1181: Solutioning

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 47m
October 13th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Baronet Chris of North Austin, Grand Duke Nussbaum, Sir Dave, Earl of America's Heartland and Saudi Arabia

Cover Artist: John Fletcher

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
2:30
Chinese Censorship at US Companies
Woodstock
10:37
Trump Announces Preliminary Trade Deal with China
Woodstock
12:56
Steve Pieczenik: 'OPUS 180 Kudos 2 Trump on China Deal'
Woodstock
19:50
China
Woodstock
21:18
Austin Meetup
Woodstock
24:06
Trump Minnesota Rally
Woodstock
41:11
American Boots on the Ground in Syria
Woodstock
47:52
Untitled
Woodstock
51:57
CCN's LGBTQ Town Hall
Woodstock
1:10:01
Credits
Woodstock
1:20:53
US Postal Service Tricks
Woodstock
1:25:00
Greta Thunberg Condemns Adults Mocking Her
Woodstock
1:26:15
Extinction Rebellion
Woodstock
1:34:58
Queen Residents Oppose Homeless Shelter at Community Meeting
Woodstock
1:36:31
Austin's Homeless Strategy Officer Lori Pampilo Harris Steps Down After One Month
Woodstock
1:38:22
ID2020
Woodstock
1:39:10
Homelessness Crisis
Woodstock
1:46:50
United Nations' Cash Flow Crisis
Woodstock
1:52:53
Journalist Asking Question on Chinese Censorship at NBA Press Conference Gets Cut Off
Woodstock
1:55:13
Dogs Are People Too
Woodstock
2:05:04
Donations
Woodstock
2:16:32
Birthdays, Meetups & Title Changes
Woodstock
2:23:20
Berkeley Officials Warns Public for Dangerous Contaminated Water in Aquatic Park
Woodstock
2:27:15
Untitled
Woodstock
2:32:05
California HAM Repeater Correction
Woodstock
2:33:14
'Up and Down California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer' Book on California Weather
Woodstock
2:36:36
Solutioning
Woodstock
2:37:35
Democracy Now: 'Prince Estate Slams Trump for Using “Purple Rain” at Minneapolis Rally'
Woodstock
2:40:51
End of Show
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2020
Elizabeth Warren Launches Intentionally False Anti-Trump Facebook Ad - Sputnik International
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:20
US23:52 12.10.2019(updated 23:55 12.10.2019) Get short URL
The Senator claims Facebook allows Trump to ''lie'' in his ads on the social media giant and wanted to see if the company would also allow her to lie intentionally. It did.
Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren launched an odd Facebook political ad, intentionally disseminating a false claim about a connection between Facebook and US President Donald Trump.
"Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election," the ad reads.The ad clearly acknowledges that the claim is false, switching to observing that Trump does the same.
''What Zuckerberg *has* done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform -- and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters,'' the ad states.''Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. Now, they're deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people. It's time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable."
On Saturday, Warren acknowledged that she had published the ad with false accusations as an experiment.
We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook's ad platform to see if it'd be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. Take a look: pic.twitter.com/7NQyThWHgO
'-- Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019'‹"Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies'--explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine,'' Warren asserted. ''This week, we decided to see just how far it goes.''
"We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook's ad platform to see if it'd be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook," she added.A Facebook representative commented on Warren's allegations by saying that the social platform always checks business ads for false statements, but has given up on politicians, allowing them to say whatever they want, citing the protections of political speech as their justification.
"If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech," the spokesperson said, according to The Hill.What the Senator accuses Trump of relates directly to former Vice President Biden's Ukraine story. In 2016, Biden forced then-president Poroshenko to fire his prosecutor general, saying Poroshenko could ''forget about the $1 billion'' in financial aid if the official was not fired.
According to Trump's ad, the prosecutor general ''was investigating his son's company,'' Burisma Holdings, in which Biden junior had a seat on the board of directors.
While many US media claimed the ad was ''false,'' the investigation into Burisma was ongoing in 2015, when Biden intervened, and Biden's confession to political extortion against Poroshenko has been documented and went viral around the Internet.
Earlier this month, Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Shokin himself admitted in an interview with him that the Burisma investigation was closed ''out of fear of the United States.''
''Mr. Shokin attempted to continue the investigations but on or around June or July of 2015, the US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with white gloves, which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied do nothing,'' the notes from the interview state, according to a Fox News report.The Biden campaign also slammed Facebook for allowing politicians seeking reelection to disseminate ''objectively false information,'' according to a Huffington Post report.
The Trump campaign claimed their ads were ''100 percent accurate.''
''The truth hurts and it's not a surprise that Biden doesn't want anyone to hear it,'' Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, said, according to Reuters.
Warren runs a false Facebook ad to protest false Facebook ads - CNET
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:09
Angela Lang/CNET Elizabeth Warren has taken an attention-getting approach to attacking Facebook's recent announcement that it won't fact-check politicians' posts. She's running an ad on the social network that deliberately contains a falsehood.
"Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election," reads the ad, which Warren also tweeted out Saturday. The ad immediately corrects itself but says it's making a point. "What Zuckerberg *has* done is given Trump free rein to lie on his platform," it says, "and then pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters."
Neither Facebook nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment.
Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies'--explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes.
'-- Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019Late last month, Facebook said it exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking process and that that's been the policy for more than a year. The company treats speech from politicians "as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard," Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, said at the time.
"We don't believe ... that it's an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician's speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny," Clegg added.
Earlier this week, Facebook told Joe Biden's presidential campaign that it wouldn't remove an ad by Trump's reelection campaign despite assertions that the ad contains misinformation about Biden. The 30-second video said Biden had threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless officials there fired the prosecutor investigating a company that employed Biden's son.
At the time, Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump's campaign, said the ads were accurate. But Factcheck.org noted that while Biden did threaten to withhold US money from Ukraine, there's no evidence he did this to help his son, which is what the Facebook ad implied. Factcheck.org also said there's no evidence Biden's son was ever under investigation and that Biden and the US weren't alone in pressuring Ukraine to fire the prosecutor, who was widely seen as corrupt.
Responding to Facebook's refusal to pull the ad, Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo said at the time that "the spread of objectively false information to influence public opinion poisons the public discourse and chips away at our democracy. It is unacceptable for any social media company to knowingly allow deliberately misleading material to corrupt its platform."
And Warren tweeted then that Facebook was "deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people."
Warren has called for the breakup of Facebook and other big tech companies, saying in part that they wield too much influence. Other lawmakers have called for Facebook and rival platforms to be regulated as a way of addressing concerns about the spread of fake news, among other things.
Prince estate: Trump had no permission to play 'Purple Rain' at rally
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 10:54
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Two associates of Giuliani have been charged with funneling foreign money to U.S. political campaigns, and President Trump says he doesn't know them. USA TODAY
"Purple Rain" has no place at President Donald Trump's rally, a Prince spokesperson says.
Trump came under fire from deceased musician Prince Rogers Nelson's estate when one of the singer's most iconic tunes, "Purple Rain," was played during the president's campaign rally in Minneapolis Thursday.
According to Prince's official Twitter account, the president went back on a promise not to use the musician's work.
"President Trump played Prince's 'Purple Rain' tonight at a campaign event in Minneapolis despite confirming a year ago that the campaign would not use Prince's music," the tweet said. "The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince's songs."
The tweet included an image of a letter from Oct. 15, 2018, from lawyer Megan Newton regarding the estate's first request that Trump "refrain from using Prince's 'Purple Rain,' or any other Prince music, in connection with Campaign rallies, or other Campaign events."
"Without admitting liability, and to avoid any future dispute, we write to confirm that the Campaign will not use Prince's music in connection with its activities going forward," Newton wrote.
President Trump played Prince's ''Purple Rain'' tonight at a campaign event in Minneapolis despite confirming a year ago that the campaign would not use Prince's music. The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince's songs. pic.twitter.com/FuMUPzSWOe
'-- Prince (@prince) October 11, 2019 More: Prince died from 'exceedingly high' amount of fentanyl, experts say
Prince isn't the only musician the Trump campaign has crossed.
Pharrell Williams sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trump after the president played Williams' 2014 smash hit "Happy" at a political event in the Midwest, just hours after nearly a dozen people were gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018.
Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Queen are among the other artists who have objected to the president's use of their music.
Trump isn't the only politician turned down by musicians with catchy songs. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." was co-opted by politicians like President Ronald Reagan and former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole after it came out in 1984, forcing Springsteen to push back.
And ABBA, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, Al Green, Eminem, Katrina and the Waves and more have all had to stop the music.
More: 35 musicians who famously told politicians: Don't use my song
Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Associated Press
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Dogs are People Too
Dogs at domain Dalmatian, whippit and Great Dane saddle
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Chiners
12 Chinese-Owned Media Companies, From Dick Clark Productions to AMC (Photos)
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:19
Firms from China have been scooping up production companies and theater chains by the billion in recent years
Matt Pressberg | November 18, 2016 @ 5:24 PM AMC/Carmike/Legendary/Getty Images
A firehose of Chinese investment has been flowing into Hollywood for the last few years, as Middle Kingdom firms have scooped up production companies and theater chains by the billion. And while
D.C. has finally taken notice -- and is asking the government to take a closer look at foreign ownership of American content companies -- Chinese firms have already accumulated a substantial portfolio of media and entertainment-related companies often at healthy premiums. And Hollywood isn't ready to look that gift horse in the mouth.
AMC Theatres
AMC THEATRESOwner: Dalian Wanda Group Wanda, a real estate and entertainment conglomerate owned by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, made its first Hollywood splash in 2012 when the company paid $2.6 billion for AMC Entertainment, the parent of AMC Theatres, the second-largest theater chain in the U.S.
Mike Kalasnik
Carmike CinemasOwner: Dalian Wanda Group Wanda-owned AMC paid $1.2 billion to acquire Carmike Cinemas in a deal that just closed in November. The combined chain will be America's largest theatrical exhibitor, passing former No. 1 Regal Entertainment.
Getty Images
Legendary EntertainmentOwner: Dalian Wanda Group Wanda paid $3.5 billion for the ''Jurassic World'' production company in January, even though Legendary lost $500 million last year, according to a Chinese regulatory filing. However, plenty of Legendary's high-octane action and fantasy flicks have been bigger hits in China than the U.S., such as ''Warcraft.''
Dick Clark Productions
Dick Clark ProductionsOwner: Dalian Wanda Group Wanda spent $1 billion to
acquire the producer of the Golden Globes, American Music Awards and ''New Year's Rockin' Eve.'' The deal marks Wanda's first foray into television after spending billions on the big screen.
Voltage
Voltage PicturesOwner: Anhui Xinke New Materials Anhui Xinke, a copper processing company, bought an 80 percent stake in Voltage parent Midnight Entertainment for $351 million. Voltage is the production company behind Oscar-winning films including ''The Hurt Locker'' and ''Dallas Buyers Club.''
Getty Images
STX EntertainmentOwner: Hony Capital, Tencent Independent distributor STX was founded with investments from private equity giant TPG and Chinese firm Hony Capital. The company also has a co-financing deal with China's Huayi Bros. Media, and this year secured a strategic investment from Tencent to expand into digital content, music and virtual reality.
Getty Images
World Triathlon CorporationOwner: Dalian Wanda Group Wanda paid $650 million last year for the company that organizes the Ironman Triathlon races, folding it into its new Wanda Sports division.
IM Global
IM GlobalOwner: Tang Media Partners Tang Media Partners, which has offices in Shanghai and L.A., acquired a controlling stake in Stuart Ford's film finance firm from Indian conglomerate Reliance in June. IM Global has financed or produced more than 30 Hollywood films, including Mel Gibson's ''Hacksaw Ridge.''
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Studio8Owner: Fosun Group Chinese conglomerate Fosun is the
largest shareholder in former Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov's production company, having invested $200 million in Studio8.
Adam Goodman
Dichotomy Creative GroupOwner: LeEco Consumer tech company LeEco's subsidiary Le Vision Pictures opened an L.A. office this year and hired former Paramount Pictures President
Adam Goodman to run it and oversee a slate of English-language films. As part of the deal, LeEco acquired Goodman's production company, Dichotomy.
Getty Images
Cirque du SoleilOwner: Fosun Group It's a Canadian circus, not a movie or TV studio, but Cirque du Soleil operates six Vegas shows, several tours and earned $845 million in revenue in 2014. Last year, TPG and Fosun acquired a
majority stake in Cirque du Soleil for $1.5 billion.
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Riot GamesOwner: Tencent Tencent acquired a 93 percent stake in the video game publisher for $400 million in 2011 and acquired the remainder last December. Riot's ''League of Legends'' is the most played PC game in the world.
Riot urges 'League of Legends' pros to keep quiet on 'sensitive' issues
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:44
The company further argued that statements on its platforms could "escalate" already tense situations, putting fans and Riot staff in danger.
The position isn't likely to assuage critics. People (including US senators) have already accused Blizzard of caving in to Chinese censorship in order to avoid angering the Communist Party and lose business -- Riot's policy won't do anything to allay suspicions it's doing the same. This isn't helped by Riot's Chinese ownership. While Tencent has stakes in a number of companies, including Activision Blizzard and political speech defender Epic Games, it has complete ownership of Riot. In theory, Tencent might feel pressured to silence mentions of Hong Kong protests lest it face retaliation at home.
There's the risk of a backlash as a result. Blizzard faced an almost immediate uproar over its ban, both online and among its own employees. Riot may not have banned anyone as of this writing, but gamers might see it as just a matter of time and object in a similar fashion.
Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:42
tech We thought trade would bring Western values to China. Instead, it brought Chinese values to Apple.
By Alex Kantrowitz and John Paczkowski
Posted on October 11, 2019, at 9:44 p.m. ET
Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images''Chinese netizens hail Apple's removal of app that aids HK rioters."
That was how the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party outlet, covered Apple's removal of HKmap.live, an app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police, from the iOS App Store. It was emblematic of the adulatory coverage news outlets controlled by the Chinese government have bestowed on Apple this week.
''Apple highly values the Chinese market and removing the controversial app is a smart move,'' an analyst said in the article, driving home the party's approval.
In the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper, the story ''Apple removes app which helped HK rioters elude police'' was the business section's most read story Friday.
Apple's recent actions in China are a continuation of the company's years-long practice of appeasing Beijing. To do business in China, the company adopts to local dictates, distasteful as they may be to its CEO Tim Cook, an outspoken gay rights advocate and privacy crusader. It's an ironic inversion of a longstanding argument in the West that by bringing China into the world trade system, the country would adopt western values. Instead, China is asking tech companies to adopt its values '-- and Apple is willing to pay that price.
In early 2018 as development on Apple's slate of exclusive Apple TV+ programming was underway, the company's leadership gave guidance to the creators of some of those shows to avoid portraying China in a poor light, BuzzFeed News has learned. Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development. It was part of Apple's ongoing efforts to remain in China's good graces after a 2016 incident in which Beijing shut down Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they debuted in the country.
A spokesperson for Apple declined comment.
"They all do it. They have to if they want to play in that market."
Apple's tip toeing around the Chinese government isn't unusual in Hollywood. It's an accepted practice. "They all do it," one showrunner who was not affiliated with Apple told BuzzFeed News. "They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn't?"
For Apple, which is in many ways already playing in that market and reliant on China for tens of billions in annual sales and the manufacture of the hundreds of millions of iPhones it sells around the world each year, it is particularly important to avoid running afoul of Chinese government. And as we've seen over the past week, it is particularly vigilant about apps.
Developers told BuzzFeed News the incidents are hardly anomalies.
''We just get a phone call from Apple and they say 'We just got a call from the Chinese government' and five minutes later our app is off the App Store,'' one US technology executive told BuzzFeed News. ''It's not a line of communication that would be open to any discussion.''
''They have so much market power in general and they wield that pretty indiscriminately,'' the US technology executive said of Apple.
The removal of HKmap.live was one of a series of actions Apple took at China's instigation in the past week. Apple removed the Quartz app from its app store in China '-- ''Presumably because of the excellent work our team in Hong Kong has been doing covering the protests,'' Quartz technology editor Mike Murphy said '-- and removed the Taiwan flag emoji for iOS users in Hong Kong.
These were hardly the first of their kind. In the second half of 2018, Apple challenged or rejected just two of 56 app takedown requests from China, removing 517 apps at the government's behest, according to the company's transparency report. Apple said the vast majority of these apps were for porn and gambling, but it has also removed an unspecified number of virtual private networking and news apps. Apple provided customer data to the Chinese government 96% of the time when it asked about a device, and 98% of the time when it asked about an account. In the US, those numbers were around 80% and the US government did not make any app removal requests.
In September, Apple seemed to brush off the seriousness of an exploit attack directed at the Uighur ethnic minority. ''The sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones 'en masse,''' Apple said in a blog post acknowledging the attack. ''The attack affected fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community.''
The blog post infuriated critics, who called out Apple's appeasement of the Chinese government and seemingly callous attitude toward the plight of the Uighurs. ''Apple's response to this massive hack of iPhones is 'don't worry, it only affected the Uighur community''' Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, said at the time. ''WTF,'' Stoller added.
In 2018, the iPhone maker placed its iCloud storage and cryptographic keys for Chinese users in China, giving the government easier access to its customers' data than when it was stored in the US. The company has also disappeared a song about Tiananmen Square from Apple Music in China and removed the New York Times app in the country.
"Given how authentically good Apple is at protecting user privacy, it's very dismaying to see it doing the wrong thing in other areas."
''Given how authentically good Apple is at protecting user privacy, it's very dismaying to see it doing the wrong thing in other areas, especially its relationship with the [Chinese Communist Party],'' one former Apple employee told BuzzFeed News.
Apple is not the only US institution to run into controversy trying to maintain its values while remaining in the Chinese government's good graces.
The National Basketball Association incurred China's ire when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters this month. Known for their outspokenness, the NBA's stars largely stayed mum on the issue, a reporter was shut down when asking about it, and fans were kicked out of arenas for bringing in messaging supporting the protests. Google, meanwhile, removed a game in which users could play as Hong Kong protesters from its Play Store. And game maker Blizzard faced a boycott after it suspended a player who supported Hong Kong protesters.
Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China- hey and don't mention that Turkey is bad. We sell a lot of watches there. And don't mention Saudi Arabia murdering journalists- they love the iMac and don't mention Russia'--big iPad market. https://t.co/1sHGO18MxX
02:07 PM - 12 Oct 2019 When Tim Cook tried to explain away its actions this week by saying protesters were using HKmap.live to ''maliciously to target individual officers for violence'' without providing evidence, even longtime Apple observer and blogger John Gruber, couldn't stomach it.
''I can't recall an Apple memo or statement that crumbles so quickly under scrutiny,'' Gruber wrote. ''For a company that usually measures umpteen times before cutting anything, it's both sad and startling.''
What happened to the NBA in China? - The Washington Post
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:12
It was a tough week for U.S. companies doing business in China. Tiffany canceled an ad campaign because the model had a hand over her right eye, prompting critics in China to complain that it looked like she was supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Blizzard Activision banned an esports player for one year for expressing support for Hong Kong '-- and also fired the announcers who interviewed the video game champ. Apple banned pro-democracy singers from selling on Hong Kong iTunes.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) got into the worst trouble of all. After Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted '-- and quickly deleted '-- a message of support for Hong Kong, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued contradictory statements defending the NBA's stance to Americans and apologizing to the Chinese.
The Hong Kong protests have been going on for months. What explains this sustained action?
The state-run China Central Television rejected the peace offering, saying Morey had no ''right to freedom of expression'' on the issue, and suspended their NBA broadcasts. Pundits and politicians left, right and center attacked the NBA.
What's going on, exactly? It's easy to condemn firms for meek apologies '-- and to criticize the NBA and others as willing tools of the Chinese regime, ''submitting to authoritarianism'' to make a buck. However, our research suggests that even when companies want to support global democracy and human rights, they find it much harder than anticipated, and trap themselves in unenviable choices.
Companies were supposed to spread human rights and democracy
For the past two decades, developed country governments, the United Nations and multilateral institutions have encouraged multinational businesses to play a bigger role in peace, human rights and development. They argued that business is a key stakeholder in fragile countries and that participation in governance and human rights is a 'win-win' way for firms to build social capital with minimal risk.
The United Nations and other global multinational organizations sought to institutionalize support for these principles, creating networks such as the U.N. Global Compact, Principles for Responsible Investment and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights to institutionalize the support. Activist shareholders joined the chorus, demanding companies not only make profits, but also act as socially responsible moral entities.
Is China's influence at the United Nations all it's cracked up to be?
Many firms bought into this language, demonstrating a commitment to corporate social responsibility by doing good deeds in developing countries with poor governance and conflict risk. Hard-pressed policymakers in those countries welcomed the help in promoting peacebuilding, human rights and democracy.
Companies could potentially fill the gaps where governments could not, spreading human rights as they entered new markets. For example, by going into China, the NBA might not just entertain Chinese citizens, but also give them a glimpse of the benefits of democracy and civil liberties.
This approach didn't really work
Our research has shown, time and again, how companies fail to live up to these lofty expectations. It's not for lack of trying. Instead, companies find that the problems that governments want them to solve are incredibly hard '-- and companies themselves suffer the political fallout when they can't get things right.
Firms often find that the only choices they have left are bad ones. For example, the NBA can support freedom of expression '-- but then it will potentially breach its fiduciary duty to team owners by cutting itself out of the lucrative Chinese market. Alternatively, it can support the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to control the narrative '-- but undercut everything the NBA brand claims to stand for.
When firms look for a ''middle way'' out of these problems, they often end up upsetting everyone. This was the case with Silver's continued efforts to placate basketball players, fans, activists '-- and Beijing.
The problem of the ''moral brand''
Analysts see it getting tougher still for companies that want to do business in both democracies and nondemocracies. Nearly all multinational companies have built their global brand around moral agency: They want consumers to believe the company does the right thing at every stage of its business, and in every place it does business. Very different businesses such as Apple, Vans, Tiffany, Activision and the NBA don't only sell products, but also an ideal of who the customers will become by enjoying their products.
All those companies have gotten into trouble over Hong Kong and China. More generally, companies find that carefully crafted domestic identities clash against incompatible political and cultural demands from nondemocratic states and customers in foreign markets. Most firms were aware of the differences, but were caught off guard by how deeply these complex politics would affect their bottom line. Even businesses such as the NBA '-- with a unique product '-- are reluctant to offend a particular market. This fear keeps those businesses from making straightforward decisions guided by their stated corporate philosophies.
The bottom line? This clash of ideals and demands explains why companies can't force social change upon recalcitrant regimes by themselves. Still, our research suggests firms can help solve even the most complex peace, human rights and democracy problems.
Companies are most likely to deliver benefits when the measures they take are concrete, focused on specific goals and build on existing corporate expertise. These measures are more likely to affect change when companies join in collective actions by the business community that complement international political campaigns.
20 years ago, China promised Hong Kong '1 country, 2 systems.'
The 1980s anti-apartheid movement in South Africa is a good example. The business community played a key '-- but subsidiary '-- role in ending apartheid. Businesses avoided direct criticism by joining a broader campaign, rather than by organizing their own activities.
Last week's spotlight was on companies navigating the Hong Kong protests, but that's not the only flash point for global business. Firms that try to do significant business in both democratic and nondemocratic markets are likely to see greater demands from their customers to be socially engaged, while investors push for ever more expansion into non-Western markets. Unless businesses act in parallel with governments that also support human rights and democracy, their vague corporate statements about supporting civil liberties and human rights will be exactly as inconsequential as they look at first glance.
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Jason Miklian is a fellow at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo and Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo.
John E. Katsos, JD, is a business and peace researcher and lawyer based in the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter @jekatsos.
Benedicte Bull is a professor at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo. Follow her on Twitter @BenedicteBull.
China Emerges With Wins From U.S. Trade Truce - WSJ
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:30
China is emerging with wins in this week's trade talks, some analysts say, with the U.S. shelving new tariffs against Beijing while leaving many demands to be worked out later in return for an assurance of increased agriculture purchases.
The two countries took an initial step Friday to cement a trade agreement that had been derailed for months. President Trump said the U.S. would call off planned tariff increases on Chinese goods next week while Beijing would buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products'--which China hasn't publicly confirmed.
A bigger trade deal will come over time in three stages, according to Mr. Trump, with more divisive issues to be addressed later. These include Chinese practices that the U.S. alleges but Beijing denies, such as forced transfers of U.S. technology to its economic rival.
Mr. Trump said that matter would largely be addressed in the second round of talks, while analysts think other issues like China's subsidies to state-owned firms would fall on the later side too.
For now the truce opens an opportunity for Beijing to kick concessions that it doesn't want to make, down the road. Whether those hard issues ever get resolved is a question.
''If you're China, you're pretty happy with the outcome,'' Arthur R. Kroeber, founder of Beijing-based consultancy Gavekal Dragonomics, said of the latest trade talks. ''China's negotiation position has always been, the longer you can extend the talks the better.''
The Chinese side hasn't provided details of the negotiations, including that it will buy up to $50 billion of U.S. farm products, the level Trump's trade team says Beijing will reach yearly. If achieved annually, that would be substantially above levels near $21 billion that prevailed in 2017 before the trade war and then were subsequently reduced by China as tensions mounted.
Mr. Trump touted the purchases in a tweet Saturday.
''The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,'' he said. ''In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced? Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China!''
People with knowledge of China's strategy say Beijing officials still insist that agriculture purchases must align with the real needs of Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises, and comply with World Trade Organization standards which limit market-distorting practices. Chinese negotiators have said China shouldn't be forced to divert purchases from other countries such as Brazil to meet the U.S. request.
Beijing's position leaves open the possibility for disagreement between the two sides over the size and timing of Chinese purchases, and whether the $50 billion number is an aspiration or a firm target. China's state media and Ministry of Commerce made no comments on agricultural purchase commitments after the meetings.
Beijing slowed down President Trump from imposing additional tariffs, though it failed to push U.S. negotiators to remove any tariffs already in place.
U.S. officials had planned a tariff increase next week to 30% from 25% on $250 billion in Chinese goods. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. hasn't made a decision on the planned December tariffs for $156 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing will likely argue hard for the U.S. to remove that round, too.
President Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet and sign the first phase of a deal in mid-November, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile and it would be difficult to imagine the U.S. escalating tariffs thereafter if an agreement is reached.
On another front, Mr. Trump played down democracy protests in Hong Kong, claiming it was drawing fewer protesters and that the problem would solve itself. This was another win for Beijing, which has been worried about Washington bringing in nontrade related issues into the talks, according to analysts.
Some businesses are cheering the truce as good news, tired of a prolonged dispute weighing on the global economy and investment prospects.
Beijing's strategy has evolved over the course of the dispute. China initially wanted to resolve matters quickly as tensions ratcheted up last year. Gathering gloom in the Chinese economy pushed Mr. Xi to the negotiating table. He met with Mr. Trump in Argentina last December, to call their first truce and set up high-level trade negotiations.
