taken by online companies in January 2019. The next monthly report, covering the activities done in February, will be published in March 2019. This will allow the Commission to verify that effective policies to ensure integrity of the electoral processes are in place before the European elections in May 2019.
By the end of 2019, the Commission will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the Code's initial 12-month period. Should the results prove unsatisfactory, the Commission may propose further actions, including of a regulatory nature.
Background The monitoring of the Code of Practice is part of the Action Plan against disinformation that the European Union adopted last December to build up capabilities and strengthen cooperation between Member States and EU institutions to proactively address the threats posed by disinformation.
The reporting signatories committed to the Code of Practice in October 2018 on a voluntary basis. In January 2019 the European Commission published the first reports submitted by signatories of the Code of Practice against disinformation. The Code aims at achieving the objectives set out by the Commission's Communication presented in April 2018 by setting a wide range of commitments articulated around five areas:
Disrupt advertising revenue for accounts and websites misrepresenting information and provide advertisers with adequate safety tools and information about websites purveying disinformation.Enable public disclosure of political advertising and make effort towards disclosing issue-based advertising.Have a clear and publicly available policy on identity and online bots and take measures to close fake accounts.Offer information and tools to help people make informed decisions, and facilitate access to diverse perspectives about topics of public interest, while giving prominence to reliable sources.Provide privacy-compliant access to data to researchers to track and better understand the spread and impact of disinformation.Between January and May 2019, the Commission is carrying out a targeted Monthly Intermediate Monitoring of the platform signatories' actions to implement Code commitments that are the most relevant and urgent to ensure the integrity of elections. Namely: scrutiny of ad placements (Commitment 1); political and issue-based advertising (Commitments 2 to 4); and integrity of services (Commitments 5 & 6).
The Code of Practice also goes hand-in-hand with the Recommendation included in the election package announced by President Juncker in its 2018 State of the Union Address to ensure free, fair and secure European Parliament's elections. The measures include greater transparency in online political advertisements and the possibility to impose sanctions for the illegal use of personal data to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections. As a result, Member States have set up a national election cooperation network of relevant authorities '' such as electoral, cybersecurity, data protection and law enforcement authorities '' and appointed a contact point to participate in a European-level election cooperation network. The first meeting of this network took place on 21 January 2019 and a second one on 27 February 2019.
More information
Reports of the online platforms
Press release: A Europe that Protects: The EU steps up action against disinformation
Factsheet: Action plan against disinformation
STATEMENT/19/1379
Newsroom screens
Anonymous, if you please. I work for Gannett at the
Springfield News-Leader (and often work with the Des Moines Register)
Our Newsroom has 4 large screens:
1. Our web page
2. Largest competitors web page
3. Analytics of trending website -which stories are read,
shared, how long they stayed on each story, etc.
4. Andy Griffith Show
Tech Industry Worker Survey Reveals Deep Skepticism Of Media
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:04
tech A new study by BuzzFeed News and Lucid surveyed tech workers on their attitudes toward the media. The results show deep skepticism toward the press, and concerns about the role of identity politics in coverage.
By Joseph Bernstein
Posted on February 23, 2019, at 12:01 p.m. ET
Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty ImagesIt's been a bruising few years in the media for the world's biggest tech companies. One by one, many of the industry's most prominent firms and their leaders have come in for unprecedented levels of scrutiny from the press: over disinformation during the 2016 election, over hate speech and targeted harassment, over the treatment of workers, over discriminatory advertising practices, over the spread of conspiracy theories, over sexual misconduct, over business ties to the repressive Chinese government, and over perceptions of political bias within the companies themselves.
Sustained critical coverage of Silicon Valley is both a natural consequence of these powerful companies' dominant and growing role in American life and a correction to what many observers feel was years of insufficiently rigorous reporting on the way their products and practices are reshaping contemporary society.
Tech's newfound place under the media microscope has led to grousing among tech executives, in public and private, that the press has overcorrected, going too far in its antagonistic coverage toward the industry, blaming it for problems it didn't create, and ignoring its successes.
To gain a fuller understanding of how Silicon Valley understands its changing relationship with the press, BuzzFeed News conducted the first-ever survey of attitudes of tech workers toward the media. The survey, of 1,000 professionals across a broad range of companies ranging in size from 500 to more than 10,000 employees, reveals an industry with deep skepticism toward the media and significant concerns about the role identity politics plays in press coverage of technology.
Indeed, more than half (51%) of tech industry professionals ''somewhat agree'' or ''strongly agree'' with the statement that ''President Trump has a point when it comes to the media producing fake news.'' A separate survey conducted by BuzzFeed News, of 1,000 Americans representing the national population, found that only 42% somewhat or strongly agree with that statement.*
This finding puts in new context Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's much-publicized desire to build a site for tracking journalists' credibility '-- a campaign many dismissed as eccentric grandstanding but which appears to arise from a pervasive sentiment in the industry, one that appears to be stronger than in the country at large. Older employees (over 55), employees of larger tech companies, and employees of companies with over $1 billion in revenue were more likely to have a negative opinion of the media than younger employees (18-49), employees of smaller companies, and employees of companies with less than $1 billion in revenue. In addition, women in the tech industry are less likely to hold a positive opinion of the media than their male counterparts.
Tech workers' mistrust of the press seems to stem from several sources, one of which is the perception of identity-based bias in the media's coverage of tech companies.
Nearly 4 in 10 of tech workers (38%) and nearly half of men in the industry (45%) surveyed believe ''the media has become too feminist.'' (A separate survey conducted by BuzzFeed News* found that the national percentage of people who believe the media has become ''too feminist'' is 39%.) Over the past several years, dozens of stories have focused on the relative dearth of women working in the industry '-- specifically in technical jobs '-- and the difficulties faced by the women who work in tech.
Similarly, more than a third (34%) of survey respondents, and more than 4 in 10 male survey respondents (41%), believe the media is unfair to white men. Last year, former Google engineer James Damore sued his old employer, alleging a company-wide effort to increase the number of women and underrepresented racial minorities that discriminated against white male conservatives.
Another source of tech worker skepticism toward the media comes from the perception that when it comes to covering their industry, members of the press often don't know what they're talking about. Only 50% of tech industry professionals surveyed think journalists are knowledgeable about the companies they report on, and only 43% believe the media has a strong understanding of technology itself.
(The survey asked respondents to select outlets that they felt covered the industry most fairly; TechCrunch, CNN, and Wired led the way, with 12%, 11%, and 11% of respondents selecting them, respectively. Conversely, respondents selected Fox News, CNN, and Fox Business News as the outlets that are most unfair in their coverage of the tech industry, with 17%, 13%, and 8% selecting them, respectively. BuzzFeed News ranked next, at 5%.)
Much of the recent critical reporting on tech companies has been enabled by corporate leaks. This topic strongly divided survey respondents. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed ''somewhat agree'' or ''strongly agree'' that employees of tech companies ''should freely speak with the media''; meanwhile, 49% ''somewhat agree'' or ''strongly agree'' that employees of tech companies ''should not share information with the media.'' (The statements were presented to respondents as two separate queries, which is why they add up to slightly more than 100%.)
One clue as to when tech workers might believe such leaks are justified came in the form of a question about China. Less than one-third (31%) of tech workers ''somewhat agree'' or ''strongly agree'' that US-based tech companies should operate in China. Dragonfly, Google's secret initiative to build a censored search engine for the Chinese market, stalled after its revelation by the Intercept led to internal complaints. Meanwhile, 59% of tech workers ''somewhat agree'' or ''strongly agree'' that ''tech companies should work with the US government on military projects,'' another source of recent controversy in the industry, which also came to a head when reports exposed Google's Project Maven, a drone AI imaging contract with the Pentagon, which it subsequently did not renew. (Only 38% of American consumers feel the same way.)
In addition to questions about tech workers' attitudes toward the media, the survey asked subjects' opinions on the major companies in the industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company that has faced the most lacerating criticism from the press over the past two years, Facebook, was also the most negatively judged by tech professionals. While 80% of tech workers believe the industry has had a positive impact on society, only 46% of tech workers believe Facebook has, and 32% believe Facebook has had a negative impact on society '-- the most of any company listed.
Meanwhile, respondents were asked to select words or phrases that applied to a variety of tech companies. The vast majority of the responses were positive '-- for example, Google was most commonly described as ''Dependable,'' ''Innovative,'' ''Leader,'' ''Stable,'' and ''Respectable.''
Of the companies listed, only Facebook's top five descriptors were all negative. They were ''Controversial,'' ''Secretive,'' ''Exploitative,'' ''Arrogant,'' and ''Frustrating.'' '—
Graphics by Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty Images
The BuzzFeed News & Lucid Tech Industry Perceptions study was conducted between December 27, 2018, and January 10, 2019, and questioned 1,000 US Representative Sample of Tech professionals aged 18''64. Results in this article are based on responses from tech professionals who work more than 30 hours per week and are employed by a tech company with 500-plus employees. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3%. Click here to view the detailed data tables.
*Consumer Sentiment Tech Poll (via Pollfish, n=1000, US Census representative among those aged 18''64)
Shoe Tech
Nike says it's 'actively working' to fix its broken Adapt BB smart sneakers - The Verge
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:07
Nike says that a fix is in the works for its broken Adapt BB smart sneakers, days after an Android update rendered some of them unusable.
The $350 Adapt BB went on sale this past weekend, and users started reporting issues soon after. Some report that either the left or right sneaker fails to pair after attempting to update them through the companion Android app. That means the sneaker can't be tightened or properly worn. Some users say the update caused the motor to stop functioning, too, so even the physical buttons don't work.
A Nike spokesperson told The Verge, ''We are seeing isolated connectivity issues related to the setup of the Nike Adapt BB and are actively working to resolve it. If a consumer experiences this, we encourage them to contact Nike Consumer Services.''
For the time being, the shoes can sometimes be fixed with a hard reset, which involves holding down sneakers' two buttons. The shoes should be able to pair again after that. The issue doesn't appear to be affecting iOS users.
China
Pakistan shoots down two Indian jets and carries out airstrikes in Kashmir' | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 09:44
Pakistan has shot down two Indian warplanes over the disputed territory of Kashmir, one day after New Delhi launched an airstrike against a jihadist militant camp in the country, an armed forces spokesperson said.
One plane went down on India's side of the territory, while the other was said to have crashed on Pakistan's side of the region.
Two Indian Air Force pilots in the second plane were captured by Pakistani troops, Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
Pakistan's foreign ministry said they have 'no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm' adding that the planes had been shot down 'with clear warning and in broad daylight.'
Officials in Indian-occupied Kashmir confirmed that an air force plane had crashed in Budgam, some 18 miles from Srinagar, killing two Indian pilots and a civilian, but would not say if the plane had been shot down by Pakistani forces.
The downing of the planes came hours after Pakistan said mortar shells fired by Indian troops from across the Kashmir border, also known as the Line of Control (LoC), killed six civilians and wounded several others.
Indian soldiers and Kashmiri onlookers stand near the remains of an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district in Indian-occupied Kashmir
Police officials in Indian-occupied Kashmir said that two Indian pilots and a civilian had died after an air force plane crashed, but would not confirm if the plane had been shot down by Pakistani forces
Captured: Photos shared on social media purports to show the moment when one of the Indian Air Force pilots is arrested in Pakistani Kashmir
Pakistan has now shut its airspace to all commercial flights 'until further notice', hours after the Indian air force closed Kashmir's main airport in Srinagar along with at least three others in neighboring states, because of the escalation.
Speaking at a press conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Maj. Gen. Ghafoor called for talks with New Delhi, saying: 'We do not want escalation, we do not want to go towards war.'
Maj. Gen. Ghafoor said the Indian jets had been shot down after Pakistani planes flew across the LoC, hitting non-military targets including supply depots. Afterwards, he said, the two Indian planes crossed the LoC into Pakistani airspace.
'The Pakistan Air Force was ready, they took them on, there was an engagement. As a result both the Indian planes were shot down and the wreckage of one fell on our side while the wreckage of the other fell on their side,' he said, adding that one of the Indian pilots was in custody and the other in hospital.
Indian sources confirmed Pakistani fighter jets had violated airspace over Indian Kashmir, but said they were forced back over the LoC, and there was no immediate response to the claim the planes had been shot down.
Tensions between the two nuclear armed rivals have been elevated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on February 14.
The risk of conflict rose dramatically after India launched an air strike on what it said was a training base for the Jaish-e-Mohammed jihadist militant group that claimed credit for the suicide attack in Pakistan's Balakot region on Tuesday.
Downed: Video footage shows the plane that crashed in Indian-occupied Kashmir burning
Locals and Indian soldiers have gathered around the remains of an Indian Air Force aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district, some 18 miles from Srinagar
Pakistan's armed forces claim the second plane, not pictured, went down on their side of the Kashmir border and that the pilot of the other plane was captured by Pakistani troops
Escalations: This map shows where one of the downed planes crashed in Indian Kashmir, as well as where Tuesday's airstrikes against an alleged jihadist militant training camp in the Balakot region took place just days after a suicide bomb attack in Indian Kashmir
But while India said a large number of JeM fighters had been killed, Pakistani officials said the Indian airstrike was a failure and inflicted no casualties.
On Tuesday evening, Pakistan began shelling using heavy calibre weapons in 12 to 15 places along the de facto border in Kashmir, known as the Line of Control (LoC), a spokesman for the Indian defence forces said.
'The Indian Army retaliated for effect and our focused fire resulted in severe destruction to five posts and number of casualties,' the spokesman said.
Five Indian soldiers suffered minor wounds in the shelling that ended on Wednesday morning, he added.
'So far there are no (civilian) casualties but there is panic among people,' said Rahul Yadav, the deputy commissioner of the Poonch district where some of the shelling took place.
'We have an evacuation plan in place and if need arises we will evacuate people to safer areas,' he said.
Local officials on the Pakistani side said at least four people had been killed and seven wounded, though it was unclear if the casualties were civilian or military.
Indian jets launched strikes on a militant camp in Pakistan territory with New Delhi claiming the raid killed a 'very large' number of fighters preparing an attack. Footage has emerged purportedly showing jets in the sky overnight
India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu on Tuesday
Warplanes pounded a camp belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group that claimed a suicide bombing that killed dozens of troops in Indian Kashmir, the country's Foreign Secretary claimed. Pictured: Trees damaged by the raid Tuesday
India has also continued its crackdown on suspected militants operating in Kashmir, a mountainous region that both countries claim in full but rule in part.
On Wednesday, security forces killed two Jaish militants in a gun battle, Indian police said.
Pakistan has promised to retaliate to Tuesday's air strikes, and security across India has been tightened. The two countries have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947 and went to the brink a fourth in 2002 after a Pakistani militant attack on India's parliament.
In Mumbai, India's financial capital, there was a visible increase in security levels for a city that has suffered numerous militant attacks in the past.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke separately with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to avoid 'further military activity' following Tuesday's airstrike.
'I expressed to both ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost,' Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday.
'I also encouraged both ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity,' he said.
Both China and the European Union have also called for restraint. On Wednesday New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peters also voiced concern over the escalation in tensions.
Venezuela
TPS venezuela neans stricter border control because they are all brown
Venezuela: The Lies Behind Washington's Drive to War
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 18:13
Traveling with Hugo Chavez, I soon understood the threat of Venezuela. At a farming co-operative in Lara state, people waited patiently and with good humor in the heat. Jugs of water and melon juice were passed around. A guitar was played; a woman, Katarina, stood and sang with a husky contralto.
''What did her words say?'' I asked.
''That we are proud,'' was the reply.
The applause for her merged with the arrival of Chavez. Under one arm he carried a satchel bursting with books. He wore his big red shirt and greeted people by name, stopping to listen. What struck me was his capacity to listen.
But now he read. For almost two hours he read into the microphone from the stack of books beside him: Orwell, Dickens, Tolstoy, Zola, Hemingway, Chomsky, Neruda: a page here, a line or two there. People clapped and whistled as he moved from author to author.
Then farmers took the microphone and told him what they knew, and what they needed; one ancient face, carved it seemed from a nearby banyan, made a long, critical speech on the subject of irrigation; Chavez took notes.
Wine is grown here, a dark Syrah type grape. ''John, John, come up here,'' said El Presidente, having watched me fall asleep in the heat and the depths of Oliver Twist.
''He likes red wine,'' Chavez told the cheering, whistling audience, and presented me with a bottle of ''vino de la gente''. My few words in bad Spanish brought whistles and laughter.
Watching Chavez with la gente made sense of a man who promised, on coming to power, that his every move would be subject to the will of the people. In eight years, Chavez won eight elections and referendums: a world record. He was electorally the most popular head of state in the Western Hemisphere, probably in the world.
Every major chavista reform was voted on, notably a new constitution of which 71 per cent of the people approved each of the 396 articles that enshrined unheard of freedoms, such as Article 123, which for the first time recognized the human rights of mixed-race and black people, of whom Chavez was one.
One of his tutorials on the road quoted a feminist writer: ''Love and solidarity are the same.'' His audiences understood this well and expressed themselves with dignity, seldom with deference. Ordinary people regarded Chavez and his government as their first champions: as theirs.
This was especially true of the indigenous, mestizos and Afro-Venezuelans, who had been held in historic contempt by Chavez's immediate predecessors and by those who today live far from the barrios, in the mansions and penthouses of East Caracas, who commute to Miami where their banks are and who regard themselves as ''white''. They are the powerful core of what the media calls ''the opposition''.
When I met this class, in suburbs called Country Club, in homes appointed with low chandeliers and bad portraits, I recognized them. They could be white South Africans, the petite bourgeoisie of Constantia and Sandton, pillars of the cruelties of apartheid.
Cartoonists in the Venezuelan press, most of which are owned by an oligarchy and oppose the government, portrayed Chavez as an ape. A radio host referred to ''the monkey''. In the private universities, the verbal currency of the children of the well-off is often racist abuse of those whose shacks are just visible through the pollution.
Although identity politics are all the rage in the pages of liberal newspapers in the West, race and class are two words almost never uttered in the mendacious ''coverage'' of Washington's latest, most naked attempt to grab the world's greatest source of oil and reclaim its ''backyard''.
For all the chavistas' faults '-- such as allowing the Venezuelan economy to become hostage to the fortunes of oil and never seriously challenging big capital and corruption '-- they brought social justice and pride to millions of people and they did it with unprecedented democracy.
