1140: Imperious

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 20m
May 23rd, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Benjamin Parker, Benjamin Doolin The Poor Knight of the Wood, Anonymous, Sir Dave, Baron of KC, Kelly from Kenai, Sir Stolkson, Justin Reagor, David Chaney Sir Chaotic Mass, Baron Walk-Man of Buckeye, John Sponheimer

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Jonathan Jobin of the Visual Effects, Jeffrey Breyer, Sir Tim of the Tunnels

Cover Artist: Data

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
1:28
Eurovision Song Contest 2019
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5:45
AC's Wedding
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18:45
London Meetup
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21:25
Final Episode of `Game of Thrones`
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30:01
Huawei
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35:35
US Warns of Security Threat From Chinese Drone Companies
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38:39
Interview Show Feedback
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40:51
Euronews: 'What Is a Spitzenkandidat?'
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48:55
Electoral College
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52:25
Michael Avenatti Charged With Stealing $300 Thousand From Stormy Daniels
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56:30
The Washington Free Beacon: '24 Hours of Michael Avenatti'
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59:22
Credits
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1:26:42
Podcast Production
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1:29:35
Laura Loomer Appearance on The Alex Jones Show
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1:33:34
Dissenter Browser
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1:39:35
Google Account's Purchase Tracking
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1:42:16
T-Mobile: `When We Say We’ll Do Something, We Mean It!`
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1:49:33
Powerline Networking
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1:55:03
Joe diGenova
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1:56:26
CNBC Interviews Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg About #MeToo Movement
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2:04:40
Robert F Kennedy Jr. on Vaccinations
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2:27:33
Donations
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2:48:48
Birthdays & Title Changes
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2:52:31
Pete Buttigieg Says Renaming Things Called After Thomas Jefferson "The Right Thing To Do"
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2:53:59
Untitled
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2:57:23
American Swine Fever Outbreak in China
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3:00:33
Ben Carson Forced To Answer Yes/No Question in Congress
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3:02:28
NASA Gets $1.6 Billion to Put The First Woman On The Moon Within 5 Years
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3:06:57
US Representative Al Green on Impeachment
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3:10:05
The Guardian Changes Style Guide for Reporting on Environment
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3:12:33
End of Show
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Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain | The White House
Thu, 16 May 2019 20:38
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, which store and communicate vast amounts of sensitive information, facilitate the digital economy, and support critical infrastructure and vital emergency services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people. I further find that the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology or services, with potentially catastrophic effects, and thereby constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. This threat exists both in the case of individual acquisitions or uses of such technology or services, and when acquisitions or uses of such technologies are considered as a class. Although maintaining an open investment climate in information and communications technology, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical national security threats. To deal with this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of information and communications technology and services provided and used in the United States. In light of these findings, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to this threat.
Accordingly, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Implementation. (a) The following actions are prohibited: any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology or service (transaction) by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, where the transaction involves any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the technology or service), where the transaction was initiated, is pending, or will be completed after the date of this order, and where the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), has determined that:
(i) the transaction involves information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary; and
(ii) the transaction:
(A) poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of information and communications technology or services in the United States;
(B) poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States; or
(C) otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.
(b) The Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other agencies as appropriate, may at the Secretary's discretion design or negotiate measures to mitigate concerns identified under section 1(a) of this order. Such measures may serve as a precondition to the approval of a transaction or of a class of transactions that would otherwise be prohibited pursuant to this order.
(c) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
Sec. 2. Authorities. (a) The Secretary, in consultation with, or upon referral of a particular transaction from, the heads of other agencies as appropriate, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including directing the timing and manner of the cessation of transactions prohibited pursuant to section 1 of this order, adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and employing all other powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to implement this order. All agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
(b) Rules and regulations issued pursuant to this order may, among other things, determine that particular countries or persons are foreign adversaries for the purposes of this order; identify persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries for the purposes of this order; identify particular technologies or countries with respect to which transactions involving information and communications technology or services warrant particular scrutiny under the provisions of this order; establish procedures to license transactions otherwise prohibited pursuant to this order; establish criteria, consistent with section 1 of this order, by which particular technologies or particular participants in the market for information and communications technology or services may be recognized as categorically included in or as categorically excluded from the prohibitions established by this order; and identify a mechanism and relevant factors for the negotiation of agreements to mitigate concerns raised in connection with subsection 1(a) of this order. Within 150 days of the date of this order, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and, as appropriate, the heads of other agencies, shall publish rules or regulations implementing the authorities delegated to the Secretary by this order.
(c) The Secretary may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of the authorities conferred on the Secretary pursuant to this section within the Department of Commerce.
Sec. 3. Definitions. For purposes of this order:
(a)the term ''entity'' means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(b)the term ''foreign adversary'' means any foreign government or foreign non-government person engaged in a long'‘term pattern or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national security of the United States or security and safety of United States persons;
(c)the term ''information and communications technology or services'' means any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information or data processing, storage, retrieval, or communication by electronic means, including transmission, storage, and display;
(d)the term ''person'' means an individual or entity; and
(e)the term ''United States person'' means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 4. Recurring and Final Reports to the Congress. The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 5. Assessments and Reports. (a) The Director of National Intelligence shall continue to assess threats to the United States and its people from information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary. The Director of National Intelligence shall produce periodic written assessments of these threats in consultation with the heads of relevant agencies, and shall provide these assessments to the President, the Secretary for the Secretary's use in connection with his responsibilities pursuant to this order, and the heads of other agencies as appropriate. An initial assessment shall be completed within 40 days of the date of this order, and further assessments shall be completed at least annually, and shall include analysis of:
(i) threats enabled by information and communications technologies or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary; and
(ii) threats to the United States Government, United States critical infrastructure, and United States entities from information and communications technologies or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the influence of a foreign adversary.
(b)The Secretary of Homeland Security shall continue to assess and identify entities, hardware, software, and services that present vulnerabilities in the United States and that pose the greatest potential consequences to the national security of the United States.The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with sector-specific agencies and coordinating councils as appropriate, shall produce a written assessment within 80 days of the date of this order, and annually thereafter.This assessment shall include an evaluation of hardware, software, or services that are relied upon by multiple information and communications technology or service providers, including the communication services relied upon by critical infrastructure entities identified pursuant to section 9 of Executive Order 13636 of February 12, 2013 (Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity).
(c) Within 1 year of the date of this order, and annually thereafter, the Secretary, in consultation as appropriate with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shall assess and report to the President whether the actions taken by the Secretary pursuant to this order are sufficient and continue to be necessary to mitigate the risks identified in, and pursuant to, this order.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,May 15, 2019.
Vaccines
New measles case reported in Berkeley '' East Bay Times
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:04
The city of Berkeley announced Friday that a resident has contracted measles.
While the person is no longer contagious, city officials have advised anyone who visited Berkeley Bowl, located at 2020 Oregon St., from 3 to 5 p.m. May 7 and is not immune to look for the first stage of symptoms: runny nose, red eyes, cough and fever.
The next stage involves a rash that typically appears on the face before spreading down the body.
Measles symptoms start to show seven to 21 days after exposure and infected people do not show symptoms during the first four days of their most contagious period, city officials said.
According to the city, the virus is easily transmitted, usually through a cough or sneeze that can linger in the air for up to an hour-at which time the risk of infection dissipates.
Inhalation of the airborne virus reportedly infects up to 90 percent of those not immune.
City officials are urging certain groups to be particularly aware of potential symptoms, including unvaccinated children, unvaccinated adults born in 1957 or later, and those with weakened immune systems.
Former Merck Scientists Sue Merck Alleging MMR Vaccine Efficacy Fraud - AHRPAHRP
Thu, 23 May 2019 14:10
Stephen A. Krahling and Joan A. Wlochowski, former Merck virologists blew the whistle by filing a qui tam action lawsuit '-- U.S. v Merck & Co. '-- in August 2010. The scientists allege that the efficacy tests for the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) were faked. The document was unsealed in June, 2012.
This is a major federal case alleging fraud in vaccine testing; it encapsulates how medical research can be manipulated to achieve desired results, and why it may be wise to question the integrity and the validity of ''science-based medicine.''
The suit charges that Merck knew its measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was less effective than the purported 95% level, and it alleges that senior management was aware and also oversaw testing that concealed the actual effectiveness. According to the lawsuit, Merck began a sham testing program in the late 1990's to hide the declining efficacy of the vaccine. The objective of the fraudulent trials was to ''report efficacy of 95% or higher regardless of the vaccine's true efficacy.''
According to Krahling and Wlochowski's complaint, they were threatened with jail were they to alert the FDA to the fraud being committed.
In January 31, 2016, the court ordered that discovery, the process of gathering evidence, must be completed by 1 March 2017, over a year from now. The court also ordered that expert discovery needs to be completed by 31 October 2017.
Other motions must be filed by 20 December 2017. A motion for class action certification must be filed by 1 March 2018; and Merck must file its opposition to class certification by 5 April 2018.
The plaintiffs charge that Merck defrauded the U.S. for more than a decade by faking a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% even though the real rate was significantly lower.
''As the single largest purchaser of childhood vaccines (accounting for more than 50 percent of all vaccine purchasers), the United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck's fraud. But the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection against mumps. And while this is a disease the CDC targeted ts the single largest purchaser of childhood vaccines (accounting for more than 50 percent of all vaccine purchasers), the United States is byo eradicate by now, the failure in Merck's vaccine has allowed this disease to linger with significant outbreaks continuing to occur,'' the suit alleges. (Forbes June 6, 2012)
According to the suit, the objective of the fraudulent trials was to ''report efficacy of 95% or higher regardless of the vaccine's true efficacy.''
''For the new testing method, the children's blood was tested for its ability to neutralize the virus using the vaccine strain virus, instead of the wild type strain that is much more infective, and the one that your children would most likely catch'... But still it was not 95% effective. In order to make the blood pass the test, antibodies from rabbits was added. The addition of rabbit antibody increased the efficacy to 100%. But that was not the end, because the test has to be done on pre-vaccine blood and post-vaccine blood.
Just the addition of rabbit antibody made the pre-vaccine blood go from 10% positive to 80% positive and that was such an obvious sign of foul play that yet another manipulation had to be made.
The desired end result is to have very low pre-vaccine antibody and 95% or more post-vaccine efficacy as measured by antibody neutralization. So, yet one more change in procedure was made: The pre-vaccine tests were all redone'...by fabricating the ''plaque'' counts on the pre-vaccine blood samples, counting plaques that were not there. What this allowed was a mathematical dilution of the pre-vaccine positive blood counts.'' (Court House News Service, June 27, 2012)
Dr. Susan Humphries
Suzanne Humphries, MD, an internist / nephrologist who practiced medicine in the conventional system for 19 years, witnessed first-hand how that approach fails patients and creates a new disease time and again' summary explains in layman's terms how the tests were manipulated. Dr. Humphries is on the board of directors of the International Medical Council on Vaccination.
''In the complaint, the scientists outline in great detail exactly how Merck manipulated the efficacy results in order to be able to say they had a 95% effective vaccine so that they could meet the fairytale goal of vaccine-induced ''herd immunity by 2010.''
Well, it turns out that the vaccine could not meet the goal that CDC projected to eradicate mumps by 2010, BECAUSE the vaccine, in its current state cannot reliably confer immunity, and is in fact a dilute version of what it once was when Maurice Hilleman invented it using the virus of his five year old daughter. The same viral mumps strain has been in use in every mumps or MMR vaccine Merck has made since 1967.''
If what these scientists claim is true, the net result of Merck's questionable activity was epidemics and outbreaks. It is known that the mumps component of all MMR vaccines from the mid 1990's has had a very low efficacy, estimated at 69% (Harling 05). The outbreaks started in UK and Europe in 1998. USA's outbreaks began in 2006.
These mumps outbreaks have already been proven NOT to be the result of failure to vaccinate, but vaccination failure'... and now it looks to all be a result of Merck's cooked books, used in order to maintain a commercial monopoly to generate increased revenue from increasing numbers of boosters.(Humphries Scientists Sue Merck: Allege Fraud for MMR Vaccine, GreenMedInfo.com)
Read more of Dr. Suzanne Humphries' thoughts about vaccine safety and why ''They Don't Want Your to Hear the Other Side''
The former Merck virologists '' Krahling and Wlochowski '' claim that over the years the effectiveness of the mumps vaccine declined because of its repeated passage through eggs. In order to continue the FDA license, Merck had to convince the FDA that the effectiveness stayed at a similar 95% effectiveness rate over the years.
They claim that by faking effectiveness tests ''i.e, committing fraud ''Merck misled the government about the effectiveness of the mumps component of its MMR II vaccine. The vaccine contained the same strain of mumps vaccine which had been shown to cause meningitis and was removed from the Canadian market. In 1978 Merck introduced the MMR II, using a different strain of the rubella vaccine, but the same strain of mumps vaccine.
These Merck whistleblowers claim they were threatened; that if they called the FDA they would be jailed. But they were reminded of the very large bonuses would come their way after the vaccines were certified.
Two other class action lawsuits against Merck were filed in 2012. One was filed by a clinic, the other by two physicians claiming Merck violated the Sherman Act '' with monopolistic, anti-competitive practices '' and various violations of state laws. The two suits are being handled together. (U.S. v. Merck and U.S. v Merck and Chatom v. Merck). Courthouse News Service, July 2012:
''Merck has known for a decade that its mumps vaccine is ''far less effective'' than it tells the government, and it falsified test results and sold millions of doses of ''questionable efficacy,'' flooding and monopolizing the market'... Chatom says in its antitrust complaint that Merck falsely claims its mumps vaccine is 95 percent effective. That claim ''deterred and excluded competing manufacturers,'' who would enter the risky and expensive vaccine market only if they believed they could craft a better product'...
Merck is the only manufacturer licensed by the FDA to sell the mumps vaccine in United States, and if it could not show that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, it risked losing its lucrative monopoly'...
That's why Merck found it critically important to keep claiming such a high efficacy rate, the complaint states. And, Chatom claims, that's why Merck went to great lengths, including ''manipulating its test procedures and falsifying the test results,'' to prop up the bogus figure, though it knew that the attenuated virus from which it created the vaccine had been altered over the years during the manufacturing process, and that the quality of the vaccine had degraded as a result.'' (cited by Dr. Mercola here )
On September 5, 2014, Judge Jones II of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, rejected Merck's motion to dismiss. The Court rejected Merck's claim that FDA preempts state law. The purpose of the False Claim Act, a federal statute, was to allow whistleblowers to bring such claims in the name of the government.
June 2015: Whistleblower attorney accuses Merck of stonewalling by withholding information and files a motion to compel Merck to comply. In his letter to the court overseeing the case, wrote:
''Rather than answer questions, Merck has taken an ''evasive approach in its blanket refusal'' to provide information effectiveness'... Instead, the drug maker cited data from nearly 50 years ago, when the vaccine was introduced, and that it is not possible to conduct new trials.
Either Merck knows the current efficacy of its mumps vaccine, or it does not,'' the attorney writes. ''Whichever the case, Merck should not be permitted to raise as one of its principal defenses that its vaccine has a high efficacy, which is accurately represented on the product's label, but then refuse to answer what it claims that efficacy actually is.''
Ed Silverman noted in The Wall Street Journal:
''The lawsuit has gained attention because it comes at a time of ongoing controversy over vaccine safety, in general, and resistance by some parents to having their children vaccinated. The issue was highlighted again last year after a measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, where 147 people were infected, prompting push back against religious exemptions for vaccination.
The mumps vaccine is a sizeable product for Merck, which reported that sales reached $721 million last year, when including both the MMR II vaccine '' which is mumps, measles and rubella '' and the ProQuad vaccine, a combination product that is also used to thwart chickenpox, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The federal government, by the way, declined to intervene '' or join '' the whistleblower lawsuit. We should note that several physicians later filed a lawsuit seeking class action status and charged the vaccine was mislabeled and was not the product for which the government or other purchasers paid, which meant that Merck violated the False Claims Act, according to court documents.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that mumps is no longer common in the U.S., although the number of cases has been rising. Last year, 1,151; two years ago, the number of reported cases reached 438 people.'' (Merck is Accused of Stonewalling Over Effectiveness of Mumps Vaccine Jun 8, 2015)
See also related articles at:
FierceVaccines Whistleblowers accuse Merck of withholding info on mumps vaccine;Lawsuits claiming Merck lied about mumps vaccine efficacy headed to trialWhistleblowers: Merck hid declining efficacy of MMR shotMeasles-jab maker Merck says it can only do so much to encourage vaccinationDisneyland measles outbreak adds fuel to heated anti-vaccination debateMeasles vaccination more likely when child's, not society's, benefits are stressedSurvey: 1 in 5 Americans think doctors know vaccines cause autismMike Adams of Natural News has posted the original complaint filed for the False Claim Act here.
Read more at Health Impact News
Green New Deal
Leo Hickman on Twitter: "+BREAKING+ The Guardian's editor has just issued this new guidance to all staff on language to use when writing about climate change and the environment...'... https://t.co/JMGlFl5JTO"
Fri, 17 May 2019 11:57
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Climate change could revive the plague in LA by helping rat populations thrive, experts warn | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 17 May 2019 14:04
As if the specter of droughts, floods, and dwindling resources wasn't scary enough, a new book details how the a rapidly changing climate is putting Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the U.S., at unique risk of a deadly outbreak of bubonic plague.
In a report published in the LA Times, journalist and author David K. Randall's breaks down how climate change creates a perfect storm for some of the key factors behind outbreaks of the plague.
Randall recently released a book titled 'Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague.'
Among the ripple effects of a rapidly changing climate, says Randall, are warmer temperatures which for some species will spell disaster.
For others, however, like rats, fairer climates mean longer active breeding periods.
Rats act as vehicles for fleas which carry the plague. Once those fleas come in contact with humans it can spread quickly to devastating results
'Longer, hotter weather patterns are extending the breeding season of rats and rodents, leading to a steep increase in their numbers in places like Los Angeles, New York and Houston,' wrote Randall in the op-ed for the LA Times.
Citing one of the world's leading authorities on rats, Robert Corrigan, who holds a doctorate in urban rodentology from Purdue University and has been profiled by the New Yorker, Randall says urban rat populations have increased 15 to 20 percent globally.
In addition to more conducive weather, a higher preference towards urban living has increased food supplies -- namely trash -- for city-dwelling rodents.
According to the UN, an overwhelming 68 percent of humans worldwide are expected to live in urban environments by 2050.
Those rats, explains Randall, could be the linchpin in a potential dangerous situation, as they tend to harbor fleas containing bubonic plague bacterium.
'Any climate change conditions that increase the number of fleas [also increase] the distribution of plague,' said Dr. Janet Foley, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UC Davis in Randall's report.
The situation Randall outlines in the report would apply to almost every metropolis across the globe, but according to him, Los Angeles is in a particularly harrowing position due to one key factor: homeless populations.
Homeless populations would be among the most at-risk people since they are often forced to live in proximity to rodents and other pests. File photo
According to a previous report from the LA Times, homeless populations have boomed in the last several years, rising by about 39 percent since 2014 to 53,000 people in 2019.
Those people, who often live in close proximity to fleas and rats, could be the first to be affected says Randall, and from there the disease could spread.
While it may seem outlandish that the world is still at risk of another outbreak of Bubonic plague, the impact of climate change has been noted by other modern studies.
Last year, researchers published a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that links a change in climate and rat populations to the incidence and spread of the plague in Europe.
The Black Death is one of the worst known pandemics in human history and could potentially be aided by a changing climate says one author and journalist
The world's most dangerous occurrence of bubonic plague, the Black Death, and one of the most devastating pandemics ever recorded occurred in the mid 1300's and was responsible for killing as many as 200 million people across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
To help mitigate the problem, experts interviewed by Randall say that cities can begin to pointedly reduce rat populations, especially since humans have also worked to stifle the amount of predators like snakes and coyotes who keep rodent numbers in check.
'It goes against our modern sensibilities, but there is nothing else to keep their populations bound,' said
WHAT CAUSED EUROPE'S BUBONIC PLAGUES?The plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, was the cause of some of the world's deadliest pandemics, including the Justinian Plague, the Black Death, and the major epidemics that swept through China in the late 1800s.
The disease continues to affect populations around the world today.
The Black Death of 1348 famously killed half of the people in London within 18 months, with bodies piled five-deep in mass graves.
When the Great Plague of 1665 hit, a fifth of people in London died, with victims shut in their homes and a red cross painted on the door with the words 'Lord have mercy upon us'.
The pandemic spread from Europe through the 14th and 19th centuries - thought to come from fleas which fed on infected rats before biting humans and passing the bacteria to them.
But modern experts challenge the dominant view that rats caused the incurable disease.
Experts point out that rats were not that common in northern Europe, which was hit equally hard by plague as the rest of Europe, and that the plague spread faster than humans might have been exposed to their fleas.
Most people would have had their own fleas and lice, when the plague arrived in Europe in 1346, because they bathed much less often.
Does the term "climate change" need a makeover? Some think so '-- here's why. - CBS News
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:06
Greta Thunberg , a 16-year-old who leads a global climate movement, asked in a recent tweet, "Can we all now please stop saying 'climate change' and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?"
She's not alone in her sentiment. Many of those engaged in environmental advocacy feel the term "climate change" fails to convey the specificity or urgency needed to address the gravity of the climate challenge.
A new recent study shows they may be right.
New York City-based SPARK Neuro, a neuroanalytics company that measures emotion and attention, studied how participants responded to six terms -- "climate crisis," "environmental destruction," "environmental collapse," "weather destabilization," "global warming" and "climate change."
A total of 120 people -- 40 Republicans, 40 Democrats and 40 independents -- participated in the study, which measured the "emotional intensity" of responses to audio recordings of various controversial phrases, with each term inserted, like this example below:
"Sea levels will rise dramatically, to the point that many coastal cities will be submerged, as a result of [INSERT TERM]."
The electrical activity of the participants' brains and skin was rated on a scale of zero to five -- five being the strongest. Those results were then compared to a traditional survey for reference.
Two terms stood out from the pack: climate crisis and environmental destruction.
Among Democrats, the study found a 60% greater emotional response to the term "climate crisis" than to "climate change," and a tripling in emotional response among Republicans.
Spencer Gerrol, CEO of SPARK Neuro, said evoking emotion is vital to getting people to act. Because terms like climate change and global warming do not imply good or bad, they don't spark passion, he said.
"People tend to underestimate how much emotions factor in," he said. "Ultimately it is emotions that change hearts and minds and lead to actions."
Among the Republicans in the study, the term "environmental destruction" evoked what was considered an extreme reaction, registering an emotional response almost four times greater than that of their responses to the term "climate change."
However, Gerrol said that kind of visceral intensity can backfire.
"The term 'environmental destruction' seems to have crossed a line with Republicans. It is likely seen as alarmist, perhaps even implying blame, which can lead to counterarguing and pushback," he said.
SPARK Neuro The term "climate crisis" appeared to fall in a sweet spot. It performed well in terms of responses across the political spectrum and elicited the greatest emotional response among independents.
"Independents are thinking less about what camp they fall into because they are not driven by partisan beliefs and visceral reactions. It implies they are thinking more critically about the term," Gerrol said.
One online petition from The Action Network, a progressive advocacy organization, shows some are pushing for this change. It calls on major TV networks to "call the climate crisis transforming the Earth exactly what it is: a climate crisis."
This week, people in the climate-engaged community have fielded a flurry of emails from organizations like The Climate Reality Project and 350.org. The climate advocacy non-profits have asked them to sign the petition, which garnered more than 35,000 signatures by Thursday morning.
Sarah Finnie Robinson, a senior fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University, said she signed "because we have not addressed climate change properly, despite scientists' dire warnings."
"It's now a crisis, an emergency, and we need to engage people to demand smart policy and innovation," she said. "Time is not on our side."
But not everyone is convinced a name change is needed or even possible.
"I think it is too late to attempt to change the terms global warming and climate change," said David Fenton, founder and chairman of Fenton Communications, a social change agency. "They are now fully implanted in people's consciousness and would be very hard to change."
More important, Fenton said, is "to simply explain how we are heating the planet and how that is hurting people, communities and the economy. Too few people really understand this in simple terms or images."
Whether it's rebranding or reframing, one thing everyone in the climate conscious community agrees on is: "climate change needs a kick in the butt." Those are the words of an Ohio woman involved in a focus group conducted by John Marshall, a senior client advisor at Lippincott, a brand strategy consultancy.
In Marshall's words, this is the most "wicked" branding and communications challenge because of vast political divisions and feelings of detachment from climate change, such as people believing, "It's not important to me and I'm not important to it." Marshall said the term seriously lacks energy and relevance, and "badly" needs rebranding.
To help formulate a messaging strategy, he united 16 prominent firms in the creative industry that are forming a non-profit coalition called the Potential Energy Coalition. It will soon launch a series of creative climate campaigns that will appear in print and digital media, as well as on TV and radio. The campaigns are designed for awareness and persuasion.
"We hope to find very new and effective ways to engage people in the climate crisis, and scale what works to help dramatically accelerate action," Marshall said. "Our goal is to help people realize how massively important this issue is."
EuroVision
Eurovision 2019: Belarus TV host's homophobic remarks condemned - BBC News
Sat, 18 May 2019 14:52
Image copyright Belarus Television Image caption Some social media users said they felt embarrassed by Yavhen Perlin's remarks Homophobic remarks by a Belarusian state TV presenter during the Eurovision song contest in Israel have stirred indignation on social media in Belarus.
Yavhen Perlin was providing live commentary during the semi-finals on 14 May, when a "kiss-cam" zoomed into affectionate couples during the performance by Israel's transgender pop diva Dana International.
"They are sending the kiss-cam across the hall! Let's see what we get!" Mr Perlin said.
But after the first couple caught by the camera appeared to be two men kissing, the presenter reacted: "Oh, my goodness! Maybe we'd better not watch!"
When the camera moved on to a man and a woman having a smooch, he added, with a sense of relief: "Ok, so far so good!" But a few seconds later, another male couple were shown kissing, at which point the presenter exclaimed: "Oh, come on!"
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He went on to say that he hoped the cameramen will "finally find some cool couples" in the audience.
Image copyright EPA Image caption "We all deserve to be loved," Dana International told the audience in Tel Aviv As Dana International was performing Bruno Mars's song Just The Way You Are, the Belarusian presenter remarked: "Dana is singing that love has no religion, no boundaries, no racial or any other limits. But you know, I want values to preserve their value, so that love remains love."
'Rock bottom'Mr Perlin's views provoked strong reaction on social media.
"I felt so embarrassed!" wrote Radio Liberty journalist Ales Piletski on Facebook. "The good thing is that these boorish jokes are not heard in other countries."
Another journalist, BelaPAN news agency director Andrei Aliaksandrau didn't hold back: "It feels like the Belarusian Television presenter really hit rock bottom this time, though BT is a champion in hitting rock bottom."
The sentiment was echoed by others on social media. One user tweeted: "A homophobic commentator is an embarrassment to the country."
"They show men kissing and Perlin freezes. Oh, my god, this is gay propaganda on BT! A historic moment indeed," remarked another.
Reporting by Dmytro Zotsenko and Gennadiy Kot
Next story: Russian deserter dodged arrest for 14 years
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Winning Song Video - Duncan Laurence - Arcade
5G
When we say we'll do something, we mean it! | T-Mobile Newsroom
Tue, 21 May 2019 09:50
Over the last few months, I've been writing a lot about the New T-Mobile and the various ways a supercharged Un-carrier will benefit American consumers and businesses. I've also been doing a lot of listening. After all, we built this Un-carrier revolution by listening to others and then acting decisively. So why would we approach this merger any differently? As we've made our case for the New T-Mobile, we've been listening to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and many others. Today, we took some action on those discussions, and we submitted a set of commitments to the FCC around the New T-Mobile to address what we've heard. We listen and we take action. It's who we are.
Let me be clear. These aren't just words'... they're verifiable, enforceable and specific commitments that bring to life how the New T-Mobile will deliver a world-leading nationwide 5G network '' truly 5G for all, create more competition in broadband, and continue to give customers more choices, better value and better service.
I particularly want to thank Chairman Pai for his statement of support for these commitments and our merger '' as well as his ongoing leadership to help ensure our country is a leader, not a follower, in the 5G era. We look forward to continuing to meet and work with a variety of important stakeholders to demonstrate the powerful benefits the New T-Mobile will bring '' but today's filing is at the center of our plans to bring 5G to American consumers. Ultimately, today's commitments are about our shared goal to put the U.S. at the forefront of 5G innovation, driving massive economic growth, helping bridge the Digital Divide, creating more competition, and of course, giving consumers and businesses more for less. The commitments we're making today help advance all of these goals! It is that simple.
Specific Enforceable Commitments to Deliver 5G for All First, we've committed to key milestones we'll hit as we build out 5G for ALL '' both on a nationwide scale and specifically for rural America. We've laid out aggressive targets for this supercharged 5G network. In three years, we've committed that the New T-Mobile will cover 97% of the U.S. population with 5G on low-band spectrum and 75% of the population with 5G on mid-band spectrum. That will grow to 99% of the U.S. population covered with low-band 5G in six years and 88% with mid-band 5G.
This is critically important because it ensures that this country will have broad AND deep nationwide 5G utilizing both mid and low band spectrum, which will deliver a radically better, more expansive experience than the status quo. This should also force Verizon and AT&T to re-evaluate their 5G strategies and accelerate their investment and 5G deployment.
We also established milestones to cover 85% of rural America with 5G on low-band spectrum in three years and 90% in six years. We set targets for the number of people with access to equal or greater than 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps average download speeds (hint: it's a lot'... 90% and 99% of the country's population respectively in six years, and we even outlined how we'll verify those speeds with drive tests!).
We've also made clear commitments around in-home broadband. I've said before that we are going to ''Un-carrier'' broadband, and that's what we're going to do. Because this is one of the most un-competitive industries in the country '' and the least customer-friendly! Almost half the country's households'--45% '' have no high-speed service or only one option to choose from. The numbers are worse for rural households, 76% of which have no high-speed service or only one choice available.
With our nationwide 5G network, we can change this dynamic! So, we made real commitments to offer in-home broadband to a specific number of households across the U.S., including in rural areas, in very specific timeframes.
I believe we will nail all of these goals '' nationwide 5G, rural 5G and in-home broadband! We are so confident in our ability to follow through that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is by committing to specific measures that will hold us accountable'... You see, if we don't meet these milestones, we'll pay until we do. These are tangible commitments that we are happy to be held to. Why? Because when we say we'll do something, we mean it.
And we believe in transparency on all of this, so we'll give an annual report card to the FCC to show our progress.
This clear set of specific, enforceable commitments reinforces our plans and bring them to life '' and show what I've been saying all along: this 5G network will make a huge difference for millions of Americans across the entire country.
An Independent Path for Boost Another area of FCC feedback we heard is around the prepaid business. In response, we have committed to divest Sprint's Boost pre-paid business to a third party following the closing of the merger. We'll work to find a serious, credible, financially capable and independent buyer for all the assets needed to run '' and grow '' the business, and we'll make sure that buyer has attractive wholesale arrangements. This is an exciting opportunity for Boost employees and customers with a buyer bringing the ability to invest in the brand and the opportunity to run on the supercharged New T-Mobile network!
We have always chosen to serve pre-paid customers. To give hardworking people everywhere the wireless they deserve. Wireless they can be proud of. It's part of who we are to offer underserved communities more choice and value in wireless. That's a big part of why we've been able to more than double the size of Metro since 2013. We aren't backing down from that commitment '' at all '' and we plan to compete aggressively in pre-paid with Metro and Virgin in the years ahead.
Same or Better Prices! Now this one, I've said before , and we've already put our commitment in writing to the FCC. The commitment still stands. The New T-Mobile will deliver the same or better rate plans at the same or better prices for three years. And that includes 5G. Period.
But I'm not quite done yet'... when we combine the Sprint and T-Mobile networks, we're going to create a 5G network with 8x more capacity by 2024 than Sprint or T-Mobile standalone today. We're going to want MVNO partners to help put all that capacity to use, and today's commitments also address that. We want to work with a whole community of partners to utilize all the capacity this deal will unlock!
We are going to bring 5G to every corner of this country and challenge the failing status quo that has left millions of Americans with too few options and too little value, tolerating terrible treatment and believing it can't change. It can change, and the New T-Mobile can provide the competition to change it. The New T-Mobile will be a disruptive rival with the resources to go toe-to-toe with established behemoths to drive competition and innovation that benefits everyone, everywhere.
That's what today's news is about, and that's why I'm more excited than ever about the difference the New T-Mobile will make in millions of peoples' lives. I look forward to continuing to make the case for the New T-Mobile in the days and weeks ahead with all of the key stakeholders!
John
Important Additional Information U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the ''SEC'') on October 29, 2018, and which contains a joint consent solicitation statement of T-Mobile and Sprint Corporation (''Sprint''), that also constitutes a prospectus of T-Mobile (the ''joint consent solicitation statement/prospectus''), and each party will file other documents regarding the proposed transaction with the SEC. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE JOINT CONSENT SOLICITATION STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The documents filed by T-Mobile may be obtained free of charge at T-Mobile's website, at www.t-mobile.com, or at the SEC's website, at www.sec.gov, or from T-Mobile by requesting them by mail at T-Mobile US, Inc., Investor Relations, 1 Park Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or by telephone at 212-358-3210. The documents filed by Sprint may be obtained free of charge at Sprint's website, at www.sprint.com, or at the SEC's website, at www.sec.gov, or from Sprint by requesting them by mail at Sprint Corporation, Shareholder Relations, 6200 Sprint Parkway, Mailstop KSOPHF0302-3B679, Overland Park, Kansas 66251, or by telephone at 913-794-1091. No Offer or Solicitation
This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This communication contains certain forward-looking statements concerning T-Mobile, Sprint and the proposed transaction between T-Mobile and Sprint. All statements other than statements of fact, including information concerning future results, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words ''anticipate,'' ''believe,'' ''estimate,'' ''expect,'' ''intend,'' ''may,'' ''could'' or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the proposed transaction, including anticipated future financial and operating results, synergies, accretion and growth rates, T-Mobile's, Sprint's and the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, and the expected timing of completion of the proposed transaction. There are several factors which could cause actual plans and results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the failure to obtain, or delays in obtaining, required regulatory approvals, and the risk that such approvals may result in the imposition of conditions that could adversely affect the combined company or the expected benefits of the proposed transaction, or the failure to satisfy any of the other conditions to the proposed transaction on a timely basis or at all; the occurrence of events that may give rise to a right of one or both of the parties to terminate the business combination agreement; adverse effects on the market price of T-Mobile's or Sprint's common stock and on T-Mobile's or Sprint's operating results because of a failure to complete the proposed transaction in the anticipated timeframe or at all; inability to obtain the financing contemplated to be obtained in connection with the proposed transaction on the expected terms or timing or at all; the ability of T-Mobile, Sprint and the combined company to make payments on debt or to repay existing or future indebtedness when due or to comply with the covenants contained therein; adverse changes in the ratings of T-Mobile's or Sprint's debt securities or adverse conditions in the credit markets; negative effects of the announcement, pendency or consummation of the transaction on the market price of T-Mobile's or Sprint's common stock and on T-Mobile's or Sprint's operating results, including as a result of changes in key customer, supplier, employee or other business relationships; significant transaction costs, including financing costs, and unknown liabilities; failure to realize the expected benefits and synergies of the proposed transaction in the expected timeframes or at all; costs or difficulties related to the integration of Sprint's network and operations into T-Mobile; the risk of litigation or regulatory actions; the inability of T-Mobile, Sprint or the combined company to retain and hire key personnel; the risk that certain contractual restrictions contained in the business combination agreement during the pendency of the proposed transaction could adversely affect T-Mobile's or Sprint's ability to pursue business opportunities or strategic transactions; effects of changes in the regulatory environment in which T-Mobile and Sprint operate; changes in global, political, economic, business, competitive and market conditions; changes in tax and other laws and regulations; and other risks and uncertainties detailed in the Form S-4, as well as in T-Mobile's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q, including in the sections thereof captioned ''Risk Factors'' and ''Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,'' as well as in its subsequent reports on Form 8-K, all of which are filed with the SEC and available at www.sec.gov and www.t-mobile.com. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, which are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, persons reading this communication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. T-Mobile assumes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this communication (whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise), except as required by applicable law.
T-Mobile commitment redacted
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:01
May 20, 2019 VIA ECFS Marlene H. Dortch Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 Twelfth Street, S.W. Washington, DC 20554 REDACTED  FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION Re: Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations; WT Docket No. 18-197 Dear Ms. Dortch: T-…ž‘›-- ŒŠ¨ ''ª ...¬‹-…ž‘›--­§ '' ŠŸ'£ >>žŸž£ž' ...¬ŠŸ'£­¨ '' 'ž››--'£¥--›¨ ...£— ‹-…ž‘›--¨ ¬¸ŸŸ›''£­§ —----‘¨ •›-- £— ...££--' ex parte presentation in the above-referenced 'ž'š--£ Ÿ¤¤'£ £ž Š--'£ž' ­ª­®¬²...‘§ ž• £—-- >>ž''ž'® ‰¤›--¨ °" >>ª¾ª‰ª ª ­ª­®¬²...‘§ª Based on the record in this proceeding and subject to the commitments set forth herein, the Applicants request grant of their applications for transfer of control to permit the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. ' £—-- ¤‘›' '£----£ Š££--'--'£ ...¬Š­§ '' ¤‘-- ¤--'£ ‘¤'--¨ --'–'----'– '' --'ž'ž'' showings, Applicants have demonstrated that their merger will produce enormous consu mer ‘--'--•£ '' '£--'•¨ 'ž'Ÿ--££ž'ª ‹—-- '--–--' 'ž'Ÿ'¨ ...¬†--... ‹-…ž‘›--­§ ...›› ‘-- ‘›-- £ž leverage a unique combination of complementary spectrum and cell sites to unlock massive synergies. This will allow New T-Mobile to invest nearly $40 billion within three years of closing to deliver a more robust nationwide 5G network and next -generation services than either company can achieve on its own. New T-…ž‘›--® ± '--£...žš ...›› —¥-- ŠŸ'£® ''-band spectrum to create massive capacity, T-…ž‘›--® ›ž...-band spectrum to provide broad coverage, and lower costs so that American consumers will pay less and get more. The nationwide 5G network will deliver transformative fiber-like speeds for mobile services; bring broadband wireless service to millions of unserved and underserved rural Americans; unleash a competitive alternative to in-home, fixed broadband providers; benefit MVNOs; and accelerate 5G deployment in the United States, thereby ensuring American leadership in the next -generation of wireless technology. The Applicants recently have ''¤--' £—-- '--–--® ‘--'--•£ with the Commission and listened to concerns about certain aspects of the transact ion. In order to respond to these concerns and
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 2 address them definitively, the Applicants submit herewith proposed commit ments to ensure that: (1) New T-Mobile builds a world-leading 5G network; (2) rural Americans receive robust 5G broadband service; (3) in-home broadband competition is enhanced and choice becomes a reality for American consumers; and (4) Boost Mobile is divested to a serious and credible buyer who can compete aggressively in prepaid services on a long-term basis. These commitments will be enforced by strong verification measures, substantial voluntary contributions for missed deadlines, and continuation of the voluntary contributions until unmet obligations are fulfilled. In addition, the Applicants reconfirm their prior commitment to make available the same or better rate plans as those offered by T-Mobile or Sprint as of February 4, 2019 for three years following the merger. Finally, the Applicants make commitments concerning the Altice post -merger MVNO relationship with New T-Mobile. Each of these commitments is summarized below and set forth in detail in the attachments. Commitment to Build a World-Leading Nationwide 5G Network New T-…ž‘›--® ‘›£¨ £ž '--£-- ' ¤'Ÿ--'--'--'£--'¨ ...ž›'-leading, nationwide 5G network is the ¤''ž'£--£--' š--¨£ž'-- ž• £— '--–--ª ¹¨ 'ž'‘''– ŠŸ'£® ''-band spectrum and T-…ž‘›--® low band spectrum, the merger will posit ion the United States to lead the 5G era by not only accelerating the deployment of a nationwide 5G network, but also increasing competitive pressure on other mobile wireless carriers to accelerate and expand their planned 5G deployments. New T-…ž‘›--® ± '--£...žš ...›› ‘-- £—-- 'ž'Ÿ--££¥-- Ÿš £—£ ...›› --'¤-- ¸'--' --'' £—-- ...ž›'® ›--''– £--'—'ž›ž–'› ''¤‘£ž •ž '--§£-generation services and applications  bringing untold benefits to the American people. The record conclusivel y demonstrates that New T-…ž‘›--® ± '--£...žš ...›› ‘-- 'Ÿ‘›-- ž• ¤'– £—-- 'ž'‘'--' ›ž...-band and mid-band spectrum of T-Mobile and Sprint to provide virtually ubiquitous and deep 5G coverage across the country, including in rural areas. Within three years ž• £—-- '--–--® '›ž--¨ this unique combination of complementary spectrum will enable New T -Mobile to provide fiber-like speeds to hundreds of millions of Americans1 and deliver average speeds of over 150 Mbps and peak speeds of 1.6 Gbps.2 Within six year ž• £—-- '--–--® '›ž--¨ ¥--–-- '' Ÿ--š Ÿ----' will have surged to 450 Mbps and 4.2 Gbps, respectively.3 Applicants are confident in their 5G network plan. Accordingly, they are willing to back it up with firm commitments, set forth in Attachment 1 at Section I, that include a detailed network build schedule with hard deadlines for providing coverage of the country based on population covered and deploying 5G spectrum and sites. The firm commitments also include speed 1 Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations, WT Docket No. 18-197, Joint Opposition of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint >>žŸž£ž' ...¬‚ž'£ ‡ŸŸž£ž'­§¨ ¸ŸŸ§ª ¹¨ ¼--'›£ž' ž• †--¥››-- ‰¨¨ ½§--'¤£¥-- '-- --'--'£ '' Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile US, Inc. at 15 (Sept. 17, 2018). 2 Joint Opposition at 42. 3 Id. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 3 commitments verified by nationwide drive tests. The Applicants commit that within three years ž• £—-- '--–--® '›ž'–¨ †--... ‹-Mobile will blanket three-•ž¤£— ž• £—-- 'ž¤'£¨® ŸžŸ¤›£ž' with mid-‘'' Ÿ--'£¤' '' 'ž¥-- µ" Ÿ--'--'£ ž• £—-- 'ž¤'£¨® ŸžŸ¤›£ž' ...£— ›ž...-band spectrum. This broad and deep spectrum deployment will result in almost two-thirds of Americans receiving speeds in excess of 100 Mbps within three years of closing. Within six ¨-- ž• £—-- '--–--® '›ž--¨ £—-- ¸ŸŸ›''£ 'ž''£ £ž '--Ÿ›ž¨  ± '--£...žš ...£—¶ ›ž...-band coverage of at least 99 percent of the population; mid-band coverage of at least 88 percent of the population; 5G sites nationwide; an average of megahertz of low-band and mid-band 5G spectrum deployed across the 5G sites; 99 percent of the population experiencing download speeds equal to, or greater than, 50 Mbps; and 90 percent of the population experiencing download speeds equal to, or greater than, 100 Mbps. New T-…ž‘›--® ± '--£...žš ...›› ‘-- ‘›-- to achieve these exceptional performance targets through the combined capabilities of T-…ž‘›--® ›ž...-‘'' '' ŠŸ'£® ''-band spectrum, and, in doing so, help lead the U.S. to victory in the global race to 5G. Commitment to Provide High-Speed 5G Services for Rural America ¸ŸŸ›''£® Ÿ›' ž• --'žrd for rural 5G deployment recognizes that consumers in many rural areas have limited choices for wireless service and that entrenched rural incumbents have failed £ž '--›¥-- £—--  ¤›£¨ ž• --¥'-- £—£ 'ž'¤'-- ' ¤› ¸'--' '----¥--ª ¸ŸŸ›''£® •›ngs detailed how rural America represents an untapped business opportunity for New T-Mobile to create much-needed competition, seize customers from unchallenged incumbents, and deliver a new and higher standard of service for rural customers by expanding o utdoor 5G coverage to 59.4 million rural residents, and indoor 5G coverage to 31 million rural residents.4 The Applicants detailed their plan for New T-Mobile to become an aggressive new competitor in rural America by taking advantage of merger synergies and leveraging its low-band (600 MHz) rural deployment to simultaneously deploy mid-band (2.5 GHz and/or PCS/AWS)) radios in rural areas at a very low incremental cost.5 The deployment of mid-band spectrum in rural America means that New T-…ž‘›--® ‘ž' and deep 5G coverage will not be reserved for urban areas only, but will create tremendous benefits in rural areas as well. Building on this aggressive planned rural deployment, the Applicants now propose to expand and accelerate their rural deployment plans and back it up with a strong commitment, ensuring that even more rural Americans receive the same world-class speed and service from New T-…ž‘›--® ''-band coverage as the rest of the country. 4 See Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of the Licenses and Authorizations, WT Docket No. 18-197, Description of Transaction, Public Interest Statement, and Related Demonstrations at 65-66 (filed June 18, 20­´§ ...¬¤‘›' '£----£ Š££--'--'£­§· see also Joint Opposition at 94. 5 Joint Opposition at 96-97. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 4 ¸ŸŸ›''£® ¤› --¥'-- 'ž''£'--'£ --£ •ž£— ' ¸££'hment 1 at Section II, accelerates and ''---- £—-- ¸ŸŸ›''£® Ÿ--¥ž¤›¨ ¤‘'££--' ± ‘ž'‘'' 'ž¥--–-- Ÿ›' •ž ¤› ¸'--''  by going further than any company has before to help bridge the rural Digital Divide. Specifically, New T-Mobile will accelerate the deployment of approximately mid-band sites in rural America, deploying them within three years of closing  years sooner than previously planned. New T-Mobile will also add 5G mid-band to approximately additional low-band sites within six years of closing to further accelerate rural 5G deployment. This rural mid-band acceleration will mean that the advantages of high-capacity mid-band spectrum will be extended to 6.5 million more rural Americans in the first three years of deployment  faster than originally planned. Further, by year six, New T-Mobile will increase its mid-band coverage of rural America by an additional 6.1 million rural Americans who would not have been covered with 5G mid-band spectrum in the original plan. As a result, within three years of closing, New T-Mobile will deliver 50 Mbps or higher to two-thirds of the rural population and 100 Mbps or higher to over half the rural population. Ž£—' § ¨-- ž• £—-- '--–--® '›ž--¨ †--... ‹-Mobile will deploy a 5G network with low-band coverage of at least 90 percent of the rural population; mid-band coverage of at least 66.7 percent of the rural population; 5G sites in rural areas; an average of megahertz of low-band and mid-band 5G spectrum deployed per 5G site; 90 percent of the rural population experiencing download speeds equal to, or greater, than 50 Mbps; and 66.7 percent of the rural population experiencing download speeds equal to, or greater than, 100 Mbps. No other company has rural 5G deployment plans even remotely as aggressive as New T-Mobile, and New T-Mobile is the only company that will bring the benefits of 5G mid-band spectrum to millions of rural Americans. Again, New T-Mobile will lead the way for the U.S. to be the global champion for 5G. Commitment for In-Home Broadband Applicants have detailed thoroughly their plan to leverage the unprecedented coverage, capacity, and speed of New T-…ž‘›--® ± '--£...žš £ž ž••--  –ž¤''‘--š'– '-home broadband service, ...¬†--... ‹-…ž‘›-- ž'-- '£--'--£­§ 'ž¥--'– ž¥-- —›• £—-- 'ž¤'£¨® —ž¤--—ž›' £  ›ž... Ÿ'-- £ž consumers and a low incremental cost to New T-Mobile.6 Applicants have demonstrated how this new service will create direct benefits for all in-home broadband consumers, regardless of whether they subscribe to New T-Mobile, by forcing incumbent broadband providers to lower prices and improve services to respond to an aggressive new broadband competitor. ¸ŸŸ›''£® Ÿ›' •ž †--... ‹-Mobile Home Internet will break the mold for in-home broadband. ¸ '--'‘--' ' ¸ŸŸ›''£® •›'–¨ †--... ‹-Mobile Home Internet will: provide minimum 6 See generally Letter from Nancy J. Victory, Counsel to T-Mobile US, Inc., to Marlene T. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 18-­µ" ...…ª ²¨ ®¬­µ§ ...¬'-home ¹ž'‘'' ½§ £--­§ª --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 5 speeds of 25 Mbps downlink and 3 Mbps uplink (more than fast enough for streaming 4K Ultra HD video); provide average speeds above 100 Mbps downlink; be priced significantly ( per month) below incumbent provider prices for service with comparable speeds; have no extra charge for the router; have no installation charge; have no contract; and provide customer care from T-…ž‘›--® ...'-winning Magenta Glove Team.7 Indeed, New T-Mobile Home Internet is poised to fundamentally shift the competitive landscape of one of the least-competitive industry segments in America. Rural Americans who want and need access or choice for in-home broadband will benefit from the newly accelerated and increased rural deployment of the 5G network described above. Indeed, the in-home broadband service deployment in rural areas also will be accelerated and increased. The number of supported rural households will be approximately 300,000 more within three years and approximately 400,000 more within six years from the closing than originally planned. Here again, rural Americans will be big beneficiaries of the commit ments. Applicants stand behind their representations in the record about their incentive and ability to deliver in-home broadband to millions, including in rural areas. As set forth in Attachment 1 at Section III, Applicants commit that, within three years of closing, New T-Mobile will market the in-home service to 9.6 million eligible households, of which at least 2.6 million are rural households and will have at least million supported households, of which at least million are rural households. In addition, within six years of closing, New T-Mobile will market its in-home broadband service to at least 28 million eligible households, of which 5.6 million are rural, and will have at least million supported households, of which at least million are rural households. Commitment for Divestiture of Boost Mobile ¸ŸŸ›''£® ž–'› ‘¤'-- Ÿ›' '¥ž›¥--' ''žŸž£'– £—-- ŠŸ'£ Ÿ--Ÿ' ‘''¨ ''›¤''– ¹žž£ …ž‘›-- ...¬¹žž£­§¨ '£ž  '¥---- Ÿžrtfolio of prepaid options that could leverage the powerful New T-Mobile 5G network to provide a high-quality, 5G prepaid service at a low price. While Applicants had planned that Boost would continue to be an effective and meaningful competitor as part of the New T-Mobile portfolio of brands, Applicants now commit to divest and sell the Boost business to remove any remaining doubts regarding the impact of the merger on prepaid wireless customers and competition. Therefore, as described in Attachment 2, Applicants will divest Boost through a market -based process to a serious and credible buyer. New T-Mobile will offer the Boost buyer terms for a six-year wholesale MVNO agreement that will include wholesale rates that will meaningfully improve upon the commercial terms reflected in the most favorable of T-…ž‘›--® '' ŠŸ'£® three largest MVNO agreements. The wholesale network arrangement will also ensure that New T-Mobile and New Boost retain strong incentives to compete against each other for customers. 7 See id. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 6 The Applicants further commit that the MVNO arrangement will prevent New T-Mobile from treating New Boost in a discriminatory or anticompetitive manner relative to Metro, such as through unwanted discriminatory throttling, de-prioritization, or limitations on access to new network technologies. New T-Mobile will also offer other standard commercial support arrangements to the buyer, including a transition services agreement that is customary for a transaction of this nature. This will ensure that New Boost will be an aggressive competitor to New T-Mobile and other facilities-based, and non-facilities-based operators going forward. New T-Mobile commits to identify the buyer of Boost and submit the negotiated MVNO agreement to the FCC within 120 days of closing the merger (subject to two 30-day extensions). The divestiture process implemented by New T-Mobile will result in the orderly transfer of Boost customers to the Boost buyer. It will also ensure the continued and seamless operation of Boost during the pendency of the divestiture. New T-Mobile commits to make significant voluntary contributions to the U.S. Treasury should it fail to timely negotiate and submit to the Commission an MVNO agreement that adheres to the principles in its commitment or maintain the competitiveness of Boost during the divestiture process. Pricing Commitment Applicants demonstrated through business and economic evidence that wireless consumers will pay less for 5G service and get far better service and more data as a result of the merger. However, on February 4, 2019, to enhance the public interest benefits of the merger and simplify £—-- >>ž''ž'® --§Ÿ--'£ž¤ --¥--...¨ £—-- ¸ŸŸ›''£ ¤‘'££--'  •' 'ž''£'--'£ £—£ ¬†--... T-Mobile will make available the same or bett er rate plans as those offered by T-Mobile or ŠŸ'£  ž• £ž'¨® '£-- •ž £—---- ¨-- •ž››ž...'– £—-- '--–--ª­8 The Applicants once again take this opportunity to unequivocally reaffirm the February 4, 2019, pricing commitment and include it for convenience as Attachment 3. As previously stated, this commitment not only ensures that prices cannot go up, but that 5G comes at no extra cost  in contrast to surcharges imposed by Verizon and planned by AT&T. In light of the proposed Boost divestiture, the commitment will cover the Boost plans only until Boost is divested. Commitments Regarding Altice As Applicants have demonstrated in the record, t he same economic principles that will drive lower prices for retail consumers will also apply to wholesale prices and MVNOs, creating a unique value proposition for New T-…ž‘›--® …†‡ª9 New T-…ž‘›--® ''£ž'› '--£...žš 8 See Letter from Nancy J. Victory, Counsel for T-Mobile US, Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 18-­µ" ...¾--‘ª °¨ ®¬­µ§ ...¬''– >>ž''£'--'£ --££--­§ª 9 Joint Opposition at 88-91. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 7 capacity and lower per unit costs will create an incentive for the combined company to lower wholesale prices to MVNOs in order to ensure that the new network capacity is not wasted by sitting idle.10 MVNOs will benefit not only from the capabilities of the New T-Mobile network, but also the unprecedented capacity and lower cost per GB, which will translate into lower wholesale costs, and, ultimately, lower prices for MVNO subscribers.11 In addition to these competitive incentives, T-Mobile has publicly represented that New T-Mobile will honor the terms of existing Sprint and T-Mobile MVNO agreements¨ ''›¤''– ŠŸ'£® –----'--'£ ...£— Altice.12 As described in Attachment 4, Applicants now commit that New T-Mobile will not exercise any £--''£ž' –—£ ¤''-- ¸›£'--® …†‡ –----'--'£ ...£— ŠŸ'£ £—£ '–—£ ‘-- £––----' ‘¨ £—-- merger. In addit ion, New T-Mobile commits to engage in good faith negotiations to expand the existing Sprint/Altice agreement to the New T-Mobile 5G network. Verification and Enforcement Applicants take these commitments seriously, expect to be held to their word, and they are prepared for financial consequences if they fail to do so. Accordingly, Applicants commit to a verification and enforcement regime of unprecedented rigor. Failure to meet New T-…ž‘›--® obligations will trigger severe, increasing, and continuing voluntary contributions that will make failure prohibitively expensive and incentivize New T-Mobile to meet its commitments. At the same time, New T-…ž‘›--® 'ž''£'--'£ will set a new standard for regulatory transparency, providing regular and robust information in annual reports regarding its progress in meeting its nationwide 5G, rural 5G, and in-home commitments. For New T-…ž‘›--® £—-----year and six-year commitment dates, the company will provide a comprehensive report that includes data from drive tests, polygon coverage shapefiles, population and household coverage figures, site lists, marketing figures, and executive certifications. ¸ŸŸ›''£® –žž¤ ¥--•'£on processes will be accompanied by an even more exacting enforcement structure. Voluntary contributions will be calculated separately for each missed commitment. Furthermore, each of New T-…ž‘›--® §-year commitments will continue until satisfied and, accordingly, their respective voluntary contributions will continue to accrue and increase during their pendency. This enforcement standard is unprecedented in its strength. The Applicants are prepared to submit to the substantial financial consequences of missed deadlines or obligations because all of the deadlines and obligations are consistent with the New T-Mobile plan. They simply ensure that New T-Mobile does post-merger what the Applicants 10 Id. at 88. 11 Id. 12 Id. at 89. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch May 20, 2019 Page 8 have described will happen in their Public Interest Statement and subsequent filings, as well as the accelerated and expanded deployment of the 5G network to rural America included in the merger commitments the Applicants make today. Commission Grant of the Transfer of Control Applications In view of the record in this merger proceeding and the commitments submitted herewith, the Applicants request prompt grant of their applications for transfer of control as serving the public interest. Please direct any questions regarding the foregoing to the undersigned counsel for the Applicants. Respectfully submitted, SPRINT CORPORATION By:_/s/ Regina M. Keeney______________ Regina M. Keeney A. Richard Metzger, Jr. Lawler, Metzger, Keeney & Logan, LLC 1717 K Street, NW, Suite 1075 Washington, DC 20006 (202) 777-7700 T-MOBILE US, Inc. By: _/s/ Nancy J. Victory______________ R. Michael Senkowski Nancy J. Victory DLA Piper LLP (US) 500 Eighth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20004 (202) 799-4000 cc: Chairman Ajit Pai Commissioner Michael O®Rielly Commissioner Brendan Carr Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Commissioner Geoffrey Starks David Lawrence Kathy Harris Linda Ray Kate Matraves Jim Bird David Krech Joel Rabinovitz --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