The two sides looked to be closing their gaps but talks broke down in May when the U.S. side accused China of reneging on a 150-page draft agreement. As President Trump began laying on the tariffs, Beijing adopted a tit-for-tat strategy.
Beijing eventually ran out of ammunition on more U.S. imports to hit. Officials switched strategies, according to people with knowledge of the matter. They began accepting that the dispute would be protracted and focused on not provoking President Trump further.
In May, Washington put Chinese telecom firm Huawei Technologies Co. on its exports black list, and could expand its ban to other Chinese firms. It did so earlier this month, targeting 28 Chinese firms in video-surveillance and facial-recognition.
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Beijing sought to narrow the scope of trade discussions, aiming to put national security and other difficult issues on a separate track.
In recent meetings with U.S. business representatives, Chinese chief trade negotiator and Vice Premier Liu He indicated that Beijing remains hopeful of an eventual trade deal with the U.S. but that it wouldn't be reached quickly, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Meantime, Mr. Trump's focus on the coming election could increase pressure on him to deliver news to lift markets.
In the latest round of two-day trade talks, both sides focused on what they could harvest early. On the first day, Chinese officials focused on getting the U.S. to remove tariffs coming up as opposed to ones already in place, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Beijing's plan now is to keep talking to Washington officials, while avoiding meeting all of their demands, according to Chinese officials.
Chinese state media has been muted compared with President Trump's portrayal of the truce as a major step toward ending the trade war. Beijing hasn't reported that the U.S. will put off tariffs, instead saying the two sides made progress in a range of areas and were moving to solve the problem.
''China's position of safeguarding the nation's core interests and the fundamental interests of its people cannot be shaken,'' said Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily on Friday. ''On issues of principle, it is impossible to engage and impossible to solve the problem by exerting pressure on the Chinese side.''
Write to Chao Deng at Chao.Deng@wsj.com and Lingling Wei at lingling.wei@wsj.com
PGE
RECARTED-Catastrophic fires are a reckoning for Californians and their 'new normal.' Has the state reached a tipping point? - Los Angeles Times [Printable]
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 17:17
A fire burns to the ocean in Malibu in a rare aerial photo from the 1930s. (Los Angeles Times)
In 1860, a young botanist raised in New York and schooled in Connecticut found himself on the payroll of the newly formed California Division of Mines and Geology. His job: Roam the vast, new state, taking samples and observations of plants and animals.
Over four years journeying across California, William Brewer witnessed torrential rains that turned the Central Valley into a vast, white-capped lake; intolerable heat waves that made the ''fats of our meats run away in spontaneous gravy;'' violent earthquakes; and fires he described as ''great sheets of flame, extending over acres.''
He, like explorers, journalists and settlers before him, wondered whether people could permanently settle in California, said David Igler, a professor of history at UC Irvine.
''People were flabbergasted by what was happening,'' said Igler, referring to the droughts, floods and quakes of the mid-1800s. ''They wondered whether this was a place where we could even really settle and where agriculture could be maintained.''
Since people first migrated across the Bering Sea and down the coast several thousand years ago, the destructive and formidable natural forces that have formed and shaped this state have been chronicled, recorded and woven into the stories, myths and practices of California's inhabitants.
And with each new wave of arrivals '-- Native Americans, Spaniards, Russians, American explorers, as well as modern-day transplants and migrants '-- Californians have striven to adapt to, live with, harness, prevent or subdue the environment, in an ever-evolving, and increasingly tenuous, relationship.
But after this year's devastating Camp and Woolsey fires, which came on the heels of the landslides in Montecito and Santa Barbara, just months after the Thomas, Tubbs and Atlas fires, it seems a ripe time to ask whether the precarious balance we've held onto for so long has finally been lost.
''We're finally realizing that human-centered activities have played a role in these most recent events, and that human activities are not going to be able to rectify the situation,'' said William Deverell, a professor of history at USC. ''The genie's out of the bottle here, and that's terrible and terrifying.''
A NASA satellite image captures the 2007 firestorm in Southern California. (Los Angeles Times)
Humans, the thinking goes, have so drastically altered the environment at both a global and local scale '-- with worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, unchecked development, ecosystem damage, forest overgrowth and groundwater and surface water overusage '-- that we've unwittingly bowled ourselves into not just a ''new normal,'' but a new era increasingly defined by destructive forces.
The question is whether what we're witnessing now is the latest swing in the evolving human-natural hybrid system we've been building since people first arrived '-- a shift we'll adjust to, like we always have done before. Or have we truly and finally tipped the scales too far?
Any way you look at the 2018 fire season, it was the most destructive on record. From the number of deaths (104) to the sheer burnt acreage (1,893,913), the devastation was unparalleled '-- even when compared with 2017, when fires led to 47 deaths and burned 1,381,405 acres. And that was on the heels of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, which were, until 2017, the worst known.
At first glance, it is hard to think someone hasn't stepped on the gas, propelling our fate off a cliff. Such sentiment, however, is not new.
As far back as California has been recorded in history, its settlers have been living on the edge, ready at any moment to be throttled, beaten, burned, drowned, choked and starved out of existence. Yet, we're still here, the fifth-largest economy on the planet, the food basket of the nation and the world's driver of technological innovation.
What these latest events call for, said Jon Christensen, an author and lecturer at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, is not for us to wring our hands and wonder when the end is coming, but for us to be conscious of our history, our role in shaping our environment, then ''figure out how to manage it.''
''This old story line of our decline and fall from paradise, it is one of the oldest stories in the book,'' Christensen said. ''When you have a story line that old, one that keeps repeating itself every few years, you have to be skeptical.''
Wildfire destruction in Santa Rosa in 2017, when California blazes caused 47 deaths and burned 1,381,405 acres. (Los Angeles Times)
Over the years, the perceived cause of the state's impending doom has shifted '-- from God, to our shared sin, to climate change and overdevelopment '-- but the notion we're living at the edge of existence has remained a constant theme.
Consider 1992 to 1995, when damaging floods, firestorms and the Northridge earthquake pummeled Southern California with 97 deaths and nearly $44 billion in damages. As Los Angeles Times columnist, Peter H. King, wrote in 1995, ''There's no question California is caught in the middle of something strange'... maybe God, as the biblical sorts preach, is mad at us for making all those dirty movies.''
In ''Ecology of Fear,'' Mike Davis' 1998 book about the culture of disaster in Los Angeles, he pondered whether the cluster of disaster was ''coincidental or eschatological.'' In other words, a statistical anomaly, or the arrival of the Apocalypse.
Malibu residents flee a 1935 brush fire. (Los Angeles Public Library)
As he and others noted, the idea of disaster was largely built upon a northern European and East Coast American environmental framework that suggests normality means predictability '-- with the same amount of rain or snow falling every year and roughly the same temperature variation every season.
''Normal implies a constant or some stability,'' said Christensen, the UCLA historian. ''What is definable in California is variability. The average here is meaningless.''
And for thousands of years, the first settlers understood that, successfully adapting to the mercurial environment by living in small groups of 500 to 1,000 people and moving seasonally within tribal boundaries to forage and hunt where food was plentiful, said Steven Hackel, a professor of history at UC Riverside and author of ''Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis.''
They also managed the land with small, prescribed burns '-- estimates suggest 15% of California was burned every year '-- to harvest, seed and stimulate the growth of grasses, acorns, berries and environments conducive for hunting quail and deer, Hackel said.
''They used fire in the same way we use dams and aqueducts,'' he said. ''They were intentionally and skillfully managing the land.''
And as Christensen noted, they were creating a hybrid landscape as much formed by nature as human hands.
When the Spanish arrived, they outlawed fire, Hackel said, and soon the California environment morphed again. They diverted rivers and snowmelt to saturate and irrigate farms. And they wiped out the native flora via widespread cattle and sheep grazing, replacing it with hardier, nonnative weed species.
As American settlers followed from eastern and Midwestern states, they left their own footprint: Cities, aqueducts, dams, reservoirs, roads, railroads and bridges built for earthquakes, droughts, and floods.
But as our population has exploded, roughly doubling every 10 years, we're now pushing into landscapes and areas we haven't lived before, and as a result, experts are beginning to wonder if we're losing our grip on the human-nature chimera we created. Especially if you throw climate change into the mix, Christensen said.
''It sometimes feels like we take two steps forward and one step back,'' he said. ''Actually, maybe more like one step forward two steps back.''
But fire historians and experts, such as Scott Stephens, co-director of the Center for Fire Research and Outreach at UC Berkeley, are certain we can face this challenge, like we have others.
''We can change the trajectory,'' he said. ''We just have to change our M.O.''
Prescribed burns, brush removal, fire-resistant building materials and codes, as well as local and rural fire education can all help to reduce the catastrophic effects of fires, said Stephens and Stephen Pyne, a native Californian and professor of history at Arizona State University.
For too long, ''we've been tinkering at the edges'' of fire policy and management, said Pyne, but ''not changing the fundamentals'' that could prevent the disasters we have seen in the last few years.
The Camp fire levels residences in a neighborhood in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 15. The 2018 fire season was the most destructive on record. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)
But it will take political will, he said, and hard decisions and choices that many will not like.
''California is built to burn,'' Pyne said. ''If we left tonight, it'd still burn tomorrow and would burn all the way to the Pacific. It's always burned. It's just that the whole process of colonization really upended the balance that had happened before.''
And while Pyne, Stephens and Christensen see solutions and adaptations that can be made to avert destructive conflagrations, they, and others, voiced concern about our political will and the possibility that choices made beyond state boundaries will send us on a trajectory we've never witnessed before.
''I think we have to reach a tipping point,'' Pyne said. If we don't, ''I worry we'll treat these mass burnings like we treat mass shootings. We'll think about it for a day, and then move on. Not really addressing it.''
At least 1.1 million structures, or roughly 1 in 10 buildings in California, lie within the highest-risk fire zones in maps drawn by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Los Angeles Times)
Others worry that despite California's leadership in environmental policy, disaster response and technological savvy, the problem may now be beyond our control. All the policies we establish to limit our own climate footprint will have little effect on this new, runaway environment if the rest of the world chooses to continue burning fossil fuels.
''Hopefully, we'll lead the rest of the world on this issue as we have done on so many others,'' Hackel said. ''It's a vexing question.''
Yet, if we can take any comfort from the voices of our past, as William Brewer noted as he watched Californians rebuild their cities and towns after the Great Flood of 1862, there are ''no people (who) can so stand calamity as this people,'' he said. ''They are used to it.''
PG&E's Big Blackout Is Only the Beginning - WSJ
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:19
PG&E Corp.'s decision to shut off power to more than two million Californians this week represents a new reality: It now plans to pull the plug as a desperation measure whenever its equipment threatens to spark destructive and potentially deadly wildfires.
Gov. Gavin Newsom reacted with outrage after PG&E plunged swaths of Northern California into darkness, saying that the disruption that ensued shouldn't happen again.
But even as the company was slowly restoring power Friday, a fast-moving fire in Southern California forced thousands to evacuate the foothills just outside Los Angeles, underscoring the danger of wildfires fanned by high winds. Southern California Edison had shut off power to 20,644 customers by midday Friday, though by Saturday morning only 870 customers were in the dark.
California's three big investor-owned utilities now have regulatory permission to cut off power to parts of their service territories during strong winds to reduce the risk of their electric lines causing wildfires, after at least 21 fires linked to utility equipment killed more than 100 people and burned tens of thousands of homes in recent years.
The Wall Street Journal detailed in April how PG&E intended to use the outages, known as public safety power shut-offs, to reduce wildfire risk, a strategy that carries consequences for medically vulnerable populations who rely on electric devices to survive, and businesses that could lose customers and inventory.
Such outages are unlikely to end soon because utilities are liable under California law for wildfire damage caused by their equipment, even if they aren't negligent. That makes fires a serious threat to drive the companies into insolvency.
None have employed the shut-off strategy as bluntly as PG&E, which is scrambling to trim trees near power lines and upgrade equipment across its 70,000-square-mile service territory, after a protracted drought this decade turned millions of acres of forest into a tinderbox.
PG&E provides gas and electric service to 16 million people, or roughly one in 20 Americans. It cut power for days this week to nearly 800,000 homes and businesses across 34 counties, the only U.S. utility to have ever initiated a weather-related shut-off of such size and duration. Because the average California household has 2.96 people, according to census data, the number affected likely exceeded 2 million, though PG&E has not offered a more precise estimate.
The company trails its peers in technology to track winds and isolate the areas where equipment is at highest risk of sparking fires. It is also running far behind on several of its most important safety efforts, records show, including this year's tree-trimming campaign, which is less than 50% complete.
For now, it said it would broadly employ shut-offs as a last resort when it determines that the chance of its equipment sparking fires is high enough to justify prolonged outages.
''We must have zero risk of a spark,'' said PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson. ''We will very likely have to make this kind of decision again in the future.''
Southern California Edison, part of Edison International, and San Diego Gas & Electric, a unit of Sempra Energy, have used shut-offs much more selectively, limiting them to smaller areas identified as extreme risks.
PG&E has said that the scope of its recent outage was mainly because of the potential for widespread wind, not its lack of preparedness. It plans to reduce shut-offs by installing better monitoring technology on its power lines, but cautions that the process, like its tree-trimming efforts, will take years.
That timeline doesn't sit well with Mr. Newsom. He rejected the notion that Californians should accept shut-offs as part of their lives, saying the company's ''greed and mismanagement over the course of decades'' had created conditions that ''no state in the 21st century should experience.'' Mr. Johnson said during a news conference he hadn't delved into all the governor's claims, but if he did ''he might have some slight disagreements.''
Already in bankruptcy, PG&E may have little choice. The company sought chapter 11 protection in January, citing more than $30 billion in potential liability costs tied to wildfires. If it is found liable for another major fire during bankruptcy, it would further threaten its efforts to put together a viable restructuring plan, already complicated as it seeks to pay fire victims, insurance companies and others.
California isn't the only place that has faced a crisis involving power lines and wind-whipped wildfires. Australia has grappled with the issue after bush fires on a single day in February 2009 killed 173 people. A royal commission investigated the fires and came up with 67 recommendations to reduce risk.
Notably missing from the list: shutting off electricity. The commission concluded that intentional blackouts create other public-safety risks and disproportionately affect elderly, medically dependent and low-income individuals.
In California, PG&E's outage has raised questions about the role of the state in setting ground rules for shut-offs. Earlier this month, Mr. Newsom signed a law that will require utilities to craft more detailed plans.
''I believe PG&E took way too aggressive of a stand to cover themselves from liability,'' said state Sen. Bill Dodd, the author of the legislation, whose wine country home was among those blacked out this week. ''This cannot be allowed to happen again.''
Elizaveta Malashenko, deputy executive director for safety policy at the California Public Utilities Commission, said it has concerns about PG&E's ability to execute power shut-offs. She cited the company's constraints in targeting specific power circuits, as well as its problems providing basic information to customers.
When PG&E announced plans to cut power this week, its website crashed and remained out of commission for two days as residents rushed to check whether they would be affected.
''They can't really, at this point, operationally limit the impact,'' Ms. Malashenko said.
As of last month, PG&E had completed only 30% of its pledge to trim trees along 2,455 miles of power lines, it disclosed in court filings, in part because it has had difficulty finding enough workers. And it had removed fewer than 40% of the roughly 50,000 dead or dying trees that threaten to fall into live wires, according to a presentation to state regulators.
PG&E has been trying to improve its ability to closely monitor weather throughout its service territory and surgically shut off power. As of last month, it had installed more than 600 weather stations placed on electric poles to track local wind speeds and it has installed more than 200 devices to segment its power lines in a way that enable more targeted shut-offs.
Its monitoring system isn't nearly as precise as the one employed by San Diego Gas & Electric. SDG&E has installed 190 weather stations as well as segmenting devices on every circuit to dramatically reduce the number of customers affected during any given blackout throughout a 4,100-square-mile service territory roughly 6% the size of PG&E's. On Friday, it had initiated a shut-off that affected fewer than 400 customers.
SDG&E's efforts began after the 2007 Witch Fire, a 197,000-acre blaze that killed two people and destroyed more than a thousand homes. California regulators ruled in 2017 that SDG&E couldn't pass $379 million in costs from the Witch Fire and two other blazes to its ratepayers. That decision set a precedent that has greatly increased the financial risk for the state's utilities.
Caroline Winn, SDG&E's chief operating officer, said that when the utility first proactively cut power in 2013, it experienced the sort of backlash PG&E is now facing. It took years for the company to reconfigure its grid and expand its weather monitoring network, which now allows its meteorologists to leverage a decade of data when assessing wildfire risk.
''We had to build that situational awareness,'' she said. ''It has allowed us to be much more surgical when we do shut-offs.''
Write to Katherine Blunt at Katherine.Blunt@wsj.com and Rebecca Smith at rebecca.smith@wsj.com
Mathematically Impossible on Twitter: "@love4thegameAK @W_W_G_1_W_G_A_ This sounds accurate. I believed thefuglyAmerican is spot on. I saw the video of the 5 CA explosions before the fire started. Now it makes sense. https://t.co/mdmEmk81vB" / Twitter
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:00
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OPERATION TORCH CALIFORNIA: A Special Report on the Firestorm Terror Operation '' The Millennium Report
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:42
How do out-of-control wildfires only burn down houses to the ground while leaving nearby trees completely unaffected?!
Globalists Use Geoengineers to ConductFalse Flag Environmental Terrorismto Distract from Election Theft
''Operation Torch California is a very real ongoing black operation being conducted by the U.S. Intelligence Community in collusion with Operation Gladio. These false flag terrorist attacks are first and foremost a highly sophisticated psyop. They have many goals. And they will continue until California has been completely subjugated by the globalists.''
'-- Intelligence Analyst & Former U.S. Military OfficerState of the Nation
The apocalyptic firestorms that have afflicted the state of California over the past 4 to 5 years are the direct result of deliberate acts of state-sponsored environmental terrorism. Specific regions around the state have been purposefully geoengineered to explode into massive conflagrations resembling various types of natural wildfires'--forest fires, brush fires and grass fires. See: (CALIFORNIA FIRESTORMS GEOENGINEERED: Here's why and who's doing it)
The very same New World Order globalist cabal responsible for turning the Northern Levant (i.e. Syria and Iraq) into a dystopian, post-apocalyptic wasteland is also behind so many manmade calamities that are disguised as natural events across America. Hurricane Michael is another example of a geoengineered catastrophe that was aimed at the Florida Panhandle. HURRICANE MICHAEL: A Geoengineered Superstorm Targeting Tallahassee and Florida Panhandle'--Why!
Whereas the globalists utilized ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra terrorists to wage war against Syria and Iraq, they harness the forces of Mother Nature to stealthily wage weather warfare against the American people. And they get away with these highly destructive and deadly disasters by blaming 'the weather'. They also use mass illegal immigration to flood the border states in order to carry out their Purple Revolution.
California firestorms are false flags and engineeredNo one is saying that these biannual wildfire seasons haven't threatened California every year for many decades. However, what the geoengineers are doing now is significantly intensifying each successive period of these out-of-control and massive infernos. The recent firestorm calamities have never taken place with such speed and ferocity, even during the worst wildfire seasons.
It's what they are doing between the fire seasons that is particularly offensive to the people of California. The geoegineers have been overseeing a regimen of chemical geoengineering that rains downs a tremendous amount of aluminum oxide onto the land below. This chemical compound ('Ž'ŽAl2O3) comes from coal fly ash and is eventually incorporated into the plant structure of all vegetation. See: U.S. Government Spraying Tons Of Toxic Coal Fly Ash Into Atmosphere Via Chemtrails
In the aftermath of the unrelenting spraying of the skies across America with chemtrail aerosols, forests are slowly dying as the grasslands and brush are drying out at an unprecedented rate. Chemically mobile aluminum has never been so prevalent throughout the atmosphere and it's contaminating everything on the earth and in the seas. Vegetation of every kind is particularly susceptible to dehydration and therefore vulnerable to blight.
Then, after months or even years of droughts that are purposefully geoengineered, it doesn't take much to trigger these telltale firestorms. Especially when the perpetrators are employing arson drones and satellite-based laser weapons is it quite easy to start a spate of fires like the ''Camp Fire'' that just destroyed Paradise, California. California's Camp Fire: ''Most destructive fire in state history''
KEY POINT: To name the most devastating fire in California history ''Camp Fire'' represents the profound cynicism associated with this well-planned pyro-psyop. How easy it is to now blame that geoengineered wildfire on a simple 'camp fire'.
Not only was that horrific fire a fastidiously fabricated false flag operation, it was set by arsonists who were sponsored by and materially supported by the U.S. Federal Government. How else could the geoengineers get away with the deployment of fire-starting drones and laser-firing satellites except with government approval and the use of state assets. Massive Blue Laser Weapon Being Used in Unidentified City (Video)
KEY POINTS: The laser weapons involved with these acts of terrorism could only be permitted to be placed in the perfect positions to trigger these massive fires with the consent of the state and federal government. Airspace is, in fact, so tightly controlled and monitored that any intrusion via sky-based weaponry would be known in advance and warily tracked by the appropriate government agencies. Why, then, is this naked criminal activity always permitted in the skies of California? Why has Governor Brown allow unfettered spraying of the skies with chemtrails?
Now that the ''false flag'' component of these manmade fires is understood, the ''engineered'' aspect ought to be obvious. These manufactured fires neither start nor spread in the normal vectors associated with a natural wildfire. Hence, there's only one explanation: arsonists have been enlisted in various capacities to do the dirty work. Some of those arsonists are flying drones that function as flame-throwers; others push the button from weaponized aircraft flying overhead. Then there are the satellite controllers directing laser beams on their targets below. See: Video Evidence of Tech Arson Being Used to Start the 'Camp Fire' that Destroyed Paradise CA
Malibu Fire Jumps to 35,000 Acres as Dozens of Homes Destroyed
Arsonists on the ground are frequently used by the perps to make sure these wildfires happen in certain locations. These arsonists vary widely depending on their assigned mission. Some are expertly CIA-trained arsonists who are also extremely competent at covering up their crime and not getting caught. Others are set up as fall guys who may have to be apprehended should the scheme start to unravel. Then there are those patsies who are purposely sent into the fire zone so that they can be accused (and convicted) of arson, although they are innocent. See: Arson Arrest Made In Fast-Moving Southern California Fire
Hard evidenceThe great thing about unaltered satellite footage is that they always possess the classic signatures of unnatural events. While they can be misinterpreted, they don't lie. Hence, in the case of these unnatural firestorms, there is plenty of incriminating hard evidence now available to the trained eye.
The following firsthand and quite revealing witness account is provided by a former volunteer firefighter. It sums of what many of us armchair investigators have known for years. However, this particular explanation goes far deeper into these black operations than any other we have seen. No. Cal. Witness Account of Suspicious Firestorm Activity by Former Volunteer Firefighter
Then there is satellite footage like that provided in this video. There are anomalies which appear in this video which can only be explained as the hand of man, not Mother Nature. VIDEO: CALIFORNIA BURNING BECAUSE OF DEW ATTACK (DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPON)? The screen-capture below, which was taken from this video footage, is especially telling.
Take note of the 3 symmetrical blue dots (located in the center of this screenshot) that appeared on the satellite image exactly where the ''Camp Fire'' exploded out of nowhere in No. California. These laser signatures occurred just prior to the starting of the ''Camp Fire'' that completely destroyed Paradise, California.
Truly, there are so many manmade pieces to this Firegeddon scenario that they cannot all be covered in this one report. For instance, look at the melted metal hub caps from this moving video that shows the charred bodies of several individuals trapped in their incinerated vehicles. California Camp Fire Graphic Aftermath (Video)
The photos in the following link show a road in Malibu that buckled even though there was nothing of note that would burn to the high temperatures necessary to melt asphalt and twist the steel guard rails. Really, how did that happen unless it was somehow torched from above by a very powerful pyro-weapon. How does steel twist and asphalt buckle when there's nothing to burn under bridge in Malibu fire?
There are many photos at the following link which tell a story that is substantially different from the official narrative. It's impossible for houses to burn down to the ground and all sorts of trees and other structures nearby remain completely untouched by the flames. It's also impossible for vehicles to get so burned out that the metal tire rims melt into streams of molten fluid, especially when trees a few feet away are unscathed by the fire.
How did these vehicles burn up in the Cali. fires when trees nearby remain untouched?There's also evidence emerging of weather modification being used to create favorable conditions for these firestorms to start and then ''spread like wildfire''. Various geoengineering investigators are posting their reports about weather anomalies which can only be explained by the various atmospheric manipulation techniques. See: Satellite Transmitter-Generated Blockade Prevents Weather From Moving Into California (Video)
How did all these vehicles burn so badly on a wide highway surrounded by sparse vegetation?
Who's behind this and why are they burning down California?The best way to understand how these disastrous acts of firestorm terrorism are being carried out is to identify who's doing it and why. Only then will the true scope of Operation Torch California be properly comprehended. As follows:
Here's the short story.The New World Order globalist cabal just perpetrated the largest election theft in U.S. history.
And, the perps are still in the process of stealing so many elections (e.g. FL and AZ) that the need to distract the electorate from their electoral crime spree has become an existential necessity for them.
End of story.(Source: DEW Attacks and Weather Warfare Waged to Distract from Massive Election Theft)
There are multiple NWO objectives that are being accomplished with these yearly firestorms and mudslides, droughts and deluges experienced by the Golden State. For example, globalist governor and Jesuit-trained Jerry Brown has been using these cataclysms to aggressively push the CO2-driven Global Warming agenda. See: Globalist Governor Jerry Brown Using FIREGEDDON To Push Fraudulent Climate Change Legislation
But there is much more going on with these arson wildfires than meets the eye. For instance, the UN agendas are being implemented in California at breakneck speed. As the largest state economy in the USA, the globalists plan to use the state as the model for destroying American culture and undermining state sovereignty. Toward that end, Relentless Acts of Geoterrorism in California are Perpetrated by Shadow Government to Compel Compliance with UN Agenda 21 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Vision 2050.
KEY POINT: It's no accident of fate that the CA arson-triggered wildfires are nipping at the properties of the Hollywood elites. Not only are the stars and celebrities being warned not to leave the NWO reservation, they are being stampeded into the pen of compliance with regard to the CO2-driven Global Warming hoax. ENTIRE MALIBU UNDER MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS (Video)
New World Order agenda advancedThe destruction of California by Deep State will continue unabated until it's subordinated to the foreign and supranational powers within the Shadow Government. The NWO cabal intends to transform the entire state into a corporate-communist fiefdom of sorts run by little Big Tech tyrants like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Then, at the appointed time, California will declare its independence from the United States so that it will be liberated from the Trump administration and all future Republican rule.
This is why the illegal alien invasion is allowed to proceed without any state governmental hindrance. With a slowly increasing majority of Spanish-speaking immigrants from south of the border taking over the state, it'll be much easier to secure votes that reject the U.S. Federal Government and demand secession. California is already the 7th largest economy in the world so they can easily get along without the other 49 states. Of course, both Oregon and Washington State would likely join with California to form a union that politically represents the Left Coast.