''Of the 92 elections that we've monitored,'' said former President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Centre is a respected monitor of elections around the world, ''I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.'' By way of contrast, said Carter, the US election system, with its emphasis on campaign money, ''is one of the worst''.
In extending the franchise to a parallel people's state of communal authority, based in the poorest barrios, Chavez described Venezuelan democracy as ''our version of Rousseau's idea of popular sovereignty''.
In Barrio La Linea, seated in her tiny kitchen, Beatrice Balazo told me her children were the first generation of the poor to attend a full day's school and be given a hot meal and to learn music, art and dance. ''I have seen their confidence blossom like flowers,'' she said.
In Barrio La Vega, I listened to a nurse, Mariella Machado, a black woman of 45 with a wicked laugh, address an urban land council on subjects ranging from homelessness to illegal war. That day, they were launching Mision Madres de Barrio, a program aimed at poverty among single mothers. Under the constitution, women have the right to be paid as carers, and can borrow from a special women's bank. Now the poorest housewives get the equivalent of $200 a month.
In a room lit by a single fluorescent tube, I met Ana Lucia Ferandez, aged 86, and Mavis Mendez, aged 95. A mere 33-year-old, Sonia Alvarez, had come with her two children. Once, none of them could read and write; now they were studying mathematics. For the first time in its history, Venezuela has almost 100 per cent literacy.
This is the work of Mision Robinson, which was designed for adults and teenagers previously denied an education because of poverty. Mision Ribas gives everyone the opportunity of a secondary education, called a bachillerato.(The names Robinson and Ribas refer to Venezuelan independence leaders from the 19th century).
In her 95 years, Mavis Mendez had seen a parade of governments, mostly vassals of Washington, preside over the theft of billions of dollars in oil spoils, much of it flown to Miami. ''We didn't matter in a human sense,'' she told me. ''We lived and died without real education and running water, and food we couldn't afford. When we fell ill, the weakest died. Now I can read and write my name and so much more; and whatever the rich and the media say, we have planted the seeds of true democracy and I have the joy of seeing it happen.''
In 2002, during a Washington-backed coup, Mavis's sons and daughters and grandchildren and great-grandchildren joined hundreds of thousands who swept down from the barrios on the hillsides and demanded the army remained loyal to Chavez.
''The people rescued me,'' Chavez told me. ''They did it with the media against me, preventing even the basic facts of what happened. For popular democracy in heroic action, I suggest you look no further.''
Since Chavez's death in 2013, his successor Nicolas Maduro has shed his derisory label in the Western press as a ''former bus driver'' and become Saddam Hussein incarnate. His media abuse is ridiculous. On his watch, the slide in the price of oil has caused hyper inflation and played havoc with prices in a society that imports almost all its food; yet, as the journalist and film-maker Pablo Navarrete reported this week, Venezuela is not the catastrophe it has been painted. ''There is food everywhere,'' he wrote. ''I have filmed lots of videos of food in markets [all over Caracas] '... it's Friday night and the restaurants are full.''
In 2018, Maduro was re-elected President. A section of the opposition boycotted the election, a tactic tried against Chavez. The boycott failed: 9,389,056 people voted; sixteen parties participated and six candidates stood for the presidency. Maduro won 6,248,864 votes, or 67.84 per cent.
On election day, I spoke to one of the 150 foreign election observers. ''It was entirely fair,'' he said. ''There was no fraud; none of the lurid media claims stood up. Zero. Amazing really.''
Like a page from Alice's tea party, the Trump administration has presented Juan Guaido, a pop-up creation of the CIA-front National Endowment for Democracy, as the ''legitimate President of Venezuela''. Unheard of by 81 per cent of the Venezuelan people, according to The Nation, Guaido has been elected by no one.
Maduro is ''illegitimate'', says Trump (who won the US presidency with three million fewer votes than his opponent), a ''dictator'', says demonstrably unhinged vice president Mike Pence and an oil trophy-in-waiting, says ''national security'' adviser John Bolton (who when I interviewed him in 2003 said, ''Hey, are you a communist, maybe even Labor?'').
As his ''special envoy to Venezuela'' (coup master), Trump has appointed a convicted felon, Elliot Abrams, whose intrigues in the service of Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush helped produce the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s and plunge central America into years of blood-soaked misery.
Putting Lewis Carroll aside, these ''crazies'' belong in newsreels from the 1930s. And yet their lies about Venezuela have been taken up with enthusiasm by those paid to keep the record straight.
On Channel 4 News, Jon Snow bellowed at the Labor MP Chris Williamson, ''Look, you and Mr. Corbyn are in a very nasty corner [on Venezuela]!'' When Williamson tried to explain why threatening a sovereign country was wrong, Snow cut him off. ''You've had a good go!''
In 2006, Channel 4 News effectively accused Chavez of plotting to make nuclear weapons with Iran: a fantasy. The then Washington correspondent, Jonathan Rugman, allowed a war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld, to liken Chavez to Hitler, unchallenged.
Researchers at the University of the West of England studied the BBC's reporting of Venezuela over a ten-year period. They looked at 304 reports and found that only three of these referred to any of the positive policies of the government. For the BBC, Venezuela's democratic record, human rights legislation, food programs, healthcare initiatives and poverty reduction did not happen. The greatest literacy program in human history did not happen, just as the millions who march in support of Maduro and in memory of Chavez, do not exist.
When asked why she filmed only an opposition march, the BBC reporter Orla Guerin tweeted that it was ''too difficult'' to be on two marches in one day.
A war has been declared on Venezuela, of which the truth is ''too difficult'' to report.
It is too difficult to report the collapse of oil prices since 2014 as largely the result of criminal machinations by Wall Street. It is too difficult to report the blocking of Venezuela's access to the US-dominated international financial system as sabotage. It is too difficult to report Washington's ''sanctions'' against Venezuela, which have caused the loss of at least $6 billion in Venezuela's revenue since 2017, including $2 billion worth of imported medicines, as illegal, or the Bank of England's refusal to return Venezuela's gold reserves as an act of piracy.
The former United Nations Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, has likened this to a ''medieval siege'' designed ''to bring countries to their knees''. It is a criminal assault, he says. It is similar to that faced by Salvador Allende in 1970 when President Richard Nixon and his equivalent of John Bolton, Henry Kissinger, set out to ''make the economy [of Chile] scream''. The long dark night of Pinochet followed.
The Guardian correspondent, Tom Phillips, has tweeted a picture of a cap on which the words in Spanish mean in local slang: ''Make Venezuela fucking cool again.'' The reporter as clown may be the final stage of much of mainstream journalism's degeneration.
Should the CIA stooge Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies. A fire sale of Venezuela's utilities and mineral wealth will surely follow, along with the theft of the country's oil, as outlined by John Bolton.
Under the last Washington-controlled government in Caracas, poverty reached historic proportions. There was no healthcare for those could not pay. There was no universal education; Mavis Mendez, and millions like her, could not read or write. How cool is that, Tom?
A CANVAS-Based Coup in Venezuela : conspiracy
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:26
I, like many of you, have been paying attention to the world and know that something is going on in Venezuela. What is it? Who is Juan Guaido? Is he an interim president, or a so-called president? Why is he referred one way in one news outlet and another in another? I decided to take as deep a dive and open my eyes as wide as I could and wanted to see if I could put some things together for myself.
It led me to places and to investigate organizations that I had heard of but never really understood '' and I had an incredibly difficult time figuring out how best to present it. I took a break over the weekend to see what would happen with the USAID humanitarian aid '' and actually got the advice I needed while listening to Morty's criticism of the screenplay in Rick & Morty's Look Who's Purging Now, of all places.
I'm not a huge fan of the '3 weeks earlier teaser thing.' I feel, ya know, we should start our stories where they begin. Not start them where they get interesting.
So here's what I've found '' and it goes all the way back to Serbia prior to the fall of Slobodan Milosevic at the end of the 20th century. And I promise that's the last R&M reference for this post.
A group formed called Otpor (resistance) about 20 years ago, which was a flattened and leaderless group who advocated non-violence and used Gene Sharp's ''From Dictatorship To Democracy'' to emphasize nonviolence and the proper use of media techniques to take advantage of clashes between the State and the opposition to expand support both from the People and abroad (financially). Sharp's book would eventually be incorporated into their operating manual and Roger Cohen did a great piece on them in 2000 that I recommend everyone read first if you can and then come back to this post. It's a long read but a good one, and we can all use a few more good reads these days.
In it, a few particular nuggets stand out, including:
American assistance to Otpor and the 18 parties that ultimately ousted Milosevic is still a highly sensitive subject. But Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, is ready to divulge some details...
and
For those Americans intent on bringing democracy to Serbia, the student movement offered several attractions. Its flat organization would frustrate the regime's attempts to pick a target to hit or compromise, its commitment to enduring arrests and even police violence tended to shame the long-squabbling Serbian opposition parties into uniting; it looked more effective in breaking fear than any other group; it had a clear agenda of ousting Milosevic and making Serbia a 'normal' European state; and it had the means to sway parents while getting out the critical vote of young people.
and
''And so,'' McCarthy says, ''From August 1999 the dollars started to flow to Otpor pretty significantly.'' Of the almost $3 million spent by his group in Serbia since September of 1998, he says, ''Otpor was certainly the largest recipient.'' The money went into Otpor accounts outside of Serbia. At the same time, McCarthy held a series of meetings with the movement's leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary. Homen, at 28 one of Otpor's senior members, was one of McCarthy's interlocutors. ''We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations,'' Homen says. ''And also some Western governmental organizations.''
At a June meeting in Berlin, Homen heard [Madeline] Albright say, ''We want to see Milosevic out of power, out of Serbia, and in The Hague..
Hanging out with then US Secretary of State Albright. Thats neat.
and
Just how much money backed this objective is not clear. The United States Agency for International Development says that $25 million was appropriate just this year [2000]. Several hundred thousand dollars were given directly to Otpor for ''demonstration-support material, like T-shirts and stickers,'' says Donald L. Pressley, the assistant administrator. Otpor leaders intimate they also received a lot of covert aid '' a subject which there is no comment in Washington.
At the International Republican Institute, another nongovernmental Washington group financed partly by A.I.D., an official named Danie Calingaert says he met Otpor leaders ''7 to 10 times'' in Hungary and Montenegro, beginning in October 1999. Some of the $1.8 million the institute spent in Serbia in the last year was ''provided direct to Otpor,'' he says. By this fall, Otpor was no ramshackle students' group; it was a well-oiled movement backed by several million dollars from the United States.
Why am I talking about these guys? Partly for what they became when they finished their job in Serbia. For a quick recap, we can use the great folks at Wikileaks courtesy of the Global Intelligence Files and a conversation between Marko Papic and Scott Stewart, and then Marko Papic and Fred Burton of Stratfor discuss internally the protests in 2010, which actually started this whole mess:
Here is one of the Stratfor emails courtesy of Wikileaks from 2011:
OTPOR (means resistance) were a group of students from Belgrade who took down Milosevic. They were tangentially connected to U.S. funding sources like NED, Freedom House and the Albert Einstein Institute and, through them, the US. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. BUTT, the US funding sources more lached on to them after realizing their potency than the other way around.
After they toppled Milosevic, the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits, and designed CANVAS, Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies '' or in other words a ''export-a-revolution'' group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions (they even have a website: http://www.canvasopedia.org/) They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that the US does not like).
Heres how the conversation evolved at Stratfor in 2013:
Take a look at this, change whatever you want and send to secure.
'....
This is guidance on how to conduct intel collection with our contact at CANVAS. A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing. He does himself have information that me be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.
Because each regional analyst may have utility contacting CANVAS directly Marko will not be the point of contact. Each regional analyst will conduct intelligence on their own. If you are interested in the CANVAS contact and you don't have his information, please contact marko. It will not be publicized (although he has given many of you his contact information). However, as a company, we will use a single asset code for him. We will use SR501.
...
With me so far? I'm going to drive the point home one more time because it really is that important. In a 2011 piece from foreignpolicy.com's revolution U they are mentioned in the following context:
The serbian capital is home to the Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS, an organization run by young Serbs who had cut their teeth in the late 1990s student uprising against Slobodan Milosevic. After ousting him, they embarked on the ambitious project of figuring out how to translate their success to other countries. To the world's autocrats '' they are sworn enemies '' both Venezuela's Huga Chavez and Belarus' Aleksandr Lukashenko have condemned them by name. (''They think we are bringing a revolution in our suitcase,'' one of CANVAS's leaders told me.) But to a young generation fo democracy activists from Harare to Rangoon to Minsk to Tehran, the young Serbs are heros. They have worked with democracy advocates from more than 50 countries. They have advised groups of young people on how to take on some of the worst governments in the world '' and in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria-occupied Lebanon, the Maldives, and now Egypt, those young people won.
...
These guys are no joke. And they had Venezuela in their sights as early as 2010. Back to another Stratfor communication between Reva Bhalia to Marko Papic (Burton is CCd) regarding CANVAS a year earlier suggests that a longer play has been going on (and this was in 2010):
According to CANVAS itself, they believe the protests have come too early. They are analogous to the ban against media and therefore follow the CANVAS manual on regime change when it says that ''you need to make your opponent aware that there will be a price tag attached to his oppressive behavior.'' How effective the move is, we will soon know.
From the point of view of OTPOR, if the students want to grab the notion that they are the number one enemy of Chavez, as Otpor did with Milosevic, they are doing a good job at it. Next step is to start putting pressure on the opposition not to fracture (during the anti-Slobo protests the chant was 'Trators are Pussies'', referring to opposition working with the government). Church and students are currently polled in Venezuela as more reliable and popular than the opposition paries, again very similar to what happened in Serbia. Next step is to gather at a place together with the opposition leaders'... at a funeral, at a meeting, anything. That is the key next step. Getting the opposition to come to a STUDENT gathering.
...
Now '' I think we can all agree who Otpor was, how they were funded, and who funded them. We know that they kept in touch with their US contacts. And based on their website, we know where they have been (Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt) and where they are now (Venezuela, Iran) based on emails leaked by wikileaks.
For your information '' I collected the following figures from a few years of Form 990s from the National Endowment For Democracy and the International Republican Institute. Roger Cohen of the NYT detailed how little was used/needed to push movements into the spotlight '' so take note of the figures below. All are openly available and are not linked only because linking to PDFs in a conspiracy forum is not best practices, but all you need is an email address to get a free account at Guidestar get what you need.
Consider the following numbers for monies allocated and distributed to two 501c3 foundations, the National Endowment for Democracy (which was chaired by Senator John McCain until his passing) and the International Republican Institute.
The National Endowment For Democracy funds dispersed to the International Republican Institute
Year|Dollar Amount|Reasoning
2013|14,170,054|Democratic Governance and Political Parties
2014|14,610,350|Democratic Governance And Political Parties
2015|13,555,539|Democratic Governance And Political Parties
2016|18,212,131|Democratic Governance And Political Parties
The International Republican Institute '' South America Data
Year|Dollar Amount|Number of Offices In The Region|Employees|Program Service
2013|2,689,584|1|3|Democracy Assistance
2014|3,037,763|1|15|Democracy Assistance
2015|2,886,138|left blank|left blank
2015|190,324|left blank|Grant Making
2016|2,463,644|0|0|Democracy Assistance
2016|1,296,851|0|0|Grant Making
Now I would like to direct your attention to this video, detailing a first person perspective of the 2014 protests and the situation in Venezuela which started this current chain of events. In it, you will see the familiar Otpor Fist in both the channel logo and graphics, as well as a few familiar faces. The video is in Spanish but the subtitles are effective if you select English as a translation and have 30 minutes to help understand the current situation. If you don't, I'll show you a quick teaser '' President Juan Guaido makes an appearance here and the video closes with Leopoldo Lopez and his call to action. He was banned from politics in 2008, then jailed for 14 years in 2015, and the released two years later:
Political allies and one of Mr. L"pez's lawyers described the release as a sign that the government was starting to buckle in the face of months of public demonstrations and growing diplomatic isolation.
''This is a step toward freedom, not just Leopoldo's, but also a step that brings all Venezuelans closer to freedom,'' a lawmaker, Freddy Guevara, told reporters outside Mr. L"pez's home, where supporters chanted ''Yes, we can!''
This association shows that the Otpor/CANVAS folks were utilizing their non-violent strategies popularized and written about by Gene Sharp in Venezuela, and, just like in Serbia, have spent their political capital to get themselves elected to the National Assembly, obtain an opposition majority, and ultimately declare one of their own interim President and have it stick. President Maduro may have seen this coming, and has established a parallel legislative body and judicial system in the process, actually helping make the argument of his legitimacy (or lack thereof).
If you can, note that the video linked above cites two of the three articles of the Venezuelan constitution that Juan Guaido ultimately cited a little over a month ago when he sweared himself in as President, accusing the current President Nicolas Maduro of abandoning his post and being illegitimate, and having the Organization of American States, the Lima Group, and a host of nations recognize him. It also ends with a familiar Obama-like chant in Spanish, the phrase Si Se Puede '' or Yes We Can.
The connections Guaido and his political party has to the United States (and those that will likely benefit to the new free and fair elections being demanded by most nations if you look around) cannot be denied. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been especially active in this situation, from having Leopoldo Lopez' wife up in DC and meet with President Trump sparking this tweet which may have been a signal to kick things off officially (if you are conspiratorially inclined) to being spotted down in Columbia with USAID trucks in Cucota, Columbia just a week ago. He was especially vocal announcing funding regarding the National Endowment of Democracy here, and, to be fair, the top 10 cities in the US with the highest Venezuelan population are in Florida (and the next 3 too). It makes sense that he is more involved here.
We've had plenty of aid fly in to Columbia to attempt to cross the border, including the Puerto Santander bridge which has been closed to all but foot traffic since 2015..
That didn't stop a large contingent of aid and workers to congregate at the border this Saturday. If you were watching one of the livestreams you may have spotted everyone covering their faces whenever they passed this trailer '' and initially I thought it was for privacy. Now, after seeing it (and the rest of them) engulfed inflames after now being allowed to pass'... I think something flammable may have been in there on purpose. Who knows? Perhaps they were meant to just be war chariots and the real aid is still locked away for the second attempt.
And speaking of aid '' whatever happened to the 21air story and the interception of what Venezuelan authorities describe as an intercepted shipment of arms?
Has anyone looked into the flight manifests for the two planes registered to 21air? Their flight paths here and here are interesting to say the least.