£££££££ATTACHMENT 1 --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
NETWORK AND IN-HOME COMMITMENTS I. Nationwide 5G Network Deployment. T-Mobile and Sprint commit that: (A) within three (3) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network with: 1. a Low-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 97% of the U.S. Population; 2. a Mid-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 75% of the U.S. Population; 3. 5G Sites nationwide; 4. MHz of low-band and mid-band 5G Spectrum averaged over all 5G Sites deployed nationwide (the sites described in Section I.A.3 above); 5. 75% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 50 Mbps, as verified by a drive test; 1 and 6. 63% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps,2 as verified by a drive test. (B) within six (6) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network with: 1. a Low-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 99% of the U.S. Population; 2. a Mid-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 88% of the U.S. Population; 3. 5G Sites nationwide; 4. MHz of low-band and mid-band 5G Spectrum averaged over all 5G Sites deployed nationwide (the sites described in Section I.B.3 above); 5. 99% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 50 Mbps, as verified by a drive test; and 6. 90% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps,3 as verified by a drive test. II. Rural 5G Network Deployment. With regard to the nationwide 5G network deployment described above, T-Mobile and Sprint further commit that: £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££1 New T-Mobile will fund the drive tests to take place at the end of years 3 and 6. The drive tests will utilize a methodology mutually agreed to by New T-Mobile and the Wireless Telecommunications ½¨¥--¨ ...®½¨¥--¨¯§ within 60 days of the closing of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. The goal of the drive testing is to reflect actual user experience under ordinary utilization and compare them to the speed and coverage commitments stated in Sections I and II. The drive testing will involve oversight by an independent third party, but may be conducted by T-Mobile personnel. The drive testing will commence at the three (3) and six (6) year anniversary of the close of the transaction and be completed within nine (9) months thereafter in each case. The drive test would make use of T-Mobile-Certified 5G Devices. 2 While not a part of the formal commitment, the 63% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps are expected to experience average upload speeds of 15-20 Mbps. 3 The 90% of the U.S. Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps are expected to experience average upload speeds of 15-20 Mbps. See n.2. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
...££(A) within three (3) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network with: 1. a Low-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 85% of the Rural Population; 2. a Mid-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 55% of the Rural Population; 3. 5G Sites Deployed in Rural Areas; 4. MHz of low-band and mid-band 5G Spectrum averaged over 5G Sites deployed in Rural Areas (the sites described in Section II.A.3 above); 5. 66.7% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 50 Mbps, as verified by a drive test; and 6. 55% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps,4 as verified by a drive test. (B) within six (6) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network with: 1. a Low-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 90% of the Rural Population; 2. a Mid-band 5G Coverage Area covering at least 66.7% of the Rural Population; 3. 5G Sites Deployed in Rural Areas; 4. MHz of low-band and mid-band 5G Spectrum averaged over 5G Sites deployed in Rural Areas (the sites described in Section II.B.3 above); 5. 90% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 50 Mbps, as verified by a drive test; and 6. 66.7% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps,5 as verified by a drive test. III. In-Home Broadband. T-Mobile and Sprint commit that: (A) within three (3) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will: 1. Market its In-home Broadband Service product to at least 9.6 million Eligible Households, of which at least 2.6 million are Rural Households; and 2. have at least million Supported Households, of which at least million are Rural Households. (B) within six (6) years of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will: 1. Market its In-home Broadband Service product to at least 28.0 million Eligible Households, of which 5.6 million are Rural Households; and 2. have at least million Supported Households, of which at least million are £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££4 The 55% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps are expected to experience upload speeds of 15-20 Mbps. See n.2. 5 The 66.7% of the Rural Population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps are expected to experience upload speeds of 15-20 Mbps. See n.2. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
§££Rural Households. Provided, however, that the requirements of Sections III.A.1 and III.B.1 will terminate once New T-Mobile has 9.5 million simultaneous In-home Broadband Service subscribers. IV. Verification. T-Mobile and Sprint commit that: (A) Within 60 days following each of the first, second, fourth and fifth annual anniversaries of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will submit to the Bureau a report that details the progress the company is making toward meeting the site and spectrum deployment and other commitments described in Sections I-II and the In-home Broadband commitments described in Section III (including the number of subscribers) as of the corresponding anniversary date. (B) Within 9 months following each of the third and sixth annual anniversaries of the closing date of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile will submit to the Bureau a report that will include: 1. drive test results; 2. polygon shapefiles showing New T-Mobile°... ‡ª-band 5G Coverage Area and Mid-band 5G Coverage Area as of the 3-year or 6-year date (whichever is applicable); 3. a statement quantifying the U.S. Population and Rural Population covered by each of the Low-band 5G Coverage Area and Mid-band 5G Coverage Area as of the 3-year or 6-year date (whichever is applicable); 4. a list of 5G Sites (including information identifying individual sites, e.g., latitude and longitude) and spectrum deployed, broken into rural and non-rural categories; 5. a certification from New T-•'Ÿ°... ¾›' –›Ÿš¬ Š'–¥ §›--§ §› representations in the shapefiles, population coverage numbers, site and spectrum deployment numbers, and speeds are true and correct; 6. a statement describing the means by which New T-Mobile has Marketed its In-home Broadband Service product to date; 7. the number of households, with reasonable precision, that received or were covered by each form of In-home Broadband Service Marketing as of the 3-year or 6-year date (whichever is applicable); 8. the number of Supported Households, and of those the number of Rural Households; 9. the number of subscribers of New T-•'Ÿ°... In-home Broadband Service as of the 3-year or 6-year date (whichever is applicable); and 10. a certification from New T-Mobile°... –¨§'(C) ' –›--¥š  §› -home Broadband Service business that the representations in the report regarding In-home Broadband Service Marketing, Supported Households and number of subscribers are true and correct. V. Enforcement. T-Mobile and Sprint agree that, in the event that the Bureau determines that New T-Mobile has failed to meet any of the commitments described in Sections I-III --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
¨££above, New T-Mobile will make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury in the manner directed by the Bureau within 60 days of such determination. This voluntary contribution will be in lieu of the Commission taking any action under its forfeiture authority for failure to meet the commitments described in Sections I-III above. The amount of the voluntary contribution will be calculated in accordance with this section: (A) In the event that the Bureau determines that New T-Mobile has failed to meet any of the 3-year commitments, the applicable voluntary contribution shall be calculated as follows: 1. The amount of the voluntary contribution shall be cumulative, calculated separately for each missed commitment (Sections I(A), II(A), and III(A) each constituting an individual commitment) commensurate with the percentage by which New T-Mobile missed the commitment. The total amount of the voluntary contribution shall be the sum of the amounts assessed for each missed commitment; 2. Where a commitment has multiple elements (as in Sections I(A), II(A), and III(A)), the Bureau shall determine the percentage by which New T-Mobile has fallen short under each element6 and calculate the voluntary contribution for the particular missed commitment based on the highest calculated percentage missed of any element; 3. Each 1% of shortfall with respect to the commitment in Sections I.A.5 and II.A.5 shall constitute 0.5% for purposes of the calculation in 2; and 4. The following contribution scale will apply: Missed Percentage Voluntary Contribution >0%-5% $10,000,000 >5%-10% $25,000,000 >10%-25% $50,000,000 >25%-50% $100,000,000 >50% $250,000,000 £(B) In the event that the Bureau determines that New T-Mobile has failed to meet any of the 6-year commitments, the applicable voluntary contribution shall be calculated as £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££6 For example, if there is a commitment to serve 55% of the population (180.1M people out of a total population of 327.48M) and New T-Mobile is able to serve only 160.3M by the deadline, the company would fall short by 19.8M people, which would be a percentage missed of 11% (19.8M · 180.1M X 100 = 11%). --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
(C)££follows (with a maximum contribution for such a determination of $2.4 billion repeatable as described in Section V.C.): 1. The amount of the voluntary contribution shall be cumulative, calculated separately for each missed commitment (Sections I(B), II(B), and III(B) each constituting an individual commitment) commensurate with the percentage by which New T-Mobile missed the commitment. The total amount of the voluntary contribution shall be the sum of the amounts assessed for each missed commitment; 2. Where a commitment has multiple elements (as in Sections I(B), II(B), and III(B)), the Bureau shall determine the percentage by which New T-Mobile has fallen short under each element and calculate the voluntary contribution based on the highest calculated percentage missed of any element; 3. Each 1% of shortfall with respect to the commitment in Sections I.B.5 and II.B.5 shall constitute 0.5% for purposes of the calculation in 2; 4. The voluntary contribution for each 1% (rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent) up to 20% that a commitment is missed shall be $10,000,000, and $5,000,000 for each 1% thereafter; however, the minimum contribution amount shall be $25,000,000; and 5. The voluntary contribution calculated for failure to meet the commitment described in Section II shall be doubled.7 (C) New T-•'Ÿ°... •Ÿ'š--§' § ¨Ÿ'ŸŸ §› –  '§ §... ' Ž–§'... ...½§(C) ...½§(C) --— III(B) remains until satisfied. Within one year after a Bureau determination that New T-Mobile was deficient with respect to any element of these commitments, New T-Mobile shall submit to the Bureau a report demonstrating whether it has satisfied any remaining deficient element(s). A determination by the Bureau that New T-Mobile has failed to meet any of the remaining deficient elements shall be subject to the same voluntary contribution amounts described in Section V(B) and the process described in this section V(C) until satisfied. (D) In making a determination regarding New T-•'Ÿ°... – £Ÿ'--– ¨—¥ Ž–§'... IV(A)-(C) above, the Bureau shall take into account and, in its reasonable discretion, appropriately reduce the metric, extend the deadline or reduce the contribution amount associated with commitments missed due to unanticipated circumstances •¬— §› – £--¬°... –§¥Ÿ ...e.g., acts of God, such as fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disasters; terrorist events, riots, insurrections, war, strikes or national emergencies; law or order of any government body; or significant interruptions in the supply chain). VI. Definitions. The following terms are used in this document: (A) ®²‚¯ '... —'— --... §› ²‚ ‰ª --—' --'¥ '§¥--– ...§--—--¥— --... —...–¥'•— ' °‚‹‹ Release 15. Available at https://www.3gpp.org/release-15. £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££7 For example, a 20% shortfall on each of the commitments in Sections I(B), II(B) and III(B) would translate into a combined $800M voluntary contribution ($200M + (2 X $200M) + $200M = $800M). --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
ª££(B) ®5G Sites¯ '... —'— --...  --–¥ ...'§...  ª›'–› ²‚ ¥--—'... --¥ —£Ÿ¬— (C) ®5G Sites Deployed in Rural Areas¯  --... ²‚ Sites that are physically located within a Rural Area. (D) ®²‚ Spectrum¯ '... —'— --... ——'–--§— Ÿ'–...— ...£–§¥¨ ¨...— ¥ —ªŸ'ž ¥ ¨£Ÿ'ž with 5G radios and does not include spectrum shared dynamically with LTE. (E) ®¼––......¯ § ...£–''— ...£—...  --... §›--§ ¨...¥...  -Mobile-Certified 5G Devices will experience the specified download speeds on average (mean) across actual utilization. (F) ®Ÿ'š'•Ÿ ƒ¨...›Ÿ—¯ '... —'— --... -- ›¨...›Ÿ— Ÿ–--§— ' -- šš¥--£›¬· ...¼§ (C)¥ which New T-•'Ÿ°... §ª¥ž ª'ŸŸ £¥(C)'— ...'š--Ÿ ¤¨--Ÿ'§¬ ...¨'§--•Ÿ § ...¨££¥§ §› In-home Broadband Service; and (B) in which New T-•'Ÿ°... §ª¥ž ›--... ...¨'–'§ capacity to serve one or more households with In-home Broadband Service, as shown in the polygon shapefile submitted to the Bureau. (G) ®-home Broadband Service¯ '... —'— --s a residential broadband service with minimum speeds of 25 Mbps downlink and 3 Mbps uplink. (H) ®‡ª-•--— ²‚ ¾(C)¥--š ¼¥--¯ '... —'— --... §›--§ --¥-- '–Ÿ¨—— ª'§›' §› •¨—...  the polygon shapefile submitted to the Bureau representing geographic coverage for 5G service using Low-band Frequencies with coverage based on T-•'Ÿ°... ¥—'--¥¬ course coverage analysis. The coverage shapefiles used to calculate covered pops will be verified by a drive test at the 3 and 6 year intervals. See n.1. (I) ®‡ª-•--— ¥¤¨–'...¯ '... defined as those radiowave frequencies below 1 GHz including, but not limited to, frequencies in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz bands. (J) ®--¥ž§¯ '... —'— --... § --—(C)¥§'... --— ¥ -- £¥—¨–§ ¥ ...rvice for sale including, but not limited to, through TV, radio, Internet, digital, electronic, voice, print, mail, or in-person channels. (K) ®'—-•--— ²‚ ¾(C)¥--š ¼¥--¯ '... —'— --... §›--§ --¥-- '–Ÿ¨—— ª'§›' §› •¨—...  the polygon shapefile submitted to the Bureau representing geographic coverage for 5G service using Mid-band Frequencies with coverage based on T-•'Ÿ°... ¥—'--¥¬ course coverage analysis. The coverage shapefiles used to calculate covered pops will be verified by a drive test at the 3 and 6 year intervals. See n.1. (L) ®Mid-•--— ¥¤¨–'...¯ '... —'— --... §›... ¥--—'ª--(C) ¥¤¨–'... --•(C) ® ‚ƒ­ --— below 6 GHz including, but not limited to, the AWS, PCS, and 2.5 GHz bands. (M)®¨¥--Ÿ ¼¥--¯ '... --... —'— •¬ §› ¯­®­ Ž ¾...¨... (N) ®¨¥--Ÿ ƒ¨...›Ÿ—...¯ '... —'— --... ›¨...›Ÿ—... Ÿ–--§— ª'§›' -- ¨¥--Ÿ ¼¥-- (O) ®¨¥--Ÿ ‹£¨Ÿ--§'¯ '... —'— --... §› ££¨Ÿ--§' ª'§›' Rural Areas derived from the population data licensed through the 2016 Pitney Bowles study, which provides population at the census block level. The 2016 Pitney Bowles study is based on the --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
££2010 U.S. Census, but then updated based on more recent information. According to the 2016 Pitney Bowles study, the Rural Population is 61.98M. That population number is fixed for purposes of calculating compliance with these commitments as is the population per census block through which covered pops will be determined. (P) ®Ž¨££¥§— ƒ¨...›Ÿ—...¯ '... —'— --... §›... Ÿ'š'•Ÿ ƒ¨...›Ÿ—... §›--§ ‰ª -Mobile will have the capacity to serve with its In-home Broadband Service at any given time (based upon an average usage across the sector of GB per month per household as of 3 years following the close of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger and an average usage across the sector of GB per month per household as of 6 years following the merger closing). Supported Households will be calculated according to the methodology set out in T-•'Ÿ°... ex parte filing detailing its In-Home Broadband plans. See Letter from Nancy Victory, Counsel for T-Mobile, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 18-197 (Mar. 6, 2019). Within 60 days of the closing of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, New T-Mobile and the Bureau will work in good faith to refine this methodology to utilize actual deployment numbers. (Q) ®-Mobile-¾¥§''— ²‚ (C)'–¯  --... -- —(C)'– §›--§ -Mobile or New T-Mobile has certified as compatible with its 5G network (it is expected that all 5G devices available through New T-Mobile retail will be T-Mobile-Certified 5G Devices). (R) ®Ž ‹£¨Ÿ--§'¯ '... —'— --... §› ££¨Ÿ--§'  §› '§— Ž§--§... ...'–Ÿ¨—'š §› ²­ states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories) as derived from population data licensed through the 2016 Pitney Bowles study, which provides population at the census block level. The 2016 Pitney Bowles study is based on the 2010 U.S. Census, but then updated based on more recent information. According to the 2016 Pitney Bowles study, the U.S. Population is 327.48M. That population number is fixed for purposes of calculating compliance with these commitments as is the population per census block through which covered pops will be determined. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
£££££££ATTACHMENT 2 --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
BOOST MOBILE DIVESTITURE T-Mobile and Sprint commit to divest the Boost Mobile business. The market-based process implemented by the Applicants will ensure that New T-Mobile will divest Boost Mobile to a serious and credible buyer ¥¥·Ÿy'...... and receive fair value for the assets. As part of the process contemplated in this commitment, the Applicants and Buyer will be free to agree to commercial terms of their choosing, subject only to the limitations set out below: I. Overview of Divested Business. The Boost Mobile assets and operations to be divested (the ¥¹' 'žŽ ·Ÿ''''... ' ¥ ·'ž...) include: A. Boost Mobile-branded customers 'ž' ‹ ¥‹ž' ... ·'ž Mobile account;1 and B. ¥Dedicated... Boost Mobile assets, properties, systems, management team and employees that are necessary to operate the Boost Mobile business as it is conducted as of the merger closing date.2 The Divested Business will include all ownership interests in, and rights to use, the Boost Mobile brand and its associated brands and trademarks.3 II. Obligation to Maintain Divested Business Prior to Divestiture. New T-Mobile must undertake commercially reasonable efforts to maintain Boosž§' competitiveness prior to completion of the divestiture. III. Commercial Arrangements with Buyer. To allow for the continued operation and growth of New Boost, New T-Mobile will offer two principal support arrangements to the Buyer: A. Wholesale MVNO Agreement. The terms of the wholesale MVNO agreement will be consistent with the following principles: 1. Wholesale Network Pricing a.  ·'ž§' '–'‹– ž'• š'''‘ '–– '‹ž ‹ 'ž'‘ 'ž'  ‹Ž ability for New T-Mobile to compete against New Boost for customers, and vice versa, similar to their respective competitive incentives and capabilities £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££1 For purposes of this submission§ ‹ ¥‹ž' ... ·'ž Œ'– ‹Ÿž '–ŸŽ' any account that (i) has had a positive account balance at any time during the 120 days immediately prior to the Boost Mobile divestiture closing date, and (ii) has not been suspended, cancelled or otherwise terminated during such 120 -day period. Divested customers do not include Boost Mobile customers of third parties who are not controlled by Sprint and offer wireless service under the Boost brand. 2 ¼' šŸ'š''  ž''' 'ŸŒ—''''§ ¥ŽŽ'‹žŽ... —‹' ‹£ ‹''ž§ š'š'ž£§ '£'ž— ' —š–£ ž'‹ž '' 'lely and exclusively allocated for use by Boost Mobile. 3 The divestiture of the Boost Mobile business will ensure all third parties who have rights to utilize the Boost brand and marks shall retain such rights.£--‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
...£today. For clarity, the pricing will not prevent New T-Mobile from recouping its full network costs associated with serving New Boost customers. b.  ·'ž§' '–'‹– ž'• š'''‘ '–– ‹–– 'ž ž Œ'ž '— ž' –‘-run network cost efficiencies of New T-Œ'–§' °½ ž'• Žš–oyment. c.  ·'ž§' '–'‹– ž'• š'''‘ '–– —‹'‘Ÿ––£ '—š'  Ÿš ž' commercial terms reflected in T-Œ'–§' ‹Ž †š''ž§' ® –‹'‘'ž ‰‚ agreements based on 1Q 2019 wholesale revenues. For clarity, the commercial terms will meaningfully improve on those reflected in each of the 6 agreements, taking each as an entire agreement. 2. Discrimination and Competitive Constraints a.  ·'ž§' ‹‘'—ž' '–– š' ž  ‡-Mobile from treating New Boost in a discriminatory or anticompetitive manner as compared to Metro or any successor to Metro as New T-Œ'–§' –‹Ž'‘ – 'ž Œ'‹Ž§ 'Ÿ' ‹' through unwanted discriminatory throttling, de-prioritization, or limitations on access to new network technologies. For the avoidance of doubt, reducing ž'§' '‹žes to win subscribers from New Boost would not constitute anticompetitive treatment. b.  ·'ž§' ‹‘'—ž' '–– ž 'ž'‹' ' 'ž š''' ' š‹•‹‘' 'ž' 'ž‹'– services. 3. Long-Term Competition and Facilities Deployment a.  ·'ž§' ‹‘'—ž' '–– š'—'ž it to deploy and utilize its own spectrum, systems, network infrastructure, and other facilities if it chooses, and enjoy reasonable cost benefits of doing so. b.  ·'ž§' ‹‘'—ž' '–– š'—'ž 'ž ž —šž ž' –£  ‹ –‘-term basis, with a minimum wholesale agreement term of six years, and New T-Mobile will not unreasonably withhold consent to changes in New Boost ownership (for example, it would not be unreasonable for New T-Mobile to withhold consent to a change of control to a facilities-based provider who refuses to provide New T-Œ'– 'ž' ''š'‹– ‹'' ž ž' š' 'Ž'§' facilities on reasonable terms; it would be unreasonable to withhold consent to a sale with the objective of keeping New Boost in the hands of an unsuccessful owner). 4. Sž‹Œ– ‡'‹''ž'   ·'ž§' ‚š'‹ž'' a. New T-Œ'– '–– —‹'ž‹' ·'ž§' —šž'ž' '' ž''Ÿ‘' 'ž' ž'‹''ž' ž independent ownership. b.  ·'ž§' ‹‘'—ž' '–– š' 'Ž  ·'ž 'ž' ‹'' ž ž'  ‡-Mobile network on the same timeline as Sprint, the ability to activate on the --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
§£New T-Mobile network on a nondiscriminatory basis, and reasonable advance notice of network transition plans that could affect New Boost customers. B. Transition Services Agreement. The Transition Services Agreement offered to the Buyer will include up to a two-year term (as required by Buyer) with customary transition services offered at cost to the Buyer. The terms of the Transition Services Agreement (or any other related agreement) shall be consistent with, and not undercut, the principles in Section III.A., to the extent they are applicable. IV. Commission Review of Buyer and New Boost Wholesale MVNO Agreement. New T-Mobile must submit the wholesale MVNO agreement negotiated with the Buyer to the Wireless ‡–——Ÿ'‹ž'' ·Ÿ'‹Ÿ ¥¥·Ÿ'‹Ÿ...... for review prior to consummating the divestiture. A. ‡' ·Ÿ£' —Ÿ'ž Œ ‹ ¥'''Ÿ' ‹Ž 'Ž'Œ– ž'''Ž-š‹'ž£ ŒŸ£'§... ''' will be an entity that: 1. has, or has access to, the financial resources to acquire, maintain and expand the Divested Business, and 2. is unrelated to either of the Applicants. B. A New Boost wholesale MVNO agreement, consistent with the principles in Section III.A., must be submitted to the Bureau for review within 120 days after closing of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. 1. No later than seven (7) days prior to the deadline, New T-Mobile may request from the Bureau a thirty-day extension of the deadline. To obtain an extension from the Bureau, New T-Mobile would have to provide a status report and certify that it is both undertaking commercially reasonable efforts to reach a final agreement as quickly as practicable and to meet its obligation in Section II. Under this process, New T-Mobile may request, and the Bureau may grant, up to two thirty-day extensions. 2. Once the New Boost wholesale MVNO agreement is submitted, the Bureau will have 30 days to make a decision as to whether the agreement is consistent with the principles set forth in Section III.A. and whether New T-Mobile has fulfilled its obligation in Section II. This 30-day review timeline can be extended only with the consent of New T-Mobile. V. Enforcement. In the event that the Bureau determines that New T-Mobile has failed to meet the requirements in Sections II and/or IV, New T-Mobile shall make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury in the manner directed by the Bureau within 60 days of such determination. This voluntary contribution will be in lieu of the Commission taking any --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
¨£action under its forfeiture authority for failure to meet the commitments in Sections II and IV. The voluntary contribution shall be assessed and calculated in accordance with this section: A. If New T-Mobile fails to submit to the Bureau a wholesale MVNO agreement with the Buyer of the Divested Business (or in the case of a submitted agreement that has been rejected, a revised agreement) by the deadline set forth in Section IV.B., New T-Mobile shall owe a voluntary contribution of $3.5 million per day until a new agreement is submitted. B. If the Bureau decides that the submitted wholesale MVNO agreement is not consistent with the principles set forth in Section III.A., then the clock (if not yet expired) will continue without pause or, if the clock (and any extensions) has expired, a $3.5 million per day voluntary contribution will begin to accummulate immediately and continue until a revised wholesale MVNO agreement is submitted to the Bureau. C. If the Bureau finds that New T-Mobile did not have a good faith and reasonable belief that the wholesale MVNO agreement was consistent with the principles set forth in Section III.A., New T-Mobile shall owe a voluntary contribution of $3.5 million per day for the period during which the Bureau was reviewing the agreement. D. If the Bureau decides that the wholesale MVNO agreement is consistent with the principles set forth in Section III.A., but that New T-Mobile has not met the obligation in Section II, then New T-Mobile must take appropriate steš' ž ''ž' ·'ž§' competitiveness to the Bureau§' '‹ž''‹ž' ‹Ž shall make a voluntary contribution of $3.5 million per day starting from the date that the wholesale MVNO agreement was submitted until those steps are complete. E. If the Bureau decides both that the agreement was not consistent with the principles set forth in Section III.A. and that New T-Mobile has not met the obligation in Section II, then New T-Mobile shall make a voluntary contribution of $3.5 million per day from the date that the wholesale MVNO agreement was submitted until both of these problems have been remedied and the divestiture is complete. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
£££££££ATTACHMENT 3 --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
DLA Piper LLP (US) 500 Eighth Street, NW Washington, DC 20004 www.dlapiper.com Nancy Victory nancy.victory@dlapiper.com T 202.799.4216 F 202.799.5616 February 4, 2019 VIA ECFS Marlene H. Dortch Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 Twelfth Street, S.W. Washington, DC 20554 Re: Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations; WT Docket No. 18-197 Dear Ms. Dortch: ‡¤¤'£ £ž ‰--'£ž' ¬(C)¬­±¥‘... ž• £—-- ¹ž''ž'® ¤›--§ ¯² ¹(C)½(C)(C) ª ¬(C)¬­±¥‘...§ 'ž£'--  hereby provided of a written ex parte presentation in the above-referenced docket. T-Mobile US, ''(C) ¥¬Š-ž‘›--­... '' ‰Ÿ'£ ¹žŸž£ž' ¥¬‰Ÿ'£­§ '' 'ž››--'£¥--›¨ ...£— Š-Mobile, ¬·ŸŸ›''£­... —¥-- ££--' ' £—-- ‡¤‘›' '£----£ ‰££--'--'£§ '' --£--£--' --Ÿ--£--'›¨ ''--§ £—£ the merger will --'¤-- £—£ ¬·'--'' 'ž'¤'-- ...›› Ÿ¨ ›-- '' –--£ 'ž--­(C)1 Our merger will enable the deployment of a world-class nationwide 5G network with massive capacity and lower marginal costs per customer, with the result that customers get better service and more data at the same or lower prices.2 Š—-- ·ŸŸ›''£® --Ÿ----'££ž' £—£ 'ž'¤'-- ...›› Ÿ¨ ›--   --¤›£ ž• the merger is supported by the New T-Mobile business plan,3 declarations from T-Mobile 1 See, e.g., Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of the Licenses and Authorizations, WT Docket No. 18-197, Description of Transaction, Public Interest Statement, and Related Demonstrations at i (June 18, 2018) ¥¬‡¤‘›' '£----£ ‰££--'--'£­...¶ Applications of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation for Consent to Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations, WT Docket No. 18-197, Joint Opposition of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation at i (Sept. 17, 2018) ¥¬ž'£ †ŸŸž£ž'­...(C) 2 Public Interest Statement at 51. 3 Id. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch February 4, 2019 Page 2 executives,4 merger simulations focused on New T-Mobile prices,5 and economic work showing all wireless consumers will benefit from a decrease in price per GB due to competitive responses from AT&T and Verizon.6 The Public Interest Statement also provided further assurances to existing customers of T-Mobile and Sprint that prices will not go up following the close of the merger. Specifically, the Applicants stated that ¬New T-Mobile will guarantee each [Sprint] customer a rate plan that is equal or better than the plans they currently enjoy with Sprint.­7 The Applicants also noted the T-Mobile Un-contract rate promise to their customers and that it would be extended to Sprint customers post-closing.8 These assurances were intended to address any concerns about post-closing price increases and they are fully consistent with the New T-Mobile business plan. Despite all this, merger opponents tried to raise questions about New T-ž‘›--® Ÿ''– incentives during the three-year period from merger closing until completion of the network combination and customer migration. The Applicants believe that the myriad showings on the record fully answer those questions. However, to remove all doubt and simplify the ¹ž''ž'® --¥--... ž• £—-- '--–--, the Applicants are providing the following statement to remove any doubts, concerns or ambiguity: New T-Mobile will make available the same or better rate plans as those offered by T-Mobile or Sprint as of ‡ƒ¸µŒŽ† date for three years following the merger. T-Mobile and Sprint legacy rate plans will continue as New T-Mobile plans for three years after the merger or until better plans that offer a lower price or more data are made available, 4 Public Interest Statement, Appx C, Declaration of G. Michael Sievert, President and Chief Operating Officer, T-Mobile US, Inc. at ¶21; Public Interest Statement, Appx. D, Declaration of Peter Ewens, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy, T-ž‘›-- ‹‰§ ''(C) £ " ¥¬¼...--' >>--'›(C)­...(C) 5 Joint Opposition, Appx. F, Declaration of Compass Lexecon, Mark Israel, Michael Katz, and Bryan Keating at ¶6; John Asker, Timothy F. Bresnahan, and Kostis Hatzitaskos, Economic Analysis of the Proposed T-Mobile/Sprint Merger, Cornerstone Research at 1-6 (Nov. 6, 2018). 6 Public Interest Statement, Appx. G, Declaration of David S. Evans, Market Platform Dynamics, ¬¼'ž'ž'' ·'›¨ ž• £—-- 'Ÿ'£ ž• £—-- ‡žŸž--' --–-- ž• Š-Mobile and Sprint on the Deployment of °¾ ¹--››¤› Š--'—'ž›ž–--§ £—-- °¾ ·ŸŸ ¼'ž¨£--'§ '' ¹ž'¤'--§ ¼'£--Ÿ--§ '' £—-- ¼'ž'ž'¨§­ £ ¶¶220-44. 7 Ewens Decl. at ¶8. 8 Id. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch February 4, 2019 Page 3 whichever occurs first.9 The retained legacy rate plans may be adjusted to pass through cost increases in taxes, fees and surcharges as well as services from third party partners that are included in the rate plans, as these increased costs are not within the control of New T-Mobile. The legacy plans may also be adjusted to modify or discontinue third party partner benefits based on changes in the terms of the offering initiated by the third party partner, as this is also not within the control of New T-Mobile.10 As New T-Mobile CEO John Legere has said, we would be pleased to discuss the details of this commitment with the Chairman, Commissioners and Transaction Team. As noted, this representation is fully consistent with the New T-Mobile business plan and responsive to merger-specific questions that have been raised. For those reasons, the Applicants have no objection to this representation being included as a formal merger condition in the order approving the transaction. Please direct any questions regarding the foregoing to the undersigned counsel for Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile. Respectfully submitted, DLA Piper LLP (US) /s/ Nancy Victory Nancy Victory Partner cc: Chairman Ajit Pai ¹ž''ž'-- '—--› †®--››¨ Commissioner Brendan Carr Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Commissioner Geoffrey Starks David Lawrence Kathy Harris Linda Ray Kate Matraves 9 When a better post-merger plan is offered, New T-Mobile may discontinue a less appealing legacy plan. 10 Device/handset offerings are not included in this pricing commitment. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
Ms. Marlene H. Dortch February 4, 2019 Page 4 Jim Bird David Krech --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
£££££££ATTACHMENT 4 --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
£ £ £ £ALTICE MVNO COMMITMENT£££T-Mobile and Sprint commit that: (A) >>ŽŒ‘ >>Ž‚‘'‹ µ¨¹¨ ¤—>>ŽŒ‘¥ --ŠŠ Œ‘ •‚ Œ– ‘‹Œ‘Œ †‡‘ set forth in the Master Wireless Wholesale Agreement by and between Sprint and Altice USA, Inc. ¤—°Š‘‚¥ ƒ‘ƒ ·'‹ ¬... (C)ª­ ¤‘‡ —°Š‘‚ ¶¾·¸ °†‹Œ‘¥, or in any other existing agreement between Sprint and Altice, that arises from consummation of the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint Corporation; and (B) New T-Mobile will negotiate in good faith an amendment of the Altice MVNO Agreement to include the networks, including 5G network, operated by New T-Mobile. --‡†ƒ…–‡†‚‘--'—Ž‹…‹•'‡…–‹‘
AT&T 5G Efforts Focuses on mmWave and Faster Broadband
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:14
AT&T is conducting 5G trials and using the data collected to contribute to the 3GPP wireless standards body's work on 5G. The telecom giant is deploying equipment, investing in a specific mix of spectrum and technology, and laying the foundation for its evolution to 5G. AT&T intends to deliver state-of-the-art 5G speeds as soon as late 2018.
Following are some tests and trials that the company has been performing recently, resulting in new intelligence about millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum.
Source: AT&T
AT&T 5G: mmWave PerformanceIn 2017, AT&T launched a series of fixed wireless 5G trials to business and residential customers, gaining insight into mmWave performance and propagation. The company is learning interference-related lessons involving device placement, surrounding environment (foliage, building materials), and weather '-- specifically, how those things impact the signal and system in real-world environments.
''Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G,'' said Marachel Knight, SVP, wireless network architecture and design at AT&T. ''And in doing so, we're learning how to better design our network for the future.''
AT&T plans to continue testing fixed and mobile wireless solutions operating in the mmWave spectrum. What the company learns from these AT&T 5G trials should help speed up standards-based deployment as early as late 2018.
AT&T 5G: Faster BroadbandConcurrently, AT&T is testing faster broadband service in which a connection's last leg is delivered by mmWave to a home or business. The company delivered an ultra-fast Internet connection to residential, small business, and enterprise locations. Trial participants were able to enjoy faster broadband services and stream live TV via DirectTV Now over a fixed wireless 5G signal.
''The technology behind 5G is about advancing social trends like mobile video streaming,'' said Knight. ''The network of the future will help redefine what connectivity means to both consumers and businesses. This trial helps show that the new reality is coming fast.''
AT&T expects 5G to introduce new experiences and use cases to consumers and businesses'--largely thanks to the advantages of enhanced mobile broadband, critical Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and low-latency applications. Participants in this trial were able to experience the real-life benefits that fixed wireless 5G offers.
The AT&T 5G FutureBy conducting its tests and trials with a variety of audiences, AT&T is gaining new insights into mmWave performance characteristics that are necessary for industry standards development. The company is working with other top players to make 5G a reality.
5G Technology Promises Faster Connections, Lower Latency
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:11
5G technology is the next generation of wireless communications. It is expected to provide Internet connections that are least 40 times faster than 4G LTE. 5G technology may use a variety of spectrum bands, including millimeter wave (mmWave) radio spectrum, which can carry very large amounts of data a short distance. The drawback of the higher frequencies is that they are more easily obstructed by the walls of buildings, trees and other foliage, and even inclement weather.
The forthcoming 5G technology will come from various vendors and will be composed of solutions designed to provide very fast download speeds and low latency. Today'--in advance of 5G's expected debut around 2020'--companies such as Verizon, AT&T, Samsung, and Ericsson are testing new advances in signal processing, chips, and antenna technologies that will enable the next generation of mobile connectivity.
But when you dig deeper into the 5G evolution, you'll find an array of 5G technology that will underpin future wireless communications.
Source: IEEE Spectrum
The 5G Technology That Will Make Everything HappenAs the 5G technology market comes into focus, we're seeing a number of technologies emerge as vital to the 5G experience. These include the aforementioned mmWave technology; small cells; massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO); full duplex; software-defined networking (SDN); and beamforming.
Millimeter wave: Millimeter waves are broadcast at frequencies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz, compared with the bands below 6 GHz used for 4G LTE. The new 5G networks will be able to transmit very large amounts of data'--but only a few blocks at a time. Although the 5G standard will offer the greatest benefits over these higher frequencies, it will also work in low frequencies as well as unlicensed frequencies that WiFi currently uses, without creating conflicts with existing WiFi networks. For this reason, 5G networks will use small cells to complement traditional cellular towers.Small cells: Small cells are low-powered portable base stations that can be placed throughout cities. Carriers can install many small cells to form a dense, multifaceted infrastructure. Small cells' low-profile antennas make them unobtrusive, but their sheer numbers make them difficult to set up in rural areas. As 5G technology matures, consumers should expect to see ubiquitous 5G antennas, even in their own homes.Massive MIMO: 5G technology enables base stations to support many more antennas than 4G base stations. With MIMO, both the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver) have multiple antennas, thus maximizing efficiency and speed. MIMO also introduces interference potential, leading to the necessity of beamforming.Beamforming: Beamforming is a 5G technology that finds the most efficient data-delivery route to individual users. Higher-frequency antennas enable the steering of narrower transmission beams. This user-specific beamforming allows transmissions both vertically and horizontally. Beam direction can change several times per millisecond. Beamforming can help massive MIMO arrays make more efficient use of the spectrum around them.Full duplex: Full duplex communication is a way to potentially double the speed of wireless communication. By employing a 5G full duplex scheme on a single channel, only one channel is needed to transmit data to and from the base station, rather than two. A potential drawback of full duplex is that it can create signal interference.SDN: SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) are considered the foundation for how 5G will be deployed.5G Technology Is RampantThis assemblage of 5G technology'--along with much more that's still evolving through vendor cooperation'--will power the wireless networks of the future, enabling such use cases as interactive television, high-definition and 3-D video, social gaming, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), robotics, automated vehicles, advanced manufacturing, healthcare imaging and diagnostics, and more.
Additional 5G Technology ResourcesWhat is 5G? Everything You Need to Know '-- A Definition
AT&T's 5G Efforts Focus on mmWave, Faster Broadband
Will 5G Replace WiFi?
5G Trials in the United States'--Steps Toward Standardization
5G Standards - What You Need to Know - SDxCentral
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:09
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Release 15 5G PROTOCOL
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:04
Update of April 26, 2019
After initial delivery in late 2017 of 'Non-Stand-Alone' (NSA) NR new radio specifications for 5G, much effort focused in 2018 on timely completion of 3GPP Release 15 '' the first full set of 5G standards '' and on work to pass the first milestones for the 3GPP submission towards IMT-2020.While initial specifications enabled non-standalone 5G radio systems integrated in previous-generation LTE networks, the scope of Release 15 expands to cover 'standalone' 5G, with a new radio system complemented by a next-generation core network. It also embraces enhancements to LTE and, implicitly, the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). This crucial way-point enables vendors to progress rapidly with chip design and initial network implementation during 2019.
As the Release 15 work has matured and drawn close to completion, the group's focus is now shifting on to the first stage of Release 16, often referred to informally as '5G Phase 2'. By the end of the year, 83 studies relating to Release 16 plus a further thirteen relating to Rel-17 were in progress, covering topics as diverse as Multimedia Priority Service, Vehicle-to- everything (V2X) application layer services, 5G satellite access, Local Area Network support in 5G, wireless and wireline convergence for 5G, terminal positioning and location, communications in vertical domains and network automation and novel radio techniques. Further studies were launched or progressed on security, codecs and streaming services, LAN interworking, network slicing and the IoT.
Other activities focused on broadening the applicability of 3GPP technology to non-terrestrial radio access systems '' from satellites and airborne base stations to maritime applications including ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communications. Work also progressed on new Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) functionality for LTE, enhancing railway-oriented services originally developed using GSM radio technology which is now nearing its end of life.
(Source: ETSI Annual report 2018)
Further reading: Some Early Background on Release 15, in the context of the 5G story:
5G-NR workplan for eMBB5G Phase 1 underway in CT Groups3GPP on track to 5GSA1 completes its study into 5G requirements
Iran
US speaks of peace talks, while 'holding a gun' at Tehran '' top Iranian official '-- RT World News
Fri, 17 May 2019 12:18
Iran has pulled no punches with regards to Washington, saying that while the US is urging talks, it simultaneously holds a gun at Tehran. The latest war of words comes as tensions between two states continue to grow.
''The actions of American leaders in exerting pressure and launching sanctions ['...] while speaking of talks, is like holding a gun at someone and asking for friendship and negotiations,'' Rasoul Sanai-Rad, a political deputy of the armed forces command said as quoted news agency Mehr quoted.
US President Donald Trump has been recently insisting his country was not on a path of war with Iran and that the latter ''will want to talk soon.'' That said, two US Navy destroyers entered waters of the Persian Gulf on Thursday.
Also on rt.com 2 US destroyers enter Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran Hawks in Trump's administration have long been calling for tougher stance on Tehran. Last year, Washington unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and renewed sanctions on the country.
In recent days, the situation in the Middle East has dramatically worsened with the White House rushing the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the region ahead of schedule in response to ''a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings''. The deployment was meant to be ''a warning'' to Iran.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this week assured that neither Iran nor the US actually seeks war. Meanwhile, as tensions between Washington and Tehran gain ground, European leaders have urged both countries to measure their statements. That said, the bloc again expressed its regret on US sanctions targeting Iran as well as ditching the landmark nuclear accord (known as JCPOA), which Trump has been boasting as one of his major achievements.
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Panic Over War With Iran Is An Info Operation To Preserve The Iran Deal
Fri, 17 May 2019 12:42
Is the United States on the brink of war with Iran? That's the message the American people have been getting from much of the mainstream media as well as from prominent Democrats.
They are arguing that Trump is blundering the country into war with Iran and the only sane alternative is to stick with President Barack Obama's nuclear deal. Yet while tensions with Iran are rising, this critique is essentially the same argument we were hearing a few years ago when Obama's pact was being debated. At that time, the country was told its only choices about Iran were war or appeasement.
But as the United States has sought to regain the leverage over Iran that Obama discarded during the course of the negotiations'--the ones that led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)'--we must realize that this is a false choice. President Donald Trump's success in re-imposing sanctions has essentially returned the West to the point it was at in 2013. That was when Iran returned to the negotiating table only to find that the Obama administration was so desperate for a deal that it was prepared to abandon almost all of its key demands on the nuclear issue, as well as drop its concerns about other issues like missile production and terrorism.
The question now is whether Democrats and their media allies can help promote and exploit the country's legitimate concerns about the possibility of war to the point where it could cause the administration to alter its policy.
How Much Influence Does Media Have on Trump?Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and his subsequent re-imposition of economic sanctions on Tehran were supposed to be a total flop. Or at least that was the assumption of Obama alumni and the rest of the foreign policy establishment as well as the journalists that former Obama Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes aptly described as the former president's media ''echo chamber.''
But they were wrong about Trump's ability to fundamentally alter the debate about Iran. But by the end of 2018, the administration had gone beyond threats of renewed sanctions. By implementing restrictions on commerce with Iran and warning its trading partners that they would have to choose between economic ties with the United States and those with Iran, it quickly became apparent that Tehran's confidence that it could wait out the Trump administration'--as former secretary of state John Kerry said he had advised his former negotiation partners to do'--and rely on support from Western Europe, Russia, and China to fend off American pressure was unfounded.
European efforts to help Iran evade unilateral Western sanctions were a failure. Neither the Germans nor the French were really prepared to choose commerce with Iran over doing business in the United States. Plans to try to evade the U.S. sanctions by establishing a barter system with the Iranians never had a chance of success.
While the JCPOA had enriched and empowered Iran, Trump's decision dealt its economy and ability to fund foreign adventures a body blow. By this spring the regime's terrorist auxiliaries were also feeling the pinch. As The New York Times reported, Hezbollah fighters were quoted as complaining that Iran no longer had the resources to support their efforts.
Their troubles are now being compounded by administration plans to shut down Iran's remaining foreign oil sales, which provide its main source of export income, a measure that Obama stopped short of imposing even at the height of economic sanctions. Faced with an economic crisis that was undermining its bid for regional hegemony, Iran has been left with a stark choice.
As for Iran's ChoiceIran can return, as it did in 2013 when international sanctions were starting to bite, to the table. That would mean a much-needed revision to the nuclear agreement that would close the loopholes Obama left wide open, such as the fact that the deal will expire within a decade. Equally important would be to condition the lifting of sanctions requiring Tehran to end its funding for international terror and its illegal ballistic missile program.
While Obama said that the JCPOA gave Iran a chance to ''get right with the world,'' his willingness to sign a deal at any price ensured they would have no incentive to do so. Trump's efforts are the only way for Obama's hope to be realized.
There are two alternatives to negotiations for Iran: They can try to wait out Trump hoping that he will be defeated for re-election in 2020. Or they can threaten to resume efforts toward building a nuclear weapon and ratchet up tensions in the region in an attempt to convince Trump that the price of continuing pressure will be increased terrorism and war.
For the moment, Tehran has chosen the latter option. Sources in Washington have spoken of reports about heightened warnings of possible Iranian terror in Iraq and throughout the region as well as efforts to squeeze the West by threatening the flow of oil from the region through the Persian Gulf. The reported attempts at sabotage of oil tankers in the last few days are widely believed to be the work of Iranian agents.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also announced last week that the regime is initiating small steps toward producing nuclear fuel and to resume the production of nuclear centrifuges. But Tehran did not take any action to withdraw from the nuclear pact, yet another sign that it needs the deal more than the West does.
Much of the media attention on the current tension has focused on the terror warnings (which resulted in a partial evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad) and reports about Pentagon contingency plans for responding to Iranian military threats.
Does Iran Want War? Probably NotBut while no one should underestimate Iran's capacity for terrorism'--a tactic the Islamic Republic has regularly employed since its establishment in 1979'--or the possibility of a miscalculation, it's also clear that Tehran is no more interested in an open military conflict than Washington is.
Iran knows its forces cannot hope to prevail against the United States and such a conflict would likely end the theocratic regime. And no matter how much the Europeans despise Trump, any Iranian attack on Western targets would force them to side with the United States. That is also true of an Iranian decision to attempt a nuclear ''breakout'' that would allow them to produce a nuclear weapon in the next year or two.
But Iran still hopes their threats will convince Americans that the only possible choices available to them are war or a return to Obama's policy of appeasement. That's been the kneejerk reaction from liberal editorial boards and the chorus line of ex-Obama administration officials on CNN and MSNBC. They are sure that Trump is bungling his way to a war that the United States shouldn't fight and can't win.
Trump Should Trust His InstinctsBut as with the original decision to abandon the nuclear pact despite the warnings from the foreign policy establishment, Trump's instincts seem far keener than those of the so-called ''experts.'' While there are no guarantees of success, Iran's war talk is a bluff it can't back up. The regime can use its auxiliaries to strike soft targets or even seek to heat up the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But in its current economic straights, it cannot sustain a prolonged conflict without endangering its survival.
The president's use of sanctions has brought the West back to the inflection point abandoned by Obama in 2013. Trump's signals of his willingness to negotiate also give Iran an exit strategy that, sooner or later, it will be forced to take. Or at least it will be if the president doesn't lose his nerve because of the misleading war panic his opponents are attempting to gin up.
Tough sanctions ruthlessly enforced have always been the formula to end Iran's nuclear program and terrorism. The mistaken belief that war is the only alternative to surrender is what brought the ayatollahs their diplomatic triumph over Obama.
Trump needs to ignore the revived efforts of his predecessor's media echo chamber to scare the country into abandoning sanctions. If he sticks to his willingness to make Iran pay a price they cannot afford, the result is far more likely to be an American diplomatic victory than a conflict that Washington has no intention of being drawn into.
Copyright (C) 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
The Purge
Facebook Suspends Candace Owens For Saying Liberal Policies Incentivize Fatherless Homes '' Summit News
Fri, 17 May 2019 17:13
Politics Says white America will not concede power ''until its death rattle.''
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow lauded the ''inevitable'' demographic decline of white people in order to bring down the ''white male racist patriarchy''.
Blow, who is notorious for his schizophrenic obsession with identity politics, doesn't waste any time labeling all Trump supporters as racist in the very first sentence of his article, writing, ''The white male racist patriarchy will not be denied. It is having a moment. It has its own president.''
He then goes on to express thinly veiled glee at the ''demographic displacement'' of white people.
''We are living through a flagrant display of a white male exertion of power, authority and privilege, a demonstration meant to underscore that they will forcefully fight any momentum toward demographic displacement, no matter how inevitable the math,'' writes Blow.
Blow ends his piece by lamenting that white America will not concede power ''until its death rattle.''
This once against illustrates the media's outright double standard when it comes to discussing demographic changes.
Anyone on the right who raises the issue is accused of discussing ''white genocide'' and is conflated with white supremacists and extremists.
It seems it's only possible to highlight the demographic decline of white people without a backlash if you agree that it's a good thing.
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There is a war on free speech. Without your support, my voice will be silenced.
Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here.
Support my sponsor '' Turbo Force '' a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.
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Politics Maurice Levy happy that socials will clamp down on ''hateful content''.
Davos elitist Maurice Levy is happy that new ''hateful content'' rules for the Internet will see ''discussions'' being ''quickly erased from social networks''.
Levy is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe, the world's third largest advertising and communications group and a regular attendee of the World Economic Forum.
He has joined with global leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron to promote the ''Christchurch Call,'' which demands countries and social media giants ''clamp down on hate content'' in response to the New Zealand mosque shooting.
During an interview with CNBC, Levy praised New Zealand's effort to combat ''hate'' following the attack.
''Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern '... (made) a very moving speech regarding how the hatred and speech of hate are contaminating the social network(s), and I believe that this is a landmark in how people will now operate and how some discussions will be quickly erased from the social networks,'' he said.
As we previously reported, part of combating this ''hate'' in New Zealand includes police making home visits to citizens to grill them on their political beliefs.
And as ever, ''hateful content'' coincidentally looks almost identical to 'expressing opinions which go against the status quo'.
What could possibly go wrong?
As we document in the video below, social media censorship is just the beginning. We are moving quickly towards a Communist Chinese-style social credit system where people are denied banking and the ability to buy and sell because of their political opinions.
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There is a war on free speech. Without your support, my voice will be silenced.
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Politics Entire case file sealed by judge.
The case of two anti-Trump leftists, one of whom is transgender, who shot up a school in Denver last week has been placed under seal by a judge, banning the public from seeing it.
Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, opened fire on two classrooms at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7, killing one student and injuring eight others.
16-year-old Alec McKinney identifies as male but is biologically female, having been born Maya Elizabeth McKinney.
Following the shooting, it emerged that his accomplice Erickson had posted anti-Christian and anti-Trump messages on social media while praising former President Barack Obama.
It is now being reported that details of the case will remain secret to the public after it was sealed by a judge.
''Douglas County District Judge Theresa Slade has put the charges along with the entire case file under seal, banning the public from seeing it,'' reports Reuters.
The student who was shot dead, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, bravely rushed towards the two shooters in an attempt to prevent further loss of life. He was remembered as a ''compassionate, bright young man'' during a memorial service on Wednesday.
The shooting appeared to disappear from headlines quickly when it turned out that the individuals responsible were anti-Trump leftists and that one of them was transgender.
One wonders if the media's reaction would have been different if it was two Trump supporters who had shot up a school.
Others highlighted the double standard of a smirking boy being villified by the media while an actual school shooter was largely ignored.
Both of these students are minors.
One smiled calmly at an Indian while his personal space was invaded.
The other is a murderer.
Which one was smeared by the media for an entire week, sent death threats by celebrities, and had his name released despite being underage? pic.twitter.com/yUhC3k3Ive
'-- Aphrodite ''¤¸ (@venusreborn_) May 15, 2019
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Masterton woman to be charged over Facebook post about Christchurch mosque shootings | Stuff.co.nz
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:19
GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
50 people were killed in the March 15 attacks on two Christchurch mosques.
A Masterton woman who posted a message on Facebook about the Christchurch shootings will be charged with inciting racial disharmony.
Senior Sergeant Jennifer Hansen said the 28-year-old was reported to police after she published the "upsetting" message, saying it was related to "the events in Christchurch and this person's views on what had occurred".
"We were made aware that this post had been put up on Facebook which had upset a number of people to the point that they felt uncomfortable taking kids to school because of the comments that had been made."
PIERS FULLER/STUFF
Senior Sergeant Jennifer Hansen says people should be careful with what they post on social media.
She would not provide details of what was in the post.
READ MORE: * Live: Survivor's sleepless nights after Christchurch mosque shootings * Hate speech '' we need to understand the damage it does * Security expert warns of 'copycat' risk as national security threat level remains 'High' following mosque shootings * Christchurch mosque attacks a chance to unite and stamp out racism, says Māori leader
"I wouldn't want to say what had been said but there was reference to the Muslim community in amongst those comments."
The post was taken down shortly afterwards due to the backlash from other users, Hansen said.
"But not before police were made aware of it and she was subsequently brought in and spoken to."
To be charged with inciting racial disharmony under Human Rights Act legislation, police must have reason to believe that the comments published were either threatening, abusive, or insulting.
They must be likely to create hostility or ill-will against any group of people in New Zealand due to their colour, race, ethnicity or nationality.
The woman's message was shared among members of a local school community.
Masterton Primary School principal Sue Walters said she was aware of an offensive post but would not comment on its details.
"Otherwise I'm guilty of promulgating the same stuff."
Hansen said the case could potentially be dealt with by the Iwi Justice Panel.
She said Facebook posts were not considered private because they could be widely disseminated.
"People have this perception that if they put something on their Facebook page that it's their private views.
"The reality is that with Facebook it just goes so much further than that. Anyone has the ability to share that message and it can be seen by quite a wide audience."
SJWBLMLGBBTQQIAAPK
Report: SAT will assign a new score that factors in where you live and how much your parents make | myfox8.com
Thu, 16 May 2019 22:48
The nonprofit group that administers the SAT will assign an adversity score to each student who takes the test to reflect social and economic backgrounds, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move comes amid heightened scrutiny that colleges are facing over the admissions process and the diversity of their student bodies.
''There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more,'' David Coleman, chief executive officer of the College Board, told the Journal. ''We can't sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.''
The number will be calculated using 15 factors, the Journal reported, including the crime rate and poverty levels of a student's high school and neighborhood. Colleges will be able to see the number when considering applicants, but students themselves won't be told their scores.
According to the Journal, 50 colleges used the adversity score in a beta test last year, and the College Board plans to expand the program to 150 institutions this fall.
CNN is reaching out to the College Board for confirmation of The Wall Street Journal's report.
According to the Journal, the score does not account for a student's race. Students are rated on a scale of 1 to 100 based on publicly available data from records such as the US census, Coleman told the paper.
A score of 50 would be considered average, the Journal reported, while a number above 50 indicates hardship, and a number below 50 privilege.
The news comes against the backdrop of a bombshell college admissions scandal, which saw a slew of indictments against wealthy and powerful parents who allegedly paid their kids' ways into elite universities. The scandal reignited the debate surrounding race and economic backgrounds and what role they play in college admissions.
Some parents were found to have paid bribes to have the SAT taken by others for their children. Not all the students were aware of the cheating arranged by their parents, according to the criminal affidavit in the case. No students currently face charges in the scandal.
A lawsuit against Harvard University also has accused the school of discriminating against Asian-American applicants by giving them low ''personal'' ratings that take into account traits such as leadership and likability '-- which lessen their chance of admission '-- while giving higher ratings to African-American and Hispanic students.
Harvard has denied there is any evidence of stereotyping. A judge has yet to make a ruling in the case.
The College Board has been concerned about income inequality influencing SAT results for a long time. White students scored higher on average than black students and Hispanic students in 2018, while Asian students scored higher on average than white students. And students whose parents are wealthy and college-educated typically did better than their peers.
Yale University was one of the schools that tried using the adversity scores as it worked to increase socioeconomic diversity on its campus.
Jeremiah Quinlan, the school's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Journal that Yale has nearly doubled the number of low-income students and those who are first in their families to attend college to about 20% of new students.
''This (adversity score) is literally affecting every application we look at,'' Quinlan told the Journal. ''It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.''
SAT to Give Students 'Adversity Score' to Capture Social and Economic Background - WSJ
Thu, 16 May 2019 22:48
The College Board plans to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT to try to capture their social and economic background, jumping into the debate raging over race and class in college admissions.
