1121: Accelerationism

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 5m
March 17th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Daniel Galloway Sir Spudthemighty, Baron Sir Nubbn, Scott & Elizabeth Littler, Thomas Young, Baron Sir Walk-Man of Buckeye, Tracy Bausano, Earl of Tennessee Sir Patrick Coble, Ronald Sederio

Associate Executive Producers: Baronet Sir American Carnage, Jared Ottinger, Derrick Lawless

Cover Artist: CSB


Start of Show
AC's Car Gets Hit By Millenial
NPR's It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders: #FacebookDown
Christchurch Mosque Shootings
2020 Republican Presidential Candidate Bill Weld Equates Nationalism to Being a Nazi
Scott Adams Defends Trump's Condemnation of Nazis
Trump's Comments on Campus Free Speech Suggested to be Threats
Beto O'Rourke Under Fire for Writing Murder Fantasy Story as a Teenager
Beto O'Rourke Denied Running in 2020 Presidential Election
Beto O'Rourke Announces 2020 Presidential Campaign
Gimlet Media's Staff is Unionizing
Birthdays & Title Changes
CNBC: Boeing's Withholding of Information Brings a 'Loss of Trust', Says Captain Dennis Tajer
Tucker Carlson Under Fire for Misogynistic Comments on The Bubba the Love Sponge Show
Al Gore: "Climate Change is Beyond the Consensus of 99 Percent of the Scientists"
End of Show
Suggest a new chapter
Rear Ended by A Texting Millennial
NZ Mosque Massacre
First Memes
Graphic about Immediate shock providing bad news and analysis
Identifies as - Brenton Tarrant - No middle name used initially either
Do Not Share The Manifesto-Shapiro
Professionally prepared operation
Video angle FPS-Video Game (underwhelming btw)
Two Attacks, first is the killings second is the M5M Info Bomb
Rambling, hate filled, imcoherent etc
Producer Tristan BOTG
New Zealand is a pretty tolerant place but has always had
an undercurrent of racial tension. it’s a colony and it’s the one binding fact
of all post colonial countries, they’re built on racial inequality. it’s
inherent in the modern fabric of the country due to its foundation.
see the film Once We’re Warriors for NZ
see the film The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith for Australia
the thing with NZ is that it has always perceived itself
as better than say Australia with regards to race relations but perception is
just that. i didn’t grow up in NZ but in Australia so i have an outsiders view
of NZ.
historically Christchurch has always been a hotbed of
white supremacy in NZ with skin head gangs and hate groups. it’s NZ’s ground
zero for that type of thing and has been for decades. that the shooter is
Australian is going to really be a mind fuck in both countries.
the shooter had purchased the weapons legally and held
the appropriate licenses. nothing illegal. he was not an outlaw, just a
radicalised nut job.
The Great Replacement - Documenting the replacement and disposession of European races.
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 03:59
The Great Replacement is very simple. You have one people, and in the space of a generation, you have a different people.Renaud CamusThe Great Replacement (French: Le grand remplacement) is a term originally coined by a French writer Renaud Camus who first used it to describe the demographic replacement happening in France due to its mass immigration policies and low birth rates among the native French.
The same term can be applied to many other European peoples both in Europe and abroad - from Germany, to England, to the United States, which all have below replacement birth rates and migration policies that pose an existential threat.Of all the different races of people on this planet, only the European races are facing the possibility of extinction in a relatively near future.
The purpose of this site is the documentation of European decline both demographically and culturally, and spreading awareness of this term "The Great Replacement" both on the internet through hashtags like#TheGreatReplacement and #GreatReplacementand in conversations in the real world, which hopefully inspires change in cultural and political attitudes before it is too late.In addition, it should replace the previous term that was used to describe the same population replacement phenomenon as #WhiteGenocide, which hasn't been as effective outside the United States, although YouTube alone shows over 50,000 results when you do an exact search for "white genocide" - most of them in English.
Grand remplacement - Wikipedia [English]The Great Replacement in PicturesQuotesHow otherwise shall families continue? How can the commonwealth be preserved if we neither marry nor produce children? Surely you are not expecting some to spring up from the earth to succeed to your goods and to public affairs, as myths describe. It is neither pleasing to Heaven nor creditable that our race should cease and the name of Romans meet extinguishment in us, and the city be given up to foreigners, - Greek or even barbarians. We liberate slaves chiefly for the purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible; we give our allies a share in the government that our numbers may increase: yet you, Romans of the original stock, including Quintii, Valerii, Iulli, are eager that your families and names at once shall perish with you.
Emperor Augustus. Cassius Dio 56.But the curse of every ancient civilization was that its men in the end became unable to fight. Materialism, luxury, safety, even sometimes an almost modern sentimentality, weakened the fiber of each civilized race in turn; each became in the end a nation of pacifists, and then each was trodden under foot by some ruder people that had kept that virile fighting power the lack of which makes all other virtues useless and sometimes even harmful.
Theodore Roosevelt. The Dawn and Sunrise of HistoryIt appears that if nuclear war does not destroy Western Europe, race suicide will. In 1800, Europe had 20 percent of the world's population. Today it has 9 percent. Unless the increasing demographic imbalance is radically corrected, it will have 4 percent in 2075. ... Bangladesh, a miasma of poverty and ignorance, now produces more babies annually than all Western Europe.
Wilmot Robertson. The Dispossessed MajorityGermans have been dying out for forty years and this has been covered up by counting Turks, East Europeans, and Arabs as Germans. Now, not even immigrants from the Muslim lands, Eastern Europe, and the Third World can mask the reality.
Astonishing. Not long after World War II, West Germany boasted the world's second largest economy. Now a united Germany is on schedule to become a retirement center, nursing home, and cemetery for the Germanic peoples, whose origins date back to before the birth of Christ.
Pat Buchanan. Suicide of a SuperpowerThe Great Replacement in VideoYour browser does not support HTML5 video.The Great Replacement [Renaud Camus]The Great Replacement in NumbersFrom Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America's Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850-2013Where the population of Europe is growing - and where it's decliningThe Changing Face Of American MarriagesOrigins and Destinations of the World's Migrants, from 1990-2015World Population: The fall of Asia and the rise of AfricaWorld Population History OrgTwo Centuries of US ImmigrationDemography of the United States - Birth data by raceDiversity Explosion: The cultural generation gap mappedList of countries by future population (United Nations, medium fertility variant)List of countries by future population (United Nations, zero-migration variant)Russia: TFR by Ethnic GroupThe Racial Dot Map: One Dot Per Person for the Entire U.SBrazil Racial Dot Map2014 World Population Data Sheet
The Great Replacement conspiracy theory - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 03:57
The great replacement (French: le grand remplacement) is a right-wing conspiracy theory,[1][2][3][4][5] which states that the white Catholic French population, and white Christian European population at large,[6] is being systematically replaced with non-European people,[5] specifically Middle Eastern, North and Sub-Saharan African populations,[3] through mass migration and demographic growth. It associates the presence of Muslims in France with potential danger and destruction of French culture and civilization.[7]
The conspiracy theory commonly apportions blame to a global and liberal elite,[6] such as Brussels and the European Union, which is portrayed as directing a planned and deliberate plot or scheme to carry out the replacement of European peoples.[4]
The theory has been popularized by Renaud Camus. This notion of replacement, or of white genocide, has echoed throughout the rhetoric of many anti-migrant right wing movements in the West.[8] Among its main promoters are not only right wing populist parties but also a wide-ranging network of protest movements (e.g., Pegida), ideological groupuscules (e.g., bloc identitaire),[9] bloggers (e.g., Fjordman), and noted intellectuals (e.g., Eric Zemmour). Prominent right-wing websites such as Gates of Vienna, Politically Incorrect, and France de Souche have provided a platform for bloggers to diffuse and popularize the conspiracy theory.[10]
Origins [ edit ] The theory of the great replacement can be traced back to the 1973 novel Le Camp des Saints by Jean Raspail which depicts the collapse of Western culture owing to an overwhelming "tidal wave" of Third World immigration. The novel, along with the theory of Eurabia developed by the Swiss-Israeli writer Bat Ye'or in 2005, set the ground then for Renaud Camus to develop and present his book entitled The Great Replacement in 2012.[11] Credited as the "progenitor of the Great Replacement doctrine" by the SPLC,[12] Camus has stated that "the great replacement is very simple. You have one people, and in the space of a generation you have a different people".[13] Camus has argued that European culture, civilization and identity are in danger of being overrun by mass migration, especially Islamic, and hence physically replaced.[14]
See also [ edit ] White genocide conspiracy theoryCounter-jihadEurabiaReferences [ edit ] ^ Froio, Caterina (21 August 2018). "Race, Religion, or Culture? Framing Islam between Racism and Neo-Racism in the Online Network of the French Far Right". Perspectives on Politics. 16 (3): 696''709. doi:10.1017/S1537592718001573. ...the conspiracy theory of the Grand remplacement (Great replacement) positing the 'Islamo-substitution' of biologically autochthonous populations in the French metropolitan territory, by Muslim minorities mostly coming from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb Sowerwine, Charles (2017). "The Far Right in a Neo-Liberal Age: Pessimism, Sexism and Racism in Modern French Thought" (PDF) . French History & Civilization. Perspectives on Politics. 7: 190''203 . Retrieved 24 September 2018 . ...the Grand Remplacement (Great Replacement), a lunar right - or is the term now "alt right?" - conspiracy theory about a plot to effect "the progressive replacement, over a few decades, of the historic population of our country by immigrants, the vast majority of them non-European. Plenel, Edwy (28 June 2016). For the Muslims: Islamophobia in France. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-78478-488-1 '' via Google Books. Serhan, Yasmeen. "Pivotal Elections Loom Over Europe". The Atlantic . Retrieved 24 September 2018 . ...the 'great replacement' conspiracy theory that contends immigrants are replacing the traditional French population. ^ Sowerwine, Charles (2018). France since 1870 : Culture, Politics and Society. London: Palgrave. p. 460. ISBN 978-1-137-40611-8. OCLC 1051356006. Zemmour flirted with a far-right conspiracy theory; the Grand remplacement (Great Replacement) ^ a b "How dangerous are Austria's far-right hipsters? | DW | 28 August 2018". DW.COM . Retrieved 24 September 2018 . ...and spread the 'great replacement' conspiracy theory '' the idea that white Europeans will be replaced by people from the Middle East and Africa through immigration. The theory is based on inflated statistics and un-substantiated demographic projections. Right now, only 4 percent of the European Union is made up of non-EU nationals. ^ a b Baldauf, Johannes (2017). Toxische Narrative : Monitoring rechts-alternativer Akteure (PDF) (in Dutch). Berlin: Amadeu Antonio Stiftung. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-940878-29-8. OCLC 1042949000. ...this narrative is highly compatible with concrete conspiracy narratives about how this replacement is desired and planned, either by 'the politicians' or 'the elite,' which-ever connotes Jewishness more effectively. ^ a b "A campaign to deconstruct conspiracy discourse on the Internet". La Croix. 26 January 2018. ...le " grand remplacement ", une th(C)orie de type conspirationniste selon laquelle il existerait un processus de remplacement des Fran§ais sur leur sol par des non-Europ(C)ens. ^ a b "The philosophical sources of Marine Le Pen". Eurozine. 12 October 2017. ...a conspiracy theory which claims that the global elite has staged a plot to replace the indigenous European population with immigrants from other continents ^ "Marine Le Pen adviser found guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims". The Independent. 25 April 2017. ^ Bergmann, Eirikur (2018). Conspiracy & Populism : The Politics of Misinformation. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 127. ISBN 978-3-319-90359-0. OCLC 1049171816. ^ "Generation Identity: Far-right group sending UK recruits to military-style training camps in Europe". The Independent. 9 November 2017. ...claims it represents "indigenous Europeans" and propagates the far-right conspiracy theory that white people are becoming a minority in what it calls the "Great Replacement" ^ Betz, Hans-Georg (5 February 2018). "The Radical Right and Populism". In Rydgren, Jens. Oxford Handbooks Online. 1. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.5. ISBN 9780190644185. ^ Ait Abdeslam, Abderrahim (28 August 2018). "The vilification of Muslim diaspora in French fictional novels: 'Soumission' (2015) and 'Petit Fr¨re' (2008) as case studies". Journal of Multicultural Discourses. 13 (3): 1''11. doi:10.1080/17447143.2018.1511717. ^ "Hate in Europe: June 2018". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. ^ "The French Origins of 'You Will Not Replace Us ' ". The New Yorker. 4 December 2017. ^ " " You will not replace us": a French philosopher explains the Charlottesville chant". 15 August 2017.
Green New Deal
Greta Thornberg nominated for Nobel Peace prize
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:50
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Swedish Teen Climate Activist Nominated for Nobel Prize | Time
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:52
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work leading a youth campaign to halt climate change.
Three Norwegian lawmakers put forth the 16-year-old's name.
''We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict,'' parliamentary representative Freddy Andre Oevstegaard told Norwegian media outlet VG.
''The massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution,'' he added.
The Brief NewsletterSign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now.
View SampleThe activist, who was named one of TIME's Most Influential Teens of 2018, has inspired hundreds of thousands of students at schools around the world to hold strikes in an effort to urge their leaders to act.
According to a U.N. report, global temperatures could rise by 1.5°C, a threshold that scientists say will bring dire consequences to the planet, by as early as 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.
In December 2018, Thunberg spoke at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland, where she called out lawmakers and government bodies for their inaction.
At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January, she ended her speech by telling a silenced room that she wants leaders to ''behave like our house is on fire, because it is.''
As part of the #FridaysForFuture movement headed by the activist, tens of thousands of young people around the world will be skipping school this Friday to march for change.
Thunberg said on Twitter that almost 100 countries will be involved.
''I think we are only seeing the beginning. I think that change is on the horizon and the people will stand up for their future, Thunberg said in an interview with the Guardian.
Write to Hillary Leung at hillary.leung@time.com.
It Sounds Crazy, But Fukushima, Chernobyl, And Three Mile Island Show Why Nuclear Is Inherently Safe
Mon, 11 Mar 2019 16:58
Fukushima was a public health catastrophe, just not one caused by radiation.Shutterstock
After a tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan eight years ago today, triggering the meltdowns of three reactors, many believed it would result in a public health catastrophe.
''By now close to one million people have died of causes linked to the Chernobyl disaster,'' wrote Helen Caldicott, an Australian medical doctor, in The New York Times. Fukushima could ''far exceed Chernobyl in terms of the effects on public health.''
Many pro-nuclear people came to believe that the accident was proof that the dominant form of nuclear reactor, which is cooled by water, is fatally flawed. They called for radically different kinds of reactors to make the technology ''inherently safe.''
But now, eight years after Fukushima, the best-available science clearly shows that Caldicott's estimate of the number of people killed by nuclear accidents was off by one million. Radiation from Chernobyl will kill, at most, 200 people, while the radiation from Fukushima and Three Mile Island will kill zero people.
In other words, the main lesson that should be drawn from the worst nuclear accidents is that nuclear energy has always been inherently safe.
The Shocking Truth
The truth about nuclear power's safety is so shocking that it's worth taking a closer look at the worst accidents, starting with the worst of the worst: Chernobyl.
The nuclear plant is in Ukraine which, in 1986, the year of the accident, was a Soviet Republic. Operators lost control of an unauthorized experiment that resulted in the reactor catching fire.
There was no containment dome, and the fire spewed out radioactive particulate matter, which went all over the world, leading many to conclude that Chernobyl is not just the worst nuclear accident in history but is also the worst nuclear accident possible.
Twenty-eight firefighters died after putting out the Chernobyl fire. While the death of any firefighter is tragic, it's worth putting that number in perspective. Eighty-six firefighters died in the U.S. in 2018, and 343 firefighters died during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Since the Chernobyl accident, 19 first responders have died, according to the United Nations , for ''various reasons'' including tuberculosis, cirrhosis of the liver, heart attacks, and trauma. The U.N. concluded that ''the assignment of radiation as the cause of death has become less clear.''
What about cancer? By 2065 there may be 16,000 thyroid cancers; to date there have been 6,000 . Since thyroid cancer has a mortality rate of just one percent '-- it is an easy cancer to treat '-- expected deaths may be 160.
The World Health Organization claims on its web site that Chernobyl could result in the premature deaths of 4,000 people, but according to Dr. Geraldine Thomas, who started and runs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, that number is based on a disproven methodology.
''That WHO number is based on LNT,'' she explained, using the acronym for the ''linear no-threshold'' method of extrapolating deaths from radiation.
LNT assumes that there is no threshold below which radiation is safe, but that assumption has been discredited over recent decades by multiple sources of data.
Support for the idea that radiation is harmless at low levels comes from the fact that people who live in places with higher background radiation, like Colorado, do not suffer elevated rates of cancer.
In fact, residents of Colorado, where radiation is higher because of high concentrations of uranium in the ground, enjoy some of the lowest cancer rates in the U.S.
Even relatively high doses of radiation cause far less harm than most people think. Careful, large, and long-term studies of survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki offer compelling demonstration.
Cancer rates were just 10 percent higher among atomic blast survivors, most of whom never got cancer. Even those who received a dose 1,000 times higher than today's safety limit saw their lives cut short by an average of 16 months.
But didn't the Japanese government recently award a financial settlement to the family of a Fukushima worker who claimed his cancer was from the accident?
It did, but for reasons that were clearly political, and having to do with the Japanese government's consensus-based, conflict-averse style, as well as lingering guilt felt by elite policymakers toward Fukushima workers and residents, who felt doubly aggrieved by the tsunami and meltdowns.
The worker's cancer was highly unlikely to have come from Fukushima because, once again, the level of radiation workers received was far lower than the ones received by the Hiroshima/Nagasaki cohort that saw (modestly) higher cancer rates.
What about Three Mile Island? After the accident in 1979, Time Magazine ran a cover story that superimposed a glowing headline, ''Nuclear Nightmare,'' over an image of the plant. Nightmare ? More like a dream. What other major industrial technology can suffer a catastrophic failure and not kill anyone?
Remember when the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig caught on fire and killed 11 people? Four months later, a Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas pipeline exploded just south of San Francisco and killed eight people sleeping in their beds. And that was just one year, 2010.
The worst energy accident of all time was the 1975 collapse of the Banqiao hydroelectric dam in China. It collapsed and killed between 170,000 and 230,000 people .
Nuclear's worst accidents show that the technology has always been safe for the same, inherent reason that it has always had such a small environmental impact: the high energy density of its fuel.
Splitting atoms to create heat, rather than than splitting chemical bonds through fire, requires tiny amounts of fuel. A single Coke can of uranium can provide enough energy for an entire high-energy life.
When the worst occurs, and the fuel melts, the amount of particulate matter that escapes from the plant is insignificant in contrast to both the fiery explosions of fossil fuels and the daily emission of particulate matter from fossil- and biomass-burning homes, cars, and power plants, which kill seven million people a year.
Thanks to nuclear's inherent safety, the best-available science shows that nuclear has saved at least two million lives to date by preventing the burning of biomass and fossil fuels. Replacing, or not building, nuclear plants, thus results in more death.
In that sense, Fukushima did result in a public health catastrophe. Only it wasn't one created by the tiny amounts of radiation that escaped from the plant.
Anxiety Displacement and Panic
The Japanese government, in the view of Chernobyl expert Geraldine Thomas and other radiation experts, contributed to the widespread view of radiation as a super-potent toxin by failing to return residents to the Fukushima province after the accident, and for reducing radiation in soil and water to unnecessarily low levels.
The problem started with an over-evacuation. Sixty-thousand people were evacuated but only 30,000 have returned. While some amount of temporary evacuation might have been justified, there was simply never any reason for such a large, and long-term, evacuation.
About 2,000 people died from the evacuation, while others who were displaced suffered from loneliness, depression, suicide, bullying at school, and anxiety.
''With hindsight, we can say the evacuation was a mistake,'' said Philip Thomas, a professor of risk management at the University of Bristol and leader of a recent research project on nuclear accidents. ''We would have recommended that nobody be evacuated.''
Beyond the evacuation was the government's massively exaggerated clean-up of the soil. To give you a sense of how exaggerated the clean-up was, consider that the Colorado plateau was and is more (naturally) radioactive than most of Fukushima after the accident.
"There are areas of the world that are more radioactive than Colorado and the inhabitants there do not show increased rates of cancer," notes Dr. Thomas. And whereas radiation levels at Fukushima decline rapidly, "those areas stay high over a lifetime as the radiation is not the result of contamination but of natural background radiation."
Even residents living in the areas with the highest levels of soil contamination were unaffected by the radiation, according to a major study of nearly 8,000 residents in the two to three years since the accident.
In 2017, while visiting Fukushima for the second time, I lost my cool over this issue. Jet-lagged and hungry, and witnessing the ridiculous and expensive bull-dozing of the region's fertile topsoil into green plastic bags, I started grilling a scientist with the ministry of the environment.
Why were they destroying Fukushima's precious topsoil in order to reduce radiation levels that were already at levels far lower than posed a danger? Why was the government spending billions trying to do the same thing with water near the plant itself? Was nobody in Japan familiar with mainstream radiation health science?
At first the government scientist responded by simply repeating the official line '-- they were remediating the top soil to remove the radiation from the accident.
I decided to force the issue. I repeated my question. My translator told me that the expert didn't understand my question. I started arguing with my translator.
Then, at that moment, the government scientist started talking again. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was saying something different.
''Every scientist and radiation expert in the world who comes here says the same thing,'' he said. ''We know we don't need to reduce radiation levels for public health. We're doing it because the people want us to.''
The truth of the matter had been acknowledged, and the tension that had hung between us had finally broken. '' Arigato gozaimasu !'' I said, genuinely grateful for the man's honesty.
The man's face was sad when he explained the situation, but he was also calmer. The mania behind his insistence that the ''contaminated'' topsoil had required ''cleaning'' had evaporated.
And I wasn't mad anymore either, just relieved. I understood his dilemma. He had only been the repeating official dogma because his job, and the larger culture and politics, required him to.
Such has been the treatment of radiation fears by scientists and government officials, not just in Japan, for over 60 years.
There is no evidence that low levels of radiation hurt people, but rather than be blunt about that, scientists have, in the past, shaded the truth often out of a misguided sense of erring on the side of caution, but thereby allowing widespread misunderstanding of radiation to persist.
We also now know that when societies don't use nuclear, they mostly use fossil fuels, not renewables. After Fukushima, Japan closed its nuclear plants and saw deadly air pollution skyrocket.
The biggest losers, as per usual, are the most vulnerable: those with respiratory diseases, such as emphysema and asthma, children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor, who tend to live in the most polluted areas of cities.
It's also clear that people displace anxieties about other things onto nuclear accidents. We know from in-depth qualitative research conducted in the 1970s that young people in the early part of that decade were displacing fears of nuclear bombs onto nuclear plants.
Nuclear plants are viewed as little bombs and nuclear accidents are viewed as little atomic explosions, complete with fall-out and the dread of contamination.
It is impossible to view the Japanese public's panicked overreaction to Fukushima and not see it as partly motivated by the horror of having seen 15,897 citizens instantly killed, and another 2,533 gone missing, after a tsunami hammered the region.
The sociologist Kyle Cleveland argues persuasively that Fukushima was a ''moral panic,'' in that the panic was motivated by a desire by the Japanese news media and public for revenge against an industrial and technical elite viewed as uncaring, arrogant, and corrupt.
Seeing Opportunity In Fear
After Fukushima, investors poured millions into so-called ''advanced nuclear'' start-up companies proposing to use chemicals, metals, or gases instead of water for cooling the uranium or thorium fuels in nuclear plants.
Often, they inadvertently reinforced the worst of the public's fears. It's one thing when anti-nuclear activists fear-monger about Fukushima, it's quite another when supposedly pro-nuclear advocates do so.
Worse, the notion that one could look at the design of a nuclear plant and declare it safer than existing nuclear plants is transcience at best, pseudoscience at worst.
To compare the relative safety of different kinds of nuclear reactors one would need decades of operational data, which don't exist for non-existent designs. And even then, one would likely need a lot more accidents and deaths to tease out any kind of correlation.
When pressed as to supposed safety advantages, advocates of radical innovation in nuclear often slip into claiming that this or that design will be far cheaper than today's designs.
But the cheapest nuclear is the kind that humans have the most experience building, operating, and regulating. Slow, conservative, and incremental innovation is what has made nuclear plants cheaper, while radical innovation has made it more expensive.
Was anything better for the U.S. nuclear industry than Three Mile Island? Not a single nuclear industry executive would have said so at the time. But in the decades since, many of them came to believe precisely that.
In response to Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry stepped up training, checklists, and better oversight. The result was that nuclear plants in the U.S. went from operating at 55 percent capacity factor, on average, to operating at over 90 percent capacity factor.
Anti-nuclear activists have long claimed that there is a trade-off between nuclear safety and economics when it comes to the operation of plants, when in reality the opposite is the case. With improved performance came far higher income from electricity sales.
Might Japanese nuclear leaders look back on Fukushima the same way one day? That depends on what they do now.
To date, Japanese leaders have tried to make amends to the public for the Fukushima accident, but they've done so in ways that have reinforced the view of radiation as a super-potent toxin, and without building any greater trust in the technology.
For decades, nuclear leaders in Japan and the U.S. reinforced the notion that nuclear is an inherently dangerous technology, but one that they could control. When it became clear that they couldn't control it, the public understandably assumed that they had been put in danger.
The truth is, in part, more reassuring. The radiant particulate matter that escapes from the worst nuclear accidents isn't all that dangerous because there isn't all that much of it.
But another lesson is that humans are never in absolute control of our technologies. If we were, then nobody would die from exploding natural gas pipelines, plane crashes, or collapsed hydroelectric dams.
The question is not how humans can gain absolute mastery, since that's impossible, but rather which machines, on balance, deliver the most good with the least harm. On that metric, nuclear power has always been, inherently, the safest way to power civilization.
French government working on 'more ambitious' energy and climate bill | Reuters
Mon, 11 Mar 2019 16:59
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron watches as German Chancellor Angela Merkel departs after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) - A draft energy and climate law due to be presented to French cabinet ministers on Monday has been postponed so that it can be reworked with more ambitious environmental goals, President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Sunday.
The proposals had been criticized by climate change campaigners and a high-level state-backed economic affairs committee for being too vague on some targets, including an aim for France to be ''carbon neutral'' by 2050.
Macron has sought to take a lead on the global stage in the fight against climate change, although some of his plans, including an aborted bid to raise fuel taxes, have stirred a backlash among voters at home, sparking a wave of protests.
He has vowed, however, to press on with green policies, while trying to balance this push with measures to help lower-income households or others who might be affected by extra costs.
The draft law is meant to provide a broad framework on climate goals, laying the ground for subsequent, more precise commitments, including on how France will cut its reliance on nuclear energy.
The reworked bill will include a more detailed outline of France's target for reducing greenhouse gases, the Elysee said.
The bill will still be on track to go to the lower house of parliament to be examined by lawmakers in June, the president's office added.
Reporting by Simon Carraud and Marine Pennetier; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Kevin Liffey
Whites Contribute More To Air Pollution '-- Minorities Bear The Burden : Shots - Health News : NPR
Tue, 12 Mar 2019 17:14
An elevated view of smog and air pollution in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA. Dave G. Kelly/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Dave G. Kelly/Getty Images An elevated view of smog and air pollution in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Dave G. Kelly/Getty Images Pollution, much like wealth, is not distributed equally in the United States.
Scientists and policymakers have long known that black and Hispanic Americans tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution of all kinds, than white Americans. And because pollution exposure can cause a range of health problems, this inequity could be a driver of unequal health outcomes across the U.S.
A study published Monday in the journal PNAS adds a new twist to the pollution problem by looking at consumption. While we tend to think of factories or power plants as the source of pollution, those polluters wouldn't exist without consumer demand for their products.
The researchers found that air pollution is disproportionately caused by white Americans' consumption of goods and services, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic Americans.
"This paper is exciting and really quite novel," says Anjum Hajat, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study. "Inequity in exposure to air pollution is well documented, but this study brings in the consumption angle."
Hajat says the study reveals an inherent unfairness: "If you're contributing less to the problem, why do you have to suffer more from it?"
The study, led by engineering professor Jason Hill at the University of Minnesota, took over six years to complete. According to the paper's first author Christopher Tessum, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, the idea stemmed from a question at a conference.
Tessum presented earlier research on how blacks and Hispanics are often more exposed to air pollutants than whites. After he finished, someone asked "if it would be possible to connect exposure to air pollution to who is doing the actual consuming," says Tessum. According to Tessum, no one had ever tried to answer that question.
It's a big, complicated issue, but studying it could address a fundamental question: Are those who produce pollution, through their consumption of goods and services, fairly sharing in the costs?
What kind of data could even answer such a multifaceted question? Let's break it down:
For any given area in the U.S., the researchers would need to know how polluted the air was, what communities were exposed to pollution, and the health effects of that level of exposure.
Then, for the same area the researchers would need to identify the sources of that exposure (coal plants, factories, agriculture to name a few), and get a sense of what goods and services stem from those emissions (electricity, transportation, food).
Finally, whose consumption of goods and services drives those sectors of the economy?
"The different kinds of data, by themselves, aren't that complicated," says Tessum. "It's linking them where things get a little trickier."
The most relevant air pollutant metric for human health is "particulate matter 2.5" or PM2.5. It represents the largest environmental health risk factor in the United States with higher levels linked to more cardiovascular problems, respiratory illness, diabetes and even birth defects. PM2.5 pollution is mostly caused by human activities, like burning fossil fuels or agriculture.
The EPA collects these data through the National Emissions Inventory, which collates emissions from specific emitters, like coal plants or factories, measures of mobile polluters like cars or planes, and natural events like wildfires, painting a detailed picture of pollution across the U.S.
The researchers generated maps of where different emitters, like agriculture or construction, caused PM2.5 pollution. Coal plants produced pockets of pollution in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, while agricultural emissions were concentrated in the Midwest and California's central valley. "We then tied in census data to understand where different racial-ethnic groups live to understand exposure patterns," says Hill.
Tessum then used previous research on the health effects of different exposure levels to estimate how many premature deaths per year (out of an estimated 102,000 from domestic human-caused emissions) could be linked to each emitter.
"We wanted to take this study further by ascribing responsibility of these premature deaths to different sectors [of the economy], and ultimately to the consumers, and maybe consumers of different racial and ethnic groups," says Hill.
To do that, the researchers actually worked backwards, following consumer spending to different sectors of the economy, and then ultimately to the main emitters of air pollution.
Consider one major contributor to emissions: agriculture. Consumer expenditure surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide detailed data on how much money households spend in various sectors of the economy, including food.
These data gave the researchers an idea of how much blacks, Hispanics, and whites spend on food per year. Other expenditures, like energy or entertainment, are also measured. Taken together these data represent the consumption patterns of the three groups.
To translate dollars spent on food into air pollution levels, the researchers traced money through the economy. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the researchers can estimate, for example, how much grocery stores or restaurants spend on food. Eventually, these dollars are linked back to the primary emitters '-- the farms growing the food or the fuel that farmers buy to run their tractors.
The researchers have now completed the causal chain, from dollars spent at the grocery story, to the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere. Completing this chain for each source of pollution revealed whose consumption drives air pollution, and who suffers from it.
After accounting for population size differences, whites experience about 17 percent less air pollution than they produce, through consumption, while blacks and Hispanics bear 56 and 63 percent more air pollution, respectively, than they cause by their consumption, according to the study.
"These patterns didn't seem to be driven by different kinds of consumption," says Tessum, "but different overall levels." In other words, whites were just consuming disproportionately more of the same kinds of goods and services resulting in air pollution than minority communities.
"These results, as striking as they are, aren't really surprising," says Ana Diez Roux, an epidemiologist at Drexel University who was not involved in the study. "But it's really interesting to see consumption patterns rigorously documented suggesting that minority communities are exposed to pollution that they bear less responsibility for."
Diez Roux thinks this is a good first step. "They certainly make assumptions in their analysis that might be questioned down the line, but I doubt that the overall pattern they found will change," she says.
Tessum points to some hopeful results from the study. PM2.5 exposure by all groups has fallen by about 50 percent from 2002 to 2015, driven in part by regulation and population movement away from polluted areas. But the inequity remains mostly unchanged.
While more research is needed to fully understand these differences, the results of this study raise questions about how to address these inequities.
Tessum stresses that "we're not saying that we should take away white people's money, or that people shouldn't be able to spend money." He suggests continuing to strive to make economic activity and consumption less polluting could be a way to manage and lessen the inequities.
Diez Roux thinks that stronger measures may be necessary.
"If want to ameliorate this inequity, we may need to rethink how we build our cities and how they grow, our dependence on automobile transportation," says Diez Roux. "These are hard things we have to consider."
Jonathan Lambert is an intern on NPR's Science Desk. You can follow him on Twitter: @evolambert
Air pollution race gap: Blacks, Hispanics breathe air whites pollute
Wed, 13 Mar 2019 13:13
While the air pollution in the U.S. has gotten cleaner in the past decade, pollution inequity has remained high. USA TODAY
The air that Americans breathe isn't equal.
Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately breathe air that's been polluted by non-Hispanic whites, according to a study. This new research quantifies for the first time the racial gap between who causes air pollution '' and who breathes it.
"Pollution is disproportionately caused by whites, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic minorities," the study said.
Poor air quality remains the largest environmental health risk in the United States, the study warns. In fact, with 100,000 deaths per year, more Americans die from air pollution than car crashes and murders combined.
''Even though minorities are contributing less to the overall problem of air pollution, they are affected by it more,'' said study co-author Jason Hill, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, who is white. ''Is it fair (that) I create more pollution and somebody else is disproportionately affected by it?''
Hill said that while the air in the U.S. has gotten cleaner in the past decade, pollution inequity has remained stubbornly high.
"What is especially surprising is just how large pollution inequity is and has been for well over a decade," Hill said.
According to a new study, blacks and Hispanics disproportionately breathe air that's been polluted by whites. This new research quantifies for the first time the racial gap between who causes air pollution '' and who breathes it. (Photo: acilo / Getty Images)
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The type of pollution analyzed in the study is known as "PM 2.5" '' tiny grains of "particulate matter" that are especially dangerous to human health because they can get deep into our lungs. Those particles, at 2.5 micrometers far smaller than the width of a human hair, are produced by car tailpipes, power plant smokestacks and burning materials.
The study found that black and Hispanic Americans bear a "pollution burden:" Blacks are exposed to about 56 percent more pollution than is caused by their consumption. For Hispanics, it is slightly higher '' 63 percent.
However, non-Hispanic whites experience a "pollution advantage," meaning they breathe about 17 percent less air pollution than whites cause.
The formula scientists used in their study is driven by disparities in the amount of goods and services that groups consume and in the exposure to the resulting pollution.
''On average, whites tend to consume more than minorities. It's because of wealth,'' Hill said.
For example, the scientists found that whites spend more money on pollution-intensive goods and services than do blacks and Hispanics, which means they generate more pollution than the other groups do.
Non-Hispanic whites experience about 17 percent less air pollution than they cause, while Hispanics are exposed to about 63 percent more air pollution than they cause. And blacks are exposed to about 56 percent more air pollution than they cause. Dark blue arrows indicate pollution produced while the light blue arrows show pollution exposure. (Photo: University of Minnesota / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
''Someone had to make the pen you bought at the store,'' said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Washington. ''We wanted to look at where the pollution associated with making that pen is located. Is it close to where people live? And who lives there?''
For this study, the category "non-Hispanic whites" also includes Asian-Americans and Native Americans. This is based on the source that the researchers used: government data on personal expenditures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other experts agreed with the research: ''These findings confirm what most grassroots environmental justice leaders have known for decades, 'whites are dumping their pollution on poor people and people of color,''' said Texas Southern University public affairs professor Robert Bullard, who was not part of the research. Bullard, often called the father of environmental justice, is African-American.
Researchers say their pollution inequity formula could be used on other types of environmental burdens.
"The approach we establish in this study could be extended to other pollutants, locations and groupings of people," Marshall said. "When it comes to determining who causes air pollution '' and who breathes that pollution '' this research is just the beginning."
The study was published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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Winter 'will no longer EXIST' in Australia by 2050 '' and will be replaced by 40C 'new summer' season, experts warn
Wed, 13 Mar 2019 15:21
WINTER will disappear completely in Australia within the next 30 years, climate researchers have warned.
The nation's chilliest season will instead by replaced by a "new summer" '' with 40C heatwaves sustained across the country.
Australia is expected to lose its winter by 2050, researchers warnAustralia is known for being generally very hot, even in winter months.
But experts now warn that a changing climate will heat Australia up so much that it won't technically have a winter any more.
There'll still be a spring, summer and autumn, but researchers at the Australian National University now say the fourth season will be "new summer".
This period will fall roughly between mid-December and late February, although it changes slightly depending on the area of Australia you're looking at. For instance, in Sydney the "new summer" extends right through October and March.
ANU / The Sun
New climate mapping reveals historical temperatures in areas of AustraliaANU / The Sun
Most of Australia is expected to lose winter, and instead gain a toasty "new summer"The "new summer" season will take place during summer proper, while "winter" is absorbed completely by spring and autumn in the July/August period.
Australia's "new summer" will be a period of the year "where temperatures will consisntely peak...well above 40C for a sustained period", researchers warn.
The information is based on climate data from the Queensland Government LongPaddock project and models of climate change based on pattern data from the UK's Met Office.
"We looked at the historical average temperatures of each season and compared them to the projected data," explained Dr Geoff Hinchliffe.
"And what we find everywhere is that there's really no period of a sustained or lasting winter."
ANU / The Sun
The map lets you trawl Australia for changing climate infoANU
Experts say that these forecasts might not happen if we can successfully limit global warmingResearchers were able to transform this data into an interactive map that reveals how many degrees temperatures will rise in different locations across Australia.
The map also shows how many more days over 30- and 40-degrees a place will have in 2050 compared to today.
And it's bad news if you're a sun-fearing Australian, apparently.
"In 30 years' time, winter as we know it will be non-existent," Dr Hinchcliffe said.
"It ceases to be everywhere apart from a few places in Tasmania."
Try the tool hereFor instance, in Sydney, the average daily maximum between 1960 to 1990 was around 22.1C.
But if climate change isn't halted, then researchers say that this figure will rise to 25.4C by 2050.
The average daily maximum will be 3.3C hotter and winter will technically disappear.
Summers will get warmer too, with extreme summer temperatures in Sydney expected to be 2.7C higher than the 1960-90 summer average.
And there will also be 13% less on average too, it's claimed.
"We will have up to 62 days over 30C '' 47 days more than the 1960-90 average [in Sydney]," researchers warn.
"As well as the data, we also focused on developing the most effective visual forms for conveying how climate change is going to affect specific locations," said Dr Hinchcliffe.
"That meant using colour, shape and size around a dial composition showing a whole year's worth of temperature values in a single snapshot.
"It makes it visually rich and interesting and gives a lot of detail in a way that connects emotionally with people by locating it in their own town."
Global warming '' how does it work?
Here's what you need to know...
The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that warms the Earth's surface and airIt's caused by gases in the air that trap energy that travels to Earth from the SunThe gases that cause this effect are known as "greenhouse gases"Common greennhouse gases include methane and carbone dioxideThis greenhouse effect is important, because it makes sure Earth stays warm enough to support lifeWithout the greenhouse effect, heat would escape into space '' significantly cooling EarthBut there is a risk that humans are releasing too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphereThis can be caused by burning coal, oil and other fossil fuelsBy trapping more heat, the temperature of Earth rises '' which is believed to be one of the main causes of global warmingQUANTUM TIME Scientists build world's first 'time machine' in experiment defying physics
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LUNAR LONG-HAUL Toyota's self-driving 'lunar MINIBUS' will carry astronauts across the moon
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Climate change is now in 'overdrive' as experts warn Greenland ice melt is 'off the charts'.
Researchers recently proved that climate change is to blame for rising sea levels '' as the risk of 'megatsunamis' grows.
Scientists say Earth's oceans will turn 'deep green' by the end of the century '' and climate changed is being blamed.
Are you worried about climate change? Let us know in the comments!
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SPECIAL REPORT-Online activists are silencing us, scientists...
Wed, 13 Mar 2019 20:07
By Kate Kelland
LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - The emails, tweets and blog posts in the "abuse" folder that Michael Sharpe keeps on his computer continue to pile up. Eight years after he published results of a clinical trial that found some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome can get a little better with the right talking and exercise therapies, the Oxford University professor is subjected to almost daily, often anonymous, intimidation.
A Twitter user who identifies himself as a patient called Paul Watton (@thegodofpleasur) wrote: "I really am looking forward to his professional demise and his much-deserved public humiliation." Another, Anton Mayer (@MECFSNews), likened Sharpe's behaviour to "that of an abuser."
Watton and Mayer have never been treated by Sharpe for their chronic fatigue syndrome, a little-understood condition that can bring crushing tiredness and pain. Nor have they met him, they told Reuters. They object to his work, they said, because they think it suggests their illness is psychological. Sharpe, a professor of psychological medicine, says that isn't the case. He believes that chronic fatigue syndrome is a biological condition that can be perpetuated by social and psychological factors.
Sharpe is one of around a dozen researchers in this field worldwide who are on the receiving end of a campaign to discredit their work. For many scientists, it's a new normal: From climate change to vaccines, activism and science are fighting it out online. Social media platforms are supercharging the battle.
Reuters contacted a dozen professors, doctors and researchers with experience of analysing or testing potential treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. All said they had been the target of online harassment because activists objected to their findings. Only two had definite plans to continue researching treatments. With as many as 17 million people worldwide suffering this disabling illness, scientific research into possible therapies should be growing, these experts said, not dwindling. What concerns them most, they said, is that patients could lose out if treatment research stalls.
A spokesperson for Twitter said the platform "exists to serve the public conversation. Its strength lies in providing people with a diversity of perspectives into critical issues '' all in real-time." Where someone used anonymity for bad purposes, Twitter would take immediate action, the spokesperson added.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or CFS/ME, is described by specialists as a "complex, multisystem, and often devastating disorder." Symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, joint pain, headaches, sleep problems and isolation. It can render patients bed- or house-bound for years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, estimates the illness costs the U.S. economy $17 billion to $24 billion annually in medical bills and lost incomes. It is thought to affect as many as 2.5 million people in the United States.
No cause has been identified, no formal diagnosis established and no cure developed. Many researchers cite evidence that talking therapies and behavioural approaches can help in some cases. Yet some patients and their advocates say this amounts to a suggestion that the syndrome might be a mental illness or psychosomatic, a notion that enrages them. They would prefer that research efforts focus on identifying a biological cause or diagnosis.
One of those leading the campaign against research into psychological therapies for CFS/ME is David Tuller, a former journalist with a doctor of public health degree from University of California, Berkeley. Tuller, who describes himself as an investigator, not a campaigner, told Reuters he wants to help CFS/ME patients.
Crowdfunded by a global band of CFS/ME sufferers, their families and patient activists, Tuller has since October 2015 published more than 140 blog posts amounting to tens of thousands of words attacking studies of psychological treatments and conferences that have showcased them. He's recently complained to the CDC, New York's Columbia University and Netflix. In 2018, Netflix ran a docu-series about CFS/ME patients. It said it wanted to show the difficulties of patients "suffering from elusive and misunderstood illnesses."
Tuller refers to researchers who explore and test treatments for CFS/ME that feature a psychological element as "insane" and a "cabal" suffering from "mass delusion." They are bent on pursuing "bogus and really terrible research," he told Reuters.
Sharpe no longer conducts research into CFS/ME treatments, focusing instead on helping severely ill cancer patients. "It's just too toxic," he explained. Of more than 20 leading research groups who were publishing treatment studies in high-quality journals 10 years ago, Sharpe said, only one or two continue to do so.
The world's largest trials registry, clinicaltrials.gov, indicates that over the past decade there has been a decline in the number of new CFS/ME treatment trials being launched. From 2010 to 2014, 33 such trials started. From 2015 until the present, the figure dropped to around 20. This decline comes at a time when research into ways to help patients should be growing, not falling, because the condition is more widely recognised, scientists interviewed by Reuters said.
Reuters spoke to three specialists in CFS/ME in Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands who have reported receiving online abuse but continue to work in the field. The specialist in the Netherlands, a psychologist who works at a chronic fatigue treatment centre, said that a few years ago, research teams there had five treatment studies looking at cognitive behavioural therapies for CFS/ME patients. Now, they have no treatment studies at all. Junior researchers are wary of entering the field because of the abuse they've seen others suffer, said the specialist in Britain, a doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Per Fink, a professor at the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders at Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital, said he kept going because he didn't want to let down patients, some severely ill, who are "open to any treatment that may help them."
The term myalgic encephalomyelitis was first used in 1956 to describe a condition associated with post-illness fatigue among patients at London's Royal Free Hospital. Thirty years later, the name chronic fatigue syndrome was coined. Now, the combination term CFS/ME is used by most people '' patients, doctors and researchers '' and by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The trigger for the condition is not known, although it can follow a bout of severe illness or extreme physical endurance, or a viral infection such as glandular fever. There is no biomarker or blood test to establish diagnosis, and patients often face misunderstanding from family, friends and doctors. Patient advocates say the condition has a history of being dismissed as "yuppie flu" or plain indolence.
With no pharmacological or physiological treatments on the horizon, scientists and doctors explored psychiatry and psychology for ways to ease the symptoms. Some patients and campaigners say that diverted attention and funding away from scientific efforts to define what causes CFS/ME and how it can be properly diagnosed.
Simon Wessely, a professor of psychological medicine at King's College London and former president of Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists, said he decided to stop conducting research into treatment approaches for CFS/ME several years ago because he felt the online abuse was detracting from his work with patients.
But he is still the subject of what he calls "relentless internet stalking." Recent tweets directed at Wessely include one accusing him of playing "pathetic ego driven games" with the lives of people with CFS/ME, another saying "Wessely is a dangerous and evil individual" and another saying "We die, b/c of u."
Wessely's employers at King's College London have taken advice on the potential risk and have instituted X-ray scans of his mail, he says. "Everything I say and do in public, and sometimes even in private, is pored over and scrutinised," he said.
Wessely's experiences are echoed by Aarhus University Hospital's Per Fink, who runs a clinic that offers patients exercise and talking therapies.
Fink said he and the organisers of a conference he addressed at Columbia University in New York in October 2018 were hounded by complaints and protests from CFS/ME activists. A petition calling for Fink to be disinvited was signed by 10,000 people. Tuller '' who in his blog wrote that the person who invited Per Fink to speak at the conference must be "uninformed or stupid or both" '' called Fink a "scary guy" whose methods had "destroyed families." Tuller urged readers of his blog to go to the Columbia conference and demonstrate.
Describing himself as a doctor and researcher "who just does my job in an attempt to help people," Fink told Reuters his trip to New York was worse than anything he's experienced before. "They are scaring people away," he said. "Doctors don't want to speak about it '' they try to keep a low profile. And many researchers and clinicians say they won't go into this area of therapy because it's so difficult."
The idea of critics or activists challenging researchers and seeking to hold science to account isn't new. Most researchers say they are happy to engage in discussion. But with social media, email and internet now accessible from almost every home, mass communication gives online activists a voice with unprecedented power. In the field of CFS/ME research, it's often personal. Those at the centre of it say it's gotten out of control.
"The toxicity of it permeates everything," Sharpe told Reuters.
The campaign to have evidence-backed treatments discredited was "doing a terrible disservice to sufferers from this condition," said Wessely. "Patients are the losers here."
At the heart of the attacks on Sharpe, Wessely and other chronic fatigue treatment researchers is a study known as the PACE trial, which sought to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of therapy in CFS/ME patients.
Published in The Lancet medical journal in 2011, the results found that cognitive behavioural therapy '' designed to help patients change their thinking and behaviour '' and graded exercise therapy '' in which patients are encouraged to start from very low levels of daily activity and then incrementally raise them '' are safe and moderately effective treatments for some people.
Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, said his journal had received emails and letters about PACE but has no plans to retract it. He said what is needed to allow for progress in any field of medical research is "an open and respectful approach by all parties to one another."
In April last year, Tuller secured $87,500 in online crowdfunding to "debunk" the PACE trial findings. He refers to the study as "a piece of crap" and "garbage" and says he is determined to see it discredited. At speaking events filmed and shown on YouTube, he has ripped up copies of the study to show his feelings about it. Tuller has also posted a 15,000 word review of it via the website of a Berkeley colleague.
Tuller cut his teeth as an AIDS activist in the 1980s. Now 62, he blogs, sends hundreds of letters and emails, and travels the world giving speeches and holding meetings as supporters send him donations and praise for his CFS/ME campaign. Tuller himself hasn't conducted or published any peer-reviewed clinical trials on CFS/ME. He has co-authored a critique of PACE.
His argument is that the therapies evaluated in the PACE trial are based on a misguided hypothesis that CFS/ME patients suffer from "unhelpful" beliefs that they have a biological disease, and that their symptoms of fatigue are made worse by deconditioning due to inactivity. He also says he thinks the trial's methodology was flawed. The scientists involved reject those arguments.
"My goal is to completely discredit the PACE trial," Tuller told Reuters. "And if they have moved out of the research field, then that's great," he said of the CFS/ME researchers he's targeting. "They shouldn't be in the field. They shouldn't be doing research at all."
Tuller disputes that his campaigning amounts to harassment. In comments to Reuters in an interview and in emails, he said his criticisms are valid. And he added: "I refuse to act in the normal bounds of academia." Asked about his motivation, he said he does not have the condition. He said he had a long-time friend who was diagnosed with CFS/ME in the early 1990s but has "no other personal stake." He said his work is helping patients by "clearing out the bad science to make way for some good science," such as research into the condition's biological basis.
Another campaign, which goes by the acronym MAIMES, or Medical Abuse in ME Sufferers, operates from Britain. It has a standard letter for people to send to their local member of parliament demanding a public inquiry into the PACE trial. There's also a Facebook page called "Abuse of ME Patients by Health Care Professionals" which has some 680 followers. The page runs stories from unnamed patients who accuse Sharpe and others of harming sufferers by calling them "lazy" and forcing them to exercise when they can't.
The campaigner and doctor behind MAIMES, Sarah Myhill, has posted YouTube videos setting out her views: "I liken it to child abuse," she says in one that has been viewed more than 8,000 times. "This amounts to a form of abuse, because these people" '' CFS/ME patients '' "do not have the energy to defend themselves." Myhill has published several books advocating what she calls a "naturopath's" approach to treating symptoms of CFS/ME '' one using a tailored combination of nutrition, rest and medicines. She hasn't published peer-reviewed research on the efficacy of her approach.
Myhill told Reuters that she had complained to the General Medical Council '' the body that maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the UK '' about Sharpe and other scientists involved in the PACE trial, but her complaint was rejected. Myhill showed Reuters the letter she received from the General Medical Council. It said it was "not able to identify any issues which would require us to open an investigation" into the researchers. Contacted by Reuters, the Council did not elaborate.
As well as dissuading researchers from working in the CFS/ME field, scientists fear that pressure from campaigners has also begun to show in the wording of guidance for patients and doctors from national health authorities. In the United States, the CDC has removed references to cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy from its website.
The head of the CDC's chronic viral diseases branch, Elizabeth Unger, told Reuters this was done to remove jargon and medical terms that are not widely understood by the public. "We received feedback that the terms were confusing and too frequently misinterpreted," she said in an email response to questions.
Unger said the CDC's advice stresses that each CFS/ME patient's needs are different. "For some, carefully managing exercise and activities can be helpful," she said. "Likewise, some patients may find that talking with a therapist helps them."
In Britain, government guidelines on treating CFS/ME published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), currently recommend cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise. But these too are under review, due to be revised and republished by 2020. A source close to NICE told Reuters the agency had been subjected to "a lot of lobbying" aimed at getting it to review the guidelines "and in particular to change recommendations around graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy." The source declined to go into detail about who was behind the lobbying.
Publishers, too, are feeling the heat. In a move described as "disproportionate and poorly justified" by the researchers involved, editors of the Cochrane Reviews science journals said in October that they would be temporarily withdrawing a review that analysed evidence from eight studies on exercise therapy for CFS/ME patients.
Cochrane Reviews evaluate the best science on a given subject and are considered a gold standard in scientific literature. The review in question, led by a Norwegian research team and published by Cochrane in April 2017, had concluded there was moderate quality evidence to show that "exercise therapy had a positive effect on people's daily physical functioning, sleep and self-ratings of overall health."
Tuller told Reuters in emails in October that he considered the Cochrane Review to be "fraught with bias" and said its authors have bought into "delusions that these studies (the ones they reviewed) represent good science." After hearing news of the review's temporary withdrawal, Tuller said he'd had a "long meeting" with Cochrane editors in Britain last summer, and had "pressed them hard." "So did others," he said.
Cochrane's editor in chief, David Tovey, confirmed that he had met with Tuller, but said the meeting had nothing to do with his decision to temporarily withdraw the review. He said complaints about the review from patients and campaigners had raised "important questions" about how the review was conducted and reported which he and his fellow editors felt needed to be addressed.