Did that start before or after Eliot Abrams was appointed US Special Envoy to Venezuela?
Sure, the Trump administration (most notably John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have used the Troika of Terror meme that they have inserted into this to possibly pivot to Iran in the future) is attempting to make lemonade out of this, because a victory against socialism globally will inevitably help him domestically facing off against an increasingly socialist leaning-DNC candidate pool to challenge him in 2020.
But please don't get lost in the right now here '' and understand that these soft-power organizations help launder US taxpayer money to help aid democracy abroad which inevitably ends up funding movements in Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, Ukraine (again), possibly Venezuela, and eventually even Iran. Its not a Trump thing. This whole scenario was attempted first by GWB in 2002, then it appears we decided to spread democracy with cash instead.
And to those who think these guys arent still around - their familiar chants can still be heard in the background of of your radio if you're tuned into NPR:
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro insists he's not going anywhere. He remains in place even though European nations have recognized an opposition leader as president and protesters flooded the streets over the weekend.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Si, se puede. Si, se puede. INSKEEP: Si, se puede, they're saying - "yes, it's possible" or "yes, we can."
We are all watching this in real time. Perhaps we can all try a different tactic this time and understand how we got here, why we are here, and who the players actually are. And who is funding them and why. I think I've commented enough dots to get us started.
Perhaps you can all say Si Se Peude with me in that regard.
Smollett
Jussie Smollett's fake attack wasn't an uncommon ploy
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:42
Wilfred Reilly, Opinion contributor Published 12:19 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019 | Updated 12:22 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019
In writing a book about hate crime hoaxes, I found more than 400. Such frauds damage good race relations.
The hate attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett is now alleged to be a hoax. That shouldn't surprise anyone.
Smollett's story was bizarre, bordering on the absurd. He claimed to have been attacked '-- at 2:00am in Chicago '-- by two men, in some early reports, wearing red MAGA hats, who called him ''that Empire n_____,'' yelled ''this is MAGA country,'' and poured bleach on him while putting a noose around his neck.
The questions here are obvious. How many Trump supporters even exist in the downtown of a city that went 83% for Hillary Clinton '-- and how many of them watch "Empire?" How many guys looking for a fight carry rope and bottles of bleach around with them? Almost every normal citizen had questions like these about this incident, and we were justified in having them.
That this case turned out to be a hoax shouldn't come as too big of a shock. A great many hate crime stories turn out to be hoaxes. Simply looking at what happened to the most widely reported hate crime stories over the past 4-5 years illustrates this: not only the Smollett case but also the Yasmin Seweid, Air Force Academy, Eastern Michigan, Wisconsin-Parkside, Kean College, Covington Catholic, and ''Hopewell Baptist burning'' racial scandals all turned out to be fakes. And, these cases are not isolated outliers.
Doing research for a book, Hate Crime Hoax, I was able to easily put together a data set of 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. An overlapping but substantially different list of 348 hoaxes exists at fakehatecrimes.org, and researcher Laird Wilcox put together another list of at least 300 in his still-contemporary book Crying Wolf. To put these numbers in context, a little over 7,000 hate crimes were reported by the FBI in 2017 and perhaps 8-10% of these are widely reported enough to catch the eye of a national researcher.
Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bail on Feb. 21. A judge set his bond $100,000 required the actor to surrender his passport. (Photo11: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Getty Images)
Why do hoaxers hoax? In some cases, the motivations are tawdry and financial. Jussie Smollett allegedly wanted to make himself a sympathetic figure to boost his salary.
However, the motivations of many hoaxers are honorable if misguided. In college campus hate hoax cases (Kean College, U-Chicago), the individuals responsible almost invariably say that they staged incidents to call attention to real incidents of racist violence on campus. Certainly, the media giants that leap to publicize hate crime stories later revealed to be fakes, and the organizations that line up to defend their ''victims'' '-- the Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter, CAIR '-- think that they are providing a public service by fighting bigotry.
More commentary: Jussie Smollett's alleged plan to manufacture outrage diminishes impact of real hate crime
Angry about Jussie Smollett? Here's what you can do: Today's talker
News: Jussie Smollett suspended from 'Empire' after prosecutors said he faked attack to boost salary
However, hate crime hoaxers are ''calling attention to a problem'' that is a very small part of total crimes. There is very little brutally violent racism in the modern USA. There are less than 7,000 real hate crimes reported in a typical year. Inter-racial crime is quite rare; 84% of white murder victims and 93% of Black murder victims are killed by criminals of their own race, and the person most likely to kill you is your ex-wife or husband. When violent inter-racial crimes do occur, whites are at least as likely to be the targets as are minorities. Simply put, Klansmen armed with nooses are not lurking on Chicago street corners.
In this context, what hate hoaxers actually do is worsen generally good race relations, and distract attention from real problems. As Chicago's disgusted top cop, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, pointed out yesterday, skilled police officers spent four weeks tracking down Smollett's imaginary attackers '-- in a city that has seen 28 murders as of Feb. 9th, according to The Chicago Tribune. We all, media and citizens alike, would be better served to focus on real issues like gun violence and the opiate epidemic than on fairy tales like Jussie's.
Wilfred Reilly is an associate professor of political science at Kentucky State University, a historically Black institution located in Frankfort. He is the author of the upcoming book Hate Crime Hoax, as well as The $50,000,000 Question, a book dealing with how people value identity.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/02/22/jussie-smollett-empire-attack-fired-cut-video-chicago-fox-column/2950146002/
Ellen Page on Jussie Smollett Fallout (Guest Column) | Hollywood Reporter
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:42
CULTURE5:30 AM PST 2/27/2019 by Ellen Page
While the media debates the 'Empire' star's case, it's critical that we not lose'¯sight of the real threats underrepresented communities face every day, writes the actress and activist.On Dec. 30, 2018, two women joined 70,000 other Seattle Seahawks fans to cheer their home team to victory. According to court documents, what transpired on that otherwise ordinary night should disgust us all.
From the start of the game, a man seated nearby began badgering the two openly gay women. He taunted them in front of the crowd. He asked them if they "needed a man in their lives." He called them "fucking dykes." He asked them if they "wanted some dick." They tried their best to ignore him and watch the game as he left to buy beer. The relief was short-lived.
He returned to his seat, walked up to one of the women, unzipped her jacket and grabbed her breast '-- refusing to let go. As she struggled to free herself, he threw a beer in her face. Other fans tackled the man to the ground, but not before he punched the woman's wife in the face. He broke her tooth, blood gushing from her nose. We, as LGBTQ+ people, are forced to fear for our safety because instances of hate violence, like the violence these women experienced in Seattle, happen. They happen to us all the time.
It's the fear that makes us pause before grabbing the hand of our loved one in public. It's the fear that makes us consider whether or not we are in physical danger before we lean in for a kiss on the cheek. The conversation around Jussie Smollett has led us all to examine hate violence and its implications and aftermath. I had no reason to doubt Jussie. My work on Gaycation '-- the docuseries I produced to chronicle LGBTQ+ stories from around the world '-- introduced me to many survivors of hate violence. I know how prevalent and pernicious it can be. If this situation was staged, it could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes. Very real crimes.
While the media and public debate the case and await more information, we must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day.
I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists. The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told.
My work and advocacy have taken me around the world, and I've had the opportunity to meet LGBTQ+ people who bravely face inequity and violence in their communities on a regular basis. To the extent that my visibility and experiences can give voice to others who don't share my privilege and opportunity '-- and because I take the trust and platform I've been given so very seriously '-- I must speak. As a queer but white cisgender woman, I benefit from the protections and safety that my income and status afford me. But I do not and have not escaped the threats of violence and the very real acts of violence and harassment that threaten and endanger our community and other underrepresented people. I endured bullying and sexual violence as a child and teenager on the street and in my professional life. My heart breaks for the people I've met who cannot protect themselves and who are objects of scorn, hatred, discrimination and violence because of the social and political context in which they live.
Hatred toward otherized people is institutionalized here and across the globe and reinforced by political rhetoric. FBI data released in 2018 shows reported hate crimes in America rose 17 percent the year prior, the third consecutive year of escalation. In fact, the most recent study from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported the deadliest year on record for the LGBTQ+ community. The statistics are plentiful and powerful and all point to a rising tide of hate violence.
When the rhetoric we read and the hate speech we hear comes from our politicians, our media and entertainment, our neighbors and families and our religious leaders, we internalize the pain in damaging, self-defeating ways. We are wary and afraid to report hate violence. We lose hope as we continue to be victimized. The cruelty, the hate and the words manifest shame. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth's risk of suicide is almost five times greater than that of their peers. In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 50 percent of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported having attempting suicide, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens and 41.8 percent of nonbinary teens said they attempted suicide. The American Journal of Public Health has reported that each moment of anti-LGBTQ+ verbal or physical abuse raises the chances of self-harm by 2.5 times. Cruel words and laws and beliefs cause real suffering. Queerphobia/transphobia is violence perpetrated on our children, our families, our friends and neighbors and the forgotten among us who have no voice. We all have to work together to end the normalization of anti LGBTQ+ sentiment and rhetoric.
No child, no teenager, no adult '-- no one deserves to be victimized because of who they are. No one should feel shame for who they were born to be or to live their life in fear. I am going to use my voice and visibility to continue speaking and '-- as storytellers and members of an industry with a global platform '-- I implore you to join me.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Build the Wall
Former senior national security officials to issue declaration on national emergency
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 09:45
A bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials will issue a statement Monday saying that ''there is no factual basis'' for President Trump's proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The joint statement, whose signatories include former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, will come a day before the House is expected to vote on a resolution to block Trump's Feb. 15 declaration.
The former officials' statement, which will be entered into the Congressional Record, is intended to support lawsuits and other actions challenging the national emergency proclamation and to force the administration to set forth the legal and factual basis for it.
''Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,'' the group said.
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Albright served under President Bill Clinton, and Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, served under President Barack Obama.
Also signing were Eliot A. Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush; Thomas R. Pickering, President George H.W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations; John F. Kerry, Obama's second secretary of state; Susan E. Rice, Obama's national security adviser; Leon E. Panetta, Obama's CIA director and defense secretary; as well as former intelligence and security officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations.
Trump's national emergency declaration followed a 35-day partial government shutdown, which came after Congress did not approve the $5.7 billion he sought to build a wall.
In announcing his declaration, Trump predicted lawsuits and ''possibly .'‰.'‰. a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling'' before winning at the Supreme Court.
The former security officials' 11-page declaration, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, sets out their argument disputing the factual basis for the president's emergency.
Among other things, they said, illegal border crossings are at nearly 40-year lows. Undetected unlawful entries at the U.S.-Mexico border decreased from 851,000 to nearly 62,000 between 2006 and 2016, they said, citing Department of Homeland Security statistics.
Contrary to the president's assertion, there is no documented emergency at the southern border related to terrorism or violent crime, they said, citing administration reports and independent think tank analyses.
Similarly, they state that there is no drug trafficking emergency that can be addressed by a wall along the southern border, noting that ''the overwhelming majority of opioids'' that enter the United States are brought in through legal ports of entry, citing the Justice Department.
They also argue that redirecting money pursuant to the national emergency declaration ''will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.'' And, they assert, ''a wall is unnecessary to support the use of the armed forces,'' as the administration has said.
Some of the same former officials wrote a joint declaration disputing the factual basis for the president's order shortly after he took office in January 2017 barring entry to foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The former officials asserted that the order was not based on a bona fide national security assessment but on ''a deliberate political decision to discriminate against a religious minority.''
Their views were filed as a joint declaration and later as a friend-of-the court brief in lawsuits challenging the original order and subsequent revisions, and it was cited by almost every federal judge who enjoined the ban. By the time the challenges reached the Supreme Court, the administration had significantly narrowed the ban, which the high court upheld on a 5-to-4 vote.
With respect to the declared national emergency, plaintiffs have filed two cases in the District of Columbia, two in California and one in Texas.
ellen.nakashima@washpost.com
(C) Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images A secondary border wall is under construction in Otay Mesa, Calif.
Anti-Semitism
UK to Ban Hezbollah, Including Its Political Party, as Terror Organisation - Sputnik International
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:02
Europe14:09 25.02.2019(updated 15:25 25.02.2019) Get short URL
The development comes after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid was reported 24 February to be preparing to ban the political wing of Hezbollah - a move which will prevent supporters of the group from parading its flag on UK streets.
Britain said on Monday that it will ban Hezbollah in its entirety, including its political wing, deeming it a terrorist organisation, Reuters has reported.
"Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East '-- and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety," Home Secretary Sajid Javid stated.
The move will have to be approved by Parliament, raising the prospect it could be opposed by Jeremy Corbyn, who once referred to members of its political wing group as 'friends'. Still, Israel has lauded the decision, and urged the EU to do the same.
"All who truly wish to combat terror must reject the fake distinction between 'military' & 'political' wings. Now is the time for the #EU to follow suit!" Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan said.
At present, the UK and EU alike only classify Hezbollah's military wing a terrorist entity. This allows Hezbollah's political members to operate in the country, appearing at the annual al-Quds day rally in London replete with the organization's flag, which promotes the destruction of the Jewish state.
The UK banned Hezbollah's military wing in 2008 after the Lebanese militia attacked UK soldiers in Iraq, the EU in 2013 due to the group's role in blowing up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, resulting in deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. An additional 32 Israelis were injured. A Bulgarian court is currently trialling in absentia the two Hezbollah operatives who participated in the attack, and Interpol has issued arrest warrants for them.
The German government has also repeatedly refused to 'fully' outlaw Hezbollah, with federal intelligence agencies believing almost 1,000 members of the group to be active in the country, raising funds and recruiting new members.
Hookers & Blow
From 4chan: Holy shit anons, it's totally happening here. If anyone watched Eyes Wide Shut, this is almost straight from the movie. : conspiracy
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 03:55
VIP prostitute goes to parties and fucks important people
she turns on them and exposes their PEDOPHILE rings
politicians, artists and the media all involved
turns out they bought young children from sports clubs
set to testify against them in the trial
she tweets a year ago that she will not kill herself, so if she appears dead, it was (((them)))
(TODAY) she appears dead, "drug overdose"
her naked-dead pictures are leaked by the people she accused
journalists involved literally posting how happy they are
This is some satanic masonic shit right here. What the fuck do we do?
The day she blew the lid:
https://www.diariopopular.com.ar/espectaculos/la-noche-que-natacha-jaitt-disparo-contra-todos-el-programa-mirtha-legrand-n386920
The pedophile ring she exposed:
https://www.clarin.com/sociedad/crece-escandalo-abusos-independiente-declararon-menores_0_SJLjCDHjM.html
Her tweet:
https://www.pagina12.com.ar/176844-natacha-jaitt-no-me-voy-a-suicidar
The people she also accused (incl. politicians, artists, the media, the church)
https://viapais.com.ar/argentina/876457-las-denuncias-que-hizo-natacha-jaitt-antes-de-su-muerte/
Pope Francis involved:
https://www.diarioregistrado.com/politica/natacha-jaitt-predio-el-ventilador--revelo-una-lista-de-famosos-que-segun-ella-son-pedofilos_a5ac122c42756190b821200ce
https://radiomitre.cienradios.com/tiembla-papa-francisco-gustavo-vera-pedofilo-denuncio-natacha-jaitt/
Jewish media involved:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrin_Suar
Journalist celebrating her death:
https://www.ratingcero.com/notas/5017578-tras-las-barbaridades-natacha-jaitt-suspendieron-twitter-mercedes-ninci
People she accused leaked her dead pictures:
https://www.clarin.com/espectaculos/fama/luis-ventura-publico-foto-cuerpo-natacha-jaitt-destrozaron-redes_0_vkL84Ba87.html
"What you have to understand, John, is that sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful, with so much at stake for other people or institutions, that you cannot do anything about them, no matter how evil or wrong they are and no matter how dedicated or sincere you are or how much evidence you have. This is simply one of the hard facts of life you have to face." - Former CIA director and Cercle member William Colby giving advice to his friend senator John DeCamp, urging to quit his investigations into the Franklin child abuse affair and to write a book about his experiences (The Franklin Coverup, 2nd edition, foreword).
The thread (NSFW):
http://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/204224056
http://archive.fo/fE8a3
EDIT
The day she blew the lid
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2F2O1jj
The pedophile ring she exposed
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2FSPB4m
Tweet
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2Fhqhs1
The people she accused
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2FF0WRG
Pope Francis being involved
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2FG9hzl
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2FEYhQZ
Jewish Media Involved
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2Fb6PF0
Journalist celebrating her death
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2F2wieX
People she accused leaked her dead pictures
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Farchive.is%2F2XQEN
8chan thread (NSFW):
https://8ch.net/pol/res/12844962.html
Bezos Balls
Microsoft's big win: Pentagon signs massive $1.76bn contract | ZDNet
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:41
Microsoft has scored a major win with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to supply services to the value of $1.76bn over five years.
The Pentagon on Friday announced the deal, which will see Microsoft provide enterprise services to the DoD, Coast Guard, and intelligence community.
In a statement announcing the deal, the Pentagon explains that support includes, "Microsoft product engineering services for software developers and product teams to leverage a range of proprietary resources and source code, and Microsoft premier support for tools, knowledge database, problem resolution assistance, and custom changes to Microsoft source code when applicable."
The five-year 'indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity' (IDIQ) contract has a completion date of January 10, 2024. This contract allows Microsoft to provide an indefinite quantity of services during the period.
The contract allows DoD to pay Microsoft on individual task orders using primarily operations and maintenance funds.
Microsoft's win comes as the DoD assesses proposals for its $10bn, 10-year cloud contract known as JEDI or Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The Pentagon is expected to announce a single winner of the JEDI deal in the first quarter.
SEE: Tech budgets 2019: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
Microsoft in October announced that it was on track to be certified to host Top Secret US classified data (Defense Information Systems Agency Impact Level 6) certification by the first quarter of 2019.
Microsoft's cloud rival Amazon Web Services (AWS) is believed to be the frontrunner for the JEDI contract. Google dropped out of the race because it lacked the required government certifications.
Oracle filed several protest bids with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last year, the last of which was knocked back in November. The company has argued that parts of the contract were written in a way that favors AWS and that it was illegal to award it to just one vendor.
The GAO ruled that the Pentagon was legally entitled to grant the contract to one vendor because the agency reasonably determined it was in its best interests.
