Cover for No Agenda Show 1200: Hell Mouth
December 19th, 2019 • 3h 39m

1200: Hell Mouth


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

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Lindsey Graham on Senate Trial: ''I'm going to tell the president, 'no,' to his witness request'''... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:45
On the cusp of an impeachment vote in the House, Senate Judiciary Chairman states today: ''I'm going to tell the president, 'no,' to his witnesses request'' when the articles of impeachment reach the Senate.
Senator Graham wants a quick presentation of the articles of impeachment by the House managers; a quick defense against the charges by President Trump's lawyers; and then an immediate vote on the articles without hearing from witnesses.
WASHINGTON '' S enate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said he will not support calling any witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial against President Trump, including witnesses Trump wants to summon.
''I'm going to tell the president, 'no,' to his witnesses request because I think what is best for the country is to get this behind us as soon as possible,'' Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said Wednesday.
The House is set to impeach Trump Wednesday night on two articles charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate will hold a trial in January, and Democrats and Republicans are battling over the proceedings. (read more)
Obviously unstated by Graham is his own personal interests to ensure that nothing about U.S. politicians financially benefiting from Ukraine money-laundering is presented by team Trump. A quick dismissal serves the interests of the deepest senate.
Cunning Lawfare Maneuver '' House Will Withhold Submission of Articles from Senate'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:40
Seemingly overlooked by most, when the House voted on the 'rules of impeachment' they removed the traditional appointment of House Managers to a later date.
Normally the House Managers would be appointed at the same time as the impeachment vote; however, by withholding the appointment House Democrats are indicating they will not immediately send articles of impeachment to the senate but will rather hold the articles as support for pending court cases toward their judicial authority.
A cunning Lawfare ploy.
As interested observers will note the House never voted to authorize the full judicial impeachment process; instead they voted to approve an inquiry into whether an impeachment should take place. By not voting to authorize articles of impeachment the House never gained 'judicial enforcement authority'. The absence of judicial authority is now working its way through the courts in various cases.
It appears the absence of appointing House impeachment managers; and the decision to withhold sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate; is now a specific design.
As the process appears to be unfolding, the Lawfare contracted lawyers representing the House: chief legal counsel Douglas Letter, Barry Berke, Norm Eisen and Daniel Goldman will now argue before the courts that all of the constitutionally contended material is required as evidence for a pending judicial proceeding, a trial in the Senate.
What the house crew have assembled is an interesting back-door attempt to position a valid claim for evidence against the accused without having first gained judicial authority for it. The Lawfare crew will argue to the lower courts, and to SCOTUS, the blocked evidentiary material is critical evidence in a soon-to-be-held Senate trial.
The material they have been seeking is: (1) Mueller grand jury material; (2) a deposition by former White House counsel Don McGahn; and less importantly (3) Trump financial and tax records. Each of these issues is currently being argued in appellate courts (6e and McGahn) and the supreme court (financials/taxes).
The House impeachment of President Trump succeeds in applying the label ''impeached president'' that was their primary political purpose. President Trump is marred with the label of an 'impeached president'.
Now the delay in sending the articles of impeachment allows the House lawyers to gather additional evidence while the impeachment case sits in limbo.
The House essentially blocks any/all impeachment activity in the Senate by denying the transfer of the articles from the House to the Senate. Additionally, the House will now impede any other Senate legislative action because the House will hold the Senate captive. Meanwhile the Democrat presidential candidates can run against an impeached President.
Lawfare's legal svengali Lawrence Tribe recently penned an op-ed with this type of recommendation; and it appears the community that worships Tribe, including the House lawyers writ large, are following his advice.
While Politico outlines the plan from a position if the scheme as a new idea, the fact the House impeachment rules were changed to drop the appointment of the managers speaks to considerable forethought on this type of plan.
It does not appear this is a new idea; rather it looks like this is a pre-planned procedural process by design:
Washington '' House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking lawmaker in the House, said Wednesday that Democrats must discuss a last-ditch gambit to delay sending articles of impeachment to the Senate and prevent the Republican-controlled chamber from summarily discarding the case against President Donald Trump.
''Some think it's a good idea. And we need to talk about it,'' Hoyer said just as the House began debating articles of impeachment that charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In recent weeks, some legal scholars have suggested Speaker Nancy Pelosi could consider refusing to transmit articles of impeachment '-- likely to pass the House Wednesday evening '-- to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared he is coordinating trial strategy with the White House.
['...] Notably, House Judiciary Committee Democrats huddled with Tribe earlier this month as they practiced behind closed doors for their series of impeachment hearings.
['...] the House could use the delay to continue to build on its evidence for impeachment, and possibly to score additional legal victories that could unlock troves of new evidence and witness testimony that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress. Some of those court cases could be decided within weeks. (read more)
No vote on naming impeachment managers tonight, which means articles won't be transmitted to the Senate tonight. House has adjourned
'-- Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 19, 2019
Washington Post, CNN journos under fire after Trump impeachment for celebrating 'Impeachmas' | Fox News
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:04
Several Washington Post reporters were under fire late Wednesday night for celebrating "Impeachmas" following the impeachment of President Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continued to insist that the impeachment -- just the third in U.S. history -- was a "solemn" occasion for the nation but that did not appear to be the case for the group of WaPo journalists, who were seen in an online post marking the historic night with drinks.
"Merry Impeachmas from the WaPo team!" WaPo Congress reporter and CNN political analyst Rachael Bade remarked in the post, in which she was seen with colleagues Paul Kane, Mike DeBonis, as well as Seung Min Kim and Karoun Demirjian, who also are CNN analysts.
Bade deleted the tweet roughly an hour after it was posted.
A screen capture shows Rachael Bade's "Impeachmas" celebration post, which has since been deleted.
However, before it was taken down, the tweet sparked a firestorm of criticism on social media.
"Washington Post reporter and CNN political analyst Rachel [sic] Bade celebrates Impeachmas, which isn't a horrible look for both news organizations or anything...," The Hill media reporter Joe Concha reacted.
"Record. Levels. Of. Journalisming," conservative commentator Ben Shapiro quipped. Other criticisms followed.
Trump 2020 Campaign manager Brad Parscale also blasted the WaPo journalists.
"Ladies & gentlemen, your fair and objective press corps in action! What a joke," Parscale wrote. "Media needs to stop acting like they are ''impartial."
Bade attempted to explain her now-deleted tweet, claiming that it was "misinterpreted by some."
"I'm deleting a tweeting tonight that is being misinterpreted by some as an endorsement of some kind," Bade wrote. "To be absolutely clear, we at the Post are merely glad we are getting a break for the holidays after a long 3 months. I will retweet the group photo w/ a better caption!"
Bade did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Ceremonial mace - Wikipedia
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:14
A ceremonial mace is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high officials in civic ceremonies by a mace-bearer, intended to represent the official's authority. The mace, as used today, derives from the original mace used as a weapon. Processions often feature maces, as on parliamentary or formal academic occasions.
History Edit Ancient Near East Edit Ceremonial mace (left hand) depicted on stela from
NimrudCeremonial maces originated in the Ancient Near East, where they were used as symbols of rank and authority across the region during the late Stone Age, Bronze Age, and early Iron Age. Among the oldest known ceremonial maceheads are the Ancient Egyptian Scorpion Macehead and Narmer Macehead; both are elaborately engraved with royal scenes, although their precise role and symbolism is obscure. In later Mesopotamian art, the mace is more clearly associated with authority; by the Old Babylonian period the most common figure on cylinder seals (a type of seal used to authenticate clay documents) is a repeated type now known as "The Figure with Mace" who wears a royal hat, holds a mace in his left hand, and is thought to represent a generic king.[1] Ceremonial maces are also prominently depicted in the royal art of Ancient Assyria, such as the Stela of Ashurnasirpal II and the Stela of Shamshi-Adad V, in which the Assyrian kings are shown performing rites or making religious gestures while holding a mace to symbolise their authority.[2]
Eastern Roman Empire Edit Some officials of the medieval Eastern Roman Empire carried maces for either practical or ceremonial purposes. Notable among the latter is the protoallagator, a military-judicial position that existed by about the 10th century A.D. and whose symbols of office were reported by the Palaiologan writer Pseudo-Kodinos in the 14th century to include a silver-gilt mace (matzouka). At this time the duties of the protoallagator included commanding the emperor's personal allagion, his military retinue. The ceremonial function of the mace may have passed to the late Roman Empire from the ancient Near East by way of Persia,[3] and from there to other European cultures.[4]
Medieval and Renaissance Europe Edit The earliest ceremonial maces in France and England were practical weapons intended to protect the king's person, borne by the Sergeants-at-Arms, a royal bodyguard established in France by Philip II, and in England probably by Richard I, (c. 1180)[citation needed ]. By the 14th century, these sergeants' maces had started to become increasingly decorative, encased in precious metals. As a weapon, the mace fell out of use with the disappearance of heavy armour.
French ceremonial mace, 18th century
The history of the civic mace (carried by the sergeants-at-arms) begins around the middle of the 13th century, though no examples from that period remain today. The oldest civic mace in England (still remaining today) is that of Hedon. It was granted (along with an important charter) in 1415.[5] At the time, ornamented civic maces were considered an infringement of one of the privileges of the king's sergeants, who alone deserved to bear maces enriched with costly metals, according to a House of Commons petition of 1344. However, the sergeants of London later gained this privilege, as did later those of York (1396), Norwich (1403''1404), and Chester (1506). Records exist of maces covered with silver in use at Exeter in 1387''1388; Norwich bought two in 1435, and Launceston others in 1467 and 1468. Several other cities and towns subsequently acquired silver maces, and the 16th century saw almost universal use.
Early in the 15th century, the flanged end of the mace (the head of the war mace) was carried uppermost, with the small button bearing the royal arms in the base. By the beginning of the Tudor period, however, the blade-like flanges, originally made for offence, degenerated into mere ornaments, while the increased importance of the end with the royal arms (afterwards enriched with a cresting) resulted in the reversal of the position. The custom of carrying the flanged end upward did not die out at once: a few maces, such as the Winchcombe silver maces, which date from the end of the 15th century, were made to be carried both ways. The Guildford mace provides one of the finest of the fifteen specimens of the 15th century.
Craftsmen often pierced and decorated the flanged ends of the maces of this period beautifully. These flanges gradually became smaller, and by the 16th or early 17th century had developed into pretty projecting scroll-brackets and other ornaments, which remained in vogue until about 1640. The next development in the embellishment of the shaft was the reappearance of these small scroll-brackets on the top, immediately under the head of the mace. They disappear altogether from the foot in the last half of the 17th century, and remain only under the heads, or, in rarer instances, on a knob on the shaft. The silver mace-heads were mostly plain, with a cresting of leaves or flowers in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the reign of James I of England they began to be engraved and decorated with heraldic devices and similar ornamentation.
As the custom of having sergeants' maces began to die out about 1650, the large maces borne before the mayor or bailiffs came into general use. Thomas Maundy functioned as the chief maker of maces during the English Commonwealth. He made the mace for the House of Commons in 1649. This mace is still in use today, though without the original head. The original head, which was not engraved with regal symbols, was replaced by one with regal symbols at the time of the Restoration of the monarchy. Oliver Cromwell referred to the House of Commons mace as "a fool's bauble" when he dissolved the Rump Parliament in 1653.
Australia Edit The ceremonial maces of the Australian House of Representatives and the Australian Senate symbolise both the authority of each chamber and the royal authority of Australia's monarch.
Senate Edit The ceremonial mace of the Senate of Australia is the Black Rod. The ceremonial custodian of the Black Rod is the Usher of the Black Rod.[6]
House of Representatives Edit The Sergeant-at-Arms of the Australian House of Representatives is the ceremonial custodian of the Mace of the House. At the beginning and end of every day the House sits, the Speaker of the House enters and leaves the House preceded by the Sergeant-at-Arms carrying the mace on his or her right shoulder.[7] The current Mace is made of gilded silver, and was a gift to the House from King George VI on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Federation in 1951. It was presented to the House by a delegation of members of the British House of Commons.[8]
In May 1914, Labor MP William Higgs played a practical joke on the House by hiding the mace under one of the opposition frontbenches. It was not found for two hours, and police were called in as it was assumed to have been stolen.[9] After initially denying his role in the incident,[10] Higgs apologised to his colleagues the following week, stating he had acted in "a spirit of frivolity". His admission that he was "entirely to blame" was met with cheers.[11]
Queensland Parliament Edit A silver-gilt mace was produced for the Queensland Parliament in 1978 by Marples and Beasley of Birmingham, United Kingdom. It is 1.22 metres (4.0 ft) long and weighs 7.7 kilograms (17 lb). The mace is inlaid with 15 sapphires, 9 opals, 6 amethysts and 2 garnets, all originating from the state of Queensland.[12]
Bahamas Edit The ceremonial maces in the Bahamas symbolise both the authority of each chamber and the Royal authority of Elizabeth II, the Queen of the Bahamas.
On 27 April 1965, a day known in the Bahamas as "Black Tuesday", Lynden Pindling, then Opposition Leader, threw the 165-year-old Speaker's Mace out of a House of Assembly window to protest against the unfair gerrymandering of constituency boundaries by the then ruling United Bahamian Party (UBP) government. The Speaker tried to restore order but he was reminded by Labour leader Randol Fawkes that the business of the House could not legally continue without the mace. The badly damaged mace was recovered by the Police and returned to the House.
The House of Assembly reconvened with a temporary wooden mace loaned by Canada; this was the same temporary mace used by the House of Commons of Canada after it lost its own mace to a fire in 1916. The temporary mace ultimately returned to Canada freshly gilded.[13] In November 1975, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom donated a new mace to the House of Assembly.[14]
On 3 December 2001, Cassius Stuart and Omar Smith, leader and deputy leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement, a minor political party, charged from the public gallery onto the floor of the House of Assembly and handcuffed themselves to the Mace in protest against "unfair gerrymandering" of constituency boundaries by the Free National Movement (FNM) government. The Mace was unable to be separated from the men and the sitting of the House had to be suspended. The pair were jailed for almost two days but no charges were brought against them.
Canada Edit Made in 1867, the mace used in the
Legislative Assembly of Ontario is made of gold-plated copper. The ceremonial mace of the Legislature is the fourth mace to be used in the Legislatures of Upper Canada and Ontario.
The ceremonial maces in the Canadian Senate and House of Commons embody the authority each chamber derives from the country's sovereign. The current mace in the Commons is the Fourth mace, a replica of the Third one destroyed by fire at the Centre Block in 1916.[15]
A similar practice is employed in each of the provincial and territorial legislatures, with a mace representing the sovereign's authority and power in each of the respective legislatures.
Protocol surrounding the mace Edit In Canada, each of the legislatures follow a relatively standard protocol in relation to the ceremonial mace; the speaker of the house normally enters following a mace-bearer (normally the sergeant-at-arms), who subsequently sets the mace on the clerks' table to begin the sitting. When the sergeant-at-arms removes the mace from the table, the House has either adjourned, recessed, or been resolved into a committee of the whole. Before the reigning monarch or one of his or her representatives (the governor general or one of the lieutenant governors) may enter a legislative chamber, the mace must be completely hidden from view. This is done by draping the mace in a heavy velvet cloth, a procedure performed by the house pages. During the election of the speaker, the mace is removed from the table to show that the house is not fully constituted until the new speaker takes the chair and the mace is laid on the table.
History of the maces Edit The first mace was used by the Chamber of Upper Canada's first Parliament in 1792 at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) and then moved to York (now Toronto).[16] This first mace was a primitive wooden implement, painted red and gilt and surmounted by a crown of thin brass strips. It was stolen by American troops as a prize of war during the Battle of York of the War of 1812 in 1813. The mace was stored at United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and remained in the United States until 1934 when it was returned to Ontario when President Franklin Roosevelt sent an order to Congress to return the mace.[17] It was stored at the Royal Ontario Museum for a time, and is now located in the Main Lobby of the Ontario Legislative Building.[16]
A second mace was introduced in 1813 and used until 1841.[13]
The third mace was not purchased until 1845. In 1849, when the Parliament for the United Provinces of Canada was sitting in Montreal, it was stolen by a riotous mob, apparently intent upon destroying it in a public demonstration. It was rescued and returned to the Speaker, Sir Allan MacNab, the next day. Later, in 1854, the Mace was twice rescued when the Parliament Buildings in Quebec were ravaged by fire. The Mace continued to be used by the Union Parliament in Toronto and Quebec until Confederation in 1867, when it was taken to the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa, where it remained in the House of Commons until 1916.[13]
The mace of the House of Commons was destroyed when the Centre Block burned down in 1916; all that remained was a fist-sized ball of silver and gold.[13] In the immediate aftermath, the House of Commons used the surviving Senate mace[13], then the mace of the Ontario provincial legislature for three weeks, after which a wooden mace was crafted and used.[18] In June 1916, the City of London donated a new mace made with the remains of the one destroyed; this mace continues to serve.[13]
Being a symbol of the power and authority of a legislative assembly, a precedent was set in 2002 as to the severity of acts of disrespect toward the mace in Canada and, by proxy, the monarch. After Keith Martin, federal Member of Parliament for Esquimalt'--Juan de Fuca, seized the ceremonial mace of the House of Commons from the clerk's table on April 17, 2002, the speaker of that chamber ruled that a prima facie breach of the privileges of the house had occurred,[19] and contempt of the house been committed. Martin was not permitted to resume his seat until he had issued a formal apology from the bar of the house, pursuant to a motion passed in response to the incident.
Parliament of Ontario Edit The ceremonial mace of the Parliament of Ontario is the fourth mace to be used in Upper Canada or Ontario.
The first, second and third maces used in Ontario, are mentioned above, and were used by the Parliament of Upper Canada and Union Parliament.
After Confederation, where the third mace moved with the new Parliament of the Dominion of Canada to Ottawa. The current mace used in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was acquired in 1867. It was provided by Charles E. Zollikofer of Ottawa for $200. The Four-foot mace is made of copper and richly gilded, a flattened ball at the butt end. Initially, the head of the mace bore the crown of Queen Victoria and in a cup with her monogram, V.R. When she was succeeded by Edward VII in 1901, her crown and cup were removed and a new one bearing Edward's initials on the cup was installed. Eventually, it was replaced with the current cup which is adorned in gleaming brass leaves.[16]
Through some careful detective work on the part of Legislative Assembly staff, the original cup with Queen Victoria's monogram was recently found in the Royal Ontario Museum's collection and returned to the Legislature. It is now on display in the Ontario Legislative Building.[16]
In 2009, two diamonds were installed in the Mace. The diamonds were a gift to the people of Ontario from De Beers Canada to mark the opening of the Victor Mine near Attawapiskat in northern Ontario. Three diamonds were selected from the first run of the mine. Two stones, one rough and one polished, were set in platinum in the crown of the Mace while the third stone, also polished, was put on exhibit in the lobby of the Legislative Building as part of a display about the history of the Mace.[16]
Guyana Edit The National Assembly, the sole chamber of the Parliament of Guyana, has a ceremonial mace. In March 1991, Isahak Basir, a member of the People's Progressive Party (in opposition at the time), was expelled from parliament for removing the mace from its place on the table, and also for throwing his drinking glass at the Speaker.[20]
Ireland Edit The Great Mace of
Ireland, presented to the city by
Mayor Edward Eyre in 1712. Next to it is the Civic Sword.