Lillebeth Larun, a scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health who led the Cochrane Review, is one of several scientists who vociferously disagreed with Tovey's decision to withdraw it. For her, the move is a sign that the activists who have plagued her for years have now got to her editors. In the decade or so that she's been conducting research in this area, she told Reuters, she's endured online attacks and abusive emails, and at various points had to take a break from working due to the pressure. Returning to a CFS/ME project would make her feel physically sick with anxiety.
"Attempts to limit, undermine or manipulate evidence based results, pressure or intimidate researchers into or away from any given conclusions, will ultimately have a negative effect," she told Reuters. "It will only lead to those researchers choosing to work in other areas and reduce the resources dedicated to providing the help patients so desperately need."
Some CFS/ME patients disagree. Reuters contacted the Twitter user who identifies himself as Paul Watton to ask him about his online attacks. Speaking by phone, Watton said he has been ill with CFS/ME and unable to work in his former job as a builder for 15 years, and feels let down by the medical establishment. Reuters was unable to independently verify his account.
"I agree entirely with what David Tuller says," Watton told Reuters. "This is a chronic illness for which there is '' currently '' no curative treatment."
In Britain there are at least 50 specialist chronic fatigue syndrome services that treat around 8,000 adults each year under government guidelines, offering behavioural and psychological therapies. Research published in July 2017 showed around a third of adults affected by the illness who attended these specialist clinics reported substantial improvement in their health. In the survey, more than 1,000 patients were asked about fatigue, physical function, general function, mood, pain and sleep problems before and after getting the services.
Colin Barton, chairman of the Sussex and Kent CFS/ME Society '' a patient group in southern England '' said talking therapies and graded exercise helped him recover to the point that he can lead an almost normal life. He told Reuters that in his experience, patients who talk about having been helped by psychological or graded exercise therapies come in for abuse just like the researchers. They face accusations that they were never ill in the first place; that their condition was misdiagnosed; and that their recovery is therefore fake, he said. As a result, he said, many recovering or recovered CFS/ME patients feel forced to withdraw from the debate. (reporting by Kate Kelland; editing by Janet McBride and John Blanton)
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If children don't join the climate strike, their schools are underachieving | David Reed | Opinion | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:19
T here will be another large-scale school climate strike tomorrow, following a controversial walkout by pupils last month. I say controversial; the reaction in much of the grownup media was perhaps better described as a reluctant obligation to be adult about the whole thing, while secretly cheering them on.
Even prominent Conservatives struggled to feign disapproval of this wanton act of civic engagement by the next generation. Energy minister Claire Perry wistfully told the BBC she would have joined the walkouts in her younger years. She may take a different line if the kids keep it up '' it is, after all, her department they are protesting against.
To my surprise, the most ardent voices of dissent have come from educators. In opposing the protests, education reformers such as Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, and Toby Young, the free schools evangelist, seem to have missed the point of efforts over the past decade to raise education standards. For what does excellence in education look like if it's not pupils being engaged enough on issues such as climate change to do something about them?
Rather than calling schoolchildren truants when they show up for society in a way that puts the rest of us to shame '' we should be using the strikes as a measure of school performance. In my book, any secondary school that doesn't have pupils informed enough to join the protests is underachieving. Perhaps that sounds like irresponsible, progressive nonsense. But it is fully in line with the education policies that those opposing the strikes have spent the last decade championing in schools.
Thousands of UK students strike over climate change '' videoUnder this government, the Department for Education has been zealous about the importance of promoting ''character'' in schools. This is the idea that, alongside formal learning, schoolchildren need to be developing traits such as courage, resilience, and determination in order to thrive in adult life. In lockstep with this agenda, the education sector has been near universal in its support over the past six years of a government-backed campaign to promote social action in schools as a way of building these traits and skills.
Educators had it right then. Social action '' practical action to achieve social change '' is shown to have a huge range of educational benefits for children who take part from a young age. It cultivates skills that are highly sought after by employers and aids wellbeing, while tapping into the natural motivations of young people, who care about social issues more than any other generation. This is why any truly responsible teacher out there should be supporting and encouraging their pupils to walk out of school. It is a golden learning opportunity '' for the whole school, on an issue that can be drawn into subject teaching.
The real problem with the climate strike is not a conflict between education and campaigning. Schools have been doing campaigns for decades. The problem is that this time, the children mean it '' and this time, they're doing it on their own terms. You see, politicians and grownups love the idea of young people being ''active citizens'' '' as long as it is in a way that is obedient and upholds the status quo. Get your Duke of Edinburgh award. Pick up some litter. Do it at the weekend. What they can't stomach is the idea that schoolchildren should have real power and agency on the issues they care about.
Greta Thunberg, who instigated the climate strikes, is 16 years old. Yet she has more acumen and conviction than the entire generation of adults who are supposed to be educating her. This is not how power is supposed to work. But she is not an outlier. As the director of Generation Change, I have seen primary school pupils as young as five and six debate the refugee crisis before deciding how they make a difference. I've seen teenagers on programmes such as Envision and City Year tackle social problems that politicians from all parties have failed to solve for decades. This is what education can look like when we don't have such pitifully low expectations about the role young people can play in society.
In an age where children and teenagers have the same tools of achieving change as the rest of us, we will continue to see them take up power on the big issues of our time. This leave us with a choice. We can either redesign education so that change-making is a normal part of growing up; or we can keep pushing young people to the sidelines of society and hope they'll leave things to the grownups. Given the state of the world today, why on earth would we want that?
' David Reed is director of Generation Change, a charity that promotes youth social action in the UK
U.S. Cannot Leave Paris Agreement Until Day After the 2020 Presidential Election
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:21
This story originally appeared in Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk Collaboration.
Syria announced at the global climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this week that it will sign the landmark Paris climate agreement, joining nearly 200 countries that already support the 2015 deal.
Following this announcement came nearly universal outcry that Syria's actions will leave the United States as the only country in the world not part of a global climate accord, which commits countries to ramping up action on greenhouse gas emissions. The Huffington Post splashed on its home page: ''Rogue Nation: U.S. Now Lone Paris Holdout.'' The Daily Beast claimed, ''The United States is now the only nation that is not part of the deal.'' Vox noted, ''Syria just agreed to sign the Paris climate agreement, making the U.S. the only holdout,'' and New York magazine said, ''Syria Leaves U.S. as Complete Outlier on Paris Climate Deal.''
The Paris agreement has become a perfect illustration of both the Trump administration's isolation in the world of global politics and how far afield the president is on the science. A similar flurry of attention took place in October, when Nicaragua, one of the only two holdouts at the time on the accord, said it would join.
I'm sorry, internet, but this narrative is just wrong. The U.S. is still technically part of the Paris agreement.
President Barack Obama signed and formally joined the Paris deal in 2016, arguing that Senate ratification was not required because it was not a formal treaty. As a result, the U.S. will continue to be part of the agreement until November 5, 2020, the first date President Donald Trump can formally withdraw. This just happens to coincide with the day after the next presidential election.
A country needed to take several steps to join the Paris agreement. Signing it demonstrated intent to formally join, but it was legally meaningless until the country formally ratified it. Ratification takes different forms depending on the country, and, since the Senate was never involved in ratification in the U.S., the next president could easily reverse it. At this point, 169 countries have ratified the agreement, and the others that haven't include Russia, Turkey, Colombia, Iran and Iraq, as well as some smaller nations.
For now, the U.S. is still nominally part of the accord, an awkward reality that is making for an uncomfortable situation at the ongoing climate talks in Bonn. The U.S. has sent a delegation there to hammer out what U.N. officials call the ''operating manual'' for the agreement, even though the president thinks the whole thing is a hoax.
Trump articulated his alternate reality regarding the agreement when he announced his intent to withdraw in June, saying, ''We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won't be. They won't be.''
President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on November 7. Reuters
The Trump administration's formal position is that ''the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable for our country.'' That too is a misunderstanding of the deal, because the terms were deliberately flexible and the administration has not articulated any other options that are more appealing.
Just because a country has signaled it supports the accord, however, doesn't mean it is particularly committed to fighting climate change. Each country submits a national pledge and is encouraged to do as much as it can. Only peer pressure and financial incentives might induce them to step up their ambitions.
Some countries, like Russia and Saudi Arabia, have ''critically insufficient'' commitments, according to Climate Action Tracker's analysis of these national plans. One reason these fossil-fuel-reliant nations have joined the deal is because they were given more flexibility'--and the option to make weaker commitments'--rather than comply with rigid requirements that would have collapsed under the pressure.
''It is pretty clear that President Trump has zero intention to live up to the requirements of the Paris agreement or the spirit of the agreement,'' the Natural Resources Defense Council's international director, Jake Schmidt, noted. ''President Trump is doing everything possible to undercut U.S. domestic and international climate action. His body may still be in the Paris agreement, but his spirit has left the building.''
The rest of the world, Schmidt said, needs to forget about Trump's insistence on renegotiation and instead ''do everything possible to show that President Trump's decision on the agreement has no impact.''
YangGang Producer
Listening to show 1121. I spend a lot of time on 4chan's
/pol/ Politically Incorrect http://boards.4chan.org/pol/catalog
and I can tell you Yang showed up about 2 months ago in force. It was like
night and day suddenly all this original content pictures and cartoons about
yang and a flood of pro yang pro UBI shills. The frequency of pro-Chinese posts
has also increased a lot. I guess they tired of all of the videos of poor
Chinese construction, safety standards and zero empathy towards fellow
Beto CODC story
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:23
_______________________________________________________________________________ _ _ _ _ ((___)) ((___)) [ x x ] cDc communications [ x x ] \ / presents... \ / (` ') (` ') (U) (U) Visions From The Last Crusade by Psychedelic Warlord >>> A CULT Publication......1988
O'Rourke 'not '... proud' of teenage murder fantasy writing - POLITICO
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:22
Beto O'Rourke said after an appearance at an art shop in Iowa on Friday that he was not surprised his teenage writings surfaced. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
'WASHINGTON, Iowa '-- Beto O'Rourke said Friday he is ''not '... proud'' of fiction he wrote as teenager about murdering children, while acknowledging its surfacing could hurt his campaign.
''Stuff I was part of as a teenager '... not anything that I'm proud of today,'' O'Rourke told reporters outside a meet-and-greet here. ''And I mean, that's the long and short of it.''
Story Continued Below
O'Rourke's remarks followed a report in Reuters that O'Rourke, as a young member of the computer hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow, wrote an online article about how society could work without money and, in a more disturbing missive, about killing children.
''One day, as I was driving home from work, I noticed two children crossing the street. They were happy, happy to be free from their troubles. ... This happiness was mine by right. I had earned it in my dreams,'' he wrote, according to Reuters. ''As I neared the young ones, I put all my weight on my right foot, keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor until I heard the crashing of the two children on the hood, and then the sharp cry of pain from one of the two. I was so fascinated for a moment, that when after I had stopped my vehicle, I just sat in a daze, sweet visions filling my head.''
The report, an excerpt from a forthcoming book about Cult of the Dead Cow, came as O'Rourke pushed through the second day of his presidential campaign in Iowa. He declined to reveal how much money his campaign raised in its first 24 hours, a standard marker of early support in the presidential race.
''I can't right now,'' he said, before adding, ''Let me answer better: I choose not to.''
O'Rourke raised over $80 million in his record-breaking 2018 Senate run. More than three-quarters of that money came from online donors, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission filings from ActBlue, the online fundraising platform used by O'Rourke and other Democrats.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has set the pace for first-day 2020 fundraising so far, according to his campaign, raising $6 million in 24 hours after announcing his run for the presidency. Sen. Kamala Harris' launch was the second-most lucrative so far: Her campaign says it raised over $1.5 million her first day in the race.
O'Rourke has never reached the fundraising heights that Sanders hit last month, but he did raise over $1 million online on four different days during his Senate campaign, ActBlue's filings show. And on one day, Sept. 30, O'Rourke brought in nearly $2.2 million online as interest in his run against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reached a fever pitch.
The campaign against Cruz built O'Rourke a nationwide small-donor base, but his support was concentrated in Texas, which has not traditionally been a major source of Democratic fundraising and has been largely untapped by O'Rourke's 2020 rivals '-- a potential boon for his presidential campaign, if those home-state supporters stick with him. O'Rourke took in over $30 million in online contributions just from Texas in 2017 and 2018, with an average donation of $41. His next-best states were Democratic online donor bastions: California, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and Illinois.
O'Rourke touched off a frenzied push to raise money online when he announced his candidacy on Thursday. It is unclear when he will release his initial fundraising figures, if at all, or whether he will wait for federal filing deadlines. The candidate was racing between events in eastern Iowa on Friday and was expected to remain in the state the next day.
O'Rourke said after an appearance at an art shop in Iowa on Friday that he was not surprised his teenage writings surfaced.
''I hope that as much as we can, we focus on what the really big issues are right now that people in that room care about, that I care about, that caused me and Amy to decide to enter this race.''
Asked whether the writings could hurt his campaign, he said, ''It could.''
''All I can do is my best, which is what I'm trying to do,'' O'Rourke said. ''I can't control anything that I've done in the past. I can just control what I do going forward.''
Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning '-- in your inbox.
Trump Rotation
Trump Warns: It Would Be 'Very Bad' if My Police, Biker Gang Fans Decided to Get 'Tough' on My Opponents
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:29
President Trump issued a bizarre, indirect warning Monday that his supporters could get ''tough'' on his political enemies at a ''certain point,'' in a clip of a Breitbart interview spotted Thursday by The Toronto Star. ''You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny,'' the president told Breibart's Matthew Boyle. ''I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump''I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough'--until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.''
Exclusive'--Trump: Paul Ryan Blocked Subpoenas of Democrats
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:07
President Donald Trump is not happy that former House Speaker Paul Ryan blocked subpoenas of people and entities Trump thinks the House GOP should have been investigating during the first two years of his administration.Trump told Breitbart News in an exclusive lengthy Oval Office interview that Ryan blocked issuance of subpoenas to people he thinks should have been investigated on the political left, and now that the Republicans no longer have the majority in the House, people Trump says Ryan protected may have gotten away with whatever they did that warranted investigation.
Trump said that House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and his predecessor and fellow conservative Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wanted to be tougher with the left, but that Ryan would not let them.
''Paul Ryan wouldn't give the right to have any subpoenas,'' Trump told Breitbart News. ''Okay? Now in all fairness, Meadows and Jordan and all these guys, they wanted to go tougher, but they weren't allowed to by leadership.''
Trump's comments came in a wider part of the conversation about how the left is more ''vicious'' than the right'--and that the left in American politics plays ''cuter and tougher.''
''So here's the thing'--it's so terrible what's happening,'' Trump said when asked by Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle about how the left is fighting hard. ''You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump '' I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough '-- until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress '... with all this invest[igations]'--that's all they want to do is ''you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.''
Trump's relationship with Ryan during Ryan's tenure was fraught with peril from the get-go. Ryan only hesitantly backed Trump's 2016 campaign in 2016 once Trump won the GOP nomination, but then backed off from supporting Trump after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Ryan ditched on a campaign event he had scheduled with Trump that weekend, and the following week held a conference call with House GOP members in early October 2016 in which he told members it would be acceptable to him if they abandoned the GOP nominee for president just weeks before the 2016 election.
''I am not going to defend Donald Trump'--not now, not in the future,'' Ryan said on the private call, audio of which was obtained by Breitbart News and published in early 2017.
Ryan followed through on that and never campaigned with Trump. When Breitbart News published this audio in the spring of 2017, his then-spokesman Brendan Buck claimed that ''a lot has happened since then'' and argued that Ryan was working with Trump on the president's agenda in the first couple years of his administration.
With the exception of tax cuts, however, which the president led the way on, Ryan did not deliver much in the way of helping Trump achieve any of his agenda during the time Ryan served as Speaker while Trump served as president. Ryan became speaker in 2015, when then-Speaker John Boehner'--facing a revolt from within his own GOP ranks'--was forced to step aside. Others had sought the job and failed before Ryan eventually ended up running for the position.
Prior to being Speaker, Ryan was the failed 2012 vice presidential nominee for the GOP presidential ticket of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. With Ryan at his side, Romney, who has since left Massachusetts behind to move to Utah and now represents Utah in the U.S. Senate, lost the 2012 presidential election to then-President Barack Obama.
Then in early 2018, Ryan announced he would not be seeking re-election in the midterms. Critics argued that his not stepping aside hurt the GOP in the midterm elections. Now that Ryan is gone from public life, he took a sharp shot at Trump earlier this week.
''The person who defines that race is going to win the race,'' Ryan said about the 2020 presidential race at a lecture in Florida per a local news account. ''If this is about Donald Trump and his personality, he isn't going to win it.''
Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., fired back at Ryan on Twitter earlier in the week, saying the former speaker ''failed'' in 2012, ''lied to us,'' did not deliver border wall funding he promised previously, and then went on to lose the House GOP its majority in the midterms.
Pretty rich. Mitt Romney's failed 2012 running mate, the speaker who lied to us and didn't deliver Wall funding (and then lost the house) gives advice on winning.
Paul Ryan: Trump Will Lose in 2020 if Campaign About His 'Personality' https://t.co/DbOkrV8rE4
'-- Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 12, 2019
Ryan has since walked back his criticisms of Trump's 2020 prospects, saying that he meant to blame the media.
To be clear, GOP wins elections when they're about ideas not when they're personality contests like Dems & media want. We're clearly better off because of @RealDonaldTrump. His record of accomplishment is why he'll win re-election especially when compared to Dems' leftward lurch.
'-- Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 13, 2019
Alexander Marlow is the Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart News, Matthew Boyle is the Washington Political Editor of Breitbart News, Amanda House is the Deputy Political Editor of Breitbart News, and Charlie Spiering is the Senior White House Correspondent for Breitbart News.
Trump: You wouldn't like my supporters in the military if they got angry - The Washington Post
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:22
(Jim Young) In an interview with Breitbart News, President Trump said this:
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump '-- I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough '-- until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.
The context here is a bit convoluted. Trump and his interviewer were lamenting that congressional GOP leaders supposedly didn't let Trump's loyalists use subpoena power to go after ''the left'' when the GOP held the majority.
Then Trump was asked about the tactics Democrats are using now that they're in the House majority, and that led Trump to launch into that quote. Let me isolate the key part of it for you:
I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump '' I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough '-- until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
It would be very bad, very bad.
First, take Trump's declaration that he has the support of the police and the military. Read in the most charitable way, Trump could merely mean that people in those groups tend to support him as individuals, not that he wants them to think of themselves as belonging to institutions that support him.
There's no particular reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this. But even if he did intend it in this somewhat less disgusting way, he's still saying that the ranks of his armed supporters could at some point feel provoked to violence. He doesn't say they should feel provoked, but merely that they might feel provoked under certain conditions.
This allows Trump to plausibly claim that he isn't endorsing that outcome or openly inciting it; why, he's merely observing what's possible. And it would be very bad, very bad if that did happen, let me tell you, so you'd better hope it doesn't!
Also note that Trump isn't saying one way or the other whether violence would be justified. Which means he's dangling it out there that it might be. He certainly isn't saying that it wouldn't be.
This is a trick Trump has used before. In August 2016, you may recall, Trump got pilloried for saying this about Hillary Clinton:
Hillary wants to abolish '-- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. [Pause] Although the Second Amendment people '-- maybe there is, I don't know. But I tell you what, that'll be a horrible day.
Trump didn't say gun owners should take matters into his own hands and engage in violent retaliation against Clinton if and when she tries to take their guns away. He merely suggested something might happen under those circumstances. And boy, oh boy, it would be very bad, very bad if it did, so by golly, you'd better hope that it doesn't! Also, he's here to tell them that Clinton would, in fact, try to take their guns away.
There is a long list of times in which Trump engaged in open, deliberate incitement to violence. We're merely talking now about examples in which Trump was more subtle than usual.
As Aaron Blake suggests, this kind of rhetoric at least could ''plant a seed'' in his supporters' minds that violence might reasonably occur, if they feel sufficiently ''wronged by the political process.'' And Trump regularly indulges in all kinds of lies about such wrongs, whether it's spinning ludicrous fantasies about a deep state plot to reverse the election or telling his supporters that the media is the ''enemy of the people.''
Along those lines, there's one other point that gets lost at these moments, which is that Trump has repeatedly been put on notice that his rhetoric is leading to terrible consequences. Recall that remarkable conversation between Trump and New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, in which Sulzberger urged Trump to understand that his attacks on the press '-- such as his ''enemy of the people" claim '-- are emboldening ''dictators and tyrants'' to suppress the free and independent press in multiple other countries.
Informed of this fact, Trump said: ''I'm not happy to hear that," and added that ''I want to be'' a defender of the free press. But he just can't do this, as much as he'd like to, because the press keeps provoking his attacks by unfairly criticizing him.
Needless to say, since that conversation, Trump has kept right on attacking the media as the enemy of the people. Really, this is a very lamentable state of affairs. It's really too bad that the press won't stop making him do this.
Similarly, it would be just terrible if his supporters were incited to violence by conditions not of their own making. It would be very bad, very bad. We'd better hope that doesn't happen.
Read more:
The Post's View: Trump demonizes opponents and gives license to violence. He's part of the problem.
Erik Wemple: Man in MAGA hat attacks journalist at El Paso rally
Brian Klaas: For two years, Trump has been undermining American democracy. Here's a damage report.
Erik Wemple: Sarah Sanders's towering lie
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From Eric
ITM Adam,
2 things.
I had a grandfather and a grandmother from different sides
of the family with pretty severe cases of Alzheimer's. I am no expert on the
subject but from what I observed delusion would not be out of the realm of
possibility for Alzheimer's. I would actually classify some of my grandfather's
behavior as delusional at times. Can't say whether that was the Alzheimer's
manifesting or not but that was my observation.
One of my coworkers told us about his sister that just about
died on a trip to Norway. She was traveling to northern Norway and contracted
strep throat along the way. She was kind of in the middle of nowhere and didn't
have medical attention close. Her guides told her they could take her to a
hospital a few hours away but she would have to pay the costs upfront because
she was not a citizen and she could not get any drugs, even mild over the
counter stuff, without a prescription. She ended up getting really sick to the
point of not being able to swallow water and instead of paying the hospital
there bought a flight home and went straight to the ER to save her life. Not
sure how much of this is verifiable but if it is medicare for all sounds like a
Dame 4N from B4
Hello Adam,
Listening to the latest show today, I thought I would give you some first
hand insights on living with Parkinson’s.
My late husband, a brilliant man, professor (MIT,
Stamford, Imede) and highly successful business executive (The last being AGCO)
passed away 10 years ago of this dreadful disease.
His doctors warned me of paranoia and delusions. Sadly he had both which
made the last few years difficult. Not without
many humorous moments, it
was exasperating to try to explain to him his beliefs
were untrue. This
brilliant gem of a man suffered within a world of
delusion. The drugs helped with tremors
but nothing helped his poor deluded mind.
So desperately sad.
It is a fate of the disease, seems maybe new drugs will
help alleviate some of that. Don’t get
me wrong, I am no fan of big pharma, I suffer from Placquenil retinopathy
thanks to big pharma. Overdosed by
doctors for my lupus, but what the heck, what’s life without challenges?
Excited for you and Tina with your upcoming life
changes. Major congratulations to you
Sorry we will miss you at the Atlanta meet up Thanks for
listening. Do love the show and all you
and John do.
Dame 4N Lady B4
Admissions Scam
Bono's partner charged in college fraud scandal after paying $250K to USC | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:27
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli spent $500,000 getting their two daughters into USC, according to prosecutors
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli
Actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo are among the three most well known names on the list. They have two daughters, Olivia, 20, Isabella, 19, and Mossimo also has a son from a previous relationship. It is not clear which of their children is in college.
Olivia is a YouTube star who has amounted millions of fans online but she is also enrolled at USC, as is their 19-year-old daughter Isabella.
They allegedly paid $50,000 to get their oldest daughter into USC under the guise that she was a crew coxswain when in fact she does not row crew.
Felicity Huffman is accused of paying a $15,000 bribe to get her oldest daughter Sofia into USC
Felicity Huffman
Huffman is best known for her role on Desperate Housewives.
She is married to fellow actor William H. Macy but he has not been charged in the indictment.
The pair have two daughters, Sofia, 18, and Georgia, 16.
Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to have her daughter's exam proctored by Mark Riddell.
Riddell was described by authorities as 'just a really smart guy' who would either sit tests for students, change their answers afterwards or help them actively while they took it in one of two test centers that was 'controlled' by the scheme's 'mastermind' Rick Singer.
Huffman allegedly used the scheme in December 2017 but the indictment does not specify how Riddell allegedly helped her daughter.
She considered using it for her youngest daughter, Georgia, but decided in the end that she did not need to, according to authorities.
William Rick Singer, the 'mastermind'
Rick Singer ran The Key, a college preparation business
Singer is accused of leading the scam.
He led a college counseling program and, according to prosecutors, also ran a fake charity through which he funneled bribes.
The scam worked in two ways; he would have people come into the exam to correct students' answers and he also then bribed sports coaches to offer them scholarships, in some cases for sports they did not even play.
Singer cooperated with authorities as part of the investigation and continued taking bribes after he had been contacted by police.
Some of his conversations were recorded by police who obtained a wire tap to listen in. He is facing a maximum of 65 years behind bars and has pleaded guilty on all counts he was charged with.
It remains unclear if he will be given leniency given his cooperation.
Rudolph Meredith
Meredith is a women's soccer coach at Yale. In his bio on the college's website, he is heralded as the 'winningest' coach, with 24 seasons under his belt.
Mark Riddell
Riddell is the director of IMG Academy , a college entrance exam preparation company.
Rudolph Meredith, the women's soccer coach at Yale (left) and Mark Riddell, director of IMG Academy
John Vandemoer
Vandemoer is the head sailing coach at Stanford.
Gordon Ernst
Ernst is the head of women's tennis at the University of Rhode Island.
He taught at Georgetown in the past and worked as a personal tennis coach for Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, while they were in the White House.
John Vandemoer (left) is the head sailing coach at Stanford. Gordie Ernst was Michelle Obama's private tennis coach when she was First Lady. He is now the head of women's tennis at the University of Rhode Island.
Houmayoun Zadeg
Homa H Zadeh is a professor at USC. He is the Associate Professor and Director, Advanced Education Program in Periodontology.
Michael Center
Center is the men's soccer coach at the University of Texas.
Homa H Zadeh (left) is a professor at USC. Michael Center (right) is the men's soccer coach at the University of Texas.
Donna Heinel
Heinel is the senior women's athletics director at USC. She is alleged to have accepted a $50,000 from Lori Loughlin and her husband, among others, for admitting fraudulent tests.
Laura Janke
Janke is a former assistant soccer coach at USC. She allegedly took payment from Loughlin and her husband for their youngest daughter.
Donna Heinel (left) is the senior athletic director at USC. Laura Janke (right) is a former assistant soccer coach
Ali Khosroshahin
Khosroshahin is the head women's soccer coach at USC.
Jovan Vavic
Vavic is the head coach for the men's and women's water polo teams at USC.
Ali Khosroshahin (left) is the head of women's soccer at USC and Jovan Vavic is the head of the men's and women's water polo teams at USC
Igor Dvorskiy
Dvorskiy is the president of the West Hollywood College Preparatory School and he worked at the West Hollywood Test Center where he turned a blind eye as the cheating happened for $10,000 at a time.
Niki Williams
Williams worked as a test administrator at one of the test centers Singer told parents he 'controlled'. She was a teaching assistant for Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas.
Bill McGlashan
McGlashan is a prolific private equity investor who is the founder and managing partner of the firm TPG Growth.
He is also at the helm of The Rise Fund, a social impact fund he launched with Bono.
Gregory and Marcia Abbott
New York couple Gregory and Marcia Abbott, 68 and 59, were also named.
Gregory Abbott is the founder and chairman of International Dispensing Corp., a successful food and beverage packaging company.
The couple, who have homes in New York City and Aspen, Colorado, allegedly paid a total of $125,000 to have someone take the ACT and SAT subject tests for their daughter so she could gain entrance to Duke University.
Bill McGlashan and Gregory Abbott are pictured
Gamal Abdelaziz
Abdelaziz stepped down as president and COO of Wynn Resorts in 2016.
He is accused of bribing Donna Heinel, the senior women's athletics director at USC, to recruit his daughter for the basketball team in 2017.
According to court documents, his daughter played high school basketball but was not gifted enough to get recruited as an athlete so he arranged for her to be one.
He then made a $300,000 'donation' to the fictitious charity run by 'ringleader' Rick Singer and then made monthly $20,000 payments directly to Heinel.
His daughter got into the college but never joined the basketball team, according to the documents.
In a phone call with the fixer, they said: 'I'm not going to tell the IRS anything about the fact that your $300,000 was paid to Donna-- Donna Heinel at USC to get [your daughter] into school even though she wasn't a legitimate basketball player at that level.'
Jane Buckingham
Buckingham is the owner of the now defunct market research firm, Youth Intelligence. She sold the company in 2003.
She is charged in the scheme for allegedly paying $50,000 to have someone else take her son's ACT exam in July 2018 because he had tonsilitis.
Buckingham sent a handwriting sample for her son to a test taker and had him take a fake exam at home so he wouldn't know about the fraud, court documents indicate.
Gamal Abdelaziz, the president and COO of Wynn Resorts (left) and Jane Buckingham, the owner of the now defunct market research firm Youth Intelligence
Gordon Caplan
Caplan is a financial attorney and partner at the firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. He lives in Connecticut.
He allegedly paid $75,000 to have Singer arrange a proctor to corrected his daughter's answers after she took the ACT in November or December 2018.
Robert Flaxman
Flaxman is the CEO, Co-founder, Crown Realty & Development, Inc, a real estate company based in Orange County.
Gordon Caplan (left) is a financial attorney and partner at the firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. Robert Flaxman (right) is the CEO, Co-founder, Crown Realty & Development
Agustin Huneeus
Vineyard owner Huneeus owns a range of wines that are produced in Napa Valley.
He allegedly participated in both the college entrance exam cheating scheme and the college recruitment scheme for his daughter in 2017 and 2018 by conspiring to bribe Heinel and Jovan Vavic, the USC water polo coach, to facilitate his daughter's admission to USC as a purported water polo recruit, according to the indictment.
Elisabeth Kimmel is the former president of Midwest Television. She sold it in 2017 for $325million. Agustin Huneeus, whose family owns vineyards in Napa Valley, was also charged
Elisabeth Kimmel
Lis and Manuel Henriquez
Kimmel, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the former president of Midwest Television. She sold it in 2017 for $325million.
She allegedly used the scheme to get her daughter into Georgetown and her son into USC by pretending the former was a tennis player and the latter was a pole vaulter.
Kimmel ultimately facilitated $475,000 in payments to KWF, according to the affidavit.
Toby MacFarlane
MacFarlane and his wife Christy are well known on the San Diego social and charity circuit.
He sits on the board of multiple companies and the family has their own trust but it is not exactly clear what he does.
Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez
Marjorie Klapper
Diane and Todd Blake
I-Hsin "Joey" Chen
Amy and Gregory Colburn
Marci Palatella
Peter Jan Sartorio
Stephen Semprevivo
Devin Sloane
John Wilson
Robert Zangrillo
Steven Masera
William Ferguson
Martin Fox
Jorge Salcedo
Bruce and Davina Isackson
Mikaela Sanford
David Sidoo
Michelle Janavs
Douglas Hodge
You Can't Monetize The Network
Digital Writers Union | Gimlet Media Union
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 13:15
As Spotify's reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first season of StartUp. Our union is an expression of passion for what we do, and a proactive effort to work with management to shape the future of the company. It's important for us to solidify the things that make Gimlet a great place to work, and to address whatever issues may arise.
Through collective bargaining, we will work toward a contract that includes, but is not limited to:
Consistent and transparent job descriptions and salary bands Straightforward processes for advancement and promotion Clear and fair policies around contractor employment Concrete and ambitious diversity initiatives Equitable processes for protecting employees' intellectual property Clear disciplinary, termination, and resignation policies Employee input in company decision-making To address these issues and make Gimlet Media the best workplace possible, we have formed a union with the Writers Guild of America, East. In addition to their long history of standing up for writers and creative professionals, the WGAE's more recent work organizing digital media workers makes them our best partner in navigating this rapidly changing sector. Together with management, we hope to establish a precedent for the podcasting world, and to negotiate a contract that protects workers, while maintaining Gimlet's position as an industry leader. We are asking Gimlet Media to voluntarily recognize our union, and we are excited to begin the bargaining process.
Gimlet's Union Marks a Huge Moment for the Podcast Industry
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 13:14
I've heard rumblings about this for a while, but it's officially happening: Gimlet Media's 80-plus-person editorial staff announced Wednesday morning that they are unionizing with the Writers Guild of America. Notably, the announcement comes about a month after Spotify's blockbuster acquisition of Gimlet for $230 million.
BuzzFeed News' Caroline O'Donovan published the first story on the matter this morning:
''Among the issues Gimlet's union says it plans to focus on are fair treatment of contractors, workplace diversity, employee intellectual property, and transparency around pay, promotions, and terminations.
Employees, 75% of whom signed union cards in support of the organizing campaign, are asking management to voluntarily recognize their unintuitive, which they say will include content creation roles such as producers, engineers, reporters, and hosts on both the branded and editorial sides of the company. The union will not include managers or sales and marketing staff.''
O'Donovan also points out that Gimlet is the first podcasting company to join the WGA.
Rachel Ward, a member of Gimlet's union organizing committee, tells me that organizing efforts began in earnest around November. The move was partly informed by the broader movement of unionization that's been taking place across digital media '-- which includes efforts by editorial staffs at Vice Media, The New Yorker, HuffPost, and New York magazine '-- but was also catalyzed as a response to specific concerns about the Brooklyn-based podcast company. These concerns include having clearer rules around advancement, having more transparent and equitable salary bands, and providing better benefits to contractors.
Ward also tells me that Gimlet leadership had generally been responsive to requests for improvements in the past, and that this unionization effort was largely motivated by a need for the editorial team to formalize a unified voice within the company.
The organizing effort was voluntarily put on hold in January, when staffers began hearing talk of an acquisition by Spotify. ''During that time, we decided to put a pause on recognition, because we weren't really sure what was going to happen and wanted to let the water settle around the Spotify deal,'' Ward said. With the acquisition now finalized, the committee resumed their campaign on Monday, when they sent a formal recognition request to Gimlet management.
Gimlet leadership, along with their new overseers at Spotify, now find themselves in a fascinating and perhaps sensitive situation. It isn't clear whether Spotify was aware of the organizing effort during the acquisition talks, and in the case that they weren't, whether the outcome would have been the same if they were to learn about the effort. (Spotify did not respond to BuzzFeed's request for comment by the time of publication, and I haven't gotten a response to my own request at this writing either.) As I noted in February after the acquisition was announced, this is the first time that Spotify has acquired a straight-up content company '-- and one with a sizable workforce, at that. Which brings us to the complex significance of this development: Spotify is now both a technology and a media-editorial company; in its handling of this move to unionize, which will it more resemble? (As Fast Company points out, no organizing efforts at a major technology company have been successful so far.)
What happens next will set the tone for the rest of the podcast industry. The Gimlet employee union is looking to be voluntarily recognized, which hasn't always gone smoothly in other digital-media unionizing efforts. Should Gimlet management voluntarily recognize the effort, it could spark a similar drive in other podcasting outlets. If they do not, it would likely introduce a layer of friction and complication not only among the Gimlet rank and file, but among editorial podcast teams within other publishers that will be watching this development closely.
You can find the Gimlet Media Union's full announcement statement here.
A version of this story originally ran in the Hot Pod newsletter.
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Gimlet Media Unionizes With WGA East In A First For Podcasting Industry | Deadline
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 13:11
Gimlet Media has become the first podcasting company to unionize with the WGA East. A majority of it 83 employees has agreed to sign union cards and called on management to recognize the guild as its collective bargaining rep.
Brooklyn-based Gimlet's network includes Reply All, Crimetown, The Cut, The Nod, Homecoming and Every Little Thing, and the company says its podcast are downloaded 12 million times a month. Its listener base spans more than 180 countries.
WGA East
''Podcasting is one of the most exciting new-media platforms for storytelling, and Gimlet is at the forefront of creating compelling content,'' WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said. ''We welcome the people in this field into our Guild, where we will work to ensure they are afforded rights and protections like those won by other content creators working in film, television, news and new media.''
Along with Gimlet, WGAE also represents the d-media staffs at Gizmodo, Vox Media, Vice, CBSN, HuffPost, Refinery29, Onion Inc., Thrillist, The Dodo, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, Fast Company, and Future plc.
The Gimlet Union organizing group released this statement today explaining why its staffers are unionizing:
Gimlet Media is a podcasting pioneer. As one of the first companies to recognize the potential of on-demand audio, Gimlet is on the leading edge of a growing industry. And in keeping with Gimlet's innovative ethos, we are proud to be the first podcast company to form a union.
We'--the producers, engineers, hosts, editors, and reporters'--are the people at Gimlet who make the podcasts. We come from public and commercial radio, print and digital media, the music industry, Hollywood, advertising, academia, and many other fields. We work hard to create some of the best audio in the world. Our editorial and branded teams have won numerous awards, our shows have been optioned for television and film, we have helped the company branch out into voice skills and advertising, and our listeners number in the millions. We love our work, and we're deeply invested in Gimlet's success.
As Spotify's reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first season of '‹StartUp. Our union is an expression of passion for what we do, and a proactive effort to work with management to shape the future of the company. It's important for us to solidify the things that make Gimlet a great place to work, and to address whatever issues may arise.
Through collective bargaining, we will work toward a contract that includes, but is not limited to:
Consistent and transparent job descriptions and salary bandsStraightforward processes for advancement and promotionClear and fair policies around contractor employmentConcrete and ambitious diversity initiativesEquitable processes for protecting employees' intellectual propertyClear disciplinary, termination, and resignation policiesEmployee input in company decision-makingTo address these issues and make Gimlet Media the best workplace possible, we have formed a union with the Writers Guild of America, East. In addition to their long history of standing up for writers and creative professionals, the WGAE's more recent work organizing digital media workers makes them our best partner in navigating this rapidly changing sector. Together with management, we hope to establish a precedent for the podcasting world, and to negotiate a contract that protects workers, while maintaining Gimlet's position as an industry leader. We are asking Gimlet Media to voluntarily recognize our union, and we are excited to begin the bargaining process.
Gimlet Media released the following statement:
We confirm we have received a formal notice from the WGAE union and plan to review. We have nothing further to report at this time.
Credit score in the United States - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:35
Credit score in the United States is a number representing the creditworthiness of a person, the likelihood that person will pay his or her debts.
Lenders, such as banks and credit card companies, use credit scores to evaluate the potential risk posed by lending money to consumers. Lenders allege that widespread use of credit scores has made credit more widely available and less expensive for many consumers.[1][2]
Credit scoring models [ edit ] FICO score [ edit ] The FICO score was first introduced in 1989 by FICO, then called Fair, Isaac, and Company.[3] The FICO model is used by the vast majority of banks and credit grantors, and is based on consumer credit files of the three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Because a consumer's credit file may contain different information at each of the bureaus, FICO scores can vary depending on which bureau provides the information to FICO to generate the score.
Makeup [ edit ] The approximate makeup of the FICO score used by U.S. lenders
Credit scores are designed to measure the risk of default by taking into account various factors in a person's financial history. Although the exact formulas for calculating credit scores are secret, FICO has disclosed the following components:[4][5]
35%: payment history: This is best described as the presence or lack of derogatory information. Bankruptcy, liens, judgments, settlements, charge offs, repossessions, foreclosures, and late payments can cause a FICO score to drop.30%: debt burden: This category considers a number of debt specific measurements. According to FICO there are six different metrics in the debt category including the debt to limit ratio, number of accounts with balances, amount owed across different types of accounts, and the amount paid down on installment loans.[6]15%: length of credit history aka Time in File: As a credit history ages it can have a positive impact on its FICO score. There are two metrics in this category: the average age of the accounts on a report and the age of the oldest account.10%: types of credit used (installment, revolving, consumer finance, mortgage): Consumers can benefit by having a history of managing different types of credit.[7]10%: recent searches for credit: hard credit inquiries or "hard pulls," which occur when consumers apply for a credit card or loan (revolving or otherwise), can hurt scores, especially if done in great numbers. Individuals who are "rate shopping" for a mortgage, auto loan, or student loan over a short period (two weeks or 45 days, depending on the generation of FICO score used) will likely not experience a meaningful decrease in their scores as a result of these types of inquiries, as the FICO scoring model considers all of those types of hard inquiries that occur within 14 or 45 days of each other as only one. Further, mortgage, auto, and student loan inquiries do not count at all in a FICO score if they are less than 30 days old. While all credit inquiries are recorded and displayed on personal credit reports for two years, they have no effect after the first year because FICO's scoring system ignores them after 12 months.[citation needed ] Credit inquiries that were made by the consumer (such as pulling a credit report for personal use), by an employer (for employee verification), or by companies initiating pre-screened offers of credit or insurance do not have any impact on a credit score: these are called "soft inquiries" or "soft pulls," and do not appear on a credit report used by lenders, only on personal reports. Soft inquires are not considered by credit scoring systems.[8]These percentages are based on the importance of the five categories for the general population. For particular groups '-- for example, people who have not been using credit long '-- the relative importance of these categories may be different[4].
It is noteworthy that the makeup factors are limited to the individual's past (and continuing) behavior on credit. Other financial factors such as age, employment status, asset, income, etc. are not accounted. It, however, does not prevent lenders from asking and accounting these factors for particular lending considerations.
Getting a higher credit limit can help a credit score. The higher the credit limit on the credit card, the lower the utilization ratio average for all of a borrower's credit card accounts. The utilization ratio is the amount owed divided by the amount extended by the creditor and the lower it is the better a FICO rating, in general. So if a person has one credit card with a used balance of $500 and a limit of $1,000 as well as another with a used balance of $700 and $2,000 limit, the average ratio is 40 percent ($1,200 total used divided by $3,000 total limits). If the first credit card company raises the limit to $2,000, the ratio lowers to 30 percent, which could boost the FICO rating.
There are other special factors which can weigh on the FICO score.
Any money owed because of a court judgment, tax lien, etc., carries an additional negative penalty, especially when recent.Having one or more newly opened consumer finance credit accounts may also be a negative.[9]Ranges [ edit ] There are several types of FICO credit score: classic or generic, industry-specific scores (bankcard score, auto score, mortgage score, personal finance score, and installment loan score), XD score, collection score, and NextGen score. The classic or generic FICO credit score (named FICO credit score) is between 300 and 850, and 37% of people had between 750 and 850 in 2013, and 56.8% had between 700 and 850 in 2017.[10] According to FICO, the median FICO credit score in 2006 was 723 and 711 in 2011.[11] The FICO bankcard score and FICO auto score are between 250 and 900. The FICO mortgage score and FICO score XD 2 are between 300 and 850. Higher scores indicate lower credit risk.[12]The FICO credit score lower than 620 is bad, 620-649 is poor, 650-699 is fair, 700-749 is good, and 750 and over is excellent.
Each individual actually has over 60 credit scores for the FICO scoring model because each of three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, has its own database.[citation needed ] Data about an individual consumer can vary from bureau to bureau. FICO scores have different names at each of the different credit reporting agencies: Equifax (BEACON), TransUnion (FICO Risk Score, Classic) and Experian (Experian/FICO Risk Model). There are four active generations of FICO credit scores: FICO 98 (1998), FICO 04 (2004), FICO 8 (2008), and FICO 9 (2014).[citation needed ] The FICO 95 credit score released in 1995 is no longer in use. The FICO Score XD uses alternative data and was released in 2016. Consumers can buy their FICO Score 8 for Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian from the FICO website (myFICO), and they will get some free FICO scores in that moment: FICO Bankcard Score 8, FICO Auto Score 8, FICO Score 9, FICO Auto Score 9, FICO Bankcard Score 9, and other FICO scores (1998 and 2004 versions). Consumers also can buy their FICO Score 5 (classic version of 2004) for Equifax in the website of this credit bureau, and their FICO Score 8 for Experian in its website. Other types of FICO scores cannot be obtained by individuals, only by lenders.[citation needed ] The consumers with at least a collection account have some FICO collection score (cycle 1, cycle 2 and cycle 3). Some credit cards offer a free FICO score (classic or bankcard) several times per year to their cardholders.
NextGen Risk Score [ edit ] The NextGen Score is a scoring model designed by the FICO company for assessing consumer credit risk. This score was introduced in 2001, and in 2003 the second generation of NextGen was released.[13] In 2004, FICO research showed a 4.4% increase in the number of accounts above cutoff while simultaneously showing a decrease in the number of bad, charge-off and Bankrupt accounts when compared to FICO traditional.[14] FICO NextGen score is between 150 and 950.
Each of the major credit agencies markets this score generated with their data differently:
Experian: FICO Advanced Risk ScoreEquifax: PinnacleTransUnion: FICO Risk Score NextGen ( formerly Precision )Prior to the introduction of NextGen, their FICO scores were marketed under different names:
Experian: FICO Risk ModelEquifax: BEACONTransUnion: FICO Risk Score, Classic (formerly EMPIRICA)FICO SBSS [ edit ] The FICO Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) score is used to evaluate small business credit applicants.[15] This score can evaluate the personal credit report of a business owner along with the business credit report of the business itself. Financial information of the business may be evaluated as well. The score range for the FICO SBSS score is 0-300. A higher score indicates less risk. Applications for SBA 7(a) loans for $350,000 or less will be prescreened using this score. A minimum score of 140 is needed to pass this prescreen, though most lenders require scores of 160 or less.[citation needed ]
VantageScore [ edit ] In 2006, to try to win business from FICO, the three major credit-reporting agencies introduced VantageScore, which differs from FICO in several ways.[citation needed ] According to court documents filed in the FICO v. VantageScore federal lawsuit the VantageScore market share was less than 6% in 2006. The VantageScore score methodology initially produced a score range from 501 to 990 (VantageScore 1.0 and 2.0), but VantageScore 3.0 adopted the score range of 300''850 in 2013.[16] The VantageScore 4.0 has a range of 300-850. Consumers can get free VantageScores from free credit report websites, and from some credit cards issued by Capital One, U.S. Bank, Chase Bank, TD Bank, N.A., and USAA Bank.
CE Score [ edit ] CE Score is published by CE Analytics and licensed to sites such as Community Empower and iQualifier.com. This score is distributed to 6,500 lenders through the Credit Plus network but is free to consumers. It has a range of 350 to 850.[17]
Educational credit scores [ edit ] A number of scores have been developed to help consumers understand and improve their credit score. Most were introduced before FICO began sharing details of their model and encouraging lenders to share scores with consumers. While these scores can help consumers monitor and improve their score, these scores do not replicate the FICO score and may be substantially less accurate if they use less complete data. They also assign different score ranges and rankings to consumers, which has created confusion among consumers who expect to have a single score number. Discussions on the myFICO forum and elsewhere have referred to non-FICO scores as FAKO scores.[citation needed ]
Experian has the Plus Score between 330 and 830, and Experian's National Equivalence Score ranges from 360 to 840. Equifax has the Equifax Credit Score of between 280 and 850. TransUnion New Account Score 2.0 (formerly TransRisk score) is between 300 and 850. CreditXpert offers a simulation score to estimate the impact various actions on a score range of 350 to 850.
Other credit scores [ edit ] Lenders may choose to use non-FICO credit scores to gain additional insight on consumers, especially those with limited traditional credit history who might be difficult to score. These scores may be added to the FICO score if they provide unique insights or used instead of the FICO score if they provide similar predictiveness. Most of these scores are based significantly on data not available through the national credit bureaus (alternative data), such as rental, utility, and telecom payment data or public record information such as property deeds and mortgages, liens, personal property titles, tax records, and licensing data.
The Credit Optics Score by SageStream blends traditional and alternative credit data with machine learning modeling techniques and ranges from 1 to 999. LexisNexis RiskView score, based on wide-ranging public records, ranges from 501 to 900. CoreLogic Credco reports on property related public records and its Anthem Credit Score ranges from 325 to 850. PRBC allows consumers to self-enroll and report their own non-debt payment history. The PRBC alternative credit score range is 100 to 850. There are also scores like ChexSystems designed for financial account verification services ranging from 100 to 899. The L2C (Link2Credit) score by L2C, Inc. ranges from 300 to 850. Scorelogix LLC offers the JSS Credit Score, which assesses credit risk based on job history, income, and the impact of economy.
Free annual credit report [ edit ] As a result of the FACT Act (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act), each legal U.S. resident is entitled to a free copy of his or her credit report from each credit reporting agency once every twelve months.[18] The law requires all three agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, to provide reports. These credit reports do not contain credit scores from any of the three agencies. The three credit bureaus run Annualcreditreport.com, where users can get their free credit reports. Non-FICO credit scores are available as an add-on feature of the report for a fee. This fee is usually $7.95, as the FTC regulates this charge through the Fair Credit Reporting Act.[19]
Non-traditional uses of credit scores [ edit ] Credit scores are often used in determining prices for auto and homeowner's insurance. Starting in the 1990s, the national credit reporting agencies that generate credit scores have also been generating more specialized insurance scores, which insurance companies then use to rate the insurance risk of potential customers.[20][21] Studies indicate that the majority of those who are insured pay less in insurance through the use of scores.[22][23] These studies point out that people with higher scores have fewer claims.
In 2009, TransUnion representatives testified before the Connecticut legislature about their practice of marketing credit score reports to employers for use in the hiring process. Legislators in at least twelve states introduced bills, and three states have passed laws, to limit the use of credit check during the hiring process.[24]
Criticism [ edit ] Credit scores are widely used because they are inexpensive and largely reliable, but they do have their failings.
Easily gamed [ edit ] Because a significant portion of the FICO score is determined by the ratio of credit used to credit available on credit card accounts, one way to increase the score is to increase the credit limits on one's credit card accounts.[25]
Not a good predictor of risk [ edit ] Some have blamed lenders for inappropriately approving loans for subprime applicants, despite signs that people with poor scores were at high risk for not repaying the loan. By not considering whether the person could afford the payments if they were to increase in the future, many of these loans may have put the borrowers at risk of default.[26]
Some banks have reduced their reliance on FICO scoring. For example, Golden West Financial (which merged with Wachovia Bank in 2006) abandoned FICO scores for a more costly analysis of a potential borrower's assets and employment before giving a loan.[27]
According to the experts at MyFico.com,[28] credit scores are enhanced by having multiple credit cards, the use of credit cards, and having installment loans. However, financially secure individuals who do not use multiple credit cards and/or self-finance installment type expenses may be inaccurately assessed a lower credit score.[29]
Use in employment decisions [ edit ] Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and their trade association (the Consumer Data Industry Association or "CDIA") have all gone on record saying that employers do not receive credit scores on the credit reports sold for the purposes of employment screening.[citation needed ] The use of credit reports for employment screening is allowed in all states, although some have passed legislation limiting the practice to only certain positions. Eric Rosenberg, director of state government relations for TransUnion, has also stated that there is no research that shows any statistical correlation between what's in somebody's credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud.[30]
Other concerns [ edit ] The use of credit information in connection with applying for various types of insurance or in landlord background checks has drawn similar amounts of scrutiny and criticism. This is because the activities of finding secure employment, renting suitable accommodation and securing insurance are the basic functions of meaningful participation in modern society, and in the case of some types of auto insurance for instance, are mandated by law.[31]
See also [ edit ] Credit historyCredit bureauComparison of free credit report websitesBankruptcy risk scoreCredit scorecardsAlternative dataSeasoned tradelineReferences [ edit ] ^ Report to the Congress on credit scoring and its effects on the availability and affordability of credit ^ An overview of consumer data and credit reporting ^ "Our History - FICO". FICO. ^ a b "How Are Credit Scores Calculated? Learn What Affects Your Credit Score". myFICO.com . Retrieved 2010-01-19 . ^ Dayana Yochim. "How Lenders Keep Score". TheMotleyFool. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15 . Retrieved 2008-02-29 . ^ "Amounts Owed '' How It Impacts Your Score". Archived from the original on 2016-10-17 . Retrieved 23 October 2016 . ^ Is Paying Off the Mortgage Good for Our Credit? CREDIT CARDS Q&A By Joan Goldwasser, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, October 2008 ^ "What are inquiries and how do they affect my FICO score?". myFICO. ^ "Hold Off on Opening New Credit Cards" 12''09''07 Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine ^ Credit Score Information: About FICO Scores '' myFICO.com ^ "New Mortgages Worry Regulators" The Washington Post, June 10, 2006 ^ "What Is the Range for Credit Scores?" NerdWallet, October 28, 2016 ^ "FICO® NextGen Risk Scores" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-21 . Retrieved 2016-01-05 . ^ "FICO NextGen Score". FICO. Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. ^ "FICO® Small Business Scoring Service | FICO®". FICO® | Decisions . Retrieved 2017-04-10 . ^ "VantageScore". VantageScore.com . Retrieved 2010-01-19 . ^ "How to get a free credit score". Bankrate.com . Retrieved 2011-06-26 . ^ "Annual Credit Report.com - Home Page" . Retrieved 23 October 2016 . ^ "Fair Credit Reporting Act". ^ Credit-based insurance scores: Impacts on consumers of automobile insurance Archived 2009-05-11 at the Wayback Machine A Report to Congress by the Federal Trade Commission July 2007 ^ No evidence of disparate impact in Texas due to use of credit information by personal lines insurers Dr. Robert P. Hartwig in January, 2005. Insurance Information Institute ^ Allstate Insurance Company's additional written testimony July 23, 2002 [dead link ] ^ Use and impact of credit in personal lines insurance premiums pursuant to Ark. code Ann. §23-67-415 Archived 2009-05-21 at the Wayback Machine (September 1, 2006) '' A report to the legislative council and the Senate and House committees on insurance and commerce of the Arkansas General Assembly (as required by Act 1452 of 2003) ^ "As a Hiring Filter, Credit Checks Draw Questions", The New York Times, April 9, 2010 ^ "Credit Scores: Not-So-Magic Numbers" Business Week, Feb. 7, 2008. ^ Credit scores didn't fail in screening applicants for subprime loans Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine(April 7, 2008)By PAMELA YIP / The Dallas Morning News ^ "Credit Scores: Not-So-Magic Numbers" Business Week, Feb. 7, 2008. Archived 2009-01-23 at the Wayback Machine ^ "Improve Credit Score: Tips to Fix Poor Credit & Raise Your FICO Score - myFICO". www.myfico.com. ^ "How Payment History Impacts Your Credit Score - myFICO". www.myfico.com. ^ "Millions Need Not Apply" New York Times, May 29, 2011. ^ Legislatures, National Conference of State. "Use of Credit Information in Insurance 2011 Legislation" . Retrieved 23 October 2016 . External links [ edit ] "Credit Scores: What You Should Know About Your Own", by Malgorzata Wozniacka and Snigdha Sen (November 2004). Frontline. PBS.