IBM has also been critical of the winner-take-all nature of the JEDI contract.
Previous and related coverage IBM: We're protesting over Pentagon's $10bn winner-take-all JEDI cloud deal
IBM fears that the JEDI deal is aimed at 'one specific vendor', which is not Big Blue.
Google: Here's why we're pulling out of Pentagon's $10bn JEDI cloud race
Google won't bid for the Department of Defense's massive cloud contract because it could conflict with its AI principles against developing weapons.
Microsoft touts its coming top-secret cloud certification ahead of $10 billion JEDI contract deadline
Microsoft is stepping up its government cloud campaigning just ahead of the closing of the bids for the Pentagon's $10 billion, winner-take-all JEDI cloud contract.
Department of Defense's updated cloud-computing contract still is winner-take-all
Microsoft and other cloud vendors are keeping close tabs on the estimated multi-billion-dollar U.S. DoD JEDI cloud contract, as it winds its way through the bidding process.
Pentagon delays disputed JEDI cloud contract
The JEDI will have to wait a while longer for the award of the Pentagon's hotly-contested multi-billion "winner-take-all" cloud contract because the RFP has just been delayed....
Google employee protest: Now Google backs off Pentagon drone AI project
Google won't bid to renew its Project Maven contract with the Pentagon after it expires in 2019.
Google employee protest: Now 'Googlers are quitting' over Pentagon drone project
The number of employees against Google's Project Maven role grows, and they're now backed by a big group of academics.
Google says it won't build AI for weapons
In a set of principles laid out to guide its development of artificial intelligence, Google also said it won't build AI for surveillance that violates "internationally accepted norms."
Google to release DeepMind's StreetLearn for teaching machine-learning agents to navigate cities TechRepublic
The StreetLearn environment relies on images from Google Street View and has been used by Google DeepMind to train a software agent to navigate various western cities without reference to a map.
Facebook Portal device seeks to take video chat to the next level CNET
But will people trust the social network's new consumer device after all those data security problems?
Clips
VIDEO - Cell Phone RADIATION & 5G DANGERS | An In-Depth Exploration - YouTube
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 15:37
VIDEO - Agenda 21 in Less Than 5 Minutes - YouTube
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:36
VIDEO -3min- Nancy Pelosi and the New Voices of the House - YouTube
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:29
VIDEO - CSPAN on Twitter: "WATCH: Complete exchange between @RepAOC @AOC and Michael Cohen.'... "
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:04
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VIDEO - Facebook insider leaks docs exposing algorithmic "deboosting" and other targeting measures against conservative content -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:33
Project Veritas has
obtained and published documentsand presentation materials from a former Facebook insider. This information describes how Facebook engineers plan and go about policing political speech. Screenshots from a Facebook workstation show the specific technical actions taken against political figures, as well as "[e]xisting strategies" taken to combat political speech.
(Other brave individuals who feel compelled to expose wrongdoing they witness can contact Project Veritas here.)
Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe said that to expose dishonesty and censorship in big tech companies, he will be relying upon more insiders, informants and leakers in the future: "Our future depends on those who are willing to give up everything for what they believe." To gain a better understanding of the documents, Project Veritas spoke with the Facebook insider in an interview. The insider separated from Facebook in 2018 and was later hired by Project Veritas.
"I saw things that were going on that I personally found to be troubling."
Image explanation created by Project Veritas
According to the insider, the documents revealed a routine suppression of the distribution of conservative Facebook pages. The technical action she repeatedly saw, and for which Project Veritas was provided documentation, was labeled ActionDeboostLiveDistribution. Said the insider, "I would see [this term] appear on several different conservative pages. I first noticed it with an account that I can't remember, but I remember once I started looking at it, I also saw it on Mike Cernovich's page, saw it on Steven Crowder's page, as well as the Daily Caller's page."
Conservative commentator Steven Crowder's page had been suppressed before in April 2016, and Crowder told Project Veritas they settled a dispute related to the issue with Facebook out of court. Asked for comment on this story, Steven Crowder's attorney Bill Richmond said: "Louder With Crowder is investigating the allegations of concealed stream throttling by Facebook. The accusations are deeply troubling given the previously settled dispute with Facebook uncovered by Gizmodo.com, which found the show was targeted by Facebook workers with secret audience restrictions on political grounds alongside other prominent conservative voices." A screenshot of an action log on Mike Cernovich's Facebook page provided by the insider, shows the tag. The insider believes that the "deboost" code suppresses the distribution of livestream videos on Facebook. Project Veritas spoke to a current Facebook employee off the record who said that the code could limit a video's visibility in news feeds, remove sharing features, and disable interactive notifications.
When approached for comment, author and filmmaker Mike Cernovich said the troubling issue is that Facebook could just "make stuff up" about people through these systems. "Facebook, or an individual at Facebook, has the unilateral power to create false allegations against someone he or she doesn't like. The person accused not only can't do anything about the allegation, they don't even have an idea the allegation was made," said Cernovich.
The insider says that unlike many actions that Facebook content moderators can take against pages, the "deboost" action, which appears to occur algorithmically, does not notify the page's owner. "[W]ith these 'deboost live stream' things, there was no warning sent to the user... These were actions that were being taken without the users knowing."
A screenshot shows the tag "ActionDeboostLiveDistribution" on Mike Cernovich's page. A higher resolution recreation is included in the video above.
Upon further review, the insider says she did not notice the tag on any left-wing pages. "I looked at the Young Turks' page, I looked at Colin Kaepernick's page, none of them had received the same deboost comment."
The "deboost" tag appears after the word "Sigma," which Project Veritas has learned is an artificial intelligence system used to block potential suicide and self-harm posts. Both Mike Cernovich and Steven Crowder cannot recall having ever produced any videos on Facebook that promote suicide or self-harm. Mike Cernovich told Project Veritas that in fact he has long spoken out against suicide and self-harm, and provided tweets of his and a blog post as evidence.
"They're shifting the goal post"
Also in the in the documents was a presentation, authored by Facebook engineers Seiji Yamamoto and Eduardo Arino de la Rubia, titled "Coordinating Trolling on FB." Yamamoto is a Data Science Manager, and de la Rubia is a Chief Data Scientist at Facebook. The presentation appears to describe the current actions, as well as potential future actions, Facebook can take to combat alleged abusive behavior on the platform.
"We all agree that hate speech needs to be stopped, but there's quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech that we need to address as well." - Seiji Yamamoto, Facebook Data Science Manager
Yamamoto, who is responsible for "News Feed Reduction Strategy," also authored a post where he said Facebook should address "...quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech." Said the Facebook insider, the "perimeter of hate speech" means "things that aren't actually hate speech but that might offend somebody. Anything that is perceived as hateful but no court would define it as hate speech."
The insider believes Yamamoto's plans appears to be political in nature, rather than in response to abusive behaviors, "[i]t was clearly kind of designed... aimed to be the right wing meme culture that's become extremely prevalent in the past few years. And some of the words that appeared on there were, using words like SJW... MSM... the New York Times doesn't talk about the MSM. The independent conservative outlets are using that language."
Also in Yamamoto's report was a line appearing to say that online Facebook trolls are involved in "destructive behaviors" such as "[r]ed-pilling normies to convert them to their worldview."
In online circles the term "red-pilling" refers to bluntly showing the truth, and "normies" refers generally to apolitical or uninformed people. Directly below the line in the document is hyperlink labeled "example video."
The video linked in the presentation was made by Lauren Chen, a conservative commentator who now hosts a program on BlazeTV. "If you actually watch the video you can see that it clearly isn't abusive or promoting harassment, the video was a criticism of social justice," said Chen when asked for comment on this story. She added that "the video actually promotes equality and individualism."
On a page from the presentation titled "Strategies we use today," Yamamoto and de la Rubia list "demote bad content." They add, "... we should still of course delete and demote, but we can do even more..."
(Similar documents from big tech companies can be sent to Project Veritas here.)
Other actions that could be interpreted as "bad content" could be posting words such as "zucced," "REEE," and "normie." Said the insider, Facebook is "shifting the goal post. It's one thing, if you're dropping the n-word, or things like that, using some kind of homophobic or racial slur, by all means that's something that a platform should not want on it. But now you're moving it to things like, jokes that conservatives tend to make."
"Special features" triggered "leading up to important elections"
Image created by Project Veritas to further explain the document.
Two of the "tactics" outlined in the presentation that the Facebook engineers propose for dealing with "troll operations" involve the introduction of a "Troll Twilight Zone."
Yamamoto and de la Rubia's presentation says that "troll accounts," can have their internet bandwidth limited and experience forced glitches like frequent "auto-logout[s]" and the failed upload of comments. These "special features" would be triggered "leading up to important elections."
Facebook could identify trolls by their vocabulary, friend network, and behavior, according to the presentation. "Facebook has what's called a Fake Account Index," explained the insider, "where they assign a score which helps them determine whether the account is a real person or just a dummy spam account. And rightfully so, they want to delete those accounts, that's okay. They created the troll score so they could help identify, using words they would post, pictures, if they were friends with other trolls and then using that to determine whether this person should be on the platform or not."
The insider thinks that Facebook's system to score trolls is problematic because, "there's no accountability and especially when they are using machine learning to do this, whenever an individual actions an account, there is a process where at least you can send a message to Facebook... However, this is all being done without the user's knowledge, there is no recourse for them."
Another proposed tactic in the presentation would apparently alert a "troll's" friends list when they have been banned. The presentation reads: "When a user does something egregious, warranting an account suspension or deletion, we should notify the friend network" John Smith's account has been suspended for 7 days because he shared hate speech in the group Kekistani Special Forces" The presentation says that notifying a "troll's" friend list would "strike fear in the hearts of trolls..." and "[n]otified users who accidentally befriended the offender might be more mindful of suspicious accounts, increasing overall herd immunity."
The insider now works for Project Veritas.
Said the insider: "I think that the biggest thing, that getting the documents, getting video or still pictures of what was going on that shows that it is actually happening. This isn't rumors, they talk about how right-wingers, they come up with all these crazy theories, and that's not actually happening at these social media companies. They pooh pooh it. But here it is and it's in your face." The insider was terminated by Facebook shortly after Project Veritas published undercover video of Twitter employees discussing "shadow banning" and other data privacy abuses. When asked if supplying documents and testimony to Project Veritas was "worth it," the insider said "Yes... I knew what I had seen... this is something they were trying to keep in the shadows, that they did not want to public to know and yet the public has a right to know."
Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe believes that "our collective future depends on those who are willing to give up everything for what they believe." He believes that if more insiders from large companies step forward and expose similar dishonesty and wrongdoing, that the country will be better educated. O'Keefe said: "What are you willing to give up? How many of you will step forward? While they may be able to stop one of us, they won't be able to stop an army. Be brave. Do something." Watch the report:
View the documents here. (Update: In the video, we said Steven Crowder's "livestream was dethrottled," when in fact his entire page was "dethrottled.")(UPDATE 2: FACEBOOK RESPONDS "We fired this person a year ago for breaking multiple employment policies and using her contractor role at Facebook to perform a stunt for Project Veritas," a spokesperson told The Verge. "Unsurprisingly, the claims she is making validate her agenda and ignore the processes we have in place to ensure Facebook remains a platform to give people a voice, regardless of their political ideology.")
(Update 3: Project Veritas has included captions on original images in this article to avoid reader confusion.)
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VIDEO - Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould's statement to the House of Commons justice committee | National Post
Thu, 28 Feb 2019 04:08
Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke about the SNC-Lavalin controversy at a hearing of the House of Commons justice committee on Feb. 27. In her first substantial public statement on the matter, the former justice minister and attorney general testified that she was inappropriately pressured to prevent the Montreal-based company from being prosecuted in a bribery case. Below is the full text of her opening statement.
Gilakas'la. Thank you Mr. Chair and members of the Justice committee for providing me the opportunity to give extended testimony to you today. I would like to acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands of the Algonquin people.
For a period of approximately four months between September and December 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin. These events involved 11 people (excluding myself and my political staff) '' from the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance. This included in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails, and text messages. There were approximately 10 phone calls and 10 meetings specifically about SNC-Lavalin that I and/or my staff was a part of.
Within these conversations, there were express statements regarding the necessity for interference in the SNC-Lavalin matter, the potential for consequences, and veiled threats if a DPA was not made available to SNC. These conversations culminated on December 19, 2018, with a phone conversation I had with the Clerk of the Privy Council '' a conversation for which I will provide some significant detail.
A few weeks later, on January 7, 2019, I was informed by the Prime Minister that I was being shuffled out of the role of Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada. For most of these conversations, I made contemporaneous and detailed notes '' notes, in addition to my clear memory, which I am relying on today among other documentation.
My goal in my testimony is to outline the details of these communications for the Committee, and indeed for all Canadians. However, before doing that, let me make a couple comments.
First, I want to thank Canadians for their patience since this February 7th story broke in the Globe and Mail'... Thank you as well specifically to those who reached out to me from across the country. I appreciate the messages '' I have read them all.
Secondly, on the role of the Attorney General '' the AG exercises prosecutorial discretion as provided for under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. Generally, this authority is exercised by the DPP, but the AG has the authority to issue directives to the DPP on specific prosecutions or to take over prosecutions.
It is well-established that when the AG exercises prosecutorial discretion, she or he does so individually and independently. These are not cabinet decisions. I will say that it is appropriate for Cabinet colleagues to draw to the AG's attention what they see as important public policy considerations that are relevant to decisions about how a prosecution will proceed. What is not appropriate is pressing on the AG matters that she or he cannot take into account, such as partisan political considerations; continuing to urge the AG to change her or his mind for months after the decision has been made; or suggesting that a collision with the Prime Minister on these matters should be avoided.
With that said, the remainder of my testimony will be a detailed and factual delineation of the approximately 10 phone calls, 10 in-person meetings, and emails and text messages that were part of an effort to politically interfere regarding the SNC matter for the purposes of securing a deferred prosecution.
The story begins on September 4, 2018. My COS and I were overseas when I was sent a 'Memorandum for the Attorney General (pursuant to section 13 of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act) which was entitled 'Whether to issue an invitation to negotiate a remediation agreement to SNC Lavalin' which was prepared by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel. The only parts of this note that I will disclose are as follows: ''the DPP is of the view that an invitation to negotiate will not be made in this case and that no announcement will be made by the PPSC.'' As with all section 13 notices '' the Director provides the information so that the Attorney General may take such course of action as they deem appropriate.
In other words, the Director had made her decision to not negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC Lavalin. I subsequently spoke to my Minister's office staff about this decision and I did the standard practice of undertaking further internal work and due diligence in relation to this note '' a practice that I had for many of the section 13 notices that I received as the Attorney General. In other words, I immediately put in motion, within my Department and Minister's office, a careful consideration and study of the matter.
Two days later, on September 6, one of the first communications about a DPA was received from outside our department. Ben Chin, Minister Morneau's Chief of Staff, emailed my Chief of Staff and they arranged to talk. He wanted to talk about SNC and what we could do, if anything, to address this. He said to her that if they don't get a DPA, they will leave Montreal, and it's the Quebec election right now, so we can't have that happen. He said that they have a big meeting coming up on Tuesday and that this bad news may go public.
This same day my Chief of Staff exchanged some emails with my MO Staff [Francois Giroux and Emma Carver] about this, who advised her that the Deputy Attorney General '' Nathalie Drouin '' was working on something (they had spoken to her about the issue), and that my staff [Emma Carver and Gregoire Webber] were drafting a memo as well on the role of the AG vis vis the PPSC.
It was on or about this day that I requested a one-on-one meeting with the Prime Minister on another matter of urgency '' and as soon as possible after I got back into the Country. This request would ultimately become the meeting on September 17 between myself and the Prime Minister that has been widely reported in the media.
On September 7, my Chief of Staff spoke by phone with my then Deputy Minister about the call she had received from Ben Chin and the Deputy stated that the Department was working on this. The Deputy gave my Chief a quick rundown of what she thought some options might be (e.g., informally call Kathleen Roussel, set up an external review of their decision, etc.). On the same day I received a note from my staff '' on the role of the AG '' a note that was also shared with Elder Marques and Amy Archer at the PMO.
Same day, Francois G. and Emma met with my Deputy Minister. Some excerpts of the s. 13 note were read to the DM, but the DM did not want to be provided with a copy of the note.
September 8 '' my Deputy shared a draft note on the role of the AG with my Chief of Staff who shared it with me, and over the next day clarity was sought by my staff with the Deputy on aspects of an option that was in her note.
A follow-up conversation between Ben Chin and a member of my staff (FG) occurred on September 11, Mr. Chin said that SNC has been informed by the PPSC that it cannot enter into a DPA '' and Ben again detailed the reasons why they were told they were not getting a DPA. Mr. Chin also noted that SNC's legal counsel was Frank Iacobucci, and further detailed what the terms were that SNC was prepared to agree to '' stating that they viewed this as a negotiation.
To be clear, up to this point I had not been directly contacted by the Prime Minister, officials in the PMO, or the PCO about this matter. With the exception of Mr. Chin's discussions, the focus of communications had been internal to the DOJ.
This changes on September 16. My Chief of Staff had a phone call with Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques from the PMO. They wanted to discuss SNC. They told her that SNC have made further submissions to the Crown, and 'there is some softening, but not much'. They said that they understand that the individual Crown prosecutor wants to negotiate an agreement, but the Director does not.
They said that they understand that there are limits on what can be done, and that they can't direct, but that they hear that our Deputy Minister (of Justice) thinks we can get the PPSC to say ''we think we should get some outside advice on this.'' They said that they think we should be able to find a more reasonable resolution here. They told her that SNC's next board meeting is on Thursday (Sept 20). They also mention the Quebec election context. They asked my Chief if someone has suggested the outside advice idea to the PPSC, and asked whether we are open to this suggestion. They wanted to know if the DM can do it.
In response, my COS stressed to them prosecutorial independence and potential concerns about interference in the independence of the prosecutorial functions. Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Marques kept telling her that they didn't want to cross any lines '' but they asked my Chief of Staff to follow up with me directly on this matter.
Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick To be clear, I was fully aware of the conversations between September 4 and 16 that I have outlined. I had been regularly briefed by my staff from the moment this matter first arose, and I had also reviewed all materials that had been produced.