The silver gilt mace of the old Irish House of Commons, which dates to 1765/1766 is now displayed in the old Irish House of Lords Chamber in the old Parliament House which since 1803 has been Bank of Ireland, College Green in Dublin. The silver gilt mace of the old Irish House of Lords is on permanent display at the National Museum, Collins Barracks.
City councils and universities in Ireland often possess a ceremonial mace.
Philippines Edit Sri Lanka Edit The ceremonial jeweled mace, symbolizing the authority of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, is kept in the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. The mace, when kept on its stand in the Chamber, signifies that the House is in session. At the commencement of a Session, the Serjeant-at-Arms bearing the mace accompanies the Speaker when entering and leaving the Chamber. The mace has to be legally brought into the House at the appointed time and removed at the end of the Session. Therefore, unauthorized removal of the mace cannot invalidate proceedings.
United Kingdom Edit United States Edit The Mace of the US House of Representatives
The civic maces of the 18th century follow the British type, with some modifications in shape and ornamentation, but most (with the exception of Virginia and South Carolina) incorporate republican imagery as opposed to the monarchical imagery of the previous maces, although arguably imperial Roman imagery is what most influenced their form. Examples of English silver maces in North America include one dating to 1753 at Norfolk, Virginia, and the mace of the state of South Carolina, dating to 1756. The Maryland House of Delegates also has a very old ceremonial mace, although it is the plainest of all, having no ornamentation save some carved vegetation designs at its head (in addition, there are two maces in Jamaica, made in 1753 and 1787; one belonging to the colony of Grenada, made in 1791, and the Speaker's Mace at Barbados, dating from 1812).
The current Mace of the United States House of Representatives has been in use since December 1, 1842. It was created by William Adams at a cost of $400 to replace the first mace, which was destroyed on August 24, 1814 when the Capitol was destroyed in the burning of Washington by the British during the War of 1812. A simple wooden mace was used in the interim.
The current mace is nearly four feet tall and is composed of 13 ebony rods tied together with silver strands criss-crossed over the length of the staff. This design shows the staff with the appearance of a bundled fasces, sans ax, symbolizing unity, the rods representing the 13 original States. It is surmounted by a globus, symbolising dominion, and above that the American eagle with outstretched wings.
When the House is in session, the mace stands in a cylindrical pedestal of green marble to the right of the chair of the Speaker of the House. When the House is meeting as the Committee of the Whole, the mace is moved to a pedestal next to the desk of the Sergeant at Arms. Thus Representatives entering the chamber know with a glance whether the House is in session or in committee.
In accordance with the Rules of the House, when a Member becomes unruly the Sergeant at Arms, on order of the Speaker, lifts the mace from its pedestal and presents it before the offenders, thereby restoring order. This occurs very rarely.
Bands Edit A drum major of the U.S. Marine Corps' III Marine Expeditionary Force Band is pictured carrying a mace in 2019
Drum majors carry a mace to convey commands or signals to their band.[25] According to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, "Drum Major's maces have been in existence since the 17th century".[26]
Churches Edit Universities Edit Ceremonial maces, symbols of the internal authority over members and the independence from external authority, are still used at many educational institutions, particularly universities. The University of St Andrews in Scotland has three maces dating from the 15th century. The university also has four other maces of a more recent origin. These are on permanent display at the Museum of the University of St Andrews. The University of Glasgow has one from the same period, which may be seen in its arms. University of Innsbruck and its sister Medical University are in possession of maces from 1572, 1588 and 1833, which were confiscated by the Habsburgs from the University of Olomouc in the 1850s.[28]
At the University of Oxford there are three dating from the second half of the 16th century and six from 1723 and 1724, while at the University of Cambridge there are three from 1626 and one from 1628. The latter was altered during the Cromwellian Commonwealth and again at the Stuart Restoration. The mace of the general council of the University of Edinburgh has a threesided head: one with the seal of the University; one with the university's coat of arms and the third with Edinburgh's coat of arms of the City of Edinburgh. The wood for the shaft of the mace is from Malabar and was presented by the Secretary of State for India (R. A. Cross) at the First International Forestry Exhibition (1884).[29] The mace of the Open University reflects its modernist outlook, being made from titanium.[30]
In the United States, almost all universities and free-standing colleges have a mace, used almost exclusively at commencement exercises and borne variously by the university or college president, chancellor, rector, provost, the marshal of the faculty, a dean or some other high official. In those universities that have a number of constituent colleges or faculties, each college, faculty or school often has a smaller mace, borne in procession by a dean, faculty member or sometimes a privileged student. In 1970, Cornell professor Morris Bishop was acting as marshal at a graduation ceremony when a radical student attempted to grab the microphone; Bishop fought him off with the mace.[31][32]
In Canada, some universities have a mace that is used as part of the ceremonial process of conferring degrees during convocation and other special events. The mace is carried by a special university official like a beadle.[33]
In South Korea, Pohang University of Science and Technology has a mace as a part of its ceremonial functions.[34]
In the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas has a pair of twin maces belonging to the Rector Magnificus. These symbolize his spiritual and temporal power as the highest authority of the university. Made of pure silver and measuring 95 centimeters by 15 centimeters in diameter, the maces have existed since the 17th century and have been used in academic processions ever since. Candidates for doctoral degrees were accompanied by the Rector in a parade called Paseo de los Doctores from Intramuros to Santo Domingo Church, where University commencement exercises were held until the 17th century. Today, faculty members hold processions at the opening of each academic year and during solemn investitures in academic gowns, following the style of Spanish academic regalia. The maces, carried by beadles or macebearers, were included in the parade for their academic symbolism.[35]
Other maces Edit The mace of the Cork guilds, made by Robert Goble of Cork in 1696 for the associated guilds of which he had been master, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum also has a large silver mace dating to the middle of the 18th century, with the arms of Pope Benedict XIV. This mace is said to have been used at the coronation of Napoleon as king of Italy at Milan in 1805.Judiciary of Hong Kong opens its legal year with a ceremonial mace carried by the mace bearer and used since the early 20th century.[36]Hetmans of Ukrainian Cossacks also had a ceremonial mace, called a bulava.The drum major at the front of a marching band may use a mace to communicate movement and musical cues.See also Edit References Edit ^ al-Gailani Werr, Lamia (1988). Studies in the Chronology and Regional Style of Old Babylonian Cylinder Seals III. Isin-Larsa and Old Babylonian Periods (PDF) . Malibu: Undena Publications. p. 17-19. ^ "Collection Online". The British Museum . Retrieved 11 December 2018 . ^ "The War-Mace of Byzantium, 9th-15th C. AD". Acta Militaria Mediaevalia VII . Retrieved 11 December 2018 . ^ Dawson, Timothy (2015). By the Emperor's Hand: Military Dress and Court Regalia in the Later Romano-Byzantine Empire. Barnsley: Frontline Books. p. 107. ^ "The Hedon silver". Hedon Town Council. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26 . Retrieved 19 April 2012 . ^ "The Black Rod: History and role". The Senate of Australia . Retrieved 29 February 2008 . ^ "History and role of the Mace". The Parliament of Australia . Retrieved 10 April 2012 . ^ "Gift of the current Mace of the House by King George VI". The Parliament of Australia . Retrieved 29 February 2008 . ^ "THE STONEWALL". The Sydney Morning Herald. 23 May 1914. ^ "MACE INCIDENT". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 May 1914. ^ "THE MACE INCIDENT". The West Australian. 29 May 1914. ^ "Information on Parliament". Queensland Parliament . Retrieved 12 December 2018 . ^ a b c d e f McDonough, John (1979). "The History of the Maces of the British and Canadian Parliaments". Canadian Regional Review. Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. 2 (2) . Retrieved 2 June 2019 . ^ "BAHAMAS (GIFT OF A MACE)". 19 December 1975 . Retrieved 2 June 2019 . ^ The Law Times. 142. Office of The Law Times. 1917. p. 204. ^ a b c d e "The Mace". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13 . Retrieved 2017-05-16 . ^ "Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message to Congress Requesting Authority to Return a Mace to Canada". . Retrieved 2016-09-28 . ^ O'Brien, Audrey; Bosc, Marc, eds. (2009). "The Physical and Administrative Setting > The Chamber". House of Commons Procedure and Practice (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. ISBN 978-2-89635-321-7 . Retrieved 2 June 2019 . ^ Parliament of Canada (22 April 2002). "The Speaker > House of Commons Canada > Speaker's Rulings". Queen's Printer for Canada . Retrieved 12 April 2009 . ^ Media Centre // Speeches in the National Assembly // Sub-Judice '' Parliament of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Retrieved 18 December 2014. ^ a b "Symbols of Power and Authority". House of the Representatives of the Philippines . Retrieved 28 February 2011 . ^ a b "Symbols of Authority". Senate of the Philippines . Retrieved 28 February 2011 . ^ Kenneth J. Mears; Simon Thurley; Claire Murphy (1994). The Crown Jewels. Historic Royal Palaces Agency. p. 8. ASIN B000HHY1ZQ. ^ "Mace (The)". . Retrieved 7 December 2015 . ^ The Military Band. Washington, D.C.: United States Army. 1969. pp. 45''46. ^ "Drum Major Manual" (PDF) . Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association . Retrieved September 3, 2019 . ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Mace" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. ^ Fiala, JiÅ­ (12 July 1998). "Původn­ žezlo rektora olomouck(C) univerzity [Original mace of Olomouc University's Rector]" (PDF) . Žurnl Univerzity Palack(C)ho (in Czech). Olomouc: Palack½ University of Olomouc. 7 (28) . Retrieved 30 December 2012 . ^ "The General Council of the University of Edinburgh". Archived from the original on 19 June 2013 . Retrieved 10 March 2012 . ^ "The Open University Mace". The Art of Reflection and Refraction . Retrieved 10 March 2012 . ^ Joel Rudin (26 November 1973). "Morris Bishop Dead at 80". The Cornell Daily Sun. 90 (61). ^ Glenn C. Altschuler; Isaac Kramnick (2014). Cornell: A History, 1940''2015. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8014-4425-8. ^ "Convocation ceremony". Nipissing University. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. ^ <ì'¸í°ë·°> ê¹ìš(C)민 포스텍 ì‹ ìžì´'장. Yonhap News (in Korean). 2011-09-07. ^ "Rector's regalia heighten pomp and pageantry". The Varsitarian. Archived from the original on 2012-08-02 . Retrieved 17 August 2012 . ^ "Ceremonial opening of the legal year" (PDF) . Judiciary of Hong Kong. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016 . Retrieved 2 February 2016 . External links Edit
- The House of Commons Mace
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:13
Silver-gilt mace; stem chased with roses and thistles springing from a stem entwined by a plain spiral ribbon; the head has the four national emblems and CR cypher within laurel arches; the crown arches have corded borders to a single row of pearls.For centuries, this mace was identified with Cromwell's mace, made by Thomas Maundy in 1649, and was believed to have been altered for Charles II after the Restoration. However, more recent research and analysis has proven that this mace was made later than 1649, and was probably made specifically for Charles II. It has been altered more recently.Ceremonial maces of silver or silver gilt have traditionally been carried by the sovereign's Sergeants-at-Arms or royal bodyguards since the medieval period. The shape ultimately derives from the war-mace or club although it has become increasingly decorative and less functional over time. Thirteen new maces, for each of the Sergeants-at-arms, were created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, although these have been altered and enhanced in their history. As symbols of royal authority, maces were also created for the Palace of Westminster and these are carried before the Speaker into the chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
A Proper Symbol of Office | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:12
A Proper Symbol of Office by
Art on December 4, 2017
Wherever and whenever the U.S. House of Representatives meets, this historic artifact is there. It is
the mace. The mace is made up of three parts'--a bundled shaft of 13 rods, a silver globe, and an eagle with spread wings. The bundled rods of the mace resemble fasces. Fasces, used in the ancient Roman republic, symbolize strength through unity. The bundled rods are much stronger together than they are separately.
While the mace, made by New York silversmith William Adams in 1841, intentionally looks like this ancient symbol, aspects of it are unmistakably American. The 13 bundled rods of the shaft represent the original 13 states. Continents are etched into the globe atop the shaft, with the North American continent facing forward. Perched atop the globe is the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle, another symbol of strength.
The mace is a symbol of the authority of the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives. In 1789, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that established the role of the Sergeant at Arms. The resolution stipulated that ''a proper symbol of office shall be provided for the Sergeant at Arms, of such form and device as the Speaker shall direct.'' The first Speaker of the House, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, chose a symbol with a long legislative tradition and an even longer tradition as an implement of war. In the Middle Ages, the mace was widely used in Europe as a weapon. However, by 1789, the mace was commonly used as a ceremonial symbol of legislative power. For example, maces were used in the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom and the general assembly in colonial Virginia.
/tiles/non-collection/1/12-4-mace-saa-2008_033_005.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this object The Sergeant at Arms, with the House Mace held aloft, retrieved Members from dinners, receptions, and other social events, and led them back to the Chamber in order for the House to achieve a quorum in early March 1881.The Sergeant at Arms is tasked with maintaining decorum in the
Chamber of the House of Representatives. A booklet about the mace, published in 1956, explained that the Sergeant at Arms may use the mace to achieve decorum. ''Whenever, as seldom happened,'' the booklet disclosed, ''an individual Member
became turbulent and seemed beyond the Speaker's control, the Sergeant at Arms, on order of the Speaker [of the House], lifted the mace from its pedestal and 'presented' it before the offending person.'' For example, a print in
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper depicts Sergeant at Arms
John G. Thompson holding the mace on the floor of the House of Representatives. The caption reads, ''The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, on the Night of January 31st [1877], giving a preliminary warning to disorderly members.''
/tiles/non-collection/1/12-4-mace-declarationofwar-2008_130_12.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this object The House Mace is visible during Joint Sessions of Congress, including this one in 1941, in which it appears just behind President Roosevelt.Thompson also appeared in
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on March 5, 1881. The
print depicts him performing another duty of the Sergeant at Arms: holding the mace as he enters the House Chamber with absentee Members of the House of Representatives behind him. The Sergeant at Arms can compel absentee Members to the House Chamber to perform legislative duties, in this case creating a quorum so that legislative business could be accomplished. The
National Republican explained that on February 24, 1881, while the House of Representatives was in session, some Members were attending a reception at the White House. Thompson dispatched his deputy Sergeant at Arms to retrieve those Members and bring them back to the House Chamber.
When the House of Representatives is in session, the mace is usually placed atop a pedestal to the Speaker's right side. Another booklet about the mace, published in 1940, described it as having played ''a silent but important part in the day's proceedings.'' The mace has silently witnessed many significant events of American history. For example, the mace was pictured behind President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 8, 1941, when the President asked a Joint Session of Congress to declare war against Japan.
/tiles/non-collection/1/12-4-mace-hearingroom-PA2013_01_0009k.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this object Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn called the House of Representatives to order in the Ways and Means Committee hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building.Although it does not happen often, when the House of Representatives meets
outside of the House Chamber, the mace follows. For example, on November 25, 1940, the mace was present during a session of the House of Representatives in the
Longworth House Office Building. The House of Representatives met in the Ways and Means Committee hearing room while repairs were made to the roof of the House Chamber.
The next time the House of Representatives is in session, look for the mace.
Sources: Zeake W. Johnson, Jr., ed., The Mace of the House of Representatives of the United States (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956); Annals of Congress, 1st Cong., 1st sess. (14 April 1789); ''All Day and Night'' in National Republican (Washington, D.C.: W.J. Murtagh, 1881); Kenneth Romney, ed., The Mace of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940).
Follow @USHouseHistory
Nancy Pelosi Went Dark for the House Debates. Her Pin Shined. - The New York Times
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:07
As she opened the impeachment debate in the House of Representatives, her black suit and shining brooch made a statement.
Nancy Pelosi wore a somber suit on Wednesday for the House debate on the votes to officially impeach President Donald Trump on two charges. Credit... Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock ''I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States.''
So said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, on Wednesday morning as she stood in the cavernous chamber of the House of Representatives in a lapelless black suit, almost military in design, with a high neck. Its somber color was a reflection of the darkness of the day and the conscious choice for a woman fluent in the communicative uses of color. Atop it, a dagger-like gold pin shone out over her heart like a beacon.
But what was it?
Immediately the watching public began to wonder. After all, it was impossible to miss, standing out not just against her suit, but amid the sea of little congressional buttons and American flags worn by Ms. Pelosi's colleagues. (In politics, a pin is never just a pin '-- at least not since Madeleine Albright published a book on her brooch diplomacy.) Clearly it was no mere decoration.
Indeed not. It is her power pin.
Literally (and also possibly metaphorically), it is a symbol of the office she holds.
And though there was some confusion in the watching public over what, exactly, it was, with some speculating on social media that it represented the Caduceus pin, or a medical symbol, and others comparing it to the Hand of the King from ''Game of Thrones,'' the pin actually represents the Mace of the United States House of Representatives: the long, blunt battle staff that has embodied the legislative branch's authority since 1789.
Take that, ye errant executive, or something.
According to a website that catalogs the history of the House of Representatives, the mace is composed of 13 bundled rods, which look like a dagger from afar. They nod to the ancient Roman fasces, used to communicate strength through unity, and represent the original 13 states. The bundled rods are crowned by a globe '-- i.e., the world '-- atop which sits an American bald eagle, representing the obvious.
The object itself, the site says, ''is usually placed atop a pedestal to the Speaker's right side'' when the House is in session. If the House meets outside its traditional chamber, the mace follows.
The current House mace was made by the New York silversmith William Adams in 1841, but Ms. Pelosi's pin is a somewhat more modern interpretation.
It was made by Ann Hand, a designer in Washington, D.C. who specializes in patriotic jewelry, and is the wife of Lloyd Hand, the chief of protocol under Lyndon Johnson. According to her website, Ms. Hand is also responsible for ''the official pin worn by the spouses of the U.S. House of Representatives'' and has also made ''brooches for all the Armed Services, the Naval Academy and West Point'' (among other governmental bodies).