VantageScore - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:35
VantageScore is a consumer credit-scoring model, created through a joint venture of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). The model is managed and maintained by an independent company, VantageScore Solutions, LLC, that was formed in 2006 and is jointly owned by the three bureaus.[1]
VantageScore models compete with the credit scoring models produced by Fair Isaac Corp. FICO.[2][3] Like the models developed by FICO, VantageScore models operate on data stored in the consumer credit files maintained by the three national credit bureaus. VantageScore models and FICO models use statistical analysis on those data to predict the likelihood a consumer will default on a loan. VantageScore and FICO models represent risk of loan default in the form of three-digit scores, with higher scores indicating lower risk. VantageScore and FICO use different, proprietary analytical methods, and scores from one system cannot be translated into one from the other.
VantageScore vs FICO score [ edit ] VantageScore and FICO are developers of competing credit scoring models. FICO, the original creator of the FICO Score, was not involved with the creation of VantageScore's formula.[4]
VantageScore, FICO and the credit bureaus have allowed the public to know some information about the credit score categories and the corresponding calculation weights. FICO allows consumers to get their generic or classic FICO score for Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax through the myFICO website. Consumers can get their VantageScores from free credit report websites, and TransUnion and Experian offer VantageScores to consumers for a fee through their websites.[5]
In contrast with FICO's credit scoring models, which are custom-built for each of the three national credit bureaus, to accommodate structural differences in the bureaus' databases, VantageScore model design allows a single model to operate on all three bureaus' data.[6] VantageScore Solutions holds several patents on processes that ensure pieces of data within each bureau's consumer database will be treated identically, regardless of differences in database structure.[7][8][9][10] These methods eliminate much, but not all, discrepancy in VantageScore scores obtained at the same time from different credit bureaus. Some variation is unavoidable because factors such as the timing of lenders' payment-information reports can mean the contents of a given consumer's credit file will differ somewhat at each of the three credit bureaus.[11]
The first two VantageScore models (VantageScore 1.0, issued in 2006, and VantageScore 2.0, released in 2010) used a scale range of 501 to 990, and assigned letter grades to various bands within that range, according to TransUnion:
A: 900''990B: 800''899C: 700''799D: 600''699F: 501''599VantageScore 3.0, the version of the model released in 2013, adopted a scale of 300 to 850.[12] VantageScore attributed the change, which matches the scale range used by FICO models, to the fact that consumers were more familiar with it than with the original VantageScore range, and because a 300-850 scale would make it easier for lenders to incorporate the VantageScore into automated systems.[13]
VantageScore 4.0 was released in mid-2017, and contains many updates from 3.0.[14] For example, version 4.0 weights medical accounts reported "in collection" less heavily than non-medical collection accounts. Paid collection accounts of any type are not factored into the score; this is a major difference from FICO, since most versions of FICO count any collection account into the score, paid or unpaid. VantageScore 4.0 also looks at trended data provided by the credit bureau from which the score is calculated, and examines a consumer's credit utilization rates over time. This is a major development in credit scores since other models to date (including older versions of VantageScore and all existing versions of FICO) only examine the most recently reported billing cycle. So, for example, if a consumer's credit card often reports at or near the credit limit, but the consumer paid his/her balance recently and it now reflects a $0 balance, most credit scores would look only at the current $0 balance when calculating utilization rates. However, the makers of VantageScore 4.0 believe it is more accurate to look at the consumer's utilization rates over a period of time. This may help or hurt a consumer, depending on their situation. A consumer who has historically used very little of their credit but makes a large one-time purchase and shows a high balance at the time the score is calculated would score better under VantageScore 4.0 than, say, FICO 8, which looks only at the most current billing cycle information.
See also [ edit ] Alternative dataComparison of free credit report websitesCredit bureauEquifaxExperianTransUnionCredit scoreCredit score in the United StatesReferences [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Official VantageScore Web Site
What Credit Karma Won't Tell You About Their 'Free' Credit Score Offer '' Len Penzo dot Com
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:33
With over 60 million users, the masses have flocked to see their free credit score on Credit Karma. On the surface this seems like a good thing, and it is '-- for the credit bureaus!
Although no money changes hands for using Credit Karma, it is far from free. Once you understand the downside of using their app or even signing up, you'll realize it's quite fitting that ''karma'' is in their name.
A quick Google search reveals that Credit Karma is partnered with TransUnion and Equifax. These two companies rake in tons of money by gathering information about you, and then selling it to banks, lenders, employers and others.
The best thing about you choosing to use Credit Karma is this: TransUnion and Equifax don't have to seek out information about your personal credit situation because you download their shiny little app and then proceed to volunteer answers to all kinds of detailed financial questions about yourself. To put this another way, you willingly put your personal finance info into their grubby little hands, which can then be used against you later. What a great deal, right?
The trojan horse, so to speak, is that many people don't realize that the credit bureaus have little tricks to get you to validate your own debt! Here is one example of the validation process they use (click to enlarge):
You must answer this question correctly to even get a Credit Karma account; it's basically asking you to admit to a debt. Good look disputing it after you answer the question.
So remember, when you see the words ''free credit report,'' it really means ''free information for the credit bureaus.''
Now, here's the final kick in the teeth if you use Credit Karma: the product you receive is basically worthless! They'll send you this really cool number and call it your credit score. However, the score means nothing and here's why: every bank and lender uses the FICO Scoring System. When it comes to credit scores, FICO is the industry standard. But Credit Karma, and other free credit scoring companies, use what is called VantageScore. It's a scoring system designed by the credit bureaus to provide a quick ballpark-estimate '-- but it is not accurate.
In the credit scoring industry, VantageScore is known as a ''FAKO'' score.
Unfortunately, the FICO Scoring System was set up to service the banks '-- not consumers. FICO is not a credit bureau, but a standalone company that sells credit scoring software to a wide range of creditors and bureaus. Today over 90% of all lenders use the FICO scoring system to determine your ability to pay back a debt. Quite frankly, your FICO score is the only credit score that matters.
Let me repeat that: Your FICO score is the only score that matters.
The following complaint to ConsumerAffairs from ''Leah of Memphis, TN'' offers one example of the issues you can run into by relying on Credit Karma's credit scores:
I have been using Credit Karma diligently for two years now, working so hard to rebuild my credit to accomplish my goals. Finally, I made it to excellent status of 753 and 751. So when we decided to move forward on an adoption and went to get a HELOC loan, the credit report the bank pulled was '... get this: 666! Why on earth should I use a service that gives me THIS VASTLY INACCURATE information??? The bank representative said that the service was OK to peek at every now and then, but to definitely not rely on it. Use your annual free report instead. Wow. I'm out!
As for Credit Karma's Better Business Bureau grade, it's currently an F '-- so it doesn't look like many people are having a good experience with the Credit Karma app, or any free credit scoring company.
Don't waste your time!
***About the Author: Sean Strauss is the creator and lead writer for Fico Wars, where this article was originally published. Having worked many years with Equifax as a manager, Sean has the knowledge and experience to help people struggling with their credit and FICO scores by using important key information he learned at the credit bureau. Follow Sean on Facebook or contact him at FicoWars@gmail.com.
Photo Credit: ispot.tv
Why Credit Karma Is Free and How It Makes Money
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:26
Smart consumers know their credit score affects their ability to get a loan, their mortgage rates, credit card approvals and even a job or housing application. So it's a good habit to review your credit report and score frequently '' not only for accuracy but also to identify ways to could improve your score.
Federal law mandates that everyone has the right to one free credit report from each of the big three credit-reporting companies '' Equifax, Experian and TransUnion '' every 12 months. To obtain a copy, consumers have to apply through AnnualCreditReport.com, the official credit-report site. But these reports don't include your credit score, which is an important financial figure everyone should know. In the past, the only way to obtain it was by purchasing the score directly from each agency, which often came at a hefty price.
But now, Credit Karma, a San Francisco''based company founded in 2007, has shaken things up by offering free, ongoing access to your credit scores and reports from TransUnion and Equifax. You sign up with creditkarma.com and do not have to register a credit card as is often the case with other sites.
Once you're a member, you can track your credit as often as you like. Credit Karma also provides free online tools and information to help you understand your score. The service also provides personalized tips to improve your score, including reducing your credit utilization or improving your on-time payments.
Why Make All This Free? Credit Karma has made transparency central to its business model. The company aims to demystify credit for the average person and make it easy to understand.
''The company was founded with the belief that consumers should have access to their data for free,'' according to a spokesperson. ''After all, it is their data, and they're judged by it in nearly every facet of their lives.''
Another part of the mission is helping people understand their own financial health.
''Scores were built for lenders and statisticians,'' Credit Karma founder and CEO Ken Lin said. ''Consumers were not the intended audience.''
So What's the Business Model? Since Credit Karma is a for-profit business and not a charity, how does it make money? Rest assured, it is not selling the information you share in order to get your credit reports from its site. According to the company website, its revenues come from tailored, targeted advertising by financial companies on creditkarma.com. Its business model is based on finding a win for everyone '' the consumer, the financial institutions that advertise products and Credit Karma's own bottom line.
Credit Karma has more than 80 million members as of Oct. 2018, the most recently-available statistic. It has the ability to do robust analysis and use algorithms to select relevant ads for specific people. To financial advertisers, this means the site is better able to match them with consumers who are more likely to use their services. Credit Karma gets paid for this lead generation based on agreements with its financial advertising partners.
Here's How It Works By accessing your credit reports, Credit Karma suggests credit products based on your current history. It also uses your credit score and history to determine which products '-- credit cards, loans, insurance, and other banking products '' come with high approval odds.
''If you take advantage of that opportunity, we should make money, you should save money, and the bank should get a new customer,'' Lin said in a December 2014 Reddit Q&A. ''The loser in the equation was that bank that was charging too much.''
The Bottom Line Credit Karma is an online personal-finance platform that promises to take the guesswork out of credit. It allows you to monitor your credit reports and scores for free and offers other tools and services based on your profile. The company gets compensated by matching consumers with tailored product ads that are based on their credit profile and the likelihood that they will be approved.
Credit Karma - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:21
Credit Karma, Inc.PrivateIndustryPersonal finance, Software, Financial technologyFoundedMarch 8, 2007 ; 12 years ago ( 2007-03-08 ) FoundersKenneth LinRyan GracianoNichole MustardHeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.Key people
Kenneth Lin (Founder and CEO) , Ryan Graciano (CTO and Co-Founder) , Nichole Mustard (CRO and Co-Founder) ProductsCredit scores, credit reports, credit monitoring, tax preparationRevenue$370 million (2015), Over $500 million (2016)[1]Number of employees
700[2]Website creditkarma.com Credit Karma is an American multinational personal finance company, founded on March 8, 2007,[3] by Kenneth Lin, Ryan Graciano and Nichole Mustard.[4] It is best known as a free credit and financial management platform, but its features also include free tax preparation, monitoring of unclaimed property databases[5] and a tool to identify and dispute credit report errors.[6]
All of Credit Karma's services are free to consumers.[7] Revenue from targeted advertisements for financial products offsets the costs of its free products and services. Credit Karma earns revenue from lenders, who pay the company when Credit Karma successfully recommends customers to the lenders.[8]
Products and services [ edit ] Credit Karma provides free credit scores and credit reports from national credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax, alongside daily credit monitoring from TransUnion.[9] Users can see updates to their credit scores and credit reports on Credit Karma once a week.[10]
Credit Karma also provides credit tools, such as a Credit Score Simulator, which simulates the effect of potential financial actions on a user's credit score;[11] and tailored financial recommendations based on each individual user's credit profile.
In addition to its free credit reports and tools, Credit Karma offers a My Spending Tool through account aggregation service Yodlee, which allows users to track their banking, credit card and loan balances and transactions within Credit Karma. Credit Karma also hosts user forums and financial product reviews and financial calculator tools.
In 2015, Credit Karma began its "My Money Story" campaign, in which the company encouraged customers to share their experiences on often taboo financial matters openly with the world using the social media hashtag "#MyMoneyStory". The company produced several short films about individuals and their personal financial experiences.[12]
In December 2016, Credit Karma announced Credit Karma Tax, its tax preparation online service that allows most Americans to file their federal and state taxes at no cost.[13] On June 28, 2017, the company announced it filed 1 million tax returns in its debut tax season in six months.[14]
On May 9, 2017, Credit Karma launched Unclaimed Money in seven states. The product that helps users find unclaimed money, such as unclaimed refunds and insurance payouts.[15]
Acquisitions [ edit ] 2015 [ edit ] On December 30, 2015, Credit Karma acquired mobile notifications app developer Snowball for an undisclosed amount.[16]
2016 [ edit ] On December 7, 2016, Credit Karma acquired AFJC Corporation, owner of OnePriceTaxes.com.[17]
In 2016, Credit Karma acquired money reclamation service Claimdog.[18]
2018 [ edit ] On March 14, 2018, Credit Karma acquired personal finance company Penny for an undisclosed amount.[19]
On August 16, 2018, Credit Karma acquired mortgage platform Approved for an undisclosed amount.[20]
Founder and investors [ edit ] Kenneth Lin, who previously founded Multilytics Marketing and worked with E-Loan and Upromise,[21] launched Credit Karma in 2007, with the website going live in February 2008.[22] Early investors include Chris Larson, CEO of Prosper, and Mark Lefanowicz, former president of E-Loan.[23]
In November 2009, Credit Karma closed a $2.5 million Series A funding round led by QED Investors with participation from SV Angel, Felicis Ventures and Founders Fund.[24] In 2013, Credit Karma secured $30 million in Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital and Susquehanna Growth Equity.[25] In March 2014, Credit Karma raised $85 million in Series C financing, led by Google Capital with participation from Tiger Global Management and existing investors.[26] The company followed that with $75 million in follow on funding in September 2014 from Google Capital, Tiger Global Management and Susquehanna Growth Equity.[27]
As of 2015, Credit Karma has raised $368.5 million in financing, at a valuation of $3.5 billion.[28]
See also [ edit ] Credit score in the United StatesComparison of free credit monitoring websitesReferences [ edit ] ^ "Why Credit Karma loves taxes" . Retrieved 30 June 2017 . ^ "Credit Karma touts $500 million in revenues" . Retrieved 30 June 2017 . ^ "CREDIT KARMA, INC. :: OpenCorporates". opencorporates.com . Retrieved 2018-12-25 . ^ "About Credit Karma | Credit Karma". www.creditkarma.com . Retrieved 2017-03-24 . ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Credit Karma now helps users find unclaimed cash". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2017-05-09 . ^ Popper, Nathaniel (2016-12-07). "Automated Assistants Will Soon Make a Bid for Your Finances". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-03-24 . ^ Vance, Ashlee (2014-07-30). "A Free Credit Report With No Strings Attached. Honest". Bloomberg Businessweek . Retrieved 2014-11-04 . ^ "How it Works". Credit Karma. Archived from the original on 2016-09-16 . Retrieved 2016-09-21 . If you get a product through one of our recommendations, the bank or lender pays us. ^ Basia, Hellwig (2015-02-02). "Why Credit Karma Is Free & How It Makes Money". Investopedia . Retrieved 2015-04-03 . ^ Free score providers | VantageScore Solutions ^ Kim, Jane J. (2009-10-08). "Credit Scores: Can You Get Them Free?". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660 . Retrieved 2017-05-09 . ^ "My Money Story Series: Credit Karma Talks Finances, Credit and Debt | Webinar Recap". Kabbage. 28 April 2016 . Retrieved 10 July 2018 . ^ Lin, Kenneth. "A Holiday Gift from Credit Karma: Don't Pay for Filing Your Taxes Ever Again". Credit Karma . Retrieved 22 December 2016 . ^ "Credit Karma's Lin: The Goal Is To Make Financial Services Frictionless". CB Insights - Blog. 2017-06-28 . Retrieved 2017-06-30 . ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Credit Karma now helps users find unclaimed cash". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2 June 2017 . ^ "Credit Karma Acquires Innovative Mobile Notifications Startup Snowball". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2018-08-16 . ^ Rudegeair, Peter (2016-12-07). "Credit Karma Hopes to Score on Tax Preparation". WSJ . Retrieved 2018-08-16 . ^ "Credit Karma now helps users find unclaimed cash". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2018-08-16 . ^ "Credit Karma has acquired an instant message bot, Penny, that helps people track their spending". Recode . Retrieved 2018-08-16 . ^ "Credit Karma acquires mortgage platform Approved". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2018-08-16 . ^ " " Kenneth Lin", LinkedIn". ^ Kincaid, Jason (2009-11-04). "Credit Karma Raises $2.5 Million To Take The Mystery Out Of Credit Scores". TechCrunch . Retrieved 4 April 2015 . ^ Levinson, Rick (2009-06-09). "Credit Karma Introduces Free Credit-Card, Debt-Tracking Tool". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on 2012-01-12 . Retrieved 2009-07-27 . ^ Kincaid, Jason (2009-11-04). "Credit Karma Raises $2.5 Million To Take The Mystery Out Of Credit Scores". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2012-01-12 . Retrieved 2010-09-02 . ^ "Credit Karma Secures $30 Million In Series B Funding". Credit Karma. 2013-04-02 . Retrieved 2014-11-04 . ^ Shieber, Jonathan (2014-03-12). "Credit Karma Confirms New $85M Financing Round Led By Google Capital". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2014-05-21 . ^ Perez, Sarah. "Free Consumer Credit Monitoring Company Credit Karma Raises $75M, Now Valued At Over $1 Billion". TechCrunch . Retrieved 2017-10-11 . ^ Sharf, Samantha. "Credit Karma Raises $175 Million At $3.5 Billion Valuation". Forbes . Retrieved June 1, 2015 . External links [ edit ] CreditKarma.com Official Site
The clip on the latest
show saying GPS timestamps are used in banking transactions is BS. My wife and
I both have worked as software engineers in the banking industry for major
banks and I have never heard of such a thing. All of the banks use old
mainframes from the 70s or 80s for their system of record. The interfaces are
old green screen terminals, not GPS enabled.
I actually worked on a
project to automate the financial reconciliation team's work using VBScript
(barf!). The payments tracked through the green screen only capture month, day,
and year, no time component at all. If a customer made multiple payments in a
single day you could never truly associate the payment on the system to the
specific deposit into the account. The best we could do was aggregate the
totals for the day per account and make sure they matched. If they didn't match
a person had to go research which payments were recieved and which were not,
put it into an Excel spreadsheet, and upload it into another system to get it
resolved. #AI #MachineLearning
We ended up having to do
work arounds like creating VBScript macros for people to use to enter payments
so the timestamp could be added as text in comment messages through the green
screen. The timestamps then had to be parsed out of the comments for the
"automated" reconciliation. People didn't always use the macro and
sometimes the VBScript would just die without a reason which made it impossible
to automate.
Thank you.
Native 5G ad
Hello Adam,
Duh it was an native ad for 5G that will provide time syncro and
positioning without satellites.
How do satellites track time? ATOMIC CLOCKS
Banks do sync their time over the internet or GPS with atomic
clocks because if the time is 5 min off all crypto will fail.
They are afraid to sync over the internet because if a hacker
could change the time they will be down (denial of service)
Many data centers did install a GPS antenna to sync the time but
also have a backup time source.
Of course are transactions not protected by the time stamp
otherwise I didn't have to come to work every day!
This is what banks face today: Bangladesh Central Bank
Here an inside Amazon arrived in Luxembourg and Banks are saying
Amazon will play a role in the banking sector because they can offer cheap
services to banks (clearing) because of the huge volumes of transactions they
have. So start thinking about Amazon as a bank. Today they already
transfer money in every country in the world between accounts. What prevents
them to transfer money from your account to your daughter in Europe and bypass
the central banks?
Thanks for the great show it helps me thru my long compute 220km
from Belgium to Luxembourg and back every day.
Combo of Services
Hi Crackpot & Buzzkill,
This is an area where I actually know quite a bit. I am the
Meinberg dealer for Australia & NZ. IMO Meinberg makes the best timing
technology in the world.
Accurate timing is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL for modern stock
trading, networking, broadcast, and communications. GPS is the most common
source of time. You quoted someone saying "All financial transactions are
time stamped by GPS". This is correct in spirit, but is technically not
There are 4 main satellite constellations available. GPS,
GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou. There are other radio technology time sources like
DCF77. In most cases these technologies are used to synchronize an oscillator
in a time server. This time server is then used to provide accurate time to
Regarding GPS, there are 24 satellites, you need 4 in sight
in order to get the correct time. taking one out would politically be like
dropping a nuke on a city. it will only happen in the event of WW3. GPS
spoofing is pretty much not a problem. The time servers have algorithms for
detecting this.
I sold the time server system that is used by the ASX
(Australian stock exchange). They have a mesh of redundant time servers that
provide PTP services (IEEE 1588, very high accuracy network time). These are
synchronized off a master reference clock that can continue to provide accurate
time for about a week in the event of satellite loss. The DOD use Rubidium
oscillators that will have accurate time for about a month, and provide NTP
level accuracy for a year.
In the event of Apocalyptic loss of all time sources. It
will limit or slow down international or long distance trading. But so long as
everything is using a local authoritative source, it doesn't matter.
Dvorak is correct, ISDN is a piece of shit.
Dude named Ned, Knight of the convict broadcasts.
Y2K Comparison
Hi guys,
When I mentioned that Y2K was an example of an overblown
flop that many were alarmed about before hand, I got this response that I
thought I would share with you:
As someone who worked on a couple of large scale Y2K
mitigation projects for fairly big organisations, I am compelled to say this:
The problem was discerned and scoped (and there
definitely was a problem). Plans were designed, tested, and then implemented.
Those implementations ensured that the bulk of computer systems affected by the
Year 2000 bug were either fixed so that the bug was removed or mitigated
against, or those systems were upgraded or wholly replaced.
Problem. Solution. Implementation.
Y2K did not cause catastrophe not because there wasn’t a
problem to begin with, but because a very large number of people and
organisations threw themselves at the highly visible problem, and sorted it out.
To casually dismiss what was a herculean effort unheard of previously in IT
industries, just because it didn’t fail, is just ridiculous.
And to say “the only thing that happened” with a flippant
tag at the end is ridiculous; the benefits of the mass upgrades that took place
were spectacular. A large number of legacy systems were removed, bringing many
organisations’ technology stacks right up to date for the time.
GPS disciplined oscillator - Wikipedia
Sun, 10 Mar 2019 23:11
A GPS clock, or GPS disciplined oscillator (GPSDO), is a combination of a GPS receiver and a high-quality, stable oscillator such as a quartz or rubidium oscillator whose output is controlled to agree with the signals broadcast by GPS or other GNSS satellites.[1][2]GPSDOs work well as a source of timing because the satellite time signals must be accurate in order to provide positional accuracy for GPS in navigation. These signals are accurate to nanoseconds and provide a good reference for timing applications.[3][4]
A GPS disciplined oscillator unit with a GPS antenna input, 10 MHz and 1 pulse-per-second (PPS) outputs, and an
RS232 interface.
Applications [ edit ] GPSDOs serve as an indispensable source of timing in a range of applications, and some technology applications would not be practical without them.[5]GPSDOs are used as the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) around the world. UTC is the official accepted standard for time and frequency. UTC is controlled by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). Timing centers around the world use GPS to align their own time scales to UTC.[6][7]GPS based standards are used to provide synchronization to wireless base stations[8] and serve well in standards laboratories as an alternative to cesium-based references.[3]
GPSDOs can be used to provide synchronization of multiple RF receivers, allowing for RF phase coherent operation among the receivers[9] and applications, such as passive radar and ionosondes.[10]
Operation [ edit ] A GPSDO works by disciplining, or steering a high quality quartz or rubidium oscillator by locking the output to a GPS signal via a tracking loop. The disciplining mechanism works in a similar way to a phase-locked loop (PLL), but in most GPSDOs the loop filter is replaced with a microcontroller that uses software to compensate for not only the phase and frequency changes of the local oscillator, but also for the "learned" effects of aging, temperature, and other environmental parameters.[3][11]
One of the keys to the usefulness of a GPSDO as a timing reference is the way it is able to combine the stability characteristics of the GPS signal and the oscillator controlled by the tracking loop. GPS receivers have excellent long-term stability (as characterized by their Allan deviation)[7] at averaging times greater than several hours. However, their short-term stability is degraded by limitations of the internal resolution of the one pulse per second (1PPS) reference timing circuits, signal propagation effects such as multipath interference, atmospheric conditions, and other impairments. On the other hand, a quality oven-controlled oscillator has better short-term stability but is susceptible to thermal, aging, and other long-term effects. A GPSDO aims to utilize the best of both sources, combining the short-term stability performance of the oscillator with the long-term stability of the GPS signals to give a reference source with excellent overall stability characteristics.[12]
GPSDOs typically phase-align the internal flywheel oscillator to the GPS signal by using dividers to generate a 1PPS signal from the reference oscillator, then phase comparing this 1PPS signal to the GPS-generated 1PPS signal and using the phase differences to control the local oscillator frequency in small adjustments via the tracking loop.[13] This differentiates GPSDOs from their cousins NCOs (numerically controlled oscillator). Rather than disciplining an oscillator via frequency adjustments, NCOs typically use a free-running, low-cost crystal oscillator and adjust the output phase by digitally lengthening or shortening the output phase many times per second in large phase steps assuring that on average the number of phase transitions per second is aligned to the GPS receiver reference source. This guarantees frequency accuracy at the expense of high phase noise and jitter, a degradation that true GPSDOs do not suffer.
When the GPS signal becomes unavailable, the GPSDO goes into a state of holdover, where it tries to maintain accurate timing using only the internal oscillator.
Sophisticated algorithms are used to compensate for the aging and temperature stability of the oscillator while the GPSDO is in holdover.[14]
The use of Selective Availability (SA) prior to May 2000 restricted the accuracy of GPS signals available for civilian use and in turn presented challenges to the accuracy of GPSDO derived timing. The turning off of SA resulted in a significant increase in the accuracy that GPSDOs can offer.[15]GPSDOs are capable of generating frequency accuracies and stabilities on the order of parts per billion for even entry-level, low-cost units, to parts per trillion for more advanced units within minutes after power-on, and are thus one of the highest-accuracy physically-derived reference standards available.
References [ edit ] External links [ edit ] GPS Disciplined 10MHz OscillatorGPS Disciplined Oscillator ModulesDisciplined Oscillator ModuleManufacturers of Time and Frequency ReceiversA Simplified GPS-Derived Frequency StandardGPS synchronized 10MHz oscillator
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Morris Dees, a Co-Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Is Ousted - The New York Times
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 04:27
Image Morris Dees, a founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was fired by the organization on Thursday. Credit Credit Richard Shotwell/Invision, via Associated Press The Southern Poverty Law Center said Thursday that it had fired its co-founder and chief trial lawyer, Morris Dees, after nearly a half-century, during which he helped build the organization into a fearsome powerhouse that focused on hate crimes and with an endowment that approached half a billion dollars.
The group's president, Richard Cohen, did not give a specific reason for the dismissal of Mr. Dees, 82, on Wednesday. But Mr. Cohen said in a statement that as a civil-rights group, the S.P.L.C. was ''committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world.''
''When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action,'' Mr. Cohen said.
Mr. Cohen's statement suggested that Mr. Dees's firing was linked to workplace conduct. He said the center, which is based in Montgomery, Ala., had requested ''a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices'' in a bid to ensure that the organization was a place where ''all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.''
In an interview on Thursday evening, Mr. Dees said he had reviewed the S.P.L.C.'s statement on his dismissal but noted that it did not include any specific allegations against him.
''All I can say is it was not my decision,'' said Mr. Dees, who added that he had limited involvement with the organization in recent years.
Asked whether he had engaged in any behavior that could have been perceived as improper, he replied, ''I have no idea how people take things.''
Mr. Dees and the S.P.L.C. have been credited with undermining the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and extremist groups. But in recent years, the center has come under scrutiny for its classifications of ''hate groups,'' and whether the organization has abused that label in pursuit of a political agenda or increased donations.
The center has tracked extremist activity and hate groups throughout the country since the 1980s. Its 2018 Intelligence Project report identified 1,020 hate groups, its largest number ever. Conservatives have accused the group of unfairly including right-leaning organizations on the list.
Mr. Dees, the son of an Alabama farmer, sold his book publishing business to begin the civil rights law practice that would eventually become the S.P.L.C. in 1971. His co-founders were the civil rights leader Julian Bond and another young Montgomery lawyer, Joe Levin.
In 1981, Mr. Dees, a skilled marketer and a shrewd legal strategist, won $7 million in damages against the United Klans of America on behalf of the family of Michael Donald, a 19-year-old black man whose body was left hanging in a tree in Mobile, Ala.
An all-white jury awarded the verdict after Mr. Dees compared Mr. Donald to martyrs of the civil rights movement, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
''They sacrificed a human being to get some publicity for the Klan,'' Mr. Dees said. ''He'll go down in civil rights history in the fight for black rights. I hope your verdict goes down in history right beside him.''
The center's most recent tax documents showed an endowment of $471 million. In response to criticism about its wealth, the center has pointed to the high cost of engaging in long, complicated legal battles. Skepticism has persisted anyway.
After the deadly violence at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, donations to the organization came flooding in. Tim Cook, the head of Apple, announced the company would donate $1 million to the center. It also received a $1 million grant from a foundation created by George and Amal Clooney.
''I am glad to see Dees leave S.P.L.C., whatever the reason,'' William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School and an outspoken critic of the group, said on Thursday.
''S.P.L.C. long ago focused on combating the Ku Klux Klan, but then abused the reputation it earned for those efforts by demonizing political opponents through the use of hate and extremist lists to stifle speech by people who presented no risk of violence,'' Mr. Jacobson said.
But Don E. Siegelman, a Democratic former governor of Alabama, praised Mr. Dees for his contributions to civil rights.
''Morris has contributed a great deal to civil rights and human rights and justice, and the pursuit of those who have committed hate crimes,'' said Mr. Siegelman. He added that he had not closely monitored the organization's recent work. (Mr. Siegelman spent years in a federal prison after being convicted of corruption charges.)
In 2016, the King Center in Atlanta gave its highest honor to Mr. Dees: the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, according to an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center's website.
It quotes Dr. Bernice A. King, Dr. King's daughter, who leads the center, as saying that Mr. Dees ''has tirelessly, and bravely championed the rights of the disenfranchised.''
Previous recipients of the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks and President Jimmy Carter.
This is not the first time the center has had to deal with public issues of workplace conduct. In 1994, The Montgomery Advertiser published an eight-part series on the S.P.L.C. that included allegations of discriminatory treatment of black employees.
The report included accounts from staff members accusing Mr. Dees of being a racist, and suggested that black employees felt threatened. The center and Mr. Dees denied the accusations.
Mr. Dees said he learned of his firing in an email this week. On Thursday evening, he repeatedly said he would not ''say anything negative about the center or its employees.''
''I'll let my life's work and my reputation speak for itself,'' he said. ''I wish the center the absolute best. We have 700,000 donors, and I think they know me and they don't think anything negatively about me.''
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Ministry of Truthiness
Charleston Fine People Lie
DRC / Ebola
WHO says aiming to halt DRC Ebola outbreak within six months
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 22:36
1 / 2
A police officer (pictured March 9, 2019) stands guard inside an Ebola Treatment Centre in Butembo, North Kivu province, where the WHO says there are clear signs the spread of the virus was "contracting" (AFP Photo/JOHN WESSELS)
Geneva (AFP) - The deadly Ebola outbreak raging in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo should be over within six months, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday.
Seven months since the outbreak erupted in DRC's violence-torn North Kivu province, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters there were clear signs the spread of the virus was "contracting".
"Our target is now to finish it in the next six months," he told reporters in Geneva, warning though that increased unrest in the affected area could reverse the progress being made.
"It's always good to plan beyond the horizon to prepare for any eventualities," he said, while voicing optimism that massive efforts to rein in the outbreak are working.
The ongoing Ebola outbreak, the 10th in DRC's history, emerged in North Kivu in August 2018 and then spread to neighbouring Ituri province.
It has claimed 584 lives out of nearly 1,000 believed to have been infected, WHO said.
Security in eastern DRC, a region rampant with rebel fighters, has dramatically complicated the response, with numerous attacks on Ebola treatment centres.
The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical charity has also sounded the alarm over increasingly "toxic" relations with local communities, whose resistance to Ebola response efforts have also fuelled the spread.
MSF pointed out that 40 percent of deaths from the extremely contagious virus are occurring in communities rather than in Ebola treatment centres.
- 'Contracting' -
"The Ebola response is failing to bring the epidemic under control," MSF chief Joanne Lieu told reporters in Geneva last week.
But Tedros denied Thursday that this was the case.
"That's not true," he said. "You cannot say it's failing when the outbreak is contracting. It's contracting."
He stressed that over the past seven months, the virus had been contained to North Kivu and Ituri.
"It hasn't spread to other parts of the country and it hasn't spread to neighbouring countries," he said, adding that transmission had been halted in a number of places, including in Beni and Mangina.
"So the cases are now shrinking in certain geographic areas," he said.
Tedros also stressed that the number of new cases had been cut in half since January, with an average of 25 new cases reported each week now compared to 50 at the beginning of the year.
He acknowledged though that violence, unrest and community resistance remained a challenge in Butembo especially, which along with Katwa is where the spread of the virus is now concentrated.
"I don't want to undermine the risk, because it may again (resurge) if the security situation continues to deteriorate," he said, acknowledging that there is still a chance Ebola could spread to other parts of DRC and neighbouring countries.
War on Vaping
Most Flavors of E-Cigarettes Set to Be Banned From Retail Stores
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 03:50
Video by NewsyThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved forward with its much-anticipated plan to limit sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to curb what it calls an epidemic of youth vaping.
The agency released a draft guideline for the industry on Wednesday, just weeks before Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is set to step down. The move is one of Gottlieb's signature priorities after antismoking advocates blamed his earlier steps to ease restrictions for e-cigarettes for the rise in underage use.
The proposal calls for enhancing enforcement against flavored e-cigarette sales in retail locations where a minor can enter at any time, such as a convenience store or gas station. The restrictions won't apply to tobacco, mint or menthol-flavored e-cigarettes. In the FDA's view, those flavors are geared toward adults who are trying to quit smoking.
The American Heart Association called the exemption for mint and menthol flavors a ''major oversight.'' Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown said in a statement that the organization's Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center found that menthol was the second-most popular e-cigarette flavor among teens. The advocacy group urged the FDA to remove all flavored products from the market.
The FDA is also moving up by a year to August 2021 the deadline for companies that make e-cigarettes that came to market after February 2007 to submit applications for marketing clearance from the FDA. That could mean some devices will come off the market. The public will have 30 days to comment on the guideline, which will take effect 30 days after it is finalized.
Juul Labs Inc., the vaping industry leader whose thumb-drive-size devices are popular with teens, said in November it would stop selling most flavored nicotine pods in retail stores. Shares of tobacco giant Altria Group Inc., which recently took a $12.8 billion stake in Juul, rose 0.7 percent to $56.17 at 3:52 p.m. in New York.
Read more: Juul said to plan halt on some vaping devices as FDA readies cuts
The proposal would also subject flavored cigars that came to market after February 2007 to enhanced enforcement if they don't come off the market once the guidance is finalized. They would have to seek clearance from the FDA to restart sales.
The FDA has the ''strong support'' of President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Gottlieb said in a statement. Health advocates were concerned that Gottlieb's departure would threaten the likelihood of e-cigarette restrictions being finalized. Azar said Tuesday that Ned Sharpless, head of the National Cancer Institute, would be acting commissioner after Gottlieb leaves later this month. Sharpless has expressed support for Gottlieb's vaping restrictions.
(C) Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg A person exhales vapor. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
VIDEO - Hotep Jesus on Twitter: "Andrew Yang said white people are going to put Asians in concentration camps. YangGang'... "
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 15:39
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VIDEO - Suspected Gunman In Mosque Attacks Appears To Have Been Inspired By U.S. Extremists : NPR
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 15:29
NPR's David Greene talks to NBC reporter Ben Collins, who studies the radical web, about how the Internet can radicalize people and how social media can be weaponized.
I want to bring in another voice here. It is Ben Collins, who reports on online extremism for NBC News.
Hi there, Ben.
BEN COLLINS: Hey. How you doing?
GREENE: I'm doing all right. I mean, this is quite a tragic story to cover.
GREENE: Just listening there to the voice of a journalist in New Zealand - I mean, it is sounding like this attacker used social media to post an apparent lengthy manifesto to post videos. I mean, is there anything that can be done to prevent social media being, I mean, weaponized, really, like this?
COLLINS: I think, actually, the more important thing is the lead-up to these things...
COLLINS: ...The lead-up to these events where, you know, these recommendation algorithms can make people - can radicalize people. They can make them more extreme by taking them from somebody who's a, in a lot of cases, like a garden-variety racist and make - like, and making them into extremists. And that's really...
GREENE: Did you say recommendation algorithms? What exactly is that?
COLLINS: Yeah. Oh, sure. So say on YouTube - you know, you're looking at a YouTube video. And there's this thing on the right sidebar.
COLLINS: It auto plays afterwards, right? It just gives you another video after the fact just to keep things moving, right? A lot of extremism groups have gamed this system as a way to try to get their outreach through YouTube and Facebook as well. And what they'll do is they'll take these ideas that will slowly sort of seep into your idea that maybe you should be more militant. Maybe it's not acceptable that, you know, that immigration is at highs in your country or something like that. And then they...
GREENE: Oh, I see. You're saying this...
COLLINS: ...Say eventually to act on it. Yeah.
GREENE: This guy could have - I mean, obviously, we don't know a lot at this point. But someone like this could be radicalized in that way if they were active on sites like that.
COLLINS: Oh, absolutely. And there's - we've seen this over and over again. We've seen this with the synagogue shooter in the United States as well where he's in these spaces. This guy was on 8chan. That's where he posted his manifesto and his link - and the link to the livestream as well. That's how people sort of found it as they were watching in real time. 8chan is a message board that's effectively, like, an extremist message board. It's extremely anti-immigrant, extremely racist and completely anonymous unless you out yourself, like this guy did.
Once you're all the way down that path, it's really hard to turn back. And that's the other thing is that these companies really don't take the steps in time to get people who are, you know, not that dangerous to stop them from getting all this content in their system and, you know, drumming up fears within themselves and then eventually carrying out a racist terror attack.
GREENE: Is there a way to stop this cycle, as you're describing it? I mean, are officials trying to? Have there been success stories...
COLLINS: Oh, absolutely.
GREENE: ...About controlling this?
COLLINS: The big success story is ISIS. I mean, when was the last time you saw an ISIS video on the right-hand sidebar of YouTube?
COLLINS: The answer is you haven't. And it's because they - law enforcement worked with these companies years ago to snuff this stuff out, to make it so people were not radicalized who may be vulnerable in these countries, right? That's possible. That is the thing that we know is possible because it's happened before. But the problem is it's politically fraught. It's - you know, they say it's an immigration issue and things like that. And in this case, it really isn't. It's - you can stop this content from being pushed to people. But they have not taken the initiative to do it yet.
GREENE: Ben Collins is a reporter for NBC News who covers online extremism. Thanks a lot.
COLLINS: Thank you.
Copyright (C) 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - New Zealand Mosque Attacks Raise Questions About Internet's Role In Radicalization : NPR
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 15:29
The rambling document allegedly written by the attacker in New Zealand echoes the sarcasm and "trolling" of the internet. How much of his inspiration comes from internet politics in the U.S.?
The terrorist attack in New Zealand is raising familiar questions about the Internet's role in radicalization. One question today is whether the man accused of organizing the attack on two mosques was inspired by racist ideas from the U.S. NPR's Martin Kaste joins us now. Hi, Martin.
MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Good afternoon.
SHAPIRO: You spent some time today reading the long document that this young Australian man posted online. NPR and many other news organizations have chosen not to share it, but what do you think our listeners ought to know about it?
KASTE: Well, it's mainly about his fear that white people in Western countries are going to be replaced by immigrants who have higher birth rates. Now, this is hardly a new idea. There've been books about this notion for decades, and the attacker's hero, apparently, in this document, is this British fascist from the World War II era. And he also says he reached his racist conclusions a couple of years ago when he, this attacker, was touring Europe, and he was shocked by how many non-white people lived in some parts of France, for example.
SHAPIRO: OK, so how does the Internet factor into this?
KASTE: Well, the tone of this document is all about the Internet. He writes it in this sort of snarky adolescent style. And especially, there's this lengthy self-interview he does, sort of imagining what the media might ask him. It's really self-important, but it's also full of all these winking references to Internet memes, and it's very self-aware. At one point, he even says that his racist project relies on, quote, "edgy humor and memes in the vanguard stage" in order to attract young people.
SHAPIRO: Can you give us an example of that?
KASTE: Well, probably the one everyone's talking about is how, when he was streaming live video during his attack, right at the start, he says subscribe to PewDiePie. Now, that sounds bizarre to the average grown-up, but you need to understand that PewDiePie is this Swedish video game-playing YouTube star, and his crown as the most subscribed to person on YouTube had been threatened by another YouTube account out of India. So for a lot of people, or some people, subscribe to PewDiePie is sort of Internet code for supporting white Europeans.
SHAPIRO: This echoes some of the things we hear from "alt-right" groups. What have those groups said in the way of reaction today?
KASTE: Well, they're kind of all over the map. It's sort of hard sometimes to understand what they - where they really stand. You know, this attacker is not easy to pigeonhole politically. He's a racist, but he also says he admires China. He cares about the environment. So when you read these "alt-right" sites, it's kind of a hall of mirrors of snark and sarcasm. But here's some reaction from the conspiracy theory news website Infowars.
ALEX JONES: There's a whole globalist concerted effort by Soros and others to ban PewDiePie, and now this happens. PieDiePie's come out and said it's disgusting, it's sickening. He has nothing to do with it.
KASTE: Now, that's the Infowars star, Alex Jones, and he right away started talking about how this atrocity in New Zealand will be used, as he puts it, by the media here in America.
JONES: They're going to make him into the right-wing white guy they want. But we're going to show you where he worships communist China, where he hates Christians, where he hates conservatives, and he just sounds like your standard leftist devil-worshipper.
SHAPIRO: Martin Kaste, is there any connection between what this guy writes and American politics?
KASTE: Well, none that we've seen so far; certainly no connection to any organizations that we've seen evidence for. But the attacker seems very aware of our politics, that he says he hopes that this attack will actually gin up some of the tension in our country over gun rights. And in fact, he's just admitting in another way that this is all sort of him once again trying to troll us.
SHAPIRO: NPR's Martin Kaste. Thank you.
KASTE: You're welcome.
Copyright (C) 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Deep State Exposed® '­'­'­'­'­ on Twitter: "Buzz Aldrin says we have never been to the moon!!! https://t.co/640tipmi0N"
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 14:46
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
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VIDEO - Blazes, looting hit Paris as Gilets Jaunes seek new momentum | Euronews
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:19
Large plumes of smoke covered Paris' skyline on Saturday as "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vest) protesters started bonfires in the street, smashed shop windows, and hurled cobblestones at riot police in the 18th consecutive weekend of anti-government protests.
In response to the violence, police used water cannons and fired tear gas in front of the Arc de Triomphe monument in Les Champs Elysees. At least 30 demonstrators were arrested by late morning.
Tensions flared at the top of the famed avenue where upmarket restaurant Fouquet's, which is often frequented by celebrities and politicians, was set alight and vandalised. At least one car was set on fire.
''Let there be no doubt: they are looking for violence and are there to sow chaos in Paris,'' Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote in a tweet.
The fresh round of protests coincided with the end of President Emmanuel Macron's 'Grand Debat', a series of national debates around France which asked people what they want the government to focus on.
READ MORE: Macron's Great National Debate: What is it and how does it work? | Euronews Answers
The Gilets Jaunes demonstrations were triggered last November over a fuel tax hike but quickly blew up into a broader movement against Macron and his pro-business reforms.
Paris saw some of the worst vandalising and looting in decades in December, but the nationwide protests have generally been getting smaller since then.
The movement said it would draw more crowds to mark the fourth month since the protests began in mid-November.
In December, Macron offered a package of concessions of more than '‚¬10 billion to boost the incomes of some of the poorest workers and pensioners.
VIDEO - Al Gore: Over 99.9% of Scientists Agree with Me on Climate Change
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:17
Appearing on CNN's Newsroom Friday, former vice president Al Gore claimed 99.9 percent of scientists agree with his position on climate change.
A partial transcript is as follows:
BROOKE BALDWIN: Mr. Vice President, despite all the science, all the warnings, there are still [climate] skeptics at the highest level of government. To what do you attribute that?''
AL GORE: Well, I don't think that there are, obviously, there's no basis for doubting what Mother Nature is telling us now. It's beyond consensus of 99 percent of the scientists. Just listen to Mother Nature, and the climate-related extreme weather events have quadrupled in recent years. Here in the U.S. alone, in less than nine years we've had 17 once-in-a-thousand-year events, and they keep on coming, and they keep on getting worse. So, the old strategy of trying to fool people into disbelieving the evidence in front of their own eyes is failing. And, we're crossing a tipping point now, Brooke. We're seeing many Republicans change there positions and join the growing bipartisan consensus. The debate's not about the science. That debate's long since over. The debate now is about the best ways to move as fast as we can to solve this crisis.
VIDEO - Malcolm in the Middle - The Circle Game - YouTube
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:15
VIDEO - US special envoy Elliott Abrams: 'Interim president' of Venezuela not violating rules because they were changed for him -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:47
(C) Reuters / Ivan Alvarado
The US-backed 'interim president' of Venezuela Juan Guaido isn't violating the 30-day constitutional limit because the legislature backing him voted to make it not apply, 'explained' the US special envoy Elliott Abrams.
Guaido was declared "interim president" by the National Assembly on January 23, under Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which limits the institution to 30 days. But his term did not expire on February 23, because the National Assembly passed a resolution declaring that the 30-day countdown won't start until "usurper" President Nicolas Maduro steps down, Abrams told reporters at the State Department on Friday.
Asked by AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee if that rule can be changed after the fact, Abrams replied, "You don't get a vote, because you're not in the National Assembly."
"You're not in the National Assembly either!" Lee fired back.
The US recognizes the National Assembly as "the only legitimate, democratic institution left in Venezuela," Abrams told reporters. The legislative body was last elected in 2015, and Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that it was superseded by the Constitutional Assembly elected in 2017 - but Washington has refused to recognize the legitimacy of that election.
The US and 53 of its allies have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's "legitimate" leader, but even Abrams acknowledged on Friday that he doesn't actually hold power. Faced with questions about the recognition amounting to only a quarter of the world's countries, the State Department has repeatedly argued that the number doesn't matter, because the countries that sided with the US are "democracies" and that is supposed to count for more somehow.
Abrams said the same thing on Friday, calling Guaido's backers "many of the most influential democracies in the world."
VIDEO - Scientists are researching cooling the planet by geoengineering
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 12:16
In a lab at Harvard, researchers are trying to replicate the conditions of the stratosphere''the part of the atmosphere that stretches roughly six to 31 miles above the surface of the planet''in test tubes. Their goal: to better understand what might happen if humanity eventually decides to embark on a radical, controversial plan to temporarily cool the planet by spraying clouds of particles into the sky.
If it ever happens, the process might involve sending planes into the sky to release particles of a compound like sulfur dioxide that can reflect some sunlight back into space and could temporarily cool the planet. It's not a fix for climate change, and it's a form of geoengineering so extreme that it carries risks that may not be fully predictable. But as climate change progresses, it's possible that the global community may someday decide it has to try it.
''Our team here is doing the research because we believe there's still a lot of uncertainties around solar geoengineering, and we think there's a chance for potential benefits around the world,'' says Elizabeth Burns, managing director for Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program. ''But we also think there's the chance for very real risks.''
Harvard researchers Zhen Dai and Marie-Anna Boggio-Pasqua conduct a flow tube experiment to test stratospheric heterogeneous chemistry of solar geoengineering.In one new study in Nature Climate Change, researchers from Harvard, MIT, and Princeton used a state-of-the-art, detailed computer model to look at what might happen if solar geoengineering was used to cut global temperature increases in half. In the scenario, they found that reducing warming would also offset the increasing intensity of hurricanes and would help moderate extreme rain and a lack of water for farming (in the model, rain decreased, but so did evaporation). Less than 0.5% of the world might see increases in impacts from climate change. That's in contrast to some previous studies that found that this type of geoengineering might benefit some parts of the world while large other areas were harmed. Still, the study is limited, and doesn't look at all of the potential effects.
The concept of spraying chemicals into the sky to cool the Earth is not new. It's the same process that happens naturally when volcanoes erupt. In 1991, when Mount Pinatubo erupted and spewed millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, it cooled the planet by half a degree Celsius for more than a year. But it's only more recently that researchers have started seriously studying what might happen if humans deliberately do something similar. At this point, it's still a very small area of study, with relatively little funding, and many unknowns.
Burns emphasizes, repeatedly, that the world's priority needs to be reducing emissions to zero. ''Solar geoengineering cannot be a substitute for reducing emissions, because it does not address the root cause of climate change,'' she says. ''So if we are to achieve a stable climate, we really do need to reduce emissions to zero, and then also eventually remove the carbon dioxide that's in the atmosphere and store it underground or elsewhere. Those actions actually address the root cause. Solar geoengineering does not.''
''It would only potentially be used temporarily while we rapidly reduce our emissions to the atmosphere and figure out cheap ways to separate carbon dioxide out,'' says Alan Robock, an environmental sciences professor at Princeton. ''So nobody talks about doing it instead of mitigation. It would be on top of our best efforts at mitigation.'' Robock has documented 27 potential risks of the idea, from the possibility of ozone depletion to potential droughts and a reduction in solar energy generation. The paper lists only six potential benefits, but one is significant: a reduction in surface air temperatures could ''reduce or reverse negative impacts of global warming, including floods, droughts, stronger storms, sea ice melting, and sea level rise.''
At Harvard, the researchers are studying the possibility of using calcium carbonate (the same particle found in chalk or toothpaste) rather than sulfur dioxide; while sulfur dioxide can speed up the destruction of the ozone layer, calcium carbonate could potentially help it and avoid some other risks. While their work is focused in the lab and computer modeling now, the team may be the first to do a real-world experiment, which would involve launching a balloon into the stratosphere, releasing a small amount of calcium carbonate, and then measure how the light scatters and changes in atmospheric chemistry. The team was interested in conducting the experiment this year, but won't move forward without the recommendation of an external, independent advisory committee that it's creating. ''To us, the governance of this is equally as important as the scientific goals for the experiment,'' says Burns.
One of the fundamental questions of solar geoengineering is who gets to decide if it happens: For an action that affects the entire planet, who has that right? The actual process may be inexpensive enough (by one estimate, less than $10 billion a year) that there's a risk that a single country could decide to act unilaterally. That's part of the reason that the research is so critical; the world needs to understand more about what could happen, and whether it could happen responsibly.
''If the international community is faced with climate change impacts that are severe or more severe than expected, when people are then talking about available tools, we need a better understanding of what solar geoengineering may or may not be able to do,'' says Burns. ''In our view, it's not saying that we need it. If anything, I hope we don't need it. It's a very scary technology. It's quite terrifying. But the world with severe climate change impacts can also be very scary. And so I think we're researching it so that we can better understand the potential benefits as well as the potential risks that would come alongside this technology.''
VIDEO - Mark Dice on Twitter: "American liberal media blames Trump for New Zealand attack (montage) https://t.co/CstyfHlTLD"
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 11:49
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VIDEO - Episode 19 | Red Pilled America
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 05:24
I'm Patrick Courrielche and this is Red Pilled America, a storytelling show. This is not another show covering the days news. We're all about telling stories. Stories Silicon Valley doesn't want you to hear. Stories the media mocks. Stories about everyday Americans that the elites ignore. You can think of Red Pilled America as audio documentaries and we promise only one thing'...the truth.