In this context, the annual firestorm seasons serve to scare people off the preferred lands, and many others away from the state altogether. The mass migrations from California have been occurring at an unprecedented rate over many years now. What is scarier than thick fire smoke wafting through the air twice a year and thousands of homes being burned down to the ground. The bottom line here is that these terrifying wildfires are quite instrumental at motivating people to vacate the premises. And that's just what they're doing'...in droves.
ConclusionEach California fire season is intentionally exacerbated for a different set of reasons such as those listed above. Clearly, the November firestorms of 2018 will be remembered as the BIG DISTRACTION from the biggest election theft in U.S. history. The Powers That Be also carried out the Thousand Oaks CA massacre for the very same reason: DISTRACTIONCA Bar Mass Shooting: State-Sponsored False Flag Terrorism to Distract from Massive Election Theft
SOTN posted several articles over the past several months that warned about this pervasive and unparalleled Democrat conspiracy to ''steal every election in sight''.[1] Well they have done it. Now Deep State must keep everyone sufficiently distracted in order to cover up their electoral crime spree. The perps knew all along that it was only a crime wave rather than a ''blue wave'' that could get them back into power. Hence, only in this way were the Deep State Democrats able to win so many seats to take back the House. They had to shut down all the investigations into their numerous scandals as each successive one makes Watergate look like a walk in the park.
With so many election thefts under their belt, it should come as no surprise that the globalists are torching California. Given that both Hollywood and Silicon Valley are breathing smoke-filled air, this HUGE distraction will be hyped by the Mainstream Media for the rest of this year. As the election thefts by the Democrats come to light, there will be even bigger distractions manufactured to facilitate the nationwide cover up.
The Bottom Line: California is under attack yet again by highly advanced Directed Energy Weapons. The photos at this link prove beyond any doubt that DEWs have been used for years to start and spread the California firestorms: Conclusive Photographic Evidence Proving California Is Under Attack by DEWs
State of the NationNovember 12, 2018
Source
[1] RED ALERT: Democrats will try to steal every election they can on November 6th
___http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=107676
NAMS
California Repeater Hoax from N9KO
I saw this in several recent
postings but cound not find anything from the source. The original issue
appears to be related to one repeater that was improperly located on a
State-owned site.
“The original situation is over a
repeater system not authorized to be in the State-owned radio site where it
is/was. The State agency had no reason to fund the repeater site costs and
suggested the individual make proper application and submit fees to be approved
to stay at the site.
That said -- amateur radio is NOT
dead in California, “the State” is NOT trying to kill it off, no one in any agency
with a relationship to ham radio is against it. Simply, tax payer dollars are
just not available to pay for everyone’s/anyone’s repeater site. That is all.”
Unhoused
Austin's Homelessness Czar Steps Down A Month After Her First Day | KUT
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 18:35
A month after her first official day on the job, Austin's homeless strategy officer, Lori Pampilo Harris, is quitting.
In a letter to Austin City Council on Wednesday, Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales said Pampilo Harris is transitioning to a role as a consultant, rather than a full-time employee. In a statement Thursday, she said the transition will allow her to spend more time with her family and that she looks forward to continue working with the city.
RELATED | Gov. Abbott Threatens State Intervention (Again) Unless Austin Reinstates Its Camping Ban
"This was not a decision I made lightly and I've had previous conversations with my immediate supervisor," she said. "I'm deeply appreciative of their understanding and willingness to work with me in a way that allows me to meet my family obligations and continue the work we've started."
Pampilo Harris' transition comes at a critical moment. Austin City Council could consider as soon as next week reinstating rules that restrict where people can sit, lie down and camp in public. Council passed city laws that rescinded those restrictions in June, and it has caught flak over the past three months from critics who say the city has sacrificed public health and safety in an effort to decriminalize homelessness.
Much of the soul-searching around those rules, their implications and the future of how Austin tackles homelessness have factored in (and leaned on) Pampilo Harris' cross-departmental leadership. She officially started Sept. 9. Weeks before, some Council members had suggested looking to her for guidance on whether to reinstate its homelessness rules, which more often than not led to unpaid tickets and resulted in arrest warrants.
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan told KUT he was surprised by Pampilo Harris' departure, but said he's glad that she '' and other experts '' will still be advising Council as it considers how to tackle homelessness.
"Lori still will be in this community as a consultant, apparently, and that's great," he said. "We have a lot of experts, and ultimately the members of the City Council are not elected because we are experts in homelessness. We are elected because we understand our communities."
In an interview with KUT on Sept. 26, she said she didn't plan on telling Council or the Austin Police Department how to proceed. She said she saw her office focusing its efforts on housing-related proposals.
"I believe the Homeless Strategy Office is not here to direct City Council on how to create laws," she said. "The Homeless Strategy Office is not here to tell how APD should enforce any laws."
Council will consider revising '' and possibly reinstating '' limitations on camping, sitting or lying down in public at its next meeting Oct. 17. Council members could also direct the city manager to immediately find short-term strategies to address homelessness, like setting up a shelter on city-owned land.
This story has been updated.
BOISE CASE - Mayor Adler Suggests Council Doesn't Need To Revise Its New Homelessness Rules | KUT
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 05:52
Mayor Steve Adler says the Austin City Council doesn't necessarily need to revise rules passed in June that effectively legalized camping, siting and lying down in public.
The rules, which went into effect July 1, allow camping and resting in public in areas outside private and public parkland, as long as a person isn't completely blocking a sidewalk or isn't a public health or safety hazard.
Last week, City Council was set to add some restrictions on those rules, but opted to hold off, as many members didn't feel comfortable with the timeline and wanted to wait until the city's new homeless strategy officer could weigh in.
Adler said in a post to the city's message board Thursday that the meeting showed there was "a very strong consensus for some level of ordinance clarification and corrective action following from existing laws, and would indicate that the Manager, without any further action by council could" clear up confusion on the part of the public and police.
In an interview with KUT, Homeless Strategy Officer Lori Pampilo Harris said she doesn't plan on telling Council or Austin police how to proceed, but that she sees her office focusing its efforts on housing-related proposals.
"I believe the Homeless Strategy Office is not here to direct City Council on how to create laws," she said. "The Homeless Strategy Office is not here to tell how APD should enforce any laws."
The mayor's memo puts a lot of onus on City Manager Spencer Cronk and the Austin Police Department '' which could seemingly forestall a planned Council vote on revisions to city rules on Oct. 17.
Broadly, Adler suggested the city manager and APD identify how to better enforce laws; institute a 4-foot clearance area on sidewalks and a 6-foot clearance area around entrances; and post signs along areas where it's not safe to camp or rest, like roadway medians or areas with a buildup of trash.
Adler's memo suggested APD and the city manager encourage residents to call 911 if they see behavior that's aggressive or lewd. Complaints and attacks against Adler and the City Council on social media have persisted since the rules went into effect this summer. That criticism has largely suggested the new rules attracted more homeless people to Austin and emboldened people to act more aggressively.
The mayor suggested rolling out training bulletins for police officers that could clear up confusion. He suggests a 4-foot clearance area be applied to sidewalks and a 6-foot clearance area on entrances to buildings.
"While some of us might go further, it's clear that there's consensus for going at least this far," Adler said.
Council members couldn't reach agreement on how to regulate camping on sidewalks last week. Certain blocs wanted a 4-foot clearance. Others wanted to ban camping and resting on streets in downtown and West Campus '' similar to the previous prohibitions.
As for unsafe camping, Adler called on the manager to put signs in areas deemed unsafe and "accelerate and focus additional sanitation efforts as appropriate."
He also called on the city to clean up the area around the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, a longtime camping and resting area for homeless Austinites that's come under scrutiny since the new ordinances went into effect.
"We need to foster greater hopefulness in the community by demonstrating that we know how to help people move off our streets," Adler wrote. "Doing so around the ARCH would provide very visible proof."
The mayor's memo came shortly before the Downtown Austin Alliance signed a friend of the court brief in a case out of Boise, Idaho, related to homelessness. Last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit struck down a camping ban there, saying it violated the Eighth Amendment's protection on cruel and unusual punishment. Boise appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several cities and states, including Texas, have signed similar briefs urging the court to take up the case.
Council members used the Boise ruling as one justification for revising its old rules '' which more often than not led to unpaid tickets and arrest warrants for homeless defendants.
ID2020 | Overview
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:12
ID2020 is coordinating funding for identity and channeling those funds toward high-impact projects, enabling diverse stakeholders - UN agencies, NGOs, governments, and enterprises - to pursue a coordinated approach that creates a pathway for efficient and responsible implementation at scale.
Shared Principles Alliance Partners Explore Through its partners, ID2020 is driving multi-stakeholder collaboration to set the future course of digital ID. As an Alliance, we work to ensure that safety, security, interoperability, and individual control are built into digital ID systems by-design.The Alliance leverages a market-based approach to ensure that good digital ID is available, ethical, and fit-for-purpose for all users.
We fund high-impact projects in order to answer critical questions and improve lives through digital identity while working to influence public policy and technical standards development.
Alliance Partners Include: ID2020, a US-registered 501(c)(3) based in New York, NY, is the Secretariat for the ID2020 Alliance, a public-private partnership that is maximizing the potential of digital ID to improve lives.The Secretariat is responsible for day-to-day operations. The Secretariat raises funds to support digital ID programs, conducts monitoring and evaluation on ongoing programs, coordinates with implementations partners, influences technical standards development, and supports the governance structure.
Closing the identity gap is an enormous challenge. It will take the work of many committed people and organizations coming together across different geographies, sectors and technologies. But it's exciting to imagine a world where safe and secure digital identities are possible, providing everyone with an essential building block to every right and opportunity they deserve. Peggy Johnson Executive VP, Business Development,<br> Microsoft Corporation Get Involved today and do your part.
ID2020 and partners launch program to provide digital ID with vaccines | Biometric Update
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:10
The ID2020 Alliance has launched a new digital identity program at its annual summit in New York, in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, vaccine alliance Gavi, and new partners in government, academia, and humanitarian relief.
The program to leverage immunization as an opportunity to establish digital identity was unveiled by ID2020 in partnership with the Bangladesh Government's Access to Information (a2i) Program, the Directorate General of Health Services, and Gavi, according to the announcement.
''We are implementing a forward-looking approach to digital identity that gives individuals control over their own personal information, while still building off existing systems and programs,'' says Anir Chowdhury, policy advisor at a2i. ''The Government of Bangladesh recognizes that the design of digital identity systems carries far-reaching implications for individuals' access to services and livelihoods, and we are eager to pioneer this approach.''
Gavi CEO Seth Berkley says that 89 percent of children and adolescents who do not have identification live in countries where the organization is active. ''We are enthusiastic about the potential impact of this program not just in Bangladesh, but as something we can replicate across Gavi-eligible countries, providing a viable route to closing the identity gap,'' he says.
A partnership was also formed earlier this year between Gavi, NEC, and Simprints to use biometrics to improve vaccine coverage in developing nations.
''Digital ID is being defined and implemented today, and we recognize the importance of swift action to close the identity gap,'' comments ID2020 Executive Director Dakota Gruener. ''Now is the time for bold commitments to ensure that we respond both quickly and responsibly. We and our ID2020 Alliance partners, both present and future, are committed to rising to this challenge.''
ID2020 also announced new partnerships and provided progress reports on initiatives launched last year. Since last year's summit, the ID2020 Alliance has been joined by the City of Austin, UC Berkeley's CITRIS Policy Lab and Care USA.
The City of Austin, ID2020, and several other partners are working together with homeless people and the service providers who engage with them to develop a blockchain-enabled digital identity platform called MyPass to empower homeless people with their own identity data.
A pair of inaugural pilot programs launched last year in partnership with iRespond and Everest have each made progress, ID2020 says. The iRespond program has improved continuity of care for more than 3,000 refugees receiving treatment for chronic conditions from the International Rescue Committee in Thailand, according to the announcement, while Everest has assisted with the provision of access to critical energy subsidies and a range of additional services with secure and user-centric digital identities without relying on a smartphone.
Article TopicsBangladesh | biometrics | digital identity | healthcare | ID2020 | Identification for Development (ID4D) | SDG 16.9
Angry Queens Residents Shout Down Plans For Homeless Shelter: 'I Hope Someone Burns It Down!' - Gothamist
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 11:17
A community hearing on Monday night over a planned homeless shelter in Glendale, Queens was drowned out by opponents of the shelter, who shouted down city officials and residents who attempted to defend the facility.
Hundreds of angry community residents packed the auditorium of Christ The King High School in Middle Village to denounce the plan to build a new shelter to house 200 adult men at 78-16 Cooper Avenue. The facility, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to build 90 new homeless shelters and expand 30 existing sites, would be an employment shelter, meaning residents would need to qualify by having a job to stay there.
Community Chairperson Vincent Arcuri Jr. moderated as a stream of speakers came to the microphones. Some raised widely-held concerns'--including that the shelter is within a mile of several schools. Others were simply vitriolic.
''No such thing as high quality!'' one man interrupted, as representatives from Westhab, the not-for-profit which will run the shelter, described the new facility.
''Mall cops!'' someone in the crowd shouted, when the representatives described their on-site security.
''Move 'em to Park Slope!'' said another opponent, referencing de Blasio's neighborhood.
The hearing came just days after four homeless men were bludgeoned to death in Chinatown on Saturday night.
A moment of silence was held for the four homeless men bludgeoned to death by another homeless man last weekend, but it did little to soften the hearts of the attendees.
''I was trying to be optimistic when I heard the shelter was coming, initially,'' said Nick Gervasi, a Glendale resident. ''When I turned the news on and saw what happened in Manhattan...I lost all hope that my neighborhood, any neighborhood [with a shelter] can be 100% safe.''
''They're drug addicts and sex offenders,'' said another woman. ''Put them in a (unintelligible) away from society. They should be locked away forever.''
She ended her tirade shouting, ''If they build this shelter, I hope someone burns it down.''
That was when Assistant Commissioner of Government Affairs Matt Borden stepped in.
''I will not sit here and listen to someone say they will [burn down] a homeless shelter,'' said Borden. ''I don't believe a New Yorker would say that.''
Local Councilmember Bob Holden did not condemn the rhetoric at the time, but instead used the hearing to double-down on the anti-shelter campaign promises that propelled him into office in 2018.
Holden popped his microphone out of its stand and walked through the aisles, speaking animatedly.
''This shelter will not be at 78-16. We'll make sure of it,'' Holden announced, thrusting his clipboard into the sky. The crowd cheered.
Holden addressed his constituents' comments on Tuesday in a written statement,.
''I understand that my neighbors are frustrated, but comments like that are dangerous and uncalled for,'' Holden said. "Making such threats serves nobody, and I'm very disappointed with how this meeting is being portrayed as a result.''
State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi was the only elected official in attendance to speak up for the planned shelter. By then, the hearing had devolved into bedlam.
''It would be easy for me to come up here and say we don't want the shelter,'' said Hevesi, fighting to be heard over the crowd. ''But I'm not going to do that. Those of you calling them sexual predators, who don't see them as human beings, shame on you...You're way out of line.''
Other support for the shelter was offered by the Ridgewood Tenants Union.
This kind of vitriol and demonization of our neighbors is dangerous and we won't stand for it.There are people in need of safe and humane shelter in our city. We're going to take care of them whether hateful voices like it or not. https://t.co/vQGPRmJu3v
'-- Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 8, 2019''We know the solution is not shelters,'' said Raquel Namuche, a tenant organizer with the group. ''Sadly, our local councilmember, Bob Holden, has divided all of us...If we want to help end homelessness, we have to be on the same side.''
Just before the end of the event, the tenant union was escorted out by police, apparently out of concern for their own safety. The remainder of the room applauded as they left, while the union shouted chants of their own.
This Queens Community District has a history of forcefully opposing homeless shelters. In 2016, the mayor reportedly promised that a school would be built at the same Cooper Avenue location. When a shelter for 200 men was announced instead, residents were furious, and the proposed shelter was rebuffed.
''With all due respect, we have been lied to, time and time again,'' said another resident at the microphone. ''The mayor doesn't care about us. The governor doesn't care.''
At one point the crowd broke into a chant: ''School! School! School!''
Arcuri, a respected and authoritative voice on the community board, could do little to hold speakers to a mandated three minutes. Nor could he ensure advocates like Namuche and others wouldn't be booed through their allotted time. Struggling to control the room, he ended the event abruptly. The event had gone on little over an hour, allowing time for less than half of the scheduled speakers.
''That's it,'' he said, and the auditorium filed its way out.
Arcuri entered the lobby, where a local group, Middle Village Coalition, was collecting checks of up to $200 from attendees. The group is preparing for a legal defense against the planned shelter.
Arcuri shook hands and worked the crowd a little bit before he found his wife. They hugged. Arcuri looked tired.
''Now you know what we're dealing with around here,'' he said.
A livestream of the hearing can be seen here.
OTG
Text - H.R.4531 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): State And Federal Electronic Data Records to Improve Vehicle-operator Eligibility Reporting Systems Act of 2019 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:16
There is one version of the bill.
116th CONGRESS 1st Session
H. R. 4531
To amend title 23, United States Code, to modify the permitted uses of grant funds for certain grants, to allow States to reallocate certain funds provided for national priority safety programs, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to award grants to improve interoperability among State and national traffic data systems, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. Moulton introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
A BILL
To amend title 23, United States Code, to modify the permitted uses of grant funds for certain grants, to allow States to reallocate certain funds provided for national priority safety programs, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to award grants to improve interoperability among State and national traffic data systems, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title .
This Act may be cited as the ''State And Federal Electronic Data Records to Improve Vehicle-operator Eligibility Reporting Systems Act of 2019'' or the ''SAFE DRIVERS Act''.
SEC. 2. National priority safety programs .
Section 405 of title 23, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in subsection (a)(8)'--
(A) by striking ''Notwithstanding'' and inserting ''(A) I n general'-- Notwithstanding''; and
(B) by adding at the end the following:
''(B) R EALLOCATION.'--Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) through (7), a State may reallocate, in not more than 1 fiscal year, not more than 10 percent of funds allocated for programs described in such paragraphs to carry out activities described in subsection (c)(4)(D).''; and
(2) in subsection (c)(4)'--
(A) by striking ''used for making'' and inserting ''used for'--
''(A) making''; and
(B) by adding at the end the following:
''(B) developing or acquiring programs to identify, collect, and report data to State and local government agencies, and enter data, including crash, citation or adjudication, driver, emergency medical services or injury surveillance system, roadway, and vehicle, into the core highway safety databases of a State;
''(C) purchasing equipment to improve processes by which data is identified, collected, and reported to State and local government agencies;
''(D) linking core highway safety databases of a State with such databases of other States or with other data systems within the State, including systems that contain medical, roadway, and economic data;
''(E) improving the compatibility and interoperability of the core highway safety databases of the State with national data systems and data systems of other States;
''(F) enhancing the ability of a State and the Secretary to observe and analyze local, State, and national trends in crash occurrences, rates, outcomes, and circumstances;
''(G) supporting traffic records-related training and related expenditures for law enforcement, emergency medical, judicial, prosecutorial and traffic records professionals;
''(H) hiring traffic records professionals, including a Fatality Analysis Reporting System liaison for a State; and
''(I) conducting research on State traffic safety information systems, including developing and evaluating programs to improve core highway safety databases of such State and processes by which data is identified, collected, reported to State and local government agencies and entered into such core safety databases.''.
SEC. 3. Grants to develop data sharing capabilities among State and national traffic data systems .
(a) Establishment .'--Beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall award not more than 10 interoperability grants in a fiscal year to eligible entities to improve interoperability among State and national traffic data systems.
(b) Initial grants .'--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall award 10 interoperability grants under subsection (a).
(c) Applications .'--To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.
(d) Total grant amounts .'--The total grant amounts awarded by the Secretary under subsection (a) may not exceed $50,000,000 in a fiscal year.
(e) Use of grants .'--An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section shall use such grant to improve interoperability among State and national traffic data systems through'--
(1) data notification and the exchange of driver history and safety information between State drivers license agencies, including information that may impact the eligibility of a driver to obtain or maintain a motor vehicle operator's license; and
(2) other improvements to the interoperability among State and national traffic data systems as the Secretary determines appropriate.
(f) Evaluation of grant applications .'--In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall evaluate applications from an eligible entity based on the following criteria:
(1) The experience of the eligible entity in developing, implementing, or improving State traffic data systems.
(2) The experience of the eligible entity in improving compatibility and interoperability among State and national traffic data systems.
(3) The potential of the goals and outcomes stated in the application of an eligible entity to promote efficiency among, or to automate notifications between, the chief driver licensing officials of States when the drivers license eligibility of a driver may be impacted by an event in another State.
(4) The potential for the proposed project of an eligible entity to be scaled or adopted nationally and by other States.
(5) Any other factor that the Secretary determines appropriate.
(g) Definitions .'--In this section:
(1) C HIEF DRIVER LICENSING OFFICIAL.'--The term ''chief driver licensing official'' has the meaning given the term in section 30301 of title 49, United States Code.
(2) E LIGIBLE ENTITY.'--The term ''eligible entity'' means'--
(A) a State driver licensing agency;
(B) an organization that administers a State traffic data system; or
(C) a consortium of entities described in subparagraphs (A) and (B).
(3) M OTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE.'--The term ''motor vehicle operator's license'' has the meaning given the term in section 30301 of title 49, United States Code.
(4) S TATE DRIVERS LICENSE AGENCY.'--The term ''State drivers license agency'' means the agency of a State responsible for issuing motor vehicle operator's licenses.
Why You Shouldn't Use Facebook | Kev Quirk
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:04
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently and they were asking me why I don't use Facebook. Within my circle of friends, I'm the IT guy and most of them aren't really into IT, let alone privacy or security so this person thought Facebook was the best thing since sliced bread.
I get it, Facebook is useful for keeping in touch with people, planning events and generally wasting time. But it's also extremely good at swallowing up your privacy, chewing it up, and spitting it out to all of their advertising partners.
Back to my friend - I quickly rattled off a number of reasons as to why I don't use Facebook, but thought I would write my reasons out in a longer form. This is for a number of reasons:
It gives me a place to refer people to when I inevitably get asked this question again.People may actually learn something from this post and think twice about using the service themselves.For many people from the privacy and security circles I'm involved in, this won't be new information, but hopefully it will still be of use, as I intend for this post to be an ever-evolving list a f**k ups that Zuckerberg & Co. have made when handling both our data, and our privacy.
The ReasonsI intend to create a new item within this list every time I feel another reason not to use Facebook comes to light. Where possible, I will try to articulate technical information in a way that is easy to digest, so anyone can understand (hopefully).
These are in chronological order, starting with the earliest. So the whole thing should read like a nice, long privacy vortex timeline.
If you think I've missed something here, please contact me.Reason 1: The TimelineWhen: September 2006What: Facebook introduced the timeline feature
DetailsWhen Facebook first launched, you had to go into each person's profile to see their status updates and what they had been up to. After just 2 years, Zuckerberg decided that creating a feed that automatically displayed everything your friends have posted was a good idea.
It may seem like a small thing, but this is the beginning of the end when it comes to privacy. No longer are your timeline and profile updates kept on your page only, they're now plastered all over the timeline of every person you are friends with.
Reason 2: BeaconWhen: December 2007What: Here comes the tracking - AKA, Beacon
DetailsZucker & Co. thought it would be a really great idea if they implemented a way for companies to track purchases made by Facebook users, then notify their Facebook friends. Worse still, this was often without the Facebook user's consent.
The Zuck later explained his rationale behind Beacon, and announced that users would be given an option to opt out of Beacon - how thoughtful of him.
Here's an interesting read on The New York Times about the introduction of advertising and tracking into Facebook.
Reason 3:When: November 2011What: FTC privacy charges
DetailsZucker the sucker settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that he didn't keep his privacy promise to users, by allowing private information to be made public without warning.
Regulators said that Facebook falsely claimed that 3rd party apps were only able to access the data they needed to operate. Well, the truth is they could access pretty much the entirety of the user's profile. This included non-public profile data.
What's more, the apps could even collect your private posts even if you weren't using them. All it took was for one of your friends to be using one of these apps.
Facebook were also charged with sharing user information to advertisers, despite promising they wouldn't. Shock horror!
Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users, Facebook's innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not.-- Jon Leibowitz, then chairman of the FTC
Reason 4:When: June 2013What: Bug exposes private data
DetailsA bug in Facebook's software exposed the email addresses and phone numbers of 6 million users to anyone who had a connection to the person, or knew at least one piece of their contact information. Here's a write-up on Mashable about the bug.
Reason 5:When: July 2014What: Mood manipulation experiment
DetailsYes, you read that right. Facebook carried out mood manipulation experiments on their users!
The experiment included more than half a million randomly selected users. Facebook altered their news feeds to show more positive or negative posts. The purpose was to see how emotions could spread on social media.
The results were published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which understandably kicked of a huge shit storm.
The Facebook data scientist who led the experiment eventually posted an apology on Facebook:
I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused.-- Adam Kramer, FB Data Scientist
Reason 6:When: April 2015What: Facebook stops giving apps all the data
DetailsIf Jane Smith downloads and app, that app should not be able to suck all of Gary Jones' data just because they're friends. Am I right, or am I right?
Well, according to Facebook, I'm dead wrong and this behaviour is completely appropriate. You can read more about the whole debacle in this TechCrunch post.
Reason 7:When: February 2018What: Belgian court says stop tracking everyone!
DetailsDid you know that Facebook can track you over multiple sites? Well they can and a Belgian court ordered Facebook to stop collecting private information about Belgian users on 3rd party sites. Facebook were also ordered to delete all data they have illegally collected on Belgian users, including those who aren't Facebook users, or risk being fined up to 100 million euros.
GO BELGIUM!Reason 8:When: March 2018What: Cambridge Analytica
DetailsOh yeah, here it is - the big dog; Cambridge Analytica. Zuck the crook strikes again.
You know earlier on (reason 6 to be specific) when I mentioned that Facebook stopped giving apps all the data? Wellllll, they didn't! Truth is, all the data continued to be leaked between apps and this culminated when consulting company, Cambridge Analytica used leaked Facebook app data to great affect during the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
Here's how the data collection went down:
Around 32,000 US voters used a Facebook survey app and were paid a couple dollars to take a detailed personality/political test.The app also collected data such as likes and personal information from the test-taker's Facebook account, as well as the same data from all their friends. This resulted in gathering the data of around 50 million Facebook users.The test results and skimmed Facebook data were combined to provide psychological patterns.Algorithms combines the data with other sources, such as voter records, to create a list of 2 million people in 11 key states, with hundreds of data points per person.These people were then targetted with highly personalised advertising to sway their vote.Many feel that the analysis, data manipulation and ultimately the highly targetted advertising on Facebook had a direct impact on the result of the 2016 US election. Would Trump have won without this data? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, this data definitely helped.