Her mace pin is brass with a gold overlay and has a pearl (or faux pearl) for the globe. It sells for $125, and at the moment it is on backorder. Its most famous owner has, apparently, set off something of a trend.
This is not, after all, the first time Ms. Pelosi has worn her pin. Indeed, she has worn it on a number of important public occasions since first winning re-election as speaker of the House.
She wore it, for example, at the president's first State of Union, on the lapel of her cream suit, when she and many of the women of her caucus wore white.
She wore it in June, atop a royal blue jacket, during an interview after the president had called her ''vindictive'' and a ''disgrace'' in a post-D-Day interview with Fox News.
And she wore it in October, on a sky blue jacket, when she and Representative Adam Schiff held a news conference to announce that they had decided to move forward with articles of impeachment.
It is, in other words, a symbol, made of symbols, being used as a symbol.
And it tends to make its appearance in situations that merit an implicit reminder of what exactly it is the House has been empowered to do, and whence it derives its authority. Like, for example, the kind of situation described in the Constitution, but which the president has labeled (in his recent letter to Ms. Pelosi) ''invalid'' and ''illegal.'' Which is to say, the current impeachment vote.
In such a situation, as Secretary Albright might have said, all the watching public has to do '-- whether Ms. Pelosi is speaking or not '-- is ''read her pins.''
Who's Qualified for the Next 2020 Democratic Debate? - The New York Times
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 19:27
December Dec. 7 qualified so far Joseph R. Biden Jr. Biden
Michael R. Bloomberg Bloomberg
Marianne Williamson Williamson
There are so many Democratic presidential candidates and debates that it can be hard to keep track of who's in and who's out. So we're keeping track for you.
Only seven candidates qualified for the next debate, which will be held on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. (Kamala Harris also qualified, but dropped out of the race.) The D.N.C. has not yet released its requirements for the January and February debates.
Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to ''On Politics,'' and we'll send you a link.
The December Debate To score an invite, candidates had to meet a donor requirement:
contributions from 200,000 unique donors.
And one of two polling requirements:
two polls at 6 percent or more in the four early nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina; or
four polls at 4 percent or more in early nominating states or national surveys.
Only polls released between Oct. 16 and Dec. 12 counted.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. Biden yes1118 Bernie Sanders Sanders yes1118 Elizabeth Warren Warren yes1118 Pete Buttigieg Buttigieg yes1017 Michael R. Bloomberg Bloomberg no02 Amy Klobuchar Klobuchar yes17 Andrew Yang Yang yes04 Cory Booker Booker yes00 Tom Steyer Steyer yes04 Julin Castro Castro yes00 Tulsi Gabbard Gabbard yes13 On the cusp
Michael Bennet Bennet no00 John Delaney Delaney no00 Marianne Williamson Williamson no00 Deval Patrick Patrick no00The Previous Debates The Democratic National Committee has made it progressively harder to qualify for debates, narrowing the field of candidates invited onstage.
JuneJulySept.Oct.Nov.Dec. Joseph R. Biden Jr. Biden Bernie Sanders Sanders Elizabeth Warren Warren Pete Buttigieg Buttigieg Michael R. Bloomberg Bloomberg Amy Klobuchar Klobuchar Andrew Yang Yang Cory Booker Booker Tom Steyer Steyer Julin Castro Castro Tulsi Gabbard Gabbard Michael Bennet Bennet John Delaney Delaney Marianne Williamson Williamson Deval Patrick Patrick Kamala Harris Harris DROPPED OUT
Steve Bullock Bullock DROPPED OUT
Joe Sestak Sestak DROPPED OUT
Wayne Messam Messam DROPPED OUT
Beto O'Rourke O'Rourke DROPPED OUT
Bill de Blasio de Blasio DROPPED OUT
Kirsten Gillibrand Gillibrand DROPPED OUT
John Hickenlooper Hickenlooper DROPPED OUT
Jay Inslee Inslee DROPPED OUT
Seth Moulton Moulton DROPPED OUT
Eric Swalwell Swalwell DROPPED OUT
How Slack is Silently Killing Your Productivity
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:01
For a few months I've been trying to convince our team to spend less time on Slack. Not so easy.
Slack's state-of-the-art onboarding and overall likability makes it feel as if I'm trying to kick a popular colleague off of the team.
More than with any other product I've used, Slack feels like a friend. So why on earth pick a fight with him? These are my reasons.
Slack breaks your flowReaching a state of flow requires around 20 minutes of uninterrupted focus time. Whenever this is broken, whether by a colleague walking up to you or by an incoming Slack message, you have to start over again. Slack spreads your attention residue all over your chats and channels.
We shouldn't care about the number of hours spent in the office; we should care about the quantity and quality of work we get done. And most work is done better and faster when we're in a state of flow.
Responsive jobs, like chat support , are by their very nature filled with interruptions. So Slack makes sense for our support team to quickly discuss customer questions in a dedicated channel, or to receive notifications from Chat Butler .
But most teams using Slack don't have responsive jobs. I get worried, for example, when I read that NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using Slack as their main communication platform. Lucky that it's just robots that they're launching.
Slack creates a pressure for responsivenessThe fact that we're connected all the time is pressuring us into permanent responsiveness. That's messed up. We need peace of mind to think. We're all knowledge workers, so our economic value derives from our brains.
A clear mind is an undistracted mind. So when it comes to professional tools, we should be stimulating those that produce fewer distractions, not more.
Slack is too easyWhen you lack some information, Slack makes it too easy to just send a message to the person who could give it to you '' instead of thinking it over yourself a bit. You basically sacrifice the other person's flow for a few moments saved in thinking time.
Besides not breaking anyone's flow, another advantage of favoring a project management tool like asana for your communication, is that the information will also be visible for others working on the relevant task or project. Less duplication of questions and answers.
Slack is like a never-ending meetingThere's always something you can add to a conversation; there's always an opportunity to make a good point or joke.
What's the sense in setting up strict, time-saving meeting principles while letting our digital meetings run wild?
Slack messages are disconnected from contextUnlike a tool like asana, in which you can comment directly on a task or project, Slack requires you to always add contextual information.
Asana is task-oriented; Slack is conversation-oriented. And like in normal conversations, things easily slip off-topic. Communicating via a project management tool forces you to structure your thoughts towards actions.
Slack is a silent killer of productivitySlack is similar in its addictiveness to social media apps like Facebook and WhatsApp. That has to do with them operating on a variable ratio schedule . Imagine a refrigerator that, whenever you open it, would contain a different food product. That's basically how slot machines work, and that would be a mightily addictive refrigerator.
Today's addictive apps work the same. In Slack, a new message could always be waiting, so there is a constant pull to open the app. But unlike social media, Slack doesn't give you that guilty feeling. It doesn't feel like you're not working '' you're discussing work-related stuff, after all.
Slack hasn't fixed muchSlack was supposed to fix the problem of inbox overload, but what did it fix, really? Focus is still being broken. And like email's CC tyranny, we are still pulled into wave after wave of discussions that don't really concern us.
Slack boosts transparency, is one common argument. But when we checked our Slack stats, they showed that 95% of the messages sent were private, direct messages. Where's the transparency in there?
Slack is like email, but then a real-time, colleague-only type of email. The colleague-only part is nice, but the real-time element has added a stressful expectation of instant replies.
Looking for better customer relationships?Test Userlike for free and chat with your customers on your website, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.
Read moreSometimes while engaged in a Slack conversation, I find myself waiting for a response after sending a message. How stupid is that? The other person might have walked away for a coffee, and I'm sitting there waiting.
"But I can manage it"Yes, some people are better than others at managing Slack. Any team's Slack stats will show you that. The real question, however, isn't whether you're relatively good at managing it, but whether the quality of your work would be better without it.
A study in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research showed that the mere presence of one's own smartphone reduces your available cognitive capacity. Your smartphone is literally making you dumber. I bet Slack has the same effect, because the process is similar. By nature we are curious about the happenings within our tribe. Resisting the urge to check for new messages sucks some of our brains' processing power.
So why did we ever decide on Slack?Well... first off, Slack is a silent killer. It takes some reflection to realize the negative effects trumping the positive ones, which definitely exist:
Chatting is fun (which contributes to it being the perfect channel for customer support )Slack gives a feeling of having everyone on one pageSlack gives instant access to anyoneSlack gives the illusion of transparency and being able to track everythingFor managers, Slack gives a feeling of control that comes with seeing everyone's green dots lit up ( ''Aah they are all working, great!'' ).Also, the negative effects grow slowly with team size . At Userlike , we've been using IMs for collaboration since the early days, starting with Adium.
When you're working in a team of four, the number of daily chats is manageable. Ten is also still ok. The 30-something we are now isn't apocalyptic either'... we're still getting stuff done. But things are quickly getting worse. We're like the boiling frog .
We should be careful not to fall for what Cal Newport terms the 'Any Benefit Fallacy' calls in his book Deep Work . Yes, Slack has its merits. I've had a lot of laughs over Slack chats, and no asana conversation has ever cracked me up. And yes, it feels good to see everyone on one page '' especially for a remote worker like myself.
But no combination of benefits can offset the downside of broken flow and productivity. Getting stuff done is why we're working here in the first place.
FixesI believe those are all my objections to Slack... So should teams who want to get things done get rid of Slack altogether? Maybe, I'm not sure. There are some legitimate benefits that come with instant messaging, especially for support teams. But these could probably be obtained with a free Slack account, or with a simpler tool like Adium .
But instead of killing off Slack right away, let me suggest two simple fixes first.
A. Take more offline time. We've made various earlier attempts to incentivize teammates to adjust their chat behavior, such as only using Slack for urgent messages.
The problem with this approach is incentive misalignment: the offender isn't the one bearing the costs. Only the receiver's flow is disturbed by the message. That is, unless you take full control over when you check your messages.
When you go on- or offline is always within your circle of control. The Slack behavior of your colleagues is not. Your productivity is your responsibility, so take control and only check Slack on fixed times, for example as you would check email. In the morning, noon, and at the end of the day, for example.
B. For emergencies, call or walk up to the person. But emergencies hardly ever happen. Don't break your colleague's flow out of laziness.
C. Use a project management tool. Instead of Slack, do most of your communication via a project management tool, where everything is task-based. We use asana, but practically all such tools have communication options built into them.
Slack is definitely not an evil colleague bent on destroying your productivity. Rather, it's a lovable one who does so unwittingly, just by being so much fun to hang around the water cooler with.
Veteran's Take
It's not just Slack (though with it's eerie similarity to
a social network I can see how it sucks in millennial engagement outside of
business hours), but the ubiquituous connectedness of modern society. I make it a point to leave my work laptop AT
WORK when I leave for the day and to not respond to work-related text messages
when I'm not at work. This garners some cross looks from my coworkers and
supervisor and some vague mutterings about not being ready for an operations
management position with that attitude. To which my reply is usually,
"Dude, I spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on duty for a year when I was
deployed and lives were on the line. Ain't no lives on the line here.
Above-and-beyond is for the birds when you're sallaried."
My supervisor will also stop speaking mid-sentence to
reply to a text message, and he's on the Boomer-GenX cusp. Prides himself on
not owning a computer at home which makes me point to the iPhone he's
habitually checking. "OK, boomer."
John J. Hornor | KG5ZFA
Our 'PD' is made up of priorities, touchpoints , and
Under insights you can send someone a consider our a
continue. If they did a good job 'continue doing your job.' If they were
bad :( 'consider not fucking up'.
I don't send out either. Most people don't. Only your
manager (GE now calls them People Leaders') or technical leader does it.
You can have the system show your boss all your insights. 'Oohh look at
all my stickers'. There aren't stickers but it's the same thing.
This is the last year for PD. We are going with another
system in January.
Speaking of PD I have to get back to mine. Nothing
like summing up your work year in 500 characters or less.
Technology Class BLASTED
I was a lowly $5 a month donor but have chosen to suspend my
donation to the show for a few months. I wanted to at least let you know why so
you could at least get input/feedback/constructive criticism on why this
donation, albeit small, has been suspended.
Your recent comments on the Sunday show towards the end
about the Ring Spy Device were agreeable until you "BLASTED" (m5m
term, not mine) educators who should be teaching about password security and
and other important technology issues so they can be responsible digital citizens.
I've found this pattern of being critical of education worrisome because you
(and especially John) paint with a very broad brush when it comes to
educators and what they are teaching kids. Full disclosure, I am an educator
(technology, grades K-8) and despite what you would have your listeners and
producers believe, I do more things than "gender studies". Our
technology class focuses on a variety of topics you may find interesting such
1) Password creation and ways that they can be memorable for
the user but not easily guessed
2) Phishing emails, how to recognize them, and what to do
when you receive them
3) How to detect bias in electronic resources
4) Ethical issues as they relate to computers and networks
(Looking at you Ring/Nest/FitBit/et al)
5) We've worked through the first few chapters of
"Automate The Boring Stuff" after I heard you recommend it and
enjoyed it. I am certainly not a coder but the principals it teachers early on
are certainly fundamental in understanding Computer Science.
All these instructional strategies are in line with my
state's Computer Science curriculum (Indiana). I think you should consider
that, even though these things were likely not taught in schools a generation
ago, they are now. I just wanted to say I think you are wrong in implying
teachers aren't doing their jobs, because I certainly feel like I am, and
suggesting that my profession is failing people makes me want to not listen and
support the show.
This is just honest feedback from a producer, admittedly one
that provides little financial support (four kids, teacher salary, trying my
best) which hopefully you consider.
Green New Deal
Greta Thunberg Documentary Coming to Hulu in 2020 '' Variety
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:34
December 16, 2019 9:11AM PTA documentary on the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is in the works at Hulu.
The Disney-owned streamer is working on ''Greta'' (working title), which is slated for 2020 and will explore the story of the 15-year-old Thunberg who was recently named Time's person of the year. The doc will be directed by Nathan Grossman and produced by Cecilia Nessen and Fredrik Heinig through B-Reel Films.
Thunberg originally gained national attention for skipping school to protest outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger climate change action. Within months, her strike evolved into a global movement.
Per Hulu, the team behind the doc has been following Thunberg from her early school strike in Stockholm, all the way to parliaments and massive international protests they has been involved in, ''documenting her mission to make the world understand the urgency of the climate crisis.''
This August, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from England to New York on a zero-carbon yacht to make a statement about reducing emissions. After her 15-day journey, she attended the UN Climate Action Summit and addressed the country's leaders for not doing enough to battle the environmental crisis.
Thunberg's UN speech, which saw her repeatedly use the accusatory phrase ''How dare you!'' towards some of the world's most powerful leaders, went viral and led Time to describe her as ''the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet'' when naming her as its person of the year.
She won the prestigious Time gong ahead of a shortlist that included Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, the Trump impeachment whistleblower and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong
Deadline first to report on the doc.
The Property Brothers have become famous for their home renovations. In 2020, they intend to start building something else '' a content empire. Drew and Jonathan Scott have renewed a deal with Discovery Inc.'s HGTV that will keep them on the home-improvement network through 2022. As part of the agreement, the siblings and their Scott [...]
Attention Capital, the startup media investment venture, has cut a deal to acquire the Girlboss digital network for rising female executives and entrepreneurs. Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso has assembled an online community of professional and aspiring women seeking advice and community in advancing careers and running businesses. The deal with Attention Capital will give the [...]
Following this year's launch of the Cinema Green Lab, Les Arcs Film Festival has created '‚¬10,000 cash prize which will reward the most compelling environment-themed fiction project presented at the Co-production Village. ''We have noticed that up until now, very few projects have been tackling environmental issues which are often only dealt with in documentaries. [...]
Andy Harrower will take up the CEO role at Directors U.K. when Andrew Chowns vacates the position next year. Chowns has been at the helm of the organization for a decade, and his departure had already been announced. Harrower joins Directors U.K., the professional association for British film and TV directors, from PRS for Music, [...]
DR's ''When the Dust Settles,'' NRK's ''22. Juli'' and SVT's ''Caliphate'' will compete for 2020's 4th Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize, as terrorism strikes to the heart of three of the five Nordic dramas nominated for the award for outstanding screenwriting announced at Sweden's G¶teborg.Film Festival on Jan. 29. Two other titles '' YLE/Mediapro's [...]
Nine years after he was fired from ''The Walking Dead,'' Frank Darabont is expected to go to trial next June in New York to determine whether AMC Networks owes him hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid profit participation from the hit show. But first, AMC is seeking to pare down the case. Darabont has [...]
Netflix's ''Daybreak'' will not return for a second season. Co-creator Aron Coleite revealed the news in a tweet posted Monday night. ''We learned last week that Daybreak will not be returning for a second season. We're so sorry we couldn't share it with you sooner but also grateful that we got to hang out in [...]
Peter R. Neumann on Twitter: "Ouch... German Rail responding to Greta tweet: "Thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn... It would have been nice had you acknowledged how well and competently our team treated you in your First Class seat."
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 07:46
Log in Sign up Peter R. Neumann @ PeterRNeumann Ouch... German Rail responding to Greta tweet: "Thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn... It would have been nice had you acknowledged how well and competently our team treated you in your First Class seat." ... ðŸðŸðŸ 5:14 AM - 15 Dec 2019 Twitter by: Peter R. Neumann @PeterRNeumann Mata Hatomaten @ Finn18732804
18h Replying to
@PeterRNeumann @Styx666Official Thats a bad translation, it should be "Thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn... Have a safe journey home to –k¶str¶m."
View conversation · Peter R. Neumann @ PeterRNeumann
18h Replying to
@Finn18732804 @Styx666Official Are you saying I am translating German badly?
View conversation · #Klimaat11000miljardeurowaanzin @ vleeskroket
Dec 15 Replying to
@PeterRNeumann @HaraldDoornbos @GretaThunberg Lying
@GretaThunbergNot only ready for anger management classes..
View conversation · Lieke Voermans @ liekev
Dec 15 Replying to
@vleeskroket @PeterRNeumann and
2 others She's noy lying'... View conversation · Andy Hall @ Casper5075
22h Replying to
@PeterRNeumann @whiskyhaiboru Who is this girl's guardian? Poor kid has a management team can't see any real parenting or love around this child. This will not have a happy ending.
View conversation · Indie Kid @ Indie_Kid1992
17h Replying to
@Casper5075 @PeterRNeumann @whiskyhaiboru When she realises in later life how badly she has been used as a political pawn.... wow...that'll be years of counselling to sort that out, if ever.
View conversation · Mathias Schallnus @ MSchallnus
Dec 15 Replying to
@PeterRNeumann @sarfeld Not clean what really happened: View conversation · Frederik Blank @ FrederikBlank
21h Replying to
@MSchallnus @PeterRNeumann @sarfeld Upsi, Sie haben nach dem dem falschen Zug gesucht... - Der ICE 74 war der Zug, auf den sie irgendwann ausweichen musste. Peinlich peinlich... - Vielleicht recherchieren Sie n¤chstes mal mal RICHTIG vor dem Haten. So mit richtigen Argumenten und so...