Further, my view had also formed at this point, through the work of my Department, my Minister's office and I had conducted, that it was inappropriate for me to intervene in the decision of the DPP in this case and pursue a DPA. In the course of reaching this view, I discussed the matter on a number of occasions with my Deputy so that she was aware of my view, raised concerns on a number of occasions with my Deputy Minister about the appropriateness of communications we were receiving from outside the Department, and also raised concerns about some of the options she had been suggesting.
On September 17: The DM said that Finance had told her that they want to make sure that Kathleen understands the impact if we do nothing in this case. Given the many potential concerns raised by this conversation, I discussed it with her later that day.
This same day (Sept. 17th) I have my one-on-one with the PM that I requested a couple weeks ago. When I walked in the Clerk of the Privy Council was in attendance as well.
While the meeting was not about the issue of SNC and DPA's the PM raised the issue immediately.
The Prime Minister asks me to help out '' to find a solution here for SNC '' citing that if there was no DPA there would be many jobs lost and that SNC will move from Montreal.
In response, I explained to him the law and what I have the ability to do and not do under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act around issuing Directives or Assuming Conduct of Prosecutions. I told him that I had done my due diligence and made up my mind on SNC and that I was not going to interfere with the decision of the DPP.
In response the PM further reiterated his concerns. I then explained how this came about and that I had received the section 13 note from the DPP earlier in September and that I had considered the matter very closely. I further stated that I was very clear on my role as the AG '' and I am not prepared to issue a directive in this case '' that it was not appropriate.
The PM again cited potential loss of jobs and SNC moving. Then to my surprise '' the Clerk started to make the case for the need to have a DPA '' he said ''there is a board meeting on Thursday (Sept 20) with stock holders'' '... ''they will likely be moving to London if this happens'''... ''and there is an election in Quebec soon'''...
At that point the PM jumped in stressing that there is an election in Quebec and that ''and I am an MP in Quebec '' the member for Papineau''.
I agreed to and undertook to the PM that I would have a further conversation with my Deputy and the Clerk '-- but that these conversations would not change my mind
I was quite taken aback. My response '' and I remember this vividly '' was to ask the PM a direct question while looking him in the eye '' I asked: ''Are you politically interfering with my role / my decision as the AG? I would strongly advise against it.''
The Prime Minister said ''No, No, No '' we just need to find a solution.'' The Clerk then said that he spoke to my Deputy and she said that I could speak to the Director.
I responded by saying no I would not '' that would be inappropriate. I further explained to the Clerk and the PM that I had a conversation with my DM about options and what my position was on the matter.
As a result of this discussion, I agreed to and undertook to the PM that I would have a further conversation with my Deputy and the Clerk '' but that these conversations would not change my mind. I also said that my staff and my officials are not authorized to speak to the PPSC.
We finally discussed the other issue that I wanted to discuss. I left meeting and immediately debriefed my staff as to what was said re: SNC/DPAs.
On September 19, I met with the Clerk as I had undertaken to the PM. The meeting was one-on-one, in my office. The clerk brought up job losses and that this is not about the Quebec election or the PM being a Montreal MP. He said that he has not seen the s.13 note. He said that he understands that SNC is going back and forth with the DPP, and that they want more information. He said that ''Iacobucci is not a shrinking violet''. He referenced the September 20 date (presumably a reference to the shareholder meeting), and that they don't have anything from the DPP. He said that the PM is very concerned about the confines of my role as AG and the DPP. He reported that the PM is very aware of my role as the AGC.
I told the Clerk again that I had instructed the DM is not to get in touch with the Director and that given my review of the matter I would not speak to her directly regarding a DPA. I offered that if SNC were to send a letter to me expressing their concerns '' their public interest argument '' it would be permissible and I would appropriately forward it directly to the DPP.
Later that day my COS had a phone call with Elder Marques and Mathieu Bouchard from the PMO. They wanted an update on what was going on regarding DPAs since ''we don't have a ton of time''. She relayed my summary of meeting with PM/Clerk.
Jody Wilson Raybould delivers her opening statement as she appears at the Justice committee meeting in Ottawa, Wednesday February 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld They raised the idea of an ''informal reach out '' to the DPP. My COS said that she knew I was not comfortable with it, as it looked like and probably did constitute political interference. They asked whether that was true if it wasn't the AG herself, but if it was her staff or the DM. My COS said ''yes'' it would and offered a call directly with me. They said that ''we will regroup and get back to you on that.''
Still on September 19, I spoke to Minister Morneau on this matter when we were in the House. He again stressed the need to save jobs, and I told him that engagements from his office to mine on SNC had to stop '' that they were inappropriate.
They did not stop. On September 20 my COS had a phone calls with Mr. Chin and Justin To '' both from the Minister of Finance's office about SNC and DPAs. At this point there was an apparent pause in communicating with myself or my Chief of Staff about the SNC matter. We did not hear from anyone again until October 18 when Mathieu Bouchard called my COS and asked that we '' I '' look at the option of my seeking an external legal opinion on the DPP's decision not extend an invitation to negotiate a DPA.
This would become a recurring theme for sometime in messages from the PMO '' that an external review should be done of the DPP's decision. The next day as well, SNC filed a Federal Court application seeking to quash the DPP's decision to not enter into a remediation agreement with them.
In my view, this necessarily put to rest any notion that I might speak to or intervene with the DPP, or that an external review could take place. The matter was now before the courts, and a judge was being asked to look at the DPP's discretion.
However, on October 26 / 2018 '' when my Chief of Staff spoke to Mathieu Bouchard and communicated to him now that, given that SNC had now filed in Federal Court seeking to review the DPP's decision, surely we had moved past this idea of the AG intervening or getting an opinion on that same question '' he replied that he was still interested in the external legal opinion idea. Could she not get an external legal opinion on whether the DPP had exercised their discretion properly, and then on the application itself, the AG could intervene and seek a stay of proceedings, given that she was awaiting a legal opinion.
Mathieu did most of the speaking '-- he was trying to tell me that there were options and that we needed to find a solution
My COS said that this would obviously be perceived as interference and her boss questioning the DPP's decision. Mathieu said that if '' 6 months from the election '' SNC announces they are moving their headquarters out of Canada, that is bad.
He said ''we can have the best policy in the world, but we need to be re-elected.''
He said that everyone knows that this is AG's decision, but that he wants to make sure that all options are being canvassed. Mathieu said that if, at the end of the day, AG is not comfortable, that is fine. He just ''doesn't want any doors to be closed.'' Jessica said that I was always happy to speak to him directly should he wish.
In mid-November, PMO requested that I meet with Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques to discuss the matter '' which I did on November 22. This meeting was quite long '' I would say about an hour and a half. I was irritated by having to have this meeting as I had already told PM etc. that a DPA on SNC was not going to happen, that I was not going to issue a directive.
Mathieu did most of the speaking '' he was trying to tell me that there were options and that we needed to find a solution. I took them through the DPP Act '' section 15/10 '' and that prosecutorial independence was a constitutional principle. And that they are interfering. I talked about the Section 13 note '' which they said they had never received '' but I reminded them they received it in September.
M and E '' continued to plead their case '' talking about '... if I am not sure in my decision'... that we could hire an eminent person to advise me. They were 'kicking the tires'. I said NO. My mind had been made up and they needed to stop '' enough.
I will briefly pause at this moment to comment on my own state of mind at this point. In my role as AG, I had received the decision of the DPP in September, had reviewed the matter, made a decision on what was appropriate given a DPA, and communicated that to the Prime Minister. I had also taken additional steps that the Prime Minister asked me to '' such as meeting with Clerk.
In my view, the communications and efforts to change my mind on this matter should have stopped. Various officials also urged me to take partisan political considerations into account '' which it was clearly improper for me to do. '... We either have a system that is based on the rule of law, the independence of the prosecutorial functions, and respect for those charged to use their discretion and powers in particular ways '' or we do not. While in our system of government policy oriented discussion amongst people at earlier points in this conversation may be appropriate, the consistent and enduring efforts, even in the face of judicial proceedings on the same matter '' and in the face of a clear decision of the DPP and the AG '' to continue and even intensify such efforts raises serious red flags in my view.
Yet, this is what continued to happen. On December 5/2018, I met with Gerry Butts. We had both sought out the meeting.
Jody Wilson Raybould speaks with NDP MP Nathan Cullen as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa, Wednesday February 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld I wanted to speak about a number of things '' including bringing up SNC and the barrage of people hounding me and my staff. Towards the end of the meeting I raised how I needed everyone to stop talking to me about SNC as I had made up my mind and the engagements were inappropriate. Gerry then took over the conversation and said how we need a solution on the SNC stuff '' he said I needed to find a solution. I said no and referenced the PI and JR. I said further that I gave the Clerk the only appropriate solution that could have happened and that was the letter idea but that was not taken up.
Gerry talked to me about how the statute was set up by Harper that that he does not like the law'...(Director of Public Prosecutions Act) '' I said something like that is the law we have '... On December 7 '' I received a letter from the PM, dated December 6, attaching a letter from the CEO of SNC-Lavalin dated October 15. I responded to the PM's letter of December 6, noting that the matter is before the courts, so I cannot comment on it, and that the decision re: a DPA was one for the DPP, which is independent of my office.
This brings us to the final events in the chronology, and ones which signal, in my experience, the final escalation in efforts by the PMO to interfere in this matter. On December 18, 2018, my COS was urgently summoned to meet with Gerry Butts and Katie Telford to discuss SNC. They wanted to know where I am in terms of finding a solution. They told her that they felt like the issue was getting worse and that I was not doing anything. They referenced a possible call with the PM and the Clerk the next day.
I will now read to you a transcription of the most relevant sections of the text conversation between my COS and I almost immediately after the meeting:
Jessica: Basically, they want a solution. Nothing new. They want external counsel retained to give you an opinion on whether you can review the DPP's decision here and whether you should in this case. '... I told them that would be interference.
Gerry said ''Jess, there is no solution here that doesn't involve some interference.'' At least they are finally being honest about what they are asking you to do! Don't care about the PPSC's independence. Katie was like ''we don't want to debate legalities anymore.'' '... They kept being like ''we aren't lawyers, but there has to be some solution here''.'
MOJAG: So where were things left? '...
JP: So unclear. I said I would of course let you know about the convo (check) and they said they were going to the ''kick the tires'' with a few more people on this tonight. The Clerk was waiting outside when I left. But they said they want to set up a call between you and the PM and the Clerk tomorrow. I said that of course you would be happy to speak to your boss! They seem quite keen on the idea of you retaining an ex SCC judge to get advice on this. Katie T thinks it gives us cover in the business community and the legal community, and that it would allow the PM to say we are doing something. She was like ''if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper.''
On December 19, 2018, I was asked to have a call with the Clerk '' it was a fairly lengthy call and I took the call at home and I was alone. Given what had occurred the previous day with my Chief of Staff I was determined to end all interference and conversations about this matter once and for all. Here is part of what the Clerk and I discussed'...
The Clerk said he was calling about Deferred Prosecution Agreement / SNC '' he said he wanted to pass on where the Prime Minister is at'... he spoke about the company's board and the possibility of them selling out to somebody else, moving their headquarters, and job losses.
He said that the PM wants to be able to say that he has tried everything he can within the legitimate toolbox. The Clerk said that the PM is quite determined, quite firm but he wants to know why the DPA route which Parliament provided for isn't being used. He said ''I think he is gonna find a way to get it done one way or another. So, he is in that kinda mood and I wanted you to be aware of that''.
The Clerk said he didn't know if PM was planning on calling me directly and he is thinking about getting somebody else to give him some advice'...you know he does not want to do anything outside the box of what is legal or proper. He said that the PM wants to understand more'...to give him advice on this or to give you advice on this if you want to feel more comfortable you are not doing anything inappropriate or outside the frame of'... I told the Clerk that I was 100 percent confident that I was doing nothing inappropriate. I, again, reiterated I am confident in where I am at on my views on SNC and the DPA have not changed '' this is a constitutional principle of prosecutorial independence.
I warned the Clerk that we were treading on dangerous ground here '' and I issued a stern warning because as the AG, I cannot act in a manner and the prosecution cannot act in a manner that is not objective, that isn't independent, I cannot act in a partisan way and I cannot be politically motivated. And all of this screams of that.
The Clerk wondered whether anyone could speak to the Director about the context around this or get her to explain her reasoning. The Clerk told me that he was going to have to report back to the PM before he leaves'...he said again that the PM was in a pretty firm frame of mind about this and that he was a bit worried'... I asked what he was worried about.
The Clerk then made a comment about how it is not good for the Prime Minister and his Attorney General to be a ''loggerheads.''
I told the Clerk that I was giving him my best advice and if he does not accept that advice then it is the PM's prerogative to do what he wants '... But I am trying to protect the Prime Minister from political interference or perceived political interference or otherwise.
The Clerk acknowledged that, but said that the PM does not have the power to do what he wants'... all the tools are in my hands, he said. I said that I was having thoughts of the Saturday Night Massacre '' but that I was confident that I had given the Prime Minister my best advice to protect him and to protect the constitutional principle of prosecutorial independence.
The Clerk said that he was worried about a collision because the PM is pretty firm about this'... He told me that he had seen the PM a few hours ago and that this is really important to him.
That is where the conversation ended. I did not hear from the PM the next day. On January 7, I received a call from the PM and was informed I was being shuffled out of my role as MOJAG. I will not go into details of this call, or subsequent communications about the shuffle, but I will say that I stated I believed the reason was because of the SNC matter. They denied this to be the case.
On January 11, 2019 '' the Friday before the shuffle. My former Deputy Minister is called by the Clerk and told that the shuffle is happening, and that she will be getting a new Minister. As part of this conversation, the Clerk tells the Deputy that one of the first conversations that the new Minister will be expected to have with the PM will be on SNC Lavalin. In other words, that the new Minister will need to be prepared to speak to the PM on this file. The Deputy recounts this to my Chief of Staff who tells me about the comment.
Conclusion:
My narrative stops here. I must reiterate to the Committee my concern outlined in my letter to the Chair yesterday. That is, Order in Council #2019-0105 addresses only my time as Attorney General of Canada and therefore does nothing to release me from any restrictions that apply to communications while I proudly served as Minister of Veterans Affairs and in relation to my resignation from that post, or my presentation to Cabinet after I resigned. This time period includes communications on topics that some members of the Committee have explored with other witnesses and about which there have been public statements by others. The Order in Council leaves in place the various constraints, in particular, Cabinet confidence, that there are on my ability to speak freely about matters that occurred after I left the post of Attorney General.
Even with those constraints, I hope that through my narrative today, the Committee, and everyone across the country, has a clear idea of what I experienced, and what I know of who did what, and what was communicated.
I hope, and expect, the facts speak for themselves. I imagine Canadians now fully understand that in my view these events constituted pressure to intervene in a matter, and that this pressure '' or political interference '' to intervene was not appropriate. However, Canadians can judge this for themselves as we all now have the same information.
Lastly, as I have said previously, ''it has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power.''
In saying this I was reflecting what I understand to be the vital importance of the rule of law and prosecutorial independence in our democracy. My understanding of this has been shaped by some lived experience. I am, of course, a lawyer. I was a prosecutor on the downtown eastside of Vancouver. So I come to this view as a professional trained and committed to certain values as key to our system of order.
But my understanding of the rule of law has also been shaped by my experience as an Indigenous person and leader. The history of Crown-Indigenous relations in this country, includes a history of the rule of law not being respected. Indeed, one of the main reasons for the urgent need for justice and reconciliation today is that in the history of our country we have not always upheld foundational values such as the rule of law in our relations with Indigenous peoples. And I have seen the negative impacts for freedom, equality, and a just society this can have firsthand.
So when I pledged to serve Canadians as your Minister of Justice and Attorney General I came to it with a deeply ingrained commitment to the rule of law and the importance of acting independently of partisan, political, and narrow interests in all matters. When we do not do that, I firmly believe, and know, we do worse as a society.
I will conclude by saying this '' I was taught to always be careful of what you say '' because you cannot take it back '' and I was taught to always hold true to your core values and principles and to act with integrity '' these are the teachings of my parents, grandparents and community. I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House '' this is who I am and who I will always be.
Gilakas'la / Thank you.
After the shellshock of Wilson-Raybould's initial testimony, more memorable moments came during the question-and-answer period, which saw Wilson-Raybould exchanging with MPs across party lines.
Here were some of the most illuminating exchanges, transcribed by the Post's Marie-Danielle Smith:
On why Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the minister of justice and attorney general role:
Lisa Raitt (Conservative Party): Do you believe, for the record, that you were removed as the attorney general because you spoke truth to power on the topic of the SNC ongoing prosecution?
Jody Wilson-Raybould: Thank you for your question and I am going to have to be very careful what I say.
Raitt: I understand.
Wilson-Raybould: I believe that I am able to speak to my thought processes from January the 7th up to the time that I was sworn in as the veterans affairs minister. I think it's apparent from my remarks that I was concerned that the reason why I was being shuffled out of the minister of justice and the attorney general possibly was because of a decision I would not take on SNC on DPA. I raised my concerns with the prime minister and with Gerry Butts and as I said in my remarks, those were denied. I cannot speak to anything that I thought about after that.
On the integrity of the office of attorney general in the future:
Raitt: I'd like to know if you are concerned that it's possible that the independence of the office of attorney general is being eroded now given what you've told us in your testimony today, your understanding that the current attorney general was to be briefed on the SNC-Lavalin deferment decision.
Wilson-Raybould: '... While I was the attorney general through these four months, leaving aside all of the very inappropriate political pressure, interference, I was confident in my role as the attorney general, that I was the final decision-maker on whether or not a directive would be introduced on the SNC matter. So I knew as long as I was the attorney general this would not occur. I had concerns that when I was removed as the attorney general that this potentially might not be the case. '... I had concerns and I knew that in my new role, still sitting around the cabinet table, if there had been a directive that was placed into the Gazette I would've resigned immediately from cabinet.
On the appearance of political interference in the decision on denying the deferred prosecution agreement:
Murray Rankin (NDP): How can Canadians, if they believe you, as I do, draw any other conclusion but that there was an attempt to politically interfere with your role as our independent attorney general?
Wilson-Raybould: '... I sought in my testimony today to state facts. And in my testimony I came to the conclusion and throughout the four months that there was a sustained effort, an attempt to politically interfere with my discretion as the attorney general of Canada. It was inappropriate.