This new number, called an adversity score by college admissions officers, is calculated using 15 factors including the crime rate and poverty levels from the student's high school and neighborhood. Students won't be told the scores, but colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications.
Fifty colleges used the score last year as part of a beta test. The College Board plans to expand it to 150 institutions this fall, and then use it broadly the following year.
How colleges consider a student's race and class in making admissions decisions is hotly contested. Many colleges, including Harvard University, say a diverse student body is part of the educational mission of a school. A lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants by holding them to a higher standard is awaiting a judge's ruling. Lawsuits charging unfair admission practices have also been filed against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California system.
The College Board, the New York based nonprofit that oversees the SAT, said it has worried about income inequality influencing test results for years. White students scored an average of 177 points higher than black students and 133 points higher than Hispanic students in 2018 results. Asian students scored 100 points higher than white students. The children of wealthy and college-educated parents outperformed their classmates.
''There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less [on the SAT] but have accomplished more,'' said David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board. ''We can't sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.''
The SAT, which includes math and verbal sections and is still taken with No. 2 pencils, is facing challenges. Federal prosecutors revealed this spring that students cheated on both the SAT and ACT for years as part of a far-reaching college admissions cheating scheme. In Asia and the Middle East, both the ACT and SAT exams have experienced security breaches.
Yale University is one of the schools that has tried using applicants' adversity scores. Yale has pushed to increase socioeconomic diversity and, over several years, has nearly doubled the number of low-income and first-generation-to-attend-college students to about 20% of newly admitted students, said Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale.
''This [adversity score] is literally affecting every application we look at,'' he said. ''It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.''
Colleges could glean some of the information that the adversity score reflects from other parts of a student's application. But having the score makes comparisons more consistent, Mr. Quinlan said.
James Conroy, director of college counseling at New Trier High School, which serves several affluent and mostly white communities north of Chicago, said the focus on diversity by elite colleges is already high and the adversity score would magnify that.
''My emails are inundated with admissions officers who want to talk to our diversity kids,'' Mr. Conroy said. ''Do I feel minority students have been discriminated against? Yes, I do. But I see the reversal of it happening right now.''
The College Board tried a similar effort two decades ago but quickly dropped it amid pushback from colleges. In 1999, after California and Washington voted to ban affirmative-action preferences in public education, the College Board created a program it called Strivers.
The program aimed to measure the challenges students faced. It created an expected SAT score based on socioeconomic factors including, if schools chose to add it, race. Students who scored at least 200 points more on the SAT than predicted were called Strivers. Because minorities often had lower predicted scores, they were more likely to be Strivers.
The adversity score, by contrast, doesn't take into account race and is superior because it is steeped in more research, said Connie Betterton, vice president for higher education access and strategy at the College Board.
''Since it is identifying strengths in students, it's showing this resourcefulness that the test alone cannot measure,'' Mr. Coleman, the College Board CEO, said. ''These students do well, they succeed in college.''
The new score'--which falls on a scale of one through 100'--will pop up on something called the Environmental Context Dashboard, which shows several indicators of relative poverty, wealth and opportunity as well as a student's SAT score compared with those of their classmates. On the dashboard, the score is called ''Overall Disadvantage Level.''
An adversity score of 50 is average. Anything above it designates hardship, below it privilege.
The College Board declined to say how it calculates the adversity score or weighs the factors that go into it. The data that informs the score comes from public records such as the U.S. Census as well as some sources proprietary to the College Board, Mr. Coleman said.
The College Board began developing the tool in 2015 because colleges were asking for more objective data on students' backgrounds, said Ms. Betterton. Several college admissions officers said they worry the Supreme Court may disallow race-based affirmative action. If that happens, the value of the tool would rise, they said.
''The purpose is to get to race without using race,'' said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Mr. Carnevale formerly worked for the College Board and oversaw the Strivers program.
The dashboard may also be an advantage in a tight competition for market share with the ACT, another college-admissions exam. A spokesman for the ACT said it is ''investing significant resources'' in a comparable tool that is expected to be announced later this year.
At Florida State University, the adversity scores helped the school boost nonwhite enrollment to 42% from 37% in the incoming freshman class, said John Barnhill, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Florida State University. He said he expects pushback from parents whose children go to well-to-do high schools as well as guidance counselors there.
''If I am going to make room for more of the [poor and minority] students we want to admit and I have a finite number of spaces, then someone has to suffer and that will be privileged kids on the bubble,'' he said.
Write to Douglas Belkin at doug.belkin@wsj.com
Tony Robbins Berated Abuse Victims, Leaked Records Show, And Former Followers Accuse Him Of Sexual Advances
Fri, 17 May 2019 16:57
When Tony Robbins leaps onstage in arenas around the world, under strobe lights and pulsing speakers, he's greeted by thousands of screaming fans. They clap with him, jump with him, and when he puffs his chest and lets out a primal roar, they roar with him too.
The world's most famous self-help guru whips crowds into fits of euphoria few pop stars could dream of, but many of his fans are grappling with life's most serious problems. Victims of sexual and physical abuse, along with people who struggle with addiction and have mental illnesses, pay thousands of dollars to see him on the promise he has the power to ''transform your life'' and ''rewire your brain.''
At the core of Robbins' teachings is the message that his followers should not see themselves as victims, and should instead view their pain as something they have the power to ''destroy.'' He claims to have revolutionized millions of lives with this philosophy, while building a multibillion-dollar business and working with celebrities from Donald Trump and Bill Clinton to Oprah and the Kardashians. Access to his most exclusive membership program has cost as much as $85,000 a year.
But behind that dazzling veneer, Robbins guards his empire with intense secrecy. Employees are bound by strict confidentiality agreements, and audiences who attend his multiday coaching camps must sign contracts forbidding them from recording what goes on inside.
A yearlong investigation by BuzzFeed News, based on leaked recordings, internal documents, and dozens of interviews with fans and insiders, reveals how Robbins has berated abuse victims and subjected his followers to unorthodox and potentially dangerous techniques. And former female fans and staffers have accused him of inappropriate sexual advances.
Two former followers who went on to work for Robbins provided BuzzFeed News with signed statements swearing under oath that they felt he had sexually harassed them by repeatedly pursuing them after they made clear they weren't interested. Two more women who worked as his assistants said Robbins expected them to work alone with him when he was naked in his hotel room or in the shower. And another former employee said she was fired after having a consensual sexual relationship with Robbins. The events described by all five women took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, when Robbins' fame was skyrocketing and before he married his second wife.
BuzzFeed News; Photo: Carlo Allegri for The Washington Post / Getty ImagesSecret recordings and transcripts from inside his events reveal Robbins has unleashed expletive-laden tirades on survivors of rape and domestic violence after inviting them to share their stories in front of a vast audience. ''She's fucking using all this stuff to try and control men,'' he said after one woman said she had been raped. When, in 2018, another woman said her husband was physically violent and emotionally abusive, Robbins accused her of ''lying'' and asked: ''Does he put up with you when you've been a crazy bitch?''
Interviews and records reveal how Robbins has created a highly sexualized environment in which both men and women have been told to touch themselves intimately and simulate orgasms '-- but he has repeatedly singled women out of the crowd for more personal attention. One secret recording from 2018 captured him laughing as he told a woman in the audience that he wanted her to ''come up onstage and make love to me.'' And two former bodyguards told BuzzFeed News they were sent out to trawl audiences for attractive women on Robbins' behalf. Two women told BuzzFeed News they had witnessed it or experienced it themselves.
''She's fucking using all this stuff to try to control men.''
Robbins vehemently denied ''engaging in any alleged 'inappropriate sexual behavior,''' sending security personnel into the crowd to solicit women on his behalf, or making such approaches personally. He was ''never intentionally naked'' in front of staff, his lawyers said in a letter. ''To the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection.''
The letter said Robbins ''admits he has made mistakes in relationships and other aspects of his life but he never behaved in the manner intimated by these salacious and false accusations,'' and he has been ''faithful and committed'' to his second wife, Sage, since they married in 2001. No one has ''ever filed a verbal or written sexual harassment or abuse complaint against Mr. Robbins in the last four decades,'' the letter said.
The firm denied that Robbins' comments to abuse victims were harmful, or that he exposed his fans to potentially dangerous techniques. On the contrary, it said, Robbins went to ''great lengths to ensure the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all attendees.''
The #MeToo movement has triggered reckonings inside a wide range of professions where men hold sway. Scandal after scandal has engulfed Hollywood giants, politicians, and CEOs, forcing a major change in the politics of sex and power. But the self-help industry, which generates billions of dollars every year, has faced little scrutiny.
Licensed professionals who treat mental health issues must undergo extensive training and follow strict ethical guidelines governing their relations with their clients. Self-help coaching requires no such qualifications or standards. But it creates a potent recipe for the abuse of power, setting its leading lights up as godlike figures with answers to life's most painful questions, and placing the supplicants who seek their wisdom in their thrall.
Robbins claims that his methods have helped fans overcome severe trauma, averted suicides, and transformed the lives of ''phobics, the clinically depressed, people with multiple personalities.'' Many credit him with extraordinary breakthroughs. They report summoning the strength to quit dead-end jobs, launch new companies, reunite with estranged family members, end toxic relationships, and find their soulmates as a result of his teachings. Some of the women who spoke to BuzzFeed News still view Robbins with awe and reverence '-- one said she sees him as someone who ''saves lives.'' And the fan whom Robbins accused of ''lying'' after she said her husband was abusive told BuzzFeed News it was a positive experience and that she was grateful for the advice not to be a victim, which had helped her leave that relationship.
But some long-term staffers, including Robbins' former director of security Gary King, who spoke exclusively to BuzzFeed News, said they were deeply troubled by the psychological impact of his methods on vulnerable audience members.
''We used to joke about it. People started 'popping like popcorn.'''
Robbins' intensive multiday events are often held in rooms kept deliberately cold and run from early in the morning to well past midnight, with few breaks for food and water. Followers are encouraged to run across hot coals. Internal company emails reveal concerns about fans suffering mental breakdowns after days of emotional exhaustion as well as ''sleep deprivation and dehydration.'' In this intense atmosphere, some audience members became disoriented as the days went by, said Todd Spendley, a former logistics contractor for the organization. ''We used to joke about it,'' he said. ''People started 'popping like popcorn.'''
Robbins' lawyers said there have been ''very few reported instances of anyone suffering any form of significant physical injury or adverse medical condition'' at his ''thousands of events over the past 40 years.''
Several leading national experts on domestic and sexual violence who reviewed transcripts of Robbins' private events said berating traumatized women and blaming them for their reactions to abuse is a dangerous strategy.
''It's not only secondary trauma, but a secondary assault,'' said Ruth Glenn, president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ''This behavior from a self-touted self-help expert is just beyond egregious.''
''We are alarmed that he's using his platform to ridicule victims privately and publicly,'' said Jodi Omear, an executive at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
''It's not only secondary trauma, but a secondary assault. This behavior from a self-touted self-help expert is just beyond egregious.''
Like many famous men caught up in the #MeToo movement, Robbins has engaged powerful lawyers to try to shut down accusations: Lavely & Singer, a Hollywood megafirm with a client list including Bill Cosby, Charlie Sheen, and Scarlett Johansson.
The firm has been shielding Robbins from scrutiny since at least 2007, after a website published anonymous criticism of Robbins, including allegations that he had sexually harassed and manipulated women insiders. The site quickly disappeared, and website registration records show the domain was taken over by Lavely & Singer. The firm said the site was ''not a source of reliable information,'' and was taken down because it ''was illegally using Mr. Robbins' tradename.''
Robbins did face some rare public criticism last spring, after leaked video emerged of him calling the #MeToo movement an excuse for some women to ''try and get significance'' by ''attacking and destroying someone else.'' He apologized after widespread backlash, professing ''profound admiration'' for #MeToo and promising to examine his own behavior to ensure he was ''staying true to those ideals.''
But behind the scenes, Lavely & Singer had tried to shut the story down, sending a letter to a woman who posted the video online, warning that the footage was a ''clear violation'' of the legal agreement she had signed before being let into the event, and demanding she remove it.
And secretly recorded audio from another private event in December 2018, obtained by BuzzFeed News, shows Robbins soon doubled down on his attack. ''Victimhood is now rewarded in our culture,'' he railed. People can now ''make claims about anybody, and everyone jumps to support them.''
Lavely & Singer defended that stance in its letter to BuzzFeed News. ''While BuzzFeed attempts to portray Mr. Robbins' remarks in a negative fashion, it is important to remember that when Mr. Robbins says something like 'victimhood is rewarded in our culture' that's because, in some cases, it is,'' they wrote.
Have you had experiences with Tony Robbins that you would like to share? To learn how to reach us securely, go to tips.buzzfeed.com. You can also email us at tips@buzzfeed.com.During the reporting of this story, Lavely & Singer launched what it called an ''extensive'' counter-investigation to make legal threats against two people accused of speaking with BuzzFeed News. One received a letter warning that if he did not retract what he had told reporters, his life would ''be forever changed.'' The other was told that he had 48 hours to recant his story or face damages which could ''easily be tens of millions of dollars.''
When BuzzFeed News sent Robbins a letter seeking his comment eight days before publication, Lavely & Singer said it had not been given enough time to respond fully, but accused the reporters of pursuing a ''predetermined'' narrative against Robbins ''as part of their 'Me Too' Agenda.'' The firm threatened legal action that would have a ''devastating impact on the financial condition of BuzzFeed and its investors.''
Three of the women who said Robbins had mistreated them initially agreed to speak publicly but later withdrew permission for their names to be published, saying they, like many others interviewed for this story, feared reprisals from Robbins and his lawyers. BuzzFeed News has corroborated key aspects of their stories, interviewed dozens of insiders, and obtained sworn witness statements from six former followers and staffers who raised serious concerns about the inner workings of Robbins' world.
This is the story Tony Robbins never wanted told.
Kypros / Getty ImagesTony Robbins, circa 1990.
Like so many of his fans, Tony Robbins found self-help at a moment of need. In interviews and writings, he has described how an ''incredibly violent'' childhood and a mother with alcoholism left him ''floundering and fat,'' grindingly poor, and lonely to the point of ''emotional death.'' But at 17 he scraped together enough cash from a gig as a janitor to see the motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and was ''mesmerized'' by the message that change starts from within.
It was the 1970s, and Robbins delved deep into the era's proliferating personal-improvement literature. Once he had learned how to stop thinking of himself as a victim and overcome his pain, he became determined to show others how to do it too.
Robbins had natural charisma and dominated the stage at 6-foot-7, with a gravelly baritone voice. He started drawing sizable crowds to seminars promising to ''unleash the power within.'' As business boomed, it became a pillar of his own self-help story, which he told and retold to eager audiences. He had lost ''thirty-eight pounds of fat,'' married ''the woman of my dreams,'' and ditched his tiny apartment for a Spanish-style castle in Southern California.
But Robbins told Charlie Rose in a 2000 interview that what really ''made my career'' was calling the bluff of a psychiatrist who had phoned into a radio show to attack him as a ''charlatan.''
''Give me your patient, I'll be at the Holiday Inn tomorrow night.''
Robbins said he had thrown down a challenge: ''Give me your patient, I'll be at the Holiday Inn tomorrow night.'' He claimed he quickly cured a patient the psychiatrist had been treating for seven years for snake phobia. He had even wrapped a snake around her. ''It was like this shootout,'' he told Rose. ''It was like a movie.''
A flair for the dramatic accelerated his rise. He persuaded audience members that they could walk over hot coals, psyching them up with drums and chants of ''YES, YES, YES!'' It was proof of what positive thinking could accomplish, he explained in his 1986 debut book, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement.
Robbins started touring around the country, amassing an army of volunteers who often worked 12- to 18-hour shifts to keep his shows running. ''You don't have any food, you're literally in the room until Tony gives you permission to go for a break, you hardly get any sleep,'' said Jon Richelieu-Booth, a former Robbins volunteer. They were not rewarded with a wage or travel expenses '-- but they did get to hear him speak for free.
In 2018, Robbins' company confidentially resolved a class action lawsuit over these unpaid hours, arguing that the volunteers are ''providing services for their own pleasure, education and enjoyment,'' according to a settlement notice obtained by BuzzFeed News. Robbins' lawyers told BuzzFeed News the company ''vehemently denies'' violating labor laws and settled the case ''in order to avoid the time and disruption.''
Robbins pledged that his methods could help just about anyone. He knew from his own experience that abuse and depression didn't have to weigh you down. It was a choice: ''In one stroke,'' he wrote, ''I had purged my vocabulary of disempowering language and thus a feeling that can devastate even the stoutest of hearts.''
Courtesy of Gary KingGary King with Robbins, his current wife Sage, and their security team.
In 1991, Gary King was holed up inside his Florida home in a deep depression. A former powerboat racer with a love of floral shirts, King had built a career in event management, but the recent breakup of his relationship had left him unable to work and suicidal. ''I was a broken person,'' he told BuzzFeed News.
A friend told him he should try out a Robbins event nearby, and right away, King said he found the event's ''high energy'' and ''euphoria'' addictive. He felt his depression lifting, and handed over around $600 to sign up for the next event, going on to volunteer for a few years before a contract opened up as Robbins' director of security in 1994. King jumped at the chance.
King was soon spending many of his waking hours with Robbins, traveling the world with him, carrying his luggage, and even sometimes accompanying him to the bathroom. At first he revered Robbins as ''some kind of savior,'' King said '-- but two decades in the guru's inner world would leave him with troubling questions about much of what he witnessed. Robbins' lawyers said King was ''disgruntled'' and ''unreliable.''
Robbins demanded relentless energy and a willingness to confront your darkest fears. He spoke openly about his use of ''taboo language,'' humor, and other shock tactics to try to shake fans out of emotional stagnation '-- often swearing, berating audience members, and talking graphically about sex '-- and he didn't censor himself even when addressing his most troubled fans. For some, this led to ecstasy. Others found his events mentally and physically shattering.
King said he soon found that a key part of his job involved responding to calls about participants who had threatened or attempted suicide or needed to be hospitalized after suffering mental breakdowns. At one 1995 Life Mastery event in Hawaii, he said he had to intervene after one participant started biting members of the hotel's security staff and guests. ''I was dealing with crisis and emotional meltdowns from the start,'' he told BuzzFeed News.
''Date With Destiny'' events could be especially difficult. The six-day program, which currently costs as much as $7,995 per person, left little time for sleep or rest and was packed with soul-searching activities and deeply personal ''interventions'' in which Robbins selected audience members to publicly unpack their despair.
After a March 2003 Date With Destiny in Australia, Robbins held court in a ''debriefing'' session with his staff. A transcript of that session was made so that Robbins could pull out material for his next book. BuzzFeed News obtained a copy.
One woman had told him through tears that she had been raped. Robbins recounted how he had ''cut her off'' in a ''warm'' and ''elegant'' way and informed her that she was ''fucking using all this stuff to try and control men.''
''I don't support anybody fucking raping her or taking advantage of her,'' he said, according to the transcript, ''but I don't support her fucking manipulating herself, men, and other people by trying to use that tool when it's really not the primary experience of her life now.''
''Women's torment is that men fucking look, and men's torment is that women are fucking insane.''
By now, Robbins had set himself up as an authority on relationships, dispensing a theory about ''two opposing energies '-- masculine and feminine.''
''Women's torment is that men fucking look, and men's torment is that women are fucking insane,'' he said at the same 2003 event.
Robbins also described using ''orgasm or masturbation'' as ''humor'' to break a suicidal woman's ''pattern'' at another event, the transcript shows. He also told a woman struggling with relationship issues to grab her breasts.
''I said 'which breast is more sensitive,' she said 'my right breast' and I said 'I know,''' Robbins said, according to the transcript. ''I just watched her face. It just freaked her out that I knew which one of her breasts was more sensitive.''
Have you had experiences with Tony Robbins that you would like to share? To learn how to reach us securely, go to tips.buzzfeed.com. You can also email us at tips@buzzfeed.com.Robbins' lawyers said ''none of the participants at those events ever raised any concern or made any complaint that Mr. Robbins' statements or conduct were inappropriate or harmful in any manner.''
Gary King said this was the sort of line he had often heard Robbins use to distract nervous women during fire-walks: ''Which one of your breasts is bigger?'' And by now, he had reason to believe that Robbins' intimate interest in his female fans was more than just professional.
King said that Robbins often dispatched him to get the phone numbers of attractive women in the audience, an allegation which Robbins' lawyers fiercely denied. Though he felt deep down that what he saw wasn't right, King said his entire world revolved around Robbins, so he tried to bury his discomfort. But as time went on, he said, his concerns grew. ''Ultimate power corrupts,'' King said. ''I watched it like a movie unfolding.''
Mark Peterson / ReduxRobbins in the early 1990s.
Marie, a young woman living in California, was in such a dark place that she was making plans to drive her car off a cliff near her home '-- until she saw Tony Robbins on a television infomercial. The more she learned about his teachings, the more she began to believe she could save herself.
At her first seminar, in Newport Beach in 1999, Robbins walked up to her in the crowd and tapped her on the shoulder. ''I remember everyone gasping like it was this great honor,'' Marie said. He invited her onstage with several other audience members, where he hugged her tightly and whispered in her ear to find him after the event was over, Marie said. She declined, but he continued to ask for her number, she said. ''I considered him my mentor and I didn't want to blur any lines,'' Marie said. Like others, Marie spoke with BuzzFeed News on the condition that her full name not be used.
Robbins denied Marie's allegations, and his lawyers said he had never engaged in any ''inappropriate sexual behavior.'' They said his microphone would have made it impossible for him to whisper anything while he was on stage without it being broadcasted to the whole crowd.
Despite her discomfort, Marie came away from the seminar feeling more upbeat than she had in a while. So she went back to other events, including a Date With Destiny seminar in Miami. There, one of Robbins' bodyguards stopped her in the bustling hallway. ''Tony sent me to take you to his room,'' she remembered him saying. The bodyguard kept his eyes on the ground, she recalled, and told her she was ''too good for this'': ''If it's not you that goes to his room, it's going to be somebody else,'' she remembered him saying. Again, she declined.
BuzzFeed News tracked down that former bodyguard, who spent more than a decade working for Robbins. He said on condition of anonymity that, while he could not recall this specific occasion, his former boss did give him notes to pass to ''young, attractive women'' and he witnessed Robbins make direct advances to women in the crowd.
Robbins' vehemently denied that he had ''authorized or participated in any systematic selection of event audience members for personal intimate sexual encounters backstage.'' His lawyers said he ''openly admits that he had consensual relationships with women, many of whom aggressively sought him out.''
Robbins has indeed spoken publicly about the attention he has received from female fans. ''They'd send me their panties and show up at events in limousines to get through security, or turn up at my house to convince me they had an offer I couldn't refuse,'' he told Playboy in 2013. ''I was beyond tempted at times. There was no drought, for sure. I was like a kid in a candy store.''
The bodyguard confirmed that many women sought Robbins' attention. It was a different time, when people had ''completely different beliefs, values, and rules.'' But some women had clearly not welcomed Robbins' advances, he said. ''It's who he is to take advantage of women.''
Both Heather Porter, a former event manager, and Miki Knowles, who worked as Robbins' personal chef, recalled hearing colleagues describe how the security team would pluck women from the audience on Robbins' behalf. ''The security guys would tell stories about women they'd had to take up to his room,'' Knowles said. Lavely & Singer said that both women referenced their work with Robbins in a positive light in their online profiles.
Robbins went on to approach Marie directly at that Florida event, she said. As the seminar came to a euphoric close around 2 a.m., she heard him shout, ''Come here!'' across the crowd. Robbins clamped his hand over Marie's arm, she told BuzzFeed News, and pulled her toward the greenroom. She twisted free and melted into the crowd, she said, hoping he would lose sight of her.
Still, Marie could not tear herself away from Robbins' world '-- a common theme among people who said they had experienced behavior that crossed a line but continued to work with him for years.
Marie still believed Robbins' message was invaluable. ''I knew that had saved my life,'' she said, and she wanted to help save others. So she became more deeply involved, first as an unpaid volunteer '-- and then as an employee.
Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for DuJourRobbins' at a birthday celebration and launch for one of his books, Unshakeable.
By the early 2000s, Robbins' business empire was flourishing: He had sold millions of self-help tapes and books, become a TV infomercial star, and was attracting audiences of thousands all over the world. Many women who worked at Robbins Research International '-- his San Diego''based company '-- said they loved the experience. One former employee, Marie Kozak, said there was ''never a stray hand or a wrong look.'' Traci Porterfield, who worked as an HR executive from 2004 until 2009, said the job ''literally changed the trajectory of my life.'' In around five years, she said she never received any sexual harassment complaints.
But other former employees and volunteers told a different story.
One former personal assistant, who said she worked for Robbins for around 18 months in the 1990s, said he made her take notes while he showered. ''He would call you into the bathroom with him. 'Hey come here, I need you to make a note of something,''' she said. ''He just didn't care, he was too powerful.''
The assistant, who was then in her twenties and asked to be identified only as ''B.,'' said on one occasion, Robbins came out of the shower when she was working in his hotel room and dropped his towel. She shouted at him to cover up, she said, then left in tears. ''I called my parents,'' she said, ''and I was like, 'What in the world makes him think I would want any part of that?'''
B.'s mother confirmed that her daughter complained about Robbins' sexual advances at the time.
B. first told BuzzFeed News she wanted to tell her story using her full name, but later changed her mind, citing her fear of Robbins.
''To the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection.''
Kate Rittase, who worked for Robbins from the late 1990s to early 2000s, also told BuzzFeed News that she had to work with him while he was nude. ''My job would be to get him out of bed in the morning so I'd wake up and pull his naked butt out of bed,'' she said. ''I had to get his naked butt into the shower and into his suit.'' Robbins would also call her into the bathroom while he showered, she said. ''I guess some people would think it was weird,'' she said, but she just saw it as part of the job. ''Yes I could be a victim, I could go down the victim road but I just chose not to.''
She said she was careful never to be in the room with him when he was naked unless he needed something, and ''never put myself in a position of being vulnerable or exploited.'' Robbins seminars were ''life transforming'' for her and her family, she added.
A fourth woman, Kay, joined Robbins' crew in the late '90s. She told BuzzFeed News that he singled her out immediately, frequently telling her she was beautiful. Over the next few years, she said he encouraged her to end two separate relationships, offered to fly her out to visit him, and gave her a secret phone number. The more she refused him, she said, the more he ''relentlessly'' pursued her.
''It's part of what he teaches: Go after what you want,'' she said. ''And he wants to acquire you as a woman.''
Kay recalled one seminar where Robbins told the crowd to imagine they were having an orgasm. He then stepped down and whispered in her ear, ''I wanna see you have an orgasm,'' she told BuzzFeed News. Again, Kay refused. ''I'm not showing you anything,'' she recalled thinking, ''that feeds that monster.''
Robbins' lawyers said Kay's accusations were ''false and preposterous.'' They said Robbins wore a microphone at all times while he was on stage and his events are typically recorded from start to finish using multiple cameras.
Kay stayed in Robbins' universe until 2001. A friend of Kay's told BuzzFeed News that about a decade ago, Kay disclosed to her that Robbins had repeatedly hit on her.
Kay first told BuzzFeed News she wanted to speak publicly about what happened, then changed her mind, and spoke on condition that her full name not be used. ''He's very connected, he's very powerful, and he's very wealthy and able to squash bugs,'' Kay told BuzzFeed News. ''And we're the bugs.''
''He's very connected, he's very powerful, and he's able to squash bugs...and we're the bugs.''
One former staffer who did consent to a sexual relationship with Robbins said she came to regret it. The woman, who asked to be identified only as J., worked as Robbins' personal assistant in the 1990s, when she was in her twenties and he was more than a decade older. They began an affair soon after they started working together, J. said, but she was fired after his then-wife became suspicious.
Distraught, J. turned to a friend, attorney Ron Blumberg, who told her she had a strong legal case for sexual harassment and unfair dismissal, in part because of the ''difference in power'' between the two parties.
''He was on a pedestal as few celebrities in any field were at the time,'' Blumberg told BuzzFeed News. ''Everything about him '-- his looks, his demeanor, his money '-- was crafted to define himself as having extreme power.''
Both J. and Blumberg said they met with Robbins' lawyer. Afterward, J. told BuzzFeed News, she was ''scared to death.'' So she never brought a case.
Robbins' lawyers said he denied J.'s claims ''generally and specifically.''
J. said it took her time to make sense of the experience. She remained in touch with him for several years after she was fired.
J. was not the only former Robbins employee who claimed she was unfairly dismissed after his sexual attentions turned sour. Marie said that Robbins stopped making direct advances after she started working for him, but still made her feel ''totally violated'' at times by staring at her breasts and stomach. Still, she stayed at his company for years. When people asked why she stood by him, she said she would tell them, ''Listen to the message, not the messenger.''
Then one day in the mid-2000s, a senior manager called her to a meeting at an empty hotel restaurant in the middle of a Robbins event and fired her on the spot. Marie said she received no explanation for her firing.
But speaking to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, one employee with knowledge of the incident explained the decision to fire Marie: An order came from above that she had to go because she was ''obsessed'' with Robbins. This was not the first time a woman had been fired for similar reasons, that employee said.
''I felt like I was being disfellowshipped from a religion.''
Robbins' lawyers denied Marie's allegations, and said that he ''is not involved in the day-to-day operations'' of his company, ''including the hiring and firing of employees.''
Marie said she was ostracized by many of the people she was close with in Robbins' orbit. ''I felt like I was being disfellowshipped from a religion,'' she said.
The day she was fired, she was ordered to head back to her hotel room, pack her belongings, and get in a taxi straight to the airport. Gary King escorted her away.
Courtesy of Gary KingRobbins and King.
King still believed that Robbins was a force for good. And he enjoyed sharing the perks of superstardom '-- golf outings, global travel, and standing next to Oprah as she did a firewalk with Robbins on TV.
But when his son, who had depression, killed himself, King's concerns about the mental health of Robbins' more vulnerable followers grew more acute.
In 2014, a man wrote to the Robbins organization to complain that his wife had collapsed and begun hallucinating after a Date With Destiny event '-- believing a clock was moving backward and a lightbulb was the moon. A staffer had advised him that this was not uncommon and she would be ''back to normal'' the following day, yet his wife had continued to hallucinate after being admitted to the hospital, and remained in a ''poor'' mental state months after the event, the man wrote. The couple did not respond to repeated requests from BuzzFeed News for comment.
An employee forwarded the email to King. ''The reality is, there is collateral emotional and physical damage at DWD [Date With Destiny], there always has been,'' King replied. ''In a room full of every personality disorder and personal emotional need and financial need, it goes without saying.'' He said he had flagged the problem repeatedly, but ''it falls short of being taken seriously enough.''
''The reality is, there is collateral emotional and physical damage ... It falls short of being taken seriously enough.''
Glen Lechtanski, who was a registered emergency nurse during more than a decade spent volunteering for Robbins, including as director of medical operations for his live events, told BuzzFeed News that he too had witnessed participants becoming ''mentally unstable'' due to a lack of sleep, water, and food.
Lechtanski also recalled treating dozens of participants with second-degree burns from a 2012 San Jose firewalk. ''He's been taking risks with everyone's health and safety,'' he said.
Robbins' lawyers said Lechtanski was terminated from his volunteer position ''based on certain inappropriate conduct,'' and that as a result he, like King, had become ''disgruntled'' towards Robbins' company. Lechtanski said he had been let go for taking fan merchandise such as CDs and vitamins from Robbins' product tables to hand out to the team of volunteers he oversaw in lieu of pay.
Todd Spendley spent a decade working for Robbins as a logistics contractor but left in 2014 after growing increasingly disturbed by the way the company was run. At one Palm Springs, California, event, Spendley said he witnessed a fan experience ''what I would describe as a seizure, or a sort of mental and physical breakdown.'' Robbins staffers attempted to help him themselves instead of calling an ambulance, Spendley said. ''I realized that many of these trainers had no qualifications besides being trained by Tony,'' Spendley said. ''I felt like there was no regulation, and very little protection if someone was vulnerable.''
Robbins' lawyer said his events are ''fully staffed with a team of security personnel, medical personnel, coaches and trainers who are available at all times.''
In 2014, Robbins let a documentary filmmaker inside a Date With Destiny event to produce a film called I Am Not Your Guru. As always, the access to his private world was tightly controlled. Robbins struck a deal with the director allowing him to cancel filming at any time during the six-day seminar and retain ownership of the footage if he chose.
In the documentary, Robbins said staff kept a keen eye on people in the audience with serious mental health issues.
In one scene, a young woman told Robbins she was sexually abused while growing up in a Christian cult. Robbins' response was to instruct her to pick three men, all strangers, out of the crowd to serve as ''uncles'' to watch over her for the next ''10 years.'' Later, he acknowledged that he had never ''dealt with this issue or anything like this before, obviously.'' Citing her book about the experience, Robbins' lawyers said that the woman's ''breakthrough and transformation speaks for itself.''
When it debuted on Netflix in 2016, critics panned the film as ''almost fawning'' and ''self-help snake oil.'' The New York Times dismissed it as a ''missed opportunity'' to analyze how Robbins' ''peacocking dominance'' inspired a ''near-religious devotion'' from his audience. ''There are no in-depth interviews with employees or family members and no negative experiences,'' the reviewer noted.
King and another person at the event said film crews shot footage of a woman on the foyer floor screaming while Robbins staff tried to help her. Another employee later told King that this woman then tried to jump out of a hotel window, King said.
The scene didn't make it into the documentary. The film's director said it was because she refused to sign a release form. ''I was not asked to nor did I make a 'fawning' film,'' he said, adding viewers could draw their own conclusions about Robbins.
By now, King was at the end of his rope. After working a seminar in London in March 2015, King sent a one-sentence email: ''Effective Immediately, I resign from responsibilities and communication with RRI.''
Over the next few years, King would reinvent himself as an ''international happiness expert.'' Lavely & Singer said King had a ''self-interest'' in attacking Robbins because he viewed him as a competitor.
King said he did his best to move on with his life. But in 2018, a woman reached out to King in a state of distress about Robbins. ''Please get in touch with me,'' she wrote. The woman declined to be interviewed for this story, but BuzzFeed News reviewed her correspondence with King.
By then, the #MeToo movement was in full effect, and King started hearing from others who used to be in Robbins' orbit. He began to wonder about how those women he had approached on Robbins' behalf might have felt.
At the encouragement of a friend, he reached out to a reporter at BuzzFeed News. ''It's a classic case of nobody will come forward,'' he wrote in one email, ''because they fear his money and power.'' It was time to change that, he said.
David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty ImagesRobbins during a live event in 2016.
A couple of months later, Robbins faced his first real backlash, after he was filmed criticizing the #MeToo movement.
Robbins also praised the casino magnate Steve Wynn, who had recently been accused of sexual harassment. He said he knew a ''dozen'' men who were afraid of hiring attractive women because it posed too big a risk.
This was a rare moment: footage from inside Robbins' world released outside of his tight control.
Robbins apologized, but less than two weeks later, secret footage obtained by BuzzFeed News captured him pointing out a fan at a London show whom he called ''attractive as hell'' before declaring he wanted her to ''come up onstage and make love to me.''
And in December 2018, Robbins was in Palm Beach, Florida, for another Date With Destiny event. A woman stepped up to the microphone. Speaking softly, she told Robbins that her husband had emotionally abused her.
That set Robbins off. In a 50-minute secret recording obtained by BuzzFeed News, he launched into a tirade, punctuated with expletive-laden questions. ''What the fuck is emotional abuse?'' he asked the woman. ''Are we that fucking weak that someone can't tell you with passion what they fucking feel without them abusing you?''
''Are we that fucking weak that someone can't tell you with passion what they fucking feel without them abusing you?''
''She's focused on her needs,'' he went on. ''We've not heard one thing in the last 12 minutes about his needs. And we're already characterizing it as emotional violence. There's no fucking thing.''
''There has been physical violence,'' the woman clarified soon after.
''What led to that?'' Robbins shot back. ''What role did you play? I'm not suggesting there's any excuse for hitting a woman, so hear me, but I also want you to know that people don't just act a certain fucking way.''
When the woman tentatively began to describe the violence '-- details she asked BuzzFeed News not to publish '-- Robbins interrupted her and said her husband ''sounds like somebody that actually wants to engage with you because he loves you.''
''What I find when I usually dig in,'' he later said, ''is what they call abuse is a relabeling of 'they didn't like what the person said or did.''' He later turned back to the crowd. ''She's lying to herself,'' he said. ''She's done it so often she doesn't even know the difference between a truth and a lie anymore."
''Has he loved you?'' Robbins went on. ''Has he looked out for you, does he put up with you when you've been a crazy bitch? Have you ever been a crazy bitch? Ever?''
''Probably, yes,'' the woman answered, her voice shaky. The crowd laughed. The song ''Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'' by Moby began to play on the speakers.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the woman said she understood why people would find Robbins' comments upsetting. But she was able to take ''whatever served'' her from the intervention even if she didn't feel everything Robbins said applied to her situation. ''I didn't take it personally,'' she said.
''Does he put up with you when you've been a crazy bitch?''
Robbins' team attended to her afterward, and with their help, the woman realized she ''had a self-love issue,'' she said. (Both the woman and Robbins' lawyers said there was a follow-up portion but declined to provide the recording to BuzzFeed News.) The experience helped her discover her own agency and sever ties with her husband for good. She later published an account thanking Robbins for his teachings.
''In no way, shape, or form I would like to give the wrong impression that I found the interaction with Tony to be damaging to me or that I found it not useful,'' she said. She also repeatedly asked to make clear she was not the person who had leaked the audio, and therefore had not violated the rules of the event.
Experts in domestic violence who reviewed the 50-minute transcript voiced serious concerns about the encounter.
''In some ways, the dynamics of Robbins' relationships with the women in these workshops is essentially the same as the dynamics of the abuse that may have brought them to him in the first place,'' said Leigh Goodmark, a professor and director of the Gender Violence Clinic at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.
''I'm glad that experience was empowering for her, but another survivor sitting in that room might have felt like she was being ridiculed and her experiences were being dismissed,'' she said.
''There is no context that would make this okay,'' said Latifa Lyles, an executive at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
One morning in late November 2018, Gary King received a threatening letter from Lavely & Singer, the famously aggressive Hollywood law firm whose founder once told the New York Times its ''goal is to try to kill the story.''
''We have been informed by several individuals that you are the source of false and malicious information and rumors that have been provided to on-line publication BuzzFeed,'' the letter read.
The firm warned King that his conduct could cost him a fortune if he didn't take back everything he had already said within 48 hours and promise not to make any more ''defamatory'' accusations against Robbins.
King's lawyer responded that the threats were triggering the post-traumatic stress disorder he had developed after his son's suicide. Lavely & Singer replied that King had ''no one to blame other than himself.''
King received a third letter from Lavely & Singer in February. ''We are informed that Mr King met with BuzzFeed reporter, Jane Bradley, last week in Florida.''
In April, in-house attorneys at Robbins Research International sent out a new nondisclosure agreement to staff. It demanded not just silence but also a promise to take action to stop their colleagues from disclosing ''Confidential Information.'' If they breached the NDA they would have to pay Robbins up to $100,000 in damages.
Lavely & Singer also sent threats to another staffer accused of speaking with BuzzFeed News. Unlike others in Robbins' orbit, the man said he had never signed an NDA. Yet one letter, reviewed by BuzzFeed News, warned that if he did not retract his story, ''Your life will be forever changed.''
He also received text messages from a former colleague asking him to pass on information about BuzzFeed News to Robbins' team. He said that the colleague told him he could receive an unspecified ''reward'' if he did so. That same woman had previously spoken with BuzzFeed News herself claiming to have been a victim of sexual harassment by an event leader who worked for Robbins' company '-- but failed to produce any evidence. In May, an attorney for Robbins wrote to the staffer to say that a goodwill payment of $3,485 could be available to him on the condition that he sign a legal document agreeing not to cooperate with the BuzzFeed News investigation. He refused.
Employee NDAs are ''common and standard in the industry,'' Lavely & Singer said. The idea that Robbins' company conducts its business with ''intense secrecy'' is ''misplaced and sophomoric.'' Lavely & Singer denied that it is an ''aggressive firm'' saying, ''we merely apply existing law to counter and preclude illegal conduct by others, including individuals who would publish false and defamatory statements regarding our clients.''
The firm's threats serve as ''an example of using the law to silence people and keep conduct in the dark,'' said Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center and cofounder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. ''In the era of #MeToo, more and more people feel emboldened to speak out,'' she said. Threats such as the ones Lavely & Singer directed to people in Tony Robbins' orbit ''are sending a reminder: 'You are not as powerful as you think.'''
Jerod Harris / WireImageRobbins motivates a crowd.
Gary King said he decided to speak out as a gesture of solidarity with the women who felt too scared to come forward. ''Nothing is more important than your character in life,'' King said. ''Knowing I knew all that stuff that went on and I didn't do anything about it? I couldn't function like that.''
Though each of the women who backed away from speaking on the record about Robbins said they were afraid, some also gave more complex reasons.
To this day, Marie believes Robbins' work ''saves and changes lives.'' In fact she said it helped her not to see herself as a victim when she grapples with the way he treated her. ''It's easy to blame someone else for our problems however we don't grow or change by doing so,'' she told BuzzFeed News in one email. ''While I may not agree with everything Tony does as a person, I am forever grateful for the gift Tony's been in my life.''
After years of therapy, she is still struggling to recover from her experiences in Robbins' inner sanctum. ''I had so much confidence and was so strong and powerful in how I saw myself,'' she said. ''I haven't gotten that back.'' '—
Opening art: Benjamin Lowy / Getty Images; illustrations by Akiko Stehrenberger for BuzzFeed News.
[Editor's note: The maker of I Am Not Your Guru also directed a documentary based on reporting by Katie J.M. Baker, one of the reporters of this piece.]
Tony Robbins is the world's most famous self-help guru. This is the story he doesn't want you to read. A BuzzFeed News Investigation
An Open Letter to BuzzFeed Editors and Board of Directors from Tony Robbins
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:20
This letter is one that I would have preferred not to write.
I have been the target of a year-long investigation by BuzzFeed. Unfortunately, your organization has made it clear to my team that you intend to move forward with publishing an inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods. It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life's work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years.
Please see this video with one person's account of how your reporters so eagerly tossed her truth aside: https://youtu.be/xJ3kWMBJE5Y
To put it in the words of your own reporters, you are preparing to publish an article with the malicious intent to ''take Tony Robbins down.''
You have denied my team's requests to meet with you in-person to present key evidence that contradicts your false allegations. You do not seek the truth; you seek to further your own agenda.
After more than a year-long investigation by your online entertainment company, you allege that approximately 20''30 years ago'Š'--'Šwhen I was in my 20's and early 30's'Š'--'ŠI was negligent with both my employees and individuals who chose to attend my seminars. You also allege (through anonymous sources) that I pursued conflicting intimate relationships. Your claims range from indistinct to ridiculous.
We have evidence to prove that your reporters rejected and otherwise ignored factual accounts from several individuals you contacted. In some cases, those individuals were even harassed and lied to when their accounts did not align with Buzzfeed's predetermined thesis.
What stands out'Š'--'Ševen in today's sea of mis-representation and journalistic corner-cutting'Š'--'Šis the 2014 report by the industry-standard, non-partisan, Pew Research Center which cites Buzzfeed as ''the least trusted news source'' of them all. So, it stands to reason that you are presently facing financial, organizational, and management troubles. BuzzFeed is unapologetically fueling the current cultural divide by targeting well-known individuals with false allegations to boost its readership and serve its shareholders.
Let me be clear, while my open-classroom therapeutic methods are not for everyone, and while I am on my best day still only an imperfect human being, I have never behaved in the reckless, irresponsible, or malicious manner intimated by false, unfounded, and incendiary allegations suggested by BuzzFeed story-tellers.
Several individuals have contacted us to let us know that you attempted to manipulate their testimony and, in some cases, even ignored their legal counsel when they pointed out inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of their client's personal accounts at the hands of your reporters.
Why didn't you listen to what these individuals had to say and instead choose to proceed with inverted truths as your central narrative?
Your organization cannot claim objectivity or journalistic integrity when your written ethics and standards policy claims that in ''activism'' issues ''there are not two sides.'' As we all know, in the context of a just democracy, there are always two sides.
In my six decades on this earth, I've had the privilege to work with leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, presidents of countries, and international companies, not to mention millions of dedicated human beings from over 100 countries around the world. Never in my life have I witnessed a cultural climate quite like the one we're living in today. This is an era marked by deeply-divided environments where click-bait headline news is designed to instigate a polarized public, grab their attention, and incite minds on constant-alert, waiting for the next notification to react to and believe the worst.
The foundation of what we teach in my seminars and audio programs hinges on understanding the power and impact of human belief systems, the importance of clarifying one's values, and the constant effect that language has in shaping our emotions and our lives.
To understand how our country's discourse has deteriorated into constant conflict, consider the world's foremost dictionaries recent Word of the Year selections:
In 2016 Oxford Dictionary chose: ''post-truth''In 2017 Collins Dictionary chose: ''fake news''In 2018 Dictionary.com chose: ''mis-information''The very heart of my life's work is empowering others to find the TRUTH that sets them free'Š'--'Šthe honesty and authenticity to breakthrough and expand. For more than 40 years I've encouraged people to seek the tools of transformation to grow into the men and women they dream to be in order to live the fulfilling lives they envision for their highest self. Through the course of my career, more than 50 million people have utilized my teachings'Š'--'Šthis includes more than 4 million people who have attended live events in-person.
My record is nearly a half-century long. I stand on that.
We need to start having a different nature of conversations in a very different way. Real change is nothing but finding new patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that meets our collective needs on a deeper level than the previous pattern. This current pattern is no longer serving our highest good. We demonize human beings for simply being human. If we learn from our mistakes we will evolve into better human beings.
Amidst all the divisiveness in the world today, I truly believe there is a yearning and a calling within all of us for a kinder way'Š'--'Ša life of compassion, forgiveness, and a desire to live as brothers and sisters. I pray that, out of all of this, we can choose to unite rather than separate; to drop our judgments and criticisms, and look for the goodness in each other. We are all human beings doing the best we can. It's time we come together.
Millions of people have experienced life-changing breakthroughs and transformations on our journey of growth and I invite them to join me now to stop BuzzFeed and others from tearing our society down by denying and mischaracterizing the truth. Enough is enough.
-Tony Robbins
Below is a link to just one example of an individual who is frustrated by the way your reporters tried to take two minutes of seminar footage out of context in order to frame my two hours of work with her as ''abusive'' rather than acknowledging her direct experience and testimony to you of how it positively and profoundly changed her life.
https://youtu.be/xJ3kWMBJE5Y
When is the 'OK' gesture not OK? - BBC News
Sat, 18 May 2019 14:49
Image copyright Ruuben Kaalep Image caption Marine Le Pen said she had no idea this sign was not OK France's Marine Le Pen, of the far-right National Rally, is the latest politician to find themselves in hot water for signalling that everything is OK.
While visiting Estonia's far-right EKRE party, which has just entered government, she made the ancient hand gesture in a selfie with the party's youth leader, Ruuben Kaalep.
There is just one problem - the symbol has been widely used by white nationalists in recent years, and for many people has taken on a darker meaning.
"I'd never heard of the second meaning of this trivial gesture," Marine Le Pen said.
But she has still come in for criticism, with some asking how the political leader could be ignorant of a major trend among the far-right scene she operates in.
From the ultra-right to American conservatives and even the suspect in a mass murder, the symbol is being used to "troll the media" and ruffle feathers.
So when is the gesture not OK?
Internet trolls turned trendsettersThe entire saga started out as an online joke - taking an innocent and widely-used gesture and pretending there was a sinister hidden meaning behind it, hoping to trick the media and left-leaning people into outrage.
But the joke was so successful, and the gesture so widespread among the far-right and white nationalists, that many believe the OK sign is changing meaning.
It was even used in court by the suspect in the Christchurch killings, after he killed 51 people after opening fire on two mosques - bringing it to international attention as a genuine white power symbol.
Image copyright EPA Image caption The accused in the Christchurch killings during his brief public moment It all began in 2017 on the infamous internet message boards 4Chan. Through its long and controversial lifespan, the site has been the source of many internet memes and jokes but also has a strong right-leaning political audience.
The hoax planned on 4Chan was simple - to ridicule media by convincing reporters of a fake white power symbol. The preposterous reasoning to be given was that in a hand making the OK sign, the three straight fingers make a "W" shape, while the closed thumb and forefinger symbolise the letter "P".
It was wildly successful, and the popularity of the gesture used to mock left-leaning people or "troll" viewers exploded.
In the two years since, however, its constant use by right-wing or extremist individuals has turned the hidden meaning into a genuine connotation.
As the US Anti-Defamation League (ADL) puts it: "By 2019, at least some white supremacists seem to have abandoned the ironic or satiric intent behind the original trolling campaign and used the symbol as a sincere expression of white supremacy."
Many now consider the sign to be a white nationalist "dog whistle" - a sign only intended to be understood by those in the know.
Which makes its use in the current political climate a bit complicated.
False accusationsAround most of the world, the OK sign still means what it always has - that everything is fine.
In some countries, however, the gesture is considered vulgar. It can also have other meanings - among young men, it is frequently used in the "circle game", where making the sign below the waist and getting a friend to look at it entitles the prankster to thump said friend on the arm.
Before the hoax tried to invent an alternative meaning, supporters of US President Donald Trump had frequently been photographed using the OK sign - a gesture in selfies which spread among the group.
"In the end, it can mean almost anything," as the US-based Southern Poverty Law Centre says in its explanation of the topic.
The ADL, too, warns against jumping to conclusions about the meaning, saying the "overwhelming usage" is still the traditional sense.
"Someone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention," the organisation says in its educational material.
"Since 2017, many people have been falsely accused of being racist or white supremacist for using the "okay" gesture in its traditional and innocuous sense."
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Martin (L) and Mart Helme make the OK sign during their swearing-in Context, then, is key: which is why Estonia's EKRE, who Marine Le Pen was visiting in May, have come under fire.
The group's two most prominent leaders, father and son Mart and Martin Helme, both made the symbol while being sworn into office as they entered government.
Mr Helme the senior has suggested that indigenous, white Estonians are being "replaced" by immigrants, while his son has previously said "I want Estonia to be a white country".
But it has also spread far outside politics. A Chicago baseball team banned one fan from the stadium for making the sign on a television broadcast, while a US Coast Guard employee was pulled from duty for the same offence.
What began as an online joke has transformed into a loaded gesture with very real consequences.
OTG
Genius chat app links you with other users whose phone battery is about to die '' BGR
Fri, 17 May 2019 03:28
We're so addicted to our phones that we simply can't fathom the idea of not being able to use it because it's out of battery juice. That's why we're constantly charging our devices, making sure they have enough battery to get us through the day.
But who said that having your battery die can't be a fun experience, especially if you don't have a charger or external battery on hand. That's where the brilliant $1 Die With Me iPhone and Android app will come in handy.
Die With Me only works if your phone's battery dips below 5%. That's actually everything you need to know about it:
The chat app you can only use when you have less than 5% battery. Die together in a chatroom on your way to offline peace.
That means the app connects you with people in the same situation, who may be looking to kill time while their batteries run out. It also means that you can't use the app unless the battery indicator shows 5% of charge or less, which makes this chat concept so unique. Each chat experience should be totally random and unique.
Reading the comments of some Android users on a Reddit thread Reddit thread made me realize you can use the app to test out the health of your battery.
Completely discharging your phone's battery just for the sole purpose of trying out Die With Me seems silly. But you might consider doing it just to see if your phone's battery can get all the way down to 0%. It's not a scientific test to measure the health of your phone's battery. But if you can't get below 5%, then there might be something wrong with the battery.
Some Reddit users complained that their devices '-- other than iPhones '-- shut down unexpectedly even when the indicator shows there should be plenty of battery life left. Those devices likely need to have their batteries replaced with a new one.
Download the appropriate version of Die With Me at this link.
Nest, the company, died at Google I/O 2019 | Ars Technica
Fri, 17 May 2019 11:05
The dumb home '-- The Nest ecosystem is dead. Nest accounts are dead. Nest's privacy firewall is dead. Ron Amadeo - May 10, 2019 11:09 am UTC
Ron Amadeo / Nest
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.'--Don't be distracted by the shiny new "Nest" smart display that was just announced: Nest died at Google I/O 2019. "Google Nest" is the new reality now, where Nest is no longer a standalone company but instead is a sub-brand (not even a division) of Google. The shutdown of Nest as an independent company was announced in 2018, but the pile of announcements at and around I/O 2019 marks the first time we're seeing what the future of Nest looks like inside of Google.
Nest laid out its future in an ominously titled "What's Happening" page on Nest.com and a notice on the Works with Nest page. It sounds like a brutal outcome for users, who are looking at a dead-end ecosystem, potentially broken smart homes, and the shattering of the Google/Nest privacy firewall.
Meet the ''Google Nest Learning Thermostat''First up is Google's salvaging of the Nest brand as a general purpose smart home sub-brand. Just as Google has the "Pixel" brand for smartphones and laptops, it will now use the "Nest" brand similarly, so get used to saying and reading "Google Nest," which now means "a Google smart home product."
The first item announced under this new branding was the
Google Nest Hub Max, a bigger version of the
Google Home Hub smart display. The original Home Hub is getting renamed as well and is now the Google Nest Hub.
The new branding hasn't hit the Google Store yet, but dig through Google's help pages and you'll see that every Nest product has been renamed to "Google Nest." Now we have the "Google Nest Learning Thermostat," the "Google Nest Protect," "Google Nest Secure Alarm System," "Google Nest Hello" (this one is a doorbell), and the "Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor." These are all a bit awkward and wordy, but they have nothing on the "Nest x Yale Lock with Google Nest connect," which is the actual name of a Nest door lock now.
The takeaway here is that since Nest is not a standalone company anymore, "Nest" doesn't get to be a standalone product brand anymore. Officially, it will always be "Google Nest."
So far, the Google Home speakers have not been renamed, but if Google is really serious about this, we might end up with "Google Nest Speakers" or something similar. Google Wi-Fi is also not yet called "Google Nest Wi-Fi." The Chromecast has not gotten a name change yet, either'--though as a streaming stick named after a Web browser, it still has the strangest branding of any Google product.
Nest's smart home platform is deadEnlarge / "Works with Nest" will no longer work with Nest.
Nest
The second big thing to come out of the show is that Google is killing the "Works with Nest" platform. This was a smart home platform that would let the Nest thermostat act as a hub and coordinator for a lot of your other smart home products. A notice on the "Works with Nest" webpage reads, "Works with Nest is winding down." Google's smart home strategy will now revolve around only the "Works with Google Assistant" program, and Nest's ecosystem will shut down in a bit over three months, on August 31, 2019.
I'm sure there are "Works with Nest" ecosystem users out there that bought products specifically because they "Worked with Nest." When the service shuts down in August, it sounds like all of those (probably expensive) third-party smart home products will stop working with any Nest-based automation workflows. This mandatory feature removal situation is pretty much a smart home owner's worst nightmare.
Nest-branded products will continue to work with each other, but since "Works with Nest" was a program that let other services talk to Nest, a lot of third-party integrations will be going away. The Verge has a good rundown of just how many services are going to break, and it's a brutal who's who of smart home products. Amazon Alexa, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Logitech Harmony, Lutron lights, August Home, and Wemo switches will all be affected.
Alexa, it seems, will be getting special treatment and will continue to work. Google has a special page for Alexa, which reads, "We are working with Amazon to migrate the Nest skill on Amazon Alexa to ensure a smooth transition for Nest customers prior to winding down the Works With Nest program in August." Google and Amazon have had trouble working together in the past, but they seem to have called a truce lately. Other services have not been so lucky, and there are already emails out from IFTTT, Lutron, and others declaring the death of their Nest integration.
"Works with Nest" users will be facing a broken smart home and will have to pick up the scraps of their smart home ecosystem and MacGyver together another solution out of the pieces. The somewhat good news is that most smart home products are compatible with multiple smart home ecosystems, so it should be rare for something to turn into a complete brick. You'll just have to switch to a new ecosystem, go through a ton of setup, and be ready to deal with all the things that won't work the same way they worked before. Theoretically ,some of these services could continue to talk to Nest by supporting the Google Assistant system instead.
"Works with Nest" was always a bit of a strange solution for smart home management. It made the thermostat the center of your smart home not because that made any sense from a smart home architecture perspective but because a thermostat was Nest's most popular product. "Works with Nest" didn't offer any kind of control interface for this ecosystem of smart devices, either. If you, for example, managed to find a "Works with Nest" smart lighting system, Nest didn't give you a way to actually control the lights'--just location detection through the Nest app.