#Greta #bahn #hate View conversation · Nicholas Wood @ asianick85
23h Replying to
@PeterRNeumann @wisitwippl But but but, I've been told that European trains are some kind of utopia
View conversation · Bea.Be @ BeaBe1312
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@asianick85 @PeterRNeumann @wisitwippl Not german trains, believe me.
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Deutsche Bahn in Trouble With Berlin Authorities After Exposing Greta Thunberg 'Train Bluff' - Sputnik International
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:50
Europe21:01 18.12.2019Get short URL
After the teen climate activist tweeted a picture of herself sitting on the floor of an ''overcrowded train'' in Germany, the transportation giant reprimanded her for holding back that she had a first-class ticket. As it turned out, Deutsche Bahn might have revealed a bit too much information about her trip.
The German train giant Deutsche Bahn has been called to Berlin's data protection officer over its sarcastic response to climate activist Greta Thunberg's tweet about ''overcrowded trains'', German media report. Maja Smoltczyk, tasked with watching out for citizens' privacy, has intervened as the company revealed the teenager's travel data.
As the official's spokesman told Tagesspiegel, this fact would lead to ''a conversation with Deutsche Bahn about handling passenger rights with regard to personal travel data''. The appointment is planned for within the next few weeks.
The discussion will have no "regard to the individual case in question" and will be generally dedicated to the company's handling of the matter. The spokesman has informed Die Welt that there has been no specific complaint from Greta Thunberg herself.
Greta's Train RowDeutsche Bahn's feedback to Greta Thunberg's tweet triggered a social media storm over the weekend. The activist, who is known for shunning airplanes for the sake of the environment, tweeted a picture of herself sitting on the floor of an ''overcrowded train'' on her way to Sweden for Christmas, following several busy months.
''Travelling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I'm finally on my way home!'' she posted, attaching a self-portrait gazing through a window while sitting on the floor surrounded by an array of bags.'‹Deutsche Bahn had a mixed reaction, as it thanked Thunberg for using one of their trains ''with 100 percent green electricity'', but stressed that it would be more honest of the climate activist to admit that she actually had a first-class seat and enjoyed top-tier service. It also gave the travel date and the ICE number.
''It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competently you were looked after by our team at your seat in first class'', Deutsche Bahn tweeted in response. (C) REUTERS / GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE
Greta, however, stuck to her guns and maintained that she actually had to sit on the floor in not one, but two trains, as one was allegedly taken out of traffic. As a staunch opponent of flying, however, she said she didn't mind overcrowded trains, because it was a greener alternative.
''Our train from Basel was taken out of traffic. So we sat on the floor on 2 different trains. After G¶ttingen I got a seat. This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!'' Thunberg tweeted.Still, many were incredulous of the media darling, who was recently named Time Magazine's ''person of the year'', accusing her of hypocrisy and lying.
Watch: Climate Activists Are "Nearly Run Over" Trying To Halt Coal-Laden Freight Train | Zero Hedge
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:07
The "end of the world" apocalyptic hyper-gloom-and-doom rhetoric of Greta Thunberg and other self-anointed climate prophets are leading followers to take greater and greater risks in attempts at "staving off climate disaster" '-- increasingly endangering themselves and public safety.
As a case in point, climate activists in the northeast United States have for the past month been physically trying to halt coal-filled freight trains, in some cases by literally jumping on the tracks. As Fox News reports of the latest dangerous incident caught on video:
An environmental reporter in Massachusetts posted a video on Twitter late Monday that she said showed a freight train hauling coal being met with a group of climate change activists on a dark track.
The train was seen moving slowly through Worchester, Mass., and about a dozen activists with small lights could be seen surrounding the tracks. The train's horn was blaring, but the activists appeared to continue to give it chase. The train was headed to New Hampshire, the reporter wrote.
#BREAKING A train carrying coal to NH nearly ran over a dozen climate activists who tried to block it in Worcester. This happened after someone farther south on the tracks called the emergency hotline twice to report there were people on the tracks.
'-- Miriam Wasser (@MiriamWasser) December 17, 2019The clip was posted by Boston NPR-WBUR reporter Miriam Wasser, who also noted railway authorities had been alerted that people were on the tracks by a call to an emergency hotline, just prior to the chaotic scene.
Wasser wrote that the train bound for New Hampshire "nearly ran over a dozen climate activists" who had been attempting to block its passage. The video shows the slow-moving train blaring its horn constantly as flashlight bearing activists attempt to halt its movement by appearing to dart in front of it as well as run close alongside it. There were no reports of injuries in the aftermath, and the incident is apparently still being investigated.
The large freight train's movement doesn't appear to be stalled; however, it's well-known that at full speed multi-car trains can take up to a mile to mile-and-a-half to stop once emergency brakes are applied.
Protesters in Massachusetts in a prior Dec.8 incident attempting to flag down a coal train to stop it. Image source: 350 New Hampshire Action via WBUR.The ultra risky tactic of attempting to block trains in motion also presents the potentially deadly scenario of derailment or danger to the engineers conducting the train. A statement from one activist group alleged to be involved in the latest incident confirmed the train didn't stop:
An after-hours email from Fox News to the group was not immediately returned. 350 New Hampshire, an activist group in the state, wrote that no one was hurt, but the train "refused to stop."
It's not the first such incident and appears part of a greater trend, as earlier this month the Boston Globe identified that a group called the Climate Disobedience Center is engaged in a broader campaign to halt coal transfer based on the claim that coal power plants "pollutes the river and causes asthma and contributed to climate change."
🚨 HAPPENING NOW:New England activists are blocking a coal train heading to Bow, NH.
This is a #ClimateEmergency, and people are dying. We refuse to let them add fuel to the fire.
🚨 #NoCoalNoGas #ClimateStrike
'-- Adam Greenberg ðŸ--¥ðŸ‘ (@pragmactivist) December 8, 2019A group called 350 New Hampshire Action also admitted to being engaged in a campaign to disrupt trains in the region: ''It is crucial that the actions that we take not be one-off actions,'' a spokesperson for the activist group said. They vowed to ''continue until the power plant is taken offline once and for all'' '-- specifically in reference to Merrimack Station power plant in Bow, New Hampshire.
Crucially, the leaders and founders of 350 New Hampshire have been fierce vocal advocates for Swedish teenager Greta Thungerg, whose own rhetoric on taking action has appeared to get more extreme as she grows in popularity.
''We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. ... If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.'' Image source: AP.An earlier report from a local NPR station said multiple arrests were made in the New England region earlier this month as the activists' tactics get more dangerously interventionist:
She and about 100 others joined the protest Sunday, delaying the train at three different points along its route '' in Worcester and Ayer, Massachusetts, and in Hooksett.
About two dozen people were arrested on misdemeanor trespassing charges.
Fox News also noted freight tracks had been temporarily blocked at "various points" across New Hampshire, including Worcester, Ayer and Hooksett.
As such protest tactics inevitably get more and more radical and risky, we should also note the mainstream media's role in all of this. Consider some of the opening lines to a recent New Yorker piece: "The climate apocalypse is coming... If you're under thirty, you're all but guaranteed to witness it... you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means...".
Now with the issue cast in such cult-like "good vs. evil" moral dualism, disaster is indeed on the horizon, but not in the way these 'activists' and media pundits think.
Microgrids Sought by PG&E before Next Wildfire Season
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 23:29
Racing to beat California's next wildfire season, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is seeking companies to install microgrids near 20 substations.
By Sundry Photography/
The microgrids will be used to keep electricity flowing when the utility shuts down power lines that could spark wildfires during windy and dry weather.
California's largest utility issued a solicitation for the microgrids last week and intends to move fast. It wants to have the microgrids installed by June 1, 2020 or at the latest Sept. 1, 2020. California's wildfire threats are usually greatest in autumn.
The utility seeks companies willing to either build, own and operate the microgrids or build them on behalf of the utility, which would then own them.
Notice of intent due December 17 Bidders are asked to file a notice of intent by this Wednesday '-- December 17, 2020. Full proposals are due Jan. 15, 2020.
The 20 microgrids are part of a larger state regulatory requirement that PG&E secure 716.9 MW of resource adequacy capacity.
In a presentation before the California Public Utilities Commission last week, PG&E said that the microgrids are expected to keep power flowing to thousands if not tens of thousands of customers per substation during a power shutoff.
The utility hopes to cut the number of customers that lose power by nearly one-third, compared to its October 29 'public service power shutoff' (PSPS), the term California uses to describe de-energizing power lines so that they won't spark wildfires. From October 26-November 1, PG&E cut power to about 941,000 customers, the highest count for the wildfire season.
In addition to installing the 20 microgrids, PG&E says it plans to support state regulatory goals to make it easier for customers to do the same on their own.
Opportunity now exists for California utility customers to offset costs of energy storage '-- often part of a microgrid or nanogrid '-- through the state self-generation incentive program (SGIP), a $166 million/year ratepayer funded rebate program. The PUC made funds available within low-income communities and for medically vulnerable customers in areas threatened by wildfires.
The SGIP incentive of $1/Wh covers 98% of the $13,500 cost of a 13.2 kWh, two-hour residential storage system, according to the CPUC .
PG&E requirements for microgrids In a webinar about its solicitation for the 20 microgrids, PG&E said the projects must be able to provide power to customers for at least 4-5 consecutive days.
When the microgrids are not providing backup power, they must serve the power grid and help bolster its resilience. The microgrids also must have blackstart capability, meaning they can start up without relying on a charge from the grid.
PG&E is open to two types of microgrid ownership models: 1.) third-party owned or 2.) e ngineering, procurement, construction (EPC).
A third-party project would be built outside of the substation on land designated by PG&E. The microgrid owner would sell PG&E microgrid services and market products, such as energy and ancillary service or green attributes. PG&E would sign a 10-year contract with the microgrid owner.
An EPC microgrid would be built by a third party but owned by the utility and could be located within the substation footprint.
If a project requires the use of natural gas, PG&E will arrange for delivery of renewable natural gas.
Choosing projects In evaluating the offers, PG&E plans to use both quantitative and qualitative criteria. Quantitative evaluation will be based on a least-cost ranking. Qualitative criteria may include such factors as project viability, safety and bidder development experience financial strength and supply chain responsibility.
PG&E also is interested in proposals that offer to develop projects at multiple sites. The utility expects to execute contracts Feb. 14, 2020 and submit them for regulatory approval Feb. 20, 2020.
The full microgrid solicitation is available on PG&E's website .
Track news about microgrid solicitations. Subscribe to the free Microgrid Knowledge newletter.
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The Circular Economy | Green New Deal |
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 15:39
Visions of a society without waste are spreading! The widely discussed concept of the Circular Economy promises to reward sustainable economic activity. Are we at the brink of implementing a fair economy that is not only economically, but also ecologically and socially profitable?
Of Lines and Circles '' Circular Thinking is Natural The idea of a Circular Economy has its origins in the realisation that we live in a world of finite resources. While this fact appears to be rather self-evident, it seems as though it is seldom taken into account by political and economic decision makers (or by any of us for that matter). The result is a shortsighted and linear, yet globally predominant ''take, use, dispose'' mindset, which leads to the irrecoverable waste of resources and energy. Once the negative impact this mentality has on our planet is understood, it also becomes clear: adjustment and optimisation within the old, linear economic model is not going to be enough. What we need is a completely new way of thinking.
Throughout the centuries, we have adopted a great number ideas and concepts from nature in order to improve our lives. In looking at how to make our economy work for everyone, we are again best advised to look to nature for assistance: everything natural is part of a cycle of some sort. Nothing that dies stays on the face of the earth as useless waste. Remains either serve as food for other creatures or they decay and give their nutrients back to the soil, thus continuing to be part of a holistic system.
Tying in with this thought, the Circular Economy implies a completely regenerative global trade and supply chain that does not use up any finite resources. The goal is to keep the value of every product, part and ultimately every material as high as possible, so they can be repaired, reprocessed and reused instead of having to go to waste. The circular supply chain produces no waste whatsoever; it works solely with already existing resources which can be reused over and over again. Thus, the primary objective of this new economic model is to minimise the net burden on our natural and social environment. Considering that as of today, we still produce more than 40 million tonnes of electronic waste annually, this would be an immense measure.
How Does the Circular Economy Work?Circular thinking seems natural and therefore reasonable. But how is this idea supposed be put into practice?
The Circular Economy needs a clear, feasible concept in order to find its way into the hearts and structures of our society, our economy and our political system. A number of these concepts already do exist (most of them emphasising different core areas) but the 'instruction sheet' developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation goes further to build a good framework for change towards a Circular Economy:
Regenerate'... restore, and ultimately maintain our ecosystem's health. In the long run this can only be achieved by cultivating the use of renewable energy and material and by returning all biological resources to their native space '' the soil.Share'... and thereby prolong the life span of products. As we have pointed out in our article about the Sharing Economy, concepts like carsharing, or the subleasing of living space (i.e. Airbnb etc.) have already been widely adopted. The Circular Economy needs more of this!Optimise'... the efficiency and performance of products altogether. This goes beyond improving the product itself in terms of its life span, or design. It rather implies the sustainable, circular shaping of the whole supply chain, a task the cradle-to-cradle principle is concerned with.Loop'... or in other words: re- and upcycle products, parts and material of all kinds. The construction sector is a wonderful example of how this can lead to a huge reduction in waste, as it reuses materials from old buildings at new construction sites, thus saving these resources from going to waste (a trend called urban mining). 'From old to new' is certainly a motto of the Circular Economy.Virtualise'... the reduction of ''stuff'' on our planet is a big opportunity brought upon us by the modern, digitalised world. Recent developments in the music industry exemplify this fact very well: Since music is now mostly released, bought and listened to via platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, or Deezer, the whole industry has become vastly dematerialised. CDs and packaging are now becoming obsolete.Exchange'... old, ecologically inefficient production methods, business models and technologies, and replace them with modern, circular alternatives.
Who Should Carry the Responsibility? Developing a theoretical model is of course only one part of the equation. At this point the question of responsibility arises: whose obligation is it to put this model into practice? And: do these stakeholders even have an incentive to move out of their comfort zone by dropping their old, linear patterns of behavior? In this regard three groups are becoming crucial:
BusinessesThe fact that the economy and its businesses are a fundamental part of the Circular Economy certainly comes as no surprise. As the model is in a way something new to our society, political players heavily depend on the market's technical knowledge, while formulating circular policies. They are, in the end, best suited for evaluating the chances and limitations of certain economic policies. Thus, it becomes clear that the market and its businesses have an enormous influence on the success of this idea. The Circular Economy cannot function if the market does not proactively decide to make it function.
Ultimately it is the businesses themselves who decide which sector they want to enter and how they want to produce what kind of products. Now one might wonder why companies and businesses would desire to change their presently comfortable situation in the first place. The answer is rather trivial: the Circular Economy is very profitable! For some reason our society tends to link environmentally sustainable behavior with inefficiency and abstinence. In contrast to that assumption the European Commission estimates that the successful implementation of a Circular Economy within the EU could save around 600 billion EUR by 2030, while creating an additional two million jobs. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation goes even further and predicts net savings of 630 billion EUR by the year 2025. Although there is no perfect consensus regarding the exact numbers, all experts are in agreement regarding one fact: the Circular Economy is an enormous economic chance for businesses.
Governments as mediatorsThe elected government is a vital part of the Circular Economy, holding everything together, in a way. Through various laws, incentives, subsidies and programs, it can promote sustainable, thus good economic practices and penalise harmful behavior. While interacting with the economy, the political arena has three basic functions:
Set financial incentives for businesses to start acting economically sustainableLimit waste through direct regulationProvide all information and infrastructure needed to enable the circular flow of all resources.There are a number of reasons why governments should be eager to promote the Circular Economy and adjust their policies accordingly. On the one hand inefficient and thoughtless consumption of finite resources inevitably leads to long-lasting social issues such as water shortages, smog or the recurring failure of energy supply. On the other hand it is simply economically reasonable for governments to impose circular policies: generally a government will always strive to provide a stable internal infrastructure, not least in order to make its country an attractive business location for as many firms as possible. At the end of the day more firms equal more tax revenue. Lastly, by now a vast majority of political players has finally come to realise just how enormous the cost of climate change will be if it is not properly counteracted.
(C) George Boulougouris Frans Timmermans (left) and Jyrki Katainen discuss plans for a Circular Economy at the European Commission..In December 2015 the EU dared to make a first political step towards a Circular Economy by formulating a program called: 'Closing the loop '' An EU action plan for the Circular Economy'. The plan's main focus lies on the optimisation of value added chains across the board of resources, products and waste of all kinds. The implementation of this program, which is all about the extension of product life cycles, is planned to be heavily subsidised by the EU.
Reactions to this political action have, however, been rather mixed (if not largely negative), due to one simple reason: while the program is a straightforward moral commitment to the Circular Economy, it does not include any constructive and clear figures, rates or regulations. Thus, by releasing this vague plan, the EU has not yet lived up to all the obligations a governing body is supposed to live up to in this context. If you would like to see for yourself and form your own opinion about the plan, you can find the complete and original program here.
Civil SocietyFoundations and NGOs play a very big role in the Circular Economy, as they use their know-how to bridge gaps everywhere in society. With the help of their research and knowledge, businesses are able to develop strategies, governments are able to formulate policies, and we consumers are able to understand what the Circular Economy is actually all about. While the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is probably the most prominent of such organisations right now, other players '' such as British-based WRAP '' are constantly emerging. There is even an annual award program called The Circulars, which is held in order to bring attention to and recognise the work of contributors to the Circular Economy.
Last but certainly not least we consumers are largely responsible for the implementation and success of this paradigm change. It is ultimately up to us to decide for instance, if we are going to resell unneeded white goods (thus prolonging their life span), or if we terminate the value they can create by throwing them away. It is also our burden and responsibility to decide, whether we want to separate and recycle our waste properly or not. While governments and businesses are indeed able to provide us with the necessary framework of infrastructure, laws, regulations and products, it is at the end of the day up to every single individual to embrace and live the Circular Economy.
We ought to get involved, to inform ourselves and to call for the implication of a sophisticated, profound Circular Economy within our society. Fortunately, modern times provide assistance for this admittedly big task: apps such as ''JouleBug'' or ''GoodGuide'' grant transparency about the products we buy and remind us of living with a circular mindset.