Rankin: '... It appears to a person, a reasonable person looking at that that you were removed from your role because you would not change your mind despite these persistent and consistent efforts to have you do so and that because you didn't change your mind you were fired from your role as attorney general. '... I'd like you to tell us a little bit more why you did not change your mind.
Wilson-Raybould: I did not change my mind to enter into, to issue a directive to the director of public prosecutions on the matter of putting out an invitation to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC because I had the benefit of reading the section 13 note (from the Director of Public Prosecutions), of conducting my own due diligence around the appropriateness of entering into a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC. I had the benefit of feedback and briefings from my departmental officials as well as my political staff. I made my mind up prior to the Sept. 17 meeting and, for those people that know me, my decision making process takes into account many views. '... Having made up my mind taking into account all of the information, again for those who know me, I was not going to change my mind.
On whether it was appropriate to discuss job losses as a factor in making the decision on SNC-Lavalin:
Jennifer O'Connell (Liberal): You felt it was entirely appropriate to have the conversation about the jobs and those types of impacts and I'm paraphrasing here, but and then you mentioned Minister (Bill) Morneau and the conversation you had you referred to on the 19th which was in the House, I believe you said in the testimony, and you said that he mentioned job losses so what made you feel then that that conversation was inappropriate?
Wilson-Raybould: So to the first point about mentioning jobs and job losses, as I said in my evidence, including the conversation I had with the prime minister, I do not believe it is inappropriate to have conversations about job losses, about SNC in the early stages where ministers can raise these issues with the attorney general. What is inappropriate is the long, sustained discussions about the job losses after it is very clear that I had made my decision and was not going to pursue a DPA. But leaving aside job losses, the conversations that I had, where they became very clearly inappropriate was when political issues came up like the election in Quebec, like losing the election if SNC were to move their headquarters, conversations like that, conversations like the one I had with the clerk of the privy council who invoked the prime minister's name throughout the entirety of the conversation, spoke to me about the prime minister being dug-in, spoke to me about his concerns as to what would happen. In my mind those were veiled threats and I took them as such.
On her direct question to the prime minister about political interference:
Ruby Sahota (Liberal): You had specifically asked the prime minister whether he was interfering and his answer was that the decision was always yours. Is that correct?
Wilson-Raybould: That's not exactly what I said. I had raised the background about comments that were made by the prime minister and the clerk and I know that that is what has been reported in the media but that is not what was said. I asked the prime minister a direct question after having comments around elections and being the member of Papineau, ''are you interfering with my role as the attorney general, my decision?'' And I advised him strongly not to do that so it was my direct question to the prime minister.
Sahota: And he said the decision was always yours, correct?
Wilson-Raybould: He did not say that. He said, ''No, no, no, that's not what I'm doing.''
Sahota: But you did mention in the opening statement that throughout the time you were attorney general you did recognize that the decision was always yours.
Wilson-Raybould: I one hundred per cent understand my role as the attorney general and it is my decision and my decision alone whether or not to issue a directive.
On ''waiting for the other shoe to drop'' after feeling pressured:
Raitt: When you speak to Gerry Butts or Katie Telford or the clerk of the privy council, do you believe that they are speaking with the full authority of the prime minister in their discussions with you?
Wilson-Raybould: Yes.
Raitt: '... Do you believe that the prime minister or anyone in the prime minister's office had any lawful authority to tell you to direct the director of public prosecution on what to do?
Wilson-Raybould: No. I was the final, and as the attorney general is the final decision maker on whether or not as the top prosecutor to do anything with respect to a specific prosecution.
Raitt: '... This all seems to me if I may that there was an intention from all of these comments and this continued pressure to make you fear for your job at the end of the day that there would be a shuffle or that you would be removed from your position. Is that a fair assumption I am making?
Wilson-Raybould: I'm not going to speak to the intention of other individuals. I will speak to the very heightened level of anxiety that I had that increased and culminated in my discussion with the clerk on Dec. 19. And I remember distinctly ending that conversation with the clerk by saying, ''I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.'' Which, I believe that reflection, or my comments can speak for themselves.
On what she can and can't say:
Wilson-Raybould: I'm not at liberty due to confidences to discuss any matters beyond SNC and deferred prosecution agreements.
Raitt: And for clarity, can you tell us what you discussed with the prime minister at your meetings in Vancouver on Feb. 11?
Wilson-Raybould: I cannot.
Raitt: And can you tell us why you resigned from cabinet?
Wilson-Raybould: I cannot.
Raitt: And can you tell us what was discussed with the cabinet on Feb. 19.
Wilson-Raybould: I cannot.
Raitt: If the issues surrounding your ability to communicate these conversations to this committee were in fact resolved and you were able to be released from cabinet confidence or from privilege, would you be willing to return to this committee and give us testimony again?
Wilson-Raybould: I would be.
On confidence in the government upon accepting to be minister of veterans affairs:
Randy Boissonneault (Liberal): After you reaffirmed on that day (of the cabinet shuffle), accepting that position, you reaffirmed your confidence in the government. Is that the case?
Wilson-Raybould: '... I decided, a very conscious decision, to take on the role that the prime minister offered me and yes, it is an incredible honour, I don't want anybody to misconstrue that. I decided that I would take the prime minister at his word. I trusted him. I had confidence in him. And so I decided to continue on around the cabinet table with the concerns that I had around SNC because I took the prime minister at his word.
Boissonneault: So that oath that you took Jan. 13 reaffirmed your confidence in the government. Do you have confidence in the prime minister today?
Wilson-Raybould: I'll say this. And I'm not going to get into any conversations about why I resigned, other than to say this: I resigned from cabinet because I did not have confidence to sit around the table, the cabinet table. That's why I resigned.
On why she didn't seek external legal counsel, and why she didn't resign:
O'Connell: Whether it was yourself, your office, the prime minister's office, within the prosecution, there seemed to be disagreement or differences of opinions, let's put it that way. Why would it have been unreasonable '... what would the exception be to bringing in another opinion, an outside legal opinion?
Wilson-Raybould: I did not need external legal counsel, I did not need people in the prime minister's office continuing to suggest that I needed external legal counsel. That's inappropriate. But I will say with respect to the conversations you mentioned with Mathieu Bouchard and his remarks about an individual prosecutor as being different from that of the director of public prosecutions, I can't help but wonder why he would bring that up, how he would know that, how he garnered that information. It is entirely inappropriate for any member of the prime minister's office, and it would be entirely inappropriate for any member of my staff or within my department to reflect those conversations because I would have serious concerns and I did at the time and still do, concerns about about how that information was acquired and from whom.
O'Connell: If you felt that that information was so inappropriate Sept. 16, did you consider resigning? Like if it's moving forward and they continued, did you not consider resigning then?
Wilson-Raybould: I did not consider resigning then. I was, in my opinion, doing my job as the attorney general. I was protecting a fundamental, constitutional principle of prosecutorial independence and the independence of our judiciary. That's my job. That was my job, rather, as the attorney general. And as long as I was attorney general, I was going to ensure that the independence of the director of public prosecutions, and the exercise of their discretion, was not interfered with.
O'Connell: Do you still have confidence in the prime minister today?
Wilson-Raybould: I'm not sure how that question is relevant.
On the historic precedence if she had followed the prime minister's wishes:
Nathan Cullen (NDP): Was that your testimony here today, that an attorney general has never used a specific directive on a specific case, as in the case of SNC-Lavalin? Is that right?
Wilson-Raybould: That's correct.
Cullen: So not only is this tool incredibly rare, it has never been applied in the way that was being suggested by the clerk of the privy council, all the other people that consistently lobbied you to use that tool. They were asking you to do something essentially historic.
Wilson-Raybould: An attorney general has never issued a specific direction in a specific prosecution, nor has an attorney general in this country ever issued a directive, or sorry, rather, taken over a prosecution. It would be historic. For the first time.
Cullen: So what you were being asked for in this case is to do something extraordinary in this case, you were being asked to do something unprecedented.
On the legality of deferred prosecution agreements:
Cullen: The ability to seek one of these special, I'm calling them plea deals, I'm not a lawyer. These deferrals. They can't be made for political reasons, is that correct?
Wilson-Raybould: That's correct.
Cullen: It's illegal, in fact, for you to have made the decision based on political motivations, is that correct?
Wilson-Raybould: It would be unlawful for me to do that.
Cullen: '... Is it illegal for someone just to pressure the attorney general to intervene on a case?
Wilson-Raybould: In my opinion it's not illegal. It is very inappropriate depending on the context of the comments made, the nature of the pressure, the specific issues that are raised, it's incredibly inappropriate and is an attempt to compromise or to impose upon an independent attorney general.
On the role of the clerk of the privy council, Michael Wernick:
Elizabeth May (Green Party): There's a very prominent role being played by I think unusual actors in the civil service. '... Going to Sept. 17, you described a meeting which you had requested of the prime minister on a different topic. It was supposed to be a one-on-one meeting, by which I infer you did not expect the clerk of the privy council to be present when you went to meet with the prime minister, is that correct?
Wilson-Raybould: I didn't expect that but I will say that the fact he was there, I didn't ask him to leave.
May: So in the context of the pressure that was being applied, and the political concerns that were being raised. I'm going to put forward a positive statement and see if you agree, but the appropriate role for the clerk of the privy council office is to support the attorney general, because it's, you're on dangerous ground here, back off, this is political interference. The job of the civil service is to remain nonpartisan and give good advice. Did you think the clerk of the privy council was behaving appropriately in applying political pressure to anyone in this case?
Wilson-Raybould: I do not believe that he was behaving appropriately, which is why I was very surprised when he raised issues of the Quebec election and a board meeting that was supposedly happening with SNC.
May: Do you believe that the clerk of the privy council appeared to be placing your deputy minister of justice under pressure that could've affected her confidence in her job security?
Wilson-Raybould: Honestly, I don't believe I can answer the question.
' Email: mdsmith@postmedia.com | Twitter: mariedanielles
VIDEO - Jim Jordan Says Democrats Are Using Michael Cohen as Their 'Pasty' to Impeach Trump, Following the Playbook of Clinton Lawyer Lanny Davis and Billionaire Tom Steyer
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 22:16
On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) slammed House Democrats for inviting President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to testify. Cohen has confessed to lying to Congress, making him a particularly unreliable witness. Yet Jordan attacked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, saying Cohen is the Democrats' "patsy" to impeach Trump.
''Mr. Chairman, here we go. Here we go. Your first big hearing, your first announced witness: Michael Cohen. I want everyone in this room to think about this. The first announced witness for the 116th Congress is a guy who is going to prison in two months for lying to Congress," Jordan, the Republican ranking member on the committee, said in his opening statement. While the House Oversight Committee has had many hearings already, this is the first hearing to announce a star witness in its title.
"Mr. Chairman, your chairmanship will always be identified with this hearing. And we all need to understand what this is. This is the Michael Cohen hearing presented by Lanny Davis. That's right," Jordan continued. "Lanny Davis choreographed the whole darn thing. The Clintons' best friend, loyalist, operative, Lanny Davis put this all together. You know how we know? He told our staff."
Indeed, Davis "had to talk Michael Cohen into coming and, most importantly, he had to persuade the chairman to have" the hearing, the Republican added, summarizing recent news.
"This might be the first time someone convicted of lying to Congress has appeared again so quickly in front of Congress," Jordan remarked. "Certainly, it's the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back to be a star witness in a hearing. And there is a reason this is the first because no other committee would do it."
Yet the situation is even more perverse. Jordan noted that there are many lawyers on the House Oversight Committee, but in inviting Cohen to testify about Trump, "this committee is actually encouraging a witness to violate attorney-client privilege. Mr. Chairman, when we legitimize dishonesty we delegitimize this institution. We're supposed to pursue the truth. But you have stacked the deck against the truth."
Cummings has also declared certain questions off-limits, but at the beginning of the hearing, he reversed the original ruling that questions about Russia would be off the table. "The only subjects we can talk about are ones you think are going to be harmful to the president of the United States," Jordan remarked.
The Republican quoted a U.S. attorney in slamming Cohen, who "enjoyed a privileged life" but whose "desire for ever greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct."
https://pjmedia.com/video/jim-jordan-to-michael-cohen-youre-their-patsy-to-impeach-trump/
VIDEO - CAP Action on Twitter: ".@AOC shines a light on Trump's corrupt tax scheme: Step 1. Taxpayers spent millions to help Trump build his golf courses. Step 2: Trump devalues the courses to dramatically reduce his tax bill. #CohenHearing'... https://t
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 21:57
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VIDEO - #YELLOW VESTS. MASSIVE REPRESSION IN FRANCE AGAINST PEACEFUL CITIZENS. FRENCH LAWYER SPEAKS OUT!!! - YouTube
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 21:41
VIDEO -OMAR AWAN - Tesla Driver Dies In Fiery Florida Crash'--And Car's Battery Still Burns A Day Later
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 21:17
Police respond to the Tesla crash in Davie, Florida, that killed Model S owner Omar Awan on February 24. CBS Miami via Youtube
A Tesla owner was killed in a fiery crash in Davie, Florida, Sunday afternoon and a day later local emergency officials were still contending with the car's damaged lithium-ion battery pack that repeatedly reignited while sitting in a towing yard.
The man who died in the accident, Omar Awan, was driving on South Flamingo Road in Davie (which is north of Miami and adjacent to Fort Lauderdale) at about 4:30 p.m. local time when his 2016 Model S sedan veered off the road for an unknown reason, police spokesman Sergeant Mark Leone told Forbes. Awan then appears to have overcorrected the steering and lost control of the car, sending it across three lanes of traffic before it crashed into trees in the median, Leone said.
The car was engulfed in flames, leaving Awan's body ''burned beyond recognition'' when it was finally removed from the car. Investigators don't yet know whether the accident occurred because of a technical flaw in the car or if Awan experienced a health issue prior to losing control of the car, Leone said.
The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed, of between 75 mph and 90 mph, according to people who witnessed the accident, he said. The posted speed limit is 50 mph.
A section of South Flamingo Road, in Davie, Florida, near the site of a Tesla Model S crash indicates the posted speed limit is 50 mph. Omar Awan, who died accident was said to be driving between 75 mph and 90 mph when the accident occurred. Google Maps
''We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy,'' Tesla said in an emailed statement. ''We have reached out to the local authorities to offer our cooperation. We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high-speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.''
Unlike fires in crashes involving gasoline-powered cars, which tend to burn very rapidly, damaged electric car battery packs can reignite in chemical fires long afterward. In the Davie case, the pack in Awan's Model S appears to have reignited at least three times since the accident, according to Leone and local media reports.
The potential for Tesla battery fires has been an issue of concern in the past, notably in 2013 when the company strengthened the protective metal casing after a number of fires caused when packs were damaged. The company also provides safety information and meets with first responders to help them deal with damaged Teslas.
''Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish. Consider allowing the battery to burn while protecting exposures,'' the company said in its Emergency Response Guide. ''Due to potential re-ignition, a Model S that has been involved in a submersion, fire, or a collision that has compromised the high voltage battery should be stored in an open area at least 50 ft (15 m) from any exposure.''
The company also advises that ''a thermal imaging camera can be used to actively measure the temperature of the high voltage battery and monitor the trend of heating or cooling'' after the initial fire and smoke appear to have subsided.
VIDEO - Wakanda Forever! CIA Tweets About 'Black Panther' Technology During Oscars and Fans are Confused - YouTube
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 19:25
VIDEO - Nuclear Armageddon v new-found equilibrium: How far can current Indo-Pakistani confrontation go? '-- RT World News
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 18:21
The reignited tensions between India and Pakistan were accompanied by air combat and cross-border shelling. And there is divided opinion on whether the spark can trigger a full-fledged war, RT has learned.
There remains the risk that the tensions between two bitter rivals will result in the worst-case scenario, Sultan Mehmood Hali, a retired group commander of the Pakistan Air Force, told RT.
"If pushed against the wall'... Pakistan will be forced to retaliate with nuclear weapons, which could, of course, lead to very serious destruction in the region," he said.
Unfortunately, once you have this kind of weapons on both sides and if there is a desperate situation, then a desperate situation will lead to desperate measures.
On Wednesday, India said that it shot down a Pakistani fighter aircraft and lost its own jet while fending off an attack on its military installations. Islamabad claimed it downed two Indian aircraft and denied losing any of its jets.
The flare-up, accompanied by reports of cross-border mortar fire, happened a day after India sent a dozen jet fighters to bomb what it claimed were terrorist camps on Pakistani soil.
"We don't want this to escalate to mutually assured destruction," Hali said, while admitting that his nation would be at a disadvantage in an all-out fight.
"India is the superior power. Its armed forces are three times the size of Pakistan's. Its economy is much broader. It can sustain a lot of hits," the Air Force veteran said.
"Pakistan, being the weaker country, will be on the receiving end."
Also on rt.com India says it shot down Pakistani warplane, lost MiG-21 fighter as border crisis escalates Agreeing with the last point, the former foreign secretary of India, Kanwal Sibal, noted that Pakistan is in "no position to have an all-out war unless it wants self-destruction." The Muslim-majority country is in the midst of "a terrible financial crisis," seeking assistance from the World Bank, the ex-diplomat said.
He added that the US and Pakistan's longtime ally in the region, China, called on the parties to maintain restraint, but the nation "disregarded that." Speaking to RT, Harsh V. Pant, professor of international relations at King's College London, noted that the politicians in New Delhi and Islamabad are not "so suicidal" to push a conflict "to a nuclear level."
I don't think it is in the interest of both sides to take it beyond a certain point, given that both are nuclear-weapon states. After the initial bout of instability'... we will find equilibrium.
Professor Pant said that India "was cognizant of the risks" when conducting Tuesday's air raid over its neighbor's territory. Pakistani-based jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has stepped up attacks across the border in recent years, including a convoy bombing two week ago, which killed 44 Indian police officers.
"The feeling in India after being struck every single year and month with terrorism is 'enough is enough,'" he said.
Also on rt.com India v Pakistan: What you need to know about Kashmir flare-up that may push nuclear rivals to war "India has now put the ball squarely in Pakistan's court."
The government in New Delhi justified the airstrikes on Pakistan's territory by claiming that Islamabad doesn't do anything to combat terrorists.
Addressing India's concern, Sultan Mehmood Hali said New Delhi should share "actionable intelligence" on the terrorist groups with Pakistan. "Our prime minister [Imran Khan] has assured: we will take definite action," he told RT.