Welcome to Red Pilled America.
Patrick Courrielche: You'd be hard pressed to find a Silicon Valley titan who doesn't want to open up our borders to immigration, both legal and illegal. When someone within their ranks goes against this orthodoxy, even opposing illegal immigration, they get protested at their house.
Reporter: Protesters target the home of tech industry billionaire Peter Thiel.
Patrick Courrielche: Silicon Valley is unanimously for increasing immigration to the United States. But as we know, anytime a community is unanimously agreed on a subject '' something else is usually afloat. Why does Silicon Valley want to increase immigration to the United States?
To find the answer, we're going to hear the story of two tech industry insiders '' one a long-time computer programmer that became a whistleblower, and another'...an immigrant to the United States who began his career in Silicon Valley. He'll give a perspective that the masters of Big Tech don't want you to hear.
Adryana Cortez: I'm Adryana Cortez.
Roger Ross came to the U.S. in kind of a roundabout way. His parents were actually South African diplomats.
Roger Ross: We were in South Africa because they had migrated from Europe. And my my father was working for the World Bank organization there so I was born and raised in South Africa. And it just became a really cozy place to grow up and my parents never wanted to move back.
Adryana Cortez: As a young boy Roger had aspired to come to America.
Roger Ross: I had always set my sights on the American dream at least what was depicted about it in the sitcoms and the Hollywood movies that I watched do you know that America is this great land of opportunities and you can pursue all your dreams. And I really wanted to focus on that end and become part of the American lifestyle. I really valued that lifestyle to the point where I even adopted and started to change my accent to fit in. So I did everything I could to assimilate into the culture.
Adryana Cortez: He went to an international school in South Africa that encouraged its students to study abroad. So before his senior year of high school he made the move to America '' to a small town of 10,000 people in Northern California.
Roger Ross: I actually started my journey early. I moved to the United States in ninety nine. I didn't graduate from the international school I graduated from a local public school here in California and I came here on like a foreign exchange basis.
Adryana Cortez: His high school was a predominantly white public school, and his years of admiring America made him fit right in on arrival.
Roger Ross : a lot of the people were very friendly to me. They were actually astonished by my level of English because a lot of the foreign exchange students that they had encountered spoke little English or with having accent and they thought that I was just someone who had migrated from San Diego and moved up moved up north.
Adryana Cortez: Roger wasn't feeling academically challenged at his new school, so he enrolled at a nearby college to take collegiate level classes while simultaneously finishing high school.
He would eventually attend UC Davis, where he got a Bachelors in applied mathematics and a Masters in Economics. By the time he graduated in 2010, Silicon Valley was making a comeback.
Roger Ross: This was after the recession of 2008 where things started to be booming in Silicon Valley with Facebook going public and various other tech companies coming into the limelight and showing a lot of great success. So we started to see boom in the startup industry'...
Adryana Cortez: At the time, the message being pumped by Silicon Valley was that America needed the foreign students graduating from our American universities.
Roger Ross : there was a startup that was interested in an a market researcher or a market analyst.
Adryana Cortez : So Roger applied for the job. And that's when the startup exposed him to the foreign work visa.
Roger Ross : they were you know they were short on funding so they brought me on an age when B visa'...
Adryana Cortez : An H-1B is a foreign worker visa that purports to help American employers fill job openings for highly skilled workers. They're only supposed to be used if the company cannot find a qualified American worker to fill the job.
The origin of the H-1B visas goes back to the Immigration Act of 1990.
George HW Bush : This bill provides for vital increases for entry on the basis of skills, infusing the ranks of our scientists and engineers and educators with new blood and new ideas.
Adryana Cortez : Washington D.C. created a whole host of foreign worker visas that were specifically not supposed to be used to displace American workers or negatively effect their wages. The employer is supposed to pay the foreign worker what is called the prevailing wage '' which are government published wage levels that are usually paid to the majority of workers within a particular work sector'...this way the employer could not use these visas to bring in cheap foreign labor.
The problem is, many Big Tech firms have been using these visas to bypass and replace American workers.
Many employers like using foreign worker visas because of the many benefits they get from using them. One is a cost savings.
Sara Blackwell : if you're paying an American one hundred say a hundred thousand dollars to do a job and then you pay 60 thousand dollars to a foreigner multiply that savings by 250 that's a lot.
Adryana Cortez : That's Sara Blackwell, a Florida based attorney specializing in employment law and founder of Protect US Workers.
Sara Blackwell : But the ultimate end goal and the end game for this business model is that most of the work is offshore to India and you're paying the company pays about nine to ten thousand dollars to those workers. So you take 250 American workers who are getting an average of a hundred thousand and now we're paying Indians in India to do it for 10000. That's some serious savings and that's you know they say oh we say in our labor cost savings that's that's where we're getting the five million dollar bonuses for the CEOs and that's why the CEOs are making so much money because they're using the lie of lack of globalism the lack of workers and globalism and all of these other arguments for basically using foreign slave labor in my opinion.
Adryana Cortez : For people working in the United States with a foreign worker visa, many refer to this labor arrangement as legal indentured servitude because in order to keep their work visas and remain in our country, they have to work in conditions American citizens would not tolerate.
Sara Blackwell : the Indian based companies or even when the American companies hire the H-1B's the H-1B's have to have a sponsor to keep their visa and so they are in a position to be exploited to have to work a ton of hours and to be paid a certain amount but have to give money back for certain things not happens a lot.
And then the Americans have to compete with that. So the Americans who keep their jobs are left there having to compete with workers who are staying there 90 hours because if they don't be sent back home.
Adryana Cortez : Roger Ross experienced this exploitation first hand when he became a foreign visa worker.
Roger Ross : when I was initially sponsored for it my correct job title should have been you know that off an economist or a market researcher or a market analyst and my employer saw the prevailing wage in the job handbook and said Oh that's too high of a salary we can't afford to pay you that. So why don't we make your job you know something that we can find a prevailing wage that's much more lower and at the same time we want to employ you on a part time basis but make you work full time and you know that that's how they exploited me per say. And at that point I was just like OK I just need to get the H-1B visa and you know this is what they want to do then so be it because I'm just a fresh college graduate. I'm dying for a job we're coming out of a recession and any job will do because I had loans to pay myself. So I was I gladly accepted whatever they deemed necessary to get me on the H-1B'...
Adryana Cortez : But what Roger learned was that he lost his ability to speak up, because he was beholden to his employer. One false move and he could lose his job and be sent back to his country.
Roger Ross : But as I got got my age when B I noticed that you know there was no way I could retaliate or or make my voice heard if I felt like I was being dealt inappropriately with the with the work or whether I was not being paid fairly I just felt like I didn't have a voice in that.
And you know that was really problematic.
Adryana Cortez: It's a problem for the foreign worker as well as for the American worker '' because the exploited foreigner not only takes the job from an American, they also set the standard for the Americans still working within the company. And Americans don't just lose out on new job openings '' sometimes they are even forced to train their foreign replacement under incredibly stressful circumstances. That's what happened with Michael Emmons.
Michael Emmons : My daughter was born with spinal bifida. She's had about 28 surgeries and I'm straining my horn replacement workers my insurance. I'm self-employed so my medical insurance premiums were nine hundred and forty seven dollars a month. And to find out that my trainee salary is fifty-three dollars more than my medical premium I mean how does an American compete. It was really rough. And I don't know why but I decide to fight it.
Adryana Cortez: And fight it Michael did.
More after the break.
Patrick Courrielche: Welcome back. I'm Patrick Courrielche.
Michael Emmons has seen a lot of the United States.
Michael Emmons: I was born in Mississippi lived in Tennessee till fourth grade. Then we went to North Carolina till seventh and then I've been here since eighth grade.
Patrick Courrielche: Here being Florida. That's where his father introduced him to programming.
Michael Emmons: My father said I wanted to try this and I took one class and I was hooked.
Patrick Courrielche: Michael did then what so many people are told to do today'...he learned to code.
Michael Emmons: it was a lot of concepts in learning how to code. One of my first class we used an IBM mainframe. There were no the pieces came in on my senior year. They started having like a P.C. lab. We used cards from my first two classes where you had like cards and you programmed on the cards you ran through a card reader.
Patrick Courrielche: He'd eventually graduate from the University of Florida in 1984 with a degree in computer science and began solving people's problems through coding.
Michael Emmons: I worked for Florida Department of Revenue and I created an application to accept revenue through checks out the remote locations.
I then left to go with a small company that we created a crime laboratory tracking system.
I built a jail system to handle all the money that inmates get. So when he was arrested they took everything from him and they put it into our system and gave the inmate a receipt.
I was working 80 hours a week and they were paying me about 40 and I asked for a raise and they didn't want to pay me. OK. So that's when I decided I was going to go do this on my own.
Patrick Courrielche : He went coding in South Carolina, Texas, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. He ended up at the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.
Michael Emmons : The Sea Org, writing there. I call it a book selling application because to me it's not really a church.
Patrick Courrielche : Then a guy he worked with left the Church of Scientology and got a job in Silicon Valley with Siemens. So Michael took a contracting gig at Siemens working on voice over IP phones.
Patrick Courrielche : What was Silicon Valley like in the 90s or is it was it it still have had the same kind of lore that it has now.
Michael Emmons : It was amazing to to go live and right smack in the middle of all the stuff that I you know do and everything. It was amazing. I really enjoyed it. But I believe it's changed quite a bit now.
Patrick Courrielche : In what way?
Michael Emmons : Well it's overrun with foreign workers.
Patrick Courrielche: Michael would soon be overrun himself.
After the dotcom bubble burst in 2001, Seimens merged two of their businesses into one. They had an office in Florida and offered Michael a contracting job at that office. He jumped at the chance because now he'd be able to actually live in his house instead of being on the road. But it was short lived.
Michael Emmons: So in the middle of 2002 the employees in the I.T. department were brought into a room and told them that they were going to have to train their corner. I'm sorry. Train their replacements. They didn't know who it was what they were they were told that they were going to basically be let go but they want them to train their replacements. So I was an employee I was a contractor so they didn't bring me into the room with some of the employees and told me this is what's going on. About 30 days later income's about 30 or so mostly young male Tata India employees, our trainees.
Patrick Courrielche: Tata is a huge Indian company that, among other things, provides a foreign Indian work force to corporations on American soil. At the time, Michael can't recall any foreign visa workers at Seimens and few within the IT industry at large.
Michael Emmons: I don't think they had any visa holders working here. The group I worked for in Sunnyvale they had about two or three on H-1B's and I knew they were and they were friends of mine and it was no problem. You know we worked together we taught each other you know we learn from each other.
Patrick Courrielche: But now, the entire IT department was being replaced by Indian workers.
Michael Emmons: That they assigned us people to train and they watched over us as we did things.
Patrick Courrielche: Michael was floored. Here was an entire IT department, gainfully employed, many, like Michael, dependent on their jobs, now all being replaced by foreign workers. There was no worker shortage. These foreign workers didn't have high-skilled training that the IT staff didn't have. The workers were being trained BY the American workers for God's sake. No, these American workers were being replaced by foreign workers because they were simply cheaper. Michael learned this the hard way.
Michael Emmons : It was extremely rough at the time. My daughter was born with spinal bifida. She's had about 28 surgeries and I'm straining my horn replacement workers my insurance. I'm self-employed so my medical insurance premiums were nine hundred and forty seven dollars a month. And to find out that my trainee salary is fifty three dollars more than my medical premium I mean how does an American compete. It was really rough. And I don't know why but I decide to fight it.
Patrick Courrielche: So Michael, a programming wiz, began digging around on the company servers and he found some documents.
Michael Emmons: So I looked around on the server and I found top stars shared drive and I found all their documents and that's where I found that the knowledge transfer documents which I had given to my U.S. congressman I found their staffing document to what was interesting in the staffing document is all but about one or two of the people were on L-1B visas not H-1Bs. L-1Bs are called intra company transfer visas. So Tata India transfers their employees from India to Tata America. Then they sell them out to businesses in the U.S.
Patrick Courrielche: These L-1B visas are rarely discussed but they are particularly harmful to American workers. This visa was originally created to allow a foreign company to bring in their employees with quote ''special knowledge'' to help set up a branch in the United States. But in practice, L-1B visas are used an entirely different way. They are predominantly used to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor.
Foreign companies, primarily from India, set up shop in the United States, then bring their countrymen into the states and shop them out to American corporations. Unlike H-1B visas, there are no numerical limits on how many L-1B visas are issued and there is no restrictions on paying the foreign worker a prevailing wage. In other words, the American corporation can pay them as little as possible. So these foreign workers become very attractive. When the corporations hire them, they make their American employees train their replacements. This process is known as knowledge transfer. And if American worker refuses '' they receive no severance package. Also, as a condition of receiving the severance package, the corporation shuts them up by making them sign away their right to speak to the press. These foreign visas are so often used in the IT business that insiders won't speak out about them for fear of being blacklisted from the industry. That is why we seldom hear about this morally reprehensible practice.
We are constantly sold by the Big Tech industry that foreign workers are needed because of American worker shortages. But they are lying. Again Sara Blackwell.
Sara Blackwell: Their argument is they're high skilled and that's why we need them. But and we don't have enough American workers to do the job. That's the argument. But obviously we have high skilled American workers if the American high skilled workers are teaching the foreigners how to do their job.
Patrick Courrielche : Sara represented former Disney employees in a high profile case. In 2014, 250 of the company's IT employees were forced to train their replacements '' which was a large group of Indian nationals with foreign work visas.
Sara Blackwell : I filed a RICO lawsuit because you know these these corporations have a lot of money and they paid some really smart attorneys to figure out how to break immigration and employment laws without breaking employment or immigration laws. But so basically what Disney did if they would have just done on their own they would be violating employment law because you can't take two hundred and fifty people and then replace them all with one race and one national origin. I mean that's race and national origin discrimination. And on if that contracting company had walked in and fired 250 of there were American workers and replace them what they want be workers they would have been violating immigration law but the way they do it they come together and set this business model up so that neither one are violating either law'...
Patrick Courrielche: So these corporations find loopholes to legally replace American workers with cheap foreign labor, take advantage of the desperate foreign workers, and gag their former employees so no one knows what's going on. And they do it all with the help of our politicians in Washington D.C.
That's why what Michael Emmons did in 2003 was so important. He was a pioneer in blowing the whistle on this despicable corporate scam.
When Michael was forced to train his replacements he wasn't an employee '' he was a contractor, and corporations at the time were not yet hip to shutting people up. Michael wasn't going to take this abuse sitting down. He was a highly skilled programmer that kept up to date with the industry's new technology.
Michael Emmons: I've spent my whole career read learning and re learning to stay proficient in the industry.
Patrick Courrielche: So he approached a former customer and said he was looking for work. They scooped him up '' but at a sizable salary decrease. Nonetheless, that freed him up to blow the whistle on the entire foreign worker visa scam. He contacted a local reporter at WKMG Orlando.
Michael Emmons: He did stories about maybe some roofer cheating out some lady you know didn't do his roof right. And those are the kind of stories he had done. So when he got this international story he was really excited to do it. And it took a couple months for them to get it out.
WKMG Reporter: What if I told you that when you go to work tomorrow there'll be someone there to take your job? What if I told you that, you had to train that person to do your job? Sounds rather far fetched, don't you think? Well it isn't.
Michael Emmons: Americans acros the country, hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. And can't get work.
Patrick Courrielche: At the time, there was no Facebook. There was no Twitter. There was no YouTube. But Michael was a programmer, and he used that skill to distribute the story over the web.
Michael Emmons: So what I did back to bring awareness I would capture the news. W.K. AMG and this was long before YouTube I would captured on a video camera and then and then switch it over to my computer digitize it and then serve it up on the Internet. And I had a little Linux box in my office here. That was my server and I had 30000 hits a week at times.
Patrick Courrielche: Eventually the national news caught wind, with immigration legend Lou Dobbs covering the story.
Lou Dobbs Report
Patrick Courrielche: The story even reached the national news desk of Peter Jennings.
Peter Jennings Report
Patrick Courrielche: What drove Michael was the simple injustice of it all. The American government was actually allowing and helping corporations replace American workers, its citizens, with cheaper foreign workers.
Michael Emmons : But to use visas and say there's not enough Americans to accomplish their goal to get cheap labor. It's just wrong. The U.S. Congress created visas that allow corporations that line their pockets to get rid of their employees.
Patrick Courrielche: We often hear about illegal immigration devastating the American worker. Flooding the labor force with cheap labor '' driving down wages and taking our working class jobs. We've told those stories here on Red Pilled America. But it is not just illegal immigration hurting the American worker. It is legal immigration as well. Michael blew the whistle in 2003 '' and yet here we are sixteen years later, and it's still happening in America.
Worsening the problem is the White House's positioning on this topic.
Donald Trump: We need more people'...
Patrick Courrielche: In what Trump has even acknowledged as a reversal from his previous position, he now is calling for record immigration into the United States.
Donald Trump: I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.
Patrick Courrielche: Roger Ross, an economics expert who once benefitted from a foreign work visa, sees a real problem with the White House's position.
Roger Ross : And I truly think that you know there's no difference between illegal and legal immigration when it comes to labor supply economics. It's all about getting the cheap labor. And as long as that mantra is propelled on we're going to see more devastation off our economic conditions in this country
Patrick Courrielche: Which leads us back to the question, why does Silicon Valley love immigrants so much? It's simple '' immigrants are cheap labor that they can exploit. Silicon Valley pushes both legal and illegal immigration because it helps their bottom line.
Mark Zuckerberg : You know people often talk about two parts of the issue. High-skilled H-1B is the issue that tech companies have, and full comprehensive immigration reform as if they're two completely separate issues. But anyone who knows a Dreamer knows that they're not.
Patrick Courrielche: Silicon Valley is only worried about continued growth '' and they're willing to find that growth at any cost, including replacing the American work force.
We are living in unprecedented times. Americans are losing jobs to automation, new technologies, and offshoring. Some are predicting driverless cars will eliminate over four million jobs. Illegal immigrants have flooded construction, landscaping, farming, house cleaning, factory, janitorial, and the childcare industries '' lowering wages and replacing American workers.
And throughout all of this Silicon Valley is constantly making a push to increase foreign work visas. A 2016 report showed that nearly three quarters of Silicon Valley techies are foreign born. Three quarters. How many more do they need. The Big Tech billionaires are not being altruistic '' they're being greedy. They love the cheap labor. It's just that simple. The situation has become so dire, that it has even triggered Roger Ross, a man who once benefited from a foreign worker visa, to speak out.
Roger married an American. He is now a permanent resident with a green card. And he's using his insider knowledge to the abuse of foreign work visas to inform the public on this issue.
Roger Ross: I'm just seeing a total destruction of our economic conditions and that's why I'm beginning to panic.
I noticed that our Congress as well as future leaders are still going about the whole. including Donald Trump himself, are going about the whole immigration reform concept in the wrong direction. And that's why we're not seeing any meaningful progress. These state of the affairs in the United States in terms of the economic situation you can already see the devastation that's happening. And the reason why President Trump was elected was you are seeing a total stagnation of our wages'...You are also seeing the labor participation rate which is the true measure of of people employed in the labor force is declining. But you know President Trump in a lot of the White House likes to tout on the unemployment rate which is you know it is an all-time low but it's not a true measure of of how the economy is doing. And I think that these kind of steps are misguided and we're pretty much headed to a cataclysmic condition of our economic situation exacerbating to where you're going to have a lot of our college graduates not being able to find jobs, they're inundated with student loan debt and it's piling up each day. And a lot of our American workers are not finding the jobs that they want even though they are really highly-skilled and deserving of the jobs which you know a lot of the Silicon Valley and the corporate desk types are saying that there is a shortage job. Well what we're seeing is that there's a standard discrimination of workers who are either American or have or are at higher age. There's this whole ageism discrimination that's going on where if you're past the age of I think it's even come down to past the age of 30 years old you're not as valuable to the company because they know you would warrant a higher pay based on the experience that you have and they don't want to pay those salaries. So that's why they would rather hire someone who's younger OPT international student or a younger H-1B who will happily accept the wages and in exchange for immigration benefits.
And you know Donald Trump has changed his tune and said I don't like illegal immigration but I like legal immigration and we need more legal immigrants because Tim Cook from Apple is telling me so that we need these high skilled engineers.
Patrick Courrielche : When coal workers were losing their jobs during the Obama Administration, journalists suggested they should learn to code to find employment. Well, Michael Emmons actually learned to code, long before the advice came from our thoughtful media. But in the age of Big Tech learning to code is hardly a fail safe when Silicon Valley continues to push for more and more foreign workers.
Silicon Valley is pulling a con job on the American people by claiming we need more foreign workers. We don't. And if we continue to let Big Tech dictate our immigration policy '' we can kiss the American dream good bye.
Matt Lauer: If you think your living space is cramped, take a look at this truck. It looks like any other, right? Well it's not. This truck is actually home to a 23 year-old man who works at Google. It's actually parked right outside the headquarters of Google.
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Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:53
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
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VIDEO - Ron Coleman - vs. the SPLC - "YOUR WELCOME" Episode #042 - YouTube
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:03
VIDEO - MSNBC Live Streaming Free - USTVGO.NET
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:34
MSNBC Live StreamingMSNBC was started on July 15, 1996. The first show was anchored by Jodi Applegate and included news, conferences, and analysis. Throughout the day, rolling news coverage continued with The Contributors, a show that featured Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, as well as interactive programming organized by Applegate, John Gibson, and John Seigenthaler. Stories were usually longer and more detailed than the stories CNN was covering. NBC also highlighted their broadcast connections by airing stories straight from NBC's network members, along with breaking news coverage from the same sources.
MSNBC slowly expanded its emphasis on politics. After finishing its seven-year survey of cable channels, the Project for Excellence in Journalism said in 2007 that, ''MSNBC is moving to perform politics a brand, with a huge dose of opinion and personality.''
In January 2001, Mike Barnicle's MSNBC show began, but it was dropped in June 2001 because of high production prices. In June, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer said that he would not have started MSNBC had he anticipated the challenge of attracting viewers.
After the September 11, 2001 event, NBC used MSNBC as an outlet for the up-to-the-minute coverage being produced by NBC News as an addition to the longer stories on broadcast NBC. With little business news to cover, CNBC and CNBC Europe ran MSNBC for several hours each day following the attacks. The year also increased the profile of Ashleigh Banfield, who was present during the destruction of Building 7 while covering the World Trade Center on September 11. Her Region In Conflict program obtained on her newfound celebrity and showcased exclusive interviews from Afghanistan.
Source: wikipedia
VIDEO - Trump supporter's claim stuns Erin Burnett - YouTube
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:28
VIDEO - Justice Dept IG blames FBI-wide software failure for missing Strzok-Page messages | Fox News
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:17
In a comprehensive report issued Thursday, the Department of Justice's internal watchdog blamed a technical glitch for a swath of missing text messages between anti-Trump ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page -- and revealed that government phones issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office to Strzok and Page had been wiped completely clean after Strzok was fired from the Russia probe.
The DOJ's Inspector General (IG) said that, with help from the Department of Defense, it was able to uncover thousands of missing text messages written by Strzok and Page and sent using their FBI-issued Samsung phones from December 15, 2016 through May 17, 2017, "as well as hundreds of other text messages outside the gap time period that had not been produced by the FBI due to technical problems with its text message collection tool."
But when the IG went looking for the iPhones separately issued to Strzok and Page by the Mueller team, investigators were told that "[Strzok's] iPhone had been reset to factory settings and was reconfigured for the new user to whom the device was issued."
The records officer at the special counsel told the IG that "as part of the office's records retention procedure, the officer reviewed Strzok's DOJ issued iPhone" on September 6, 2017 and "determined it contained no substantive text messages" before it was wiped completely -- just weeks after Strzok was fired from Mueller's team for anti-Trump bias and sending anti-Trump text messages.
The officer wrote a note in an official log after reviewing Strzok's phone: "No substantive texts, notes or reminders." But the officer told the IG that she did "not recall whether there were any text messages on Strzok's phone," although "she made an identical log entry for an iPhone she reviewed from another employee on the same day that she specifically recalled having no text messages."
Strzok was removed from Mueller's team in late July 2017 after the FBI discovered he had been sending politically charged anti-Trump text messages -- including several to Page, with whom he was engaged in an extramarital affair.
In one text message that was not initially turned over by the FBI to the IG -- but which was recovered by the watchdog after it conducted its own independent in-depth forensics analysis -- Strzok assured Page that Trump would not become president because "We'll stop" it from happening. (The FBI was, however, able to produce Page's question to Strzok just hours earlier about whether Trump would be elected.) Strzok was fired from the FBI entirely in August 2018.
Similarly, the IG's investigators were told that the special counsel's office was simply "unable to locate the iPhone previously assigned to Page, which had been returned to DOJ's Justice Management Division (JMD)" after she left the Mueller team on July 15, 2017. Page resigned from the FBI entirely on May 4, 2018.
More than a year later, in September 2018, the JMD said it had found Page's iPhone and turned it over to the IG. But, like Strzok's phone, "Page's iPhone had been reset to factory settings on July 31, 2017," even though it had not been reassigned to a new FBI official.
"Neither [Mueller's office] nor JMD's Office of the Chief Information Officer had records reflecting who handled the device or who reset it after Page turned in her iPhone on July 14, 2017," the IG reported.
Senior DOJ leaders told the IG that it is routine practice to reset iPhones before they are reassinged to new users, and after a forensic review, the IG could not find "any data related to Page's use of the device" on the wiped phone.
Unlike with Strzok's phone, the records officer on Mueller's team stated that "she did not receive the phone following Page's departure from the [special counsel's office] and therefore she did not review Page's iPhone for records that would possibly need to be retained prior to the phone having been reset."
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe sits with a folder marked "Secret" in front of him while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (The Associated Press)
While the FBI maintains a system to wirelessly collect text messages sent to, or received by, FBI-issued mobile devices, the IG found that the system had failed systemically while Strzok and Page were texting.
"Approximately 9,311 text messages were recovered from Strzok's [phone] during the collection tool failure period," the IG wrote. "Approximately 10,760 text messages were recovered from Page's [phone] during the collection tool failure period."
The agency switched to a new model of phone for agents amid the problems with the automated system, according to the IG. And in its response to the IG's report, the FBI acknowledged that "text message collection failure, and rate of collection failure, has been an issue the FBI has worked to understand and correct since its identification in 2014."
"During calendar year 2017, the FBI phased out use of the Samsung Galaxy S5 devices by its employees and replaced them with Samsung Galaxy S7 devices because of software and other issues that prevented the data collection tool from reliably capturing text messages sent and received via FBI issued Samsung Galaxy SS mobile devices," the IG wrote.
As an example of the purported tech problem, the IG noted that the FBl's collection program "had collected (and therefore produced to the OIG) the text message on August 8, 2016, from Page to Strzok that stated, 'He's not ever going to become president, right? Right?!'"
But the FBI text-message collection program had not collected Strzok's response later in the day, which stated, "No, No he's not. We'll stop it."
"It was only through the enterprise.db extraction that the OIG obtained this Strzok text message," the IG noted, referring to its deep-level probe of a file on Strzok's FBI-issued phone.
The development comes as Strzok -- one of the two agents who personally interviewed since-fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn at the White House in January 2017 -- is at the center of yet another allegation of possible misconduct. Former FBI Director James Comey has admitted that the decision to send Strzok to interview Flynn without going through the White House Counsel's office broke protocol.
The judge preparing to sentence Flynn on one count of lying to Strzok in that interview about whether he had spoken about sanctions with the then-Russian ambassador has ordered Mueller to produce documents by Friday, after Flynn alleged in a bombshell filing that the FBI pressured him not to bring a lawyer to the meeting. Flynn is set to be sentenced Dec. 18, but the new revelations could delay that date -- or lead to further unexpected developments in Flynn's case.
Strzok has adamantly denied wrongful conduct in fiery congressional testimony, saying that while he had political opinions, he did not let it affect his work. In their court filing Tuesday, Flynn's legal team seemingly took a shot at Strzok for not taking responsibility.
"Even when circumstances later came to light that prompted extensive public debate about the investigation of General Flynn, including revelations that certain FBI officials involved in the January 24 interview of General Flynn were themselves being investigated for misconduct, General Flynn did not back away from accepting responsibility for his actions," Flynn's lawyers wrote.
DOJ report by Fox News on Scribd
Texts released in September showed Strzok and Page discussing a ''media leak strategy'' amid the Russia probe -- even as Strzok's attorney claimed the text merely referred to efforts to stop leaks. Two text exchanges in April 2017 between Strzok and Page in particular attracted the attention of Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who wrote a letter to the DOJ arguing that the texts raised ''grave concerns'' about an ''apparent systemic culture of media leaking'' at the FBI.
"I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go," Strzok texted Page on April 10, 2017, according to Meadows, who cited recently produced documents from the Justice Department.
In response, Strzok lawyer Aitan Goelman said the line in question referred to an effort to stop leaks.
In this image made from a video taken on Dec. 10, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, US President Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow.
''The term 'media leak strategy' in Mr. Strzok's text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media. The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American People,'' he said in a statement.
On April 22, though, Strzok wrote, "article is out! Well done, Page," and on April 12 he told her that two negative articles about Page's "namesake" would soon come out, according to Meadows. That was an apparent reference to Carter Page, the former Trump adviser whom the FBI surveilled for months after obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Meadows' initial letter to Rosenstein stated the "Well done, Page" text was sent on April 12, but in an updated letter Tuesday, he stated that it actually occured later in the month.
On April 11, 2017, the Washington Post published a story titled, "FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page. The article, citing "law enforcement and other U.S. officials," reported that the DOJ and FBI had convinced a FISA judge there was "probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia."
The text message exchanges "should lead a reasonable person to question whether there was a sincere desire to investigate wrongdoing or to place derogatory information in the media to justify a continued probe," Meadows, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, wrote.
Page, who has not been charged with any wrongoing despite lengthy surveillance by the FBI, has sued the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for defamation.
Investigators find new clues pointing to potential cause of 737 MAX crashes as FAA details Boeing's fix | The Seattle Times
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 15:16
Investigators find new clue in wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines flight as Boeing continues production of its 737 MAX and works on software patch to get planes back in the air.
Investigators on the ground near the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX found the plane's jackscrew, a part that moves the horizontal tail of the aircraft, and it indicates that the tail was in an unusual position, according to an aviation safety consultant briefed on the findings.
The consultant, John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems and formerly the top safety official for the Air Line Pilots Association, said that Boeing's new flight control system on the MAX '-- implicated in the preliminary investigation into the earlier crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia '-- is one of several possible systems that could explain the unusual deflection in the horizontal tail, a control surface that swivels to pitch the plane's nose up or down.
This, along with evidence from a new satellite-based system that tracked the flight data and revealed similar trajectories on the two flights, is what finally led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground the MAX on Wednesday, following regulators around the world.
Boeing, meanwhile, plans to continue production and keep its 737 supply chain and assembly lines moving, even as investigators continue to look into the causes of both crashes that together killed 350 people and led governments across the globe to ground the aircraft.
''There has been no change in the production rate at this time,'' Boeing said in a statement.
The FAA briefed lawmakers on Thursday about Boeing's plans to develop a software patch for the suspect flight control system, providing the most detailed look yet at the company's efforts to get the plane back in the air.
The timeline for that fix '-- which would still have to win FAA approval '-- means the planes are unlikely to be cleared to fly any earlier than toward the end of next month.
In an interview Thursday, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, said the FAA expects to approve a software fix for the new flight control system '-- called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) '-- by the end of this month so that Boeing can begin to deploy it in the worldwide fleet of nearly 400 MAXs in April.
He said Boeing will also provide more training materials for pilots on the system and on the changes made to how it operates.
In a less optimistic analysis, Ronald Epstein, an aviation industry financial analyst with Bank of America, told investors it could take Boeing three to six months to fix the troubled aircraft.
The worldwide grounding, meanwhile, has left airlines scrambling to meet their schedules with other planes.
A fault in the systemThe new flight control system on the MAX, the MCAS, was added so that the new plane would behave and feel the same to pilots as the older model 737s.
It was necessary because the new model's bigger engines, positioned farther forward on the wings, changed the plane's lift characteristics in a high-speed stall situation.
MCAS is designed to swivel the horizontal tail so as to push the plane's nose down automatically, without pilot input, if a sensor on the fuselage indicates the nose relative to the air flow is at too high an angle '-- the Angle of Attack (AOA).
Boeing has been working on a fix since soon after the Lion Air crash, when a preliminary investigation indicated that a false reading on the AOA sensor triggered MCAS to repeatedly push the plane's nose down and forced the Lion Air pilots into a losing struggle to pull it up again.
On Wednesday, the FAA's emergency order to ground all MAXs stated that new information from the wreckage of the Ethiopian jet about its configuration '-- apparently a reference to the jackscrew '-- as well as the satellite-based tracking of the aircraft's flight path, indicated similarities between the two accidents ''that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause.''
The Lion Air jet flew for 12 minutes before crashing, the Ethiopian Airlines jet for six minutes. Full data is publicly available only for the Lion Air flight. Regulators now have similar data for the Ethiopian flight but have not released it. Only the data from the first three minutes of the Ethiopian flight is public.
Cox was briefed on the full flight data for the Ethiopian plane.
He said that as the plane turned back toward the airport after getting into trouble, its airspeed was way too high for a plane coming in at that altitude and intending to land.
The plane was moving at around 350 to 400 miles per hour when 200 miles per hour would have been more normal. ''Something is wrong there,'' he said, adding that if the horizontal tail is out of position, ''the airplane is not controllable at high speed.''
The Ethiopian Airlines jet's speed was much higher than that of the Lion Air plane that crashed, he said, but otherwise their trajectories were similar, particularly in the erratic variances of vertical speed and unusual swings in altitude.
With the MCAS flight control system already implicated in the Lion Air crash, it's now seen as the potential cause of both.
Boeing's software fix will make a series of changes, according to a summary provided to Larsen and other lawmakers during a private briefing Thursday.
The company said it will change the MCAS software to give the system input from more than one AOA sensor. It will limit how much MCAS can move the horizontal tail in response to an erroneous AOA signal. And when activated, the system will kick in only for one cycle, rather than multiple times.
Unless some other cause for the crashes emerges, 737 MAXs will remain grounded until that software patch is fully deployed and approved to have fixed the problem.
The impact of the groundingFor now, Boeing foresees normal operations at its 737 assembly plant in Renton.
In a brief statement Thursday, Boeing said it has paused delivery of MAX airplanes, but will continue to roll out the aircraft at the current rate of around 52 jets a month.
''We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes, while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,'' Boeing said.
The FAA's emergency grounding order on Wednesday allows airlines or Boeing to fly the aircraft without passengers aboard, to move them for storage, repairs or maintenance.
That means Boeing will be able to fly completed MAXs that roll out in Renton on ferry flights to Boeing Field or even to Moses Lake in Eastern Washington for storage as jets stack up with no deliveries possible. That should allow Boeing to maintain production in the near term.
A break in deliveries that long would have significant financial implications. Boeing's cash flow will be drastically reduced as long as the planes are grounded. And it will have to offer compensation to airlines for the losses accrued from parking planes.
Ken Herbert, an industry financial analyst with Canaccord Genuity, estimated the immediate fix as a $500 million investment with another $1 billion in cash flow lost monthly.
''We then see the potential monthly risk of up to another $1 billion depending on how much of the airline operating revenues Boeing ultimately reimburses,'' Herbert told investors.
Analysts on Thursday downplayed the impacts of the grounding on Boeing's airline customers, largely because the 737 MAX still accounts for a relatively small fraction of the global fleet.
In the United States, the carrier with the largest 737 MAX fleet is Southwest, but its 34 aircraft ''account for less than 5 percent of our daily flights,'' the company said Wednesday.
The 24 MAXs at American Airlines make up about 3 percent of its single-aisle jet fleet. At United Airlines, the 14 MAXs account for about 2 percent of its single-aisle jet fleet.
Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association at American Airlines, said some flights were canceled Thursday, inconveniencing passengers, but he expects American will recover its schedule quickly by substituting planes.
''It's disruptive, but manageable,'' he said.
However, some airlines will take a greater hit. European low cost carrier Norwegian, for example, has taken delivery of 18 MAXs specifically to fly new long-haul routes, in particular transatlantic routes.
On Wednesday, the airline said it will temporarily replace its 737 MAX 8 on its route between Dublin, Ireland, and Stewart Airport north of New York City, with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The MAX 8 seats 189 passengers while the Dreamliner seats 338. That airplane is clearly much too large for this small route and will have to fly with a lot of empty seats, likely losing money on every flight.
Boeing's reputationBoeing is so strong financially that it can likely absorb the costs of even a months-long grounding with little long-term impact. What's more concerning is the reputational damage.
The MAX has a backlog of nearly 4,700 orders and it's the jetmaker's cash cow. To come through this trauma successfully, Boeing needs to put this new 737 safety problem firmly behind it, as it did with a comprehensive engineering solution to the overheated battery problem that arose in 2013 on the 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing must also brace for a barrage of legal actions.
These will include lawsuits from carriers claiming financial damage from the grounding, but also lawsuits from families of the victims of the two crashes.
And the FAA will not be unscathed. It's already enduring criticism about its lack of oversight.
In an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jim Hall wrote, ''the F.A.A. used to lead the world in air safety; today it is bringing up the rear.''
In contrast, Larsen said that while other countries were ahead of the FAA in banning the MAX, they are now awaiting FAA guidance on the planes.
''The world is actually looking at the FAA to determine when these planes will fly again,'' Larsen said.
Dead model linked to Silvio Berlusconi 'bunga bunga' trial showed 'symptoms of poisoning': report | Fox News
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 14:36
Imane Fadil smiles as she leaves a courthouse in Milan, Italy, Oct. 3, 2011. Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the death of the Moroccan model, who testified in one of the inquiries linked to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties. (Associated Press)
A Moroccan model who was reportedly a regular guest at sex parties hosted by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- and was said to be writing a book about her experiences -- may have been fatally poisoned, prosecutors in Italy say.
Imane Fadil, 34, died March 1 in a hospital in Milan, where she had been undergoing treatment since Jan. 29 after exhibiting "symptoms of poisoning," Italian news agency ANSA reported, citing information from Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Associated Press)
Laboratory results suggest she may have had radioactive substances in her system, including cobalt, the BBC reported.
Fadil was a key witness for prosecutors in 2012 against Berlusconi, who stood trial on allegations of paying for sex with a minor and using his influence to cover it up. The case drew global attention for tales of so-called "bunga bunga" parties, where Berlusconi and other men would cavort with young women. Photographs later flooded the internet.
Fadil had told reporters in 2012 that she feared for her safety after telling prosecutors that she was offered hush money regarding what happened at the parties.
Berlusconi, now 82, was initially convicted but later won an appeal. He was ultimately convicted on tax fraud charges and sentenced to carry out community service. He still faces charges in connection with alleged witness tampering.
When contacted Saturday and asked about Fadil, Berlusconi denied knowing her.
"It's always a pity when a young person dies," he said, adding, "I never met this person, never talked to her. What I read of her statements made me think that everything was invented, absurd."
After the trial, Fadil claimed that her association with the case prevented her from finding work as a television sportscaster. She was hospitalized two weeks after beginning negotiations with lawyers for a Berlusconi co-defendant about a possible settlement deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Parents bribe service academies to not accept their children's applications
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:58
Air Force Published
2 months ago
January 22, 2019
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. '-- Controversy erupted when a local commander relieved a B-52 crew for creating what could be either penis pictures or crew self portraits, sources confirmed today.
''We found drawings on a B-52 navigation computer of five phallic-shaped objects,'' base spokesman Maj. ''Needle'' Dick Johnson said. ''The Air Force policy is clear '-- cockpits are no places for dick depictions.''
The sky penis, a phallic shaped symbol made using contrails, took off in popularity after a pilot at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island used his aircraft to create the image. The atmospheric art has since been recreated multiple times, although the Air Force has yet to create its own version.
''I'll admit that we envied the attention that Navy and Marine Corps aviators got for flying in formations that resembled penises,'' commander of the accused B-52 crew,'' Capt. Rodney ''Ramrod'' Schwantz, said. ''I was absolutely deflated about not being able to maneuver my aircraft in the same way. Those air dorks are big and visible, and we all know that in sky writing, size matters.''
''But we're getting shafted for no reason,'' Schwantz added. ''Our missions are long and hard, so we need ways to entertain ourselves. After our navigator took a life drawing class at the learning center, he sketched some pictures on our navigation computer showing us as a crew. It's art, not a dick pic.''
The base command pushed back at the idea the drawings constituted art.
''Art my ass,'' said Maj. Johnson. ''Those drawings are obviously penises. They're multiple shapes and sizes, bulbous on top with round objects underneath resembling testicles.''
The flight crew maintained that the images were merely self-portraits, and the command had misconstrued the drawings.
''The drawings show us preparing for a mission,'' Capt. Schawntz said. ''We're wearing our flight helmets, and those 'round objects' are our kit bags of equipment. Is it our fault that we all stand tall and straight? Except our weapons officer, Lt. Chubbie, who's kind of short and wide. We mistook him for a 55-gallon drum once. His call sign isn't 'Tuna Can' for nothing.''
Johnson admitted that the crew may have a point.
''It's possible that the Air Force is applying its penis picture policy in an indiscriminate, one could say, 'drunken, manner,''' Johnson said. ''We should probably apply it with more skill and dedication and probably with a follow up call the next day, or at least a text.
Regardless, navigator 1st Lt. Ron Chubbie intends to enter the crew portraits/penile depictions in a local amateur aviation art contest.
''The contest judges include Navy and Marine Corps aviators,'' Chubbie said. ''They'll definitely appreciate my style.''
A Huge Migrant Camp Is Being Erected Near George Clooney's Mansion - US Chronicle
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:55
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ultra-Liberal Hollywood A-Lister, George Clooney, is facing the prospect of seeing Europe's refugee and immigration crisis first-hand as reports are surfacing that an enormous migrant camp has just set up near the actor's Lake Como villa.
Switzerland has made the decision to close its southern border , due to the pressures that the incoming refugees have put on the Swiss economic system, welfare system, medical system, and criminal justice system.
That has left a large number of migrants, unable to gain access to Northern Europe, to settle down and wait until they can either find a smuggler to get them across the border illegally, or until they find somewhere else to go.
The makeshift town of tents and blanket-rolls is reportedly right next door to Clooney's lakeside mansion.
During the presidential election cycle, Clooney was complaining about then-candidate, Donald Trump, for suggesting that America put a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigrants hoping to relocate to the United States, until they could be properly screened for terrorist ties.
Clooney told Esquire,
''How am I to defend us when the only voice that's coming out from across the sea is banning Muslims?
That's the problem with what's going on. It's not that it's gonna happen; it's that we're broadcasting this to the rest of the world.''
It would be interesting to hear what George Clooney has to say when he steps outside of his lake-side mansion and sees a small city of immigrants camping nearby. Especially as reports are also coming out that the immigrants are destroying the beautiful landscape by littering the ground with clothes and garbage.
While promoting his new movie Money Monster , Clooney said,
''We're not going to be scared of Muslims or immigrants or women. We're not actually afraid of anything.
We're not going to use fear. So that's not going to be an issue.''
Maybe Clooney could invite many of these immigrants, that he's not afraid of, to occupy a portion of his residence since there ought to be plenty of spare rooms available.
It would be interesting to see a Liberal, who is calling Donald Trump un-American for not wanting to unconditionally accept refugees into the United States, put his money where his mouth is.
Share this if you think this is karma for Clooney .
H/T Breitbart
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Wag the Dog - Wikipedia
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:28
Wag the Dog is a 1997 black comedy film produced and directed by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro.[1] The screenplay concerns a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal. The screenplay by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet was loosely adapted from Larry Beinhart's novel American Hero.
Wag the Dog was released one month before the outbreak of the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan by the Clinton administration in August 1998, which prompted the media to draw comparisons between the film and reality.[3] The comparison was made again in December 1998 when the administration initiated a bombing campaign of Iraq just prior to Clinton's impeachment over the Lewinsky scandal.[4]
Plot [ edit ] The President is caught making advances on an underage Firefly Girl inside the Oval Office, less than two weeks before the election. Conrad Brean, a top spin doctor, is brought in by presidential aide Winifred Ames to take the public's attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a fictional war in Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan. The hoax is initially successful, with the President quickly gaining ground in the polls after appearing.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young to confront Brean about the hoax. Brean convinces Young that revealing the deception is against his (and the CIA's) best interests. But when the CIA'--in collusion with the President's rival candidate'--reports that the war did happen but is drawing to an end, the media begins to focus back on the President's sexual abuse scandal. To counter this, Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines in Albania. Inspired by the idea that he was "discarded like an old shoe", Brean and Motss have the Pentagon provide the team with a soldier named Schumann around whom a POW narrative is constructed, complete with T-shirts, patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism and solidarity. As part of the hoax, folk singer Johnny Dean (Willie Nelson) records a song called "Old Shoe", which is pressed onto a 78 rpm record, prematurely aged so that listeners will think it was recorded years earlier, and sent to the Library of Congress to be "found". Soon, large numbers of old pairs of shoes began appearing on phone and power lines, signs that the movement is taking hold.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army convict. On the way back, their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, who kills Schumann after he attempts to rape his daughter. Seizing the opportunity, Motss stages an elaborate military funeral for Schumann, claiming that he died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show, Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president's upsurge in the polls to the bland campaign slogan of "Don't change horses in mid-stream" rather than Motss's hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean's offer of an ambassadorship and the dire warning that he is "playing with his life". After Motss refuses to back down, Brean reluctantly orders his security staff to kill him. A newscast reports that Motss has died of a heart attack at home, the president was successfully re-elected, and an Albanian terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for a recent bombing.
Cast [ edit ] Production [ edit ] Title [ edit ] The title of the film comes from the idiomatic English-language expression "the tail wagging the dog",[5] which is referenced at the beginning of the film by a caption that reads:
Why does the dog wag its tail?Because a dog is smarter than its tail.If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.
Motss and Evans [ edit ] Hoffman's character, Stanley Motss, is said to have been based directly upon famed producer Robert Evans. Similarities have been noted between the character and Evans' work habits, mannerisms, quirks, clothing style, hairstyle, and large, square-framed eyeglasses; in fact, the real Evans is said to have joked, "I'm magnificent in this film."[6] Hoffman has never discussed any inspiration Evans may have provided for the role, and claims on the commentary track for the film's DVD release that much of Motss' characterization was based on Hoffman's father, Harry Hoffman, a former prop manager for Columbia Pictures.
Writing credits [ edit ] The award of writing credits on the film became controversial at the time, due to objections by Barry Levinson. After Levinson became attached as director, David Mamet was hired to rewrite Hilary Henkin's screenplay, which was loosely adapted from Larry Beinhart's novel American Hero.
Given the close relationship between Levinson and Mamet, New Line Cinema asked that Mamet be given sole credit for the screenplay. However, the Writers Guild of America intervened on Henkin's behalf to assure that Henkin received first-position shared screenplay credit, finding that'--as the original screenwriter'--Henkin had created the screenplay's structure as well as much of the screen story and dialogue.[7]
Levinson thereafter threatened to (but did not) quit the Guild, claiming that Mamet had written all of the dialogue as well as creating the characters of Motss and Schumann, and had originated most of the scenes set in Hollywood and all of the scenes set in Nashville. Levinson attributed the numerous similarities between Henkin's original version and the eventual shooting script to Henkin and Mamet working from the same novel, but the WGA disagreed in its credit arbitration ruling.[8]
Music [ edit ] The film featured many songs created for the fictitious campaign waged by the protagonists; these songs include "Good Old Shoe", "The American Dream", and "The Men of the 303". However, none of these pieces made it onto the soundtrack CD. The CD featured only the title track (by British guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler) and seven of Knopfler's instrumentals.
Reception [ edit ] On Rotten Tomatoes, Wag the Dog has an approval rating of 85% based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Smart, well-acted, and uncomfortably prescient political satire from director Barry Levinson and an all-star cast."[9] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating, the film has a score of 73 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]
Roger Ebert awarded the film four out of four stars and wrote in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, "The movie is a satire that contains just enough realistic ballast to be teasingly plausible; like Dr. Strangelove, it makes you laugh, and then it makes you wonder."[11] He ranked it as his tenth favourite film of 1997.[12]
Accolades [ edit ] The film was nominated for two 70th Academy Awards: Dustin Hoffman for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and Hilary Henkin and David Mamet for Best Adapted Screenplay.[13] The film was also entered into the 48th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear '' Special Jury Prize.[14]
TV series [ edit ] On April 27, 2017, Deadline reported that Barry Levinson, Robert De Niro, and Tom Fontana are developing a TV series based on the film for HBO. De Niro's Tribeca Productions will co-produce along with Levinson and Fontana's company.[15]
See also [ edit ] Astroturfing, a controversial public relations practice depicted in the filmCanadian Bacon and Wrong Is Right, films about an American war started for similar reasonsThe political phrase wag the dog is used to indicate that attention is purposely being diverted from something of greater importance to something of lesser importance. The idiom stems from the 1870s. In a local newspaper, The Daily Republican: "Calling to mind Lord Dundreary's conundrum, the Baltimore American thinks that for the Cincinnati Convention to control the Democratic party would be the 'tail wagging the dog'." The phrase, then and now, indicates a backwards situation in which a small and seemingly unimportant entity (the tail) controls a bigger, more important one (the dog). It was again used in the 1960s. The film became a "reality" the year after it was released, due to The Lewinsky Scandal. Days after the scandal broke, Bill Clinton ordered missile strikes against two countries, Afghanistan and Sudan.
References [ edit ] ^ a b Turan, Kenneth (December 24, 1997). " ' Wag the Dog' Is a Comedy With Some Real Bite to It". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved April 18, 2017 . A gloriously cyncial black comedy that functions as a wicked smart satire on the interlocking world of politics and show business ... ^ "Wag the Dog (1997)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved April 2, 2017 . ^ "Wag the Dog Back In Spotlight". CNN. August 20, 1998. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012 . Retrieved May 23, 2013 . ^ "Cohen criticizes 'wag the dog' characterization". CNN. March 23, 2004 . Retrieved October 8, 2018 . ^ "Idiom: wag the dog". UsingEnglish.com . Retrieved May 22, 2011 . ^ "Tiger Plays It Cool Under Big-cat Pressure". Orlando Sentinel. April 5, 1998 . Retrieved April 5, 2013 . ^ Welkos, Robert W. (May 11, 1998). "Giving Credit Where It's Due - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 13 November 2010 . ^ "Woof and Warp of "Dog" Screen Credit". E! Online. December 23, 1997 . Retrieved June 1, 2011 . ^ Wag The Dog, Rotten Tomatoes , retrieved December 26, 2011 ^ Wag The Dog, Metacritic , retrieved December 26, 2011 ^ Ebert, Roger (January 2, 1998). "Wag The Dog". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC . Retrieved April 18, 2017 . ^ Ebert, Roger (December 31, 1997). "The Best 10 Movies of 1997". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC . Retrieved February 22, 2019 . ^ "Awards" on IMDB.com ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Prize Winners". berlinale.de . Retrieved 2012-01-23 . ^ Petski, Denise (April 27, 2017). " ' Wag The Dog' Comedy Series In Works At HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC . Retrieved April 27, 2017 . External links [ edit ] Wag the Dog on IMDb Wag the Dog at Rotten Tomatoes
Shocked aviation world awaits Boeing black box probe in France | Euronews
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:15
By Richard Lough and Aaron Maasho
PARIS/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Investigators in France on Friday examined the black boxes of a Boeing 737 MAX that crashed in Ethiopia as the global airline industry waited to see if the cause was similar to a disaster in Indonesia months before.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa last weekend, killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving Boeing's flagship new model after a jet came down off Indonesia in October with 189 people on board.
In both cases, pilots asked to return minutes into flight.
"It looks like the Lion Air, because the flight only lasted for six minutes," Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam told state Chinese state news agency Xinhua on Friday. "There is clear similarity between our crash and the Lion Air crash."
Reuters was not able to reach Gebremariam for comment.
Regulators have grounded the 737 MAX around the world, and the U.S. planemaker has halted deliveries of the several thousand planes on order for a model intended to be the future industry workhorse.
Parallels between the twin disasters have frightened travellers worldwide and wiped billions of dollars off Boeing stock.
U.S. authorities say information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and data on its flight path show some similarities.
Two sources said investigators retrieved a piece of a stabiliser, which moves the nose up and down, set in an unusual position - similar to that of the Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia.
Pilots were waiting anxiously for the investigation.
"Looking at the crash site photos, the aircraft appears to have nose-dived," Paul Gichinga, former head of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, told Reuters.
"The pilot must have gotten some sort of indication that maybe the airspeed was unreliable or something and decided, instead of climbing and going to sort out the problem up there, the best thing was to return to have it sorted."
GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash interactive - https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M
Boeing, the world's biggest planemaker, has said the 737 MAX is safe, though it plans to roll out a software upgrade in coming weeks. Despite pausing shipments, it continued to produce at full speed at its factory near Seattle.
French authorities have the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, though Ethiopia is formally leading the investigation and U.S. experts are in Paris and Addis Ababa too.
First conclusions could take several days.
