1172: Vapegoat

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 52m
September 12th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Otaku Earl of north east Texas and the red river valley, Joel Tucker

Associate Executive Producers: Mark McMinn, Ryan Caldarone

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat


Start of Show
Vape Wars
Democracy Now!: 'An Hour with 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg'
Extinction Rebellion
Adam's Visit to Austin's Community First! Village
Trump Fires National Security Advisor John Bolton
CNN on Elizabeth Warren's Crowd Size
CNN on Trump's Approval Ratings
Mainstream Media's Coverage of Bernie Sanders
Useful Idiots with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper Podcast on Advertising Money
NPR Names Veteran Media Executive John Lansing As Its New CEO
Birthdays, Meetups & Title Changes
Trump Calls Out John Legend for Not Helping With Justice Reform
Viral Video of Interracial Toddler Friends Hugging
Facebook Newsroom: 'Understanding Updates to Your Device’s Location Settings'
The Wall Street Journal: 'Companies Are Considering Magazine Subscriptions and Phone Bills When Making Loans'
Australian Physics Professor Peter Ridd on Great Barrier Reef
Water Stress
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke on Trump's Remarks on Charlottesville
Producer Note: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apperanace
End of Show
Suggest a new chapter
Vape Wars
Three basic Vaping technologies: sub ohm tank, pre-fab pod and thc cartridge that fits on a standard ape stick or battery. Pen vape. NO e-cigs.
Cart manufacturer thc update
Justin the Dealer BOTG
Melania Trump calls for government action against e-cigarettes
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:57
| September 09, 2019 01:33 PM
F irst Lady Melania Trump took aim at e-cigarettes Monday, raising the possibility that they might be ''an on-ramp'' to nicotine addiction for kids.
I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth. @HHSGov
'-- Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 9, 2019 [ Related: Top Democrat calls on FDA head to ban e-cigarettes or resign]
Trump said she is ''deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children'' as the number of people diagnosed with lung illnesses that could be linked to vaping continues to rise.
She mentioned Health and Human Services in her tweet, the department which is overseeing investigations of more than 400 cases of lung diseases in 33 states. Five people have died of such diseases in recent weeks as of Friday, and each reported similar symptoms, including difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.
State health departments have not said conclusively that vaping is the cause of the deaths and a spike in pulmonary diseases, but some believe vaping is responsible.
Government officials are under pressure to address the rise in illnesses by cracking down on vaping. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told acting Food and Drug Administration head Ned Sharpless last week to ban e-cigarettes or resign.
JUUL Splits From the Vapor Technology Association Over FDA Lawsuit
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:31
Vape giant Juul has left the Vapor Technology Association citing major differences in policy.
Those policies include JUUL's stance that certain e-liquid flavours should be banned from sale in the USA and its belief there should be a blanket 21 and over age limit on all vaping products.
JUUL says it will not be renewing its membership of the VTA later this month in a move that has surprised the wider vaping world.
It was only last week the VTA on behalf of its 800 members '' and vapers across the country '' filed a Lawsuit challenging the FDA's decision to bring forward the deadline for all vape companies to seek FDA authorization for all vape products.
I wrote a detailed piece on the lawsuit: The Fight To Save Vaping In America Has Begun.
The lawsuit hopes to stop or at least extend the deadline for submitting Pre-Market Tobacco Product Applications [PMTA]. This is the costly process vape companies will now need in order to be able to legally sell any vape product in the USA.
I say costly and it's actually eye-wateringly expensive with each PMTA costing up to $460,000.
Obviously smaller companies will not even get close to affording a single PMTA, let alone one for each of their products which can be anything vape related from a drip tip to a coil.
JUUL Says They're At Odds With Many VTA PoliciesThe VTA argues '' rightly IMHO '' the PMTA process will devastate the vape industry in America not only closing down businesses and subsequent job losses '' but also risk the public health of the nation.
In a short statement, JUUL explained its reasoning behind the pullout:
We are fully committed to the current PMTA process and are confident in the content and quality of the materials we will submit with our application by May 2020.
We are not appealing the recent federal court case in the District of Maryland and similarly do not support the recent lawsuit against FDA filed by the Vapor Technology Association in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
While we have appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with the VTA, we will not renew our membership when it expires later this month as we are not aligned on too many critical policy issues.
For example, we support clean Tobacco 21 legislation and an outright ban on certain flavors.
JUUL Labs will continue to focus on combating youth usage of vapor products including JUUL while preserving the historic opportunity to switch adult smokers off of combustible cigarettes.
Things that make you go ummm'...I'll tackle the deeper issue as to why I think JUUL has left the VTA in a moment.
As to the VTA, as I said they were taken by surprise at JUUL's move, especially as the company's representative was present when the VTA board discussed the lawsuit.
A VTA spokesman said:
VTA is surprised by Juul's stated opposition to the filing of VTA's complaint against FDA because Juul recently opposed the efforts of the American Academy of Pediatrics to grossly accelerate the PMTA deadline in another lawsuit and sought similar relief in that federal lawsuit.
In addition, Juul's designated VTA Board member participated in the VTA Board meeting held to consider the lawsuit against FDA, but never objected.
In fact, the vote to move forward with the lawsuit was unanimous.
Prior to the meeting, Juul had the relevant documents relating to VTA's consideration of a potential lawsuit against FDA, but never objected or expressed opposition to the action.
Like I said, things that make you go ummm'...
VTA Says Threat To Vaping In America Is VERY RealThe VTA has a membership that reads like a Who's Who of the vaping industry with members including SMOK, Joyetech, Suorin and Innokin, says the association is 'bigger' than any one member adding:
We appreciate Juul's past attempts to collaborate with VTA.
We recognize that some decisions made by VTA on behalf of the industry may not perfectly align with the interests of every one of our members. However, we believe our strength as a trade association is our diverse membership.
VTA is organized so that no single member, no matter how large, can dictate policy.
We put our decisions through a regimented process to make sure they are based on sound and strategic rationale.
We avoid taking reactionary positions based on transitional moments or the news of the day and remain focused on securing the long-term future of a diverse and well-regulated vapor industry.
Summing up its position on JUUL quitting, the VTA stresses the threat to vaping in America is a clear and present danger and is calling on all vape companies, big or small, to get involved in the fight:
As a reminder of what is at stake, the FDA recently warned that a precipitously accelerated PMTA deadline would lead to the ''mass market exit of ENDS products'' and cause adults who have quit to return to smoking '' a ''public health outcome which should be avoided if at all possible.''
VTA's and Vapor Stockroom's lawsuit against the FDA was filed to avoid that ''mass market exit'' about which FDA warned and to preserve the diverse and vibrant industry of companies dedicated to providing adult smokers an alternative to deadly cigarettes.
VTA stands by its decision to defend the interests of all vapor companies, and the thousands of small businesses in the U.S. that will be put out of business without the relief requested in our lawsuit.
You can't argue with that'...so why do I think JUUL has once again stabbed vaping in the back?
Greed: One Pod Kit To Rule Them All?JUUL is it's fair to say probably the most controversial vape company on the planet with many industry insiders detesting its practices.
I wrote an article last year: JUUL Capitulates As FDA Announces Clampdown On Flavoured E-Cigarettes.
In that piece, I argued the FDA's threat to ban all flavoured e-liquids was the perfect time for the industry leader JUUL to make a stand on behalf of not only vape companies but the millions of American vapers.
In other words, it could have used its vast resources to fight the proposed ban, instead, it rolled over removing all its flavoured pods from convenience stores and removed itself from all social media.
Whilst I understand protecting a business and shareholders payouts is crucial, sometimes the bigger picture is far more important'...
The company has had phenomenal growth since its arrival on the scene in 2015 and is now worth over $13billion. As of September last year, it had a remarkable 72% share of the US vaping market '' a staggering position and I believe the company smells blood '' PMTA blood.
Greed is the word that comes to mind.
Not satisfied with a 72% [and growing] share of the US market '' and steady growth of vape sales globally, JUUL wants to dominate and if that means seeing other companies fold due to the costly PMTA process then so be it.
FDA Acting As JUUL's Hit Man?The FDA is actually doing JUUL's hit job for it '' they and maybe a handful of other companies can, of course, afford the PMTA process '' which when the clouds clear, will see JUUL the last man standing so to speak, leaving the victor with the spoils.
Sure this is big business and it's a cutthroat world, however by once again stepping away from the wider vaping industry with an eye on total domination, JUUL is betting one pod kit will rule them all.
Understandable in the wider scheme of things, but shameful none the less and it does leave a bad taste in the mouth, a bit like a couple of their pods'...me bitchy? Naw ðŸ‰
BTW given JUUL is so in favour of the PMTA process and of course, has the resources to apply umpteen times until they may get approval, here's a reminder what former FDA supremo Scott Gottlieb had to say on the matter:
Juul is in a hard spot to ever get their product approved.
They have so much historical youth use with their product. I don't know how Juul gets through an application process.
Sometimes there's safety in numbers'...and it will be interesting to see if going it alone actually leaves JUUL looking for the same 'friends' they've turned their back on.
Find out more about the Vapor Technology Association and how you can get involved.
Read my piece: JUUL Duel: Are There Better Alternatives to the JUUL Pod Mod?
And of course: JUUL Review '' Is This Pod System Worth All the Fuss?
The post JUUL Splits From the Vapor Technology Association Over FDA Lawsuit appeared first on Ecigclick.
Michigan becomes first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes - The Washington Post
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 12:36
Michigan on Wednesday became the first state in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes, a step the governor said was needed to protect young people from the potentially harmful effects of vaping.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in an interview Tuesday that she ordered the ban after the state health department found youth vaping constituted a public health emergency. The action was officially announced Wednesday.
''My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,'' Whitmer said.
Whitmer complained that e-cigarette companies are using sweet flavors, such as bubble gum and ''fruit loops,'' to hook young people on nicotine, with potentially adverse consequences. Besides sweet flavors, the prohibition will also apply to vaping products that use mint and menthol flavors. It does not cover tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, the governor's aides said.
The ban, which covers both retail and online sales, will go into effect as soon as the health department issues rules, sometime in the next 30 days. It will last for six months, and can be renewed for another six months, according to the governor's aides. In the meantime, they said, the health department will develop permanent regulations banning flavored e-cigarettes. The legislature could try to block those rules, but would face a veto, they added.
Whitmer also barred what she called misleading descriptions of vapor products as ''clear,'' ''safe'' and ''healthy'' and ordered the enforcement of an existing ban on billboard advertising for e-cigarettes.
While Michigan is the first state to prohibit sales of flavored e-cigarettes, several cities and communities have moved to restrict or ban sales of e-cigarettes. In late June, San Francisco became the first major city in the United States to ban the sale and distribution of all e-cigarettes; the ban goes into effect early next year.
On Wednesday, vaping advocates denounced the Michigan ban as misguided and predicted it would lead to a massive black market for the banned products.
''This shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition will close down several hundred Michigan small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes,'' Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a consumer group, said in a statement.
''These businesses and their customers will not go down without a fight,'' he added. ''We look forward to supporting the lawsuits that now appear necessary to protect the right of adults to access these harm reduction products.''
While many vaping advocates concede the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not known, they say vaping is almost certainly safer than traditional smoking, which causes the deaths of more than 480,000 people a year in the United States.
The state Department of Health and Human Services, in declaring youth vaping a public health emergency, cited studies showing vaping products contain a variety of chemicals and metal particles whose long-term health impact is unknown. It also noted that nicotine can affect the developing brain and pointed to studies indicating that young people who vape are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes.
Health advocates welcomed Whitmer's move. Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, called the action ''bold and appropriate.'' She added that ''in the absence of robust regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, we know shockingly little about the health impact of e-cigarettes being widely marketed to youth and adults.''
Whitmer's order comes amid a recent spate of serious lung illnesses, including one death, that have been linked to vaping. State and federal officials have said they are focusing closely on possible contaminants or counterfeit substances in black-market marijuana products. But they also have stressed they have not ruled out any vaping products, including nicotine e-cigarettes.
[He went from hiking enthusiast to 'on death's door' within days. Doctors blamed vaping.]
Last year, federal officials reported a surge in vaping among middle and high school students, prompting the Food and Drug Administration to propose sales restrictions on many flavored e-cigarettes. The proposal, which has not been finalized, would bar sales of sweet and fruity kid-friendly vaping products in stores that allow minors or that don't have separate adults-only sections. In addition, it does not cover menthol or mint-flavored products.
A spokesman for Juul Labs, which dominates the e-cigarette market in the United States, said the company strongly agrees with Michigan officials that actions are needed to reduce youth use of vaping products. The company has voluntarily stopped selling most flavored e-cigarette pods in traditional retail stores and is implementing strict age-verfication standards.
But Juul is still selling mint- and menthol-flavored pods in stores, a point of contention with anti-vaping groups that say young people are fond of the mint-flavored products. The Juul spokesman said that the company believes menthol e-cigarettes should be available to encourage smokers to switch from conventional menthol cigarettes.
[In the 'Juul room': E-cigarettes spawn a form of teen addiction that worries doctors, parents and schools]
[FDA Commissioner Gottlieb, who raised concerns about youth vaping, resigns]
[E-cigarettes more effective than nicotine replacement to help smokers quit, study finds]
(23) South China Zombie Research Centre (@china_zombie) / Twitter
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 12:29
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'Zombie-like symptoms': McAfee warns of chemical infection through CBD vapes '-- RT World News
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 12:25
John McAfee has suggested that the recent contamination of CBD vape products could be tied to a research chemical that supposedly causes ''zombie-like symptoms.''
The cybersecurity expert and US presidential candidate tweeted about a claim that people are testing ''infection vectors for the release of a powerful Research Chemical that causes zombie-like symptoms,'' and linked to an article about a ''purposeful contaminant'' in a number of CBD products, saying it ''should scare you.''
''What better vector?'' he added.
Marijuana products used in vaping have been linked to a number of cases of pulmonary diseases in the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the products were using an oil derived from vitamin E.
Also on rt.com CDC raises alarm after mystery vaping-linked lung disease kills 5, sickens 450+ across US McAfee referenced the South China Zombie Research Centre in his tweet, which he reportedly started working with earlier this month to create its CZCOIN ($CZ) cryptocurrency and white paper.
To my critics: it isn't my job to determine the validity of @china_zombie 's claim that zombies exist. My job us to ensure that the white paper for the CZ coin is factual and informative regarding all aspects that affect the creation, distribution and use of the coin. That's all. pic.twitter.com/MpblMpSVE5
'-- John McAfee (@officialmcafee) August 24, 2019However, just weeks in, their relationship seems to have soured, if their tweets can be taken at face value. The center, which only started posting messages on Twitter in August and repeatedly warns about zombie outbreaks in its broken-English tweets, claims it will sue McAfee for allegedly damaging their work and putting the world at risk of zombies.
We are sue Mr. McAfee for make us look like fool. We not understand why White Paper say such bad things for us. We finish for Mr. McAfee. Things not true. We serious research. World must see. Zombie threat threat real and must be approach now by whole world.
'-- South China Zombie Research Centre (@china_zombie) September 5, 2019It may just be the latest chapter in an elaborate social media joke: Twitter users have suggested that McAfee himself could have a hand in the South China Zombie Research Centre's tweets.
Also on rt.com 'Arm to the teeth & pretend to be Canadian': McAfee's savage tactical advice for next US Civil War If you like this story, share it with a friend!
Vitamin E acetate in marijuana vaping products is linked to lung illness, FDA and state labs find - The Washington Post
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 12:20
Some of the products that New York health authorities found to contain vitamin E acetate. (New York State Department of Health)State and federal health officials investigating mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping have found the same chemical in samples of marijuana products used by people sickened in different parts of the country and who used different brands of products in recent weeks.
The chemical is an oil derived from vitamin E. Investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found the oil in cannabis products in samples collected from patients who fell ill across the United States. FDA officials shared that information with state health officials during a telephone briefing this week, according to several officials who took part in the call.
That same chemical was also found in nearly all cannabis samples from patients who fell ill in New York in recent weeks, a state health department spokeswoman said.
While this is the first common element found in samples from across the country, health officials said it is too early to know whether this is causing the injuries.
Vitamin E is found naturally in certain foods, such as canola oil, olive oil and almonds. The oil derived from the vitamin, known as vitamin E acetate, is commonly available as a nutritional supplement and is used in topical skin treatments. It is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. Its name sounds harmless, experts said, but its molecular structure could make it hazardous when inhaled. Its oil-like properties could be associated with the kinds of respiratory symptoms that many patients have reported: cough, shortness of breath and chest pain, officials said.
''We knew from earlier testing by New York that they had found vitamin E acetate, but to have FDA talk about it from their overall testing plan, that was the most remarkable thing that we heard,'' said one official who listened to the briefing but was not authorized to speak publicly.
The FDA also told state officials Wednesday that its lab tests found nothing unusual in nicotine products that had been collected from sick patients, according to another person who took part in the call.
The investigation has been particularly challenging for health authorities. ''We don't know what we're looking for,'' an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is leading the investigation, said last week.
Officials are trying to come up with a consistent definition of the illness and a standardized system for collecting information from the states. Unlike certain infectious diseases, such as measles, which are required to be reported to federal authorities, states are not required to report possible cases of vaping-related illnesses to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is leading the investigation.
State health departments are reporting new cases weekly. As of Aug. 27, there were 215 possible cases reported by 25 states. Additional reports of lung illnesses are under investigation, according to CDC officials.
On Wednesday, Oregon health authorities said a middle-aged adult who died in late July of a severe respiratory illness had used an e-cigarette containing marijuana oil purchased from a legal dispensary. It's the second death linked to vaping nationwide and the first to be linked to a product bought at a store. Illinois officials reported the first death last week. They did not specify what kind of product was used in that case.
State and federal health authorities have said they are focusing on the role of contaminants or counterfeit substances as a likely cause of vaping-related lung illnesses. Many patients have told officials and clinicians that they bought cannabis products off the street. Many of those who have fallen ill say they have vaped products containing marijuana, but others said they used traditional nicotine e-cigarettes. Many report using both. Authorities said they are not ruling out adulterants in nicotine vaping products.
Although the discovery of a common chemical in lab tests from the FDA and New York's highly regarded Wadsworth Center lab offers a potential lead, officials cautioned that they are a long way from understanding what exactly is making so many people sick.
An FDA spokesman said the agency is ''looking into potential leads regarding any particular constituent or compound that may be at issue.'' The FDA is analyzing samples for a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC, other cannabinoids, ''cutting agents'' that may be used to dilute liquids, other additives, pesticides, opioids, poisons and toxins. THC is the component in marijuana that makes users high.
''The number of samples received continues to increase and we now have over 100 samples for testing,'' FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said Thursday.
''No one substance, including Vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested," he added. ''Importantly, identifying any compounds that are present in the samples will be one piece of the puzzle but will not necessarily answer questions about causality.''
Not all the samples are suitable for testing. The FDA analyzed 12 viable nicotine samples and 18 viable THC products, state officials said. Vitamin E acetate was found in 10 of the 18 THC products.
''This was the only thing that seemed to show up in 10 of the 18 cannabis products,'' said one state official who took part in the call.
On Friday, the FDA said most of the THC samples tested contained ''significant amounts of vitamin E acetate.'' Although the FDA does not have enough data to conclude that vitamin E acetate is the cause of the lung injury, the agency said, ''it is prudent to avoid inhaling this substance.''
The federal lab results seem to confirm findings from New York State. Late last week, its lab found ''very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all'' its cannabis samples tested. More than a dozen samples were tested, a health department spokeswoman said Thursday. At least one vape product containing vitamin E acetate has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing, the department said.
''Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for New York State Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape samples and was not seen in the nicotine-based products that were tested. As a result, vitamin E acetate is now a key focus'' of New York's investigation, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement Thursday.
As of Thursday, New York had received 34 reports from doctors of severe pulmonary illness among patients who ranged in age from 15 to 46 who were using at least one cannabis-containing vape product before becoming sick. All patients reported recent use of various vape products, officials said. Many are suspected to be counterfeits of recreational cannabis-containing vape products available in other states.
The second report of a death has emphasized the danger of this lung disease. ''It was surprising that the patient suddenly appeared without any other underlying health conditions and became ill enough to die from this syndrome,'' said Ann Thomas, a physician with the Oregon Health Authority.
Vaping refers to the increasingly popular practice of inhaling vapor from an e-cigarette device, which frequently involves heating a liquid that can contain nicotine, marijuana or other drugs.
Vitamin E acetate is basically grease, said Michelle Francl, a chemistry professor at Bryn Mawr College. Its molecular structure means that ''you have to heat it up pretty hot'' for it to vaporize. Its boiling point is 363 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well above the 212 degrees F boiling point for water.
Once the oil is heated hot enough to vaporize, it can potentially decompose, and ''now you're breathing in who-knows-what,'' Francl said.
When that vapor cools down in the lungs, it returns to its original state at that temperature and pressure, she said, which means ''it has now coated the inside of your lungs with that oil,'' she said.
In Utah, clinicians have treated several patients with acute lung injuries who were diagnosed with a rare condition known as lipoid pneumonia, with symptoms including chest pain and difficulty breathing. Those patients had abnormal immune cells filled with lipids, doctors said.
Unlike the human digestive tract, which can break down and get rid of foreign substances, the lungs aren't designed to handle anything except gases, experts said.
Laura Crotty Alexander, a lung inflammation and e-cigarette researcher at the University of California at San Diego's School of Medicine, said it's not clear whether the chemical itself or its byproducts could be toxic.
''We haven't looked at the toxicity of vitamin E in the lungs,'' she said. ''The lungs are designed to exchange gas molecules; they're not designed to be exposed to other chemicals.''
When the lung cells die, that often provokes an inflammatory response, and ''other cells need to come in and clean up the cell debris,'' Alexander said. But the lungs are very delicate. When extra cells enter, ''they get in the way of gas exchange,'' she said. That makes it more difficult for oxygen to get into a person's bloodstream. The inflammation can cause liquid to accumulate in the lungs, making it difficult for someone to breathe, she said.
Read more:
As vaping illnesses spike, investigators eye contaminants
He went from hiking enthusiast to 'on death's door' within days. Doctors blamed vaping.
Michigan becomes first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes
Wisconsin man accused in illegal THC vaping cartridge scheme
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:03
In this photo provided by the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office, Tyler Huffhines is pictured in a booking photo. Huffhines is accused of manufacturing thousands of counterfeit vaping cartridges a day with THC oil for almost two years, running the operation with 10 employees, authorities said. (Kenosha County Sheriff's Office via AP) September 10, 2019Kenosha County prosecutors said 20-year-old Tyler Huffhines had employees make professionally packaged cartridges. Authorities said the employees filled about 3,000 to 5,000 cartridges per day and were sold for $16 each.
"Based on how everything was set up, this was a very high-tech operation that was running for some time," Andrew Burgoyne, Kenosha County assistant district attorney, said during a Monday court hearing to set bond. Police said the business started in January 2018.
Police arrested Huffhines on Thursday. He was being held on a $500,000 cash bond while he awaits charges to be filed. He was due in court Friday. His attorney, Mark Richards, did not respond to an email or a phone message left at his office.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kenosha Drug Operations Group and other agencies executed search warrants at two homes. The Kenosha News reports that authorities seized 188 pounds (85 kilograms) of marijuana, THC oil, eight firearms, and about $20,000 in cash.
The arrest comes as health officials investigate 450 possible cases in 33 states where vaping was linked to a severe lung disease. Kansas reported its first death tied to the outbreak on Friday. Nationwide, as many as six people have died.
Health officials have warned against buying counterfeit vaping cartridges. It's unknown if the Wisconsin operation has been linked to any illnesses. No single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses. But recent attention has been focused on devices, liquids, refill pods and cartridges that are not sold in stores.
New York state has focused its investigation on an ingredient called Vitamin E acetate, which has been used to thicken marijuana vape juice but is considered dangerous if heated and inhaled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also investigating Vitamin E acetate, but officials said they're looking at several other ingredients as well. Last week, the CDC warned against buying vaping products off the street because the substances in them may be unknown. The agency also warned against modifying vaping products or adding any substances not intended by the manufacturer.
This isn't the first time Huffhines has made it into the headlines. Last year, the Kenosha News wrote a feature story about him when he was an 18-year-old Central High School student, selling athletic shoes online. The story's headline was "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
People are throwing their Juuls out windows and drenching them in water just to quit - The Verge
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 21:43
Henry Korman is exactly who Juul wants using its e-cigarettes. He's not a teen, and he's a former smoker, so he thought substituting a vape for cigarettes was a healthy decision when he switched two years ago. But then, he wanted to quit the Juul, too. He tried multiple times, cold turkey, to no avail. The Juul addiction stuck around, at least until he found sugar snap peas.
''I carry around this big bag of sugar snap peas to keep me occupied and replace the Juul,'' he says. ''I used to say 'phone, keys, wallet, Juul' '-- that's what I needed to have before I left the house. But now it's 'phone, keys, wallet, peas.'''
Korman's not alone in trying to kick his Juul habit. What started as a way for some people to wean themselves off cigarettes has turned into a new kind of addiction made worse by the ability to vape just about anywhere. In other cases, people who started vaping just because the Juul was around have developed new nicotine habits. For both types of users, quitting has proven immensely difficult.
Korman says he's been eating a pound of sugar snap peas a week instead of reaching for his Juul. He decided to quit last month because the habit was costing him around $8 a day, the price of a single Juul pod. He also went on a health kick and realized he changed his diet and exercise habits, but still held onto his electronic nicotine stick.
Korman's sugar snap pea setup
Henry Korman
The real motivation, though, came after recent reports about a mysterious severe lung disease linked to vaping. ''You're saying I'm going to be broke and dead?,'' he asks. ''No thank you.''
While vaping was initially positioned as a smoking cessation tool, it's increasingly being cast in a darker light. A mysterious lung disease has killed at least six people in the US with more than 450 cases reported, and officials believe it's linked to vaping '-- though the exact cause is still unknown. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked anyone who uses a vape to stop while they investigate, and the American Lung Association did the same. Senator Mitt Romney has asked the Food and Drug Administration to recall e-cigarettes, and President Donald Trump called this week for a ban on all flavored e-cigarette pods. Meanwhile, Juul is under investigation for marketing to minors and positioning its devices as a healthier alternative to cigarettes without FDA approval. Juul's own CEO told non-cigarette smokers to not use his company's products. ''Don't vape,'' he said. We reached out to Juul for this report and did not immediately hear back.
This message has reached the vapers. There's been a significant uptick in the amount of discussion on social media about quitting Juuls and other vapes, according to data from Sprout Social, a company that monitors social media trends. Between August 11th and September 9th, there were more than 60,000 Twitter mentions about quitting or stopping the use of Juuls or vapes, compared to only 16,000 at the same time last year. The data shows a noticeable spike in people tweeting about quitting vaping in late August, around August 26th, a few days after the first person died of the lung disease. The spike in Juul users tweeting about quitting started on September 1st, the same day The New York Times published a story that called the lung disease an ''epidemic.''
Shannon Dunlop is one of the people who recently quit. She started vaping because her partner kept a Juul in their bedroom. He used it before bed, and she tried it, only to get hooked. She used it for six months or so and then began Juuling in her work's bathroom.
''I was triggered,'' she says. ''I couldn't believe that I got so addicted to something that never even really called to me in the first place.''
Dunlop tried quitting by hiding her two Juuls in a drawer and not buying pod refills. That didn't always work because sometimes she just bought more pods. Instead, her addiction broke when she went for a jog one day and her chest started hurting. She thought her Juul habit might be to blame.
''I was like, 'I hate this thing,''' she said. ''Maybe I am out of shape, but whatever, fuck the Juul.''
When she got home, she grabbed the Juuls out of her stash, turned on the sink, and drenched them in water. She posted the whole ordeal on Instagram Stories, ending the video by tossing a Juul in the trash.
''I took this huge stance and told my friends what I had done, so I felt like if I bought [more] pods, I'd just be a fucking idiot,'' she says.
The Juul, once a trendy meme, is now a menace. At its peak of coolness, and before everyone realized how unamusing this addiction would become, BuzzFeed published a story of vape memes called ''24 tweets about Juul's that only teens will find funny.'' Vice tried to figure out Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner's favorite Juul pod flavor. The New York Times published a piece about 2017, the year it points to as kicking off the ''Juul wave,'' saying that Juuls had become ''Too Cool.'' The rate of high school students vaping increased by 78 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to the FDA and CDC.
''What resonates with our generation is the memes,'' one teen told the Times. ''I haven't seen the Juul on TV. But you'll see a bunch of memes about Juuling. It's just, like, making it more socially acceptable '-- it's perpetuating the thing that vaping is cool.''
But Juul has lost its cultural cachet. The lung disease news seems to be the main catalyst for the shift to quitting, and Juul users are turning to the usual nicotine-quitting recommendations that have helped people stop using cigarettes for decades.
Vapers say they've tried nicotine gum, patches, or pouches to taper their use, or try to replace their oral fixation with things like toothpicks. Some have looked into using essential oils or CBD to stop cravings. Others go to more extreme lengths, tossing their Juul into the ocean, out car windows, and into dumpsters.
Froste, a Twitch streamer associated with 100 Thieves, says he just recently quit the Juul after hearing about all the health risks associated with vaping. He started because he was hooked on cigarettes, but he says vaping took a dark turn when people started using them anywhere, unlike a cigarette.
''You can hit it anywhere you want,'' Froste says. ''Wherever '-- a restaurant, a car, anywhere, even on a plane.''
He says he quit cold turkey nine days ago after tapering his use down, but now finds himself hungry all the time and needing water. He also has physical withdrawal symptoms, like a headache, cough, and sore throat.
''Yeah, it kind of sucks, but it's not like I would rather go back to Juuling,'' he says. ''They're honestly one of the dumbest things that have become popular and cool with young kids.''
If you or anyone you know is trying to quit vaping, the National Cancer Institute has an online resource available for teens. They also have more information about e-cigarettes for adults.
Policy Trump calls on FDA to ban all flavored vapes after mystery lung illness Google Dangerous results from unproven stem cell treatments led to Google ad ban Report Water vapor '-- and maybe even rain '-- found on distant world twice the size of Earth View all stories in Science
Trump Administration Combating Epidemic of Youth E-Cigarette Use with Plan to Clear Market of Unauthorized, Non-Tobacco-Flavored E-Cigarette Products | FDA
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 03:31
For Immediate Release: September 11, 2019Today, the Trump Administration announced that as part of its ongoing work to tackle the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, the FDA intends to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks that would prioritize the agency's enforcement of the premarket authorization requirements for non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, clearing the market of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products. The FDA plans to share more on the specific details of the plan and its implementation soon.
''The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,'' said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. ''We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.''
Today's announcement comes as preliminary numbers from the National Youth Tobacco Survey show a continued rise in the disturbing rates of youth e-cigarette use, especially through the use of non-tobacco flavors that appeal to kids. In particular, the preliminary data show that more than a quarter of high school students were current (past 30 day) e-cigarette users in 2019 and the overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users cited the use of popular fruit and menthol or mint flavors.
''We appreciate President Trump and Secretary Azar's continued support of the agency's efforts to prevent youth use of e-cigarettes, including the bold approach we're announcing today. Once finalized, this compliance policy will serve as a powerful tool that the FDA can use to combat the troubling trend of youth e-cigarette use. We must act swiftly against flavored e-cigarette products that are especially attractive to children. Moreover, if we see a migration to tobacco-flavored products by kids, we will take additional steps to address youth use of these products,'' said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. ''The tremendous progress we've made in reducing youth tobacco use in the U.S. is jeopardized by this onslaught of e-cigarette use. Nobody wants to see children becoming addicted to nicotine, and we will continue to use the full scope of our regulatory authority thoughtfully and thoroughly to tackle this mounting public health crisis.''
Following a rule which became effective August 8, 2016, all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products were expected to file premarket tobacco product applications with the FDA within two years. ENDS products currently on the market are not being legally marketed and are subject to government action. The compliance policy the FDA anticipates announcing in the coming weeks will outline enforcement policy addressing non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products that lack premarket authorization moving forward.
The Trump Administration has demonstrated a deep commitment to preventing youth from using all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and the finalization of the compliance policy will be an important step in ongoing work to ensure e-cigarettes are not marketed to, sold to, or used by kids.
The FDA has been holding retailers and manufacturers accountable for marketing and sales practices that have led to increased youth accessibility and appeal of e-cigarettes. For example, the FDA has issued more than 8,600 warning letters and more than 1,000 civil money penalties (fines) to retailers '-- both online and in brick-and-mortar retail stores '-- for sales of ENDS and their components to minors. The agency has also issued warning letters '-- many in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) '-- that resulted in the market removal of dozens of e-liquid products resembling kid-friendly juice boxes, cereal, and candy. Additionally, the FDA and FTC cited firms that make and sell flavored e-liquids for violations related to online posts by social media influencers on their behalf.
Most recently, on September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL Labs Inc. for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school. Concurrently, the agency issued a second letter expressing its concern '-- and requesting additional information '-- about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL's outreach and marking practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers.
The Administration has also continued to invest in campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use. Last year, the FDA launched ''The Real Cost'' Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign '' a comprehensive effort targeting nearly 10.7 million youth, aged 12-17, who have used e-cigarettes or are open to trying them. The campaign features hard-hitting advertising on TV, digital and social media sites popular among teens, as well as posters with e-cigarette prevention messages in high schools across the nation.
The FDA in partnership with the Surgeon General joined forces with Scholastic to distribute youth e-cigarette prevention posters and lesson plans to every public and private high school in the U.S. '' with additional resources planned for middle school educators throughout the 2019-2020 school year. The agency also released resources for doctors, youth groups, churches, state and local public health agencies, and others on the dangers of youth e-cigarette use and has undertaken efforts to further the discussion and understanding around how to help aid those kids who are already addicted to e-cigarettes quit.
In December 2018, the Surgeon General issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, emphasizing the importance of protecting youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks in light of the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
FDA: Anti-smoking drug Chantix linked to more than 500 suicides | Al Jazeera America
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:06
After being approved by the FDA in 2006, Chantix was given a black-box warning by the FDA for the serious adverse effects caused by the drug. America Tonight
Tina Hurst was living what she considered a perfect life in her quiet neighborhood in suburban Chicago. She was happily married, the mother of two teenage girls and an executive at an insurance company.
Hurst also had a secret. She was a closet smoker, an on-again, off-again, pack-a-day habit she'd hidden from her family.
''I would quit for a couple of months and then I would start back again, so it was one of those periods where my family thought I was still not smoking, and I had started again,'' Hurst said.
Hurst called her doctor, who suggested a prescription drug called Chantix, which is designed to help smokers quit by curbing the desire to light up. Hurst thought she'd found an easy fix. Wiithin a week, she quit smoking.
''I thought it was a miracle drug, you know?'' she said.
As Hurst continued taking the drug as prescribed, her well-ordered life started coming unhinged and she began acting erratically. After her husband convinced her to throw the pills away, Hurst said she went over the edge.
''It was just like, boom! Something went wrong,'' she said.
Hurst, who said she'd never been depressed or suffered from any other mental illness, started experiencing hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Hurst threatened to jump out of a moving car, forcing her parents called 911.
Hurst wound up spending five days in a locked-down psychiatric ward at a local hospital, a nightmarish experience she blames on Chantix.
Chantix, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006, has a long history of users '' and their next of kin -- reporting troubling, sometimes deadly, side effects they blame on the drug.
In the last five years, 544 suicides and 1,869 attempted suicides have been reported to the FDA as ''adverse events'' in connection with Chantix, according to documents obtained by America Tonight under the Freedom of Information Act.
Adverse events are side effects reported to the FDA by patients, doctors or health professionals, or the drug makers themselves. The reports don't prove cause and effect but serve as an early warning system of sorts for the FDA, which monitors federal drug safety.
Side effects 'off the charts'
In 2008, Thomas J. Moore, senior researcher with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, was testing new software to analyze adverse events when he made a startling discovery.
''Here, basically going off the charts, was this new smoking-cessation drug called Chantix,'' Moore said.
Moore found that Chantix was responsible for more adverse events '' including the type of serious psychiatric episodes such as Hurst's '' than any other drug on the market. They fell into four categories: suicidal behaviors, depression, psychosis and aggression.
''There were side effects that made it look like it was unsafe for pilots and people in critical occupations because there were seizures, blackouts, temporary blindness, blurry vision,'' he said.
Based on Moore's research, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued a report saying the group had ''immediate safety concerns'' about Chantix ''among persons operating aircraft, trains, buses and other vehicles.''
The Federal Aviation Administration and Defense Department took heed and banned Chantix use among pilots and air traffic controllers. The military also banned Chantix for missile crews.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency that governs truckers, said Chantix may ''adversely affect the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.'' And the Department of Transportation sent a memo to the Federal Railroad Administration warning of ''the potential threat to public safety caused by the anti-smoking drug Chantix.''
In July 2009, the FDA slapped a so-called black-box warning on Chantix '' the most serious warning possible '' saying the drug ''has been associated with reports of changes in behavior such as hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions.''
Prospects for violence?
Moore continued digging into adverse event reports, particularly those involving violence. He co-authored a 2010 study in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy analyzing 26 acts of violence reported to the FDA as adverse events associated with Chantix. The study called them ''inexplicable and unprovoked": ''A woman struck her 17-year-old daughter in the mouth while the daughter was driving a car'...A 42-year-old man punched a stranger at a bowling alley'...A 24-year-old started beating her boyfriend in bed because 'he looked so peaceful' and she later attempted suicide.''
''These cases had three striking characteristics,'' Moore said in an interview at his Alexandria, Va., office. ''First, the violence was absolutely unpredictable and senseless. Second, the victim was anybody who happened to be nearby. It could have been a fianc(C). It could have been mother. It could have been a police officer. And third, these people had no history of violence and were unlikely prospects for a violent act.''
Clinical trials of Chantix have failed to turn up suicidal behavior or the type of aggression and violence reported to the FDA as adverse events.
''Pfizer believes in and supports Chantix as an important treatment option for adult smokers who want to quit and takes the safety of all of its medicines seriously,'' Pfizer said in a statement to America Tonight, adding that the drug has been prescribed to more than 20 million people worldwide.
The future of Chantix
Smoking remains the largest cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and the FDA is standing behind Chantix, which has a 12-month quit rate of 22 percent, slightly better than counseling or nicotine-replacement therapy such as the patch or gum.
The FDA declined to an interview for this story, but gave a statement to America Tonight: ''Although Chantix, like any medication, is associated with a number of adverse effects, appropriate patient monitoring and selection can reduce the likelihood of these adverse events occurring.''
Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University's School of Public Health who has studied smoking for 25 years, said it's unrealistic to ask doctors to monitor for attempted suicide.
''The use of a black box warning is to help physicians identify early symptoms that so that you can prevent the adverse event from occurring,'' Siegel explained. ''In the case of Chantix, the black box warning is basically telling physicians, 'Be careful because your patients might die taking this.' What use is it to monitor patients for suicide? Once they commit suicide, it's over.''
Tina Hurst thought Chantix was a "miracle drug." Now, she's still paying the price. America Tonight
For that reason, Siegel has called for Chantix, which made $670 million in sales last year, should be pulled from the market.
Moore doesn't go that far. He said more restrictions should be placed on Chantix.
''People who carry weapons for a living such as police officers and military should not take a drug, which can cause '' and this is well-documented '' uncontrollable rage,'' he said.
The FDA has asked Pfizer to investigate reports of violence by Chantix users and report back by 2017.
Earlier this year, Pfizer spent close to $300 million to settle 2,700 Chantix lawsuits, and the judge in the case says the black box warning is sufficient, meaning future litigation is unlikely.
Tthe company has stepped up advertising the drug, offering testimonials from happy customers able to quit a pernicious habit. But for Chantix users like Hurst, life took an unexpected detour, even as Pfizer continues to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the drug.
''Pfizer is making a killing on this drug, but I took it. There were warnings at the time,'' said Hurst, whose life is back to normal. ''But there's always this 'It won't happen to me. It could happen to somebody else. It's not going to happen to me.'''
Boris Johnson's Secret Plan To Gather "Targeted And Personalised" Data Before Brexit
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:12
Boris Johnson has secretly ordered the Cabinet Office to turn the government's public internet service into a platform for "targeted and personalised information" to be gathered in the run-up to Brexit, BuzzFeed News has learned.
In a move that has alarmed Whitehall officials, the prime minister has instructed departments to share data they collect about usage of the GOV.UK portal so that it can feed into preparations for leaving the European Union at the end of next month.
Dominic Cummings, the prime minister's chief adviser, emailed senior officials instructing them to make sure that ministers, department heads and political aides know that the instruction is ''TOP PRIORITY'', according to leaked government documents.
In a personal minute on 19 August to members of the cabinet's EU exit operations (''XO'') committee, which is responsible for no-deal preparations, Johnson said centralised data was also necessary to accelerate his ambitions for a digital revolution in public services. The committee includes chancellor Sajid Javid, home secretary Priti Patel, and the minister responsible for no-deal planning, Michael Gove
''I expect everyone to act immediately to execute the above actions,'' Johnson wrote. Any delays were to be reported to his office right away.
Cummings reiterated the urgency of the direction in an email to senior officials on August 28:
To stress: as per the PM note to all Cabinet and ministers yesterday, please ensure that all ministers, Perm Secs, and spads know that this is TOP PRIORITY.
We must get this stuff finalised ASAP and there are many interdependencies resting on this happening.
The PM says a) his office must be informed of anything that will delay the GDS / comms plan by 24 hours and b) CDL will deal with any problems/delays today'...
A government spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: ''Across the industry, it is normal for organisations to look at how their websites are used to make sure they provide the best possible service.
''Individual government departments currently collect anonymised user data when people use GOV.UK. The Government Digital Service is working on a project to bring this anonymous data together to make sure people can access all the services they need as easily as possible.
''No personal data is collected at any point during the process, and all activity is fully compliant with our legal and ethical obligations.''
However, BuzzFeed News understands that some officials in Whitehall are concerned about such an enormous transfer of data being done at speed, behind closed doors, at a time of national crisis. It is not obvious, one said, how the Cabinet Office having access to all the GOV.UK data from across Whitehall will aid its Brexit preparations.
Privacy campaigners, policy experts and opposition politicians said the move raised a huge number of legal and ethical questions. Pooling the user data from across government would give GDS a detailed picture of people's online interactions with government, the privacy experts said, and this should not be done without the public's knowledge and rigorous checks to ensure that data rights will be protected.
''Secret orders are not the way to handle these complex policies that have generated huge controversies in the past,'' Javier Ruiz Diaz, head of policy at the Open Rights Group, told BuzzFeed News. ''We need consultation and public debate to build social consensus for any new gathering of personal data, including the appropriate safeguards.''
''Citizens have a right to know how their data is being used,'' said Gavin Freeguard, head of transparency and data at the Institute for Government think tank. ''Government should be having the debates and discussion about the appropriate use of data in public, with the public, rather than sending secret notes to cabinet committees.''
Labour said it was suspicious of the urgency and timing of the demand, given that it came as Downing Street was preparing for a political showdown over Brexit and potentially a general election.
Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, told BuzzFeed News: ''These leaked memos should set off serious alarm bells. How does profiling citizens help with no deal preparation? Why is government prioritising it when we are just six weeks away from Boris Johnson's own Brexit deadline, and why the threat to departments that refuse to comply?''
Watson added: ''Given Dominic Cummings' focus on data science in the Vote Leave campaign this sudden urgent need for big data collection is extremely concerning. We need immediate clarity about how citizens' data will be protected and assurances that it won't be misused for party political purposes.''
Cummings, the combative former head of Vote Leave, has a keen understanding of the power of data. The pro-Brexit campaign's success in the 2016 referendum was partly due to its use of digital technology to target messages.
In a personal blog before entering Downing Street, Cummings mused about the potential for data to disrupt and transform public services: ''One of the many ways in which Whitehall and Downing Street should be revolutionised is to integrate physicist-dominated data science in decision making,'' he wrote in a post in October 2016.
''There really are vast improvements possible in Government that could save hundreds of billions and avoid many disasters. Leaving the EU also requires the destruction of the normal Whitehall/Downing Street system and the development of new methods. A dysfunctional broken system is hardly likely to achieve the most complex UK government project since beating Nazi Germany'...''
GOV.UK is the British government's public internet platform, providing information about and links to services from passports to pensions. Since the start of this month, it has also been the hub for the government's publicity campaign to prepare voters and businesses for a no-deal Brexit. The government is running advertisements on Facebook and elsewhere urging people to ''Get Ready For Brexit'', directing them to GOV.UK for more information.
At present, usage of GOV.UK is tracked by individual departments, not collected centrally. According to the documents seen by BuzzFeed News, the Cabinet Office's digital unit, the government digital service (GDS), will add an additional layer of tracking that ''will enable GDS to have data for the entire journey of a user as they land on GOV.UK from a Google advert or an email link, read content on GOV.UK, click on a link taking them from GOV.UK to a service and then onwards through the service journey to completion''.
In the personal minute, Johnson told members of the XO committee that GDS had been asked to turn the GOV.UK portal into a ''platform to allow targeted and personalised information to be gathered, analysed and fed back actively to support key decision making'' in the run-up to Brexit.
Departments needed to send data to GDS and ''work in partnership so that it can build a single consolidated view of how citizens interact with Government through GOV.UK'', Johnson said. He told ministers they may need to reallocate digital resources and staff to ''work on the central analytics platform being developed by GDS as part of the Insights programme to support Brexit preparations for a period of up to 6 months''.
The prime minister added that better data analytics will be crucial to improving digital delivery of public services in the long run:
At the heart of that is our approach to UK digital identity, transitioning to a model driven by ubiquitous digital identity standards. There are decisions ahead on how best accelerate convergence onto these standards, including next steps on Verify. XO has tasked GDS with developing '-- in cooperation with others '-- a digital identity accelerated implementation plan and I would ask you all to engage in that work urgently.
Verify is the government's flagship digital identity scheme. It was meant to be used by 25 million people by 2020, but it failed to meet performance targets and its future is now uncertain. A Public Accounts Committee report concluded in May: ''People using Verify have been badly served by an onerous system that is not fit for purpose.''
In the short term, Johnson said, ''There are also digital identity factors that relate to preparations for 31st October.'' He continued:
There is a desire to develop personalised 'account creation' feasability studies pre-31 October which can deliver benefits shortly after. The greater the volume of data structured through personalised ID, the more impact the outcome. Steps that Government can take to increase the volume now whilst continuing to deliver critical services, must be looked at. This includes fully exploiting various current pilots such as use of passport data for identity checking and that new services are meeting an appropriate identity standard that can help not hinder convergence. The accelerated implementation plan can pick this up.
In a separate document seen by BuzzFeed News, departments were told that GDS had been asked to collect data about ''key Brexit services'' by the end of August 30.
''We have identified a subset of key Brexit services and are already working with those service teams, we are now working to add all other services, including those not related to Brexit,'' it said.
Departments were asked to sign a memorandum of understanding setting out the terms of the sharing arrangement and to return it to the Cabinet Office by the end of September 3.
Freeguard, from the Institute for Government, said: ''More intelligent and joined up use of data could be a big improvement '' for Brexit preparations and elsewhere across government. But doing data in the dark could lead to a loss of public trust and make citizens much more hesitant in allowing their data to be used in future.''
Report: PM Boris Johnson Has Simple Plan to Legally Stop Brexit Extension'.... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:41
Report: PM Boris Johnson Has Simple Plan to Legally Stop Brexit Extension'....If this simple procedure is true, wow'... It would mean all of last week's parliamentary teeth gnashing by the usurping Never-Brexit MP's was essentially irrelevant.
According to a Reuters report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson simply needs to attach a letter to the Brexit delay legislation saying the U.K. government officially does not request any extension beyond October 31st. Then ignore it. That was easy.
(Reuters) '' British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has prepared plans to legally stop any Brexit extension, the Daily Telegraph bit.ly/2ZP87Yc reported late on Sunday.
Johnson's advisers held a meeting on Sunday to counter the strategy to prevent the British parliament's attempts at enforcing a three-month Brexit extension if no new deal is agreed, the newspaper reported.
A plan under consideration would see Johnson sending a letter alongside the request to extend Article 50 setting out that the government does not want any delay after Oct. 31, according to the report. (read more)
''Boris, he's a cheeky one'''....The prior remarks by President Trump (last week) now take on a new context:
Q Have you been following the situation in London with Boris Johnson and the Brexit vote?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Boris is a friend of mine. And he's '-- he's going at it. There's no question about it. He's in there '-- I watched him this morning. He's in there fighting.
And he knows how to win. Boris knows how to win. Don't worry about him. He's going to be okay. (link)
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Brexit Disaster Capitalism: £8 Billion Bet on No Deal Crash-Out by Boris Johnson's Leave Backers '' Byline Times
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:56
While the Prime Minister defies the law and insists Britain will leave the European Union on 31 October, his backers stand to make billions out of the disaster.Boris Johnson's leadership campaign backers in the City stand to make billions of pounds from his 'do or die' pledge to take Britain out the of the EU by the end of October, Byline Times can reveal.
On the day Johnson was announced as Prime Minister by his party on 23 July, it was reported that ''more than half of the donations received by Boris Johnson originated from donors with ties to the City''. However, this newspaper has discovered that this figure is actually much higher '' and that many of the hedge funds involved are set to make a killing from his hard-line approach to Brexit.
According to the records of both the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission and the Register of Financial Interests, between 10May and 23 July, Johnson received £655,500 in donations.Of these, two thirds '' £432,500 (65%) '' came from hedge funds, City traders or the very wealthy.
Under the 1922 Committee's rules governing the Conservative Party leadership election, spending is capped at £150,000 per candidate, so that all contenders have an equal chance of competing. However, these limits only apply to the short campaign, which began on 7 July and excluded the period in May when Johnson announced his long-anticipated leadership bid. £318,000 of the donations were submitted late, after the leadership election result had been announced. These late filings conceal a significant trend.
If you like this article'...Digital edition from £29. Print edition from £36.Join News Club for events and interviews in London.'... to help us commission more great journalism every day.Many of these late donations were from hedge funds and people that Johnson worked with on the Vote Leave campaign during the EU Referendum, which was run by his current Chief of Staff in No.10, Dominic Cummings.
Crispin Odey, Paul Marshall, Peter Cruddas, Jon Moynihan, Jon Wood, Robin Birley, David Lilley, Philip Harris, JCB and The Bristol Port Company all donated (directly or indirectly through companies they and their co-directors are involved with) to Johnson's leadership campaign and also contributed more than £2 million to the Vote Leave campaign.
History Repeats ItselfThe current speculation on short positions '' in which hedge funds make money on prices going down '' is almost identical to the hedging which occurred around Brexit during the EU Referendum. Byline Times has reported previously on the vast windfalls that Vote Leave backers accrued back in 2016.
At the start of this year, a number of hedge funds '' including that of Crispin Odey who made £220 million on the night of the referendum result '' announced that, in their view, Brexit wasn't going to happen and that they were going to take bets out on sterling going up.
Between January to May 2019, less than 10 short positions were being taken out by hedge funds per week. However, that all changed dramatically when Boris Johnson announced that he was running for the Conservative Party leadership on May 16. The number of short positions thereafter doubled, tripled and quadrupled and, by the time of his victory was announced, had risen to around 100 per week.
UK firms' short positions during Boris Johnson's Conservative Party leadership campaign in 2019The firms that have taken out short positions over the past six months are almost entirely dominated by those which either directly, or through their directorships of other companies, also donated to the Vote Leave campaign in 2016 and were involved in taking out short positions on the referendum result.
UK firms' short positions in 2019 compared to Vote Leave positions in 2016Invested in a No-Deal BrexitSo, how much are these firms set to make from Boris Johnson's 'do or die' approach to Brexit?
From the financial data publicly available, Byline Times can reveal that currently £4,563,350,000 (£4.6 billion) of aggregate short positions on a 'no deal' Brexit have been taken out by hedge funds that directly or indirectly bankrolled Boris Johnson's leadership campaign.
Most of these firms also donated to Vote Leave and took out short positions on the EU Referendum result. The ones which didn't typically didn't exist at that time but are invariably connected via directorships to companies that did.
Another £3,711,000,000 (£3.7 billion) of these short positions have been taken out by firms that donated to the Vote Leave campaign, but did not donate directly to the Johnson leadership campaign.
Currently, £8,274,350,000 (£8.3 billion) of aggregate short positions has been taken out by hedge funds connected to the Prime Minister and his Vote Leave campaign, run by his advisor Dominic Cummings, on a 'no deal' Brexit.
Does this £8 billion bet explain why the Prime Minister has said that he would rather ''die in a ditch'' before asking the EU for an extension? Is it the reason why Johnson is willing to defy the Benn Act that stops a 'no deal' Brexit? Is the £8 billion any kind of motivation to prorogue Parliament?
Under the Ministerial Code, Government ministers must have ''no actual or perceived conflicts of interest''. But what could be a bigger conflict of interest than those bankrolling the Prime Minister also having a vast financial interest in a catastrophe for Britain?
Byline Times has approached Boris Johnson and the Cabinet Office for a response, but has yet to receive a reply.
This article was corrected at 17:04 pm on 11/09/19 to reflect the full sterling amounts in the short interest tracker.
Brexit: Is Boris Johnson profiting from dividing? - BBC News
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:06
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Not even a couple of months have passed, but it seems a lifetime since Boris Johnson said he wanted to bring the country together as he arrived in Downing Street as prime minister for the first time.
Because so far his time in No 10 has suggested he believes he will profit instead from a divide.
That's the crack that his team identifies between leavers and former remainers - described by one cabinet minister, as "those who either want to get things done that matter to people, or MPs who want to stand up and repeat ad nauseam the things they have been saying about Brexit for the last three years".
The "dividing line", is far from a new phenomenon in politics - it was beloved by Gordon Brown, then George Osborne too - maybe politicians since time began - a way of creating an easily understandable political choice for the public, a way for politicians to say "pick us or them".
But it's not just a line this time, it's like a toxic separation.
Reading this you may believe, damn right, it's about time that all this political agony was brought to an end.
And let's face it, as one MP pointed out tonight, the public don't exactly hold the political class in high esteem - politicians pushing the rules?
Tell me something I don't know!
More talking in Parliament is plainly not, on its own, going to find the magic solution to this grinding Brexit crisis.
This is Downing Street's fundamental gamble, that in the end, most of the public are in the camp of the fed up and frustrated, who just want this to be over, and therefore they will tolerate a few prime ministerial bumps and scrapes along the way.
And that's why, shocking though it may sound given No 10 has today been found to have misled the monarch and broken the law, in Downing Street, today's result is not entirely seen as bad thing, giving - as some of those close to the PM see it - yet more evidence of the "establishment" trying to stand in the way of allowing Brexit to happen.
Nor is it surprising to many in the government that this mess has already ended up in the courts.
Under Theresa May perhaps the resolution of Brexit was a conflict delayed, rather than avoided.
Indeed, for Boris Johnson's team, it's almost perhaps as if this is a script they wrote long ago.
Throughout the Vote Leave campaign the approach was consistent - if the controversial things they claimed were challenged, their answer was not to demur, but to double down.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Kwasi Kwateng: "Many people are saying judges are biased"The parallels are already there. Listening to government minister Kwasi Kwarteng suggest tonight that independent judges doing their jobs are "interfering" tells us that - even though he used a classic political technique of saying he was only articulating what others were saying.
When you listen to it remember that in this country, while it's not unusual for the courts to rule on cases relating to government business, we have an independent courts system traditionally and vitally free from political interference.
There's been a sense from day one this is a campaign to get Brexit done, rather than a traditional administration.
But the problems stacking up cannot just be dismissed as campaign upsets to be blasted away with brass neck.
Government is not a campaign where screaming headlines and binary arguments jostle with each other over a period of a couple of months.
With no majority, the prime minister cannot simply dismiss MPs' concerns for more than a short period of time - a government that can't win votes is a government that can't last for long.
With Scotland's senior judges ruling Downing Street's behaviour broke the law, the prime minister may also soon have to reverse his decision on suspending Parliament - that depends on what the legal brains at the UK Supreme Court will conclude on Tuesday.
Even though these challenges might in the end play into No 10's political narrative of "us and them", a tangle with the constitution is not a minor inconvenience that can just be dismissed.
Those who know Boris Johnson say often that he never really believed the rules applied to him.
But as prime minister, his dreaded "establishment" will constrain him in some ways.
And some old allies, who are not in the No 10 inner circle, are frankly furious that he has chosen to take such a confrontational path.
Ruthlessness in politics can be an attribute - any political leader who's ultimately succeeded has likely shown that.
Perhaps Boris Johnson will perform a Houdini-like escape, get an EU deal and go on to govern successfully, stitching his angry and febrile party together - who knows, maybe then even winning an election?
But ruthlessness can tip in to recklessness too that could damage not just Mr Johnson's interests, not just the Tories' wider interests, but much more widely, push the two sides in our national debate further apart.
The prime minister and some of his team might revel in pushing the rules.
They have made a clear decision about taking a controversial strategy, which could ultimately be successful, from which they won't be diverted.
But there are powerful ministers in cabinet with concerns, as well as MPs in the Tory Party and the opposition.
And ultimately of course, sooner or later, it's the public who will judge.
Boris Johnson once joked about his own political style, suggesting he may sometimes take some plaster off the ceiling.
But pushing the boundaries of convention in Parliament, with the palace and perhaps the judiciary, risks bringing the whole house down too.
UK Court Rules Johnson's Suspension of Parliament Unlawful
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:10
LONDON'--A Scottish court dealt another blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans on Sept. 11, ruling that his decision to suspend Parliament less than two months before the UK is due to leave the European Union was an unlawful attempt to avoid democratic scrutiny.
The government immediately said it would appeal, as the political opposition demanded Johnson reverse the suspension and recall lawmakers to Parliament.
With Brexit due in 50 days, the court ruling deepened Britain's political deadlock. Johnson insists the country must leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal to smooth the way. But many lawmakers fear a no-deal Brexit would be economically devastating and are determined to stop him.
In a surprise judgment, justices at Scotland's highest civil court said the government's action was illegal ''because it had the purpose of stymieing Parliament.''
Johnson claims he shut down the legislature this week so that he can start afresh on his domestic agenda at a new session of Parliament next month. But the five-week suspension also gives him a respite from rebellious lawmakers as he plots his next move to break the political impasse over Brexit, and lead Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, ''do or die.''
But a panel of three Court of Session judges in Edinburgh said, ''The only inference that could be drawn was that the UK government and the prime minister wished to restrict Parliament.''
One of the judges, Philip Brodie, said it appeared the suspension was intended ''to allow the executive to pursue a policy of a no-deal Brexit without further parliamentary interference.''
The judges declared the suspension ''null and of no effect,'' but said Britain's Supreme Court must make the final decision at a hearing that was to begin on Sept. 10.
Johnson denied he was being anti-democratic.
''If opposition members of Parliament disagree with our approach, then it is always open to them to take up the offer that I've made twice now'--twice!'--that we should have an election,'' he said during an online question-and-answer session. ''There is nothing more democratic in this country than a general election.''
Opposition politicians, however, insisted that the government must recall Parliament. Lawmakers were sent home this week despite the objections of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and opposition lawmakers, who held up signs in the chamber saying ''Silenced.''
''He should do the right thing now, which is to reopen Parliament, let us back to do our job and to decide what to do next,'' said Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.
Dominic Grieve, one of 21 lawmakers kicked out of the Conservative group in Parliament by Johnson last week after voting against the government, said it's possible the prime minister had misled Queen Elizabeth II'--whose formal approval is needed to suspend Parliament'--about his motives.
He said if that turned out to be true, the prime minister would have to ''resign'--and very swiftly.''
The court ruling came after more than 70 opposition lawmakers challenged the government's decision to shut down Parliament until Oct. 14'--just over two weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU.
Last week, a court in Edinburgh rejected the lawmakers' challenge, saying it was a matter for politicians, not the courts, to decide. But that was overturned on Sept. 11 on appeal.
The UK government said it was disappointed by the decision and would appeal to the Supreme Court.
It noted that another challenge to the suspension, brought by transparency campaigner Gina Miller, was rejected at the High Court in London last week by judges who said the decision was inherently political and ''not a matter for the courts.''
Catherine Haddon, a senior fellow at independent think tank the Institute for Government, tweeted that the Scottish ruling ''does not (yet) change the prorogation itself. Though of course will add to pressure.''
Britain's 2016 decision to leave the European Union has left the country's politics gridlocked and tested to the limit of the UK's largely unwritten constitution.
With a no-deal Brexit looming, rebel members of the governing Conservatives joined with the opposition to deliver a series of blows to Johnson in the days before Parliament was suspended. They passed a law that orders the government to seek a three-month delay to Brexit if no agreement has been reached by late October, and twice rejected Johnson's call for a snap general election.
Both the Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party are divided over Brexit, and voters of all stripes are fed up.
Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 ''leave'' campaign, is trying to deliver Brexit and counter an electoral threat from the newly founded Brexit Party. Its leader, Nigel Farage, took out newspaper ads on Sept. 11, offering an electoral pact with the Conservatives if Johnson backed a ''clean break'''--a no-deal Brexit.
But Johnson's office said, ''The PM will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage.''
Labour is caught between those who want to go through with Brexit'--albeit a softer version'--and a faction that wants to reverse the decision.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn says the party will negotiate a new and improved withdrawal agreement with the EU. But his deputy, Tom Watson, said Sept. 11 that there is ''no such thing as a good Brexit deal'' and Labour should campaign to remain in the bloc.
Johnson says he wants to strike a new deal with the bloc, after the agreement made by his predecessor Theresa May was rejected three times by Britain's Parliament.
He said on Sept. 11 that talks with the 27 other EU nations were making progress.
''The mood is changing, the ice floes are cracking,'' he said.
But EU officials say the UK has made no concrete new proposals.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sept. 11 that ''we still have a chance to achieve this in an orderly way,'' but that Germany was also prepared for a no-deal Brexit.
By Jill Lawless
War on Guns
Brexit is what happens when the people don't have guns
Do the US citizens have a right to overthrow their government? | Yahoo Answers
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 03:17
Absolutely. Not only would it be right and good, it would be just. The current government is not from this country. It is not the United States government. It was bought and sold long ago and it has degenerated into a despicable global entity. It is not in any way connected with America and it has no legitimate power other than that it believes itself to have. It is a subverted impostor government.Unfortunately it is 'owned' by somebody. It is mainly owned by banks and global cabals. They have imposed their own twisted, delusional ideas on the citizens of the U.S. Mass surveillance, mass murder, mass-medication, mass-brainwashing. The enemy is within.
So overthrowing the government is necessary to restoring the legitimate government. However, it will not be viewed that way by the corrupt judges who can still enforce American laws. There are many bullshit names for it, sedition, treason etc. But the ends justify the means. The meaning is well-meaning. The government cannot be repaired. It is terminal. It therefore must be replaced.
However overthrowing the government will cause of lot of rich people to lose their money and a lot of scumbags to lose power. They will kill and imprison as many people as possible to maintain their power and money. To do it you have to have a well-chosen group of elites on your side. There is no war without the approval of at least some of the elites (hopefully a majority).
The problem now is that the elites are profiting off of the deterioration of the U.S. government. But soon it will deteriorate beyond recognition and the elites will begin to lose revenues. When that happens, revolution is inevitable. It is only a matter of who and when.
So you need not worry about it. Revolution will happen automatically as the government degenerates morally, fiscally, until they are clinging to the electorate with a single cancerous filament, trying like hell to suck the blood out.
The best thing the people can do is remain on moral high-ground and steer clear of breaking the law. Because as it dies, the government will try to take with it as many people as possible .
3 killed, including 2 children, in shooting in Dutch city
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:01
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) '-- A Dutch police officer and two children died and a woman was seriously wounded in a shooting Monday at a home in the city of Dordrecht, authorities said. Police said in a statement that the 35-year-old officer was suspected of being the shooter.
In this image made from video provided by Media TV, police officers are seen at the scene of a shooting in Dordrecht, Netherlands, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Police in the Netherlands have tweeted that three people have been killed and one other person has been seriously wounded in a shooting in a residential neighborhood in the city of Dordrecht. (Media TV via AP) September 09, 2019It was not immediately clear if he was related to the children, who were aged 8 and 12, or to the 28-year-old injured woman, but police spokesman Wim Hoonhout told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that "it seems like a family incident."
Police said further investigation was needed to definitively establish the motive. Photos from the scene showed a large police presence in a residential neighborhood and at least one ambulance parked in the street as people stood in the street looking on.
Dordrecht Mayor Wouter Kolff tweeted that it was an "extremely serious shooting" and said he would visit the scene later in the evening.
5 people stabbed in Tallahassee, suspect in custody
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 22:06
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) '-- A man ordered to leave a construction-supply business after quarreling with co-workers returned minutes later and stabbed five employees Wednesday in Florida's capital, seriously wounding one of them, authorities said.
Police in Tallahassee were still trying to determine what set off the suspect and prompted him to pull out a pocketknife and stab co-workers before fleeing the workplace on foot. They identified the suspect as Antwann Brown, 41.
''It appeared that he actually sought out certain victims,'' interim Police Chief Steven Outlaw said during a news conference just yards from the business.
One victim was in serious condition at a hospital, two were in fair condition and another two were in good condition, said Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare spokeswoman Danielle Buchanan.
Brown was apprehended without a struggle not far from Dyke Industries, which supplies doors and windows to residential and commercial customers. Police said he had worked there for just over three months.
Outlaw said there was no indication of any pending employment actions against Brown. A company representative didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Police said Brown clocked in at about 8 a.m. as he normally should. Minutes later, ''he was engaged in some kind of dispute at work,'' Outlaw said, ''and clocked out at 8:20.'' Outlaw could not elaborate on what the dispute was about.
When the suspect later returned and began attacking people, other co-workers fended him off with sticks and whatever they could grab, according to Outlaw, calling those ''heroic'' actions. The co-workers pinned down the suspect, but he escaped.
Court records show Brown has a lengthy arrest record, mostly for drug offenses, dating back from when he was in his teens. He had past arrests for resisting arrest without violence, trespassing, grand theft and domestic battery. The battery charge was dropped in 2014.
San Francisco Officials Designate NRA a Domestic Terrorist Organization | KQED News
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 01:14
The logo of the National Rifle Association is seen at an outdoor sports trade show on February 10, 2017 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization and urging other municipalities, states and the federal government to do the same.
The resolution calls out the NRA for inciting acts of violence and spreading "misinformation and propaganda" and encourages the city to assess and limit contracts with vendors affiliated with the NRA. It stops short, though, of putting in place any enforcement mechanisms or new regulations.
"The NRA conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and most importantly aggressively tries to block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed on any level, local state or federal," said Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who sponsored the measure.
A longtime advocate for gun safety, Stefani also introduced a resolution earlier this year that authorized the San Francisco Police Department to use funds from the U.S. Department of Justice to help improve the collection, management and analysis of gun-crime evidence.
"When they use phrases like, 'I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands' on bumper stickers, they are saying reasoned debate about public safety should be met with violence," she said.
Tuesday's resolution notes America's "epidemic of gun violence, including over 36,000 deaths, and 100,000 injuries each year." It also highlights the striking frequency of mass shootings nationwide, specifically noting a massacre in nearby Gilroy in July that left four people dead, including two children.
In addition, it mentions a notable increase in hate crimes since 2015, and the growing number of guns in the U.S., which currently exceeds the country's total population.
In a statement before the vote, NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter said, "This ludicrous stunt by the Board of Supervisors is an effort to distract from the real problems facing San Francisco, such as rampant homelessness, drug abuse and skyrocketing petty crime."
"The board is wasting taxpayer dollars to declare five million law-abiding Americans domestic terrorists, and it's shameful," she added.
This story includes reporting by KQED's Angela Corral.
Chasing the Scream | The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 15:20
What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not be able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, unable to know what to do, he set out on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to discover what really causes addiction '' and what really solves it.
His discoveries led him to give a TED talk and animation which have now been viewed more than 25 million times. He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories '' of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their war on drugs '' with extraordinary results.
This is the story of a life-changing journey that showed the world the opposite of addiction is connection.
''Johann Hari's book is the perfect antidote to the war on drugs, one of the most under-discussed moral injustices of our time. It combines rigorous research and deeply human story-telling. It will prompt an urgently-needed debate.''
'' Glenn Greenwald, winner of the Pulitzer Prize''A terrific book.''
'' Bill Maher''Everyone should read this book.''
'' Sam Harris''An absolutely stunning book. It will blow people away.''
'' Elton John''Superb journalism and thrilling story-telling.''
'' Naomi Klein, author of No Logo''Wonderful'... I couldn't put it down.''
'' Noam Chomsky''An astounding book.''
'' Amy Goodman, host of 'Democracy Now'''This book is, forgive the obvious phrase, screamingly addictive. The story it tells, jaw-droppingly horrific, hilarious and incredible, is one everyone should know: that it is all true boggles the mind, fascinates and infuriates in equal measure. Johann Hari, in brilliant prose, exposes one of the greatest and most harmful scandals of the past hundred years.''
'' Stephen Fry''This book is as intoxicatingly thrilling as crack, without destroying your teeth. It will change the drug debate forever.''
'' Russell Brand''Incredibly insightful and provocative.''
'' B.J. Novak, writer of 'The Office'''Check out Johann Hari's extraordinary new book Chasing the Scream, one of the best books I've ever read about the world of drugs''
'' Tour(C), MSNBC''Johann Hari has written a drug policy reform book like no other. Many have studied, or conducted, the science surrounding the manifold ills of drug prohibition. But Hari puts it all into riveting story form, and humanizes it'... Part Gonzo journalism, part Louis CK standup, part Mark Twain storytelling, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs is beautifully wrought: lively, humorous, and poignant. And, it's a compelling case for why the drug war must end, yesterday.''
'' Norman Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police''In this energetic and thought-proving book, Hari harnesses the power of the personal narrative to reveal the true causes and consequences of the War on Drugs.''
'' David Nutt, former chief scientific advisor on drugs to the British government''Breath-taking'... A powerful contribution to an urgent debate''
'' John Harris, The Guardian''A testament to Hari's skill as a writer''
'' The New York Times''Gripping''
'' The Financial Times''A riveting book''
'' The San Francisco Chronicle''Superb''
'' Piers Morgan''This book is an entertainment, a great character study and page-turning storytelling all rolled into one very sophisticated and compelling cry for social justice.''
'' Stephen Downing, formerly in charge of the Narcotics Division of the Los Angeles Police Department''Amazing and bracing and smart. It's really revolutionary.''
'' Dan Savage''Scary and terrific''
'' John Safran''Incredibly powerful''
'' Caroline Lucas''It's incredibly entertaining. It's enormously emotionally affecting'... It really is an extraordinary book''
'' Vanessa Feltz, BBC London
3D-printed tiny homes signal new initiative in fight against homelessness - Curbed Austin
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:20
Community First Village, run by Mobile Loaves and Fishes to provide permanent, personal housing and services for homeless people in Austin, had quite the breakthrough day Monday. Partnering with Austin-based Icon and and Cielo property group, it opened the second phase of its development with a 3D-printed prototype house that will serve as a welcome center for the community. The 500-square-foot building took a total of 27 hours to print.
That was only the beginning, according to said Alan Graham, founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes: ''ICON is pushing the envelope and is technologically laying out a new way of looking at how we build homes,'' he said. ''One of our desires is that this partnership with ICON will grow so deep that we're able to leverage this technology to someday build all of our microhomes in future phases of the village.'' Graham and the nonprofit he heads hope to ''demonstrate why Community First! Village is at the epicenter of innovation in our country in terms of communities and movements that are effectively addressing homelessness.''
It's a point that would be hard to argue. ICON, which uses robotics, software, and advanced materials (including its proprietary ''Lavacrete'') to remove numerous barriers in the contemporary building industry, debuted its first 3D printer and the country's first permitted, 3D-printed home in at SXSW 2018 in Austin. That home was a prototype made in partnership with internationally focused housing nonprofit New Story. (That project seems to have gotten off the ground, bringing on marquee designer Yves B(C)har to work on a community of the homes, planned to provide low-income housing in an undisclosed Latin American city.)
Interior of 3D-printed houseRegan Morton Photography The next year, ICON debuted and started shipping its upgraded Vulcan II 3D printer, one of which was promptly commissioned by Cielo to be used exclusively to print affordable housing locally. The completion of the 3D-printed home on Monday was a milestone for the second phase of Community First, which will feature multiple variations on the homes, designed by Logan and printed simultaneously to further increase speed and reduce cost'--the latter, simultaneous printing, another first. A set of six will be printed for the community this year.
Cielo worked with Cedar Creek Interiors, Logan Architecture, and Claire Zinnecker Designs on the welcome (and welcoming) center. Industry West donated the furniture. ''I wanted the Welcome Center to feel warm, inviting and homey. Utilizing bright colors, interesting shapes, and warm, natural materials, we created a space that makes visitors feel comfortable from the moment they walk in. This is a monumental moment, and I wanted the space to acknowledge and celebrate that.''
A home at the original Community First VillageCourtesy of Community First In 2017, Graham announced a 10-year plan to mitigate homelessness in Austin, along with a $60 million capital campaign to fund expansion of its innovative Community First Village, a development that includes tiny houses, recreational vehicles, and ''canvas-sided'' homes (sturdy tents with concrete foundations), created with a community of volunteers, entrepreneurs, designers, and city leaders to as a permanent housing model for people who experience chronic homelessness.
Phase II adds 24 acres to the northeast Austin development, bringing the entire property to 51 total acres. When completed and at full capacity, Community First will have space for around 480 formerly homeless people. According to a February Austin Monitor story, the total number of people estimated to be without homes in 2019 would likely be around 2,247.
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In large part because of its forward-thinking founder, Community First has been at the vanguard of the intersection of technology and social good. As the group expands and enhances its ability to offer real, lasting solutions to homelessness, that kind of collaboration is proving fruitful. ''One of our fantasies is that this partnership with ICON and Mobile Loaves and Fishes will grow so deep that we're able to leverage this technology to build all of our homes. We completely see that as a big, future mission,'' said Graham. ''Community First is the perfect place on the planet to experiment with that.''
Feeding the multitude - Wikipedia
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 15:34
Feeding the multitude is a term used to refer to two separate miracles of Jesus reported in the Gospels.
The first miracle, "Feeding of the 5,000", is reported by all four gospels ( Matthew 14:13-21 ; Mark 6:31-44 ; Luke 9:12-17 ; John 6:1-14 ).
The second miracle, the "Feeding of the 4,000", with seven loaves of bread and fish, is reported by Matthew 15:32-39 and Mark 8:1-9 , but not by Luke or John.
The Feeding of the 5,000 [ edit ] The Feeding of the 5,000 is also known as the "miracle of the five loaves and two fish"; the Gospel of John reports that Jesus used five loaves and two small fish supplied by a boy to feed a multitude. According to Matthew's gospel, when Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been killed, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Luke specifies that the place was near Bethsaida. The crowds followed Jesus on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus said that they did not need to go away, and therefore the disciples were to give them something to eat. They said that they only had five loaves and two fish, which Jesus asked to be brought to him. Jesus directed the people to sit down in groups on the grass. In Mark's Gospel, the crowds sat in groups of 50 and 100,[1] and in Luke's Gospel, Jesus' instructions were to seat the crowd in groups of 50,[2] implying that there were 100 such groups.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to Heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, beside women and children. In John's Gospel, the multitude has been attracted around Jesus because of the healing works he has performed, and the feeding of the multitude is taken as a further sign (Greek: σημεá–Îν ) that Jesus is the Messiah, the prophet who (according to the promise in Deuteronomy 18:15 ) is to come into the world" (John 6:14).[3]
The Feeding of the 4,000 [ edit ] This story, which appears only in Mark and Matthew, is also known as the miracle of the seven loaves and fish, as the Gospel of Matthew refers to seven loaves and a few small fish used by Jesus to feed a multitude.[4] According to the Gospels, a large crowd had gathered and was following Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to him and said:
"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way."
His disciples answered:
"Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked.
"Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterwards, the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan (or Magdala).
Some commentators note the differences between some of the details of the accounts as a means of emphasizing that there were two distinct miracles: for example, the baskets used for collecting the food that remained were twelve 'κόφινÎι' (hand baskets) in Mark 6:43 but seven 'σÏυρίδες' (large baskets) in Mark 8:8 . Cornelius a Lapide stated that a 'σÏυρίς' or 'large basket' was double the size of a 'κόφινÎς'.[5] An indication of the size of a 'σÏυρίς' is that the apostle Paul was let out of a building through a gap in the Damascus city wall inside one, in order to avert a plot to kill him.[6]
In Mark 8:16-21 Jesus distinguishes the two miracles in a conversation with his apostles.
See also [ edit ] Chronology of JesusLife of Jesus in the New TestamentMinistry of JesusReferences [ edit ] Bibliography [ edit ] Brown, Raymond E. (1997). An Introduction to the New Testament. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. HarperCollins Bible Commentary (2000)Kilgallen, John J. (1989). A Brief Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Paulist Press. ISBN 0-8091-3059-9. External links [ edit ] Media related to Feeding the multitude at Wikimedia Commons
Lawsuit filed against City of Austin over homeless shelter - KTBC
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 17:00
Local News Posted: Sep 09, 2019 04:20 PM CDT Updated: Sep 10, 2019 09:24 AM CDT AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Austin for a lack of transparency and failing to supply public information about a property that was being purchased in South Austin for a new homeless shelter.
Ellis Petersen filed a TPIA lawsuit against the city on Monday, September 9.
"At the Austin City Council meeting on June 20, 2019, out of the blue, and to the utter shock of adjacent landowners, neighborhood groups, PTA members and parents of children who walk by this location on their way to school, the Council voted to buy 1112 Ben White Blvd. for a shelter for homeless people," the lawsuit alleges. "The lack of any community input on locating the homeless shelter at this location was very disturbing to Austin voters who have been told by their elected officials how much these officials value transparency and community involvement."
The lawsuit claims that Ellis Petersen made a series of public information requests for records that would explain how this site was selected and who was contacted about the decision in advance. The lawsuit goes on to say that the City of Austin refused to supply the information and requested a ruling from the Attorney General, pursuant to TPIA section 552.301 to withhold the information.
The City of Austin released the following statement:
"The City of Austin is in current and ongoing negotiations to buy property for a new homeless shelter'--a need that has been widely and publicly discussed. Because the parties have not finished negotiating and reached an agreement with the current owner, the City followed State law to protect its negotiating position."
Petersen is seeking monetary relief of $100,000 or less and nonmonetary mandamus relief.
Concerned community hosts meeting to discuss proposed South Austin homeless shelter
Community questions city's selection process for new homeless shelter
ARCH director says camping outside shelter becoming emergency situation
How buying and selling a home could soon be as simple as trading stocks - MarketWatch
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 21:44
Best New Ideas in Money
By Andrea Riquier
Published: Sep 11, 2019 10:30 am ET
Artificial intelligence in housing could completely change the way we buy, sell and liveiBuying was just the beginning. Get ready for machine learning to remake real estate altogether.
On a recent weeknight, Dahlia and Adam Brown came home to a spacious Colonial on a quiet cul-de-sac in Marietta, Georgia. The Browns both work demanding jobs and have two young sons. They bought the house in June using Knock, a company that's trying to revolutionize the real estate industry with a ''home trade-in platform'' making it easier to buy and sell at once. That solution was ideal for the Browns, who are just as busy as most couples, but are more introverted, making the idea of prospective buyers tramping through their private space seem excruciating.
Across town, Martha Seay was overseeing movers in a rambling brown ranch-style house nestled among tall hickory trees. The day before, she had closed on the sale of the house, where she and her husband had raised their family, to Zillow, the massive real estate company. The next day she would leave for Florida's Gulf Coast, where they had just bought a retirement home.
Seay had wanted to move for years, but the idea of selling was daunting: ''I said, maybe next year, maybe next year, maybe next year, because I didn't want to go through all the crap you have to go through.'' Selling to a company took just a few clicks and one visit from an appraiser, and Seay was delighted. ''I cannot tell you how much the stress was relieved,'' she said.
The Browns and Seay are the consumer faces of the disruption that's currently roiling residential real estate. As different models '-- home trade-in companies, ''iBuyers,'' partnerships between new upstarts and old stalwarts '-- clamor for attention, lots of attention is focused on trying to determine what's here to stay and what's just an awkward rough draft: the Pets.com of the housing market.
But these families are also part of a massive industrial revolution. Information technology has remade old processes as different as ordering dinner delivery, hailing a cab and trading stocks. Now it's coming for an industry so last-century that much of the paperwork is still done on paper, where customers are often steered among professionals scratching each other on the backs, and where there's enormous incentive for incumbents to keep making it hard for customers to do it themselves.
The stakes are big: $74 billion of real-estate agent commissions were paid out in 2018, and investors have poured billions into all kinds of disruptors. Early adopters like the Browns and Seay give us a glimpse of what the future real estate market could look like. But just as online retail has hurt the bricks-and-mortar retail industry, and tech-enabled social networks have changed not just high school reunions but may be influencing the political process, data-fied real estate could upend our lives in many ways, some we can't even comprehend yet.
''There's over 100 million active users on Zillow Z +0.46% and Trulia every month but only six million people buy and sell houses every year,'' said Charles Folsom, Knock's director of customer service. ''Even if they're just window shopping, there's clearly a desire there. If you can empower the American Dream and enable mobility at the same time, that's the best of both worlds.''
Zillow, a company that keeps an uneasy truce with real-estate agents even as it increasingly tries to automate the work they've done for decades, may have even bigger ambitions.
Krishna Rao, Zillow's head of analytics for its Offers division, likens the current evolution in real estate to the democratization of stock trading a few decades ago. Not only is it possible to look up the value of any stock instantly today, he noted, but ''there's a kind of perpetual bid-ask spread on every stock, right? I think we're a long way away from that in the real estate space, but how do we take incremental steps toward it?''
Zillow sees the listing price as a 'machine learning' exercise
In 2018, Zillow took what had been a small pilot program and announced it was going whole hog into iBuying, the practice of buying homes directly from consumers. (The term iBuying is also sometimes called ''instant offers''; Zillow's program is Zillow Offers.)
Rao, a macroeconomist by training, had joined the company in 2013 after a stint at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the thick of the financial crisis. At Zillow, he helped analyze and make useful the enormous quantities of data the company captures for the Zestimate and other kinds of forecasts and reports.
In the second quarter of 2019, Zillow bought more than 1,500 homes and sold nearly 800, and says it aims to transact 10 times that amount. Rao's group is in charge of thinking about how it should all work: What should the company pay for a home? How much will it sell for '-- and what should it be listed for? How quickly will it sell? What upgrades are necessary and which contractors should be dispatched to do the work?
More to the point, when your ''inventory'' is dozens of houses scattered around a sprawling metro area, with the constant threat of mold, floods, power outages, unmown lawns, downed tree limbs, etc., who's keeping an eye on the goods? (Rao told MarketWatch that Zillow is currently recruiting high-level logistics people from the likes of Amazon AMZN +0.13% and ''classic industrial companies'' like General Electric GE +2.41% to make this transition.)
The promises '-- and the peril '-- of this new endeavor are weighty. Zillow's stock ZG +0.77% tanked after its last earnings release, in which management revealed that a small sliver of the homes it had purchased were being held longer than they had accounted for.
Analyst Brad Safalow, who has a short position on Zillow shares, betting on a decline, wrote: ''Even a 10% hit to the company's inventory could cut Zillow's overall gross profits from its Homes division by 25%! The margin for error in this business is razor thin, and we think investors continue to underestimate the difficulty of this ambitious endeavor.''
But Zillow bulls, and management, point to what Rao calls its ''competitive advantage.''
Lots of companies have housing-market data about supply '-- that is, listings of homes for sale. Zillow's secret sauce is information about demand, gleaned from 180 million unique website visitors each month. ''That is, seeing who's searching in this neighborhood and are they also searching in that other neighborhood or are they really just pinned down in this area. What is the demand for three bedrooms like relative to four bedrooms?'' and so on, Rao said.
What does that mean in real life? Zillow sees the listing price as a ''machine learning'' exercise, he said.
''That machine can look at what the relative demand is for homes like this, relative supply, how that's trended, and take these gobs of data and crunch it down into a particular listing price. Over time, as that home is listed, we then get more and more granular information '-- how well is the home showing? Are we seeing lots of tours, lots of offers? And use that to refine our strategy.''
''How do we solve the problem of consumers' pain''
In a shared office in Buckhead, a well-heeled Atlanta suburb, the Knock team is working on the same questions. Two of Knock's co-founders also started Trulia, a Zillow competitor that the bigger company eventually bought. Both companies launched as the housing bubble was peaking. Zillow quickly became known for the ''Zestimate,'' a modern marvel of housing clickbait that made the value of a home, previously something an owner considered only infrequently, a near-real-time interactive experience. (The Zestimate preceded Zillow's listings, while Trulia started by offering online listings and later developed its own home value estimate tool.)
''At Trulia they unlocked the database of listings and now they're unlocking the other side '-- how do we actually solve the problem of the transaction,'' said Stephen Freudenberg, Knock's first employee and a former real-estate agent. ''Most of these other companies are solving for the agent's pain, not the consumers' pain.''
Knock does that by helping customers buy a new home '-- usually a larger one to accommodate a growing family '-- then sells the old one once they're settled, and out of the property that needs to be staged and shown. They charge a fee equivalent to 3% of the value of the home they helped their clients buy, and 3% of the cost of the house that gets sold, as well as a small surcharge to cover the costs they front their buyer clients, such as initial insurance and escrow payments.
It's a personalized model, almost like a concierge service. Yet Knock seems to spend nearly as much time and energy on data analytics, specifically about price, as Zillow does. The company recruited its lead data scientist, Rafaan Anvari, from the Central Intelligence Agency.
Anvari spent months shadowing Freudenberg, asking a constant stream of questions about how and why Realtors do what they do to create an automated valuation model for homes that understands even better than a seasoned real estate agent how to gauge pluses, like access to a golf course, against minuses, like proximity to a busy road.
Their back-and-forth went on for months, and some of the futility of getting a machine to learn how to think like a veteran neighborhood salesperson are captured in their internal chats, as seen below.