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VIDEO - Facebook Insider Leaks Docs; Explains ''Deboosting,'' ''Troll Report,'' & Political Targeting in Video Interview '' Project Veritas
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:28
Insider, Formerly Responsible for Content Review in Facebook's Intellectual Property Dept Speaks Out, Loses Job Facebook Engineers Plan to ''demote bad content'' Conservative Facebook Page Livestreams Secretly ''deboosted,'' No Notice to Page Owners Facebook Can Classify Users as Trolls Based on Their Vocabulary, Then Punish By Limiting Bandwidth, Blocking Comments'... Facebook Engineer: '''hateful' content is coming from right-leaning sites.'' ''Special features'' Triggered ''leading up to important elections'' Bizarre View of ''hate speech'' Includes Content from Conservative CommentatorView the documents here.
(San Francisco) Project Veritas has obtained and published documents and presentation materials from a former Facebook insider. This information describes how Facebook engineers plan and go about policing political speech. Screenshots from a Facebook workstation show the specific technical actions taken against political figures, as well as ''[e]xisting strategies'' taken to combat political speech.
(Other brave individuals who feel compelled to expose wrongdoing they witness can contact Project Veritas here.)
Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe said that to expose dishonesty and censorship in big tech companies, he will be relying upon more insiders, informants and leakers in the future:
''Our future depends on those who are willing to give up everything for what they believe.''
To gain a better understanding of the documents, Project Veritas spoke with the Facebook insider in an interview. The insider separated from Facebook in 2018 and was later hired by Project Veritas.
''I saw things that were going on that I personally found to be troubling.''According to the insider, the documents revealed a routine suppression of the distribution of conservative Facebook pages. The technical action she repeatedly saw, and for which Project Veritas was provided documentation, was labeled ActionDeboostLiveDistribution. Said the insider, ''I would see [this term] appear on several different conservative pages. I first noticed it with an account that I can't remember, but I remember once I started looking at it, I also saw it on Mike Cernovich's page, saw it on Steven Crowder's page, as well as the Daily Caller's page.''
Conservative commentator Steven Crowder's page had been suppressed before in April 2016, and Crowder told Project Veritas they settled a dispute related to the issue with Facebook out of court. Asked for comment on this story, Steven Crowder's attorney Bill Richmond said:
''Louder With Crowder is investigating the allegations of concealed stream throttling by Facebook. The accusations are deeply troubling given the previously settled dispute with Facebook uncovered by Gizmodo.com, which found the show was targeted by Facebook workers with secret audience restrictions on political grounds alongside other prominent conservative voices.''
A screenshot of an action log on Mike Cernovich's Facebook page provided by the insider, shows the tag. The insider believes that the ''deboost'' code suppresses the distribution of livestream videos on Facebook. Project Veritas spoke to a current Facebook employee off the record who said that the code could limit a video's visibility in news feeds, remove sharing features, and disable interactive notifications.
When approached for comment, author and filmmaker Mike Cernovich said the troubling issue is that Facebook could just ''make stuff up'' about people through these systems. ''Facebook, or an individual at Facebook, has the unilateral power to create false allegations against someone he or she doesn't like. The person accused not only can't do anything about the allegation, they don't even have an idea the allegation was made,'' said Cernovich.
The insider says that unlike many actions that Facebook content moderators can take against pages, the ''deboost'' action, which appears to occur algorithmically, does not notify the page's owner. ''[W]ith these 'deboost live stream' things, there was no warning sent to the user'... These were actions that were being taken without the users knowing.''
Upon further review, the insider says she did not notice the tag on any left-wing pages. ''I looked at the Young Turks' page, I looked at Colin Kaepernick's page, none of them had received the same
deboost comment.''
The ''deboost'' tag appears after the word ''Sigma,'' which Project Veritas has learned is an artificial intelligence system used to block potential suicide and self-harm posts. Both Mike Cernovich and Steven Crowder cannot recall having ever produced any videos on Facebook that promote suicide or self-harm. Mike Cernovich told Project Veritas that in fact he has long spoken out against suicide and self-harm, and provided tweets of his and a blog post as evidence.
''They're shifting the goal post''Also in the in the documents was a presentation, authored by Facebook engineers Seiji Yamamoto and Eduardo Arino de la Rubia, titled ''Coordinating Trolling on FB.'' Yamamoto is a Data Science Manager, and de la Rubia is a Chief Data Scientist at Facebook. The presentation appears to describe the current actions, as well as potential future actions, Facebook can take to combat alleged abusive behavior on the platform.
Yamamoto, who is responsible for ''News Feed Reduction Strategy,'' also authored a post where he said Facebook should address '''...quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech.'' Said the Facebook insider, the ''perimeter of hate speech'' means ''things that aren't actually hate speech but that might offend somebody. Anything that is perceived as hateful but no court would define it as hate speech.''
The insider believes Yamamoto's plans appears to be political in nature, rather than in response to abusive behaviors, ''[i]t was clearly kind of designed'... aimed to be the right wing meme culture that's become extremely prevalent in the past few years. And some of the words that appeared on there were, using words like SJW'... MSM'... the New York Times doesn't talk about the MSM. The independent conservative outlets are using that language.''
Also in Yamamoto's report was a line appearing to say that online Facebook trolls are involved in ''destructive behaviors'' such as ''[r]ed-pilling normies to convert them to their worldview.''
In online circles the term ''red-pilling'' refers to bluntly showing the truth, and ''normies'' refers generally to apolitical or uninformed people. Directly below the line in the document is hyperlink labeled ''example video.''
The video linked in the presentation was made by Lauren Chen, a conservative commentator who now hosts a program on BlazeTV. ''If you actually watch the video you can see that it clearly isn't abusive or promoting harassment, the video was a criticism of social justice,'' said Chen when asked for comment on this story. She added that ''the video actually promotes equality and individualism.''
On a page from the presentation titled ''Strategies we use today,'' Yamamoto and de la Rubia list ''demote bad content.'' They add, '''... we should still of course delete and demote, but we can do even more'...''
(Similar documents from big tech companies can be sent to Project Veritas here.)
Other actions that could be interpreted as ''bad content'' could be posting words such as ''zucced,'' ''REEE,'' and ''normie.'' Said the insider, Facebook is ''shifting the goal post. It's one thing, if you're dropping the n-word, or things like that, using some kind of homophobic or racial slur, by all means that's something that a platform should not want on it. But now you're moving it to things like, jokes that conservatives tend to make.''
''Special features'' triggered ''leading up to important elections''Two of the ''tactics'' outlined in the presentation that the Facebook engineers propose for dealing with ''troll operations'' involve the introduction of a ''Troll Twilight Zone.''
Yamamoto and de la Rubia's presentation says that ''troll accounts,'' can have their internet bandwidth limited and experience forced glitches like frequent ''auto-logout[s]'' and the failed upload of comments. These ''special features'' would be triggered ''leading up to important elections.''
Facebook could identify trolls by their vocabulary, friend network, and behavior, according to the presentation. ''Facebook has what's called a Fake Account Index,'' explained the insider, ''where they assign a score which helps them determine whether the account is a real person or just a dummy spam account. And rightfully so, they want to delete those accounts, that's okay. They created the troll score so they could help identify, using words they would post, pictures, if they were friends with other trolls and then using that to determine whether this person should be on the platform or not.''
The insider thinks that Facebook's system to score trolls is problematic because, ''there's no accountability and especially when they are using machine learning to do this, whenever an individual actions an account, there is a process where at least you can send a message to Facebook'... However, this is all being done without the user's knowledge, there is no recourse for them.''
Another proposed tactic in the presentation would apparently alert a ''troll's'' friends list when they have been banned. The presentation reads:
''When a user does something egregious, warranting an account suspension or deletion, we should notify the friend network''John Smith's account has been suspended for 7 days because he shared hate speech in the group Kekistani Special Forces''The presentation says that notifying a ''troll's'' friend list would ''strike fear in the hearts of trolls'...'' and ''[n]otified users who accidentally befriended the offender might be more mindful of suspicious accounts, increasing overall herd immunity.''
The insider now works for Project VeritasSaid the insider:
''I think that the biggest thing, that getting the documents, getting video or still pictures of what was going on that shows that it is actually happening. This isn't rumors, they talk about how right-wingers, they come up with all these crazy theories, and that's not actually happening at these social media companies. They pooh pooh it. But here it is and it's in your face.''
The insider was terminated by Facebook shortly after Project Veritas published undercover video of Twitter employees discussing ''shadow banning'' and other data privacy abuses. When asked if supplying documents and testimony to Project Veritas was ''worth it,'' the insider said ''Yes'... I knew what I had seen'... this is something they were trying to keep in the shadows, that they did not want to public to know and yet the public has a right to know.''
Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe believes that ''our collective future depends on those who are willing to give up everything for what they believe.'' He believes that if more insiders from large companies step forward and expose similar dishonesty and wrongdoing, that the country will be better educated. O'Keefe said:
''What are you willing to give up? How many of you will step forward? While they may be able to stop one of us, they won't be able to stop an army. Be brave. Do something.''
(Big tech insiders can reach out to Project Veritas here to help expose similar newsworthy wrongdoing.)
VIDEO - Chad Loder '' on Twitter: "Incredible questioning of Equifax CEO by @RepKatiePorter now asks him to provide his SSN and birthdate in public hearing he declines, stating potential for harm asks ''Why are Equifax's lawyers arguing in court that
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:22
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
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VIDEO - AOC: Not Having Kids A Legit Question | The View - YouTube
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:17
VIDEO - Democrat House Oversight Subcommittee Schedules Hearing on Climate Change, Democrats Don't Show Up'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 15:14
Democrat House Oversight Subcommittee Schedules Hearing on Climate Change, Democrats Don't Show Up'...You can't make this stuff up if you tried. All we ever needed to know about the purely political use of 'climate change' as a manufactured tool for electoral votes is visible in this one moment. Democrats, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal, have been claiming the world will end in twelve years if Climate Change is not addressed.
To highlight their commitment to the urgent need, Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a House subcommittee dedicated to selling the need for the Green New Deal. To reinforce the urgency, the new House Oversight Subcommittee scheduled a hearing with the intent to target climate change deniers called: ''The Denial Playbook''. The hearing was today.
A panel was set to deliver testimonials and statements to advance the priorities of the Democrat congressional team selling the Green New Deal; except, well, the majority Democrats ran into a problem'.... they didn't show up for the hearing.
According to the position of Democrats and the GND supporters, the world is ending in less than twelve years. Yet, no-one shows up for their Climate Change hearing?
With only two democrats showing up for the hearing; and highlighting the fraud that surrounds the entire premise of the effort; and with four sub-committee republicans who did show up, outnumbering the Democrat majority; ranking minority member Louie Gohmert made a motion to adjourn. The adjournment motion passed 4 votes to 2 and the hearing was adjourned. WATCH BELOW :
The full video below. [ Prompted, just hit play ]
.
VIDEO - Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) | ETSC
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:56
For years, speed has been recognised as one of the three main contributing factors to deaths on our roads. And for more than a decade, ETSC has been advocating the benefits of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), a driver assistance system that a 2014 Norwegian study found to be the 'most effective' in saving lives.
ISA uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed. ISA systems do not automatically apply the brakes, but simply limit engine power preventing the vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden. Vehicles with this kind of ISA system factory fitted are already on sale '' helped in part by Euro NCAP's decision to reward extra points for vehicles that include ISA.
The technology has also been boosted by the increasing use of hardware on vehicles such as GPS, front facing cameras and manual speed limiting systems. With this hardware already used by other systems on the vehicle, ISA becomes a simple matter of adding additional software.
The European Commission included the technology in its list of safety features to be included on all new cars in a proposal published in May 2018. But that proposal now needs to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament.
The importance of the adoption of the technology cannot be underestimated. ISA is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%.
ISA has been trialled in many member states, and while drivers take a short time to adjust to the technology, the majority appreciated it. One obvious benefit, as Ford has pointed out in a recent marketing campaign, is that it helps drivers avoid speeding tickets.
While much of the hype in the media these days is concerned with autonomous vehicles, ETSC believes that policymakers should not focus their regulatory eyes too far in the future. Semi-automated systems already available and approved for use have the potential to save many lives today. They should make sure that ISA, together with other proven technology such as Intelligent Seat Belt Reminders and Automated Emergency Braking, are fitted as standard as soon as possible.
Click here to see presentations from the European Parliament workshop on new vehicle safety rules, held on 29/11/2018.
VIDEO - James O'Keefe on Twitter: "Facebook insider speaks out... hate speech, censorship, big brother - "everyone's expected to not talk about these things." Document leak coming soon, stay tuned.'... https://t.co/ieSheqQdr5"
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:52
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - ORDER!! (John Bercow REMIX) - YouTube
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:51
VIDEO - Global warming: 99.9999 percent chance humans are climate change cause
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:39
CLOSE
President Trump's pick for leading a climate change panel is notorious for denying the science behind human-caused global warming. We dive into the counter-arguments on climate change. USA TODAY, Just the FAQs
There's a 99.9999 percent chance that humans are the cause of global warming, a new study reported Monday.
This means we've reached the "gold standard" for certainty, a statistical measure typically used in particle physics.
Humanity burns fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, which release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth's atmosphere and oceans. CO2 is the greenhouse gas that's most responsible for warming.
Study lead author Benjamin Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory told Reuters that ''the narrative out there that scientists don't know the cause of climate change is wrong."
With only a one-in-a-million chance that humans aren't the cause, it's obvious that we need to dramatically reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide, experts say.
(Photo: Getty Images)
''We can't afford to ignore such clear signals,'' said Stephen Po-Chedley, a study co-author, referring to the past four decades of satellite measurements that plainly show increasing temperatures.
While not at 99 percent, the American public is getting on board with the issue: A poll last year from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that 62 percent of Americans say that "global warming is caused mostly by human activities." This was a rise in 47 percent from five years earlier.
More: 'Frogs in hot water?' We're getting used to weird weather as globe warms
More: UN report: 'Unprecedented changes' needed to protect Earth from global warming
The most recent report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in 2013, put the likelihood at 95 percent. That report said that in the Northern Hemisphere, the years 1983''2012 were likely the warmest 30-­year period of the past 1,400 years.
The study was published Monday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/26/global-warming-99-9999-percent-chance-humans-cause/2994043002/
VIDEO - Fighting for the future | Sherwood - YouTube
Wed, 27 Feb 2019 04:25
VIDEO - Shahriar Discusses 5G | The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 21:16
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
Welcome back, Shahriar Shahramian from The Signal Path!
Shahriar has been a guest on the show twice beforeEpisode 228We posted the audio from Dave's in-person interview with ShahriarBell Labs bought by NokiaShahriar works at the Murray Hill campusHe is the head of the mmwave ASIC research groupResearch group only has 8 peopleHave multiple designs happening at onceTask switching between optical and RF chipsSoftware stuff at Bell Labs research is wide rangingMoore's law for RFGoing beyond the Marconi era: Doing phased array transmissionsCramming more bits per hertzGoing from 4G to 5G requires going to higher frequenciesTransmitting GHz frequencies in all directions would blow the link budgetWould require Phased Arrays in order to transmit only power to reach individual devices256 transmitter and 128 receiver antennas in order to beamformBeamforming in 5G will require line of sightAt 90 GHz (5G frequencies), the signal would not be able to pass through modern windows (because of the coating on the glass)5G will solve the latency issues that plagues 4G LTELink margin is how much above the absolute noise of the system are youTypes of modulationOFDMQAM constellationsEncoding based on the momentum of the polarization of the signalCommon mode modulation creating phantom channels''The Fact That It Works Is Absolute Magic''Bose Einstein Condensate ExperimentThe dynamic range of peoples' perspectives''If you don't teach people how to sort through information during the information age, then you have no idea how the world is going to turn out''How to initiate a phased array connectionWhy do you need so many antenna elements in receive mode?Active denial system tested by the militaryShahriar bought a SiBEAM (now ''Silicon Image'') 60 GHz phased array system that creates a wireless HDMI link off of eBayTrackbacks['...] Bell Labs Researcher Discusses the Realities of 5G 3 by ChrisGammell | 0 comments on Hacker News. ['...]
['...] Bell Labs Researcher Discusses the Realities of 5G 3 by ChrisGammell | 0 comments on Hacker News. ['...]
['...] Bell Labs Researcher Discusses the Realities of 5G 3 by ChrisGammell | 0 comments on Hacker News. ['...]
['...] Bell Labs Researcher Discusses the Realities of 5G 3 by ChrisGammell | 0 comments on Hacker News. ['...]
['...] Bell Labs Researcher Discusses the Realities of 5G 3 by ChrisGammell | 0 comments on Hacker News. ['...]
['...] https://theamphour.com/430-shahriar-discusses-5g/ ['...]
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VIDEO - Megaphone: A Modern Podcasting Platform by Panoply
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 17:46
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Casey Newton on the secret life of Facebook mod...
31 min
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Welcome to The Vergecast
Welcome to The Vergecast
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The Samsung Galaxy Fold is here and so is the G...
Samsung unveils its new Galaxy foldable phone and the new S10 at their latest event.
79 min
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Foursquare is tracking you... responsibly
CEO of Foursquare Jeff Glueck discusses the ethics of companies that track their users' movements
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"The Burn," a story from Better Worlds
People around the world fall victim to a mysterious illness called the Burn. Eventually, AR researchers begin to suspect a pattern.
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Amazon HQ2 cancelled and Apple's rumored March ...
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Bill Gates on solving the world's problems'... and...
Bill Gates's ambitious plans to improve health in poor countries, build better toilets, gather better data about women, and rethink taxes on the wealthy.
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5G madness: why is Sprint suing AT&T?
Sprint is suing AT&T for falsely advertising its network as "5G."
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Spotify's big audio play, plus a Palm tiny phon...
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Lina Khan on Amazon's Antitrust Paradox
Should we break up Amazon and Facebook?
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Apple goes to war with Facebook and Google
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Fixing America's internet, with Susan Crawford
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Introducing Better Worlds
The Verge's new series of short fiction, audio, and animation that explores how technology can shape our society and environment in better, more equitable ways.
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Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel chats with August CEO Jason Johnson about smart locks and the challenges of integrating various technologies within a smart home.
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Apple's iPhone problem and CES preview
62 min
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GoPro CEO Nick Woodman on how to compete withou...
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332: Pixel Slate, Google Fi, and Section 230
67 min
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Silicon Valley's Rep. Ro Khanna talks tech regu...