Reason 9:When: April 2019What: Breach exposing 540 million users
DetailsYet more Facebook apps with more holes in than a sieve. This time, Cyber Security firm, UpGuard reported that a Facebook app dataset was found to be publicly available online. The breach contained the comments, likes, reactions, account names and Facebook IDs of over 540 million users.
Furthermore, there was also an Amazon S3 bucket discovered for an app called At the Pool, which contained the user ID, friends list, likes, music, movies, books, photos, events, groups, check-ins, interests, password and more. Worse still, around 22,000 of those passwords were not encrypted. Winning!
Reason 10:When: July 2019What: Facebook fined 5 billion dollars over privacy breaches
DetailsThis was a settlement, once again at the hands of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This is a culmination of a lot of the privacy issues you have read about above. Although 5 billion dollars sounds like a huge amount of money, it's only around one month's worth of revenue for Zuck the shmuck.
You can read more about it in this CNN article.
SJW
CNN Came In Last For Ratings During Their Entire LGBTQ Town Hall
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 19:51
CNN came in dead last for ratings during their almost five-hour "Equality Town Hall" event with the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday. Fox News came in first and MSNBC was in second during the same time period.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable news network in primetime in both total viewers and in the 25-54 age demographic, according to early Nielsen Media Research.
Fox News was in first place for the entirety of CNN's nearly five-hour long town hall from 7:30 p.m.-12 a.m. by averaging 3.7 million viewers and 662,000 in the 25-54 demo.
CNN was in last place by having an average of 1.1 million total viewers and 320,000 in the 25-54 demo, meaning Fox News had a triple-digit advantage over CNN.
While CNN aired their town hall, Fox News' evening programing mainly consisted of President Trump's rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During CNN's event, trans activists interrupted the candidates and questioners multiple times. One, black trans woman specifically called out the network.
"Let me tell you something, black transwomen are being killed in this country, and CNN, you have erased black transwomen for the last time. Let me tell you something, black transwomen are dying! Our lives matter! I am an extraordinary black transwoman, and I deserve to be here!" said activist Blossom Brown.
Even after moderator Don Lemon asked for the microphone, Brown continued her rant,"Black trans women are being killed in this country! Black trans women are dying and our lives matter! Not one black trans woman or man has been given the mic tonight."
CNN's other single issue town halls have also fallen behind in ratings. For their seven hour climate town hall, the network was in last place in total viewership, but they did come in second for the 25-54 age demo, averaging 265,000 viewers.
How 'White Guilt' in the Age of Trump Shapes the Democratic Primary - The New York Times
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:14
The changing racial attitudes of white liberals are changing how 2020 candidates try to win votes.
Image A crowd listening to Senator Kamala Harris in Ankeny, Iowa. Credit Credit Daniel Acker for The New York Times Oct. 13, 2019, 5:00 a.m. ET ANKENY, Iowa '-- When Donald Trump was elected, John Olsen felt enraged by the racial tension that fueled his rise, the silence of his white neighbors and the stories of racial discrimination he heard from his nonwhite friends.
Black friends said they were followed around department stores, so Mr. Olsen, who is white, became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He thought that white Americans were scared of the country's growing Latino population, so he joined the League of United Latin American Citizens. He now registers voters weekly, including with the League of Women Voters, to atone for his ''white privilege,'' he said.
''I try to have my bases covered,'' said Mr. Olsen, 50, who wore a N.A.A.C.P. T-shirt to a campaign rally for Senator Kamala Harris here last week. ''It just hurts my heart that white people are afraid of the country's growing Hispanic population. And I just can't allow that to continue.''
White liberals '-- voters like Mr. Olsen '-- are thinking more explicitly about race than they did even a decade ago, according to new research and polling. In one survey, an overwhelming majority said that racial discrimination affects the lives of black people. They embrace terms like ''structural racism'' and ''white privilege.''
The shift in white liberal attitudes on race might be a permanent one, helped along by a changing media environment and heightened cultural sensitivity, or it could be a more fleeting reaction to the current polarized moment.
Either way, it means that in the Democratic primary, candidates have an incentive to talk to white voters explicitly about race '-- an incentive that is especially apparent now that a half-dozen Democrats are intensifying their campaigning in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
In Iowa last week, Ms. Harris delivered a revamped stump speech that seemed tailored to these changing attitudes. At an outdoor market in Ankeny, just outside Des Moines, she spoke to the fears some white voters might have about supporting a woman of color. In her pitch, she cast herself as an embodiment of racial progress.
''People are asking, 'Oh, I don't know, is America ready for that? Are they ready for a woman of color to be elected president of the United States?''' Ms. Harris told the crowd.
''Look, it's not a new conversation for me. In fact, it's a conversation that's come up every single time in every election that I have '-- and here's the operative word '-- won,'' she said. Her largely white audience liked the pitch, responding with rapt silence and then with raucous applause when she talked candidly about her own accomplishments.
For years, prospective Democratic nominees came to Iowa to talk ethanol and pork subsidies and saved any rhetoric about the injustice of racial profiling for crowds in South Carolina and Nevada '-- the only early voting states where black and Latino voters made up a significant portion of the Democratic electorate.
But in the era of Mr. Trump, and after social movements such as Black Lives Matter pushed racial inequality to the forefront of national politics, it's white Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire '-- not black ones in South Carolina '-- who, to this point, are embracing the candidates who promise to upend society in the name of racial equity.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has held a commanding lead in national polls with nonwhite Democrats, but surveys show that white liberals in Iowa and New Hampshire are less inclined to support him. At events for Mr. Biden, some white voters cite his confounding September debate answer on the legacy of slavery and previous Senate work with segregationists as reasons to support other candidates.
At events for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. '-- two white candidates who have particularly excelled with college-educated liberals '-- supporters pointed to policies addressing racial inequalities as part of the candidates' appeal.
These policies may give cover to those seeking to support a white candidate in a historically diverse Democratic field, which includes Ms. Harris, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former cabinet secretary Julin Castro '-- candidates who are themselves racial minorities and who are struggling to gain traction in the polls.
''My daughter is marrying an Asian man and diversity has become very important to me,'' said Julie Neff, a 57-year-old Iowa Democrat who attended the Harris rally. Ms. Neff, who is white, said she was embarrassed that she started thinking about race and discrimination only later in life.
''I should've been paying attention to this stuff sooner. But when Trump is making these decisions, I just realized it would be bad for my son-in-law and my grandchildren,'' she said.
According to research by Zach Goldberg, a Georgia State University doctoral student, the attitudes of white liberals like Ms. Neff have moved dramatically in a short time.
In 2010, about 40 percent of white liberals said ''blacks who can't get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition.'' Now, that number has dropped to 24 percent, and more than 70 percent of white liberals say ''racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can't get ahead these days.''
Mr. Goldberg said he believed that Mr. Trump's election combined with a digital media environment where race has been covered more explicitly have pushed white liberals into adopting new positions.
''Before, if a black person was shot by police you could read about it in a newspaper, now you see a video,'' Mr. Goldberg said. ''A video is morally evocative and that has effect on the moral psychology of liberals."
The result, Mr. Goldberg said, is that white liberals want ''to be the exact opposite of racist. They go adopt positions to prove they're different than the morally tainted collective.''
But this is not a strategy without risk, Mr. Goldberg noted. Voters in a general election, including Republicans and independents, do not share the liberal views about race that white Democrats do. Positions that some leading Democrats have embraced, including reparations for black Americans, could become liabilities.
''When you think about it, this is why blacks may be supporting Biden the way they do,'' Mr. Goldberg said. ''They know this may not sell to the rest of white America come general election time.''
In the early days of Ms. Warren's candidacy, the differences among Democratic primary voters were most clear when she discussed low black homeownership rates '-- a standard portion of her policy-heavy stump speech. Black audiences in Mississippi and Alabama often seemed unmoved, already well aware of the problem Ms. Warren outlined. In Iowa, predominantly white groups reacted dramatically '-- often with oohs and ahhs and the occasional applause.
At events for Ms. Harris last week, several white voters said that the president's reliance on white identity politics to motivate his conservative base had forced them to reorganize their own voting priorities.
Ms. Neff's husband, Bill, wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to the evening rally.
''We had Obama and we thought this racial stuff was over '-- and then we went backward,'' he said. ''We've seen so many old white guys who are O.K. with the status quo, and that's not O.K. anymore.''
People like the Neffs and Mr. Olsen could have an outsize effect on the 2020 primary, and the Democratic Party going forward. The largely white voters in the earliest nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire determine which candidates appear viable by the time people in more diverse states head to the voting booth.
Barack Obama famously exploited this playbook in 2008, winning white liberals in Iowa before unlocking his support among black voters. This year's most prominent black candidates '-- Mr. Booker and Ms. Harris '-- are both seeking to repeat that strategy, and have staked their candidacies on a good showing with those same white liberals in the first-in-the-nation caucus.
But the candidate most affected by the attitude shift among white liberals may be Mr. Biden. He has crafted his campaign pitch around replacing Mr. Trump with a steady hand, and in his campaign announcement video featured the president's waffling response to the racist and anti-Semitic marchers in Charlottesville, Va.,.
Mr. Biden enjoys a significant advantage among black voters, fueled by their pragmatic desire to see Mr. Trump replaced and good feelings carried over from his time as Mr. Obama's vice president. For white liberal voters, though, the affection for Mr. Biden is not as firm.
Martha Wasmund, 64, said at the Harris event in Ankeny that she preferred the California senator, and was rejecting Mr. Biden's candidacy because of the fond way he recalled working with segregationist lawmakers. Ms. Wasmund is white.
''That good ol' boy network doesn't work,'' she said, referring to Mr. Biden's legislative work with avowed racists in the 1970s and 1980s.
Janelle Turner, 50, brought her 12-year-old daughter to Ms. Harris's rally. She is white and said she's seen a change in Democrats in her majority-white community.
''People have realized that this stuff is important and that Trump has made racial division greater,'' Ms. Turner said. ''I'm a breast cancer survivor and health care is a huge issue for me, but this stuff is too.''
Some black voters see privilege in such responses. Dacia Randolph, a 43-year-old in Reno, Nev., said black voters are sticking with Mr. Biden not because they are unaware of his past, but because they see defeating Mr. Trump as an urgent priority.
She called Mr. Biden a ''safe bet,'' pointing to polls that show him ahead of Mr. Trump in the general election and the surprising results of the 2016 election.
''Black people go with who we trust,'' Ms. Randolph said. ''We make people prove themselves.''
Astead W. Herndon is a national political reporter based in New York. He was previously a Washington-based political reporter and a City Hall reporter for The Boston Globe. @ AsteadWesley
In 2014, a study claimed high heels made women more attractive. Now it's been retracted.
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:02
via publicdomainvectorsPerhaps you saw the headlines back in 2014, ones like ''Science Proves It: Men Really Do Find High Heels Sexier,'' from TIME.
Or maybe this quote, from the author of a study in Archives of Sexual Behavior, on CNBC:
''Women's shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men's behavior,'' says the study's author, Nicolas Gu(C)guen, a behavioral science researcher. ''Simply put, they make women more beautiful.''
Those stories '-- and many others '-- were based on a study claiming to find that ''men spontaneously approached women more quickly when they wore high-heeled shoes. And years after that paper and others by Gu(C)guen came under scrutiny, it was retracted yesterday.
Here's the notice:
The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article (Gu(C)guen, 2015) at the request of the Universit(C) de Bretagne-Sud. Following an institutional investigation, it was concluded that the article has serious methodological weaknesses and statistical errors. The data reported in this article are therefore unreliable. The author has not responded to any correspondence about this retraction.
Gu(C)guen has yet to respond to our requests for comment, either.
'Some accountability, eventually, if we feel like it'
Nick Brown and James Heathers '-- whom we profiled for Science last year '-- have been examining Gu(C)guen's work for some time. As Ars Technica reported in 2017:
Since 2015, a pair of scientists, James Heathers and Nick Brown, has been looking closely at the results in Gu(C)guen's work. What they've found raises a litany of questions about statistical and ethical problems. In some cases, the data is too perfectly regular or full of oddities, making it difficult to understand how it could have been generated by the experiment described by Gu(C)guen.
Earlier this year, we reported on the lack of progress in the case '-- and Brown and Heathers' frustration with that lack of progress '-- despite Gu(C)guen's university's request for two retractions.
We asked the pair for comment on the new retraction. Heathers told us:
This was one of the first papers we ever looked at, right after we decided to focus on error detection as a research area. It feels like an awfully long time ago.
If you're wondering what ''serious methodological weaknesses and statistical errors'' actually consist of, well, you never get to find out. This is one paper out of the original dossier of ten that we found anomalies in. I hope it increases scrutiny of the other nine.
Anyone who's surprised by the fact this took four years, don't be. This is not unusual, or anyone's fault in particular '' this is the publication system we have designed. If it had a slogan it would be: ''some accountability, eventually, if we feel like it.''
Today, Brown told Retraction Watch:
It seems like a classic piece of sexy (in all senses) research that is practically designed from the get-go to garner clicks, and it makes me wonder what the reviewer reports looked like.
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there's a new post (look for the ''follow'' button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that's not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.
Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Steps Down After 23 Years on the Air - WSJ
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:23
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is leaving the network he has been a part of since it launched in 1996, a move that comes amid growing tensions between the channel's opinion-show hosts and the news team.
One of the most visible on-air personalities at Fox News, Mr. Smith was a key hard-news voice for the network. Besides hosting a daily program, he was managing editor of breaking news as well.
Mr. Smith in a statement said he asked Fox News management to let him leave the network and ''begin a new chapter.'' He added, ''It's been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor.''
A spokesman for Mr. Smith said the decision to leave was the news anchor's alone and not a result of recent clashes with the opinion side.
Mr. Smith is resigning just over a year after Fox News extended his contract. His deal had several years left to run and his annual salary was around $15 million, a person familiar with the pact said.
Andrew Tyndall, a television news consultant, said Mr. Smith's departure means a narrowing of the ideological diversity among the top ranks of Fox News Channel talent. ''Smith [along with Bret Baier and Chris Wallace] has been cited as holdouts of journalism-trumping-partisanship,'' he added.
Although the opinion and news sides of Fox News'--like many news operations'--are often not on the same page, it is unusual for there to be on-air sniping at each other. When the late Roger Ailes helmed Fox News, such public back and forth between news and opinion were practically nonexistent. That started to change after Mr. Ailes exited amid allegations of sexual harassment in 2016, and it has accelerated during the Trump presidency.
Tensions escalated in recent months between opinion show hosts, such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, and the news team. Mr. Smith has often traded shots with Mr. Hannity over coverage of President Trump.
Last month, Messrs. Smith and Carlson took aim at each other. Mr. Carlson was critical of remarks Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano made on Mr. Smith's show about Mr. Trump's legal situation following news that the president in a July phone call pressed the president of Ukraine to investigate the son of former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Mr. Smith responded in a subsequent show that ''attacking our colleague, who is here to offer legal assessments, on our air in our work home is repugnant.''
Mr. Smith also drew criticism from Mr. Trump. In an August tweet, Mr. Trump wrote: ''Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews.''
Asked by reporters about Mr. Smith's departure on Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump asked: ''Is he leaving because of bad ratings?''
''I wish him well,'' the president added.
While Mr. Smith's show was one of the lower-rated programs on Fox News, it easily dominated its competition and averaged more than one million viewers in the middle of the day, when the number of households watching television is lower than in prime time or the morning. ''Shepard Smith Reporting'' averaged 1.3 million viewers for the third quarter of 2019, easily beating MSNBC and CNN, according to Nielsen.
Fox News President Jay Wallace said Mr. Smith's ''integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put FOX News on the map'' and added that he had ''the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery.''
Fox News parent Fox Corp. and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.
Fox News didn't name a successor to Mr. Smith. His show will be rebranded ''Fox News Reporting.'' Trace Gallagher and Jon Scott will be among the rotating anchors in the hour.
''He will be taking an extended period of time off to spend with his family. He is not retiring,'' the spokesman for Mr. Smith said.
''Under our agreement, I won't be reporting elsewhere at least in the near future,'' Mr. Smith said during his final show Friday. The terms of his departure include a noncompete clause, the person familiar with his current deal said.
In his on-air goodbye to viewers Friday, Mr. Smith said, ''Even in our currently polarized nation, it is my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism'--and journalists'--will thrive.''
Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com
Ottomania
KURDISTANgate: What is really going on in with the Kurds? '' The Millennium Report
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:06
THE KURDISH CRISIS: ANNOTATIONMichael Brenner
Here we are again: a major series of events in the Middle East accompanied by thin and misleading media coverage. Admittedly, the MSM in this instance have gotten the basic facts right '' for the time being, anyway. It is the background, context and interpretation of implications that are distorted and prejudiced; also, spiked with a drizzle of lies. Par for the course.
So, a regard for some approximation of the truth prompts one to denote a few basic facts as a guide to making sense of what is going on. Having no expertise on the region, I have run it by someone who does.
1. Turkey encouraged, facilitated and provided tangible support for the various jihadist groups that have carried the fight against Assad's regime since 2012-13. Erdogan saw them as the instrument for toppling Assad and carving out a slice of northern Syria to attach to Turkey in his fanciful vision of a (partially) reconstituted Ottoman Empire.
2. Toward this end, he provided transit facilities for foreign fighters (including ISIS recruits), allowed the transfer of arms through Turkish territory, provided support services, and trans-shipped ISIS controlled Syrian oil to Mediterranean ports (thereby providing a major source of financing for the would-be ISIS Caliphate). His son was co-owner and manager of the Turkish transportation country.
3. On arms, Turkey collaborated with the United States and Saudi Arabia. From 2012 onwards, they supplied al-Qaeda/al-Nusra and friends (if not ISIS) with sophisticated weapons including TOW anti-armor missiles . The last came directly from the U.S. via Saudi Arabia. The rest were purchased mainly in East Europe with American connections, paid for by Saudi Arabia and other Gulfies, and conveyed through Turkey. The non-jihadist opposition elements served as political cover but were operationally subordinate to the dominant al-Nusra coalition. The supply of arms to the renamed al-Nusra concentrated in the Idlib pocket continues until this day.
3. Turkey, like the United States, has been playing a double '' or, perhaps, triple '' game throughout. The main objective is as noted above. A secondary objective is to prevent a consolidation of a YPG-PKK statelet in northern Syria that could reinvigorate the Kurdish separatist rebellion in Turkey. That issue also colored Turkish attitudes toward the semi-autonomous Kurdish statelet in Iraq which has mixed relations with the PKK. Ankara inserted, and maintains a small force in northern Iraq.
4. Since the Kurds were the main ground forces available to the U.S. for fighting ISIS (especially given its denunciation of the Iraqi Hashed militias as haram, i.e. an auxiliary of Iran '' its enemy Number One in the region), there have been strains between Ankara and Washington. Differing interests and priorities also help explain why Washington pulled its punches in fighting ISIS in the earlier years, in particular its self-imposed restrictions on using air power to cut the oil trade. Indeed, on one noteworthy occasion the U.S. provided air cover for an ISIS assault on forces of the Syrian National Army poised to break the siege of Deir ez-Zur '' causing scores of casualties. That incident punctuates the warped American priorities in Syria.
An open question is whether the Kurds operating southeast of the Euphrates will continue to do the Americans' dirty work after being sacrificed up North. We should also bear in mind that the Syrian Kurds are not united. There is a significant divide, tribally based with political overtones, between the 'Kurds of the West' who derive from the Ain Arab (Kobane) and Manbij region and the ''Kurds of the East'' concentrated in the area northeast of Hassake. The two have a history of competition and friction. The later also have strained relations with their neighbors across the border in Zakho and Dohouk, Iraq.
The Turkish invasion and planned occupation of a border zone is concentrated in the homeland of the 'Western Kurds.' Were Erdogan to push farther East, he would encounter complications with the 'Eastern Kurds' as well as American outposts and the Syrian government's bastion in Hassake which it has retained throughout the civil war.
The Iraqi Kurds generally are not allied with or coordinate with the YPG Kurds of Syria. The Iraqis are in the more enviable position of having constituted their own semi-autonomous statelet '' unrecognized by Baghdad but with strong backing from Washington dating back to 2003. They have no formal affiliation with the PKK, although PKK fighters from Turkey at times have taken refuge in the mountains along the border. The two dominant factions in the Iraqi zone are headed by the rival clans of Barzani and Talabani. Both place greater value on that power struggle than on the PKK movement in Turkey or the YPG's fate. In fact, they have a pragmatic accord with Turkey for the transhipment of oil from their territory which provides crucial financing. They will check where support and money for YPG come from, and do what's necessary to maintain the flow so as to take their cut.
5. The Russia factor. The MSM media have gone out of their way to picture Russia as Erdogan's partner in the Syrian incursion. This is complete nonsense. The Moscow-Ankara relationship has been multi-dimensional and shifting. At no time, however, have their been partners. A) The Russian military intervention was a desperate move to save the Assad regime from a Turko-American supported offensive in 2015. That was vital to Moscow not only because Syria is its longest ally in the Middle East. Equally important, the prospect of Syria becoming a jihadist homeland was anathema given Russia's vulnerability to Islamic terrorism from which it has suffered more than anyone in the West. B) Therefore, Turkey and Russia have been constantly at odds as the Syrian-Russian alliance has rolled back the jihadists in Aleppo and elsewhere. Erdogan wants to keep them alive as a force for instability. C) In Idlib, the two powers made a deal that a military offensive would be suspended to give Turkey a chance to neutralize al-Nusra & friends. Erdogan has shown himself unwilling/unable to do so. One reason is the open question as to where the fighters would go '' especially since a large fraction are neither Syrians nor Iraqis. The same concern hovers over Turkey's pending custodianship of captured ISIS fighters in Kurdish territories. Erdogan obviously would like to arrange a smooth pipeline through Turkey to a clear Exit with transfers to Afghanistan, the Sahel, the Caucasus or Libya where the Turkish assisted jihadis protect 'our guy' '' the nominal President and de facto Mayor of Tripoli. Easier said than done.
6. Turkey is alone in this adventure. However, none of the major players in Syria are actively opposing it '' albeit the invasion has been loudly denounced by the Damascus government itself. It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia is taking a hands-off position on the intricate games being played in Northeast Syria. There are reports of a deal between Erdogan and Mohammed bin-Salman in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder. Supposedly, Turkey threatened to release videos and audio transcripts that inculpate MBS directly unless he met three conditions. One condition was that the Saudis refrain from providing any support '' direct/indirect, tangible/political '' to YPG. In effect, an ancillary element to the deal Erdogan pursued with Trump. Their agreement left in place their pragmatic cooperation in sustaining the al-Nusra controlled, mainly jihadi anti-Assad forces in Idlib.
7. The two areas where Russo-Turkish interests coincide are energy and opposition to American hegemony. Turkey is energy deprived (hence, its good relations with Iran); Russia wants a southern route for export of its abundant resources. A collaboration has been in the works for many years. Erdogan's troubled relations with Washington have motivated him to hedge his strategic bets by establishing practical ties with Moscow despite their differences over Syria. Purchase of the sophisticated S-400 air defense system from Russia punctuates that pragmatic relationship. It has little if any strategic value, though, since Turkey isn't going to war with anyone who has missiles. Erdogan does see the Pentagon's heartburn over the deal as giving him leverage in Washington. Turkey is not about to abandon its alliance with the U.S. in exchange for a Russian alliance.
8. Russia is committed to restoring the territorial and legal integrity of Syria. It opposes, therefore, the Turk occupations of Afrin and previously occupied pockets in northeastern Syria as well as the current invasion. They have been strongly advising the Kurds for more than a year to reach an accommodation with Assad. He, in turn, has offered them a high degree of autonomy. We also should bear in mind that the Kurds of Syria did not experience the oppression, and suppression, that they did in Iraq.
Of course, Russia is ready to take advantage of every opportunity to make the United States look bad. Currently, it need do nothing more than refrain from any association with the Turkish attack. It, therefore, is totally illogical to claim that Moscow is somehow conniving with Ankara.
9. The United States is not leaving Syria. It retains more than 1,000 troops '' not including armed CIA operatives and 'consultants.' In addition, it is actively organizing the coalition of Kurds, Arab tribes, and even some jihadi alumni east of the Euphrates where they have seized Syrian oil fields. The objectives are to keep the Assad government weak, distracted and denied a land bride from Iran via Iraq. That is why Washington intentionally allowed some ISIS elements to flee Raqqa and reestablish themselves in the region. Hence, both Turkey and the U.S. are occupying chunks of territory that are legally part of the sovereign Syrian state. By contrast, the Russians were invited into the country by that same sovereign state.
10. Washington is firmly committed to maintaining a major military as well as political presence in Mesopotamia. That is why it is moving heaven and earth to keep its much larger base network in neighboring Iraq while intervening in Baghdad politics to secure the position of leaders amenable to our doing so. These moves are parts of its all-out campaign to topple the mullahs' regime in Iran.
All of this complexity seems difficult for American policy-makers to digest '' and beyond the capabilities of the MSM & guest 'experts.'
SEE MAP BELOW
Finnish arms exports to Turkey have grown quickly | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 08:50
Turkish armoured vehicles patrolling near the Syrian border in March. Finland has sold protective steel used on such vehicles to Turkey. Image: AOPFinland's defence materiel exports to Turkey have expanded rapidly in recent years. In 2018 Turkey was the most important export country for Finnish arms, based on the value of export permits granted.
Following the Turkish attack on Syria, Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne decreed that the government will not approve any new arms export permits to Turkey or any other country waging war.
Finland has however already sold tens of millions of euros worth of defence equipment to Ankara in recent years, according to Finnish Defence Ministry figures.
The freeze on new permits does not mean a halt to Finnish arms exports to Turkey, as current contracts will still be honoured. These sometimes include deliveries spaced out over 3-4 years, for instance. Meanwhile not all licenses necessarily result in actual sales and deliveries.
Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen says that Finnish authorities are looking into whether it would be possible to reconsider any licences that have already been granted but that "cancelling permits is not simple".
Ministry: Growth not necessarily tied to policyAccording to the Defence Ministry, the growth in exports to Turkey is not necessarily the result of a conscious decision by Finland. It notes that any exports are affected by the laws of supply and demand, and that a single delivery can distort annual sales figures.
"Then it seems from outside that something has changed policy-wise, but that's not necessarily always the case," says Selina Kangas, a senior advisor on export control at the Defence Ministry.
The most recent arms exports license to Turkey was granted three weeks ago to Robonic, a Tampere firm specialised in launch systems for unmanned aircraft.
Before Finnish authorities approve a permit, the Defence Ministry looks into how the products are to be used. Last September, a Finnish company's application to sell ammunition to Turkey was rejected.
"But in general negative decisions are rare," says Kangas.
Some 95 percent of Finnish military exports to Turkey are classified as armour or protective materials or equipment, including steel sheathing for armoured vehicles. Finland has also exported equipment for identifying various types of chemical, biological or radioactive materials.