"Works with Google Assistant" is a voice and touch-centric smart home solution, which makes a lot more sense. The system revolves around Google Home speakers and Google Nest smart displays, which are both excellent control interfaces. You can turn on lights and lock doors with voice or touch commands; you can raise the temperature on a thermostat; and you can run routines that do a lot of these things at once.
Nest accounts and data separation is deadAs part of the Googification of Nest, Nest accounts are being phased out of Google's smart home strategy. Existing users won't have their Nest accounts taken away, but the FAQ on Nest.com "strongly recommends" Nest users migrate to a Google account. Nest's FAQ warns that "As Nest offers new connected home devices and services in the future, many of those will only be available to our users with Google Accounts." New Nest users will be required to use a Google account.
Migrating to a Google Account means turning all your Nest data over to Google'--data that previously had been kept separate. Google says it will use your Nest data in accordance with the Google Privacy Policy. Nest data includes a lot of scary feeds from motion sensors, cameras, and microphones and Google has a whole extra page up on "Google Nest Privacy" in the home, where it outlines three major principles:
We will be transparent about the data we collect and whyWe will never sell your personal information to anyoneWe will empower you to review, move, or delete your data
There are even special pages outlining principles and data retention for cameras, microphones, home sensors, and Wi-Fi data.
Keeping the Nest data separate from Google was a big concession made when Google bought the company, designed to allay privacy fears. Now that that is going away, I would imagine some Nest users are not happy.
Other Nest things that will probably die in the futureSo far it seems like the plan is to remove as many Nest-proprietary things as possible and get Nest people on Google versions of those products and services. Nest's website promises that "over the coming months, you'll begin seeing changes across our products, accounts, services, and policies as we bring everything together under Nest." It would not surprise me to hear that all of these "changes" involve shutting down a Nest product or service in favor of a Google version.
We just had a clash between "Works with Nest" and "Works with Google Assistant," and the Nest product was shut down, so let's whip out our crystal ball and extend this to a few other points of crossover.
The Google Home app versus the Nest AppEnlarge / The Nest app.
Nest
The app situation is a mess right now, with both a "Google Home" app and a "Nest" app. The Nest app is for thermostats, cameras, the security system, smoke detectors, and any other old Nest products, while the smart speakers, Chromecast, and "Google Nest" smart displays use the Google Home app.
The Google Nest hardware rebranding muddies the app situation. People buying a newly branded Google Nest Hub or Google Nest Hub Max might be tempted to install the Nest app, but that would be
wrong'--these products need to be set up in the Google Home app. The Nest Hub Max smart display has a camera on top, and while this is a "Nest cam" that can record video to Nest's security camera cloud system, the video feed is also viewable in the Google Home app.
Having two smart home apps for inconsistently named products seems like a really clunky solution, and with the Google Home app already picking up some basic Nest camera compatibility, it would not surprise me to hear that the Nest app will shut down. As a Nest thermostat user, I would love for the Nest app to die because it's awful. It is unable to get basic functionality right, like reliable background location, which is kind of important for a "smart" thermostat designed to sync the house temperature with your comings and goings. Nest app crashes frequently and even when it does work, it doesn't follow any of Google's design language.
The Nest transition FAQ page asks, "What will happen to the Nest app?" and gives a curt response of "At this time, the Nest app will continue to be available." Google could have answered this question with lots of flowery language about how great the Nest app is and how it empowers users to do more with their smart home ecosystem experience, but this answer instead makes it sound like the Nest app will be jettisoned as soon as Google Home re-implements all of its features.
Nest Aware versus Google OneAnother overlap is in the area of cloud storage subscriptions, where Nest has Nest Aware and Google has Google One. Nest Aware gives you online storage of Nest Cam video footage for $5-$30 a month, depending on how far back you want your video history to go. Google One is an upsell for more storage on your Google Account. A basic Google account gets 15GB of storage for Gmail, Drive, documents, and photos, and Google One offers upgrades starting at 100GB for $2 a month and going to stratospherically high prices, like 30 terabytes for $300 a month.
Double dipping on storage subscriptions would be pretty lame, but given that Nest products will start to use a Google account and Google One is for more storage on your Google account, it would make sense for Google One to give you storage for Nest camera footage. Google has other subscription products, but those are always for content, like ad-free YouTube, YouTube TV, or Google Music streaming. In these cases, Google is paying a third-party for content, and that money needs to come from somewhere.
RIP Nest the company, hello Google NestNest
While Google wanted to spin the Google Nest Hub Max unveiling at Google I/O as some kind of positive thing, it feels like we are witnessing the end of Nest as it used to be. The new "Google Nest" will be all Google, all the time, and anything that isn't a built-by-Google device, application, or service now seems like a legacy item. At some point in the future, it seems like only the brand will be left.
I've gone to Nest product launches several times, and every time, the company would talk about how Nest was the most recognized brand in smart homes. Clearly Google still values the Nest mark and wants to keep the brand around inside Google, but first it has to go through a clumsy and awkward shutdown process, which will almost certainly be damaging to the brand's reputation with existing users (and anyone else paying attention).
Google has been on a bit of a product shutdown rampage in 2019, and you can add "Works with Nest" to the list of things Google has murdered lately, along with Google Inbox, Google+ Google Hangouts, Google Music, and Chromecast Audio.
With more options, the future of TV only gets more complicated - News - Austin American-Statesman - Austin, TX
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:44
Omar L. Gallaga @omargFriday May 17, 2019 at 1:26 PM May 17, 2019 at 1:26 PM
For the Hayden family, TV has gotten to be too much of a good thing.
After years as loyal customers of Grande Communications for their internet, TV and digital phone service, the Austin family is going to keep the internet service, but cut the digital phone and TV programming. They're opting to wade into the booming TV streaming market that includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and many others in order to shave their $220-a-month bill to less than $150, including internet service.
But it wasn't only cost that was the deciding factor, said Tim Hayden, president of Austin's Brain+Trust Partners consultancy.
''We have way more TV than we need,'' he said. ''The reason we wanted to cut the cord is we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 channels and we only watch 10 of them with frequency.''
Hayden, his wife and their 7-year-old son already subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access and Nat Geo TV as well as MLB TV for Texas Rangers games. As part of their transition, they'll be spending about $300 to $400 for equipment to replace their cable DVR in order to record over-the-air broadcasts.
But even with all those services, Hayden says he knows they won't be able to watch everything out there '-- and that's part of the point.
''When you look at the fantastic programming that is coming from HBO and Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, you make some sacrifices,'' he said. ''You start to understand that hey, maybe we're not going to watch 'Game of Thrones.' Maybe we're not going to pay that $10 a month for HBO Go. I'm not saying we're not going to, but in the near term, maybe we don't need all these things.''
The Haydens are going through what a lot of peak TV-era viewers are right now: Evaluating where they want to spend their entertainment dollars and whether subscribing to a batch of online TV services is better and cheaper than what they can get with a cable or satellite TV subscription.
A research survey released in March from consulting firm Deloitte found that for the first time, more Americans are paying for internet video services than are paying for cable and satellite.
Guy Bisson, research director with Ampere Analysis, said consumers are, on average, taking on two or three streaming services at a time. With new TV services arriving this year from Apple and Disney, in addition to some that could emerge from movie studios, Bisson says the number of streaming subscriptions customers are willing to pay for might grow.
''The real question is at what point does it stop or cap out,'' Bisson said. ''In the medium or long term, that ceiling will be breached; people will take much more than two or three services.''
So what's a cord-cutter or someone who just wants to get the best mix of TV programming supposed to do?
Not everyone will have the patience or strategic sense to reexamine their options every six months, as the Haydens plan to do. But a sense of the streaming-TV landscape over the next few months might help, and some mythbusting couldn't hurt.
In the interest of helping you make your own plan of attack for TV watching, let's take a look at some claims you might read on the very unreliable internet, and see if they hold weight:
Claim: It's getting easier to cut the cord and you should do it.
On the surface, this is true. Pretty much any new HDTV you buy today has streaming TV channels built in. If you have an internet connection, you can access them easily that way or with an inexpensive Roku or Amazon Fire TV add-on device.
But if you're comparing ease of use of services such as Hulu and HBO Now to turning on a cable box and flipping channels, you start to realize that it's not that simple for everyone. Those with poor internet connections, or who don't want to deal with remembering logins and passwords, or hunting for programming across multiple services, could end up missing their old cable package.
Claim: Streaming TV is cheaper than cable
Again, this seems true now for people who are subscribing to two or three services at a time, but if you factor in TV/internet bundles that offer discounts, the rising prices of services such as Netflix (which had a recent price hike and can cost up to $15.99 a month) and the sheer number of services we'll eventually have, some might end up paying more to get all the programming they don't want to miss.
Bisson predicts that movie studios such as Warner Bros. will follow Disney's lead and start their own streaming services, further fragmenting the market.
''The key there is they own all the content or the majority of the powerful content brands,'' he said. ''When they start to remove content from other services, that will impact their competition; that will impact and change the market.''
Claim: Cable TV and satellite operators will be left behind by internet streaming
This might have been true before industry consolidation created tech/content behemoths that not only control the internet pipes, but who also own entertainment brands of their own. Your (AT&T-owned) DirecTVs and (Charter-owned, Time Warner-adjacent) Spectrums are going to be doing their own TV streaming and partnering and try to steer you to their own original shows and movies.
Bisson says some viewers could choose to re-attach the cord if these companies consolidate TV packages in an attractive way with so-called ''skinny bundles,'' or full-blown subscriptions that integrate Netflix and other streaming TV into their own offerings, something Apple plans to do as well.
''Right now, it's very distinct when you go in and out of interfaces and applications,'' he said. ''Once that can be integrated, it might be through Apple TV or a TV operator, the distinctions start to disappear.''
Claim: Netflix's growth is slowing and the company is vulnerable
Netflix has been so dominant in the streaming TV market that it's fashionable to predict that the service will eventually take a fall or be overtaken by something better.
But even as the company's growth has slowed in the U.S., it still has a staggering 139 million subscribers worldwide and is continuing to expand rapidly overseas.
Bisson said that when viewers take on multiple streaming services, Netflix is usually the first one they choose.
''It's the gateway drug for streaming,'' he said. The company's offerings, with about 300 originals currently in production, are ''second to none,'' Bisson said.
A recent price hike caused a lot of grumbling, but the $2-on-average Netflix price increase is going to help the company become cash-flow positive, he said.
''Their finances are going to look very different,'' Bisson said. ''They'll be able to spend at least at the rate they are now, if not at a greater rate.''
How much does Netflix spend on original programming? It's expected to shell out $15 billion in 2019 alone.
Claim: Apple and Disney are going to disrupt the streaming-TV market
Apple TV Plus is scheduled to launch in the fall with original programming from Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and others. But it hasn't announced a subscription price and its few dozen planned movies and shows are likely to be dwarfed by the number of offerings on competing services, at least at first.
Apple has mountains of money to spend on content, but its original video programming to date has consisted of ''Carpool Karaoke'' and ... some other shows and concerts that have been less than memorable.
Its big advantage is reach; as with Apple Music, it can push the service to its many, many iPhone, iPad and Apple TV customers and play the long game.
Disney, on the other hand, is bursting with popular content, from its deep library of animated films, to ''Avengers: Endgame,'' which will debut on Disney Plus on Dec. 11. Movies such as ''Black Panther,'' ''Incredibles 2'' and ''Star Wars: The Last Jedi'' will disappear from Netflix and move over to Disney Plus.
Disney also owns ESPN and has a big stake in Hulu, which means it will likely offer bundle of those services with its $6.99 Disney Plus.
It's too early to say which service will make the bigger splash, but the smart money might be on Disney, at least at the outset.
Claim: You'll have to pay a bundle no matter what you do
A lot of what we've talked about so far mostly applies to people who are consuming a lot of television, the kind of viewer who wants to be up to date on ''Stranger Things,'' ''The Handmaid's Tale'' and ''The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'' in addition to what's on broadcast TV and cable channels such as Comedy Central and HBO.
But if you're not so hooked on television, you might save a bundle of money by simply opting out of bundles (skinny or otherwise), limiting yourself to a single streaming TV subscription at a time, or just getting a decent HDTV antenna and enjoying live television for free, something Tim Hayden encourages.
''With an HD antenna, you can pick up about 55 to 65 different signals in the Austin area,'' he said. ''What we've found is you can get about 30 of them very clean, with 1080 resolution coming in.''
Almost every streaming service, from Netflix to HBO Now to Hulu, has a free trial period where you can stream and binge to your heart's content to decide if you really want to subscribe. That's more than enough time to catch up on a few seasons of ''Game of Thrones'' or ''The Crown'' without paying a dime.
Examining what you're willing to pay for streaming TV, cable, satellite or additional hardware could bring you to the realization that you should be downsizing anyway.
Hayden said that while most cord cutters are trying to do a 1-to-1 replacement of their programming with streaming services, he's not as interested in the all-you-can-watch approach.
''We're trying" he said, "to whittle this down to what we need to watch.''
BTC
Baltimore Resists Bitcoin Ransom to Enter Second Week of Lockdown
Fri, 17 May 2019 13:03
Baltimore City continues to resist the demands of hackers who have managed to infiltrate and lock its government systems, ensuring that the city has essentially remained in lockdown mode since 7 May 2019.
The ransomware attack has shut down systems essential for completing home sales, halting property deals in Baltimore during one of the busiest times of the year. https://t.co/znfzgXyJvJ
'-- The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) May 14, 2019
The ''Robbinhood'' ransomware attack has placed the local government under siege for two weeks now, forcing it to return to an analog age for most aspects of daily life. Real estate purchases, for example, cannot be carried out because records are simply inaccessible and new ones cannot be filed.
Its incoming mayor, Bernard Young, who will be replacing ousted ex-mayor Catherine Pugh, has remained steadfast and refused to pay the BTC 13 (now worth USD 104,000) that was demanded by the hackers. So far, law enforcement and its online tax portal for property are affected, but city departments are seeking workarounds.
Critics are saying that the refusal to pay could incur even more costs later on, but Baltimore, whose population is at 600,000 people, has already lost money, including some USD 2 million spent this year for upgrading storage. Those new systems have now been irreparably damaged.
The ransomware hackers apparently released some names and passwords from the hack on Twitter, teasing the FBI with a message: ''We've watching [sic] you for days and we've worked on your systems to gain full access to your company and bypass all of your protections.''
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Algo's
This AI-generated Joe Rogan fake has to be heard to be believed - The Verge
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:58
Artificial intelligence isn't creating fake photos and videos '-- it can do fake voices, too.
Up until now, these voices have been noticeably stilted and robotic, but researchers from AI startup Dessa have created what is by far the most convincing voice clone we've ever heard '-- perfectly mimicking the sound of MMA-commentator-turned-podcaster Joe Rogan.
Listen to clips of Dessa's AI Rogan below, or take a quiz on the company's site to see if you can spot the difference between real Rogan and faux Rogan. (It's surprisingly hard!)
In terms of making a convincing fake, Dessa chose its target well. Rogan is probably the world's most popular podcaster, and has recorded nearly 1,300 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience to date. That provides ample training data for any AI system.
It doesn't hurt that the company's engineers are obviously familiar with Rogan's favorite talking points. Speculating about whether or not we're living in a computer simulation, or admiring the upper body strength of chimps '-- that's all prime Rogan material.
But of course, being able to convincingly fake someone's voice has disturbing implications, too. As Dessa's engineers note in a blog post, malicious uses cases for fake voices include spam calls that impersonate your loved ones; using fake voices to bully or harass people; and creating misinformation through faked recordings of politicians.
''Clearly, the societal implications for technologies like speech synthesis are massive,'' Dessa writes. ''And the implications will affect everyone. Poor consumers and rich consumers. Enterprises and governments.''
Fake AI voices could be used for misinformation, but they could also improve technology
The company notes there are benefits as well. These include the creation of more realistic AI assistants; quicker and more accurate dubbing for TV and film; and designing realistic, personalized synthetic voices for individuals with speech impairments.
We've reached out to Dessa for more information about their work, but the company says because of the possibility of malicious uses it won't be releasing its research in full or making its AI models publicly accessible. (A stance we've seen from larger AI labs like OpenAI, which controversially withheld the final version of its text-generating AI system.)
Although there's a good argument to be made that fears about deepfakes are overblown (the technology has been available for years but a fake has yet to impact mainstream politics), it's also clear that the technology is only going to improve and become more accessible in the future.
''Right now, technical expertise, ingenuity, computing power and data are required to make models like RealTalk perform well,'' says the company. ''But in the next few years (or even sooner), we'll see the technology advance to the point where only a few seconds of audio are needed to create a life-like replica of anyone's voice on the planet.''
Listening to AI Joe Rogan talk about chimps ripping your balls off is, strangely, only the beginning.
Update 2.40PM ET: In an Instagram post, Rogan responded to the Dessa voice clone, saying: ''At this point I've long ago left enough content out there that they could basically have me saying anything they want, so my position is to shrug my shoulders and shake my head in awe, and just accept it. The future is gonna be really fucking weird, kids.''
Clips
VIDEO - Hertz has a pattern of mistakenly reporting cars stolen leaving customers arrested, attorney says
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:17
Consumers around the country are sharing the tales of renting a car to then be accused of stealing it by Florida-based rental car giant, Hertz.
"Seven hours I was detained," said Dina Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson was on her way back from visiting family in Canada last year when border patrol agents told her to pull off to the side and turn off the engine of the rental car she was driving.
"I'm terrified. Reliving it is unbearable," Johnson said of the moment she learned the car she was driving was stolen.
"They gave me a stolen car!"
Turns out, the car belonged to another rental car company that had reported it stolen a few days earlier. Yet, a Hertz agent processed the rental and put her in the car.
Johnson has hired an attorney.
So has Magalie Sterlin who says her 2017 rental from a Hertz in South Florida left this mother of one facing the barrel of multiple guns after she was stopped during a checkpoint.
"They had me a gunpoint. I'm like what's going on?" Sterlin says. The officer then told her the car was reported stolen. "I'm like what? I said that's impossible because I rented this car," she says. Sterlin ended up getting arrested and was jailed for a half-a-day. In her police report Sterlin told officers "she did not return the vehicle despite the employee asking her." But Sterlin claims Hertz called her a few days earlier and told her to return the car because the registration was about to expire. She says, Hertz agreed she could return the car Monday instead of Thursday. She was arrested on Sunday.
"When I got out of jail I was told there was a glitch in the system," she said.
Her Philadelphia-based attorney, Francis Alexander, says Hertz's "glitch" has a created a company-wide pattern of wrongly reporting cars stolen and customers, he says, are paying the price.
"Now we're talking about 10-20-30 cases all over the country," Alexander said. One client of his in Pennsylvania was arrested and charged before a judge threw her case out. Another client in Indiana settled her case with Hertz after she too, was wrongly arrested and wrongly accused of stealing the vehicle she rented from Hertz.
"The problem is Hertz has broken computer systems. They have broken policies around standard operating procedures and, as a result of that, good people are being thrown in jail. It's shocking, it's bad and it needs to stop," he said.
But Estero, FL based Hertz, which manages a fleet of 800,00 vehicles and processes tens of millions of rentals each year, is driving home another point.
"False reports of stolen vehicles are extremely rare," said Hertz spokesperson Tressie Rose, told us in a statement. "When it has occurred, it has been the result of unique and extenuating circumstances. In the rare instance an error within our controls has occurred we take responsibility," she said.
The bizarre incidents have consumer protection experts who love to give advice at a standstill.
"What can you do if you find yourself in a position like this" asked Bill Newton of Florida's Consumer Action Network. "It sounds like the plot of a movie," Newton said.
If that's the case, the end of Magalie Sterln's movie is still in the works.
"I've been fighting this case for about 2 years," she said. Sterlin has pled not guilty to a third degree felony for failing to return a rental car. Hertz, in response, told us ''filing a report is a last resort and maintains it followed its overdue rental process in her case including extensive communication with the renter over the course of several weeks.'' Sterlin stands by her story.
Dina Johnson's movie is also still playing out in lawyer talks. This month marks one year since Hertz put this grandmother in someone else's stolen car.
"Seven longest hours of my life. The humiliation, I'm just in shock," she said.
Statements from Hertz More from the Florida Investigative Team Florida Teachers: Failing and Frustrated Florida is key player in medical device fraud scheme described as one of largest in U.S. history Fla. lawmakers want schools to do more to protect kids from lead exposure, but who will pay for it? Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO - Goldman: Apple's earnings would drop by nearly 30% if China bans its products
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:32
CEO of Apple Tim Cook attends China Development Forum 2019 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 23, 2019 in Beijing, China.
VCG | Getty Images
The U.S.-China trade war could take a big chunk out of Apple's bottom line if China retaliates by banning its products, according to an analyst at Goldman Sachs.
Analyst Rod Hall said in a note to clients that Apple's earnings could drop by 29% if the company's products were banned in mainland China. The analyst cut his price target on Apple to $178 per share from $184, representing a 4.6% downside from Tuesday's close of $186.60.
Apple's China business accounted for more than 17% of its sales in its fiscal second quarter, coming in at $10.22 billion. The company also sells billions of dollar worth in iPhones every year in China.
"Should China restrict iPhone production in any way we do not believe the company would be able to shift much iPhone volume outside of China on short notice," Hall said. "We believe that Apple is near its annual rapid ramp of new iPhone production to prepare for new device launches in the Fall so even a short term action affecting production could have longer term consequences for the company."
Hall also noted that China's "tech ecosystem" and local employment could take a hit if Apple products are banned. Most of Apple's supply chain rests in mainland China, including the iPhone's final assembly, which is executed at Foxconn.
Apple shares are down 7% for the month through Tuesday's close as China and the U.S. ratchet up trade fears. The U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billions worth of Chinese goods earlier in May. China retaliated by raising levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports.
Hall is not the only analyst raising concern over Apple's exposure to China. On Monday, HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg cut his price target on the tech giant to $174 per share from $180. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral said Tuesday that Apple's earnings per share would fall by about 15 cents a share for every 5% drop in Greater China sales.
WATCH: Chinese 'nationalism' hurting iPhone sales in China
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VIDEO - Tom Elliott on Twitter: "Actor Jeff Daniels: It's "the end of democracy" if voters elect Trump president again in 2020.'... "
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:27
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VIDEO - ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. BREAKS HIS SILENCE - YouTube
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:24
VIDEO - Feds bring new charges against lawyer Michael Avenatti for misappropriating nearly $300,000 from former client Stormy Daniels - ABC News
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:14
Federal prosecutors in New York charged Michael Avenatti with additional financial crimes Wednesday, including allegedly forging the signature of his former client Stormy Daniels and diverting nearly $300,000 owed to her for a book advance into his own account, according to court records filed on Wednesday.
Interested in Michael Avenatti? Add Michael Avenatti as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Michael Avenatti news, video, and analysis from ABC News.Prosecutors said that he then used money he took from Daniels to make monthly payments on his Ferrari, as well as to cover airfare, dry cleaning, hotels and restaurant bills, as well as payroll and insurance costs for his law firm's employees.
The new charges accuse Avenatti of misappropriating money that was supposed to be paid to Daniels when Avenatti was representing the adult film actress in her public battle against President Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.
"Avenatti used misrepresentations and a fraudulent document purporting to bear his client's name and signature to convince his client's literary agent to divert money owed to Avenatti's client to an account controlled by Avenatti," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "Avenatti then spent the money principally for his own personal and business purposes."
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan -- who have already accused Avenatti of extortion in a case involving Nike -- also indicted him separately on extortion charges in the Nike case on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Avenatti denied the fraud and identity theft charges to ABC News, saying that ''No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled."
"She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we expended huge sums in expenses," he wrote in a statement to ABC News.
"She directly paid only $100.00 (not a typo) for all that she received."
Not so, said Berman in a statement.
Federal prosecutors charge in court papers that Avenatti forged Daniels signature on a document for the purpose of diverting the funds she was owed into an account of his own, and leaving Daniels with the impression that the publishing house she was contracted with to write a book had not delivered the promised advances.
"A month after diverting one payment of $148,750 into his own account, Avenatti allegedly used funds received from another source to pay" Daniels, prosecutors said in the statement.
One week after that, according to prosecutors, Avenatti diverted a second payment of $148,750 to Daniels into his own account.
"To conceal his scheme, and despite repeated requests to Avenatti as [Daniels'] lawyer, for assistance in obtaining the book payment that [Daniels] believed was missing, Avenatti led [her] to believe that [her] publisher was refusing to make the payment...," prosecutors claim.
Avenatti "abused and violated the core duty of an attorney -- the duty to his client," Berman charged in the statement. "As alleged, he used his position of trust to steal an advance on the client's book deal. As alleged, he blatantly lied to and stole from his client to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari. Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client."
In a subsequent statement to ABC News after the charges were filed, Avenatti again reiterated his innocence and said he was entitled to the money from the book advance.
"I look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and passing judgment on my conduct," Avenatti wrote in the statement. "At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented. I was entitled to any monies retained relating to a book per my agreement with the client. It was part of my agreement for representation and compensation.
Daniels' current attorney, Clark Brewster, had a different take when contacted by ABC News.
''I doubt Michael Avenatti is looking forward to jury hearing evidence about his blatant dishonesty and embezzlement of Stormy's book advances," Brewster told ABC News. "If that sentiment is true he has a delusional disorder that merits attention.''
News of prosecutors' inquiry into his business dealings with Daniels marks the latest legal blow for Avenatti, coming after federal prosecutors on both coasts unsealed charges against the controversial 48-year-old attorney.
The Daniels investigation is not related to those charges. But it is being run by the same team of federal officials who slapped Avenatti with two counts of extortion for his alleged role in what prosecutors called ''an old-fashioned shakedown'' of Nike.
He and another celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, allegedly threatened to release damaging information about the sportswear giant if it refused to pay the two attorneys millions of dollars. Geragos was not charged with a crime.
In the Central District of California, prosecutors targeted Avenatti with wire- and bank-fraud charges in a scheme that included stealing funds from a client to pay off his own expenses.
Avenatti gained prominence last year when he began representing Daniels in a defamation lawsuit against Trump. A federal judge in California later threw out the suit and ordered Daniels to reimburse Trump for legal fees.
VIDEO - Kellyanne Conway, Nancy Pelosi clash after Trump meeting with Democrats was cut short | Fox News
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:13
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, had a terse exchange after a meeting between President Trump and Democratic lawmakers was cut short on Wednesday.
Trump scrapped the meeting, which was slated as an opportunity to discuss the country's infrastructure, after Pelosi told reporters that the president "engaged in a cover-up" following a meeting with her caucus.
After Trump left the room, Conway asked the Speaker if she had a "direct response to the president," Fox News confirmed.
TRUMP DEMANDS END TO 'PHONY INVESTIGATIONS' IN FIERY ROSE GARDEN STATEMENT, AFTER MEETING WITH DEMS CUT SHORT
"I'm responding to the president, not staff," Pelosi shot back.
Conway slammed Pelosi's dismissal of her.
"Really great. That's really pro-woman of you,'' the White House counselor is said to have responded.
PELOSI RATCHETS UP RHETORIC, SAYS TRUMP MAY HAVE COMMITTED 'IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE' IN 'PLAIN SIGHT'
The tense moment came before Trump blasted Democratic lawmakers with his remarks from the Rose Garden, telling reporters, "I don't do cover-ups."
''You can't do it under these circumstances,'' Trump said about negotiating with Democrats. ''Get these phony investigations over with.''
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Pelosi doubled down on her accusation at the Center for American Progress 2019 Ideas Conference Wednesday afternoon.
''The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he's engaged in a cover-up. And that could be an impeachable offense,'' Pelosi said.
VIDEO - Theresa May set to go after Andrea Leadsom quits over Brexit fiasco and Cabinet try to force her from power
Thu, 23 May 2019 03:27
ISOLATED Theresa May was last night holed up in No10 amid an extraordinary Cabinet bid to force her from power.
Brexiteer Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom quit over the PM's bid to offer MPs the chance of a second EU referendum.
London News Pictures
A tearful Theresa May has been left isolated and holed up in No10 Andrea Leadsom arriving back at her London home following her resignationPA:Press Association
Andrea Leadsom's letter of resignationAnd seven other Cabinet ministers also told No10 they will not back Mrs May '-- a clear signal for her to step down.
But the PM refused to budge, with aides saying: ''She is going nowhere until she gets Brexit done.''
Mrs May even refused a series of ministers' demands for face-to-face talks, scrapping an appointment with Scottish Secretary David Mundell with ten minutes' notice.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith last night joked that Mrs May was virtually barricading herself in at Downing Street '-- saying: ''The sofa is up against the door, she's not leaving.''
Cabinet rebels are furious at Mrs May for saying the Government will legislate for a second referendum, insisting they agreed only to offer the Commons a vote on it.
One minister said: ''It's not just her intention of legis­lating for a second refer­endum. It's also become a clear reality the PM is no longer getting a hearing, so someone else now needs to do it.''
Mrs May's bleary-eyed look was reminiscent of ex-PM Margaret Thatcher' tears after she quit in 1990.
News Group Newspapers Ltd
The Sun's coverage of Margaret Thatcher's departure from office as PMAfter her resignation, Leadsom delivered a withering personal attack on Theresa May '-- accusing her of blowing Brexit and calling on her to quit ''in the interests of the country''.
The PM's ex-leadership rival reignited their long-running feud with a devastating letter to Mrs May while resigning as Leader of the Commons.
In it she came close to hinting Mrs May had lied to the Cabinet by failing to consult ministers, which saw a second referendum plan passed without their say-so.
It also emerged that 76 Tory MPs '-- a quarter of her party '-- are now vowing to vote down her deal.
Tomorrow the PM faces a crunch showdown with Tory kingmaker Sir Graham Brady.
He will tell her she must name her departure date by the end of the day '-- or face being forced out by his powerful 1922 executive committee within days.
The 18-strong group, which governs party leadership rules, yesterday decided to give Mrs May 48 hours to leave No10 with ''dignity''.
AP:Associated Press
Mrs May unveiled her controversial 'new deal' on Brexit on Wednesday in a desperate bid to win round Labour MPs' support to help pass itLondon News Pictures
Theresa May exits Downing Street's back gate last night as calls for her to go come from all sidesPA:Press Association
In a devastating blow, Brexiteer Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom quit over the PM's bid to offer MPs the chance of a second EU referendumMembers had held a secret ballot on whether to change Tory rules to hold a fresh no confidence vote in her leadership, with their votes sealed in envelopes.
If she does not stand down, the envelopes will be opened by Sir Graham. One 1922 executive said last night there was ''a clear majority'' in the room for a rule change.
The senior MP added: ''Theresa will have to go on Friday, whatever happens now.''
Former minister Tim Loughton was among Tory MPs who sent new letters to Sir Graham calling for her to go.
He even tweeted a photo of the addressed envelope, with the words: ''Enough said.''
On another day of high drama in Westminster;
Tory kingmaker Sir Graham Brady will tell Theresa May she must name her departure date on Friday or face being forced out by his powerful committee within days.Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn refused to engage with the PM, telling her it would be pointless because ''she only has a few days left in the job''.Desperate Tory and Labour chiefs attacked Nigel Farage in a last-ditch bid to stop him trouncing them at the Euro elections, as the nation goes to the polls.Senior ministers demanded meetings with the Prime Minister to tell her NOT to offer MPs a chance to vote on a second Brexit referendum - but she refused to meet themDozens of Tories - including previously loyal backers of Mrs May - say she has now run out of road and must resign as soon as possible and leave Brexit to her successorThe Chief Whip told party bosses she was not planning to stand down last night and instead will hold a crunch showdown with the Tory backbench chief tomorrow - after today's Euro electionsTory grandees pulled back from changing party rules so the leader can be removed immediatelyThe PM's DUP allies warned she is leaving Britain at the mercy of the EUANDREA'S THREE-YEAR WAIT FOR REVENGE
COMMONS Leader Andrea Leadsom was Theresa May's rival for the Tory leadership '-- and her stinging resignation letter was her revenge served three years later.
Mrs Leadsom quit last night with a devastating attack on the Prime Minister's latest Brexit climbdown and her handling of Cabinet tensions.
But it was just the boiling over of the simmering antagonism between the pair.
Mrs Leadsom, a former banker and married mum of three, had been a prominent Leave supporter in the referendum campaign. She stood against Remain-backing Mrs May after David Cameron resigned as PM in 2016.
The women made it to the final two but then Mrs Leadsom gave a disastrous interview in which she appeared to suggest she was a better choice for PM because she had children.
She claimed this meant she had a ''stake in the future'' by contrast with Mrs May who cannot have children for health reasons.
Mrs Leadsom, 56, told a newspaper back then that Mrs May only had ''nieces, nephews'', adding: ''But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be part of what happens next.''
She withdrew from the contest soon after the controversy and so cleared the path for Mrs May to enter Downing Street.
The new Prime Minister appointed Mrs Leadsom as her Environment Secretary only to demote her to Commons Leader in a reshuffle after the disastrous 2017 General Election.
Then last summer it emerged Mrs Leadsom had attacked Mrs May's doomed Chequers plan '-- telling colleagues how she ''hated'' it for breaching Government red lines on Brexit.
Afterwards Mrs Leadsom did not quit the Cabinet but is believed to have been unpopular in No'Š10 for her hardline stance. Last month she made more waves by claiming that No Deal would not be ''nearly as grim as many would advocate''.
Mrs Leadsom has also repeatedly clashed with Commons Speaker John Bercow. Last year she confronted him over claims he called her a ''stupid woman''.
But, as Commons Leader, Mrs Leadsom has also been central in tackling the ''Pestminster'' culture of sexual harassment and bullying.
In 2017, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon was forced to quit after she accused him of making lewd comments to her.
By Martin Beckford, Whitehall Editor '‹Theresa May delivers her ten point Brexit plan to the Commons'‹Seven other Cabinet ministers also told No10 they won't back Mrs May's high stakes final Brexit gamble '-- a clear signal for her to step down.
Others in the top table revolt include Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.
In the event of a new Tory leadership contest, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would be a front-runner. But allies said Mrs Leadsom is considering whether to mount a new Tory leadership challenge to succeed Mrs May.
It would be her second tilt at the top job following her controversial bid in 2016 when she was forced to withdraw after appearing to suggest she was a better choice for the PM because she had children.
In her resignation letter, Mrs Leadsom said the PM's plans would fail to ''deliver on the referendum result''.
She acknowledged that leaving on the eve of today's European elections was damaging but she insisted she had to quit as she was ''fundamentally opposed'' to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which she was due to unveil to MPs today.
STARMER BREAKS RANKS TO BACK PEOPLE'S VOTE
SHADOW Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer broke ranks with Jeremy Corbyn yesterday to demand a People's Vote.
He said Theresa May should put a firm proposal for a ''public vote'' in legislation.
He spoke as Labour peer and former EastEnders actor Michael Cashman, 68, quit the party and said he would vote for the Lib Dems in today's European elections.
PA:Press Association
Theresa May's letter to Andrea Leadsom'URGE YOU TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS'Hinting that the PM had lied to the Cabinet after her second referendum plan passed without their say-so, she wrote: ''There has been such a breakdown of Government processes that recent Brexit-related legislative proposals have not been properly scrutinised or approved by Cabinet.''
And in a call for Mrs May to stand down in the national interest, Mrs Leadsom finished her letter by saying: ''I fully respect the integrity, resolution and determination that you have shown during your time as Prime Minister.
''No one has wanted you to succeed more than I have, but I do now urge you to make the right decisions in the interests of the country, this Government and our party.''
Senior No10 staff were given no warning about Mrs Leadsom's departure, and she rang the PM to inform her of the decision only 30 minutes before making it public shortly before 8pm last night. Downing Street issued only a curt response, with a spokesman saying Mrs Leadsom had served ''with distinction and great ability''.
Mrs May said she was ''sorry'' Mrs Leadsom was off, praising her ''passion, drive and sincerity''.
THE SUN SAYS
THOSE who predicted Theresa May would be a poor Prime Minister have regrettably been vindicated.
In fairness, her task has been harder than any predecessor's since Winston Churchill. It became all but impossible after she blew her majority in 2017.
Even so, Mrs May and her woeful Cabinet of mainly third-rate friends have failed on Brexit and the social justice mission she initially championed. Andrea Leadsom cannot bear to be a part of it any longer.
All PMs want a ''legacy''. It can be the only reason Mrs May has clung on so long.
And though she will leave office with none to speak of, she can at least retain her dignity in defeat.
Even that is ebbing way.
PA:Press Association
Boris Johnson has continued to push for Mrs May to quitPA:Press Association
Sajid Javid is part of the Cabinet revolt - and has requested a meeting with the PMPA:Press Association
Cabinet plotter Jeremy Hunt leave the Houses of ParliamentPA:Press Association
Sir Graham Brady - the chair of the 1922 Committee - has given Mrs May a 48-hour deadline to leave No10 with her 'dignity' intactShe said she was ''grateful for the support given over the last three years'' in working to deliver Brexit.
But the PM said she believed Mrs Leadsom was wrong to argue that the deal negotiated with the EU meant the UK ''will not become a sovereign country''.
In a further sign of the PM's support slipping away, eight junior ministers led by Nadhim Zahawi pleaded for a meeting with her after deciding they couldn't support the Withdrawal Agreement Bill due to the second referendum pledge.
They were snubbed after putting their request to Chief Whip Julian Smith.
Mr Zahawi told The Sun: ''We decided we had to act.
''It's a matter of credibility now. We've been arguing all along that a second referendum would lead to more uncertainty and division. We just cannot offer one.''
MORE 'DIVISION AND DEADLOCK'In a statement after the 1922 Committee meeting, Sir Graham said he would meet the PM tomorrow and then consult with the 1922 executive. Tory MPs were told of tomorrow's meeting last night.
It came amid a growing rebellion of Tory MPs to Mrs May's ''new'' Brexit deal, which she outlined on Tuesday.
The number opposed to the deal has more than doubled since the speech, which promised MPs a vote on a second referendum and customs union.
Crucially it means Mrs May must now win over more than 70 Labour MPs to have any chance of getting her deal through the Commons.
The PM even lost several loyal Tory MPs who have voted for the deal on all three previous occasions '-- including Martin Vickers, Robert Halfon and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown. Despite scores of MPs coming out against the deal, Mrs May pushed ahead with a Commons statement pleading with them to support her faltering plans.
She said that another rejection would plunge Britain back into yet more ''division and deadlock''.
And unveiling her deal to the Commons, she insisted the Government would ''make provisions'' for a second referendum if MPs voted for one.
Furious People's Vote backers said the commitment didn't go far enough for them to back her Brexit bill.
ANGER AS PM SHUNS NO DEAL
THERESA May incensed Brexit-backing Ministers by killing off a Cabinet No Deal debate despite calls for a ''step change'' in preparation, we can reveal.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay implored the Government to increase contingency planning.
He said a ''cliff-edge'' exit on October 31 would be ''far worse'' for business than March 29 and warned of pre-Christmas warehousing shortages.
But the PM stunned Brexiteers in Tuesday's Cabinet by postponing a vote on No Deal work until after the half term break. Yesterday, she claimed a No Deal could threaten the Union's future and leave Britain more vulnerable to terrorists.
The PM agreed with MP Richard Graham that Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage's ''superficially seductive'' line about leaving on WTO terms was dangerous.
She said the UK's security relationships with the EU27 was ''fundamental'' to keeping the country safe, yet leaving with no deal would close them off.
Exclusive by Steve HawkesAdditional reporting; Kate Ferguson and Martin Beckford
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk
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How Democrats got to the brink of considering impeaching Trump - The Washington Post
Wed, 22 May 2019 16:37
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) meets with reporters in May. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) best efforts, House Democrats are seriously considering beginning impeachment proceedings against President Trump. On Wednesday morning, they met to talk about it. Right now, the consensus seems to be to retain the status quo, but that could change quickly.
That's because the case for impeachment has been building over the past month. Here's a run-down of some key flash points that have brought an increasing number of Democrats (and one Republican) on board:
The Mueller report is released: There were some Democrats who thought that the obstruction-y actions outlined by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in his report released April 18 were enough to impeach the president. But the majority stuck with Pelosi, who privately urged her caucus to take it slow.
Elizabeth Warren takes the stage: She was one of the first 2020 Democrats to come out in favor of impeachment and gave an eloquent, forceful explanation why at a CNN town hall April 22 that drew headlines and became a bumper-sticker argument for the pro-impeachers: ''There is no 'political inconvenience' exception to the United States Constitution.''
The Mueller letter comes out: On April 30, a letter is leaked that showed that Mueller was unhappy with how Attorney General William P. Barr characterized the special counsel's report. Mueller sent that letter to Barr in March, urging him to release more and warning of ''misunderstandings.'' This followed reports that Mueller's team thought Barr's summary had been too easy on Trump, and it gives the perception among some Democrats that there is a coverup in the Trump administration. Speaking of .'‰.'‰.
Trump blocks a lot of congressional investigations: Impeachment talks were continuing in Democratic circles, but the lawmakers who mattered '-- Pelosi and Democratic leaders of key committees '-- had settled on another plan. They were investigating all aspects of Trump's life, including the Mueller report, without starting impeachment proceedings. ''Impeach or nothing. No, it's not that,'' Pelosi would later explain.
But Trump had other ideas. ''We're fighting all the subpoenas,'' he said. ''These aren't, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.''
He sued his accounting firm and Congress to prevent them from getting his financial information. His treasury secretary said he won't release Trump's tax returns, despite an IRS interpretation of the law otherwise. His former top aides refused to comply with subpoenas to testify. If Trump was stonewalling traditional investigations, what other options did Congress have but to consider impeachment, some Democrats wondered.
''I think what he's trying to do and I think what they think he's trying to do is render us toothless and say we're not that important,'' said House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who was one of the first lawmakers to call for impeachment.
[The case for and against impeachment]
Attorney General Barr doesn't show up, so Congress holds him in contempt: A sitting Cabinet secretary refused to come to Congress to testify about the Mueller report. Barr said his problem was with the format, but it added to the perception that the White House was blocking Congress from its constitutionally mandated role of oversight.
A statue of a chicken sits above the nameplate and near the empty seat of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who was scheduled to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing May 2 but didn't show. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)On May 8, the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not showing up. He is only the second sitting attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt. But if this was a big deal symbolically, practically speaking, it didn't change much. Barr still hasn't testified in front of Congress.
Pelosi says Trump is ''becoming self-impeachable'': The morning of the contempt vote, Pelosi sat at a Washington Post Live event and said Trump is ''becoming self-impeachable.'' It wasn't immediately clear what she meant '-- that he was making his own case that he should be impeached, or that he was damaging his election chances by blockading Congress. But it did seem like a turning point in Pelosi's language, that she was more open than ever to considering impeaching Trump. At least, we wrote, she's laying the groundwork to consider impeaching Trump if it comes to that.
Justin Amash is open to impeachment proceedings against Trump: A sitting Republican member of Congress, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), tweeted over the weekend that he had finished reading the Mueller report and he thought Trump ''engaged in impeachable conduct.'' Amash is one of the most conservative members of Congress, so his words carried weight. But he is also a maverick with libertarian leanings who often breaks with his party. Bottom line: This one Republican wasn't going to change Pelosi's calculations to avoid impeachment, but suddenly, Democrats' impeachment efforts were technically bipartisan.
Here are my principal conclusions:1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report.2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
'-- Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019Donald McGahn ignores a subpoena to talk to Congress: On Tuesday, another big name in Trump World refused to show up to Congress. McGahn was the White House's top lawyer, and he is a key witness in the Mueller report to Trump's attempts to fire the special counsel then lie about it. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to force him to talk, but McGahn, under pressure from Trump, did not show up.
"We will hold this president accountable,'' House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at the hearing, with an empty seat where McGahn was supposed to be, ''one way or another.''
A seat at the witness table sits empty prior to a House Judiciary Committee hearing in which former White House Counsel Don McGahn was subpoenaed to testify. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)To many Democrats on the fence about impeachment, this was the last straw. The night before, Nadler and top Democrats had urged Pelosi to consider impeachment proceedings, even if it doesn't lead to articles of impeachment against the president.
What other choice does Congress have at this point, they argued? If potential crimes outlined in the Mueller report weren't deserving enough, the cover up has been, they argued.
As Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a Judiciary Committee member told The Post on Monday: ''If the answer is, 'No, you can't talk to anyone, you can't have anything, we're simply not going to cooperate,' then at that point the only avenue that we have left is the constitutional means to enforce the separation of powers, which is a serious discussion of impeachment.''
NASA Artemis: The 2024 moon mission, explained - Vox
Wed, 22 May 2019 16:37
President Donald Trump wants the United States to ''return to Space in a BIG WAY!'' And to do so, he's pushing NASA toward a hasty, yet-to-be funded goal: returning to the moon by the year 2024.
Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019The mission is called ''Artemis,'' after the Greek goddess of hunting and twin sister of Apollo. It's a fitting name, as NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has promised that the mission will deliver the first woman to the moon. (All the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s and '70s were white men.)
Why is this suddenly a priority for the Trump administration? The mission is certainly Trumpian in its grandiosity; the landing would occur during a second term of the Trump administration. And there's a lot about it that seems impractical '-- the rockets and spacecraft that will be necessary to complete the mission are either over-deadline, unfinished, or nonexistent at the moment. Plus: bureaucratic details remain, like how will this all be paid for?
But it's also important to know: The mission has scientific merit. And deadlines and political momentum can be useful.
The George W. Bush administration pushed for a mission to the moon. Then, when the Obama administration came in, the directive shifted toward building up capabilities for a journey to Mars. And as we learned in the 1960s, political momentum is critical for space exploration. It makes some sense to complete a moonshot within one administration's reign. The deadline, in itself, isn't a horrible idea.
Still, questions remain: Can NASA and its industry partners pull this off? After all, deadlines in human spaceflight have been routinely missed over the last decade by both NASA and the commercial spaceflight industry. And: Will it actually be funded?
Let's break down what this mission would entail (if it's funded), and how NASA envisions getting humans to the moon in the next five years.
The scientific case for going back to the moonLet's remember, the journey to the moon is, ostensibly, scientific.
The moon can help us understand the development of our entire solar system. The surface of the moon is around 3.5 billion years old, and its many craters and scars tell the story of the environment of our solar system from that time onward. When the moon gets a crater, it remains there unchanged for the rest of time (unlike on Earth, where life and plate tectonics slowly erase this natural history).
''The moon has recorded impact processes that have gone on throughout the entire solar system,'' Georgiana Kramer, a planetary scientist who studies the moon, says.
The moon rocks brought back from the Apollo missions helped scientists understand that the surface of the moon formed out of an ocean of magma, just like the Earth. And the data lent some evidence to the hypothesis that the moon formed when the Earth was stuck by a massive Mars-sized object.
Going back, collecting more samples '-- and particularly samples from the far side of the moon, which have never been collected '-- will give scientists like Kramer a more detailed look into the history of the solar system. And we need human hands to do the collecting. ''Humans are much more efficient at gathering scientific information compared to rovers or robots,'' she says.
Another reason to go to the moon: to prepare to venture elsewhere.
If humans are going to become an interplanetary species, with outposts on the moon and Mars, we're going to have to learn to live in space. The moon, just a three-day's journey away, is a great place to do that. We could also use resources on the moon '-- like water, trapped in ice, which exists on the moon '-- to help supply those missions.
A more permanent human presence on the moon could be the start of a new spacefaring age of mankind. It's a noble idea.
And we can do it. But when?
In December 2017, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which is basically an executive order outlining NASA's mission priorities. The directive tasked NASA with leading ''the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization.''
However, it didn't set a timeline to do so '-- until a few months ago.
In March, the Trump Administration sped up the timelineWith its 2017 directive from the Trump administration, NASA got to work, drafting plans to achieve a long-term human presence on the moon.
The centerpiece of the plan was a space station called the Gateway, or lunar Gateway. It's a space station, but instead of orbiting the Earth, it will orbit the moon and serve as a launching ground for missions to the lunar surface. It would be reusable and nimble: NASA could change its orbit to pass over any location on the moon.
And like the ISS, the Gateway could be '-- potentially '-- continuously occupied by astronauts, establishing a permanent human presence near the moon. The benefit of the Gateway is that is multipurpose. The Gateway could serve as a stepping stone to a permanent base on the surface of the moon, and it would be a decent launching point for missions to Mars or to asteroids.
The plan, as of earlier this year, was to build the Gateway (like the space station, it would be assembled piece by piece in prefabricated modules), and put it in orbit around the moon (maybe by 2026). And like the ISS, NASA was hoping for international support and collaboration to build it.
NASA drafted these plans with the impression they'd have a decade or so to fulfill them. On this timeline, NASA was eyeing a 2028 crewed mission to the surface of the moon. A few months ago, this all got shaken up.
In March, Vice President Mike Pence gave NASA a new deadline: boots on the moon by 2024.
Specifically, the vice president called out the lunar South Pole '-- a region with some very old and scientifically interesting moon rocks '-- as a place to land.
Why did the White House speed up the timeline? ''Who knows?'' Casey Dreier, the senior space policy adviser at the Planetary Society, says.
It's easy to dismiss the rush as a Trumpian move '-- to prioritize flashy nationalistic rhetoric over substance. And it very well might be. But when it comes to human space exploration, deadlines can be useful, Dreier explains. Recall President Kennedy's plea to go to the moon by the end of the 1960s. That deadline, and the political will to realize it, became a reality. Big missions to the moon and beyond need political momentum, which can wane from administration to administration.
If NASA is going to land on the moon in 2024, it has to get through an enormous to-do list The new target of 2024 means the to-do list is very long. It will be very expensive to complete and will require the partnership of the commercial space industry.
That's because currently:
NASA's rocket to launch people to the moon '-- the Space Launch System, or SLS '-- isn't finished and won't be tested until at least next year, perhaps later.
The Obama administration was a bit more focused on the long term '-- planning for a journey to Mars by the year 2030. And to get there, it was prioritizing the development of new multipurpose rockets and spaceships for human missions (to the moon, to Mars, to '-- potentially '-- asteroids).
This hardware is still in the works and will be key to Artemis.
The SLS has been under development since 2011, and the first of them were originally planned to be tested in 2017 (they weren't). When complete, the SLS will be the largest, most powerful rocket ever built.
There are three versions of the SLS planned '-- called Block 1, Block 1B, and Block B '-- and they each carry a different payload and can be configured to transport either crew or cargo. Due to delays, Bridenstine has hinted it's possible that NASA could launch an uncrewed 2020 test mission to the moon on a commercial rocket. That's because ''SLS is struggling to meet its schedule,'' he said during a March Senate hearing. (The eventual crewed missions would still use the SLS, which is much more powerful than the commercially available rockets and can bring heavy cargo to the moon.)
The Space Launch System isn't a single rocket, but a collection of them, each with a different payload capacity. NASA NASA's space capsule for the journey to the Earth to the moon '-- called Orion '-- also hasn't been tested.
The Orion is a multipurpose vehicle to sit atop the SLS that will serve as the crew quarters for missions beyond low Earth orbit (i.e. beyond the International Space station). The Orion was also announced in 2011 and has yet to be flown. It's designed to accommodate four astronauts.
NASA NASA is planning to test its launch abort system in July, and maybe fly it robotically to the moon in 2020 (though that test could be delayed, too).
NASA still needs to build and launch a lunar Gateway space station.
The basic outline for a 2024 moon landing is this: Astronauts would take off aboard the Orion, on the SLS, and fly to the Gateway. Then, they would board a lunar descent craft, go down to the moon, do some moon science, and return to the Gateway before the journey home.
But the Gateway needs to be in place for this to happen.
Also, NASA doesn't have a lunar lander (or even approved designs for one) to get astronauts down from the Gateway to the moon and back.
This lunar lander does not exist. NASA is far along in its development of Orion and the SLS, and it has drafted some plans for the Gateway. But a lunar lander? They don't have one.
So, in order to meet the 2024 goal, NASA is turning to industry, asking 11 companies to design prototype landers. Even with the help of industry, this will be no easy task.
''The biggest problem is the timeline of developing a new lunar lander for the first time in a half century,'' Dreier says.
It just takes a very long time to design and build a spacecraft that's safe for humans to use. This is something spacecraft manufacturers struggle with in developing crafts to go to the ISS. Elon Musk's SpaceX has been developing a human-rated capsule '-- called the crew Dragon '-- to take astronauts to the ISS since 2010.
It's still being tested, and in a recent test, the Dragon's parachutes failed. Another recent test resulted in an explosion. The Dragon was first scheduled to fly in 2017. Again, this isn't easy. And developing a lunar lander won't be easy, either.
And, oh, it hasn't secured funding for the eventual total cost of this mission.
Which brings us to:
So how much is this all going to cost? The plans '-- and funding '-- to achieve the ambitious 2024 landing goal are not yet finalized. But it will likely involve downsizing the development of the lunar Gateway in order to prioritize the development of a lunar lander, Dreier says.
To get started on these plans, NASA has requested an additional $1.6 billion supplemental to this year's budget. This has to be approved by Congress, and it's not certain it will be.
Making matters thorny, the White House has requested the funds be pulled from Pell Grant reserves. That's the pool of money that helps financially stressed students go to college. It's true the fund currently has a surplus. But that extra money is a safeguard: It would need that cash if the country slips into a recession (as the need for Pell grants increases during hard financial times).
Still, it's inevitable that shuffling the money from education makes the Artemis mission more politically charged: Do Democrats really want to take money away from education to fund a hurried attempt to give Trump a win during his last years in office?
On the other hand, what's nice about the current budget proposal is that it doesn't redirect funding from other NASA missions '-- like its robotic explorations of the outer planets or its Earth science programs, for example. It's seeking additional money to pay for Artemis.
''I have no intent of redirecting funding from other NASA programs, including science, in support of the human lunar return effort,'' Bridenstine recently told The Verge's Loren Grush.
So even if the 2024 moon shot isn't successful, it won't necessarily be at the cost of other programs.
The total potential cost estimate of Artemis is unknown, but NASA's going to need a lot more than $1.6 billion. (Bridenstine has characterized the amount as a ''down payment.'')
At ARS Technica, space reporter Eric Berger reports that the mission could cost an additional ''$6 billion to $8 billion per year on top of NASA's existing budget of about $20 billion.''
Where's that money coming from? No one knows at the moment.
''At present we have a White House directive to land humans on the Moon in five years, but no plan, and no budget details on how to do so, and no integrated human space exploration roadmap laying out how we can best achieve the horizon goal, Mars,'' Rep. Kendra Horn, the Oklahoma Democrat who chairs the House's subcommittee on space and aeronautics, said during a recent committee hearing. ''In essence, we're flying blind.''
GOP Vermont governor to allow sweeping abortion rights bill to become law | TheHill
Wed, 22 May 2019 16:34
A sweeping abortions-rights bill is set to become law under Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R).
The Vermont legislature recently passed a measure that would ban the state government from interfering in reproductive and abortion rights, NBC 5 News reported.
The governor's spokeswoman, Rebecca Kelley, told the local NBC affiliate on Monday that Scott has ''ruled out'' vetoing the measure. She added that he has yet to decide whether to sign the bill it or allow it to become law without his action once it reaches his desk.
''I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe government should stay out of it,'' Scott said last week, according to the outlet.
He described the bill as ''very emotional for some,'' while noting that measure would not change current practices in the state.
When the measure becomes law, it will be among the most comprehensive abortion-rights laws in the country, according to the news site Seven Days Vermont.
The legislative language cites "the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion." The measure also refers to the right to "choose or refuse contraception or sterilization."
The measure would bar state and local law enforcement from prosecuting people performing abortions.
Scott has strayed from other GOP governors who have moved to restrict abortion access.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week signed into law an abortion ban that puts strict prohibitions on the procedure in the state. While Ivey acknowledged that the ban "may" be unenforceable, the law is the nation's most restrictive when it comes to abortion access.
Lawmakers in Missouri passed a bill last week to ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson (R), who is expected to sign it into law.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) recently signed legislation that seeks to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs around six weeks into pregnancy, before most women know they're pregnant.
Nike ditches shoe design after being accused of appropriation by Panama's indigenous Guna '-- RT Sport News
Wed, 22 May 2019 16:32
Sports giant Nike has removed its newly-designed Air Force 1 shoes from shelves after Panama's indigenous Guna community accused the company of stealing the traditional design which is ''a spiritual part of the Guna people.''
The special collection for Puerto Rico was expected to be released in June, before Nike withdrew sales after apologizing for copying the design related to the ethnic group.
READ MORE: 'Blasphemous and offensive': Muslim customers lambast Nike for 'writing Allah' on shoe's sole
''We apologize for the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 'Puerto Rico' 2019. As a result, this product will no longer be available,'' the company said in a statement.