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331: Amazon HQ2, Google Night Sight, and Facebook
75 min
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President of StubHub Sukhinder Singh Cassidy
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77 min
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Anker CEO Steven Yang is all in on USB-C
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329: Macbook Air, iPad Pro, and Mac Mini
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Scott Belsky brings Photoshop to the iPad
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Pixel 3, Pixel Slate, and Home Hub
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Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff wants to reduce neighbo...
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325: Chinese spy chips, Microsoft announcements...
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Public Knowledge's Meredith Rose explains the M...
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324: Instagram chaos, Photokina 2018, and Elon ...
72 min
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Google AMP's Malte Ubl wants to make the mobile...
29 min
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323: iPhone XS review, Apple Watch 4 review, an...
96 min
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Ford Autonomous Vehicles President and CEO Sher...
48 min
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Apple iPhone XS event, iPhone XR, and Apple Wat...
77 min
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Apple event preview, social media hearings, and...
57 min
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Tim Wu thinks it's time to break up Facebook
45 min
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IFA 2018, Apple event announced, and iPhone/App...
61 min
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Microsoft's president explains how Gab shutdown...
48 min
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App Store chaos, ray tracing, and new Macbook A...
55 min
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This week in Twitter, Elon Musk, and batteries
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Magic Leap, Galaxy Note 9, and Android Pie
86 min
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Surface Go, Apple earnings, and HipChat memories
53 min
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Macbook Pro review, Lenovo smart display review...
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Google gets fined, Macbook Pro benchmarks, and ...
86 min
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Updated Macbook Pros, Microsoft Surface Go, and...
72 min
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macOS Mojave beta, Microsoft Surface USB-C dong...
63 min
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64 min
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Google I/O, Android O, and Assistant on the iPhone
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Microsoft Build 2017, Echo Show, and a Cortana ...
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Microsoft Surface laptop, Samsung DeX, and Goog...
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Net neutrality special edition
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Verge turns 5, Google Home, and Assistant
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Galaxy Note 7s don't explode, they sizzle
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Siri, Sierra, Photokina, and Allo
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iOS 10, Sierra, and bookstore bathrooms
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Live from Code Conference
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Is kale more interesting than the iPhone SE?
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VR, Amazon Echo, and more VR
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Encryption in the hype matrix
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TLOP: The Love of Physics
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Star Wars: The spoilers unleashed
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Soccer moms racing turbos
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Ctrl-Walt-Delete: Nilay owes Walt $100
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Special Edition: The 2015 Sundance Film Festival
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Stephen Elop, King of Thieves
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Milwaukee With Rich People
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The man behind Bitcoin and the return of 'Shaq Fu'
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VIDEO - Michael Wernick speaks to justice committee - YouTube
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 17:19
VIDEO - Musk Faces U.S. Contempt Claim for Violating Accord With SEC - Bloomberg
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VIDEO - Report: Univision anchor Jorge Ramos freed in Venezuela | Fox News Video
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VIDEO - Bizarre persconferentie Juncker | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 11:43
Bizarre persconferentie Juncker Buitenland25 feb.
Jean-Claude Juncker, voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, heeft maandag een persconferentie in Egypte stilgelegd.
VIDEO - Pro-Green New Deal protesters arrested inside Mitch McConnell's office - TheBlaze
Tue, 26 Feb 2019 00:49
A group of pro-Green New Deal protesters marched inside Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office demanding to speak with the senator. After they refused to leave, several of them were arrested.
Who are the protesters?The protesters were affiliated with the Sunrise Movement, a group that seeks to mobilize young people to be politically active in support of the Green New Deal, a piece of legislation pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that includes proposals to "upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency."
According to its official set of guidelines for "adult/elder allies," the group is "focused primary on organizing young people: ~35 and younger."
This is the same group that confronted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in her office Friday. In that case, the children were recorded asking her to support the Green New Deal. Feinstein told the children that this was "not a good resolution" and that there was "no way to pay for it."
An edited version of this video resulted in Feinstein being criticized for the way she dealt with child protesters.
What happened Monday?The Sunrise Movement tweeted video clips from the confrontation in McConnell's office Monday. According to the group's Twitter account, these young people were from McConnell's home state of Kentucky and had been "looking for him in KY last week." When McConnell never showed up for the Kentucky protest, the Sunrise Movement announced that they would be holding another protest on Feb. 25 in D.C.
Once they were inside McConnell's D.C. office, the protesters began singing and chanting slogans including, "which side are you on?" They carried signs demanding that McConnell "look us in the eyes," slamming him as #OilMoneyMitch.
At some point, the protesters were escorted out of the building by the U.S. Capitol Police. According to the Sunrise Institute, "39 young people were arrested" during the protest. Although it didn't give out the total number for all the protesters in attendance, the group retweeted a Politico reporter who put the number at "[m]ore than 100."
Podcast host Paul Ingrassia tweeted video of the protesters singing as they were being led out of the Capitol.
McConnell wants a vote on the deal the protesters were promotingMcConnell has actually been fast-tracking the Green New Deal through the Senate so that it can be put up for a vote. Of course, this is likely because McConnell realizes that Feinstein and Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refuse to support the bill. Forcing Democrats to vote on it would likely cause divisions within the Democratic Party while having little chance of actually passing.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who co-sponsored the legislation along with Ocasio-Cortez, called McConnell's push for a vote a "Republican trick" meant to "sabotage" the deal.
What else?These protests aren't over yet. The group said that its supporters would be visiting the district offices of U.S. senators "from all corners of the country" on Tuesday. A map on their website shows more than 50 events planned for that day.
VIDEO - How Pinterest Jumped Into The Fight Against Health Misinformation : NPR
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 23:10
Since 2017, the social media website Pinterest has limited search results for false cures and anti-vaccine advice. NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Pinterest's Ifeoma Ozoma about the policy.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
More than 120 people have been diagnosed with measles so far this year in outbreaks in Texas, New York and Washington. One factor public health officials suspect is contributing to these outbreaks - anti-vaccine information on social media. Pinterest, the visual bookmarking site, has decided to intervene. A 2017 policy limits search results related to, "quote, health misinformation, including about vaccines." Ifeoma Ozoma is the public policy and social impact manager for Pinterest. Before this policy was in place...
IFEOMA OZOMA: For a term like vaccine, if you had searched vaccine, much of the content was in violation of our community guidelines because it was anti-vaccine advice.
CORNISH: A search on the site for cancer cures might have brought up pins or bookmarks for pages about herbs and juices that work better than chemotherapy. Now you'll find a message that says pins about this topic often violate our community guidelines, so we're currently unable to show search results.
OZOMA: Our goal, really, is harm reduction. And so because we're humble about our limitations and our own expertise here, we look to outside experts like the WHO, CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics and their guidance on what's harmful.
CORNISH: Now, there are some critics of this move. Jennifer Granick of the ACLU told The Wall Street Journal that this is dangerous, that it's essentially a secretive process, no real appeal. People are making very difficult subject calls when it comes to politics and culture and religion. What's your response?
OZOMA: So to that, we have clear and transparent community guidelines. And this is just one way of enforcing, like...
CORNISH: Like buried in the terms and conditions or what do you mean by that?
OZOMA: No. Nope. They're clear in our community guidelines on our website. And we also, whenever we have a search that we've removed results for, we explain right in there in the search advisory why we removed it, and we link to those community guidelines. And we also have an appeals process for any content that's taken down.
CORNISH: Is this essentially censorship?
OZOMA: For us, we don't see it as that. There's an enthusiasm gap between those who save harmful health misinformation and organizations like the CDC and WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics. And so because of that, you're going to find more health misinformation than, say, journal articles on the virtues of vaccination or other science-based health interventions. We've taken the view that further sharing that harmful content through our search results isn't in line with enforcing our community guidelines.
CORNISH: Your title is public policy and social impact manager. None of those things are things we thought about when we thought about social media when it was first starting up, right? We called them platforms. They were just places we put things that we wanted to share. When do you think this mindset changed?
OZOMA: We have had content policy and trust and safety teams since the beginning. And so safety has always been a consideration when you think about different types of harmful content, whether they're illegal or not illegal. Safety has been top of mind and still is for every team across the company.
CORNISH: People go to the Internet and go to these platforms to find like-minded communities and to share information. Are you doing damage to that, that kind of agreement that they think they have with you?
OZOMA: Yeah. So harmful misinformation is not inspiring, and it's not the kind of content that our platform hopes to promote. And because...
CORNISH: But what if people think you shouldn't be the one to make that decision for them? As adults who are on the Internet doing research on their own, why should you get to make that call?
OZOMA: Well, we aren't making the call because vaccines are settled science. And we also are very clear because we know that there may be questions about the decisions that we've made. We're really clear and transparent in our community guidelines and use simple language so that everyone can understand why we're considering certain content harmful.
CORNISH: Ifeoma Ozoma is the Pinterest public policy social impact manager. Thank you so much for speaking with us.
OZOMA: Thanks so much for talking with us today.
Copyright (C) 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
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VIDEO - Ex-Trump campaign staffer files lawsuit alleging Trump kissed her without consent
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 22:01
For the first time since he took office, the president is facing a new, public accusation that he kissed a woman without her consent. Alva Johnson, a staffer on the 2016 Trump campaign, alleges the president grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her outside a rally in Tampa, Florida three months before his election. Beth Reinhard, the Washington Post investigative reporter who broke this story, joins Craig Melvin to discuss. Feb. 25, 2019
VIDEO - Jamie Lee Curtis: Jussie Smollett 'Needs Mental Health Help' (VIDEO) '' True Pundit
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 11:58
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Said Embattled Empire Star Jussie Smollett ''needs Mental Health Help,'' After Police In Chicago Determined That He Orchestrated A Fake Violent Hate Crime Against Himself.
Smollett turned himself over to police on Thursday morning to face charges of filing a false police report, after investigators concluded that he had faked a racist and homophobic hate crime against himself in downtown Chicago last month with the help of two men. He was later released on a $100,000 bond.
''It's so disturbing, that to focus on the negative seems silly,'' Jamie Lee Curtis said in an interview with Access. ''He needs some mental health help '... and I'm going to let courts and some other people decide what will happen.'' '' READ MORE
VIDEO - Australia - A Coming Financial Crisis? - YouTube
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 11:54
VIDEO - Jonathan Freedland on Twitter: "Jaw dropping https://t.co/kXKs083cpM"
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:55
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VIDEO - Gob Abierto on Twitter: "Socialist @AOC discusses how people should reconsider having children due to global warming, and reminds us that we are all going to *literally* die if the Green New Deal doesn't pass. She also takes some shots at Dianne
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:16
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VIDEO - Zakaria to Dems: Please stop embracing Ocasio-Cortez' "casual attitude toward facts" -- and her socialism
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:55
Ignore the easy cheap shot at Republicans at the end and featured in the tweet below. That was merely Fareed Zakaria's passport to ripping into ignorant Democratic demagogues and their disregard for facts and logic on the way to demanding a new socialist paradise in America. And can you guess who Zakaria pegs as the poster child for his plea for moderate Democrats to please pretty please take the wheel?
Of course you can. She's ''the Boss,'' after all:
.@FareedZakaria: "We already have one major political party that now routinely twists facts, disregards evidence, ignores serious policy analysis & just makes stuff up'...If the Democrats now start moving along this path'... American politics will truly descend into a new dark age" pic.twitter.com/3f4FcEhyfD
'-- CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2019
Zakaria nearly laughs out loud describing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' argument against the Amazon deal. ''But as Mayor Bill de Blasio explained '...'' he says with a chuckle in leading to de Blasio's explanation that the money Ocasio-Cortez claimed was being given away didn't exist without the deal.
Interestingly, though, Zakaria then takes aim at Medicare for All as another pie-in-the-sky plan from Democrats leaning forward on socialism. He points out that the costs would nearly double our current annual budgets without any realistic method of raising money to fund it. That's cutting farther into Democrats' rhetoric than just the Ocasio-Cortez contingent; it's a key agenda item on most of the declared candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, and under consideration by the rest. (Zakaria never gets to the Green New Deal, presumably because CNN didn't have an extra ten minutes of air time for his segment.) Instead he urges Democrats to focus on the practical and pragmatic in their 2020 agendas, although he does note that ''this is less stirring stuff than burning the billionaires.''
Will Zakaria's plea for Democrats to deal in reality have an impact? Perhaps the light is dawning elsewhere anyway. Here's Kamala Harris insisting that she's not a socialist, and says that Republicans are ''engag[ing] in name-calling'' by using the term. That argument might have worked if Democrats hadn't embraced the 2016 agenda of Bernie Sanders in 2020 '-- the same Bernie Sanders who describes himself as a ''Socialist.''
''I certainly think that we should all want that our leaders do not engage in name-calling because that's really just a very low-level of discourse,'' says @KamalaHarris. ''I'm a progressive Democrat. I am a Democrat, I'm a proud Democrat. I'm not a socialist." #InsidePolitics pic.twitter.com/UhThuIPWlk
'-- CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2019
VIDEO - MSNBC's Morning Joe Team Horrified AOC May Get Trump Reelected
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:46
Follow Matt on Twitter Follow Haley On TwitterAs many of you know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the freshman Congresswoman from New York worked her magic to stop a massive Amazon growth deal in her district.
Ocasio-Cortez lead the charge and cost the city of New York 25,000 jobs and almost $30 Billion dollars. Not to mention all of the jobs and growth that would have been created around a 2nd Amazon headquarters in New York.
''The protests that we saw were to get on AOC's bandwagon. And what's shocking to me is yet once again she shows how little she understands, about not just economics, but even unemployment,'' show mainstay Susan Del Percio said. ''Just because she has a progressive agenda, which some people like, does not mean she has the city's best interests. What she showed me today, or yesterday, is that she only cares about herself.''
''You attach this to the Green Deal and '... President Trump now gets to go: 'Oh, the Democrats don't want jobs, the Democrats doesn't want companies coming to your neighborhoods, the Democrats have a Green Deal that wants a 70% tax rate, '... socialism. We are in a dangerous place and if people in the party doesn't start to speak up against people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is young and dynamic but does not know what she's talking about, they're going to hand the presidency back to Donald Trump'', said Donny Deutsch.
I happpen to agree with the team on Morning Joe, she's a gift to the conservatives, and she's going to play a pivotal role in President Trump's reelection in 2020.
Tags: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, Donald J Trump, Joe Scarborough, MAGA, Make America Great Again, MSNBC, Ocasio-Cortez, President Donald Trump, President Trump, Trump, Trump Administration, Trump Supporter, TrumpSupporters Continue Reading
VIDEO - Kaitlin Bennett on Twitter: "I went undercover at @UCLA as a feminist named Jenna Talia and got students to sign a petition to put Trump supporters in concentration camps. Leftists are the REAL nazis.'... https://t.co/oIgS1wP8g7"
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:45
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VIDEO - Steve Guest on Twitter: "Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) repeatedly failed to give CNN's John King a clear answer on how she would pay for her proposals, saying, ''it's not about a cost.'' https://t.co/w8UHy10heg"
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:43
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests people shouldn't have kids because of climate change, says it's a "scientific consensus" that life will be hard for kids AOC takes a shot at Dianne Feinstein, suggests her prop
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:40
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VIDEO - Ron Coleman on Twitter: "Thread'... "
Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:38
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VIDEO - Elon Musk gives timeline for fully autonomous cars - YouTube
Sun, 24 Feb 2019 23:08
VIDEO - Ground, Feb 13 2019 | Video | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 24 Feb 2019 22:26
February 13, 2019 2019-02-16T23:00:21-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/745/20190216230745002_hd.jpg Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spoke about his book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, on his life, career and presidential candidacy. William Kristol, founder of The Weekly Standard, moderated the discussion.Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spoke about his book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, on his life,'... read more
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spoke about his book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, on his life, career and presidential candidacy. William Kristol, founder of The Weekly Standard, moderated the discussion. close
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - John McWhorter Sums Up the Jussie Smollett Case - YouTube
Sun, 24 Feb 2019 21:11

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WSJ on the benefits of 5G.mp3
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    where there will be no Zephyr today I'm
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    Jessie Dvorak what does that mean did we
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    lose is that for not not riding today is
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    it is it is it done as a close it's just
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    is it canceled for today Wow
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    because of the snowpack between
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    Sacramento and Truckee oh they can't
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    clear it snow on something new for the
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    tracks
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    it's your climate change ma'am get used
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    to it
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    I'm happy I'm here in Texas yes
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    snowpiercer Texas is gonna be great when
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    when the ice age comes great it'll be
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    more amenable let's put it that easy you
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    won't have those hot summers it's 45
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    degrees here again today's is cold for
  • 1:18
    us
  • 1:18
    that is cold mm-hmm well what a day
  • 1:22
    yesterday was I don't know about you I
  • 1:24
    had a I'm just that video bonanza oh
  • 1:29
    you're just talking about the Kohen
  • 1:31
    hearing no no that's just part of it I'm
  • 1:35
    watching the Kohen hearing which was
  • 1:37
    well we'll get into it but okay and I'm
  • 1:41
    watching I'm waiting and a certain
  • 1:43
    continue I don't know if you noticed
  • 1:46
    this but I did
  • 1:47
    why were they playing the Colin hearings
  • 1:50
    on network TV we'll gavel-to-gavel
  • 1:53
    because we didn't want anyone to know
  • 1:55
    that there was something happening in
  • 1:57
    North Korea sorry in Vietnam and then
  • 2:00
    the other thing was the real kind of the
  • 2:05
    guides to all this stuff is c-span and I
  • 2:08
    pointed this out in the newsletter
  • 2:09
    yes c-span ran it on c-span three that's
  • 2:13
    um
  • 2:13
    they thought of it at least it was on
  • 2:15
    c-span radio which is what it was on
  • 2:20
    c-span radio but that would be relegated
  • 2:22
    to just that yes I'm watching that in a
  • 2:26
    certain point I'm just like ah well
  • 2:28
    maybe AOC will be interesting which he
  • 2:30
    wasn't and then I get a frantic text
  • 2:32
    from Tina she's like OMG aleks Jones on
  • 2:37
    Joe Rogan 9 I just sat there and laughed
  • 2:40
    for a couple hours
  • 2:41
    they were so fantastic did you catch any
  • 2:44
    of that no I got zero oh my goodness
  • 2:47
    Alex Jones