The New York Times said the captain, Yared Getachew, initially reported a "flight control" problem in a calm voice before asking to return in panicked tones three minutes into the flight. "Break break, request back to home," he told controllers, the newspaper reported, citing a person who reviewed the communications.
The jet initially flew below the minimum safe height for its climb, then once at higher altitude was oscillating up and down by hundreds of feet, all at abnormally fast speed, the Times said. It then disappeared from radar over a military zone and lost contact with controllers five minutes after take-off.
In Ethiopia, relatives have been visiting the charred and debris-strewn field to pay last respects. The victims came from 35 nations.
Diplomats fear trucks and excavators at the site could be destroying vital evidence, while some policemen have been taking selfies inside the security cordon.
Israeli Ilan Matsliah came quickly to Ethiopia thinking it would be quick to find the remains of his brother for burial in accordance with Jewish tradition.
"More than 24 hours is a problem for us. But I have been here for more than 96 hours," the 46-year-old told Reuters.
"We are now stuck in the same place, the same as Monday. We are very emotional."
With heightened global scrutiny, the head of Indonesia's transport safety committee said a report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up for release in July or August.
A preliminary report focussed on maintenance, training and an anti-stall system.
As the ripple-effect from the Ethiopia crash spread, Canada's biggest carrier Air Canada suspended 2019 financial forecasts after grounding MAX jets it had expected to bring savings on fuel and maintenance.
For airlines that over-ordered the 737 MAX, the grounding could provide an excuse to delay or cancel purchases, analysts said, though others are scrambling to adjust business plans that bet heavily on the fuel-efficient, longer-range jets to fly passengers to new destinations at a lower cost per seat mile.
U.S. bank Citi said it expected the grounding to eat into the profits of Southwest Airlines, which operates the world's biggest 737 MAX fleet, leaving the carrier facing a plane shortage and likely passenger compensation costs. Elsewhere, a potential new Chinese order for more than 100 jets worth well over $10 billion (£7.5 billion) was put in doubt.
Legal experts said even non-U.S. families of the Ethiopia victims may be able to sue Chicago-based Boeing in the United States - where payouts are larger - as eight of the dead were American and plaintiffs may argue liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by executives.
Shares in Boeing, one of the biggest companies by market capitalisation on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a darling of the market, have fallen about 10 percent since the crash, knocking $22 billion off the company's market capitalisation.
(Reporting by Richard Lough, Tim Hepher in Paris; Duncan Miriri and Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa; Omar Mohammed, Katharine Houreld and Maggie Fick in Nairobi; David Shephardson in Washington; Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Rishika Chatterjee, Savio D'Souza and Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Jamie Freed in Singapore; Josephine Mason in London; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne and Ben Klayman; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Nick Zieminski)
Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees amid employee uproar - Los Angeles Times
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:13
The Southern Poverty Law Center has fired its famed co-founder, Morris Dees, over unspecified misconduct, the nonprofit announced Thursday, a stunning development at an organization that became a bedrock of anti-extremism research and activism under nearly half a century of Dees' leadership.
While the organization's leadership did not disclose the reason for Dees' departure, staff at its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., were told in an internal email that ''although he made unparalleled contributions to our work, no one's contributions can excuse that person's inappropriate conduct.''
The Times has also learned that the organization, whose leadership is predominantly white, has been wrestling with complaints of workplace mistreatment of women and people of color. It was not immediately clear whether those issues were connected to the firing of Dees, who is 82.
Also Thursday, employees sent correspondence to management demanding reforms, expressing concerns about the resignation last week of a highly respected black attorney at the organization and criticizing the organization's work culture.
A letter signed by about two dozen employees '-- and sent to management and the board of directors before news broke of Dees' firing '-- said they were concerned that internal ''allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.''
In a public statement, Richard Cohen, president of the SPLC, announced that an outside organization would be hired immediately ''to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve '-- one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.''
Dees co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971 and gained fame by suing members of the Ku Klux Klan, which resulted in the anti-hate organization's offices being firebombed in 1983.
The son of a white tenant farmer in Alabama, he cut a swashbuckling figure as a Klan-busting attorney in the Deep South, drawing scorn in some mainstream corners for his showmanship and his prodigious fundraising abilities, which he had honed in his previous life as a millionaire direct-mail marketer.
His 1991 autobiography ''reads like a treatment for a Hollywood epic,'' The Times wrote in a review at the time.
In less mainstream corners, Dees' name is loathed by white nationalists and other far-right groups that have been targeted in lawsuits or published research by the Southern Poverty Law Center's staff of lawyers, analysts and undercover operatives. In recent years, some conservatives have accused the center of casting too wide a net in defining what is a ''hate'' group.
In his statement about Dees, Cohen wrote: ''As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world. When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.''
Asked about the nature of Dees' alleged misconduct, a spokesman for the organization said in an email: ''We can't comment on the details of individual personnel decisions.''
In an interview Thursday, Dees told the Montgomery Advertiser: "It was not my decision, what they did. I wish the center the absolute best. Whatever reasons they had of theirs, I don't know."
Lower-level staff members were caught off guard by Dees' firing, which was announced internally in an email and a conference call Thursday morning.
Dees was not a regular presence for low-level staff at the organization's sleek, modern downtown Montgomery headquarters, whose lobby contains remains from the firebombing as a memento and which is guarded by security staff.
In recent years, according to the center's internal email to staff, Dees' role has been focused on ''donor relations" '-- expanding the Southern Poverty Law Center's financial resources, which nearly totaled half a billion dollars in assets in 2017, according to the group's most recently available public financial disclosures.
The center's war chest vastly overshadows the minuscule financial resources that some far-right groups are capable of assembling, making it a frequent target for criticism, though the organization has also expanded its efforts to support more traditional civil liberties litigation, including fighting for better prison conditions.
Dees has not been involved in the liberal-leaning organization's ''programmatic initiatives,'' such as the Hatewatch blog. Cohen is the top leader most often featured and interviewed in the press as the organization has geared up to face a far-right movement that has grown energized in recent years. (Cohen did not respond to requests for further comment.)
Over his more than 40 years at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dees formed coalitions with major civil rights groups, including the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, and his departure took some civil rights leaders by surprise.
"Wow, that is a shocker to me," said Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP chapter. "We don't have a comment until we see what this is about."
Simelton's organization has frequently teamed with the Southern Poverty Law Center on civil rights lawsuits.
The center has faced complaints in the past that it does not employ enough black staffers.
In an internal email to the organization's legal department announcing her departure last Friday, a black attorney suggested the center needed to create a more inclusive work environment.
''As a woman of color, the experiences of staff of color and female staff have been particularly important to me ... and we recognize that there is more work to do in the legal department and across the organization to ensure that SPLC is a place where everyone is heard and respected and where the values we are committed to pursuing externally are also being practiced internally,'' she wrote.
The Times is not identifying the attorney because she could not immediately be reached to confirm the authorship of the message.
The center's leaders forwarded the attorney's email to the rest of the center's staff, saying that they were ''grateful'' for her work and that she ''raised important issues of gender and race '-- issues that the leadership of SPLC is committed to addressing in an honest and forthright manner,'' including additional training for management for ''racial equity, inclusion and results.''
''We'll be soliciting additional ideas from across the organization on how we can be more diverse, equitable and inclusive,'' the managers' email said. It was signed by Cohen and the organization's legal director and director of human resources.
Stephen Bright, a Yale law professor and former director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, has long questioned what he calls the center's ''fraudulent'' fundraising.
''The chickens have had a very long trip, but they finally came home to roost," Bright said.
''Morris is a flimflam man and he's managed to flimflam his way along for many years raising money by telling people about the Ku Klux Klan and hate groups,'' he said. ''He sort of goes to whatever will sell and has, of course, brought in millions and millions and millions of dollars.''
While the SPLC funded some good work, Bright said, he had long heard complaints about race discrimination and sexual harassment from the center's former attorneys and interns.
''It's remarkable," he said, "how many people who have worked at the center have not spoken very well of the center after they left."
Times staff writer Jenny Jarvie in Atlanta and Jaweed Kaleem in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Morris Dees, Founder Of The Southern Poverty Law Center, Is Fired : NPR
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:11
The Southern Poverty Law Center said Thursday that it had fired the organization's co-founder, civil rights attorney Morris Dees. He is seen here in 2016. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images The Southern Poverty Law Center said Thursday that it had fired the organization's co-founder, civil rights attorney Morris Dees. He is seen here in 2016.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images The Southern Poverty Law Center says that it has fired Morris Dees, one of its founders. The civil rights nonprofit, based in Montgomery, Ala., is well-known for its tracking of hate groups and its Teaching Tolerance program.
Dees co-founded the SPLC in 1971. The organization had $450 million in assets in 2017, according to a tax filing.
"As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world," President Richard Cohen said in a statement. "When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action."
No specific reason for the termination was given. Dees, 82, told The Associated Press that the matter involved a personnel issue. He called the SPLC a great organization and wished it luck, the AP reports.
Dees' biography has been removed from the SPLC's website.
The SPLC said it had also announced a number of actions to ensure "all voices are heard and all staff members are respected," including the hiring of an outside firm to assess its workplace climate and practices.
The SPLC's work has attracted threats and violence. Its offices were firebombed in 1983, for which three members of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested and pleaded guilty, the AP reports.
In recent decades, Dees has been the subject of both plaudits and criticism. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that its 1994 series on the SPLC revealed the famed civil rights attorney as "a figure seen as heroic by some and single-minded by others" who criticized Dees as more focused on raising money than fighting injustice.
A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism '' Jacobite
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:42
Anyone trying to work out what they think about accelerationism better do so quickly. That's the nature of the thing. It was already caught up with trends that seemed too fast to track when it began to become self-aware, decades ago. It has picked up a lot of speed since then.
Accelerationism is old enough to have arrived in waves, which is to say insistently, or recurrently, and each time the challenge is more urgent. Among its predictions is the expectation that you'll be too slow to deal with it coherently. Yet if you fumble the question it poses '' because rushed '' you lose, perhaps very badly. It's hard. (For our purposes here ''you'' are standing in as a bearer of ''the opinions of mankind''.)
Time-pressure, by its very nature, is difficult to think about. Typically, while the opportunity for deliberation is not necessarily presumed, it is at least '' with overwhelming likelihood '' mistaken for an historical constant, rather than a variable. If there was ever time to think, we think, there still is and will always be. The definite probability that the allotment of time to decision-making is undergoing systematic compression remains a neglected consideration, even among those paying explicit and exceptional attention to the increasing rapidity of change.
In philosophical terms, the deep problem of acceleration is transcendental. It describes an absolute horizon '' and one that is closing in. Thinking takes time, and accelerationism suggests we're running out of time to think that through, if we haven't already. No contemporary dilemma is being entertained realistically until it is also acknowledged that the opportunity for doing so is fast collapsing.
The suspicion has to arrive that if a public conversation about acceleration is beginning, it's just in time to be too late. The profound institutional crisis that makes the topic 'hot' has at its core an implosion of social decision-making capability. Doing anything, at this point, would take too long. So instead, events increasingly just happen. They seem ever more out of control, even to a traumatic extent. Because the basic phenomenon appears to be a brake failure, accelerationism is picked up again.
Accelerationism links the implosion of decision-space to the explosion of the world '' that is, to modernity. It is important therefore to note that the conceptual opposition between implosion and explosion does nothing to impede their real (mechanical) coupling. Thermonuclear weapons provide the most vividly illuminating examples. An H-bomb employs an A-bomb as a trigger. A fission reaction sparks a fusion reaction. The fusion mass is crushed into ignition by a blast process. (Modernity is a blast.)
This is already to be talking about cybernetics, which also returns insistently, in waves. It amplifies to howl, and then dissipates into the senseless babble of fashion, until the next blast-wave hits.
For accelerationism the crucial lesson was this: A negative feedback circuit '' such as a steam-engine 'governor' or a thermostat '' functions to keep some state of a system in the same place. Its product, in the language formulated by French philosophical cyberneticists Gilles Deleuze and F(C)lix Guattari, is territorialization. Negative feedback stabilizes a process, by correcting drift, and thus inhibiting departure beyond a limited range. Dynamics are placed in the service of fixity '' a higher-level stasis, or state. All equilibrium models of complex systems and processes are like this. To capture the contrary trend, characterized by self-reinforcing errancy, flight, or escape, D&G coin the inelegant but influential term deterritorialization. Deterritorialization is the only thing accelerationism has ever really talked about.
In socio-historical terms, the line of deterritorialization corresponds to uncompensated capitalism. The basic '' and, of course, to some real highly consequential degree actually installed '' schema is a positive feedback circuit, within which commercialization and industrialization mutually excite each other in a runaway process, from which modernity draws its gradient. Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche were among those to capture important aspects of the trend. As the circuit is incrementally closed, or intensified, it exhibits ever greater autonomy, or automation. It becomes more tightly auto-productive (which is only what 'positive feedback' already says). Because it appeals to nothing beyond itself, it is inherently nihilistic. It has no conceivable meaning beside self-amplification. It grows in order to grow. Mankind is its temporary host, not its master. Its only purpose is itself.
''Accelerate the process,'' recommended Deleuze & Guattari in their 1972 Anti-Oedipus, citing Nietzsche to re-activate Marx. Although it would take another four decades before ''accelerationism'' was named as such, critically, by Benjamin Noys, it was already there, in its entirety. The relevant passage is worth repeating in full (as it would be, repeatedly, in all subsequent accelerationist discussion):
'... which is the revolutionary path? Is there one?'--To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist ''economic solution''? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to ''accelerate the process,'' as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven't seen anything yet.
The point of an analysis of capitalism, or of nihilism, is to do more of it. The process is not to be critiqued. The process is the critique, feeding back into itself, as it escalates. The only way forward is through, which means further in.
Marx has his own 'accelerationist fragment' which anticipates the passage from Anti-Oedipus remarkably. He says in an 1848 speech 'On the Question of Free Trade':
'...in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.
In this germinal accelerationist matrix, there is no distinction to be made between the destruction of capitalism and its intensification. The auto-destruction of capitalism is what capitalism is. ''Creative destruction'' is the whole of it, beside only its retardations, partial compensations, or inhibitions. Capital revolutionizes itself more thoroughly than any extrinsic 'revolution' possibly could. If subsequent history has not vindicated this point beyond all question, it has at least simulated such a vindication, to a maddening degree.
In 2013, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams sought to resolve this intolerable '' even 'schizophrenic' '' ambivalence in their 'Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics,' which aimed to precipitate a specifically anti-capitalist 'Left-accelerationism', clearly demarcated over against its abominably pro-capitalist 'Right-accelerationist' shadow. This project '' predictably '' was more successful at re-animating the accelerationist question than at ideologically purifying it in any sustainable way. It was only by introducing a wholly artificial distinction between capitalism and modernistic technological acceleration that their boundary lines could be drawn at all. The implicit call was for a new Leninism without the NEP (and with the Utopian techno-managerial experiments of Chilean communism drawn upon for illustration).
Capital, in its ultimate self-definition, is nothing beside the abstract accelerative social factor. Its positive cybernetic schema exhausts it. Runaway consumes its identity. Every other determination is shucked-off as an accident, at some stage of its intensification process. Since anything able to consistently feed socio-historical acceleration will necessarily, or by essence, be capital, the prospect of any unambiguously 'Left-accelerationism' gaining serious momentum can be confidently dismissed. Accelerationism is simply the self-awareness of capitalism, which has scarcely begun. (''We haven't seen anything yet.'')
At the time of writing, Left-accelerationism appears to have deconstructed itself back into traditional socialist politics, and the accelerationist torch has passed to a new generation of brilliant young thinkers advancing an 'Unconditional Accelerationism' (neither R/Acc., or L/Acc., but U/Acc.). Their online identities '' if not in any easily extricable way their ideas '' can be searched-out through the peculiar social-media hash-tag #Rhetttwitter.
As blockchains, drone logistics, nanotechnology, quantum computing, computational genomics, and virtual reality flood in, drenched in ever-higher densities of artificial intelligence, accelerationism won't be going anywhere, unless ever deeper into itself. To be rushed by the phenomenon, to the point of terminal institutional paralysis, is the phenomenon. Naturally '' which is to say completely inevitably '' the human species will define this ultimate terrestrial event as a problem. To see it is already to say: We have to do something. To which accelerationism can only respond: You're finally saying that now? Perhaps we ought to get started? In its colder variants, which are those that win out, it tends to laugh.
Nick Land is an independent writer living in Shanghai.
Urbanomic's #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, remains by far the most comprehensive introduction to accelerationism. The book was published in 2014, however, and a lot has happened since then.
The Wikipedia entry on 'Accelerationism' is short, but of exceptionally high quality.
For the Srnicek and Williams 'Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics' see this.
Colorado Joins National Popular Vote Compact
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:03
"There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them."
-- Chuck Todd, host of "Meet the Press"
"Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I'm looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all."
-- Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report
"Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news and developments.''
-- Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report
"The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom -- nicely packaged, constantly updated... What political junkie could ask for more?"
-- Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia
New Zealand Shooting: Big Tech's Excuse for Letting Hate Go Viral
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:02
Photo: GettyEvery horrifying moment amplified by social media follows the same basic script, and Friday's livestreamed deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand, which left at least 49 people dead and dozens injured, hits all the usual plot points of hate going viral online.
The gunman posted a livestream of his massacre on Facebook, ultimately streaming for 17 minutes. Facebook eventually removed the stream after police flagged it, but the video spread beyond its initial audience across YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms, where it was reposted unnumbered times, spreading violence and the gunman's hateful ideology to unknown millions of people. The companies, of course, say they're working furiously to take down the reposted videos.
We've seen this time and again, so now we have to ask: Why are these big tech companies so bad at keeping the New Zealand mosque shooter's videos off their platforms? Why do they fail at keeping the radicalizing, racist, and hateful content from saturating their sites? Why does Silicon Valley effectively fail to police their platforms? The problem goes way beyond one video of mass murder'--and it goes straight to the heart of Silicon Valley's wealth and power.
''The scale is the issue,'' writer Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Facebook advertising manager, said on Twitter on Friday when asked why.
For Silicon Valley, the scale of their platforms is what makes them multibillionaires. The unprecedented scale is an intentional creation designed for unprecedented profit. For executives, shareholders. and engineers looking for a bonus and raise, scale is everything.
Scale is also always their excuse.
By their own admission, these companies are too big to succeed at effectively moderating their platforms, particularly in a case like Friday's explosive video of mass violence. So if they're too big to solve this problem, perhaps it's time to reduce their scale.
''The rapid and wide-scale dissemination of this hateful content'--live-streamed on Facebook, uploaded on YouTube and amplified on Reddit'--shows how easily the largest platforms can still be misused,'' Senator Mark Warner said in an email to Gizmodo. ''It is ever clearer that YouTube, in particular, has yet to grapple with the role it has played in facilitating radicalization and recruitment.''
If tech executives themselves are, in their own roundabout way, acknowledging that their companies are too big, maybe we should listen to them. The exact scale of these companies is difficult to know fully because of their lack of transparency. Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment on the issue, but the company says it has 30,000 workers and artificial intelligence tasked with removing hateful content. YouTube, which apparently sees 500 minutes of video uploaded every second, said in its latest quarterly report that in the fourth quarter of 2018, the site removed 49,618 videos and 16,596 accounts for violating our policies on promotion of violence or violent extremism. They also removed 253,683 videos violating our policies on graphic violence.
Just last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said much the same thing when journalist Kara Swisher asked the executive why neo-Nazis continue to thrive and grow on YouTube and why the website's comments are a notoriously vile place recently reported, for one example, to be used by pedophiles to network. Her answer: The scale is the problem.
Defending her company, Wojcicki said over 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute and that millions of bad comments are removed every quarter. ''But you have to realize the volume we have is very substantial, and we're working to give creators more tools as well for them also to be able to manage it,'' she said.
Wait, exactly whose responsibility is it to manage the proliferation of groups like Nazis and pedophiles across sites like YouTube? Is it the users? On YouTube, at least, the answer is apparently yes.
When YouTube's Twitter account posted early Friday that the company is ''heartbroken'' over the New Zealand killings, it provoked a reaction.
''I'm sorry, but no one cares if YouTube is heartbroken,'' Jackie Luo, an engineer in the Silicon Valley tech industry, said. ''Lives were lost, more will be. YouTube is complicit'--not so much because of yesterday's footage, but because of the huge role it's played and continues to play in normalizing and spreading this kind of violent rhetoric. It's infuriating to see a company that profits enormously from sending regular people down rabbit holes that radicalize them into having these kinds of beliefs then perform sorrow on social media when that model produces real and terrible consequences. It's a hard 'no' from me.''
YouTube's notorious radicalization problem is fuel for fire that is scale. The goal is to get more people watching, uploading, watching, uploading and consuming advertisements all the time. That's the entire business. Radicalization just happens to be one especially effective and profitable way to accomplish the goal of growth.
''This is not because a cabal of YouTube engineers is plotting to drive the world off a cliff,'' the academic Zeynep Tufekci wrote last year. ''A more likely explanation has to do with the nexus of artificial intelligence and Google's business model. (YouTube is owned by Google.) For all its lofty rhetoric, Google is an advertising broker, selling our attention to companies that will pay for it. The longer people stay on YouTube, the more money Google makes.''
Driving users to the next radical voice is part of the fundamental business'--eyeballs plus hours equals ad dollars.
At a time when Washington lawmakers are talking about breaking up big tech, it's very interesting to see a tech executive acknowledge that their platform is too big to handle the responsibility its brought on itself.
''I'm sorry, but no one cares if YouTube is heartbroken.'' I've got my own small experience with YouTube's radicalization business model, albeit in a much more innocuous way. I'm a runner who, until the last few years, loved quick 5K races. When I began to use YouTube more to watch running videos, the recommended and auto-play videos kept pushing me further and further along. Strangely, it assumed that a 5K runner would want to run marathons and then ultramarathons. I dutifully watched and watched before I ran a half marathon last month.
If it means watching more videos, YouTube aims to make ultramarathon-running radicals of us all because, presumably, radicalization makes for reliable and profitable consumers of content.
On Friday, over 12 hours after the event itself, videos of the gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing Muslims praying at a mosque continue to spread across the internet on sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as it's used as a propaganda tool for far-right white nationalists.
''Scale is the chief problem for both FB and YouTube,'' media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan tweeted. ''They would be harmless at <50 million [users].''
The reaction from New Zealand, where the attack occurred, is less forgiving.
''The failure to deal with this swiftly and decisively represents an utter abdication of responsibility by social media companies,'' Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the UK's Labour Party said. ''This has happened too many times. Failing to take these videos down immediately and prevent others being uploaded is a failure of decency.''
The argument that scale is the problem and can never be completely solved comes implicitly packaged with the idea that the way things are is the way things have to be. The excuse aligns nicely with the fact that rapid speed, growth, and scale happens to make these already wildly profitable companies even more money.
'I'm sorry that the status quo, which happens to make us wildly rich, can be so god awful,' they seem to say. 'But what can we possibly do?'
Scale is a Rorschach test in Silicon Valley. On one hand, it's a goal when a tech executive is on an earnings call. On the other hand, it's an excuse if it's a tech spokesperson apologizing to media about the company's failures.
If tech executives themselves are, in their own roundabout way, acknowledging that their companies are too big, maybe we should listen to them.
In Europe, regulators are looking closely at fining social media platforms that fail to remove extremist content within an hour. ''One hour is the decisive time window in which the greatest damage takes place,'' Jean-Claude Juncker said in last year's State of the Union address to the European Parliament.
''We need strong and targeted tools to win this online battle,'' Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said.
The problem is attracting attention in the United States as well.
''We need strong and targeted tools to win this online battle.'' Increasingly, American politicians want to do something about the scale and power of tech companies. Recently, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed breaking up the big tech firms. Breaking up America's big tech firms would push ''everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.''
Silicon Valley companies ''have a content-moderation problem that is fundamentally beyond the scale that they know how to deal with,'' Becca Lewis, a researcher at Stanford University and the think tank Data & Society, told the Washington Post. ''The financial incentives are in play to keep content first and monetization first. Any dealing with the negative consequences coming from that is reactive.''
Right now, the incentives line up so Silicon Valley will continue to be bad at policing the platforms they created. Incentives can be changed. In the language that Silicon Valley can understand, there are innovative ways to disrupt the social media industry's downward spiral. One is called regulation.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Tom Watson as the deputy leader of New Zealand's Labour Party. He is deputy leader of the UK's Labour Party. We regret the error.
Police detain Climate Strike protesters at University of Michigan sit-in - mlive.com
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:48
Ann Arbor Updated Mar 16, 10:20 AM; Posted Mar 15, 9:26 PM
Gallery: Washtenaw County Climate Strike
By Lauren Slagter | lslagter@mlive.com
ANN ARBOR, MI - Police detained some Climate Strike protesters following a sit-in Friday, March 15, at the University of Michigan Fleming Administration Building.
UM police issued trespass warnings to a few of the approximately 50 people still at the administration building after 8 p.m.
The protesters wanted to set a date for a public Q&A with UM President Mark Schlissel to talk about what the university is doing to address climate change.
UM administrators said they would respond to the group as soon as possible.
That didn't satisfy the protesters.
''All we want is a date to have this meeting. We're not asking for the meeting right now,'' Alice Elliott, a UM staff member and 2018 UM alumna, told The Ann Arbor News and MLive after about six hours of participating in the sit-in.
UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Schlissel was away from campus Friday and he had recently met with some of the protesters during his regular office hours. There has been one public town hall meeting with the President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality, Fitzgerald said, and there's another session scheduled for April 3.
''We appreciate the urgency our students feel regarding climate change,'' Fitzgerald said in a statement Friday night. ''President Mark Schlissel shares that sense of urgency.''
Maize and blue running behind in green energy plan at University of Michigan
University of Michigan struggles to make progress toward its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
University of Michigan renewable energy deal could help cut campus emissions 25 percent
UM is working on an agreement to purchase renewable energy for the campus that would result in a significant reduction to its overall carbon footprint.
Initially, Liz Barry, special counsel to the UM president, and UM Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones asked the protesters to leave the Fleming Building before it closed at 5 p.m. Blake Jones said police would arrest people still in the building after it closed, according to a Facebook livestream posted by Washtenaw County Climate Strike.
A UM police officer later told the protesters they could leave before 8 p.m. without issue, and after that, police would detain people and arrest anyone who could not provide ID, according to a Facebook livestream from Washtenaw County Climate Strike.
''You're threatening us with violence in response to non-violence,'' the protesters responded.
Most of the group left before the 8 p.m. deadline, and a handful of protesters who remained inside received trespass warnings and were escorted by officers out of the building.
A message seeking comment was left with UM police.
Ann Arbor Public Schools trustee Jeff Gaynor said he was detained by police and then released after participating in the sit-in.
Friday's Climate Strike was part of a youth-led global movement that consisted of school walkouts and rallies calling for more action to address climate change.
Hundreds of Washtenaw County middle school and high school students joined UM students for a rally on the Diag at noon. They then marched around downtown before staging the sit-in at the Fleming Administration Building.
Students bring urgency to the forefront in Washtenaw County Climate Strike
Hundreds of area students attended a rally for climate change on Friday, March 15.
Elliott said the sit-in was a last resort after attempting to get action from UM administration through meetings, Michigan Daily articles and petitions.
''We've really tried to do all the polite things that we can,'' she said. ''(The sit-in) is not super fun. We're here. We don't have a lot of food. People are tired, but we don't want to leave. It just seems like the only option at this point. I don't think we have any other way to get them to listen to us.''
MLive multimedia specialist Jacob Hamilton contributed to this report. A previous version of this article stated UM administrators said they would schedule a time to meet with the protesters as soon as possible. UM administrators said they would respond to the protesters as soon as possible.
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Attorney-General David Parker back-tracks on comments about gun control | RNZ News
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:44
Navigation for News CategoriesAttorney-General David Parker has clarified comments made at a vigil in Auckland's Aotea Square this afternoon, saying the government has not yet committed to banning some or all semi-automatic weapons.
Attorney-General David Parker has back-tracked, saying the government has not yet committed to banning some or all semi-automatic weapons. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith
Mr Parker appeared to tell the cheering crowd that the government would ban semi-automatics, with some media and people on social media reporting the government had promised action.
He has since, however, told RNZ he did not mean to go further than the prime minister. Earlier today Jacinda Ardern promised changes to New Zealand's gun laws and said regulations around semi-automatic weapons was "one of the issues" the government would consider.
But she did not say definitively the government would ban those weapons.
Mr Parker told RNZ he could not remember his exact words but was trying to reflect Ardern's comments that "we need to ban some semi-automatics, perhaps all of them. Those decisions have yet to be taken but the prime minister has signalled that we are going to look at that issue".
The Police Association has spoken in support of Ms Ardern's call for gun laws to change, after it was revealed the gunman yesterday used five guns including two semi-automatic weapons.
NZPA president Chris Cahill Photo: RNZ / Jacob West
NZPA president Chris Cahill said it is far too easy to legally access military grade semi-automatics.
He said with no gun register, there was no knowledge of where most guns are held in the country.
"We know how easy it is to get firearms in New Zealand, and while today and the next few days is the time to look after the welfare of the victims and their families, clearly we need to have a look at firearms law in New Zealand," Mr Cahill said.
"If someone was building up a cache of weapons and there was some alarms around that, it would be something that could be followed up, but as it stands now we have no idea who's buying weapons and where they're keeping them or how many they have in New Zealand."
Mr Cahill said semi-automatic firearms need to be banned and guns need to be registered to licence-holders.
As the law stands, anyone over 16 years old with an entry level firearm licence can keep a number of rifles and shotguns, and the guns are not registered, meaning there is no record of the weapons.
Council of Licenced Firearm Owners chairman spokesperson Nicole McKee said authorities and the firearms community need to ensure the safe use and control of guns to guard against people who should not have access to such weapons do not get access.
"We have made it clear to some govt agencies that we are open, not to lobby them, but to have some frank discussions about what we can do to assist this country to ensure that this sort of thing cannot happen in the future," Ms McKee said.
"It's not about lobbying, it's about how we can ensure that everybody in our country is kept safe."
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U.S. Blocks U.N. Resolution on Geoengineering - Scientific American
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:41
The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a U.N. resolution that sought to improve the world's understanding of potential efforts to lace the sky with sunlight-reflecting aerosols or use carbon-catching fans.
The two countries were joined by Brazil in blocking the resolution at the U.N. Environment Assembly conference in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this week. The measure asked the world's decisionmaking body on the environment to commission a report outlining research and planning related to carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Those controversial efforts are still in the planning stage and are not operational.
Switzerland and nine other nations originally asked the U.N. Environment Programme for guidance on possible future governance options and analysis of the implications of geoengineering, but they agreed to substantially reduce the scope of their resolution in hopes that the United States, Saudi Arabia and Brazil would allow it to move forward. The final version, which failed to gain consensus Wednesday, would have asked UNEP only to provide a compilation by next year of current scientific research on geoengineering and U.N. bodies that have adopted resolutions regarding it.
The proponents wished to see UNEA become the institutional home for geoengineering within the U.N. structure. But sources said the United States in particular insisted that questions about geoengineering be left to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body with a narrow focus on global warming. Geoengineering will be a key part of the IPCC's upcoming Sixth Assessment Report to be published in 2021 and 2022, and sources say the U.S. negotiators refused to agree to any other study or assessment that would be published before it.
The United States' focus on the IPCC raised eyebrows. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia angered parties at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December by questioning IPCC's work. The two countries joined Russia to block a popular proposal to ''welcome'' last year's landmark IPCC report that said the world must act aggressively to counteract climate change within 12 years. The special report said that failing to do so would result in catastrophic effects.
In Nairobi, atmospheric chemist and State Department official Farhan Akhtar led negotiations for the United States on the geoengineering resolution last week. The State Department didn't provide comment for this story.
Environmentalists expressed disappointment.
''There's definitely a lot of frustration on the part of those countries that have fought for the resolution in the last two weeks and have tried to improve it and find consensus,'' said Linda Schneider, a senior program officer with Heinrich-B¶ll-Stiftung.
Besides Switzerland, the motion was backed by Burkina Faso, Micronesia, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Niger and Senegal. Other parties, including some European nations and Bolivia, argued for even stronger language for using caution in approaching geoengineering. None of them opposed the final resolution.
The final version of the measure included a lengthy preamble that expressed concern about the ''potential transboundary risks and adverse impacts of carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management on the environment and sustainable development.'' It also emphasized the importance of ''applying the precautionary principle'' when fiddling with the world's thermostat.
Daniel Bodansky, a professor of law at Arizona State University and an expert on international climate agreements, criticized the resolution for painting direct air capture of carbon dioxide and solar radiation management with the same brush.
''I can understand fears about the latter,'' he said. ''But I find it much more difficult to understand objections to the former. Lumping them together as 'geoengineering' makes no sense to me, since they don't pose similar risks.''
Some experts suggest that there could be unwanted side effects from infusing the atmosphere with aerosols, like more severe weather.
While Bodansky said there are potential risks associated with solar radiation management, or SRM, he noted that the proposed resolution didn't balance those with the dangers of runaway climate change.
''It seems to me inconsistent to say, on the one hand, that global warming is the biggest problem that humanity faces, and then go on to say, on the other hand, but we shouldn't even do research on SRM because it may pose risks,'' he said. ''Either climate change is the biggest problem we face or it's not. And if it is, then it's all hands on deck.''
Bodansky also argued that the IPCC was the appropriate body to explore issues of geoengineering. Last year's special report found that there are no possible pathways to maintain the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming that don't include large-scale carbon dioxide removal. The report also noted possible governance challenges.
The Swiss resolution's preamble recognizes the IPCC's work on the issue and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change's authority over climate mitigation and adaptation. The Convention on Biological Diversity and the London Convention on the prevention of marine dumping have also weighed in on geoengineering in the past.
But Schneider of Heinrich-B¶ll-Stiftung said the U.N. Environment Assembly's broad purview made it the ideal forum to oversee future geoengineering experiments or governance issues.
Questions of artificially altering the world's climate are ''much broader than just a climate discussion and involve impacts on the environment on ecosystems on human rights and democracy,'' she said. ''From our perspective, it would have been really good to also anchor that discussion in UNEA and the environment program, to make sure that we would get a broader perspective on the impacts.''
The list of Switzerland's co-sponsors shows that climate-vulnerable countries want broader oversight of geoengineering, too. Countries with small governments lack the personnel to sift through numerous reports, and they stand to suffer if the practices result in unintended consequences. Micronesia, late during last year's meeting of the Montreal Protocol, proposed language calling for an assessment of possible impacts on the stratospheric ozone layer from geoengineering after an advisory panel warned that SRM could harm it. It wasn't adopted, but the country plans to offer a similar proposal at this year's conference.
Janos Pasztor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative, said carbon capture and SRM would ultimately need to be treated separately when it came to global governance issues.
Mitigation means reducing emissions, and direct carbon removal will likely become a larger part of nations' goals under the Paris Agreement, he said.
''When it comes to solar radiation management, that's where the challenge is. There's no home,'' said Pasztor, who is a former U.N. official.
Climate advocates and progressive countries also worry that the existance of tools to cool the atmosphere could blunt interest in climate mitigation and adaptation, and lengthen global reliance on fossil fuels. But they acknowledge the need to start a conversation about it.
''I think governance is an incredibly vital component of geoengineering,'' said Shuchi Talati of the Union of Concerned Scientists. ''Even if you're opposed to geoengineering, you need a governance mechanism to be able to enforce that. So international conversations will absolutely be necessary.''
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.
How Some of L.A.'s Most Privileged Kids Fake Disability to Cheat the System | Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:12
According to parents and counselors, it's common practice for parents at elite schools to pay for a doctor's diagnosis that allows their children extra test taking time, whether they need it or not. Roughly six weeks before the FBI released a 203-page indictment implicating 50 people in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, a student at LA's elite Harvard-Westlake school penned an opinion piece titled ''Start putting extra time to the test'' in the school's paper,The Chronicle.
Jessa Glassman, a junior, called attention to a problem at her elite private school: extra time for tests, intended to help children with learning disabilities level the playing field, but which she believes many of her peers have abused.
''I have seen more than a few of my classmates flock to specialists with the hopes of being diagnosed with a disorder that would qualify them for extra time on their entrance exams,'' Glassman wrote. ''Extra time has been exploited by some wealthy families who use their easy access to expensive medical professionals to give their children an upper hand in the college admissions process.''
In theory, the extra time policy is well-intentioned. Kids diagnosed with anxiety, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or a number of other maladies are allowed a more flexible deadline in which to complete the arduous college entrance exams.
According to
datacompiled by the
Wall Street Journalin 2018, some 25 percent of students at elite American universities are now classified as disabled, ''largely because of mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety.'' One school, Pomona College, reported a 17 percent jump in the number of disabled in just five years.
Students and parents have been taking advantage of the extra time practice since at least 1990, when the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, which created a framework for more flexibility.
In 2000, a California audit of test takers showed higher numbers of wealthy and white students receiving extra time exemptions, which led to a temporary crackdown, and a lawsuit. Three years later, according to theNew York Times, the College Board stopped recording the discrepancies, and ''the incentive grew to game the system.'' Now, in the wake of explosive allegations rocking the country's elite educational institutions, the practice is getting scrutiny.
That public vetting came in the form of an FBI operation dubbed ''Operation Varsity Blues.'' Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among the 50 people charged in the nationwide sting in which parents allegedly paid tens of millions in bribes to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California. According to the FBI's indictment, Varsity Blues mastermind, William ''Rick'' Singer, offered paying clients a range of services that took the concept of extra time and pushed it to an extreme degree, making room for an array of criminal offenses.
According to the indictment, Singer told one client, Gordon R. Caplan, the co-chairman of New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, to instruct his daughter ''to be stupid, not to be as smart as she is'' when being tested by a psychologist on Singer's payroll, who would then diagnose the student with a learning disability, thus qualifying her for extra time.
''None of this is new,'' says Collette Bowers Zinn, a former administrator at Wildwood and Brentwood who started her own education consultancy firm Zinn Education Management two years ago. ''It just wasn't weighing on most people's conscience before. Sometimes public shaming is the only way to shed light on such rigged systems and to hold people accountable.''
Zinn believes the exorbitant costs of tutors and classes gives the wealthy an unfair advantage, even before taking into account possible bribes.
''There are high school students who have legitimate learning challenges and who honestly need these accommodations,'' says Evelyn Alexander, a certified educational planner based in L.A. who has helped industry parents shepherd their children into dozens of private L.A schools, ''It's insulting to people who truly do need the extra time, it's just horrible.''
Alexander said she knew someone from a private school who took her son to a psychiatrist and instructed him to give wrong answers to questions, specifically in order to get the qualifying diagnosis.
''I said what you're doing is wrong,'' said Alexander. The friend replied, ''Everybody's doing it.''
According to parents and school consultants, the extra time charade has been an open secret for years. ''Parents talk about it, kids talk about it,'' says Christina Simon, a Viewpoint parent and co-author of the bookBeyond the Brochure: An Insider's Guide to Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles. ''The schools are aware of it, but they can't do anything about the fake diagnoses because they have been provided by doctors. It gets very tricky,'' she says.
According to interviews with parents and educational experts, certain psychologists and educational therapists who specialize in learning disabilities charge exorbitant fees, often in the range of $5,000, to give a diagnosis that will result in extra time.
''It takes parents about one second to find these doctors,'' says Simon, ''These fake diagnoses are part of the problem and it's something that allowed this scandal in part to take place.'' Her children, both of whom are in high school, have never applied for the extra time exemption, and Simon is firmly opposed to the abuse of the practice.
Parents point to the fact that kids often only invoke extra time for big standardized tests like the SAT or the ACT. (The College Board, which administers both tests, has not yet responded to a request to comment.)
Education consultant Betsy Braun says that part of the problem may lie in the fact that there is less stigma around learning disabilities than in the past.
''It's become normalized,'' Braun says, ''Everyone knows someone who [legitimately] has ADHD or a focus disorder.''
Braun says she has never encountered a mental health professional who has willingly lied on behalf of a concerned, or perhaps desperate, parent. And while she does recommend that any parent who suspects their child might have a learning disability to get tested, she says the abuse of the extra time clause is a ''disgusting way for parents to get their children into an advantageous position.''
How a Strange Massachusetts Election Helps Explain Britain's Brexit Chaos - The New York Times
Sun, 17 Mar 2019 11:09
The Interpreter
Image Fall River's mayor, Jasiel Correia, in October, after he was charged with fraud. Credit Credit David Souza/The Herald News, via Associated Press LONDON '-- This is the story of a strange election in a small Massachusetts city called Fall River that, believe or not, helps explain Britain's week of Brexit chaos and its uncertain future.
Fall River's saga began in October, when its then-26-year-old mayor, Jasiel Correia, was arrested on charges of defrauding investors and falsifying tax returns. He had raised funding to develop a marketing app called SnoOwl but, according to prosecutors, instead spent $230,000 of investors' money on jewelry, clothes, a Mercedes and his successful mayoral campaign.
Mr. Correia contested the charges and refused to step down. So some citizens of Fall River got enough signatures to force a recall election, which was held on Tuesday.
The recall election was an absolute walloping for the mayor. About 61 percent voted to remove him from office. Only 4,911 people, or 38 percent, voted to keep him in office. It was a clear popular mandate.
But there was a twist. The ballot had two questions: one on whether to recall Mr. Correia, and another on whom to replace him with. Five people ran to fill the mayor's seat '-- Mr. Correia among them.
Image Main Street in Fall River, Mass. Credit Charlie Mahoney for The New York Times It might seem like the height of hubris for a mayor under federal indictment to run for re-election even as he is being recalled. But whether he knew it or not, he was onto something.
Mr. Correia received 4,808 votes in the balloting on who should be the next mayor '-- almost exactly the number he had gotten on the recall question. But with the other four candidates splitting the rest of the vote, that was enough to put him ahead.
Yes, that's right: The same election that removed Mr. Correia by a nearly two-to-one ratio also returned him to office.
Democracy can be a strange system sometimes.
Which brings us back to Brexit.
Part of what's confounding Parliament's votes on how or when to leave the European Union is that, as in Fall River, British governance is shaped by two different elections that produced two different results.
The first of those elections, the 2016 referendum on whether to leave the European Union, recorded a slight majority of voters choosing to leave and a slight minority choosing to stay.
The second, a general election held in 2017, appeared to send a different message. The ruling Conservative party, whose members had championed Brexit, lost seats. But the opposition Labour party did not win enough to take power.
The results seemed to tell lawmakers that they do not have a mandate to follow the Conservative party. And they told Conservatives that they do not have a mandate to obey their prime minister.
That muddle is on full display in the votes in Parliament.
[Follow the latest Brexit developments in Parliament here.]
On the one hand, British lawmakers believe that, because of the 2016 vote, they have a mandate to make Brexit happen, no matter what.
But because British voters did not express a clear majority for any specific vision in the 2017 general election, British lawmakers cannot form a clear majority for any one plan on how to withdraw from the European Union.
Mrs. May's plan failed by a triple-digit margin when it was put to a vote in Parliament. A ''no-deal'' Brexit, favored by hard-liners, also failed. And there is not a majority for other options, like a second referendum or simply revoking Brexit.
Capturing public sentiment and converting it into governance is a messy, imperfect science. The way you design an election can shape the outcome just as much as the actual choices made by voters. Sometimes more.
Image Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, center, on Wednesday in Parliament. Credit Jessica Taylor/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images That's why the ballot in Fall River delivered one message from the public that Mr. Correia should pack his bags, and another that he should sit back down at his desk.
Democracy is built on the notion that any election outcome reflects the will of the people, and therefore must be respected. But as Fall River shows, that notion is, to some degree, a myth.
Elections test only what you design them to test. And tests of public sentiment becomes less scientific '-- and, frankly, less real '-- the more complex the question.
Fall River tried to ask its voters ''Do you want to remove the mayor and, if so, whom do you want to replace him with?'' But that question turned out to be too complicated. And the outcome clearly does not actually reflect public desire '-- since most people voted to recall the mayor.
Britain has been trying to test a vastly more complex question: ''Do you want to leave the European Union and, if so, under what timeline and terms?''
The 2016 referendum corralled all of the many different options for leaving '-- soft Brexit, hard Brexit, Norway-style Brexit, Canada-style Brexit, Brexit under only certain conditions, Brexit under any conditions '-- under a single option: ''Leave.''
Image Protesting outside Parliament in favor of Britain's remaining in the European Union. Credit Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock As a result, the most popular plan, to remain in the European Union, narrowly lost. Much the way Mayor Correia is still in City Hall, despite the clear will of the people.
In a world where we acknowledge that elections can be imperfect and even arbitrary tests of public sentiment, we might look at Britain's two votes and conclude that there is no majority consensus for any single Brexit. The past year of Parliamentary chaos, with lawmakers unable to coalesce around a plan, bears this out. We may also conclude that the most popular option is to remain in the European Union, which polls support.
But that is not the world that we live in. In this world, the mythology of elections says that they are perfect, infallible expressions of the people's will, and their results must be obeyed.
In Britain, that means lawmakers are bending over backward to find a public mandate for one plan or another when in fact none actually exists.
So Parliament is deadlocked and, unable to pass anything, drifting toward a ''no-deal'' Brexit. That is not only the least-popular option '-- it may also devastate the British economy.
That seems an awfully high cost for maintaining the myth of perfect elections, but it's the choice being made.
The Interpreter is a column by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub exploring the ideas and context behind major world events. Follow them on Twitter @Max_Fisher and @amandataub.
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An Odd Massachusetts Election and the Brexit Chaos
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The world's second-worst outbreak of Ebola is underway in Congo. Where is the concern? - The Washington Post
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 16:06
A Congolese health worker last August administers vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Olivia Acland/Reuters) Ronald A. KlainContributing columnist focused on public policy, legal issues and political affairs
Ronald A. Klain, a Post contributing columnist, served as White House Ebola Response coordinator from 2014 to 2015.
Five years ago, the United States was gripped with fear and awash in news coverage as the worst Ebola ou tbreak in history spread in West Africa. Today, the world's second-worst outbreak of the deadly disease is underway in Congo, but most Americans seem unaware or unconcerned. Why such a difference?
In some respects, the difference is understandable. The current outbreak '-- as bad as it is '-- has seen only a small fraction of the number of Ebola deaths recorded in 2014. That outbreak hit nations '-- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea '-- that have sizable diasporan populations in the United States, which sounded alarms about relatives in danger back home; there are far fewer immigrants from Congo in the United States. The 2014 outbreak also caused a stir in the United States because an Ebola-infected patient brought the disease to Dallas, where two nurses involved in his treatment also fell ill: Ebola in America. Nothing similar has happened with the current outbreak, nor '-- given how few people travel from the affected area '-- is it likely.
Thus, it is no surprise that pressure for a massive U.S. response such as the one the Obama administration undertook in 2014 '-- a $6 billion emergency-aid package, more than 10,000 U.S. civilians at work in the region '-- has not been repeated. Such an effort has also seemed unnecessary to this point. A vaccine for Ebola, developed near the end of the 2014 outbreak, is now available. Through the work of the global vaccine alliance Gavi, nearly 90,000 Congolese have received it. The World Health Organization, which failed miserably during the 2014 outbreak, has new leadership that has responded expertly and aggressively to this outbreak.
Yet, even with these favorable developments, evidence of the current response's success is mixed. Though the WHO recently asserted that the outbreak is being contained and will wind down in six more months, the death toll continues to mount (and until the outbreak is fully extinguished, anything can happen). With more than 100 armed groups in eastern Congo, where the outbreak is most intense, violence has forced several leading response organizations to withdraw; treatment facilities have been attacked. And each day the outbreak continues, the risk of a catastrophic turn '-- migration of the disease to massive refugee camps in South Sudan, or to the populous Congolese capital of Kinshasa '-- remains.
I am a Trump administration critic, generally, but I acknowledge that much of its Ebola response so far has been responsible. For example, while Donald Trump on Twitter in 2014 viciously criticized the Obama administration airlift of Ebola-exposed Americans back to the U nited States for treatment, as president, he allowed such a mission to go forward last December. The United States has contributed millions of dollars to the global response effort, and key administration officials '-- including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield '-- have visited the region. The administration announced this last week it is sending 10 more disease-fighting experts to Congo (albeit 200 miles away from the heart of the epidemic).
In sum, the Trump administration has taken the standard measures for buttressing a global health response effort. The problem is that the customary approach may not get the job done this time, just as it would not have in 2014.
A major challenge is a lack of White House leadership. After Ebola was defeated in West Africa in 2015 (and after I left the post of Ebola Response coordinator), President Barack Obama created a special National Security Council team to oversee epidemic preparedness and response on a permanent basis. Trump retained the unit during his first year in office, but on the day that John Bolton took over as national security adviser in 2018, he dismantled the unit and ousted its leader, the widely respected Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer. Perhaps fighting epidemics didn't fit Bolton's ''hard power'' view of security.
Fighting Ebola in Congo is the sort of global health challenge that requires White House leadership. Adding significantly more U.S. disease fighters in Congo, and placing them closer to the outbreak, would be dangerous but needs to be considered; the White House has, so far, refused to allow it. Rallying nations in the region to put together a multinational, security-equipped response force needs a White House push. Preparing a vastly expanded response if the epidemic escalates '-- including potentially a mass vaccination campaign in Congo '-- requires White House-level resources. That is sadly missing.
More broadly, the kind of outbreak seen in Congo '-- a deadly mix of disease, conflict, rejection of expert intervention and violence '-- may be the new normal in global disease fighting. This is especially true as climate change exacerbates risk factors. Instead of ramping up efforts to confront these challenges, the White House recently proposed cutting back U.S. global investment in fighting infectious diseases.
In 2014, there were no simple solutions to an Ebola epidemic that saw 1,000 new cases every week. The Obama administration took unprecedented action to help end that humanitarian crisis. It was risky, controversial and difficult '-- just as doing so today would be. But when faced with chal lenges, great nations don't sidestep, they step up.
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One year in, Facebook's big algorithm change has spurred an angry, Fox News-dominated '-- and very engaged! '-- News Feed >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:50
March 15, 2019, 9:54 a.m.
It's been a little over a year since Facebook announced major algorithm changes that would
decrease the amount of news in News Feed, instead prioritizing non-publisher content that spurs engagement and provokes comments. Fourteen or so months in, what does the news environment on Facebook look like?
A new report from social media tracking company NewsWhip shows that the turn toward ''meaningful interactions'' has:
pushed up articles on divisive topics like abortion, religion, and guns;politics rules; andthe ''angry'' reaction (ðŸ) dominates many pages, with ''Fox News driving the most angry reactions of anyone, with nearly double that of anyone else.''Of course, all that isn't only Facebook's fault. The content that dominates the platform now might have risen even without an algorithmic boost. But what's clear is that Mark Zuckerberg's January 2018 exhortation that the time spent on Facebook be ''time well spent'' has not come to pass: Instead, it's often an angry, reactive place where people go to get worked up and to get scared. Here are the two most-shared Facebook stories of 2019 so far:
Engagement is much higher than it was in 2018.Engagement '-- likes, comments, shares, reactions '-- has risen. For the first few months of this year, it was 50 percent higher than it was in 2018, and about 10 percent higher than it was in 2017 (which, remember, included Trump's inauguration, large-scale protests, and the chaotic early days of his presidency).
''There is a possibility that Facebook's friends and family focus, getting people to read what their networks are sharing rather than what pages are promoting, may have contributed to this increase as people shared articles they enjoyed on the network,'' NewsWhip says.
FoxNews.com is at the top for all engagement.FoxNews.com is far and away the top English-language publisher by engagement in 2019.
When you look individually at comments or shares, however, the picture is different. The U.K. viral publisher LADbible has the highest proportion of its engagement happening via comments of the 1,000 publishers NewsWhip looked at.
Meanwhile, Reuters stories get engagement mostly via shares, not comments, likes, or reactions. Some content from Canadian and local news publishers is also being shared similarly.
What gets comments and shares: abortion, missing kids, MomoThe most-commented and most-shared news stories were often scary or divisive.
Note that PolitiFact rates the ''New York abortion up to birth'' story '-- which includes 4 of the 15 stories on the list in one form or another '-- as False. Henry Winkler is in fact not dead, not 77, and not a ''Huge Trump Supporter''; Conservative Tears is a fake news site. And we've covered Momo before.
It says something about 2019 that the most-shared story of the year so far on all of Facebook '-- getting nearly twice the shares of No. 2! '-- is a 121-word story that says one sex offender may be in the Waco, Texas area. (If he is, it doesn't appear they've found him.) No doubt writing the headline as ''In Our Area'' instead of ''In the Waco Area'' led to lots of shares from people who thought it was a local-to-them story.
Politics = anger.''Angry'' is the top reaction when it comes to politics content, though not other types of content (''the one exception to this political rule was when animals were involved, particularly animals rescued from owners that mistreated them''). Fox News had the most ''angries,'' but left-leaning pages and properties clearly aren't exempt; Daily Kos also drives a large percentage of angry reactions, as do The Washington Post and Axios. (And, by the way, Bernie Sanders is ''the politician [who] drives the most angries.'')
If you're not familiar, MEEAW is a Bangalore-based viral site.
In a farewell note after his departure from Facebook was announced yesterday, chief product officer Chris Cox said that ''social media's history is not yet written, and its effects are not neutral.'' These lists would seem to back the idea Facebook's effects are indeed not neutral.