The multicolored 'Mola' design has been traditionally used by Guna people who live mainly on the Caribbean coast of Panama.
''We are not against our 'Mola' being commercialized. What we oppose is it being done without consulting us first,'' said Belisario L"pez, the leader of the Guna community adding that the design represents ''Mother Earth, because the design is based on everything that is nature.''
Guna lawyer Aresio Valiente said that along with the product's withdrawal the indigenous people also expect Nike to pay damages for illegally using the traditional ethnic design.
Also on rt.com 'Kiss of death': Nike admit pregnant athletes penalized by performance-based sponsorship reductions
VIDEO - Trump denounces Democratic investigations and Mueller probe in the Rose Garden
Wed, 22 May 2019 16:20
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBEMay 22, 2019, 3:54 PM UTC
By Dartunorro Clark and Alex Moe
President Donald Trump delivered an extensive denunciation of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation during a highly unusual appearance in the White House Rose Garden Wednesday.
''This whole thing was a take-down attempt of the president of the United States,'' Trump said, blasting Democrats for continuing to investigate him and slamming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comment earlier that he was ''engaged in a cover-up.''
"I don't do cover-ups," the president said.
Trump spoke at a lectern with a sign in front of it that read ''no collusion,'' ''no obstruction'' and cited a $35 million cost of the probe. The probe cost roughly $25 million, according to the Department of Justice.
Trump said that he respects Congress, but said Democrats are abusing its power.
"I respect the courts, I respect Congress, but what they've done is abuse. This is investigation number four on the same thing," he said.
Trump said he had intended to sit down with Democratic leaders, including Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, about infrastructure, but cut the planned White House meeting short.
''I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure, I want to do more than you want to do it,''' Trump said. "'But, you know what? You can't do it under these conditions.'"
Two Democratic sources with knowledge of the meeting told NBC News that Trump arrived late and expressed dismay at Pelosi's comments, calling the remarks inconsiderate. Trump then said, according to the sources, Democrats would need to complete their various investigations before a deal on infrastructure or any other topic would be considered.
"I knew the president was not serious about infrastructure and would find a way out," Pelosi quipped as the president stormed out, according to a Democratic aide.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
Dartunorro Clark Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.
Alex Moe Alex Moe is a Capitol Hill producer for NBC News covering the House of Representatives.
VIDEO - Harry Khachatrian on Twitter: "So Kamala Harris has either never listened to music in her entire life, or is so embarrassed by her own musical tastes that she instead claims her favorite Bob Marley song is... "Bob Marley" https://t.co/LGoxVrzXuS"
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:57
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VIDEO - Yahoo News Special Report [Video]
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:26
Yahoo News is streaming live coverage of this news event.
VIDEO - Sky News Australia on Twitter: "KENNY: I would suggest that poverty, malaria, tuberculosis, war, discrimination against women, exploitation of children, over-population, water conservation, air pollution, and habitat destruction easily outrank cli
Wed, 22 May 2019 12:57
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VIDEO - Hollywood Demands McDonald's 'End Agony for Billions of Animals': 'We Believe in Standing Up for Those Who Can't Stand Up for Themselves'
Wed, 22 May 2019 04:14
Some 25 actors, models, and professional athletes joined forces for a PSA from Mercy For Animals, urging viewers to demand McDonald's ''eliminate the worst cruelty for their chickens.''Among an assortment of animal rights activists demanding that you ''take action,'' the video features the likes of actor James Cromwell, electronic music DJ Moby, former NBA star John Salley, and actors Ignacio Serricchio, Mark Hapka, James Kyson, Alexandra Paul, Kimberly Elise, Daisy Fuentes, Daniella Monet, Emily Deschanel, among many others.
In the one-minute ad, titled, ''Dear McDonald's,'' the group of activist actors and entertainers scolded the fast food chain for forcing the chickens they use for their products to ''sit in waste,'' to ''live in constant pain,'' and a series of other charges.
''Chickens used by McDonald's are among the most abused animals on the planet,'' the group exclaims on its website. ''Bred to grow so large so fast, they often can't walk without pain. Hundreds of brands '-- including Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Jack in the Box, and Denny's '-- have committed to banning the cruelest practices inflicted on chickens. McDonald's has not. Let McDonald's know that animal abuse is bad business.''
This star-studded video comes as scores of Hollywood directors, producers, and actors are boycotting states like Georgia and Alabama over their new laws restricting most abortions.
This same organization has attacked McDonald's chain in the past, as well. Just last year, the group was also seen going after the fast food chain over its treatment of chickens with another video ad that featured images of dying birds.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
VIDEO - Trump Discusses the Military-Industrial Complex - LewRockwell
Wed, 22 May 2019 04:12
Trump Rails Against The Military-Industrial Complex When Asked About IranBy Evie FordhamThe Daily Caller
May 22, 2019
President Donald Trump railed against what he called ''the military-industrial complex'' when asked about potential conflict with Iran during an interview with Steve Hilton of Fox News Channel Sunday.
WATCH:
>>
Secret Empires: How th... Peter Schweizer Best Price: $9.00 Buy New $13.96 (as of 06:40 EDT - Details ) ''Well, I'm the one that talks about these wars that are 19 years, and people are just there, and don't kid yourself, you do have a military- industrial complex. They do like war. You know, in Syria, with the caliphate, so I wipe out 100 percent of the caliphate. '... I said I want to bring our troops back home. The place went crazy. You have people here in Washington, they never want to leave,'' Trump said.
''I said, you know what I'll do, I'll leave a couple hundred soldiers behind, but if it was up to them, they 'd bring thousands of soldiers in. Someday people will explain it, but you do have a group, and they call it the military-industrial complex. They never want to leave. They always want to fight,'' he continued.
''No. I don't want to fight, but you do have situations like Iran. You can't let them have n nuclear weapons. You just can't let that happen,'' Trump concluded.
Trump's discussion of Iran during the interview marked a different tone from a tweet he had sent earlier on Sunday.
Read the Whole Article
VIDEO - Woman arrested after officers find pipe bombs in Grass Valley home
Tue, 21 May 2019 21:49
Woman arrested after officers find pipe bombs in Grass Valley home
Hide Transcript Show Transcript
>> FIRE INVESTIGATORS ARE TRYING TO FIND THE CAUSE OF TWO FRES IN SACRAMENTO. STORIES. FIRE INVESTIGATORS ARE TRYING TO FIND THE CAUSE OF TWO APARTMENT FIRES IN SACRAMENTO. THE FIRST FIRE HAPPENED AT THE TANGLEWOOD CONDOS IN SOUTH SACRAMENTO. FIREFIGHTERS BRIEFLY UPGRADED THIS TO TWO ALARMS, BUT WERE ABLE TO EVACUATE EVERYONE SAFELY AND PUT THE FIRE OUT. TWO FAMILIES WERE DISPLACED. THE OTHER ONE HAPPENED LESS THAN AN HOUR LATER AT AN APARTMENTON AMERICAN RIVER DRIVE. NO ONE WAS HURT. AND FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO PUT THIS FIRE OUT QUICKLY. LINH: LIGHT RAIN MOVING THROUGH EARLY THIS MORNING. TEMPERATURES IN THE 50'S BY THE AFTERNOON HOURS. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE THUNDERSTORMS. HIGH TEMPERATURE TODAY, 62 DEGREES. THE CHANCE OF SHOWERS TODAY AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON HOURS. TEMPERATURES AND THE UPPER 50'S. SEVEN-DAY FORECAST, TOMORROW, A NICE, DRY DAY. BY TUESDAY, ANOTHER CHANCE OF SOME SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE THUNDERSTORMS BY THE AFTERNOON. LETICIA: PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS ISSUED A DISASTER DECLARATION FOR CALIFORNIA. THAT DECLARATION MEANS 17 COUNTIES THAT HAD SEVERE WATER DAMAGE ARE NOW ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL AI IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH RAIN POUNDED AREAS OF NORTH
Woman arrested after officers find pipe bombs in Grass Valley home
An anonymous tip led to the discovery of pipe bombs at a Grass Valley home Saturday, authorities said. Mary Dalton, of Grass Valley, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device and booked into the Nevada County Jail, according to the Grass Valley Police Department. After getting the tip around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, officers went to a home in the 400 block of Lamarque Court, where they found the pipe bombs in a closet. The Placer County Sheriff's Office's Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was called to render the items safe.
GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (KCRA) '--An anonymous tip led to the discovery of pipe bombs at a Grass Valley home Saturday, authorities said.
Mary Dalton, of Grass Valley, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device and booked into the Nevada County Jail, according to the Grass Valley Police Department.
After getting the tip around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, officers went to a home in the 400 block of Lamarque Court, where they found the pipe bombs in a closet.
Grass Valley Police Department
An anonymous tip led police to several pipe bombs at a Grass Valley home on Saturday.The Placer County Sheriff's Office's Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was called to render the items safe.
Grass Valley Police Department
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VIDEO - Elizabeth Warren on Twitter: "It's been over 24 hours. No more spoiler alerts. Here's why @AOC and I are officially on #TeamSansa now.'... "
Tue, 21 May 2019 17:13
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VIDEO - Trump Gets Pennsylvania Rally Crowd to Boo Fox News: 'Something Strange Is Going On'
Tue, 21 May 2019 10:23
It appears that President Trump is not going to let go of Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Fox News town hall anytime soon.
After lashing out on Twitter that the right-leaning network is covering Democrats too much by hosting the Democratic presidential candidate (while also taking swipes at Fox News anchor Chris Wallace), the president took time out during his Monday night campaign rally in Pennsylvania to air more grievances.
Claiming that he watched ''Alfred E. Neuman'' on Sunday night'--his Mad magazine nickname for the South Bend mayor'--Trump then asked the audience: ''What's going on with Fox, by the way?''
''They're putting more Democrats on than Republicans,'' he continued, prompting the MAGA crowd to boo Fox News. ''Something strange is going on at Fox, folks! Something very strange!''
As audience members tossed out more jeers at Fox, the president talked about tuning in to the Buttigieg town hall, asserting that he needs to ''watch the competition'--if you call it that.''
Trump, however, still seemed rather peeved that Fox News provided airtime to a Democrat.
''He was knocking the hell out of Fox,'' he said, referencing Buttigieg's criticism of Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. ''Someone's going to have to explain the whole Fox deal to me.''
In recent weeks, the president has been fairly critical of his longtime favorite cable news network, even while he continues to give them the vast majority of his television interviews and live-tweets their programming.
Besides his recent critical comments related to the Buttigieg forum, Trump slammed Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano'--who has said the president obstructed justice'--while claiming he turned down Napolitano's request for a Supreme Court spot. He also whined when Fox brought on Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for a town hall, criticizing moderator Bret Baier for being ''so smiley and nice'' and accusing the network of banning his supporters from the event.
VIDEO - T-Mobile Merger Update: When we say we'll do something, we mean it. - YouTube
Tue, 21 May 2019 09:50
VIDEO - Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy tries to interview New Yorkers on the street, gets brutally ignored
Tue, 21 May 2019 09:22
cold shoulderEdit Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy tries to interview New Yorkers on the street, gets brutally ignored
May 20, 2019
Late Night Tackles Fox NewsEdit Stephen Colbert recaps Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Fox News town hall, mocks Trump's evident jealousy
4:49 a.m.
last night on late nightEdit Late-night comedians, special guests bid their own unique farewells to Game of Thrones
3:54 a.m.
NBAEdit Golden State Warriors sweep Portland, head to 5th straight NBA Finals
2:33 a.m.
Trump TaxesEdit House Democrats seek to parlay their 1st win on Trump's financial records into a 2nd victory, with Deutsche Bank
1:37 a.m.
doo doo doo doo doo dooEdit Watch C(C)line Dion prove she can make any song '-- even 'Baby Shark' '-- dramatic
1:37 a.m.
It wasn't all badEdit Minnesota woman donates kidney to man who helped rescue her daughter
12:53 a.m.
Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachmentEdit Stephen Colbert welcomes GOP Rep. Justin Amash's Trump impeachment backing, laughs off 'bipartisan' spin
12:41 a.m.
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VIDEO - winter compares got to tds
Mon, 20 May 2019 21:07
VIDEO - Conservative Laura Loomer is Losing Her Mind Following Facebook Ban: "My life is ruined!" | 93.1 WIBC
Mon, 20 May 2019 17:53
(Screen Capture: InfoWars)
Just last week, social media giant, "der Facebook" banned several "controversial" political and media figures from its platform for posting "extremist" and "violent" and "not nice" content.
The list of individuals who were banned included several persons who called for violence against Covington Catholic students, accounts that promote anti-Semitic language and views ("Paging Rep. Ilhan Omar"), and any and all persons who have called for violence against conservatives and Trump supporters.
Just kidding. Here's who was actually banned:
Conservatives Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, Joseph Watson, who works for InfoWars; white supremacist Paul Nehlen, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016 and 2018; and Alex Jones' media company, Infowars.
Facebook also banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, because you gotta ban at least ONE nut on the left to even things out. Otherwise, people will think you're just out to shut down conservatives. Sorry Louis Farrakhan. Somebody had to take one for the team, buddy!
Of all the conservatives on the 'banned' list, 25-year-old Laura Loomer is taking it the hardest. In fact, she's losing her mind.
Loomer expressed her outrage during an appearance on Alex Jones radio show last week.
WIBC hosts the Chicks on the Right - no strangers to Facebook's censorship - have the full audio and some legitimate words of encouragement and understanding for Ms. Loomer in the clip below.
VIDEO - Radio Tulipa 45 jaar - YouTube
Mon, 20 May 2019 12:20
VIDEO - PAPADAP TTTH - Gowdy: FBI Has Papadopoulos Transcripts That Are Potential 'Game-Changer' | The Daily Caller
Sun, 19 May 2019 17:18
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\n HomeVideoPoliticsUSWorldEntertainmentSportsBusinessOpinionOutdoorsComedyShopDaily Caller ShopDaily DealerWine ClubSend a Tip12:15 PM 05/19/2019 | USChuck Ross | Reporter
Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said he is aware of potentially game-changing evidence in the FBI's Russia probe regarding George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser.
During an interview on Fox News' ''Sunday Morning Futures,'' Gowdy indicated he has seen FBI transcripts related to Papadopoulos that contain potentially exculpatory information on the question of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
''If the bureau's going to send in an informant in, the informant's going to be wired, and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls, there's going to be a transcript of that,'' Gowdy told host Maria Bartiromo.
Gowdy continued:
''Some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist. But they haven't been made public, and I think one in particular is going '-- it has the potential to actually persuade people. Very little in this Russia probe I'm afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump or love Trump. But there is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game-changer if it's ever made public.''
WATCH:
The FBI officially opened its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign July 31, 2016, after receiving information from the Australian government regarding Papadopoulos. A top Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, claimed Papadopoulos told him during a conversation May 10, 2016, that he heard Russia might release information on Hillary Clinton close to the campaign.
As part of its investigation, the FBI used a longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with Papadopoulos. He paid Papadopoulos $3,000 and flew him to London in mid-September 2016 under the guise of writing an academic paper on Mediterranean energy security issues. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos's Suspicions)
Halper, a former Cambridge professor, was accompanied by a woman he claimed was his assistant. But the woman, who used the alias Azra Turk, was actually a government investigator. Papadopoulos claims during meetings in London, Halper and Turk asked him if he knew of or was involved in Russian efforts to obtain Clinton emails. Papadopoulos said he denied having any knowledge of the matter.
A month after Papadopoulos's trip, the FBI obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Carter Page, another Trump campaign aide. The surveillance warrant mentioned Papadopoulos as well. It is unclear if the application for the warrant includes any information gathered by Halper, who also established contact with Page.
Gowdy, who served on the House Intelligence Committee, said he and Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe have seen the potentially exculpatory documents. He said he hopes the public will one day get to review it.
''If you have exculpatory information and you don't share it with the court, that ain't good. I've seen it, Johnny [Ratcliffe] has seen it. I'd love for your viewers to see it,'' he said.
Gowdy, who is a Fox News contributor, dropped another potential bombshell in a Fox News interview earlier in May.
He indicated that while he was in office, he saw an FBI spreadsheet that listed news articles and information from longtime Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal as corroborating information for the Steele dossier.
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VIDEO - Jeanine Pirro Says the 'Deep State' is About to Be Exposed
Sun, 19 May 2019 17:01
Fox News' Jeanine Pirro exclaimed that the 'Deep State' is about to be exposed, citing recent comments from Attorney General Bill Barr about investigating the origins of the investigation into Russian election interference.
''We are not going quietly into the night. Grab your popcorn, Junior Mints or whatever makes you happy,'' she said at the top of her open Saturday night. ''The real show is about to begin. This will be true reality TV. No scripts, no rehearsals, just a gang of criminals pointing fingers at each other to save their own hides. A version of true crime and reality show Survivor. The deep state exposed.''
''I told you more than a year ago, for the director James Comey was the head of his own crime family,'' Pirro continued on. ''He ran the upper echelon of the FBI like an organized criminal enterprise.''
Pirro accused former FBI director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe of being ''leakers,'' and trying to pass the blame onto other people.
Pirro also mentioned Barr's appointment of U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the Russia probe, praising the appointment saying ''indictments are his stock and trade.''
''The amazing part of all of this is that there is no more denying the existence of a Deep State,'' Pirro said.
''All [of these people] compromised by their political agenda to destroy Donald Trump,'' Pirro further opined while praising Barr for his comment hitting back at critics of his testimony to Congress.
Watch above, via Fox News
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VIDEO - After six months of protests, France's yellow vests lose momentum | Euronews
Sun, 19 May 2019 16:59
Yellow vest protesters took to the streets of Paris for the 27th Saturday in a row but turnout numbers are declining.
By 2 pm on Saturday, there were around 2,800 protesters across France.
Last week around 18,600 people took part, according to the Interior Ministry '-- the lowest turnout throughout the whole of the movement.
Police in Paris have now banned protesters from the Champs Elysees and areas around the presidential palace, the national assembly, and Notre Dame.
Protesters are also forbidden from wearing anything that disguises their face.
VIDEO - Video: European Parliament elections '-- how does Spitzenkandidat process work? | Euronews
Sun, 19 May 2019 16:57
When it comes to the European Union, the Commission President is the most powerful figure, tasked, among other things, with setting the bloc's policy agenda.
The battle to replace Jean-Claude Juncker has started in earnest with Spitzenkandidaten '-- German for lead candidates '-- travelling around the 28-country bloc and taking part in televised debates ahead of the European parliamentary elections on May 23-26.
But do you know how this powerful job is actually handed out?
Watch Euronews' Alasdair Sandford break it all down in the video player above.
In the past, the appointment process was seen as murky, taking place behind closed doors in negotiations between leaders of the different member states, each keen to further their own political agenda.
The Spitzenkandidat system was created to make the process more transparent.
Political groups in the EU Parliament each select a nominee ahead of the election. The job is then given to the candidate whose group has secured the most seats provided the EU Council '-- made up of EU leaders '-- and parliament both approve.
If a majority cannot be obtained, then the Council has to propose an alternative, which parliament must once again vote on.
Not totally convinced? You're not the only one. Some EU leaders have come out against this process and called for another system.
READ MORE: 28 things you might not know about the European elections
VIDEO - WATCH: Bill Maher Rips Attorney General Bill Barr For Being in the 'Cult of Catholicism'
Sun, 19 May 2019 15:30
WATCH: Bill Maher Rips Attorney General Bill Barr For Being in the 'Cult of Catholicism' by Cassandra Fairbanks May 19, 2019 HBO host Bill Maher attacked Attorney General Bill Barr for being ''born into a strange cult and he's never been able to leave. It's called Catholicism.''Maher suggested that Catholics like Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh seek power so that they can control other people's sex lives.
The ''comedian'' and talk show host asserted that Barr is ''just the latest in a long lines of Republican, Catholic moralizers.'' This ''creepy sub-strain of Catholic conservatives,'' as Maher described them, included Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.
''Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rick Santorum'...who predicted gay marriage would lead to man-dog marriage; really? Pat Buchanan, Bill Bennett with his ''Book of Virtues,'' Robert Bork, Newt Gingrich, geez. 'Law & Order: Special Virgins Unit,''' Maher said.
''[T]here are people who have a real problem with unsanctioned pleasure. And growing up Catholic myself, I know a lot of it stems from being taught not to masturbate as a teenager. You've got Jesus on the cross in your bedroom, staring at you all the time. When you touch yourself, there he is, disappointed, it's like you're crucifying him all over again.'' Maher said in conclusion. ''[T]here was a sexual revolution and you lost. Now, stop bitching about it. Because Bill Barr, he's that guy. 'Woodstock ruined America. Now put prayer back in school, or I'll never stop dreaming about this guy's dick.'''
VIDEO - NoAgenda: The Movie on Vimeo
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:59
Vimeo Pricing Upload Staff Picks On Demand Vimeo OTT Site map Features Video Player Privacy Collaboration Distribution & marketing Monetization Live streaming Analytics Hosting & management Resources Help Center Blog Video School OTT Resources Developers Students Guidelines Company About Jobs Partners Did you know?Vimeo is an amazing video service for original creative work, but it's also a company with real human employees. You could be one!
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VIDEO - Pediatric endocrinologist explains 'transgender therapy' a danger to kids, based on 'very poor science' - TheBlaze
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:44
On Friday, the Democratically controlled House passed the so-called "Equality Act", along with eight Republicans in support, which among other things adds sexual orientation and "gender identity" under the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
This addition now goes to the Senate, where it faces a less certain future, but it brought up again a discussion that has been in the news a great deal this year, in a variety of forms.
Fox's Laura Ingraham on Friday spoke with Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist, specifically on gender identity and the incautious, largely experimental and, as he called them, "drastic" treatments being given to children, euphemistically referred to as transgender "therapy."
The "therapy" is actually very serious, and in young children can leave lifelong harm.
In the clip below, Ingraham starts with the most obvious and utterly reasonable question. "I have a question after reading a lot about this," she said. "Why is the medical community so afraid of considering the impact of hormone treatment, and surgeries and so forth, for the young?"
"It's fairly important to recognize that what is being put forward with the goal of truly helping these individuals that are suffering is based on very, very poor science," Hruz told Ingraham. "Any effort to draw attention to the poor science and the potential very negative and serious consequences that these hormonal interventions really has not been given the attention that it deserves."
He added that this therapy is uniquely unquestioned, and dangers unexplored, as compared with normal medical science and research.
The social stigma attached to questioning liberal progressive social justice tropes is enormous, and that is as true in scientific inquiry as it is entertainment, business, or any other endeavor in American life. That mob rule is hurting those least capable of speaking for themselves, or understanding what is happening to them. Which is tragically ironic, considering the stated goal of social justice is giving voice to those who don't have one.
Listen below as Dr. Hruz explains that the physical and emotional development of adolescence and puberty are being ignored, or whether the questioning of gender identity in youth is a normal and passing process of development, for which a permanent harmful treatment would be a dramatic overcorrection or irreparable error.
It's very important to note that Dr. Hruz doesn't question the existence of gender dysphoria, or having a gender identity different from one's biological sex. He didn't speak ill of the legislation either. The reason that it's important is because the reaction his statements will get, and that Ingraham will get for simply having covered the topic, will not care about that distinction.
The fact that he is even questioning the undertaking of serious intervention in the development of a child without thorough understanding of the consequences or even the necessity, won't matter, because the politics of social justice are too rigid for even contemplation of caution. You must embrace and celebrate surgically altering children, or you're the backward loon.
In other words, even if you are challenging the science with scientific data, the reaction will be of a social and political nature, not a similarly scientific one.
Gosh, that sounds familiar. Is there some other topic you can think of where leftists are advising humongous, future-altering change and disallowing even inquiring about the validity of their claims? One driven especially by celebrities, busy-bodies, and activists, and not principally by the science?
Hmmmmm. I'm sure that's familiar for some reason.
VIDEO - The View rips Elizabeth Warren for passing up Fox News: 'Very dismissive' - YouTube
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:36
VIDEO - Beto O'Rourke: Stacey Abrams is a 'real hero to me,' election was probably rigged against her - YouTube
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:35
VIDEO - Secretary Mike Pompeo to Russians: Interference in American Elections is Unacceptable - YouTube
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:35
VIDEO - O'Rourke: Vanity Fair cover reinforced notion of white privilege - YouTube
Sun, 19 May 2019 14:34
VIDEO - You Can't Watch This (2019) | Official Trailer - YouTube
Sat, 18 May 2019 14:33
VIDEO - Liberal author suggests Trump 'deserves' same gruesome fate as Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - TheBlaze
Sat, 18 May 2019 14:29
Liberal author Fran Lebowitz ignited controversy Friday when she suggested that President Donald Trump deserves to suffer the same gruesome fate as journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
What did Lebowitz say?During a conversation about the president on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," Lebowitz said Trump deserves a fate much worse than impeachment.
"Certainly, he deserves to be impeached. I mean, impeachment is just the beginning of what he deserves. Not even scratching the surface of what he deserves," Lebowitz said.
"Whenever I think about this and what he really deserves, I think, 'We should turn him over to the Saudis, you know, his buddies. The same Saudis who got rid of that reporter, you know. Maybe they can do the same for him," she continued.
Lebowitz's sinister suggestion received cheers and applause from the live studio audience.
Later in the program, Lebowitz attempted to walk back her suggestion after producers informed her that she was receiving "blowback" on social media. However, she did not apologize.
"I saw your face when I said it," Lebowitz told Maher. "I didn't even realize that I said it. I had twelve cups of coffee. I regret saying it."
"I did not mean that and I regret saying it. I regret that everyone misinterpreted it," she went on to say.
Who is Jamal Khashoggi?Khashoggi, whose disappearance and death generated intentional headlines last year, was killed by Saudi officials inside their Istanbul consulate last October. Turkish intelligence suggests Khashoggi was strangled before being dismembered and quietly removed from the Saudi consular building.
It is believed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was ultimately behind the plot to murder Khashoggi.
VIDEO - NowThis on Twitter: ".@AOC made a great point about white supremacist violence and the label of terrorism'... "
Sat, 18 May 2019 14:11
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VIDEO - Mike 'Thomas Paine' Moore on Twitter: "Resistance TV: Wallace, Panel Blast 'Cowardly' Dems Not Impeaching Trump, Bash Voters https://t.co/YTrgFNpioo"
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:52
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
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Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - Scripting News: Monday, May 6, 2019
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:33
It's even worse than it appears.
A browser JavaScript challenge. Here's a
demo app. Use the up and down arrow keys to move from card to card. When you get to the bottom of the screen the cursor moves to an object that is not visible. I want to scroll the window vertically to make the cursor object fully visible. If you look at
the code, you'll see a routine named
scrollToMakeVisible. The goal is to fill in the body of that routine. I've opened a
thread to discuss.
#
BTW, if the House doesn't impeach Trump we've
established a precedent that will be hard to undo. It means an end to co-equal branches. It's a license for the executive to do whatever it wants. I wonder if people who think there's a good outcome possible from non-impeachment have thought this through. Trump may or may not be a bumbling fool with evil intent. But it's not hard to imagine a more competent fascist taking his place, and then what.
#
I find GORKA! fascinating because of his utter depravity and smarminess and the fact that some people obviously feel he is educated and sophisticated. I like GORKA! even better when he is being humiliated
to his face.
#
I tried cross-posting but it doesn't work. I
wrote it up. The problem is that the silos don't support cross-posting in any direction. They really want to be worlds unto themselves. The web, as far as they're concerned, isn't worth supporting, even though they couldn't exist without it.
#
Facebook is to the web what a text editor is to a spreadsheet.
#
The Netflix documentary,
Knock Down the House, is very good. I'm only half way through it, but it's opened my eyes.
#
VIDEO - The Not-so-Angelic Initiative [PaymoneyWubby] - YouTube
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:19
VIDEO - What you need to know about LED lights - YouTube
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:14
VIDEO - Trudeau Government Launches DIGITAL CHARTER To Stop ''Hate Speech'' Online! - YouTube
Sat, 18 May 2019 12:11
VIDEO - This AI That Sounds Just Like Joe Rogan Should Terrify Us All
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:57
Joe Rogan/Victor Tangermann
Sound-AlikeOn Wednesday, Canada-based startup Dessa unveiled a new AI that replicates the voice of Joe Rogan, a podcaster known for his bold views '-- not to mention for getting high with Elon Musk.
As explained in a blog post, the Dessa team managed this feat by developing a deep learning system called RealTalk that uses text inputs to produce life-like speech in the style of a real person.
It's perhaps the best example of an audio deepfake yet. Even those well-acquainted with Rogan's voice will likely have a hard time telling apart the fake audio from things the comedian has actually said '-- and that ability to fool listeners could have terrifying implications for the future.
Scary SpeechIn the demonstration shared by Dessa, faux Rogan keeps the conversation light, showing off its ability to recite tongue-twisters and contemplating whether chimpanzees could beat humans at hockey.
However, the company is well aware of the potential dangers of such a system. They even provide a bullet-pointed list of all the ways it could go wrong, noting that someone could impersonate a government official to enter a high-security facility or a politician to manipulate an election.
These potentially nefarious uses are why Dessa says it won't publicly release its research, model, or datasets for the project.
''[It's] one of the coolest, but scariest, things I've seen yet in artificial intelligence,'' Alex Krizhevsky, Dessa's principal machine learning architect, said in the post. ''Unlike The Singularity, which is this theoretical thing that could happen in 40, 100 years, speech synthesis is soon going to be a reality everywhere.''
READ MORE: This AI-generated Joe Rogan fake has to be heard to be believed [The Verge]
More on AI: China's Google Equivalent Can Clone Voices After Seconds of Listening
VIDEO - Pardes Seleh on Twitter: "russia and putin and the oligarchs and kremlin and trumprussiapossiblecollusion https://t.co/xCYpZYuRPW'... "
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:42
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VIDEO - David Letterman Slams Trump: He Does Not Represent Me
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:22
Former Late Show host David Letterman told NBC's Today show that he does not approve of Donald Trump's presidency and hopes America will ''settle this'' in the next election.
''As an American, I don't like this man as a president of our country,'' Letterman told Willie Geist during an appearance on Sunday TODAY that will air this weekend. ''I love being an American, but I don't feel he represents me and I don't like that.''
''Even with other presidents that I've disagreed with, politically, I felt like, okay, I can live with their representation, but I'm sick and tired of everybody wringing their hands about this,'' he added. ''Let's just settle this at the next election. Let's just stop yacking about what a goon he is.''
In Letterman's history as a talk show host, he invited Trump on his show over 30 times, where the two were very friendly with one another despite often discussing political issues. However, the president's most famous appearance on the Late Show comes from a 2012 segment during which Letterman mocked Trump's comments about China stealing U.S. manufacturing jobs by pulling out a Trump brand tie that was made in China.
During the Today interview, Letterman also commented on the state of late-night comedy hosts in the Trump era, as they have largely used their shows to savagely critique the president '-- occasionally sounding more like pundits than comics.
''The people who are in charge [of late-night comedy] now do a really good job of it,'' Letterman said. ''As I've said before, it's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge '' as soon as you're done, you got to start all over and it would be the same night after night after night after night.''
Watch above, via NBC.
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VIDEO - Truth about my Tony's Intervention not being heard for what it truly is - The Truth #truthispower - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 19:20
VIDEO - US Senator Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G Wireless Technology Health Risks at Senate Hearing - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 18:39
VIDEO - WATCH! CNN Freaks Out As Trump Approval Rating Hits 56% on Economy (VIDEO)
Fri, 17 May 2019 18:01
Follow Matt on TwitterThis is worth the watch. CNN freaking out over their own poll's approval rating of President Trump's job on the economy.
''56% of Americans approve of how he's handing the economy, this is the highest number we've ever seen him at in CNN polling.''
Why are they freaked out you might ask?
Because people vote with their wallets my friends. They don't vote based on how poor they're doing, they vote on how well they are doing. Americans are doing amazing thanks to the President.
CNN is literally in a tailspin now that the Mueller Report showed no collusion, the New York Times now says the FBI was spying on the Trump Administration, and the Obama Administration knew about it.
Couple that the fact that thanks to President Trump the American economy is on fire, watching liberals right now is literally the epitome of deer in the headlights. It's great!
VIDEO - Anti-abortion Rep. Tim Murphy resigns after report he asked lover to end pregnancy - ABC News
Fri, 17 May 2019 17:58
Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy has resigned after a report surfaced earlier this week that he had asked an extramarital lover to end her pregnancy.
Murphy, a Republican who co-sponsored a 20-week abortion ban that passed in the House Tuesday, allegedly asked his lover to terminate her pregnancy, according to text message records acquired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Shannon Edwards, 32, whom Murphy recently admitted to having an affair with, messaged the 65-year-old congressman after an anti-abortion statement was posted on his office's Facebook account in January.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images Rep. Tim Murphy attends the House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress, Jan. 24, 2017 in Washington, D.C. "And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options," allegedly wrote Edwards in a text exchange that was a part of a number of documents obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A response from Murphy's phone number allegedly read, "I get what you say about my March for life messages. I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will."
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the exchange was over "an unfounded pregnancy scare."
Murphy's office and Edwards had no comment when reached by ABC News.
On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced that Murphy was resigning from Congress.
''This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21," Ryan said in a statement. "It was Dr. Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer.''
Murphy had previously announced his plans to retire at the end of his term in 2018.
"After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term," Murphy said in a statement Wednesday evening. "In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time."
But Murphy's retirement announcement didn't go far enough for some members. The embattled congressman was under immense pressure from GOP leaders to resign Wednesday, according to a source close to Murphy -- and that pressure only increased after he announced plans to retire after finishing out his term.
Murphy has a record of supporting legislation to cut federal funding for abortion and Planned Parenthood, and co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act on Jan. 24, one day before the text exchange.
ABC News' Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Tim Young on Twitter: "Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi stated that Democrats NEVER SAID THERE WASN'T A CRISIS at the border... Sooo... here's a mashup of Democrats (including her) saying there wasn't a crisis at the border 4 months ago. https://t.co/pPajr
Fri, 17 May 2019 17:46
Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi stated that Democrats NEVER SAID THERE WASN'T A CRISIS at the border...Sooo... here's a mashup of Democrats (including her) saying there wasn't a crisis at the border 4 months ago.
pic.twitter.com/pPajr7056R
VIDEO - "Flat Earth - The Ultimate Litmus Test" (2016) 🌎 - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 12:27
VIDEO - NASA hopes to have first woman land on moon with Artemis program - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 11:17
VIDEO - We Are Going - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 11:16
VIDEO - Trump unveils plan to 'transform' America's immigration system, focus on high-skilled workers | Fox News
Fri, 17 May 2019 10:52
President Trump on Thursday unveiled a long-awaited immigration overhaul that would dramatically alter how the U.S. accepts people into the country, upending the system in order to favor admissions based on merit rather than family ties.
"If adopted, our plan will transform America's immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world," Trump said from the Rose Garden.
GRAHAM UNVEILS BILL TO CHANGE ASYLUM LAW, SEND MIGRANTS BACK HOME
The proposal would judge immigrants with a points-based system that would favor high-skilled workers -- accounting for age, English proficiency, education and whether the applicant has a well-paying job offer.
Currently, only about 12 percent of immigrants are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66 percent are admitted based on family connections inside the U.S. Administration officials estimate that those numbers would flip to 57 and 33 percent, respectively, under the Trump plan.
"Currently 66 percent of legal immigrants come here based on random chance, they're admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States, and it doesn't really matter who that relative is," Trump said.
He said the plan would help recruit "top talent."
"We discriminate against genius," Trump said of current policies. "We discriminate against brilliance. We won't anymore once we get this passed."
The average yearly wage of legal immigrants is approximately $43,000. Administration officials said Wednesday that immigrants admitted based on education and skills would have an average income of $126,000, and they would expect the average yearly wage of all immigrants to rise to roughly $96,000.
Trump has long sought to end what he has called ''chain migration'' as part of his broader push to reform America's immigration laws and who is allowed into the country.
He has also frequently called for the end to the visa lottery program, something his immigration plan seeks to do. It would be replaced by a new "Build America Visa" program that would recognize "extraordinary talent" and "people with professional and specialized vocations," including exceptional students.
The plan does not deal with those already in the country illegally, including those who came to the country as children and were protected under an Obama-era executive order. However, Trump said it closes loopholes so that gang members and criminals are inadmissible, and would stop frivolous asylum claims.
"For criminals already here, we will ensure their swift deportation," he said.
NUNES TO DEMOCRATS: DON'T JUST CRITICIZE TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL, INTRODUCE YOUR OWN PLAN
Trump said the proposal would also require immigrants to be financially self-sufficient, learn English and pass a civics exam before admission.
"Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that strengthens our traditions, our culture and our values," he said.
The plan could face some opposition from some conservatives as it does not reduce overall rates of immigration. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower levels of immigration, called it a "positive effort" but flagged the failure to reduce legal immigration levels.
"This plan represents a very positive effort on immigration, and includes important provisions such as limits to chain migration, closing the loopholes that are allowing the flow of drugs and migrants at the southern border and a crackdown on visa overstays," he said in a statement. "It is concerning there was no mention of E-Verify. However, it is not likely to become legislation, but is rather a statement of the president's goals. As such, the fact that it does not even call for a modest reduction in total immigration, but instead offsets decreases with increases in 'skills-based' immigration, is very concerning."But Trump said the plan will present a ''clear contrast'' with Democrats' immigration plans.
''Democrats are proposing open borders, lower wages and frankly, lawless chaos,'' he said. ''We are proposing an immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages and safety of American workers first.''
''Our plan is pro-American, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker,'' he said. ''It's just common sense.''
Democrats dismissed Trump's plan before it was even announced, indicating an uphill climb in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier Thursday that the plan ''isn't a serious attempt at immigration reform.''
''It repackages the same partisan, radical anti-immigrant policies that the administration has pushed for the two years '' all of which have struggled to earn even a simple majority in the Senate let alone 60 votes,'' he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., described the Trump plan as "dead-on-arrival" and "not a remotely serious proposal."
"The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration's barbaric family detention policies, reviving the President's ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections, which the evangelical community has called the 'crown jewel of American humanitarianism,'" Pelosi said in a statement. "To say that this plan's application criteria are 'merit-based' is the height of condescension."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said that Trump's proposal was "based on a set of falsehoods aimed at only allowing immigrants from certain favored nations or backgrounds.
"This new proposal is a non-starter and another example of how this President continues to base his immigration policies on xenophobic and false stereotypes about immigrants from certain parts of the world," Hoyer added. "... If we close ourselves off from the world, shut ourselves in with walls and closed minds, we do so at our own peril and at the expense of the better future we forfeit."
Trump seemed to acknowledge the challenge of getting Democratic support in his remarks from the Rose Garden: "If for some reason, possibly political, we can't get the Democrats to approve this merit-based high-security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House, keep the Senate and of course hold the presidency."
Trump's immigration proposal comes as the administration is scrambling separately to deal with the more pressing challenge of illegal immigration on the southern border.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Customs and Border Protection said it apprehended or turned away more than 109,000 migrants attempting to cross the border in April, the second month in a row the number has topped 100,000.
A bill unveiled by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Wednesday would end asylum claims from Central America at the border, and return unaccompanied minors to their home countries.
Fox News' Gregg Re, John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO - The Christchurch ''Call To Action'' Summit in Paris Exposed! They're Coming For Us ONLINE!! - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 10:21
VIDEO - Homeless Population Looks To Floating Camps On Sacramento River - YouTube
Fri, 17 May 2019 10:15
VIDEO - NowThis on Twitter: ".@AOC asked this pharma exec why a life-saving HIV drug costs nearly $2,000 in the U.S. and $8 in Australia https://t.co/A7wTv92CCF" / Twitter
Thu, 16 May 2019 23:39
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VIDEO - (1) Jamie Bartlett on Twitter: "I can't believe what I'm seeing! While running a facial recognition pilot, one man (understandably imho) covered himself up. The police forced him to show his face (& then fined him for disorderly
Thu, 16 May 2019 20:37
Christian Wach @ interactivist
May 15 Replying to
@JamieJBartlett Although I agree that the story is shocking, it should perhaps be noted that it happened at the end of January
independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/'... View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
May 15 Replying to
@interactivist Cheers
View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
May 15 Replying to
@JamieJBartlett If this is rolled out, there will be hundreds - probably thousands - who will do exactly what this man has done: principled refusal to comply. What will the police do then?
View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
May 15 Replying to
@JamieJBartlett And if you think this technology will be 'objective' or 'neutral' then I suggest you watch this:
pic.twitter.com/lfIjJRTUeK View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
May 15 Replying to
@BBCClick This clip is taken from a brilliant episode of
@BBCClick, dedicated to looking into facial recognition technology. Watch it here:
bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod'... View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
23h Replying to
@geoffwhite247 (This report was done by
@geoffwhite247 - top journalist, deep web specialist too, and someone you should all follow.)
View conversation · Jamie Bartlett @ JamieJBartlett
4h Replying to
@JamieJBartlett The road to our techno-hell will almost certainly be paved with innocent sounding 'pilots' and soundbites about 'keeping the public safe'.
View conversation ·
STORIES
Syrische Al-Nusra-commandant aangehouden in Zeeland - NRC
Thu, 23 May 2019 14:04
In het Zeeuwse Kapelle is dinsdag een 47-jarige Syrir aangehouden op verdenking van betrokkenheid bij onder meer oorlogsmisdrijven in Syri. Hij zou als commandant van een bataljon van de terreurbeweging Jabhat al-Nusra deelgenomen hebben aan de gewapende strijd.
De man, die sinds 2014 in Nederland verblijft en een tijdelijke verblijfsvergunning heeft, vocht onder de strijdersnaam Abu Khuder. Het OM heeft zijn strijdersnaam en de naam van het bataljon verspreid in de hoop informatie uit Syri te ontvangen. Ook is het bericht in het Arabisch en Engels vertaald. Bij de huiszoeking legde de politie beslag op documenten, een computer en een telefoon. De 47-jarige man wordt vrijdag voorgeleid aan de rechter-commissaris in Den Haag.
Het strafrechtelijk onderzoek tegen de man begon met informatie van de Duitse politie, die over getuigenverklaringen beschikte. In Duitsland heeft de politie dinsdag ook zes woningen van vermoedelijke strijders van hetzelfde bataljon doorzocht. De woning van een man die contact had met de Syrir is dinsdag ook doorzocht.
Jabhat al-Nusra riep vanaf de oprichting in 2012 op tot een gewapende strijd tegen het regime van Assad en was gelieerd aan Al Qaida. Door veel westerse landen en de Verenigde Naties wordt de beweging gezien als terroristische organisatie.
Guardian's Style Guide Puts Harsher Words to Our Global Climate Crisis - Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:46
May 17, 2019; Guardian
Earlier this year, NPQ wrote about changes the Associated Press made to its style guide for journalists reporting on racism. Now, the Guardian is announcing a change to its style guide for reporting on the environment.
The guidance from editor-in-chief Katherine Viner is being shared broadly. The changes she recommends are as follows:
Use climate emergency, crisis, or breakdown instead of climate changeSay global heating rather than global warmingUse wildlife (where applicable) rather than biodiversitySay fish populations rather than fish stocksClimate science denier or climate denier should replace climate skepticViner says the goal is to ''accurately reflect the phenomena'' in a way that's both scientifically precise and clear to readers. The older terms aren't banned precisely, but Guardian writers who seek to use them'--say, for SEO purposes'--should think twice and then clear their choice with the audience team.
This follows a more general strengthening of civil society's approach to the issue, as is reflected in the ''extinction rebellion'' movement in the UK. It also follows a strongly written article by Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope, published on April 22nd in the Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation. It is aptly entitled, ''The media are complacent while the world burns,'' and reads in part:
At a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test. Last October, the scientists of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report, warning that humanity had a mere 12 years to radically slash greenhouse-gas emissions or face a calamitous future in which hundreds of millions of people worldwide would go hungry or homeless or worse. Only 22 of the 50 biggest newspapers in the United States covered that report.
Instead of sleepwalking us toward disaster, the US news media need to remember their Paul Revere responsibilities'--to awaken, inform, and rouse the people to action. To that end, The Nation and CJR are launching ''Covering Climate Change: A New Playbook for a 1.5-Degree World,'' a project aimed at dramatically improving US media coverage of the climate crisis. When the IPCC scientists issued their 12-year warning, they said that limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require radically transforming energy, agriculture, transportation, construction, and other core sectors of the global economy. Our project is grounded in the conviction that the news sector must be transformed just as radically.
''Newsroom managers have failed to see the climate crisis as fundamental, all-encompassing, and worthy of attention from every journalist on their payrolls,'' Hertsgaard and Pope write. The article laid a path of sorts toward an April 30th conference on reframing environmental coverage, with which the Guardian partnered with the Nation and CJR.'--Ruth McCambridge
EU: valt er echt iets te kiezen? | De samenleving is van ons '...
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:36
In de eerste alinea's de boodschap in het kort, tot aan het kopje 'einde samenvatting'. Erna volgt verdere uitleg.
Zoals bekend gaat het hier over het Europees Parlement. Het enige Europese instituut dat we rechtstreeks kunnen kiezen.
Wat ze daar wel en niet kunnen wordt leuk verbeeld in dit videootje over de Europese instituties. Daarnaast toont deze video van NRC op zeer originele wijze hoe de gang van zaken is rond stemmingen in de EU, breder dan alleen het parlement (relativeer hier wel de al te optimistische toon over het angel-saksische model).
Ook nu zijn er weer kieshulpen, onder meer: Eu.kieskompas.nl en Eu.stemwijzer.nl De laatste is de betere. Daar kun je namelijk ook inzien wat de partijen van de stellingen vinden. En belangrijker: waarom ze dat vinden.
Afgaand op deze kieshulpen,lijken onze politieke partijen verstoppertje te spelen:
In de voor kiezers-in-sp(C) geselecteerde onderwerpen schemert namelijk geen besef door, dat het hoog tijd is dat de EU zich eens fundamenteel bezint. Alle stellingen hebben betrekking op trivialer onderwerpen dan dat.
Nieuwe geluiden
Als je alleen de kieshulpen raadpleegt, zal het je nauwelijks opvallen dat er toch wel frisse geluiden rond de EU zijn ontstaan. Dit betreft twee gloednieuwe, werkelijk Europese partijen. E(C)n daarvan is 'European Spring', helaas pas in enkele landen op de kieslijsten; nog niet in Nederland.
De andere is 'Volt',. Deze werkt op basis van haar 'Amsterdam Declaration', met in een apart document een degelijke uitleg van hoe men de beschreven hervormingen wil bereiken. Volt staat in Nederland dus wel op de stemlijsten.
Beide nieuwe partijen komen met stevige hervormingsagenda's. Die natuurlijk alleen een kans maken als het ze lukt voldoende kiezer te trekken.
Bekende geluiden
Ligt je hart meer bij bestaande partijen, dan is het aan te raden om niet alleen een kieswijzer in te vullen. Je bent tenslotte meer ge¯nteresseerd in daden, dan in woorden. In hoeverre je je in die daden uit de afgelopen periode herkent, kun je nu eindelijk eens toetsen. En wel op de Volkskrant Stemchecker.
E(C)n bijzonderheid van dit moment: mocht je er belang aan hechten dat een Nederlander (onze goed zichtbare Frans Timmermans) een kans maakt om Juncker op te volgen als voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, dan zijn daarvoor in elk geval voldoende stemmen op zijn PvdA nodig. Maar let op: garanties bestaan niet, in deze processen.
Einde samenvatting
Gevangen in 'dingetjes'
De vraag is waar de trivialiteit van de kieswijzer-onderwerpen aan ligt. E(C)n mogelijke verklaring is, dat men bij de keuze van deze onderwerpen (door de kieswijzers zelf dus) onvoldoende beseft heeft op welk kruispunt Europa zich bevindt. Een andere verklaring is, dat dit besef bij de politieke partijen ontbreekt. En dat onze media ze daar onvoldoende over op de huid zitten. Allicht is het een wisselwerking tussen deze drie factoren.
Een enkel voorbeeld van die trivialiteit: er wordt gerept van de sancties tegen Rusland. Uiteraard vooral bezien in het licht van onze handelsbelangen.t
Node gemist
Maar niets in de kieswijzers gaat erover hoe Europa zich in de nieuwe wereld moet gaan verhouden tot de verschuivende economische machten van China, India en de US. Of tot opkomende economien die geen voedseldumping willen maar eerlijke handelskansen, zoals de Afrikaanse landen.
De werkelijkgrote vragen komen niet aan bod:
Welke fundamentele koerswijzingen moet de EU doorvoeren, na de lessen van de afgelopen periode? Welke transformatie gaat ertoe leiden dat de Europese burger het gevoel krijgt dat de EU er voor hem is? Dus, bijvoorbeeld:
Hoe gaan we de steeds schevere machtsverhouding tussen lobbyisten en kiezers corrigeren? Zodat het Europa van de bedrijven een Europa van de inwoners wordt. Hoe vervangen we het getouwtrek en de mist rond bevoegdheden op Europees en nationaal niveau door een logische, begrijpelijke taakverdeling? Hoe creren we een Europa van gelijke kansen? Kansen voor landen, maar vooral ook voor individuele burgers. Hoe zorgen we ervoor dat de Europese waarden geloofwaardig worden? Gaan we ze eens borgen in de wijze waarop de EU opereert? Daarop zou je de programma's wel eens willen doorlichten. Vrijwel geen burger zal daarvoor de tijd en het geduld kunnen opbrengen. Vooral niet omdat het vermoeden gerechtvaardigd is dat men rond de EU ''als in alle politiek- vooral behendig om zulke lastige thema's heen praat.D
De 'talking heads'
In de Volkskrant van 16 mei is te lezen wat onze lijsttrekkers met de EU zeggen te willen.
Hier wordt de indruk uit de kieswijzers bevestigd. Er zijn enkele fractieleiders met linke uitspraken over uittreden (overigens al wat terugkrabbelend, omdat ze zien dat te veel kiezers dat niet willen). Afgezien van hen, heeft men het vooral over 'dingetjes', dagkoersen of in het beste geval deelonderwerpen.
Bijvoorbeeld ideen voor wijziging van de Europese begroting, het immigratiebeleid, e.d. Dat riekt naar symtpoombestrijding. Het geeft de indruk dat de bestaande partijen de noodzaak van drastische hervormingen psychologisch verdringen. Met uitzondering misschien van SP en GroenLinks, wier fractieleiders reppen over zekere verdergaande hervormingsplannen.
De Nederlandse situatie is voor de meeste kiezers al lastig te doorgronden. Maar voor Europa komt daar nog iets bij: je kunt nauwelijks echt Europees stemmen. Dat kan alleen op partijen die hier op de kieslijst staan. En die wordt gedomineerd door de ons welbekende 'merken'.
Maar pas op:
Europees werkt anders
Afgezien van de twee nieuwe partijen met een Europa-brede ambitie (waarvan hier dus alleen Volt op de kieslijst staat), doen de Nederlandse politieke partijen in de ons bekende hoedanigheid niet mee in de EU. Ze opereren slechts in het veel grotere, waziger verband van 'Europese partijen'.
Dat zijn lastig te vatten clubs, waarin standpunten onvermijdelijk verwateren. Het zijn veelkleurige coalities van nationale partijen. Waar dit toe leidt wordt duidelijk uit een enkel voorbeeld: D66 en VVD zijn op Europees niveau verenigd in dezelfde Alliantie van Liberalen en Democraten.
O f het nog niet onoverzichtelijk genoeg is: je moet ook nog het onderscheid kennen tussen Europese verbanden van partijen en EU parlementaire fracties.
Kortom, best ingewikkeld allemaal.
Wat te doen?
Kom je er niet uit? Niet stemmen dan maar? Voor wie dat overweegt is het uitbrengen van een blanco stem een optie. Met zo'n neutrale vorm van proteststemmen maak je in elk geval nog een meetbare mening kenbaar, richting EU.
Wel stemmen? Raadpleeg dan de in deze tekst genoemde bronnen. Aan onze media heb je niet al veel houvast. Ook ditmaal bakken de meeste media weinig van hun voor de democratie zo wezenlijke taak. Ze laten zich als gebruikelijk teveel meeslepen in de waan van de dag, respectievelijk creren ze zelf de mistdekens. Ze houden zich met 'dingetjes' bezig, in plaats met het grote verhaal dat nu aan de orde is. Blijkbaar zijn ze, nu het al zo lang 'goed gaat', het belang en de functie van persvrijheid vergeten.
Als eerder opgemerkt heeft Eu.stemwijzer.nl het voordeel dat je er per stelling kunt inzien wat de partijen ervan vinden en waarom. Het is de moeite waard om dat onderdeel bij elke stelling ook even te raadplegen. Voordat je bijvoorbeeld 'ja' zegt tegen vliegtax, kun je zo zien dat er een partij is die 'nee' zegt omdat deze het probleem liever bij de bron wil aanpakken: namelijk door gewoon eens accijns op Kerosine te gaan heffen.
Zo'n vliegtax idee valt misschien wel in de categorie 'seat of the pants management', waarvan overigens hier een schrijnend Nederlands voorbeeld is uitgelicht.
In elk geval iets doen
Deze verkiezingen zijn allicht belangrijker dan ooit eerder het geval was met Europa. Het ligt in de rede te veronderstellen dat we Europa in de wereld van morgen nog veel harder nodig hebben. Dan moet de EU wel veel beter gaan functioneren. Zoiets laat je als kiezer niet blind aan de gevestigde belangen over, toch?
U.S. Warns Assad Regime Preparing New Chemical Weapons Attacks
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:35
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad / Getty
BY: Adam Kredo Follow@Kredo0May 21, 2019 6:15 pm
The United States confirmed that it sees evidence that embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is gearing up to again use chemical weapons attacks against his citizens in a protracted and bitter war that has caused scores of casualties in the war torn country.
"We continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019," the State Department said in a statement. "We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately."
The Trump administration will not stand idly by while Assad uses these lethal weapons, the State Department said in its statement.
The United States continues to closely monitor the situation.
"The United States continues to closely watch the military operations by the Assad regime in northwest Syria, including indications of any new use of chemical weapons by the regime," the State Department said.
Assad has repeatedly used deadly chemical weapons'--barred by conventional warfare'--against his own citizens as he continues to hold onto power in Syria. Both Iran and Russia has sided with Assad and are likely aware of the regime's efforts to use chemical weapons and other attacks.
"The May 19 alleged attack in northwest Syria is part of a violent campaign by the Assad regime that violates a ceasefire that has protected several million civilians in the greater Idlib area," the State Department said. "This renewed Syrian regime offensive has targeted the communities of that area, which include a large number of Syrians who were already displaced from violence in others parts of Syria, and has destroyed known health facilities, schools, residences, and internally displaced person camps."
"The regime's attacks against the communities of northwest Syria must end. The United States reiterates its warning, first issued by President Trump in September 2018, that an attack against the Idlib de-escalation zone would be a reckless escalation that threatens to destabilize the region," the statement says.
The administration also criticized efforts by Assad's Russian backers to disseminate disinformation regarding recent attacks.
"Russia's recent allegations against the White Helmets and others are part of a continuing disinformation campaign by the Assad regime and Russia to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting," the statement reads.
"Similarly, on November 24, 2018, the Assad regime and Russia attempted to fabricate a chemical weapons attack near Aleppo and blame it on opposition forces," it continued. "At times, Russia and the Assad regime have made these false allegations as a pretext in advance of the Assad regime's own barbaric chemical weapons attacks."
"The facts, however, are clear: the Assad regime itself has conducted almost all verified chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in Syria'--a conclusion the United Nations has reached over and over again," according to the State Department. " The former Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigation Mechanism repeatedly verified and reported the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. The Assad regime's culpability in horrific chemical weapons attacks is undeniable."
Al Gore's Generation looks to make an impact with $1B sustainable vehicle | PitchBook
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:13
Generation Investment Management has raised just over $1 billion for its latest vehicle, Sustainable Solutions Fund III. Co-founded by former US Vice President Al Gore and former
Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood, the fund will use the capital pool to back later-stage startups that focus on environmental solutions, healthcare and financial inclusion.
The fund will seek investments ranging between $50 million and $150 million, consistent with the typical size targeted by the London-based firm, which launched 15 years ago and has more than $22 billion of assets under management.
Generation has already put its third fund to work by leading Andela's $100 million Series D. Also backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's company, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Andela connects engineering teams with software developers in Africa and reached a $700 million valuation following the round. The sustainable investor has also funded Sophia Genetics, a provider of data-driven medicine applications, leading the biotech company's $77 million round in January.Tapping into the zeitgeistGeneration's latest fund is a big step up, as its previous effort raised just $300 million. It comes at a time when the notion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainable investing is gaining traction, with industry heavyweights such as BlackRock CEO Larry Fink asserting that investors must make positive contributions to society.