Their automated valuation model is now named ''Borg,'' after the drone-like cybernetic beings that tried to ''assimilate'' humanity on ''Star Trek.''
The Knock team doesn't just think Borg will make them more competitive. They think it will solve a lot of what's wrong in today's housing market.
''Ask five different agents what your house is worth and you'll get five completely different answers,'' Freudenberg said.
Internally, Knock team members call the existing real-estate ecosystem a ''gypsy market'' because it's so antiquated and opaque. ''Everyone's haggling but they don't know what they're haggling over,'' Freudenberg said. ''They're just making up obscure numbers.''
He offers an example: A family might spend $100,000 remodeling a kitchen but add only $50,000 to the cost of the listing because properties in the surrounding area, which are comparable listings, might not have such fancy kitchens. ''So they're stuck with what the neighborhood sold for, but if we're actually looking at the data then everyone could theoretically get a better deal.''
Borg plugs information including room sizes, home style, outdoor space and more into an algorithm to derive a home's value. Meanwhile, Zillow is trying to get even more granular, by teaching its machines about internal fixtures and features. The company described that evolution in a July press release about the Zestimate: ''The image-recognition model can classify patterns in the pixels of photographs and correlate them to home value. For example, while the human eye sees tile or granite countertops, the Zestimate identifies two different pixel patterns.''
It's worth noting that the vast majority of data-science resources in real estate seem to be focusing on home valuation as the endgame, as least for now.
Rao suggests that may be ''because it's a very narrow, well-defined problem, so it's kind of easy to show progress to investors. We think of the strategy of Zillow Offers not just as a crisper valuation, but kind of an end-to-end experience that can seamlessly integrate the mortgage piece of it, the title, the escrow, and the buying and selling. It's a big challenge doing all those things at the same time.''
Still, revolution has to start somewhere. The industry's focus on automating valuations means that very soon, the Federal Reserve is likely to finalize a regulation that says appraisals will no longer be required on most property sales up to $400,000.
For Dahlia Brown, the Knock customer in Marietta, having an algorithm at the heart of the real estate market may help counter some human bias by limiting ''some of the historical practices that maybe have kept certain people from homeownership,'' she said. ''This process actually seems as fair and equitable as it could be.''
Dahlia Brown and her family in from of their Marietta home.
Still, it goes without saying that the real estate industry and the capital markets and venture capitalists that fund them aren't developing better data tools to create a more equitable playing field for families moving into their forever homes.
Jeremy Sicklick is CEO of HouseCanary, a platform that's raised over $60 million from investors to help it aggregate what he calls ''millions of data elements'' to come up with accurate home price valuations, forecasts of where those prices are going, and rental valuations for those properties.
With HouseCanary, investors, like those who buy single-family homes to rent out, can see a property status change, like a price change or a default, in near real-time, Sicklick said. ''We're helping them identify real estate opportunities within five minutes,'' he said. ''We're getting into a world of programmatic trading in real estate with large institutional investors that we help enable.''
With so many concerns about institutional investors like Blackstone BX +1.57% snatching up homes to rent out, keeping low- and moderate-income Americans locked out of homeownership, is that a good thing?
''I actually think it's a great thing,'' Sicklick said. ''What I think it does is it adds liquidity into the market. The iBuyers and the large institutional investors create a very liquid floor price for someone looking to sell and drive a faster transaction.''
There has to be a better way
For now, that model is as imminent as, say, driverless cars. Knock, Zillow and other upstarts are still plying their trade in a mostly 20th-century housing market. The Brown family, for example, contacted Knock, got pre-approved for a mortgage, had their house assessed, and started touring new homes within a week. But they hadn't even moved out when their agent urged them to hurry to get the property prepped for sale, to take advantage of the waning spring selling season.
The Browns are happy with the outcome and say that having the process rush by so quickly '-- start to finish in two months '-- lessened the stress of having to do precisely what they dreaded in the first place: let strangers poke around their home. But it's still worth noting that traditional cycles of demand and habits are trumping the potential that new models offer, at least for now.
The question remains: how much of what comes next comes down to algorithms, and how much to process? For now, the onslaught of machine learning in the housing market continues unabated. As Knock's data team might say, resistance is futile.
More 'Best New Ideas in Money' See original version of this story
Housing First - Wikipedia
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:31
Housing First is a relatively recent innovation in human service programs and social policy regarding treatment of people who are homeless and is an alternative to a system of emergency shelter/transitional housing progressions. Rather than moving homeless individuals through different "levels" of housing, whereby each level moves them closer to "independent housing" (for example: from the streets to a public shelter, and from a public shelter to a transitional housing program, and from there to their own apartment in the community), Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own accommodation.
Housing First approaches are based on the concept that a homeless individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. In contrast, many other programs operate from a model of "housing readiness"'--that is, that an individual or household must address other issues that may have led to the episode of homelessness prior to entering housing.
General principles [ edit ] Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.[1] The principles behind this approach are:[2]
Move people into housing directly from streets and shelters without preconditions of treatment acceptance or compliance;The provider is obligated to bring robust support services to the housing. These services are predicated on assertive engagement, not coercion;Continued tenancy is not dependent on participation in services;Units targeted to most disabled and vulnerable homeless members of the community;Embraces harm-reduction approach to addictions rather than mandating abstinence. At the same time, the provider must be prepared to support resident commitment to recovery;Residents must have leases and tenant protections under the law;Can be implemented as either a project-based or scattered site model.History and evolution [ edit ] In Los Angeles, California in 1988, the "Housing First" Program for families was launched at Beyond Shelter by Tanya Tull in response to a sharp increase in the number of homeless families with children.[3] The "housing first" approach for families includes in-depth screening and assessment for child safety. Families should not be relocated to rental housing if there are indicators that a child might be in danger. In "housing first" for families, services are available before, during, and after relocation to rental housing - but engagement is not a requirement for participation. Unfortunately the "housing first" philosophy was often misinterpreted in later years and, today, many government programs promote faulty application of "housing first." For households with children, appropriate services and monitoring may be delivered through home visits, outpatient treatment, or linking to appropriate services in the community at-large.[4]
In 1992 Dr. Sam Tsemberis, a faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry of the New York University School of Medicine, founded Pathways to Housing in New York City. Housing First for the chronically homeless is premised on the notion that housing is a basic human right, and so should not be denied to anyone, even if they are abusing alcohol or other substances. The Housing First model, thus, is philosophically in contrast to models that require the homeless to abjure substance-abuse and seek treatment in exchange for housing.[5]
Housing First, when supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, does not only provide housing. The model, used by nonprofit agencies throughout America, also provides wraparound case management services to the tenants. This case management provides stability for homeless individuals, which increases their success. It allows for accountability and promotes self-sufficiency. The housing provided through government supported Housing First programs is permanent and "affordable," meaning that tenants pay 30% of their income towards rent. Housing First, as pioneered by Pathways to Housing, targets individuals with disabilities.[6] This housing is supported through two HUD programs. They are the Supportive Housing Program and the Shelter Plus Care Program.[7] Pathways' Housing First model has been recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as an Evidence-based practice.[8]
The Housing First Model is executed through either a scattered-site or project-based implementation. A scattered-site Housing First program is a model in which residents are offered the opportunity of being housed in individual housing units throughout a community.[9][10] This model integrates participants in a community as opposed to assembling multiple or all participants in one project or location.[11] In a project-based Housing First implementation, residents are offered units within a single housing project or site. This model congregates multiple or all participants in one locality.[12] In both the scattered-site and project-based Housing First programs, residents are given access to a wide variety of supportive health and rehabilitation services which they have the option, although not mandatory, to participate in and receive treatment.[6]
Housing First is currently endorsed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) as a "best practice" for governments and service-agencies to use in their fight to end chronic homelessness in America.[13]
Housing First programs currently operate throughout the United States in cities such as New Orleans, Louisiana;[14]Plattsburgh, New York; Anchorage, Alaska; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York City; District of Columbia; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Quincy, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Salt Lake City, Utah;[15]Seattle, Washington;Los Angeles; Austin, Texas;[16] and Cleveland, Ohio,[17] among many others, and are intended to be crucial aspects of communities' so-called "10-Year Plans To End Chronic Homelessness" also advocated by USICH. Rapid Re-Housing is based on Housing First principles and is considered a subset of the Housing First approach. Rapid Re-Housing differs primarily in the provision of short-term rent subsidies (generally 3''6 months), after which the tenant either pays rent without a subsidy or has access to a Section 8 Housing Choice voucher or the equivalent.
Evidence and outcomes [ edit ] In Massachusetts, the Home & Healthy for Good program reported some significant outcomes that were favorable especially in the area of cost savings.[18]
The Denver Housing First Collaborative, operated by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless,[19] provides housing through a Housing First approach to more than 200 chronically homeless individuals. A 2006 cost study documented a significant reduction in the use and cost of emergency services by program participants as well as increased health status.[20] Emergency room visits and costs were reduced by an average of 34.3 percent. Hospital inpatient costs were reduced by 66 percent. Detox visits were reduced by 82 percent. Incarceration days and costs were reduced by 76 percent. 77 percent of those entering the program continued to be housed in the program after two years.
Researchers in Seattle, Washington, partnering with the Downtown Emergency Service Center, found that providing housing and support services for homeless alcoholics costs taxpayers less than leaving them on the street, where taxpayer money goes towards police and emergency health care.[5][21][22] Results of the study funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation[23] appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association April, 2009.[5] This first US controlled assessment of the effectiveness of Housing First specifically targeting chronically homeless alcoholics showed that the program saved taxpayers more than $4 million over the first year of operation. During the first six months, even after considering the cost of administering the housing, 95 residents in a Housing First program in downtown Seattle, the study reported an average cost-savings of 53 percent'--nearly US $2,500 per month per person in health and social services, compared to the per month costs of a wait-list control group of 39 homeless people. Further, stable housing also results in reduced drinking among homeless alcoholics.
In Utah, there has been "a 72 percent decrease overall since enacting the plan in 2005" according to the Utah Division of Housing and Community Development.[24]
In August 2007, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that the number of chronically homeless individuals living on the streets or in shelters dropped by an unprecedented 30 percent, from 175,914 people in 2005 to 123,833 in 2007. This was credited in part to the "housing first" approach; Congress in 1999 directed that HUD spend 30% of its funding on the method.[25]
In September 2010, it was reported that the Housing First Initiative had significantly reduced the chronic homeless single person population in Boston, Massachusetts, although homeless families were still increasing in number. Some shelters were reducing the number of beds due to lowered numbers of homeless, and some emergency shelter facilities were closing, especially the emergency Boston Night Center.[26] By 2015, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had announced a 3-year plan to end chronic homelessness, focusing on coordinating efforts among public agencies and nonprofit organizations providing services to homeless men and women.[27][28]
In 2013, the estimated national public cost of chronic homelessness was between $3.7 and $4.7 billion according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). Through Housing First programs, chronically homeless individuals are using fewer hospital resources, spending less time in costly incarceration and requiring fewer emergency room visits. For example, a review of the impact of permanent supportive housing and case management on the health of the chronically homeless found evidence that these services have a positive impact on health outcomes such as self-reported mental health status and substance use, a large impact on health care utilization, and a reduction in Medicaid health care costs.[29] Studies in New York City and in Utah have shown that every homeless person housed in programs such as Housing First saves taxpayers $10,000 and $8,000 a year, respectively.[citation needed ] A research study at University of Northern Carolina also reported that a housing project for the chronically homeless called Moore Place had saved the county $2.4 million.[30]
The implementation of Housing First philosophy when working with homeless families and young adults has been shown to increase clients' enrollment in public assistance benefits, decrease involvement in the child welfare system, and have very few returning to homelessness.[31]
When comparing the effects of Housing First on older and younger homeless adults, older homeless adults have shown significantly higher rates of improvement in areas like mental component summary scores, condition specific quality of life, mental health symptom severity, and percentage of days stably housed.[32]
When comparing the effects of Housing First on homeless adults with lower or borderline intellectual functioning to homeless adults with normal intellectual functioning it has been shown that there is no significant difference.[33]
Post''2007 US policy and legislation [ edit ] The United States Congress appropriated $25 million in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants for 2008 to show the effectiveness of Rapid Re-housing programs in reducing family homelessness.[34][35][36]
In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 part of which addressed homelessness prevention, allocating $1.5 billion for a Homeless Prevention Fund. The funding for it was called the "Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program" (HPRP), and was distributed using the formula for the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program.[37]
On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act into Public Law (Public Law 111-22 or "PL 111-22"), reauthorizing HUD's Homeless Assistance programs. It was part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. The HEARTH act allows for the prevention of homelessness, rapid re-housing, consolidation of housing programs, and new homeless categories. In the eighteen months after the bill's signing, HUD must make regulations implementing this new McKinney program.[38][39]
In late 2009, some homeless advocacy organizations, such as the National Coalition for the Homeless, reported and published perceived problems with the HEARTH Act of 2009 as a HUD McKinney-Vento Reauthorization bill, especially with regard to privacy, definitional ineligibility, community roles, and restrictions on eligibile activities.[40]
On June 22, 2010, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness presented Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness to the Obama Administration and Congress.[41] This is the nation's first comprehensive strategy as mandated by the HEARTH Act and includes Housing First as a best practice for reaching the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2015.
On June 11, 2014 the 100,000 Homes Campaign in the United States, launched in 2010 to "help communities around the country place 100,000 chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing" announced that it reached its four-year goal of housing 100,000 chronically homeless people nearly two months before its July 29 deadline.[42]
New York Times journalist David Bornstein summarized key elements of the 100,000 Homes Campaign that campaign leaders attribute to its success.[42] This included learning individual homeless people's "name and need" by mobilizing volunteers to go very early in the morning to check on them, establishing a "vulnerability index" so they could prioritize certain homeless people and "bring housing advocates and agency representatives together to streamline the placement processes, and share ideas about how to cut through red tape."[42]
Application to family homelessness [ edit ] The Housing First methodology was initially developed in 1988 in Los Angeles, California, to address an increase in family homelessness. The basic methodology helps homeless families to relocate from shelters and transitional housing directly into permanent rental housing in the community at-large as quickly as possible, with home-based case management support for a traditional period of time. In other words, the services traditionally being provided in transitional housing were instead provided to families after they had been assisted in relocating to permanent housing at rents they could afford. This was a major innovation in the field at the time. The basic premise was that families were more responsive to interventions and support from a stable permanent housing base than while still homeless. In the 2009 HEARTH Act, the Housing First approach to ending homelessness was codified into law. Housing First programs for families differ dramatically from Housing First for the chronically homeless, as children are involved.[43] Beyond Shelter's leadership promoted this new approach across the country for the next 20 years, working collaboratively with the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Outside the United States [ edit ] Australia [ edit ] In South Australia, the State Government of Premier Mike Rann (2002 to 2011) committed substantial funding to a series of initiatives designed to combat homelessness. Advised by Social Inclusion Commissioner David Cappo and the founder of New York's Common Ground program, Rosanne Haggerty, the Rann Government established Common Ground Adelaide,[44] building high quality inner city apartments (combined with intensive support) for "rough sleeping" homeless people. The government also funded the Street to Home program and a hospital liaison service designed to assist homeless people who are admitted to the emergency departments of Adelaide's major public hospitals. Rather than being released back into homelessness, patients identified as rough sleepers are found accommodation backed by professional support. Common Ground and Street to Home now operate across Australia in other states.
The "Street to Home" and "Common Ground" projects have been shown to produce similar results to the US Housing First model in terms of strong housing outcomes and reductions in intensity and frequency of service use relative to pre-intervention levels.[45]
Canada [ edit ] In its Economic Action Plan 2013, the Federal Government of Canada proposed $119 million annually from March 2014 until March 2019'--with $600 million in new funding'--to renew its Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). In dealing with homelessness in Canada, the focus is on the Housing First model. Thus, private or public organizations across Canada are eligible to receive HPS subsidies to implement Housing First programs.[46] In 2008, the Federal Government of Canada funded a five-year demonstration program, the At Home/Chez Soi project, aimed at providing evidence about what services and systems best help people experiencing serious mental illness and homelessness. Launched in November 2009 and ending in March 2013, the At Home/Chez Soi project was actively addressing the housing need by offering Housing First programs to people with mental illness who were experiencing homelessness in five cities: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montr(C)al and Moncton. In total, At Home/Chez Soi has provided more than 1,000 Canadians with housing.[47]
Housing First has grown in popularity in Canada and used in many Canadian ten-year plans to end homelessness, such as those in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. Housing First: A Canadian Perspective (TM) is spearheaded by Pathways to Housing Calgary and director Sue Fortune. Canadian adaptations to Housing First have demonstrated positive outcomes as documented on the website: www.thealex.ca (Housing Programs; Pathways to Housing). Canadian implementations of Housing First must be tailored to Canadian homelessness, resources, politics and philosophy.
In Calgary, Alberta, the Alex[48] Pathways to Housing Calgary which opened in 2007, has 150 individuals in scatter site homes in 2013.[49] Clients pay 30 percent of their income towards their rent: 85 percent of Pathways to Housing clients receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefits and 15 percent receive Alberta Works. The Alex Pathways to Housing uses a Housing First model, but it also uses Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), an integrated approach to healthcare where clients access a team of "nurses, mental health specialists, justice specialists and substance abuse specialists." Director Sue Fortune is committed to the 10 Year Plan To End Homelessless in the Calgary Region. Fortune reported that the Housing First approach resulted in a 66 percent decline in days hospitalized (from one year prior to intake compared to one year in the program), a 38 percent decline in times in emergency room, a 41 percent decline in EMS events, a 79 percent decline in days in jail and a 30 percent decline in police interactions.[50] Sue Fortune, Director of Alex Pathways to Housing in Calgary in her 2013 presentation entitled "Canadian Adaptations using Housing First: A Canadian Perspective" argued that less than 1% of existing clients return to shelters or rough sleeping; clients spend 76% fewer days in jail; clients have 35% decline in police interactions.[50]
Pathways to Housing Canada describes the Housing First as a "client-driven strategy that provides immediate access to an apartment without requiring initial participation in psychiatric treatment or treatment for sobriety."[50]
Following the development of several Housing First programs through the Home/Chez Soi research project, an initiative to provide Housing First training and technical assistance was created and has been shown to be useful in developing high fidelity programs.[51]
Denmark [ edit ] In Denmark, Housing First is embedded in the national Homeless Strategy as the overall strategy. However, it has been shown that this intervention strategy is serving only a small number of people recorded to be homeless which is most likely due to barriers like shortage of affordable housing.[52]
Finland [ edit ] In 2007 the centre-right government of Matti Vanhanen began a special program of four wise men to eliminate homelessness in Finland by 2015.[53][54]
The programme to reduce long-term homelessness targets just some homeless people. Assessed on the basis of social, health and financial circumstances, this is the hard core of homelessness. The programme to reduce long-term homelessness focuses on the 10 biggest urban growth centres, where most of the homeless are to be found. The main priority, however, is the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and especially Helsinki itself, where long-term homelessness is concentrated.
The programme is structured around the housing first principle. Solutions to social and health problems cannot be a condition for organising accommodation: on the contrary, accommodation is a requirement which also allows other problems of people who have been homeless to be solved. Having somewhere to live makes it possible to strengthen life management skills and is conducive to purposeful activity.
Because of all the reasons there are for long-term homelessness, if it is to be cut there need to be simultaneous measures at different levels, i.e. universal housing and social policy measures, the prevention of homelessness and targeted action to reduce long-term homelessness.
The programme's objectives are:
To halve long-term homelessness by 2011To eliminate homelessness entirely by 2015More effective measures to prevent homelessnessFrance [ edit ] The French government launched a Housing First-like program in France in 2010 in 4 major cities - Toulouse, Marseille, Lille and Paris - called "Un chez-Soi d'abord". It follows the same principles as the Canadian and US programs: it is focused on homeless people with mental illness or addicted to drugs or alcohol. The plan is on a three-year basis for each individual, living in accommodation provided by an NGO.[55]
Clients are given any needed help with social issues and medical care. The first houses have been working in three cities since 2011 and a hundred apartments have been planned in Paris starting in May 2012.[56]
Several NGOs are involved in this trial. They provide rental management and social support for tenants.[57]
Those NGOs are linked with scientists investigating the results of the experiment and serve as a relay for information and status reports on the targeted public. The lead team of "Un chez-soi d'abord" is expecting results to be published around 2017.[58]
Japan [ edit ] Though homeless support groups like non-profit organization Moyai, Bigissue, M(C)decins du Monde Japan have requested Housing First, Japanese government does not have a Housing First program yet. Traditionally, the government offers public housing so-called Koei-jutaku for low-income people by public housing law and it is run by local government. Rent fees are subject to change according to household income. Because applicants must be selected by lottery, low-income people cannot live in the housing soon though they have an advantage. There are a couple of Housing First-like programs. Non-profit organization Littleones[59] renovates discarded or empty homes and they rent the rooms to single mothers with financial and occupational support.[60] Tsukuroi Tokyo fund advocates a housing first and they built a shelter specially for homeless people.[61]
United Kingdom [ edit ] The UK government announced plans for a Housing First pilot programme in the West Midlands, Liverpool, and Manchester, along with funding of £28m.[62] This followed publication of a report entitled Housing First by the Centre for Social Justice which cited the results from the Finnish application of Housing First.[63]
Miscellaneous [ edit ] As part of the H2020 research project "HOME_EU: Reversing Homelessness in Europe" by the European Commission, approximately 5600 surveys have been conducted between March and December 2017 in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and Sweden in order to understand people's knowledge, attitudes, and practices about homelessness and how much support the general public has in regards to Housing First as a solution for homelessness in Europe.[64]
Criticism of Housing First [ edit ] One-size-fits-all [ edit ] Ralph DaCosta Nunez, the President and CEO of the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH), who is also a Professor at Columbia University, predicted this one-size-fits-all is destined to fail as statistics in New York City prove.[65] Dr. Nunez described the approach as "'public stupidity'" rather than "'public policy'". He also complained that Housing First "is all that's left after the other poverty fighting programs have been underfunded or eliminated." Nunez advocates for a three tiered approach to addressing homelessness with Housing First as only the first component of that approach.[66]
Following Panelk: a failed communist model [ edit ] Sharam Kohan, a social policy expert and economist, compared the Housing First model to Panelk of the former communist countries that tried to end homelessness by providing permanent and unconditional public housing. Dr. Kohan criticized Housing First model for following Panelk's failed philosophy and approaches. Dr. Kohan points to a growing number of reports from communities that have implemented Housing First programs which are "credited with creating slums and slumlord."[67]
Limits of evidence based policy [ edit ] On July 31, 2011, Prof. Victoria Stanhope, Ph.D., of New York University School of Social Work and Prof. Kerry Dunn, J.D., Ph.D., of University of New England School of Social Work, published ''The curious case of Housing First; The limits of evidence-based policy'' in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.[9] Drs. Stanhope and Dunn gave an overview of evidence-based policy and presented ''critiques based on its reliance on positivist methods and technical approach to policy making. Using these critiques as a framework, the paper discusse[d] the case of Housing First, a policy adopted by the Bush Administration in order to address the problem of chronic homelessness.'' According to Drs. Stanhope and Dunn, the Housing First ''is an example of research-driven policy making but also resulted in a progressive policy being promoted by a conservative administration. In discussing the case, the paper elaborates on the relationship between evidence and policy, arguing that evidence-based policy fails to integrate evidence and values into policy deliberations. The paper concludes with alternative models of policy decision-making and their implications for research.''[9]
Housing First has been criticized on its failure to address broader service outcomes, namely substance abuse (in one case, it was argued that the only reason substance abuse outcomes were no worse was that the residents were not severely addicted).[68] These criticisms have been rebutted on the grounds that Housing First is a program to end homelessness not to reduce substance abuse, though more recent research indicates it is more effective than traditional approaches in this regard as well.[69] This exchange highlights the way in which the selection of outcomes sets both the terms of the debate and the parameters of ''what works.'' Embedded in that mantra are a priori decisions about what constitutes working and for whom; in this case it was stable housing for the chronic homeless.[9]
According to Stanhope, Housing First ''asserts a right to housing. Such a material right is an anathema to neoliberal ideology and challenges deeply held beliefs that have shaped US welfare from its inception: That no one has a right to a government benefit unless they have proved themselves to be deserving or worthy (e.g., "TANF"), or have earned it (e.g., social insurance).''[9][70]
In a rapid review and document analysis of Housing First scholarly literature in the US and Canada, it has been shown that these literature are severely lacking in the implementation and explicit mention of Harm Reduction.[71]
See also [ edit ] Homelessness in the United StatesMcKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance ActAt Home, a Canadian program inspired by Housing First[72]References [ edit ] ^ "Housing First | Explore the Solutions Database | The Solutions Database". usich.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-12-10 . Retrieved 2015-12-10 . ^ "Housing First Principles" (PDF) . Downtown Emergency Service Center. July 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-22. ^ "Profile for Tanya Tull, Ashoka Fellowship". 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-02-12 . Retrieved February 11, 2014 . ^ http://endhomelessness.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/adopting-a-housing-first-approach.pdf#page=4 ^ a b c Larimer, Mary E; Malone, D. K; Garner, M. D; Atkins, D. C; Burlingham, B; Lonczak, H. S; Tanzer, K; Ginzler, J; Clifasefi, S. L; Hobson, W. G; Marlatt, G. A (2009). "Health Care and Public Service Use and Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with Severe Alcohol Problems". JAMA. 301 (13): 1349''57. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.414. PMID 19336710. ^ a b "The Applicability of Housing First Models to Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness" (PDF) . HUD. July 2007. ^ "HUD Homeless Assistance Programs". HUD. December 21, 2007. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. ^ "National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices". SAMHSA. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. ^ a b c d e Stanhope, Victoria; Dunn, Kerry (2011). "The curious case of Housing First: The limits of evidence based policy" (PDF) . International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 34 (4): 275''82. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.07.006. PMID 21807412. ^ Collins, S. E; Malone, D. K; Clifasefi, S. L (2013). "Housing Retention in Single-Site Housing First for Chronically Homeless Individuals with Severe Alcohol Problems". American Journal of Public Health. 103 (Suppl 2): S269''S274. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301312. PMC 3969126 . PMID 24148063. ^ Stergiopoulos, V; Hwang, S. W; Gozdzik, A; Nisenbaum, R; Latimer, E; Rabouin, D; Adair, C. E; Bourque, J; Connelly, J; Frankish, J; Katz, L. Y; Mason, K; Misir, V; O'Brien, K; Sareen, J; Sch¼tz, C. G; Singer, A; Streiner, D. L; Vasiliadis, H. M; Goering, P. N (2015). "Effect of scattered-site housing using rent supplements and intensive case management on housing stability among homeless adults with mental illness: A randomized trial". JAMA. 313 (9): 905''15. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.1163. PMID 25734732. ^ Collins, S. E; Malone, D. K; Clifasefi, S. L; Ginzler, J. A; Garner, M. D; Burlingham, B; Lonczak, H. S; Dana, E. A; Kirouac, M; Tanzer, K; Hobson, W. G; Marlatt, G. A; Larimer, M. E (2012). "Project-Based Housing First for Chronically Homeless Individuals with Alcohol Problems: Within-Subjects Analyses of 2-Year Alcohol Trajectories". American Journal of Public Health. 102 (3): 511''519. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300403. PMC 3487630 . PMID 22390516. ^ " " Homeless Crisis Response," Opening Doors Objectives". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06 . Retrieved 2011-08-12 . ^ "Housing First model of addressing homelessness is discussed," The Times-Picayune, Mar. 21, 2012 ^ "Homeless gain homes at manor," Deseret News, Feb. 29, 2008 ^ http://www.austintexas.gov/department/permanent-supportive-housing-initiative ^ Cleveland, Ohio ^ "MHSA Submits Updated Home & Healthy for Good Report to Legislature: Statewide Housing First initiative reports dramatic cost savings to Commonwealth" Archived 2008-08-21 at the Wayback Machine '-- December 2007 ^ "Colorado Coalition for the Homeless" . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ Jennifer Perlman; John Parvensky (11 December 2006). "Cost Benefit Analysis & Program Outcomes Report" (PDF) . Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2010 . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ "CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HEALTH AND RISK BEHAVIORS". University of Washington . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ "Supportive Housing". Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC). Archived from the original on 2016-03-03 . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ "SAPRP Project: Housing First: Evaluation of Harm Reduction Housing for Chronic Public Inebriates". SAPRP. April 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-07-29. ^ Utah Housing and Community Development Comprehensive Report on Homelessness 2014 ^ "U.S. Reports Drop in Homeless Population", New York Times, July 20, 2008. ^ Brady-Myerov, Monica, "Homelessness On The Decline In Boston", WBUR Radio, Boston, September 29, 2010 ^ WALSH, MARTIN J. (June 2015). "AN ACTION PLAN TO END VETERAN AND CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS IN BOSTON: 2015-2018" (PDF) . City of Boston . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ Toussaint, Kristin (13 October 2015). "How Mayor Walsh plans to end veteran homelessness". Boston Globe Media Partners. boston.com . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ "Rapid Evidence Review: What Housing-related Services and Supports Improve Health Outcomes among Chronically Homeless Individuals?". AcademyHealth: Advancing Research, Policy and Practice. AcademyHealth. Archived from the original on 2016-09-19. ^ "Moore Place Permanent Supportive Housing Evaluation Study | Research | SHNNY". shnny.org . Retrieved 2018-06-29 . ^ Collins, Cyleste C.; Bai, Rong; Crampton, David; Fischer, Robert; D'Andrea, Rebecca; Dean, Kendra; Lalich, Nina; Chan, Tsui; Cherney, Emily (January 2019). "Implementing housing first with families and young adults: challenges and progress toward self-sufficiency". Children and Youth Services Review. 96: 34''46. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.11.025. ISSN 0190-7409. ^ Chung, Timothy E.; Gozdzik, Agnes; Palma Lazgare, Luis I.; To, Matthew J.; Aubry, Tim; Frankish, James; Hwang, Stephen W.; Stergiopoulos, Vicky (2017-02-16). "Housing First for older homeless adults with mental illness: a subgroup analysis of the At Home/Chez Soi randomized controlled trial". International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 33 (1): 85''95. doi:10.1002/gps.4682. ISSN 0885-6230. ^ Durbin, Anna; Lunsky, Yona; Wang, Ri; Nisenbaum, Rosane; Hwang, Stephen W.; O'Campo, Patricia; Stergiopoulos, Vicky (2018-06-19). "The Effect of Housing First on Housing Stability for People with Mental Illness and Low Intellectual Functioning". The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 63 (11): 785''789. doi:10.1177/0706743718782940. ISSN 0706-7437. PMC 6299190 . ^ National Alliance to End Homelessness, "Rapid Re-Housing", July 8, 2008. ^ United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, "Homeless Assistance Programs" Archived 2008-01-10 at the Wayback Machine ^ National Alliance to End Homelessness, "HUD and McKinney-Vento Appropriations" Archived 2009-10-28 at the Wayback Machine, FY 2010 ^ United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, "Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program" Archived 2010-02-24 at the Wayback Machine ^ National Alliance to End Homelessness. "Summary of the HEARTH Act". www.endhomelessness.org . Retrieved 16 October 2014 . ^ "The HEARTH Act '-- An Overview" (PDF) . Washington, D.C.: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. ^ National Coalition for the Homeless, "NCH Public Policy Recommendations: HUD McKinney-Vento Reauthorization", Washington, D.C., September 14, 2009 ^ "Opening Doors". Archived from the original on 2011-08-27 . Retrieved 2011-08-12 . ^ a b c Bornstein, David (May 28, 2014). "The Push to End Chronic Homelessness Is Working" . Retrieved June 20, 2017 . ^ "About the 'Housing First' Program for Homeless Families", Beyond Shelter agency, Los Angeles, California. ^ "Common Ground". ^ Kertesz, Stefan G.; Johnson, Guy (2017-05-31). "Housing First: Lessons from the United States and Challenges for Australia". Australian Economic Review. 50 (2): 220''228. doi:10.1111/1467-8462.12217. ISSN 0004-9018. ^ "Homelessness Partnering Strategy". Canada's Economic Action Plan. Government of Canada. 2014 . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). 2014. Housing and Homelessness: What is the issue? Archived 2014-02-03 at the Wayback Machine Calgary, Alberta. ^ "Pathways to Housing". The Alex. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22 . Retrieved 2014-02-13 . ^ Fortune, Sue (April 1, 2013). Pathways to Housing (PDF) (Report). Calgary, Alberta. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2016 . Retrieved June 21, 2017 . ^ a b c Fortune, Sue (October 2013). "Pathways to Housing Housing First Model adapted for use in the Canadian context" (PDF) . Saskatchewan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-21 . Retrieved February 11, 2014 . ^ Macnaughton, Eric; Nelson, Geoffrey; Worton, S. Kathleen; Tsemberis, Sam; Stergiopoulos, Vicky; Aubry, Tim; Hasford, Julian; Distasio, Jino; Goering, Paula (2018-08-14). "Navigating Complex Implementation Contexts: Overcoming Barriers and Achieving Outcomes in a National Initiative to Scale Out Housing First in Canada". American Journal of Community Psychology. 62 (1''2): 135''149. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12268. ISSN 0091-0562. PMID 30106486. ^ Benjaminsen, Lars (2018-09-28). "Housing First in Denmark: An Analysis of the Coverage Rate among Homeless People and Types of Shelter Users". Social Inclusion. 6 (3): 327. doi:10.17645/si.v6i3.1539. ISSN 2183-2803. ^ Finnish government's programme to reduce long-term homelessness 2008''2011 [permanent dead link ] ^ "Reducing homelessness". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04 . Retrieved 2012-01-09 . ^ 26 Janv 2010 Report ^ Housing first et le logement des personnes sans-abris ^ Intermediation Locative ^ Programme exp(C)rimental Un chez-soi d'abord >> ^ "Littleones". Archived from the original on 2016-09-05 . Retrieved 2015-11-28 . ^ "Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism" (PDF) . ^ "つくろãæ'±äº¬ãƒ•ã‚ãƒ"ド". www.facebook.com . Retrieved 2015-11-28 . ^ "Government announces £28m funding for Housing First pilots". Inside Housing . Retrieved 2018-06-29 . ^ Helm, Toby (2017-03-12). "Government considering plans to house addicts who sleep rough". the Guardian . Retrieved 2018-06-29 . ^ Petit, J. M.; Loubiere, S.; Vargas-Moniz, M. J.; Tinland, A.; Spinnewijn, F.; Greenwood, R. M.; Santinello, M.; Wolf, J. R.; Bokszczanin, A. (2018-11-28). "Knowledge, attitudes, and practices about homelessness and willingness-to-pay for housing-first across 8 European countries: a survey protocol". Archives of Public Health. 76 (1): 71. doi:10.1186/s13690-018-0317-x. ISSN 2049-3258. PMC 6260705 . PMID 30505443. ^ Rapidly Rehousing Homeless Families: New York City'--a Case Study ^ Housing First Doesn't Work: The Homeless Need Community Support - The Huffington Post ^ "Housing First Lacks True Merit - Sharam Kohan's Blog, Harvard Law School". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24 . Retrieved 2016-01-20 . ^ Kertesz, S. G; Weiner, S. J (2009). "Housing the chronically homeless: High hopes, complex realities" (PDF) . JAMA. 301 (17): 1822''4. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.596. PMID 19417203. ^ Padgett, D. K; Stanhope, V; Henwood, B. F; Stefancic, A (2011). "Substance use outcomes among homeless clients with serious mental illness: Comparing Housing First with Treatment First programs". Community Mental Health Journal. 47 (2): 227''32. doi:10.1007/s10597-009-9283-7. PMC 2916946 . PMID 20063061. ^ David, Stephen; Trattner, Walter I. (1974). "From poor law to welfare state". Political Science Quarterly. 89 (2): 424''426. doi:10.2307/2149280. JSTOR 2149280. PMC 1081871 . ^ Watson, Dennis P.; Shuman, Valery; Kowalsky, James; Golembiewski, Elizabeth; Brown, Molly (2017-05-23). "Housing First and harm reduction: a rapid review and document analysis of the US and Canadian open-access literature". Harm Reduction Journal. 14 (1): 30. doi:10.1186/s12954-017-0158-x. ISSN 1477-7517. PMC 5442650 . PMID 28535804. ^ Ahearn, Victoria (5 June 2012). "NFB short web docs capture results of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi study". News1130. Toronto: Canadian Press . Retrieved 13 November 2012 . [permanent dead link ] Bibliography [ edit ] Graves, Florence; Sayfan, Hadar, "First things first: 'Housing first,' a radical new approach to ending chronic homelessness, is gaining ground in Boston", The Boston Globe, Sunday, June 24, 2007.Lyons, Julia, "A Home for the Homeless [permanent dead link ] ", February 26, 2008, The Salt Lake TribuneNashville Business Journal, "U.S homeless czar to meet with Mayor, Nashville officials Friday", Thursday, April 17, 2008.Greenwood, R; Schaefer-McDaniel, N; Winkel, G; Tsemberis, S (2005). "Decreasing psychiatric symptoms by increasing choice in services for adults with histories of homelessness". American Journal of Community Psychology. 36 (3/4): 223''38. CiteSeerX . doi:10.1007/s10464-005-8617-z. PMID 16389497. Pathways; Housing Inc, New York (2005). "2005 APA Gold Award: Providing housing first and recovery services for homeless adults with severe mental illness". Psychiatric Services. 56 (10): 1303''5. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.56.10.1303. PMID 16215200. Tsemberis, Sam; Eisenberg, Ronda R. (2000). "Pathways to Housing: Supported Housing for Street-Dwelling Homeless Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities". Psychiatric Services. 51 (4): 487''93. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.51.4.487. PMID 10737824. Tsemberis S. (2004) "'Housing first' Approach" article in "Encyclopedia of Homelessness", Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, V1, pp. 277''80.Tsemberis, Sam; Gulcur, Leyla; Nakae, Maria (2004). "Housing First, Consumer Choice, and Harm Reduction for Homeless Individuals with a Dual Diagnosis". American Journal of Public Health. 94 (4): 651''56. CiteSeerX . doi:10.2105/AJPH.94.4.651. PMC 1448313 . PMID 15054020. Tsemberis, Sam; Stefancic, Ana (2007). "Housing First for Long-Term Shelter Dwellers in a Suburban County: Traditional Housing and Treatment Services". The Journal of Primary Prevention. 28 (3): 265''279. doi:10.1007/s10935-007-0093-9. PMID 17592778. Further reading [ edit ] AcademyHealth. (2016, July). Rapid Evidence Review: What Housing-related Services and Supports Improve Health Outcomes among Chronically Homeless Individuals?"Editorial: Doubled demand for housing over shelters, hotels", Spare Change News, Boston, Fri, December 2, 2011Bassuk, Ellen L.; Geller, Stephanie (2006). "The Role of Housing and Services in Ending Family Homelessness" (PDF) . Housing Policy Debate. 17 (4): 781''806. doi:10.1080/10511482.2006.9521590. [permanent dead link ] Benner, Tom, "Mass. Wants New Emphasis on Housing over Shelters", Spare Change News, Boston, July 15, 2011 (part 1 of 3)Benner, Tom, "New Homeless Policy", Spare Change News, July 29, 2011 (part 2 of 3)Benner, Tom, "An Exclusive Interview with Lt. Gov. Tim Murray on the State's New Housing First Policy", Spare Change News, August 12, 2011 (part 3 of 3)Bornstein, David, "A Plan to Make Homelessness History", The New York Times, December 20, 2010.Burt, Martha; et al., Helping America's homeless: emergency shelter or affordable housing?, Washington DC : Urban Institute Press, 1st edition, April 2001. ISBN 978-0-87766-701-8Center for the Study of Social Policy, "Affordable Housing as a Platform for Improving Family Well-Being: Federal Funding and Policy Opportunities", Financing Community Change Brief, June 2011, Washington D.C.Centre for Social Justice, Housing First: Housing-led solutions to rough sleeping and homelessness, London, UK: Centre for Social Justice, March 2017.Friedman, Donna Haig, et al., "Preventing Homelessness and Promoting Housing Stability: A Comparative Analysis", The Boston Foundation, June 2007.Karash, Robert L., "Housing Lost, Housing Regained, Housing Kept", Spare Change News, Boston, February 25, 2010.McCarroll, Christina, "Pathways to housing the homeless", The Christian Science Monitor, May 1, 2002Notkin, Susan; et al., "Families on the Move: Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness", Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, New York, NY, 1996.O'Flaherty, Brendan, "Making room : the economics of homelessness", Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-674-54342-4Putnam, Kristen M., "Homelessness: Key Findings and Grantmaking Strategies", June 2002, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and Putnam Community Investment Consulting.Quigley, John M.; Raphael, Steven, "The Economics of Homelessness: The Evidence from North America", European Journal of Housing Policy 1(3), 2001, 323''336Roberts, Kevin, "Expert: 'Even if shelters were better, they're still not solving the problem'", Street News Service, Fri, December 2, 2011. Originally published in One Step Away street newspaper, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaRoncarati, Jill, "Homeless, housed, and homeless again", Journal of the American Academy of Physician's Assistants, June 2008.Tull, Tanya, "The 'Housing First' Approach for families Affected by Substance Abuse", The Source, v.13. n.1, Spring 2004, The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource CenterExternal links [ edit ] Interagency Council on Homelessness (USA)Housing First - Transitional Housing for Individuals and FamiliesMassachusetts Housing and Shelter AllianceThe Partnership to End Long Term HomelessnessCitizens' Housing and Planning AssociationNational Low Income Housing CoalitionNational Alliance of HUD TenantsDr. Sam Tsemberis information '-- Columbia University Center for Homelessness Prevention Studies (CHPS)Downtown Emergency Service Center, Seattle '-- Housing First programsThe Philadelphia Committee to End HomelessnessCorporation for Supportive HousingMedia [ edit ] PBS, "Home at Last?, NOW series program, first aired on February 2, 2007. The topic was what will most help homeless people reenter the fabric of society and looks at the housing option.
Mark Carney: ''There will be a change'' in ''unsustainable'' monetary system - Positive Money
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:14
September 12, 2019 by Simon Youel
Bank of England governor foresees monetary reform and puts forward Positive Money proposal as possible solution
In August the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, gave an interesting speech on ' The growing challenges for monetary policy in the current international monetary and financial system ', in which he set out how the dollar based global monetary order is untenable and will need replacing by a new system.
With everything going on politically, this bold statement from one of the world's most influential policymakers went largely unnoticed outside of the pages of the financial press.
But luckily at least one MP was paying attention. Last week on the Treasury Select Committee, Steve Baker MP took the opportunity to question Carney and his senior colleagues on the sustainability of our entire monetary system.
Asked by Baker whether it is ''possible to avoid a long-term fundamental change in the monetary regime?'' Carney said:
'' There will be a change , measured over decades. It is very hard to predict. That which is unsustainable tends to go on for longer than you think and then happen more quickly than you expect , to paraphrase Rudi Dornbusch, but these structural flaws, in the end, in the system will ultimately result in a change .''