The full report is available for download here.
WhatsApp explores using Google to fight misinformation | VentureBeat
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:29
WhatsApp is working on a major new feature to tackle the spread of misinformation on its service. The Facebook-owned chat app is internally testing a new option that would allow a user to quickly verify the legitimacy of images they have received on WhatsApp by checking if they had ever appeared on the web before.
A reference of this feature was first spotted by WABetaInfo, a developer that has gained notoriety for revealing future WhatsApp product plans by combing through the app's code. VentureBeat understands the company is indeed internally testing the feature, although a WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment.
The unnamed feature relies on Google's reverse image search function to let WhatsApp users upload an image and find where it has appeared on the web. This is a clever solution by WhatsApp, which protects all messages and media content on its platform with end-to-end encryption. While hugely beneficial to end users, using encryption also significantly curtails WhatsApp's ability to scan the content of messages and media on its platform.
Above: Image: WABetaInfo
In emerging markets, users are exhibiting a growing appetite for sharing information through images. In places like India, WhatsApp's largest market and where the service is grappling with the spread of false information, the feature could potentially help many users quickly verify facts and get more context about the image they have received.
The likely imminent feature comes as WhatsApp has been introducing various safeguards on the platform. The company has enforced a limit on the number of messages WhatsApp users can forward, and run various educational campaigns to urge tens of millions of first-time users to be more cautious about the messages they share with their friends and family. Last month, WhatsApp said its system was banning 2 million fake or abusive accounts each month '-- much of that without relying on reporting from users.
More featuresAccording to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is also working on expanding WhatsApp Pay, its payment service that it's currently testing in India, to the U.K., Brazil, and Mexico.
The developer also shared an image that shows an in-app browser on WhatsApp's Android app. The developer told VentureBeat that the in-app browser was currently limited to Android 4.1 and up. Additionally, like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, WhatsApp's in-app browser uses Google's Safe Web Browsing service, which warns users when they attempt to visit a website that has been known to spread malware and other harmful content.
Privacy Policy
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:28
Updated July 3, 2018
This Privacy Policy ("Policy") provides information about the data that Aaptiv Inc. ("Aaptiv" or "We") may collect from users of our website (the "Site") and/or our mobile application (the "App") and how we use and share such information. By using the Site or the App, you agree to the terms of this Policy. We may change this Policy from time to time, and changes are effective upon posting. Please review our Privacy Policy regularly. Your continued use of Aaptiv after changes are posted constitutes your agreement to the changes. If you do not agree to the terms of this Policy, please discontinue your use of the Site and/or App.
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Aaptiv Fitness Programs | Audible.com
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:18
Frequently Asked Questions What is Aaptiv?
Aaptiv provides on-demand audio-guided fitness programs that combine the guidance of a certified Aaptiv trainer with motivating music. It is currently the top audio-based fitness app. Audible worked with Aaptiv to create exclusive fitness and wellness programs for our members.
What do you mean, free for members through September 5, 2019?
We wanted to give everyone a chance to access these programs, so we made them free for members to access through September 5, 2019. After this date, all Aaptiv audio-fitness programs will no longer be available in your library. Of course, we will send you a reminder before this happens.
How can I listen to these audio fitness programs?
See the available programs listed above. When you find the one you want, just tap Add to Library for $0.00 or Add to Library in the iOS app. From here, you can listen to them using the Audible app.
Yellow Vests & police clash in Paris as Macron's 'great debate' ends (VIDEO) '-- RT World News
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 13:40
Clashes between protesters and police broke out as the Yellow Vest rallies entered their 18th consecutive week, causing more headaches for President Macron, whose ''great debate'' aimed at pacifying the protests ended on Friday.
Saturday's rally saw thousands of people flooding the streets of downtown Paris, with many wearing black balaclavas and holding French flags.
Violence erupted on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where protesters congregated to take part in the weekly march which began in November. According to the Associated Press, Paris mobilized more police than in previous weeks in an attempt to stave off unrest.
Riot police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, some of whom were carrying firecrackers.
The area around the iconic landmark was quickly enveloped in smoke. Some protesters tried to erect barricades to block streets around the Place Charles de Gaulle, prompting police to respond with crowd control measures.
AP reported that at least one car was set ablaze by demonstrators. The demonstration broke out into a riot, with some protesters looting stores on Champs-Elysees, according to reports.
Video taken at the scene shows cafes and shops with smashed windows and broken furniture, as police stand guard in the street. The Yellow Vests have been quick to distance themselves from looters, claiming that the vandalism is carried out by a radical minority.
A Ruptly producer filming the demonstration was injured by a projectile fired by police. Video footage shows the producer receiving first aid from Yellow Vest medics.
At least 30 people were detained by 10:30 local time, but the figure is likely to grow as the day progresses.
In a message posted online ahead of Saturday's protests, organizers said they wanted the day to serve as an ''ultimatum'' to ''the government and the powerful.''
The latest round of 'Yellow Vest' protests coincides with the end of President Emmanuel Macron's ''grand national debate''. The first round of the debates, meant to reconcile with the grassroots protest movement, kicked off in the northern town of Grand Bourgtheroulde, with Macron and hundreds of local officials attending.
Macron expressed hope that a frank nationwide discussion of pressing issues would help alleviate growing political unrest. He has promised to increase the minimum wage but also warned that he will not back down on his pro-business reforms.
Also on rt.com Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism? Macron fuels debate on how to define anti-Jewish hate As a result, Yellow Vest activists have criticized the ''grand debate'' as a mere PR campaign. "We don't care about the national debate because we know it won't change anything," a Yellow Vests campaigner told RT. Others said the whole approach is designed simply to placate popular anger.
High-Ranking Facebook Strategists Resign, Rejecting Zuckerberg's Turn to Crypto and Decentralization | U.Today
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 13:00
Darryn PollockTue, 02/05/2019 - 04:41 Facebook once seemed very anti-cryptocurrency a while back, but acquiring Chainspace seems to suggest they are changing their mind.
A report doing the rounds has suggested that the social media giant that is Facebook is getting more and more invested into the cryptocurrency and startup space with the acquisition of a small blockchain startup called Chainspace.
This may be small, both in terms of the size of the start up and the effect on the social media company, but it is a big step for the adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain as it shows that major tech companies are actively getting involved in the space.
Facebook once banned the advertising of anything related to cryptocurrencies, but it has since reneged on that stance. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, the well-known head of the company, has even insisted that he wanted to learn more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Now, Facebook is putting its money where its mouth is by hiring the team behind Chainspace, which was founded by researchers from University College London.
Building their blockchain businessFacebook's acquisition of Chainspace's team, a move known in Silicon Valley as an acqui-hire, is the clearest sign yet of Facebook's ambition to be a big player in the nascent blockchain industry.
Facebook has set up an entire group to deal with blockchain growth within the company, putting David Marcus, a Facebook executive and former PayPal president, at the head of its blockchain enterprise group.
So, Facebook has done a bit of a complete turn on its interest in blockchain, but the acquisition of Chainspace also points towards where it sees value in the distributed ledger technology.
Chainspace's white paper explained that the team wanted to build a ''distributed ledger platform for high-integrity and transparent processing of transactions within a decentralized system.'' This essentially means they were trying to make transactions on the blockchain quicker and more functional in terms of a payment system.
Facebook transactions?This direction into blockchain transactions with cryptocurrencies could be a huge boost for Facebook. The possibility of, for example, a native Facebook blockchain token on the social media platform would allow for them to monetize a lot of aspects upon their platform.
It could indeed transform the face of social media, which has predominantly been about acquiring user data, and change it to receiving cryptocurrency as payment. This is especially prevalent with the increased focus on the value of users data in the wake of the Facebook-led data hack through Cambridge Analytica.
Already in the worksIt has actually been reported that Facebook is interested in forming its own cryptocurrency, a stable-coin type currency that would operate in the messaging app WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook.
In terms of fueling adoption, the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain on two hugely popular apps, such as Facebook and Whatsapp, would see millions of people enter the sector and thus legitimize it far more.
More so, the value and price of the cryptocurrency would surely soar should this form of adoption come to be, as it would open the door to people not only on Facebook's potential native token, but the entire cryptocurrency market, causing a huge demand rush.
Subscribe to U.Today on Facebook, and get involved in all top daily cryptocurrency news, stories and price predictions!#Blockchain#Facebook#Bitcoin News
Nikki on Twitter: "Ik word echt helemaal misselijk van al die politici en politiek betrokken figuren die #Christchurch nu aangrijpen om een statement te maken en Nederlandse politici zoals Baudet te koppelen aan een terreurdaad in NZ. Totaal gebrek aan re
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Kabinet: Bol.com moet boeken antivaxxers uit de etalage halen | Politiek | AD.nl
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 11:47
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Secretary of State Pompeo Calls on the Energy Sector to Weaponize Itself
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 05:19
Friday March 15, 2019
I don't believe there ever has been a speech quite like the keynote speech delivered on Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Houston, Texas at CERAWeek, the major annual energy conference put together by Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
The conference is a big deal for the energy sector. Sponsoring partners include: Credit Suisse, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Morgan Stanley, The Carlyle Group, Chevron, Baker Hughes, TOTAL, Occidental Petroleum, MIT Energy Initiative, Petrobras, Schlumberger, Stanford Energy, Shell, The World Energy Council and Google Cloud.
So what did Pompeo talk about to this high-level energy sector crowd?
He used the opportunity to attack, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and Russia. He further pretty much called on the energy sector to enter the neocon battle to change the world.
It isn't enough for the energy sector to be a decent trading partner. According to Pompeo, "We're not just exporting American energy, we're exporting our commercial value system to our friends and to our partners. The more we can spread the United States model of free enterprise, of the rule of law, of diversity and stability, of transparency and transactions, the more successful the United States will be and the more successful and secure the American people will be."
This is neocon babble 101.
And, of course, there are also enemies in this world that Pompeo wants to destroy for the benefit of the people who were in the room.
Most troubling was Pompeo's directly naming and putting Russia in the camp with smaller "enemies." It is bizarre to taunt any of these countries but Russia is a serious nuclear player that the Trump administration seems to desperately be driving into the arms of China.
These global Kissingeresque chess matches are bad enough but Trump and his neconettes are playing poorly at the game and it is very scary.
Below are key snippets from the speech (my bold).I had the chance to meet with Secretary Kissinger about two months ago, and I was asking about a handful of things, and he, 45 years ago, brought foreign ministers to his office to figure out how the world was going to deal with energy scarcity. A couple weeks back, I brought Dan into my office to talk about how the heck we were going to make sure we could get it from the American interior to the coast so that we could deliver this to foreign partners who are demanding this. And there, I want to turn to the real focus, the main topic, what our newfound energy abundance means for American foreign policy, what you all can help me and President Trump deliver to the world...
Our plentiful oil supplies allow us to help our friends secure diversity for their energy resources. We don't want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the NordStream II project any more than we ourselves want to depend on Venezuela for our oil supplies...
But truth is, here's my point: We're not just exporting American energy, we're exporting our commercial value system to our friends and to our partners. The more we can spread the United States model of free enterprise, of the rule of law, of diversity and stability, of transparency and transactions, the more successful the United States will be and the more successful and secure the American people will be...
The Trump administration is working strongly, based on its firmly held conviction that we must further America's interests by widening the tools we have available to our diplomats, especially the tool of American energy abundance. We're reminding them that we're simply better to do business with than Russia, China, or Iran...
And although it's certainly the case that our firms will benefit financially, this isn't just about dollars and cents for American companies. It's about America's national security. It's about Russian influence peddling and the need to stop it. We must bring this to an end, and you all can be an important part of that.
The final way that the State Department can help achieve this national security through energy abundance. We're pushing bad actors '' those who use their energy towards malign ends '' off the target.
Assad covets the oil fields to the east of the Euphrates River in the eastern part of the country. He wants those resources, he wants those wealth to continue to impoverish the people of Syria, and use those resources for himself and the cronies who are around him...
I talked about Iran. You know its role in global energy markets. We know that role is diminishing. Its exports have tanked due to our pressure campaign, and we have every intention of driving Iranian oil exports to zero just as quickly as we can.
We'll continue with sanctions until Iran behaves in the way normal nations do, without threatening assassination campaigns in Europe, conducting terror campaigns throughout Syria and Iraq, without underwriting Hezbollah. These are the ways that energy can keep Americans, Europeans, and Western countries all more secure.
The State Department wants to work with each and every one in this room tonight, American companies and foreign companies alike. We want to achieve these goals because we think we have the model that will make not only America but the world more secure.
And that folks, is about as off-the-wall of a speech you are ever going to hear at an energy conference. "We have the model that will make...the world more secure." Oh yeah, by neconizing the energy sector.
Reprinted with permission from TargetLiberty.
Suspected New Zealand shooter appears in court, flashes 'white power' symbol
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 05:00
March 15, 2019 | 6:48pm | Updated March 15, 2019 | 10:59pm
The suspected white supremacist who allegedly slaughtered 49 people in mass shootings at two separate mosques in New Zealand appeared in court in the city of Christchurch and was charged with murder Saturday morning local time, authorities said.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, was hit with just one murder charge, New Zealand Police said, but more charges were expected.
Tarrant, who was handcuffed and clad in a white prison jumpsuit, made an ''OK'' hand gesture during his appearance '-- a symbol used by white nationalists and racist internet trolls, according to a photo published by the New Zealand Herald.
He was remanded without bail and is expected back in court April 5.
He killed 41 people at the Al Noor Mosque in the center of the city, then slaughtered seven more at the Linwood Mosque about 3 miles away, authorities said.
Another victim died at a nearby hospital.
Tarrant livestreamed his attack on Facebook and left behind a manifesto, in which he rambled about white supremacy and racism.
Ides of March - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 18:48
Day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March
The Ides of March ( ; Latin: Idus Martiae, Late Latin: Idus Martii)[1] is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.[2] In 44 BC, it became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history.
Ides [ edit ] The Romans did not number days of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year.[3]
Religious observances [ edit ] Panel thought to depict the Mamuralia, from a
mosaic of the months in which March is positioned at the beginning of the year (first half of the 3rd century AD, from
El Djem,
Tunisia, in
Roman Africa)
The Ides of each month were sacred to Jupiter, the Romans' supreme deity. The Flamen Dialis, Jupiter's high priest, led the "Ides sheep" (ovis Idulis) in procession along the Via Sacra to the arx, where it was sacrificed.[4]
In addition to the monthly sacrifice, the Ides of March was also the occasion of the Feast of Anna Perenna, a goddess of the year (Latin annus) whose festival originally concluded the ceremonies of the new year. The day was enthusiastically celebrated among the common people with picnics, drinking, and revelry.[5] One source from late antiquity also places the Mamuralia on the Ides of March.[6] This observance, which has aspects of scapegoat or ancient Greek pharmakos ritual, involved beating an old man dressed in animal skins and perhaps driving him from the city. The ritual may have been a new year festival representing the expulsion of the old year.[7][8]
In the later Imperial period, the Ides began a "holy week" of festivals celebrating Cybele and Attis,[9][10][11] being the day Canna intrat ("The Reed enters"), when Attis was born and found among the reeds of a Phrygian river.[12] He was discovered by shepherds or the goddess Cybele, who was also known as the Magna Mater ("Great Mother") (narratives differ).[13] A week later, on 22 March, the solemn commemoration of Arbor intrat ("The Tree enters") commemorated the death of Attis under a pine tree. A college of priests, the dendrophoroi ("tree bearers") annually cut down a tree,[14] hung from it an image of Attis,[15] and carried it to the temple of the Magna Mater with lamentations. The day was formalized as part of the official Roman calendar under Claudius (d. 54 AD).[16] A three-day period of mourning followed,[17] culminating with celebrating the rebirth of Attis on 25 March, the date of the vernal equinox on the Julian calendar.[18]
Assassination of Caesar [ edit ] Reverse side of a
coin issued by Caesar's assassin Brutus in the autumn of 42 BC, with the abbreviation
Eidibus Martiis '' on the Ides of March) under a "
cap of freedom" between two daggers
In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch,[19] a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The Ides of March are come", implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone."[19] This meeting is famously dramatised in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."[20][21] The Roman biographer Suetonius[22] identifies the "seer" as a haruspex named Spurinna.
Caesar's death was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic, and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian (later known as Augustus).[23]Writing under Augustus, Ovid portrays the murder as a sacrilege, since Caesar was also the Pontifex Maximus of Rome and a priest of Vesta.[24] On the fourth anniversary of Caesar's death in 40 BC, after achieving a victory at the siege of Perugia, Octavian executed 300 senators and knights who had fought against him under Lucius Antonius, the brother of Mark Antony.[25] The executions were one of a series of actions taken by Octavian to avenge Caesar's death. Suetonius and the historian Cassius Dio characterised the slaughter as a religious sacrifice,[26][27] noting that it occurred on the Ides of March at the new altar to the deified Julius.
See also [ edit ] Julius Caesar, a play by William ShakespeareThe Ides of March, a novel by Thornton WilderReferences [ edit ] ^ Anscombe, Alfred (1908). The Anglo-Saxon Computation of Historic Time in the Ninth Century (PDF) . British Numismatic Society. p. 396. ^ "Ides of March: What Is It? Why Do We Still Observe It?". 15 March 2011. ^ Scullard, H.H. (1981). Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic. Cornell University Press. pp. 42''43. ^ Scullard, H.H. Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic. p. 43. ^ Scullard, H.H. Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic. p. 90. ^ Lydus, John (6th century). De mensibus 4.36. Other sources place it on 14 March. ^ Salzman, Michele Renee (1990). On Roman Time: The Codex-Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity. University of California Press. pp. 124 & 128''129. ^ Fowler, William Warde (1908). The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic. London. pp. 44''50. ^ Lancellotti, Maria Grazia (2002). Attis, Between Myth and History: King, Priest, and God. Brill. p. 81. ^ Lan§on, Bertrand (2001). Rome in Late Antiquity. Routledge. p. 91. ^ Borgeaud, Philippe (2004). Mother of the Gods: From Cybele to the Virgin Mary & Hochroth, Lysa (Translator). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 51, 90, 123, 164. ^ Gary Forsythe, Time in Roman Religion: One Thousand Years of Religious History (Routledge, 2012), p. 88; Lancellotti, Attis, Between Myth and History, p. 81. ^ Michele Renee Salzman, On Roman Time: The Codex Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity (University of California Press, 1990), p. 166. ^ Jaime Alvar, Romanising Oriental Gods: Myth, Salvation and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele, Isis and Mithras, translated by Richard Gordon (Brill, 2008), pp. 288''289. ^ Firmicus Maternus, De errore profanarum religionum, 27.1; Rabun Taylor, "Roman Oscilla: An Assessment", RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 48 (Autumn 2005), p. 97. ^ Lydus, De Mensibus 4.59; Suetonius, Otho 8.3; Forsythe, Time in Roman Religion, p. 88. ^ Forsythe, Time in Roman Religion, p. 88. ^ Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.21.10; Forsythe, Time in Roman Religion, p. 88; Salzman, On Roman Time, p. 168.. ^ a b Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Caesar 63 ^ "William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene II". The Literature Network. Jalic, Inc. 2010 . Retrieved 15 March 2010 . ^ "William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene I". The Literature Network. Jalic, Inc. 2010 . Retrieved 15 March 2010 . ^ Suetonius, Divus Julius 81. ^ "Forum in Rome," Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, p. 215. ^ Ovid, Fasti 3.697''710; A.M. Keith, entry on "Ovid," Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, p. 128; Geraldine Herbert-Brown, Ovid and the Fasti: An Historical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 70. ^ Melissa Barden Dowling, Clemency and Cruelty in the Roman World (University of Michigan Press, 2006), pp. 50''51; Arthur Keaveney, The Army in the Roman Revolution (Routledge, 2007), p. 15. ^ Suetonius, Life of Augustus 15. ^ Cassius Dio 48.14.2. External links [ edit ] Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, The Life of Julius CaesarNicolaus of Damascus, Life of Augustus (translated by Clayton M. Hall)
Beto O'Rourke's secret membership in America's oldest hacking group
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 17:12
(This article is adapted from a forthcoming book, ''Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World'')
> Some things you might know about Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman who just entered the race for president:
' The Democratic contender raised a record amount for a U.S. Senate race in 2018 and almost beat the incumbent in a Republican stronghold, without hiding his support for gun control and Black Lives Matter protests on the football field.
' When he was younger, he was arrested on drunk-driving charges and played in a punk band. Now 46, he still skateboards.
' The charismatic politician with the Kennedy smile is liberal on some issues and libertarian on others, which could allow him to cross the country's political divide.
One thing you didn't know: While a teenager, O'Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history.
The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft's Windows. It's also known for inventing the word ''hacktivism'' to describe human-rights-driven security work.
Members of the group have protected O'Rourke's secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O'Rourke as one of their own. In all, more than a dozen members of the group agreed to be named for the first time in a book about the hacking group by this reporter that is scheduled to be published in June by Public Affairs. O'Rourke was interviewed early in his run for the Senate.
There is no indication that O'Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity, such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so. But his membership in the group could explain his approach to politics better than anything on his resume. His background in hacking circles has repeatedly informed his strategy as he explored and subverted established procedures in technology, the media and government.
''There's just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you're doing it,'' O'Rourke said. ''I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.''
An ex-hacker running for national office would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. But that was before two national elections sent people from other nontraditional backgrounds to the White House and Congress, many of them vowing to blow up the status quo.
Arguably, there has been no better time to be an American politician rebelling against business as usual. Still, it's unclear whether the United States is ready for a presidential contender who, as a teenager, stole long-distance phone service for his dial-up modem, wrote a murder fantasy in which the narrator drives over children on the street, and mused about a society without money.
> 'Footloose' for the hacker set
O'Rourke was a misfit teen in El Paso, Texas, in the 1980s when he decided to seek out bulletin board systems '' the online discussion forums that at the time were the best electronic means for connecting people outside the local school, church and neighborhood.
''When Dad bought an Apple IIe and a 300-baud modem and I started to get on boards, it was the Facebook of its day,'' he said. ''You just wanted to be part of a community.''
O'Rourke soon started his own board, TacoLand, which was freewheeling and largely about punk music. ''This was the counterculture: Maximum Rock & Roll [magazine], buying records by catalog you couldn't find at record stores,'' he said.
He then connected with another young hacker in the more conservative Texas city of Lubbock who ran a bulletin board called Demon Roach Underground. Known online as Swamp Rat, Kevin Wheeler had recently moved from a university town in Ohio and was having problems adjusting to life in Texas.
Like O'Rourke, Wheeler said, he was hunting for video games that had been ''cracked,'' or stripped from digital rights protections, so that he could play them for free on his Apple. Also like O'Rourke, Wheeler wanted to find other teens who enjoyed the same things, and to write and share funny and profane stories that their parents and conservative neighbors wouldn't appreciate. It was good-natured resistance to the repressive humdrum around them, a sort of ''Footloose'' for those just discovering the new world of computers.
SWAG OF THE DEAD COW: Promotional material from the hacking group. Handout via REUTERSWheeler and a friend named the Cult of the Dead Cow after an eerie hangout, a shut-down Lubbock slaughterhouse '' the unappealing hind part of Texas' iconic cattle industry. Most CDC members kept control of their own bulletin boards while referring visitors to one another's and distributing the CDC's own branded essays, called text files or t-files.
At the time, people connected to bulletin boards by dialing in to the phone lines through a modem. Heavy use of long-distance modem calls could add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Savvy teens learned techniques for getting around the charges, such as using other people's phone-company credit card numbers and five-digit calling codes to place free calls.
O'Rourke didn't say what techniques he used. Like thousands of others, though, he said he pilfered long-distance service ''so I wouldn't run up the phone bill.''
Under Texas law, stealing long-distance service worth less than $1,500 is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. More than that is a felony, and could result in jail time. It is unclear whether O'Rourke topped that threshold. In any event, the state bars prosecution of the offense for those under 17, as O'Rourke was for most of his active time in the group, and the statute of limitations is five years. Two Cult of the Dead Cow contemporaries in Texas who were caught misusing calling cards as minors got off with warnings.
O'Rourke handed off control of his own board when he moved east for boarding school, and he said he stopped participating on the hidden CDC board after he enrolled at Columbia University at age 18.
Hana Callaghan, a government specialist at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, said that voters might want to consider both the gravity of any candidate's offenses and the person's age at the time.
Among the questions voters should ask, she said: ''What was the violation? Was it egregious? What does it say about their character '' do they believe the rules don't apply to them?'' If substantial time has passed, she added, voters should decide whether the person ''learned the error of their ways and no longer engages in those kind of behavior.''
''When Dad bought an Apple IIe and a 300-baud modem and I started to get on boards, it was the Facebook of its day. You just wanted to be part of a community.''
When he was a teen, O'Rourke also frequented sites that offered cracked software. The bulletin boards were ''a great way to get cracked games,'' O'Rourke said, adding that he later realized his habit wasn't morally defensible and stopped.
Using pirated software violates copyright laws, attorneys say, but in practice, software companies have rarely sued young people over it. When they do go after someone, it is typically an employer with workers using multiple unlicensed copies. Software providers are more interested in those who break the protections and spread their wares.
CDC wasn't of that ilk. Although some CDC essays gave programming and hacking instructions, in the late 1980s, the group was more about writing than it was about breaking into computer systems.
But its focus on creative expression didn't mean there were no grounds for controversy. Like many an underground newspaper, the Cult of the Dead Cow avidly pursued it.
A CDC member who joined in the early 1990s had previously used real instructions for making a pipe bomb to joke about shedding pounds by losing limbs. Three teenagers in Montreal found the file, and one lost two fingers after he tried to follow the formula, prompting outrage.
Rather than remove similar posts and hide the group's history, the CDC warned readers not to take the files literally and added a disclaimer that survives on its current web page: ''Warning: This site may contain explicit descriptions of or advocate one or more of the following: adultery, murder, morbid violence, bad grammar, deviant sexual conduct in violent contexts, or the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs.''
> Grabbing media attention
O'Rourke and his old friends say his stint as a fledgling hacker fed into his subsequent work in El Paso as a software entrepreneur and alternative press publisher, which led in turn to successful long-shot runs at the city council and then Congress, where he unseated an incumbent Democrat.
Politically, O'Rourke has taken some conventional liberal positions, supporting abortion rights and opposing a wall on the Mexican border. But he takes a libertarian view on other issues, faulting excessive regulation and siding with businesses in congressional votes on financial industry oversight and taxes.
His more conservative positions have drawn fire from Democrats who see him as too friendly with Republicans and corporations. His more progressive votes and punk-rock past helped his recent opponent, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, portray O'Rourke as too radical for socially conservative Texas.
But the political balance allows him to appeal to both main strands of political thought in Silicon Valley '' a key source of campaign money and cultural influence.
O'Rourke credits the Cult of the Dead Cow with developing his thinking in a number of ways. Not least, he fought to restore net neutrality, the principle which prevented internet providers from favoring some content over others.
Enthusiastically supported by large tech companies and consumer groups, net neutrality was formally adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015. The major telecommunications companies argued that it limited their ability to offer new services to content providers, and under the Trump Administration, the FCC overturned the policy in 2017. An attempt to legislate its reinstatement failed last year, although tech trade groups are still trying in court.
Hackers generally support net neutrality as part of a broader worldview that the free flow of information is necessary and good.
''I understand the democratizing power of the internet, and how transformative it was for me personally, and how it leveraged the extraordinary intelligence of these people all over the country who were sharing ideas and techniques,'' O'Rourke said.
''We weren't deliberately looking for hacking chops. It was very much about personality and writing, really.''
''When you compromise the ability to treat all that equally, it runs counter to the ethics of the groups we were part of. And factually, you can just see that it will harm small-business development and growth. It hampers the ability to share what you are creating, whether it is an essay, a song, a piece of art.''
O'Rourke's generation of hackers, and the Cult of the Dead Cow in particular, also thought deeply about how to grab media and public attention for a cause or a laugh. Group members, for instance, tossed raw meat from a Las Vegas stage, distributed an essay called ''Sex with Satan'' and falsely claimed the ability to hack satellites.
That media sense echoes in O'Rourke's political life.
As a congressman in 2016, while he and others were holding a sit-in at the House of Representatives to force a floor debate on gun control, the Republican Speaker, Paul Ryan, called a recess. That invoked the congressional rule that C-SPAN can't broadcast from its House cameras when the chamber isn't in session.
Reporter Joseph Menn talks about how he got the story of O'Rourke and the Cult of the Dead Cow.So O'Rourke began broadcasting the protest from his phone over Facebook, and the network aired that instead. The stunt drew attention to the majority party's refusal to deliberate on the issue, and it showed O'Rourke's willingness to upend convention.
During last year's Senate campaign, O'Rourke's staff took videos of him interacting with voters all over the state, editing several that went viral on social media. That helped O'Rourke raise more money than any Senate candidate in history despite refusing donations from political action committees. While losing his race by less than three percentage points, he drew in new voters and helped flip House seats and other races down the ticket.
While considering a presidential run, O'Rourke has gone on a multistate road trip and posted videos of everyday activities, even including a dental visit.
''Part of my success was being exposed to people who thought differently and explored how things work,'' O'Rourke said in the interview. ''There are alternate paths to service and success, and it's important to be mindful of that.''
> A murder fantasy and an end to money
O'Rourke, too, thought differently. His CDC writing from nearly three decades ago, under the handle ''Psychedelic Warlord,'' remains online.
One article he wrote as a teen mused how the world would work without money. After changing the system, including the government, O'Rourke foresaw the end of starvation and class distinctions.
''To achieve a money-less society (or have a society where money is heavily de-emphasized) a lot of things would have to change, including government as we know it. This is where the anti-money group and the disciples of Anarchy meet,'' O'Rourke wrote under his pseudonym. ''I fear we will always have a system of government, one way or another, so we would have to use other means other than totally toppling the government (I don't think the masses would support such a radical move at this time).''
Another t-file from O'Rourke, written when he was 15, is a short and disturbing piece of fiction. ''One day, as I was driving home from work, I noticed two children crossing the street. They were happy, happy to be free from their troubles'.... This happiness was mine by right. I had earned it in my dreams.
TEENAGE WRITER: O'Rourke's CDC writing from nearly three decades ago, under the online handle ''Psychedelic Warlord,'' remains online.''As I neared the young ones, I put all my weight on my right foot, keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor until I heard the crashing of the two children on the hood, and then the sharp cry of pain from one of the two. I was so fascinated for a moment, that when after I had stopped my vehicle, I just sat in a daze, sweet visions filling my head.''
In another piece, he took on a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who maintained that Hitler was misunderstood and didn't personally want Jews killed. O'Rourke and a Jewish friend questioned the man about his theories and let him ramble about Jews and African Americans, an attempt to let him hang himself with his own words.
''We were trying to see what made him think the horrible things that he did,'' he wrote in the file.
O'Rourke added that if readers wanted to learn more about the subject's Aryan church, they could write to the man's post office box in El Paso.
''Surely,'' O'Rourke wrote, ''they'd appreciate some 'fan' mail.''
> A rare woman in the hacker world
In addition to critiquing racism, O'Rourke tried to do something about sexism in the male-dominated world of hacking.
O'Rourke befriended a 16-year-old California girl who was a regular on TacoLand, and he put her up for membership in the CDC. With Wheeler's approval, she got in, making the CDC one of a very few hacker groups of the time that weren't all-male.
''I joined happily, honored, and proceeded to write crappy, horrific, 16-year-old bloody t-files,'' Carrie Campbell wrote to friends in the group 20 years later. ''I loved the community of smart people (and their girlfriends) to converse with and bounce ideas off of. The acceptance of my female gender is extremely rare in the hacker scene and I appreciate it'...Somehow I ended up purely by accident as the only girl in the world's most notorious hacker group.''
Wheeler kept the Cult of the Dead Cow small, with no more than 20 active members at a time and about 50 over the group's life. It continues today. The vast majority have remained anonymous, though most of the core participants agreed to identify themselves for the forthcoming book, called ''Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World.'' Campbell and Wheeler were two of those who agreed to be identified as CDC members for the first time.
During O'Rourke's active period, ''we weren't deliberately looking for hacking chops,'' Wheeler said. ''It was very much about personality and writing, really. For a long time, the 'test,' or evaluation, was to write t-files. Everyone was expected to write things. If we were stoked to have more hacker-oriented people, it was because we'd be excited to have a broader range in our t-files.''
Adapted from ''Cult of the DeadCow'' by Reuters reporterJoseph Menn.O'Rourke wrote a few more essays before entering Columbia in 1991. The introduction of internet service providers and Web browsers in the mid-1990s wiped out most bulletin boards, but the CDC lived on.
Its writing moved to web pages that were hosted for years by a famed Boston hacking collective called the L0pht, with which the CDC shared four members, including Peiter ''Mudge'' Zatko, future head of the cyber security mission at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is the Pentagon skunk works created after Sputnik to create ''strategic surprise'' in international conflict, and it had launched the forerunner to today's internet.
O'Rourke saw other members socially until at least 1997, just as the Cult of the Dead Cow was ramping up a run of five or six years as the most famous group of its kind.
''I was really at the margins, but I very much wanted to be as cool as these people, as sophisticated and technologically proficient and aware and smart as they were,'' he said in the interview. ''I never was, but it meant so much just being able to be a part of something with them'...understanding how the world worked '' literally how it worked, how the phone system worked and how we were all connected to each other.''
At the hacker conference Def Con in 1998 and 1999, donning costumes and rapping to a light show, the CDC released two tools to hack into computers running Windows. Back Orifice and its sequel Back Orifice 2000 were condemned as reckless by some. But the idea was to cause enough chaos and scrutiny to force Microsoft to work harder to secure its products, and the stunts worked, company veterans and outside security experts said.
Like O'Rourke, not everyone in the CDC pursued careers in the computer industry. Wheeler ran music venues in Texas and produced records in New York before turning to currency trading. Campbell is a freelance researcher near Seattle.
When Campbell left the email group for CDC members in 2006, she asked everyone to keep O'Rourke's identity secret, because he had just been elected to the El Paso city council.
They did so, and a few stepped up in late 2017 and early 2018 to hold some of O'Rourke's earliest out-of-state fundraisers for the Senate race. The first in San Francisco was co-hosted by CDC member Adam O'Donnell, an entrepreneur and a security engineer at Cisco Systems, and Alex Stamos, then the chief security officer at Facebook, who had worked under CDC members at a security provider in the previous decade.
Both said that technology was playing an increasingly fundamental role in national and personal security, the economy and everyday life, and that O'Rourke's background in the industry, no matter how unconventional, would be a huge advantage in office.
''It's really exciting,'' Stamos said. ''I have to support this guy, someone who has been active in this world since he was a teenager.''
Chris Wysopal, a L0pht veteran who founded tech company Veracode with a friend from the CDC, said he had been happily surprised to hear last year of O'Rourke's history.
''We need people at his level who come from the hacking community and get it,'' Wysopal said. ''But it's rare to see someone from that background have the leadership and communications skills. It's hard to believe that we might even see a hacker run for president.''
Back during one of his college summers, O'Rourke crashed at Carrie Campbell's house when his punk band toured her area. She saw him in 1997, too, when he was working at a New York internet provider and the CDC came to the Hackers on Planet Earth conference.
The next time was two decades later, at a Seattle fundraiser for the Senate race. O'Rourke singled her out in the crowd and told everyone she was a great person who didn't complain that his band once had eaten all her cereal. But there was one thing he didn't mention: how they met.
Beto: The Beta Version
By Joseph Menn
Photo editing: Steve McKinley and Simon Newman
Video: Zachary Goelman and Jane Lee
Art direction: Troy Dunkley
Edited by Kari Howard
Son defends parents caught in college admissions scandal while smoking blunt
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:56
March 13, 2019 | 10:26pm | Updated March 14, 2019 | 11:40pm
Maybe this is why Gregory and Marcia Abbott allegedly bought their daughter's way into college.
Their ''rapper'' son, Malcolm, popped out of the family's Fifth Avenue building to smoke a giant blunt '-- while defending his parents and bragging about his latest CD.
''They're blowing this whole thing out of proportion,'' said Malcolm Abbott outside the home that overlooks the Metropolitan Museum of Art. ''I believe everyone has a right to go to college, man.''
In between drags, Malcolm, whose father is the founder of food and beverage distributor International Dispensing Corp., admitted, ''I didn't go to college.''
The toker, who sports a ponytail and raps under the name ''Billa,'' then shamelessly plugged his music. ''Check out my CD, 'Cheese and Crackers,''‰'' he said of his 2018 five-track rec­ord that includes a song titled ''If I Lost My Money.''
Later, Malcolm emerged with his brother, who groused to The Post on Tuesday his parents ''got roped into [this by] some guy who f''king cheated them.''
The parents are accused of paying admitted mastermind William ''Rick'' Singer $125,000 to boost their struggling daughter's ACT and SAT scores.
Singer paid off an alleged crooked test proctor to inflate the girl's scores to a perfect 800 on the SAT math exam and 710 on the literature test. On the ACTs, her score of 23 out of 36 was upped to a near-perfect 35, according to court filings.
Both parents were out on $500,000 bail each.
Piece Found at Boeing 737 Crash Site Shows Jet Was Set to Dive - Bloomberg
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:33
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Trump Threatens Violence If Democrats Don't Support Him
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:38
Photo: Chris Kleponis/Getty Images
One of Donald Trump's favorite riffs is a wish, cast as a warning, that his supporters inside and outside the state security services will unleash violence on his political opponents if they continue to oppose the administration. The specifics of the riff don't vary much. Trump laments that his opponents are treating him unfairly, praises the toughness and strength of his supporters '-- a category that combines the police, military, and Bikers for Trump, which he apparently views as a Brownshirt-like militia '-- and a prediction that his supporters will at some point end their restraint.
He does it again in a new interview with Breitbart:
I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump '' I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough '-- until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
Early warnings that Trump could undermine the Constitution have not been borne out, which has produced a certain complacency about the issue. It is true that Trump is only an aspirational authoritarian, and to date has failed to bring his most illiberal dreams to life. He has used the government to punish independent media, prevailing upon the Post Office to raise rates on Amazon in retaliation for Jeff Bezos's ownership of the Washington Post, and repeatedly told his staff to order the Justice Department to block a merger in order to punish CNN. So far, this has had little effect.
On the other hand, if Trump wins a second term '-- a prospect that, under current economic conditions, is close to a toss-up '-- his presidency will only be a quarter of the way through. Already his authoritarian rhetoric is so thoroughly normalized that it hardly even registers as news any more. Anybody whose political efforts involve helping Trump gain more power, rather than opposing that project, is playing Russian roulette with the Constitution.
Republicans have had some success in restraining Trump's abuses '-- in large part by slow-walking his most blatantly illegal or authoritarian orders. But the GOP's willingness to defy Trump has also eroded steadily over his presidency. Congress's failure to block Trump's use of emergency powers to build the border wall that Congress has declined to fund is an important marker in that deterioration.
Republicans used to define more modest exertions of executive power by President Obama as dangerous Caesarism. Republicans turned Obama's rather casual vow to use his ''pen and phone'' to carry out executive authority into a Hitleresque claim of total power. Accordingly, when Trump claimed executive power to fund a project Congress refused to fund, at least some conservatives denounced his plans. North Carolina senator Thom Tillis wrote an op-ed calling for Congress to deny Trump's authority.
''Conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress and unilaterally provide deferred action to undocumented adults who had knowingly violated the nation's immigration laws. Some prominent Republicans went so far as to proclaim that Obama was acting more like an ''emperor'' or ''king'' than a president,'' he wrote, ''There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there's an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach '-- that it's acceptable for my party but not thy party.''
But then Trump started looking into supporting a primary challenger against Tillis. And lo and behold, Tillis abandoned the sacred principle. Republicans could have mustered a veto-proof majority to join with Democrats and block Trump, but failed. If Republicans are too frightened to defend what they themselves regard as a vital principle of the Constitution, what confidence should we have that they'll stand in the way of Trump's continued assaults on the Republic?
Get the latest from Jonathan Chait in your inbox.Analysis and commentary on the latest political news from New York columnist Jonathan Chait.
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Trump Threatens Violence If Democrats Don't Support Him Promoted links by Taboola 5 mins agoforeign interests
foreign interests
Delaying Brexit May Not Help the U.K. Avoid Disaster
By Jonah Shepp
Parliament voted for an extension, but MPs can't avoid making a hard decision '-- or Brexit's painful consequences '-- forever.
10 mins ago
The gunman cited Trump's enthusiasm for white nationalism in his manifesto
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!
'--@realDonaldTrump 29 mins agointernet history
internet history
Man Who Asked Obama to Bring Back Arrested Development: 'No Regrets'
By Brian Feldman
A decade ago, a viral protest sign asked the president to bring back the cult classic. Maybe he shouldn't have.
birch bayh
Birch Bayh, Liberal Lion of the Senate, Dies at 91
By Ed Kilgore
Bayh's proudest accomplishment was the Title IX law banning gender discrimination in higher education. He was also chief Senate sponsor of the ERA.
6:39 a.m.
Police in New York and Los Angeles say they've stepped up security outside mosques following the Christchurch shooting
The LAPD is monitoring the horrific events unfolding in Christchurch, New Zealand. While this attack appears to be an isolated incident with no nexus to LA, out of an abundance of caution we're providing extra patrols around mosques. Our thoughts & prayers are with all affected.
'--@LAPDHQ 6:37 a.m.
New Zealand gunman appears to be a white supremacist who was inspired by mass shootings in the United States
Before the shooting, someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter and the online forum 8chan. The 8chan post included a link to what appeared to be the gunman's Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.
The Twitter posts showed weapons covered in the names of past military generals and men who have recently carried out mass shootings.
In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes.
Writing that he had purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendment's provision on the right to bear arms, he also declared himself a fascist. ''For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist,'' he wrote.
6:28 a.m.
The terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand left 49 people dead. Four people are in custody
Forty-nine people are dead and scores more are seriously injured after a heavily armed gunman clad in military-style gear opened fire during prayers at a mosque in the center of Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday. A second mosque was also targeted in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called a well-planned ''terrorist attack'' making for ''one of New Zealand's darkest days.''
Authorities said they had four people in custody '-- three men and one women '-- but later clarified that only three were believed to have been involved in the violence. One man in his late 20s, whom the authorities declined to name, was charged with murder and was expected to appear in court on Saturday morning. The suspects had not been on security watch lists, officials said.
Police had deactivated an improvised explosive device, and were working to disarm a second, that had been attached to a vehicle used by the suspects. Counterterrorism forces were activatedacross New Zealand and Australia, as New Zealand elevated its national security threat level to ''high'' for the first time.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 41 people had been killed at Al Noor mosque on Deans Road, opposite a large downtown park. Seven more were fatally shot about three miles away at a mosque in Linwood, an inner suburb of Christchurch, and another person died at the hospital.
the city
As Hudson Yards Rises, Broken Subway Escalators Make for Steep Climbs
By Jose Martinez
The $2.4 billion 34th Street''Hudson Yards station is plagued by three of the ten most failure-prone subway escalators in Manhattan, records show.
1:25 a.m.
Two mosques were attacked in the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand that left multiple fatalities
Officials reported a significant number of casualties and said that four people were in custody, adding that a number of explosive devices were found attached to vehicles that they had stopped.
A 17-minute video posted to social media appears to show part of the attack.
[The suspect] then approaches the front of the mosque on foot, his weapon visible, and begins shooting at people at the entrance. What follows is a harrowing nearly two minutes of his firing on the worshipers.
climate change
What to Expect From Friday's Youth Climate Strike
By Matt Stieb
Inspired by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the walkouts are expected to draw tens of thousands in over 110 countries.
Multiple casualties reported at a Mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand
[New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern] says she cannot confirm precise details, including the number of casualties.
Ardern is asked if she would describe this attack as a hate crime, she says: ''I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence.''
She said that those who were in attendance at a mosque should have the right to be exercising their religious freedom, but they were not safe. Ardern says actions like this have ''no place in New Zealand''.
''It will be one of New Zealand's darkest days.''
No wonder why tens of thousands of students are walking out of classes tomorrow to march for the climate
Facing billions of dollars in cleanup costs, the Pentagon is pushing the Trump administration to adopt a weaker standard for groundwater pollution caused by chemicals that have commonly been used at military bases and that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans.
The Pentagon's position pits it against the Environmental Protection Agency, which is seeking White House signoff for standards that would most likely require expensive cleanup programs at scores of military bases, as well as at NASA launch sites, airports and some manufacturing facilities.
The problem is not limited to military bases. An estimated five million to 10 million people in the country may be drinking water laced with high levels of the chemicals, known as Per-and polyfluoroalkylsubstances, or highly fluorinated chemicals. They include thousands of people who live near military bases in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
At a meeting in November, pilots expressed their concerns over the 737 Max 8 with Boeing executives
Tensions were running high. One of Boeing's new jets '-- hailed by the company as an even more reliable version of Boeing's stalwart 737 '-- had crashed into the ocean off Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board the flight operated by Lion Air.
Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain who attended the meeting with Boeing executives, recalled, ''They said, 'Look, we didn't include it because we have a lot of people flying on this and we didn't want to inundate you with information.' ''
''I'm certain I did say, 'Well that's not acceptable,' '' said Tajer, a leader in the association representing American Airlines pilots.
''Whatever level of training they decided on [before the Lion Air crash], it resulted in an iPad course that I took for less than an hour,'' Tajer, the American Airlines pilot, said. ''A lot of pilots here at American did that course.''
3/14/2019russia investigation
russia investigation
Lindsey Graham Just Made It Less Likely the Public Will See the Mueller Report
By Matt Stieb
Graham shut down the House motion to give the Mueller report to the public and called for a counter-investigation into Hillary Clinton's 2016 conduct.
Kamala Harris calls for an end to the death penalty, days after Governor Gavin Newsom suspended it in California
Today, I am calling for a national moratorium on the death penalty. It is morally wrong, ineffective, and applied unequally. In America, nobody should be executed. We are better than this.
https://t.co/ITFg7XkJFL '--@KamalaHarris 3/14/2019
A Beto-Trump debate would be an hour-long word-salad
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Iowa after launching his 2020 bid: ''We have the single greatest mechanism to call forth the genius of our fellow human beings. This democracy '... can bring the ingenuity, the creativity, the resolve of an entire country''
https://t.co/vjldpxJmP9 pic.twitter.com/Iwfs5Yr7TC '--@CNNPolitics 3/14/2019
A highlight from the newly released House Judiciary transcripts of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page
Rep. Trey Gowdy: Well on November the 3rd, you did text: Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are F'ing everything up too. What did F'ing stand for?
Peter Strzok: Fucking
'--House Judiciary Committee 3/14/2019
Beto staying on-brand on day one
Claiming that future generations will look negatively at Trump's tax bill,
@BetoORourke says they'll ask ''who were those pendejos?''
''We don't want to be those pendejos,'' he says.
'--@ericbradner poke
Mark Zuckerberg's Presumed Successor Is Leaving Facebook
By Brian Feldman
Chris Cox, the head of product at Facebook, is leaving the company. The head of WhatsApp is also out.
the city
Sprint to Eliminate Cash Bail Raises Tough Choices
By Josefa Velasquez
Lawmakers and DAs are at odds over who can be held in jail before trial, as Governor Cuomo presses to pass a bill by April 1.
The co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees is out, and his bio has been removed from the non-profit's site
''As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,'' [SPLC President Richard] Cohen said in the emailed statement. ''When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.''
''Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we're taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve '-- one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.''
Another possible sign that the Mueller investigation wrapping up? They're circling back to Manafort underling Rick Gates.
A Friday filing deadline in his case could offer new details about the extent of his cooperation. It could also provide new clues about the status of Mueller's sprawling inquiry '-- which many believe is close to wrapping up.
If prosecutors and attorneys for Gates say he is ready to be sentenced, it will likely be taken as another sign of closure for the special counsel's two-year probe.
Gates was Mueller's star witness last summer in the criminal trial of Manafort in Virginia, which led to the former campaign boss's conviction on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and hiding a foreign bank account.
A 2020 longshot appeals for coverage with an analog media approach
3/14/2019college admissions scandal
college admissions scandal
Colleges Can't Fix Their Unfair Admissions Process on Their Own
By Sarah Jones
Policies like ending early decision and parental donations could help. But the admissions scandal shows it will take far more to level the field.
3/14/2019Is Beto the One?
Today, ex-senate candidate and emo poet Beto O'Rourke officially entered the 2020 campaign. As our own Ed Kilgore wrote, ''what he believes and stands for remains fuzzy'' '' his central draw is his charisma and personal appeal, which almost got him to the promised land last year in Texas. Twitter has been rolling its eyes at his inspirational (some say Obama-esque) schtick; will the actual Democratic electorate be more receptive?
Well, to be clear, *some corners* of Twitter have been rolling their eyes. But there's clearly a mismatch between O'Rourke's current appeal and how he's being treated in the mainstream press. He's getting the full front-runner treatment, but he's polling somewhere around Cory Booker nationally, in 5th or 6th place. I'd say the first indication we'll get of his potential appeal is his Day One or Week One fundraising numbers, since that's supposed to be his THING.
Right '' he's a prodigious small-dollar fundraiser.
He has been. In a race that looks almost nothing like this one!
I think it's hard to deny the appeal of a candidate as cool as Beto, but Democrats have become accustomed to a leader who was both a policy wonk and somehow cool at the same time. I could see a lot of voters being frustrated if he doesn't live up to that. (edited)
And yes, half of the frustration online comes from his outsize profile in the national press, with magazine profile after magazine profile.
I mean, I get it. He's trying something different from any other candidate we've seen recently. All I'm saying is we'll have a pretty good indication pretty quickly of whether he ACTUALLY starts off in the position we all seem to be assuming for him. I think there are a number of pretty big questions he faces, but one thing he's clearly doing in a way only 1-2-maybe 3 others can do is dominate the news for a few hours at a time, which is no small skill in this environment.
How much does his lack of clear policy on much of anything really matter, at this point?
Does it matter at all?
It's not like having a website full of policy outlines put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
It matters insofar as voters have a right to know where candidates stand. But obviously there's something to be said for strategic vagueness, wherein candidates try to express broad values and let voters project their policy wishes onto them. That, however, tends to look narrower than this when it works. Still, O'Rourke has suggested he'll put some ideas forward, and the Vanity Fair profile even included a mention of him kicking himself over not being specific in a Washington Post story about his immigration policy.
I'd be pretty shocked if he doesn't offer any policy ideas, but he's also been running for a few hours now, and candidates don't often kick off with a full policy slate (sometimes they do, obviously).
I want a full rundown by midnight.
But still, there's a huge difference between planning to roll out policies over a few weeks and just kicking off without having thought much of it through.
I thought the Vanity Fair piece was very good. I felt like I had a full portrait '-- maybe too full! '-- of who he is as a person, even if I don't know where he stands on specific issues
it feels odd that I'm already pondering Beto's relationship with his dad and how that drives him on day one of his campaign
Another possible hurdle: I wonder if anyone's in the mood for the kind of ''we need to come together as a country'' type of rhetoric he's known for. There's certainly at least a vocal minority of Democrats who want to go straight to hardball politics, and beto isn't that. Is unity too 2008?
That's one of the big divides of the primary. But call me when Joe Biden isn't leading the polls.
(That may be in like a week, but I think you have my number.)
Yes, his dominance so far provides a convincing a strong rebuke of the thesis,
I rewatched the last few lines of Obama's 2008 election night speech recently (yes, evenings get pretty wild at the Hartmann house) and his ''we're not red America or blue America'' rhetoric felt like it could have been from decades ago
Maybe people want to hear that '' a normal call for civility and unity '' even if they don't want to practice it in their day to day lives. It's a nice sentiment, and seems like the kind of thing people still want the president to say, even if they're still annoyed at Aunt Sally for wearing a MAGA hat to Thanksgiving.
I agree. I think that, even now, the majority of people are turned off by what they view as partisanship.
To me Beto seems vastly more ''authentic'' than the other candidates, but I don't know if people are going to appreciate that, or get hung up on personal quirks they don't enjoy. And by people maybe I mean me.
I want to like Beto, but I alternate between feeling like he's a genuine guy more willing than many to admit his mistakes, and getting hung up on privileged activities like rambling around and trying to find himself in his 20s, or rambling around to find himself sans family and kids after losing to Ted Cruz. Basically, I'm not sure how I feel about all the rambling.
Well the way that manifested in 2018 is: he's an extremely good retail politician, and he campaigned nonstop, in person, for two years. Massive rallies, small events, constant live streaming. Etc. And it got him close. The first and last question he'll have to answer, I think, is how much of that transfers to this race, which is completely different in basically every way, from the electorate to the competition to the stakes etc
As our dear president is so fond of saying: We'll see what happens.
veto bait
12 GOP Senators Join With Democrats to Reject Trump's Emergency Declaration
By Ed Kilgore
Trump will veto the resolution of disapproval, but his inability to keep Republican senators in line is a major embarrassment.
Students Sue Over 'Rigged' System That Let 'Rich Parents' Buy Admissions
By Adam K. Raymond
The Stanford students, who are suing a group of schools, say they were ''never informed that the process of admission was an unfair, rigged process.''