There also appears to have been a tidal shift against the previous belief that doing good with investments will almost always result in lower-than-market-rate returns. Ronald Cohen, who co-founded global investment giant Apax Partners and now heads the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, believes that investing under impact guidelines can beat average returns and, importantly, if impact principles were applied across all asset classes, the market could be worth as much as $30 trillion by 2030.
Featured image via Boonyachoat/iStock/Getty Images Plus Related reads: Check out our analyst note on impact investing
EQT co-founder joins the impact investing bonanza
Game of Thrones: How much do women speak in the show? - BBC News
Thu, 23 May 2019 13:12
*Warning: this article contains some spoilers for the series - but none for the final episode* Image copyright HBO/Sky Atlantic Female characters in Game of Thrones speak about three times less than male characters in the show, according to new data given to BBC 100 Women.
Although the hugely popular show ended this week after eight seasons, the debate on how it represented women will continue.
The data by research group Ceretai suggests that across all eight seasons, male speech amounts to about 75% of all speaking time in the series.
The share of female speaking time varied between seasons, starting at about a quarter in season one and rising slightly to a third by season seven.
However, the final season, which saw many female characters at the forefront of the plot, was among the worst for female speaking time.
The data was compiled by Ceretai, a Swedish start-up that uses machine learning to analyse diversity in popular culture.
Their algorithm has learned to identify the difference between male and female voices in video and provides the speaking time lengths in seconds and percentages per gender.
Like most automatic systems, it doesn't make the right decision every time. The accuracy of this algorithm is about 85%, so figures could be slightly higher or lower than reported - but the data suggests that speaking times for men and women in the programme are far from being equal.
Lisa Hamberg, co-founder of Ceretai, told the BBC that by analysing Game of Thrones, they wanted to make viewers aware of the wider problem of how women are portrayed in the media.
"We are not doing this to make people stop watching, but to make them aware of the fact that it's an unfair representation of the world", she says.
Researchers were expecting to see about 30% of the speaking time to be the voices of female characters. This is the average given to women on screen, according to research by the USC Annenberg on inequality in 900 popular films.
The highest proportion of female speech in Game of Thrones is found in the fifth episode of season 4, First of His Name.
Storylines with leading female characters such as Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen make female speech almost equal to male speech, at nearly half of the total.
One of the worst episodes for equality of speaking time across all seasons is the seventh of season one, You Win or You Die, with female characters saying just one sixth of the dialogue.
The episode included a scene that led to the coining of the term "sexposition" by critic Myles McNutt, referring to the use of sex scenes in the series as a way to explain plot and character motivations.
Image copyright HBO/Sky Atlantic Image caption Overall character count shows almost three men for every woman in seasons one to seven, according to US software firm Looker Diversity seemed to improve across the middle series, and by season seven the show saw one of the highest percentages of female speech - at about one third.
But the final season of Game of Thrones has the lowest average for female speech - just one in five times the overall speaking time, according to the algorithm used for the analysis. Hamberg said: "Our hope was to see a positive trend, but this [data] tells us the opposite".
The fourth episode, The Last of the Starks, gives less than 20% of speaking time to women.
And the season finale, which aired on Sunday night in the US and on Monday in the UK, saw a gender split of about 80% for male characters and only 20% for their female counterparts - one of the lowest across the series.
Image copyright HBO/Sky Atlantic Seen but not heardThese findings may surprise some fans, as the final season has been lauded for showcasing strong female characters. From Daenerys to Arya Stark, we have seen their battles and vendettas take centre stage.
Dr Stephanie Genz, a media studies lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, said the visibility of these female characters doesn't tell the full story.
"You've got this misperception that because women are very visible, their bodies are very visible, that somehow equates to a meaningful statement, which doesn't necessarily have to be the case."
Women, especially in the earlier series, "speak with their bodies", according to Dr Genz, and "the audience will not necessarily notice how little they speak."
"It's just confirming what we know in society anyway - that women's voices are underrepresented."
Image copyright HBO/Sky Atlantic Image caption Daenerys Targaryen's character arc in the final series has been controversial for many fans Game of Thrones has been criticised for the over-sexualisation of female characters and its portrayal of violence against women.
Some of show's actors have defended the show in the past, rejecting accusations of misogyny and highlighting that "the key players this season are all female".
How does GoT compare with the wider film industry?There is a huge difference in the amount of words given to male versus female characters in films, according to previous research by software developer Hanah Anderson.
Of the 2,000 screenplays analysed by Anderson, three quarters had more than 60% male dialogue.
BBC 100 Women analysis also suggested that fewer than half of films named best picture at the Oscars have passed a common measure of on-screen female representation known as the Bechdel Test. A film passes the test if it has two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
Fewer words, less screen time? An analysis by US software firm Looker on the number of lines assigned to male and female characters also shows an uneven gender split.
To even the playing field between male and female characters, researchers isolated the top 15 speakers of each gender, to include those with the highest number of lines in the scripts in seasons 1 to 7.
The line count for these top 30 speakers revealed that Game of Thrones' men have 29% more lines than women, their data suggests.
So, who speaks the most?
Tyrion Lannister is solidly in the lead with more than 1,300 lines - 32% more than the first top female speaker, Cersei Lannister, who appears in third place after her youngest brother and Jon Snow.
Men make up nine of the top 15 characters with the most lines.
And even dead male characters are given more dialogue than female characters who are still alive.
For instance, by the end of series seven, Ned Stark - who did not make it past the first season - still had more lines attributed to him than to both Margaery Tyrell and Melisandre.
"Even though we already knew men get more screen time than women, the results still surprised us," says Sooji Kim, Looker's web optimization manager. "No matter how we sliced the data, we still found that female characters consistently had less visibility".
A previous analysis from Looker revealed that the total screen time for all male characters was some 15% more than that given to the female cast.
While the gender gap in screen time is not as large as speaking time, it is still lower than many may have thought, researchers suggest.
Sooji Kim adds: "The public perception is that female Game of Thrones characters are very strong and prominent, even when they are on screen less and have fewer speaking opportunities.
"Are powerful women [on screen] so rare that they leave such an impression in our minds, so even when they're not present, they still stand out?"
So, what do the women of Westeros say when they do speak?
Looker's data shows that male characters tended to have more masculine-centred words in their lines, such as men, man, King, and Lord.
Image copyright LOOKER But for female characters, the more frequent words were love, leave, please, husband and master.
Image copyright LOOKER "That being said, popular female-spoken words did include specific words like daughter and Arya - and stupid and liar- which were used more often than among men", says Sooji Kim.
"Overall, the actions and words women are participating in are still very attached to gender-related stereotypes".
HBO did not respond to requests for comments regarding the data on female speech in the series.
Image copyright HBO/Sky Atlantic Image caption One of the most popular female-spoken words is the name Arya Stark But while Game of Thrones is just one programme, it points to a larger problem in popular culture, according to Lisa Hamberg, whose team conducted the speech analysis of the series.
"We are getting more aware of the kind of roles women get to play in movies, but if we have a strong female character and she still doesn't get to speak - we are failing."
Produced by BBC 100 Women's Georgina Pearce and Valeria Perasso.
Graphics by Elisabetta Tollardo and Debie Loizou, BBC Languages' Visual Journalism.
What is 100 Women?BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year and shares their stories. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use #100Women
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Colluding drug firms 'cost the NHS millions of pounds' - BBC News
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:26
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Prochlorperazine is prescribed for nausea and dizziness Four pharmaceutical firms have been accused of illegally colluding to restrict the supply of an anti-nausea tablet, driving the price paid for it by the NHS up by 700%.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the cost of Prochlorperazine rose from £6.49 per pack to £51.68, after suppliers agreed not to compete.
The drug is often prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
One of the firms named, Alliance, denied the allegations.
In a statement of objections, the CMA says that between 2013 and 2018, the annual cost of 3mg dissolvable Prochlorperazine tablets increased from approximately £2.7m to £7.5m, even though the NHS dispensed fewer packs during that period.
It claimed that sharp increase was the result of four companies - Alliance, Focus, Lexon and Medreich - agreeing not to compete against each other for the supply of the prescription-only pills.
Alliance supplied Prochlorperazine exclusively to Focus, which the CMA says then paid Lexon a share of its profits from the sales.
Lexon, the competition regulator alleges, then shared these payments with Medreich.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chemotherapy patients are often prescribed Prochlorperazine to help with dizziness The CMA alleges that, before entering into this arrangement, Lexon and Medreich had been planning to launch their own jointly-developed Prochlorperazine.
In a statement, Alliance said it had "no involvement in the pricing or distribution of Prochlorperazine since 2013, when it was out-licensed by the company to Focus Pharmaceuticals Limited on an exclusive basis as is normal market practice".
The firm added: "Alliance has not had control of or influence on, and nor has it benefited from, any price increases."
The BBC has contacted Focus, Lexon and Medreich for comment.
The CMA's Ann Pope said: "Agreements where a company pays a rival not to enter the market can lead to higher prices and deprive the NHS of huge savings that often result from competition between drug suppliers.
"The NHS should not be denied the opportunity of benefitting from an increased choice of suppliers, or lower prices, for important medicine."
The companies concerned will now have the opportunity to respond to the CMA's provisional findings.
If it eventually determines that competition law has been broken, the CMA can impose a financial penalty of up to 10% of each company's worldwide turnover.
Defiant Nigel Farage blasts claims he hid from milkshake mob on campaign bus and says he was giving interviews instead
Thu, 23 May 2019 11:18
NIGEL Farage reportedly refused to get off his Brexit Party campaign bus after people gathered round it carrying milkshakes.
His bodyguards were keen to avoid another splattering days after he raged at them for letting a protester douse him with a caramel shake in Newcastle.
London News Pictures
Nigel Farage looked anxious as it was reported he refused to leave his bus when people were spotted with milkshakes nearbyLondon News Pictures
He was in Kent on his Brexit Party bus to drum up support ahead of the European electionsBPM Media
Men with their faces covered were feared to be armed with milkshakesLondon News Pictures
Cops were seen speaking to a separate group of men carrying iced coffeesThree young men - reportedly with covered faces - are said to have been spotted carrying milkshakes at a campaign stop in Rochester, Kent, yesterday.
After Farage and his security detail were alerted, the Brexit Party leader was reportedly advised not to risk getting off.
Bus driver Michael Botton told Kent Live: "There were a couple of guys standing with milkshakes, they were going to throw them over him.
''But the police are there, we've spotted them and now Nigel isn't getting off the bus.''
Another group of men were also seen carrying drinks near to the bus, believed to be iced coffees, and were spoken to by cops after reportedly shouting anti-Farage slogans.
According to Kent Live, the ex-Ukip leader did eventually get off the bus, but stayed close to the vehicle as he spoke to supporters.
Reuters
Mr Farage was covered in milkshake in Newcastle earlier this weekA local reporter at the scene, Will Rider, said: "He was stuck on the bus for ages and wouldn't come off.
"Eventually he did come off but he only stepped about a metre away and chatted to some supporters. He got back on the bus very quickly.
"In all the other places he stopped off and walked down the high street."
Later the Brexit Party leader's spokesman denied he was hiding on the top deck.
He told the MailOnline: "Nigel did media interviews on top of the campaign open-top bus and then got off to mix with supporters afterwards, taking photographs and signing boards.
"Suggestions that he hid on board the bus are simply not true."
The Sun Online has approached Kent Police for comment.
MILKSHAKE ATTACKSEarlier this week Farage had a £5.25 milkshake lobbed at him infront of a crowd of bystanders.
Paul Crowther, 32, has been charged with common assault and criminal damage, cops confirmed.
Crowther, who works as a customer service representative at Sky, will appear at North Tyneside Magistrates Court on June 18.
After the shake was chucked, furious Mr Farage could be heard moaning of his bodyguards' "complete failure" as they whisked him away.
He added: "You could have spotted that a mile away" and "How could this happen?".
The leader told reporters the Five Guys banana and salted caramel shake was "yobbo flavoured" - and he reportedly gave a statement to Northumbria Police.
Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson and Ukip candidate Carl Benjamin were both targeted in recent weeks.
No action was taken against either of the men although both were questioned by police.
The milkshake incident comes today despite McDonald's branches in Edinburgh posting signs saying that milkshakes and ice creams would not be for sale ahead of Brexit party rallies.
The fast food chain claimed police had asked them not to sell shakes or ice cream to stop any embarrassing splatters.
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Farage's attack has been widely condemned by other politicians, with Brexit minister James Cleverly saying people should debate rather than "assault political opponents".
Jo Cox's widower Brendan Cox also spoke out, saying that politicians should be able to "campaign without harassment, intimidation and abuse".
Mr Farage - whose fledgling Brexit party is leading opinion polls - has been touring the UK ahead of European parliament elections today.
London News Pictures
Farage on the Brexit Party bus today while campaigning in KentLondon News Pictures
Farage in Rochester on the eve of the European parliament electionsReuters
Farage had been campaigning in Newcastle at the beginning of the week when a bystander pelted him with milkshakeReuters
A security guard pushes Crowther out of the way after the milkshake was thrown, with the empty cup seen circled hereReuters
Crowther was spoken to by police after the milkshake was thrown at Mr FaragePA:Press Association
An empty milkshake cup lays on the ground - believed to be the one used in the attackLondon News Pictures
The Brexit Party leader had been visiting the North East as part of a whistle-stop tour of the UK Nigel Farage hit with milkshake while out campaigning for Brexit We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
ABC's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons' Review '' Variety
Thu, 23 May 2019 04:07
May 22, 2019 7:38PM PTWoody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Wanda Sykes, Jamie Foxx and more starred in this new special hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear.In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before reboot and revival fever manifested as verbatim repeats '-- but if TV's gonna go there, bringing back eerily timely shows like ''All in the Family'' and ''The Jeffersons'' is the way to do it.
That Norman Lear's comedies are timely, or at least prescient, is an established TV industry truism decades in the making. The family sitcoms he produced '-- including ''All in the Family,'' ''Maude,'' ''The Jeffersons,'' ''One Day at a Time'' and more '-- refused to live by the dictum that everyone should just get along and avoid topics like religion, money, and politics. In fact, most of the characters on shows he produced barreled headlong into the most contentious issues of the day, grappling with their differences by airing them out in hilarious, sometimes excruciating detail. That model of family sitcom has endured ever since; today's TV shares its DNA, whether in literal reboots like Netflix's ''One Day at a Time'' or spiritual descendants like ABC's ''Blackish.''
So while Jimmy Kimmel enlisting stars like Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Wanda Sykes, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Will Ferrell to step into old roles for a (live!) one-off special could read as a blatant nostalgia grab, doing so for ''The Jeffersons'' and ''All in the Family'' is as much about reminding a wide new audience about relevant TV history as sheer entertainment. And as the now 96-year-old Lear made explicit in a pointed introduction, re-staging these shows was an experiment to test if they hold up as well in the present day as so many aficionados have said they would. ''We are still grappling with many of the same issues,'' Lear said. ''We hope tonight will make you laugh, provoke discussion, and encourage action. There is so much more work we must do in this country we love so much.''
The experiment worked. With meticulous attention to set detail and wig shapes, ABC's live staging of ''Henry's Farewell'' (''All in the Family'') and ''A Friend in Need'' (''The Jeffersons'') managed to feel both like an artifact of a nostalgic past and the urgent present. Performing the episodes word for word meant that, for instance, Archie (Harrelson) retained his notoriously ugly streaks of sexism and racism. (It also meant that ABC, adhering to 2019 broadcast network standards, deployed startling, lengthy bleeps to blot out ''Jeffersons'' characters using the n-word.) On the surface, the episodes are linked by writer and ''Jeffersons'' co-creator Don Nicholl and the bombastic George Jefferson himself (played here by Foxx), who made his first appearance in ''Henry's Farewell'' before launching his own spinoff with ''A Friend in Need.'' Both chapters are also linked by frank discussions of class inequality, cultural gulfs, and willful ignorance. Some of the punchlines reveal their age, but as Lear warned us ahead of time, far more hit close to home. (Swap out every Nixon mention for Trump and tell me they don't read much the same!) That doesn't mean they became less funny, but the deja vu does tend to create an extra depressing level to the proceedings.
As for the performances themselves, most hewed close to straight up impersonations to mixed effect. Harrelson's Archie '-- or more specifically, his attempt at Carroll O'Conner's thick Queens accent '-- didn't quite settle until after the first commercial break, while Foxx got so caught up in mimicking Sherman Hemsley's tics that he flubbed a punchline and blurted, ''It's live!'' Better off was Tomei, who stole just about every scene with her wide-eyed, full-throated commitment to Jean Stapleton's brand of quivering enthusiasm. Opposite these three in particular, Sykes immediately set herself apart by keeping her portrayal of Weezie Jefferson closer to her own instincts than Isabel Sanford's '-- a grounded choice that paid off opposite Foxx's broader impression.
It helps that these core four were surrounded by able supporting players who, more often than not, have had ample experience on their own comedies borne of the Lear tradition. There's just no resisting the sight of skilled actors like Anderson (''Blackish''), Stephen Tobolowsky (''One Day at a Time''), and Amber Stevens-West (''The Carmichael Show'') get huge applause breaks while paying homage to their sitcom ancestors. In fact, two of them were even right there alongside them: original ''Jeffersons'' castmember Marla Gibbs reprised her role as clever maid Florence, and her ''227'' co-star Jack(C)e also tapped in to play (wonderfully) off Sykes as Weezie's friend Diana.
So, sure, the acting wasn't flawless and the rhythms of the 1970s comedy occasionally felt jarring on a 2019 stage. But the special was so overwhelmingly dedicated to the fun of the conceit and the enduring accuracy of the punchlines that any technical nitpicks I had quickly faded from memory. By the time Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson was shimmying across the ''Jeffersons'' set belting ''Movin' On Up,'' it became frankly impossible to begrudge the spectacle of it all. TV could frankly do a whole lot worse than gathering talented performers to tackle smart, topical comedy with such visceral joy that they're practically vibrating off the screen. That the material remains so stubbornly timely is a bonus '-- and a warning. The fact that these sitcoms can be recited verbatim almost 50 years later only proves just how much of our world is, despite such intense and ongoing efforts otherwise, the same as it ever was. As Lear himself said: there is, as always, so much more work to do.
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It Was Supposed to Be Australia's Climate Change Election. What Happened? - The New York Times
Thu, 23 May 2019 03:55
News Analysis
Image A farmer feeding his cattle with purchased cotton seeds in the face of a crippling drought in Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia. Credit Credit David Maurice Smith for The New York Times SYDNEY, Australia '-- The polls said this would be Australia's climate change election, when voters confronted harsh reality and elected leaders who would tackle the problem.
And in some districts, it was true: Tony Abbott, the former prime minister who stymied climate policy for years, lost to an independent who campaigned on the issue. A few other new candidates prioritizing climate change also won.
But over all, Australians shrugged off the warming seas killing the Great Barrier Reef and the extreme drought punishing farmers. On Saturday, in a result that stunned most analysts, they re-elected the conservative coalition that has long resisted plans to sharply cut down on carbon emissions and coal.
What it could mean is that the world's climate wars '-- already raging for years '-- are likely to intensify. Left-leaning candidates elsewhere, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, may learn to avoid making climate a campaign issue, while here in Australia, conservatives face more enraged opponents and a more divided public.
''There has to be a reckoning within the coalition about where they stand,'' said Amanda McKenzie, chief executive of the Climate Council, an Australian nonprofit. ''I think it's increasingly difficult for them to maintain a position where they don't talk about climate change.''
Even for skeptics, the effects of climate change are becoming harder to deny. Australia just experienced its hottest summer on record. The country's tropics are spreading south, bringing storms and mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever to places unprepared for such problems, while water shortages have led to major fish die-offs in drying rivers.
Image Lucas Dow, the chief executive of Adani Australia, in front of conservative campaign signs in Clermont, Queensland, on Tuesday. The town was the site of a violent clash last month over a proposed Adani coal mine. Credit Anna Maria Antoinette D'Addario for The New York Times ''This is all playing out in real time, right now,'' said Jolle Gergis, an award-winning climate scientist and writer from the Australian National University. ''We are one of the most vulnerable nations in the developed world when it comes to climate change.''
And yet the path to victory for Scott Morrison, the incumbent prime minister, will make agreeing on a response more difficult. He and his Liberal-National coalition won thanks not just to their base of older, suburban economic conservatives, but also to a surge of support in Queensland, the rural, coal-producing, sparsely populated state sometimes compared to the American South.
The coalition successfully made cost the dominant issue in the climate change debate. One economic model estimated that the 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions proposed by the opposition Labor Party would cost the economy 167,000 jobs and 264 billion Australian dollars, or $181 billion. Though a Labor spokesman called the model ''dodgy,'' Mr. Morrison and his allies used it to argue against extending Australia's existing efforts to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy.
The message resonated strongly in Queensland, where the proposed Carmichael coal mine would be among the largest in the world if it is approved.
The Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate behind the mine project, says it will provide thousands of jobs in nearby towns marked by empty houses and rife unemployment. But in other parts of Australia, particularly among the urban educated left, it faces fierce opposition. ''Stop Adani'' is a mantra for many, promoted by organizations like Greenpeace and shared with pride on social media, signs and T-shirts.
Even Mr. Abbott, the former prime minister, seemed to grasp this growing political divide.
''It's clear that in what might be described as 'working seats,' we are doing so much better,'' he said in his concession speech. ''It's also clear that in at least some of what might be described as 'wealthy seats,' we are doing it tough, and the Green left is doing better.''
Neither side seems open to compromise. In some ways, the election was foreshadowed last month in the Queensland town of Clermont, where environmentalists protesting the Carmichael mine were met by pro-coal activists, including a man on a horse who rode into the crowd and knocked a woman unconscious.
Image Over all, Australians shrugged off the warming seas killing the Great Barrier Reef and the extreme drought punishing farmers. Credit Social Media/Reuters In some ways it was a clash of cultures as well as political views.
''I feel like there's quite a lot of scorn about the way Queenslanders feel about environmental issues, and that doesn't help,'' said Susan Harris-Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland. ''The predominant Queensland characteristic is pride and you can't pour scorn on them.''
She said doing so was a strategic mistake for politicians comparable to Hillary Clinton's description of some Donald Trump supporters as ''deplorables'' during the 2016 United States presidential election.
''You can't trigger the pride response,'' Ms. Harris-Rimmer said.
Scholars of Australian populism agree, arguing that the weakening of the major parties and the country's tilt to the right have been driven mainly by class envy and alienation, including the belief that the elite do not understand the needs and values of the working class.
Despite his Sydney upbringing and former career in advertising, Mr. Morrison, 51, won in part by presenting himself as an Australian everyman '-- a rugby-crazed beer drinker who was the first prime minister to campaign in a baseball hat.
Mr. Morrison's coalition also benefited from deals with two right-wing groups: One Nation, the anti-immigration party led by the Queensland senator Pauline Hanson, and the United Australia Party led by the mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who spent tens of millions of dollars on a populist campaign with the slogan ''Make Australia Great.''
Under Australia's preferential voting system, votes for candidates from minor parties can be used to help allies reach a clear majority in the lower house of Parliament. Nationally, United Australia secured 3.4 percent of the vote, while One Nation picked up 3 percent.
Neither One Nation nor United Australia did as well as similar parties recently in countries like Italy, Hungary and Brazil. But for Australia, where compulsory voting encourages moderate election outcomes, the results defied expectations and made clear that the country remains deeply conservative and open to the far right on a variety of issues.
The question that now confronts the new government is how much sway to give the forces that led to victory. Climate change may be the first battle in the long war that is reshaping democracy all over the world.
Correction:May 20, 2019An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misspelled the name of a town in New South Wales, Australia. It is Narrabri, not Narrabi.
Isabella Kwai contributed reporting from Sydney, and Livia Albeck-Ripka from Melbourne.
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Nancy Pelosi snaps at Keyllanne Conway: 'I don't talk to staff'
Thu, 23 May 2019 03:23
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to members of the media after a House Democrats meeting at the Capitol May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snapped at White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after a tense, aborted meeting on infrastructure Wednesday, a senior administration official told CNBC.
"I don't talk to staff. I talk directly to the president," Pelosi said after Conway asked the speaker a question, according to the official.
The interaction followed President Donald Trump's abrupt exit from a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders.
Pelosi earlier in the day accused the president of engaging in a "cover-up" by blocking White House aides from providing testimony and responding to document requests from congressional investigations.
The president responded by saying he doesn't "do cover-ups" and that he could not work with Democrats on legislation until they stopped investigating him.
In a last-minute press event at the Rose Garden, Trump said he "walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure' ... but we can't do it under these circumstances."
Democratic leaders said they were ready to make a deal on a $2 trillion plan to rebuild the country's infrastructure, including roads, bridges and airports.
WATCH: President Trump delivers surprise press conference as impeachment calls grow
Huawei: Our own operating system could be ready this year
Thu, 23 May 2019 03:22
A view of Huawei phones, seen in the shopping street in the Old Town of Amman on Jan. 30, 2019.
Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Huawei could have its own operating system for smartphones and laptops ready for use in China by fall this year, the head of the company's consumer division told CNBC.
Still, he stressed that would only happen if the company were completely stopped from using Google's and Microsoft's software.
The Chinese technology giant was placed on a U.S. blacklist that required American firms to get permission from the government before selling anything to Huawei. That meant Huawei would no longer be able to license the version of Google's Android operating system that's complete with all of the U.S. firm's services.
However, Washington granted a temporary 90-day reprieve for Huawei, which will allow it to continue using American technology '-- for now.
Huawei has said in the past that it has its own operating system waiting in the wings if it were to be permanently blocked from Google and Microsoft software. Now, one of the company's top executives has told CNBC that the operating system could be ready by the fourth quarter of this year, with a version for its markets outside of China available in either the first or second quarter of 2020.
"Today, Huawei, we are still committed to Microsoft Windows and Google Android. But if we cannot use that, Huawei will prepare the plan B to use our own OS," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business, told CNBC on Thursday.
If Huawei isn't allowed to use Android, it could be damaging because the phones won't have the Google Play Store where consumers can download apps. Instead, users would need to find other ways to install their favorite applications.
However, Yu said Huawei's own app store, known as the App Gallery, would be available on its own operating system. The App Gallery is installed on Huawei's devices currently, but Google's Play Store is often the default app store for consumers.
The Huawei executive stressed that Huawei's own operating system would only be rolled out if the company were permanently blocked from using Google or Microsoft products.
"We don't want to do this but we will forced to do that because of the U.S. government. I think the U.S., this kind of thing, will also not only be bad news for us, but also bad news for the U.S. companies because we support the U.S. business, so we will be forced to do this on our own," Yu said. "We don't want to do this but we have no other solution, no other choice."
Norman Lear hints at 'surprises' for live 'All in the Family,' 'Jeffersons'
Thu, 23 May 2019 01:36
May 21, 2019 | 7:43pm
ABC will air live episodes of Norman Lear's classic '70s-era sitcoms ''All in the Family'' and ''The Jeffersons'' Wednesday (8-9:30 p.m.), with Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson.
The special will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Lear, who was also responsible for ''Sanford and Son,'' ''Maude,'' ''Good Times'' and ''One Day at a Time'' (both the CBS and Netflix versions), among others.
Lear, 96, answered a few questions about Wednesday night's special.
Why did you choose to do live re-enactments of both shows as opposed to trying to revive them as ongoing series? I didn't choose to do a live re-enactment of those shows. It was Jimmy Kimmel's idea. He phoned my partner, Brent Miller, and collectively, with ABC and Sony, they came to me and said ''Can we?'' and I said, ''Yes, please.'' I had no intention of reviving the shows and Jimmy Kimmel wanted to do it. Also, it was his notion to do it live.
Why these two Norman Lear shows as opposed to, let's say, ''Sanford and Son'' and ''Maude''? ''All in the Family'' is where it all started, and ''The Jeffersons'' is the longest-running of those shows.
Were [''All in the Family''] stars Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers and [''The Jeffersons''] star Marla Gibbs approached to appear? Audiences will have to tune in to see if there are some surprises.
Did you choose the two episodes? They were chosen by all of us. They are two episodes that complement each other nicely. I think they will resonate very topically.
Deutsche Bank Says Software to Detect Money Laundering Had a Bug - The New York Times
Thu, 23 May 2019 01:34
Business | Deutsche Bank Says Software to Detect Money Laundering Had a Bug Image Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. The bank acknowledged using faulty software to screen customer transactions for suspicious activity. Credit Credit Felix Schmitt for The New York Times Deutsche Bank acknowledged on Wednesday that it had used faulty software to screen customer transactions for suspicious activity, another blow to the lender's reputation as top executives prepare to face restive shareholders at its annual meeting.
Already under fire for lax money-laundering controls, the bank confirmed the essence of a report in Germany's S¼ddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that revealed software problems in its efforts to curb such activity. The bank maintained that no suspicious transactions had slipped through as a result.
''Deutsche Bank is working on correcting the error as quickly as possible and is in close contact with the regulators,'' the bank said in a statement.
Coming after Deutsche Bank's share price reached an all-time low this week, the newspaper report has helped fuel an extraordinary level of shareholder anger even by the standards of the perpetually troubled lender.
There is a movement among investors to vote on a measure expressing a lack of confidence in bank management at the annual meeting on Thursday. Paul Achleitner, the chairman, is expected to survive with the help of several influential shareholders, but he is likely to face pressure to step down before his term's scheduled end in 2022.
Deutsche Bank has faced repeated accusations that its lax scrutiny of customers made it a party to money laundering.
This week The New York Times reported that anti-money-laundering specialists at the bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crime watchdog.
But Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the entities controlled by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner, never filed such reports.
In November, prosecutors, federal agents, police officers and tax authorities searched Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt as part of an investigation into whether bank employees had helped customers use offshore tax havens to transfer money obtained illegally.
Dissenter | The Comment Section of the Internet
Thu, 23 May 2019 01:19
Find your BrowserIf your browser isn't listed here, stay tuned! We will be adding more soon.
Installation instructions for ChromeFollow the step by step instructions to successfully install and use the extension.
1 Download and UnzipDownload the extension and unzip it. Find "dissenter_extension_chrome_v019" folder.
3 Turn on "Developer Mode"In the top right corner of the extensions page, toggle "Developer Mode" on.
4 Click "Load Unpacked"Click on the "Load Unpacked" button in the top left of the extensions page.
5 Select the FolderAfter clicking "Load Unpacked", the file opener opens, select the extension's entire folder "dissenter_extension_chrome_v019" then click "Select".
6 Turn off "Developer Mode"In the top right corner of the extensions page, toggle "Developer Mode" off.
7 Find the extension in the Navigation BarThe Dissenter "D" logo should appear in the navigation bar.
8 Use the extensionIf you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or bugs to report, please reach out to [email protected] or view our GitHub issues page.
1 Download Extension FileDownload the extension file. Find "dissenter_extension-0.1.8-chrome.crx" in your computer's file manager.
2 Navigate to the Extensions PageFor Chrome-based browsers (Chrome, Chromium, Opera, Vivaldi), go to chrome://extensions in the URL bar.
3 Turn on "Developer Mode"In the top right corner of the extensions page, toggle "Developer Mode" on.
4 Drag in the ".crx" FileOpen your file manager to find the "dissenter_extension-0.1.8-chrome.crx" file.
Drag and drop that file into the chrome://extensions page.
Follow the browser specific instructions to complete the installation by accepting and installing the extension.
5 Turn off "Developer Mode"In the top right corner of the extensions page, toggle "Developer Mode" off.
6 Find the extension in the Navigation BarThe Dissenter "D" logo should appear in the navigation bar.
7 Use the extensionIf you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or bugs to report, please reach out to [email protected] or view our GitHub issues page.
New Tab Experience Vivaldi:In order to activate the new tab experience on the Vivaldi browser, you need to navigate to the Settings page.
On the settings page, find "Tabs" > "New Tab Page". Then, select the button under "Start Page" labeled "Controlled by Extension".
Opera:
There is no way to override the default Opera browser new tab page for the Dissenter New Tab Experience.
1 Download Extension FileDownload the extension file. Find "dissenter_extension-0.1.9-fx.xpi" in your computer's file manager.
2 Navigate to the Add-ons PageFor Firefox-based browsers (Firefox, Waterfox), go to about:addons in the URL bar.
3 Drag in the ".xpi" FileOpen your file manager to find the "dissenter_extension-0.1.9-fx.xpi" file.
Drag and drop that file into the about:addons page.
Follow the browser specific instructions to complete the installation by accepting and installing the extension.
4 Find the extension in the Navigation BarThe Dissenter "D" logo should appear in the navigation bar.
5 Use the extensionIf you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or bugs to report, please reach out to [email protected] or view our GitHub issues page.
1 Download and UnzipDownload the extension and unzip it. Find "dissenter_extension_edge_v018" folder.
1 Download and UnzipDownload the extension and unzip it. Find "dissenter_extension_safari_v017" folder.
2 Turn on "Developer" ModeWhile in Safari, go to "Safari" > "Preferences" > "Advanced" in the top menu. Select "Show Develop menu in menu bar"
3 Go to "Extension Builder"While in Safari, go to "Develop" in the top menu. Select "Show Extension Builder"
4 Add ExtensionWith the "Extension Builder" open, press the "+" button in the bottom left. Choose "Add Extension".
5 Select the dissenter.safariextension directoryAfter clicking "Add Extension", the file opener opens, select the "dissenter.safariextension" folder within the "dissenter_extension_safari_v017" folder, then click "Select".
6 Find the extension in the Navigation BarThe Gab Dissenter "g" logo should appear in the Safari navigation bar.
7 Use the extensionIf you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or bugs to report, please reach out to [email protected] .
Abortion: Groups Push GOP To Rethink Rape And Incest Exceptions : NPR
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:51
Students and activists carry signs during the annual "March for Life" in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images Students and activists carry signs during the annual "March for Life" in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images Opponents of abortion rights have a long history of supporting abortion bans with three major exceptions: rape, incest, or when a woman's life is at risk.
But, fueled by momentum from the passage of a restrictive abortion law in Alabama, a coalition of anti-abortion rights groups will release a letter Wednesday asking Republican officials to "reconsider decades-old talking points" on exceptions to such laws.
"We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one's conception or birth," said a draft of the letter provided to NPR by Students for Life of America, which led the effort.
The letter, which is addressed to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, goes on: "A child conceived in rape is still a child. We don't blame children for other matters outside their control. Why should we do so here?"
The document praises Alabama's law, which prohibits abortion at all stages of pregnancy unless a woman's life is threatened, and which would send doctors convicted of violating the law to prison for up to 99 years. That law, like several other early bans passed this year, has not yet taken effect.
In an interview, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said she hopes to see more Republican lawmakers support abortion bans that do not include exceptions for rape and incest.
"I think it's time to start having the conversation," Hawkins said. "There is a fear in the Republican Party about talking about rape at all ... But I don't think it's something we should be afraid of."
I think it's time to start having the conversation. There is a fear in the Republican Party about talking about rape at all ... But I don't think it's something we should be afraid of.
Kristan Hawkins
Hawkins noted that some Republicans are hesitant to wade into the subject because of the memory of former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, who bungled the issue during his 2012 Senate campaign, when he falsely claimed that because of female biology, a pregnancy would be unlikely in cases of what he described as a "legitimate rape."
"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said. He went on to lose the race.
But Hawkins said she and others in the movement now see a new opportunity to push for near-total abortion bans.
That position is at odds with statements in recent days by several leading Republicans, including RNC Chairwoman McDaniel, who've expressed opposition to Alabama's law because of its lack of exceptions.
"Personally, I would have the exceptions," McDaniel told CNN. "That's my personal belief. But we are a party that is a broad tent."
President Trump also appeared to distance himself from laws like Alabama's, tweeting, "As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother '' the same position taken by Ronald Reagan."
As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother - the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new.....
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019As the Washington Post has noted, former President Ronald Reagan's positions on abortion shifted throughout his political career, and as California's governor in the 1960s, he signed what was then seen as a liberal abortion law.
The official GOP platform generally takes an anti-abortion-rights position, and does not spell out exceptions for rape or incest.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he opposes the AL abortion law for not have exceptions for rape/incest/life of mother, but falsely claims "that's what our platform says." The official GOP platform explicitly does not include those exceptions either. (1/2)
'-- Susan Davis (@DaviSusan) May 16, 2019But many leading Republicans who oppose abortion rights have historically allowed for those exceptions, said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University who studies the history of reproductive rights.
Abandoning that position "would mark a major shift in the public terms of debate," Ziegler said in an e-mail. "We are seeing a major bid for strategic power being made by absolutists."
Travis Weber, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, who signed the letter, said he sees momentum for more restrictive abortion laws.
"There is no time like now to continue to conversation about protecting all human life, no matter how defenseless and helpless," Weber wrote in a message.
Other signers of the letter urging Republicans to rethink their messaging on rape and incest exceptions include leaders of groups including the March for Life, Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, and Abby Johnson '' a former Planned Parenthood director who now leads an organization that encourages clinic workers to leave their jobs.
"Now is the time for those who value the sanctity of human life to be consistent in our beliefs and policies," Johnson said in a statement. "Either we believe that all life has infinite value and worth, or we don't."
But other leading anti-abortion groups did not sign the letter, among them the Susan B. Anthony List, which has played an influential role in lobbying President Trump to appoint conservative judges. In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Mallory Quigley said the organization strongly supports Alabama's law and called it and other recently-passed abortion restrictions an "inspiration." She declined to comment specifically on why the group chose not to sign.
Steve Aden of Americans United for Life said he had not seen the document, but expressed skepticism about removing rape and incest exceptions.
"The pro-life movement, state by state, has made real progress in getting the Supreme Court and the state legislatures to see that Roe should be reconsidered, but I don't see the need or the wisdom of these absolutist positions," Aden said, referring to the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The letter to McDaniel comes as Charlotte Pence, the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence, penned an op-ed in the Washington Times expressing support for Alabama's law. "Personally, I would not encourage a friend to get an abortion if she suffered the horrendous evil of rape or incest because I care about her child '-- and her. I do not believe abortion provides healing," she writes.
Republican pollster and strategist Glen Bolger said the current debates over abortion '' including efforts in states like New York to expand abortion rights '' mark the end of what he describes as "a long-time undeclared truce" on abortion. In an email, Bolger said advocates on both sides of the abortion debate are pushing harder, with many reproductive rights groups working to remove abortion restrictions, and many abortion rights opponents promoting bans with virtually no exceptions.
"It is risky strategy," Bolger said, because Americans' views on abortion are more nuanced than many of the current proposals reflect. More than three-quarters, 77 percent, support legal abortion in the first trimester in cases of rape and incest, according to a Gallup survey.
"Any time you try to lead the public where they are not willing to go, it can boomerang politically," Bolger said.
Smart City Designed App Will Let Everyone Know If You Are Speeding
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:39
By MassPrivateI
A misleading article in WSAZ3 News titled, ''New app targets distracted drivers with traffic alerts'' would lead you to believe that the makers of the app are actually concerned with everyone's safety, but of course that is not the case.
Have you ever wanted an app that lets Big Brother know when you are speeding and where you are going in real-time?
If you have, then your wait is over.
A new app called TravelSafely, sends warning signs to your smartphone for everything from your speed in a school zone to a light that's about to change.
>>
While we often look to the government to solve public safety issues, we decided that part of the solution lies with the transportation private sector working with the public to create real changes in how we manage travel safety. Marietta, Downtown Atlanta and Tuscaloosa are the first smart cities to deploy the TravelSafely App.
TravelSafely, has decided to help Big Brother out by solving public safety issues, like letting everyone know where you are and how fast you are traveling in real-time.
The app connects you with smart cities, other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists so that you can get where you're going quicker and stay safe.
TravelSafety claims to be ''a community of likeminded citizens who are committed to making the roads safer.'' So how do they plan on doing this? By finding likeminded citizens (law enforcement) who want to know how fast you are going.
The app ''will warn you if you're traveling too fast or speeding in an active work zone and it will also warn if you are traveling too fast around dangerous curves.''
Who needs Waze, when this app will broadcast your speed and direction to other motorists and law enforcement?
Unfortunately, Big Brother's reach does not end there because this app will ''warn you if there's a cyclist on the road ahead and warn you of pedestrians in the crosswalk ahead if it detects you aren't going to stop.''
It even ''notifies motorists and cyclists if an emergency vehicle is approaching, and from what direction.'' How is that for creepy?
How the app determines if you were not going to stop, is unclear but I am sure law enforcement could use that information to charge a motorist with failure to stop for a pedestrian or yield to an emergency vehicle as well as speeding.
In the not-too-distant future, cars will come equipped with spying apps like TravelSafely and TSA biometric scanners installed in vehicle infotainment systems. Tomorrow's cars will also use V2X technology to talk to other cars and law enforcement in real-time. Toll booth facial recognition cameras and license plate readers will track our every movement all in the name of public safety.
Just last month, the TSA and law enforcement wrongfully claimed that airline passengers will need to provide a REAL-ID card to travel across America and if we are not careful the same thing will happen to cars, trains, and buses.
Being spied on everywhere we go is a dystopian nightmare that will soon rival China's oppressive social credit system.
You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.
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Fabrics poised to become the new software | MIT News
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:35
In the summer of 2018, a team led by MIT researchers reported in the journal Nature that they had successfully embedded electronic devices into fibers that could be used in fabrics or composite products like clothing, airplane wings, or even wound dressings. The advance could allow fabrics or composites to sense their environment, communicate, store and convert energy, and more.
Research breakthroughs typically take years to make it into final products '-- if they reach that point at all. This particular research, however, is following a dramatically different path.
By the time the unique fiber advance was unveiled last summer, members of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a not-for-profit near MIT, had already developed ways to increase the throughput and overall reliability of the process. And, staff at Inman Mills in South Carolina had established a method to weave the advanced fibers using a conventional, industrial manufacturing-scale loom to create fabrics that can use light to both broadcast and receive information.
Today, less than a year after the technology was first introduced to the world, around a quarter of a million semiconducting devices have been embedded in fibers using the patented technology, and companies like New Balance, VF, Bose, and 3M are seeking ways to use the technology in their products.
''AFFOA is helping cutting-edge basic research to reach market-ready scale at unprecedented velocity,'' says Yoel Fink, CEO of AFFOA and a professor of materials science and electrical engineering at MIT. ''Chip-containing fibers, which were just recently a university research project, are now being produced at an annual rate of half a million meters. This scale allows AFFOA to engage dozens of companies and accelerate product and process development across multiple markets simultaneously.''
Fink says that AFFOA's work is unleashing a ''Moore's Law for fibers,'' wherein the basic functions of fibers will grow exponentially in the coming years, allowing companies to develop value-added fabric and composite products and services. ''Chip-containing fibers present a real prospect for fabrics to be the next frontier in computation and AI,'' he says.
Sowing the seeds of fabric innovation
In 2015, MIT President L. Rafael Reif called for the formation of public-private partnerships he named ''innovation orchards,'' to reduce the time it takes new ideas to make an impact on society. Specifically, he wanted to make tangible innovations as easy to deploy and test as digital ones.
Later that year, AFFOA was formed by MIT and other key partners to accept Reif's challenge and take advantage of recent breakthroughs in fiber materials and textile-manufacturing processes.
''The gap between where research ends and product begins is the so-called valley of death,'' Fink says. ''President Reif introduced the concept of orchards of innovation as a way for us, as a university, to organize these collaboration centers for technology to help bridge basic research to the market entry point.''
In 2016, AFFOA was selected by the federal government to serve as the new Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute, receiving more than $75 million in government funding and nearly $250 million in private investments to support U.S. based, high-volume production of these new technologies.
Since then, speed has been paramount at AFFOA. As MIT and other research entities have advanced the field, AFFOA has helped facilitate pilot production of these sophisticated textiles and fabrics so companies can engage consumers with small batches of advanced fabric products, or prototypes, in a manner similar to how software companies roll out minimally viable products to quickly gather feedback from customers and consumers.
Fabrics at the speed of software
A key element in the success of software has been the ability to rapidly prototype and test products with the target customer. Tangible products, on the other hand, experience a much more difficult path to consumers, and fabrics are no exception. The reason for this is the absence of efficient prototyping mechansims at scale.
To allow fabric products to move faster to market, AFFOA has created a national prototyping network with dozens of domestic manufacturers and universities, allowing it to rapidly test advanced fabric products directly with customers.
The prototyping network is currently actively pursuing more than 30 projects, called MicroAwards, with industry and academia designed to incorporate the latest advances in fibers and textiles into mass manufacturing processes. Industry and academic participants are required to operate within short timeframes, typically 90 days or less and divided into two week sprints.
For instance, Teufelberger, a manufacturer of ropes located in Fall River, Massachusetts, is working with AFFOA on integrating advanced fibers into their braided ropes. The ropes can help climbers or divers communicate or store information on how the rope was used.
At the end of May, AFFOA will roll out at the Augmented Reality Expo a fabric augmented-reality experience that will allow conference attendees to connect with each other using AFFOA's fabric LOOks system.
The fabric of entrepreneurship and education
AFFOA has also partnered with schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and the Greater Lawrence Technical School, where students are learning how to design and make an advanced chip-containing fibers, as well as other skills related to manufacturing advanced functional fabrics and the products that will emerge from them.
Additionally, over 30 entrepreneurs have been working on establishing startups around advanced fabrics as part of the advanced fabric entrepreneurship program managed by AFFOA in collaboration with the Venture Mentoring Service at MIT.
AFFOA is currently evaluating the prospects of raising an investment fund dedicated to funding startups in the advanced fabric sector.
For Fink, AFFOA's work is about turning fabric, an ancient yet largely unchanged material, into a new platform for innovation.
''Fabrics occupy a very significant real estate, the surface of our bodies, and yet we're not doing much with that real estate '-- it's underdeveloped,'' Fink says. ''AFFOA is setting the stage for a fabric revolution by allowing these ancient forms to become high tech and deliver value-add services in the years ahead.''
Geen indicatie voor bestaan van filterbubbels in Nederland
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:25
In Nederland is op dit moment geen indicatie dat Nederlanders die nieuws tot zich nemen in filterbubbels zitten. Dit blijkt uit onderzoek van het Instituut voor Informatierecht (IViR) van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, dat op verzoek van het Commissariaat voor de Media is gedaan.
Het onderzoek laat zien dat bijna niemand in Nederland volledig in een filterbubbel zit. Nieuwsgebruikers maken in ruime mate gebruik van nieuws dat niet door algoritmes wordt aanbevolen. Ook binnen algoritmische aanbevelingssystemen hebben zij toegang hebben tot een divers aanbod aan nieuws en informatie. Mensen die ge¯nteresseerd zijn in nieuws gaan door het gebruik van sociale media juist meer nieuws gebruiken. Hierdoor verhoogt de diversiteit van hun nieuwsgebruik alleen maar.
Meer risico's door digitale ontwikkelingenDat we ons op dit moment geen zorgen hoeven te maken over filterbubbels in Nederland, betekent echter niet dat er geen reden is voor bezorgdheid over de maatschappelijke effecten van de toenemende inzet van algoritmes en artificile intelligentie. De onderzoekers van IViR tonen met hun onderzoek ook andere risico's aan die met deze ontwikkeling samenhangen. Deze risico's zijn de toenemende opiniemacht van platforms en het gebruik van algoritmes bij traditionele media.
Monitoring en bijdragen aan onafhankelijkheid en pluriformiteitHet Commissariaat voor de Media blijft de ontwikkeling van de informatie- en nieuwsvoorziening in Nederland monitoren via het Reuters Digital News Report, de Mediamonitor en in samenwerking met de wetenschap. Daarnaast wil het Commissariaat zich inzetten om in de toekomst pluriform aanbod voor het individu beter toegankelijk te maken. Dit wordt onder andere gedaan in samenwerking met andere Europese toezichthouders. Het Commissariaat wil zich ook sterk blijven maken voor de redactionele onafhankelijkheid van algoritmes en een bijdrage leveren aan het vergroten van mediawijsheid en digitale geletterdheid bij burgers.
Download het rapport Filterbubbels in Nederland.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's Ratings Plummet To Yearly Low
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:24
Skip to contentYearly lows for the liberal television hostMSNBC primetime host Rachel Maddow brought in her worst weekly ratings of the year last week.
Her show last week averaged 2,324,000 viewers, with an average audience of 337,000 in the 25-54 age demographic, both of which mark yearly lows for the liberal television host, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Maddow first saw a dramatic drop in ratings following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Her previous low for a week in 2019 was the last week in March, the first full week after Mueller submitted his conclusion to Attorney General William Barr, where she averaged 2,458,000 viewers with 392,000 in the demo.
She spent two years dissecting every aspect of the special counsel's investigation into whether President Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to win the 2016 presidential election. The night Mueller submitted his findings to Barr, Maddow appeared to hold back tears over the fact that neither the president nor any family members were indicted.
Read more
A new study has exposed Big Tech's bias this time revealing YouTube's trending tab in the US is rigged. Paul Joseph Watson explains how this type of censorship will actually be bad for all users.
Google Gmail tracks purchase history '-- how to delete it
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:17
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, is sworn in during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google tracks a lot of what you buy, even if you purchased it elsewhere, like in a store or from Amazon.
Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-ed that said "privacy cannot be a luxury good." But behind the scenes, Google is still collecting a lot of personal information from the services you use, such as Gmail, and some of it can't be easily deleted.
A page called "Purchases " shows an accurate list of many '-- though not all '-- of the things I've bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy's, but never directly through Google.
But because the digital receipts went to my Gmail account, Google has a list of info about my buying habits.
Google even knows about things I long forgot I'd purchased, like dress shoes I bought inside a Macy's store on Sept. 14, 2015. It also knows:
I ordered a Philly cheesesteak on a hoagie roll with Cheez Whiz and banana peppers on Jan. 14, 2016.I reloaded my Starbucks card in November 2014.I bought a new Kindle on Dec. 18, 2013, from Amazon.I bought "Solo: A Star Wars Story" from iTunes on Sept. 14, 2018.And so on.
Take a look at this sample, which covers some things I bought within the last week:
A list of my purchases Google pulled in from Gmail.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Go here to see your own: http://myaccount.google.com/purchases.
"To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we've created a private destination that can only be seen by you," a Google spokesperson told CNBC. "You can delete this information at any time. We don't use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page."
But there isn't an easy way to remove all of this. You can delete all the receipts in your Gmail inbox and archived messages. But, if you're like me, you might save receipts in Gmail in case you need them later for returns. There is no way to delete them from Purchases without also deleting them from Gmail -- when you click on the "Delete" option in Purchases, it simply guides you back to the Gmail message.
You need to delete each purchase manually rom Gmail to get rid of it.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Google's privacy page says that only you can view your purchases. But it says "Information about your orders may also be saved with your activity in other Google services " and that you can see and delete this information on a separate "My Activity" page.
Except you can't. Google's activity controls page doesn't give you any ability to manage the data it stores on Purchases.
Google told CNBC you can turn off the tracking entirely, but you have to go to another page for search setting preferences. However, when CNBC tried this, it didn't work -- there was no such option to fully turn off the tracking. It's weird this isn't front and center on Google's new privacy pages or even in Google's privacy checkup feature.
Google says it doesn't use your Gmail to show you ads and promises it "does not sell your personal information, which includes your Gmail and Google Account information," and does "not share your personal information with advertisers, unless you have asked us to."
But, for reasons that still aren't clear, it's pulling that information out of your Gmail and dumping it into a "Purchases" page most people don't seem to know exists. Even if it's not being used for ads, there's no clear reason why Google would need to track years of purchases and make it hard to delete that information. Google says it's looking into simplifying its settings to make them easier to control, however.
Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.
The weight of a kilogram changed overnight; the length of a second may be next
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:10
A new definition of kilogram went into effect today. No longer is the kilogram defined by Le Grand K, a 140-year-old weight under glass in a secret location near Paris. Now it's determined by the Planck constant, based on physicist Max Planck's theory that "electromagnetic energy at a given frequency could only be emitted in discrete amounts, or quanta, whose energy is proportional to h, now known as the Planck constant." Scientists at the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures also redefined the kelvin, the ampere, and the mole. UP next, the second! The good news is that the changes are so small that they won't matter to most of us. From Science News:
Currently, the second is defined by atomic clocks made of cesium atoms. Those atoms absorb a certain frequency of light. The wiggling of the light's electromagnetic waves functions like the pendulum on a grandfather clock, rhythmically keeping time. One second is defined as 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the light.
But a new generation of atomic clocks, known as optical atomic clocks, outdo the cesium clocks (SN: 11/11/17, p. 8). ''Their performance is a lot better than what currently defines the second,'' says physicist Andrew Ludlow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. Because those optical atomic clocks operate at a higher frequency, their ''ticks'' are more closely spaced, making them about 100 times more precise than cesium clocks.
Ideally, the length of a second should be defined using the most precise timepieces available. A switch might happen in the late 2020s, Ludlow says.
Related Articles:Today, scientists voted to change the definition of the kilogram as well as three other units of measurement -- the ampere, the kelvin and the mole. The vote took place at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, France and the new definitions will be based on "what we call the fundamental constants of nature," as Estefan­a de Mirand(C)s of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) told Science News, instead of the less precise definitions these measurements are currently tied to.
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Texting While Walking May Soon Be Fineable in New York. Similar U.S. Legislation Passed Elsewhere Already. Will It Be Enough to Deter Screen Addicts?
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:08
Home Liberty May 21, 2019
By B.N. Frank
Research from the Mayo Clinic determined that texting on smartphones triggers a new type of brain rhythm. ''Digital Addiction'' or ''Screen Addiction'' has been validated by many credible sources as a serious medical condition despite the fact that some are still actively promoting heavy screen use as normal, productive and sometimes even cool.
Texting and walking is a safety concern and not just for those who are doing it. But will legislation and fines be enough to stop addicts? Or should there be more efforts to discourage heavy screen use in children and adults whether they are walking in public places or not?
From USA Today:
ALBANY, N.Y. '' You probably shouldn't walk across a street and look at your phone at the same time. Now New York might make it illegal.
A bill sponsored by Democrats who control the state Legislature would allow police to issue a ticket between $25 to $50 for a first offense of getting caught texting while walking '-- unless you can prove it was an emergency.
The law would be simple enough, the bill states: ''No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any point while using any portable electronic device.''
The bill was first introduced last year by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, but it picked up majority support in the Senate earlier this month from Sen. John Liu, D-Queens.
''It has been proven that distraction from texting while walking can cause pedestrians to cross roads very unsafely,'' the bill said.
''Not only can trips and falls occur, but even getting hit is more than just a possibility.''
The bill cited various statistics from safety studies, including the National Safety Council that point to the dangers of distracted walking when using a mobile phone.
The group said that teenagers are now more likely to get hit by a car than younger people because they can be distracted by walking across the street and looking at a phone.
''The National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking '' specifically walking while using a mobile device,'' the group said on its website. ''Kids often don't recognize the dangers of distracted walking.''
Honolulu made it illegal to walk across the street while looking at a phone, as did the city of Montclair, California. Neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey have also introduced legislation to have statewide bans.
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Fed Encourages Runaway Debt as ''Minsky Moment'' Approaches
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:08
By Clint Siegner
Federal Reserve officials like to pretend they can use interest rates like a motorcycle throttle on the U.S. economy. They can either rev things up by dropping interest rates or slow things down by moving rates higher.
The public has been led to believe the central planners can do whatever is needed with rates to keep things purring along.
The truth is the central planners at the Fed are meddling with forces beyond their control. They are encouraging consumers, companies, and government to take on debt. Soon, the nation will choke on it.
The U.S. government is once again running trillion-dollar annual deficits. That's enough to terrify anyone who believes in balanced budgets and limited government.
However, in just a few years, virtually all of what the federal government borrows will be needed just to make interest payments on existing debt. ZeroHedge refers to this as the ''Minsky moment.''
If politicians want to continue spending money they don't have on other programs (and you can bet they will), a lot more will need to be borrowed on top of what is needed to pay interest on the debt.
Fed officials will utterly fail at stopping the expansion of the debt bubble by moving interest rates higher. Their feeble attempt at hiking rates ended rather quickly when the equity markets began tanking late last year, and political pressure from President Donald Trump mounted.
The central bank's control over the economy is an illusion. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the other wizards there won't be fine tuning economic growth by adjusting the cost of money up and down.
They can push short-term rates around directly and try to indirectly control long-term rates through bond purchases. Even that amount of control could be stripped from them when the market asserts itself.
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The truth is that risk associated with lending money to the insolvent U.S. government has been way underpriced for years. This will eventually dawn on Treasury buyers.
Giving a long-term loan at 2-3% interest to such an organization as insolvent as the federal government is a risky bet.