Carney has proposed a 'synthetic hegemonic currency' as a possible basis for a new global monetary system. This would be comprised of a number of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), as put forward by Positive Money . A CBDC would provide a trusted public alternative to private banks' monopoly on electronic money, and would move us towards a system where commercial banks are not freely able to create new money as debt, as they currently do to massive negative economic, social and environmental consequences.
Carney said the introduction of such CBDCs would ''be to the benefit of citizens and businesses'', and is a reform to the monetary system which ''could happen.'' In fact the Bank of England is currently exploring the idea.
Andy Haldane, the Bank's chief economist, said that such an idea ''is definitely towards the ambitious end of the spectrum'', but added ''now is the time for ambition on these big issues.'' We at Positive Money definitely agree and stand ready to match ambition with workable policy solutions.
Policy and Media Officer, Positive Money
Simon works on Positive Money's influencing programme, focusing on media engagement and policy research.
Before joining Positive Money, Simon handled media outreach for a number of technology companies and campaigns, and worked in a variety of roles in local government. He has a Masters in History from the University of Manchester, for which he specialised in the financialisation of the British economy.
Purchases of green bonds under the Eurosystem's asset purchase programme
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:33
Prepared by Roberto A. De Santis, Katja Hettler, Madelaine Roos and Fabio Tamburrini
Published as part of the ECB Economic Bulletin, Issue 7/2018.
This box analyses the impact of the Eurosystem's asset purchase programme (APP) on the growing market for green bonds[1]. It describes the composition of the Eurosystem's green bond holdings and assesses developments in prices and outstanding volumes of green bonds, before discussing the extent to which these may have been affected by the APP.
The APP aims to support a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation that is consistent with the ECB's primary objective of price stability, defined as an inflation rate below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. Eligibility criteria for the APP are deliberately broad in order to provide a large range of purchasable securities. This supports the effectiveness of the programme and avoids distortions of specific market segments. The implementation of the APP is guided by the principle of market neutrality and does not positively or negatively discriminate on the basis of environmental or any other criteria. In the specific case of the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP), which aims to further strengthen the pass-through of the benefits of the asset purchases to financing conditions in the real economy, the purchases of securities issued by non-bank corporations reflect proportionally the market value of all eligible bonds in terms of sectors of economic activity and rating groups.
Despite the absence of an explicit environmental target in the APP, ECB has purchased green bonds under both the CSPP and the public sector purchase programme (PSPP). These purchases have contributed to the establishment of a well-diversified portfolio.
The term ''green bond'' refers to debt securities whose proceeds are used to finance investment projects with an environmental benefit. There are different approaches to defining and certifying green bonds, and no global market standard has emerged so far.[2] While many green bonds are self-labelled, some jurisdictions have developed their own certification framework and others rely on various different guidelines.[3] As well as reducing transparency for investors, it is believed that the lack of standardised definitions and reporting requirements and the varying granularity of the underlying classifications are holding back supply,[4] inter alia because issuers face reputational risks and potential accusations of ''greenwashing'' if proceeds are not used for their declared purposes.[5] The ECB supports current EU initiatives under the European Commission's action plan on sustainable finance to create a harmonised definition of ''green'' assets (taxonomy), which could improve transparency and facilitate the supply of green debt instruments.
The market for green bonds has developed rapidly in recent years, with global issuance rising from less than '‚¬1 billion in 2008 to more than '‚¬120 billion in 2017 (see Chart A, panel b). Euro-denominated net green bond issuance has increased ten-fold since 2013 (see Chart A, panel a). During the period 2013-2018, total net euro-denominated green investment grade issuance in the euro area represented around 24% of global net green issuance. However, despite the recent growth, in the same period green bonds still accounted for only 1% of the overall bond supply denominated in euro. Green bonds are not unlike other bonds in that they tend to price tighter than the initial price guidance and tend to be oversubscribed. They generally offer similar yields to comparable conventional bonds, but there is evidence that in some market segments issuers can borrow at lower rates than via conventional bonds, which is consistent with the interpretation that investors are prepared to forgo some income as a result of their self-imposed investment constraints.[6]
Chart A
Net issuance of euro-denominated green bonds
(EUR billions)
Sources: Bloomberg and ECB calculations.Note: Data for 2018 refer to issuance from January to August.
Green bond purchases under the CSPP are broadly in line with the growing share of green bonds in the eligible universe. The CSPP-eligible green corporate bond universe currently has an outstanding volume of '‚¬31 billion (see Chart B, right panel), of which the Eurosystem holds close to 20% '' in line with the 20% holding of the Eurosystem in the entire CSPP-eligible universe. In the overall CSPP-eligible universe, green bonds represent a small but growing segment, contributing around 4% to the total (see Chart B, left panel). Looking more closely at the distribution by economic sector, green bond issuance is not evenly spread across industries and shows a significant concentration in carbon-intensive sectors, such as utilities, infrastructure, transportation and construction.[7] Companies in these sectors issue green bonds to finance the adoption of more efficient technologies, reduce their carbon footprints and reorient their energy portfolios towards renewable sources. While these sectors jointly account for 35% of overall bond issuance in the CSPP-eligible universe, they account for 94% of the CSPP-eligible green bond issuance. The concentration of green bonds in these sectors is also reflected in the CSPP portfolio.
Chart B
CSPP and PSPP-eligible universe and eligible green bonds '' amounts outstanding
(EUR billions)
Sources: Bloomberg and ECB calculations.Notes: Based on amounts outstanding in nominal terms. The latest observation is for 31 August 2018.
Since the CSPP announcement on 10 March 2016, green corporate bond spreads have steadily declined, and a significant part of this effect can be attributed to the Eurosystem's purchases. In the industrial sector, the evolution of the average corporate bond spread for CSPP-eligible green bonds mirrors that for other CSPP-eligible bonds (see Chart C). The change in spreads for eligible green bonds in the period after the CSPP announcement (from 10 March 2016 to the end of December 2017) was compared with that in the period prior to the announcement (1 April 2015 to 9 March 2016), controlling for other determinants that may affect corporate bond spreads, such as bond-specific credit risk. The CSPP accounted for an average decline in spreads for eligible green bonds of 25 basis points, which was almost the entire drop recorded after the announcement of the programme. Since the end of 2016, in conjunction with the simultaneous rapid growth in bond supply and the increase in green bond spreads globally, the gap between spreads of green bonds and those of the overall industrial sector have gradually closed, and the yields of green and conventional bonds have tightly co-moved since the end of 2017.[8]
Chart C
CSPP-eligible bond spreads in the industrial sector and global green bond spreads
(Z-spread, basis points)
Sources: Bloomberg and ECB calculations.Notes: Z-spread volume-weighted averages based on bonds with (i) issued amounts above '‚¬250,000, (ii) rating buckets ranging from A to BBB and (iii) residual maturity ranging from 3 to 11 years for CSPP-eligible bonds or from 1.5 to 20 years for global green bonds. Extreme outliers for global green bond spreads were removed. The vertical lines denote the announcement of the CSPP on 10 March 2016 (light grey line) and the start of purchases under the CSPP on 8 June 2016 (dark grey line). The latest observation is for 27 September 2018.
Issuance of green bonds picked up immediately after the announcement of the CSPP in March 2016 and has been rising ever since. The ratio of the amount outstanding of green bonds to the total amount outstanding in the industrial sector, including utilities, infrastructure, transportation and construction, has increased steadily since the announcement of the CSPP, from under 4% in March 2016 to over 9% at the end of September 2018 (see Chart D). These results are consistent with previous findings on the impact of the CSPP on overall bond issuance by non-financial corporations, which increased after the announcement of the programme, particularly among eligible issuers.[9] These findings are corroborated by an analysis of the more homogenous utilities sector as well as for specific maturities. It should be noted, however, that this positive trend partly reflects a world-wide phenomenon, as green bond issuance has increased globally, from less than '‚¬10 billion in 2013 to almost '‚¬120 billion in 2017.
Chart D
Volume of CSPP-eligible green bonds relative to total CSPP-eligible bonds in the industrial sector
Sources: Bloomberg and ECB calculations.Notes: Based on amounts outstanding in nominal terms. The latest observation is for 27 September 2018.
The Eurosystem has also purchased green bonds issued by sovereigns, agencies and supranational institutions since the start of the PSPP, with a growing presence over time. The volume of eligible green bonds issued by such public sector entities is small relative to the PSPP-eligible universe (less than 1%). While multilateral development banks such as the European Investment Bank and agencies like Kreditanstalt f¼r Wiederaufbau have a long history of issuing green bonds and account for a relative large share of the total issuance of PSPP-eligible green bonds (see Chart E, panel a), governments entered the green bond market only recently, with the French Treasury becoming the first euro area sovereign to issue a green bond in January 2017. Governments, however, show a tendency to tap the market on a large scale, exceeding the amounts that are issued by corporates in the same jurisdiction (see Chart E, panel b). Overall, green bonds issued by public sector entities contribute a volume of '‚¬48 billion to the PSPP-eligible universe, out of which the Eurosystem currently holds 24%, which is broadly in line with its total PSPP holdings of the entire PSPP universe and compares with a share of 15% in 2015.
Overall, while the amount of green bonds held by the Eurosystem remains relatively small, evidence suggests that through its purchases the Eurosystem has reduced yields of green bonds and supported their issuance by non-financial corporations.
Chart E
Public and corporate sector green bond issuance by jurisdiction (amounts outstanding)
(EUR billions)
Sources: Bloomberg and ECB calculations.Notes: SNAT stands for supranational entities, which includes multilateral development banks. Data refer to the period from January 2012 to August 2018.
Lagarde promises to paint the ECB green '' POLITICO
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:09
The European Central Bank's next president could put a green tint onto the gray world of monetary policy.
Christine Lagarde is pledging to throw the weight of the Frankfurt institution into the fight against climate change, as she seeks confirmation to be the successor to Mario Draghi come November 1.
The silver-haired Frenchwoman spelled out plans for an environmentally-minded ECB within a 48-page set of answers to questions from the European Parliament. Her responses were circulated last Wednesday to lawmakers on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), which published the document '-- previously reported by POLITICO '-- on Thursday.
''The discussion on whether, and if so how, central banks and banking supervisors can contribute to mitigating climate change is at an early stage but should be seen as a priority,'' Lagarde said. ''Climate change is one of the most pressing global challenges facing society today.''
The Q&A is a rehearsal for a hearing in ECON on September 4, when lawmakers will grill the International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss on her credentials for the most powerful job in the eurozone. Their recommendation would be a nonbinding but politically necessary step toward her formal appointment by EU leaders.
Lagarde's responses point to continuing the policies of monetary stimulus that Draghi embraced through his tenure.
The former finance minister, a lawyer by training in a field seen as the preserve of economists, is arriving at a tricky time for the ECB. Analysts expect the central bank to resume cutting interest rates and adding to its '‚¬2.6 trillion easy money program in mid-September, amid concerns about weak if not negative economic growth in the 19 countries of the eurozone.
Lagarde's responses point to continuing the policies of monetary stimulus that Draghi embraced through his tenure. That includes low interest rates and bond-buying programs to lift the eurozone's inflation rate to just under 2 percent, helping spur the economy.
''Significant monetary accommodation will be needed for a prolonged period of time'' to mitigate economic uncertainties stemming from global trade tensions and low inflation, the 63-year old said in her written responses, aligning with comments made during her tenure atop the IMF.
''It is therefore important to keep all policy tools on the table in order to respond appropriately and proportionately if the medium-term inflation outlook continues to fall short of the ECB's aim,'' she added.
Outgoing President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi | Stringer/AFP via Getty Images
A green touchHer comments on monetary policy came as little surprise to ING Chief Economist Carsten Brzeski, who expects the ECB to unveil a stimulus package on September 12 that includes a bond-buying program '-- called quantitative easing (QE) '-- of '‚¬30 billion a month.
''Judging from these answers, Lagarde will continue the Draghi legacy,'' Brzeski said. ''And, indeed, we could get a green touch to future ECB policies, particularly when it comes to any restart of QE.''
Draghi's ECB has so far avoided favoring green over brown when buying bonds. The central bankers have insisted on what they call ''market neutrality,'' meaning debt from a coal mining company is treated the same as that of a wind power producer.
Lagarde suggested that could change in her answers to the Parliament questionnaire, which included several queries on climate matters.
But first the EU must figure out what it considers as green assets, in a taxonomy now being prepared for use by companies and investors to steer money toward low-carbon business.
''The ECB is supporting the development of such a taxonomy,'' Lagarde said. ''Once it is agreed, in my view it will facilitate the incorporation of environmental considerations in central bank portfolios.''
Green lawmaker Sven Giegold responded to Lagarde's answers that he is ''happy on a lot of the points and I'm glad that the greening of central banks will continue under her leadership.''
''She's asked directly on this and she shows no understanding of the risks and they have to be managed, taken seriously'' '-- Green MEP Sven Giegold
Negative effectsBut Giegold, a German member of ECON, stopped short of full praise for the French candidate. He called her answers ''a bit scary and evasive'' on questions about dangers to the economy from years of monetary stimulus and low interest rates.
Giegold said rising house prices, attributed in part to Draghi's easy money, has set back some people from being able to afford property.
The ECB's holding of corporate and government bonds also has brought down debt yields, to the point that pension funds are investing in riskier assets to seek the return needed for future retirement payouts.
''All things considered,'' Lagarde said in the questionnaire, without the ECB's ''unconventional monetary policy ... euro area citizens would be, overall, worse off.''
Giegold isn't convinced.
''She's asked directly on this and she shows no understanding of the risks and they have to be managed, taken seriously,'' the MEP said. ''I'm not one of those Germans that say it's all the ECB fault, but she takes no [aspect] of the negative side seriously.''
This article is from POLITICO Pro: POLITICO 's premium policy service. To discover why thousands of professionals rely on Pro every day, email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.
Bank of England Governor Says Digital Currency Could Snap US Dollar Dominance | The Daily Hodl
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:15
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is pushing back against the US dollar and its role in the global economy. Speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday at a gathering of central bankers from around the world, Carney details how the rise of technology is disrupting the current financial system and suggests that the days of US dollar dominance may be numbered.
''Technology has the potential to disrupt the network externalities that prevent the incumbent global reserve currency from being displaced. Retail transactions are taking place increasingly online rather than on the high street, and through electronic payments over cash. And the relatively high costs of domestic and cross border electronic payments are encouraging innovation, with new entrants applying new technologies to offer lower cost, more convenient retail payment services.''
Not only do blockchain-based systems allow money to flow like email, across borders, instantaneously and cheaply, they're also better-suited for smartphones, e-commerce and the mobile lifestyle of millennials who are empowering the push for a cashless global economy with on-demand settlement. In terms of speed and cost, they outperform fiat currencies based on traditional banking protocols that require multiple intermediaries.
Carney doesn't mention any decentralized cryptocurrencies or blockchain-based payments systems such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and XRP, which have been gaining traction and causing alarm among policymakers '' from India to the United States. These alternatives are threatening the status quo because they're able to function without governments and central banks.
He does, however, single out Facebook's Libra as an application that has ignited a paradigm shift: using technology to create a new digital currency backed by multiple countries to reduce, if not eliminate, the overarching impact of the US dollar around the world.
Says Carney,
''The most high profile of these has been Libra '' a new payments infrastructure based on an international stablecoin fully backed by reserve assets in a basket of currencies including the US dollar, the euro, and sterling. It could be exchanged between users on messaging platforms and with participating retailers.
There are a host of fundamental issues that Libra must address, ranging from privacy to AML/CFT and operational resilience. In addition, depending on its design, it could have substantial implications for both monetary and financial stability.
The Bank of England and other regulators have been clear that unlike in social media, for which standards and regulations are only now being developed after the technologies have been adopted by billions of users, the terms of engagement for any new systemic private payments system must be in force well in advance of any launch.
As a consequence, it is an open question whether such a new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies.
Even if the initial variants of the idea prove wanting, the concept is intriguing. It is worth considering how an SHC in the IMFS [Institute for Money and Financial Stability] could support better global outcomes, given the scale of the challenges of the current IMFS and the risks in transition to a new hegemonic reserve currency like the Renminbi.
An SHC could dampen the domineering influence of the US dollar on global trade. If the share of trade invoiced in SHC were to rise, shocks in the US would have less potent spillovers through exchange rates, and trade would become less synchronised across countries.
By the same token, global trade would become more sensitive to changes in conditions in the countries of the other currencies in the basket backing the SHC.''
You can check out the full speech here.
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The growing challenges for monetary policy in the current international monetary and financial system - speech by Mark Carney | Bank of England
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:14
Home / The growing challenges for monetary policy in the current international monetary and financial system - speech by Mark Carney
Given at the Jackson Hole Symposium 2019
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Modeling Bitcoin's Value with Scarcity - PlanB - Medium
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:34
Address: 1PRoNLcWHzM8DuKpGE4YM9hb1PjSEnWRpnSignature (title is message): IFszV+izKMnmVmSlTIJYR6sEhAGbehh2aaFk84henG5NPCb33BxY8yZANVHUli/5RcgHhiAuGVrVfLwNBCDhqtI=
Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper 31/Oct 2008 [1], created the bitcoin genesis block 03/Jan 2009, and released the bitcoin code 08/Jan 2009. So begins a journey that leads to a $70bn bitcoin (BTC) market today.
Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen. It is scarce like silver & gold, and can be sent over the internet, radio, satellite etc.
" As a thought experiment, imagine there was a base metal as scarce as gold but with the following properties: boring grey in colour, not a good conductor of electricity, not particularly strong [..], not useful for any practical or ornamental purpose .. and one special, magical property: can be transported over a communications channel" '-- Nakamoto [2]
Surely this digital scarcity has value. But how much? In this article I quantify scarcity using stock-to-flow, and use stock-to-flow to model bitcoin's value.
Dictionaries usually define scarcity as 'a situation in which something is not easy to find or get', and 'a lack of something'.
Nick Szabo has a more useful definition of scarcity: 'unforgeable costliness'.
"What do antiques, time, and gold have in common? They are costly, due either to their original cost or the improbability of their history, and it is difficult to spoof this costliness. [..] There are some problems involved with implementing unforgeable costliness on a computer. If such problems can be overcome, we can achieve bit gold." '-- Szabo [3]
"Precious metals and collectibles have an unforgeable scarcity due to the costliness of their creation. This once provided money the value of which was largely independent of any trusted third party. [..][but] you can't pay online with metal. Thus, it would be very nice if there were a protocol whereby unforgeably costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties, and then securely stored, transferred, and assayed with similar minimal trust. Bit gold." '-- Szabo [4]
Bitcoin has unforgeable costliness, because it costs a lot of electricity to produce new bitcoins. Producing bitcoins cannot be easily faked. Note that this is different for fiat money and also for altcoins that have no supply cap, have no proof-of-work (PoW), have low hashrate, or have a small group of people or companies that can easily influence supply etc.
Saifedean Ammous talks about scarcity in terms of stock-to-flow (SF) ratio. He explains why gold and bitcoin are different from consumable commodities like copper, zinc, nickel, brass, because they have high SF.
"For any consumable commodity [..] doubling of output will dwarf any existing stockpiles, bringing the price crashing down and hurting the holders. For gold, a price spike that causes a doubling of annual production will be insignificant, increasing stockpiles by 3% rather than 1.5%."
"It is this consistently low rate of supply of gold that is the fundamental reason it has maintained its monetary role throughout human history."
"The high stock-to-flow ratio of gold makes it the commodity with the lowest price elasticity of supply."
"The existing stockpiles of Bitcoin in 2017 were around 25 times larger than the new coins produced in 2017. This is still less than half of the ratio for gold, but around the year 2022, Bitcoin's stock-to-flow ratio will overtake that of gold" '-- Ammous[5]
So, scarcity can be quantified by SF.
SF = stock / flow
Stock is the size of the existing stockpiles or reserves. Flow is the yearly production. Instead of SF, people also use supply growth rate (flow/stock). Note that SF = 1 / supply growth rate.
Let's look at some SF numbers.
Gold has the highest SF 62, it takes 62 years of production to get current gold stock. Silver is second with SF 22. This high SF makes them monetary goods.
Palladium, platinum and all other commodities have SF barely higher than 1. Existing stock is usually equal or lower than yearly production, making production a very important factor. It is almost impossible for commodities to get a higher SF, because as soon as somebody hoards them, price rises, production rises, and price falls again. It is very hard to escape this trap.
Bitcoin currently has a stock of 17.5m coins and supply of 0.7m/yr = SF 25. This places bitcoin in the monetary goods category like silver and gold. Bitcoin's market value at current prices is $70bn.
Supply of bitcoin is fixed. New bitcoins are created in every new block. Blocks are created every 10 minutes (on average), when a miner finds the hash that satisfies the PoW required for a valid block. The first transaction in each block, called the coinbase, contains the block reward for the miner that found the block. The block reward consists of the fees that people pay for transactions in that block and the newly created coins (called subsidy). The subsidy started at 50 bitcoins, and is halved every 210,000 blocks (about 4 years). That's why 'halvings' are very important for bitcoins money supply and SF. Halvings also cause the supply growth rate (in bitcoin context usually called 'monetary inflation') to be stepped and not smooth.
source: https://plot.ly/~BashCo/5.embedThe hypothesis in this study is that scarcity, as measured by SF, directly drives value. A look at the table above confirms that market values tend to be higher when SF is higher. Next step is to collect data and make a statistical model.
I calculated bitcoin's monthly SF and value from Dec 2009 to Feb 2019 (111 data points in total). Number of blocks per month can be directly queried from the bitcoin blockchain with Python/RPC/bitcoind. Actual number of blocks differs quite a bit from the theoretical number, because blocks are not produced exactly every 10 minutes (e.g. in the first year 2009 there were significantly less blocks). With the number of blocks per month and known block subsidy, you can calculate flow and stock. I corrected for lost coins by arbitrarily disregarding the first million coins (7 months) in the SF calculation. More accurate adjusting for lost coins will be a subject for future research.
Bitcoin price data is available from different sources but starts at Jul 2010. I added the first known bitcoin prices (1$ for 1309 BTC Oct 2009, first quote of $0.003 on BitcoinMarket Mar 2010, 2 pizza's worth $41 for 10,000 BTC May 2010) and interpolated. Data archeology will be a subject for future research.
We already have the data points for gold (SF 62, market value $8.5trn) and silver (SF 22, market value $308bn), which I use as a benchmark.
A first scatter plot of SF vs market value shows that it is better to use logarithmic values or axis for market value, because it spans 8 orders of magnitude (from $10,000 to $100bn). Using logarithmic values or axis for SF as well reveals a nice linear relationship between ln(SF) and ln(market value). Note that I use natural logarithm (ln with base e) and not common logarithm (log with base 10), which would yield similar results.
Charts made with gnuplot and gnumericsFitting a linear regression to the data confirms what can be seen with the naked eye: a statistically significant relationship between SF and market value (95% R2, significance of F 2.3E-17, p-Value of slope 2.3E-17). The likelihood that the relationship between SF and market value is caused by chance is close to zero. Of course other factors also impact price, regulation, hacks and other news, that is why R2 is not 100% (and not all dots are on the straight black line). However, the dominant driving factor seems to be scarcity / SF.
What is very interesting is that gold and silver, which are totally different markets, are in line with the bitcoin model values for SF. This gives extra confidence in the model. Note that at the peak of the bull market in Dec 2017 bitcoin SF was 22 and bitcoin market value was $230bn, very close to silver.
Because halvings have such a big impact on SF, I put months until the next halving as a color overlay in the chart. Dark blue is the halving month, and red is just after the halving. Next halving is May 2020. Current SF of 25 will double to 50, very close to gold (SF 62).
The predicted market value for bitcoin after May 2020 halving is $1trn, which translates in a bitcoin price of $55,000. That is quite spectacular. I guess time will tell and we will probably know one or two years after the halving, in 2020 or 2021. A great out of sample test of this hypothesis and model.
People ask me where all the money needed for $1trn bitcoin market value would come from? My answer: silver, gold, countries with negative interest rate (Europe, Japan, US soon), countries with predatory governments (Venezuela, China, Iran, Turkey etc), billionaires and millionaires hedging against quantitative easing (QE), and institutional investors discovering the best performing asset of last 10 yrs.
We can also model bitcoin price directly with SF. The formula of course has different parameters, but the result is the same, 95% R2 and a predicted bitcoin price of $55,000 with SF 50 after May 2020 halving.
I plotted bitcoin model price based on SF (black) and actual bitcoin price over time, with the number of blocks as color overlay.
Charts made with gnuplot and gnumericsNote the goodness of fit, especially the almost immediate price adjustment after Nov 2012 halving. Adjustment after Jun 2016 halving was much slower, possibly due to Ethereum competition and the DAO hack. Also, you see less blocks per month (blue) in the first year 2009 and during downward difficulty adjustments end2011, mid2015 and end2018. Introduction of GPU miners in 2010-2011 and ASIC miners in 2013 resulted in more blocks per month (red).
Also very interesting is that there is indication of a power law relationship.
The linear regression function: ln(market value) = 3.3 * ln(SF)+14.6
.. can be written as a power law function: market value = exp(14.6) * SF ^ 3.3
The possibility of a power law with 95% R2 over 8 orders of magnitude, adds confidence that the main driver of bitcoin value is correctly captured with SF.
A power law is a relationship in which a relative change in one quantity gives rise to a proportional relative change in the other quantity, independent of the initial size of those quantities. [6]. Every halving, bitcoin SF doubles and market value increases 10x, this is a constant factor.
Power laws are interesting because they reveal an underlying regularity in the properties of seemingly random complex systems. See appendix for some famous power law examples. Complex systems usually have properties where changes between phenomena at different scales are independent of the scales we are looking at. This self-similar property underlies power law relationships . We see this in Bitcoin too: 2011, 2014 and 2018 crashes look very similar (all have -80% dips) but on totally different scales (resp. $10, $1000, $10,000); if you don't use log scales, you will not see it. Scale in-variance and self-similarity has a link with fractals. In fact, parameter 3.3 in the power law function above is the 'fractal dimension'. For more information on fractals see the famous length of coastlines study [7].
Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen, it is scarce like silver & gold, and can be sent over the internet, radio, satellite etc.
Surely this digital scarcity has value. But how much? In this article I quantify scarcity using stock-to-flow, and use stock-to-flow to model bitcoin's value.
A statistically significant relationship between stock-to-flow and market value exists. The likelihood that the relationship between stock-to-flow and market value is caused by chance is close to zero.
Adding confidence in the model:
Gold and silver, which are totally different markets, are in line with the bitcoin model values for SF.There is indication of a power law relationship.The model predicts a bitcoin market value of $1trn after next halving in May 2020, which translates in a bitcoin price of $55,000.
[1] https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf '-- Satoshi Nakamoto, 2008
[2] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=583.msg11405#msg11405 '-- Satoshi Nakamoto, 2010
[3] https://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/10/antiques-time-gold-and-bit-gold.html '-- Nick Szabo, 2008
[4] https://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html '-- Nick Szabo, 2008
[5] The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking '-- Saifedean Ammous, 2018
[6] https://necsi.edu/power-law
[7] http://fractalfoundation.org/OFC/OFC-10-4.html
Kepler (planets)
Richter (earthquakes)
Libra Launch in Europe to Be Blocked By France - BeInCrypto
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:19
In a provocative statement and the most damning dismissal of Facebook's cryptocurrency dreams yet, the French Minister of Economy says that the country will do everything in its power to block the Libra 'on European soil.'
France has doubled-down on its hardline stance against Facebook's Libra, saying that it will refuse to allow the cryptocurrency to develop or launch on European soil. The top economic official made the statement at the opening of The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conference.
France's Hard Stance on LibraFrance's Minister of Economy took aim at the Libra during the OECD conference today, claiming that the idea could jeopardize the global financial system.
''I want to say it with great clarity: under these conditions, we can not authorize the development of the Libra on European soil,'' he said. ''The monetary sovereignty of states is at stake''. The comments were recently reported in French cable news channel BFM TV.
The comments came during the opening of the OECD conference, a meeting of some 36 member countries meant to facilitate intergovernmental economic cooperation. The fact that the comments came at such a high-profile venue indicates that France has made this position practically policy moving forward.
Central Banks Feel ThreatenedIt's Bruno Le Maire's estimation that the Libra could threaten the very sovereignty of states and their ability to issue fiat currency with authority. He elaborated on this viewpoint just a few days ago, telling La Croix on Sept 6 that central banks should instead look to issuing their own 'public digital currency.' He claims that such an idea would ''ensure the total security of transactions [and] their speed'' while also being ''simple and free [to use].''
It seems that France is perhaps looking to beat Libra the punch and considering issuing its own form of 'digital money' '--and plans to unabashedly prevent the Libra from taking root in Europe at all until this idea matures.
Although France is not the sole arbitrator of whether the Libra will be allowed in Europe, it does have the most sway on the issue. In June, the country announced to head up the 'G7 cryptocurrency task force.' The governor of the country's central bank has also repeatedly affirmed that the Libra 'must respect central banks' rules.'
Do you believe that France will be able to successfully block the Libra in Europe? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.
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Donald J. Trump on Twitter: "I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore...." / Twitter
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:58
Log in Sign up Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore....
8:58 AM - 10 Sep 2019 Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump
1h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump ....I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.
View conversation · Jeff Tiedrich @ itsJeffTiedrich
57m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump so you're throwing Bolton under the bus because the whole world laughed at your idea for a Taliban sleepover on 9/11
View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
57m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Oh, shit. John Bolton, or as Trump likes to call him, Michael Bolton, is OUT.
#PABPOTUS #PresidentPAB #Tuesdaythoughtstwitter.com/realDonaldTrum'... View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
54m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Trump calls John Bolton "Michael Bolton" repeatedly.You know, like a stable genius might do.
pic.twitter.com/QlY37jtX3h View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
40m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I KNEW John Bolton was fired by tweet. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
twitter.com/AmbJohnBolton/'... View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
32m Replying to
pic.twitter.com/S2KM6sM0sv View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
29m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump @ddale8 #NostraDumbAss strikes again!National Security Advisor John Bolton Edition.h/t
@ddale8 for always having receipts.NO CHAOS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. 🤣🤣🤣Shot.Chaser.
pic.twitter.com/bc9LyJKXUX View conversation · Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @ AynRandPaulRyan
25m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump @ddale8 Trump firing National Security Advisor John Bolton by tweeting at him is an obvious addition to: 'š¸ ''
#Nostradumbass: There. Is. A Trump. Tweet. For. EVERYTHING. ''
#pabpotus #tuesdaythoughts twitter.com/i/moments/9841'... View conversation · Jordan Mays @ Jordan_Mays
19m Replying to
@AynRandPaulRyan @realDonaldTrump and
2 others @realDonaldTrump @POTUS definitely needs another day seeing
#PussyAssBitch #PABOTUS View conversation · Jorge 🇺🇸 MAGA @ AmericanMex067
59m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump MAGA!
pic.twitter.com/dCuGCYdlEo View conversation · WaterBluSky @ MsMariaT
50m Replying to
@AmericanMex067 @realDonaldTrump M'kay 🤣👍🏼
pic.twitter.com/KzqqXZ04Lo View conversation · Jorge 🇺🇸 MAGA @ AmericanMex067
42m Replying to
@MsMariaT @realDonaldTrump m.rasmussenreports.com/public_content'...Here's a real poll. He's still beating Obama's sorry ass in a real poll. 2020 gonna be painful for you losers.
View conversation · Jorge 🇺🇸 MAGA @ AmericanMex067
35m Replying to
@MsMariaT @realDonaldTrump No one said Obama is running. It's a fair comparison. Obama was re elected w/ worse numbers than Trump. But you triggered morons are too stupid to make that connection. Have fun in 2020! Democrats running on failed Obama policies and worse! Seek safe space now!
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@AmericanMex067 @MsMariaT @realDonaldTrump Jorge trying super hard to fit in with trump supporters. Unfortunately for him the second he says something negative about Trump, they will be demanding for him to be deported. ðŸ‚
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@joe41clayton @MsMariaT @realDonaldTrump We don't have to try and fit in. MAGA has no color. You don't have a brain. This is too easy.
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@realDonaldTrump It will be amazing to see the media, who hated John Bolton now try to defend him and say he is an amazing person simply because Trump fired him.
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Need Cash? Companies Are Considering Magazine Subscriptions and Phone Bills When Making Loans - WSJ
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:24
The way lenders decide who can borrow money is undergoing its biggest shift in a generation.
For decades, banks and other financiers have relied primarily on consumers' borrowing history to make lending decisions. Now revenue-hungry companies are considering metrics both mundane and peculiar, like whether applicants shop at discount stores, subscribe to magazines or pay their phone bills on time.
Those experimenting with new metrics range from big-name banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Ally Financial Inc. and Discover Financial Services to upstart financial-technology firms.
The changes are an about-face for many banks, which have spent much of the decade since the financial crisis chasing mostly ultra-creditworthy customers. But that pool is only so big.
The field of potential new borrowers is huge: About 53 million U.S. adults don't have credit scores, according to Fair Isaac Corp. , creator of the widely used FICO scores. Another roughly 56 million have subprime scores. Some have a checkered borrowing history or high debt loads. But others, banks point out, just don't have traditional borrowing backgrounds, often because they are new to the U.S. or pay for most expenses with cash.
Despite some signs that the economy is strong, such as low unemployment, it is also showing symptoms of wear. U.S. consumer debt is higher than ever, with many Americans forced to borrow to keep up with rising costs for cars, college, housing and medical care.
Christina Segura, 24, had a low credit score from unpaid medical debts when she applied for financing from fintech startup Meritize. But the company, which funds higher education and skills-based training, used her high-school transcript to approve her for loans totaling $9,000 to attend pipe-welding school.
Meritize considers factors such as improvement in grades and signs that students challenged themselves, said Chief Executive Chris Keaveney. The firm, he said, is ''essentially proxying grit.''
Government officials at times have encouraged or even required changes to the information in credit reports and scores, reasoning they would bring loans to deserving borrowers who might not fit a traditional mold.
During the past few years, lenders including
JPMorgan ChaseCitigroup Inc., American Express Co. and
Capital One Financial Corp. have been talking to FICO about whether incorporating new data into credit scores could boost loan volume, according to people familiar with the matter. Separately, lenders have been asking
Experian PLC for ways to find new customers who are more financially responsible than their credit records suggest, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. lending industry revolves around consumer data. Lenders feed information on their customers to credit-reporting firms Experian, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion , which compile lengthy dossiers on borrowers. FICO scores condense the data in those reports'--such as payment track record and ratio of credit-card spending limits to owed balances'--into a number between 300 and 850.
While changes at individual banks can affect slivers of consumers, the changes made by the credit industry affect a broad range of Americans.
Last October, for example, FICO announced it had developed a new score'--UltraFICO'--that factors in how applicants manage the cash in their checking, savings and money-market accounts. The new score functions as a sort of appeal: If an applicant's traditional FICO score falls short, a lender can offer to have the score recalculated. About 37% of FICO's revenue comes from the credit scores it sells.
And TransUnion says it sells alternative data to U.S. lenders that can include whether consumers subscribe to and pay for magazines. ''It's an indicator of stability,'' said Mike Mondelli, senior vice president of global data strategy.
Credit scores have been the bedrock of consumer lending for decades. Fair Isaac created the FICO score in 1989, and banks adopted it broadly in the 1990s. Investors that buy securitized consumer loans'--sliced-up pools of credit-card, auto and mortgage debt'--often rely on FICO scores to assess their risk.
Critics say the changes could make millions of borrowers appear safer than they are, diluting the value of credit scores and reports. Others say the alternative metrics, like a consumer's reliability in paying electric bills, don't translate into a likelihood they will repay their loans.
Consumers with thin credit files are more likely to default on their loans, though the majority of them perform well, according to TransUnion. FICO estimates that about one-third of people who don't have credit scores had a major negative event like a bankruptcy at some point in their past.
Goldman Sachs started making personal loans in 2016, part of a bigger move into consumer banking. Among other factors, it considers whether applicants overdraw their checking accounts.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman said the bank has ''built a technology and data architecture that can ingest and use multiple sources of data to make the best decisions for the customer and the bank.''
Some would-be borrowers have low credit scores because of a limited U.S. borrowing history. Per Breivik said he had a credit score in the low 300s after he moved to Houston from London last year, and had trouble getting a credit card.
Mr. Breivik, who runs maintenance for a drilling company, turned to HSBC Holdings PLC. ''I said, 'We need to try to work something out. I have all this history with you guys,''' he said, referencing deposit accounts with the bank abroad.
HSBC reviewed his relationship with the bank, including his record of repaying an HSBC credit card he had before he moved to the U.S., and approved him for a U.S. card.
Some lenders are working with fintechs that assess consumers' purchase data to determine risk. Fintech ZestFinance, for example, says applicants who spend more at grocery stores than on eating out tend to be a lower risk, as are those who shop at discount stores or are registered to vote.
Angel Hernandez, a 42-year-old maintenance worker, used cash for almost everything for much of his adult life. He has twice tapped Spring Bank for loans to pay for funeral and travel expenses when relatives died. Spring Bank, based in the Bronx, N.Y., lends to consumers with little to no credit history.
The bank verified Mr. Hernandez's income with his employer. It also had him set up a savings account at Spring Bank where a portion of his paycheck was regularly deposited. Spring Bank made withdrawals from it to repay the loan.
Mr. Hernandez recently received his first credit card offers in the mail. He has since signed up for several cards.
Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at annamaria.andriotis@wsj.com
Understanding Updates to Your Device's Location Settings | Facebook Newsroom
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:52
September 9, 2019
By Paul McDonald, Engineering Director, Location Platform
Facebook is better with location. It powers features like check-ins and makes planning events easier. It helps improve ads and keep you and the Facebook community safe. Features like Find Wi-Fi and Nearby Friends use precise location even when you're not using the app to make sure that alerts and tools are accurate and personalized for you.
Your Android or iOS location settings allow you to control when you share your device's precise location with apps like Facebook. That's why we're letting you know that Android and iOS have released new versions of their operating systems, which include updates to how you can view and manage your location.
The newest version of Android, called Android 10, gives people more visibility into and control over when apps can access their device's precise location.
The new version of iOS, called iOS 13, will send people reminders about which apps can access their precise location information when they're not using an app and how many times each app has accessed it.
Android 10
Previous Android versions offer an on/off switch for controlling an app's access to your device's precise location information. Earlier this year we introduced the Facebook background location setting to give people on Android a dedicated way to control whether their device's precise location was being shared with Facebook even when you're not using the app.
If you decide to update to Android 10, you'll have the option to allow individual apps to access your precise location, either while you're using the app or when you're not. We understand that this may be confusing if you're already using Facebook's background location setting, and this update may cause a few instances where the Android and Facebook location settings will be out of sync.
To address this issue, Facebook will continue to respect your most restrictive settings choice. For example, if your device location setting is set to ''all of the time,'' but your Facebook background location setting is off, we won't collect your precise location information when you're not using the Facebook app.
We'll also begin to phase out the Facebook background location setting on Android 10 by reminding people to check their device's location settings to make sure what they've chosen is right for them.
Location Access Settings in Facebook for Android
iOS 13
On iOS devices, you currently have three options to share your precise location with an app: always, only when the app is in use or never. If you decide to update to iOS 13, you will see an additional option called ''allow once,'' which lets an app access your device's precise location information only once.
If you are using iOS 13, you will begin to receive notifications about when an app is using your precise location in the background and how many times an app has accessed that information. The notification will also include a map of the location data an app has received and an explanation of why the app uses that type of location information.
Privacy Matters
You're in control of who sees your location on Facebook. You can control whether your device shares precise location information with Facebook via Location Services, a setting on your phone or tablet.
We may still understand your location using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection.
We'll continue to make it easier for you to control how and when you share your location. We're always building new features to help you explore the world around you, including Local Alerts to keep you informed on breaking news and the new map in the Events tab to help you find things to do with friends nearby.
'Ban all watches from exams to stop cheating' - BBC News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:59
All watches should be banned from exam halls to discourage cheating, says an inquiry into the extent of malpractice in exams taken by pupils across the UK.
Smart watches, connected to the internet, are already banned from use by students taking public exams.
But the review, commissioned by exam boards, says it is becoming difficult to distinguish between hi-tech and traditional watches.
Review chairman Sir John Dunford called for a "blanket ban" on watches.
The Independent Commission on Examination Malpractice, set up by exam boards to investigate the prevalence of cheating in public exams in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, says that overall there is a "very low level of malpractice".
Confusing for invigilatorsBut it warns of the increasing "sophistication of internet-enabled devices" which could be used unfairly in exams such as A-levels or Highers.
Sir John, a former head teachers' union leader, said smart watches could look like conventional watches, leaving them open to misuse by cheats.
"It can look as if it's a time-telling watch and actually, you press a button and it becomes an email-type watch.
"If you don't ban them all I think you're giving a very difficult job to invigilators who are looking round an exam room.
"So I think the obvious thing to do here is to ban watches."
There are exam centres which already do not allow pupils to wear watches - but the review says there needs to be clarity with such a ban applying across all exams.
Pupils in exams would still need to know the time - and Sir John said schools would have to make sure there were enough visible clocks on the wall.
The review also raised other hi-tech cheating concerns - such as students potentially concealing a device below a false fingernail - and called on exam boards to check the "dark web" for illegal sales of exam papers.
The Joint Council for Qualifications says it will consider whether such a ban on watches could be in place for exams taken next summer.
There were also more mundane issues around cheating - with the review calling for "toilet sweeps" to make sure toilets were not being used to hide ways of getting information during exams.
Extra timeThe report also highlighted concerns about the rise in schools seeking extra time for pupils in exams, such as if they have a particular special need or emotional problem.
Sir John said there was no evidence that this was "malpractice", but there needed to be more investigation to explain a "remarkable" growth in such pupils getting 25% more time.
The most common form of cheating was using a mobile phone in exams.
But despite the changing technology, Sir John said the review found no overall increase in cheating over time and that levels had remained relatively constant.
Figures for England from last year showed 2,735 pupils had been penalised for cheating - marginally down on the year before.
This represented 0.02% of entries and was more common at GCSE level than A-level.
Hoax leaksAs well as using technology to cheat, concerns were raised about online activity being used to "destabilise" pupils.
Pete Langley, of the Student Room, warned of a growing problem of people pretending to leak exam questions online, with these "hoax" leaks confusing other students.
This followed a series of online leaks of maths A-level questions.
Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union, backed the finding that cheating remained rare.
"But the small number of reported incidents, particularly high-profile breaches, can have a disproportionate impact on the public's perception of the exam system," he said.
The exam regulator Ofqual supported the finding that there was no "endemic problem of malpractice".
But a spokesman welcomed the call for "greater clarity" about when pupils should be able to get extra time to take exams.
AbsoluteFail: "@adam the ATN thermal scopes are export restricte'..." - No Agenda Social
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:03
@ adam the ATN thermal scopes are export restricted. DOD is claiming they are being found in the hands of the Taliban. The feds think they can find the user or illegal exporter in the app data from Google and Apple. It's a giant fishing expedition that makes no sense. The people reselling the scopes need not download the app nor the taliban to use the scope. The app isn't required at all.
Google's got a new face-tracking camera for your home. We've got questions - CNET
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:43
You'll see a breathing green light beside the camera when the feed from the Nest Hub Max is available for viewing. The light will go solid whenever someone is watching, when you're making a video call, or any other time video is being uploaded to the cloud.