At last (whether we like it or not) we need to fundamentally reconsider the way we consume in the long run. How many pairs of jeans do I actually need? Is it really necessary to purchase or lease a car every four years? (Some might even ask: is it really necessary to own a car at all?) As they challenge some very basic mechanisms of our culture, those sorts of questions are extremely difficult to answer. At the same time, though, thinking about these questions is absolutely crucial for true change to eventually come about. The extent to which our culture is defined by consumerism might after all be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome on the way to attaining a truly sustainable and healthy world.
An Opportunity That Can Only Be Seized in Unity The idea of a Circular Economy is far more than a certain way of producing things or a government policy; it is a true cultural paradigm change, which bears huge social, ecological and economic chances. These chances can, however, only be seized if all relevant stakeholders choose to collaborate. Civil society, governments and businesses are all (in one way or another) an indispensable part of the concept, which makes them all equally responsible for its successful implementation. It is time for us to understand that we live in a world of complex and interdisciplinary, global problems. Solving those problems requires collaboration and thinking outside the box.
Although the 2015 EU program can be seen as a failed first attempt, there is hope: Denmark is home to a vast amount of Circular Economy pioneers and has a history of adopting innovative policies that encourage farsighted, sustainable economic behavior. The Circular Economy is evidently not merely an unrealistic, utopian vision after all; this way of thinking can be the key to a future in which mankind does not need to be anxious about resources, environment and social justice so much anymore.
Author: Valentin Greggersen / RESET editorial. October 2016.
Poland threatens to leave EU as Brexit edges closer after Boris Johnson landslide - Daily Star
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:09
Poland may leave the EU in order to press ahead with judicial reforms, according to the country's Supreme Court.
Today politicians will discuss proposals that would allow judges to be dismissed if they questions the government's judicial reforms.
But the Supreme Court has told them they would need to leave the EU to press ahead with them, reports BBC.
It said in a statement: "Contradictions between Polish and EU law will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by EU institutions regarding an infringement of EU treaties, and in the longer run (will lead to) the need to leave the European Union."
(Image: Getty Images) Read MoreRelated ArticlesNick Ferrari: The biggest turkey of this Christmas election was the Labour PartyRead MoreRelated ArticlesBrits urged to buy travel money now as Tory election victory sees pound soar The warning comes just days after Britain all but secured Brexit after Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a landslide majority over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour last week.
It gives Johnson a majority to press ahead with his Brexit deal after three years of deadlock in the House of Commons.
Judges claim the Polish proposals could serve as an attempt to gag its judicial system.
The nation has already been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Boris Johnson secured a landslide win in the General Election (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Read MoreRelated ArticlesWetherspoons suffers pigs in blankets shortage leaving customers in tearsThe report adds that judges can be punished for engaging in "political activities" under the proposals.
The court's chief justice, Professor Malgorzata Gersdorf, compared the proposals to martial law in 1981 communist Poland.
She said: "I would therefore ask that the hatred of judges and courts stops being used as a weapon in the struggle for power, especially since repression, as in 1981, would be a sad expression of powerlessness rather than a manifestation of strength."
Leeuwarden schrapt festivals in 2020: te weinig politie - Leeuwarden -
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 08:41
Promised Land, Brak in het Park, de Oktoberfesten op het Oldehoofsterkerkhof en Zaailand en de buiteneditie van Tuinfeest in de Prinsentuin zijn geschrapt van de evenementenkalender. Dat maakt burgemeester Sybrand Buma om vier uur dinsdagmiddag bekend.
De reden: de gemeente en de politie willen meer inzetten op de wijken en daardoor is er minder capaciteit voor evenementen.
Ook de inzet van Friese agenten bij andere grote evenementen in het land ligt ten grondslag aan het besluit. Zo vindt dit voorjaar het Eurovisie Songfestival plaats, is Nederland gastheer tijdens een aantal EK-wedstrijden en vindt er in Zandvoort ook nog de Formule 1 plaats. Daarvoor wordt er ook op een beroep gedaan op Friese agenten.
Lees ook | Criminelen meer ruimte dankzij Sint en Maarten
Volgens Buma speelt de inzet van agenten bij het toegenomen aantal demonstraties ook nog een rol in het besluit dat de gemeente in overleg met de politie heeft genomen.
Organisator Kootstra: 'Dit is wel een domino-effect'Wiebe Kootstra is organisator van drie van de geschrapte evenementen. Promised Land, het Oktoberfest op het Oldehoofsterkerkhof en Brak in het Park zijn initiatieven van Kootstra en zijn collega's Bobby Veenstra en Olaf Hansson. ,,Dit is wel een domino-effect. Drie van de vijf evenementen die wij doen zijn geschrapt.''
Drie weken geleden werd Kootstra op de hoogte gesteld van de problemen met de politie inzet en de evenementen, tijdens een avond over het Leeuwarder evenementenbeleid in Neushoorn. ,,Dat was wel een beetje dubbel. Enerzijds ben je blij dat Leeuwarden een avond organiseert om een visie op evenementen te maken, en dan krijg je dit te horen.''
Voor Promised Land - dat in juni plaats zou vinden - waren de eerste contacten met artiesten al gelegd. ,,We hadden opties, op Snelle bijvoorbeeld. Ja dat houdt nu op.''
Kootstra heeft alleen te horen gekregen dat er te weinig politie is in verband met de inzet van Friese agenten bij evenementen elders in het land. Dat er ook een keuze is gemaakt om agenten meer in de wijken in te zetten, is hem daarbij niet verteld. De gemeente voert dat zelf wel als reden aan. Het verbaast hem dat er, bij zijn weten, in Groningen geen festivals zijn geschrapt. ,,Terwijl Groningen toch onder hetzelfde politiekorps valt als Leeuwarden.''
'Boomer' verkozen tot Woord van het Jaar 2019 | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:46
Het woord 'boomer' is verkozen tot het Woord van het Jaar 2019, maakt de Dikke Van Dale dinsdag bekend. Het woord kreeg 41,8 procent van de stemmen. Op de tweede plaats staat 'klimaatspijbelaar' en de derde plek gaat naar 'klimaatdrammer'. Deze woorden kregen respectievelijk 14,2 procent en 9,6 procent van de stemmen.
Boomer wordt door veelal jongeren gebruikt om een iets ouder persoon aan te wijzen, die volgens hen ouderwets denkt en gedateerde opvattingen heeft. Het woord zelf is afgeleid van het woord babyboomer, waarbij mensen worden aangeduid die tijdens de geboortegolf na de Tweede Wereldoorlog het levenslicht zagen.
Opvallend is dat de tweede plaats en derde plaats vergeven zijn aan het onder de aandacht brengen van klimaatverandering. 'Klimaatspijbelaar' heeft een neutrale lading en richt zich op de vele leerlingen die in 2019 spijbelden om de politiek in hun land te attenderen op klimaatproblematiek.
Met 'klimaatdrammer' wordt juist iemand aangeduid die in de ogen van de critici maar blijft doorgaan over 'te strenge' maatregels om het klimaat te redden.
Eerdere woorden van het jaar 2018: blokkeerfries 2017: appongeluk 2016: treitervlogger 2015: sjoemelsoftware 2014: dagobertducktaks 2013: selfie 2012: project-X-feest 2011: tuigdorp 2010: gedoogregering 2009: ontvrienden 2008: swaffelen 2007: bokitoproof 'Klimaatspijbelaar' doet het ook in Belgi goedOok in het Nederlandstalige gedeelte van Belgi organiseert Van Dale een soortgelijke verkiezing. Daar werd 'winkelhieren' - producten kopen bij lokale bedrijven en winkels - met een derde van de stemmen verkozen tot woord van het jaar. Ook in Vlaanderen staat 'klimaatspijbelaar' op de tweede plek, terwijl 'Egelwegel', een doorgang voor egels tussen twee tuinen, de top drie voltooit.
Het Woord van het Jaar is een initiatief van de Dikke Van Dale. Dit jaar werd er in Nederland ruim 17.500 keer gestemd, in Belgi kwamen er zo'n 9.000 stemmen binnen.
LIVE: kilometers file op A1, boeren zorgen voor hinder in hele land | Binnenland |
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 08:55
Een indrukwekkende stoet boeren op het plein bij het provinciehuis in Arnhem. Toen die weggingen, zorgde dat problemen voor problemen op de weg.
''¸ ANP
De boeren en de bouwers zorgden 's ochtends met hun actie tegen het stikstofbeleid al voor grote hinder op de Nederlandse wegen en in steden. Actievoerders hadden onder meer het mediapark in Hilversum geblokkeerd. Ook het provinciehuis in Arnhem werd gesloten op last van de politie. Op het Malieveld in Den Haag kwamen tientallen tractoren te staan.
Onze parlementair verslaggever Alexander Bakker volgt de boerenprotesten vanuit politiek Den Haag. Zijn tweets lees je onderaan dit artikel.
Boeren hielden barbecues op de snelweg, reden in een indrukwekkende colonne met Duitse collega's naar Arnhem, bestookten een NOS-verslaggever met 'fake news'-stikkers en houden de hele dag op verschillende plekken in het land het verkeer op met blokkades. Het gaat om een versnipperde actie, van verschillende groepen.
Het land lijkt verdeeld over de acties. Op sociale media is steun voor de boeren te horen, maar niet meer zo eensgezind als voorheen. De boeren krijgen ook veel kritiek voor hun onorthodoxe manier van actievoeren.
Files: zo staat het ervoorIn totaal stond er 's ochtends 450 kilometer file, dat is 250 kilometer meer dan gebruikelijk op woensdagochtend, meldt de ANWB. 's Middags was de situatie 'niet best'. De A37 ten oosten van Emmen was dicht, op de A7 ten oosten van Groningen waren problemen, terwijl ook de A2 tussen Utrecht en Amsterdam werd geblokkeerd. Ook bij Joure was het raak.
Rond 15.45 uur staat op de A1 een grote file. Die wordt geblokkeerd in de richting van Amsterdam naar Amersfoort. Het filelint loopt van Bussum tot Amersfoort, 22 kilometer volgens de ANWB.
De blokkades verspreiden zich over het land. Steeds komen er nieuwe bij, en beginnen boeren weer te rijden. 'žDe vertraging bij zo'n blokkade loopt echt ontzettend uit de hand, tot meer dan een uur'', aldus de ANWB.
Jesse KlaverNet als bij voorgaande protesten hebben de boeren een stevige focus op de politieke boodschap. Daarbij wordt geageerd tegen het beleid (stikstof) zelf maar ook specifiek tegen politici. Jesse Klaver moet het ontgelden. Hij is 'wanted' volgens sommigen.
De politicus slaat terug door te stellen dat het 'recht van de trekker' regeert.
In Den Haag staan voertuigen, opgetuigd met protestborden en omgekeerde Nederlandse vlaggen, staan opgesteld in de berm van het Malieveld ter hoogte van het provinciehuis van Zuid-Holland. Het protest verloopt rustig. Om te voorkomen dat actievoerders naar het stadscentrum gaan, is het Korte Voorhout afgezet voor het verkeer. PVV-leider Geert Wilders brengt een bezoek aan de boeren. Wilders deelde oliebollen uit aan boeren en bouwers.
MediaparkRondom het Mediapark in Hilversum is een grote actie beziggeweest. De hele stad stond lange tijd muurvast vanwege honderden trekkers die de hoofdingang van het Mediapark hadden geblokkeerd. Er waren vlaggen, harde muziek en de bekende borden als 'geen boer, geen voer'.
Lees verder onder de foto.
Boeren op het Mediapark.
''¸ ANP
De boeren eisten zendtijd op televisie zodat ze 'žhet hele echte verhaal kunnen vertellen zodat iedereen in Nederland dat kan horen'', aldus een boer ter plekke. Maar de zendtijd wordt ze geweigerd door de NOS.
Woede over NOSVolgens een aanwezige boer 'žtrekken jullie volledig naar links.'' Een andere boer verweet de NOS heel erg de nadruk te hebben gelegd op de opmerking van boer Mark van den Oever, die een vergelijking maakte tussen de behandeling van boeren en de Jodenvervolging in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. NOS-hoofdredacteur Marcel Gelauff zei dat Van den Oever die opmerkingen 'žmisschien niet had moeten maken en dat hij mensen kent die ervan moesten huilen.''
In een verklaring zeggen de boeren dat ze worden weggezet 'žals milieuvervuilers, subsidieprofiteurs, overbodig en nutteloos, dit terwijl we eerlijke, hardwerkende, belastingbetalende Nederlanders zijn.'' Ze eisten dat de NOS zijn berichtgeving aanpast.
'Publieksvriendelijk'Het is onduidelijk hoelang de boeren van plan zijn in Hilversum te blijven. Boer Marc uit de omgeving van Barneveld zegt dat 'publieksvriendelijkheid het belangrijkste is'. 'žWe willen een signaal maken en zijn voor de lunch weer weg.'' Een andere boer, die uren onderweg is geweest vanuit Nijkerk, is stelliger. 'žWe blijven heel de dag en als het moet langer.''
Lees verder onder de video
Voor Frits Korrel uit Wilnis is 'de maat vol'. De boer (C)n grondwerker is met een enorme shovel naar het Mediapark komen rijden en staat helemaal vooraan. 'žHet moet allemaal veel sneller'', vindt de 56-jarige actievoerder. 'žDan hebben ze nu besloten om honderd te gaan rijden zodat wij aan het werk kunnen blijven. Maar wanneer gebeurt dat? In maart. Je kan toch meteen de matrixborden aanpassen?'' Als het aan Korrel ligt, wordt het 'oorlog'. 'žMisschien wat overdreven, maar er moet echt wat veranderen.''
EindhovenIn Eindhoven werden tractoren 's ochtends weggehaald van het Stadhuisplein. Volgens de gemeente werd dat gedaan in verband met druk op de onderliggende parkeerkelder. De boeren moesten hun protest op een andere locatie voortzetten.
Tata SteelOok bij Tata Steel in IJmuiden hebben boeren zich woensdag met hun trekkers verzameld. De politie is eveneens aanwezig. Die zegt dat er van een blokkade geen sprake is. 'žAlles gaat in goed overleg met het bedrijf.''
Agenten zijn er om een en ander in goede banen te leiden. Zonder grote problemen zijn de boeren rond 12.15 uur weer vertrokken. De protestactie verliep volgens Tata Steel rustig. Boeren kregen koffie en koekjes aangeboden.
Boetes: 380 euroDe politie heeft een tijdlang een deel van de A9 afgesloten. Even voor 10.00 uur liet de politie weten dat de boeren de snelweg af waren en de weg weer vrij was voor verkeer. Met de afsluiting wilde de politie voorkomen dat boeren de Wijkertunnel intrekken en een verkeerschaos veroorzaken.
Lees verder onder de foto
Drie boeren hebben een boete gekregen in Noord-Holland. In Brabant zijn er 21 op de bon geslingerd, meldt de politie. Op de A59 bij Rosmalen zijn vijf bestuurders van tractoren van de snelweg gehaald en bekeurd. Ze krijgen een boete van 380 euro.
Barbecue op de A1Op de A1 bij De Lutte (Overijssel) waren honderden bouwers en boeren aan het barbecuen. Ze blokkeerden beide kanten van de snelweg. Bij de barbecue-actie is actiegroep Bouw in Verzet betrokken. Zo'n vijfhonderd mensen deden mee aan de actie. De boeren zijn inmiddels vertrokken en de weg gaat weer open.
Ook op de A2 bij Beesd steken boeren de barbecue aan.
''¸ Koen Laureij
Jelco Beijer van Bouw in Verzet zegt dat het kabinet 72 uur krijgt om het oude beleid voor de PFAS terug te draaien. 'žHet moet niet zo zijn dat boeren de vergunning in moeten leveren, zodat de bouwers vergunning krijgen om te bouwen. Het moet net zo worden als voorheen, met dezelfde regels.''
Niet alleen op de A1 bij De Lutte hebben bouwers en boeren de barbecue aangestoken. Op sociale media is te zien dat ook op de A28 bij Hoogeveen (Drenthe) hamburgers worden gebakken en ook bij de Amercentrale in Geertruidenberg (Noord-Brabant) hebben boeren de barbecue aangestoken.
Provinciehuis ArnhemHonderden Nederlandse en Duitse boeren stonden 's ochtends bij het Gelderse Provinciehuis in Arnhem. De Markt voor het Provinciehuis was helemaal vol. Andere parkeerplaatsen in de buurt zijn vrijgemaakt om trekkers te parkeren.
De colonne trekkers in Arnhem is indrukwekkend.
''¸ ANP
De gemeente Arnhem adviseerde bezoekers om het centrum van de stad te mijden vanwege de actie. Het verkeer in en rond Arnhem heeft grote hinder gehad van de tractoren op de weg. Die zijn daar 's middags weer weggegaan en dat werd gemerkt.
DistributiecentrumActievoerders zijn met tractoren naar een distributiecentrum van Albert Heijn in Tilburg gegaan. Ook een centrum in Breda van Jumbo is doelwit.
Boeren verzamelen zich bij het TT-circuit in Assen.
''¸ Persbureau Meter
Via media en social media verneemt brancheorganisatie Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel (CBL) ook dat er bij andere distributiecentra acties zijn, maar signalen van blokkades krijgt de organisatie niet. 'žMaar je kunt je nu niet op alles voorbereiden. Het is nu afwachten. Als vrachtwagens niet meer bij distributiecentra kunnen is (C)(C)n plus (C)(C)n twee.''
De rechter heeft eerder een protest van Farmers Defence Force (FDF) bij distributiecentra verboden. De boeren mogen van de rechter niet de bevoorrading van supermarkten platleggen.
Duitse en Belgische boeren aanwezig'žStrijders, pak je trekker met spandoek en houd het netjes'', luidt de oproep in een groepsapp waarin Friese boeren aankondigen in kleine groepjes langzaam te rijden over de A7 en A32.
Anders dan tijdens actiedagen in oktober staan de agrarirs niet alleen. De boeren krijgen niet alleen hulp uit de bouw- en transportsector, maar ook groepjes Duitse en Belgische boeren willen zich aansluiten bij het protest.
De stichting bouw in verzet merkt dat demostranten zelf acties organiseren, maar stelt in een reactie alleen verantwoordelijkheid voor eigen initiatieven te kunnen dragen.
'žWij zien en horen veel losstaande acties vanuit eigen initiatief'', schrijft de stichting in een persbericht. 'žWij begrijpen de boosheid maar hebben zelf goedgeplande acties vandaag en kunnen dit dus niet ondersteunen.''
Spontane actie BinnenhofGisteravond hielden boeren al een spontane actie met trekkers rond het Binnenhof in Den Haag. Een tot in de puntjes voorbereide 'verrassingsaanval', klonk het in de agrarische sector.
De actie op het Binnenhof.