Not all exports are defensive in nature though. For instance in 2015 Nammo Lapua received a permit to export 76,200 cartridges.
From 2015 to 2018, exports to Turkey soared from 3.6 million euros to 17 million euros annually.
Meanwhile Turkey's share of Finnish defence materiel exports rose from 3.6 percent to 13.2 percent. In the early 2010s, Turkey was not even close to being among Finland's most important defence materiel export countries.
Qatar''Turkey pipeline - Wikipedia
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 11:12
Qatar-Turkey pipelineLocationCountryQatar, TurkeyGeneral directioneast''westFromQatarToTurkey (with links from there to Europe)General informationTypeNatural gasThe Qatar-Turkey pipeline was a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline from the Iranian''Qatari South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field towards Turkey, where it could connect with the Nabucco pipeline to supply European customers as well as Turkey. One route to Turkey was via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria,[1][2] and another was through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.[3][4] Syria's rationale for rejecting the Qatar proposal was said to be "to protect the interests of [its] Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas."[1]
Theory relating to Syrian conflict [ edit ] In 2012 an analyst cited by Ansa Mediterranean suggested that Qatar's involvement in the Syrian Civil War was based in part on its desire to build a pipeline to Turkey through Syria:
"The discovery in 2009 of a new gas field near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income. Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas. Only Al-Assad is in the way. Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the best organized political movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia's efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime. Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir's broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus." [5]
See also [ edit ] Iran''Iraq''Syria pipelineReferences [ edit ] ^ a b Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian, 30 August 2013, Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern ^ Pipelines International, March 2010, Pipeline projects in the Middle East ^ The National, 26 August 2009, Qatar seeks gas pipeline to Turkey ^ The National, 18 January 2010, Turkey touts proposed gas pipeline from Qatar ^ Ansa Mediterranean, 1 October 2012, Syria: new markets for Qatari gas without Al Assad, analyst External links [ edit ] ORSAM, January 2011, Is the Qatar-Iraq-Turkey-Europe Natural Gas Pipeline Project Feasible?Pepe Escobar, Al Jazeera, 6 August 2012, Syria's Pipelineistan war
25 4 45
FEC INdictment of Ivan and Lev
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:43
AP PROPAGANDA - Anatomy of the phone call now imperiling Trump's presidency
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:38
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- There were dozens of ears listening to President Donald Trump's 30-minute phone call with the leader of Ukraine that is at the center of a House impeachment inquiry , and as many eyes that saw what he said.
White House staffers, working in the secure, soundproof Situation Room in the West Wing basement, listened in and chronicled the conversation . National Security Council personnel edited a memo written about the call. White House lawyers, according to a government whistleblower , directed that the memo be uploaded into a highly restricted classified computer network. And there were the staffers whose keystrokes on a computer made that happen.
They represent a universe of people, little known outside their vital circle of national security officials, who can either support or disavow the whistleblower's account. Their roles could well become more public as the impeachment investigation unfolds and Congress seeks additional witnesses.
Some staffers involved with the call still work at the White House; others have left. But what was thought to be a routine conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy turned into anything but that, when Trump asked him to investigate Ukraine's involvement in the 2016 presidential election and the activities of Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
___
30 MINUTES THAT CHANGED THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
By the time staffers in the Situation Room got the president of Ukraine on the phone at 9:03 a.m., Trump had just finished firing off tweets claiming complete vindication from former special counsel Robert Mueller's congressional testimony the day before about the Russia investigation. On the call, Trump was first to speak. He showered the 41-year-old Ukrainian, a novice politician and former comedian, with praise following his party's victory in parliamentary elections. Zelenskiy chatted about how he wanted to ''drain the swamp'' in Kyiv and how he wished the European Union would provide more financial support. He told Trump that Ukraine was ready to buy more Javelin anti-tank missiles from the United States.
The next 10 words that came out of Trump's mouth '-- ''I would like you to do us a favor, though'' '-- are what triggered the House impeachment inquiry that has imperiled his presidency.
Trump asked Zelenskiy to work with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to look into Biden and his son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Trump says it was an innocent, ''perfect'' call. But some White House staffers, worried that Trump seemed to be asking Ukraine for dirt on Biden, sounded alarms. They suggested the memorandum of the call '-- ''telcon'' for short '-- be transferred into a restricted server, usually reserved for documents about covert operations.
___
BEFORE THE CALL
This call, as well as others Trump has had with foreign leaders, was unusual in other ways, too. In past administrations, top foreign policy officials routinely briefed a president in person right before a call and provided written materials as well.
A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul worked at the NSC during the Obama administration and helped write briefs to prepare for dozens of calls with Russian leaders, including Vladimir Putin.
''Judging from the content of the Trump-Zelenskiy call, Trump was not reading talking points,'' McFaul said. ''No one on our team ever would have prepared a call package prompting Obama to ask for a personal favor that would help him win reelection. I also doubt that Trump's NSC staff would have written or cleared such a talking point for their boss.''
One individual with firsthand knowledge of how the Trump calls with foreign leaders are handled said the president ''hates'' such ''pre-briefs'' and frequently has refused to do them. Trump doesn't like written background materials either, preferring to handle the calls himself, often in the morning from the residence. Occasionally, while on the phone with foreign heads of state, Trump has handed the receiver to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, so she can talk with the leader, according to this individual.
The person said a six-page pre-brief with attachments was once prepared for Trump before a call to a foreign leader. But that turned out to be too long, as did a single-page version. Preparing pre-brief note cards that offered about three talking points for Trump to make on a call was the norm, according to this person, who feared retribution for describing this process and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The individual said that when Trump is done with the note cards, he often rips them up and tosses them in a burn bag. Staff who handle records have had to retrieve the burn bags from the residence, put the papers out on a table and tape them back together to preserve them as official presidential records, this person said.
___
RUN OF THE MILL
Calls between a president and a foreign leader typically start with U.S. intelligence officers detailed to the White House gathering in the Situation Room, a process that has been in place for decades, according to two people familiar with the operation in the Trump White House and past administrations. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss how Trump's calls with foreign heads of state are handled.
During the Ukraine call, several others listened in. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Keith Kellogg, national security adviser for Vice President Mike Pence, were on the call. It's unclear if they were at the White House or listened in on ''drop'' lines, secure hookups top officials can use from outside the White House.
Others who typically would have listened in would have been the president's national security adviser, John Bolton, or his deputy, Charles Kupperman, who have both left the White House; the NSC's director of Russia and Europe, who currently is Tim Morrison; the NSC's Ukraine expert; and possibly someone from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's office.
Lawyers who handle NSC issues include John Eisenberg and his deputy, Michael Ellis. It's unclear what, if any, role Ellis played, but the former counsel for the House Intelligence Committee has been in the spotlight before.
The New York Times reported in March 2017 that he allowed his former boss, the then-committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to review classified material at the White House, seeking to bolster Trump's claim that he was wiretapped during the 2016 campaign on the orders of the Obama administration. The intelligence reports consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about trying to develop contacts in the inner circle of then President-elect Trump. The report was not confirmed by The Associated Press.
The NSC declined to confirm who was on the call.
Down in the Situation Room, several others would have been listening. One person monitors the call to make sure the line is not interrupted. Others are tasked with documenting what is said. No audio recordings are made. The memorandum of the call, the telcon, which the White House has released, is the closest thing to a word-for-word transcript that is produced and is the official presidential record of the conversation.
''When I got to the Situation Room and my predecessor explained this incredibly inefficient process that we use, I had a lot of questions,'' said Larry Pfeiffer, a 30-year U.S. intelligence veteran who managed the Situation Room during the Obama years. ''I said 'Why don't we just record the call and write a transcript based on that?'''
Pfeiffer said his predecessor told him that the White House stopped taping presidential calls in the 1970s when President Richard Nixon recorded 3,700 hours of conversations, transcripts of which were used by Watergate investigators and during impeachment hearings that followed.
Pfeiffer said White House lawyers finally approved the idea of having a duty officer, wearing a headset, sit in a separate room, and repeat what was said on the call into voice-to-text software '-- again without creating any audio recording.
Individuals familiar with Trump White House procedure say one Situation Room staffer, using voice-to-text software, repeats each word the president says and another listens and repeats what the foreign leader says. The software turns the words they repeat into text and a rough draft of the telcon is produced.
That draft is given to subject matter specialists on the NSC, who edit the draft for accuracy. Each draft is separately preserved. After it's finalized, it's turned over to the national security adviser '-- Bolton, at the time '-- or the deputy, who was Kupperman, for their approval. White House lawyers also play a role in approving NSC documents.
After that, the telcon is given back to staffers tasked with preserving the document as a presidential record.
___
WHISTLEBLOWER SOUNDS OFF
Somewhere during this sequence, people privy to the call questioned whether Trump was pressuring the Ukrainian leader to investigate the Bidens. Trump has denied that he did and publicly released the telcon recounting what was said on the call.
He released it after a whistleblower, a CIA officer, filed a complaint about the call with the intelligence community's inspector general. ''In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to lock down'' all records of the phone call, the whistleblower wrote. ''This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.''
The unidentified whistleblower '-- one of two who have come forward '-- said White House lawyers directed that the telcon be taken off a computer server where classified documents on foreign leader calls are normally kept. They directed it be transferred to a computer network with restricted access for documents about covert operations or other highly sensitive information. The telcon, which was classified as secret, did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.
One of the two people familiar with how foreign leader calls are handled in the Trump White House said putting a document classified only as ''secret'' into a server holding very highly classified information is not against any rule, but is a means of ''leak prevention.''
That person also said it wasn't common practice to put telcons into the more restrictive server, but that around the same time Bolton became national security adviser in the spring of 2018, it became standard not to share the telcons with the State Department, the national intelligence director and the Pentagon.
Those officials were told that if they wanted to see them, they could read them the next time they were at the White House, the individual said.
We're in a permanent coup
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 07:32
I've lived through a few coups. They're insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.
The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who's got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who's writing tonight's newscast?
When the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin's crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars, beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. A key moment came when one of Yeltsin's men, Alexander Rutskoi '' who two years later would himself lead a coup against Yeltsin '' prevailed upon a Major in a tank unit to defy KGB orders and turn on the ''criminals.''
We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.
That's all over, in the Trump era.
On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have ''peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden'' were arrested at Dulles airport on ''campaign finance violations.'' The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing ''dirt'' on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will be asked to give depositions to impeachment investigators. They're reportedly going to refuse. Their lawyer John Dowd also says they will ''refuse to appear before House Committees investigating President Donald Trump.'' Fruman and Parnas meanwhile claim they had real derogatory information about Biden and other politicians, but ''the U.S. government had shown little interest in receiving it through official channels.''
For Americans not familiar with the language of the Third World, that's two contrasting denials of political legitimacy.
The men who are the proxies for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in this story are asserting that ''official channels'' have been corrupted. The forces backing impeachment, meanwhile, are telling us those same defendants are obstructing a lawful impeachment inquiry.
This latest incident, set against the impeachment mania and the reportedly ''expanding'' Russiagate investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, accelerates our timeline to chaos. We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs.
My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump's early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don't see this because they're not used to waking up in a country where you're not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don't understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president. The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump's inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.
The first big shot was fired in early January, 2017, via a CNN.com headline, ''Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.'' This tale, about the January 7th presentation of former British spy Christopher Steele's report to then-President-elect Trump, began as follows:
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
Four intelligence chiefs in the FBI's James Comey, the CIA's John Brennan, the NSA's Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, presented an incoming president with a politically disastrous piece of information, in this case a piece of a private opposition research report.
Among other things because the news dropped at the same time Buzzfeed decided to publish the entire ''bombshell'' Steele dossier, reporters spent that week obsessing not about the mode of the story's release, but about the ''claims.'' In particular, audiences were rapt by allegations that Russians were trying to blackmail Trump with evidence of a golden shower party commissioned on a bed once slept upon by Barack Obama himself.
Twitter exploded. No other news story mattered. For the next two years, the ''claims'' of compromise and a ''continuing'' Trump-Russian ''exchange'' hung over the White House like a sword of Damocles.
Few were interested in the motives for making this story public. As it turned out, there were two explanations, one that was made public, and one that only came out later. The public justification as outlined in the CNN piece, was to ''make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him [were] circulating among intelligence agencies.''
However, we know from Comey's January 7, 2017 memo to deputy Andrew McCabe and FBI General Counsel James Baker there was another explanation. Comey wrote:
I said I wasn't saying this was true, only that I wanted [Trump] to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.
Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report complied by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won't give news agencies a ''hook'' to publish the news.
Now imagine if that news came out on Fox days later. Imagine further that within a year, one of the four officials became a paid Fox contributor. Democrats would lose their minds in this set of circumstances.
The country mostly did not lose its mind, however, because the episode did not involve a traditionally presidential figure like Obama, nor was it understood to have been directed at the institution of ''the White House'' in the abstract.
Instead, it was a story about an infamously corrupt individual, Donald Trump, a pussy-grabbing scammer who bragged about using bankruptcy to escape debt and publicly praised Vladimir Putin. Audiences believed the allegations against this person and saw the intelligence/counterintelligence community as acting patriotically, doing their best to keep us informed about a still-breaking investigation of a rogue president.
But a parallel story was ignored. Leaks from the intelligence community most often pertain to foreign policy. The leak of the January, 2017 ''meeting'' between the four chiefs and Trump '' which without question damaged both the presidency and America's standing abroad '' was an unprecedented act of insubordination.
It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.
The agencies' new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The ''intel chiefs'' meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. A sample:
February 14, 2017: ''four current and former officials'' tell the New York Times the Trump campaign had ''repeated contacts'' with Russian intelligence.
March 1, 2017: ''Justice Department officials'' tell the Washington Post Attorney General Jeff Sessions ''spoke twice with Russia's ambassador'' and did not disclose the contacts ahead of his confirmation hearing.
March 18, 2017: ''people familiar with the matter'' tell the Wall Street Journal that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a ''contact'' with a Russian at Cambridge University, an episode that ''came to the notice of U.S. intelligence.''
April 8, 2017, 2017: ''law enforcement and other U.S. officials'' tell the Washington Post the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had ruled there was ''probable cause'' to believe former Trump aide Carter Page was an ''agent of a foreign power.''
April 13, 2017: a ''source close to UK intelligence'' tells Luke Harding at The Guardian that the British analog to the NSA, the GCHQ, passed knowledge of ''suspicious interactions'' between ''figures connected to Trump and ''known or suspected Russian agents'' to Americans as part of a ''routine exchange of information.''
December 17, 2017: ''four current and former American and foreign officials'' tell the New York Times that during the 2016 campaign, an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer told ''American counterparts'' that former Trump aide George Papadopoulos revealed ''Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
April 13, 2018: ''two sources familiar with the matter'' tell McClatchy that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has evidence Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016, ''confirming part of [Steele] dossier.''
November 27, 2018: a ''well-placed source'' tells Harding at The Guardian that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
January 19, 2019: ''former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation'' tell the New York Times the FBI opened an inquiry into the ''explosive implications'' of whether or not Donald Trump was working on behalf of the Russians.
To be sure, ''people familiar with the matter'' leaked a lot of true stories in the last few years, but many were clearly problematic even at the time of release. Moreover, all took place in the context of constant, hounding pressure from media figures, congressional allies like Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as well as ex-officials who could make use of their own personal public platforms in addition to being unnamed sources in straight news reports. They used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible.
A shocking number of these voices were former intelligence officers who joined Clapper in becoming paid news contributors. Op-ed pages and news networks are packed now with ex-spooks editorializing about stories in which they had personal involvement: Michael Morell, Michael Hayden, Asha Rangappa, and Andrew McCabe among many others, including especially all four of the original ''intel chiefs'': Clapper, Rogers, Comey, and MSNBC headliner John Brennan.
Russiagate birthed a whole brand of politics, a government-in-exile, which prosecuted its case against Trump via a constant stream of ''approved'' leaks, partisans in congress, and an increasingly unified and thematically consistent set of commercial news outlets.
These mechanisms have been transplanted now onto the Ukrainegate drama. It's the same people beating the public drums, with the messaging run out of the same congressional committees, through the same Nadlers, Schiffs, and Swalwells. The same news outlets are on full alert.
The sidelined ''intel chiefs'' are once again playing central roles in making the public case. Comey says ''we may now be at a point'' where impeachment is necessary. Brennan, with unintentional irony, says the United States is ''no longer a democracy.'' Clapper says the Ukraine whistleblower complaint is ''one of the most credible'' he's seen.
As a reporter covering the 2015''2016 presidential race, I thought Trump's campaign was disturbing on many levels, but logical as a news story. He succeeded for class reasons, because of flaws in the media business that gifted him mass amounts of coverage, and because he took cunning advantage of long-simmering frustrations in the electorate. He also clearly catered to racist fears, and to the collapse in trust in institutions like the news media, the Fed, corporations, NATO, and, yes, the intelligence services. In enormous numbers, voters rejected everything they had ever been told about who was and was not qualified for higher office.
Trump's campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes. That he was insincere and full of it and irresponsible, at first at least, when he attacked the ''deep state'' and the ''fake news media,'' doesn't change the reality of what's happened since. Even paranoiacs have enemies, and even Donald ''Deep State'' Trump is a legitimately elected president whose ouster is being actively sought by the intelligence community.
Trump stands accused of using the office of the presidency to advance political aims, in particular pressuring Ukraine to investigate potential campaign rival Joe Biden. He's guilty, but the issue is how guilty, in comparison to his accusers.
Trump, at least insofar as we know, has not used section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor political rivals. He hasn't deployed human counterintelligence ''informants'' to follow the likes of Hunter Biden. He hasn't maneuvered to secure Special Counsel probes of Democrats.
And while Donald Trump conducting foreign policy based on what he sees on Fox and Friends is troubling, it's not in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.
Trump's tinpot Twitter threats and cancellation of White House privileges for dolts like Jim Acosta also don't begin to compare to the danger posed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter '' under pressure from the Senate '' organizing with groups like the Atlantic Council to fight ''fake news'' in the name of preventing the ''foment of discord.''
I don't believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.
CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he's going to be jailed upon leaving office, he'll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the ''dictator'' MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it's where we're headed, unless someone calls off this craziness. Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.
Image by Donkey HoteyEarlier:
Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 1)
Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 2)
The roots of ''passive collusion''
Military vs. military
The intelligence community needs a house-cleaning
Expos(C) in The Hill challenges Mueller, media
The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller
The New York Times is no longer the paper of record
Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception
Also read:
Hate Inc.: How, and Why, the Media Makes Us Hate One Another
The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing: Adventures of an Unidentified Black Male
Donald Trump: 43 New Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Surface | SPIN
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 15:37
An astounding 43 new allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump are featured in the upcoming book All the President's Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator by journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy. Twenty-six of those 43 allegations entail instances of unwanted touching by Trump, according to an exclusive excerpt published by Esquire.
The passage details an allegation by a new accuser named Karen Johnson, whose story is sadly familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Trump since his 2016 presidential run. According to Johnson, the incident occurred at Mar-a-Lago in the early aughts, shortly before the then-reality show host proposed to Melania Trump.
Johnson claims in the book, which hits stores October 22, that she was assaulted by Trump at a New Year's Eve bash held at his Florida club. From the excerpt:
At the New Year's Eve party, Johnson, wearing a black Versace dress, danced with her friends. Shortly after glittering balloons fell from the ceiling at the stroke of midnight, her husband said he wasn't feeling well and the relative was ready to go. Johnson decided to make a quick trip to the restroom before they headed home. ''I hadn't seen [Trump] that whole entire night,'' said Johnson, who was in her late thirties at the time. ''I was just walking to the bathroom. I was grabbed and pulled behind a tapestry, and it was him. And I'm a tall girl and I had six-inch heels on, and I still remember looking up at him. And he's strong, and he just kissed me,'' she recounted to us. ''I was so scared because of who he was'... I don't even know where it came from. I didn't have a say in the matter.''
Johnson alleges Trump harassed her after the incident by constantly calling her and trying to pressure her into meeting with him, even insisting on sending private planes to pick her up when they were in different cities. Johnson says she rebuffed him by insisting that she had to take care of her terminally ill husband, who had multiple sclerosis. But Trump was undeterred and kept calling. Johnson says she never returned to Mar-a-Lago.
Years later, Johnson says she was shocked to hear the leaked Access Hollywood tape because Trump was boasting about things she says he had done to her.
''When he says that thing, 'Grab them in the pussy,' that hits me hard because when he grabbed me and pulled me into the tapestry, that's where he grabbed me'--he grabbed me there in my front and pulled me in,'' Johnson says in the book.
Johnson wasn't the only accuser struck by Trump's notorious ''grab 'em by the pussy'' remark and his subsequent denial during the second presidential debate of ever doing so. Trump accuser Jessica Leeds recalled being particularly enraged that the mogul denied ever sexually assaulting anyone because the remark essentially describes what she claims he did to her on an airplane in the late '70s.
''I wanted to punch the screen,'' Leeds told The New York Times in October 2016. According to Leeds, Trump raised an armrest separating them on a first-class flight and then put his hand up her skirt. ''He was like an octopus,'' Leeds said. ''His hands were everywhere '... It was an assault.''
People writer Natasha Stoynoff then came forward to allege that Trump had shoved her against a wall and forcefully kissed her when Melania had momentarily stepped away while the journalist was profiling the then-newlyweds. Like Johnson's, the alleged attack took place at Mar-a-Lago. And like Johnson, the incident took her completely by surprise.
''I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat,'' Stoynoff wrote in a first-person account for People. ''Now, I'm a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me. But Trump is much bigger'--a looming figure'--and he was fast, taking me by surprise and throwing me off balance. I was stunned.''
Several other women, including former Trump Organization employee Rachel Crooks and former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, have accused Trump of forcibly kissing them. Earlier this year, famed writer E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her when they were alone in a department store dressing room in the '90s.
The stories don't differ much, but they bear repeating: The women interact with Trump in a business or social setting, and the minute they happen to be alone with him, he surprises them by allegedly physically overpowering them. The accusations paint a portrait of an alleged serial predator who feels entitled to violate anyone in arm's reach in any way he sees fit.
Trump has repeatedly denied all claims of sexual assault. The White House has not yet responded to a request for comment.
How many women have to speak up before an alleged predator is held accountable? It took at least 20 before Harvey Weinstein was charged, and 50 years before Bill Cosby had to face the music. But when you're the most powerful man in the world, credible accusations from dozens of women don't even seem to move the needle.
Big Oil
'Our currency's stable, why not use it?' Russia looks to ditch US dollar for exchanges in rubles & euro in energy exports '-- RT Business News
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:22
Russia is planning to abandon the US dollar in favor of euro and rubles for currency settlements in global energy transactions in order to minimize reliance on the American currency.
''We have a very good currency, it's stable. Why not use it for global transactions?'' Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday. The minister noted that the only question is whether switching from the US dollar would lead to any excessive costs.
Also on rt.com Russia dumps half its US dollar holdings, while boosting gold, yuan & euro share of forex reserves ''We want [oil and gas sales] in rubles at some point. The question here is not to have any excessive costs from doing it that way, but if the broad'...'‰financial infrastructure is created, if the initial costs are very low, then why not?'' the minister stated. He added that Russia will be able to sell its energy exports in local currency, given the popularity of the country's domestic bonds among foreign investors, who own roughly 29 percent of its ruble debt.
Last month, Russia also announced that it will no longer take out loans in US dollars for the remainder of 2019 and the whole of 2020, turning instead to the yuan and euro.
''We will borrow in currencies other than the dollar,'' Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at the time.
Also in September, Russia's largest oil company Rosneft set the euro instead of the dollar as the default currency for all new exports of crude oil and refined products.In general, throughout 2018 and 2019, Russia has been steadily decreasing the US currency share of its international reserves, opting instead to increase gold, yuan and euro holdings, recent data from the country's central bank showed. The dollar share halved from 43.7 percent to 23.6 percent in the 12 months from March 2018, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) said in a report released earlier this month.
Also on rt.com Russia will only borrow in currencies other than US dollar '' finance minister All these moves come as Russia is trying to reduce its dependence on the greenback through the ''de-dollarization'' policy, partly in order to offset the impact of US sanctions on the country's economy following the reunification with Crimea back in 2014 and allegations of interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections. In August this year, Washington also banned its banks from buying sovereign Eurobonds directly from Russia. Russia's Finance Ministry replied that the country will shift its focus to selling debt to investors from Asia and Europe instead.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Green New Deal
Greta Thunberg lost Nobel because climate change unrelated to conflict - Business Insider
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:21
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, has become the face of climate-change activism.Thunberg launched the Fridays For Future movement '-- or School Strike for Climate '-- last year. It encourages students to skip school to demand action on climate change from their governments.The teenager was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but the award went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who brokered his nation's peace with the neighboring Eritrea.While Thunberg has remained silent about the snub so far, the Nobel Committee's selection has sparked an outcry on social media.One peace expert told The Washington Post that Thunberg was passed over because there "isn't scientific consensus that there's a relationship between climate change '-- or resource scarcity, more broadly '-- and armed conflict."Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had been a favorite for the prestigious award. Had she won, Thunberg would have become the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai remains the youngest-ever Nobel laureate, having won the award in 2014 when she was 17 years old.
Thunberg launched the Fridays For Future movement '-- or School Strike for Climate '-- last year. It encourages students to skip school to demand action on climate change from their governments. The movement earned her a nomination for this year's peace prize in March.
Instead of the teenager, however, the Nobel Committee said it selected Ahmed for his "efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea."
The prime minister worked out the principles for a peace agreement to end the long stalemate between the two countries, the committee added.
Other frontrunners included New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her decisive response to the Christchurch mass shootings in March and the Brazilian indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire for his efforts to protect the Amazon.
Thunberg's fans are not happyThunberg, who is fairly communicative on Twitter and Instagram, has been unusually silent since the announcement. (Granted, that might have something to do with the fact that she's in Denver preparing for this week's Fridays For Future climate strike.)
Thunberg entered the global spotlight over the past year as the leader of a youth movement that's pushing governments and corporations to address the climate crisis. She launched Fridays For Future when she was in ninth grade by staging a strike for two weeks outside the Swedish parliament. Now Thunberg spends every Friday on strike.
In March, more than 1 million young people in 123 countries skipped school and took to the streets to support Thunberg's cause. Six months later, on September 20, she was joined by an estimated 4 million people in 161 countries during the largest climate-change demonstration in history.
Read more: How 16-year-old Greta Thunberg became the face of climate-change activism
Some of the teenager's most vocal critics, including the conservative host Piers Morgan of "Good Morning Britain," jumped in to fill Thunberg's silence with remarks of their own about the Nobel Committee's decision.
"How DARE they actually give it to someone who forged peace?!!!!" he tweeted.
Morgan was poking fun at Thunberg's iconic speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month, in which she chastised world leaders who she said were looking to her for hope regarding climate change. "How dare you," Thunburg thundered. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."
But many of Thunberg's fans also took to social media to express their disappointment about the committee's decision.