Derek Poore/CNET Google Home and Nest Hub gadgets already feature microphones that are always listening for the words that wake up the Assistant ("OK, Google" or "Hey, Google"). Now, the search giant's newest gadget for your home, the Nest Hub Max smart display, adds in a camera that's always watching for a familiar face.
Google calls the feature Face Match, and it uses facial recognition technology to remember what you look like. After that, you can tap on the screen to see personalized bits of data like calendar appointments and Google Duo messages whenever it recognizes you.
The Nest Hub Max isn't the first product to bring facial recognition technology -- and the legal and ethical considerations that come with it -- into people's homes. Smart phones have been using the technology to let us unlock our devices and authorize purchases for years , and a growing number of smart home gadgets that use cameras are putting it to use, too, including Google's own Nest Hello video doorbell.
Still, it's a product that seeks to give Google a wider window into our lives at a time when the company is already facing questions about the way it handles our personal data . I wanted to take a closer look at how those privacy standards apply when you add always-watching cameras into the mix. (Here's even more about facial recognition in everyday technology and how to opt out.)
Now playing: Watch this: Google's Nest Hub Max smart display tracks your face
How private is that camera feed?You'll start with Face Match by using your phone to scan your face, which creates a "face model" that the device attaches to your user profile. After that, when you're in front of the device and it recognizes you, you'll see personalized details like calendar appointments and Google Duo video messages from your contacts.
I had a lot of questions for Google about this feature, and about the camera's ability to spot a raised hand gesture in order to pause or resume playback, too. For instance: Is the camera always recording in order to process what it sees and spot familiar faces or gestures? Is it sharing everything it sees with Google's cloud?
"If camera sensing is enabled and the camera is on (i.e., not turned off via the hardware or software switch), then the camera is continuously processing pixels to look for faces and/or gestures," a Google spokesperson explained. "This processing is done locally on the device, and no pixels leave the Nest Hub Max."
If the feature is enabled, anyone with access to your Google Home or Nest account can view the feed from the Nest Hub Max's camera.
Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET You can also use the camera in the Nest Hub Max like a Nest Cam security camera, and view its feed at any time via Android TV or via the Google Home or Nest apps. If you'd like, you can subscribe to Nest Aware, a service that saves motion-activated video clips to a cloud account for you to review later. All of that -- watching the feed remotely and storing clips recorded from it -- involves uploading footage to Google's servers.
"When you are using your Nest Hub Max as a Nest Cam, and any other time when video or images are being uploaded to Google (for example, during a video call), you'll see the green light at the top of the device," the spokesperson said. "If you have subscribed to Nest Aware for your Hub Max, your stored recordings from the Nest Cam feature will be available for you to review and delete any time in the Nest app."
Google adds that neither the face and gesture tracking data nor the Nest Cam data is ever used for ad personalization, the company's process of using the data people share with it in order to target advertisements at them that are relevant to their perceived interests.
As for the data that does affect the ads you see, like the searches you make and your YouTube viewing history, Google lets you review its impact -- or turn ad personalization off altogether -- in the data and personalization section of your Google account.
Faces in the cloudGoogle's representatives made a point of emphasizing the fact that the Nest Hub Max's Face Match and gesture-tracking features don't involve the cloud at all.
"Google's AI camera-powered features are happening on the device itself," said Ashton Udall, Google's product lead for smart displays. "When you do auto-framing in video calls, or when you do Face Match, or when you do Quick Gestures, all of that is happening on the device. We don't have to send things to the cloud in order for those things to happen. What happens in your home stays in your home with relation to these things."
That's good to hear, but when I began setting up the Nest Hub Max to test the device out, I saw the following disclaimer in the Google Home app:
"Face Match creates a unique model of your face that your Assistant uses to recognize you. This face model is stored on this Nest Hub Max and used to identify you when you're in front of this device. It's also temporarily processed at Google from time to time to improve the quality of your experience with this device."
Google doesn't bury this language in the fine print -- it's front-and-center as you enroll in Face Match.
Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET I asked Google to explain that last line to me.
"The images you provide are used to build your face model, which is stored on your device," the spokesperson said. "However, we occasionally use the images you provide during setup to generate a face model in the cloud for a couple of reasons, all related to improving your product experience specifically on Nest Hub Max, and motivated by the fact that we have more computing power available in the cloud."
As Google tells it, those reasons are two-fold. First, the company says that when a Nest Hub Max has multiple users enrolled in Face Match, it may upload the face models to the cloud to ensure that each is distinct enough from the other to avoid false positives.
The second reason has to do with new features and facial recognition algorithms that may be coming in the future. When Google has one ready, it reserves the right to upload your face model to make sure everything works properly before pushing the new feature to your device.
"In all cases, if we ever process your face data at Google, it is only temporary, and all face models are permanently discarded," the spokesperson said. "You can always review and delete these enrollment images at myactivity.google.com."
Can I just turn the camera off?Like the original, smaller-sized Nest Hub , which doesn't include a camera at all, the Nest Hub Max features a kill switch behind the screen that disables the microphones. Now, that switch disables the camera, too.
That's a step short of including a physical shutter that covers the camera entirely, a feature that consumers often appreciate with devices like these. Other Google Assistant smart displays, including the Lenovo Smart Display 10 and the JBL Link View made sure to include one. So did the Facebook Portal .
You can flip that switch in the back of the device to turn off the microphones and the camera. But, it won't physically cover the camera lens like the shutters in other smart displays.
David Priest/CNET Many users prefer the sense of privacy offered by a shutter that they can leave closed when the device isn't in use, especially if they plan to keep it somewhere like a bedroom. Amazon seemed to figure that out in between last year's second-gen Amazon Echo Show smart display, which lacked a shutter, and this year's Amazon Echo Show 5 , which added one.
When asked about the lack of a shutter, Google defended its design by downplaying the distinction between kill switch and shutter altogether.
"We've included a mic plus camera switch that electrically disables both the camera and mics, making it functionally equivalent to a physical camera shutter," said a Google spokesperson.
At any rate, the lack of a shutter seems to put a gulf in between Google and at least some of its potential customers, many of whom might be growing increasingly wary of just how much data they're sharing with Silicon Valley. Time will tell if the digital kill switch is enough of a compromise to bridge that gap.
Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House - POLITICO
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:01
The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel's behavior, one of the former officials said.
Story Continued Below
The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as ''StingRays,'' mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.
The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it's not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.
President Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that ''Chinese spies are often listening'' to Trump's cell-phone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as ''so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.'' (A former official said Trump has had his cell phone hardened against intrusion.)
By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation's capital, but weren't able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top DHS official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.
That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI's counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they ''tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.'' For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the Central Intelligence Agency (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation).
''It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,'' said a former senior intelligence official.
An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: ''These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn't conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.''
A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn't ''comment on matters related to security or intelligence.'' The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn't respond to requests for comment.
But former officials with deep experience dealing with intelligence matters scoff at the Israeli claim '-- a pro forma denial Israeli officials are also known to make in private to skeptical U.S. counterparts.
One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government.
''The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration,'' this person said. ''With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.''
The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a d(C)marche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions.
''I'm not aware of any accountability at all,'' said the former official.
Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials '-- prized information for any intelligence service '-- foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.
''The people in that circle are heavily targeted,'' said the former Trump official.
Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump's friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people ''would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon,'' the former official added.
That's true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States.
''The Israelis are pretty aggressive'' in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. ''They're all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective.''
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Donald Trump. | Michael Reynolds/Getty Images
So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government '-- such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions '-- Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.
While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.
''You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who's been accessing them to pull the data off the devices,'' another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.
Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability '-- or the budget '-- to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.
IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corporation, the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News.
''The costs involved are really significant,'' according to a former senior Trump administration official. ''This is not an easy or ubiquitous practice.''
Among professionals, the Israeli intelligence services have an especially fearsome reputation. But they do sometimes make mistakes and are ''not 10 feet tall like you see in the movies,'' a former senior intelligence official noted.
In 2010, the secret covers of a Mossad hit team, some of whom had been posing as tennis players, were blown after almost 30 minutes of surveillance video was posted online of them going through a luxury Dubai hotel where they killed a top Hamas terrorist in his room.
Still, U.S. officials sometimes have been taken aback by Israel's brazen spying. One former U.S. government official recalled his frequent concern that Israel knew about internal U.S. policy deliberations that were meant to be kept private.
''There were suspicions that they were listening in,'' the former official said, based on his Israeli counterparts flaunting a level of detailed knowledge ''that was hard to explain otherwise.''
''Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking. Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, 'This would be really problematic if you were to say X,''' said the former official.
Back when the Obama administration was trying to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, for example, the Israelis were eager to get advance knowledge of the language being debated that would describe the terms of reference of the talks.
''They would have had interest in what language [President Barack] Obama or [Secretary of State John] Kerry or someone else was going to use and might indeed try to find a way to lobby for language they liked or against language that they didn't like and so having knowledge of that could be advantageous for them,'' the former official said.
''The Israelis are aggressive intelligence collectors, but they have sworn off spying on the U.S. at various points and it's not surprising that such efforts continue,'' said Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator of counterrorism at the State Department and now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth.
He recalled once meeting with a head of Mossad, the premier Israeli intelligence agency. The first thing the official told Benjamin was that Israel didn't spy on the U.S.
''I just told him our conversation was over if he had such a low estimate of my intelligence,'' Benjamin said.
Israeli officials often note in conversations with their American counterparts '-- correctly '-- that the U.S. regularly gathers intelligence on Israeli leaders.
As for Israel's recent surveillance of the White House, one of the former senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged it raised security concerns but joked, ''On the other hand, guess what we do in Tel Aviv?''
Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning '-- in your inbox.
iNSYNQ Ransom Attack Began With Phishing Email '-- Krebs on Security
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:32
A ransomware outbreak that hit QuickBooks cloud hosting firm iNSYNQ in mid-July appears to have started with an email phishing attack that snared an employee working in sales for the company, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. It also looks like the intruders spent roughly ten days rooting around iNSYNQ's internal network to properly stage things before unleashing the ransomware. iNSYNQ ultimately declined to pay the ransom demand, and it is still working to completely restore customer access to files.
Some of this detail came in a virtual ''town hall'' meeting held August 8, in which iNSYNQ chief executive Elliot Luchansky briefed customers on how it all went down, and what the company is doing to prevent such outages in the future.
A great many iNSYNQ's customers are accountants, and when the company took its network offline on July 16 in response to the ransomware outbreak, some of those customers took to social media to complain that iNSYNQ was stonewalling them.
''We could definitely have been better prepared, and it's totally unacceptable,'' Luchansky told customers. ''I take full responsibility for this. People waiting ridiculous amounts of time for a response is unacceptable.''
By way of explaining iNSYNQ's initial reluctance to share information about the particulars of the attack early on, Luchansky told customers the company had to assume the intruders were watching and listening to everything iNSYNQ was doing to recover operations and data in the wake of the ransomware outbreak.
''That was done strategically for a good reason,'' he said. ''There were human beings involved with [carrying out] this attack in real time, and we had to assume they were monitoring everything we could say. And that posed risks based on what we did say publicly while the ransom negotiations were going on. It could have been used in a way that would have exposed customers even more. That put us in a really tough bind, because transparency is something we take very seriously. But we decided it was in our customers' best interests to not do that.''
A paid ad that comes up prominently when one searches for ''insynq'' in Google.
Luchansky did not say how much the intruders were demanding, but he mentioned two key factors that informed the company's decision not to pay up.
''It was a very substantial amount, but we had the money wired and were ready to pay it in cryptocurrency in the case that it made sense to do so,'' he told customers. ''But we also understood [that paying] would put a target on our heads in the future, and even if we actually received the decryption key, that wasn't really the main issue here. Because of the quick reaction we had, we were able to contain the encryption part'' to roughly 50 percent of customer systems, he said.
Luchansky said the intruders seeded its internal network with MegaCortex, a potent new ransomware strain first spotted just a couple of months ago that is being used in targeted attacks on enterprises. He said the attack appears to have been carefully planned out in advance and executed ''with human intervention all the way through.''
''They decided they were coming after us,'' he said. ''It's one thing to prepare for these sorts of events but it's an entirely different experience to deal with first hand.''
According to an analysis of MegaCortex published this week by Accenture iDefense, the crooks behind this ransomware strain are targeting businesses '-- not home users '-- and demanding ransom payments in the range of two to 600 bitcoins, which is roughly $20,000 to $5.8 million.
''We are working for profit,'' reads the ransom note left behind by the latest version of MegaCortex. ''The core of this criminal business is to give back your valuable data in the original form (for ransom of course).''
A portion of the ransom note left behind by the latest version of MegaCortex. Image: Accenture iDefense.
Luchansky did not mention in the town hall meeting exactly when the initial phishing attack was thought to have occurred, noting that iNSYNQ is still working with California-based CrowdStrike to gain a more complete picture of the attack.
But Alex Holden, founder of Milwaukee-based cyber intelligence firm Hold Security, showed KrebsOnSecurity information obtained from monitoring dark web communications which suggested the problem started on July 6, after an employee in iNSYNQ's sales division fell for a targeted phishing email.
''This shows that even after the initial infection, if companies act promptly they can still detect and stop the ransomware,'' Holden said. ''For these infections hackers take sometimes days, weeks, or even months to encrypt your data.''
iNSYNQ did not respond to requests for comment on Hold Security's findings.
Asked whether the company had backups of customer data and '-- if so '-- why iNSYNQ decided not to restore from those, Luchansky said there were backups but that some of those were also infected.
''The backup system is backing up the primary system, and that by definition entails some level of integration,'' Luchansky explained. ''The way our system was architected, the malware had spread into the backups as well, at least a little bit. So [by] just turning the backups back on, there was a good chance the the virus would then start to spread through the backup system more. So we had to treat the backups similarly to how we were treating the primary systems.''
Luchansky said their backup system has since been overhauled, and that if a similar attack happened in the future it would take days instead of weeks to recover. However, he declined to get into specifics about exactly what had changed, which is too bad because in every ransomware attack story I've written this seems to be the detail most readers are interested in and arguing about.
The CEO added that iNSYNQ also will be partnering with a company that helps firms detect and block targeted phishing attacks, and that it envisioned being able to offer this to its customers at a discounted rate. It wasn't clear from Luchansky's responses to questions whether the cloud hosting firm was also considering any kind of employee anti-phishing education and/or testing service.
Luchansky said iNSYNQ was able to restore access to more than 90 percent of customer files by Aug. 2 '-- roughly two weeks after the ransomware outbreak '-- and that the company would be offering customers a two month credit as a result of the outage.
Tags: Accenture iDefense, alex holden, CrowdStrike, Elliot Luchansky, Hold Security, iNSYNQ, Megacortex ransomware
This entry was posted on Friday, August 9th, 2019 at 2:18 pmand is filed under A Little Sunshine.You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.Both comments and pings are currently closed.
McDonald's To Replace More Humans With Drive-Thru AI | Zero Hedge
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:04
What doesn't cost $15 an hour and talk back to customers? AI.
McDonald's announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Mountain View-based voice tech startup Apprente in order to integrate its technology into the food chain's drive-thrus, according to Engadget. Apprente employees will form the company's new Silicon Valley "McD Tech Labs" which McDonald's intends to expand over time.
The AI can handle "complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering," allowing for "faster, simpler and more accurate order taking," according to the report, while McDonald's claims the new software is part of a company effort to "alleviate pressure on restaurant employees," who currently have to decipher what customers want.
Apprente will form a pivotal part of McD Tech Labs, a new restaurant technology group based in Silicon Valley. The Apprente team will become the group's founding members and co-founder Itamar Arel will serve as vice-president. "McDonald's commitment to innovation has long inspired our team. It was quite clear from our various engagements that McDonald's is leading the industry with technology" said Itamar Arel, Ph.D., co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs. "Apprente was borne out of an opportunity to use technology to solve challenging real world problems and we're thrilled to now apply this to creating personalized experiences for customers and crew." The company is planning on hiring more engineers, data scientists and other advanced technology experts to build its presence in Silicon Valley. - Engadget
McDonald's plans to roll out self-service kiosks across all US restaurant locations by 2020 - reducing the need to employ as many human cashiers.
In April, the company acquired personalized data startup Dynamic Yield in order to customize drive-thru menus based on the time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending items. A minority stake was also purchased in New Zealand-based mobile app technology company Plexure.
Girl power: Hasbro brings gender pay gap debate to game night with new Ms. Monopoly
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 15:12
Addressing the gender pay gap comes down to changing the rules of the game.
That's exactly what Ms. Monopoly brings to the table.
Hasbro is launching a new version of the iconic board game that celebrates female trailblazers and is the first "where women make more than men,'' officials shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
The new game '' which includes several modern updates including ride shares instead of railroads and Wi-Fi instead of water works '' goes on sale this month at major national retailers for a suggested price of $19.99. The game is available for preorder at Walmart.com.
Jen Boswinkel, senior director of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro Gaming, said the game is designed for today's kids and highlights a subject they may not know about yet.
"With all of the things surrounding female empowerment, it felt right to bring this to Monopoly in a fresh new way," Boswinkel said. ''It's giving the topic some relevancy to everyone playing it that everybody gets a turn, and this time women get an advantage at the start.''
Get ready to be rewarded: Target's loyalty program is expanding nationwide in October with perks for all shoppers
Collectors' edition: Sally Ride Barbie and Rosa Parks Barbie dolls debut on Women's Equality Day
Wage debate at game night
The debate over equal pay starts before shuffling the cards, choosing a token and rolling the dice.
The banker doles out $1,900 in Monopoly Money to each female player and $1,500 to each male. The gap continues every time a player passes go with women collecting $240 and men $200.
Instead of investing in real estate properties like the classic game, players invest in inventions and innovations made by women, including chocolate chip cookies, bulletproof vests, solar heating and ladies' modern shapewear.
''We made sure that this felt authentic and was a fun game families could play and learn about these things that they love and are a part of their life that they didn't know were invented by women,'' Boswinkel said.
Other updates to the game include new tokens including a white hat, a watch, a barbell, a glass and a jet plane.
While the white hat might conjure up thoughts of Olivia Pope from "Scandal," Boswinkel said it's to symbolize Mr. Monopoly passing his top hat to his niece. The watch is to symbolize that it's "about time for some changes," she added.
Families can choose to give everyone the same amount if they choose, Boswinkel said. It's also possible that a boy wins the game.
''It's a way that families can talk about what is happening around them, and it's an easy way to explain to their kids, boys or girls, what has maybe happened to them over the years and what they've been experiencing,'' Boswinkel said.
Young inventors
To celebrate the new game, Hasbro surprised three young female inventors with $20,580 in real '' not Monopoly '' money: 13-year-old Gitanjali Rao, of Denver, and Sophia Wang from Connecticut and Ava Canney from Ireland, both 16.
A high school freshman, Gitanjali has created a few inventions including the Tethys, a device that detects lead in drinking water.
''There are so many big things that most people think are created by men, but they're actually created by women,'' said Gitanjali, who was included on Forbes' 2019 30 under 30 list for science. ''It really expanded my knowledge and was so empowering to me.''
An avid Monopoly player, Gitanjali also said she was ''appalled'' to learn more about the gender pay gap.
''I never put the dots together and realized it was that much of a gap,'' she said. ''I think it's super important to talk about equal pay and that there's no such thing as boys' subjects and girls' subjects.''
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
Ministry of Truthiness
Will NPR Now Officially Change Its Name to National Propaganda Radio? - Antiwar.com Original
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:38
Back in the 1960s, the CIA official Cord Meyer said the agency needed to "court the compatible left." He knew that drawing liberals and leftists into the CIA's orbit was the key to efficient propaganda. Right-wing and left-wing collaborators were needed to create a powerful propaganda apparatus that would be capable of hypnotizing audiences into believing the myth of American exceptionalism and its divine right to rule the world. The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites.
Frances Stonor Saunders comprehensively covers this in her 1999 book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters, and Joel Whitney followed this up in 2016 with Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, with particular emphasis on the complicity between the CIA and the famous literary journal, The Paris Review. By the mid-1970s, as a result of the Church Committee hearings, it seemed as if the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, confessed their sins, and resolved to go and sin no more. Then in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire '' "The CIA and the Media" '' naming names of journalists and media (The New York Times, CBS, etc.) that worked hand-in-glove with the CIA, propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world. It seemed as if all would be hunky-dory now with the bad boys purged from the American "free" press. Seemed to the most na¯ve, that is, by which I mean the vast numbers of people who wanted to re-stick their heads in the sand and believe, as Ronald Reagan's team of truthtellers would announce, that it was "Morning in America" again with the free press reigning and the neo-conservatives, many of whom had been "converted" from their leftist views, running things in Washington.
So again it is morning in America this September 6, 2019, and the headline from National Public Radio announces the glad tidings that NPR has named a new CEO. His name is John Lansing, and the headline says he is a "veteran media executive." We are meant to be reassured. It goes on to say that Mr. Lansing, 62, is currently the chief executive of the government agency, The U.S. Agency for Global Media, that oversees Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others. We are furthermore reassured by NPR that Lansing "made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference." The announcement goes on to say:
Lansing has earned an advanced degree in political agility. At the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Lansing championed a free press even as leaders of many nations move against it.
'Governments around the world are increasingly cracking down on the free flow of information; silencing dialogue and dissent; and distorting reality,' Lansing said in a speech he delivered in May to the Media for Democracy Forum. 'The result, I believe, is a war on truth.'
He continued: 'Citizens in countries from Russia to China, from Iran to North Korea, have been victimized for decades. But now we're seeing authoritarian regimes expanding around the globe, with media repression in places like Turkey and Venezuela, Cambodia and Vietnam.'
So we are reassured that the new head of NPR, the chief of all U.S. propaganda, is a champion of a free press. Perhaps NPR will soon enlighten the American public by interviewing its new head honcho and asking him if he thinks Julian Assange and Chelsey Manning, by exposing America's war crimes, and Edward Snowden, by exposing the US government's vast electronic surveillance programs of its own citizens, deserve to be jailed and exiled for doing the job the American mainstream "free press" failed to do. What NPR failed to do. Perhaps they will ask him if he objects to the way his own government "interfered" in the lives of these three courageous people who revealed truths that every citizen of a free country is entitled to. Perhaps they will ask him if the US government's persecution of these truthtellers is what he means by there being "a war on truth." Perhaps they will ask him if he thinks the Obama and Trump administrations have been "distorting reality" and waging a war on truth.
Perhaps not. Of course not.
Don't laugh, for the joke will be on you if you listen to NPR and its sly appeal to "liberal" sensibilities. If you are wondering why we have had the Russia-gate hoax and who was responsible (see/hear Russia expert Prof. Stephen Cohen) and are now involved in a new Cold War and a highly dangerous nuclear confrontation with Russia, read Lansing's July 10, 2019 testimony before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: "United Sates Efforts to Counter Russian Disinformation and Malign Influence."
Here is an excerpt:
USAGM provides consistently accurate and compelling journalism that reflects the values of our society: freedom, openness, democracy, and hope. Our guiding principles '' enshrined in law '' are to provide a reliable, authoritative, and independent source of news that adheres to the strictest standards of journalism'....
Russian Disinformation. And make no mistake, we are living through a global explosion of disinformation, state propaganda, and lies generated by multiple authoritarian regimes around the world. The weaponization of information we are seeing today is real. The Russian government and other authoritarian regimes engage in far-reaching malign influence campaigns across national boundaries and language barriers. The Kremlin's propaganda and disinformation machine is being unleashed via new platforms and continues to grow in Russia and internationally. Russia seeks to destroy the very idea of an objective, verifiable set of facts as it attempts to influence opinions about the United States and its allies. It is not an understatement to say that this new form of combat on the information battlefield may be the fight of the 21st century.
Then research the history of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, etc. You will be reassured that Lansing's July testimony was his job interview to head National Propaganda Radio.
Then sit back, relax, and tune into NPR's Morning Edition. It will be comforting to know that it is "Morning in America" once again.
Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/.
On Joi and MIT - Lessig - Medium
Sun, 08 Sep 2019 20:15
A couple of weeks ago, I signed a petition (the site has since been taken down, but you can see it at archive.org) expressing my support for Joi Ito. Not unexpectedly, that signing produced anger and outrage among many, and among some of my friends. I had wanted, in the spirit of the Net, to respond and explain then. I was asked by Joi's friends not to. Yesterday's events terminate that injunction. What follows is an explanation and an account, with as little emotion as I can muster.
I had known of Joi's contact with Epstein since about the beginning. He had reached out to me to discuss it. We are friends (Joi and I), and he knew I would be upset by his working with a pedophile. He knew that because he knew that I had been extensively abused as a kid, and that I am ferocious in my anger at people and institutions that protect abusers. (Defenders of the Catholic Church just love me for this.) Indeed, as I have come to understand myself, I see this anger as the whole reason for the work I do. Institutional corruption is just a fancy way to frame the dynamic of the weak enabling evil to do wrong.
Our conversations then were about his diligence to determine whether Epstein remained an abuser. I am constitutionally skeptical about claims that pedophiles reform. Pedophilia is alcoholism; it is never gone (without chemical castration), it is only suppressed. Or so I can't help but believe '-- I am not a scientist, and I have studied the facts not so deeply. But it is how I feel the wrong that evil is. It is how Joi knew I felt it. And so we had what would not have been an easy conversation about whether this criminal continued his soul-sucking crimes.
Joi believed that he did not. He believed Epstein was terrified after the prosecution in 2011. He believed he had come to recognize that he would lose everything. He believed that whatever else he was, he was brilliant enough to understand the devastation to him of losing everything. He believed that he was a criminal who had stopped his crime. And nothing in his experience with Epstein contradicted this belief.
It was not my fight. I didn't have the stomach or the ability then to do my own investigation. I wish now I had just screamed ''don't'' to Joi. But I didn't'--and I wouldn't have. Indeed, though I don't remember this precisely, I probably told him that if he was convinced, then it was ok. Because the truth is that'--as I thought about it then'--if Joi believed as he did after real diligence, I didn't believe he was wrong to take Epstein's money anonymously.
That belief '-- of mine'--was a mistake, for reasons that I'll return to below. But we should start with why that belief is even conceivable before I return to why it is wrong.
I thank god that I've never been obligated to raise money for an institution like MIT, because I know that in every moment of that existence, I would be forced to confront a gap between what I believe is right and what every institution does. And yet, as a person charged with fundraising, I would be pressed to adopt the ethics of the institution, not the ethics of myself.
Divide the entities or people who want to give to an institution like MIT into four types.
Type 1 is people like Tom Hanks or Taylor Swift '-- people who are wealthy and whose wealth comes from nothing but doing good.Type 2 is entities like Google or Facebook, or people whose wealth comes from those companies. These are people who are wealthy because of their work within companies of ambiguous good. Some love them. Some hate them. Some think they are the key to all that's evil in the age that's coming. Some think they are the key to all that will be good.Type 3 is people who are criminals, but whose wealth does not derive from their crime. This is Epstein, but not just Epstein. It may be that we'll discover that Epstein got rich by blackmailing people whom he had encouraged or enabled to commit abuse. I doubt it, but it's possible. Suffice it that when Joi was investigating whether that criminal continued his crime, no one was suggesting that his enormous wealth was the product of blackmail or sex slavery. He was, the world assumed, a brilliant, savant-like investor, who was also a sexual predator.Type 4 is entities and people whose wealth comes from clearly wrongful or harmful or immoral behavior. The RJ Reynolds Foundation, the Sacklers, the Kochs: I recognize that people have different views about these people or entities, but it is not hard to identify the enormous harm that each has caused. Smoking has killed multiples of the German Holocaust. Since 1999, more than 200,000 have died from OxyContin overdoses '-- four times the number of Americans killed in Vietnam (even if that's less than a fifth of the number of people killed in that insane war). If there is a single family responsible for the fact that we to this day have no comprehensive legislation addressing climate change, it is the Kochs. This money is blood money. It is wealth that is great because of the harm.Universities wish they could fund their work with Type 1 money exclusively. I can't imagine that there is a single university in America that does. Instead, every university takes all four types of money. That's not to say that the universities don't have standards and don't discriminate among the various sources within each type. That's the clear lesson from Ronan Farrow's piece yesterday: apparently MIT, like probably every great university, maintains a list of ''disqualified'' donors. Farrow will be shown to be wrong about whether the administration told Joi that Epstein was disqualified when the Media Lab took his money, but that's a detail for the moment. The point just now is not that universities take whatever money is offered to them. The point is simply that in any major university, there is money from each of these four buckets.
That fact is what would make raising money for universities so difficult for me. Yet one way around that difficulty is to police the different motives that givers might have. Some simply give to support the university or the science the university advances '-- whether anonymously or not. But some give their money to whitewash their reputation. No one who knows little about Rockefeller or Carnegie thinks anything negative about those criminals. That's because whitewashing works. And since time immemorial, there have been people or families keen to wash away the stains of blood money. Or at least, to burnish the ambiguity of their reputation by leveraging the brand of great universities.
And here then would be the rub for me at least (because most universities don't follow this rule): I think that universities should not be the launderers of reputation. I think that they should not accept blood money. Or more precisely, I believe that if they are going to accept blood money (type 4) or the money from people convicted of a crime (type 3), they should only ever accept that money anonymously. Anonymity '-- or as my colleague Chris Robertson would put it, blinding '-- is the least a university should do to avoid becoming the mechanism through which great wrong is forgiven. Were I king, I would ban non-anonymous gifts of type 3 or type 4.
Obviously, the difficulty with such a rule is distinguishing type 2 from type 4: Is Warren Buffet type 4? Obviously not. Is Bill Gates? In my view, plainly not. Is Google? So far, in my view, not, but we'll see. Is RJ Reynolds? Plainly yes. I have my views, but I realize my views are both more conservative and more liberal than others. Which is why such a rule is so difficult '-- however clearly, in my view, it may be compelled by the ideals of any great university.
O k, that's a lot of words to get to a critical point about the Joi Ito story: Everyone seems to treat it as if the anonymity and secrecy around Epstein's gift are a measure of some kind of moral failing. I see it as exactly the opposite. IF you are going to take type 3 money, then you should only take it anonymously. And if you take it anonymously, then obviously you will take the many steps detailed by Farrow to keep it secret. Secrecy is the only saving virtue of accepting money like this. And rather than repeating unreflective paeans to ''transparency,'' we should recognize that in many cases, secrecy is golden. I suspect MIT takes similarly severe steps to keep the academic records of its students secret. Good for them, for here, too, transparency would be evil.
Thus when Joi was convinced that the crimes had ended, and he took Epstein's money, anonymously, he was doing, as I saw it, and likely said, then, the most that any university administrator could do, given the unending need to raise money. That view was then confirmed by MIT's administration directly when they told Joi to take the money, conditioned upon its anonymity.
But what I '-- and Joi'--missed then was the great risk of great harm that this gift would create. Sure, it wasn't blood money, and sure, because anonymous, the gift wasn't used to burnish Epstein's reputation. But the gift was a ticking time bomb. At some point, it was destined to be discovered. And when it was discovered, it would do real and substantial pain to the people within the Media Lab who would come to see that they were supported in part by the gift of a pedophile. That pain is real and visceral and substantial and not taken seriously enough. And every bit of emotion and outrage from victims that I have seen in this episode is, in my view, completely justified by the completely predictable consequence of that discovery. If you have not been abused, if you have not experienced that sense of being used and helpless, that may well not be understandable to you. Maybe. But I believe that empathy is a basic human emotion. And I believe that all of us should recognize the pain that only some of us can feel in seeing the institutions around us painted with the names or wealth of those who do that wrong.
Joi should have recognized that risk. He had it in him because he had come to talk to me about it at the start. He knew people could be hurt by just knowing the facts. But he assumed they would not be harmed, because he assumed that they would not know the facts. No doubt, he had more confidence in confidentiality at the start than later on. But at the moment the wrong was initiated, he should have known that time bombs do not belong within the walls of great institutions. And he should not have brought this time bomb within the walls of the Media Lab.
He should have known that.
I should have known that.
It is the pathology of my profession that we allow emotion to be so effectively rationalized. So I didn't allow the emotion to speak when I spoke to Joi then. I was driven by the reasoning that I have enslaved the bits above to describe. I am ashamed '-- ashamed'--that I did not do for my friend the one thing I was uniquely qualified to do: I am ashamed that I did not let him see just how hurtful it was to imagine slime like Epstein living within the walls of MIT, even if hidden by promises of anonymity. I fear that I have become so good at intellectualizing what happened to me that I am awful at showing the raw soul-wrenching destruction that that evil is. I should not have reasoned with Joi when he came to me. I should have wept.
I'm not saying that would have stopped him. I'm not saying that was my job. But it was my job to be his friend. I wasn't the friend I should have been.
A nd so now Joi is gone. Not dead. Not destroyed. I can't imagine the creative greatness that the next life of this sweet soul will produce. It will be greatness beyond measure, no doubt, again.
But as I reflect on how we got to this day, yesterday, I can't help but fear for our time. Can we deal with any complicated issue, sensibly? Or humanely? Or with integrity?
I know that Farrow's article is crafted to draw the following sentence into doubt: Everything Joi did in accepting Epstein's money he did with MIT's approval. I trust the MIT review will confirm it (yes, I remain exactly that naive). So why is he resigning, rather than others in the administration? And if Ito must go because Epstein's wealth was accepted anonymously, who else should go because of blood money accepted openly? Will the planet have an equal advocate who demands justice for the Koch money? Or the victims of opioid abuse for the Sackler money? The world is obsessed with erasing the names of 18th-century racists (as if there were any leaders in America in the 18th century who were not racists in our 21st-century sense); what about the names of those who profited from harming others, and destroying the planet?
But more fundamentally, do we even have the capacity to make complicated judgments of justice anymore? Kate Darling doesn't forget Joi his wrong (that should be grammatical; we need that construction); yet she didn't believe he should leave. Isn't that the human condition with all of us? Is there a single person whose story is not complicated in just this sense? Is not what ''being human means'' the learning to balance that judgment and decide on balance what's right?
MIT is less now that Joi is gone. I suspect even his most vocal critics recognize as much. So is what MIT lost worth what ''the cause'' has gained?
As an unavoidable supporter of that cause, I can't believe it is. We need the world to be honest and take responsibility for the wrong it has allowed to occur. We need leaders in the world to be honest and take responsibility. But I am certain that after yesterday, the media strategy for responding to charges like this has changed, dramatically. There will be no more apologies. There will be no more endless effort to reach out and explain mistakes. There will be no clear confessions of error. There will only be the strategy that a senior faculty member at Harvard advised should have been Joi's strategy here '-- keep your head down, say nothing, and wait for the storm to pass.
That will be a loss, not progress.
So yes, I continue to stand with Joi '-- humbled by my blindness, acknowledging more his own humanity, and saddened we live in a moment when so much good can be done, by holding wrong to account, but only so crudely and so painfully and so wrongly. This is us, now. We should all be better.
Leon Black - Wikipedia
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 00:12
American billionaire businessman
Leon David Black (born 1951) is an American investor and art collector. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and private equity. He founded the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 1990. He is the chairman of MoMa. [2]
Early life and education [ edit ] Black is a son of Eli M. Black (1921''1975), a prominent Jewish businessman who emigrated from Poland and was best known for owning the United Brands Company. His mother, Shirley Lubell (sister of Tulsa oil executive Benedict I. Lubell) was an artist.[3] In 1975, his father committed suicide by jumping out of the 44th floor of the Pan Am Building in New York City. It was later made public that, at the time, federal regulators were investigating allegations that United Brands was bribing Honduran government officials.[3][4] Black received a BA in Philosophy and History from Dartmouth College in 1973 and a MBA from Harvard University in 1975.[3] He served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2002 to 2011.[5] In 2012 Black gave US$48 million toward a new visual arts center at Dartmouth College.[6]
Career [ edit ] From 1977 to 1990, Leon Black was employed by investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he served as managing director, head of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, and co-head of the Corporate Finance Department.[7] Black was regarded as "junk bond king" Michael Milken's right-hand man at Drexel.[8] In 1990, he co-founded, on the heels of the collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management.[9][10] Notable founders included: John Hannan, Drexel's former co-director of international finance; Craig Cogut, a lawyer who worked with Drexel's high-yield division in Los Angeles; Arthur Bilger, the former head of the Drexel's corporate finance department; Antony Ressler, who worked as a senior vice president in Drexel's high yield department with responsibility for the new issue/syndicate desk; and Marc Rowan, Josh Harris and Michael Gross, who all worked under Black in the mergers and acquisitions department.[11][12][13]
Personal life [ edit ] Black is married to Debra Ressler,[14] a Broadway producer and sister of Ares Management co-founder Antony Ressler.[15] They have four children.[16] Black's wife is a melanoma survivor. In 2007, the couple donated $25 million to form the new Melanoma Research Alliance. They have committed to donating another $15 million over the next three years.[17] Leon and Debra both serve on the board of the organization.[18] He has a $43 million home in Southampton, New York.[19] In 2012 he acquired Phaidon Press, a fine art books publisher. Apollo Global Management had no role in the purchase. It was an investment Black made privately.[20]
In 2019, The New Yorker reported that Black donated 5.5 million dollars to MIT Media Lab using Jeffrey Epstein as an intermediary. [21] Black went to meetings at Epstein's house, and appointed him to the board of his charitable foundation. [22]
Art collection [ edit ] The Scream by Edvard Munch
Two months after the May 2012 anonymous purchase of one of four versions of Edvard Munch's The Scream, The Wall Street Journal reported that Black had been the one who had paid $119.9 million for the pastel, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction as of that time.[23] In September 2012, The Museum of Modern Art announced the painting would go on view for a six-month period starting in October.[24]
In June 2013, it was revealed that Leon Black had purchased Head of a Young Apostle, an 11-inch wide work by Raphael for £29 million after a four-party bidding war.[25]
On December 22, 2015, it was reported that Leon Black purchased at auction a complete set of the Daniel Bomberg Babylonian Talmud for $9.3 million.[26] According to a press release from the Sotheby's auction house, the sale is "a new world auction record for any piece of Judaica."[27]
In June 2016, a lawsuit over the Picasso sculpture Bust of a Woman (Marie-Th(C)r¨se) between the advisory firm Pelham Europe and art gallery owner Larry Gagosian was settled. Pelham Europe, an agent for a member of Qatar's royal family, and Gagosian, who had resold the bust to Leon Black, both claimed ownership. The case was settled by Maya Widmaier-Picasso, the owner of the sculpture. The settlement included Leon Black getting the sculpture and Widmaier Picasso paying Pelham an undisclosed amount.[28]
See also [ edit ] History of private equity and venture capitalReferences [ edit ] ^ Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Leon Black" ^ "Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway". The New York Times. ^ a b c Creswell, Julie (December 6, 2008). "In Private Equity, the Limits of Apollo's Power". The New York Times. ^ St. Petersburg Times: "Violent Death Contradicted Executives' Quiet Life" by Peter T. Kilbourne February 19, 1975 ^ "Trustees Emeriti". Dartmouth College . Retrieved May 24, 2017 . ^ Lattman, Peter (March 29, 2012). "Apollo's Leon Black Donates $48 Million to Dartmouth". The New York Times . Retrieved June 9, 2017 . ^ Leon D. Black '73 from Dartmouth College ^ http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,137095,00.html ^ Maza, Erik (4 March 2014). "Bernard Arnault Receives MoMa's David Rockefeller Award". WWD . Retrieved 5 March 2014 . ^ Drexel Divided on Settlement. New York Times, December 17, 1988 ^ Ex-Drexel Executives Arrange Aid for Fruit of the Loom, August 24, 1990 ^ Changes at Drexel Continue. New York Times, March 11, 1989 ^ Drexel's Uncertain Future. New York Times, October 15, 1989 ^ New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths RESSLER, IRA RICHARD" October 29, 2000 ^ Bloomberg: "Leon Black Loses to Carl Icahn as Apollo Sets New Credit Terms" By Anthony Effinger & Cristina Alesci July 7, 2010 ^ The 400 Richest Americans #160 Leon Black (Forbes, 2006) ^ Wall Street Journal: "Melanoma Survivor Seeks Cure" By LAURA LANDRO May 3, 2010 ^ Melanoma Research Alliance: "MRA Board of Directors" ^ Daily Mail: "Billionaire Lane: From fashion designers to real estate tycoons and Wall Street financiers. Meet those who live on the East Coast's most exclusive 5-mile stretch with a private beach and helipad" By CHARLENE ADAMS May 23, 2015 ^ Lattman, Peter (October 9, 2012). "Billionaire Financier Leon Black Buys Art Publisher Phaidon". The New York Times . Retrieved June 9, 2017 . ^ Farrow, Ronan (September 6, 2019). "How an ‰lite University Research Center Concealed Its Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein". The New Yorker . Retrieved September 7, 2019 . ^ "Leon Black Plays Down Ties to Jeffrey Epstein but Is Silent on 2011 Deal". The New York Times. ^ "Munch's "The Scream" Sold to Financier Leon Black". Wall Street Journal. July 11, 2012 . Retrieved August 22, 2012 . ^ "Edvard Munch's The Scream to go on show in New York". BBC News. 18 September 2012 . Retrieved 2012-09-19 . ^ Sherwin, Adam (June 20, 2013). "New York billionaire Leon Black's bid to take £29m Raphael from UK blocked by Ed Vaizey". The Independent. London. ^ "Tablet Magazine" . Retrieved 23 December 2015 . ^ "Daniel Bomberg's 16th-century printing of the Talmud sells for $9.3 mill". Art Daily . Retrieved 15 February 2016 . ^ Kazakina, Katya (June 15, 2016). "Leon Black Wins Picasso's 'Bust of a Woman' as Legal Drama Ends". Bloomberg . Retrieved June 10, 2017 . GeneralExternal links [ edit ] Profile at Forbes.com
Leadership & About Apollo Global Management | Apollo Global Management
Sun, 08 Sep 2019 23:47
Aaron Stone Stone Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Ian Cohen Cohen Partner Real Assets Hong Kong + Aaron Welsh Welsh Managing Director Real Assets New York + Adam Hinman Hinman Managing Director Credit New York + Adam Johnson Johnson Managing Director Credit London + Adriaan van der Knapp van der Knapp Managing Director Credit New York + Alan Kelly Kelly Managing Director Credit London + Albert Kim Kim Managing Director Real Assets New York + Alexander Humphreys Humphreys Partner Private Equity London +Mr. Humphreys joined Apollo in 2008. Prior to that time, he was with Goldman Sachs in the financial institutions M&A team based in London. He graduated from University College London with a BSc in economics. Mr. Humphreys serves on the board of directors of Catalina Holdings, Tranquilidade, Amissima, Lumileds, Haydock Finance and Latecoere.
Alexander Wright Wright Managing Director Credit New York +Before joining Apollo, Mr. Wright was with GSC Group where he served in a variety of different roles, most recently as the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to these executive roles, he was the Head of the US Corporate Debt business. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Wright served as Head of Origination for the U.S. Corporate Debt business, and before that, he was with IBJ Whitehall Bank & Trust Corporation and Chemical Banking Corporation. Mr. Wright graduated from Rutgers College with a BA degree in political science and a minor in economics, and from Fordham University with an MBA degree.