Graham doesn't seemed flustered by the looming release of the Mueller report
LINDSEY GRAHAM in statement OPPOSES resolution calling for public release of the Mueller report UNLESS IT ALSO CALLS FOR A NEW SPECIAL COUNSEL to investigate DOJ handling of HILLARY CLINTON EMAILS and CARTER PAGE FISA warrant. !!!
Hagia Sophia - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 10:48
Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia ( ; from the Greek ΑÎ"ία ΣÎφία, pronounced [aËÊ'ia soËfia] , "Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum (Ayasofya M¼zesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome. It was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[1] and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".[2]
The Hagia Sophia construction consists of mostly masonry. The structure is composed of brick and mortar joint that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced very evenly throughout the mortar joints. This combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time.[3]
From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople,[4] except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.[5] It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt. It was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.[6] The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity,[7] its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.[7] Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Sophia the Martyr), sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Î'αός Ïης ΑÎ"ίας ÏÎυ ÎεÎύ ΣÎφίας , Naos tÄ's Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".[8][9] The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis.[citation needed ] The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East''West Schism.
In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque.[10][11] The bells, altar, iconostasis, and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were also destroyed or plastered over. Islamic features '' such as the mihrab (a niche in the wall indicating the direction toward Mecca, for prayer), minbar (pulpit), and four minarets '' were added. It remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014[update], the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.[12] According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015.[13]
From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the S¼leymaniye Mosque, the R¼stem Pasha Mosque and the Kılı§ Ali Pasha Complex.
History [ edit ] Church of Constantius II [ edit ] The first church on the site was known as the Î'εÎ"άÎ>>η á¼ÎºÎºÎ>>ησία (MeglÄ' EkklÄ's­Ä, "Great Church"), or in Latin Magna Ecclesia,[14][15] because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.[7] Inaugurated on 15 February 360 (during the reign of Constantius II) by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch,[16] it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene ("Holy Peace") church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire.
Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, who was working on it in 346.[16] A tradition which is not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great.[16]Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed.[16] Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, and Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter.[16] The edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with galleries and a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium. It was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostom came into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Arcadius, and was sent into exile on 20 June 404. During the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down.[16] Nothing remains of the first church today.
Church of Theodosius II [ edit ] A second church on the site was ordered by Theodosius II, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415. The basilica with a wooden roof was built by architect Rufinus. A fire started during the tumult of the Nika Revolt and burned the second Hagia Sophia to the ground on 13''14 January 532.
Several marble blocks from the second church survive to the present; among them are reliefs depicting 12 lambs representing the 12 apostles. Originally part of a monumental front entrance, they now reside in an excavation pit adjacent to the museum's entrance after they were discovered in 1935 beneath the western courtyard by A.M. Schneider. Further digging was forsaken for fear of impinging on the integrity of the building.
Basilica of the Hagia Sophia (current structure) [ edit ] Construction of church depicted in codex Manasses Chronicle (14th century)
On 23 February 532, only a few weeks after the destruction of the second basilica, Emperor Justinian I decided to build a third and entirely different basilica, larger and more majestic than its predecessors.
Justinian chose geometer and engineer Isidore of Miletus and mathematician Anthemius of Tralles as architects; Anthemius, however, died within the first year of the endeavor. The construction is described in the Byzantine historian Procopius' On Buildings (Peri ktismatōn, Latin: De aedificiis). Columns and other marbles were brought from all over the empire, throughout the Mediterranean. The idea of these columns being spoils from cities such as Rome and Ephesus is a later invention.[17] Even though they were made specifically for Hagia Sophia, the columns show variations in size.[18] More than ten thousand people were employed. This new church was contemporaneously recognized as a major work of architecture. The theories of Heron of Alexandria may have been utilized to address the challenges presented by building such an expansive dome over so large a space.[citation needed ] The emperor, together with the Patriarch Menas, inaugurated the new basilica on 27 December 537 '' 5 years and 10 months after construction start '' with much pomp.[19][20][21] The mosaics inside the church were, however, only completed under the reign of Emperor Justin II (565''578).
Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople and a principal setting for Byzantine imperial ceremonies, such as coronations. Like other churches throughout Christendom, the basilica offered sanctuary from persecution to outlaws.
Earthquakes in August 553 and on 14 December 557 caused cracks in the main dome and eastern half-dome. The main dome collapsed completely during a subsequent earthquake on 7 May 558,[22] destroying the ambon, altar, and ciborium. The collapse was due mainly to the unfeasibly high bearing load and to the enormous shear load of the dome, which was too flat.[19] These caused the deformation of the piers which sustained the dome.[19] The emperor ordered an immediate restoration. He entrusted it to Isidorus the Younger, nephew of Isidore of Miletus, who used lighter materials and elevated the dome by "30 feet"[19] (about 6.25 meters or 20.5 feet)[clarification needed ] '' giving the building its current interior height of 55.6 meters (182 ft).[23] Moreover, Isidorus changed the dome type, erecting a ribbed dome with pendentives, whose diameter lay between 32.7 and 33.5 m.[19] Under Justinian's orders, eight Corinthian columns were disassembled from Baalbek, Lebanon, and shipped to Constantinople around 560.[24] This reconstruction, giving the church its present 6th-century form, was completed in 562. The Byzantine poet Paul the Silentiary composed a long epic poem (still extant), known as Ekphrasis, for the rededication of the basilica presided over by Patriarch Eutychius on 23 December 562.
In 726, the emperor Leo the Isaurian issued a series of edicts against the veneration of images, ordering the army to destroy all icons '' ushering in the period of Byzantine iconoclasm. At that time, all religious pictures and statues were removed from the Hagia Sophia. After a brief reprieve under Empress Irene (797''802), the iconoclasts made a comeback. The Emperor Theophilus (829''842) had two-winged bronze doors with his monograms installed at the southern entrance of the church.
The basilica suffered damage, first in a great fire in 859, and again in an earthquake on 8 January 869, that made one of the half-domes collapse. Emperor Basil I ordered the church repaired.
After the great earthquake of 25 October 989, which collapsed the Western dome arch, Emperor Basil II asked for the Armenian architect Trdat, creator of the cathedrals of Ani and Argina, to direct the repairs.[25] He erected again and reinforced the fallen dome arch, and rebuilt the west side of the dome with 15 dome ribs.[26] The extent of the damage required six years of repair and reconstruction; the church was re-opened on 13 May 994. At the end of the reconstruction, the church's decorations were renovated, including the addition of four immense paintings of cherubs; a new depiction of Christ on the dome; a burial cloth of Christ shown on Fridays, and on the apse a new depiction of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus, between the apostles Peter and Paul.[27] On the great side arches were painted the prophets and the teachers of the church.[27]
In his book De caerimoniis aulae Byzantinae ("Book of Ceremonies"), Emperor Constantine VII (913''919) wrote a detailed account of the ceremonies held in the Hagia Sophia by the emperor and the patriarch.
Upon the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, the church was ransacked and desecrated by the Crusaders, as described by the Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates. During the Latin occupation of Constantinople (1204''1261) the church became a Roman Catholic cathedral. Baldwin I of Constantinople was crowned emperor on 16 May 1204 in Hagia Sophia, at a ceremony which closely followed Byzantine practices. Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice who commanded the sack and invasion of the city by the Latin Crusaders in 1204, is buried inside the church, probably in the upper Eastern gallery. In the 19th century, an Italian restoration team placed a cenotaph marker near the probable location, which is still visible today. The marker is frequently mistaken by tourists as being a medieval marker of the actual tomb of the doge. The real tomb was destroyed by the Ottomans after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and subsequent conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.[28]
After the recapture in 1261 by the Byzantines, the church was in a dilapidated state. In 1317, emperor Andronicus II ordered four new buttresses (Pyram­das, Greek: "Πυραμίδας") to be built in the eastern and northern parts of the church, financing them with the inheritance of his deceased wife, Irene.[29] New cracks developed in the dome after the earthquake of October 1344, and several parts of the building collapsed on 19 May 1346; consequently, the church was closed until 1354, when repairs were undertaken by architects Astras and Peralta.
Mosque (1453''1935) [ edit ] Constantinople fell to the attacking Ottoman forces on the 29th of May in 1453. In accordance with the traditional custom at the time, Sultan Mehmet II allowed his troops and his entourage three full days of unbridled pillage and looting in the city shortly after it was captured. Once the three days passed, he would then claim its remaining contents for himself.[30][31]Hagia Sophia was not exempted from the pillage and looting and specifically became its focal point as the invaders believed it to contain the greatest treasures and valuables of the city.[32]Shortly after Constantinople's defenses collapsed and the Ottoman troops entered the city victoriously, the pillagers and looters made their way to the Hagia Sophia and battered down its doors before storming in.[33] All throughout the period of the siege of Constantinople, the trapped worshippers of the city participated in the Divine Liturgy and the Prayer of the Hours at the Hagia Sophia and the church formed a safe-haven and a refuge for many of those who were unable to contribute to the city's defense, which comprised women, children, the elderly and the sick and the wounded.[34][35] Being hopelessly trapped in the church, the many congregants and yet more refugees inside became spoils-of-war to be divided amongst the triumphant invaders. The building was significantly desecrated and looted to a large extent, with the helpless occupants who sought shelter within the church being either enslaved, physically and sexually violated or simply slaughtered.[32] While most of the elderly and the infirm/wounded and sick were killed, a vast number of women and girls were raped and the remainder (mainly teenage males and young boys) were chained up and sold off into slavery.[33] The church's priests and religious personnel continued to perform Christian rites, prayers and ceremonies until finally being forced to stop by the invaders.[33] When Sultan Mehmet II and his accompanying entourage entered the church, he insisted that it should be converted into a mosque at once. One of the ulama (Islamic scholars) present then climbed up the church's pulpit and recited out the Shahada ("There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet"), thus marking the beginning of the gradual conversion of the church into a mosque.[29][36]
Fountain (
Şadırvan) for ritual ablutions
As described by several Western visitors (such as the C"rdoban nobleman Pero Tafur[37] and the Florentine Cristoforo Buondelmonti),[38] the church was in a dilapidated state, with several of its doors fallen from their hinges; Mehmed II ordered a renovation as well as the conversion. Mehmet attended the first Friday prayer in the mosque on 1 June 1453.[39] Aya Sofya became the first imperial mosque of Istanbul.[40] To the corresponding Waqf were endowed most of the existing houses in the city and the area of the future Topkapı Palace.[29] From 1478, 2,360 shops, 1,300 houses, 4 caravanserais, 30 boza shops, and 23 shops of sheep heads and trotters gave their income to the foundation.[41] Through the imperial charters of 1520 (AH 926) and 1547 (AH 954) shops and parts of the Grand Bazaar and other markets were added to the foundation.[29]
Before 1481 a small minaret was erected on the southwest corner of the building, above the stair tower.[29] Later, the subsequent sultan, Bayezid II (1481''1512), built another minaret at the northeast corner.[29] One of these collapsed after the earthquake of 1509,[29] and around the middle of the 16th century they were both replaced by two diagonally opposite minarets built at the east and west corners of the edifice.[29]
mihrab located in the apse where the altar used to stand, pointing towards Mecca
In the 16th century the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520''1566) brought back two colossal candlesticks from his conquest of Hungary. They were placed on either side of the mihrab. During the reign of Selim II (1566''1574), the building started showing signs of fatigue and was extensively strengthened with the addition of structural supports to its exterior by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who was also an earthquake engineer.[42] In addition to strengthening the historic Byzantine structure, Sinan built the two additional large minarets at the western end of the building, the original sultan's lodge and the T¼rbe (mausoleum) of Selim II to the southeast of the building in 1576''1577 / AH 984. In order to do that, parts of the Patriarchate at the south corner of the building were pulled down the previous year.[29] Moreover, the golden crescent was mounted on the top of the dome,[29] while a respect zone 35 arşin (about 24 m) wide was imposed around the building, pulling down all the houses which in the meantime had nested around it.[29] Later his t¼rbe hosted also 43 tombs of Ottoman princes.[29] In 1594 / AH 1004 Mimar (court architect) Davud Ağa built the t¼rbe of Murad III (1574''1595), where the Sultan and his Valide, Safiye Sultan were later buried.[29] The octagonal mausoleum of their son Mehmed III (1595''1603) and his Valide was built next to it in 1608 / AH 1017 by royal architect Dalgi§ Mehmet AÄ'a.[43] His son Mustafa I (1617''1618; 1622''1623) converted the baptistery into his t¼rbe.[43]
Murad III had also two large alabaster Hellenistic urns transported from Pergamon and placed on two sides of the nave.[29]
In 1717, under Sultan Ahmed III (1703''1730), the crumbling plaster of the interior was renovated, contributing indirectly to the preservation of many mosaics, which otherwise would have been destroyed by mosque workers.[43] In fact, it was usual for them to sell mosaics stones '' believed to be talismans '' to the visitors.[43] Sultan Mahmud I ordered the restoration of the building in 1739 and added a medrese (a Koranic school, now the library of the museum), an Imaret (soup kitchen for distribution to the poor) and a library, and in 1740 a Şadirvan (fountain for ritual ablutions), thus transforming it into a k¼lliye, i.e. a social complex. At the same time, a new sultan's lodge and a new mihrab were built inside.
Renovation of 1847 [ edit ] Restoration of the Hagia Sophia was ordered by Sultan Abd¼lmecid and completed by eight hundred workers between 1847 and 1849, under the supervision of the Swiss-Italian architect brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati. The brothers consolidated the dome and vaults, straightened the columns, and revised the decoration of the exterior and the interior of the building. The mosaics in the upper gallery were exposed and cleaned, although many were recovered "for protection against further damage". The old chandeliers were replaced by new pendant ones. New gigantic circular-framed disks or medallions were hung on columns. These were inscribed with the names of Allah, Muhammad, the first four caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and the two grandchildren of Muhammad: Hassan and Hussain, by the calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa Ä°zzed Effendi (1801''1877). In 1850 the architects Fossati built a new sultan's lodge or loge in a Neo-Byzantine style connected to the royal pavilion behind the mosque. They also renovated the minbar and mihrab. Outside the main building, the minarets were repaired and altered so that they were of equal height.[44][45] A timekeeper's building and a new madrasah (Islamic school) were built. When the restoration was finished, the mosque was re-opened with ceremonial pomp on 13 July 1849.[citation needed ]
Museum (1935''present) [ edit ] The interior undergoing restoration
In 1935, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atat¼rk, transformed the building into a museum. The carpets were removed and marble floor decorations such as the Omphalion appeared for the first time in centuries, while the white plaster covering many of the mosaics was removed. Nevertheless, the condition of the structure deteriorated, and the World Monuments Fund placed Hagia Sophia on 1996 World Monuments Watch, and again in 1998. The building's copper roof had cracked, causing water to leak down over the fragile frescoes and mosaics. Moisture entered from below as well. Rising ground water had raised the level of humidity within the monument, creating an unstable environment for stone and paint. The WMF secured a series of grants from 1997 to 2002 for the restoration of the dome. The first stage of work involved the structural stabilization and repair of the cracked roof, which was undertaken with the participation of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. The second phase, the preservation of the dome's interior, afforded the opportunity to employ and train young Turkish conservators in the care of mosaics. By 2006, the WMF project was complete, though many other areas of Hagia Sophia continue to require significant stability improvement, restoration and conservation.[46] Hagia Sophia is currently (2014) the second most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.[12]
Although use of the complex as a place of worship (mosque or church) was strictly prohibited,[47] in 2006 the Turkish government allowed the allocation of a small room in the museum complex to be used as a prayer room for Christian and Muslim museum staff,[48] and since 2013 from the minarets of the museum the muezzin sings the call to prayer twice per day, in the afternoon.[49]
In 2007, Greek American politician Chris Spirou launched an international organization "Free Agia Sophia Council" championing the cause of restoring the building to its original function as a Christian church.[50][51][52] Since the early 2010s, several campaigns and government high officials, notably Turkey's deputy prime minister B¼lent Arın§ in November 2013, have been demanding that Hagia Sophia be converted into a mosque again.[53][54][55] In 2015, in retaliation for the acknowledgment by Pope Francis of the Armenian Genocide, the Mufti of Ankara, Mefail Hızlı, stated that he believes the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will be accelerated.[56][57]
On July 1, 2016, Muslim prayers were held again in the Hagia Sophia for the first time in 85 years.[58]
On May 13, 2017, a large group of people organized by the Anatolia Youth Association (AGD), gathered in front of Hagia Sophia and prayed the morning prayer with a call for the reconversion of the museum into a mosque.[59] On June 21, 2017, Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) organized a special program, which included the recitation of the Quran and prayers in Hagia Sofia, to mark the Laylat al-Qadr, the program was broadcast live by state-run television TRT.[60]
In March 31, 2018, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recited the first verse of the Quran in the Hagia Sophia, dedicating the prayer to the "souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul's conqueror," strengthening the political movement to make the Hagia Sophia a mosque once again, which would reverse Atat¼rk's measure of turning the Hagia Sophia into a secular museum.[61]
Timeline of Hagia Sophia [ edit ] 360 '' Inauguration of Hagia Sophia, under the rule of Constantius II.404 '' The original roof was destroyed in a fire.415 '' Hagia Sophia was restored and rededicated by Theodosius II.532 '' Hagia Sophia was burned down once again. The structure was completely destroyed alongside various other churches. After a mere 93 days, construction of the Hagia Sophia began.537 '' The reconstruction was completed with the lavish decorations and ornaments553 '' An earthquake shook Hagia Sophia, weakening the crown of Eastern arch.558 '' Another earthquake hit, causing a break between the two halves. A few months after, the main dome collapsed alongside the eastern semidome. This caused the destruction of the ambo, ciborium, and the Holy Table.562 '' Reconstruction was completed.726 '' Hagia Sophia was stripped of religious illustrations and sculptural work.842 '' St Sophia was finally re-installed. Commencing the redecoration of Hagia Sophia.859 '' A great fire damaged the Hagia Sophia.869 '' An earthquake caused a half dome to collapse.989 '' Another massive earthquake caused the collapse of the western dome.994 '' Hagia Sophia was reopened after reconstruction took place.1204 '' Hagia Sophia became a Roman Catholic Cathedral.1261 '' Hagia Sophia was converted to an Orthodox Church again.1344 '' An earthquake caused severe damage throughout the striation1346 '' Various parts of the building collapsed and the church was closed.1354 '' Hagia Sophia reopened after construction.1453 '' Following the fall of Constantinople, Mehmed the Conqueror orders the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Τhe Divine Service in Hagia Sophia at the time of the Salvation was interrupted.1573 '' The exterior was significantly strengthened and altered to follow the customary mosque appearance.1717 '' Renovations on the interior began.1734 '' Hagia Sophia had additions to restorations, such as the building of a library and a Quranic School.1847 '' The structure underwent another restoration1849 '' the mosque was reopened.1919 '' Τhe Divine Service in Hagia Sophia, which had been interrupted after the Salvation in 1453, was continued and completed by a Greek military priest.[62]1935 '' the building was transformed into a museum.[63]
Architecture [ edit ] Section of a "restored" design
a) Plan of the gallery (upper half)
b) Plan of the ground floor (lower half)
Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.[1] Its interior is decorated with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings of great artistic value. The temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, "Solomon, I have outdone thee!" (Î'ενίκηκά σε ΣÎÎ>>Îμών). Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville in Spain.[64]
Justinian's basilica was at once the culminating architectural achievement of late antiquity and the first masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds alike.
The vast interior has a complex structure. The nave is covered by a central dome which at its maximum is 55.6 m (182 ft 5 in) from floor level and rests on an arcade of 40 arched windows. Repairs to its structure have left the dome somewhat elliptical, with the diameter varying between 31.24 and 30.86 m (102 ft 6 in and 101 ft 3 in).
At the western entrance side and eastern liturgical side, there are arched openings extended by half domes of identical diameter to the central dome, carried on smaller semi-domed exedras; a hierarchy of dome-headed elements built up to create a vast oblong interior crowned by the central dome, with a clear span of 76.2 m (250 ft).[1]
Interior surfaces are sheathed with polychrome marbles, green and white with purple porphyry, and gold mosaics. The exterior, clad in stucco, was tinted yellow and red during restorations in the 19th century at the direction of the Fossati architects.
Narthex and portals [ edit ] The Imperial Gate was the main entrance between the exo- and esonarthex. It was reserved exclusively for the Emperor. The Byzantine mosaic above the portal depicts Christ and an unnamed emperor. A long ramp from the northern part of the outer narthex leads up to the upper gallery.
Upper gallery [ edit ] Throughout history the Hagia Sophia has been a victim to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, and has also fallen victim to vandalism. Structural damage can easily be seen on its exterior surface. To ensure that the Hagia Sophia did not ensue any damage on the interior of the building, studies have been conducted using ground penetrating radar within the gallery of the Hagia Sophia. With the use of GPR (ground penetrating radar), teams discovered weak zones within the Hagia Sophia's gallery and also concluded that the curvature of the vault dome has been shifted out of proportion, compared to its original angular orientation.[65]
West side of the upper gallery
The upper gallery is laid out in a horseshoe shape that encloses the nave until the apse. Several mosaics are preserved in the upper gallery, an area traditionally reserved for the Empress and her court. The best-preserved mosaics are located in the southern part of the gallery.
The upper gallery contains runic graffiti presumed to be from the Varangian Guard.
Dome [ edit ] The dome of Hagia Sophia has spurred particular interest for many art historians, architects and engineers because of the innovative way the original architects envisioned it. The dome is carried on four spherical triangular pendentives, one of the first large-scale uses of them. The pendentives are the corners of the square base of the dome, which curve upwards into the dome to support it, restraining the lateral forces of the dome and allowing its weight to flow downwards.[66][67] It was the largest pendentive dome in the world until the completion of St. Peter's Basilica, and has a much lower height than any other dome of such a large diameter.
The great dome at the Hagia Sophia is one hundred and seven feet in diameter and is only two feet thick. The main building material for the Hagia Sophia composed of brick and mortar. Brick aggregate was used to make roofs easier to construct. The aggregate weighs one hundred and fifty pounds per cubic foot, an average weight of masonry construction at the time. Due to the materials plasticity it was chosen over cut stone due to the fact that aggregate can be used over a longer distance.[68]
The weight of the dome remained a problem for most of the building's existence. The original cupola collapsed entirely after the earthquake of 558; in 563 a new dome was built by Isidore the younger, a nephew of Isidore of Miletus. Unlike the original, this included 40 ribs and was raised 20 feet, in order to lower the lateral forces on the church walls. A larger section of the second dome collapsed as well, in two episodes, so that today only two sections of the present dome, in the north and south side, still date from the 562 reconstructions. Of the whole dome's 40 ribs, the surviving north section contains eight ribs, while the south section includes six ribs.[69]
Although this design stabilizes the dome and the surrounding walls and arches, the actual construction of the walls of Hagia Sophia weakened the overall structure. The bricklayers used more mortar than brick, which is more effective if the mortar was allowed to settle as the building would have been more flexible; however, the builders raced to complete the building and left no time for the mortar to cure before they began the next layer. When the dome was erected, its weight caused the walls to lean outward because of the wet mortar underneath. When Isidore the Younger rebuilt the fallen cupola, he had first to build up the interior of the walls to make them vertical again. Additionally, the architect raised the height of the rebuilt dome by approximately six m (20 feet) so that the lateral forces would not be as strong and its weight would be transmitted more effectively down into the walls. Moreover, he shaped the new cupola like a scalloped shell or the inside of an umbrella, with ribs that extend from the top down to the base. These ribs allow the weight of the dome to flow between the windows, down the pendentives, and ultimately to the foundation.[70]
Hagia Sophia is famous for the light that reflects everywhere in the interior of the nave, giving the dome the appearance of hovering above. This effect was achieved by inserting forty windows around the base of the original structure. Moreover, the insertion of the windows in the dome structure lowers its weight.[70]
Minarets [ edit ] The minarets were an Ottoman addition and not part of the original church's Byzantine design. They were built for notification of invitations for prayers and announcements. Mehmed had built a minaret made from wood over one of the half domes soon after Hagia Sophia's conversion from a cathedral to a mosque. This minaret does not exist today. One of the minarets (at southwest) was built from red brick and can be dated back from the Fatih Sultan Mehmed period or Beyazıd II period. The other three were built from white limestone and sandstone, of which the slender northeast column was erected by Sultan Bayezid II during the Selim II period, while the two identical larger minarets to the west were erected by Sultan Selim II and designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Both are 60 metres in height, and with their thick and massif patterns, complete Hagia Sophia's main structure. Many ornaments and details were added to these minarets on repairs during the 15th, 16th, and 19th centuries, which reflect each period's characteristics and ideals.[71][72]
Buttresses [ edit ] Numerous buttresses have been added throughout the centuries. The flying buttresses to the west of the building, although thought to have been constructed by the Crusaders upon their visit to Constantinople, are actually built during the Byzantine era. This shows that the Byzantines had prior knowledge of flying buttresses which can also be seen at Hosios Loukas in Central Greece, the Rotunda of Galerius in Thessaloniki, and San Vitale in Ravenna.[70] Other buttresses were constructed during the Ottoman times under the guidance of the architect Sinan. A total of 24 buttresses were added.[73]
Notable elements and decorations [ edit ] Originally, under Justinian's reign, the interior decorations consisted of abstract designs on marble slabs on the walls and floors, as well as mosaics on the curving vaults. Of these mosaics, one can still see the two archangels Gabriel and Michael in the spandrels of the bema. There were already a few figurative decorations, as attested by the eulogy of Paul the Silentiary. The spandrels (corners) of the gallery are faced in inlaid thin slabs (opus sectile), showing patterns and figures of flowers and birds in precisely cut pieces of white marble set against a background of black marble. In later stages, figurative mosaics were added, which were destroyed during the iconoclastic controversy (726''843). Present mosaics are from the post-iconoclastic period.
Apart from the mosaics, a large number of figurative decorations were added during the second half of the 9th century: an image of Christ in the central dome; Orthodox saints, prophets and Church Fathers in the tympana below; historical figures connected with this church, such as Patriarch Ignatius; some scenes from the gospel in the galleries.Basil II let artists paint on each of the four pendentives a giant six-winged cherub.[27] The Ottomans covered their face with a golden halo,[27] but in 2009 one of them was restored to the original state.[74]
The Loge of the Empress. The columns are made of green Thessalian stone
Marble Door
The wishing column
Loggia of the Empress [ edit ] The Loggia of the Empress is located in the centre of the upper enclosure, or gallery, of the Hagia Sophia. From there the empress and the court-ladies would watch the proceedings down below. A round green stone marks the spot where the throne of the empress stood.[75][76]
Lustration urns [ edit ] Two huge marble lustration (ritual purification) urns were brought from Pergamon during the reign of Sultan Murad III. From the Hellenistic period, they are carved from single blocks of marble.[29]
Marble Door [ edit ] The Marble Door inside the Hagia Sophia is located in the southern upper enclosure or gallery. It was used by the participants in synods, who entered and left the meeting chamber through this door. It is said[by whom? ] that each side is symbolic and that one side represents heaven while the other represents hell. Its panels are covered in fruits and fish motives. The door opens into a space that was used as a venue for solemn meetings and important resolutions of patriarchate officials.[77]
The Nice Door [ edit ] The Nice Door is the oldest architectural element found in the Hagia Sophia dating back to the 2nd century BC. The decorations are of reliefs of geometric shapes as well as plants that are believed to have come from a pagan temple in Tarsus, Mersin now modern-day Turkey. It was incorporated into the building by Emperor Theophilos in 838 where it is placed in the south exit in the inner narthex.[78]
The Emperor Door [ edit ] The Emperor Door is the door that would be used solely by the Emperor as well as his personal bodyguard and retinue. It is the largest door in the Hagia Sophia and has been dated to the 6th century. It is about 7 meters long and Eastern Roman sources say it was made with wood from Noah's Ark.[79]
Wishing column [ edit ] At the northwest of the building, there is a column with a hole in the middle covered by bronze plates. This column goes by different names; the perspiring column, the wishing column, the sweating column or the crying column. The column is said to be damp when touched and have supernatural powers.[80] The legend states that since St. Gregory the Miracle Worker appeared near the column in the year 1200, it has been moist. It is believed that touching the moisture cures many illnesses.[81][82]
Mosaics [ edit ] Ceiling decoration showing original Christian cross still visible through the later aniconic decoration
The first mosaics which adorned the church were only completed during the reign of Justin II.[83] Many of the non-figurative mosaics in the church come from this period. Most of the mosaics, however, were completed after the end of the periods of Byzantine Iconoclasm in 843.
During the Sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Latin Crusaders vandalized valuable items in every important Byzantine structure of the city, including the golden mosaics of the Hagia Sophia. Many of these items were shipped to Venice, whose Doge, Enrico Dandolo, had organized the invasion and sack of Constantinople after an agreement with Prince Alexios Angelos, the son of a deposed Byzantine emperor.
19th-century restoration [ edit ] Following the building's conversion into a mosque in 1453, many of its mosaics were covered with plaster, due to Islam's ban on representational imagery. This process was not completed at once, and reports exist from the 17th century in which travelers note that they could still see Christian images in the former church. In 1847''1849, the building was restored by two Swiss-Italian Fossati brothers, Gaspare and Giuseppe, and Sultan Abd¼lmecid allowed them to also document any mosaics they might discover during this process which were later archived in Swiss libraries.[84] This work did not include repairing the mosaics and after recording the details about an image, the Fossatis painted it over again. The Fossatis restored the mosaics of the two hexapteryga (singular Greek: ἑεξαÏÏέρυÎ"Îν , pr. hexapterygon, six-winged angel; it is uncertain whether they are seraphim or cherubim) located on the two east pendentives, covering their faces again before the end of the restoration.[85] The other two placed on the west pendentives are copies in paint created by the Fossatis since they could find no surviving remains of them.[85] As in this case, the architects reproduced in paint damaged decorative mosaic patterns, sometimes redesigning them in the process. The Fossati records are the primary sources about a number of mosaic images now believed to have been completely or partially destroyed in the 1894 Istanbul earthquake. These include a mosaic over a now-unidentified Door of the Poor, a large image of a jewel-encrusted cross, and a large number of images of angels, saints, patriarchs, and church fathers. Most of the missing images were located in the building's two tympana.
One mosaic they documented is Christ Pantocrator in a circle, which would indicate it to be a ceiling mosaic, possibly even of the main dome which was later covered and painted over with Islamic calligraphy that expounds God as the light of the universe. The drawings of the Hagia Sophia mosaics are today kept in the Cantonal Archive of Ticino.[86]
20th-century restoration [ edit ] A large number of mosaics were uncovered in the 1930s by a team from the Byzantine Institute of America led by Thomas Whittemore. The team chose to let a number of simple cross images remain covered by plaster but uncovered all major mosaics found.
In 2000, The National Technical University of Athens has begun to use Non Destructive Techniques along with infrared technology to scan walls of the Hagia Sophia to locate mosaics that have been previously covered with plaster. The National Technical University of Athens is using infrared technology, to assess the damage mosaics have taken within the Hagia Sophia beneath the plaster. The National Technical University of Athens uses categories such as water intrusion to determine a mosaics current state of condition.[87]
Because of its long history as both a church and a mosque, a particular challenge arises in the restoration process. Christian iconographic mosaics can be uncovered, but often at the expense of important and historic Islamic art. Restorers have attempted to maintain a balance between both Christian and Islamic cultures. In particular, much controversy rests upon whether the Islamic calligraphy on the dome of the cathedral should be removed, in order to permit the underlying Pantocrator mosaic of Christ as Master of the World, to be exhibited (assuming the mosaic still exists).[88]
The Hagia Sophia has been a victim to natural disasters that have caused deterioration to the buildings structure and walls. The deterioration of the Hagia Sophia's walls can be directly relate to salt crystallization. The crystallization of salt is due to an intrusion of rainwater that is at fault for the Hagia Sophia's deteriorating inner and outer walls. Diverting excess rainwater is the main solution to solve the deteriorating walls at the Hagia Sophia.[89]
Built between 532''537 a subsurface structure under the Hagia Sophia has been under investigation, using LaCoste-Romberg gravimeters to determine the depth of the subsurface structure and to discover other hidden cavities beneath the Hagia Sophia. The hidden cavities have also acted as a support system against earthquakes. With these findings using the LaCoste-Romberg gravimeters, it was also discovered that the Hagia Sophia's foundation is built on a slope of natural rock.[90]
Imperial Gate mosaic [ edit ] The Imperial Gate mosaic is located in the tympanum above that gate, which was used only by the emperors when entering the church. Based on style analysis, it has been dated to the late 9th or early 10th century. The emperor with a nimbus or halo could possibly represent emperor Leo VI the Wise or his son Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus bowing down before Christ Pantocrator, seated on a jeweled throne, giving His blessing and holding in His left hand an open book.[91] The text on the book reads as follows: "Peace be with you. I am the light of the world". (John 20:19; 20:26; 8:12) On each side of Christ's shoulders is a circular medallion: on His left the Archangel Gabriel, holding a staff, on His right His Mother Mary.[92]
Southwestern entrance mosaic [ edit ] Southwestern entrance mosaic
The southwestern entrance mosaic, situated in the tympanum of the southwestern entrance, dates from the reign of Basil II.[93] It was rediscovered during the restorations of 1849 by the Fossatis. The Virgin sits on a throne without a back, her feet resting on a pedestal, embellished with precious stones. The Child Christ sits on her lap, giving His blessing and holding a scroll in His left hand. On her left side stands emperor Constantine in ceremonial attire, presenting a model of the city to Mary. The inscription next to him says: "Great emperor Constantine of the Saints". On her right side stands emperor Justinian I, offering a model of the Hagia Sophia. The medallions on both sides of the Virgin's head carry the monograms MP and ÎÎ¥, an abbreviation of "MÄ'tÄ'r" and "Theou", meaning "Mother of God".[94]
Apse mosaics [ edit ] Apse mosaic of the Virgin and Child
The Virgin and Child mosaic was the first of the post-iconoclastic mosaics. It was inaugurated on 29 March 867 by Patriarch Photius and the emperors Michael III and Basil I. This mosaic is situated in a high location on the half dome of the apse. Mary is sitting on a throne without a back, holding the Child Jesus on her lap. Her feet rest on a pedestal. Both the pedestal and the throne are adorned with precious stones. The portraits of the archangels Gabriel and Michael (largely destroyed) in the bema of the arch also date from the 9th century. The mosaics are set against the original golden background of the 6th century. These mosaics were believed to be a reconstruction of the mosaics of the 6th century that were previously destroyed during the iconoclastic era by the Byzantines of that time, as represented in the inaugural sermon by the patriarch Photios. However, no record of figurative decoration of Hagia Sophia exists before this time.[95]
Emperor Alexander mosaic [ edit ] The Emperor Alexander mosaic is not easy to find for the first-time visitor, located on the second floor in a dark corner of the ceiling. It depicts Emperor Alexander in full regalia, holding a scroll in his right hand and a globus cruciger in his left. A drawing by the Fossatis showed that the mosaic survived until 1849 and that Thomas Whittemore, founder of the Byzantine Institute of America who was granted permission to preserve the mosaics, assumed that it had been destroyed in the earthquake of 1894. Eight years after his death, the mosaic was discovered in 1958 largely through the researches of Robert Van Nice. Unlike most of the other mosaics in Hagia Sophia, which had been covered over by ordinary plaster, the Alexander mosaic was simply painted over and reflected the surrounding mosaic patterns and thus was well hidden. It was duly cleaned by the Byzantine Institute's successor to Whittemore, Paul A. Underwood.[96][97]
Empress Zoe mosaic [ edit ] The Empress Zoe mosaic on the eastern wall of the southern gallery date from the 11th century. Christ Pantocrator, clad in the dark blue robe (as is the custom in Byzantine art), is seated in the middle against a golden background, giving His blessing with the right hand and holding the Bible in His left hand. On either side of His head are the monograms IC and XC, meaning IÄ'sous Christos. He is flanked by Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoe, both in ceremonial costumes. He is offering a purse, as a symbol of donation, he made to the church, while she is holding a scroll, symbol of the donations she made. The inscription over the head of the emperor says: "Constantine, pious emperor in Christ the God, king of the Romans, Monomachus". The inscription over the head of the empress reads as follows: "Zo, the very pious Augusta". The previous heads have been scraped off and replaced by the three present ones. Perhaps the earlier mosaic showed her first husband Romanus III Argyrus or her second husband Michael IV. Another theory is that this mosaic was made for an earlier emperor and empress, with their heads changed into the present ones.[98]
Comnenus mosaic [ edit ] The Comnenus mosaic, also located on the eastern wall of the southern gallery, dates from 1122. The Virgin Mary is standing in the middle, depicted, as usual in Byzantine art, in a dark blue gown. She holds the Child Christ on her lap. He gives His blessing with His right hand while holding a scroll in His left hand. On her right side stands emperor John II Comnenus, represented in a garb embellished with precious stones. He holds a purse, symbol of an imperial donation to the church. Empress Irene stands on the left side of the Virgin, wearing ceremonial garments and offering a document. Their eldest son Alexius Comnenus is represented on an adjacent pilaster. He is shown as a beardless youth, probably representing his appearance at his coronation aged seventeen. In this panel, one can already see a difference with the Empress Zoe mosaic that is one century older. There is a more realistic expression in the portraits instead of an idealized representation. The Empress, Saint Irene (born Piroska), daughter of Ladislaus I of Hungary is shown with plaited blond hair, rosy cheeks, and grey eyes, revealing her Hungarian descent. The emperor is depicted in a dignified manner.[99]
Desis mosaic [ edit ] The Desis mosaic (Î--έησις , "Entreaty") probably dates from 1261. It was commissioned to mark the end of 57 years of Roman Catholic use and the return to the Orthodox faith. It is the third panel situated in the imperial enclosure of the upper galleries. It is widely considered the finest in Hagia Sophia, because of the softness of the features, the humane expressions and the tones of the mosaic. The style is close to that of the Italian painters of the late 13th or early 14th century, such as Duccio. In this panel the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist (Ioannes Prodromos), both shown in three-quarters profile, are imploring the intercession of Christ Pantocrator for humanity on Judgment Day. The bottom part of this mosaic is badly deteriorated.[100] This mosaic is considered as the beginning of the Renaissance in Byzantine pictorial art.[101]
Northern tympanum mosaics [ edit ] The northern tympanum mosaics feature various saints. They have been able to survive due to the very high and unreachable location. They depict Saints John Chrysostom and Ignatius the Younger standing, clothed in white robes with crosses, and holding richly jeweled Holy Bibles. The names of each saint are given around the figures in Greek, in order to enable an identification for the visitor. The other mosaics in the other tympana have not survived probably due to the frequent earthquakes as opposed to any deliberate destruction by the Ottoman conquerors.[102]
Dome Angel Figure Mosaic [ edit ] This features four unidentical angel figures. It is believed that these on headed six winged angels, also known as seraphim, protect the lords throne in heaven. There are angels in the east composed in mosaics as where the ones in the west were damaged during the Eastern Roman Period, they have been renewed as fresco. During the ottoman period the angels faces were covered with metallic lids in the shape of stars, but were removed to reveal the faces in 2009 during renovations.[103]
Other burials [ edit ] Mustafa I, in the courtyardEnrico Dandolo, in the east galleryGallery [ edit ] Mosaics with geometric pattern decorate the upper imperial gallery
Detail of Desis mosaic
Drawing by the Fossati brother depicting some mosaics
Another drawing by the Fossati brothers depicting mosaic of six patriarchs in the southern tympanum
One of the mighty stone columns with metal clasps
Detail of relief on the Marble Door.
Interior view of the Hagia Sophia, showing Islamic elements on the top of the main dome (annotations).
Haghia Sofia from Adriaan Reland (1676''1718): Verhandeling van de godsdienst der Mahometaanen, 1719
Circa 1900 photograph, from its time as a mosque.
The face of the Hexapterygon (six-winged angel) on the northeast pendentive (upper left), discovered but covered again by Gaspare Fossati during its restoration, is visible again (annotations).
Imperial Gate
Works modeled on the Hagia Sofia [ edit ] Many religious structures have been modeled on the Hagia Sophia's core structure of a large central dome resting on pendentives and buttressed by two semi-domes. A notable Venetian example is the High Altar of Santa Maria della Salute.
Several mosques commissioned by the Ottoman dynasty closely mimic the geometry of the Hagia Sophia, including the S¼leymaniye Mosque and the Bayezid II Mosque. In many cases, Ottoman architects preferred to surround the central dome with four semi-domes rather than two. This is true in the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the New Mosque (Istanbul), and the Fatih Mosque. Like the original plan of the Hagia Sophia, many of these mosques are also entered through a colonnaded courtyard. However, the courtyard of the Hagia Sophia no longer exists.
Many Neo-Byzantine churches are modeled on the Hagia Sophia. The Kronstadt Naval Cathedral and Poti Cathedral closely replicate the internal geometry of the Hagia Sophia. The interior of the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral is a nearly 1-to-1 copy of the Hagia Sophia. The marble revetment also closely mimics the source work. Like Ottoman mosques, many churches based on the Hagia Sophia include four semi-domes rather than two, such as the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade.
Several churches combine the layout of the Hagia Sophia with a Latin cross plan. For instance, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (St. Louis), where the transept is formed by two semi-domes surrounding the main dome. This church also closely emulates the column capitals and mosaic styles of the Hagia Sophia. Other similar examples include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Saint Clement Catholic Church, Chicago, and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The Catedral Metropolitana Ortodoxa in S£o Paulo and the ‰glise du Saint-Esprit (Paris) closely follow the interior layout of the Hagia Sophia. Both include four semi-domes, but the two lateral semi-domes are very shallow. In terms of size, the ‰glise du Saint-Esprit is about two thirds the scale of the Hagia Sophia.
Synagogues based on the Hagia Sophia include the Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco), Great Synagogue of Florence, and Hurva Synagogue.
See also [ edit ] Oldest churches in the worldList of megalithic sitesList of Byzantine inventionsIslam in TurkeyOttoman architectureList of mosques in IstanbulList of mosques in TurkeyList of mosquesHistory of Roman and Byzantine domesRelated Buildings:
Church of the Holy Apostles '' the second most important church of ConstantinopleHagia Irene '' neighbouring churchLittle Hagia Sophia '' a 6th-century Byzantine church, now mosque, that might have been built by the same architects as Hagia SophiaChurch of St. Polyeuctus '' An earlier church that may have served as a model for the Hagia SophiaChora Church '' Byzantine church in Istanbul notable for its well preserved Paleologan mosaics, now a museum tooPammakaristos Church '' its parekklesion '' also a museum '' is decorated with beautiful mosaicsHaseki H¼rrem Sultan Hamamı '' bath commissioned by Roxelana for the Hagia Sophia communityCaferağa Medresseh '' former Koranic school next to Hagia SophiaSoğuk§eşme Sokağı '' historical street between the Hagia Sophia and Topkapı PalaceSaint Sophia Cathedral in KievSaint Sophia Cathedral in NovgorodSaint Sophia Cathedral in PolotskHagia Sophia Church (Sofia)References [ edit ] ^ a b c Fazio, Michael; Moffett, Marian; Wodehouse, Lawrence (2009). 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Bibliography [ edit ] Boyran, Ebru; Fleet, Kate (2010). A social History of Ottoman Istanbul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19955-1. Brubaker, Leslie; Haldon, John (2011). Byzantium in the Iconoclast era (ca 680''850). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43093-7. Hagia Sophia Church [dead link ] , also known as Church of Holy Wisdom.Hagia Sophia. [3]. Accessed 23 Sept 2014.Hoffman, Volker (1999). Die Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (in German). Bern: Lang. ISBN 978-3-906762-81-4. Janin, Raymond (1953). La G(C)ographie Eccl(C)siastique de l'Empire Byzantin. 1. Part: Le Si¨ge de Constantinople et le Patriarcat Oecum(C)nique. 3rd Vol. : Les ‰glises et les Monast¨res. Paris: Institut Fran§ais d'Etudes Byzantines. Mainstone, Rowland J. (1997). Hagia Sophia: Architecture, Structure, and Liturgy of Justinian's Great Church (reprint edition). W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-500-27945-8. .Mamboury, Ernest (1953). The Tourists' Istanbul. Istanbul: ‡ituri Biraderler Basımevi. M¼ller-Wiener, Wolfgang (1977). Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh (in German). T¼bingen: Wasmuth. ISBN 978-3-8030-1022-3. NecipoÄ'lu, Gulru (2005). The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-244-7. Ronchey, Silvia; Braccini, Tommaso (2010). Il romanzo di Costantinopoli. Guida letteraria alla Roma d'Oriente (in Italian). Torino: Einaudi. ISBN 978-88-06-18921-1. Runciman, Steven (1965). The Fall of Constantinople, 1453. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 145. ISBN 0-521-39832-0.Savignac, David. "The Medieval Russian Account of the Fourth Crusade '' A New Annotated Translation". Turner, J. (1996). Grove Dictionary of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517068-9. Further reading [ edit ] Alchermes, Joseph D. (2005). "Art and Architecture in the Age of Justinian". In Maas, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. pp. 343''75. ISBN 978-0-521-52071-3. Balfour, John Patrick Douglas (1972). Hagia Sophia. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-88225-014-4. Cimok, Fatih (2004). Hagia Sophia. Milet Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-975-7199-61-8. Doumato, Lamia (1980). The Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia: Selected references. Vance Bibliographies. ASIN B0006E2O2M. Goriansky, Lev Vladimir (1933). Haghia Sophia: analysis of the architecture, art and spirit behind the shrine in Constantinople dedicated to Hagia Sophia. American School of Philosophy. ASIN B0008C47EA. Harris, Jonathan, Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium. Hambledon/Continuum (2007). ISBN 978-1-84725-179-4Howland Swift, Emerson (1937). The bronze doors of the gate of the horologium at Hagia Sophia. University of Chicago. ASIN B000889GIG. Kahler, Heinz (1967). Haghia Sophia. Praeger. ASIN B0008C47EA. Kinross, Lord (1972). Hagia Sophia, Wonders of Man. Newsweek. ASIN B000K5QN9W. Kleinbauer, W. Eugene; Anthony White (2007). Hagia Sophia. London: Scala Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85759-308-2. Kleinbauer, W. Eugene (2000). Saint Sophia at Constantinople: Singulariter in Mundo (Monograph (Frederic Lindley Morgan Chair of Architectural Design), No. 5.). William L. Bauhan. ISBN 978-0-87233-123-5. Krautheimer, Richard (1984). Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-05294-7. Mainstone, R.J. (1997). Hagia Sophia: Architecture, Structure, and Liturgy of Justinian's Great Church. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-27945-8. Mainstone, Rowland J. (1988). Hagia Sophia. Architecture, structure and liturgy of Justinian's great church. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-34098-1. Mango, Cyril; Ahmed Ertuğ (1997). Hagia Sophia. A vision for empires. Istanbul. Mark, R.; ‡akmaktitle, AS. (1992). Hagia Sophia from the Age of Justinian to the Present. Princeton Architectural. ISBN 978-1-878271-11-2. Nelson, Robert S. (2004). Hagia Sophia, 1850''1950: Holy Wisdom Modern Monument. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-57171-3. –zkul, T.A. (2007). Structural characteristics of Hagia Sophia: I-A finite element formulation for static analysis. Elsevier. Scharf, Joachim:Der Kaiser in Proskynese. Bemerkungen zur Deutung des Kaisermosaiks im Narthex der Hagia Sophia von Konstantinopel. In: Festschrift Percy Ernst Schramm zu seinem siebzigsten Geburtstag von Sch¼lern und Freunden zugeeignet, Wiesbaden 1964, S. 27''35.Swainson, Harold (2005). The Church of Sancta Sophia Constantinople: A Study of Byzantine Building. Boston, MA: Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4021-8345-4. Yucel, Erdem (2005). Hagia Sophia. Scala Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85759-250-4. Weitzmann, Kurt, ed., Age of spirituality: late antique and early Christian art, third to seventh century, no. 592, 1979, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 978-0-87099-179-0Articles [ edit ] Bordewich, Fergus M., "A Monumental Struggle to Preserve Hagia Sophia", Smithsonian magazine, December 2008Mosaics [ edit ] Hagia Sophia, hagiasophia.com: Mosaics.MacDonald, William Lloyd (1951). The uncovering of Byzantine mosaics in Hagia Sophia. Archaeological Institute of America. ASIN B0007GZTKS. Mango, Cyril (1972). The mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul: The church fathers in the north Tympanum. Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. ASIN B0007CAVA0. Mango, Cyril (1968). The Apse mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul: Report on work carried out in 1964. Johnson Reprints. ASIN B0007G5RBY. Mango, Cyril; Heinz Kahler (1967). Hagia Sophia: With a Chapter on the Mosaics. Praeger. ASIN B0000CO5IL. Teteriatnikov, Natalia B. (1998). Mosaics of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: The Fossati Restoration and the Work of the Byzantine Institute. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. ISBN 978-0-88402-264-0. Riccardi, Lorenzo (2012). Alcune riflessioni sul mosaico del vestibolo sud-ovest della Santa Sofia di Costantinopoli, in Vie per Bisanzio. VIII Congresso Nazionale dell'Associazione Italiana di Studi Bizantini (Venezia 25''28 novembre 2009), a cura di Antonio Rigo, Andrea Babuin e Michele Trizio. Bari. pp. 357''71. ISBN 978-88-7470-229-9 . Retrieved 30 September 2014 . Y¼cel, Erdem (1988). The mosaics of Hagia Sophia. Efe Turizm. ASIN B0007CBGYA. External links [ edit ] Hagia Sophia MuseumHagia Sophia HistoryContemporary description by Procopius, Buildings (De Aedificiis), published in 561.Aya Sofya Photo Gallery by Dick OssemanHagia Sophia and the Deesis MosaicLinks to related articles
Spyro the Dragon - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 10:34
This article is about the video game. For the title character, see
Spyro (character). For the series, see
Spyro the Dragon is a platform game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released for the PlayStation on September 10, 1998. The first game in the Spyro series, it stars the title character, a young purple dragon named Spyro, and his dragonfly friend, Sparx, who venture through the dragon kingdom to rescue the other dragons from a spell placed by Gnasty Gnorc. The game is an open-ended 3D platformer, with large, sprawling levels which require the use of Spyro's dragon abilities- most prominently, his mid-air gliding technique, which can be utilized to soar across large distances. Several collectible items, among which are multicolored gemstones, stolen dragon eggs, and encapsulated dragons, are located throughout stages, and must be collected in order to progress through the game.
Spyro the Dragon started development following the release of Disruptor, Insomniac's debut game which sold poorly but received critical appraisal, impressing Universal Interactive enough to encourage them to make a second game. Artist Craig Stitt suggested a game about a dragon, and work began on a new game. Taking inspiration from the film Dragonheart, the game started out as a more mature title with a dark and realistic approach, but the direction was shifted to have a more whimsical and light-hearted tone in order to appeal to a wider market of consumers. The game was one of the first on the PlayStation to utilize shifting levels of detail among rendered objects, thanks to a special panoramic engine developed by Alex Hastings, which allowed the game's open-ended nature to be fully realized. Stewart Copeland, the former drummer for The Police, composed the game's music, and the titular character was voice acted by Carlos Alazraqui, alongside additional voices done by Clancy Brown, Michael Gough and Jamie Alcroft.
Spyro the Dragon released by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1998 as part of an effort to aim for a younger age demographic and compete with the more popular kid's platform, the Nintendo 64. The game received positive reviews from critics, who praised its graphics and high replay value.[4][5] Despite initially sluggish sales, it found larger success following the advent of the 1998 holiday season, going on to sell nearly 5 million copies worldwide. The game established Spyro as a well-known platforming mascot on the PlayStation alongside Crash Bandicoot, and two sequels, titled Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, were later released for the PlayStation in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Although Insomniac gave up the development rights to the Spyro series following the third game, the success of the PlayStation titles lent itself to a continued series of games across various platforms. A remastered version of the game was released in 2018 as part of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Gameplay [ edit ] Gameplay on a Sony PlayStation showing Spyro and his companion Sparx in the first boss level 'Toasty'.
Spyro the Dragon puts players in the control of the titular Spyro, as he travels across various worlds in order to rescue his fellow dragons, recover the stolen treasure, and defeat the evil Gnasty Gnorc. Spyro has two main attacks; breathing fire and charging with his horns, which must be strategically used for defeating enemies and smashing open crates. Charging can be used against many small enemies but not against larger enemies. Likewise, fire is capable of defeating larger enemies, but can be blocked by enemies that use metal armor. Spyro is also able to glide whilst jumping to reach new areas, with some levels allowing him to fly freely in the air. Spyro's health is represented by the color of his dragonfly partner, Sparx, who also helps him pick up nearby treasure. Taking damage will cause Sparx to lose his color and disappear, leaving Spyro vulnerable, but he can recover health by eating butterflies spawned from defeating small animals. Various treasure can be found in various areas, including inside treasure chests, some of which require certain techniques to break open, or earned by defeating enemies. Enemies that have already had their gems retrieved upon revisiting areas will instead release orbs that can be collected towards earning extra lives.[6]
The game consists of several different worlds, which are divided into various realms accessed by finding their gates. In order to progress to the next hub world, the player needs to fulfill the goal required by the balloonist in each world, such as a certain amount of treasure, rescued dragons, or dragon eggs. Most worlds contain dragons encased in stone, which can be rescued by touching them. Some of these dragons offer hints, and their platforms can be used to save the game. Eggs are in the possession of speedy blue thieves that must be chased down and defeated in order to recover them. In order to beat the game, the player must travel to the final homeworld, enter Gnasty Gnorc's lair, and defeat him. Upon Gnasty's defeat the player is presented with a closing cinematic and credits, then the player may now go to all worlds and realms in order to obtain each gem, egg, and release each dragon. Upon achieving 100% completion, the player can access a bonus level: Gnasty's Loot.