'--Jake Harrison (@thejakeharrison) October 11, 2019Since Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel prize in March, her followers and fan base have continued to grow. Some of those supporters, while disappointed by her snub, were quick to mention the teenager's impact on the climate debate.
'--Anirudh Narayanan (@UhKneeRude) October 11, 2019Why didn't Thunberg win?Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy Andr(C) vsteg¥rd, who was among those who nominated Thunberg for the award, told The Guardian that she "has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace."
"We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict, and refugees," he said.
One peace expert told The Washington Post, however, that it was not entirely a surprise the Nobel Committee passed over Thunberg in favor of Ahmed, despite the teenager's overwhelming popularity.
The head of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Henrik Urdal, told The Post that he left Thunberg off the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist he suggested to the prize committee because there "isn't scientific consensus that there is a linear relationship between climate change '-- or resource scarcity, more broadly '-- and armed conflict."
Thunberg at the United Nations. Reuters
But that doesn't mean climate change isn't linked to peace. The US Pentagon classifies climate change as a "threat multiplier," meaning it can worsen other sources of instability and conflict. Heat waves, hurricanes, and other climate-change-related consequences like sea-level rise can exacerbate competition for natural resources and ethnic tensions.
Thunberg's possible prize would not have been the first awarded for work that increases climate-change awareness '-- 12 years ago, former US Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change took home the honors.
But Urdal added that such a pick was less likely today because the Nobel Committee had been sticking far more closely to the vision of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish businessman who founded the awards.
According to Nobel, the Nobel laureate needed to be a figure who had advanced the "abolition or reduction of standing armies."
Unfortunately for Thunberg and her supporters, her climate activism apparently didn't fit that bill.
Freaky air-breathing fish sparks 'kill it immediately' warning - CNET
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:10
This USGS photo lets you peer inside the mouth of a northern snakehead.
USGS Georgia's waterways got some bad news this week when an angler landed a northern snakehead fish in a private pond. These oddball animals can get up to 3 feet in length (that's about a meter) and are known for their voracious appetites and ability to breathe air.
Juvenile northern snakeheads are capable of moving across land.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources The Georgia Department of Natural Resources issued an alert about the fish this week and gave instructions for what to do if you think you've caught one.
The first step is to not release it. Next: "Kill it immediately (remember, it can survive on land) and freeze it." The department asks anglers to report suspected snakeheads to the Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.
A United States Geological Survey fact sheet says the northern snakehead can survive up to four days out of the water and that juveniles can migrate over land, making this toothy fish a prime candidate for your nightmares. The fish compete with native species for both food and habitat.
The northern snakehead is native to China but has already been spotted in multiple US states, including Maryland, California, Arkansas and Virginia.
The fish likely made their way into the wild from unauthorized releases by fish markets or aquarium owners. The snakehead's capture in Georgia is a first for the Peach State.
"We are now taking steps to determine if they have spread from this water body and, hopefully, keep it from spreading to other Georgia waters," said Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.
In case you're wondering, you can indeed eat a northern snakehead. It might be ugly, but it's reportedly delicious.
Chevy And GMC Are In Big Trouble Over Diesel Engines | CarBuzz
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:41
Wait, doesn't this story sound familiar?
While the ramifications of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal continue to be felt, it seemed like the dark fog over diesel technology was finally lifting. But now General Motors is dealing with its own situation regarding diesel engines. The Detroit News reports that GM is now facing a class-action suit alleging its 6.6-liter Duramax engine found in 2011-2016 Chevrolet and GMC models is not compatible with US diesel fuel.
Details of the lawsuit, which was filed this week, say GM sold "hundreds of thousands" of engines containing a Bosch fuel injection pump that pumps metal shavings into the fuel injection system, ruining both the fuel system and the entire engine. American diesel fuel is thinner than its European counterpart, allowing for air pockets that cause the metal to rub against metal and create shavings.
"The pump secretly deposits metal shavings and debris throughout the fuel injection system and the engine until it suddenly and catastrophically fails without warning," the lawsuit alleges. "Such catastrophic failure often causes the vehicle to shut off while in motion and renders it unable to be restarted because the vehicle's fuel injection system and engine component parts have been completely contaminated and destroyed. GM promised consumers the continued reliability of their diesel engines, but with increased fuel efficiency and power at greater fuel efficiency. However, this came with a hidden and catastrophic cost that was secretly passed on to consumers," the suit claimed while also referring to the engines as a "ticking time bomb."
Eight plaintiffs filed the lawsuit and they say the issue "is at least in the tens of thousands, and are numerous and geographically dispersed across the country." Bosch and GM have declined to comment. Affected vehicles include:
2011''2016 2500HD Silverado 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LML engines
2011''2016 3500HD Silverado 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LML engines
2011''2016 2500HD Sierra 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LML engines
2011''2016 3500HD Sierra 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LML engines
2010''2011 Chevrolet Express vans with Duramax LGH engines
2010''2011 GMC Savana vans with Duramax LGH engines
2010''2011 GMC Sierra trucks with RPO ZW9 with Duramax LGH engines
2011''2012 Chevrolet 2500HD Silverado 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LGH engines
2011''2012 Chevrolet 3500HD Silverado 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LGH engines
2011''2012 Chevrolet 2500HD Sierra 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LGH engines
2011''2012 Chevrolet 3500HD Sierra 6.6L V8 Duramax diesel trucks with LGH engines
Any Collusion?
UK's GCHQ Director Confirms Obama Spied on 'Trump and Campaign' Using British Intel Assets Organized as Project Fulsome (See Top Secret Letter) '' The Millennium Report
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:07
UK Letter Stating President Obama Asked UK to Spy on Trump Organization and Trump CampaignSOTN Editor's Note: Dear State of the Nation readership: the following ''Project Fulsome'' letter is as big as it gets.In all of our years of investigative reporting, we have often come across smoking guns.
However, what you will find posted below is the actual gun '... with fingerprints all over it.
Those fingerprints belong to President Barack Hussein Obama, easily the most corrupt and criminal, lawless and treasonous of any POTUS in history.
Never in American history has a single hard piece of evidence so incriminated a sitting president for multiple high crimes and misdemeanors.
What makes the following official letter signed by the former Director of Great Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) so radioactive, is that it names US President Barack Obama as the one illegally requesting a foreign nation to spy and surveil on first Candidate Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for POTUS, and then on the same person as President-elect.
Because of the true import and far-reaching ramifications of the following letter, it's all too clear that all of the other suspicions about Team Obama are also correct '.... which, when considered in the aggregate, essentially constitute an unparalleled crime wave of epic proportions.
*And yet it's the hopelessly corrupt Democrats who are impeaching Trump.
Well, now you know why'--they're all know they're up to their eyeballs in alligators that Trump has set loose before he drains the swamp.
Which is exactly why this little counter-coup was launched: Trump Carries Out Sting Operation Against Coup Plotters Via UKRAINEgate
State of the NationOctober 12, 2019
N.B. SOTN thanks PIB for their excellent expos(C) posted below.
UK Letter Stating President Obama Asked UK to Spy on Trump Organization and Trump CampaignRobert David SteelePublic Intelligence Blog
Full Text Below the Fold
[Actual Signed Document]
Date: 17 November 2016GCHQ References: A / 7238 / 6547 /12
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MPSecretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
ISA-94: APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL OF WARRANT CSO/142263 TO SURVEIL 725 5TH AVE. NEW YORK, NY, USA, 5TH & 26TH FLOORS
On 28 August 2016, GCHQ/CSO filed for permission to execute Project FULSOME at the request of the US President, seeking intelligence gathering into the Trump Organization and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., both located at 725 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA. Activities include foreign and US domestic signals collection, in regards to communications with Russian hostile actors.IOCCO approved FULSOME on 15 September 2016, allowing 90 days of initial SIGINT gathering, with the potential for renewal, should the situation allow. This memo's purpose is to request a 90 day renewal of FULSOME's original charter, with further potential for renewal, thereafter.Since FULSOME's start, a clear collection of actionable leads have accrued, both from the Trump campaign itself, from former MI5 agent Michael Steele, and from others (see fig. 1-7 in attachment).US National Security Adviser Rice has requested that we continue our surveillance, during the transition period, as internal US intelligence is potentially compromised by the incoming Trump administration.For these reasons, we are requesting that FULSOME's charter be renewed for another 90 days.Sincerely,
Robert HanniganGCHQ
*This communication is deemed Top Secret STRAP3 and must not be discussed, copied, shared, or distributed,*
Phi Beta Iota: This seems to be a candidate for criminal inquiries against Obama, Rice, Clapper, Hayden, and others. It also suggests that Admiral Mike Rogers, in his visit to see then candidate Donald Trump on 17 November 2016 (note that this is the same date as the GCHQ letter), was a true patriot and blew the whistle on the criminal abuse of office by Obama and Rice and others including John Brennan and James Comey as well as those named often such as Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page. We strongly suspect the FISA investigation being completed by John Durham will lead to criminal indictments of all those names above with the possible exception of Barack Obama and of course Mke Rogers who seems to have done the right thing for the right reasons, God bless him.
__https://phibetaiota.net/2019/10/uk-letter-stating-president-obama-asked-uk-to-spy-on-trump-organization-and-trump-campaign/#more-145467
Was Adam Schiff running a spy operation against the White House?
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:35
October 12, 2019
Seems every day brings a new revelation about Democratic efforts to rig an impeachment of the president. The false claims and astonishing conflicts of interest being thrown out there are piling up fast.
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Latest, from the San Francisco Examiner, exposes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's choice of staffers, who it turns out had been two disgruntled deep-staters from the White House who had actually worked with the so-called 'whistleblower':
Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018, was hired in February, while Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, joined Schiff's committee staff in August, the same month the whistleblower submitted his complaint.
The whistleblower was an NSC official who worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and who has expertise in Ukraine, the Washington Examiner has reported.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1567099776462-0'); }); } A career CIA analyst with Ukraine expertise, the whistleblower aired his concerns about a phone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a House Intelligence Committee aide on Schiff's staff. He had previously informed the CIA's legal counsel's office.
Schiff initially denied he knew anything about the complaint before it was filed, stating on Sep. 17: ''We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to."
But it later emerged that a member of his staff had spoken to the whistleblower before his complaint was submitted on Aug. 12. The Washington Post concluded that Schiff "clearly made a statement that was false."
Grace, 36, was hired to help Schiff's committee investigate the Trump White House. That month, Trump accused Schiff of "stealing people who work at White House." Grace worked at the NSC from 2016 to 2018 in U.S.-China relations and then briefly at the Center for a New American Security think tank, which was founded by two former senior Obama administration officials.
So these people were all buddies beforehand, and this would explain why the so-called whistleblower had been sneaking around with Schiff's staff before he made his whistleblower complaint.
And that only came after someone with influence was able to get the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IGIC) to change the rules about whistleblowers needing no firsthand knowledge about the wrongdoing they were supposedly reporting. Once that rules change was put into place, the whistleblower got going.
More and more, this sounds like a preplanned setup. And one Trump operative has a very good summary of what seems to have been really going on as these anything but exculpatory stories mount:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The real headline is this: <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchiff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AdamSchiff</a> was spying on the White House illegally &amp; rumor is the &quot;whistleblower&quot; met with Schiff on a regular basis before the whistleblowing - that is why he went to the Dem side of the Intel committee first...a total setup <a href="https://t.co/d45tUDFHdE">https://t.co/d45tUDFHdE</a></p>&mdash; Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) <a href="https://twitter.com/T_S_P_O_O_K_Y/status/1182845577681362944?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 12, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Schiff was essentially running an illegal spy operation against the White House, recruiting his staffers, having them recruit their whistleblowers, grooming them up, changing the rules so they could file their complaints, and then lying that they knew anything about the lunatic efforts to get President Trump impeached. See, they were just standing there, minding their own business when all this stuff happened. And everything that did happen was just ... a coincidence.
Experienced intelligence operatives, and apparently this Trump operative has this sort of background, like to say there are no coincidences.
As facts continue to roll out, it's getting more and more obvious that Schiff's operation was to orchestrate this impeachment scenario all along, going into high gear with the flameout of the Mueller investigation.
Trump's been having a bad time with public opinion in the wake of the Schiff operation orchestrating the media coverage as well. But the facts on the ground suggest it was all an illegal spying operation on the president.
And that's a far more concrete crime than anything Trump is accused of committing. Right now, Schiff has 109 congressional representatives signed on to GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona's call to condemn and censure Schiff for this sick little illegal freelance operation to spy on Trump.
It's an abuse of his office, for sure, given that Schiff is supposed to be focused on intelligence, not on being one of those creepy secret-police characters in 'The Lives of Others.' It's also an outrageous misuse of taxpayer dollars. In light of this Schiff spy operation, and if Democrats don't want some backatcha next time there's a Dem in office with a Republican House, it really ought to be every last one of them signed up to that Biggs list.
Image credit: Caricature by Donkey Hotey, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Seems every day brings a new revelation about Democratic efforts to rig an impeachment of the president. The false claims and astonishing conflicts of interest being thrown out there are piling up fast.
Latest, from the San Francisco Examiner, exposes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's choice of staffers, who it turns out had been two disgruntled deep-staters from the White House who had actually worked with the so-called 'whistleblower':
Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018, was hired in February, while Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, joined Schiff's committee staff in August, the same month the whistleblower submitted his complaint.
The whistleblower was an NSC official who worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and who has expertise in Ukraine, the Washington Examiner has reported.
A career CIA analyst with Ukraine expertise, the whistleblower aired his concerns about a phone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a House Intelligence Committee aide on Schiff's staff. He had previously informed the CIA's legal counsel's office.
Schiff initially denied he knew anything about the complaint before it was filed, stating on Sep. 17: ''We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to."
But it later emerged that a member of his staff had spoken to the whistleblower before his complaint was submitted on Aug. 12. The Washington Post concluded that Schiff "clearly made a statement that was false."
Grace, 36, was hired to help Schiff's committee investigate the Trump White House. That month, Trump accused Schiff of "stealing people who work at White House." Grace worked at the NSC from 2016 to 2018 in U.S.-China relations and then briefly at the Center for a New American Security think tank, which was founded by two former senior Obama administration officials.
So these people were all buddies beforehand, and this would explain why the so-called whistleblower had been sneaking around with Schiff's staff before he made his whistleblower complaint.
And that only came after someone with influence was able to get the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IGIC) to change the rules about whistleblowers needing no firsthand knowledge about the wrongdoing they were supposedly reporting. Once that rules change was put into place, the whistleblower got going.
More and more, this sounds like a preplanned setup. And one Trump operative has a very good summary of what seems to have been really going on as these anything but exculpatory stories mount:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The real headline is this: <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchiff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AdamSchiff</a> was spying on the White House illegally &amp; rumor is the &quot;whistleblower&quot; met with Schiff on a regular basis before the whistleblowing - that is why he went to the Dem side of the Intel committee first...a total setup <a href="https://t.co/d45tUDFHdE">https://t.co/d45tUDFHdE</a></p>&mdash; Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) <a href="https://twitter.com/T_S_P_O_O_K_Y/status/1182845577681362944?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 12, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Schiff was essentially running an illegal spy operation against the White House, recruiting his staffers, having them recruit their whistleblowers, grooming them up, changing the rules so they could file their complaints, and then lying that they knew anything about the lunatic efforts to get President Trump impeached. See, they were just standing there, minding their own business when all this stuff happened. And everything that did happen was just ... a coincidence.
Experienced intelligence operatives, and apparently this Trump operative has this sort of background, like to say there are no coincidences.
As facts continue to roll out, it's getting more and more obvious that Schiff's operation was to orchestrate this impeachment scenario all along, going into high gear with the flameout of the Mueller investigation.
Trump's been having a bad time with public opinion in the wake of the Schiff operation orchestrating the media coverage as well. But the facts on the ground suggest it was all an illegal spying operation on the president.
And that's a far more concrete crime than anything Trump is accused of committing. Right now, Schiff has 109 congressional representatives signed on to GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona's call to condemn and censure Schiff for this sick little illegal freelance operation to spy on Trump.
It's an abuse of his office, for sure, given that Schiff is supposed to be focused on intelligence, not on being one of those creepy secret-police characters in 'The Lives of Others.' It's also an outrageous misuse of taxpayer dollars. In light of this Schiff spy operation, and if Democrats don't want some backatcha next time there's a Dem in office with a Republican House, it really ought to be every last one of them signed up to that Biggs list.
Image credit: Caricature by Donkey Hotey, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
FISA Judges Collyer and Boasberg Both Identified NSA Databases Used for Political Surveillance'... | The Last Refuge
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:08
There is a serious problem here'...FISA Court judges Rosemary Collyer (declassified 2017) and James Boasberg (declassified 2019) both identified issues with the NSA database being exploited for unauthorized reasons. We have a large amount of supplemental research to see through most of Collyer's report and we are now starting the same process for Boasberg. However, an alarming possibility makes it important to outline a rough draft of what appears present.
Initially when Collyer's report was declassified in April 2017 we were able to start assembling additional circumstantial and direct evidence. Two years of releases allowed us to see a more detailed picture.
Additional documents, direct testimony from NSA Director Mike Rogers, and later connected material from court filings, classified releases and ODNI statements made the understanding much clearer. What became visible was a process of using the NSA database for political surveillance. [SEE HERE]
With the Boasberg report we do not yet have enough supportive material to identify specific purposes. However, directly from the report itself there is a lot of information that shows a continuum of database activity that did not stop after Collyer's warnings, and the NSA promises. It seems, the political exploitation continues; and with that in mind some recent events are much more troubling.
Boasberg notes the ''about'' query option that NSA Director Mike Rogers halted, technically didn't stop. Instead operators used the ''to and from'' option almost identically as the ''about'' queries for downstream data review and extraction. The FISA Appellate Court appointed amici curiae to review Boasberg's opinion and reconcile counter claims by the FBI. Boasberg was never satisfied despite the FISC-R amicus assurances. His opinion reflects valid judicial cynicism within his reluctant re-authorization.
One of the weird aspects to both Collyer and Boasberg is that both FISC judges did not ever seek to ask the ''why'' question: why are all these unauthorized database searches taking place? Instead, both judges focus on process issues and technical procedural questions, seemingly from a position that all unauthorized searches were done without malicious intent.
Accepting that neither judge had the purpose of benefit to overlay any other information upon their FISA review, their lack of curiosity is not necessarily a flaw but rather a feature of a very compartmentalized problem.
Boasberg and Collyer are only looking at one set of data-points all centered around FISA(702) search queries. Additionally, the scale of overall annual database searches outlined by Boasberg extends well over three million queries by the FBI and thousands of anonymous users; and the oversight only covers a sub-set of around ten percent.
As a result of the number of users with database access; and as Boasberg notes in his declassified opinion there is no consistent application of audit-trails or audit-logs; and worse yet, users don't have to explain ''why'', so there's no FISC digging into ''why''; the process is a bureaucratic FUBAR from a compliance standpoint; perhaps that's by design.
All of that said, and accepting the FISC review is not engaged in the 'why', here's the part where seemingly disparate dots start to connect and things are concerning.
REMINDER from the Mueller Report:
My strong hunch is that behind this process we will find the reason why the 'Steele Dossier'' was so relevant to Mueller. You see, investigating the dossier made the 2017 Mueller investigation an extension of a 2016 counterintelligence investigation and not a criminal investigation (later, those were spun off).
By maintaining the counterintelligence process for Mueller, the FBI was able to continue exploiting the NSA database as a FISA(702) tool for their investigation. The foreign actors played a key role in this process. So long as the Mueller investigation was targeting foreign actors they could collect downstream evidence on the ''702'' (American persons) returns.
In essence, the ''small group'' was stretching the NSA database rules to conduct electronic warrantless searches and massive electronic surveillance on targets direct (''to/from'') and indirect (downstream).
The violations that Boasberg is identifying (March 2017 through March 2018) must also include FISA database searches conducted by Mueller's FBI team. It is all within the same system of electronic surveillance. The pattern, frequency and specifics of the Boasberg report are identical to the 2017 Rosemary Collyer report. Same violations. Same processes.
Against what we see more visible every day; and thinking about how corrupt we already know the Mueller investigation to be; now consider that without going to federal courts to gain legal authority, warrants, taps etc'.... using the database Mueller's team could continue to exploit the FISA(702) process.
They could gather material for their criminal cases through the NSA database and then transfer those results to their spun off prosecutions.
That's why the Steele Dossier was so important. The Dossier formed the basis to continue making the Mueller investigation a counterintelligence operation, Title-I. Without the Dossier creating the foreign construct, Mueller's team would have had to follow Title-III.
There is a better than strong possibility the Mueller team monitored all of their targets, extracted the evidence they needed, transferred it to prosecutors and proceeded to construct cases. They didn't need to do too much actual investigation because: (a) they knew the Russian-collusion/conspiracy was false; and (2) they could just access the NSA database and pull all the material they needed.
My hunch is that's why the DNI, Dan Coats, sat on this Boasberg ruling for a year. Boasberg presented this opinion in October 2018, it wasn't released until October 2019. That could also be a motive why Dan Coats left right before Boasberg's opinion was released. Perhaps IC interests did not want anyone putting 2+2 together if this judicial review was released during the ongoing Mueller probe.
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate the Steele Dossier in the second scope memo. If these suspicions are accurate, the reason Mueller wanted the dossier included would be to maintain Mueller's investigation as a counterintelligence operation. [An extension of Crossfire Hurricane] As a result, all previous FBI exploits using FISA(702) database searches would be authorized.
To get the Dossier moved from ''political opposition research'' into valid ''investigative evidence'' the FBI needed to find a way to get it into the investigation'.... Hence, Carter Page and the FISA warrant became the unwitting target and vehicle to carry it.
That explanation also reconciles why Rosenstein signed-off on the 3rd renewal of the Carter Page FISA. Rosenstein authorized a counterintelligence operation (2nd scope) and simultaneously re-authorized the cover story, the Carter Page FISA renewal.
The ramifications here are actually bigger than the original FISA database abuse. It means the Mueller group had secret ongoing background surveillance on all of their targets; and they did not need court authority (Title-III warrants) to get evidence. Maybe, just maybe, this is part of the reason why John Durham has expanded the time-frame for his review.
Now, bear with me'.... Again, just to be prudent, we don't have the supportive material yet to see through the Boasberg ruling, so there is some conjecture here. However, if we stand back and think about the bigger picture described; and we also think about current headlines continuing to surface; a whole bunch of sketchy new things start to reconcile.
Example: Listen to the video here for a minute as Chris Ferrell explains how people were being monitored by a State Department ''war room''.
Remember all of the State Department ''unmaskings'' that were taking place? Hundreds of unmaskings assigned to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, and yet no-one could identify who was doing them?
One of the significant changes between the Collyer report (covering 2016) and the Boasberg report (covering 2017) was an institutional inability to track who was doing the actual database searches. Some internal process was modified to create IC anonymity.
Well, against the backdrop of Ambassador Yovanovitch in 2017 and 2018 ''monitoring'' American persons in/around her Ukraine interests; and considering all of these database search queries identified by Boasberg in 2017 and 2018 ''incidentally'' captured Americans; perhaps this explains how the Yovanovitch ''monitoring'' was taking place.
Burisma Leadership Meeting With Ambassador Yovanovitch in October 2018 '' Link
We know what the FBI and ''contractors'' were doing in 2016; and given how invested the intelligence community is within the current stop-trump operations (writ large); and given the political stakes for the intelligence community, well, would there be a reason they would just stop electronic surveillance in January 2017 when President Trump was inaugurated?
I suspect this NSA database is being continually data-mined by ongoing institutional operatives and contractors who are working against the Trump administration. I suspect the surveillance of their political opposition is ongoing'....
.
Equador
BTOG from Daniel
Hey
Adam,
So today the policía shot a protester in the head while it was
live streaming on YouTube.
Where
we left off last the president moved the capital to Guayaquil temporarily
its an island and the people are laid back so it was a good move for him and he
did it just as the natives were getting to Quito. So the protest started and
the people were following the curfew not to be out past 8 pm however on the
second night as the crowds were headed in a police officer hit a protester with
a tear gas canisters causing him to fall down then the police ran him over the
protester was one of the leaders of the cotapaxi region. So the next day they
rested and had a day of morning. The day after that they said the hell with the
curfew you kill us even when we obey the rules. So they have not left the park
since. Also there are many videos showing the policía tear gassing peaceful
protesters it’s a bit of a war zone now.
Also
the Policía tear gassed a medical area full of women and children plus the
injured Today.
The
president still has not budged and the people said they will not talk unless
their demands are met. Bring back subsidies on the gas and give the leader of
the policía department to them.
This
is the video on YouTube of the protester begging shot 31 seconds there is a
longer video out there.
Epstein
Bill Gates had a closer relationship with Jeffrey Epstein than he admitted - The Verge
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:54
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and chairman of its board until 2014, was among the powerful men who spent a meaningful amount of time with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to reporting from The New York Times. Employees of Gates' namesake foundation reportedly also met with Epstein, in multiple visits to the disgraced financier's mansion.
A spokeswoman for Gates declined to say how many times the pair had met
Previously, Gates had told The Wall Street Journal that he didn't have a ''business relationship or friendship'' with Epstein. ''I met him,'' Gates told the Journal on September 10th. ''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. 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.''
In The New York Times article, a spokeswoman for Gates declined to say how many times the pair had met. The paper's reporting shows that Gates met with Epstein ''numerous times,'' including at least three times at Epstein's townhouse. ''His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,'' Gates wrote in a 2011 email to colleagues. His spokeswoman says he was ''referring only to the unique d(C)cor of the Epstein residence.''
''Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,'' his spokeswoman told The New York Times. ''Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein's ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates's personal values and the values of his foundation.''
Epstein told the people there that his conviction for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl was no worse than ''stealing a bagel''
The Gates Foundation has committed $1 billion to gender equality. Melinda Gates, Bill's wife and co-chair of The Gates Foundation, has said $1 billion is ''only a small fraction of what's necessary.'' The foundation has often touted its commitments to women and girls.
In 2011, Gates instructed a team to meet Epstein at his townhouse to discuss philanthropic fundraising, The New York Times reports. Epstein told the people there that his conviction for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl was no worse than ''stealing a bagel,'' according to two people who were there.
The two remained in contact, and at one point in 2013, Gates flew on Epstein's jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to a flight manifest. Gates' spokeswoman claims Gates, who owns his own private jet, didn't know it was Epstein's plane. Though the relationship between Gates and Epstein apparently cooled off after 2014, the Gates Foundation remained in contact with Epstein through 2017.
According to today's reporting, two members of Gates' inner circle served as intermediaries between Gates and Epstein. One, Melanie Walker, met Epstein after she graduated from college in 1992; she moved to New York, where she stayed in a building owned by Epstein. She also worked for Epstein in 1998 as a science advisor, after graduating from medical school. She joined the Gates Foundation in 2006.