Andrew Jhawar Jhawar Senior Partner Private Equity Los Angeles +Mr. Jhawar has over 24 years of experience in the financial services industry and is currently in his 20th year a Senior Partner and Head of the Consumer & Retail Industry team in the private equity business of Apollo Management, L.P. While at Apollo, private equity investment transactions that Mr. Jhawar has led, structured, managed and exited have generated over $4 billion in profit dollars for Apollo funds. Prior to joining Apollo, Mr. Jhawar was an investment banker for five years with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation and Jefferies & Company, Inc.
Mr. Jhawar currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the following companies: The Fresh Market, Inc. - a leading specialty grocery business with 176 stores located predominantly in the Southeastern U.S.; CEC Entertainment, Inc. - the leading entertainment restaurant company that operates over 750 Chuck E. Cheese's and Peter Piper Restaurant company-owned and franchised locations; QDOBA Restaurant Corporation - the second largest fast casual Mexican cuisine restaurant operator with over 750 company-owned and franchised locations across the U.S.; and The Stand, LLC '' a growing fast casual restaurant operator in the Southern California market.
Mr. Jhawar also previously served as a Board Director of each of the following companies: Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (Chairman of the Board from April 2011-February 2015) (SFM: NASDAQ), a leading high-growth specialty grocery retailer of natural / organic foods; Hostess Brands, LLC (from April 2013-June 2017) (TWNK: NASDAQ), which is a leading fresh baked sweet goods company in the U.S., with iconic brands including Twinkies, Ding Dongs, HoHos and Cup Cakes; Smart & Final Inc. (from May 2007-December 2012) (SFS: NYSE), a leading operator of value-oriented warehouse grocery locations; General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (from December 2003-March 2007) (GNC: NYSE), the nation's largest retailer of nutritional supplements; and Rent-A-Center, Inc. (from October 2001-June 2005) (RCII: NASDAQ), the nation's largest rent-to-own company.
Mr. Jhawar graduated with an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated, summa cum laude, with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Anthony Civale Civale Co-Chief Operating Officer, Lead Partner, Credit Credit New York + Antoine Munfakh Munfakh Partner Private Equity Los Angeles + Ayad Alhadi Alhadi Partner Client and Product Solutions New York + Barry Cohen Cohen Managing Director Credit New York + Benjamin Eppley Eppley Partner Real Assets London + Bhavin Patel Patel Managing Director Credit London + Bradley Heinze Heinze Managing Director Credit New York + Bret Leas Leas Partner, Co-Head of Global Structured Finance Credit New York + Brigitte Posch Posch Managing Director, Head of Emerging Markets Credit London + Gary Rothschild Rothschild Partner, Head of Aviation Finance Credit New York + Christopher Buchanan Buchanan Partner Client and Product Solutions London + Christopher Lahoud Lahoud Managing Director Credit New York + Chris Weideman Weideman General Counsel, Litigation & Regulation Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Cindy Michel Michel Chief Compliance Officer Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Christopher Areson Areson Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Cory Shull Shull Managing Director Global Technology New York + Christopher Edson Edson Partner Private Equity New York + Erika Davila Davila Head of Latin America Client and Product Solutions New York + Christopher Hojlo Hojlo Partner Real Assets London + Daniel Kwon Kwon Partner Real Assets New York + Danielle Thorsen Thorsen Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Daniel Stenson Stenson Managing Director Client and Product Solutions London + Daniel Vogel Vogel Managing Director Credit New York + Daniel Castaline Castaline Managing Director Credit New York + David Crescenzi Crescenzi Managing Director Credit New York + David Saitowitz Saitowitz Managing Director Credit New York + David Sambur Sambur Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Pablo Crespo Crespo Managing Director Real Assets London + Dominic Fry Fry Managing Director Credit London + Elliott Russell Russell Managing Director Finance New York + Eric Lhomond Lhomond Managing Director Credit London + Eric Press Press Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Evangelos Perros Perros Managing Director Finance New York + Fabrice Nottin Nottin Partner Private Equity London + Francis Verdier Verdier Managing Director, Global Head of Information Technology Global Technology New York + Frank Marra Marra Managing Director Finance New York + Frederick Khedouri Khedouri Partner Credit New York + Gareth Turner Turner Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Gary Albelli Albelli Managing Director Global Technology New York + Gary Parr Parr Senior Managing Director Executive Committee New York + Gary Stein Stein Managing Director, Head of Corporate Communications Client and Product Solutions New York + Geoffrey Strong Strong Senior Partner Private Equity New York + George Travers Travers Managing Director Finance New York + Gernot Lohr Lohr Senior Partner Private Equity London + Glenn Stevens Stevens Talent Operating Partner Apollo Advisors New York + Girish Kumar Kumar Managing Director Private Equity Singapore + Gregory Beard Beard Senior Partner, Head of Natural Resources Private Equity New York + Gregory Hunt Hunt Managing Director Finance New York + Gaurav Pant Pant Managing Director Private Equity Singapore + Gregory Sills Sills Managing Director Finance New York + Gregory Stover Stover Managing Director Credit New York + Heather Berger Berger Partner Client and Product Solutions New York + Howard Widra Widra Partner Credit Bethesda + James Crossen Crossen Managing Director Finance Purchase + James Galowski Galowski Partner Credit London + James Vanek Vanek Managing Director Credit New York + James Zelter Zelter Co-President, Chief Investment Officer, Credit Executive Committee, Credit New York + Holly McMullan McMullan Partner Client and Product Solutions New York + Jamshid Ehsani Ehsani Partner, Co-Head of Global Structured Finance Credit New York + Jasjit Singh Singh Managing Director, Chief Risk Officer Risk New York + Jaime Fuertes Fuertes Managing Director Corporate Services New York + Jason Eisenberg Eisenberg Partner Real Assets New York + Jeffrey Alt Alt Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Jeffrey Rosen Rosen Managing Director Credit New York + James Kim Kim Managing Director Private Equity London + Jennifer Suman Suman Managing Director Human Capital London + Jessica Lomm Lomm Apollo Global Management Counsel Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Jess Lipsey Lipsey Partner Real Assets New York + Joel Tomlinson Tomlinson Partner Real Assets New York + John Bookout Bookout Partner Private Equity Houston + John Hannan Hannan Senior Partner Credit New York + Jason Scheir Scheir Managing Director Private Equity New York + John Suydam Suydam Senior Partner, Chief Legal Officer Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + John Zito Zito Partner, Co-Head of Global Liquid Credit Credit New York + Jonathan Cancro Cancro Managing Director Finance Purchase + Jonathan Hulbert Hulbert Partner Client and Product Solutions Singapore + Jeremy Honeth Honeth Managing Director Private Equity London + Joseph Glatt Glatt General Counsel, Credit Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Joseph Moroney Moroney Partner, Co-Head of Global Liquid Credit Credit New York + Joseph Verderami Verderami Managing Director Finance New York + Larry Bates Bates Private Equity Operating Partner Apollo Advisors New York + Josh Harris Harris Co-Founder, Senior Managing Director, Director Executive Committee New York + Justin Stevens Stevens Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Kevin Crowe Crowe Partner Private Equity London + KK Raman Raman Senior Advisor Real Assets Delhi + Kristen McMahon McMahon Chief Operating Officer, Legal Tax & Compliance Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Laurence Berg Berg Senior Partner Private Equity Los Angeles + Lee Solomon Solomon Partner Private Equity New York + Leon Black Black FounderChairman and Chief Executive Officer Executive Committee New York + Justin Korval Korval Managing Director Private Equity New York + Lori Masotta Masotta Managing Director Global Technology New York + Justin Sendak Sendak Partner Credit New York + Kalpesh Kikani Kikani Senior Partner Private Equity Mumbai + Marc Becker Becker Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Parth Gandhi Gandhi Senior Partner Private Equity Mumbai +Mr. Gandhi is Senior Partner and Managing Director at AION India Investment Advisors Private Limited, which provides advice with respect to India-focused investments. AION was established through a strategic arrangement between affiliates of [AGM] and ICICI Venture. Prior to that, Mr. Gandhi was President of Private Equity at ICICI Venture Funds Management Company Limited, where he was responsible for establishing the strategic partnership with Apollo and in developing AION Investment strategy. Mr. Gandhi brings nearly two decades of investing experience in India. Over the course of his career, he has invested in multiple Indian and international companies and his investments have been in listed and unlisted companies in the form of equity, mezzanine and senior debt. Mr. Gandhi currently serves on the board of Aion Capital Partners, Aion Capital Management, Clix Capital and Clix Finance. He has also served on the boards of Varun Beverages, RJ Corp, Geometric Software Service Ltd and Mahindra Retail Pvt Ltd. In addition to his investment activities, Mr. Gandhi is a charter member of TiE Global (The Indus Entrepreneurs) and an active member of The Explorers Club and ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India). In previous jobs Mr. Gandhi was a Managing Director at Navigator Capital Advisors Limited and prior to that was a Consultant with Ernst and Young. He has an MBA from Michigan State University and a BE from University of Mumbai.
Shekhar Daga Daga Partner Private Equity Mumbai + Utsav Baijal Baijal Partner Private Equity Mumbai + Marc Preiser Preiser Managing Director Credit London + Marc Rowan Rowan Co-Founder, Senior Managing Director, Director Executive Committee New York + Katie Newman Newman Senior Tax Counsel, Private Equity & Apollo Global Management Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Marc Selfon Selfon Managing Director Finance New York + Martin Kelly Kelly Chief Financial Officer, Co-Chief Operating Officer Finance New York + Mat Guliner Guliner Technology Operating Partner Apollo Advisors New York + Matthew Michelini Michelini Partner Private Equity New York + Matthew Roesler Roesler Managing Director Credit New York + Laurie Medley Medley Chief Responsible Investing Officer, General Counsel, Private Equity Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Matthew Sparacino Sparacino Managing Director Credit New York + Meredith Imber Imber Chief Operating Officer Client and Product Solutions New York + Michael Konigsberg Konigsberg President, Head of Capital Markets Private Equity New York + Michael Levin Levin Managing Director Credit Bethesda + Michael Paniwozik Paniwozik Managing Director Credit New York + Michael Provenzano Provenzano Managing Director Credit London + Michael Reiss Reiss Partner Private Equity New York + Michael Tu Tu Managing Director Credit New York + Ben Gray Gray Managing Director Real Assets New York + Billy Ross Ross Managing Director Credit New York + Catherine Chen Chen Managing Director Real Assets New York + Chris Powers Powers Managing Director Credit New York + Christine Bave Bave Managing Director Credit New York + Christopher Kill Kill Managing Director Credit New York + Ed Jones Jones Managing Director Real Assets London + Ivo Kolev Kolev Managing Director Real Assets London + Jay Jablonski Jablonski Managing Director Real Assets New York + Livia Carega Carega Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Maurice Amsellem Amsellem Managing Director Credit Bethesda + Neil Mehta Mehta Partner Strategy New York + Rich Kilcoyne Kilcoyne Managing Director Credit New York + Tracey Gamble Gamble Managing Director Real Assets New York + Nicole Bonsignore Bonsignore Managing Director Human Capital New York + Nipun Sahni Sahni Partner Real Assets Delhi + Olivia Wassenaar Wassenaar Partner Private Equity New York + Patrick Ryan Ryan Managing Director Credit New York + Peter Copses Copses Senior Partner Private Equity Los Angeles + Matthew Breitfelder Breitfelder Senior Partner Human Capital New York + Matthew Nord Nord Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Philip Mintz Mintz Senior Partner Real Assets New York + Rakesh Wilson Wilson Senior Partner Private Equity New York + Ramona Boston Boston Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Regina Piscazzi Piscazzi Managing Director Finance New York + Richard Frank Frank Managing Director Credit New York + Robert Azerad Azerad Managing Director Finance New York + John Barbo Barbo Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Robert Bittencourt Bittencourt Managing Director Credit New York + Robert Givone Givone Managing Director Credit New York + Robert MacGoey MacGoey Managing Director, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller Finance New York + Rupert Clark Clark Partner Client and Product Solutions London + Ryan Crum Crum Managing Director Global Technology New York + Samuel Feinstein Feinstein Partner Private Equity New York + Sang Yu Yu Partner Real Assets New York + Sanjay Patel Patel Senior Partner Chairman International Private Equity London + Scott Weiner Weiner Senior Partner Real Assets New York + Seth Ruthen Ruthen Managing Director Client and Product Solutions New York + Aaron Kless Kless Managing Director Credit New York + Edward Charlesworth Charlesworth Managing Director Credit London + Shaun Collins Collins Managing Director Finance London + Stephanie Drescher Drescher Senior Partner, Global Head of Client and Product Solutions Client and Product Solutions New York + Steve Martinez Martinez Senior Partner, Head of Asia Private Equity Hong Kong + Stuart Rothstein Rothstein Partner, Chief Operating Officer, Real Assets Real Assets New York + Philip Cuff Cuff Managing Director Private Equity London + Timothy Grady Grady Partner Real Assets Hong Kong + Tom Norton Norton Managing Director Client and Product Solutions London + Trevor Mills Mills Partner Private Equity New York + Tristram Leach Leach Managing Director Credit London + Vishal Sheth Sheth Managing Director Private Equity New York + John DeRosa DeRosa Managing Director Finance New York + Roy Kwok Kwok Partner Real Assets Hong Kong + William Kuesel Kuesel General Counsel, Financial Products Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + William Sullivan Sullivan Managing Director Credit New York + Zachariah Barratt Barratt Managing Director Credit New York + Robert Ruberton Ruberton Partner Private Equity New York + Robert Seminara Seminara Head of Europe, Senior Partner, Head of European Private Equity Private Equity London + Roger Orf Orf Partner Real Assets London + Sean Finnerty Finnerty Managing Director Credit London + Scott Kleinman Kleinman Co-President, Lead Partner, Private Equity Executive Committee, Private Equity New York + Sebastian-Dominik Jais Jais Partner Real Assets London + Shari Verschell Verschell Senior Tax Counsel, Credit & Real Assets Legal, Compliance & Tax New York + Skardon Baker Baker Senior Partner, European Principal Finance Real Assets London + Steven McElwain McElwain Partner Real Assets London + Tanner Powell Powell Partner Credit New York + Trevor Winstead Winstead Managing Director Private Equity New York +
Inside Jeffrey Epstein's 'Lolita Express' private jet that he partied on with Prince Andrew'... with padded floors for 'sex with young women' '' The Sun
Sun, 08 Sep 2019 23:38
THE dank jail cell from where Epstein sees out his sex abuse trial is a far cry from the window-view seat of his private jet.
New sordid details from life inside Epstein's informally known 'Lolita Express' have emerged as former guests recall the mid-air sex lair, complete with padded floors.
Photos from the glossy pages of a sale brochure reveal the plush purpose-built interior of Epstein's jet Credit: Equus 17
The private jet, informally known 'Lolita Express', can seat 29 guests Credit: Instagram 17
The luxury Boeing 727 aircraft boasts deluxe furnishings, a spacious galley and an expansive cabin lounge Credit: Equus 17
A queen-sized bed, sitting area, small desk and study lead to a private en suite with integrated shower Credit: Equus 17
Epstein going for a stroll with Prince Andrew in New York Credit: Jae DonnellyPhotos from Epstein's long-time personal pilot Larry Visoski and the glossy pages of a sale brochure reveal the jet's plush purpose-built interior.
The luxury Boeing 727 aircraft boasts deluxe furnishings, a spacious galley, expansive cabin lounge and a master bedroom.
The jet's detailed sale prospectus, as seen by The Sun Online, describes the 29-passenger interior as "tailored to enhance the experience during long range travel".
Exactly what happened on the flights where Epstein courted his famous friends and underage girls alike, remains a closely guarded secret.
But recently resurfaced accounts detail wild orgies and padded floors purposely designed for sex mid-flight.
Lavish red velvet chairs and sofas offer the ultimate comfort as he flew between his million-dollar houses across the world.
The luxury commercial jet also features a circular shaped lounge filled with sprawling beige chairs, leading to a spacious private bedroom.
Inside the room lies a queen size bed, a sitting area, a small desk and study and a private en suite with integrated shower.
Sealed inside the mahogany or teak walls are spacious mirrored wardrobes and drawers.
A separate dining area comes complete with a galley kitchen for preparing food.
Additional window treatments throughout the aircraft are fitted with custom shades behind tinted glass.
Jeffrey Epstein is accused of paying underage girls for massages and then molesting them Credit: AP:Associated Press 17
The luxury commercial jet features a circular shaped lounge filled with cushy beige chairs Credit: Equus 17
A private bedroom offers the ultimate in comfort as he flew between his million-dollar houses across the world Credit: Equus 17
Sealed inside the mahogany or teak walls are spacious mirrored wardrobes and drawers Credit: Equus 17
The jet has a capacity of 29 passengers with dual-cabin privacy Credit: EquusIt's alleged Epstein used his plane to fly underage girls between his residences in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico and the Caribbean island of Little St James.
The playboy billionaire and paedophile has since been accused of having group sex with young girls on the bed he had privately installed.In 2015, victim Virginia Roberts filed a lawsuit against Epstein, claiming that he recruited her as a 'sex slave' at the age of 15.
She also alleged her sexually abusing her for years on his private jet as well as his various homes.
Roberts, now 35, claimed she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew by Epstein in London, New York and the Caribbean.
The Duke of York was pictured with his arm around the then 17-year-old's waist at the home of Ghislane Maxwell - a personal aide to the financier - in London in 2001 but has strongly denied the claims.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ''It is categorically denied that The Duke of York received massages from unclothed women at any party given by Mr Epstein.''
An additional statement read: ''The Duke of York has not visited any home of Mr Epstein or met with him since December 2010 when the photograph in Central Park was taken.''
MID-AIR SEX LAIRMany believe Epstein's pilot Visoski, who flew the financier for 20 years, knows more about what went on in the skies.
In the past the captain has admitted he knew minors were on board, Mail Online reported.
However, he said he never suspected Epstein of having sex with them.
Regularly posting selfies in front of the jets to his Instagram page, the chief pilot manages the $80million fleet.
I was so stupid and na¯ve'--Why are padded floors cool? I was too young to get it
A former model Two women who were involved with Epstein in the early 2000s spoke with Vanity Fair on Thursday.
One, a former model who was at the time freshly out of college, told the publication of the time Epstein gave her and a group of older men a tour of his jet.
She recalled the moment she realised the jet's floors were padded, saying: "Wow, rich people are weird.
"I was so stupid and na¯ve'--Why are padded floors cool? I was too young to get it."
She added that the other men winked and joked with each other, knowing the floors were designed so that Epstein could have sex on the floor at 10,000 feet.
Many believe Epstein's pilot Visoski knows more about what went on in the skies Credit: Instagram FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACESEpstein's wealthy friends often travelled with him on his private jet, dubbed the ''Lolita Express'' by the Press.
On the plane, with bed aboard, Epstein is said to have hosted wild orgies as he flew to his houses in New York, Florida and New Mexico and to his own Caribbean island of Little St James.
Flight logs reveal he flew former US president Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, model Naomi Campbell and Prince Andrew aboard the Boeing 727.
A Clinton spokesman yesterday said he only took four flights and insisted he knew ''nothing about the terrible crimes''.
It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side
President Donald Trump US President Donald Trump also hobnobbed with Epstein, saying in a 2002 interview: ''I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy.
''He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.''
DISTURBING TEEN SEX RINGProsecutors allege Epstein amassed a ''vast network'' of girls as young as 14 who he would lure to his homes and sexually abuse.
When officers raided his seven-storey townhouse in New York earlier this month, they found rooms stuffed with sex toys and thousands of pictures of naked women and girls.
On Monday, a dishevelled Epstein, wearing a blue prison-issue uniform, appeared at a court in Manhattan and pleaded not guilty.
His attorneys argued the case is a ''do-over'' of the 2008 Florida case, which saw him serve 13 months in prison.
Back then, police had launched an investigation after a 14-year-old girl told police an older man named ''Jeff'' had molested her at his home.
A plea bargain saw him sign a non-prosecution agreement to dodge federal charges that might have sent him to prison for life.
He ended up pleading guilty to minor state charges in Palm Beach and served 13 months in a private wing of a county jail, mostly on work release.
He told me he wanted them as young as I could find them
Accuser Courtney Wild The ''sweetheart deal'' has since been much criticised and was the subject of an investigation by the Miami Herald newspaper last year.
It emerged that authorities had discovered a disturbing teen sex ring '-- with the same type of allegations that Epstein faces now.
Victims told police how they would be led to Epstein's bedroom to give him massages, before he told them to remove their clothing. It was alleged he would then sexually assault them, paying them up to £800 per visit.
But the state attorney's office in Palm Beach declined to pursue the more serious charges, claiming the girls were not credible.
Prosecutors feared they would lose at trial, in part due to Epstein's lawyers dredging up dirt on the victims, including social media posts indicating drug use.
Now, following pressure from alleged victims and the media in light of the #MeToo movement, prosecutors are looking again.
Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, says his old non-prosecution deal is only binding with prosecutors in Florida.
Courtney Wild and Michelle Licata '-- who were among Epstein's accusers in the previous criminal case in Florida in 2008 '-- sat in court for his hearing on Monday.
Miss Wild previously revealed she was still a braces-wearing 14-year-old schoolgirl when Epstein allegedly forced her to perform sex acts.
She says she went on to recruit other girls for him, adding: ''He told me he wanted them as young as I could find them.
''If I had a girl to bring him at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then that's how many times I would go a day.
''He wanted as many girls as I could get. It was never enough.''
Lawyer David Boies, who represents a number of Epstein's accusers, said: ''We hope that prosecutors will not stop with Mr Epstein.
''There were many other people who participated with him and made the sex trafficking possible.''
Epstein remains behind bars as his trial continues.
The luxury commercial jet features a circular shaped lounge filled with cushy beige chairs Credit: Equus 17
A separate dining area comes complete with a galley kitchen for preparing food Credit: Equus 17
Epstein parties with Donald and Melania Trump and then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell Credit: Getty - Contributor 17
Epstein going for a stroll with Prince Andrew in New York Credit: Jae Donnelly 17
Epstein's Manhattan townhouse was raided by officers Credit: Reuters 17
Jeffrey Epstein, 66, has been arrested and charged with sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, reports claim Credit: Rex Features Moment FBI agents smash into Jeffrey Epstein's £60m mansion where they found 'huge stash of child abuse images in billionaire's safe' 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.
Letter to the MIT community regarding engagement with Saudi Arabia | MIT News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:16
The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.
To the members of the MIT community,
Last October, following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I asked Associate Provost Richard Lester, who oversees MIT's international activities, to reassess MIT engagements with Saudi entities. On December 6, Richard shared his preliminary report and recommendations with faculty, students and staff, and he asked for comments. Last week, Richard sent me a letter that summarizes and reflects on the community comments, adds several recommendations and offers some new information, including funding amounts from Saudi state sources.
You may read what Richard sent me here, including both his recent summary letter and his report from December. Together these constitute the Lester report.
I write now to share my view of how MIT should proceed in this complex situation.
The Lester report
The Lester report defines the three types of engagements that people from MIT have with entities in Saudi Arabia: sponsored research backed primarily by entities affiliated with the Saudi government; research and education programs funded by gifts, mostly from private Saudi foundations; and a few smaller connections, including executive education and Industrial Liaison Program memberships.
The report explores the full range of competing factors to consider, including faculty autonomy, the social and scientific value of the work we undertake with Saudi people and entities, the challenge of working in a nation so out of step with our commitment to inclusion and free expression, and our community's deep sense of revulsion at actions of the Saudi regime.
Ultimately, the report concludes that if MIT faculty wish to continue their current engagements with colleagues, students, and public and private research sponsors in Saudi Arabia, they should be free to do so, as long as these projects remain consistent with MIT policies and procedures and US laws and regulations. It also proposes that if faculty members wish to disengage from Saudi projects in light of recent events, we should help them, including smoothing the transition for the teams involved. And it recommends ways to make sure that international projects with countries whose governments engage in troubling behaviors go through a specified review process before they are allowed to proceed or be renewed.
I offer some background to explain why I agree with these recommendations.
Some background on MIT's Saudi relationships
I know many of you find the behavior of the Saudi regime so horrifying that you believe MIT should immediately sever all ties with any Saudi government entities. I share the sense of horror, and I have great respect for that point of view.
However, my experience leads me to see our Saudi engagements differently, and therefore to believe that cutting off these longstanding faculty-led relationships abruptly in midstream is not the best course of action.
For decades, MIT has strongly favored a strategy of engaging with the world and of opening the door to collaboration where our faculty see a significant opportunity to do constructive work. In this spirit, in 2007, when I was provost, faculty in Mechanical Engineering sought to begin working with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) on solar energy, seawater desalination and design education.
Because MIT had no formal mechanism for reviewing international engagements, I established the International Advisory Committee (IAC). The IAC co-chairs guided a review of the proposed KFUPM engagement, which included a representative, independent faculty group making a site visit to assess various concerns. The resulting report allowed the project to proceed, and in 2008 the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM was launched. Because KFUPM is all male, a condition of the engagement was that the organizers create a path to scientific education for Saudi women; this inspired the Ibn Khaldun Fellowship that brings Saudi women PhDs to MIT.
Since that initial engagement, I have come to know many Saudi citizens, including MIT alumni, Saudi officials and industry leaders working to modernize Saudi society. I have also met Saudi students and postdocs, both women and men, who dream of helping their society participate in and contribute to the global scientific community. Through these contacts, I have been struck by the intensity of their commitment and the value of their efforts to use research and education to make progress for themselves and their society. And of course, knowing these individuals, it is impossible not to see them as separate from the regime they did not choose and cannot control.
Saudi Arabia faces an unusual demographic moment: More than half of Saudi citizens are younger than 30. In such a society, building knowledge and helping more people gain access to higher education constitute the surest path to social progress. This is why I have felt confident that allowing interested faculty to continue to engage constructively with Saudi students, postdocs, alumni, colleagues and sponsors whom they trust and respect is consistent with our mission to advance knowledge and educate students for the betterment of humankind.
How should we move forward?
The present moment is testing that position. When I agreed to host the Saudi state delegation at MIT last spring, I shared the hope of many in the US and around the world that the visit and official engagement were an important part of an ongoing process of reform and modernization. I know some of you were and remain disappointed by that decision, and I understand that disappointment.
As many of you have made plain, in the present situation, if MIT simply continues to work with Saudi state entities without comment, we risk having our silence taken as an endorsement of the regime's behavior '' an unacceptable result.
For the record then, let me be clear: MIT utterly condemns such brutal human rights violations, discrimination and suppression of dissent, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Nevertheless, I hope we can respond to present circumstances in a way that does not suddenly reject, abandon or isolate worthy Saudi people who share our principles and are doing good work for themselves, their society and the world, particularly if MIT faculty wish to continue the engagement.
The way forward will include carefully and thoroughly reassessing these engagements if faculty seek to renew them. This practice will of course apply to proposed new international engagements as well. To do this well, we need to reexamine aspects of our assessment process and find ways to improve them.
Strengthening our system of assessment
Indeed, many of you have suggested to both Richard and me that MIT develop stronger processes to assess our international engagements in general.
As Richard describes in his summary, we have a head start on this. With just this goal '' and considering engagements in a range of nations beyond Saudi Arabia '' we have been working over the last 18 months to revamp our existing procedures and groups, including reconstituting the IAC as a faculty-led, standing committee of the Institute.
Already, the IAC is better equipped to vet potential new international engagements and those up for renewal, including those with foreign state entities; to assess whether, weighing all the relevant factors, a given engagement is advancing MIT's core academic mission; and to advise on the right course of action. At the same time, we are developing new administrative practices for assessing the complex risks that international projects may pose. We will systematically coordinate these two approaches, to make sure that MIT's international engagements receive a thorough review.
Many of you also observed that we have an opportunity now to consider further questions about how we might approach international engagements in problematic countries. How could we include a broader range of community voices? What's the best way to tap our faculty expertise in fields like history, political science, anthropology, philosophy and more? Can we offer our campus community new ways to gain a fuller understanding of the countries we engage in? Is there a general standard that could be applied in such cases? Are there further steps we can take to make sure that our engagements are not only in tune with but advance MIT's values, including equality and free expression?
The faculty officers '' Chair Susan Silbey, Associate Chair Rick Danheiser and Secretary Craig Carter '' have agreed, at my request, to create an ad hoc interdisciplinary committee of faculty, staff and students to consider such questions. The committee will report to the MIT administration by this coming September. They will offer guidelines for action as well as expertise to call on when MIT assesses new international engagements.
I am deeply grateful to Susan, Rick and Craig for taking on this important assignment; I believe the work of the ad hoc committee will be of great value in MIT's development as a globally engaged university.
* * *
I close by thanking Richard for his tremendous care and effort in leading this reassessment, and by thanking everyone in the community who has taken the time to contribute their perspectives on this sensitive and complex topic. One can only be grateful to belong to a society that guarantees each of us the right to openly express our opinions, and to a community that takes so seriously its obligation to wrestle honestly with its most difficult challenges. We all become smarter and wiser by thoughtfully engaging one another and taking advantage of such a precious right.
L. Rafael Reif
(26) JLCollins on Twitter: "I was a student at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC when coerced and abducted by Deborah Palfrey/ The DC Madam who trafficked me to Jeffery Epstein and Andrew Windsor. I was trafficked to MANY including Joe B
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:16
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Epstein Victim Jessica Collins: I Was Forced Into Sex With Joe Biden & John McCain (Video) - The Washington Standard
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:11
A woman named Jessica Collins has emerged to claim that she was a victim of Jeffrey Epstein and forced into sex with the likes of Joe Biden, Prince Andrew and John McCain.
There is no way to confirm or deny her story, which supposedly started in 2002, so I will provide all of the information I have and have been able to find.
Here is a video, which was posted to YouTube last week:
Here is an imperfect, but viable, transcript using a computer app:
''I am a real victim of Jeffrey Epstein the reason you don't see me in the news is because I am a real victim real victims are not being represented by attorneys or in the media I was traffic to Jeffrey Epstein and Andrew Windsor by Deborah palfrey the DC Madame I was a student at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC in 2002 I answered an ad in the city paper the ad was ambiguous deborah was professional I thought I was going on a real job interview instead I was drugged and raped by Paul hung I tried to tell Deborah what happened but something she said made me realize she knew what happened at that point they had my driver's license and I did not know what to do or where to go for help at that point I was driven by Jonathan Luna to the Bethesda Marriott on Pooks Hill we're Jeffrey Epstein and Andrew Windsor drugged and raped me I have tried to get help I called the police I was abducted for two weeks I was moved from Washington DC by Ed Norris what's the superintendent of the Maryland State Police he is now an actor on the show The Wire and has a radio show my name is Jessica Collins I live in Virginia today is September 3rd 2019 if anything happens to me it's because this information is true and I have a lot more information about who I was traffic to and the government people who are in the White House today if you could redistribute this video please save it and redistribute it if anything happens to me at least I have this out I have been threatened my car was disabled by a government employee when the Jeffrey Epstein news broke I have been without a vehicle for 40 days I don't know what else to say please save this video please redistributed please try and spread it there is no way that this is going to get out there in the media must we the American people do the work the government is involved and I was traffic for nearly 17 years please try to help by redistributing this tweeting it talking about it I do everything that I can thank you for listening together we can get to the bottom of this and hold the criminals accountable''
Again, the transcript was computer-generated and is mostly accurate. I did not bother with grammar and spelling corrections, due to current time constraints.
The ''nearly 17 years'' claim is strange, considering this supposedly started just over 17 years ago.
I'm not sure what kind of clientele she would draw now, as in the last year or so.
I also find it particularly odd that the video has not been removed, though the views are still low.
But in case it is removed, here is a replacement via Bitchute:
I have also taken a screen shot of an accompanying tweet that specifically mentions Joe Biden and John McCain.
Others in the White House today?
Very interesting.
The tweet doesn't seem to be getting much attention either (note low shares and likes).
IF this story is real, it is quite possible that the internet powers that be are ''shadow banning'' without completely removing the video and tweet.
It could be that she is a real victim and the attorneys have advised the tech giants against outright censorship, but that is merely conjecture.
Conjecture is all I have at this point, but I did do some digging.
Some comments have addressed her age. She certainly looks a bit old to have been a student at Catholic University in 2002.
She was quite possibly a graduate or non-traditional student in 2002.
I located a yearbook for that year and she is NOT listed.
But that is not uncommon.
I went to a much smaller University and only made the yearbook once, because I joined The College Democrats. (True story and not one of my proudest moments)
Jessica had a daughter that was already 3 years old in 2002, which leads me to believe she was not 18 at the time.
Her daughter died of a drug overdose at the age of 18, just two years ago.
Even by Portland standards, the weather was dreary on the day Aisha Zughbieh-Collins died.
It was late morning Feb. 16 when Jessica Collins drove through a 40-degree drizzle to the pink and yellow townhouse on Southeast 84th Avenue, where Aisha, her 18-year-old daughter, lived.
Collins drove gingerly down the rutted, dead-end gravel street. It's the kind of street that's often lined with abandoned shopping carts.
She got out of her truck, walked into Aisha's townhouse and climbed the stairs with a sense of dread. For the past 12 hours, Collins had been unable to reach her daughter.
Just two weeks earlier, Aisha had overdosed, her life saved when a roommate called paramedics.
As Collins entered her daughter's bedroom, Aisha was sitting lotus-style on her bed.
''Each step closer I could tell something was really wrong,'' Collins recalls.
Aisha had a syringe in her right arm, and a shoelace tourniquet tied around her biceps. She wasn't breathing. Her skin was cold.
''I know it sounds strange,'' Collins says, ''but a sense of peace came over me'--that she's OK now'--even though she was dead in front of me.''
Jessica Collins (Hilary Sander)
Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein to connect with rich people
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:49
Jeffrey Epstein (L) and Bill Gates (R).
Getty Images
Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that he had meetings with convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein because the enigmatic financier had connections to wealthy people.
"I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn't go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that," Gates told the newspaper in an interview published Tuesday. "There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people."
Gates' meetings with Epstein, who died of an apparent suicide last month while awaiting a trial on new sex crimes charges, were first reported by CNBC. Gates met with Epstein more than once, including in 2013 while he was the chairman of Microsoft, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Read more: L Brands CEO Wexner: I'm 'embarrassed' that Jeffrey Epstein took advantage of me
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting an underage prostitute and was listed in the national sex offender registry. Before his death, federal prosecutors in New York accused him of overseeing sex trafficking networks of underage girls in Florida and New York.
In 2013, Gates was worth an estimated $67 billion, according to Forbes, making him the second wealthiest person in the world. His wealth has increased to over $100 billion as of September, according to the magazine's tally.
In the interview with the Journal, Gates said he never had meetings with Epstein at which women were present.
"Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men," Gates said. "I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about."
Bill and his wife, Melinda, run the wealthiest charitable foundation in the world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its assets in 2018 were worth almost $48 billion, according to documents released by the charity. Its assets were worth more than $41 billion in 2013.
Gates did not immediately respond to questions, submitted through a foundation representative, about why he would need Epstein's help connecting with wealthy people and whether it is typical for his business meetings to include no women.
Epstein's meetings with Gates followed an extensive lobbying effort by Epstein, people close to Gates previously told CNBC.
Following the 2013 meeting between the two men, Epstein arranged for a $2 million donation from Gates to the MIT Media Lab, according to a report in The New Yorker. A spokesperson for Gates said in a statement provided to the Journal that "any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false."
Iran's 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire - BBC News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:58
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Iranian football fans have been campaigning for some time to stop the ban on female spectators An Iranian female football fan who set herself on fire a week ago has died.
The woman set herself alight in Tehran after her trial, for attempting to enter a football stadium disguised as a man, was postponed.
The authorities in Iran regularly stop women from entering stadiums.
Her story has been followed closely by Iranians around the world who used the hashtag "blue girl" - a reference to the colours of her favourite team, Esteqlal of Tehran.
The woman, referred to as Sahar, which is not her real name, was arrested in March when she tried to enter a football stadium.
After being jailed for three days she was released on bail and waited six months for her court case.
But when she appeared at court she found out it had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency.
She later returned to court to pick up her mobile phone and it is widely reported that she is thought to have overheard someone saying that if she were convicted she could get six months to two years in prison.
She then set herself alight in front of the court house and later died in hospital.
Women in Iran have been stopped from going to stadiums to watch men's sporting events since 1981. This was temporarily lifted last year to allow women to watch the World Cup being streamed at a stadium in Tehran.
Image copyright Getty Images While the sporting ban is not written into law, it is "ruthlessly enforced", says Human Rights Watch.
Football's governing body Fifa set a deadline of 31 August for Iran to allow women into stadiums - something the country has not yet guaranteed.
Calling the case "heart-breaking", Philip Luther from Amnesty International said her death showed the impact of Iran's "appalling contempt for women's rights".
"Her death must not be in vain. It must spur change in Iran if further tragedies are to be avoided in the future."
The woman's self-immolation has led to a lot of debate in Iran.
Masoud Shojaei, the captain of the Iran men's football team, said on Instagram that the ban is "rooted in outdated and cringe-worthy thoughts that will not be understood by future generations".
Earlier this month, Iranians started campaigning online for world sporting organisations to ban the country from competitions to stop what they see as state interference in sports.
Gig Economy
California Bill Makes App-Based Companies Treat Workers as Employees - The New York Times
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:51
Image Supporters of a bill that reclassifies contractors as employees gathered outside the State Capitol in Sacramento last month. Credit Credit Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press SACRAMENTO '-- California legislators approved a landmark bill on Tuesday that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy and that adds fuel to a yearslong debate over whether the nature of work has become too insecure.
The bill passed in a 29-to-11 vote in the State Senate and will apply to app-based companies, despite their efforts to negotiate an exemption. On Wednesday morning, the Assembly gave its final approval, 56 to 15. California's governor, Gavin Newsom, endorsed the bill this month and is expected to sign it. Under the measure, which would go into effect Jan. 1, workers must be designated as employees instead of contractors if a company exerts control over how they perform their tasks or if their work is part of a company's regular business.
The bill may influence other states. A coalition of labor groups is pushing similar legislation in New York, and bills in Washington State and Oregon that were similar to California's but failed to advance could see renewed momentum. New York City passed a minimum wage for ride-hailing drivers last year but did not try to classify them as employees.
In California, the legislation will affect at least one million workers who have been on the receiving end of a decades-long trend of outsourcing and franchising work, making employer-worker relationships more arm's-length. Many people have been pushed into contractor status with no access to basic protections like a minimum wage and unemployment insurance. Ride-hailing drivers, food-delivery couriers, janitors, nail salon workers, construction workers and franchise owners could now all be reclassified as employees.
But the bill's passage, which codifies and extends a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling, threatens gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft. The ride-hailing firms '-- along with app-based services that offer food delivery, home repairs and dog-walking services '-- have built their businesses on inexpensive, independent labor. Uber and Lyft, which have hundreds of thousands of drivers in California, have said contract work provides people with flexibility. They have warned that recognizing drivers as employees could destroy their businesses.
''It will have major reverberations around the country,'' said David Weil, a top Labor Department official during the Obama administration and the author of a book on the so-called fissuring of the workplace. He argued that the bill could set a new bar for worker protections and force business owners to rethink their reliance on contractors.
California legislators said the bill, known as Assembly Bill 5 and proposed by State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat, would set the tone for the future of work.
''Today the so-called gig companies present themselves as the innovative future of tomorrow, a future where companies don't pay Social Security or Medicare,'' said State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, a Democrat. ''Let's be clear: there is nothing innovative about underpaying someone for their labor.''
She added, ''Today we are determining the future of the California economy.''
Ride-hailing drivers hailed the bill's passage. ''I am so proud of ride-share drivers who took time out of their lives to share their stories, stand up, speak to legislators and hope they take a moment to bask in a victory,'' said Rebecca Stack-Martinez, a driver and an organizer with the group Gig Workers Rising.
Uber did not immediately have a comment. Earlier on Tuesday, it laid off 435 workers in its product and engineering teams, the company's second round of cuts in recent months.
Lyft said it was disappointed. ''Today, our state's political leadership missed an important opportunity to support the overwhelming majority of ride-share drivers who want a thoughtful solution that balances flexibility with an earnings standard and benefits,'' said Adrian Durbin, a Lyft spokesman.
Gig-type work has been under the spotlight for years as companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash in the United States '-- as well as Didi Chuxing in China and Ola in India '-- have grown into behemoths even as the contractors they relied on did not receive the benefits or minimum pay guaranteed to employees. Many of the companies have worked assiduously to beat back efforts to classify their workers as employees, settling class-action lawsuits from drivers and securing exemptions from rules that might have threatened the drivers' freelancer status.
While regulators in California and at least three other states '-- New York, Alaska and Oregon '-- had found that ride-hailing drivers were employees under state laws for narrow purposes, like eligibility for unemployment insurance, those findings could be overridden by state laws explicitly deeming the drivers as contractors. About half the states in the nation had passed such provisions.
But more recently, the tide began changing. Two federal proposals introduced since 2018 have sought to redefine the way workers are classified to allow more of them to unionize. Those proposals have received support from candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, including Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The presidential hopefuls also lent their endorsement to the California bill.
In Britain, Uber has appealed a decision by a labor tribunal that drivers must be classified as workers entitled to minimum wage and vacation. The country's Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case next year.
''Some form of benefits to some population of drivers seems inevitable,'' said Lloyd Walmsley, an equity research analyst at Deutsche Bank who follows the ride-hailing industry.
A critical question is how gig economy companies will react to California's new law. Industry officials have estimated that having to rely on employees rather than contractors raises costs by 20 to 30 percent.
Uber and Lyft have repeatedly warned that they will have to start scheduling drivers in advance if they are employees, reducing drivers' ability to work when and where they want.
Experts said that there is nothing in the bill that requires employees to work set shifts, and that Uber and Lyft are legally entitled to continue allowing drivers to make their own scheduling decisions.
In practice, Uber and Lyft might choose to limit the number of drivers who can work during slow hours or in less busy markets, where drivers may not generate enough in fares to justify their payroll costs as employees. That could lead to a reduced need for drivers over all.
But Veena Dubal, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, said it would still generally be advantageous for Uber and Lyft to rely on incentives like bonus pay to ensure they had enough drivers on the road to adjust to customer demand much more nimbly than if they scheduled drivers in advance.
''It doesn't make sense for them'' to drastically limit flexibility, she said.
Some of the companies are not done fighting the bill. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have pledged to spend $90 million to support a ballot initiative that would essentially exempt them from the legislation. Uber has also said it will litigate misclassification claims from drivers in arbitration and press lawmakers to consider a separate bill that could exempt them from A.B. 5's impact when the legislative session begins in January.
California cities will have ways to enforce the new law. In last-minute amendments to the measure, legislators gave large cities the right to sue companies that don't comply.
The bill was not universally supported by drivers. Some opposed it because they worried it would make it hard to keep a flexible schedule. After Uber and Lyft sent messages to drivers and riders in California in August asking them to contact legislators on the companies' behalf, legislative aides said they had noticed a spike in calls.
As the bill wound its way through the Legislature, the ride-hailing companies sought an agreement that would create a new category of workers between contractor and employee. They met with labor groups and Governor Newsom's office to negotiate a deal to give drivers a minimum wage and the right to organize, while stopping short of classifying them as employees.