''¸ ANP
De rechter heeft verboden dat boeren distributiecentra voor supermarkten blokkeren. Dat besluit volgde gisteren op het kort geding dat supermarktkoepel CBL tegen de actiegroep Farmers Defence Force (FDF) had aangespannen. Er volgen hoge geldboetes als zulke blokkade er toch komen. Niettemin lijkt de actiebereidheid groot.
Deal uitgelektGisteravond lekte ook uit dat er een deal is tussen het kabinet en het Landbouwcollectief om tot een oplossing in de stikstofcrisis te komen. Maar dat is niet genoeg om de acties vandaag te staken. De deal zal vanmorgen officieel bekend worden gemaakt.
Volgens actiegroep FDF is er echter nog geen sprake van een uitgewerkt akkoord. Actieboeren willen daarom nog steeds hun punt maken.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
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(video) Boerenprotest op Media Park Hilversum
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:44
Zo'n 160 boeren zijn woensdagochtend met hun tractoren naar Mediapark Hilversum gekomen. Zij uiten daar hun onvrede over de in hun optiek gekleurde berichtgeving omtrent boeren door onder andere de NOS. Door de acties loopt het verkeer in Hilversum vast.
Greenland to pick Ericsson over Huawei for 5G rollout | Financial Post
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 05:57
COPENHAGEN '-- Greenland will pick Sweden's Ericsson over China's Huawei to supply equipment for its fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network, state telecoms operator Tele Greenland said on Thursday.
''5G is coming to Greenland, but no date has been set for this yet. We do not see Huawei as a possible supplier of (Tele Greenland's) 5G network,'' CEO Kristian Reinert Davidsen told broadcaster KNR.
His comments were confirmed to Reuters by a Tele Greenland spokeswoman.
Ericsson, which also supplied Greenland's 4G network, was not immediately available for comment. Huawei's representation in Denmark did not reply to a request for comment.
Fearing high-tech espionage, and battling with China over trade, the United States has pushed allies to exclude Huawei from lucrative 5G deals. Huawei has denied its equipment can be used for spying.
Earlier this year, privately held Danish telecoms operator TDC also picked Ericsson over Huawei for its 5G network. TDC said it was a commercial decision, but that it ''was not blind'' to widespread concerns about Huawei and information security. (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)
Generational Approprriation
"Boomer" voted new Dutch word of the year | NL Times
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:37
By Janene Pieters on December 17, 2019 - 08:34The word "boomer" was voted the Netherlands' Word of the Year for 2019, the Dikke Van Dale announced on Tuesday. "Boomer" received 41.8 percent of the 17,500 votes cast in the Netherlands. Second place went to "klimaatspijbelaar" with 14.2 percent of the votes, and third to "klimaatdrammer" with 9.6 percent, reports.
The word "boomer" is derived from "baby boomer", referring to the generation born during the birth wave after the Second World War. Today it "boomer" is often used by young people to refer to older people who they think have old-fashioned ideas and outdated views. "Okay boomer", is a popular term used in online arguments between the two most recent generations.
Second and third place both refer to the climate crisis. "Klimaatspijbelaar" literally translates to "climate truant". It refers to the hoards of school pupils and students who skipped school and lectures to protest for more effective measures against climate change this year. "Klimaatdrammer" translates to "climate nag" and refers to people who, in the eyes of their critics, keep complaining about "too stringent" measures taken to save our climate.
In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, the word of 2019 is "winkelhieren" - shopping at local stores and producers. "Klimaatspijbelaar" came in second place. And third place went to "egelwegel" - a passage for hedgehogs between gardens. A total of 9 thousand people voted in Belgium.
Previous words of the year in the Netherlands include "blokeerfries" last year, "appongeluk" in 2017, "treitervlogger" in 2016, "sjoemelsoftware" in 2015, "dagobertducktaks" in 2014, and "selfie" in 2013.
Tags: Dikke Van DaleWord of the YearlanguageClimate changeglobal warming
Millennial Problems
Speed listening can retard the learning process
Dear Dr. Podfather,
When you first condemned listening to the show at faster
than 1.5x I was amused at your indignation at this, in part because I listen to
Ben Shapiro at 2x and only have to slow down and replay when he's making
intricate and complex philosophical assertions (same with the Candanavian
In the book "The Mission, the Men, and Me" by Pete Blaber it's
described by an Army psychologist that the brain goes through three phases --
saturation, incubation, and illumination -- when learning something new.
I'm beginning to wonder if (1) always listening to something and (2) listening
at greater than 1x puts the mind in an unnaturally extended phase of saturation
and inhibits the transition to incubation and illumination, thereby slowing or
stopping the ability to learn at all.
My observations are only my own but I can't help but think
that speed-listening brings consequences like lack of patience when people
speak slowly or take their time getting to the point. As an antidote I've
started doing intermittent fasting of the audio variety: intentionally NOT
listen to something while commuting or doing chores. At first I feel like
I'm going to scream but once I calm down I can actually engage in the passive
thinking essential to mental incubation.
If you still have a chance to talk to The Brain Doctor I'm
curious what he would think of this. For me, I need to practice more
deliberate silence (between episodes of the Best Podcast in the Universe).
Love you, no homo, big hair, hope you win!
Shut Up Slave!
Tilted Toilet: The corporate poo patrol is coming after your precious toilet time | WIRED UK
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:15
Getty Images
We all appreciate the little things in life, and that includes spending five minutes on the toilet scrawling through Twitter on company time. But those days may be at risk with the StandardToilet, a seat that claims to drastically reduce toilet time.
Approved by the British Toilet Association (BTA), a members organisation that campaigns for better toilet facilities, the StandardToilet sits at a downward angle of 13 degrees. After around five minutes of sitting, this will cause strain on the legs, similar to a low level squat thrust, but ''not enough to cause health issues,'' reassures Mahabir Gill, founder of StandardToilet. ''Anything higher than that would cause wider problems. Thirteen degrees is not too inconvenient, but you'd soon want to get off the seat quite quickly.''
It was inspired by a series of annoyances. As a consulting engineer for 40 years, Gill sometimes discover workers asleep on the toilet, and in his free time, was increasingly annoyed by queues for public toilets. The final straw came while he was shopping in a department store the morning after a particularly heavy night out, and in desperate need for a toilet, could only find locked cubicles. Thus, the idea for the StandardToilet was born.
The fight to clampdown on toilet time has begun, it seems. After all, the alternative toilet market is booming. Japanese-style toilets are finally breaking into Western markets, and products like the Squatty Potty are offering us revolutionary new ways to sit on the toilet. Waterless compost toilets are catering to eco-conscious poopers, while others believe the future is rimless. But, is policing your pooing a step too far?
The StandardToilet was given public backing by BTA in November and retails between £150 and £500, and Gill is already in talks with several local councils and major motorway service stations to distribute his product, and believes their market extends to train stations, pubs, shopping malls and offices.
The StandardToilet comes with health benefits, claims Gill, like improved posture, but their primary aim is to reduce the time employees use phones on the job, shaving minutes off your sitting to reduce monetary losses. ''It's main benefit is to the employers, not the employees,'' says Gill. ''It saves the employer money.''
There is some reasoning to the StandardToilet. A July survey conducted by software company found that British workers are spending much longer in the toilet during their 9 to 5 working day. On average, Brummies are the promptest poopers and spend 4:45 minutes in the toilet, while Londoners are the longest at a whopping 28 mins 35 seconds, the survey claimed.
Still, the StandardToilet isn't the only product finding value in your bowel movements. In the UK, over 1,500 'smart public toilets' that collect visitor data and footfall numbers have been installed by Healthmatic, a company that provides the computer systems used in public restrooms. This data is fed back to clients, 95 per cent of which are public authorities, to advise on everything from tourist visitor numbers to anti-social behaviour. In the US, Enlighted makes room-monitoring cameras, heat identifiers and sensors that fit to office furniture to collect motion data. This can provide insight into how often employees are away from their desk, or on the toilet.
These products are the autonomous next step in what employers have been doing for years; tracking toilet breaks. In January, staff at a call centre in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, were asked to sign a contract forcing workers to register toilet breaks online, which were limited to a maximum of one-percent of their working day - over a four hour shift that would amount to two minutes, as reported by the Daily Record.
''In an office, the one space you have where you can find privacy is often the toilet,'' says Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, assistant professor of design history at Purdue University in Indiana. ''So, god forbid that we want to make the one place where workers should have at least some autonomy '' the toilet '' another place where people impose the very capitalist idea that people should always be working.''
In the past few years, productivity boosting furniture and work environments that fuse work and pleasure have grown in popularity. Standing desks claim to improve energy levels and lower the risk of heart disease, despite their being little evidence to prove this, and The Axia Smart Chair vibrates if its sensors detect you're sitting in an aggravating position for too long. Foosball tables are as common as water coolers in some offices, while others encourage staff to meditate in designated recharge rooms.
But these luxuries are largely reserved for a minority of workers. Currently, there are more than 6,200 contact centres in the UK employing around 1.3 million people, amounting to more than 4 per cent of the country's total working population. An estimated 896,000 people are also employed on zero-hour contracts, which includes almost 30,000 workers at Amazon warehouse.
''Too often, design disregards low-level workers,'' says Kaufmann-Buhler. ''Designers are not interested in the plight of the worker who's spending their day answering phone calls. They're only interested in the workers with full-time jobs and who get the elaborate office spaces.''
''My thoughts are that as workers have less rights in the workplace overall, then more of their working lives become policed,'' adds Jen Slater. As co-author of the Around The Toilet project, alongside Charlottes Jones, Slater spent three years investigating what makes a safe and accessible toilet, particularly for disabled and trans people. ''There were reports earlier in the year of Amazon workers, for example, who don't have time to go to the toilet on shift, so they have to urinate in plastic bottles. It doesn't surprise me that design begins to mirror and reinforce these poor working conditions.''
Once upon a time, someone dared to dream for a better bog. That person was Alexander Kira, who in 1966 published a toilet bible with The Bathroom, which attempted to improve the humble porcelain palace. He believed that baths should come with contoured backrests and showers should be bigger, and that toilets were "the most ill-suited fixture ever designed." He pointed to how humans were not designed to sit on toilets. Rather, we're supposed to squat.
Little has changed since then, though, and bathroom design remains grossly inadequate while many innovations adopt one size fits all design, which fails many users. In 2017, a soap dispenser designed by the British company Technical Concepts went viral after the sensor failed to register a black hand, yet worked perfectly for a white one - ''the racist soap dispenser'', it was dubbed.
''Viewing time spent in the toilet as a threat is the wrong way of looking at the issue entirely,'' says Charlotte Jones. ''I think the importance of the toilet as a refuge during the workday says more about inadequate workspaces, heavy workloads and unsupportive management, than it does about the workers themselves.''
People use toilets to rest, get some quiet time alone and recuperate, and there should be spaces provided for this, other than toilets, adds Slater. ''There are lots of reasons that people might need to spend more than five minutes in a toilet. People with bowel conditions have told us they already feel very aware, and often ashamed, when they need to spend longer than is deemed 'normal' when using the toilet.''
Not all time-saving toilet tech is there to limit skiving opportunities or harvest data. Sometimes, it's a case of needs must, and that's when the Brief Relief comes in. The Brief Relief is a bag or bucket, and uses a double safety seal mechanism attached to a one way funnel for portable pooing '' in translation, that means when stuff goes in, it won't come out if you happened to drop it.
''It's better than using a coffee cup,'' laughs Brief Relief Director Jeff Griffin.
Today, around 700,000 Brief Relief products are sold globally each month. They are currently being used by the top 100 utility companies in the US and Canada, and are used by the British and Dutch militaries. They're also being adopted by National Parks to tackle the huge epidemic of human waste. ''National parks require you to pack out whatever you pack in, including all your business,'' says Griffin. ''So if you're out there for five days you sure as heck don't want to carry around a stinky bag.''
The Brief relief is not hi-tech, nor does it claim to compete with the classic toilet. Rather, it's for emergencies, a product to be used by construction workers in isolated areas or truck drivers cursed to hold it in between service stations. ''There are a lot of people who have never been in a situation where they needed a bathroom and they didn't have one,'' says Griffin. ''But when you have issues around going to the bathroom, it's not a pleasant issue but if you have an easy fix, it makes everything easier.''
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Ministry of Truthiness
Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: First-Hand Account '' Tareq Haddad
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 07:48
A mafia runs editors. Freedom of the press is dead. Journalists and ordinary people must stand up.
IntroductionSyriaNewsweek Suppression: A Timeline of EventsEditors at FaultIs Rep. Ilhan Omar a Spy?External Control of the Media NarrativeIntroductionUntil several days ago, I was a journalist at Newsweek. I decided to hand my resignation in because, in essence, I was given a simple choice. On one hand, I could continue to be employed by the company, stay in their chic London offices and earn a steady salary'--only if I adhered to what could or could not be reported and suppressed vital facts. Alternatively, I could leave the company and tell the truth.
In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset'--the latest farcical slur of the day.
Although I am a British citizen, the irony is that I'm half Arab and half Russian. (Bellingcat: I'm happy to answer any requests.)
It is a terribly sad state of affairs when perfectly loyal people who want nothing but the best for their countries are labelled with such preposterous accusations. Take Iraq war veteran and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for example, who was the target of such mud slinging for opposing U.S. involvement in Syria and for simply standing up to the Democratic Party's most corrupt politician, Hillary Clinton. These smears are immature for a democracy'--but I, in fact, welcome such attacks.
When the facts presented are utterly ignored and the messengers themselves are crucified in this way, it signals to right-minded people who the true perpetrators of lies are and where the truth in fact lies.
That truth is what matters most to me. It is what first drove me to journalism while I was working in Jersey's offshore finance industry after completing my degree from Binghamton University's School of Management in upstate New York. I was so outraged when I grew to realize that this small idyllic island I love and had grown up on since the age of nine, a British Crown dependency fifteen miles off the coast of France, was in fact a hub for global tax evasion. This realization came to me while the British people were being told that austerity had to continue'--public funding for schools, hospitals, policing and all matter of things were to be slashed'--all while the government ''recovered'' after bailing out the banks following the 2008 crash. That austerity lie was one I could no longer stomach as soon as I came to understand that my fairly uninspiring administrative role was in fact a part of this global network of firms to help multinational companies, businessmen, politicians and members of various royal families in avoiding paying trillions in tax'--all under a perfectly legal infrastructure that the government was fully aware of, but kept quiet about.
In my naivety, as I left that industry and began my journalism training, I wrote a piece that detailed some of this corruption in hopes of changing the public awareness around these issues and in hopes that they no longer continued'--albeit I did so in a manner of writing and sophistication I would be embarrassed of presently'--but to my disappointment at the time, the piece was hardly noticed and the system remains little changed to now. Nonetheless, since that moment, I have not once regretted speaking truthfully, most especially for my own mental wellbeing: I would not have been able to regard myself with a grain of self-respect had I continued to engage in something I knew was a lie. It is the very same force that compels me to write now.
There is also another, deeper force that compels me to write. In my years since that moment when I decided to become a journalist and a writer, although I suspect I have known it intrinsically long before, I have come to learn that truth is also the most fundamental pillar of this modern society we so often take for granted'--a realisation that did not come to us easily and one that we should be extremely careful to neglect. That is why when journalistic institutions fail to remember this central pillar, we should all be outraged because our mutual destruction follows. It may sound like hyperbole, but I assure you it's not. When our record of where we come from is flawed, or our truth to put it more simply, the new lies stack on top of the old until our connection to reality becomes so disjointed that our understanding of the world ultimately implodes. The failure of current journalism, among other factors, is undoubtedly linked to the current regression of the Western world. In consequence, we have become the biggest perpetrators of the crimes our democracies were created to prevent.
Of course, for those who pay attention, this failure of mainstream journalism I speak of is nothing new. It has been ongoing for decades and was all too obvious following the Iraq war fiasco. The U.S. and U.K. governments, headed by people who cared for little other than their own personal gain, told the people of their respective countries a slew of fabrications and the media establishment, other than a handful of exceptions, simply went along for the ride.
This was something that consumed my interest when I was training to be a journalist. How could hundreds of reputable, well-meaning journalists get it so wrong? I read numerous books on the issue'--from Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent and Philip Knightley's The First Casualty to work by Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times who was booted out for opposing that war (who I disagree with on some things, for the record)'--but still, I believed that honest journalism could be done. Nothing I read however, came close to the dishonesty and deception I experienced while at Newsweek. Previously, I believed that not enough journalists questioned the government narrative sufficiently. I believed they failed to examine the facts with close enough attention and had not connected the dots as a handful of others had done.
No. The problem is far worse than that.
SyriaIn the aftermath of the Iraq war and during my time studying this failure of the media since, I was of course extremely aware of the high likelihood that the U.S. government narrative on Syria was a deception. For starters, there were the statements made by the retired four-star general, General Wesley Clark, to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman in 2007, four years prior to the beginning of the Syria conflict. The following is worth watching to in full.
Nonetheless, once I joined IBTimes UK in 2016, after training with the Press Association and working at the Hull Daily Mail (both of whom I am eternally indebted to for giving me an excellent foundation for starting my career) I solidly understood that journalism was not the profession of making unverifiable claims. I, or any journalist for that matter, could not out-right say that the nature of the Syrian conflict was based on a lie, no matter how strongly we suspected it. To do so, we would need unshakeable evidence that pointed to this.
Through the years, good journalists did document evidence. Roula Khalaf, who will soon take over from Lionel Barber as the editor of the Financial Times, wrote one such piece alongside Abigail Fielding-Smith in 2013. It documented how Qatar provided arms and funded the opposition of Bashar al-Assad's legitimate government to the tune of somewhere between $1 and $3 billion from the outset of the conflict, rubbishing claims that it was a ''people's revolution'' that turned violent. Footage captured by Syrian photographer Issa Touma'--made into a short film titled 9 Days From My Window in Aleppo'--similarly showed how Qatar-funded jihadists from the Al-Tawhid Brigade were present in the streets of Syria's capital from the very outset of the war.
''Fighters re-enter my street,'' Touma says as he films covertly out of his window. ''They look different. They are heavily armed men with beards. I had only heard about them before. This is Liwa al-Tawhid. National television calls them terrorists. The international press calls them freedom fighters. I don't care what they call it'--I refuse to chose a side. But it's a lie that the revolution started peacefully everywhere. At least in my street, Al Said Ali Street, it started with guns. It didn't start peacefully at all.''
Veterans of the trade Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk also poked holes in the U.S. government narrative, but their treatment by other journalists has been one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the press.
Hersh'--who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, the clandestine bombing of Cambodia, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, in addition to telling the world the real story of how Osama Bin Laden died'--was shunned from the industry for reporting a simple fact: Bashar al-Assad's government is not the only actor with access to chemical weapons in Syria. After a sarin attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, he was further smeared for reporting that Barack Obama withheld important military intelligence: samples examined in Britain's Porton Down did not match the chemical signatures of sarin held in the Syrian government's arsenals.