That was where she met Boris Nikolic, who was the Gates Foundation's science advisor. She introduced him to Epstein. Nikolic, who now runs a venture capital firm, was named as a fallback executor to Epstein's will. (He has declined to do so in court proceedings.) Gates is an investor in Nikolic's fund. According to The New York Times, Nikolic says: ''I deeply regret ever meeting Mr. Epstein.''
NWO
Work and reforms of the UN 'at risk', Guterres warns Member States, amidst 'record-level' cash crisis | UN News
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:30
In a statement issue by his Spokesperson, the Secretary-General said he had written to Member States, ''about the worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade. The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.''
Although 129 States out of 193 have now paid their regular annual dues, the most recent being Syria, UN Spokesperson St(C)phane Dujarric told correspondents at the regular briefing in New York, others needed to pay ''urgently and in full''.
''This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.''
As of the end of September, only 70 per cent of the total assessment for the year had been paid, versus 78 per cent this time last year. Up to 8 October, Member States have paid $1.99 billion towards the regular budget assessement for 2019, which means there is an outstanding amount of around $1.3 billion for the year, Mr. Dujarric told correspondents.
Had the Organization not ''contained expenditures globally from the beginning of the year'', the cash shortfall in October could have reached $600 million, meaning there would not have been enough cash to pay for the General Assembly debate and the high-level meetings last month.
''To date, we have averted major disruptions to operations'', said the statement, but ''these measures are no longer enough. The Secretariat could face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November unless more Member States pay their budget dues in full.''
''The Secretary-General noted that this is a recurrent problem that severely hampers the Secretariat's ability to fulfil its obligations to the people we serve'', said Mr. Dujarric. ''We are now driven to prioritize our work on the basis of the availability of cash, thus undermining the implementation of mandates decided by inter-governmental bodies. The Secretary-General therefore looks to Member States to resolve the structural issues that underlie this annual crisis without further delay.''
Guterres addresses budget-setting Fifth Committee, on 'severe financial crisis'Addressing the budget-setting Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General noted that ''this month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade.'' In relation to borrowing from reserves set aside for UN Peacekeeping Operations in order to meet urgent expenditure needs, he said that the Organization risks ''exhausting the closed peacekeeping cash reserves and entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls.''
After running through the programme, or regular budget proposals for 2020, which keep spending the same as this year and amount to a total of $2.94 billion, including a net decrease of nearly 100 posts, Mr. Guterres said the plan represented a ''profound reflection on the path ahead and deep commitment to our shared work.''
''Yet the Organization is facing a severe financial crisis. To be more specific, a severe liquidity crisis. The equation is simple: without cash, the budget cannot be properly implemented.''
The UN chief said budget implementation was no longer being driven by planning, but according to ''the availability of cash at hand.'' With hiring and non-salary expenditure limited by liquidity, ''this undermines mandate delivery and goes against our efforts to focus less on inputs and more on results', he added.
Noting the difficulty of planning expenditure when money was not being received early enough in the year, he said urged Governments not to base spending next year on this year's patterns. ''This would only worsen an already alarming situation.''
Mr. Guterres said that last week, he had been ''forced to introduce extraordinary measures to cope with the record-level shortage of cash. Vacant posts cannot be filled, travel will be limited to essential travel only, meetings may have to be canceled or deferred''. This would not only affect operations in the main hubs of New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi, but also regional commissions, he warned.
War on Guns
FBI: More people killed with knives, hammers, feet than rifles in 2018
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 06:08
It's the data that the mainstream media tends to bury when it doesn't fit their agenda.
According to the FBI, more than five times as many people were killed in 2018 by knives, clubs and other cutting instruments than with rifles.
The metrics show that there were a total of 1,515 deaths by knives or other cutting instruments last year. Compare that against 297 people killed by rifles.
It's a gap that widened significantly over 2017. In that year, the FBI said nearly four times as many people were stabbed to death as killed with rifles. During that year, the number of murders with rifles was around 400.
It gets better. More than 100 more people were killed with hammers and clubs in 2018 than were killed by rifles. There were 443 people killed with hammers, clubs, or other ''blunt objects''.
We need to point out that the data isn't just semiautomatic rifles '' it's ALL rifles, including bolt action, pump or lever action rifles as well.
If you were to contrast the numbers between JUST semiautomatic rifles and knife homicides, the gap would be even larger.
Here's another number that will blow your mind. The data also shows that in 2018, there were 672 deaths from ''fists, feet and other 'personal weapons''' '' which is once again more than with rifles.
In 2017, there were 692 people killed in the same way '' a number larger than the total number of homicides by rifles and shotguns combined.
Yet you've got Democrat presidential hopeful Robert ''Beto'' O'Rourke campaigning on the confiscation of AR-15's. Remember '' last month during a Democrat debate, he said:
''Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15.''
Numbers from the National Shooting Sports Foundation show that there are more than 16 million privately owned AR-15s in the United States.
Let's look at the bigger picture, based on some 2016 data.
Rifles are only used in a small fraction of murders committed using firearms.
FBI data from that year showed that more than 7,100 people were killed using handguns, and that the vast majority of non-fatal crimes involving guns are also committed using handguns.
A 2012 study offers interesting reflections by a New Jersey intelligence center, which works in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
''Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,'' the report notes.
According to the CDC, in 2017, six-in-ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (23,854), while 37% were murders (14,542).
The rest were either unintentional (486), involved law enforcement (553) or had undetermined circumstances (338).
In 2017, gun suicides reached their highest recorded level '... yet the number of gun murders remained far below the peak in 1993, when there were 18,253 gun homicides. Also during that time, overall violent crime levels in the U.S. were much higher than they are today.
And although 2017 also brought the highest total number of gun deaths in America, it doesn't account for the growing population of the country.
When you break that down on a per-capita basis, we're talking about 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 '' the highest rate in more than two decades, but still well below the 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974, the highest rate in the CDC's online database.
Suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths.
Let's dive further into that.
Both the gun murder and gun suicide rates in America are both below where they were in the mid-1970's. In 2017, there were 4.6 gun murders per 100,000 people '' considerably below the 7.2 per 100,000 people in 1974.
In 2017, there were 6.9 gun suicides per 100,000 people '' that number was 7.7 in 1977.
The overarching idea behind the ''gun-control'' debate is this: The left wants to take away every last ability for citizens to defend themselves. Don't believe me? Keep reading.
Last week, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour ''hearing'' entitled ''Protecting America From Assault Weapons.''
That hearing covered issues that were framed to overlook the false narrative that Americans need protection from inanimate objects, and not from violent people with criminal tendencies. People who will use anything and everything at their disposal to carry out their violent plans.
The hearing also revealed the true agenda of the Democratic leadership, which was to lay out arguments In favor of the repealing of the 2ndAmendment, the illegalization of weapons ownership, and the left's complete refusal to engage in useful conversation regarding how Congress might attack the issue of gun safety.
Easily the most eye-opening claim of the proceedings came when Dr. RaShall Brackney, Chief of the Charlottesville Police Department in Virginia responded to a question from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) about whether she would support a ban on hunting rifles.
''I believe any weapon that can be used to hunt individuals should be banned,'' Brackney replied.Umm'...what?
Her statement seemed to indicate that she would be open to the banning of all firearms, and more specifically, all weapons.
So, for those keeping score at home, here is a list of items that would also need to be banned, according to the good doctor.
Guns. Knives. Vehicles. Baseball bats. Fire. Rocks. Rope. Screwdrivers. Hammers. Hands. The list goes on and on.
While Brackney did not actually call for a ban of these other items, that is essentially what she is doing in using such careless language.
According to the NRA, Dr. Brackney was given two opportunities by pro-gun committee members to walk back or provide more context for that statement. Instead, she dug in and reiterated the statement.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) asked her directly, ''Okay, so you then stand for the proposition to ban any type of firearm, because any firearm can be used and misused to kill people.''Rather than answering the question directly, Dr. Brackney began talking about police and the social contract. Rep. Steube tried asking again, only to be interrupted by an anti-gun committee member who tried to raise a point of order.
She claimed that Rep. Steube was ''attacking'' the witness '' when in fact he was merely trying to get a straight answer '' and requested that he ''tone down his words.'' That exchange took up most of Steube's remaining time for questioning, which was not reinstated.
Again Rep. Steube tried, to clarify, asking:
''Any type of weapon '... that can be used to kill people should be banned?''And then the response'...
''Sir,'' Brackney replied, ''you're adding the word 'type.' I said 'any weapons,' so that's my answer. Thank you.''Sadly, none of the committee members or witnesses in favor of the ban attempted to distance themselves from Brackney's push for a complete gun ban.
Okay, let's pause here for a quick question.
Does anyone else have an issue with Dr. Police Chief saying that all means of self-defense should be outlawed, while sitting on the side of the table that would be allowed to keep weapons should the government ever follow her advice?
Unfortunately, Dr. Brackney's statements may have been one of the only honest claims of the entire hearing by those arguing in favor of the ban.
In an outright misrepresentation (or as we like to call them, lies), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a Harvard Law School graduate, told a breathtaking whopper about the U.S. Supreme Court's pivotal Second Amendment decision, District of Columbia v. Heller:
He claimed the decision says, ''the Second Amendment gives you a right to a handgun for purposes of self-defense and a rifle for purposes of hunting or recreation, but nowhere does it give you a right to weapons of war.''In a very concise breakdown, the NRA said that the essence of theHeller decision is that Americans have a right to possess the sorts of bearable arms ''in common use for lawful purposes,'' particularly self-defense, and that handguns qualify because they are overwhelmingly chosen by responsible, law-abiding persons for that purpose.
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Notably, the decision does not purport to overturn the 1939 Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Miller, which held that the Second Amendment protection extends to arms that are ''part of the ordinary military equipment'' or the use of which ''could contribute to the common defense.''
It also notes that while Americans of the founding era might have owned firearms primarily for self-defense and hunting, the founders themselves wanted to ensure the Second Amendment provided an effective check against disarming the people, which in turn was necessary to ''be able to resist tyranny.''
Nowhere does either decision suggest that rifles are only protected to the extent they are used for hunting or recreation. Indeed, Heller makes clear that self-defense is the ''core lawful purpose'' with which the Second Amendment is concerned.
Another theme pushed again and again was that ''assault weapons'' like the AR-15 are ''battlefield weapons'' that have no place on ''America's streets.''
Fortunately, as witness Amy Swearer testified, the overwhelmingly majority of the 16 million or so AR and AK pattern rifles in America are not ''on the streets'' but in the homes of law-abiding owners who never have and never will use them for anything other than lawful purposes.
Violent criminals have not embraced semi-automatic rifles as their ''weapons of choice.''
Rifles of all types, of which the guns that would be categorized as ''assault weapons'' are only a subset, are used in only 2% of homicides. In 2018, more than five times as many people were killed with knives than were killed with all rifles.
The same year, more than twice as many people were killed with personal weapons like hands, fists, or feet.
Remember the list of potentially banned items, I forgot to add feet.
When all was said and done, gun owners had no reassurance that there was any limiting principle to the anti-gun committee members' prohibitive intentions or that they were willing to learn anything that would influence their decision-making.
Indeed, one could imagine that long after semi-automatic rifles were banned, the exact same hearing could be held on the next class of firearm law-abiding gun owners would be forced to surrender because the guns were used in crimes they did not commit.
'--'--'--
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much ''stuff'' happening in the world on social media, it's easy for things to get lost.
Clips
VIDEO - Watch live: Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues - YouTube
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:36
VIDEO - (1) Tom Elliott on Twitter: ".@ExtinctionR's @gailbradbrook: Stopping climate change enables us to also solve ''systemic racism, white supremacy, and the wounds of patriarchy.'' https://t.co/ZIAhycKHYr" / Twitter
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:22
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VIDEO - (1) Obama highlights the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal - YouTube
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:10
VIDEO - 'We've become too loud for people to handle': Greta Thunberg to Montreal climate strikers '' video | Environment | The Guardian
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:50
Greta Thunberg hit back at critics including Donald Trump on Friday before she marched in a climate strike in Montreal, saying their mockery of children shows her message has become 'too loud to handle'. The 16-year-old climate activist said: 'We are having so much impact that people want to silence us. We've become too loud for people to handle so they try to silence us. So we should also take that as a compliment.' Thunberg invited aboriginal Canadians to lead the march with her because 'they are often the ones who are at the frontline' of global warming
Climate crisis: 6 million people join latest wave of global protests
VIDEO - Trump's 'conservative media firewall' is in shambles as Drudge turns on the president: CNN host '' Raw Story
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:41
On CNN Saturday, center-right talk show host Michael Smerconish noted that President Donald Trump appears to be slipping with an absolutely critical group of people: Conservatives in the media.
''President Trump's impeachment by the House of Representatives seems increasingly likely, setting up a trial in the Senate,'' said Smerconish. ''How Republicans sitting as jurors handle their responsibility might be dependent upon the party's leadership, but I am not referring to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his cohorts '-- I'm talking about the conservative media, where some cracks have recently appeared in the president's firewall.''
''In the last 30 years, the triumvirate of talk radio, Fox News, and the Drudge Report have supplanted the conventional Republican Party apparatus,'' continued Smerconish. ''This is the glue of the GOP, where the base gets its guidance and its marching orders, and the influence is especially felt in primary season in closed primary states. That is why it's significant that at both Fox News and the Drudge Report, there have been signs of discontent with the president.''
''Donald Trump's candidacy, well, that was welcomed at Drudge with encouraging led lines like these: 'THE DONALD GOES FOR THE WHITE HOUSE!' 'TRUMP ROCKS RACE!' 'NOW THEY TAKE HIM SERIOUSLY!''' said Smerconish. ''And after he was elected, you get, 'TRUMP ROCKS THE HOUSE: FIVE MINUTE OVATION AS HE ENTERED TO CHEERS.' 'PRESIDENT FOR 10 WEEKS! 'GIVE HIM A BREAK.'' Things have recently changed. Now it's 'TRANSCRIPT RELEASED '... REPUBLICAN CRACKS EMERGE.' 'FOX SHOCK: 51% WANT TRUMP REMOVED,' and this ominous photo, 'FEAR: WHISTLEBLOWER ASKS TO TESTIFY IN WRITING.' Today, this morning. The front page, how Shepherd Smith is leaving. 'TRUMP CRITIC EXITS, COLLEAGUES STUNNED, PRESIDENT CELEBRATES.'''
''Ironically, Drudge became the go-to source for conservatives in the last American impeachment process, trumpeting every negative comment for President Bill Clinton,'' added Smerconish. ''In January 1998, you'll remember it was Drudge who first revealed that Newsweek had killed a Michael Isikoff story on the White House intern scandal hours before publication. And then in 1999, that NBC's 'Dateline' was not releasing an explosive interview with a woman named Jaunita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of a past sexual assault.''
''So is Drudge doing it because he has soured on Trump, or because he is sensing a change in his readership?'' asked Smerconish. ''Either way, it's not good for the president.''
Watch below:
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Raw Story is independent. You won't find mainstream media bias here. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support to deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.
Enjoy this piece?'... then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism '-- and we're investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston's DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We've exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We've revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. You won't find mainstream media bias here. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.
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VIDEO - Moulton: Digitized driver violations make it easier for states to share info
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:16
Outside the Danvers branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday, Congressman Seth Moulton publicly announced legislation he's filed in hopes of making it easier for traffic safety officials to share information about drivers across state lines.The legislation comes in response to the crash involving a commercial truck driver this June that killed seven members of a motorcycle club in Randolph, New Hampshire. After that crash, the Massachusetts RMV discovered that it should have suspended the commercial license of the truck driver prior to the incident because, in May, he had been arrested in Connecticut on charges of OUI and resisting a chemical test."It's time to modernize how the RMV and DMVs across the country share information, so that dangerous drivers are taken off the road," Moulton posted Tuesday on Facebook.In Danvers, the congressman outlined his State and Federal Electronic Data Records to Improve Vehicle-operator Eligibility Reporting Systems (SAFE DRIVERS) Act of 2019, which would make changes to a grant program to help states digitize the notification systems they use to send each other information about drivers.The ultimate goal of the bill is to help lead to the creation of a national, real-time data sharing program, Moulton's office said.In addition to changing how State Traffic Safety Information System Improvements grant money from the federal government can be spent, Moulton's bill would also create a $50 million competitive grant program that would allow states to bid for additional grant money and would enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to connect states that have similar modernization needs.One of the new purposes Moulton wants states to be able to put their federal grant money towards is "improving the compatibility and interoperability of the core highway safety databases of the state with national data systems and data systems of other states," according to a summary of the legislation.Late last week, the U.S. House referred Moulton's bill (H.R. 4531) to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which then assigned it to its own Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.About two weeks ago, Gov. Charlie Baker called for a national system to alert states immediately whenever one of their drivers incurs a violation in another state, a process that potentially could have kept a Massachusetts man off the road before he allegedly killed seven motorcyclists in the New Hampshire crash.States currently put information about incidents into the National Driver Registry, but the database is usually only checked by registries when drivers attempt to renew their licenses, allowing notices of violations to go unnoticed."Someday, I think it would behoove all 50 states to come up with a far more technologically sophisticated National Driver Registry where, when the state of Massachusetts sends a notification to the National Driver Registry about somebody on Massachusetts roads who's from New York, the driver registry would automatically ping the state of New York and tell them," Baker said during an appearance on WGBH's "Boston Public Radio" last month. "In the meantime, everybody's opening up a lot of mail."The process for states to directly notify other states of driver infractions also has its issues. In Massachusetts, the department responsible for handling warnings effectively ignored them for years, allowing drivers who should have had licenses suspended to remain on the road. The RMV has since worked to clear the backlog and to cross-check all 5.2 million drivers against the national database.
BOSTON '--Outside the Danvers branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday, Congressman Seth Moulton publicly announced legislation he's filed in hopes of making it easier for traffic safety officials to share information about drivers across state lines.
The legislation comes in response to the crash involving a commercial truck driver this June that killed seven members of a motorcycle club in Randolph, New Hampshire. After that crash, the Massachusetts RMV discovered that it should have suspended the commercial license of the truck driver prior to the incident because, in May, he had been arrested in Connecticut on charges of OUI and resisting a chemical test.
"It's time to modernize how the RMV and DMVs across the country share information, so that dangerous drivers are taken off the road," Moulton posted Tuesday on Facebook.
In Danvers, the congressman outlined his State and Federal Electronic Data Records to Improve Vehicle-operator Eligibility Reporting Systems (SAFE DRIVERS) Act of 2019, which would make changes to a grant program to help states digitize the notification systems they use to send each other information about drivers.
The ultimate goal of the bill is to help lead to the creation of a national, real-time data sharing program, Moulton's office said.
In addition to changing how State Traffic Safety Information System Improvements grant money from the federal government can be spent, Moulton's bill would also create a $50 million competitive grant program that would allow states to bid for additional grant money and would enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to connect states that have similar modernization needs.
One of the new purposes Moulton wants states to be able to put their federal grant money towards is "improving the compatibility and interoperability of the core highway safety databases of the state with national data systems and data systems of other states," according to a summary of the legislation.
Late last week, the U.S. House referred Moulton's bill (H.R. 4531) to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which then assigned it to its own Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
About two weeks ago, Gov. Charlie Baker called for a national system to alert states immediately whenever one of their drivers incurs a violation in another state, a process that potentially could have kept a Massachusetts man off the road before he allegedly killed seven motorcyclists in the New Hampshire crash.
States currently put information about incidents into the National Driver Registry, but the database is usually only checked by registries when drivers attempt to renew their licenses, allowing notices of violations to go unnoticed.
"Someday, I think it would behoove all 50 states to come up with a far more technologically sophisticated National Driver Registry where, when the state of Massachusetts sends a notification to the National Driver Registry about somebody on Massachusetts roads who's from New York, the driver registry would automatically ping the state of New York and tell them," Baker said during an appearance on WGBH's "Boston Public Radio" last month. "In the meantime, everybody's opening up a lot of mail."
The process for states to directly notify other states of driver infractions also has its issues. In Massachusetts, the department responsible for handling warnings effectively ignored them for years, allowing drivers who should have had licenses suspended to remain on the road. The RMV has since worked to clear the backlog and to cross-check all 5.2 million drivers against the national database.
VIDEO - RECART - State Dept never heard of Obama's 'no boots on the ground' in Syria - YouTube
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:24
VIDEO - Supercut: Obama Says 'No Boots on the Ground' in Syria | TheBlaze - YouTube
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:21
VIDEO - Extensive Phone Interview '' President Trump Interviewed by Judge Jeanine'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:58
Blockquote> ''ann says: October 13, 2019 at 12:19 am'...Fillled w straight up rage.!''
Here in Virginia, I occasionally have to convince baldfaced hornets not to put their nests in trees where kids play, people work or can disturb in any way; e.g. mowing or pruning.
I sprayed a large baldfaced hornet nest late in a july day. Well, to be exact, I damaged their paper nest and then sprayed the entire nest.As the little buggers came closer to death, the more desperate they seemed to be about getting revenge on other living creatures and nothing within fifty yards was safe. No flying around a person or animals, they came straight in stinging. Their sting venom causes tissue necrosis.One of the lessons, I learned was that ornery creatures get desperate and vindictive towards the end; and it's best to patiently wait far from their areas of disturbance.
The other lesson was to spray hornets during cool dawns when the nest wasn't hyperactive.
Another vicious vindictive hornet locally is the European hornet, a particularly bad tempered bug. Where the baldfaced hornets watch you closely only as you approach their nest, the European hornets watch and are quickly irritated anywhere you encounter them. Whether it's around fruit trees, hummingbird feeders, butterfly bushes or my lilacs; the European hornets rise to attack from wherever they are resting or feeding. I've been stung multiple times because the tractor bothered them near the butterfly bush or where they're causing havoc on my lilacs (they strip bark to get at the sap and frequently girdle the lilac bush causing stems and branches to die.).
Fortunately, the European hornets make their nests in the nearby woods far from everyday activity; though they have made my cutting firewood in late summer somewhat exciting.
Just like the bald faced hornets, European hornets close to death are desperate to hurt things. Unlike the baldfaced hornets, any incipiant mortality, e.g. winter's arrival, sends the European hornet seeking to maim or cause mayhem.
The DOJ and FBI attacking Giuliani and his Ukrainian assistants strikes me as a similar event. Just for being in a photograph with Don Jr. the FBI opens an investigation? Only cartoons are so devoid of due process.Then there is the arrests, with great fanfare and copious press announcements of vile charges and massive money mishandlings'... Really? They got all of that from a photograph?
What we need to do is wait for the court trials.Unless the two Ukrainians are really as evil as the FBI agents claim, I suspect their trial will be as much a mockery as General Flynn's, Manafort's, and Roger Stone. Corrupt reasons to investigate, suspicious research, vast conspiracy charges; now we need to see, assess and interrogate the evidence produced. Much of which may still be in court when President Trump is re-elected.As rogue agents, prosecutors and lawyers expose themselves, the easier it will be for President Trump to remove them.
Rudy is a very smart lawyer. They are abusing him in the press right now where Rudy is no stranger to bogus press attacks. My guess is Rudy can and will catch them out.Remember, Rudy and the Ukrainian government are still doling out very damaging information about the Bidens, Obama, Clinton and even Yovanovich.
Patience and careful avoidance is required as the vindictive creatures flail around in their end days. Don't let anger stress you out.Turn it into art or practical matters! Work on some metal. Image evildoers who deserve molten immersion as you weld a bead. Hammer off the spatter or flux that you've named Biden, Yovanovich or whistleblow'... Cheers!
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VIDEO - Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: "@TulsiGabbard 🇷🇺 https://t.co/vlH51WR14Q" / Twitter
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:32
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VIDEO - (3) Father-Son Podcasting Microphone - SNL - YouTube
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:25
VIDEO - President Trump on Joe and Hunter Biden | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 05:54
October 10, 2019 | Clip Of President Trump Rally in Minneapolis, MN 2019-10-10T21:13:11-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/d48/1570757194.jpg Speaking at a campaign rally in Minneapolis, President Trump criticizes Hunter Biden, calling him a "loser," & makes reference to former Vice President Biden & that he was only a good vice president because he knew how to "kiss Barack Obama's ass."Speaking at a campaign rally in Minneapolis, President Trump criticizes Hunter Biden, calling him a "loser," & makes reference to former Vice President Biden & that he was only a good vice president because he knew how to "kiss Barack Obama's ass."
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VIDEO - (2) OPUS 180 Kudos 2 Trump on China Deal - YouTube
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:29
VIDEO - Michael Rectenwald: Big Tech Tyranny '' Forbidden Knowledge TV
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:57
Dr. Michael Rectenwald was a professor at New York University and he jokingly describes himself as having been a lifelong Communist, ''to the Left of the Bolsheviks'' before he ran afoul of his wokester peers in academe.
His story is very similar to my own, in that he was basically a professor of cultural criticism, which was my major. The analyses consisted largely of Marxist Deconstructivism. He could have been my professor. Like me, he was a Leftist until very recently, when his slight deviation from the party line revealed the shocking totalitarian impulses hiding behind a thin veneer of egalitarian rhetoric.
Like me, he's now swinging from the rafters and shouting from the rooftops about the pox of Leftism and his Twitter posts look exactly like mine!
His bestselling book, 'The Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom' is about how Big Tech, influenced by Marxist and Postmodernist thought increasingly enables a toxic mix of censorship, surveillance, social engineering and 'social justice' policies that, in effect create a digital equivalent of the Soviet gulag.
It is this climate that enabled the unprecedented collaboration between Big Tech, with the mass media and the intelligence agencies to saturate the infosphere with their chosen narrative and to ban all others.
As he says here, ''We have a soft Cultural Revolution going on in the United States and the West, in general. We need people to stand up to this Cultural Revolution and just speak back to these new Red Guards'...
''We're being surveilled upon, our opinions are being monitored and dissidents are being disappeared, just as they were during the Soviet Union. They're being digitally erased or deleted'...''
He joins The Epoch Times' Jan Jekielek for what I feel may be the most important interview that I have covered in 9 years of publishing FKTV. I've transcribed some of the highlights below.
***
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: There's this exclusive domination [on college campuses] of a particular ideological Leftism which is called ''Social Justice''. It's a misnomer, if you ask me but it's a very rigid creed of identity politics and a kind of adherence to sort of inverse hierarchy, in order to debunk the so-called ''oppressors'' from the top and put them on the bottom. It is instituted at NYU and universities all across the country; 230 universities at least have instituted what they call ''bias reporting'' hotlines, in which students are encouraged to report the bias infractions of their professors or fellow students.
So '' very much like Communist Soviet Union and Communist China '' this kind of ideological policing that was going and that I found very disturbing and everybody was going along for the ride. The no-platforming of speakers, the way that the Left shut down any ideological diversity from appearing on campus at all; burning campuses down, like in Berkeley, when speakers were invited that they didn't approve of.