But in July and August, labor groups balked, and the proposed deal disintegrated. Some company officials have expressed cautious optimism in recent days about striking a deal with labor after the bill's passage.
Follow Kate Conger and Noam Scheiber on Twitter: @kateconger and @noamscheiber.
Kate Conger reported from Sacramento, and Noam Scheiber from Chicago. Adam Satariano contributed reporting from London.
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F. Scott Breakall on Twitter: "New book from Snowden'--same missing nose pad on his glasses?!?! '...@adamcurry'(C) https://t.co/FgHyI627Mv" / Twitter
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 21:48
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Brad Parscale: California Leads in Campaign Donations for President Donald Trump - California Globe
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 13:24
Click play for audio version of this story
Brad Parscale, CAGOP Convention (Michelle Mears for California Globe) President Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale told a crowd at the California Republican Party Convention Saturday that California is the leading state for donations. This announcement was made to Republican delegates and guests gearing up for the 2020 election year at a convention in Indian Wells, California.
''There may not be a ton of you, but the ones we have are warriors,'' said Parscale who worked on President Trumps 2016 campaign as the digital advisor. He also helped launch America First Policies, a non-profit that promotes the President's agendas, and led digital strategies for the Republican National Committee.
In 2016 Trump lost by over 4 million votes in California and the states Democrat leaders, including Governor Gavin Newsom, have called themselves, ''The Trump Resistance.''
''Many of you feel that we have written you guys off, that California doesn't matter. I will tell you this, there is a lot of work to be done but keep in mind this is not a swing state,'' said Parscale. ''We are taking lessons from 2016 to create a robust campaign for 2020. This fight isn't about future elections this fight is about the future of this country.''
The Trump Campaign is investing heavily in the state by helping candidates get elected through a strong volunteer network. The Democrats in California control with a super supermajority in both the State Senate and Assembly.
Volunteers and candidates were reminded that turning California back to a red state won't happen overnight and it will take years to turn around the Republican Party, but Trump and his family are here for the long haul.
Brad Parscale, CAGOP Convention (Michelle Mears for California Globe) ''Trump will be a dynasty that will last for decades that will turn the Republican Party into a new Party,'' said Parscale. ''But, I cant do this alone, President Trump can't do this alone. It takes all of you stepping up.''
Parscale understands the hardships Californians face with taxation, legislation and the skyrocketing cost of living. He used to live in San Clemente, California before migrating to Texas. In Texas, Parscale started a digital consulting firm that created web marketing strategies and oversaw all technical and functional aspects of those strategies. Prior to coming on board with the 2016 Presidential campaign, Trump hired Parscale's firm to work on one of his business ventures.
When it was announced he would be Trumps 2020 campaign manager Eric Trump said in a statement, ''Brad is an amazing talent and was pivotal to our success in 2016. He has our family's complete trust and is the perfect person to be at the helm of the campaign.''
The CAGOP 2019 Conventions' purpose is to provide Republicans the tools needed to win elections in 2020 through training and education. Parscale spoke to the audience about his campaign strategy for President Trump, saying they have 130 million phone numbers and will be sending out millions of text messages during the 2020 campaign.
''We have the artificial intelligence to know who our voters are, where they live, what they care about and this helps optimize every campaign dollar,'' said Parscale. ''Our data shows that 96 percent of those who donate vote. Our targets are precise and we can hone in on what to do next.''
The Trump Campaign continues to increase the Republican voter base through micro, not macro, management.
Here at the CAGOP Fall 2019 Convention in Indian Wells for the California Globe. Here is President Trumps Campaign Manager in 2016 Brad Parscale. #CADeservesBetter
Posted by Michelle Mears on Saturday, September 7, 2019
''Yes, even in California. We are finding new Republicans every day,'' said Parscale, who plans to create an army of volunteers across the country to register voters, engage and persuade voters, and increase voter turnout.
''We are laying the foundation for Republicans to follow for decades,'' said Parscale.
In June, a Trump Victory Initiative was launched. The goal is to train two million volunteers in all 50 states, including California.
''We had 430 thousand registered voters who did not show up in 2018. We cannot let that happened again in 2020,'' said Parscale. He told the Republican crowd that the democrat party will do anything possible to tip the scales in their favor including lie, cheat, manipulate the system, use social media giants to censure, play with algorithms and use fake news.
The Trump campaign wants to also help the National Republican Party regain many of the seats they lost in the House of Representatives in 2018, and California has a chance to take back at least eight, including House Speaker.
''We can't do anything without you volunteers.There are 100 million registered voters for Donald Trump but we need them to turn out and vote. But there is nothing is more impactful that face to face interaction. It is more impactful than anything I can do on Facebook to persuade and turnout voters. That is the key to our success,'' said Parscale.
Parscale added: ''California plays a critical role in our success.''
About Latest Posts Michelle MearsMichelle Mears is a reporter in Southern California who has covered news in Riverside and San Diego County for 20 years.
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How Elizabeth Warren Raised Big Money Before She Denounced Big Money - The New York Times
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:54
Ms. Warren wooed wealthy donors for years, stockpiling money from fund-raisers, and has used $10.4 million from her 2018 Senate race to underwrite her 2020 bid.
Image As Senator Elizabeth Warren has risen in the polls on a populist message, some donors are chafing at her campaign's claims of being ''100 percent grass-roots funded.'' Credit Credit Elizabeth Frantz for The New York Times On the highest floor of the tallest building in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren was busy collecting big checks from some of the city's politically connected insiders. It was April 2018 and Ms. Warren, up for re-election, was at a breakfast fund-raiser hosted for her by John M. Connors Jr., one of the old-guard power brokers of Massachusetts.
Soon after, Ms. Warren was in Manhattan doing the same. There would be trips to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Martha's Vineyard and Philadelphia '-- all with fund-raisers on the agenda. She collected campaign funds at the private home of at least one California megadonor, and was hosted by another in Florida. She held finance events until two weeks before her all-but-assured re-election last November.
Then, early this year, Ms. Warren made a bold bet that would delight the left: She announced she was quitting this big-money circuit in the 2020 presidential primary, vowing not to attend private fund-raisers or dial up rich donors anymore. Admirers and activists praised her stand '-- but few noted the fact that she had built a financial cushion by pocketing big checks the years before.
The open secret of Ms. Warren's campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency. Last winter and spring, she transferred $10.4 million in leftover funds from her 2018 Senate campaign to underwrite her 2020 run, a portion of which was raised from the same donor class she is now running against.
As Ms. Warren has risen in the polls on her populist and anti-corruption message, some donors and, privately, opponents are chafing at her campaign's purity claims of being ''100 percent grass-roots funded.'' Several donors now hosting events for her rivals organized fund-raisers for her last year.
''Can you spell hypocrite?'' said former Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who contributed $4,000 to Ms. Warren in 2018 and is now supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Mr. Rendell said he had recruited donors to attend an intimate fund-raising dinner for Ms. Warren last year at Barclay Prime, a Philadelphia steakhouse where the famed cheesesteak goes for $120. (The dish includes Wagyu rib-eye, foie gras, truffled cheese whiz and a half-bottle of champagne.) He said he received a ''glowing thank-you letter'' from Ms. Warren afterward.
Image Former Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania contributed $4,000 to Ms. Warren in 2018. He is now supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Credit Matt Rourke/Associated Press But when Mr. Rendell co-hosted Mr. Biden's first fund-raiser this spring, Ms. Warren's campaign sent brickbats, deriding the affair as ''a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors,'' the likes of which she now shuns.
''She didn't have any trouble taking our money the year before,'' Mr. Rendell said. ''All of a sudden, we were bad guys and power brokers and influence-peddlers. In 2018, we were wonderful.''
Supporters of Ms. Warren say her presidential campaign should not be criticized for trying to lessen the influence of big donors now, even if she wooed and benefited from them previously.
''There's a perverse incentive system for public officials,'' said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has endorsed Ms. Warren. If candidates continue the big-money status quo, he said, ''you don't get called a hypocrite. But if you stick your neck out, take chances, challenge power, and try to change the system step by step, you get criticized for not taking every step possible all at once.''
Ms. Warren's surplus Senate cash has undergirded two important elements of her 2020 run. She was able to invest early in a massive political organization '-- spending 87 cents of every dollar she raised in early 2019 '-- without fear of bankrupting her bid, and she had that financial backstop to lessen the risk of forgoing traditional fund-raisers.
''It gave her some running room,'' said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist based in Massachusetts, though she still called banning fund-raisers a ''big risk.''
Advisers to Ms. Warren defended her campaign finance decisions and noted that big-money fund-raisers, like the ones with Mr. Connors and Mr. Rendell, accounted for only about one-quarter of the $25.8 million she raised in 2017 and 2018.
Kristen Orthman, Ms. Warren's communications director, said the senator ''believes that to take back the White House we need to build a grass-roots movement.''
''When we made the decision to run the campaign this way, the players in the usual money-for-influence game dismissed it as na¯ve and said it would never work and it would kill the campaign,'' Ms. Orthman said. ''We're pleased that our grass-roots strategy has been so effective that they're now threatened enough to be attacking us for it.''
Since Ms. Warren's announcement in February, her disavowal of closed-door events with the donor class has become an inextricable part of the DNA of her candidacy as she promises to bring about structural change to American society.
It is the reason, her campaign advisers say, that she has the time to dedicate to hourslong selfie lines, to expand the map of states she can visit, and to call up small donors at random to thank them for giving, rather than pleading for more $2,800 donations from the well-to-do.
''The best president money can't buy,'' read campaign T-shirts and tank tops.
That message '-- paired with a raft of ambitious policy proposals '-- resonated with enough small contributors to propel Ms. Warren to raise $19.2 million in the second quarter of 2019 (the third most in the field) and to the top tier in the polls.
The only other Democratic candidate to bypass big-money events is her fellow liberal in the race, Senator Bernie Sanders. He has transferred $10.1 million from old accounts to his 2020 campaign, but, unlike Ms. Warren, he had eschewed high-dollar fund-raisers in past races. (Other senators transferred money into their 2020 bids as well.)
There is no way to say exactly how much of the $10.4 million Ms. Warren transferred from 2018 was attributable to large donations. Her campaign said she had 380,000 donors to her re-election who gave an average of $30 '-- a strong grass-roots following. Records show about $6 million of her Senate funds also came from donors who gave $1,000 or more.
Image Ms. Warren speaking to supporters on the night she won re-election in Massachusetts last year. Credit Michael Dwyer/Associated Press Throughout 2017 and 2018, Ms. Warren paired appeals to small contributors with a robust operation courting big ones.
In early 2017, Ms. Warren had created the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund, which could raise money above the $5,400 candidate limit. The extra funds went to her political action committee, which she would then redistribute to other party committees and politicians, and the Massachusetts Democratic Party; she closed the joint account in late 2018.
Ms. Warren also traveled the country extensively to fund-raise, according to invitations obtained by The New York Times and people familiar with the events, though she often found a chillier reception in New York because of her anti-Wall Street rhetoric.
In Florida, she was hosted for an event by the billionaires Henry and Marsha Laufer. In New York, Meyer S. Frucher, the vice chairman of Nasdaq, held a reception for her. She was hosted by the ''Lost'' creator Damon Lindelof and his wife, Heidi, in Southern California. The philanthropist Stephen M. Silberstein had Ms. Warren over to his San Francisco-area home. And as late as the fall of 2018, she visited Silicon Valley, where Karla Jurvetson, a multimillion-dollar Democratic contributor, hosted an event for her.
This year, Ms. Jurvetson also donated money to the Democratic National Committee on Ms. Warren's behalf, as first reported by BuzzFeed, to help her campaign purchase information about voters (she was not solicited directly by Ms. Warren). Ms. Jurvetson declined to comment through a spokesman.
Mr. Silberstein said he had bristled when he first heard Ms. Warren would stop doing events like the dinner he had held for her. ''My first reaction was I was insulted,'' he said in an interview, but then came to see it as a ''gutsy move.''
''After I sort of got over the fact that she wouldn't be calling me anymore, I saw that she made a big success out of it,'' he said.
As the 2018 election neared, Ms. Warren's big money was partly bankrolling an apparent 2020 apparatus in waiting. Ms. Warren said in late September last year that she would ''take a hard look'' at a White House run. Her Senate campaign notably aired zero television ads (as did Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, ahead of her run). Some of the money that Ms. Warren did not stockpile went to strategic giveaways and investments, such as deploying staff in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2018.
Ms. Warren continued to press for donations into October. Her campaign invited donors to attend a Senate debate watch event, with the added draw that Ms. Warren would visit after she got offstage. Her last fund-raising event, an intimate round table in Cambridge, came on Oct. 27.
Sean Curran, who contributed $5,400 to Ms. Warren's Senate campaign but co-hosted an event for Senator Kamala Harris of California this year, said the move by Ms. Warren to forgo private fund-raisers now was ''consistent with her values.''
''If any other candidate did this, I'd say they were looking for the cheap political advantage,'' Mr. Curran said.
The choice to swear off fund-raisers was certainly seen as fraught when she made it. Her finance director and another top fund-raising official quickly resigned. And in late March, she had to dip briefly into those Senate reserves, as her fund-raising briefly did not keep up with her spending. But the decision has proved a central selling point for Ms. Warren, who by the end of June had nearly $20 million in the bank and will stand at center stage with Mr. Biden at Thursday's debate.
Image Ms. Warren campaigning at a house party in Hampton Falls, N.H., in September. Credit Elizabeth Frantz for The New York Times Steven Grossman, a Boston-area donor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who contributed the maximum amount to Ms. Warren's 2018 campaign, said the biggest advantage of Ms. Warren's carry-over cash was the ability for her to invest in staff early on.
''Everyone else was playing catch-up ball,'' Mr. Grossman said. He is now a supporter of Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.
Mr. Green, the Warren supporter, said her vow to skip fund-raisers had led to small donations.
''When we point out to our grass-roots that Elizabeth Warren needs you more because she's forgoing big-money fund-raising, that definitely is a more compelling pitch that results in more people taking out their credit card,'' he said.
Ms. Warren has said her ban on fund-raisers only applies to the primary. Should she win the nomination, she would return to the events to compete with Republicans. (Faiz Shakir, campaign manager to Mr. Sanders, said the senator would not hold such fund-raisers if he is the nominee.)
So how much did the Senate money help Ms. Warren get a jump on her presidential rivals?
Here's one way to look at it: As of the end of June, only five candidates besides Ms. Warren, out of two dozen Democratic hopefuls, had even raised more than $10.4 million, the amount of her Senate transfer.
''Certainly it's a lot easier if you have $12 million as a starting point,'' Andrew Yang, the businessman and first-time candidate, said with a laugh. ''If she hadn't, then it might have been a slightly different calculation.''
Mr. Yang went on: ''But you can't begrudge something that someone has done at an earlier point if they decide to move in a direction that I personally think is very positive.''
Shane Goldmacher is a national political reporter and was previously the chief political correspondent for the Metro Desk. Before joining The Times, he worked at Politico, where he covered national Republican politics and the 2016 presidential campaign. @ ShaneGoldmacher
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25 for 45
Democrats to Broaden Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump to Corruption Accusations - The New York Times
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 13:14
Image The House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, is expanding its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Credit Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- House Democrats return to Washington this week poised to significantly broaden their nascent impeachment inquiry into President Trump beyond the findings of the Russia investigation, but they will confront a fast-dwindling political clock.
Undeterred by lackluster public support for impeachment, Democratic lawmakers and aides have sketched out a robust four-month itinerary of hearings and court arguments that they hope will provide the evidence they need to credibly portray Mr. Trump as corrupt and abusing his power.
Beyond the president's efforts to impede the special counsel's investigation, Democrats also plan to scrutinize his role in hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with him and reports that he dangled pardons to officials willing to break the law to implement his immigration policies. Democrats also demanded documents last week related to whether his resort properties illegally profited from government business.
''The central oversight perspective so far has been focused on the Mueller report,'' said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a former constitutional law professor who sits on the Judiciary Committee. ''We need to broaden out the oversight work to get a complete picture of the lawlessness of the administration. That is the imperative for the fall season.''
[The Judiciary Committee plans to vote this week to formalize procedures for a growing impeachment inquiry.]
Whether Democrats' agenda will result in a House vote to impeach a president for only the third time in American history remains the most significant unanswered question of Mr. Trump's presidency, one that could shape his bid for re-election and his prospects of notching any additional legislative accomplishments in his first term.
But even the most ardent supporters of impeachment conceded that time might already be short, with only around 40 days in session left before the end of the year and a slew of issues on Capitol Hill that could sap additional time and energy. Congress must fund the government in the coming weeks, and lawmakers in both parties want meaningful legislative debates over Mr. Trump's trade deal with Mexico and Canada, gun safety legislation and bolstering election security.
Most House Democrats now privately agree that Mr. Trump's behavior clears the bar for an impeachment vote '-- some reached the conclusion over the six-week recess that just ended '-- but the politics of doing so are more complicated and their leaders appear no closer to a decision on whether to proceed.
Image Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues during a private call last month that the public still ''isn't there on impeachment.'' Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times The Judiciary Committee's chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, has indicated that the panel will most likely determine late this year whether to advance impeachment articles, and aides have privately argued that they cannot wait much longer to leave enough time to vote and try a case in the Senate before the 2020 election more forcefully diverts attention.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains skeptical, telling colleagues during a private call late last month that the public still ''isn't there on impeachment.'' Many of the caucus's more moderate members, whose districts are crucial to maintaining the Democrats' majority, have not backed impeachment either. And Republicans remain unified behind Mr. Trump.
Just as consequentially, court cases have hamstrung Democrats' ability to stage potentially powerful public hearings '-- in part as a result of Mr. Trump's stonewalling of congressional oversight efforts. Rulings in two cases '-- one on unsealing grand jury secrets from Robert S. Mueller III's investigation, and the other to enforce a subpoena for the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II '-- are expected this fall. They could determine whether lawmakers will be able to blunt the White House's attempts to run out the clock by slow-walking document production and ordering major witnesses not to appear before lawmakers without a court order.
For now, Democratic congressional investigators agree they should push ahead, even if impeachment ultimately remains beyond their grasp.
''If we aren't able to collect the evidence that we need to present a credible case before the election, well, at least maybe we will have put enough evidence out there that the public can exercise another form of regime change that is in the Constitution and vote,'' said Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat on the committee.
The Judiciary Committee will take a substantial step to organize its effort this week. Lawmakers are expected to vote to establish rules and procedures governing the inquiry, including allowing staff lawyers to question witnesses and the president's lawyers to more formally offer a defense, according to an official familiar with the committee's plans.
Democrats began examining the hush payments and other areas of scrutiny in the spring, requesting documents and taking other early steps. But they have focused mostly on Mr. Mueller's investigation and his account of Mr. Trump's repeated attempts to thwart his team.
Several high-profile witnesses were subpoenaed to appear before Congress in September to discuss potential obstruction acts, including Mr. Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter, a onetime White House aide. But Democratic leaders are hoping that their review of Mr. Trump's properties, the hush payments and pardon dangling might resonate more with the public and allow lawmakers to sidestep the wall the White House has erected around witnesses related to Mr. Mueller's inquiry.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan investigated the payments to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and charged Mr. Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, with violating campaign finance laws by arranging the payments. Though Mr. Trump was not named in the indictment, prosecutors referred to him as ''Individual-1'' and said he directed the illegal payments. Mr. Trump has acknowledged the payments, insisting they were legal. He has denied the affairs themselves.
By calling witnesses involved in the payments, Democrats believe they can make the case that Mr. Trump broke the law in his pursuit of the presidency, even though prosecutors closed the investigation without additional charges. It is not clear whether prosecutors concluded that they were bound by the Justice Department's view that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
By broadcasting the details of Mr. Trump's repeated efforts to drive government business to his family's hotels, clubs and resorts, Democrats hope they can convince Americans that Mr. Trump is trying to profit off the presidency, a potential violation of the Constitution's emoluments clauses. Mr. Trump has repeatedly rejected that accusation and turned over management of his company, the Trump Organization, to his oldest sons and an executive through a trust, though he is its sole beneficiary.
Democrats have also framed Mr. Trump's reported offers to pardon aides willing to break the law to carry out his immigration policies as part of a pattern that also includes his efforts to impede Mr. Mueller's investigators. The committee ordered Department of Homeland Security officials last week to hand over records related to the overtures, which Mr. Trump has denied and White House aides have said were jokes.
Democrats are largely united in their approach to casting Mr. Trump as abusing his power and plan to advance legislation to fight foreign election interference and misinformation campaigns, according to the speaker's office.
But their stance has only loosely papered over internal differences about any impeachment vote, and party leaders could be forced to confront a messier intraparty conflict in the coming months based on how they decide to proceed.
Some of the House's most liberal lawmakers appear to be growing tired of the methodical pace laid out by leadership and are prepared to argue more forcefully that allowing Mr. Trump to skirt punishment for his actions could free future presidents from congressional constraints on their powers.
Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said he spent August updating his own articles of impeachment accusing the president of emoluments violations, obstruction of justice, welcoming Russia's election interference and unconstitutional attacks on the courts and the news media.
''I'm going to try to find out how many people are willing to stand up and vote for impeachment,'' he said. ''I understand the speaker and the chairman's attitude about wanting to bring out all this proof. The proof is already there.''
Liberal advocacy groups had hoped to push the party during the August recess toward an impeachment vote by stirring up a groundswell of grass-roots support. But many moderate lawmakers opposed to impeachment emerged from August further convinced that their reticence was justified by voters' lack of interest in impeachment and that the president was best voted out of office instead of removed.
That split may force impeachment advocates toward a compromise. With the Republican-controlled Senate highly likely to acquit Mr. Trump even if the House's case were put to trial, some Democrats have begun raising another possibility: that the Judiciary Committee could draft articles of impeachment, vote them out of the panel but never bring them to the floor of the House '-- offering the public an election-year indictment of sorts without ever bringing the president to trial.
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BOTG sighting
My wife and I had the pleasure of attending an event with
RBG over the weekend (The wedding of my wife's voice teacher who's a professor
at Northwestern - Ruth's known to be a big opera buff.)
I was concerned that she was going to be in rough shape
because of her recent treatment, but I was pleasantly surprised to see and hear
her in relatively good health. She had a man and woman escort her by the arms
as she processed, one of whom was certainly for security reasons as well as
physical aid. And once she was up on the little stage and seated she was very
She stood several times throughout the ceremony to deliver
her pieces. Spoke with as strong of a voice as any diminutive 86 year old
lady could be expected to. The impressive part was the vigor with which she
stood. Popped right up every time it was her turn!
If it comes up, feel free to share the anecdote, but please
don't identify me or the wedding. Just know that I was very curious about her
health going in and she appears to be doing well, all things considered.
Love and Light
Pipeline Wars
Controversial Pipeline to Cross the Hill Country: The PHP presents potential risks to Edwards Aquifer, and there is little Austin can do about it - News - The Austin Chronicle
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:13
By Michael King, Fri., Sept. 13, 2019 City staff report on the Permian Highway Pipeline provides an example of a 42-inch pipeline trench and its 125-foot-wide easement. (Courtesy of City of Austin)
Back on June 20, City Council adopted a resolution opposing the Permian Highway Pipeline, a natural gas line planned to transport methane from the West Texas Permian Basin (near Fort Stockton) to the Houston area for processing, then to the Gulf Coast, primarily for export. The resolution, authored by Council Member Leslie Pool and carrying the maximum four co-sponsors, passed unanimously on consent and without discussion '' in a passing mention at the prior work session, Pool noted that advocates had been asked not to testify at the meeting because of the full agenda for the last meeting before Council's summer break.
Nevertheless, the Council resolution provides a litany of reasons to oppose the PHP, a 42-inch line that will cross the Texas Hill Country and the Edwards and Trinity aquifers. It cites the potential risk of excavation through the karst limestone of the aquifers, the likely damage to endangered species habitat (golden-cheeked warblers and salamanders), and worst-case scenarios of hydrocarbons leaking or spilling into "a major source of drinking water for two million people." Beyond those immediate threats, the resolution notes, lie the prospect of 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of new carbon emissions: "a quantity of hydrocarbons for export that, when burned, will produce more carbon pollution than the entire Austin area, which will contribute to climate change with all its deleterious effects on the people of Austin and the world."
The resolution directed staff to study the potential impacts of the pipeline. The resulting Aug. 28 report by the Water­shed Protec­tion Department and Environmental Officer Chris Herrington ("Potential Water Quality Impacts") made two major conclusions: that the PHP indeed presents potential risks to the Edwards Aquifer, which it will cross in Hays County, and that there is very little Austin can do about it '' because the line will pass south of Austin and Travis County, and because under state law, such pipelines are granted eminent-domain powers and are "specifically exempted from having to comply with the Texas Edwards Aquifer protection rules." There has been considerable opposition to the PHP, including legal action, from Hill Country jurisdictions, residents, and landowners '' but opponents have failed to stop the project or force a rerouting of the pipeline. (Along with Austin, those opponents include San Marcos, Kyle, Wimberley, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conserva­tion District, Save Barton Creek Association, and Wimberley Valley Watershed Association.)
The PHP is a joint project of Kinder Mor­gan Texas Pipe­line (KMTP) and EagleClaw Midstream Ventures. Construc­tion has already begun on the western segments and, according to Kinder Morgan VP for Public Affairs Allen Fore, is expected to begin in the Hill Country segment as early as October for an overall completion goal of fall 2020. Fore says that while the company respects Austin's position, the PHP is outside the city's jurisdiction, and he disputes that it presents substantial environmental risks to the Edwards Aquifer or endangered species. Moreover, he said, pipelines have existed through the area for decades without significant problems. "It's the same product we have been transporting in the area for over 50 years," he told the Chronicle. "There are hundreds of miles of natural gas pipeline in the aquifer area currently. And I would ask what ... issues have there been with those natural gas pipelines, related to the aquifer? I'm not aware of any." Intrastate oversight is provided by the Texas Rail­road Commis­sion, and Fore cites as well permitting review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (endangered species), the Texas Commis­sion on Environmental Qual­ity (compression stations), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (surface water crossings).
Despite the broad opposition, it appears that come next fall, there will be one more major pipeline running through the Hill Country, above the aquifer and in its recharge zones. On the largest question '' whether the endless burning of fossil fuels presents a growing threat to the health of the global ecosystem '' the industry answer is: We are capturing "waste gas" from fracking operations that is currently being flared into the atmosphere. Either we burn it there, or burn it elsewhere.
A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin's independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community's political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.
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More Environment
Michael King, Jan. 1, 2016Drought, wildfires, and more WTP4
Amy Smith, Jan. 6, 2012More by Michael King
Sept. 13, 2019Laurie Eiserloh is the second candidate to officially enter hunt for Travis County Attorney
Environment, Austin City Council, Permian Highway Pipeline, Leslie Pool, golden-cheeked warblers, salamanders, Water­shed Protection Department, Chris Herrington, Edwards Aquifer, Hays County, Kinder Morgan Texas Pipe­line, EagleClaw Midstream Ventures, Allen Fore, Texas Rail­road Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Qual­ity, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tentative Opioids Settlement Falls Short of a Nationwide Deal
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:07
HARTFORD, Conn.'--A tentative settlement announced Wednesday over the role Purdue Pharma played in the nation's opioid addiction crisis falls short of the far-reaching national settlement the OxyContin maker had been seeking for months, with litigation sure to continue against the company and the family that owns it.
The agreement with about half the states and attorneys representing roughly 2,000 local governments would have Purdue file for a structured bankruptcy and pay as much as $12 billion over time, with about $3 billion coming from the Sackler family. That number involves future profits and the value of drugs currently in development.
In addition, the family would have to give up its ownership of the company and contribute another $1.5 billion by selling another of its pharmaceutical companies, Mundipharma.
Several attorneys general said the agreement was a better way to ensure compensation from Purdue and the Sacklers than taking their chances if Purdue files for bankruptcy on its own.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the deal ''was the quickest and surest way to get immediate relief for Arizona and for the communities that have been harmed by the opioid crisis and the actions of the Sackler family.''
But even advocates of the deal cautioned that it's not yet complete.
''I don't think there's a settlement,'' said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost whose state was among those supporting it. ''There is a proposal that's been accepted by a majority of attorneys general, but there are quite a few significant states that have not joined at this point.''
''There's still a lot of telephone calls going on. I think we see the outlines of a thing that might be, but it's not yet,'' Yost said in an interview.
Opioid addiction has contributed to the deaths of some 400,000 Americans over the past two decades, hitting many rural communities particularly hard.
The lawsuits against Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue paint it as a particular villain in the crisis. They say the company's aggressive marketing of OxyContin downplayed addiction risks and led to more widespread opioid prescribing, even though only a sliver of the opioid painkillers sold in the U.S. were its products.
The tentative agreement and expected bankruptcy filing would remove Purdue from the first federal trial over the opioids epidemic, scheduled to begin next month in Ohio.
In a statement after Wednesday's announcement, the company said that it ''continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis.''
Even with Wednesday's development, many states have not signed on. Several state attorneys general vowed to continue their legal battles against the Sacklers and the company in bankruptcy court. Roughly 20 states have sued members of the Sackler family in state courts.
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin were among the states saying they were not part of the agreement.
''Our position remains firm and unchanged and nothing for us has changed today,'' Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.
''The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far,'' Tong said. ''Connecticut's focus is on the victims and their families, and holding Purdue and the Sacklers accountable for the crisis they have caused.''
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the tentative deal ''a slap in the face to everyone who has had to bury a loved one due to this family's destruction and greed.''
He said he intends to continue fighting the Sacklers, who he said did not have to acknowledge any wrongdoing in their agreement.
''This is far from over,'' he said.
Ryan Hampton, a Los Angeles-based advocate for people in recovery from opioid addiction, said he was launching ''a massive effort'' among victims' families and others impacted by the crisis to urge state attorneys general not to accept the deal.
''The amount of money that's being offered in this settlement doesn't even scratch the surface for what's needed,'' Hampton said. ''We want to see Purdue have their day in court. We know more money will come if this case goes to trial.''
Wednesday's announcement came just days after a group of attorneys general negotiating directly with Purdue and the Sacklers said they had reached an impasse in talks. At the time, several attorneys general said they were not confident Purdue would pay the amount promised and wanted more assurance that the money would come through.
In the latest settlement agreement, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the Sacklers of ''attempting to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis.''
On Wednesday, the Sackler family said in a statement that it ''supports working toward a global resolution that directs resources to the patients, families and communities across the country who are suffering and need assistance.''
''This is the most effective way to address the urgency of the current public health crisis, and to fund real solutions, not endless litigation,'' it said.
Some 2,000 lawsuits brought by local governments, Native American tribes, unions and hospitals have been consolidated under a federal judge in Cleveland, who has been encouraging the parties to settle. U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster invited state attorneys general, who had filed their own lawsuits, to lead the negotiations.
How any money from the settlement would be divided among all the entities is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, attorneys representing the local governments issued a statement saying they recommended the governments agree to the deal as a way to bring relief to their communities.
In March, Purdue and members of the Sackler family reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma to avoid a trial on the toll of opioids there.
A court filing made public in Massachusetts this year asserts that members of the Sackler family were paid more than $4 billion by Purdue from 2007 to 2018. Much of the family's fortune is believed to be held outside the U.S., which could complicate lawsuits against the family over opioids.
The Sacklers have given money to cultural institutions around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art and London's Tate Modern.
Mulvihill reported from New Jersey. Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix, Carla K. Johnson in Seattle and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report.
VIDEO - 'Climategate': When sceptics tricked the public - BBC News
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:44
It's almost 10 years since hackers stole thousands of emails and other documents from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
The scandal, known as "Climategate", rocked the scientific world.
Sceptics picked up on a small number of emails that seemed to suggest scientists had been deliberately manipulating data to exaggerate evidence of climate change.
It wasn't true, but what followed is thought to have shaped public opinion and could possibly have influenced the UN climate agreement that year.
Kayleen Devlin reports for Newsnight on how battle lines and public opinions have changed since then.
You can watch Newsnight on BBC Two weekdays at 22:30 or on iPlayer, subscribe to the programme on YouTube and follow it on Twitter.
VIDEO - NPR Names Veteran Media Executive John Lansing As Its New CEO | WAMC
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:38
NPR has a new CEO. John Lansing, a veteran government broadcast and cable television executive, has been selected by NPR's corporate board to succeed its current chief, Jarl Mohn.
Lansing, who is 62, is currently the chief executive of the government agency that oversees Voice of America, Radio and Television Mart­ and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others. He made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.
Lansing will start in his new position in mid-October. He will be the 11th permanent president or chief executive in the radio network's nearly 50-year history.
In an interview, Lansing said he wants to build on NPR's successes in broadcast news and entertainment to become even more dominant in podcasting and more prevalent in streaming.
"When I think of NPR and I think of the member stations collectively, I think really of journalism as a public service, not tied to a profit motive," Lansing told NPR News. He defined NPR's mission as "serving the public with information and an excellence and quality about it that makes it 'must see' on a variety of platforms."
A number of executives will report directly to Lansing, including Nancy Barnes, senior vice president for news and editorial director, who joined NPR last November and oversees the network's newsroom.
Four years ago, Lansing was named by President Barack Obama to be the first chief executive of the broadcasting outfit that was renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Lansing has won plaudits from journalists for his rousing defense of a free press even while serving in the Trump administration, which has been notably hostile to traditional notions of the role of journalism in civic life.
He took over a troubled organization beset by infighting and bureaucratic inefficiency. He is credited with restoring morale, in part by naming a noted journalist as head of the Voice of America: Amanda Bennett is a former top news executive at the Philadelphia Inquirer who previously held senior newsroom jobs at Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal.
Lansing said he took pride in maintaining conventional broadcasts while appealing to new audiences, reaching about 25% more people each week.
"What you really want to do is be connected to people that are consuming content on something they're holding in their hand, and aren't necessarily tied to a TV set on a wall or a radio in a living room," Lansing said. "Your mobility becomes extremely important to be involved and connected to audiences that are mobile and that tend to be, frankly, younger and, as we think of it at USAGM, future leaders, who can influence the rise of free and open societies."
Lansing's tenure at the agency has not been without controversy.
He held off a push by House Republicans to spin off Voice of America into a nongovernmental broadcaster. Lansing also elevated to chief strategy officer a former U.S. State Department staffer who recently pleaded guilty to having defrauded the U.S. Agency for Global Media out of more than $40,000 in government money in 2018, according to federal prosecutors.
Lansing says the agency referred Haroon Ullah's expenditures to auditors and investigators after travel assistants flagged them; according to the Justice Department statement, Ullah admitted submitting fraudulent receipts for hotel room reimbursements and fake medical claims to get government payments of upgrades in airline seat assignments, among other offenses.
Lansing previously held positions overseeing the Scripps Co.'s local television stations and then its national cable channels, which include the Food Network and HGTV, among others. For two years, he served as the president and CEO of a cable trade group called the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing.
He will now lead the nation's top audio producer and broadcaster.
"In terms of mission, understanding of media, the depth of experience, his strategic leadership, his commitment to people and culture, I would say those were really the key things that we were looking for," said Goli Sheikholeslami, vice chairwoman of the NPR board of directors and CEO of Chicago Public Media.
"The challenges he will face at NPR are not dissimilar to challenges across the media landscape as a whole," said Sheikholeslami, who will soon take up the CEO job at New York Public Radio.
NPR stands stronger than it did at the outset of Mohn's five-year term in 2014. The network had run deficits in six of the seven previous years; under Mohn, it has achieved a slight surplus for each year during his tenure, even as the annual budget grew by more than 40%.
NPR draws more than 28 million listeners each week and 40 million unique monthly visitors to its website '-- both represent a rise of several million over those five years. NPR has also been the nation's leading producer of podcasts since Podtrac started measuring audiences. NPR maintains 17 national bureaus and 17 bureaus abroad. The network has won acclaim for its coverage of wars and disasters, yet suffered its own crisis and tragedy in 2016 when its David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were killed while on assignment in southern Afghanistan. Mohn placed an emphasis on fostering a more collaborative dynamic with the public radio stations that NPR serves and was given credit for making progress on that score.
Yet Lansing also takes over an institution riven by a scandal that hit its top reaches, with a chief news executive toppled over #MeToo complaints of inappropriate conduct toward female subordinates and colleagues. Mohn fired head of news Michael Oreskes on Halloween 2017. A later report commissioned by the NPR board found that questions had been raised about Oreskes' behavior even before his hiring and that concerns were raised throughout his tenure; the repeated and formal warnings by top executives (including Mohn) to Oreskes to stop the unwanted attention he paid to female colleagues proved ineffective.
NPR's president of operations, Loren Mayor, was the leading internal candidate for the chief executive position. While serving as chief operating officer, she took on a greater role during two of Mohn's medical leaves and in the aftermath of the sexual harassment scandal. She also has led initiatives to reform hiring practices and to sweep far more temporary positions into permanent slots, often working closely with the network's chief unions to do so.
Mayor is said to be staying on at the network as a top executive and deputy to Lansing, retaining the enhanced portfolio she took on after Mohn's health crises. Both Lansing and Sheikholeslami say he is adamant about pressing forward with reforms to the workplace culture at NPR that Mayor has already started to put in place.
NPR faces financial pressures from two fronts.
The network's fight for listeners' time has become more feverish. Others have waded into the podcast fray with a vengeance. The streaming platform Spotify paid nearly a quarter-billion dollars to buy the podcast producer Gimlet, founded by former staffers of NPR and other public radio outlets. And The New York Times has won praise and new fans through its weekday podcast The Daily, with in-depth interviews of reporters and newsmakers.
The other is the fight for donors. Mohn had promised to attract major contributions to NPR before the end of his tenure; to date he has not landed the major eight- and nine-figure donations his stated aspirations suggested.
"Jarl would be the first to say that it is the area where he feels that his work was not complete," Sheikholeslami said. "The combination of his health issues plus the situation with Mike Oreskes did derail his plans."
That said, Mohn set higher annual expectations for the network in fundraising and agreed to be co-chairman of its 50th-anniversary capital campaign. He has previously announced he would be staying on as president emeritus to help the network raise major gifts, and along with his wife, Pamela Mohn, he personally committed $10 million to the network.
Unlike some predecessors, Lansing doesn't face a particularly fraught political landscape. Government support for the public radio system isn't in any immediate jeopardy. NPR takes only a few million dollars a year from federal sources for its programs. While member stations on average receive about 10% of their funding from the federal government, fees from the stations make up a significant part of the NPR budget.
Lansing has earned an advanced degree in political agility. At the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Lansing championed a free press even as leaders of many nations move against it.
"Governments around the world are increasingly cracking down on the free flow of information; silencing dialogue and dissent; and distorting reality," Lansing said in a speech he delivered in May to the Media for Democracy Forum. "The result, I believe, is a war on truth."
He continued: "Citizens in countries from Russia to China, from Iran to North Korea, have been victimized for decades. But now we're seeing authoritarian regimes expanding around the globe, with media repression in places like Turkey and Venezuela, Cambodia and Vietnam."
Trump has notably praised authoritarian figures, including the leaders of North Korea, the Philippines, Russia and Turkey and has waged his own fight against journalists.
While they do not broadcast within the U.S., the Voice of America and the other media outfits Lansing has overseen typically adhere to traditional concepts of factual, nonideological journalism, with the frequent exception of Radio Mart­ '-- historically an anti-Castro and anti-Cuban communist outlet. The roots of the VOA involved providing truthful reports to people under Nazi and Axis power rule during World War II. The varied broadcasters also offered jazz and other music to appeal to people under communist regimes using a soft form of diplomacy. Their editorial independence is enshrined in federal law, though it sometimes came under attack.
Now Lansing says he wants to draw on the intellectual and creative impulses of his new staffers as he leads a domestic journalistic powerhouse with an international reputation and reach.
"I want to hear the ideas that are bubbling underneath right now and what people are excited about, what they're looking forward to developing," Lansing said Thursday. "And I want to look for areas that I can provide leadership to bring resources together as needed strategically to find the right priorities that make the most sense for growing NPR this year and then into the future."
Disclosure: This story was reported by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik under guidance from NPR chief business editor Pallavi Gogoi. Under standard procedures for reporting on NPR matters, NPR's corporate and news executives were not allowed to review the report until it was posted.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
NPR has a new CEO. His name is John Lansing, a veteran media executive who has experience in cable TV and public service media. He's taking over for Jarl Mohn, who is stepping down after fulfilling his five-year term. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik is reporting on this.
Hi, David.
SHAPIRO: Tell us about who John Lansing is.
FOLKENFLIK: John Lansing started out as a young man - a teenager - as a photojournalist, worked in TV newsrooms, rose ultimately to be the head over local television stations for the Scripps Company and then headed their basket of cable channels, which included the Food Network, HGTV and a couple others. He's more recently - since 2015, he was appointed by President Obama to be the head of what is now called the U.S. Agency for Global Media. It oversees international broadcasters like the Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe and others that reach hundreds of millions of people each month, broadcast abroad but not here, offering people both news and also programming - sort of a soft form of diplomacy.
SHAPIRO: What has defined his tenure over the last four years at the U.S. Agency for Global Media?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, it's been renowned, you know? A decade ago or so, I did a lot of reports on how dysfunctional that agency was, and it was over a series of administrations. He's brought real order to it as its first CEO, installing a clear line of command, a clarity of the direction philosophically, a greater degree of insulation from sort of political infighting on the board. After all, the board is appointed by the government, and there is some sense of, at times, partisan efforts to pressure these journalists that are protected by statute.
But he's also been a champion for the idea of a free press abroad, the importance of it in companies - or, excuse me - in countries that want to have emerging democracies. And it's been a message that he's been resilient about, and it's been a message that's resonated here at home as well as journalists and the idea of a free press unfettered has, at times, come under attack from the highest office in the land.
SHAPIRO: What is NPR looking for from a new CEO? What did the company set out to find?
FOLKENFLIK: You know, I talked to the vice chair of the NPR board, Goli Sheikholeslami. She's the CEO of Chicago Public Media, going to hold the same job at WNYC in New York, our largest member station. She said, you know, among other things, NPR's facing a lot of the same challenges that other media organizations are - the disruption, the digital age, the idea of maintaining or growing our traditional outlets on radio, our shows like this one - and at the same time, expanding our offerings digitally in terms of podcasts, streaming and the like.
She thought that John had shown real initiative in both TV and at the international broadcasting agency on that, and she said that, you know, he was resolutely committed to important initiatives here at NPR, the idea of the culture of the workplace. After all, just a little under two years ago, our former news chief, Mike Oreskes, was forced out, which raised a host of questions over #MeToo and the questions of gender equity in the newsroom and other questions about how employees were treated and regarded.
SHAPIRO: Have you had a chance to talk to him yet - John Lansing himself?
FOLKENFLIK: I did. I spoke to him earlier today, and he talked about the idea of NPR as a public mission, a public service equipping people to be citizens - the idea this was untethered from a profit motive and, at the same time, that he wanted to press ahead to ensure that NPR had the resources it needed to not only continue what it provides but expand what it provides not only through the airwaves but online and in as many ways as we could imagine to deliver news, information, entertainment and more to our audiences.