Fisk, writing days before the Syrian conflict escalated, in a piece that asked Americans to consider what they were really doing in the Middle East as the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approached, also raised important questions, but he too was largely ignored.
I also did my best to document evidence that poked holes in the narrative as best I could. In 2016, I wrote how Egyptian authorities arrested five people for allegedly filming staged propaganda that purported to be from Syria. Though I'm not aware of any evidence to suggest that the two are connected and I make no such claims, these arrests came to light after The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Sunday Times revealed that a British PR firm, Bell Pottinger, was working with the CIA, the Pentagon and the National Security Council and received $540 million to create false propaganda in Iraq a month prior.
The following year, after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, I documented the intriguing story of Shajul Islam, the British doctor who purported to have treated the alleged victims and appeared on several television networks including NBC to sell the case for retaliation. He gushed with heroism, but it was not reported he was previously charged with terror offences in the U.K. and was in fact considered a ''committed jihadist'' by MI6. He was imprisoned in 2013 in connection with the kidnapping of two Western photo-journalists in northern Syria and was struck off Britain's General Medical Council in 2016. Why he was released without sentencing and was allowed to travel back to Syria remains a mystery to me.
I also refused to recycle the same sloppy language used, inadvertently or not, by a number of other publications. Al Qaeda and their affiliates had always been referred to as terrorists as far as I was aware'--why the sudden change to ''rebels'' or ''moderate rebels'' for the purposes of Syria? Thankfully, the news editor I worked with most frequently at the time, Fiona Keating, trusted my reporting and had no problems with me using the more appropriate terms ''anti-Assad fighters'' or ''insurgents'''--though one could arguably say even that was not accurate enough.
When buses carrying civilian refugees hoping to escape the fighting in Idlib province were attacked with car bombs in April of 2017, killing over 100, most of them women and children, I was disappointed with the Guardian and the BBC for continuing with their use of this infantile word, but this was not the language I felt to be appropriate in my report.
At roughly the same time, in light of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, confronted with an ever-growing list of irregularities and obvious falsifications'--such as increasing evidence that the White Helmets were not what they purported of being, or the ridiculousness that the Western world's de facto authority on Syria had become 7-year-old Bana al-Abed'--I wrote an opinion piece that came short of calling the narrative around the Syrian conflict a lie, but simply pleaded that independent investigations of the alleged chemical weapons attack were allowed to take place before we rushed head first into war. I still believed honesty would prevail.
That piece was ultimately declined by IBTimes'--though I covertly published it in CounterPunch later'--but the rejection email I received from the editor-in-chief at the time makes for interesting reading.
I was sad to hear that asking for an independent investigation into a chemical weapons attack was an ''incendiary theory,'' but I was forced to move on.
By that summer, I was let go alongside a number of other journalists from the publication after the Buzzfeed-style model of click-bait-aggregation journalism was heavily punished by a new Google algorithm and had largely failed: page views plummeted and editors couldn't seem to understand it was because we weren't doing any real journalism. Having felt frustrated with the industry, I decided to not pursue another position in reporting and decided to move to mainland Europe in hopes of pursuing my other passion'--literature'--with aspirations of being able to write more freely.
Fast forward to 2019, I decided to return to journalism as I was feeling the pressure to have ''a grown-up job'' and could not count on my ability to be a novelist as a means of long-term career stability. So when I joined Newsweek in September, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity and had no intention of being controversial'--the number of jobs in the industry appeared to be shrinking and, besides, the Syrian conflict appeared to be dying down. As soon as I arrived, Newsweek editor-in-chief Nancy Cooper emphasised original reporting and I was even even more pleased. I wanted to come in, get my head down and start building my reputation as a journalist again.
Then on October 6, President Donald Trump and the military machine behind him threw my quiet hopes of staying well clear of Syria into disarray. He announced the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country and green-lit the Turkish invasion that followed in a matter of days. Given my understanding of the situation, I was asked by Newsweek editors to report on this.
Within days of the Turkish invasion into Syria beginning, Turkey was accused of using the incendiary chemical white phosphorus in an attack on Ras al-Ayn and, again, having pitched the story, I was asked to report on the allegations . This spurred a follow-up investigation on why the use of the substance'--a self-igniting chemical that burns at upwards of 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing devastating damage to its victims'--was rarely considered a war crime under the relevant weapons conventions and I was commended by Nancy for doing excellent journalism.
It was while investigating this story that I started to come across growing evidence that the U.N.-backed body for investigating chemical weapons use, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a doctored report about an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April of 2018, much to the anger of OPCW investigators who visited the scene. Once Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday published his story containing a leaked letter that was circulated internally from one of the disgruntled OPCW scientists, I believed there was more than enough evidence to publish the story in Newsweek. That case was made even stronger when the letter was confirmed by Reuters and had been corroborated by former OPCW director-general Dr. Jose Bustani.
Although I am no stranger to having story ideas rejected, or having to censor my language to not rock the ship, this was a truth that had to be told. I was not prepared to back down on this.
Let me be clear: there is evidence that a United Nations body'--whose jurisdiction was established after the world agreed to never repeat the horrors of World War I and World War II, such as German forces firing more than 150 tons of chlorine gas at French colonial troops in Ypres'--is being weaponized to sell the case for war.
After OPCW experts found trace levels of chlorine when they visited Douma'--i.e. no different than the levels of chlorine normally present in the atmosphere'--or raised concerns that the canisters may have been tampered with or placed, both of which were reflected in their original reports, they made protestations because this information was withheld from the final report that was released to the world's media. Instead, the final wording said chlorine was ''likely'' used and the war machine continued.
This is not a ''conspiracy theory'' as Newsweek sadly said in a statement to Fox News'--interestingly the only mainstream publication to cover my resignation. Real OPCW scientists have met with real journalists and explained the timeline of events. They provided internal documents that proved these allegations'--documents that were then confirmed by Reuters. This is all I wanted to report.
Meanwhile, OPCW scientists were prevented from investigating Turkey's alleged use of white phosphorus. This flagrant politicization of a neutral body is opening the world up to repeating the same horrors we experienced in those two devastating wars.
This is unacceptable and I resigned when I was forbidden from reporting on this.
Newsweek Suppression: A Timeline of EventsI first became aware of the Mail on Sunday report on Monday, November 25, and this is when I raised it with Alfred Joyner, Newsweek's global executive producer, who had been my main point of contact for pitching stories.
Following a conversation with Alfred, he asked me to write the pitch in a note to him and Newsweek's foreign affairs editor, Dimi Reider, on the company's internal messaging system. The following is a copy and paste of that pitch, alongside the conversation that followed in the next few days.
Once I returned to the office on Thursday, November 28, I proceeded to have a conversation with Dimi, but to my disappointment, he did not address any of my protestations against why the article could not be published. He made the famous joke about former Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev irrelevantly, one he had already made to me a couple of weeks before, and after listening to my reasoning for wanting to have the story published for several minutes, all he had to say was: ''I'm sorry, but I'm afraid it's a no.''
The following morning, feeling incredibly frustrated, I wrote an email to Nancy and Newsweek's digital director and London bureau chief, Laura Davis, to express my concerns.
Several stressful days passed where I did not hear from either Laura or Nancy, but in the meantime, as I tried to continue as best as I could with my every day reporting role, I noticed how an entertainment editor by the name of Tufayel Ahmed began to pick up most of the following stories I wrote.
In my experience of working with editors in the past, if an issue ever arose with a story, we would have a perfectly civil conversation, I would make the relevant adjustments where necessary and the article would be published without further problems. That was not my experience with Tufayel.
At first, when he sent me long, overly critical and often hostile criticisms on articles I wrote, I considered asking him to step into a meeting room in order to ask him whether I had inadvertently done something to offend him. Having come from a newspaper background where mistakes in articles required embarrassing apologies printed in the paper the next day, and having held the belief that editors were your best friend and should always be kept on side, I always prided myself in filing copy that was free of any errors and throughout my career, I was frequently commended for doing exactly this.
In my time at the Hull Daily Mail for example, regarded as one of the U.K.'s best regional newspapers, I do not recall a single correction being printed on any of the articles I wrote. That was the case despite covering murder trials, rape cases and numerous other sensitive stories.
On the eve of the Brexit referendum, despite still being a trainee reporter, I had built such a reputation for my accurate journalism and my attention-to-detail skills that I was even entrusted to single-handedly edit and publish copy from two politics reporters to the publication's website, while managing the live blog, all social media channels and filing my own stories on national developments as the results came in. The following morning, following a short nap, the editor was so impressed with my efforts that I was asked to conduct the interviews with the local leaders of each political party, despite being one of the most junior reporters on the team.
Furthermore, in close to 1,000 published articles for IBTimes UK, I can only recall one incident where an article required a correction. An Israel lobby group'--forgive me for being unable to recall which one'--objected to my use of the word ''settlements'' and requested that it be replaced with ''settlement units'' instead. This was a reasonable request and the article was updated to reflect this without further incident.
I do not say these things to be self-congratulatory. I say these things because I was deeply saddened and disturbed. Because when I finally received a response from Laura about the OPCW story on December 5, six days after my initial email and after repeated attempts to speak to her in person, only one paragraph was devoted to the leaked letter and the rest of the email attacked my capability as a journalist.
It listed all the instances that Tufayel had criticised me on, unfairly mischaracterising my actions, in addition to listing one genuine mistake I made in the course of everyday reporting'--something not to be unexpected when every day I was expected to write four stories, often about complicated topics, sometimes with no prior experience in them. Nonetheless, even for this story, I had taken immediate action needed to resolve and had apologised to editors at the time, the characterisation of what took place in Laura's email was deeply maligned.
That was the moment I knew beyond doubt what my gut had been telling me before: there was no valid reason for this OPCW story not to be published. It was simply being suppressed. I was being attacked for pushing back against this.
As I have nothing to hide, I will publish Laura's response in full.
You will see my full response in due course, but first, some further comments about Laura's criticisms must be addressed.
Editors at FaultMy first ''indiscretion'' is rather simple to address. I believe'--however I must admit I am not certain, as the information was never published'--that the article Laura is referring to this. Regardless of which piece it was, the following events took place.
In 2018, confirming the earlier reporting by Hersh, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the Pentagon has no evidence to support the allegations that the Syrian government used sarin in Ghouta, as reported here by the Associated Press. As Newsweek did not report this fact (more evidence of suppression?) I linked to an opinion piece on our website that addressed that report. The first line of that piece links back to the AP story. When questioned by Tufayel why I did this, I explained that I was simply trying to link to references on our website, explaining to him the source was AP'--ironically, I was trying to help Newsweek gather more clicks. The information which was ultimately removed from my article was not badly sourced.
The second point listed by Laura'--the only occasion out of 156 stories written during my two-month stint at Newsweek where an article required a correction'--raises another serious problem at the publication: editors tell journalists what to report.
This article was assigned to me by Alfred on Newsweek's internal messaging system, as is commonplace for editors to do, and I felt obliged to report the story, although I had concerns and it is not one I personally would have chosen to do. I raised these concerns with Alfred'--whose background is in video editing, not journalism'--but instead of ditching the story, a new angle was suggested and a new headline was provided too. Feeling that I couldn't challenge his authority any further without being rude, I proceeded as best as I could, but in the course of doing so, I made two mistakes: One, I neglected to reach out for comment on two of the five parties involved (thinking Facebook, who I contacted, would comment on behalf of the remaining). Two, I wrongly reported that some funds were donated by Mark Zuckerburg as opposed to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
When the Facebook spokesperson returned my request, she simply pointed me in the direction of tweets made by the remaining individuals and asked if I could update accordingly. The tweets did not criticize our reporting, but of the original reporting done by Popular Information, the source assigned to me by Alfred to base my reporting on.
Once their statements came to my knowledge (which reflected the concerns I had about the article in the first place), I alerted Alfred immediately and did my best to redress. Laura's criticism also neglected to mention that Newsweek's chief sub-editor'--whom I will not name as he has been among a handful of editors to treat me fairly'--was the one to look over the article and he had no problems in publishing my piece.
This practice of editors telling journalists what to write, with what angle and with headlines already assigned is completely backwards and is the cause of numerous problems. How can journalists find genuine newsworthy developments if what to write has already been scripted for them?
I spoke to several Newsweek journalists about this very problem prior to my departure and they shared the same concerns. This was the very same problem that led to Jessica Kwong's firing a week before my resignation.
Kwong, who I do not know, wrote a story titled ''How is Trump Spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, Golfing and More,'' a day before the day in question'--only for it to emerge that Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. No proper journalist would have written that piece by their own volition'--it was only done because editors were on their tireless crusade for clicks.
In the end, she was fired because she did not approach the White House for comment, although all the information came from the president's public diary.
''Dear press office,'' her email should have read supposedly. ''I am writing a piece that is of no useful public information, but will be criticising the president for what he choses to do in his leisure time on Thanksgiving. Can you please provide a statement at your earliest convenience.''
For goodness sake, whatever your opinions are of President Trump, what were most of you doing on Thanksgiving Day?
Most appallingly, in a team meeting between the New York and London offices following the firing, where ''lessons to be learned'' were discussed at length, the editor in question tried to make a joke along the lines of: ''Don't worry guys! I've learned my lesson! I'll happily edit the story 'What's Trump doing on Christmas Day?'' Silence followed. You should have seen the faces of the journalists in the room.
A final note on the contents of Laura's email, for the rest is addressed in my response.
Yes. I did make adjustments in the content management system and republished some articles. Journalists are permitted to do this if they spot small mistakes'--such as in spelling or grammar, for example'--but I did not editorialise as the email claims. And yes. On the white phosphorus story, I did question an editor's judgement. It was Nancy's in fact.
After the article had been published, she amended the headline so that it was more attention grabbing, but the grammar she used made it non-sensical and she also didn't abide by Newsweek's own house style in doing so. (She wrote ''US'' not ''U.S.'') I didn't want an article I spent three weeks working on to be ruined because of sloppiness. Is there something so wrong with that? For the record: I am still unhappy with the headline on the piece as it stands.
Now, before I return to my response and to my ultimate resignation, there were several other important things to note.
Is Rep. Ilhan Omar a Qatari Spy?On Saturday, November 30, a day after I sent my initial email to Laura and Nancy, I was working a weekend shift and there had been a change in the rota: Tufayel was to be the news editor for the day. There was nothing demonstrably unusual about this, but what did strike me as odd is how I was immediately assigned a story about some relatively unknown congressional candidate who had been kicked off Twitter for tweeting something in relation to the Democratic Congresswoman of Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, and allegations that she was a spy.
The nature of the story was not odd in itself, but only seemed strange because of Dimi's earlier refutation of my OPCW piece.
''It's not just about Syria,'' he wrote. ''This was part of my reluctance to put take up this weird story going around since yesterday about Ilhan Omar being a Qatari spy. Not a single serious U.S. site picked it up, which confirms my hunch it's BS.''
At the time, not knowing about the story, I thought that was fair enough'--it seemed like a ridiculous claim. In fact, when I had seen that line written in Dimi's refutation, it further enraged me: why was my provable story about the existence of this leaked letter (verified by Reuters!!!) being smeared by being placed next to this?
Regardless, when I was assigned the story by Tufayel, I did my best to be professional and I did what I always did: I pulled up as many resources as I could find on the matter at hand and began to research and fact-check. That was when I was shocked to discover this report in Al Arabiya about Ilhan.
The publication acquired a 233-page legal deposition, made to a U.S. district court, by a Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman by the name of Alan Bender. He gave evidence against the Qatari emir's brother, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, after al-Thani was accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people and after holding his hired American paramedic prisoner. In that deposition, Bender claimed to have high connections among Qatari officials'--presumably why he was asked to testify'--and it was there that he made the Ilhan spy allegations.
Now, I have no further evidence to support Alan Bender's claims'--I will be the first to admit I know very little about Qatari politics'--but surely a well-connected businessman's deposition in a U.S. court of law did not justify Dimi's ''hunch it's BS'' without providing further evidence. If Alan Bender's claims are untrue and he is lying under oath, he has to answer for them. I suddenly realised that this was a test.
Would I get the hint and do my reporting in line with management orders? Or would I continue to report perfectly publishable details that are in the public interest?
Of course, there is the possibility I was assigned the article by mere happenstance, but what took place after I submitted my draft copy to Tufayel for editing was revealing. The draft I submitted was as follows.
Vox Media to cut hundreds of freelance jobs ahead of California's AB5
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 16:45
Jim Bankoff, chairman and chief executive officer of Vox Media Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Hundreds of freelance writers at Vox Media, primarily those covering sports for the SB Nation site, will lose their jobs in the coming months as the company prepares for a California law to go into effect that will force companies to reclassify contractors in the state as employees.
"This is a bittersweet note of thanks to our California independent contractors," John Ness, executive director of SB Nation, wrote in a post on Monday. "In 2020, we will move California's team blogs from our established system with hundreds of contractors to a new one run by a team of new SB Nation employees."
In a separate memo seen by CNBC, Ness said that California contractors can apply for a full-time or part-time position in California. Contractors who wish to continue contributing can do so but "need to understand they will not be paid for future contributions," he said. "We know this may be a difficult decision, so we're giving everyone affected 30 days to decide what works for them," Ness added.
The announcement follows the September passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) by the California Assembly and its signing by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Targeted primarily at ride-hailing and food delivery companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and PostMates, the legislation requires gig economy workers to be hired as employees with benefits like health coverage and minimum wage protections.
As it pertains to Vox, the law forbids nonemployees from submitting more than 35 pieces per year. Most of the changes at Vox will be at SB Nation, which has writers all over the country covering professional and college sports, but will also touch other sites like Curbed and Eater, according to a person familiar with the matter.
DoorDash delivery person
Source: DoorDash
SB Nation is posting about 20 part-time and full-time jobs, so some of the freelancers may be hired on as staff, said the person, who asked not to be named because not all the details have been made public. A few of them were posted on Monday.
Vox, backed by NBCUniversal (the parent of CNBC), has been expanding. The company acquired New York Media in September, inheriting a portfolio of media properties including New York Magazine, The Cut, Intelligencer, Vulture and Grub Street. Vox acquired tech blog Recode in 2015.
Even as the company grows, AB5 will change how at least some of its sites are structured. A writer named Rebecca Lawson, who covered the NBA's Dallas Mavericks from San Diego, wrote a post on Monday titled, "California's terrible AB5 came for me today, and I'm devastated." Lawson, who was editor-in-chief of the blog Mavs Moneyball, said she would be forced to step down as of March 31.
"SB Nation has chosen to do the easiest thing they can to comply with California law '-- not work with California-based independent contractors, or any contractors elsewhere writing for California-based teams," Lawson wrote. "I don't blame them at all."