Plot [ edit ] During the intro, a news team sets up an interview with a couple of dragons within the Artisan World, one of five realms in the Dragon Kingdom (the other worlds of which include Peace Keepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, and Dream Weavers) which have lived in harmony for years. When the reporter asks about Gnasty Gnorc, a gnorc (half gnome and half orc) who lives within his own, sixth realm, one of the dragons cockily describes him as an ugly, simple minded creature who poses no threat to the Dragon Kingdom. Unbeknownst to them, however, Gnasty is watching the live feed from his home world and, enraged by the insults, uses a magic spell to encase all dragons in crystal and sends out his hordes of gnorc soldiers to conquer the Dragon Kingdom. One dragon, Spyro, is able to avoid the attack due to his more short-bodied appearance in comparison to the much larger dragons.[6] Aided by his dragonfly companion, Sparx, Spyro vows to rescue his dragon brethren and defeat Gnasty Gnorc once and for all.
He visits each of the dragon realms in sequence, freeing trapped dragons, collecting treasure, and rescuing dragon eggs from pesky thieves within each realms' portal worlds before facing the realms' bosses. He then makes his way to Gnasty's World where he fights his way through two precursor portals before confronting the Gnorc leader himself. After he defeats Gnasty, an ending clip shows him back in Artisan World discussing his victory with the news reporters.
After the credits, Spyro appears back in Gnasty's World where he frees one last dragon who points him to Gnasty's treasure portal which will only open once the player has completed 100% of the game; collecting every bit of treasure and rescuing all dragons and dragon eggs. Once Spyro has reached 100% and collected everything within the treasure portal, an alternate ending plays where Spyro is, again, interviewed by the news reporters just as another magic spell comes in and crystallizes the dragons. Spyro's last statement is, "Here we go again."
Development [ edit ] Spyro the Dragon was the second game developed by Insomniac Games,[7] following the release of their first game, Disruptor, in December 1996. Although Disruptor was critically lauded, it was not successful financially; however, the game's praise was enough to impress Universal Interactive Studios and encourage the team to continue with their next endeavor.[8] The idea of a game about a dragon was introduced by Insomniac artist Craig Stitt, who suggested the concept out of his own interest in the mythical creature.[9] Initially, the game's tone was far darker and more realistic; according to Insomniac's COO, John Fiorito, who joined the company in 1997 during Spyro ' s development, inspiration was taken in part from the 1996 film DragonHeart, and the game was initially "realistic and kind of dark and gritty" before the game took a more whimsical direction.[10]Mark Cerny, an executive with Universal Interactive Studios, advised that the team create a game with more mass market appeal, as the demographics of the PlayStation were decreasing and its selection of children's titles were greatly outnumbered by the Nintendo 64's.[8][10] According to programmer Peter Hastings, the dragon character was originally going to be named "Pete", but the due to copyright concerns over the name bearing similarities with Disney's 1977 film, Pete's Dragon, the name was scrapped. After considering the name "Pyro," which was ultimately considered "too mature", they finally settled on "Spyro."[11] During the development of the game, Spyro was originally going to be green, but the developers thought it was a bad idea because he would blend in with grass, so they eventually changed him to purple.[12] During development of Spyro, Insomniac had a very close relationship with Crash Bandicoot creator and fellow PlayStation developer Naughty Dog, who had their office located directly across the hall from theirs. The two developers would frequently work together, playing early builds of each other's games and later going on to share game technology. As a result, a hidden demo of Crash Bandicoot: Warped was hidden in Spyro, and vice-versa.[11]
Spyro the Dragon was considerably unique at the time compared to other 3D platform games; Spyro's ability to glide allows him to travel huge distances while in mid-air, meaning that the player could nearly fly across an entire level if they glided off of a high enough area. While this made designing levels more difficult for the team, it also meant that they could be made more open-ended and explorative in nature. In order to make Spyro ' s controls feel fluid, Matt Whiting, a NASA engineer who specialized in flight controls, was brought on to help with programming camera movement, as well Spyro's movement controls. Particular difficulty was found with the game's camera; initially, it was programmed to constantly follow Spyro and remain positioned directly behind him, but the resulting high-speed movements were found to make several playtesters feel nauseous, meaning that the level of movement had to be largely curbed so that playing the game felt comfortable. A particular example was with Spyro's basic jump, which would trigger the camera to quickly tilt up-and-down to follow him, compared by Whiting to the motion a rocking boat; this was ultimately tweaked so that the camera would stay steady as Spyro went upwards and back down.[11] In an interview, Ted Price stated that they gave up the series after releasing Spyro: Year of the Dragon because his actions were limited, due to not being able to hold anything in his hands.[13]
Spyro the Dragon makes use of a 3D panoramic engine, being simultaneously developed by Alex Hastings, that could display far-away objects by utilizing varying levels of detail, a method of rendering which was new and unexplored at the time. The developers believed that the engine would be fitting for the game, as it could allow for more expansive levels that could take advantage of the character's abilities, such as gliding.[10] This dynamic system, used to compliment the large and sprawling environments, renders two different versions of a level- one version is rendered in high detail, while the other one is a simpler, textureless render. Objects close to the player's vicinity are drawn using the detailed render, whereas distant ones are drawn from the simple render. This system allowed objects to be displayed from far distances while adhering to the PlayStation's limited RAM capabilities, and was one of the first video games to make use of such a system.[11][9]Spyro was coded with efficiency in mind, as 3D rendering technology was new at the time and the game had to fit the limited specifications of the PlayStation. The game was mostly programmed using Assembly code; around 80% of the game's code was written using this as its programming language. Certain other parts were programmed in C, due to its simplicity and speed.[11]
The game's music was composed and produced by Stewart Copeland, formerly the drummer for the British band The Police. Copeland was given early builds of the game's levels, which he would play through in order to get a feel for them and then try to come up with a fitting composition.[14] He was also given game cheats such as invincibility so that he could have an easier time clearing levels. Copeland would write around three songs every day, all of which he would further develop and polish the next day.[11] According to Copeland in an interview, each song in the game was written in order to correspond to a specific level, but this correlation ultimately went unused.[14] The music is primarily progressive rock-themed. Copeland has looked back positively on his work on Spyro, calling the game's music some of the best compositional work that he's done across the span of his career.[11] The music for the level Jacques was included on Copeland's compilation album The Stewart Copeland Anthology, referred to as "Rain". Carlos Alazraqui provided the voice of Spyro in the game, and additional voices were done by Clancy Brown, Michael Gough, Jamie Alcroft and Michael Connor.
Release [ edit ] Spyro the Dragon was released in North America on September 10, 1998,[2] and later on in Europe in October of the same year. According to Sony Computer Entertainment's American Marketing Vice President, Andrew House, at a press party in Las Vegas, the game, along with other upcoming 4th quarter PlayStation releases such as Crash Bandicoot: Warped, A Bug's Life, and Rugrats: Search for Reptar, was part of a general effort to appeal to a wider demographic of younger audiences and provide more games suited for younger players in order to compete with the Nintendo 64 (which, at the time, had a far larger library of kid's titles compared to the PlayStation's largely adult-centric demographic).[15] An advertisement campaign was pushed to promote the game, featuring a character from the game, Toasty the Sheep, protesting against the title character's misdeeds against sheep. The campaign included TV commercials, featuring an actor in an animatronic costume of Toasty, and a promotional website, sheepagainstspyro.com.[16] On August 16, 1999, SCEA announced that the game would be included as a part of their "Greatest Hits" lineup of budgeted releases alongside other games such as Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Gran Turismo, Cool Boarders 3, and Twisted Metal III, and alongside the announcement of a price drop for the PlayStation console to compete with the highly anticipated launch of the Sega Dreamcast.[17]
The game was later digitally re-released to the PlayStation Store in North America and Europe, together with Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.[18] A remaster of the game, alongside its two sequels, was included as a part of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy compilation for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2018.
Reception [ edit ] Spyro the Dragon received positive reviews from critics, holding a score of 85% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 18 reviews.[19]Edge considered it the best 3D platform game for the PlayStation, but criticized Spyro's limited abilities and said that the game was not as varied as Super Mario 64.[20]GameSpot proclaimed it as essentially the first 3D platform game on the PlayStation to provide a highly substantial experience, holding it highly above one of the more recent platformers on the system, Blasto.[21]IGN, with similar comments, said that "the game utilizes the PlayStation's hardware to the max, and there's not an obvious polygon glitch to speak of", and saying that the only problem was the camera not following the character correctly.[6]
According to Spyro ' s developers, sales were initially slow at the game's launch but quickly began picking up following the holiday season.[8] In the week of November 29, 1998, it was the 3rd best-selling game in the UK, behind Tomb Raider and FIFA 99.[23] At the 1999 Milia festival in Cannes, it took home a "Gold" prize for revenues above '‚¬20 million in the European Union during the previous year.[24]Spyro the Dragon received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) by the end of August 1999,[25] for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[26] By December 1999, the game had sold a million copies in North America.[27] The PlayStation title went on to ultimately sell a total of 5 million units.[28]
Legacy [ edit ] The popularity of Spyro the Dragon helped to push the character of Spyro as a popular platforming mascot for the PlayStation alongside Crash Bandicoot.[29] It was the first game in what would go on to become an expansive video game series, spawning two more platforming sequels for the PlayStation '' Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon '' released in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Since the year 2000, the series has sold more than 3.2 million copies in the U.S. and over 4 million copies worldwide.[30] Following Year of the Dragon, Insomniac chose to stop developing Spyro games, as they felt they had started to run out of ideas for the series; however, the series was continued across various different developers, and shifted to several other platforms besides PlayStation. The game's rendering system, new and unheard of at the time, has gone on to be used in several other 3D video games.[11]
References [ edit ] ^ a b "Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation - Technical Information, Game Information, Technical Support - Gamespot". GameSpot. ^ a b "Spyro the Dragon". Insomniac Games website. Archived from the original on 3 June 2004 . Retrieved September 9, 2018 . Release Date: September 10, 1998 ^ "Spyro The Dragon Launch Party". found inside a PlayStation Underground disc, circa 1998 (timestamp 1:50) . Retrieved September 9, 2018 . ^ Harris, Craig (September 9, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon". IGN . Retrieved September 5, 2015 . ^ "Spyro the Dragon Review" . Retrieved September 5, 2015 . ^ a b c d Harris, Craig (September 9, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon". IGN . Retrieved October 2, 2013 . ^ Staff, I. G. N. (July 2, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ a b c "Insomniac Games". Icons. Season 1. Episode 11. September 22, 2002. Event occurs at 21:42. G4. ^ a b The Making of Spyro the Dragon (From PlayStation Underground) on YouTube ^ a b c Moriarty, Colin (September 28, 2012). "Always Independent: The Story of Insomniac Games" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ a b c d e f g h "Behind the scenes of Spyro The Dragon". GamesTM . Retrieved November 23, 2018 . ^ John Fiorito, Craig Stitt (May 2, 2000). "Gamasutra - Features - Lessons in Color Theory for Spyro the Dragon". Gamasutra. ^ Chris Buffa (September 30, 2008). "Resistance 2 on PlayStation 3 Features - GameDaily". GameDaily. ^ a b >https://www.gamestm.co.uk/interviews/talking-spyro-with-the-polices-stewart-copeland/ ^ Staff, I. G. N. (September 9, 1998). "Spyro Rolls Into Las Vegas" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ Staff, I. G. N. (September 10, 1998). "Is Sony Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes?" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ Staff, I. G. N. (August 13, 1999). "Sony Slashes PlayStation to $99" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ Fielder, Joe (December 7, 2012). "Spyro the Dragon returns to PSN next week! - PlaystationBlog.Europe" . Retrieved December 7, 2012 . ^ a b "Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation". GameRankings . Retrieved October 2, 2013 . ^ a b "Spyro the Dragon". Edge. No. 64. Future Publishing. November 1998. p. 85. ^ a b Fielder, Joe (September 9, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013 . Retrieved October 2, 2013 . ^ PlayStation Power #33 (December 1998), p. 94''97 ^ Staff, I. G. N. (December 11, 1998). "UK Top Ten" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ Staff (February 12, 1999). "Milia News; ECCSELL Awards Name Winners". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 30, 1999. ^ "VUD - Sales-Awards August '99" (Press release) (in German). Paderborn: Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. September 10, 1999. Archived from the original on June 23, 2000. ^ Horn, Andre (January 14, 2004). "VUD-Gold-Awards 2003". GamePro Germany (in German). Archived from the original on July 18, 2018. ^ https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Cool+Consumer+Promotions+Support+Launch+of+Highly+Anticipated+Spyro...-a057934342 ^ Pham, Alex (November 26, 2007). "The independent imagination". Los Angeles Times. Tronc . Retrieved May 12, 2017 . ^ "Always Independent: The Story of Insomniac Games". September 28, 2012 . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . ^ Staff, I. G. N. (October 10, 2000). "Spyro Heats Up PlayStation" . Retrieved August 19, 2018 . External links [ edit ] Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived April 27, 1999)
Oswald Mosley - Wikipedia
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 10:31
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley of Ancoats, 6th Baronet[n 1] (16 November 1896 '' 3 December 1980) was a British politician who rose to fame in the 1920s as a Member of Parliament and later in the 1930s became leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF).[1] Mosley had inherited the title 'Sir' by virtue of his baronetcy; he was the sixth Baronet of a title that had been in his family for centuries.[2]
After military service during the First World War, Mosley was one of the youngest Members of Parliament, representing Harrow from 1918 to 1924, first as a Conservative, then an independent, before joining the Labour Party. He returned to Parliament as the MP for Smethwick at a by-election in 1926, having stood as a Labour candidate, and served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Labour Government of 1929''31. He was considered a potential Labour Prime Minister, but resigned due to discord with the Government's unemployment policies. He then founded the New Party. He lost his Smethwick seat at the 1931 general election. The New Party became the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932.
Mosley was imprisoned in May 1940 and the BUF was banned. He was released in 1943, and, politically disgraced by his association with fascism, he moved abroad in 1951, spending the majority of the remainder of his life in Paris. He stood for Parliament twice in the postwar era, achieving very little support.
Life and career [ edit ] Early life and education [ edit ] Mosley was born on 16 November 1896 at 47 Hill Street, Mayfair, Westminster,[3][4] He was the eldest of the three sons of Sir Oswald Mosley, 5th Baronet (1873''1928), and Katharine Maud Edwards-Heathcote (1874''1950), daughter of Captain Justinian H. Edwards-Heathcote of Apedale Hall, Staffordshire. He had two younger brothers: Edward Heathcote Mosley (1899''1980); John Arthur Noel Mosley (1901''1973).[5]
The family traces its roots to Ernald de Mosley of Bushbury, Staffordshire in the time of King John in the 12th century. The family was prominent in Staffordshire and three baronetcies were created, two of which are now extinct. His five-time great-grandfather John Parker Mosley, a Manchester hatter, was made a baronet in 1781.[5] His branch of the Mosley family was the Anglo-Irish family at its most prosperous, landowners in Staffordshire seated at Rolleston Hall near Burton-upon-Trent. His father was a third cousin to the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, father of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who served alongside King George VI as Queen (of the United Kingdom).
After his parents separated he was brought up by his mother, who went to live at Betton Hall near Market Drayton, and his paternal grandfather, Sir Oswald Mosley, 4th Baronet. Within the family and among intimate friends, he was always called "Tom". He lived for many years at his grandparents' stately home, Apedale Hall, and was educated at West Downs School and Winchester College.
Mosley was a fencing champion in his school days, winning titles in both foil and sabre, and retained an enthusiasm for the sport throughout his life.
Military service [ edit ] In January 1914, Mosley entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but was expelled in June for a "riotous act of retaliation" against a fellow student.[6] During the First World War he was commissioned into the British cavalry unit the 16th The Queen's Lancers and fought in France on the Western Front. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer, but while demonstrating in front of his mother and sister he crashed, which left him with a permanent limp, as well as a reputation for being brave and somewhat reckless.[1] He returned to the trenches before the injury had fully healed, and at the Battle of Loos (1915) he passed out at his post from pain. He spent the remainder of the war at desk jobs in the Ministry of Munitions and in the Foreign Office.[6]
Marriage to Lady Cynthia Curzon [ edit ] On 11 May 1920, he married Lady Cynthia "Cimmie" Curzon (1898''1933), second daughter of the 1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston, (1859''1925), Viceroy of India, 1899''1905, Foreign Secretary, 1919''1924, and Lord Curzon's first wife, the U.S. mercantile heiress, the former Mary Victoria Leiter.
Lord Curzon had to be persuaded that Mosley was a suitable husband, as he suspected Mosley was largely motivated by social advancement in Conservative Party politics and her inheritance. The 1920 wedding took place in the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London '' arguably the social event of the year. The hundreds of guests included European royalty such as King George V and Queen Mary; and The Duke of Brabant (later King Leopold III of the Belgians) and his wife, Astrid of Sweden, Duchess of Brabant.[1][7]
During this marriage he began an extended affair with his wife's younger sister Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, and with their stepmother, Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston, the American-born second wife and widow of Lord Curzon of Kedleston.[8] He succeeded to the Baronetcy of Ancoats upon his father's death in 1928, which entitles the current holder to the prefix style Sir.
India and Gandhi [ edit ] Among his many travels, Mosley travelled to India accompanied by Lady Cynthia in the winter of 1924. His step-father's past as Viceroy of the British Raj allowed for the acquaintance of various personalities along the journey. They travelled by P. & O. boat and stopped shortly in Cairo.[9]
Having initially arrived in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), the journey then continued along mainland India. They spent these initial days in the government house of Ceylon. Followed by Madras and then Calcutta, where the Governor at the time was Lord Lytton.[9]
Mosley met Gandhi through C.F. Andrews, a clergyman and an intimate friend of the Indian Saint, as Mosley described him. They met in Kadda, where Gandhi was quick to invite him to a private conference in which Gandhi was chairman. They enjoyed each other's company for the short time they were together. Mosley later further described Gandhi as a 'sympathetic personality of subtle intelligence'.[9]
Marriage to Diana Mitford [ edit ] Cynthia died of peritonitis in 1933, after which Mosley married his mistress Diana Guinness, n(C)e Mitford (1910''2003). They married in secret in Germany on 6 October 1936 in the Berlin home of Germany's Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler was one of the guests.
Mosley spent large amounts of his private fortune on the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and tried to establish it on a firm financial footing by various means including an attempt to negotiate, through Diana, with Adolf Hitler for permission to broadcast commercial radio to Britain from Germany. Mosley reportedly struck a deal in 1937 with Francis Beaumont, heir to the Seigneurage of Sark, to set up a privately owned radio station on Sark.[10][11]
Member of Parliament [ edit ] By the end of the First World War, Mosley had decided to go into politics as a Conservative Member of Parliament, as he had no university education or practical experience due to the war. He was 21 years old and had not fully developed his own political views. He was driven by, and in Parliament spoke of, a passionate conviction to avoid any future war, and this seemingly motivated his career. Largely because of his family background and war service, local Conservative and Labour Associations preferred Mosley in several constituencies'--a vacancy near the family estates seemed to be the best prospect. However, he was unexpectedly selected for Harrow first. In the general election of 1918 he faced no serious opposition and was elected easily.[12] He was the youngest member of the House of Commons to take his seat, though Joseph Sweeney, an abstentionist Sinn F(C)in member, was younger. He soon distinguished himself as an orator and political player, one marked by extreme self-confidence, and he made a point of speaking in the House of Commons without notes.[13]
Crossing the floor [ edit ] Mosley was at this time falling out with the Conservatives over Irish policy.[14] Eventually he crossed the floor to sit as an Independent Member on the opposition side of the House of Commons. Having built up a following in his constituency, he retained it against a Conservative challenge in the 1922 and 1923 general elections.
The Liberal Westminster Gazette wrote that Mosley was:
the most polished literary speaker in the Commons, words flow from him in graceful epigrammatic phrases that have a sting in them for the government and the Conservatives. To listen to him is an education in the English language, also in the art of delicate but deadly repartee. He has human sympathies, courage and brains."[15]
By 1924, he was growing increasingly attracted to the Labour Party, which had just formed a government, and in March he joined it. He immediately joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) as well and allied himself with the left.
When the government fell in October, Mosley had to choose a new seat, as he believed that Harrow would not re-elect him as a Labour candidate. He therefore decided to oppose Neville Chamberlain in Birmingham Ladywood. Mosley campaigned aggressively in Ladywood; and accused Chamberlain of being a "landlords' hireling". The outraged Chamberlain demanded that Mosley retract the claim "as a gentleman". Mosley, whom Stanley Baldwin described as "a cad and a wrong 'un", refused to retract the allegation. It took several recounts before Chamberlain was declared the winner by 77 votes and Mosley blamed poor weather for the result. His period outside Parliament was used to develop a new economic policy for the ILP, which eventually became known as the Birmingham Proposals; they continued to form the basis of Mosley's economics until the end of his political career.
In 1926, the Labour-held seat of Smethwick fell vacant, and Mosley returned to Parliament after winning the resulting by-election on 21 December. Mosley felt the campaign was dominated by Conservative attacks on him for being too rich, including claims that he was covering up his wealth.[18]
Mosley and his wife Cynthia were committed Fabians in the 1920s and at the start of the 1930s. Mosley appears in a list of names of Fabians from Fabian News and the Fabian Society Annual Report 1929''31. He was Kingsway Hall lecturer in 1924 and Livingstone Hall lecturer in 1931.
Office [ edit ] Mosley then made a bold bid for political advancement within the Labour Party. He was close to Ramsay MacDonald and hoped for one of the great offices of state, but when Labour won the 1929 general election he was appointed only to the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a position without Portfolio and outside the Cabinet. He was given responsibility for solving the unemployment problem, but found that his radical proposals were blocked either by his superior James Henry Thomas or by the Cabinet.[citation needed ]
Mosley was always impatient and eventually put forward a whole scheme in the "Mosley Memorandum", which called for high tariffs to protect British industries from international finance, for state nationalisation of main industries, and for a programme of public works to solve unemployment. However, it was rejected by the Cabinet, and in May 1930 Mosley resigned from his ministerial position. At the time, the weekly Liberal-leaning paper The Nation described his move: "The resignation of Sir Oswald Mosley is an event of capital importance in domestic politics... We feel that Sir Oswald has acted rightly '-- as he has certainly acted courageously '-- in declining to share any longer in the responsibility for inertia."[15] In October he attempted to persuade the Labour Party Conference to accept the Memorandum, but was defeated again. Thirty years later, in 1961, Richard Crossman described the memorandum: "... this brilliant memorandum was a whole generation ahead of Labour thinking."[15]
New Party [ edit ] Dissatisfied with the Labour Party, Mosley quickly founded the New Party. Its early parliamentary contests, in the 1931 Ashton-under-Lyne by-election and subsequent by-elections, arguably had a spoiler effect in splitting the left-wing vote and allowing Conservative candidates to win. Despite this, the organisation gained support among many Labour and Conservative politicians who agreed with his corporatist economic policy, and among these were Aneurin Bevan and Harold Macmillan. It also gained the endorsement of the Daily Mail newspaper, headed at the time by Harold Harmsworth (later created 1st Viscount Rothermere).[19]
The New Party increasingly inclined to fascist policies, but Mosley was denied the opportunity to get his party established when during the Great Depression the 1931 General Election was suddenly called'--the party's candidates, including Mosley himself running in Stoke which had been held by his wife, lost the seats they held and won none. As the New Party gradually became more radical and authoritarian, and as critics of the fascists in the Spanish Civil War emerged in the press, art and literature, many previous supporters defected from it. Shortly after the 1931 election, Mosley was described by the Manchester Guardian:
When Sir Oswald Mosley sat down after his Free Trade Hall speech in Manchester and the audience, stirred as an audience rarely is, rose and swept a storm of applause towards the platform '-- who could doubt that here was one of those root-and-branch men who have been thrown up from time to time in the religious, political and business story of England. First that gripping audience is arrested,[n 2] then stirred and finally, as we have said, swept off its feet by a tornado of peroration yelled at the defiant high pitch of a tremendous voice.[15]
Fascism [ edit ] Italy's
Duce Benito Mussolini (left) with Oswald Mosley (right) during Mosley's visit to Italy in 1936.
After his failure to be elected in 1931, Mosley went on a study tour of the "new movements" of Italy's Benito Mussolini and other fascists, and returned convinced that it was the way forward for Britain. He was determined to unite the existing fascist movements and created the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932. The BUF was protectionist, strongly anti-communist, strongly anti-zionist and nationalistic to the point of advocating authoritarianism.[citation needed ] However, it seems not to have been anti-Semitic; movement founder Arnold Leese mocked the BUF as "Kosher fascists".[20][21] It claimed membership as high as 50,000, and had the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror among its earliest (though short-lived) supporters.[19][22][23] The Mirror piece was a guest article by Daily Mail owner Viscount Rothermere and an apparent one-off; despite these briefly warm words for the BUF, the paper was so vitriolic in its condemnation of European fascism that Nazi Germany added the paper's directors to a hit-list in the event of a successful Operation Sea Lion.[24] The Mail continued to support the BUF until the Olympia rally in June 1934.[25]
John Gunther described Mosley in 1940 as "strikingly handsome. He is probably the best orator in England. His personal magnetism is very great". Among Mosley's supporters at this time included John Strachey,[26] the novelist Henry Williamson, military theorist J. F. C. Fuller, and the future "Lord Haw Haw", William Joyce.
Mosley had found problems with disruption of New Party meetings, and instituted a corps of black-uniformed paramilitary stewards, the Fascist Defence Force, nicknamed blackshirts. The party was frequently involved in violent confrontations, particularly with Communist and Jewish groups and especially in London.[27] At a large Mosley rally at Olympia on 7 June 1934, his bodyguards' violence caused bad publicity.[26] This and the Night of the Long Knives in Germany led to the loss of most of the BUF's mass support. Nevertheless Mosley continued espousing anti-Semitism. At one of his New Party meetings in Leicester in April 1935, he stated, "For the first time I openly and publicly challenge the Jewish interests of this country, commanding commerce, commanding the Press, commanding the cinema, dominating the City of London, killing industry with their sweat-shops. These great interests are not intimidating, and will not intimidate, the Fascist movement of the modern age."[28] The party was unable to fight the 1935 general election.
In October 1936, Mosley and the BUF attempted to march through an area with a high proportion of Jewish residents, and violence resulted between local and nationally organised protesters trying to block the march and police trying to force it through, since called the Battle of Cable Street. At length Sir Philip Game the Police Commissioner disallowed the march from going ahead and the BUF abandoned it.
Mosley continued to organise marches policed by the Blackshirts, and the government was sufficiently concerned to pass the Public Order Act 1936, which, amongst other things, banned political uniforms and quasi-military style organisations and came into effect on 1 January 1937. In the London County Council elections in 1937, the BUF stood in three wards in East London (some former New Party seats), its strongest areas, polling up to a quarter of the vote. Mosley made most of the Blackshirt employees redundant, some of whom then defected from the party with William Joyce. As the European situation moved towards war, the BUF began to nominate Parliamentary by-election candidates and launched campaigns on the theme of Mind Britain's Business. Mosley remained popular as late as summer 1939. His Britain First rally at the Earls Court Exhibition Hall on 16 July 1939 was the biggest indoor political rally in British history.
After the outbreak of war, Mosley led the campaign for a negotiated peace, but after the invasion of Norway and the commencement of aerial bombardment (see The Blitz) overall public opinion of him turned to hostility. In mid-May 1940, Mosley was nearly wounded by assault.[29]
Internment [ edit ] Unbeknownst to Mosley, the British Security Service and Special Branch had deeply penetrated the BUF and were also monitoring him through listening devices. Beginning in 1934, they were increasingly worried that Mosley's noted oratory skills would convince the public to provide financial support to the BUF, enabling it to challenge the political establishment.[30] His agitation was officially tolerated until the events of the Battle of France in May 1940 made him too dangerous. Mosley, who at that time was focused on pleading for the British to accept Hitler's peace offer of March, was detained on 23 May 1940, less than a fortnight after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.[1] Mosley was interrogated for 16 hours by Lord Birkett[30] but never formally charged with a crime, instead being interned under Defence Regulation 18B. The same fate met the other most active fascists in Britain, resulting in the BUF all but disappearing from the political horizon.[1] His wife, Diana, was also interned in June,[31] shortly after the birth of their son Max; they lived together for most of the war in a house in the grounds of Holloway prison. The BUF was proscribed later that year.
Mosley used the time to read extensively on classical civilisations. He refused visits from most BUF members, but on 18 March 1943, Dudley and Norah Elam (who had been released by then) accompanied Unity Mitford to see her sister Diana. Mosley agreed to be present because he mistakenly believed Diana and Unity's mother, Lady Redesdale, were accompanying Unity.[32] The internment, particularly that of Lady Mosley, resulted in significant public debate, although most of the public supported the government's actions. Others demanded a trial, either in the hope it would end the detention or in the hope of a conviction.[1]
In November 1943, Home Secretary Herbert Morrison ordered the release of the Mosleys, angering much of the public. After a fierce debate in the House of Commons, Morrison's action was upheld by a vote of 327''26.[1] Mosley, who was suffering with phlebitis, spent the rest of the war under house arrest. On his release from prison, he first stayed with his sister-in-law Pamela Mitford, followed shortly by a stay at the Shaven Crown Hotel in Shipton-under-Wychwood. He then purchased Crux Easton House, near Newbury, with Diana.[33] He and his wife remained the subject of much media attention.[34] The war ended what remained of Mosley's political reputation.[citation needed ]
Post-war politics [ edit ] After the war, Mosley was contacted by his former supporters and persuaded to return to participation in politics. He formed the Union Movement, which called for a single nation-state to cover the continent of Europe (known as Europe a Nation) and later attempted to launch a National Party of Europe to this end. The Union Movement's meetings were often physically disrupted, as Mosley's meetings had been before the war, and largely by the same opponents. This led to Mosley's decision, in 1951, to leave Britain and live in Ireland.[citation needed ] He later moved to Paris. Of his decision to leave, he said, "You don't clear up a dungheap from underneath it."[35]
Shortly after the 1958 Notting Hill race riots, Mosley briefly returned to Britain to stand in the 1959 general election at Kensington North. Mosley led his campaign stridently on an anti-immigration platform, calling for forced repatriation of Caribbean immigrants as well as a prohibition upon mixed marriages. Mosley's final share of the vote was 7.6%.[36]
In 1961 he took part in a debate at University College London about Commonwealth immigration, seconded by a young David Irving.[37] He returned to politics one last time, contesting the 1966 general election at Shoreditch and Finsbury, and received 4.6% of the vote.[36] After this, Mosley retired and moved back to France,[36] where he wrote his autobiography, My Life (1968).
In 1977, by which time he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, he was nominated as a candidate for Rector of the University of Glasgow in which election he polled over 100 votes but finished bottom of the poll.[citation needed ]
Personal life [ edit ] By his first wife, Lady Cynthia Curzon, Mosley had three children. His first son, born his second child, inherited the baronetcy, and in 1966 he became the third Baron Ravensdale, a title that passed through his mother's line. His first wife would also go on to represent New Party, a Fascist party set up by Sir Oswald Mosley, in the Parliamentary Constituency of Stoke. This would make her one of the first female MP's in UK politics.[5]
Vivien Elisabeth Mosley (1921''2002), who married on 15 January 1949 Desmond Francis Forbes Adam (1926''58), educated at Eton College and at King's College, Cambridge, by whom she had two daughtersNicholas Mosley (later 3rd Baron Ravensdale and 7th Baronet of Ancoats; 1923''2017), a successful novelist who wrote a biography of his father and edited his memoirs for publicationMichael Mosley (1932''2012), unmarried and without issueBy his second wife, Diana Mitford (1910''2003), he had two sons:[5]
(Oswald) Alexander Mosley (1938''2005); father of Louis Mosley (born 1983)Max Mosley (born 1940), who was president of the F(C)d(C)ration Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for 16 yearsMosley died on 3 December 1980 at Orsay outside Paris, France. His body was cremated in a ceremony held at the P¨re Lachaise Cemetery, and his ashes were scattered on the pond at Orsay. His son Alexander stated that they had received many messages of condolences but no abusive words. "All that was a very long time ago," he said.[38]
Archive [ edit ] Mosley's personal papers are held at the University of Birmingham's Special Collections Archive.
Ancestry [ edit ] Ancestors of Oswald MosleyIn popular culture [ edit ] Aldous Huxley's 1928 novel Point Counter Point features Everard Webley, a character who is similar to Mosley in the 1920s, before Mosley left the Labour Party.P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves short-story and novel series include the character Sir Roderick Spode from 1938 to 1971, as a parody of Mosley.[39][40]In H. G. Wells's 1939 novel The Holy Terror, a Mosley-like character called Lord Horatio Bohun is the leader of an organisation called the Popular Socialist Party. The character is principally motivated by vanity and is removed from leadership and sent packing to Argentina.On Mosley's release from prison in 1943, Ewan MacColl wrote the song The Leader's a Bleeder, set to the tune of the Irish song The Old Orange Flute. The song suggested that Mosley had been treated relatively well in prison owing to his aristocratic background.[41]The original version of the Elvis Costello 1977 song "Less Than Zero" is an attack on Mosley and his politics. Listeners in the United States had assumed that the "Mr. Oswald" in the lyrics was Lee Harvey Oswald, so Costello wrote an alternative lyric to refer to Kennedy's assassin.[42]: 74,84 The satirical television programme Not the Nine O'Clock News lampooned the British media's favourable 1980 obituaries of Mosley in a comedic music video, "Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley". The actors, dressed as Nazi punks, performed a punk rock eulogy to Mosley, interweaving some of the positive remarks by newspapers from all sides of the political spectrum, including The Times and The Guardian.[43]In 1997, Channel 4 produced a mini-series about Mosley called Mosley, starring Jonathan Cake.In a 2002 episode of the British television series Foyle's War entitled "The White Feather", Mosley is referred to as a fascist and Nazi sympathiser, and his detention is noted.In 2006, BBC History magazine selected Mosley as the 20th century's worst Briton.[44]The BBC Wales-produced 2010 revival of Upstairs Downstairs includes a semi-fictional dramatisation of Mosley, the BUF and the Battle of Cable Street, set in 1936.In the 1982 film Pink Floyd: The Wall, during the In the Flesh segment, the character Pink is dressed in a fashion similar to that of Mosley.In alternate history film and literature [ edit ] Works of Harry Turtledove:In the Southern Victory Series, Mosley serves as Minister of War under Prime Minister Winston Churchill in an authoritarian and revanchist Britain after the Entente lose the First Great War. Taking power around 1932, the Churchill/Mosley government joins the Kingdom of France and the Russian Empire in attacking the German Empire and the Central Powers in the Second Great War from 1941 to 1944 with disastrous results.The Colonization trilogy sees Mosley, still an MP in 1963, spearheading an effort to pass legislation revoking the citizenship of all Jews; the plan fails in the short term.In the Presence of Mine Enemies empowers Mosley as British leader in a scenario in which Nazi Germany won the Second World War.In the 1964 film It Happened Here, which depicts a Nazi-occupied Britain in the mid-1940s, Mosley is never mentioned by name, but a British fascist leader strongly resembling Mosley is shown in faux documentary footage from the 1930s, and Mosley's portrait can be seen alongside Hitler's in government offices. The fictional "Immediate Action Organisation" in the film also seems to be inspired by Mosley's British Union of Fascists, with members referred to as "blackshirts" and the symbol of the BUF appearing on their uniforms.[45]In Guy Walters' The Leader, Mosley has taken power as "The Leader" of Great Britain in 1937. King Edward VIII is still on the throne after his marriage, Winston Churchill is a prisoner on the Isle of Man, and Prime Minister Mosley is conspiring with Adolf Hitler about the fate of Britain's Jewish population.In Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, a secret pact between Charles Lindbergh who has become President of the United States and Hitler includes an agreement to impose Mosley as the ruler of a German-occupied Britain with America's blessing after a ruse in which Lindbergh convinces Churchill to negotiate peace with Hitler, which deliberately fails '' mirroring the dishonesty and repudiation of key Hitler-signed treaties, the Munich Conference Accord and Molotov''Ribbentrop Pact.In Kim Newman's The Bloody Red Baron, Mosley is shot down and killed in 1918 by Erich von Stalhein (from the Biggles series by W. E. Johns) and a character later comments that "a career has been ended before it was begun."In C. J. Sansom's novel Dominion, the Second World War ends in June 1940, when the British government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Lord Halifax, signs a peace treaty with Nazi Germany in Berlin. By November 1952, Mosley is serving as Home Secretary in the cabinet of Lord Beaverbrook, who leads a coalition government consisting of the pro-Treaty factions of the Conservatives and Labour as well as the BUF. The government works closely and sympathises with the Nazi regime in Germany. Under Mosley's leadership, the police have become a feared force and an "Auxiliary Police" consisting mainly of British Union of Fascists thugs that has been set up to deal with political crime.In the Elseworlds comic Superman: War of the Worlds, Mosley becomes Prime Minister after the defeat of the Martian invasion of 1938.In the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Exodus, Prime Minister Mosley is shown addressing Britain's first National Socialist Parliament.In Lavie Tidhar's A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), Mosley is running for (and eventually becomes) Prime Minister, in a world where the Communists, rather than the Nazis, rose to power in Germany in 1933.In the sixth book in the Maisie Dobbs series, "Among the Mad," Maisie's investigation takes her to meeting of Oswald Mosley followers where violence ensues.See also [ edit ] The European (1953 magazine)Houston Stewart ChamberlainReferences [ edit ] Informational notes
^ a b c d e f g "Sir Oswald Mosley '' Meteoric rise and fail of a controversial politician". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 4 December 1980. p. 19. ^ "Life and Times of Sir Oswald Mosley & the British Union of Fascists". Holocaust Research Project . Retrieved 14 December 2018 . ^ Skidelsky, Maurice (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 39. Oxford University Press. p. 469. ^ General Register Office Index of Births in England and Wales for October, November and December 1896 (Registration district: St George, Hanover Square, Middlesex), p. 399 ^ a b c d "Mosley, Charles". Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. 2003. pp. 3283''3287. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1. ^ a b Philip Rees. Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890. Cambridge University Press. ^ Jones, Nigel (September 2004). Mosley. Haus Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 1-904341-09-8. ^ Dalley, Jan (11 June 2000). "Tea With Hitler". The New York Times . Retrieved 24 June 2017 . ^ a b c Mosley, Oswald (1968). My Life. London: Black House Publishing. pp. 127''134, 'India'. ISBN 978-1-908476-692. ^ Amato quotes national archive document HO 283/11, which states that among the property seized following Mosley's arrest by the British government in 1940 was correspondence between Mosley and Beaumont dating from 1937. Amato, Joseph Anthony (2002). Rethinking Home: A Case for Writing Local History. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 278''79. ISBN 978-0-520-23293-8. 9780520232938 . Retrieved 9 February 2014 . ^ Barnes, James J.; Patience P. Barnes (2005). Nazis in Pre-War London, 1930''1939: The Fate and Role of German Party Members and British Sympathizers. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-84519-053-8. 9781845190538 . Retrieved 9 February 2014 . ^ "No. 31147". The London Gazette. 28 January 1919. p. 1361. ^ Mosley, Oswald (1968). My Life. London. p. 166. ^ Alter, Peter (2017). "Das britische Schwarzhemd". Damals (in German). Vol. 49 no. 4. pp. 58''63. ^ a b c d Mosley, Diana (1977). A Life of Contrasts. Hamish Hamilton. ^ Sir Oswald Mosley, My Life, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1968, p. 190. ^ a b "Daily Mail". British Newspapers Online . Retrieved 9 February 2014 . ^ Excerpt from Martin Pugh's Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars in slate.com: "Why Former Suffragettes Flocked to British Fascism", 14 Apr 2017 ^ Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, p. 99 ^ Cameron, James (1979). Yesterday's Witness. British Broadcasting Corporation, p. 52. ^ Chris Horrie, "Revealed: the fascist past of the Daily Mirror", The Independent, 11 November 2003. ^ "Darkness in the mirror". Tribune. 20 July 2010. ^ Cyprian Blamires, World Fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1 (Google eBook), pp. 288 and 435. ^ a b Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 362''364. ^ Mark Gould (22 February 2009). "Last reunion for war heroes who came home to fight the fascists". The Independent. ^ "Sir Oswald Mosley and the Jews '' Communist Scuffle With Police". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 15 April 1935. p. 8. ^ "The Times". 20 May 1940: 3: "Disturbances at Fascist Meeting". ^ a b "The Mosley Files". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 14 November 1983. p. 11. ^ "Lady Mosley detained". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 1 July 1940. p. 2. ^ McPherson, Angela; McPherson, Susan (2011). Mosley's Old Suffragette '' A Biography of Norah Elam. ISBN 978-1-4466-9967-6. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. ^ Joseph Anthony Amato, Rethinking Home: A Case for Writing Local History (2002), p. 390. ^ Nicholas Mosley, Rules of the Game, Beyond the Pale, p. 503. ^ Jonathan Guinness, Catherine Guinness, The House of Mitford (1985), p. 540. ^ a b c Barberis, Peter; McHugh, John; Tyldesley, Mike (2005). Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 194. ISBN 9780826458148 . Retrieved 1 May 2013 . ^ "Mosley Packs Them In", Pi Newspaper, 2 February 1961. ^ "Sir Oswald Mosley cremated in Paris". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 9 December 1980. p. 6. ^ Atkin, Nicholas (2009). Themes in Modern European History, 1890''1945. Taylor & Francis. p. 260. ISBN 0-415-39145-8. ^ Jones, Charlotte (20 December 2013). "The Code of Woosters, by PG Wodehouse: Splendid, Jeeves!". The Guardian. London . Retrieved 17 October 2016 . ^ Seeger, Peggy. The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook. Minnesota, USA: Loomis House Press. pp. 240''241. ISBN 9781935243120. ^ Thomson, Graeme (2004). Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. New York: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-796-8. ^ Not The Nine O'Clock News: "Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley", Some of the Corpses are Amusing. Archived 22 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine ^ " ' Worst' historical Britons list". BBC News. 27 December 2005 . Retrieved 21 June 2010 . ^ Pierre Sorlin (1991). European Cinemas, European Societies, 1939''1990. Psychology Press. pp. 65''66 . Retrieved 9 February 2014 . Further reading
Macklin, Graham (2006). Chamberlain. Haus Books. ISBN 978-1-904950-62-2. Dorril, Stephen.Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism, Viking Publishing (2006), ISBN 0-670-86999-6Farndale, Nigel. Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce, Macmillan (2005), ISBN 9780333989920Pugh, Martin.Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain between the Wars, Random House (2005), ISBN 0-224-06439-8Skidelsky, Robert. Oswald Mosley, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1975), ISBN 9780030865800Worley, Matthew. Oswald Mosley and the New Party, Palgrave Macmillan (2010), ISBN 978-0-230-20697-7Primary sourcesMosley, Oswald, My Life, Arlington House (1968), ISBN 9780870001604Mosley, Nicholas, Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley, 1896''1933 Secker & Warburg (1982), ISBN 9780436288494Mosley, Nicholas, Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley and Family, 1933''1980, Secker & Warburg (1983), ISBN 9780436288524External links [ edit ] Friends of Oswald Mosley, containing archives of his speeches and booksMosley and the BUF: Exploring 20th Century London"The Problem of Mosley: Why a Fascist Failed" by Robert Skidelsky; Encounter (1969) Vol. 33, No. 192, pp. 77''88Hansard 1803''2005: contributions in Parliament by Oswald Mosley"Hull Race Riot" (1936), Hull Daily Mail (last accessible, 23/10/2017)Metropolitan Police records of the BUF incident at Olympia, 1934 at the British National ArchivesBBC report on MI5 surveillance of Mosley[1] The Frost Programme - Oswald Mosley (1967)[2] Sir Oswald Mosley Interview - Thames Television (1975)Oswald Mosley on IMDb Newspaper clippings about Oswald Mosley in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
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Boeing ignored pilots' warnings about 737 Max 8 jet before Ethiopia crash - The Washington Post
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 21:35
Aaron GreggReporter covering the defense industry and government contractors.
Jonathan O'ConnellReporter covering economic development with a focus on commercial real estate and the Trump Organization
Faiz SiddiquiLocal reporter covering the D.C. Metro, Uber and Lyft, and transit-oriented tech start-ups
March 13 at 9:38 PMBoeing executives sat down last November with pilots at the Allied Pilots Association's low-slung brick headquarters in Fort Worth.
Tensions were running high. One of Boeing's new jets '-- hailed by the company as an even more reliable version of Boeing's stalwart 737 '-- had crashed into the ocean off Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board the flight operated by Lion Air.
After the crash, Boeing issued a bulletin disclosing that this line of planes, known as the 737 Max 8, was equipped with a new type of software as part of the plane's automated functions. Some pilots were furious that they were not told about the new software when the plane was unveiled.
Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain who attended the meeting with Boeing executives, recalled, ''They said, 'Look, we didn't include it because we have a lot of people flying on this and we didn't want to inundate you with information.' ''
[Read the federal lawsuit against Boeing on behalf of Indonesia plane crash victims]
''I'm certain I did say, 'Well that's not acceptable,' '' said Tajer, a leader in the association representing American Airlines pilots.
A Boeing spokesman said the company disputes that any of its executives made that statement.
On Wednesday, federal regulators ordered the grounding of the 737 Max 8 and a similar plane, the 737 Max 9, after another crash involving the plane, on this occasion in Ethi­o­pia on Sunday. Many other countries had already acted.
In statements throughout the week, Boeing has said that safety is its top priority. But it also announced that it would take several steps to make the planes ''even safer,'' including updating the flight-control software as well as pilot displays, operating manuals and crew training. The company said these changes would be implemented over the coming weeks.
The announcement comes after years in which Boeing had trumpeted the new plane as offering a ''seamless'' transition from previous models, a changeover that would not require carriers to invest in extensive retraining.
[Boeing status report on Indonesia air crash after federal lawsuit]
And it highlights concerns from pilots and other groups about whether Boeing moved fast enough to address potential problems after the Lion Air crash.
Congress, regulators and the company's shareholders are now scrutinizing the decisions.
On Wednesday, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he would hold hearings to study the Federal Aviation Administration's process for approving the planes.
DeFazio cited a concern that has particularly alarmed pilots, the introduction of software that was flagged in the bulletin sent out after the Lion Air crash.
The software, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), can in some rare but dangerous situations override pilot control inputs unless it is switched off. This can interfere with pilots' longtime training that pulling back on the control yoke raises a plane's nose, putting the plane into a climb. That means that as a pilot tries to maneuver an airplane, the automated system may be counteracting that pilot's inputs.
''I'm going to investigate how they came to the conclusion that retraining was not necessary, and then obviously we're going want to look at how foreign countries certify their pilots and retrain them,'' DeFazio said.
'Nothing on the MCAS'
After the Ethio­pian Airlines crash Sunday, Boeing said it would update flight-control software, provide more training, introduce ''enhancements'' to external sensors that measure the direction of an aircraft and make changes to how MCAS is activated.
But two pilots who attended the meeting with Boeing in November after the Lion Air crash said pilots had suggested that the company take these actions at that time.
''Whatever level of training they decided on [before the Lion Air crash], it resulted in an iPad course that I took for less than an hour,'' Tajer, the American Airlines pilot, said. ''A lot of pilots here at American did that course.''
[Airworthiness bulletin from American Airlines to airline pilots after Lion Air crash]
But he said the course did not cover the new MCAS system. ''There was nothing on the MCAS because even American didn't know about that. It was just about the display scenes and how the engines are a little different,'' he said.
Boeing did not comment on the pilots' concerns.
The same week Boeing executives met with pilots in Fort Worth, they also asked pilots at Southwest Airlines '-- which also owns 737 Max planes '-- to meet with them. They hurriedly arranged a conference room at the Reno Airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving, said Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.
''At that meeting, they told us that a software update would probably be forthcoming in the near future,'' Weaks said.
[Email from American Pilots Association about Boeing airworthiness bulletin]
But no update came in the following two months.
Boeing did not comment on the meeting. In a statement earlier this week, Boeing said it had been working on the software enhancements for the 737 Max for the past several months in the aftermath of the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.
The company said it had been working closely with the FAA on the software update and had also been soliciting feedback from airlines that operate the plane.
Pilots reported concerns
The concerns in meetings with Boeing executives were not the only signs that pilots had concerns about the airplane. A federal flight-safety reporting system contains about a dozen reports by pilots expressing exasperation about systems that limited their control of the 737 Max.
Nearly two-thirds of the complaints were mainly flagging perceived faults with the aircraft or shortcomings and ambiguities in instruction, according to an analysis of the Aviation Safety Reporting System by The Washington Post. The Dallas Morning News first reported on the pilots' complaints.
''I think it is unconscionable that a manufacturer, the FAA, and the airlines would have pilots flying an airplane without adequately training, or even providing available resources and sufficient documentation to understand the highly complex systems that differentiate this aircraft from prior models,'' one pilot wrote in November. ''The fact that this airplane requires such jury rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error prone '-- even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place, and failure modes.''
Pilots expressed confusion about various features of the airplane.
''I reviewed in my mind our automation setup and flight profile but can't think of any reason the aircraft would pitch nose down so aggressively,'' one pilot wrote.
''How can a Captain not know what switch is meant during a preflight setup?'' asked another. ''Poor training and even poorer documentation; that is how.''
The FAA pushed back against the idea that these pilot complaints could have assisted in identifying problems, saying they did not involve the MCAS system that has been at the heart of pilots' concerns.
''Some of the reports reference possible issues with the autopilot/autothrottle, which is a separate system from MCAS, and/or acknowledge the problems could have been due to pilot error,'' it said in a statement.
Boeing declined to comment on the system. Southwest, which uses the 737 Max planes, said it had received no reports of issues with the MCAS system. American Airlines said it reviewed data for more than 14,000 flights since the Lion Air crash in Indonesia and has ''not seen a single anomaly related to the MCAS.''
Reputational crisis
In its order grounding the planes Wednesday, the FAA said it had received information from the Ethio­pian Airlines wreckage ''concerning the aircraft's configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircraft's flight path, indicates some similarities'' between what happened with that flight and the Lion Air flight in Indonesia.
Boeing is scrambling to maintain its reputation for making safe and profitable airplanes. Chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg called President Trump on Tuesday, the White House said, to vouch for the safety of the planes.
On Wednesday, the company issued a statement saying that ''out of an abundance of caution and to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety,'' it agreed with the FAA's decision to ground the planes.
[Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft runaway stabilizer checklist]
''Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX,'' the company said.
Boeing designed the 737 Max to fly up to 3,850 miles, and it became a key tool in the company's global ambitions.
The Max uses engines that are both bigger and more fuel-efficient, and the new engines have been moved slightly forward on the wings compared with previous models. To compensate for the repositioning, Boeing added MCAS to replicate the handling characteristics of earlier models.
In the Lion Air crash, according to a preliminary report, the 737 Max seemed to careen up and down repeatedly. Analysts said this suggested the MCAS system was redirecting the plane whenever it went into a nose-up position by pointing the nose down.
In an appearance on CNBC in December, Muilenburg was asked whether the company was doing enough to ensure pilots were properly trained after the October crash.
Muilenburg said that the company's bulletin on the software helped in ''directing pilots and airlines to these existing procedures'' and that Boeing was ''taking a look at that to make sure all the appropriate training is in place and that the communications with our customers are there.''
''It's very, very important to us, but I will say bottom line here, very important, is that the Max 737 is safe,'' he said.
Muilenburg's comments came about a week after the meetings in Texas and Reno, when pilots said they heard similar promises.
Sitting around pullout tables in leather-backed chairs, Tajer said, some of the company's top engineers were apologetic.
''We said 'shame on you.' They said, 'I know.''‰''
Ashley Halsey III and Luz Lazo contributed to this report.
Quantum time machine? Scientists claim 'backward time flow' breakthrough | CTV News
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:18
An international team of scientists claims to have reversed time with the help of a quantum computer.
By using electrons and quantum mechanics researchers claim they were able to turn back time in an experiment likened to causing a broken rack of pool balls to roll back into place.
The experiment used quantum computer programs to 'rewind' scattered quantum bits or qubits back to their starting points.
Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, helped by colleagues in Switzerland and the U.S., expect the technique to become more efficient.
''Our findings break ground for investigations of the time reversal and the backward time flow in real quantum systems,'' the scientists wrote in their conclusion to 'Arrow of time and its reversal on IBM Quantum Computer.'
''Another fundamental question is whether it is possible at all to design a quantum algorithm that would perform time-reversal more efficiently.''
The scientists found that, working with just two qubits, time reversal was achieved with a success rate of 85 per cent.
When three qubits were involved more errors occurred and the experiment was successful just half the time.


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Al Gore-Brooke CNN-2-Paris accord not legal until day after 2020 elections [Strategy].mp3
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climate change report UN PBS.mp3
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