SHAPIRO: That is NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik on the network's new CEO just announced this evening joining us today from member station WBUR in Boston.
Thank you, David.
FOLKENFLIK: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
VIDEO - Trump Cancels Taliban, Slams Legend & Teigen - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:36
VIDEO - Illegal vape-making operation found in Wisconsin - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:54
VIDEO - 'Hero of Brexit' Lord James of Blackheath Threatened over EU Defence Union | UK Column
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:48
On Monday last week, Lord James of Blackheath attended a conference held at the Royal United Services Institute entitled 'EU Defence Union - the threat to democracy, industry and alliances'. The conference was also attended by, amongst others, NATO and Ministry of Defence advisor Professor Gwythian Prins and a number of former senior military officers.
The briefing covered the consequences for the UK if the defence and security sections of Theresa May's Brexit 'deal' and its associated 'Political Declaration on the Future Relationship' are approved.
At that meeting it was agreed that Lord James would raise the issue in the House of Lords, which he did four days later.
Video footage of that intervention has received wide public distribution on Twitter.
We have this wonderful paper called Yellowhammer, which tells us all the dreadful things that will happen if we do go no-go. My secretary has an alternative list that I have complied called the Black Vulture, which is my list of the things that people do not know about which will happen if we do not go no deal.
The first is the hazard it creates for the Crown. The second is: will somebody please tell us the truth about the European defence union? This is by far the biggest issue facing the British public and they know nothing about it officially. Can we please have a proper account of what it entails? Is it really true that the Government have entered into private agreements with the European Community that they will, on completion of remain or whatever it is to be, transfer to the European Union in Brussels the entire control of our entire fighting forces, including all their equipment?
Noble Lords may jest, but it has been done and they should check it out. It is too important to ignore.
We must know the truth of this.
We must have it clear for the whole public to know. I believe it is true, and I think we should be told. I understand that it is intended that the oath of every serving member of our forces will be cancelled and they will be required to undertake a new oath of loyalty to Brussels.
I understand that in recent months, we have had a series of people sent from our Armed Forces to create and install the command and control centres to be used for the control of our troops once we have ceased to have any control over their use, application or deployment.
It goes beyond this. They are to take control of our intelligence services, the whole core of Five Eyes. They will have MI6 and the Cheltenham monitoring centre, and we will be completely excluded from it under the new arrangements and have no access either to the'--
At this point, Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary in Tony Blair's cabinet intervened with what could be perceived to be a threat:
I wonder whether the noble Lord would be prepared to give way just for one moment. I appeal to him to conclude, because it is not in either his interests or the interests of the Committee for him to continue.
Why would it not be in Lord James' interests to continue?
In the lobby following the Lords' session, Lord James was approached by former Defence Secretary and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, who, incandescent with rage, demanded to know Lord James' sources for the statements he made in the House.
Shut Up Or Else!Lord James' sources should be clear to everyone who has been following the UK Column's coverage of this developing issue. He said nothing in his speech which is not already in the public domain, and which has not already been reported by UK Column amongst others. The only addition from Lord James was the demand for the government to come clean on their intentions so that the public can make an informed choice.
Consider James' main question, what does EU Defence Union entail?
This is a good question. It is one which the entire British political establishment has steadfastly either refused to answer at all, or has given diversionary responses about the EU having no plans for an 'EU Army'.
To find an answer to this question we have to look to the EU itself, Tony Blair and RUSI.
For the EU, Ursula von der Leyen, former German Defence Minister, has been absolutely open about her plans for what Defence Union entails:
''I want to talk about four components ... which I believe are important for setting up a European Defence Union,'' she said. ''First of all, just two or three weeks ago, for the first time, we were able to give the green light for a European command capacity in Brussels. That is the first time that military and civil instruments would be commanded together, where these commands would actually come from one single command office.
''This is a major step forward. It was unthinkable a short while ago, but it's precisely the right approach to have if we want a European flavour to our defence policy.''
In a previous statement, she made it clear that the EU would wish to pursue interventionist policies in Africa, a continent, she said, where NATO has no real interest.
Strangely enough, her comments were echoed by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
So the EU and British Europhile former Prime Ministers are absolutely on the same page about where Defence Union will go.
It doesn't end there, though. The Royal United Services Institute has hosted many briefings on the subject, which garner no mainstream media coverage. One such example is a conference called 'Defence Implications of Brexit', held in March 2017.
At that event, the European Council on Foreign Relations' Nick Witney called for a joint Anglo-French nuclear deterrent, ''if Trump cannot be impeached or house trained.''
So if the evidence of Defence Union and its implications are out there, why the vitriolic attack on Lord James?
We suggest the reason is that this is the first time the question has been asked in such a direct way in such a public political forum (the debate on one of the most controversial bills ever submitted to Parliament) in breach of the pact to remain totally silent on EU Defence Union, made between the Tory and Labour Parties, as reported to us by a former Trident Admiral in 2015.
The Threats Ramp UpThe abusive responses Lord James received from Lord Blunkett and Lord Robertson in the House of Lords were mild compared to more recent communications.
Since then, other Lordly colleagues have begun demanding he resign immediately and have advised him he can expect a visit from the police for breach of the Official Secrets Act.
Lord James has had the bravery to lift the lid on a policy no-one else in the political establishment wants to discuss. He needs widespread public support.
See the EU Defence Union timeline for more.
VIDEO - Mark Carney: ''There will be a change'' in ''unsustainable'' monetary system - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:14
VIDEO - UK's worst-case no-deal Brexit plan warns of food shortages, public disorder | Reuters.com
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:12
The British government's plans for a no-deal Brexit warn of severe disruption to cross-Channel routes, affecting the supply of medicines and certain types of fresh foods, and say that protests and counter-protests will take place across the country, accompanied by a possible rise in public disorder. Mia Womersley reports
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The British government's plans for a no-deal Brexit warn of severe disruption to cross-Channel routes, affecting the supply of medicines and certain types of fresh foods, and say that protests and counter-protests will take place across the country, accompanied by a possible rise in public disorder. Mia Womersley reports
VIDEO - Did UK government mislead Queen Elizabeth II over parliament prorogation? | Euronews
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:10
A Scottish court ruled on Wednesday that the suspension of the UK Parliament was unlawful. The decision has put Prime Minister Boris Johnson under pressure to recall MPs. The case has now been referred to the UK Supreme Court where it will be heard next week.
Steven Peers is a professor of law at the University of Essex and he also thinks it is possible the Queen was misled by the UK government:
"The implication of what the Scottish court said is that the government didn't give it genuine reasons in court for suspending parliament, it pretended it was just a technical thing whereas its real reason was about its Brexit policy. So it's possible that they also misled the Queen.''
Meanwhile, politicians from the opposition parties are piling the pressure on Boris Johnson to recall parliament. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is one of them:
"This ruling today has enormous constitutional significance... We have a court saying that the prorogation of parliament is unlawful, null and void,'' Sturgeon said.
The Scottish leader went on: ''It seems to me incumbent on the prime minister to end that illegality by immediately recalling parliament. That is the right thing to do as a matter of principle, but there is a real practical imperative to have parliament sitting right now. This is a government that really needs to be scrutinised and held to account."
The Scottish judges were unanimous that on their conclusion that Boris Johnson used the suspension of Parliament for the wrong reasons. But it is unlikely that the prime minister will decide to recall the House before Tuesday when the case goes to the UK's Supreme Court for a final ruling.
Watch Good Morning Europe's report in the player above.
Want more news? Journalist name ' Joao Vitor Da Silva Marques
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VIDEO - President Trump Remarks on E-Cigarettes and Oval Office Presser '' Video and Transcript'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:14
Earlier today President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump held a press availability in the Oval Office to outline concerns discovered with E-cigarettes and 'vaping'.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Sharpless were in attendance for explanations. Additionally, the President took questions from the press pool. [ Video and Transcript ]
[Transcript] '' THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I just want to say that the First Lady and myself, we just came back from an incredible experience at the Pentagon. It was an incredible '-- really, a beautiful ceremony.
I was very honored, and I think I can definitely speak for the First Lady, to have partaken in a ceremony that was just so, so lovely, representing September 11th. Three thousand lives. And, if you think about it, that number really got, as you know, Alex, it got a lot higher than that, indirectly. Directly and indirectly, a lot of people. A lot of great people.
So, that was a tremendous job everybody did this morning, letting the world know that we're ready for anything if we have to be. We're ready for anything.
So, thank you. And I know a lot of you were there, and I appreciate you being there very much.
We have a problem in our country. It's a new problem. It's a problem nobody really thought about too much a few years ago, and it's called ''vaping'' '-- especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children. And they're coming home and they're saying, ''Mom, I want to vape.'' And the parents don't know too much about it. And nobody knows too much about it, but they do know it's causing a lot of problems. And we're going to have to do something about it.
One of the words and one of the reasons we're meeting today is to let you know that it's out there. And we want to have parents understand that we're studying it very carefully. It's, again, very new and potentially very bad. There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems. People think it's an easy solution to cigarettes, but it's turned out that it has its own difficulties.
So, I'm going to ask Secretary Azar to say a few words. And then, if I could, Acting Director of the FDA Sharpless. And you've been doing a fantastic job. I want to thank you.
And we want to discuss the situation because not only is it a problem overall but, really, specifically, with respect to children, we're getting some stories that we don't want to hear. And we may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.
So, if I could ask you, Mr. Secretary, to say a few words.
SECRETARY AZAR: Thank you, Mr. President. So we briefed the President and First Lady today on as yet undisclosed, new data that we have from the National Youth Tobacco survey.
This information shows a continued surging in adolescent usage of e-cigarettes. It also shows that the youth are drawn to flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol.
Currently, about 8 million adults use e-cigarettes, but 5 million children are using e-cigarettes. This is exceptionally harmful to our children. An entire generation of children risk becoming addicted to nicotine because of the attractiveness, appeal-ability, and availability of these vaping products.
So, with the President's support, the Food and Drug Administration intends to finalize a guidance document that would commence enforcement to require that all flavors, other than tobacco flavor, would be removed from the market.
This would include mint and menthol flavoring, as well as candy flavors, bubblegum flavor, fruit flavor, alcohol flavor. You get the drift.
So, once the FDA would finalize this guidance, we would begin enforcement actions to remove all such products from the marketplace.
We would allow tobacco flavoring to remain, subject to their filing '-- the manufacturers of the tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products '-- filing for pre-market tobacco approval with the Food and Drug Administration to assure that the availability of their product is consistent with the public health under the standards set by the Tobacco Control Act.
Any of the other products, which would be removed from the market, would be able to apply under the similar regulatory pathway for approval but have to meet that standard.
But I want to caution that with the President's support, while we would allow the tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to remain on the market to be available for adults who are seeking to stop the use of combustible tobacco, if we find that children are being attracted to tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, if we find that manufacturers are marketing the tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to children, or placing them in settings where they get them, we will take enforcement action there also.
Let me turn it over to Dr. Ned Sharpless, the Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, for any additional details and comments that he would have.
ACTING COMMISSIONER SHARPLESS: Thank you, Secretary. The data gathered by the CDC and the FDA, as the Secretary described, it shows a very concerning, alarming trend of use by children of flavored e-cigarette products.
The President is directing the FDA to take decisive action against this problem and to finalize our plans that we have been working on. This would have the effect, as the Secretary mentioned, of severely curtailing access to flavored e-cigarette products, which we believe drive childhood use, and will help use get a handle on this alarming and concerning trend.
THE PRESIDENT: And I will say that Commissioner Sharpless has been working on this very hard. But he's now going to double and triple up. We're looking at very strong rules and regulations. We already have laws as we need them. But we want to get to the bottom of a very unusual situation. It's so new, and it's become so big, so fast. And it could be a potential very severe problem.
So, Commissioner, you know what to do.
THE PRESIDENT: You know what to do. And it's something that, frankly, should have been looked into a few years ago in a much more advanced way. It wasn't. And we have something that will be very interesting to see what turns up. But you'll be able to report back in the fairly near future because you've done a lot of work on this. And we'll see what happens. Okay?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
Any questions on this, please?
Q Mr. President, is the Taliban '-- excuse me. Is the Taliban talks completely dead still? Or is there still a possibility '--
THE PRESIDENT: The talks with the Taliban are dead.
Q A follow-up on your decision yesterday with regard to Mr. Bolton. What led you to decide to part ways?
THE PRESIDENT: So, John is somebody that I actually got along with very well. He made some very big mistakes. When he talked about the Libyan model for Kim Jong Un, that was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Qaddafi. That was not a good statement to make, and it set us back.
And, frankly, he wanted to do things '-- not necessarily tougher than me. You know, John is known as a tough guy. He's so tough, he got us into Iraq. That's tough. And '-- but he's somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with, but he wasn't getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important. And I hope we '-- we've left in good stead, but maybe we have and maybe we haven't.
I have to run the country the way we're running the country. We're doing very well. We're respected all over the world again; respected like we haven't been respected in many, many years. You look at Iran and you look at so many of the things that are happening. Iran wants to talk. They all want to talk.
We're doing very well with China. And you probably saw the numbers that have come out and come out '-- some of them coming out just today. But China is '-- their supply chain is breaking up. The supply chain of China, which was this unbreakable, powerful tool that they had, is breaking up like a toy because companies are moving out. And China wants to make a deal. We'll see what happens. We have to make the right deal for this country. China has been taking out hundreds of billions of dollars a year out of our country.
And, you know, I read '-- I read papers like the Wall Street Journal. They don't have a clue. They haven't got a clue. They don't make any excuses for the fact that China has been literally ripping off the United States in the worst manner for so many years. Five hundred billion dollars pouring out of the United States. And I hear people '-- I don't even know. Do these people have any education on anything? It's common sense maybe more than anything else.
But I look at some statements that are made from so many different people. And, you know, John wasn't in line with what we were doing. And actually, in some cases, he thought it was too tough, what we were doing. Mr. Tough Guy. You know, you have to go into Iraq. Going into Iraq was something that he felt very strongly about. So we're right now in for over $7 trillion into the Middle East. And I don't say it was his decision. You had a President and you had other people also. But he was very out there, I can tell you, and wanting to have them do it.
And I disagreed with that decision from the beginning, even though I was a civilian, so nobody cared. But I was out there. I was outspoken about it. I thought it was a terrible mistake. Here we are, many, many years later '-- decades later '-- and we're still there. And we've been acting as policemen.
And I'll tell you one thing: We are hitting the Taliban right now harder than they've ever been hit. And what they did was horrible. When they killed a great American soldier, when they killed 12 people '-- innocent people '-- essentially, innocent people. Because, if you look, I mean, many of these people were civilians. You also had a NATO soldier, in addition to our great soldier.
But when they did what they did, in order to create what they thought was a better negotiating stance, I said, ''That's the end of them. Get them out. I don't want anything to do with them.'' And they've been hit very hard. And I know for a fact they said that was a big mistake that they made, and it was. But that was my decision. And what we're doing now is my decision.
So we have a lot of great people that want that position. A lot of great people want a lot of positions. They want to be a part of this administration. We've done more in this administration, in less than three years, than I believe any President. You look at the accomplishments; even today what we're doing. You look at what we're doing today '-- these are big things. Nobody else would be doing this. They're big things.
But we've done more than any administration probably in the history of the country. You just look at one point after another point, whether it's regulation cuts, whether it's tax cuts. You look at Right to Try, with these two gentlemen. So important. Right to Try '-- where people are able to use some of the incredible innovations that we've developed with the greatest labs and the greatest doctors in the world. And they can use them, instead of being forced to move to '-- and leave '-- to other countries that don't have a clue, compared to us. And now they have Right to Try.
And, by the way, a lot of people are being saved. A lot of great things are happening with Right to Try.
But what we've done for the vets, what we've done for our great military '-- we're spending 700 this year '-- $718 billion. And, by the way, that's also jobs, secondarily. But it's also jobs. Nobody has done what we've done. And we're very honored to have done it. We're in a very good footing. Our country is respected again.
Q Who are your top picks to replace Bolton?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have five people that want it very much. I mean, a lot more than that would like to have it. But there are five people that I consider very highly qualified. Good people I've gotten to know over the last three years. And we'll be announcing somebody next week, but we have some very highly qualified people.
But we were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model. And he made a mistake. And as soon as he mentioned that, the ''Libyan model,'' what a disaster. Take a look at what happened to Qaddafi, with the Libyan model. And he's using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don't blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that's not a question of being tough; that's a question of being not smart, to say something like that.
So I wish John the best. We actually got along very well. I'm sure he'll, you know, do whatever he can do to, you know, spin it his way. John came to see me the night before. In fact, I think a lot of you people were out there waiting for me to get on the helicopter. I'm sure you have a shot somewhere along the line. And he sat right in that chair.
And I told him, ''John, you have too many people, and you're not getting along with people. And a lot of us, including me, disagree with some of your tactics and some of your ideas. And I wish you well, but I'd like you to submit your resignation.'' And he did that. And I really '-- I know he's going to do well. I hope he's going to do well. And I wish him well.
Q Mr. President, what are you prepared to do on guns, on background checks? What are you prepared to announce?
THE PRESIDENT: So I just spoke with Senator Toomey and Senator Murphy and Joe Manchin, Senator Joe Manchin. Just had a long talk with them, just before this meeting. Just hung up. And we are working very, very hard together, all of us, and we're seeing if we can come up with something that's acceptable to everybody. It's a subject that's been going on for decades. Decades they've been talking about it.
So we're looking at background checks, and we're looking at putting everything together in a unified way so that we can have something that's meaningful. At the same time, all of us want to protect our great Second Amendment. It's very important to all of us.
So we are now in meetings. The meetings are going to go on tonight. I'm going to speak with them again tomorrow. And I think progress is being made. I hope so.
Q Are you willing to put background checks on all private gun sales?
THE PRESIDENT: We're going to take a look at a lot of different things. And we'll be reporting back in a fairly short period of time. There are a lot of things under discussion. Some things will never happen, and some things can, really, very much '-- some very meaningful things can happen.
It's really ''gun sense,'' if you think about it. What we're looking at is '-- and maybe that's what we should call it, ''The Gun Sense Bill.'' But we will have some '-- we're having great dialogue. We'll see what happens.
Q And did you tell your Chief of Staff to have NOAA disavow those forecasters who said that Alabama was not in the path of the storm?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I never did that. I never did that. That's a whole hoax by the fake-news media, when they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida, and they talk about Alabama. That's just fake news. It was, right from the beginning, it was a fake story.
And while we're here and while we're talking about that, I want to congratulate Dan Bishop last night on an incredible win. He was '-- Dan was 17 points behind, three weeks ago. The media thought he was going to lose. They were all set to have a big celebration with their partners from the Democrat Party.
And Dan Bishop worked really hard. And I worked very hard with him. And he made up a 17-point lead in a few weeks. And he won a great election last night. And also, Greg Murphy '-- which nobody is even reporting '-- but Greg Murphy won a great congressional election in North Carolina last night.
And I want to congratulate, between Dan and Greg, what a job they did. We picked up two seats, and Greg was, you know, anticipated to win by two or three points, maybe less, but two or three points. And he won by many, many points. I don't know what the final tab is, but he won by a lot. And he campaigned brilliantly, and Dan campaigned brilliantly. And so we're very happy about that. That's a tremendous win for the Republican Party. Okay?
Yeah, go ahead.
Q Now that John Bolton is gone, is your policy on Venezuela going to change? Are you open to meeting with Maduro?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have a policy on Venezuela that's a firm policy. But Venezuela is really hurting. And we're trying to help people in a humanitarian way. That's probably not good in terms of crushing a terrible regime. But you have people dying. This is a country that, 15 years ago, was one of the wealthiest countries, and now it's dying. They don't have water, they don't have food, they don't have medical. They have nothing. So we're trying to help as much as we can.
We're also working with Colombia, and he's '-- their leader of Colombia is a friend of mine and he's doing a really good job, I can tell you that. We're working with Colombia. We're working with Brazil. We're working with other countries on a humanitarian basis. Venezuela is in very sad shape. That shows you about socialism. I mean, that shows you what happens. You take a country that was so wealthy 15 years ago, and today they don't have water, and they don't have basic food.
So, we'll see what happens. No, I disagreed with John Bolton on his attitudes on Venezuela. I thought he was way out of line. And I think I've proven to be right. But we are always watching Venezuela very, very closely.
Q And would you be open to meeting with Maduro?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to comment. I don't want to talk about that.
Q Mr. President, about your announcement today, are you concerned that the companies that were making these products will be treated unfairly by taking more of these products off the market?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they've become very rich companies very fast. And the whole thing with vaping is a '-- it's been very profitable. And I want companies; look, you know that. I fight for our companies very hard. I fight '-- that's why I'm fighting with China. That's why I'm fighting other countries. If you look at European Union, and if you look at Japan, and if you look at so many others, including South Korea and many others, we're constantly dealing with them to make it good for our companies because I view it as jobs. I view it as income for our country and jobs.
Vaping has become a very big business, as I understand it. Like a giant business in a very short period of time. But we can't allow people to get sick, and we can't have our youth be so affected. And I'm hearing it. And that's how the First Lady got involved. I mean, she's got a son '-- together '-- that is a beautiful, young man, and she feels very, very strongly about it. She's seen it. We're both reading it. A lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping.
So we're looking at it very closely. And, you know, if nothing else, this is a conference that's going to let people know about it, because people are going to watch what we're saying. And parents are going to be a lot tougher with respect to their children.
A lot of people think vaping is wonderful, it's great. It's really not wonderful. That's one thing, I think, we can say definitely, Commissioner. It's not a wonderful thing. It's got big problems. We have to find out the extent of the problem. It's so new. It's so new. But we're going to find out.
And I hope that parents that '-- you know, they have children, and the children are a certain age '-- I hope they're going to be able to make wise decisions, maybe based on what we're saying today. But the Commissioner and Alex Azar, they're going to be coming back over the next pretty short period of time, couple of weeks, with some very strong recommendations.
Q Can you tell us what the timeline is for taking those flavors off the market?
SECRETARY AZAR: Yeah. So, it'll take several weeks for us to put out the final guidance that would announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy. And then there will likely be about a 30-day delayed effective date, as is customary with FDA's good guidance practices. And, at that point, all flavored e-cigarettes, other than tobacco flavor, would have to be removed from the market. Tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes '-- their manufacturers would, by May 2020, have to file for approval for FDA of their products. The other flavored product manufacturers can, at any time, also file, but they would be off the market until approved by FDA.
The Obama administration had allowed these products to go onto the market in an unregulated way by delaying any enforcement in the hopes that people who are using combustible tobacco would transition to a less harmful form of nicotine delivery through e-cigarettes.
But what we've seen is the data just shows the kids are getting access to these products in spite of our best efforts at enforcement, at retail enforcement, at controlling locations, at over 8,000 warning letters to retailers and others, in spite of moving products off shelves. They've been going at it, so we simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace until they secure FDA approval, if they can.
Q Mr. President, are you looking at arranging a meeting with Iranian President Rouhani at UNGA?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not looking at anything. Iran is a different country than it was two and a half years ago. Two and half years ago, they were given a lot of money by President Obama. Previous to that, $150 billion; $1.8 billion in cash '-- in actual cash. It's very impressive.
But they are a much different country right now than they were two and a half years ago when I came into office. And I do believe they'd like to make a deal. If they do, that's great. And if they don't, that's great too. But they have tremendous financial difficulty, and the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.
We cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon, and they never will have a nuclear weapon. And if they're thinking about enrichment, they can forget about it, because it's going to be very '-- it's going to be very dangerous for them to enrich. Very, very dangerous, okay?
So you can '-- you can '--
Q So do you want to meet with him, or no?
THE PRESIDENT: '-- you can spread the word to Iran.
Q Would you consider easing sanctions to let them '-- to make a meeting happen?
THE PRESIDENT: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. I think Iran has potential, and I think North Korea. Those are two countries we're dealing with right now at a very high level. And I think Iran has a tremendous, tremendous potential. They're incredible people. They have '-- we're not looking for regime change. We hope that we can make a deal, and if we can't make a deal, that's fine too, okay? That's fine too. But I think they have to make a deal. They've never been in this condition.
By the way, China is having the worst year they've had now in 57 years, okay? Fifty-seven. It was 27. It was 22 and then 27. It's 57 years. This is the worst year they've had. And it's only going to get worse. So I think they want to make a deal too. We're dealing with them, but I think they want to make a deal.
As you know, they're coming in sometime in early October. And we're speaking to them constantly. And they also '-- they made a couple of moves last night that were pretty good. You saw that, right? They were pretty good.
Q Which moves do you mean, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: They were pretty respectful to our people. You're going to see it, because you were one of the people that reported it. You '-- your group.
But China is '-- China is '-- about to having to do with tariffs, Jeff. Having to do '-- you saw what they did.
Q With purchases?
THE PRESIDENT: They took tariffs off certain things. A lot of things.
Q And you're happy about that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think they did the right thing. I think it was good for them. But they took them off. Yeah, I think it was a gesture, okay? But it was a big move. People were shocked. I wasn't shocked. But I deal with them, and I know them and I like them. And I hope we can do something.
And with respect to Iran, I think they have to do something, because they have the potential to have an unbelievably great country. But the way it's going right now, it's disintegrating, and I don't think '-- I don't think they should allow that to happen.
North Korea has tremendous potential. North Korea is in between Russia, China, and South Korea. It's an incredible '-- incredible people. I think that they really will '-- they have this truly unbelievable potential, and I think they want to get to it. We'll see what happens. I mean, maybe they do and maybe they don't '-- won't. I mean, you're just going to just see. But I really believe that North Korea would like to see something tremendous happen.
This could be one of the most unbelievable '-- if you look at a country, in terms of upside, this could be one of the most unbelievable experiments ever: North Korea.
And I also say the same with Iran. Iran can get back to business. They can do unbelievably well with all of the natural things that they have.
So on vaping, just to finish, this is all about vaping. This is a meeting that gets off a little track because you ask us questions about other things. And I think we're better off answering them than not.
But we are looking at vaping very strongly. It's very dangerous. Children have died. People have died. And the Acting Commissioner is somebody that's a true expert on it, as much as you can be an expert on a brand-new subject.
And we're going to have some very strong rules, regulations. And more importantly, I think we're going to have some very important information come out very shortly, okay? And we'll be reporting that over the next couple of weeks.
And I want to thank you. And, Commissioner, I want to thank you very much. Okay? Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, your reaction to Netanyahu's promise to annex more of the West Bank?
Q The West Bank '-- Netanyahu and the West Bank. Do you have any reaction to what '--
THE PRESIDENT: No. No reaction.
END 12:58 P.M. EDT
VIDEO - Ned on Twitter: "@alstewitn @BillCashMP @hilarybennmp https://t.co/j7DxW3ia9o" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:06
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VIDEO - Dagrun Spring on Twitter: "@Breaking911 @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:58
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VIDEO - (42) The Independent on Twitter: "Boris Johnson denies lying to the Queen over suspending parliament https://t.co/X3fFmthR2Q" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:56
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VIDEO - (42) Carole Cadwalladr on Twitter: "Oh. You're shocked by that? Watch this. This is one of Johnson's donors. Who also backed Vote Leave. Talking about 'the morning that has gold in its mouth' when he woke up £220million richer on June 24
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:55
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VIDEO - (9) Patrick Moore '' The Sensible Environmentalist - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:52
VIDEO - Proposed vaping ban a gift to big tobacco - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:35
VIDEO - (9) Don't want any private company to create sovereign currency: French fin minister | Squawk Box Europe - YouTube
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:21
VIDEO - (2) Aaron Rupar on Twitter: "Trump indicates that his drive against vaping came at the behest of Melania. He then describes his son Barron in a very odd way. "That's how the First Lady involved. She's got a son -- together -- that's a beautiful yo
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 03:26
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VIDEO - The White House on Twitter: ".@SecAzar on President @realDonaldTrump's e-cigarette announcement: https://t.co/HYp8l4KCUW" / Twitter
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 21:47
Log in Sign up The White House @ WhiteHouse .
@SecAzar on President
@realDonaldTrump's e-cigarette announcement:
pic.twitter.com/HYp8l4KCUW 11:01 AM - 11 Sep 2019 Twitter by: The White House @WhiteHouse Manhole Financial @ ManholeFinance
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump So, it's about FDA Approval -- not about kids. It's about that ðŸ'µGoing to put a lot of small businesses that can't handle the FDA filing fees out of business, while the big tobacco groups thrive.
View conversation · Michelle @ MzChelle65
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump "The great public health leader." You're kidding right?
View conversation · gramophoneman @ gramophoneman
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/SBgvx3kQng View conversation · Alex Flynn @ AlexFlynnofPA
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump This is ridiculous anti-liberty, anti-freedom tyranny. Shameful.
View conversation · Surprising Duck @ sttngduck
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @TheLastRefuge2 and
2 others Congratulations. You're just creating a much bigger, completely unregulated, black market that will probably sicken and kill many more people. Unintended Consequences apply to all infringements.
View conversation · B.E.S. @ GulfportLawyer
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump The only thing that stops flavored e-cigarettes is a good guy with flavored e-cigarettes. Sending thoughts and prayers!
View conversation · Shawn Dolan @ dolanski71
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump AR-15's still OK though, amirite?
View conversation · Jeff @ jeffryasmith
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump This will absolutely lose you my vote.
View conversation · Seth Victoria @ Original_Seth_V
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump Dear sir, there is not really any "alchohol" flavors (3 or 4 bourbon related flavors i have found..and mint or menthol would fall under cigarette flavor. Do not PUNISH adults for kids issues. I use vaping so I do not smoke, I do not want to smoke
#Tobacco flavors, that is insane.
View conversation · Morrish @ MorrishTweets
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump @realDonaldTrump don't take the bait. Flavor had NOTNING to do with black market THC carts from China causing lung illness......
View conversation · noodles2 @ noodlesandme2
2h Replying to
@MorrishTweets @WhiteHouse and
2 others So true, is anybody even looking at a link between these products & where they're manufactured?The majority come from CHINA . Who's to say that there isn't tampering being done at the plants.
View conversation · Dean Cooper @ MSI64
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump Why not sort out gun control?
View conversation · Brian @ BrianMSTL
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump White House on multiple mass shootings: <crickets>White House on flavored e-cigarettes:
pic.twitter.com/Uxv6auHaOZ View conversation · CurtKemper @ CurtKemper
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump This is a bad idea The people with all the issues are using black market cannabis cartridges. Not the liquid you can buy that has a list of ingredients on it. You have to be 21 or older to buy it legally in my state. Don't prop the tobacco industry back up thats what will happen
View conversation · Kody @ KbSwaggTeam
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump Flavors save lives. We Vape and we VOTE. 13m strong.
View conversation · Shelle Jackson @ ShelleJackson
3h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump There have been six vaping related deaths and government moves to ban flavored e-cigs. Hundred of gun deaths and what has the government done?
View conversation · Emma's Muse @ Emmas_muse
4h Replying to
@WhiteHouse @SecAzar @realDonaldTrump Thankfully he's being proactive. Kids shouldn't have to die by vaping when they are able to be gunned down while learning
View conversation · brandoniannn @ Brandoniannn
3h Replying to
@Emmas_muse @WhiteHouse and
2 others Kids arent dying from vaping thc, not dying from vaping nicotine e liquids, theyre dying from vaping shitty fake additives such as vitamin E that causes lipid pneumonia.
View conversation · Emma's Muse @ Emmas_muse
2h Replying to
@Brandoniannn @WhiteHouse and
2 others My comment was in jest.
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VIDEO - Trump administration readies ban on flavored e-cigarettes
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 19:55
The Trump administration is preparing to ban flavored e-cigarettes as federal health officials call for restrictions to combat an outbreak of a mysterious lung disease that has sickened hundreds and killed at least six people, U.S. health secretary Alex Azar told reporters Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration is currently finalizing its guidance to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market within 30 days. Companies might be able to reintroduce their flavors at a later date, so long as they submit a formal application and receive approval from the FDA.
Vaping companies like Juul have been criticized for hooking children on e-cigarettes with their fruity flavors like mango and creme. The surge in underaged vaping, which U.S. health officials have labeled as an "epidemic," is one of the reasons why they plan to ban them '-- at least until the FDA can thoroughly review their safety, Azar said after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on the issue.
"The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities," Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, said in a statement. "We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth."
It could take the FDA several weeks to develop the guidelines, Azar told reporters outside the White House with acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless.
Shares of Altria, which owns a 35% stake in e-cigarette company Juul, fell by less than 1% while competitors PMI Group, Japan Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands all rose by between 1% and 3% in midday trading.
Azar said they want to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market for adults who may be using them to quit smoking. The FDA has embraced e-cigarettes as a less harmful way for smokers to satisfy their nicotine addiction than smoking cigarettes. Skyrocketing numbers of minors started using the products, forcing the FDA to reverse course.
"If we find that children start surging into tobacco flavored e-cigarettes or if we find marketing practices that target children and try to attract them into tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, we will engage in enforcement actions there also," he told reporters.
The FDA was supposed to start reviewing e-cigarettes, a relatively new market, last summer until former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pushed back the review until 2022. The proposal outlined Wednesday essentially moves the FDA's timeline to review flavors up to this year. All companies must submit applications in May 2020 per a federal court judge's ruling issued in July.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual survey of teens showed more than a quarter of high school students used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, with the "overwhelming majority" saying they vaped fruit and menthol or mint flavors, HHS said in a press release.
The FDA is in the process of banning menthol cigarettes.
Regulators have blamed the teen vaping "epidemic" on one e-cigarette manufacturer in particular, Juul. The San Francisco-based company makes a sleek device and fruity flavors like mango, creme and fruit. Its cartridges pack a powerful punch, with one pod delivering as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Former White House spokesman Josh Raffel joined Juul's communications team last year.
Gottlieb labeled teen vaping an "epidemic" almost exactly a year ago. Under Gottlieb, the FDA moved to limit sales of fruity flavors to age-restricted stores, such as vape shops. Lawmakers and public health groups have urged the agency to do more, with Minority Whip Dick Durbin last week telling Sharpless to take "decisive action" or else resign.
"Finally, the FDA is doing its job," Durbin said in a statement Wednesday.
American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley criticized the planned ban, saying in a statement it would "remove life-changing options from the market."
Wednesday's announcement comes as members of Congress increasingly pressure the administration to rein in the e-cigarette industry. The CDC is investigating more than 450 cases of lung disease officials suspect were caused by vaping.
Some officials have honed in on a vitamin E oil that's been added to some THC vaping products as a possible cause. Regardless, the outbreak has fueled calls to restrict the e-cigarette industry amid what regulators are calling an "epidemic" of teen vaping.
Trump called on the FDA to get to the bottom of the outbreak.
-CNBC's Eamon Javers and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Ms. Monopoly, where women make more than men | FOX31 Denver
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 16:51
One of America's most recognizable board games is getting an upgrade. Hasbro is debuting a new game celebrating women's empowerment -- Ms. Monopoly, marking the first time in Monopoly history when a new mascot will be featured on the cover of the game.
The twist? In Ms. Monopoly, female players will get more money.
Unlike the classic game, women will collect 240 Monopoly bucks when they pass "go," while male players will collect the usual 200. The idea is to create a game where women make more than men, the first game to do so, according to Hasbro.
It's "a fun new take on the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men," the company said in a statement. "But don't worry, if men play their cards right, they can make more money too."
That's not the only difference, though. Instead of buying property, players will invest in inventions created by women -- things like Wi-Fi and chocolate chip cookies. But no worries -- mainstays such as jail, luxury taxes and chance cards are still included.
The announcement of Ms. Monopoly comes a few weeks after the company received criticism for Monopoly Socialism -- a tongue-in-cheek game that sparked debate for its flippant handling of socialism. Hasbro also debuted Monopoly for Millennials in 2018, poking fun at stereotypical millennial trends such as avocado toast and veganism.
Ms. Monopoly will be available for pre-order beginning September 10.
VIDEO - (4) David Hasselhoff ''Open Your Eyes" feat. James Williamson (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 16:43
VIDEO - Speak like a leader | Simon Lancaster | TEDxVerona - YouTube
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 15:00
VIDEO - OPUS 151 More Bolton BS - YouTube
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:23
VIDEO - ALERT: Epstein Victim BREAKS SILENCE, RUINS Joe Biden's Career AND John McCain's ''Legacy'' - YouTube
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:06
VIDEO - (1) Proof Gov Wrong About Collapse of WTC Building 7? (New Evidence 2019) - YouTube
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 18:47
VIDEO - Bercow: 'We degrade this parliament at our peril' - BBC News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:55
John Bercow says he will stand down as Commons Speaker and MP at the next election or on 31 October, whichever comes first.
Mr Bercow received a standing ovation from the Labour benches after announcing his imminent departure, but many Conservative MPs stayed in their seats.
He spoke about his love of Parliament, and there were emotional moments as he thanked his family for their support.
In full: Speaker Bercow announces resignation
VIDEO - Brexit: What happened on Monday? - BBC News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:50
The suspension of Parliament begins and MPs reject a second call from Boris Johnson for a snap election.
Jessica Parker explains what happened on Monday.
VIDEO - 'This is not a normal prorogation' - BBC News
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:48
VideoCommons Speaker John Bercow makes his views clear as Parliament is prorogued until the middle of October.
VIDEO - Amee Vanderpool on Twitter: "Former CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was illegally leaked by George W. Bush administration officials, launches her bid for Congress in New Mexico with a pretty intense ad. https://t.co/G2jLumrSXj" / Twitt
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 12:37
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VIDEO - Florian on Twitter: "Joe Biden calling Angela Merkel "Margaret Thatcher": https://t.co/0uWBCggHHc" / Twitter
Tue, 10 Sep 2019 12:32
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VIDEO - Legend creative people are democrats
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VIDEO - British Airways cancels 1,700 flights as pilots strike - Reuters
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 13:32
LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways (BA) pilots began a two-day strike on Monday, grounding nearly all of its flights and disrupting thousands of passengers in a dispute over pay.
The airline, part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), canceled 1,700 flights to and from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Monday and Tuesday ahead of action by British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) members in BA's first ever pilot strike.
''I am really sorry that the cynical actions of the pilots' union have put us in his position,'' BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz told BBC television.
''It is by all accounts an own goal; it's going to punish customers, it's going to punish our brand, it's going to punish the rest of the colleagues.''
IAG shares were down more than 2% in early trading.
BA has offered its pilots an 11.5% pay rise over three years, which it said would take the pay of its highest earning captains from 167,000 pounds ($205,000), plus 16,000 pounds in allowances, to just over 200,000 pounds.
Its pilots on average earn around 90,000 pounds a year.
BALPA wants the pay deal to include profit sharing.
''British Airways is going through some good times, we want to share in those profits just as we shared the pain in the bad times,'' BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton told BBC television.
He had said pilots were willing to compromise, but BA was not prepared to ''budge''.
The airline dismissed a new offer by BALPA last week as an ''eleventh hour inflated proposal'' that was not made in good faith. BALPA had said it would have called off the strikes this week if BA had engaged with the offer.
BA's Cruz said 11.5% was ''way above'' inflation and the offer already recognized that BA was making money. UK inflation stood at 2.1% in July.
Cruz said the airline was prepared to negotiate.
''The commitment of everyone at British Airways is to get over this particular dispute as quickly as possible and we urge the union to sit down with us as quickly as we can so we can reach an agreement,'' he told BBC radio.
He said it was a BA dispute and it would be resolved by the carrier rather than IAG.
The airline said it had no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, and had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so had no option but to cancel nearly 100% of its flights.
Following strikes on Monday and Tuesday, another day of industrial action is scheduled for Sept. 27.
BA has been criticized over its communications with passengers ahead of the strike, which has caused thousands of people to change their travel plans.
FILE PHOTO: A British Airways Airbus A320-200 aircraft sits on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File PhotoThe UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating the airline after it enraged some travelers by wrongly telling them their flights had been canceled.
The regulator also reminded the airline to tell customers their rights. During the strikes, BA must offer passengers reimbursement for canceled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions or a new flight at a later date.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged both sides to end the dispute.
Reporting by Paul Sandle, Alistair Smout and Michael Holden; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter
VIDEO - Ian Miles Cheong on Twitter: "''Former Beatle'' BBC is canceling Ringo Starr for being pro-Brexit. https://t.co/tRjAv7nRSz" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 13:16
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VIDEO - (3) The Brexit Battle Lines Are Being Drawn - YouTube
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 03:11
VIDEO - (2) Epstein, Bill Gates, MIT's Media Lab & Joi Ito Part 1 - YouTube
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  • 0:00
    new Oliver wasn't staged atom curry
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    John C. Dvorak Thursday September 12
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    star state in the morning everybody
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    hi madam Curie and from northern Silicon
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    Valley where we feel so bad about the
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    departure of John Bolton I can't tell
  • 0:30
    you I'm Chauncey Dvorak ya cryin over
  • 0:38
    that one
  • 0:41
    what took him so long
  • 0:44
    how'd he get there in the first place
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    that's the thing no one can there's
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    still unanswered question well I think
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    there mmm it cannot be a coincidence
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    that the Taliban banana cancels or the
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    Trump cancels the Taliban after they
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    blow something up and Bolton's gone the
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    next day
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    you got to think that may be connected
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    well it's definitely a coincidence
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    sure so yeah that was some news but I
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    found the news for me that I wanted to
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    start with today and hopefully everybody
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    paid attention because we laid out in in
  • 1:28
    some detail on the previous episode
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    exactly what was going on with the vapor
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    jingling great wars and to the tea
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    exactly as expected yeah and I think I
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    even said pay attention because you see
  • 1:49
    how it really works where the media is
  • 1:52
    complicit and politicians are complicit
  • 1:54
    and the president is complicit and it's
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    all to get a couple of big players a
  • 2:00
    solidified spot in the marketplace that
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    vapor Wars I'd late I think now there is
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    there is important information that
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    needs to be conveyed in particular to
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    members of our audience because I also
  • 2:17
    got a boots-on-the-ground report from
  • 2:18
    Justin the drug dealer because we have
  • 2:21
    different vaping technologies that are
  • 2:24
    being conflated in particular by the
  • 2:26
    mainstream let's start with the number
  • 2:29
    one issue that I have with their
  • 2:31
    communication ecigs cigarettes is
  • 2:35
    bullshit they use that term to equate
  • 2:39
    vaping with cigarettes okay there are no
  • 2:43
    e cigarettes anymore the thing that
  • 2:45
    comes closest is the Joule which is
  • 2:48
    called a Joule not an e-cig it's called
  • 2:50
    a Joule it's a vape and there's one
  • 2:54
    other you identify John woos or
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    something or
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    some of it you know I saw I saw the ad
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    they have a shitty ad because I can't
  • 3:01
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    say the same thing it's not a shitty ad
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    by enemies it's a really well produced
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    something else it starts with an M I
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    believe and it's a cuter devices cooler
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    looking little device than the jewel no
  • 3:26
    it's the booze I think this there's
  • 3:28
    always one of lose ya think it's the
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  • 3:34
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  • 3:40
    hold up my opinion on that being the
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    name until I see the ad again let me see
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    if I can remember it anyway continue
  • 3:47
    alright so let me talk about the three
  • 3:49
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    the sub ohm tank and this is a baton in