Perhaps the realization will strike when deficits double or triple again in the not-too-distant future. Maybe it will be when foreign buyers, such as the Chinese, decide they have had enough.
The latter could happen a lot sooner than the market expects.
The Chinese have pointedly said they may dump Treasuries in retaliation for increased tariffs.
When legitimate buyers of U.S. debt at artificially low rates vanish, the Fed is likely to step back in as the buyer of last resort. The central bank got away with that once before. The debt monetization program was called Quantitative Easing.
Will officials be able to pull it off again '' on an even larger scale?
The Fed needs confidence at very high levels to support interest rates at these historically low levels. It will be difficult to maintain confidence as the debt levels continue accelerating up the exponential curve.
The day is coming when those with capital to lend will demand a much higher interest rate than Jerome Powell wants them to get. That is when interest rates will rise, and it won't matter too much what the central planners at the Fed think about it.
Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named ''Best in the USA'' by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, Siegner puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals' brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.
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Utility Companies Warn That 5G for Unlicensed WiFi Applications Will Threaten Their Wireless ''Smart'' Meters Which Are Already Awful
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:07
By B.N. Frank
Utility companies won't admit it but their wireless ''Smart'' Meters have been nothing but trouble from the jump. Tens of millions have been installed in the U.S. and around the world and people everywhere (including elected officials) have been fighting to get them off their homes and out of their communities (see 1, 2, 3). These meters have been associated with so many problems (including fires and explosions) that there was even a documentary produced about them.
Now utility companies are warning the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that auctioning off more 5G spectrums for unlicensed and untested WiFi applications will make their horrible ''Smart'' Meters even worse. This is on top of the Telecom Industry saying that they have no scientific evidence that 5G is even safe and plenty of researchers saying it's not.
From Multichannel News:
Those utilities say they need the spectrum for their mission-critical communications and that the FCC's proposal to open it up for unlicensed Wi-Fi use is an untested and unproven approach that the FCC is pursuing despite the concerns of utilities as others about interference and/or congestion that threatens critical infrastructure.
The utilities say that the band is already heavily employed by its licensed users, and that licensed use is more reliable and robust.
Those communications nets are ''used for critical situational awareness, underpin safety functions, and enable crews to safely repair and restore services after storms,'' as well as ''the greater deployment of distributed energy resources such as solar or battery storage, smart meters, and other technologies to enable grid modernization.''
''While our collective members fully understand and appreciate the need to make more efficient use of spectrum,'' they said. ''We strongly encourage the Commission to weigh the advantages of expanding access to the 6 GHz band with the potential negative impact this could have on critical infrastructure networks.''
The letter came a day after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was talking up 6 GHz's potential for Wi-Fi in a speech to the Wi-Fi World Congress in Tysons Corner, Va., outside Washington. He also said incumbent utilities must be protected.
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Perhaps it's now time for American utility companies to also file lawsuits against the FCC regarding 5G. It is gaining popularity (see 1, 2, 3).
See Activist Post archives for additional horror articles about Smart Meters and 5G.
For more information, visit the following websites:
Americans for Responsible Technology5GCrisis5GExposed5G InformationCenter For Safer WirelessCenter For Electrosmog PreventionCoalition to Stop Smart MetersEcological Options NetworkEMF Safety NetworkEnvironmental Health TrustIn Power MovementLast Tree LawsPhysicians for Safe TechnologySaferEMRScientists for Wired TechSmartMeterHarmSmart Grid AwarenessStopSmartMeters.orgTake Back Your PowerWireless Information NetworkWhatis5G.InfoZero5GBe Free and Independent! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.
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Utilities Warn FCC About Impact of 6 GHz Wi-Fi Effort - Multichannel
Wed, 22 May 2019 14:07
The heads of electric and water trade associations have warned the FCC about moving too quickly to open up 6 GHz midband spectrum currently used by those utilities.
That warning came in a letter Wednesday (May 15) to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai from Sue Kelly, CEO of the American Public Power Association; G. Tracy Meehan III, executive director, government affairs of the American Water Works Association; Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute; Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association; and Joy Ditto, president of the Utilities Technology Council.
Together, they pointed out, they represent almost all of the nation's utilities and water and wastewater facilities.
Those utilities say they need the spectrum for their mission-critical communications and that the FCC's proposal to open it up for unlicensed Wi-Fi use is an untested and unproven approach that the FCC is pursuing despite the concerns of utilities as others about interference and/or congestion that threatens critical infrastructure.
The utilities say that the band is already heavily employed by its licensed users, and that licensed use is more reliable and robust.
Those communications nets are "used for critical situational awareness, underpin safety functions, and enable crews to safely repair and restore services after storms," as well as "the greater deployment of distributed energy resources such as solar or battery storage, smart meters, and other technologies to enable grid modernization."
"While our collective members fully understand and appreciate the need to make more efficient use of spectrum," they said. "We strongly encourage the Commission to weigh the advantages of expanding access to the 6 GHz band with the potential negative impact this could have on critical infrastructure networks."
The letter came a day after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was talking up 6 GHz's potential for Wi-Fi in a speech to the Wi-Fi World Congress in Tysons Corner, Va., outside Washington. He also said incumbent utilities must be protected.
''The truth is that this 6 GHz spectrum boost will launch the Wi-Fi industry into a new growth trajectory," Pai told his audience. "It will boost Wi-Fi's massive indoor dominance. And surely'--with the help of emboldened entrepreneurs everywhere'--it will bring low-cost Wi-Fi (and unlicensed) connectivity to places where it has never been.''
Pai said he would need help to free up that spectrum.
"The 6 GHz band is populated by microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul," he said. "Each of these serves an important function that we must protect. We're working through some complex technical issues both internally and with outside stakeholders, and that includes many in this room. I appreciate your input. But questions remain and the clock is always ticking, so I urge you to help us find creative solutions."
Trump is considering deputizing the military as a civilian police force.
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:47
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Asylum minister Mark Harbers resigns over refugee crime report - DutchNews.nl
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:38
VVD MP Klaas Dijkhoff consoles Mark Harbers after his resignation. Photo: Peter Hilz / HH
Asylum minister Mark Harbers has resigned during a debate with MPs about a report in which figures about the number of refugees suspected of violent crimes were 'hidden'.
Harbers told MPs that he felt responsible for the report, in which figures about how many refugees were suspected of rape and murder were not explicitly stated. 'I am not only responsible in terms of the law, but I feel responsible,' Harbers said.
The figures, which were published last week, included suspicions of rape (4) and murder (31) under the heading 'other'. Harbers was then accused of attempting to hide the figures.
During Tuesday evening's debate Harbers said that the ministry had been warned not to come up with a top 10 crimes for which asylum seekers were suspects because that meant serious crime would be hidden. However, civil servants had not taken that advice, Harbers said.
Asked why the ministry again had failed to report the true extent of the potential involvement of asylum seekers in crime, Harbers said civil servants were worried that the figures would lead to confusion.
Fake refugees
Last week's report showed 'fake' asylum seekers who come from so-called safe countries, namely Morocco and Algeria, were responsible for almost half the 4,600 incidents requiring police intervention.
While most cases involved shoplifting or pickpocketing, police also registered cases of physical abuse, threatening behaviour and a further 1,000 incidents listed as 'other'.
The Telegraaf reported on Thursday morning this total included 79 potential sex crimes, including 47 cases of sexual assault, five allegations of child abuse and four alleged rapes plus a string of other violent offences.
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China's big three airlines seek 737 MAX payouts from Boeing: reports
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:21
Two deadly crashes within months of each other forced a worldwide grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX airliners (AFP Photo/STEPHEN BRASHEAR)
Shanghai (AFP) - China's three biggest airlines have filed claims seeking compensation from Boeing over the grounding and delayed delivery of 737 MAX 8 aircraft following two deadly crashes, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.
The reports in various state-run media that China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China would seek payouts from the American aerospace giant come against the backdrop of an escalating US-China trade war.
China Southern is Asia's largest carrier by fleet size, China Eastern is the country's number two, while Air China is the state flag carrier.
A spokesman for China Eastern confirmed to AFP that a dispatch by state-run Xinhua news agency saying the airline had presented Boeing with a compensation claim was correct.
Neither the spokesman nor the report gave any financial or other details.
Spokespersons for China Southern and Air China could not immediately be reached for comment.
On March 11, China became the first country to order its airlines to ground the 737 MAX as a result of the two tragedies.
The day before, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board, including eight from China.
That followed the October crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX, which went down shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
Xinhua had reported that "grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes had resulted in great losses for the company (China Eastern), and the losses are still expanding".
Shanghai-based China Eastern has grounded its 14 MAX planes while the US aviation giant addresses the safety risks, Xinhua reported.
It was not immediately clear how many planes the other two airlines had grounded.
But Chinese media have previously reported that a combined 96 MAX aircraft were in service among all of China's carriers.
There was no immediate indication that the move was related to the increasingly bitter trade conflict.
Trump launched the trade war last year to extract profound economic reforms from Beijing, accusing China of seeking to forge global industrial dominance through massive state intervention in markets and the theft of US technology.
The two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade.
The conflict has widened recently with the United States taking unprecedented steps to bar US technology sales to Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Washington suspects Huawei has deep links with China's military which could allow Beijing to potentially use Huawei-enabled networks for espionage or cyber-sabotage.
Boeing acknowledged Saturday it had to correct flaws in its 737 MAX flight simulator software used to train pilots.
The firm's statement about the simulator marked a first acknowledgement of a shortcoming since the two accidents led to the worldwide grounding of the top-selling airliner.
The anti-stall system on the MAX models has been blamed in large part for the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.
Huawei's entire smartphone business is in jeopardy as ARM cuts ties with the company
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:20
Huawei has been facing a lot of trouble due to the recent ban by the US Commerce Department. At first it wasn't a major impact to the company, but in the last few days many US companies have been forced to comply with the ban by stopping all sales and partnerships with Huawei. One of the biggest has been Google, who revoked Huawei's access to Google services and the Play Store on all future devices. This may very well hurt Google more than Huawei though as the company has its own backup OS and doesn't rely on Google in the Chinese market as it is.
However, now the UK-based chip company ARM has announced that it too will be cutting all contracts with Huawei. Despite not being a US company, it believes its technology has US origin and is thus affected by the US ban. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but the consequences are massive. In fact, they're far worse than the lack of Google services.
Most modern smartphone processors are based on the ARM architecture and thus pay licensing fees to the company. Huawei wasn't affected by the lack of Qualcomm support due to this ban because it has its own chipset under the Kirin name, meaning its smartphone business was previously safe. However with this move, their chip business may be dead in the water. Without the ARM instruction set, building chips that would be compatible with the Android ecosystem as we know it would be incredibly difficult. This just might effectively kill the companies smartphone business.
Luckily, the company has a 90 day reprieve from the ban so there is time for Huawei to work things out with the government. With the potentially disastrous consequences this would have on US companies and consumers, it's likely that a deal will be worked out in the next three months. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Source: BBC
North Korea calls Biden 'imbecile,' 'laughing stock'
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:07
May 21, 2019 | 9:48pm | Updated May 21, 2019 | 11:13pm
North Korea criticized Joe Biden as a ''fool of low IQ'' after the presidential hopeful called the country's leader Kim Jong Un a ''dictator and tyrant.''
The country's official state news agency released a statement that said Biden was ''an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being.''
''The presidential candidate from the Democratic Party during his recent election campaigning reeled off rhetoric slandering the supreme leadership of [North Korea],'' the Korean Central News Agency said.
''What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician.''
During a campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Biden blasted President Trump for dealing with unsavory world leaders.
''Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Kim Jong Un?'' Biden said.
The North Korean news agency also brought an allegation that Biden plagiarized a paper in college and mocked his presidential candidacy.
''Even the American media derided him as a man with 'manic-obsessive running of the mouth,' saying that he likes giving a speech but he is not serious in his words,'' the statement read.
''This is enough to make a cat laugh.''
With Wires
Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution For the Web | WebKit
Wed, 22 May 2019 13:06
A typical website is made of numerous components coming from a wide variety of sources. Many of the sources that make up a website are opaque to the user, and some third-party resources are designed to identify and track users as they browse the web, often in order to retarget ads and measure ad campaign effectiveness.
The combination of third-party web tracking and ad campaign measurement has led many to conflate web privacy with a web free of advertisements. We think that's a misunderstanding. Online ads and measurement of their effectiveness do not require Site A, where you clicked an ad, to learn that you purchased something on Site B. The only data needed for measurement is that someone who clicked an ad on Site A made a purchase on Site B.
Today we are presenting a new technology to allow attribution of ad clicks on the web while preserving user privacy. We used the following principles as we designed this technology:
Users should not be uniquely identified across websites for the purposes of ad click attribution. This means the combined data of an ad click and a conversion should not be attributable to a single user at web scale. To achieve this, our design has the following properties:Up to 64 ad campaigns can be measured in parallel per website where ads are placed and advertiser. This low number means ad campaign IDs cannot be turned into user identifiers.Up to 64 conversion events can be distinguished on the advertiser's own website. This means conversion IDs are also restricted from being turned into user identifiers.Only websites that users visit should be involved in measuring ad clicks and conversions. This means that opaque third-parties should not receive ad click attribution reports and we enforce it by requiring that the ad link is part of a first-party webpage and by only reporting on which first-party website a conversion happened.The browser should act on behalf of the user and do its best to preserve privacy while reporting on ad click attribution. We achieve this by:Sending attribution reports in a dedicated Private Browsing Mode even though the user is in regular browsing mode.Disallowing data like cookies for reporting purposes.Delaying reports randomly between 24 and 48 hours.Not supporting Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution at all when the user is in Private Browsing Mode.The browser vendor should not learn about the user's ad clicks or conversions. For this reason, we designed the feature to do all of its work on-device. The browser vendor does not see any of the ad click attribution data.Critically, our solution avoids placing trust in any of the parties involved '-- the ad network, the merchant, or any other intermediaries '-- and dramatically limits the entropy of data passed between them to prevent communication of a tracking identifier.
Ad Click Attribution in a NutshellHere's a simple example of ad click attribution:An online store runs an ad on a search engine website. If a user clicks the ad and eventually buys something, both the online store and the search engine website where the ad was placed want to know; they want the purchase to be attributed to the ad click so that the store knows where to focus their advertising budget. Such attribution is used for measurement of which ads are effective.
Traditional, Privacy-Invasive Ad Click AttributionTraditionally, ad click attribution has been done through the use of cookies and so-called ''tracking pixels.'' Here's an illustration of how this works:
The illustration above shows the user John:
Searching for ''grill'' on search.example, Clicking an ad which takes him to shop.example, and Finally adding a $90 grill to a shopping cart.Following each action on shop.example, shop.example fires a tracking pixel (a request for an invisible image) to search.example to report progress toward a purchase.
In browsers without appropriate privacy protections, search.example will identify John through his cookies every time shop.example fires such a tracking pixel to search.example. This pervasive technology allows search.example to learn everything John does on shop.example and all other websites that fire similar tracking pixels. Even worse, all these pixels fire regardless of whether John has clicked an ad or not.
Needless to say, tracking pixels that carry cookies enable sites such as search.example to build up a huge profile of people's interests, purchasing power, habits, age, et cetera. We refer to this as cross-site tracking and Safari prevents it from happening through the WebKit feature Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP).
As more and more browsers acknowledge the problems of cross-site tracking, we should expect privacy-invasive ad click attribution to become a thing of the past.
Privacy Preserving Ad Click AttributionWe propose a modern way of doing ad click attribution that doesn't allow for cross-site tracking of users but does provide a means of measuring the effectiveness of online ads. It is built into the browser itself and runs on-device which means that the browser vendor does not get to see what ads are clicked or which purchases are made.
Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution has three steps:
Store ad clicks. This is done by the page hosting the ad at the time of an ad click.Match conversions against stored ad clicks. This is done on the website the ad navigated to as a result of the click. Conversions do not have to happen right after a click and do not have to happen on the specific landing page, just the same website.Send out ad click attribution data. This is done by the browser after a conversion matches an ad click.Let's go through these steps in detail and which steps we've taken to preserve the user's privacy.
Step 1: Store Ad ClicksAnchor elements, often referred to as links, now support two new, optional attributes called adDestination and adCampaignID.
As shown in the illustration below, adDestination is the domain the ad click is navigating the user to, and adCampaignID is the identifier of the ad campaign.
If the user clicks the ad link on search.example, the browser will follow the navigation, through potential redirects, to make sure that the user actually lands on shop.example. If so, the browser stores the ad click, comprising the following data (presented here in plain English): The user clicked shop.example's ad campaign 55 on search.example.
Here are the important privacy aspects of this step:
The link needs to be an element on the first-party website (the main frame), not a link in an iframe. This is to meet user expectations and to be able to provide control to the user. Users can only be expected to understand which first-party website they clicked an ad on and which first-party website they made a purchase on. We also think it's important that the first-party website that serves the ad is the one attributed for the performance of the ad campaign.Neither search.example nor shop.example can read the stored ad click data or detect that it exists.The browser only stores ad clicks for a limited time. In WebKit's implementation that is seven days.The entropy of the ad campaign ID needs to be properly restricted to not become a cross-site tracking vector. WebKit's implementation allows a value between 0 and 63, i.e. a maximum of 64 shop.example ad campaigns running in parallel on search.example.Step 2: Match Conversions Against Stored Ad ClicksTo achieve ad click attribution, the browser needs to be able to match conversions with stored ad clicks. What are conversions?
Adding an item to the shopping cart is a conversion.Signing up for a new service is a conversion.Entering shipping or payment information is a conversion.Pulling the trigger and actually buying something is a conversion.Matching conversions to ad clicks allows shop.example to understand that a specific ad campaign may be effective in getting customers to add items to their shopping carts but something in the checkout flow throws them off.
How does Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution detect a conversion and match it with a stored ad click? It makes use of the legacy tracking pixels!
In the illustration above, an existing request to the existing tracking pixel is redirected by search.example on its own server infrastructure to a well-known location in order to signal to the browser that this is in fact a conversion happening. Note that privacy protections such as ITP will typically make sure that no cookies are sent in this request.
The path parameter ''20'' at the end of the well-known location is the conversion data. This gives shop.example an opportunity to say something about the conversion such as where in the sales funnel the customer is, what the value of the conversion is, what time of day it is, or whatever they decide is relevant for them.
The redirect to the well-known location may also include an optional priority parameter which indicates the importance of this particular conversion in the case of multiple conversions matching the same stored ad click.
Here are the important privacy aspects of this step:
Neither search.example nor shop.example know whether there is any stored ad click data to be matched against.Neither search.example nor shop.example are told by the browser whether there was a match or not.The entropy of the ad conversion data needs to be properly restricted to not become a cross-site tracking vector. WebKit's implementation allows a value between 0 and 63, i.e. six bits to distinguish conversion events. As mentioned earlier, shop.example decides what goes into these bits. For instance, they may spend two bits on monetary value in four buckets: {less than $10, between $10 and $50, between $51 and $200, above $200}.We expect to also implement a JavaScript API to send this information to the .well-known location to remove the requirement for tracking pixels but we'd like to openly discuss what should go into that API since it is much more forward looking than retrofitting existing tracking pixels.
Step 3: Send Out Ad Click Attribution DataNow we come to the third and final step '-- the browser reports that a conversion happened for a user that had previously clicked an ad.
Once the browser has matched a conversion against a stored ad click, it sets a timer, randomized between 24 and 48 hours. When that timer fires, the browser makes an ephemeral, stateless POST request to the same well-known location. In our example, the request would go to https://search.example/.well-known/ad-click-attribution/20/55, with the referrer request header set to https://shop.example.
In plain English this report would say: 24 to 48 hours ago, some user who previously clicked shop.example's ad campaign 55 on search.example, converted with data 20 on shop.example.
Once the ephemeral, stateless POST request goes out, the stored ad click is consumed and cannot be converted further. This is in part why we have the minimum delay of 24 hours. During that delay, shop.example has the opportunity to signal further conversions, for instance down a sales funnel, and only the most important conversion will be sent in the POST request. The importance is controlled through the optional priority parameter in the conversion redirect, as mentioned above.
Here are the important privacy aspects of this step:
Neither search.example nor shop.example know that an attribution request has been scheduled.The 24''48 hour delay makes sure a conversion that happens shortly after an ad click will not allow for speculative profiling of the user by search.example. The randomness in the delay makes sure that the request does not in itself reveal when during the day the conversion happened. If shop.example wants time of day data, they will have to spend some of their six bits of conversion data on it.The ephemeral, stateless request makes sure the request is not associated with state built up through other browsing. Ephemeral in this sense is referred to as Private Browsing in Safari.The well-known location allows for a simple rule if Content Blockers wants to block such conversion reporting.Privacy ConsiderationsFor ad click attribution to happen, some bits of data about what happened across two websites need to be sent. Today's practice of ad click attribution has no practical limit on the bits of data, which allows for full cross-site tracking of users using cookies. This is privacy invasive and thus we are obliged to prevent such ad click attribution from happening in Safari and WebKit.
But by keeping the entropy of attribution data low enough, we believe the reporting can be done in a privacy preserving way.
Here is a summary of our privacy considerations for Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution:
Only links served on first-party pages should be able to store ad click attribution data. This ensures that users have a chance of understanding how Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution works.Neither the website where the ad click happens nor the website where the conversion happens should be able to see whether ad click data has been stored, has been matched, or is scheduled for reporting.Ad clicks should only be stored for a limited time, such as a week. Users cannot be expected to understand that a purchase they make today is attributed to an ad click they made months ago.The entropy of both ad campaign ID and conversion data needs to be restricted to a point where this data cannot be repurposed for cross-site tracking of users. We propose six bits each for these two pieces of data, or values between 0 and 63.Ad click attribution requests should be delayed randomly between 24 to 48 hours. This makes sure that a conversion that happens shortly after an ad click will not allow for speculative cross-site profiling of the user. The randomness in the delay makes sure the request does not in itself reveal when during the day the conversion happened.The browser should not guarantee any specific order in which multiple ad click attribution requests are sent, since the order itself could be abused to increase the entropy and allow for cross-site tracking of users.The browser should use an ephemeral session (a.k.a. private or incognito mode) to make ad click attribution requests.The browser should not use or accept any credentials such as cookies, client certificates, or Basic Authentication in ad click attribution requests or responses.The browser should offer a way to turn ad click attribution on and off. We intend to have the default setting to be on to encourage websites to move to this technology and abandon general cross-site tracking.The browser should not enable ad click attribution in private/incognito mode.Try It Out In Safari Technology Preview!We're happy to offer Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution as an experimental feature in Safari Technology Preview 82+.
First, enable the Develop menu, then go to the Experimental Features submenu.
There you'll find ''Ad Click Attribution'' which enables the feature itself, and ''Ad Click Attribution Debug Mode'' which enables debug logging for developers and shortens the 24''48 hour delay to a static one minute delay, also for use by developers.
Debugging the Link AttributesA cross-site anchor element that wants to push ad click attribution data into the browser looks like this:<a href="https://some.site.example" addestination="https://shop.example" adcampaignid="55">
To debug such elements, you use the Web Inspector's console with the ''Preserve Log'' setting enabled. Here are a few examples of console warnings you may see if there's something wrong with your attribution attributes:
Both adcampaignid and addestination need to be set for Ad Click Attribution to work.
Ad Click Attribution is only supported in the main frame.
This tells you the anchor element is not part of the main frame.
addestination can not be the same site as the current website. This technology is meant for cross-site attribution of ad clicks. There is no need for it within the same website.
Debugging Storage of Ad ClicksFor debugging anything beyond the anchor element, you need to use the system log (syslog). Here's how you achieve that:
Enable Ad Click Attribution Debug Mode in the Develop''>Experimental Features submenu.In your macOS Terminal, run: log stream -info | grep AdClickAttribution.Now if you click a cross-site element with adDestination and adCampaignID attributes, you should expect to see the following in your syslog:Storing an ad click.
Debugging ConversionsA conversion is signaled through a same-site HTTP redirect to /.well-known/ad-click-attribution/[a decimal value between 0 and 63 representing the conversion data]. Same-site here means search.example needs to be the server redirecting to https://search.example/.well-known/ad-click-attribution/. The reason for this is that search.example should be in control of when stored ad clicks on its site are consumed. Note that the conversion redirect is done as a subresource on shop.example so we don't mean same-site as the main frame.
Once you do such a redirect, the syslog might feature one of the following error messages:
Conversion was not accepted because the HTTP redirect was not same-site. This is the requirement mentioned above, i.e. it has to be search.example redirecting to search.example/.well-known/ad-click-attribution/.
Conversion was not accepted because it was requested in an HTTP redirect that is same-site as the first-party. Again, this technology is meant for cross-site attribution of ad clicks. There is no need for it within the same website.
Conversion was not accepted because the URL's protocol is not HTTPS or the URL contains one or more of username, password, query string, and fragment. The request to the well-known location has to be HTTPS and cannot contain a username, password, query string, or fragment.
Conversion was not accepted because the URL path did not start with /.well-known/ad-click-attribution/.
Conversion was not accepted because the conversion data could not be parsed or was higher than the allowed maximum of 63.
Conversion was not accepted because the URL path contained unrecognized parts. This is a catch-all error message for when the URL has unrecognized path elements or is not of the correct length.
Detecting Successful ConversionsIf you got everything right in the redirect to the well-known location, you should see the following message in the syslog:Got a conversion with conversion data: 20 and priority: 0.
Here you see the priority parameter. It is a way for the server to signal how important a particular conversion is so that the browser can report the most important one. Take the sales funnel example. There, multiple conversions will happen in succession: add to shopping cart, enter shipping info, enter payment info, and finalize purchase. Most likely, the finalized purchase is the conversion that should be reported together with the ad campaign ID. Priority can be 0 to 63, higher means higher priority, and the priority value is only used for internal bookkeeping, i.e. not sent in any request.
Henceforth, lets assume the redirect is done with conversion data 20 and priority 12, like so:https://search.example/.well-known/ad-click-attribution/20/12
Now, if there's a stored ad click that matches this conversion, you'll see detailed conversion information in the syslog:
Converted a stored ad click with conversion data: 20 and priority: 12. This is when a previously unconverted ad click is converted.
Re-converted an ad click with a new one with conversion data: 20 and priority: 12 because it had higher priority. This is for when there's a conversion of higher priority that matches an already scheduled conversion request. The ad click is kept, re-converted with the high priority conversion, and scheduled for reporting.
Replaced a previously converted ad click with a new one with conversion data: 20 and priority: 12 because it had higher priority. This is for when there is a different ad click (the user may have clicked more than one ad) with a scheduled conversion request but with lower priority. The newly converted ad click with higher priority replaces the old one.
Finally, you'll see the scheduling of the report request in the syslog:Setting timer for firing conversion requests to the debug mode timeout of 60 seconds where the regular timeout would have been 111003 seconds. This is special-cased for Ad Click Attribution Debug Mode. Instead of the 24 to 48 hour delay, there's only a 60 second delay. The log message tells what the real delay would have been, in this case '‰31 hours.
Receiving Conversion ReportsWhen the scheduled timer fires, an HTTP POST request is made to ./well-known/ad-click-attribution/[conversion data]/[ad campaign ID], effectively reporting that a conversion happened for a user that previously clicked an associated advertisement. In our example, this request would go to:https://search.example/.well-known/ad-click-attribution/20/55'... with the referrer request header set to:
https://shop.example/
When this request is about to go out, you'll see the following syslog entry:About to fire an attribution request for a conversion.
If something went wrong with the request, you'll see it in the syslog:Received error: [error message] for ad click attribution request.
Where To Send Feedback and Bug ReportsPrivacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution is in the early stage of being proposed as a standard through the W3C Web Platform Incubator Community Group (WICG). Please join us at https://github.com/WICG/ad-click-attribution to discuss how this technology fits with your use cases.
If you find that the experimental feature in Safari Technology Preview doesn't work as explained, please file a WebKit bug at https://bugs.webkit.org and CC John Wilander.
For technical inquiries on Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution, you'll find me on Twitter: @johnwilander
Why Did a YouTube Bot Make an Unwatched Video of Our Blog Post? '' Hmm Daily
Wed, 22 May 2019 03:48
Last night, I tried to use Google to pull up a recent post I'd written for Hmm Daily, the one about the terrible letter Jon Robin Baitz wrote to explain how screenwriting had made him personally too rich and successful to support the screenwriters' union in their current conflict with the Hollywood agencies. I typed in the headline'--the scab has a script'--and the very first result was my own piece, which was what I was looking for.
But right there with it was another result: a video, also called ''The Scab Has a Script,'' with a thumbnail featuring the same inflatable-rat-at-a-typewriter image that had been on the post. I clicked it and was presented with'...the blog post, rendered line by line as meme-style text, overlaid on a rotating sequence of five images: the original illustration, some sort of cruddy photo of a painting (or tattoo?) of a sculpted bust, and a sequence of three pages of a script from Episode 410 of Outlander. Wordless vocals and a sort of jazzy guitar and beat played underneath it all.
The first flash of old-fashioned outrage'--somebody is stealing our stuff!'--faded before it had even fully arrived, replaced by an ever-more-familiar sense of dread and loathing. Neither ''somebody'' nor ''stealing'' were the right concepts; the video was too incomprehensible for that, and until I'd clicked on it, it had zero views. It cut out after 3 minutes and 20 seconds, in the middle of the text.
There was no motive behind it; there wasn't even a mind.There was no motive behind it; there wasn't even a mind. We were so far out beyond the realm of copyright infringement, the only logical thing to do was to rip back the whole video of our own copyrighted text and repost it ourselves. Here it is:
The user account that had posted it, ''smokaj0000,'' has plenty more content or content-like objects where that came from. Its YouTube videos page is a solid wall of ''No Views'' videos, sprinkled here and there with videos that have gotten some tiny number of views. Since it posted the video based on our blog post a week ago, it has put up more than 600 new videos.
Yesterday it posted, one after another, ''Saudi Arabia Beheads 37 for Terrorism Crimes; Most Shiites'' (5 minutes, 1 second); ''Saudi Arabia beheads 37 for terrorism crimes'' (7:21), and ''Saudi Arabia executes 37 people for terror-related crimes'' (3:21). Before that it posted ''NASA just detected the first 'marsquake' on the red planet'' (2:31) and ''NASA probe detects likely 'marsquake': an interplanetary first'' (3:11), and before that three straight videos about the former Brazilian president Lula's reduced prison sentence. None of them had any views.
The videos all seem to follow the same format, using text lifted from articles elsewhere online. Some of them, but not all, have tacked the message ''Let's block ads! (Why?).'' onto the very end. Googling that brings up a tagline used by FiveFilters.org to promote an Chrome extension that's supposed to block ads, although those results also include sites that have apparently bot-harvested the text from other sites.
(After we posted our copy of the smokaj0000 video to the Hmm Daily YouTube account, we received a copyright warning that it was being blocked because something called ''HEXACORP LTD'' had filed a copyright claim on the audio track ''cool-mbia.''
So we replaced the audio and tried to figure out what HexaCorp was, which led to a completely impenetrable HexaCorp website which says its mission is to ''Deliver high end solutions & services, collaborate customer data & people by adapting latest technologies & tools establish customer friendly process and create effective solutions with focus towards 'Best Services Interest' and 'Maximum Value for Money'.'' More Googling found that HexaCorp appears as the owner of record in the end-user licensing agreement for a streaming service called Orfium. The initial video with the soundtrack remains unblocked. )
Whatever smokaj0000 is doing, it is not producing content for human consumption. It is aggressively, chillingly ahuman, a machine signaling to machines for some algorithmic purpose whose human-centered antecedents are long lost. It is not even fake; it simply exists outside any realm where reality might matter.
How the CIA made Google '' INSURGE intelligence '' Medium
Wed, 22 May 2019 00:36
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain 'information superiority.'
The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.
THIS IS PART ONE. READ PART TWO HERE.
This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I'd like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.
US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to ''fuel hatred and violence'' in situations considered ''appropriate.'' Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.
What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.
There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.
As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global 'information war''Š'--'Ša war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.
Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.
The inside story of Google's rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.
The shadow networkFor the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global 'war on terror' consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.
Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.
In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.
Known as the 'Highlands Forum,' this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.
Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the 'shadow intelligence community' due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.
I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE's Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel's newly announced 'Defense Innovation Initiative' was really about building Skynet'Š'--'Šor something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.
That story was based on a little-known Pentagon-funded 'white paper' published two months earlier by the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington DC, a leading US military-run institution that, among other things, generates research to develop US defense policy at the highest levels. The white paper clarified the thinking behind the new initiative, and the revolutionary scientific and technological developments it hoped to capitalize on.
The Highlands ForumThe co-author of that NDU white paper is Linton Wells, a 51-year veteran US defense official who served in the Bush administration as the Pentagon's chief information officer, overseeing the National Security Agency (NSA) and other spy agencies. He still holds active top-secret security clearances, and according to a report by Government Executive magazine in 2006 he chaired the 'Highlands Forum', founded by the Pentagon in 1994.
Linton Wells II (right) former Pentagon chief information officer and assistant secretary of defense for networks, at a recent Pentagon Highlands Forum session. Rosemary Wenchel, a senior official in the US Department of Homeland Security, is sitting next to himNew Scientist magazine (paywall) has compared the Highlands Forum to elite meetings like ''Davos, Ditchley and Aspen,'' describing it as ''far less well known, yet'... arguably just as influential a talking shop.'' Regular Forum meetings bring together ''innovative people to consider interactions between policy and technology. Its biggest successes have been in the development of high-tech network-based warfare.''
Given Wells' role in such a Forum, perhaps it was not surprising that his defense transformation white paper was able to have such a profound impact on actual Pentagon policy. But if that was the case, why had no one noticed?
Despite being sponsored by the Pentagon, I could find no official page on the DoD website about the Forum. Active and former US military and intelligence sources had never heard of it, and neither did national security journalists. I was baffled.
The Pentagon's intellectual capital venture firmIn the prologue to his 2007 book, A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity, John Clippinger, an MIT scientist of the Media Lab Human Dynamics Group, described how he participated in a ''Highlands Forum'' gathering, an ''invitation-only meeting funded by the Department of Defense and chaired by the assistant for networks and information integration.'' This was a senior DoD post overseeing operations and policies for the Pentagon's most powerful spy agencies including the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), among others. Starting from 2003, the position was transitioned into what is now the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The Highlands Forum, Clippinger wrote, was founded by a retired US Navy captain named Dick O'Neill. Delegates include senior US military officials across numerous agencies and divisions'Š'--'Š''captains, rear admirals, generals, colonels, majors and commanders'' as well as ''members of the DoD leadership.''
What at first appeared to be the Forum's main website describes Highlands as ''an informal cross-disciplinary network sponsored by Federal Government,'' focusing on ''information, science and technology.'' Explanation is sparse, beyond a single 'Department of Defense' logo.
But Highlands also has another website describing itself as an ''intellectual capital venture firm'' with ''extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders.'' The firm provides a ''wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets,'' as well as ''working with clients to build strategies for execution.'' 'The Highlands Group Inc.,' the website says, organizes a whole range of Forums on these issue.
For instance, in addition to the Highlands Forum, since 9/11 the Group runs the 'Island Forum,' an international event held in association with Singapore's Ministry of Defense, which O'Neill oversees as ''lead consultant.'' The Singapore Ministry of Defense website describes the Island Forum as ''patterned after the Highlands Forum organized for the US Department of Defense.'' Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that Singapore played a key role in permitting the US and Australia to tap undersea cables to spy on Asian powers like Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Highlands Group website also reveals that Highlands is partnered with one of the most powerful defense contractors in the United States. Highlands is ''supported by a network of companies and independent researchers,'' including ''our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum.''
SAIC stands for the US defense firm, Science Applications International Corporation, which changed its name to Leidos in 2013, operating SAIC as a subsidiary. SAIC/Leidos is among the top 10 largest defense contractors in the US, and works closely with the US intelligence community, especially the NSA. According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock, the first to disclose the vast extent of the privatization of US intelligence with his seminal book Spies for Hire, SAIC has a ''symbiotic relationship with the NSA: the agency is the company's largest single customer and SAIC is the NSA's largest contractor.''
Richard 'Dick' Patrick O'Neill, founding president of the Pentagon's Highlands ForumThe full name of Captain ''Dick'' O'Neill, the founding president of the Highlands Forum, is Richard Patrick O'Neill, who after his work in the Navy joined the DoD. He served his last post as deputy for strategy and policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, before setting up Highlands.
The Club of YodaBut Clippinger also referred to another mysterious individual revered by Forum attendees:
''He sat at the back of the room, expressionless behind thick, black-rimmed glasses. I never heard him utter a word'... Andrew (Andy) Marshall is an icon within DoD. Some call him Yoda, indicative of his mythical inscrutable status'... He had served many administrations and was widely regarded as above partisan politics. He was a supporter of the Highlands Forum and a regular fixture from its beginning.''Since 1973, Marshall has headed up one of the Pentagon's most powerful agencies, the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), the US defense secretary's internal 'think tank' which conducts highly classified research on future planning for defense policy across the US military and intelligence community. The ONA has played a key role in major Pentagon strategy initiatives, including Maritime Strategy, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Competitive Strategies Initiative, and the Revolution in Military Affairs.
Andrew 'Yoda' Marshall, head of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA) and co-chair of the Highlands Forum, at an early Highlands event in 1996 at the Santa Fe Institute. Marshall is retiring as of January 2015In a rare 2002 profile in Wired, reporter Douglas McGray described Andrew Marshall, now 93 years old, as ''the DoD's most elusive'' but ''one of its most influential'' officials. McGray added that ''Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz'''Š'--'Šwidely considered the hawks of the neoconservative movement in American politics'Š'--'Šwere among Marshall's ''star prot(C)g(C)s.''
Speaking at a low-key Harvard University seminar a few months after 9/11, Highlands Forum founding president Richard O'Neill said that Marshall was much more than a ''regular fixture'' at the Forum. ''Andy Marshall is our co-chair, so indirectly everything that we do goes back into Andy's system,'' he told the audience. ''Directly, people who are in the Forum meetings may be going back to give briefings to Andy on a variety of topics and to synthesize things.'' He also said that the Forum had a third co-chair: the director of the Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA), which at that time was a Rumsfeld appointee, Anthony J. Tether. Before joining DARPA, Tether was vice president of SAIC's Advanced Technology Sector.
Anthony J. Tether, director of DARPA and co-chair of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum from June 2001 to February 2009The Highlands Forum's influence on US defense policy has thus operated through three main channels: its sponsorship by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (around the middle of last decade this was transitioned specifically to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, which is in charge of the main surveillance agencies); its direct link to Andrew 'Yoda' Marshall's ONA; and its direct link to DARPA.
A slide from Richard O'Neill's presentation at Harvard University in 2001According to Clippinger in A Crowd of One, ''what happens at informal gatherings such as the Highlands Forum could, over time and through unforeseen curious paths of influence, have enormous impact, not just within the DoD but throughout the world.'' He wrote that the Forum's ideas have ''moved from being heretical to mainstream. Ideas that were anathema in 1999 had been adopted as policy just three years later.''
Although the Forum does not produce ''consensus recommendations,'' its impact is deeper than a traditional government advisory committee. ''The ideas that emerge from meetings are available for use by decision-makers as well as by people from the think tanks,'' according to O'Neill:
''We'll include people from Booz, SAIC, RAND, or others at our meetings'... We welcome that kind of cooperation, because, truthfully, they have the gravitas. They are there for the long haul and are able to influence government policies with real scholarly work'... We produce ideas and interaction and networks for these people to take and use as they need them.''My repeated requests to O'Neill for information on his work at the Highlands Forum were ignored. The Department of Defense also did not respond to multiple requests for information and comment on the Forum.
Information warfareThe Highlands Forum has served as a two-way 'influence bridge': on the one hand, for the shadow network of private contractors to influence the formulation of information operations policy across US military intelligence; and on the other, for the Pentagon to influence what is going on in the private sector. There is no clearer evidence of this than the truly instrumental role of the Forum in incubating the idea of mass surveillance as a mechanism to dominate information on a global scale.
In 1989, Richard O'Neill, then a US Navy cryptologist, wrote a paper for the US Naval War College, 'Toward a methodology for perception management.' In his book, Future Wars, Col. John Alexander, then a senior officer in the US Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), records that O'Neill's paper for the first time outlined a strategy for ''perception management'' as part of information warfare (IW). O'Neill's proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, ''so they perceive the cause [of war] as just''; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they ''perceive the cost as worth the effort.'' A secret briefing based on O'Neill's work ''made its way to the top leadership'' at DoD. ''They acknowledged that O'Neill was right and told him to bury it.
Except the DoD didn't bury it. Around 1994, the Highlands Group was founded by O'Neill as an official Pentagon project at the appointment of Bill Clinton's then defense secretary William Perry'Š'--'Šwho went on to join SAIC's board of directors after retiring from government in 2003.
In O'Neill's own words, the group would function as the Pentagon's 'ideas lab'. According to Government Executive, military and information technology experts gathered at the first Forum meeting ''to consider the impacts of IT and globalization on the United States and on warfare. How would the Internet and other emerging technologies change the world?'' The meeting helped plant the idea of ''network-centric warfare'' in the minds of ''the nation's top military thinkers.''
Excluding the publicOfficial Pentagon records confirm that the Highlands Forum's primary goal was to support DoD policies on O'Neill's specialism: information warfare. According to the Pentagon's 1997 Annual Report to the President and the Congress under a section titled 'Information Operations,' (IO) the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) had authorized the ''establishment of the Highlands Group of key DoD, industry, and academic IO experts'' to coordinate IO across federal military intelligence agencies.
The following year's DoD annual report reiterated the Forum's centrality to information operations: ''To examine IO issues, DoD sponsors the Highlands Forum, which brings together government, industry, and academic professionals from various fields.''
Notice that in 1998, the Highlands 'Group' became a 'Forum.' According to O'Neill, this was to avoid subjecting Highlands Forums meetings to ''bureaucratic restrictions.'' What he was alluding to was the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which regulates the way the US government can formally solicit the advice of special interests.
Known as the 'open government' law, FACA requires that US government officials cannot hold closed-door or secret consultations with people outside government to develop policy. All such consultations should take place via federal advisory committees that permit public scrutiny. FACA requires that meetings be held in public, announced via the Federal Register, that advisory groups are registered with an office at the General Services Administration, among other requirements intended to maintain accountability to the public interest.
But Government Executive reported that ''O'Neill and others believed'' such regulatory issues ''would quell the free flow of ideas and no-holds-barred discussions they sought.'' Pentagon lawyers had warned that the word 'group' might necessitate certain obligations and advised running the whole thing privately: ''So O'Neill renamed it the Highlands Forum and moved into the private sector to manage it as a consultant to the Pentagon.'' The Pentagon Highlands Forum thus runs under the mantle of O'Neill's 'intellectual capital venture firm,' 'Highlands Group Inc.'
In 1995, a year after William Perry appointed O'Neill to head up the Highlands Forum, SAIC'Š'--'Šthe Forum's ''partner'' organization'Š'--'Šlaunched a new Center for Information Strategy and Policy under the direction of ''Jeffrey Cooper, a member of the Highlands Group who advises senior Defense Department officials on information warfare issues.'' The Center had precisely the same objective as the Forum, to function as ''a clearinghouse to bring together the best and brightest minds in information warfare by sponsoring a continuing series of seminars, papers and symposia which explore the implications of information warfare in depth.'' The aim was to ''enable leaders and policymakers from government, industry, and academia to address key issues surrounding information warfare to ensure that the United States retains its edge over any and all potential enemies.''
Despite FACA regulations, federal advisory committees are already heavily influenced, if not captured, by corporate power. So in bypassing FACA, the Pentagon overrode even the loose restrictions of FACA, by permanently excluding any possibility of public engagement.
O'Neill's claim that there are no reports or recommendations is disingenuous. By his own admission, the secret Pentagon consultations with industry that have taken place through the Highlands Forum since 1994 have been accompanied by regular presentations of academic and policy papers, recordings and notes of meetings, and other forms of documentation that are locked behind a login only accessible by Forum delegates. This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of FACA'Š'--'Šin a way that is patently intended to circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law.
The Highlands Forum doesn't need to produce consensus recommendations. Its purpose is to provide the Pentagon a shadow social networking mechanism to cement lasting relationships with corporate power, and to identify new talent, that can be used to fine-tune information warfare strategies in absolute secrecy.
Total participants in the DoD's Highlands Forum number over a thousand, although sessions largely consist of small closed workshop style gatherings of maximum 25''30 people, bringing together experts and officials depending on the subject. Delegates have included senior personnel from SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton, RAND Corp., Cisco, Human Genome Sciences, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, the BBC, Disney, General Electric, Enron, among innumerable others; Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate; senior executives from the US energy industry such as Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and key people involved in both sides of presidential campaigns.
Other participants have included senior media professionals: David Ignatius, associate editor of the Washington Post and at the time the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune; Thomas Friedman, long-time New York Times columnist; Arnaud de Borchgrave, an editor at Washington Times and United Press International; Steven Levy, a former Newsweek editor, senior writer for Wired and now chief tech editor at Medium; Lawrence Wright, staff writer at the New Yorker; Noah Shachtmann, executive editor at the Daily Beast; Rebecca McKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices Online; Nik Gowing of the BBC; and John Markoff of the New York Times.
Due to its current sponsorship by the OSD's undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the Forum has inside access to the chiefs of the main US surveillance and reconnaissance agencies, as well as the directors and their assistants at DoD research agencies, from DARPA, to the ONA. This also means that the Forum is deeply plugged into the Pentagon's policy research task forces.
Google: seeded by the PentagonIn 1994'Š'--'Šthe same year the Highlands Forum was founded under the stewardship of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the ONA, and DARPA'Š'--'Štwo young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application. That application remains the core component of what eventually became Google's search service. Brin and Page had performed their work with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI), a multi-agency programme of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and DARPA.
But that's just one side of the story.
Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.
Thuraisingham is currently the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a sought-after expert on data-mining, data management and information security issues. But in the 1990s, she worked for the MITRE Corp., a leading US defense contractor, where she managed the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, to foster innovative research in information technology.
''We funded Stanford University through the computer scientist Jeffrey Ullman, who had several promising graduate students working on many exciting areas,'' Prof. Thuraisingham told me. ''One of them was Sergey Brin, the founder of Google. The intelligence community's MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector.''
This sort of funding is certainly not unusual, and Sergey Brin's being able to receive it by being a graduate student at Stanford appears to have been incidental. The Pentagon was all over computer science research at this time. But it illustrates how deeply entrenched the culture of Silicon Valley is in the values of the US intelligence community.
In an extraordinary document hosted by the website of the University of Texas, Thuraisingham recounts that from 1993 to 1999, ''the Intelligence Community [IC] started a program called Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) that I was managing for the Intelligence Community when I was at the MITRE Corporation.'' The program funded 15 research efforts at various universities, including Stanford. Its goal was developing ''data management technologies to manage several terabytes to petabytes of data,'' including for ''query processing, transaction management, metadata management, storage management, and data integration.''
At the time, Thuraisingham was chief scientist for data and information management at MITRE, where she led team research and development efforts for the NSA, CIA, US Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM). She went on to teach courses for US government officials and defense contractors on data-mining in counter-terrorism.
In her University of Texas article, she attaches the copy of an abstract of the US intelligence community's MDDS program that had been presented to the ''Annual Intelligence Community Symposium'' in 1995. The abstract reveals that the primary sponsors of the MDDS programme were three agencies: the NSA, the CIA's Office of Research & Development, and the intelligence community's Community Management Staff (CMS) which operates under the Director of Central Intelligence. Administrators of the program, which provided funding of around 3''4 million dollars per year for 3''4 years, were identified as Hal Curran (NSA), Robert Kluttz (CMS), Dr. Claudia Pierce (NSA), Dr. Rick Steinheiser (ORD'Š'--'Šstanding for the CIA's Office of Research and Devepment), and Dr. Thuraisingham herself.
Thuraisingham goes on in her article to reiterate that this joint CIA-NSA program partly funded Sergey Brin to develop the core of Google, through a grant to Stanford managed by Brin's supervisor Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman:
''In fact, the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford. He together with his advisor Prof. Jeffrey Ullman and my colleague at MITRE, Dr. Chris Clifton [Mitre's chief scientist in IT], developed the Query Flocks System which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. In fact the last time we met in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which became Google soon after.''Brin and Page officially incorporated Google as a company in September 1998, the very month they last reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser. 'Query Flocks' was also part of Google's patented 'PageRank' search system, which Brin developed at Stanford under the CIA-NSA-MDDS programme, as well as with funding from the NSF, IBM and Hitachi. That year, MITRE's Dr. Chris Clifton, who worked under Thuraisingham to develop the 'Query Flocks' system, co-authored a paper with Brin's superviser, Prof. Ullman, and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser. Titled 'Knowledge Discovery in Text,' the paper was presented at an academic conference.
''The MDDS funding that supported Brin was significant as far as seed-funding goes, but it was probably outweighed by the other funding streams,'' said Thuraisingham. ''The duration of Brin's funding was around two years or so. In that period, I and my colleagues from the MDDS would visit Stanford to see Brin and monitor his progress every three months or so. We didn't supervise exactly, but we did want to check progress, point out potential problems and suggest ideas. In those briefings, Brin did present to us on the query flocks research, and also demonstrated to us versions of the Google search engine.''
Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google.
==
UPDATE 2.05PM GMT [2nd Feb 2015]:
Since publication of this article, Prof. Thuraisingham has amended her article referenced above. The amended version includes a new modified statement, followed by a copy of the original version of her account of the MDDS. In this amended version, Thuraisingham rejects the idea that CIA funded Google, and says instead:
''In fact Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman's research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after'...There are also several inaccuracies in Dr. Ahmed's article (dated January 22, 2015). For example, the MDDS program was not a 'sensitive' program as stated by Dr. Ahmed; it was an Unclassified program that funded universities in the US. Furthermore, Sergey Brin never reported to me or to Dr. Rick Steinheiser; he only gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s. Also, MDDS never funded Google; it funded Stanford University.''Here, there is no substantive factual difference in Thuraisingham's accounts, other than to assert that her statement associating Sergey Brin with the development of 'query flocks' is mistaken. Notably, this acknowledgement is derived not from her own knowledge, but from this very article quoting a comment from a Google spokesperson.
However, the bizarre attempt to disassociate Google from the MDDS program misses the mark. Firstly, the MDDS never funded Google, because during the development of the core components of the Google search engine, there was no company incorporated with that name. The grant was instead provided to Stanford University through Prof. Ullman, through whom some MDDS funding was used to support Brin who was co-developing Google at the time. Secondly, Thuraisingham then adds that Brin never ''reported'' to her or the CIA's Steinheiser, but admits he ''gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s.'' It is unclear, though, what the distinction is here between reporting, and delivering a detailed presentation'Š'--'Šeither way, Thuraisingham confirms that she and the CIA had taken a keen interest in Brin's development of Google. Thirdly, Thuraisingham describes the MDDS program as ''unclassified,'' but this does not contradict its ''sensitive'' nature. As someone who has worked for decades as an intelligence contractor and advisor, Thuraisingham is surely aware that there are many ways of categorizing intelligence, including 'sensitive but unclassified.' A number of former US intelligence officials I spoke to said that the almost total lack of public information on the CIA and NSA's MDDS initiative suggests that although the progam was not classified, it is likely instead that its contents was considered sensitive, which would explain efforts to minimise transparency about the program and the way it fed back into developing tools for the US intelligence community. Fourthly, and finally, it is important to point out that the MDDS abstract which Thuraisingham includes in her University of Texas document states clearly not only that the Director of Central Intelligence's CMS, CIA and NSA were the overseers of the MDDS initiative, but that the intended customers of the project were ''DoD, IC, and other government organizations'': the Pentagon, the US intelligence community, and other relevant US government agencies.
In other words, the provision of MDDS funding to Brin through Ullman, under the oversight of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser, was fundamentally because they recognized the potential utility of Brin's work developing Google to the Pentagon, intelligence community, and the federal government at large.
==
The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford, specifically highlighting its role in financially sponsoring Brin in the development of Google. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering, they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via ''Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction,'' the development of ''a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank,'' and the use of PageRank ''to develop a novel search engine called Google.'' Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was ''Partially supported by the Community Management Staff's Massive Digital Data Systems Program, NSF grant IRI-96''31952'''Š'--'Šconfirming that Brin's work developing Google was indeed partly-funded by the CIA-NSA-MDDS program.
This NSF grant identified alongside the MDDS, whose project report lists Brin among the students supported (without mentioning the MDDS), was different to the NSF grant to Larry Page that included funding from DARPA and NASA. The project report, authored by Brin's supervisor Prof. Ullman, goes on to say under the section 'Indications of Success' that ''there are some new stories of startups based on NSF-supported research.'' Under 'Project Impact,' the report remarks: ''Finally, the google project has also gone commercial as Google.com.''
Thuraisingham's account, including her new amended version, therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only partly funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a ''significant'' amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.
The DoD could not be reached for comment.
When I asked Prof. Ullman to confirm whether or not Brin was partly funded under the intelligence community's MDDS program, and whether Ullman was aware that Brin was regularly briefing the CIA's Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine, Ullman's responses were evasive: ''May I know whom you represent and why you are interested in these issues? Who are your 'sources'?'' He also denied that Brin played a significant role in developing the 'query flocks' system, although it is clear from Brin's papers that he did draw on that work in co-developing the PageRank system with Page.
When I asked Ullman whether he was denying the US intelligence community's role in supporting Brin during the development of Google, he said: ''I am not going to dignify this nonsense with a denial. If you won't explain what your theory is, and what point you are trying to make, I am not going to help you in the slightest.''
The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to ''provide seed money to develop data management technologies which are of high-risk and high-pay-off,'' including techniques for ''querying, browsing, and filtering; transaction processing; accesses methods and indexing; metadata management and data modelling; and integrating heterogeneous databases; as well as developing appropriate architectures.'' The ultimate vision of the program was to ''provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment'' for use by the Pentagon, intelligence community and potentially across government.
These revelations corroborate the claims of Robert Steele, former senior CIA officer and a founding civilian deputy director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, whom I interviewed for The Guardian last year on open source intelligence. Citing sources at the CIA, Steele had said in 2006 that Steinheiser, an old colleague of his, was the CIA's main liaison at Google and had arranged early funding for the pioneering IT firm. At the time, Wired founder John Batelle managed to get this official denial from a Google spokesperson in response to Steele's assertions:
''The statements related to Google are completely untrue.''This time round, despite multiple requests and conversations, a Google spokesperson declined to comment.
UPDATE: As of 5.41PM GMT [22nd Jan 2015], Google's director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:
''Sergey Brin was not part of the Query Flocks Program at Stanford, nor were any of his projects funded by US Intelligence bodies.''This is what I wrote back:
My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:1) Does Google deny that Brin's work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?Total Information AwarenessA call for papers for the MDDS was sent out via email list on November 3rd 1993 from senior US intelligence official David Charvonia, director of the research and development coordination office of the intelligence community's CMS. The reaction from Tatu Ylonen (celebrated inventor of the widely used secure shell [SSH] data protection protocol) to his colleagues on the email list is telling: ''Crypto relevance? Makes you think whether you should protect your data.'' The email also confirms that defense contractor and Highlands Forum partner, SAIC, was managing the MDDS submission process, with abstracts to be sent to Jackie Booth of the CIA's Office of Research and Development via a SAIC email address.
By 1997, Thuraisingham reveals, shortly before Google became incorporated and while she was still overseeing the development of its search engine software at Stanford, her thoughts turned to the national security applications of the MDDS program. In the acknowledgements to her book, Web Data Mining and Applications in Business Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (2003), Thuraisingham writes that she and ''Dr. Rick Steinheiser of the CIA, began discussions with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on applying data-mining for counter-terrorism,'' an idea that resulted directly from the MDDS program which partly funded Google. ''These discussions eventually developed into the current EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Detection) program at DARPA.''
So the very same senior CIA official and CIA-NSA contractor involved in providing the seed-funding for Google were simultaneously contemplating the role of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, and were developing ideas for tools actually advanced by DARPA.
Today, as illustrated by her recent oped in the New York Times, Thuraisingham remains a staunch advocate of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, but also insists that these methods must be developed by government in cooperation with civil liberties lawyers and privacy advocates to ensure that robust procedures are in place to prevent potential abuse. She points out, damningly, that with the quantity of information being collected, there is a high risk of false positives.
In 1993, when the MDDS program was launched and managed by MITRE Corp. on behalf of the US intelligence community, University of Virginia computer scientist Dr. Anita K. Jones'Š'--'Ša MITRE trustee'Š'--'Šlanded the job of DARPA director and head of research and engineering across the Pentagon. She had been on the board of MITRE since 1988. From 1987 to 1993, Jones simultaneously served on SAIC's board of directors. As the new head of DARPA from 1993 to 1997, she also co-chaired the Pentagon's Highlands Forum during the period of Google's pre-launch development at Stanford under the MDSS.