Then, of course other things like trigger warnings on syllabi'...it's a slippery slope toward ideological conformity'...For example, 'Dante's Inferno' has been stricken from curricula because it has a depiction of Muhammad in one of the circles of Hell. This is one of the greatest books and one of the greatest poems in the Western canon and it's a shame that the Western canon is being eradicated. Also, for example at the University of Pennsylvania, they took down from the [web] portal the picture of Shakespeare, because he's a white male'... a university in London struck all white philosophers from the philosophy curriculum'...
I thought it was censorship. I thought it was ideological conformity being forced on professors and students, I thought it was a'...narrowbanding of our intellectual capacities and as kind of an indoctrination of students, rather than teaching; rather than exposing students to diverse perspectives it was'...funneling them into a particular perspective and that really disturbed me.
Jan Jekielek: Fascinating. How did the faculty respond to your complaints?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Well, I did an interview for a reporter for the Washington Square News, which is the student newspaper at NYU. Within two days of this interview appearing in their online and print edition, I was denounced by a committee calling themselves the ''Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group'', which I've since dubbed the ''Conformity, Inequity and Exclusion Group'' because they demand ideological conformity. They attempt to exclude anyone who doesn't conform and you're certainly not considered a peer, if you have views that differ from theirs and then I was put on an immediate paid leave of absence, as well.
So I was basically banished from the University for a semester and punished with this ideological condemnation by an official committee of the university.
Jan Jekielek: So you were basically an early recipient of Cancel Culture.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Very much so. Before Cancel Culture existed, I was a victim of Cancel Culture'...
The things I want to make clear is that these the Big Digital is not some politically neutral set of principles or companies Big Digital consists of a bunch of left-leaning authoritarians and they're doing so they have the same ideological character in a softer sense of course as the CCP.
Jan Jekielek: OK, so that that's a big thing to say. You're gonna you're gonna have to offer some pretty solid evidence here.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: There's a ton of evidence that shows that the Google stacks their search results in a Left-leaning way. All this has been shown by Dr. Robert Epstein and it was exposed by Project Veritas. Google has a worldview that's reflected both in their algorithms; their outward-facing algorithms and their internal policies. Their internal policies show that they favor almost all kinds of Leftists views about identity. They're very, very strong in encouraging transgenderism, they're very strong in discouraging anything like traditional ideas about gender, they also have extremely Left-leaning views about the political economy. They have monopolistic ambitions, I think and they also have state functions. They are '' first of all Google was started by funding from the CIA '' and that's not to prove that they have a state function but they also keep they continue to cooperate with the state'...
So, they're in violation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996'...there's legislation that's being offered up to redress that issue to make them adhere to that standard, so that they will then no longer be discriminatory'...Information should not be discriminatory in terms of its delivery and so they're NOT non-discriminatory; they're NOT neutral, they are politically-biased to an extreme'...
There's been a tremendous consolidation of course''if media over the last 20 years there's been all kinds of mergers and acquisitions that have reduced'...the possibility of more viewpoints. So, we've had ideological sameness perpetrated through the media, as The Epoch Times knows, that the New York Times, The Washington Post '' most of the major networks are all Left-leaning. They're all biased and their reporting is almost editorial at this point. I mean, their news can't be considered journalism, in effect. It can be considered Op-Ed but for the most part, it's all been tilted. So, they are basically in the same ideological camp as the digital giants are '' and the digital giants sort the news based on their ideological conformity, because they're now the delivery mechanism for most of this, as you know.
Jan Jekielek: So that basically, you're saying that if you want to be successful in the social media sphere, now you have to'...
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: You have to conform to the digital giants' proclivities ideologically to get noticed in their search results and also to be let through. For example, Facebook bars certain sources from their platforms entirely.
Jan Jekielek: So, you describe Russiagate as a first of a particular type of phenomenon and I'd like you to explore this, because I thought that was a fascinating perspective.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Yes, it's the first, in the sense it's the collaboration between Big Digital, the intelligence community and basically what is being referred to as the Deep State, in effect. This was a first-ever collaboration in which Big Digital colluded with with the mass media and also the intelligence agencies to provide a certain narrative and to ban other narratives from from being disseminated as broadly.
And the interesting thing about this is that one of the main companies that was deemed ''anti-disinformation'', that exposed Russiagate supposedly is called NewKnowledge.com. There was never a greater misnomer than this company's name, because they're New Nescience '' that is, non-knowledge. They are the opposite of knowledge. They are creating fabrications.
They were one of the main reporters to the US Intelligence Committee about Russiagate, about the bots, the Russian bots that had supposedly influenced the 2016 election. In the 2017 senatorial election of Roy Moore, where Moore ran for Alabama Senator; they produced Russian bots. They created Russian bots to support Roy Moore's candidacy '' to disqualify him '' because he was ''supported by the Kremlin'', supposedly. And then they dished that news out to the newspapers and to the media outlets, saying, ''This is happening! There's Russia Russian BOTS are supporting Roy Moore '' Russian bots, which they created.
And this is supposedly the biggest anti-disinformation agency in the Internet, that's how they bill themselves! So black is white. Everything is inverted and you know, this is Orwellian. Truth is falsity and falsity is true and so they got exposed by The New York Times and The Washington Post, an unbelievable breakthrough, journalistically, I mean because you would think that they would not cover this, because it is actually Democratic Party organs, those two papers, that's pretty clear. But they did cover this and then Twitter knows about this '' but they didn't throw them off. They still have a Twitter account. The owner of the company, the main major funder of this company also has a Twitter account.
Then, when a Trump supporter said that in the 2020 election, he was going to create assets on Facebook and elsewhere to support Trump '' false assets. He hadn't done it, yet but he was banned from Twitter, just by virtue of telecasting what he was gonna do. So, it just shows you the disparity, the double standard is extreme. One does it, the other says they're gonna do it. The one who does it doesn't get thrown off the social media platform, the one that hasn't done it yet is thrown off, by virtue of the fact that they're they're supporting Trump.
Jan Jekielek: So, you're talking a lot about the Left in a way that clearly shows me you don't see yourself as part of it. But at one point, you were.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: I was a Left-Communist '' Left of the Bolsheviks!
Jan Jekielek: How did that change?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: When the Left turned on me and drove me out, I saw their totalitarian impulses under the surface of this egalitarian rhetoric and that veneer that they cover all their philosophies under and I just saw that and I just saw the true face of this and then I started doing historical research. I read 'The Black Book of Communism' and I learned.
Jan Jekielek: I wish more people read 'The Black Book of Communism'.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: It's just incredible, right? And it shows you that the most pernicious political ideology of the 20th century was not Nazism, it was actually Social Communism, in terms of sheer numbers. They killed 94 million people, counting China and the Soviet Union and Cambodia and so fort.
Jan Jekielek: Right, well you know, just as an aside, we had an article in The Epoch Times recently about how in the European Parliament, there was a motion, I believe that was passed that put Communism in the same realm of you know, egregious ideology as Nazism, National Socialism. It was described as a massive breakthrough, because it's very curious that that everyone is really, really clear on how horrible National Socialism is, right or was and of course it was but there seems to be a much smaller group of people, much smaller and that is aware.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: This is very, very much connected to academia. When I started doing research on the criminality of the political Left, I found a lot of things that were buried under carpets or disappeared. I couldn't find, in academic scholarship the histories. They're just eradicated. It's incredible. I actually had to rely on non-academic sources to find the facts.
Jan Jekielek: Fascinating. I've heard about China, ''The People's Republic of Amnesia,'' the inconvenient realities are are kinda disappeared or removed.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: That's happening in US scholarship and the Left-leaning character of academia is so profound, that they have disappeared the criminality of the political Left from all education. I mean that's huge. So, you don't learn about the crimes of Soviet Union or China. You don't learn about this in the US educational system, for the most part. It's disappeared.
Jan Jekielek: Fascinating and deeply disturbing. So, you know, as as I said, your book shocked me to the core and one of the reasons it did was with this kind of pervasive rise of Big Tech, in injecting itself into literally every aspect of life and even into thought and that's only accelerating. I mean, this is just the beginning, on this curve, right? That could make one feel quite despondent about the future. What are your thoughts?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: I have a great deal of faith in in in in people's intelligence to see through ideology, because I was able to do so, myself. If I can see it, other people can see it and I know other people who do see it and I think that your Big Digital is going to be constructing very powerful narratives and we have to posit counter-narratives that are truth-based.
Jan Jekielek: Okay, truth. So, truth has been a casualty in all of this, right?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: It's been a casualty of the Postmodern academy and in the Postmodern intellectual realm, for the last 50 years. You can't use the word ''truth'' in the university. You're trained, very early on not to even talk about that and there's no such thing. In Postmodernism, everything is local. Truths are only contingent upon the identity of the person who holds the view; everybody's got their own truth, there's no universal truth, there's nothing that can be established as objective. Objectivity is, in fact a masculinist, white supremacist notion.
So, that has been a major casualty in the last 50 years of that intellectual life and it's pervaded the entire culture, so that we have a ''post-truth'' culture, right?
Jan Jekielek: But yet, people seek it. I mean, that's what you're kind of arguing.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: People have to start to believe in truth again and they have to start establishing a new metaphysics of truth, is what I argue in the book.
And that is going to be more and more necessary, as basically Big Digital sets up a simulation of reality, which they're very capable of doing and then, reporting on that as the reality, right '' and we see that going on right now in the political sphere.
Jan Jekielek: So essentially, you argue that this whole Russiagate is, pretty much that it's a simulation. Similarly. very engrossing and you know pervasive.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: It's a simulated reality that becomes the the dominant narrative and that basically supplants truth and basically preempts its discovery and in its enunciation'...
right yeah and we're just, you know I just did had an interview earlier today talking about that new newest developments newest iterations of it yes
Jan Jekielek: Given that the education system is so saturated with this post-truth in education, post-truth reality. How is it that that we can get back to the truth?
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Well, we have to have a tremendous amount of public intellectual criticism of the Academy, that has to continue and people have to defect, like I've done. I'm basically a defector, right?
I'm a dissident and a defector from the the academic union of ideological conformity and we need more of that. We need many more. There are not many in the United States. There's several Canadian professors who have been dissident, who become dissident and I'm friends with all of them: Jordan Peterson and a whole slew of others, Phillip Saltzman and other dissident intellectuals that are speaking out against all this but we need more. We need more people to have the courage to stand up to this mob.
We have a soft Cultural Revolution going on in the United States and the West, in general. We need people to stand up to this Cultural Revolution and just speak back to these new Red Guards.
Jan Jekielek: That's very interesting, because of course, if you stood up to the Red Guards in China during the Cultural Revolution, you would be dead. Whereas, here you can be cancelled but you can still find some find friends and people and there's people '' I've met an incredible number of people in the most unexpected places, talking about the sorts of things you're talking about.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: Just like there are the islands of the Google archipelago, there are islands, like The Epoch Times, of intellectual and truth-, fact-based reporting and discovery that that exist and we have build on that.
Jan Jekielek: Wonderful. Well, it's such a pleasure to have you here, Michael.
Dr. Michael Rectenwald: My pleasure, thank you.
VIDEO - (6) 4 Corrupt Families Of California ~ Newsom, Brown, Pelosi & Feinstein - YouTube
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:41
VIDEO - (6) Obama Officials In Leaked Audio Tried To Topple Ukrainian Government - YouTube
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:29
VIDEO - (39) The Independent on Twitter: "Greta Thunberg's furious UN speech remixed by Fatboy Slim https://t.co/XFpnm66ds2" / Twitter
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:16
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VIDEO - Beto: Religious Institutions Should Lose Tax-Exempt Status for Same-Sex Marriage Opposition
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:47
VIDEO - DC Basement ((illegal, practically; screenshat)) on Twitter: "@adamcurry great fox clip, must see!, and... wait for it... 🤪 https://t.co/3yB2HevC4d" / Twitter
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 00:19
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VIDEO - Trump Says China to Boost Farm Spending to Up to $50 Billion - Bloomberg
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VIDEO - UN Live United Nations Web TV - Financial situation of the UN - Press Conference (11 October 2019)
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:17
Financial situation of the UN - Press Conference (11 October 2019)
11 Oct 2019 - Press conference by Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance and Mr. Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. They will brief reporters on the financial situation of the UN.
VIDEO - (3) Tiffany FitzHenry on Twitter: "Ellen Degeneres, deep state clown, exposed. We are the news now. https://t.co/i5RXTvrjou" / Twitter
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:05
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VIDEO - (25) Jenan Moussa on Twitter: "1/ Blood on the streets of Qamishli, Northern Syria. This afternoon I visited spot in a civilian neighbourhood shortly after two people were killed in Turkish shelling. As I visited Qamishli, I heard more cracking ex
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VIDEO - qns.com is owned by real estate 🥞 on Twitter: "here's a clip of a woman at the CB5 mtg who urged for the shelter to be burned down, to cheers. https://t.co/O80sYMknL9" / Twitter
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VIDEO - A mob of horny tarantulas is prowling San Francisco - CNET
Fri, 11 Oct 2019 10:49
They might look scary, but tarantulas are not actually dangerous to humans.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET October is turning out to be a bad month to live in San Francisco. First, utilities company PG&E initiated wide-ranging Bay Area blackouts to protect against the possibility of wildfires. Now it seems the warmer weather is attracting thousands of tarantulas looking for mates, so residents will have to fight off horny spiders in the dark.
To be fair, while tarantulas mostly come out at night during mating season, males can also be seen roaming around all hours to find a female for some lovin'.
"San Francisco officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for thousands of giant male spiders," according to The Wall Street Journal. "The spiders aren't dangerous to people. In fact it's the other way around."
Creepy as they may be to those who them, spiders help humans by eating thousands of bugs every year that are a threat to crops.
"If spiders disappeared, we would face famine," New York's American Museum of Natural History's Norman Platnick told Treehugger this week. "Spiders are primary controllers of insects. Without spiders, all of our crops would be consumed by those pests."
While tarantulas do eat insects, frogs and small lizards, the spiders are mostly harmless to humans. Tarantula bites are painful like bee stings, but their venom is very mild.
Northern California's Mount Diablo State Park -- where male tarantulas are often found searching for mates in the wild -- reminds visitors that the spiders are truly nothing to fear.
"Hollywood and the media have made tarantulas seem monstrous, so to many people these slow-moving spiders appear ominous and threatening," reads the Mount Diablo park website. "Nothing is farther from the truth. They are truly one of the gentle giants of the animal world."
So if you happen to come across a tarantula on the trail, or under your sheets, "fear not, don't kill them," the site continues. "Know that while they may look terrifying, they're doing the good work."
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Fri, 11 Oct 2019 08:51
VIDEO - (10) See Elizabeth Warren's simple response to a marriage equality question ... - YouTube
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VIDEO - Ellen DeGeneres Refuses To Be Shamed for Watching Football With George W. Bush '' Reason.com
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 15:10
Cancel Culture
"When I say, 'Be kind to one another,' I don't mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn't matter." Robby Soave | 10.8.2019 4:30 PM
(Screenshot via Ellen)
On Sunday, Ellen DeGeneres attended a Dallas Cowboys football game. It was noteworthy because of whom she was seated next to: former President George W. Bush. The pair could be seen in pictures and a video clip enjoying the afternoon together. (Their respective partners, Arrested Development actress Portia de Rossi and former first lady Laura Bush, were there too.)
In 2019, everything must be political. And so the news that DeGeneres could make it through an entire football game seated next to the odiously conservative Bush and actually have a good time made people very mad. You will not be surprised to learn that some took to social media to vent. Here is a sampling of what they had to say.
ellen degeneres is rehabilitating a war criminal and any liberal who buys into the lie that gwb is a sweet old man is a trog
'-- hasanabi (@hasanthehun) October 8, 2019
george w bush literally ran for reelection on a constitutional amendment so @TheEllenShow would be barred from being able to marry. i know theyre both rich but that's not a mere "difference of opinion." thats an attempt to make one person less of a person than the other.
'-- Oliver Willis (@owillis) October 8, 2019
This is what Bush brought Iraqi families, daily, for his oil friends. @TheEllenShow and @gwenstefani are patting themselves on the back for rainbow capitalism, comparing a war criminal to "disagreements" while actively sanitizing them in service of endless greed and selfishness. pic.twitter.com/dhwxZOehQi
'-- rafael (@rafaelshimunov) October 8, 2019
On Tuesday, DeGeneres addressed the controversy during her show. She highlighted a supportive tweet from someone who wrote, "Seeing Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again."
"Here's the thing," said DeGeneres. "I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs I have. We're all different and I think that we've forgotten that's okay that we're all different."
Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W. Bush over the weekend. Here's the whole story. pic.twitter.com/AYiwY5gTIS
'-- Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 8, 2019
"Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean I'm not going to be friends with them," DeGeneres continued. "When I say, 'Be kind to one another,' I don't mean only the people that think the same way that you do."
I'm with Ellen. This perspective is sadly all-too-often absent from our current cultural dialogue, with its emphasis on canceling anyone and everyone who did or said something wrong. It's becoming harder and harder for people to get along with each other, and be civil toward one another, when they disagree about the issues'--even though, as Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty has persuasively argued, it's rarely a good idea to end a relationship over politics. Gratuitous cruelty toward people who are part of the other side, tribe, or team does not make the world a better place.

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All Clips

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Jason Whitlock on NBA Nike and Obama TPP.mp3
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  • 0:00
    turn off the fountain Juve's Adam curry
  • 0:03
    John C. Dvorak 2019 this is your award
  • 0:07
    winning combination meet the
  • 0:08
    assassination episode 11 81 this is no
  • 0:12
    agenda in the morning everybody
  • 0:22
    I Adam Curry and from northern Silicon
  • 0:25
    Valley I'm Josie de bourree okay you had
  • 0:32
    me completely confused with hook em
  • 0:34
    horns
  • 0:34
    I know what that means
  • 0:39
    I do man it was the game yesterday the
  • 0:42
    game the game yes we lost I know we lost
  • 0:47
    that OS OS you UT what a great game
  • 0:54
    exactly
  • 0:56
    just want people to know that even at my
  • 0:58
    age you can still brush up a bit and get
  • 1:00
    into sports especially if it's local by
  • 1:03
    the way it's not OSU to game you lost
  • 1:05
    what was it Oklahoma no that's what I
  • 1:09
    meant Oklahoma University Oh issues
  • 1:13
    Oklahoma State so I said OSU Oklahoma
  • 1:16
    State University no it's not Oklahoma
  • 1:18
    State does it different school well okay
  • 1:22
    if you think you know better than an
  • 1:23
    Austin resident that's fine for me yeah
  • 1:28
    now you sound like a Lib Jo said the man
  • 1:32
    who finally followed me on no agenda
  • 1:34
    social Wow what's up with that
  • 1:37
    okay you checked in for the first time
  • 1:41
    in a year 24/7
  • 1:45
    but I I checked myself out so when I
  • 1:50
    rechecked myself in I realized I
  • 1:53
    couldn't find the right Lincoln so I
  • 1:54
    clicked on the one of the drop-down
  • 1:57
    links that happen to be your page so
  • 2:00
    check me into your page and I said oh
  • 2:01
    okay I can get in from here and then I
  • 2:04
    said what I'm not following
  • 2:06
    Adam because there's a little button
  • 2:09
    there I said oh I doubt it I'll correct
  • 2:11
    that immediately and I clicked on it and
  • 2:12
    I put myself back in there and I did a
  • 2:14
    clip blitz you did you did a little clip
  • 2:17
    blitz of gifs or whatever that is jiff
  • 2:24
    blitz that's what it is that's one for
  • 2:27
    the records a giblets well then let me
  • 2:30
    let me just stay with my favorite topic
  • 2:32
    which is sports
  • 2:36
    yes yes I have said I'm interested well
  • 2:39
    I was watching my buddy over there on
  • 2:41
    fs1 Jason Whitlock as usual guys great
  • 2:44
    Jason Whitlock is great and he decided
  • 2:47
    to explain to everybody something we
  • 2:50
    kind of already knew this is regarding
  • 2:53
    the the NBA and China but for those who
  • 2:57
    have not followed outside of the United
  • 2:59
    States one tweet from one guy who said
  • 3:06
    hey I stand behind Hong Kong sent the
  • 3:08
    Chinese into a tizzy who knew that
  • 3:10
    there's like 300 million basketball fans
  • 3:14
    in China and very popular and Jason
  • 3:18
    Whitlock explains it just a little bit
  • 3:21
    further Nike is in control of basketball
  • 3:25
    the NBA college basketball High School
  • 3:28
    Nike is the real person driving this
  • 3:32
    conversation and this thing with China
  • 3:35
    if you go back to not much connected to
  • 3:37
    politics in 2015 in May of 2015
  • 3:42
    President Barack Obama went to Nikes
  • 3:45
    headquarters in Portland Oregon yes and
  • 3:48
    announced his defense of the TPP
  • 3:52
    trans-pacific partnership that's what
  • 3:55
    great deal it was gonna be very
  • 3:56
    favorable for Nike for China who's the
  • 4:01
    president that came after Obama and
  • 4:04
    walked America away from the TPP Donald
  • 4:09
    Trump who is the shoe company that
  • 4:13
    employs LeBron James Colin Kaepernick
  • 4:16
    and these other athletes that smear
  • 4:19
    Donald Trump is racist who are the
  • 4:23
    people constantly criticizing Donald
  • 4:25
    Trump MBA Steve Kerr
  • 4:29
    Gregg Popovich the NBA answers to Nike
  • 4:33
    Nike say 40 billion dollar business the
  • 4:36
    NBA
  • 4:37
    an 8 billion dollar business President
  • 4:40
    Obama the basketball president friendly
  • 4:43
    relationship with the NBA went to Nikes
  • 4:46
    headquarters to announce his defense the
  • 4:50
    TPP this thing is very simple this is
  • 4:53
    about money this is about a president
  • 4:56
    that won't cooperate with what Nike
  • 4:58
    wants done
  • 5:00
    Nike is using the NBA and its leverage
  • 5:02
    over the NBA to go after this guy
  • 5:06
    because they disagree with him about his
  • 5:09
    policies as it relates to trade in China
  • 5:11
    yeah I want you to credit whoever it was
  • 5:24
    that sent it to you I I mean when you
  • 5:26
    really just you know when you use your
  • 5:28
    skill at sports you can you know and you
  • 5:30
    can figure stuff out now I did a lot of
  • 5:33
    searching for this show today I'm going
  • 5:36
    back in our archives and it's always fun
  • 5:40
    to see how much we covered and I used
  • 5:44
    Bing it I owe the bingette I owe is
  • 5:46
    where all of the show notes you can even
  • 5:48
    search by at the mp3 level you can get
  • 5:51
    anything you want from this show going
  • 5:53
    back at least six seven years now I
  • 5:57
    think all nine years on Bing at dot IO
  • 5:59
    and I found a piece of that speech from
  • 6:02
    Obama in 2015 at Nike headquarters in
  • 6:06
    Beaverton and it becomes very apparent I
  • 6:09
    don't know if we caught it at the time
  • 6:10
    because we would we just didn't like the
  • 6:12
    TPP and its secrecy in general and it
  • 6:15
    was very I mean we couldn't really find
  • 6:16
    any sketchy very very sketchy but when
  • 6:20
    you hear this all of a sudden it will
  • 6:22
    become very clear what it was about to
  • 6:24
    trans-pacific partnership that we're
  • 6:26
    working on and this is at the Beaverton
  • 6:28
    Nike headquarters on campus it's the
  • 6:31
    biggest trade deal that we're working on
  • 6:32
    right now has to do with the
  • 6:34
    asia-pacific region and it reflects our
  • 6:36
    values in ways that frankly some
  • 6:38
    previous trade agreements did not it's
  • 6:40
    the highest standard most progressive
  • 6:42
    trade deal in history it's got strong
  • 6:45
    enforceable provisions for workers
  • 6:47
    preventing things like child labor it's
  • 6:50
    strong enforceable provisions on the
  • 6:52
    environment helping us to do things that
  • 6:55
    haven't been done before to prevent
  • 6:57
    wildlife trafficking or deforestation or
  • 7:00
    dealing with our oceans yeah that's
  • 7:02
    always the set up but actually before we
  • 7:04
    get to it who would be in competition
  • 7:07
    with China when it comes to
  • 7:11
    and the NBA
  • 7:14
    it's not that obscene in the NBA the
  • 7:17
    Europe of course is the big well yeah oh
  • 7:19
    no no when it comes to manufacturing it
  • 7:23
    becomes obvious and these are
  • 7:25
    enforceable in the agreement and Nike
  • 7:28
    operates in the Pacific region so they
  • 7:30
    understand the competitive pressure is
  • 7:32
    there under Nike has factories all
  • 7:34
    around the world and let's face it mark
  • 7:38
    I think doesn't mind me saying it he
  • 7:40
    looks to mark the CEO of Nike oh is ok
  • 7:43
    if I say this is alright mark mark you
  • 7:45
    don't mind do you there on Nike has
  • 7:47
    factories all around the world and let's
  • 7:50
    face it mark I think doesn't mind me
  • 7:52
    saying it but some of these countries
  • 7:54
    they don't have the standards for wages
  • 7:56
    and labor conditions that we have here
  • 7:58
    so when you look at a country like
  • 8:01
    Vietnam competition to China when it
  • 8:10
    comes to manufacturing country of
  • 8:12
    Vietnam squash him squash those Vietcong
  • 8:20
    so when you look at a country like
  • 8:22
    Vietnam under this Agreement Vietnam
  • 8:24
    would actually for the first time have
  • 8:27
    to raise its labor standards it would
  • 8:30
    have to set a minimum wage it would have
  • 8:33
    to pass safe workplace laws to protect
  • 8:36
    its workers it would even have to
  • 8:38
    protect workers freedom to form unions
  • 8:40
    for the very first time that's great for
  • 8:42
    China that would make a difference you
  • 8:45
    can't have unions in China no of course
  • 8:47
    not no unions in China so Wow yeah there
  • 8:53
    you go and Vietnam very advantage go biz
  • 8:56
    --it this really fantastic place by the
  • 9:00
    way
  • 9:00
    China is s Ho calm goes to no agenda
  • 9:03
    show calm man now this is fantastic
  • 9:16
    and so now it's coming out you know all
  • 9:18
    of these little bits and bobs about
  • 9:20
    which companies are really at the at the
  • 9:23
    behest of China
  • 9:25
    Apple of course who told multiple Apple
  • 9:29
    TV plus show developers haip stand don't
  • 9:32
    piss off Chinaman Riot Games urging
  • 9:36
    league of legends pros to shut up on
  • 9:38
    sensitive issues and let me just give
  • 9:40
    you a list here of 12 companies owned by
  • 9:43
    the Chinese in the entertainment
  • 9:44
    business AMC Theaters Dick Clark
  • 9:48
    Productions Dick Clark Productions I
  • 9:51
    mean they did the Golden Globes American
  • 9:53
    Music Awards new year's ball New Year's
  • 9:55
    rockin Eve of course they don't do the
  • 9:58
    Golden Globes I don't think s they do
  • 10:00
    yeah they sure do Dick Clark production
  • 10:03
    produced as the Golden Globes STX
  • 10:06
    entertainment see anything else we'd