Thus, when Thuraisingham and Steinheiser were talking to DARPA about the counter-terrorism applications of MDDS research, Jones was DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair. That year, Jones left DARPA to return to her post at the University of Virgina. The following year, she joined the board of the National Science Foundation, which of course had also just funded Brin and Page, and also returned to the board of SAIC. When she left DoD, Senator Chuck Robb paid Jones the following tribute : ''She brought the technology and operational military communities together to design detailed plans to sustain US dominance on the battlefield into the next century.''
Dr. Anita Jones, head of DARPA from 1993''1997, and co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum from 1995''1997, during which officials in charge of the CIA-NSA-MDSS program were funding Google, and in communication with DARPA about data-mining for counterterrorismOn the board of the National Science Foundation from 1992 to 1998 (including a stint as chairman from 1996) was Richard N. Zare. This was the period in which the NSF sponsored Sergey Brin and Larry Page in association with DARPA. In June 1994, Prof. Zare, a chemist at Stanford, participated with Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (who supervised Sergey Brin's research), on a panel sponsored by Stanford and the National Research Council discussing the need for scientists to show how their work ''ties to national needs.'' The panel brought together scientists and policymakers, including ''Washington insiders.''
DARPA's EELD program, inspired by the work of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser under Jones' watch, was rapidly adapted and integrated with a suite of tools to conduct comprehensive surveillance under the Bush administration.
According to DARPA official Ted Senator, who led the EELD program for the agency's short-lived Information Awareness Office, EELD was among a range of ''promising techniques'' being prepared for integration ''into the prototype TIA system.'' TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11. TIA had been set up by Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, who was appointed in 2002 by Bush to lead DARPA's new Information Awareness Office.
The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was another contractor among 26 companies (also including SAIC) that received million dollar contracts from DARPA (the specific quantities remained classified) under Poindexter, to push forward the TIA surveillance program in 2002 onwards. The research included ''behaviour-based profiling,'' ''automated detection, identification and tracking'' of terrorist activity, among other data-analyzing projects. At this time, PARC's director and chief scientist was John Seely Brown. Both Brown and Poindexter were Pentagon Highlands Forum participants'Š'--'ŠBrown on a regular basis until recently.
TIA was purportedly shut down in 2003 due to public opposition after the program was exposed in the media, but the following year Poindexter participated in a Pentagon Highlands Group session in Singapore, alongside defense and security officials from around the world. Meanwhile, Ted Senator continued to manage the EELD program among other data-mining and analysis projects at DARPA until 2006, when he left to become a vice president at SAIC. He is now a SAIC/Leidos technical fellow.
Google, DARPA and the money trailLong before the appearance of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Stanford University's computer science department had a close working relationship with US military intelligence. A letter dated November 5th 1984 from the office of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Prof Edward Feigenbaum, addressed to Rick Steinheiser, gives the latter directions to Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project, addressing Steinheiser as a member of the ''AI Steering Committee.'' A list of attendees at a contractor conference around that time, sponsored by the Pentagon's Office of Naval Research (ONR), includes Steinheiser as a delegate under the designation ''OPNAV Op-115'''Š'--'Šwhich refers to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations' program on operational readiness, which played a major role in advancing digital systems for the military.
From the 1970s, Prof. Feigenbaum and his colleagues had been running Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project under contract with DARPA, continuing through to the 1990s. Feigenbaum alone had received around over $7 million in this period for his work from DARPA, along with other funding from the NSF, NASA, and ONR.
Brin's supervisor at Stanford, Prof. Jeffrey Ullman, was in 1996 part of a joint funding project of DARPA's Intelligent Integration of Information program. That year, Ullman co-chaired DARPA-sponsored meetings on data exchange between multiple systems.
In September 1998, the same month that Sergey Brin briefed US intelligence representatives Steinheiser and Thuraisingham, tech entrepreneurs Andreas Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton invested $100,000 each in Google. Both investors were connected to DARPA.
As a Stanford PhD student in electrical engineering in the 1980s, Bechtolsheim's pioneering SUN workstation project had been funded by DARPA and the Stanford computer science department'Š'--'Šthis research was the foundation of Bechtolsheim's establishment of Sun Microsystems, which he co-founded with William Joy.
As for Bechtolsheim's co-investor in Google, David Cheriton, the latter is a long-time Stanford computer science professor who has an even more entrenched relationship with DARPA. His bio at the University of Alberta, which in November 2014 awarded him an honorary science doctorate, says that Cheriton's ''research has received the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for over 20 years.''
In the meantime, Bechtolsheim left Sun Microsystems in 1995, co-founding Granite Systems with his fellow Google investor Cheriton as a partner. They sold Granite to Cisco Systems in 1996, retaining significant ownership of Granite, and becoming senior Cisco executives.
An email obtained from the Enron Corpus (a database of 600,000 emails acquired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and later released to the public) from Richard O'Neill, inviting Enron executives to participate in the Highlands Forum, shows that Cisco and Granite executives are intimately connected to the Pentagon. The email reveals that in May 2000, Bechtolsheim's partner and Sun Microsystems co-founder, William Joy'Š'--'Šwho was then chief scientist and corporate executive officer there'Š'--'Šhad attended the Forum to discuss nanotechnology and molecular computing.
In 1999, Joy had also co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, overseeing a report acknowledging that DARPA had:
'''... revised its priorities in the 90's so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter.''Throughout the 1990s, then, DARPA's funding to Stanford, including Google, was explicitly about developing technologies that could augment the Pentagon's military intelligence operations in war theatres.
The Joy report recommended more federal government funding from the Pentagon, NASA, and other agencies to the IT sector. Greg Papadopoulos, another of Bechtolsheim's colleagues as then Sun Microsystems chief technology officer, also attended a Pentagon Highlands' Forum meeting in September 2000.
In November, the Pentagon Highlands Forum hosted Sue Bostrom, who was vice president for the internet at Cisco, sitting on the company's board alongside Google co-investors Bechtolsheim and Cheriton. The Forum also hosted Lawrence Zuriff, then a managing partner of Granite, which Bechtolsheim and Cheriton had sold to Cisco. Zuriff had previously been an SAIC contractor from 1993 to 1994, working with the Pentagon on national security issues, specifically for Marshall's Office of Net Assessment. In 1994, both the SAIC and the ONA were, of course, involved in co-establishing the Pentagon Highlands Forum. Among Zuriff's output during his SAIC tenure was a paper titled 'Understanding Information War', delivered at a SAIC-sponsored US Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.
After Google's incorporation, the company received $25 million in equity funding in 1999 led by Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. According to Homeland Security Today, ''A number of Sequoia-bankrolled start-ups have contracted with the Department of Defense, especially after 9/11 when Sequoia's Mark Kvamme met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the application of emerging technologies to warfighting and intelligence collection.'' Similarly, Kleiner Perkins had developed ''a close relationship'' with In-Q-Tel, the CIA venture capitalist firm that funds start-ups ''to advance 'priority' technologies of value'' to the intelligence community.
John Doerr, who led the Kleiner Perkins investment in Google obtaining a board position, was a major early investor in Becholshtein's Sun Microsystems at its launch. He and his wife Anne are the main funders behind Rice University's Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL), which in 2009 received $16 million from DARPA for its platform-aware-compilation-environment (PACE) ubiquitous computing R&D program. Doerr also has a close relationship with the Obama administration, which he advised shortly after it took power to ramp up Pentagon funding to the tech industry. In 2013, at the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference, Doerr applauded ''how the DoD's DARPA funded GPS, CAD, most of the major computer science departments, and of course, the Internet.''
From inception, in other words, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military intelligence community: many of whom were embedded in the Pentagon Highlands Forum.
Google captures the PentagonIn 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with the CIA for its Intelink Management Office, ''overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies,'' according to Homeland Security Today. That year, CIA funding was also being ''quietly'' funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create ''new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology.''
The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole, which had originally been funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing the advanced satellite mapping software behind Google Earth. Former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones had been on the board of In-Q-Tel at this time, and remains so today.
Then in November 2005, In-Q-Tel issued notices to sell $2.2 million of Google stocks. Google's relationship with US intelligence was further brought to light when an IT contractor told a closed Washington DC conference of intelligence professionals on a not-for-attribution basis that at least one US intelligence agency was working to ''leverage Google's [user] data monitoring'' capability as part of an effort to acquire data of ''national security intelligence interest.''
A photo on Flickr dated March 2007 reveals that Google research director and AI expert Peter Norvig attended a Pentagon Highlands Forum meeting that year in Carmel, California. Norvig's intimate connection to the Forum as of that year is also corroborated by his role in guest editing the 2007 Forum reading list.
The photo below shows Norvig in conversation with Lewis Shepherd, who at that time was senior technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for investigating, approving, and architecting ''all new hardware/software systems and acquisitions for the Global Defense Intelligence IT Enterprise,'' including ''big data technologies.'' Shepherd now works at Microsoft. Norvig was a computer research scientist at Stanford University in 1991 before joining Bechtolsheim's Sun Microsystems as senior scientist until 1994, and going on to head up NASA's computer science division.
Lewis Shepherd (left), then a senior technology officer at the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, talking to Peter Norvig (right), renowned expert in artificial intelligence expert and director of research at Google. This photo is from a Highlands Forum meeting in 2007.Norvig shows up on O'Neill's Google Plus profile as one of his close connections. Scoping the rest of O'Neill's Google Plus connections illustrates that he is directly connected not just to a wide range of Google executives, but also to some of the biggest names in the US tech community.
Those connections include Michele Weslander Quaid, an ex-CIA contractor and former senior Pentagon intelligence official who is now Google's chief technology officer where she is developing programs to ''best fit government agencies' needs''; Elizabeth Churchill, Google director of user experience; James Kuffner, a humanoid robotics expert who now heads up Google's robotics division and who introduced the term 'cloud robotics'; Mark Drapeau, director of innovation engagement for Microsoft's public sector business; Lili Cheng, general manager of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs; Jon Udell, Microsoft 'evangelist'; Cory Ondrejka, vice president of engineering at Facebook; to name just a few.
In 2010, Google signed a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract with the NSA's sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The contract was to use Google Earth for visualization services for the NGA. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel.
Then a year after, in 2011, another of O'Neill's Google Plus connections, Michele Quaid'Š'--'Šwho had served in executive positions at the NGA, National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence'Š'--'Šleft her government role to become Google 'innovation evangelist' and the point-person for seeking government contracts. Quaid's last role before her move to Google was as a senior representative of the Director of National Intelligence to the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, and a senior advisor to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence's director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support (J&CWS). Both roles involved information operations at their core. Before her Google move, in other words, Quaid worked closely with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, to which the Pentagon's Highlands Forum is subordinate. Quaid has herself attended the Forum, though precisely when and how often I could not confirm.
In March 2012, then DARPA director Regina Dugan'Š'--'Šwho in that capacity was also co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum'Š'--'Šfollowed her colleague Quaid into Google to lead the company's new Advanced Technology and Projects Group. During her Pentagon tenure, Dugan led on strategic cyber security and social media, among other initiatives. She was responsible for focusing ''an increasing portion'' of DARPA's work ''on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military-specific needs,'' securing $500 million of government funding for DARPA cyber research from 2012 to 2017.
Regina Dugan, former head of DARPA and Highlands Forum co-chair, now a senior Google executive'Š'--'Štrying her best to look the partBy November 2014, Google's chief AI and robotics expert James Kuffner was a delegate alongside O'Neill at the Highlands Island Forum 2014 in Singapore, to explore 'Advancement in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Society, Security and Conflict.' The event included 26 delegates from Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Britain and the US, from both industry and government. Kuffner's association with the Pentagon, however, began much earlier. In 1997, Kuffner was a researcher during his Stanford PhD for a Pentagon-funded project on networked autonomous mobile robots, sponsored by DARPA and the US Navy.
Rumsfeld and persistent surveillanceIn sum, many of Google's most senior executives are affiliated with the Pentagon Highlands Forum, which throughout the period of Google's growth over the last decade, has surfaced repeatedly as a connecting and convening force. The US intelligence community's incubation of Google from inception occurred through a combination of direct sponsorship and informal networks of financial influence, themselves closely aligned with Pentagon interests.
The Highlands Forum itself has used the informal relationship building of such private networks to bring together defense and industry sectors, enabling the fusion of corporate and military interests in expanding the covert surveillance apparatus in the name of national security. The power wielded by the shadow network represented in the Forum can, however, be gauged most clearly from its impact during the Bush administration, when it played a direct role in literally writing the strategies and doctrines behind US efforts to achieve 'information superiority.'
In December 2001, O'Neill confirmed that strategic discussions at the Highlands Forum were feeding directly into Andrew Marshall's DoD-wide strategic review ordered by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to upgrade the military, including the Quadrennial Defense Review'Š'--'Šand that some of the earliest Forum meetings ''resulted in the writing of a group of DoD policies, strategies, and doctrine for the services on information warfare.'' That process of ''writing'' the Pentagon's information warfare policies ''was done in conjunction with people who understood the environment differently'Š'--'Šnot only US citizens, but also foreign citizens, and people who were developing corporate IT.''
The Pentagon's post-9/11 information warfare doctrines were, then, written not just by national security officials from the US and abroad: but also by powerful corporate entities in the defense and technology sectors.
In April that year, Gen. James McCarthy had completed his defense transformation review ordered by Rumsfeld. His report repeatedly highlighted mass surveillance as integral to DoD transformation. As for Marshall, his follow-up report for Rumsfeld was going to develop a blueprint determining the Pentagon's future in the 'information age.'
O'Neill also affirmed that to develop information warfare doctrine, the Forum had held extensive discussions on electronic surveillance and ''what constitutes an act of war in an information environment.'' Papers feeding into US defense policy written through the late 1990s by RAND consultants John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt, both longstanding Highlands Forum members, were produced ''as a result of those meetings,'' exploring policy dilemmas on how far to take the goal of 'Information Superiority.' ''One of the things that was shocking to the American public was that we weren't pilfering Milosevic's accounts electronically when we in fact could,'' commented O'Neill.
Although the R&D process around the Pentagon transformation strategy remains classified, a hint at the DoD discussions going on in this period can be gleaned from a 2005 US Army School of Advanced Military Studies research monograph in the DoD journal, Military Review, authored by an active Army intelligence officer.
''The idea of Persistent Surveillance as a transformational capability has circulated within the national Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for at least three years,'' the paper said, referencing the Rumsfeld-commissioned transformation study.
The Army paper went on to review a range of high-level official military documents, including one from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showing that ''Persistent Surveillance'' was a fundamental theme of the information-centric vision for defense policy across the Pentagon.
We now know that just two months before O'Neill's address at Harvard in 2001, under the TIA program, President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA's domestic surveillance of Americans without court-approved warrants, in what appears to have been an illegal modification of the ThinThread data-mining project'Š'--'Šas later exposed by NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.
The surveillance-startup nexusFrom here on, Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role in the NSA roll out from inception. Shortly after 9/11, Brian Sharkey, chief technology officer of SAIC's ELS3 Sector (focusing on IT systems for emergency responders), teamed up with John Poindexter to propose the TIA surveillance program. SAIC's Sharkey had previously been deputy director of the Information Systems Office at DARPA through the 1990s.
Meanwhile, around the same time, SAIC vice president for corporate development, Samuel Visner, became head of the NSA's signals-intelligence programs. SAIC was then among a consortium receiving a $280 million contract to develop one of the NSA's secret eavesdropping systems. By 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become director of strategic planning and business development of the firm's intelligence group.
That year, the NSA consolidated its TIA programme of warrantless electronic surveillance, to keep ''track of individuals'' and understand ''how they fit into models'' through risk profiles of American citizens and foreigners. TIA was doing this by integrating databases on finance, travel, medical, educational and other records into a ''virtual, centralized grand database.''
This was also the year that the Bush administration drew up its notorious Information Operations Roadmap. Describing the internet as a ''vulnerable weapons system,'' Rumsfeld's IO roadmap had advocated that Pentagon strategy ''should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system.'' The US should seek ''maximum control'' of the ''full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems,'' advocated the document.
The following year, John Poindexter, who had proposed and run the TIA surveillance program via his post at DARPA, was in Singapore participating in the Highlands 2004 Island Forum. Other delegates included then Highlands Forum co-chair and Pentagon CIO Linton Wells; president of notorious Pentagon information warfare contractor, John Rendon; Karl Lowe, director of the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Advanced Warfighting Division; Air Vice Marshall Stephen Dalton, capability manager for information superiority at the UK Ministry of Defense; Lt. Gen. Johan Kihl, Swedish army Supreme Commander HQ's chief of staff; among others.
As of 2006, SAIC had been awarded a multi-million dollar NSA contract to develop a big data-mining project called ExecuteLocus, despite the colossal $1 billion failure of its preceding contract, known as 'Trailblazer.' Core components of TIA were being ''quietly continued'' under ''new code names,'' according to Foreign Policy's Shane Harris, but had been concealed ''behind the veil of the classified intelligence budget.'' The new surveillance program had by then been fully transitioned from DARPA's jurisdiction to the NSA.
This was also the year of yet another Singapore Island Forum led by Richard O'Neill on behalf of the Pentagon, which included senior defense and industry officials from the US, UK, Australia, France, India and Israel. Participants also included senior technologists from Microsoft, IBM, as well as Gilman Louie, partner at technology investment firm Alsop Louie Partners.
Gilman Louie is a former CEO of In-Q-Tel'Š'--'Šthe CIA firm investing especially in start-ups developing data mining technology. In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999 by the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology, under which the Office of Research and Development (ORD)'Š'--'Šwhich was part of the Google-funding MDSS program'Š'--'Šhad operated. The idea was to essentially replace the functions once performed by the ORD, by mobilizing the private sector to develop information technology solutions for the entire intelligence community.
Louie had led In-Q-Tel from 1999 until January 2006'Š'--'Šincluding when Google bought Keyhole, the In-Q-Tel-funded satellite mapping software. Among his colleagues on In-Q-Tel's board in this period were former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones (who is still there), as well as founding board member William Perry: the man who had appointed O'Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum in the first place. Joining Perry as a founding In-Q-Tel board member was John Seely Brown, then chief scientist at Xerox Corp and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) from 1990 to 2002, who is also a long-time senior Highlands Forum member since inception.
In addition to the CIA, In-Q-Tel has also been backed by the FBI, NGA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, among other agencies. More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel's investments under Louie's watch were ''in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information,'' according to Medill School of Journalism's News21, which also noted that Louie himself had acknowledged it was not clear ''whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected'' by government's use of these technologies ''for national security.''
The transcript of Richard O'Neill's late 2001 seminar at Harvard shows that the Pentagon Highlands Forum had first engaged Gilman Louie long before the Island Forum, in fact, shortly after 9/11 to explore ''what's going on with In-Q-Tel.'' That Forum session focused on how to ''take advantage of the speed of the commercial market that wasn't present inside the science and technology community of Washington'' and to understand ''the implications for the DoD in terms of the strategic review, the QDR, Hill action, and the stakeholders.'' Participants of the meeting included ''senior military people,'' combatant commanders, ''several of the senior flag officers,'' some ''defense industry people'' and various US representatives including Republican Congressman William Mac Thornberry and Democrat Senator Joseph Lieberman.
Both Thornberry and Lieberman are staunch supporters of NSA surveillance, and have consistently acted to rally support for pro-war, pro-surveillance legislation. O'Neill's comments indicate that the Forum's role is not just to enable corporate contractors to write Pentagon policy, but to rally political support for government policies adopted through the Forum's informal brand of shadow networking.
Repeatedly, O'Neill told his Harvard audience that his job as Forum president was to scope case studies from real companies across the private sector, like eBay and Human Genome Sciences, to figure out the basis of US 'Information Superiority''Š'--'Š''how to dominate'' the information market'Š'--'Šand leverage this for ''what the president and the secretary of defense wanted to do with regard to transformation of the DoD and the strategic review.''
By 2007, a year after the Island Forum meeting that included Gilman Louie, Facebook received its second round of $12.7 million worth of funding from Accel Partners. Accel was headed up by James Breyer, former chair of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) where Louie also served on the board while still CEO of In-Q-Tel. Both Louie and Breyer had previously served together on the board of BBN Technologies'Š'--'Šwhich had recruited ex-DARPA chief and In-Q-Tel trustee Anita Jones.
Facebook's 2008 round of funding was led by Greylock Venture Capital, which invested $27.5 million. The firm's senior partners include Howard Cox, another former NVCA chair who also sits on the board of In-Q-Tel. Apart from Breyer and Zuckerberg, Facebook's only other board member is Peter Thiel, co-founder of defense contractor Palantir which provides all sorts of data-mining and visualization technologies to US government, military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA and FBI, and which itself was nurtured to financial viability by Highlands Forum members.
Palantir co-founders Thiel and Alex Karp met with John Poindexter in 2004, according to Wired, the same year Poindexter had attended the Highlands Island Forum in Singapore. They met at the home of Richard Perle, another Andrew Marshall acolyte. Poindexter helped Palantir open doors, and to assemble ''a legion of advocates from the most influential strata of government.'' Thiel had also met with Gilman Louie of In-Q-Tel, securing the backing of the CIA in this early phase.
And so we come full circle. Data-mining programs like ExecuteLocus and projects linked to it, which were developed throughout this period, apparently laid the groundwork for the new NSA programmes eventually disclosed by Edward Snowden. By 2008, as Facebook received its next funding round from Greylock Venture Capital, documents and whistleblower testimony confirmed that the NSA was effectively resurrecting the TIA project with a focus on Internet data-mining via comprehensive monitoring of e-mail, text messages, and Web browsing.
We also now know thanks to Snowden that the NSA's XKeyscore 'Digital Network Intelligence' exploitation system was designed to allow analysts to search not just Internet databases like emails, online chats and browsing history, but also telephone services, mobile phone audio, financial transactions and global air transport communications'Š'--'Šessentially the entire global telecommunications grid. Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role, among other contractors, in producing and administering the NSA's XKeyscore, and was recently implicated in NSA hacking of the privacy network Tor.
The Pentagon Highlands Forum was therefore intimately involved in all this as a convening network'--but also quite directly. Confirming his pivotal role in the expansion of the US-led global surveillance apparatus, then Forum co-chair, Pentagon CIO Linton Wells, told FedTech magazine in 2009 that he had overseen the NSA's roll out of ''an impressive long-term architecture last summer that will provide increasingly sophisticated security until 2015 or so.''
The Goldman Sachs connectionWhen I asked Wells about the Forum's role in influencing US mass surveillance, he responded only to say he would prefer not to comment and that he no longer leads the group.
As Wells is no longer in government, this is to be expected'Š'--'Šbut he is still connected to Highlands. As of September 2014, after delivering his influential white paper on Pentagon transformation, he joined the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) Cyber Security Initiative (CySec) as a distinguished senior fellow.
Sadly, this was not a form of trying to keep busy in retirement. Wells' move underscored that the Pentagon's conception of information warfare is not just about surveillance, but about the exploitation of surveillance to influence both government and public opinion.
The MIIS CySec initiative is now formally partnered with the Pentagon Highlands Forum through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with MIIS provost Dr Amy Sands, who sits on the Secretary of State's International Security Advisory Board. The MIIS CySec website states that the MoU signed with Richard O'Neill:
'''... paves the way for future joint MIIS CySec-Highlands Group sessions that will explore the impact of technology on security, peace and information engagement. For nearly 20 years the Highlands Group has engaged private sector and government leaders, including the Director of National Intelligence, DARPA, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Singaporean Minister of Defence, in creative conversations to frame policy and technology research areas.''Who is the financial benefactor of the new Pentagon Highlands-partnered MIIS CySec initiative? According to the MIIS CySec site, the initiative was launched ''through a generous donation of seed funding from George Lee.'' George C. Lee is a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, where he is chief information officer of the investment banking division, and chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group.
But here's the kicker. In 2011, it was Lee who engineered Facebook's $50 billion valuation, and previously handled deals for other Highlands-connected tech giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay. Lee's then boss, Stephen Friedman, a former CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, and later senior partner on the firm's executive board, was a also founding board member of In-Q-Tel alongside Highlands Forum overlord William Perry and Forum member John Seely Brown.
In 2001, Bush appointed Stephen Friedman to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, and then to chair that board from 2005 to 2009. Friedman previously served alongside Paul Wolfowitz and others on the 1995''6 presidential commission of inquiry into US intelligence capabilities, and in 1996 on the Jeremiah Panel that produced a report to the Director of the National Reconnaisance Office (NRO)'Š'--'Šone of the surveillance agencies plugged into the Highlands Forum. Friedman was on the Jeremiah Panel with Martin Faga, then senior vice president and general manager of MITRE Corp's Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems'Š'--'Šwhere Thuraisingham, who managed the CIA-NSA-MDDS program that inspired DARPA counter-terrorist data-mining, was also a lead engineer.
In the footnotes to a chapter for the book, Cyberspace and National Security (Georgetown University Press), SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper reveals that another Goldman Sachs senior partner Philip J. Venables'Š'--'Šwho as chief information risk officer leads the firm's programs on information security'Š'--'Šdelivered a Highlands Forum presentation in 2008 at what was called an 'Enrichment Session on Deterrence.' Cooper's chapter draws on Venables' presentation at Highlands ''with permission.'' In 2010, Venables participated with his then boss Friedman at an Aspen Institute meeting on the world economy. For the last few years, Venables has also sat on various NSA cybersecurity award review boards.
In sum, the investment firm responsible for creating the billion dollar fortunes of the tech sensations of the 21st century, from Google to Facebook, is intimately linked to the US military intelligence community; with Venables, Lee and Friedman either directly connected to the Pentagon Highlands Forum, or to senior members of the Forum.
Fighting terror with terrorThe convergence of these powerful financial and military interests around the Highlands Forum, through George Lee's sponsorship of the Forum's new partner, the MIIS Cysec initiative, is revealing in itself.
MIIS Cysec's director, Dr, Itamara Lochard, has long been embedded in Highlands. She regularly ''presents current research on non-state groups, governance, technology and conflict to the US Office of the Secretary of Defense Highlands Forum,'' according to her Tufts University bio. She also, ''regularly advises US combatant commanders'' and specializes in studying the use of information technology by ''violent and non-violent sub-state groups.''
Dr Itamara Lochard is a senior Highlands Forum member and Pentagon information operations expert. She directs the MIIS CyberSec initiative that now supports the Pentagon Highlands Forum with funding from Goldman Sachs partner George Lee, who led the valuations of Facebook and Google.Dr Lochard maintains a comprehensive database of 1,700 non-state groups including ''insurgents, militias, terrorists, complex criminal organizations, organized gangs, malicious cyber actors and strategic non-violent actors,'' to analyze their ''organizational patterns, areas of cooperation, strategies and tactics.'' Notice, here, the mention of ''strategic non-violent actors'''Š'--'Šwhich perhaps covers NGOs and other groups or organizations engaged in social political activity or campaigning, judging by the focus of other DoD research programs.
As of 2008, Lochard has been an adjunct professor at the US Joint Special Operations University where she teaches a top secret advanced course in 'Irregular Warfare' that she designed for senior US special forces officers. She has previously taught courses on 'Internal War' for senior ''political-military officers'' of various Gulf regimes.
Her views thus disclose much about what the Highlands Forum has been advocating all these years. In 2004, Lochard was co-author of a study for the US Air Force's Institute for National Security Studies on US strategy toward 'non-state armed groups.' The study on the one hand argued that non-state armed groups should be urgently recognized as a 'tier one security priority,' and on the other that the proliferation of armed groups ''provide strategic opportunities that can be exploited to help achieve policy goals. There have and will be instances where the United States may find collaborating with armed group is in its strategic interests.'' But ''sophisticated tools'' must be developed to differentiate between different groups and understand their dynamics, to determine which groups should be countered, and which could be exploited for US interests. ''Armed group profiles can likewise be employed to identify ways in which the United States may assist certain armed groups whose success will be advantageous to US foreign policy objectives.''
In 2008, Wikileaks published a leaked restricted US Army Special Operations field manual, which demonstrated that the sort of thinking advocated by the likes of Highlands expert Lochard had been explicitly adopted by US special forces.
Lochard's work thus demonstrates that the Highlands Forum sat at the intersection of advanced Pentagon strategy on surveillance, covert operations and irregular warfare: mobilizing mass surveillance to develop detailed information on violent and non-violent groups perceived as potentially threatening to US interests, or offering opportunities for exploitation, thus feeding directly into US covert operations.
That, ultimately, is why the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, spawned Google. So they could run their secret dirty wars with even greater efficiency than ever before.
READ PART TWO
GOOGLE: A DARPA ENTERPRISE RUN BY THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY '' The Millennium Report
Wed, 22 May 2019 00:19
The Long Read: Google '' Seeded By The PentagonBy Dr Nafeez Ahmed '' Insurge Intelligence: As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight a global 'information war''Š'--'Ša war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.
Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.
The inside story of Google's rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.
In 1994'Š'--'Šthe same year the Highlands Forum (CIA venture capital investment firm) was founded under the stewardship of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the ONA, and DARPA'Š'--'Štwo young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application. That application remains the core component of what eventually became Google's search service. Brin and Page had performed their work with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI), a multi-agency programme of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and DARPA.
But that's just one side of the story.
Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.
Thuraisingham is currently the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a sought-after expert on data-mining, data management and information security issues. But in the 1990s, she worked for the MITRE Corp., a leading US defense contractor, where she managed the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, to foster innovative research in information technology.
''We funded Stanford University through the computer scientist Jeffrey Ullman, who had several promising graduate students working on many exciting areas,'' Prof. Thuraisingham told me. ''One of them was Sergey Brin, the founder of Google. The intelligence community's MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector.''This sort of funding is certainly not unusual, and Sergey Brin's being able to receive it by being a graduate student at Stanford appears to have been incidental. The Pentagon was all over computer science research at this time. But it illustrates how deeply entrenched the culture of Silicon Valley is in the values of the US intelligence community.
In an extraordinary document hosted by the website of the University of Texas, Thuraisingham recounts that from 1993 to 1999, ''the Intelligence Community [IC] started a program called Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) that I was managing for the Intelligence Community when I was at the MITRE Corporation.'' The program funded 15 research efforts at various universities, including Stanford. Its goal was developing ''data management technologies to manage several terabytes to petabytes of data,'' including for ''query processing, transaction management, metadata management, storage management, and data integration.''
At the time, Thuraisingham was chief scientist for data and information management at MITRE, where she led team research and development efforts for the NSA, CIA, US Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM). She went on to teach courses for US government officials and defense contractors on data-mining in counter-terrorism.
In her University of Texas article, she attaches the copy of an abstract of the US intelligence community's MDDS program that had been presented to the ''Annual Intelligence Community Symposium'' in 1995. The abstract reveals that the primary sponsors of the MDDS programme were three agencies: the NSA, the CIA's Office of Research & Development, and the intelligence community's Community Management Staff (CMS) which operates under the Director of Central Intelligence. Administrators of the program, which provided funding of around 3''4 million dollars per year for 3''4 years, were identified as Hal Curran (NSA), Robert Kluttz (CMS), Dr. Claudia Pierce (NSA), Dr. Rick Steinheiser (ORD'Š'--'Šstanding for the CIA's Office of Research and Devepment), and Dr. Thuraisingham herself.
Thuraisingham goes on in her article to reiterate that this joint CIA-NSA program partly funded Sergey Brin to develop the core of Google, through a grant to Stanford managed by Brin's supervisor Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman:
''In fact, the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford. He together with his advisor Prof. Jeffrey Ullman and my colleague at MITRE, Dr. Chris Clifton [Mitre's chief scientist in IT], developed the Query Flocks System which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. In fact the last time we met in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which became Google soon after.''
Brin and Page officially incorporated Google as a company in September 1998, the very month they last reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser. 'Query Flocks' was also part of Google's patented 'PageRank' search system, which Brin developed at Stanford under the CIA-NSA-MDDS programme, as well as with funding from the NSF, IBM and Hitachi.
That year, MITRE's Dr. Chris Clifton, who worked under Thuraisingham to develop the 'Query Flocks' system, co-authored a paper with Brin's superviser, Prof. Ullman, and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser. Titled 'Knowledge Discovery in Text,' the paper was presented at an academic conference.
''The MDDS funding that supported Brin was significant as far as seed-funding goes, but it was probably outweighed by the other funding streams,'' said Thuraisingham. ''The duration of Brin's funding was around two years or so. In that period, I and my colleagues from the MDDS would visit Stanford to see Brin and monitor his progress every three months or so. We didn't supervise exactly, but we did want to check progress, point out potential problems and suggest ideas. In those briefings, Brin did present to us on the query flocks research, and also demonstrated to us versions of the Google search engine.''
Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google.
(UPDATE : Since publication of this article, Prof. Thuraisingham has amended her article referenced above. The amended version includes a new modified statement, followed by a copy of the original version of her account of the MDDS. In this amended version, Thuraisingham rejects the idea that CIA funded Google, and says instead:
''In fact Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman's research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after'...
There are also several inaccuracies in Dr. Ahmed's article (dated January 22, 2015). For example, the MDDS program was not a 'sensitive' program as stated by Dr. Ahmed; it was an Unclassified program that funded universities in the US. Furthermore, Sergey Brin never reported to me or to Dr. Rick Steinheiser; he only gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s. Also, MDDS never funded Google; it funded Stanford University.'')
Here, there is no substantive factual difference in Thuraisingham's accounts, other than to assert that her statement associating Sergey Brin with the development of 'query flocks' is mistaken. Notably, this acknowledgement is derived not from her own knowledge, but from this very article quoting a comment from a Google spokesperson.
However, the bizarre attempt to disassociate Google from the MDDS program misses the mark. Firstly, the MDDS never funded Google, because during the development of the core components of the Google search engine, there was no company incorporated with that name. The grant was instead provided to Stanford University through Prof. Ullman, through whom some MDDS funding was used to support Brin who was co-developing Google at the time. Secondly, Thuraisingham then adds that Brin never ''reported'' to her or the CIA's Steinheiser, but admits he ''gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s.'' It is unclear, though, what the distinction is here between reporting, and delivering a detailed presentation'Š'--'Šeither way, Thuraisingham confirms that she and the CIA had taken a keen interest in Brin's development of Google. Thirdly, Thuraisingham describes the MDDS program as ''unclassified,'' but this does not contradict its ''sensitive'' nature. As someone who has worked for decades as an intelligence contractor and advisor, Thuraisingham is surely aware that there are many ways of categorizing intelligence, including 'sensitive but unclassified.' A number of former US intelligence officials I spoke to said that the almost total lack of public information on the CIA and NSA's MDDS initiative suggests that although the progam was not classified, it is likely instead that its contents was considered sensitive, which would explain efforts to minimise transparency about the program and the way it fed back into developing tools for the US intelligence community. Fourthly, and finally, it is important to point out that the MDDS abstract which Thuraisingham includes in her University of Texas document states clearly not only that the Director of Central Intelligence's CMS, CIA and NSA were the overseers of the MDDS initiative, but that the intended customers of the project were ''DoD, IC, and other government organizations'': the Pentagon, the US intelligence community, and other relevant US government agencies.
In other words, the provision of MDDS funding to Brin through Ullman, under the oversight of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser, was fundamentally because they recognized the potential utility of Brin's work developing Google to the Pentagon, intelligence community, and the federal government at large.The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford, specifically highlighting its role in financially sponsoring Brin in the development of Google. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering, they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via ''Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction,'' the development of ''a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank,'' and the use of PageRank ''to develop a novel search engine called Google.'' Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was ''Partially supported by the Community Management Staff's Massive Digital Data Systems Program, NSF grant IRI-96''31952'''Š'--'Šconfirming that Brin's work developing Google was indeed partly-funded by the CIA-NSA-MDDS program.
This NSF grant identified alongside the MDDS, whose project report lists Brin among the students supported (without mentioning the MDDS), was different to the NSF grant to Larry Page that included funding from DARPA and NASA. The project report, authored by Brin's supervisor Prof. Ullman, goes on to say under the section 'Indications of Success' that ''there are some new stories of startups based on NSF-supported research.'' Under 'Project Impact,' the report remarks: ''Finally, the google project has also gone commercial as Google.com.''
Thuraisingham's account, including her new amended version, therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only partly funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a ''significant'' amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.
The DoD could not be reached for comment.
When I asked Prof. Ullman to confirm whether or not Brin was partly funded under the intelligence community's MDDS program, and whether Ullman was aware that Brin was regularly briefing the CIA's Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine, Ullman's responses were evasive: ''May I know whom you represent and why you are interested in these issues? Who are your 'sources'?'' He also denied that Brin played a significant role in developing the 'query flocks' system, although it is clear from Brin's papers that he did draw on that work in co-developing the PageRank system with Page.
When I asked Ullman whether he was denying the US intelligence community's role in supporting Brin during the development of Google, he said: ''I am not going to dignify this nonsense with a denial. If you won't explain what your theory is, and what point you are trying to make, I am not going to help you in the slightest.''
The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to ''provide seed money to develop data management technologies which are of high-risk and high-pay-off,'' including techniques for ''querying, browsing, and filtering; transaction processing; accesses methods and indexing; metadata management and data modelling; and integrating heterogeneous databases; as well as developing appropriate architectures.''
The ultimate vision of the program was to ''provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment'' for use by the Pentagon, intelligence community and potentially across government.These revelations corroborate the claims of Robert Steele, former senior CIA officer and a founding civilian deputy director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, whom I interviewed for The Guardian last year on open source intelligence. Citing sources at the CIA, Steele had said in 2006 that Steinheiser, an old colleague of his, was the CIA's main liaison at Google and had arranged early funding for the pioneering IT firm. At the time, Wired founder John Batelle managed to get this official denial from a Google spokesperson in response to Steele's assertions:
''The statements related to Google are completely untrue.''
This time round, despite multiple requests and conversations, a Google spokesperson declined to comment.
UPDATE: Google's director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:
''Sergey Brin was not part of the Query Flocks Program at Stanford, nor were any of his projects funded by US Intelligence bodies.''
This is what I wrote back:
My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.
In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:
1) Does Google deny that Brin's work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?
2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?
Total Information AwarenessA call for papers for the MDDS was sent out via email list on November 3rd 1993 from senior US intelligence official David Charvonia, director of the research and development coordination office of the intelligence community's CMS. The reaction from Tatu Ylonen (celebrated inventor of the widely used secure shell [SSH] data protection protocol) to his colleagues on the email list is telling: ''Crypto relevance? Makes you think whether you should protect your data.'' The email also confirms that defense contractor and Highlands Forum partner, SAIC, was managing the MDDS submission process, with abstracts to be sent to Jackie Booth of the CIA's Office of Research and Development via a SAIC email address.
By 1997, Thuraisingham reveals, shortly before Google became incorporated and while she was still overseeing the development of its search engine software at Stanford, her thoughts turned to the national security applications of the MDDS program. In the acknowledgements to her book, Web Data Mining and Applications in Business Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (2003), Thuraisingham writes that she and ''Dr. Rick Steinheiser of the CIA, began discussions with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on applying data-mining for counter-terrorism,'' an idea that resulted directly from the MDDS program which partly funded Google. ''These discussions eventually developed into the current EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Detection) program at DARPA.''
So the very same senior CIA official and CIA-NSA contractor involved in providing the seed-funding for Google were simultaneously contemplating the role of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, and were developing ideas for tools actually advanced by DARPA.Today, as illustrated by her recent oped in the New York Times, Thuraisingham remains a staunch advocate of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, but also insists that these methods must be developed by government in cooperation with civil liberties lawyers and privacy advocates to ensure that robust procedures are in place to prevent potential abuse. She points out, damningly, that with the quantity of information being collected, there is a high risk of false positives.
In 1993, when the MDDS program was launched and managed by MITRE Corp. on behalf of the US intelligence community, University of Virginia computer scientist Dr. Anita K. Jones'Š'--'Ša MITRE trustee'Š'--'Šlanded the job of DARPA director and head of research and engineering across the Pentagon. She had been on the board of MITRE since 1988. From 1987 to 1993, Jonessimultaneously served on SAIC's board of directors. As the new head of DARPA from 1993 to 1997, she also co-chaired the Pentagon's Highlands Forum during the period of Google's pre-launch development at Stanford under the MDSS.
Thus, when Thuraisingham and Steinheiser were talking to DARPA about the counter-terrorism applications of MDDS research, Jones was DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair. That year, Jones left DARPA to return to her post at the University of Virgina. The following year, she joined the board of the National Science Foundation, which of course had also just funded Brin and Page, and also returned to the board of SAIC. When she left DoD, Senator Chuck Robb paid Jones the following tribute : ''She brought the technology and operational military communities together to design detailed plans to sustain US dominance on the battlefield into the next century.''
Dr. Anita Jones, head of DARPA from 1993''1997, and co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum from 1995''1997, during which officials in charge of the CIA-NSA-MDSS program were funding Google, and in communication with DARPA about data-mining for counterterrorismOn the board of the National Science Foundation from 1992 to 1998 (including a stint as chairman from 1996) was Richard N. Zare. This was the period in which the NSF sponsored Sergey Brin and Larry Page in association with DARPA. In June 1994, Prof. Zare, a chemist at Stanford, participated with Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (who supervised Sergey Brin's research), on a panel sponsored by Stanford and the National Research Council discussing the need for scientists to show how their work ''ties to national needs.'' The panel brought together scientists and policymakers, including ''Washington insiders.''
DARPA's EELD program, inspired by the work of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser under Jones' watch, was rapidly adapted and integrated with a suite of tools to conduct comprehensive surveillance under the Bush administration.
According to DARPA official Ted Senator, who led the EELD program for the agency's short-lived Information Awareness Office, EELD was among a range of ''promising techniques'' being prepared for integration ''into the prototype TIA system.'' TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11. TIA had been set up by Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, who was appointed in 2002 by Bush to lead DARPA's new Information Awareness Office.
The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was another contractor among 26 companies (also including SAIC) that received million dollar contracts from DARPA (the specific quantities remained classified) under Poindexter, to push forward the TIA surveillance program in 2002 onwards. The research included ''behaviour-based profiling,'' ''automated detection, identification and tracking'' of terrorist activity, among other data-analyzing projects. At this time, PARC's director and chief scientist was John Seely Brown. Both Brown and Poindexter were Pentagon Highlands Forum participants'Š'--'ŠBrown on a regular basis until recently.
TIA was purportedly shut down in 2003 due to public opposition after the program was exposed in the media, but the following year Poindexter participated in a Pentagon Highlands Group session in Singapore, alongside defense and security officials from around the world. Meanwhile, Ted Senator continued to manage the EELD program among other data-mining and analysis projects at DARPA until 2006, when he left to become a vice president at SAIC. He is now a SAIC/Leidos technical fellow.
Google, DARPA and the money trailLong before the appearance of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Stanford University's computer science department had a close working relationship with US military intelligence. A letter dated November 5th 1984 from the office of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Prof Edward Feigenbaum, addressed to Rick Steinheiser, gives the latter directions to Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project, addressing Steinheiser as a member of the ''AI Steering Committee.'' A list of attendees at a contractor conference around that time, sponsored by the Pentagon's Office of Naval Research (ONR), includes Steinheiser as a delegate under the designation ''OPNAV Op-115'''Š'--'Šwhich refers to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations' program on operational readiness, which played a major role in advancing digital systems for the military.
From the 1970s, Prof. Feigenbaum and his colleagues had been running Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project under contract with DARPA, continuing through to the 1990s. Feigenbaum alone had received around over $7 million in this period for his work from DARPA, along with other funding from the NSF, NASA, and ONR.
Brin's supervisor at Stanford, Prof. Jeffrey Ullman, was in 1996 part of a joint funding project of DARPA's Intelligent Integration of Information program. That year, Ullman co-chaired DARPA-sponsored meetings on data exchange between multiple systems.
In September 1998, the same month that Sergey Brin briefed US intelligence representatives Steinheiser and Thuraisingham, tech entrepreneurs Andreas Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton invested $100,000 each in Google. Both investors were connected to DARPA.
As a Stanford PhD student in electrical engineering in the 1980s, Bechtolsheim's pioneering SUN workstation project had been funded by DARPA and the Stanford computer science department'Š'--'Šthis research was the foundation of Bechtolsheim's establishment of Sun Microsystems, which he co-founded with William Joy.
As for Bechtolsheim's co-investor in Google, David Cheriton, the latter is a long-time Stanford computer science professor who has an even more entrenched relationship with DARPA. His bio at the University of Alberta, which in November 2014 awarded him an honorary science doctorate, says that Cheriton's ''research has received the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for over 20 years.''
In the meantime, Bechtolsheim left Sun Microsystems in 1995, co-founding Granite Systems with his fellow Google investor Cheriton as a partner. They sold Granite to Cisco Systems in 1996, retaining significant ownership of Granite, and becoming senior Cisco executives.
An email obtained from the Enron Corpus (a database of 600,000 emails acquired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and later released to the public) from Richard O'Neill, inviting Enron executives to participate in the Highlands Forum, shows that Cisco and Granite executives are intimately connected to the Pentagon. The email reveals that in May 2000, Bechtolsheim's partner and Sun Microsystems co-founder, William Joy'Š'--'Šwho was then chief scientist and corporate executive officer there'Š'--'Šhad attended the Forum to discuss nanotechnology and molecular computing.
In 1999, Joy had also co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, overseeing a report acknowledging that DARPA had:
'''... revised its priorities in the 90's so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter.''
Throughout the 1990s, then, DARPA's funding to Stanford, including Google, was explicitly about developing technologies that could augment the Pentagon's military intelligence operations in war theatres.
The Joy report recommended more federal government funding from the Pentagon, NASA, and other agencies to the IT sector. Greg Papadopoulos, another of Bechtolsheim's colleagues as then Sun Microsystems chief technology officer, also attended a Pentagon Highlands' Forum meeting in September 2000.
In November, the Pentagon Highlands Forum hosted Sue Bostrom, who was vice president for the internet at Cisco, sitting on the company's board alongside Google co-investors Bechtolsheim and Cheriton. The Forum also hosted Lawrence Zuriff, then a managing partner of Granite, which Bechtolsheim and Cheriton had sold to Cisco. Zuriff had previously been an SAIC contractor from 1993 to 1994, working with the Pentagon on national security issues, specifically for Marshall's Office of Net Assessment. In 1994, both the SAIC and the ONA were, of course, involved in co-establishing the Pentagon Highlands Forum. Among Zuriff's output during his SAIC tenure was a paper titled 'Understanding Information War', delivered at a SAIC-sponsored US Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.
After Google's incorporation, the company received $25 million in equity funding in 1999 led by Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. According to Homeland Security Today, ''A number of Sequoia-bankrolled start-ups have contracted with the Department of Defense, especially after 9/11 when Sequoia's Mark Kvamme met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the application of emerging technologies to warfighting and intelligence collection.'' Similarly, Kleiner Perkins had developed ''a close relationship'' with In-Q-Tel, the CIA venture capitalist firm that funds start-ups ''to advance 'priority' technologies of value'' to the intelligence community.John Doerr, who led the Kleiner Perkins investment in Google obtaining a board position, was a major early investor in Becholshtein's Sun Microsystems at its launch. He and his wife Anne are the main funders behind Rice University's Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL), which in 2009 received $16 million from DARPA for its platform-aware-compilation-environment (PACE) ubiquitous computing R&D program. Doerr also has a close relationship with the Obama administration, which he advised shortly after it took power to ramp up Pentagon funding to the tech industry. In 2013, at the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference, Doerr applauded ''how the DoD's DARPA funded GPS, CAD, most of the major computer science departments, and of course, the Internet.''
From inception, in other words, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military intelligence community: many of whom were embedded in the Pentagon Highlands Forum.
Google captures the PentagonIn 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with the CIA for its Intelink Management Office, ''overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies,'' according to Homeland Security Today. That year, CIA funding was also being ''quietly'' funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create ''new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology.''
The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole, which had originally been funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing the advanced satellite mapping software behind Google Earth. Former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones had been on the board of In-Q-Tel at this time, and remains so today.
Then in November 2005, In-Q-Tel issued notices to sell $2.2 million of Google stocks. Google's relationship with US intelligence was further brought to light when an IT contractor told a closed Washington DC conference of intelligence professionals on a not-for-attribution basis that at least one US intelligence agency was working to ''leverage Google's [user] data monitoring'' capability as part of an effort to acquire data of ''national security intelligence interest.''
A photo on Flickr dated March 2007 reveals that Google research director and AI expert Peter Norvig attended a Pentagon Highlands Forum meeting that year in Carmel, California. Norvig's intimate connection to the Forum as of that year is also corroborated by his role in guest editing the 2007 Forum reading list.
The photo below shows Norvig in conversation with Lewis Shepherd, who at that time was senior technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for investigating, approving, and architecting ''all new hardware/software systems and acquisitions for the Global Defense Intelligence IT Enterprise,'' including ''big data technologies.'' Shepherd now works at Microsoft. Norvig was a computer research scientist at Stanford University in 1991 before joining Bechtolsheim's Sun Microsystems as senior scientist until 1994, and going on to head up NASA's computer science division.
Lewis Shepherd (left), then a senior technology officer at the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, talking to Peter Norvig (right), renowned expert in artificial intelligence expert and director of research at Google. This photo is from a Highlands Forum meeting in 2007.Norvig shows up on O'Neill's Google Plus profile as one of his close connections. Scoping the rest of O'Neill's Google Plus connections illustrates that he is directly connected not just to a wide range of Google executives, but also to some of the biggest names in the US tech community.
Those connections include Michele Weslander Quaid, an ex-CIA contractor and former senior Pentagon intelligence official who is now Google's chief technology officer where she is developing programs to ''best fit government agencies' needs''; Elizabeth Churchill, Google director of user experience; James Kuffner, a humanoid robotics expert who now heads up Google's robotics division and who introduced the term 'cloud robotics'; Mark Drapeau, director of innovation engagement for Microsoft's public sector business; Lili Cheng, general manager of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (F'' USE) Labs; Jon Udell, Microsoft 'evangelist'; Cory Ondrejka, vice president of engineering at Facebook; to name just a few.
In 2010, Google signed a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract with the NSA's sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The contract was to use Google Earth for visualization services for the NGA. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel.Then a year after, in 2011, another of O'Neill's Google Plus connections, Michele Quaid'Š'--'Šwho had served in executive positions at the NGA, National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence'Š'--'Šleft her government role to become Google 'innovation evangelist' and the point-person for seeking government contracts. Quaid's last role before her move to Google was as a senior representative of the Director of National Intelligence to the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, and a senior advisor to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence's director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support (J&CWS). Both roles involved information operations at their core. Before her Google move, in other words, Quaid worked closely with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, to which the Pentagon's Highlands Forum is subordinate. Quaid has herself attended the Forum, though precisely when and how often I could not confirm.
In March 2012, then DARPA director Regina Dugan'Š'--'Šwho in that capacity was also co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum'Š'--'Šfollowed her colleague Quaid into Google to lead the company's new Advanced Technology and Projects Group. During her Pentagon tenure, Dugan led on strategic cyber security and social media, among other initiatives. She was responsible for focusing ''an increasing portion'' of DARPA's work ''on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military-specific needs,'' securing $500 million of government funding for DARPA cyber research from 2012 to 2017.
Regina Dugan, former head of DARPA and Highlands Forum co-chair, now a senior Google executive'Š'--'Štrying her best to look the partBy November 2014, Google's chief AI and robotics expert James Kuffner was a delegate alongside O'Neill at the Highlands Island Forum 2014 in Singapore, to explore 'Advancement in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Society, Security and Conflict.' The event included 26 delegates from Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Britain and the US, from both industry and government. Kuffner's association with the Pentagon, however, began much earlier. In 1997, Kuffner was a researcher during his Stanford PhD for a Pentagon-funded project on networked autonomous mobile robots, sponsored by DARPA and the US Navy.
Rumsfeld and persistent surveillanceIn sum, many of Google's most senior executives are affiliated with the Pentagon Highlands Forum, which throughout the period of Google's growth over the last decade, has surfaced repeatedly as a connecting and convening force. The US intelligence community's incubation of Google from inception occurred through a combination of direct sponsorship and informal networks of financial influence, themselves closely aligned with Pentagon interests.
The Highlands Forum itself has used the informal relationship building of such private networks to bring together defense and industry sectors, enabling the fusion of corporate and military interests in expanding the covert surveillance apparatus in the name of national security. The power wielded by the shadow network represented in the Forum can, however, be gauged most clearly from its impact during the Bush administration, when it played a direct role in literally writing the strategies and doctrines behind US efforts to achieve 'information superiority.'
In December 2001, O'Neill confirmed that strategic discussions at the Highlands Forum were feeding directly into Andrew Marshall's DoD-wide strategic review ordered by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to upgrade the military, including the Quadrennial Defense Review'Š'--'Šand that some of the earliest Forum meetings ''resulted in the writing of a group of DoD policies, strategies, and doctrine for the services on information warfare.'' That process of ''writing'' the Pentagon's information warfare policies ''was done in conjunction with people who understood the environment differently'Š'--'Šnot only US citizens, but also foreign citizens, and people who were developing corporate IT.''
The Pentagon's post-9/11 information warfare doctrines were, then, written not just by national security officials from the US and abroad: but also by powerful corporate entities in the defense and technology sectors.
In April that year, Gen. James McCarthy had completed his defense transformation review ordered by Rumsfeld. His report repeatedly highlighted mass surveillance as integral to DoD transformation. As for Marshall, his follow-up report for Rumsfeld was going to develop a blueprint determining the Pentagon's future in the 'information age.'
O'Neill also affirmed that to develop information warfare doctrine, the Forum had held extensive discussions on electronic surveillance and ''what constitutes an act of war in an information environment.'' Papers feeding into US defense policy written through the late 1990s by RAND consultants John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt, both longstanding Highlands Forum members, were produced ''as a result of those meetings,'' exploring policy dilemmas on how far to take the goal of 'Information Superiority.' ''One of the things that was shocking to the American public was that we weren't pilfering Milosevic's accounts electronically when we in fact could,'' commented O'Neill.
Although the R&D process around the Pentagon transformation strategy remains classified, a hint at the DoD discussions going on in this period can be gleaned from a 2005 US Army School of Advanced Military Studies research monograph in the DoD journal, Military Review, authored by an active Army intelligence officer.
''The idea of Persistent Surveillance as a transformational capability has circulated within the national Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for at least three years,'' the paper said, referencing the Rumsfeld-commissioned transformation study.
The Army paper went on to review a range of high-level official military documents, including one from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showing that ''Persistent Surveillance'' was a fundamental theme of the information-centric vision for defense policy across the Pentagon.
We now know that just two months before O'Neill's address at Harvard in 2001, under the TIA program, President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA's domestic surveillance of Americans without court-approved warrants, in what appears to have been an illegal modification of the ThinThread data-mining project'Š'--'Šas later exposed by NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.
The surveillance-startup nexusFrom here on, Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role in the NSA roll out from inception. Shortly after 9/11, Brian Sharkey, chief technology officer of SAIC's ELS3 Sector (focusing on IT systems for emergency responders), teamed up with John Poindexter to propose the TIA surveillance program. SAIC's Sharkey had previously been deputy director of the Information Systems Office at DARPA through the 1990s.
Meanwhile, around the same time, SAIC vice president for corporate development, Samuel Visner, became head of the NSA's signals-intelligence programs. SAIC was then among a consortium receiving a $280 million contract to develop one of the NSA's secret eavesdropping systems. By 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become director of strategic planning and business development of the firm's intelligence group.
That year, the NSA consolidated its TIA programme of warrantless electronic surveillance, to keep ''track of individuals'' and understand ''how they fit into models'' through risk profiles of American citizens and foreigners. TIA was doing this by integrating databases on finance, travel, medical, educational and other records into a ''virtual, centralized grand database.''
This was also the year that the Bush administration drew up its notorious Information Operations Roadmap. Describing the internet as a ''vulnerable weapons system,'' Rumsfeld's IO roadmap had advocated that Pentagon strategy ''should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system.'' The US should seek ''maximum control'' of the ''full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems,'' advocated the document.
The following year, John Poindexter, who had proposed and run the TIA surveillance program via his post at DARPA, was in Singapore participating in the Highlands 2004 Island Forum. Other delegates included then Highlands Forum co-chair and Pentagon CIO Linton Wells; president of notorious Pentagon information warfare contractor, John Rendon; Karl Lowe, director of the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Advanced Warfighting Division; Air Vice Marshall Stephen Dalton, capability manager for information superiority at th