AB5 has been staunchly opposed by gig economy companies, whose business models could be uprooted. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash pledged $90 million on a ballot initiative for the 2020 election that would exempt them from AB5. The bill has the potential to change the employment status of more than 1 million workers in California.
WATCH: Employees or contractors? Gig economy's labor crisis
Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.
War on Guns
Virginia Activates Official Militia After Gun Confiscation Threats. Lawmakers Want To Make This A Felony | Zero Hedge
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:05
Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,
As Virginia lawmakers prepare to pass a draconian gun control bill that would make most guns in the state illegal, Tazewell County has formed an official active militia as per the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
To all of those who like to mock gun owners and ask if they're going to fight tyranny in a militia, Virginia's answer is a clear and adamant ''yes.'' That's exactly what they're planning to do.
A Quick Recap of What's Happened So FarHere's a little bit of background on the proposed weapons ban from my last article.
After the most recent election, the state's House and Senate are both Democrat majorities and they haven't wasted a moment in attempting to gut the gun laws in what has historically been a permissive state.
The so-called ''assault weapon ban'' is SB16 and has that perilously vague wording we all know to be incredibly dangerous. In some interpretations, this law, if it passes, could make illegal the ownership or transportation of any semi-automatic gun because extendable magazines are available for it '' and you don't even have to have the extendable mags. (source)
Unsurprisingly, a lot of Virginians are outraged by the idea of this and discussion of a ''grandfather clause'' that allows you to keep your semi-autos as long as you register them has done nothing to assuage the ire of gun owners.
Counties across the state quickly organized into Second Amendment sanctuaries '' as of Dec. 16, 89 counties, cities, or municipalities have passed ''sanctuary'' resolutions and 6 have passed resolutions to protect the Second Amendment rights of citizens, but refuse to use the word ''sanctuary.'' Other locations are still debating their stances.
Map from Gun Rights Watch
Then to really stir the pot, State Representative Donald MacEachin had the bright idea of calling up the National Guard to squelch the rebellion.
McEachin also noted that Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam could call the National Guard, if necessary.
''And ultimately, I'm not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law,'' he said. ''That's his call, because I don't know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that's obviously an option he has.'' (source)
As you can imagine, that didn't go over well.
The National Guard's ResponseMaj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia's National Guard responded rather vaguely via Twitter.
We have received multiple questions regarding proposed legislation for the 2020 General Assembly session and the authority of the Governor of Virginia to employ the Virginia National Guard in a law enforcement role.
We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.
We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.
'-- Va. National Guard (@VaNationalGuard) December 13, 2019Based on the responses in the Twitter thread, folks found Maj. Gen. Williams' lackluster response less than comforting.
So now, a militia is forming in VirginiaTazewell County is taking this threat to the Second Amendment very seriously. Not only did they pass a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, but they've also officially begun to form a militia. Law Enforcement Today reports:
Just this past Tuesday, on December 10th, the Board of Supervisors from Tazewell County passed two different resolutions in light of controversy circling those who are pro-gun. The first resolution declared the county to be a second amendment sanctuary. This is not at all surprising to see, as 76 out of 95 counties, 9 out of 38 independent cities, and 13 towns have adopted second amendment sanctuary resolutions.
The second item on the agenda was the proposition of establishing a militia in the county. When both of the resolutions passed, the crowd cheered loudly in support of the decisions. Also, the resolutions didn't exactly pass by a small margin; the votes were unanimous, with more than 200 citizens standing by in support. (source)
County Administrator Eric Young explained why the county has opted to form a militia.
''Our position is that Article I, Section 13, of the Constitution of Virginia reserves the right to 'order' militia to the localities. Therefore, counties, not the state, determine what types of arms may be carried in their territory and by whom. So, we are 'ordering' the militia by making sure everyone can own a weapon.''
Thus, if anyone from the state tries to remove the Sheriff from their elected office because they refuse to enforce unjust laws, those state officials will be faced with a lawful militia composed of citizens within the state. (source)
This article explains the extensive training being offered by Tazewell County to its citizens in order to make sure everyone is acting safely and responsibly.
I suspect Tazewell County will not be the only one that forms an official militia. The legislature of Virginia may have bitten off more than it can chew when they decided to come after the guns of rural citizens.
''Coincidentally,'' there's an anti-paramilitary bill on the table.It's probably no coincidence that at the same time militias are forming, there's also a bill to make them illegal. SB64 has caused a huge hullabaloo.
Here's some of the text of that bill.
§ 18.2-433.2. Paramilitary activity prohibited; penalty.
A person shall be is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he:
1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or
2. Assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or
3. Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof. (source)
Obviously, this is not a coincidence. They predicted how rural Virginians would respond to their gun-grabbing shenanigans. The plan all along was to confiscate guns and turn any organized resistance into a felony.
A Reminder for Virginia LegislatorsThere could hardly be anything more unconstitutional than SB64. I know I already quoted this, but just as a refresher for any legislator that might happen to be reading this:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Our guiding doctrines are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. At this point, everything the laughable Virginia Congress is proposing is an affront to the principles upon which this nation was founded.
Another reminder '' this is the pledge these legislators swore:
''I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me as '...'...'.... according to the best of my ability, (so help me God).'' (source)
Every person in the government who has sworn this oath yet supports these unconstitutional bills should be immediately recalled and possibly even tried criminally to set an example that we will no longer tolerate the systematic dismantling of our rights. (Congressional privilege from arrest is only applicable in civil court, not in criminal court.)
This strategy was orchestrated by someone with a lot of money and power.This is something that has been thought through, perhaps even by gun control advocate and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. The reason I'm suggesting Bloomberg specifically is that his PAC donated millions and millions of dollars to turn the legislatures of 24 states to a Democrat majority. His millions worked in 21 of those cases, and Virginia is one of them. Packing the state legislatures with allies would help his agenda should he actually become the next president.
Records filed so far show that organizations controlled and funded by Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $41 million on 24 House races, much of it on eye-catching ads rolled out on social media and broadcast on television in the crucial final days of the campaign.
And while it's impossible to conclude that any one factor tipped the balance in a race, Mr. Bloomberg appears to have reaped the benefits of his millions in giving. Democrats won 21 of the 24 races he sought to influence. Of those, 12 had been considered either tossups or in Republican districts.
''The mission was to flip the House. Success or failure would be defined by that,'' said Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser to Mr. Bloomberg. (source)
Bloomberg is rabidly anti-gun and has said that ending ''the nationwide madness of U.S. gun violence'' is the impetus behind his run for the White House. If he were to be elected, may God help America, because he will destroy everything for which our nation has ever stood.
Here's the summary on what's happening in VirginiaLet's look at all these facts together.
With Michael Bloomberg's help, the Democrats took over the Virginia state congress.
There's an anti-paramilitary bill that would disallow armed people to gather or teach others how to use firearms or any technique that could cause injury or death.
There's a bill that would make semi-automatic weapons illegal.
Nearly the entire state (aside from the highly populated areas that elected these yahoos) has balked and formed Second Amendment sanctuaries.
A legislator threatened the sanctuaries with the National Guard.
The sanctuaries responded by activating an organized militia.
The only real way to prevent bloodshed and save face for the congress and governor is for these bills not to pass.
That would be difficult, though, given the fact that Bloomberg dumped millions of dollars into getting people elected who promised to pass strict gun control bills. If they suddenly vote against the bill, they will have to face their angry constituents and the wrath of Bloomberg.
Rural Virginians seem unlikely to back down and are willing to fight. They have another month to get organized to defend their communities.
Remember that in situations such as these, the rumor mill works overtime. There are a lot of reports that are hysterical and exaggerated. The truth is bad enough that we don't need to add far-fetched theories to the mix. This article is a very good, common-sense breakdown of fact vs. fiction.
What will happen next remains to be seen, but it is no exaggeration to say that the future of our country is now riding on the response of Virginians, should these unconstitutional laws pass.
Vape Wars
What Is Heated Tobacco, and Is IQOS Safer Than Smoking? - The Atlantic
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:22
Big Tobacco claims to have created a safer cigarette. Is unleashing it a big mistake?
James Hamblin December 12, 2019 Ina Lihach / Shutterstock / The AtlanticUpdated at 5:58 p.m. ET on December 12, 2019
A glass-walled bastion of minimalism in a retail mall in Atlanta is the first of its kind in the United States. It looks like an Apple Store, but with a bouncer. You have to be 21 or older to enter. If you want to buy what's inside, you must be a cigarette smoker. Or at least, you must tell the salesperson that you're a cigarette smoker.
The store's product is an electrified cylinder to be kept in your pocket. Branded ''IQOS,'' which is widely believed to be an acronym for ''I Quit Original Smoking,'' the device is the first in what's expected to be a new class known as ''heated tobacco'' or ''heat not burn'' products.* They're not vaping or smoking, but another way of inhaling the addictive stimulant nicotine.
The IQOS is USB-charged and about the size of a Sharpie. The far end has a port where you put a roll of tobacco that looks like a short cigarette. Overall, the aesthetic is closer to an asthma inhaler than to anything James Dean would have carried. Signifiers of smoking and vaping are absent: There is no flame, no smoke, and only a ghostly wisp to exhale.
No celebrities or red carpets were at the Atlanta store opening in September, like they were this month at the Munich opening. The product wasn't authorized for sale in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration until April, and its seller didn't know how well it would be received. And the pitch for the device is technically illegal for the company to say, since the FDA does not allow it: The IQOS is safer than cigarettes.
The FDA is currently weighing the evidence for that claim. In reality, measuring any long-term health effects'--knowing for sure whether the claim is true'--would take decades. But the theoretical concept is that much of the danger of cigarettes comes from inhaling smoke of any sort. Plug your chimney, hover over a campfire, or smoke grass from your lawn, and you will increase your odds of lung cancer and various other means of dying. Instead of burning the tobacco, this new device heats it to a lower temperature. That releases some nicotine for you to inhale and feel temporarily stimulated. Or at least less unstimulated.
Vaping, by contrast, involves heating a liquid that often contains synthetic nicotine, among other substances, not tobacco itself. Vaping and heated-tobacco devices are both commonly considered ''e-cigarettes,'' but the difference between the two is especially relevant in the midst of national panic about vaping. Over the summer and fall, reports of several dozen vaping-related deaths surfaced, and autopsies found that the liquids put into some devices contain additives that seem to be the cause of acute inflammatory lung disease. People began to swear off vaping. Some states implemented bans.
Read: The actual harms of vaping
Almost all of these deaths appear to be linked to ingredients in black-market vapes; they're not clearly tied to commercially available devices such as Juul. Nevertheless, the IQOS mall experience feels timed to appeal to the wary, weary consumer, conveying a sense of safety and authority absent from the off-brand vaping accoutrements on offer in dank bodegas. Arriving at this moment of panic, the heated-tobacco idea is poised to be a massively popular alternative. These devices could potentially become more ubiquitous than vaping, or even cigarettes.
At least, that is the stated goal of the company that makes them: the world's most prolific seller of cigarettes, Philip Morris International (PMI). For the company (and its U.S. spin-off, Altria), heated tobacco is more than a dip of the toe into a novelty market. The cigarette giant says that it is staking its future on this new product, and that it has spent $6 billion in the past decade to develop it. The company apparently wants to escape the shadows of deadly warning labels and heavy taxation, and move into the light of mainstream commerce and high-end malls. PMI is positioning itself next to Apple and other corporations that many people earnestly believe are selling them solutions.
IQOS has been rolled out incrementally in various countries in recent years. It's already big in Japan, and it's gaining users in Russia, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere. Last year, it reached $900 million in device sales globally. Juul, by comparison, reached only $100 million outside the U.S. Just before Thanksgiving, a second U.S. store opened, in Richmond, Virginia, and IQOS is expected to begin distribution across the country in the next six months.
Some opponents cite the toll of cigarettes on global health as reason to shut this new product down hard and fast. They argue that there's no more reason to trust PMI's next venture than there has been to trust anything the company has done in the past century. Despite some early evidence that IQOS does reduce the levels of many known toxic chemicals per puff compared with cigarettes, there can be no certainty that using it would circumvent similar long-term consequences. ''By the time we figured out the harms of cigarettes, we had tens of millions of addicts, and it was politically impossible to do something about it,'' says Chris Bostic, the deputy director for policy at the advocacy group Action on Smoking and Health. ''I do think the FDA made a mistake in giving this approval to Philip Morris.''
The agency declined to comment for this story, but referred me to its published justification for the decision to allow IQOS into the U.S., the result of a two-year review process. The decision came with heavy limitations. Not only did the agency forbid the claim that heated tobacco is safer than smoking (an application for the right to make that claim is under review); it also prohibited ads from claiming that heated tobacco can help smokers quit smoking. That would make it a ''cessation device,'' meaning it would have to be regulated as a medical device like a pacemaker, rather than as a mall-based consumer good.
Being safer than smoking is not a high bar. Every year, smoking cigarettes kills about 8 million people, according to the World Health Organization. While smoking rates in the U.S. are at an all-time low, absolute numbers continue to rise globally. For those who want to quit, the only FDA-approved products that deliver nicotine for purposes of cessation are things such as nicotine gums, patches, and nasal sprays. These help prevent physical withdrawal, though they are intended for short-term use. In recent years, some doctors have begun to advise patients that vaping is preferable to smoking. But such recommendations have become more tenuous, given new concerns that a person might pick up a bad batch of liquids and die.
The timing and intensity of the current vaping panic are curious to John Ayers, a public-health researcher at the University of California at San Diego who tracks the tobacco industry's marketing tactics. News organizations started focusing intently on the dangers of vaping around the same time that PMI and Altria were ready to launch IQOS in the U.S. In September, amid concerns about spikes in teen rates of use and the reported deaths, PMI put out a press release calling attention to the recent vaping-related lung injuries. ''The company is clearly trying to position this product as a safer alternative to vaping and smoking,'' Ayers told me.
Read: Why people smoke
Ayers was even more alarmed that when he Googled heat not burn, the top result was an ad paid for by PMI. It read ''What Is Heat Not Burn? Discover the Technology.'' Clicking it sent him to a PMI website that refers to IQOS as one of the ''alternatives that have the potential to reduce the risk of developing smoking-related diseases as compared to continued smoking.'' Ayers argues that the Google ad could be a violation of the FDA's restrictions on claiming that IQOS is safer than smoking. He worries about a slippery slope if such regulations are not strictly enforced, and that pushing the boundaries is evidence of more aggressive tactics to come from PMI.
PMI denies that publishing this and other information about its product is a violation of the law. A company spokesperson, Corey Henry, says that these ads are meant to target people interested in public health, not consumers. He notes that the website Ayers visited includes a pop-up disclaimer that the site is intended for ''disseminating scientific information.'' He further denies that the September release was in any way linked to the IQOS launch.
For Ayers and others, this blurring of the line between information and advertising is uncomfortably reminiscent of the strategy long used to sell cigarettes. As cigarette ads were restricted on TV and elsewhere, tobacco companies sought to publish ''information'' downplaying the harms of cigarettes. ''That store in the mall might look nice,'' he says, ''but when it comes to reaching people with paid advertising, they're doing the wrong things.''
Andr(C) Calantzopoulos, the CEO of PMI, pulls out the IQOS and puffs. It's still called a puff, I suppose, even though almost nothing visible comes out. Calantzopoulos does not look happy about the process, no more than any smoker does. He has the ruddy skin of a lifelong cigarette user, though he says he recently traded out. ''Nobody said these products are safe,'' he says. ''But they're much safer than cigarettes. We are in the risk-continuum conversation here.''
The FDA would not let Calantzopoulos say that in an ad. But he is allowed to say it to a journalist. It's worth noting that Calantzopoulos's reported salary is $15,934,235. The two hours I spent interviewing him at the company's Manhattan office last month cost the company something like $8,000. Either Calantzopoulos liked me enough to chat that sort of money away or he has a valuable narrative to promote.
PMI is arguably the most hated brand in the world, ever. For decades, the company paid doctors to deny that smoking was harmful. It marketed to children. It got people addicted to a product that killed many of them, while telling them that it wasn't addictive. It lobbied to minimize restrictions that the public-health community agrees would have saved millions of lives.
But Calantzopoulos has broken with his predecessors. Since 1999'--and more loudly in recent years'--he has said that cigarettes are unhealthy. In 2018, he oversaw PMI's launch of a publicity campaign to create a ''smoke-free world.'' In a campaign called ''Unsmoke,'' ads say: ''If you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, quit. If you don't quit, change.'' ''Once you publicly recognize your product causes disease, you recognize technology will evolve to reduce the risk of the product,'' Calantzopoulos told me.
The tobacco industry has gestured many times at products that would reduce harm, beginning in the 1950s. The infamous ''light'' and ''low tar'' cigarettes turned out to be no safer than their predecessors, and many people dismissed them as marketing stunts. ''We tried for many years to filter out the toxic elements, but it's impossible,'' Calantzopoulos said. The combustion involved in smoking necessarily produces compounds that are dangerous to inhale, such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. PMI changed the structure of cigarettes in various ways'--with cellulose-acetate filters, ventilation holes, and porous paper'--but the problem of killing people continued. Some cigarettes successfully delivered less tobacco smoke and more clean air per puff, but this often meant that people simply smoked more of them. ''So,'' Calantzopoulos explained, ''the approach became not to exceed certain temperatures.''
Read: Juul's new marketing is straight out of Big Tobacco's playbook
He readily conceded that it's impossible to say how many cases of cancer and heart disease heated tobacco will cause over any person's lifespan. When he said IQOS was ''safer'' than cigarettes, he was referring to some studies in which the product has been found to expose users to lower levels of dangerous compounds than a comparable amount of smoking does. Most of those studies have involved scientists employed by PMI. A 2018 review of the studies on heated-tobacco devices found that 20 of 31 were done by tobacco companies.
To anti-tobacco advocates such as Bostic, of Action on Smoking and Health, this means the studies are to be dismissed out of hand. Bostic has worked for decades to prevent academic researchers from taking grants from Big Tobacco that might fund this sort of research. (While many universities work with pharmaceutical and medical-device companies to test products, and accept grant funding to conduct research, they draw ethical lines around taking money from the tobacco industry.) PMI's website ''says they're 'working for a smoke-free future,''' Bostic says. ''At the same time, they're spending billions of dollars marketing cigarettes and fighting tobacco controls in any country where it comes up. It's an absurd PR stunt.''
Calantzopoulos was straightforward about the fact that he will do what is profitable. If he simply stopped selling cigarettes, he would be fired by the company's board that day. The job of a person in such a position is to make money for shareholders, and, if possible, to do so in a manner where fewer people die.
Even taking human life as a simple line item on a budget, it is never desirable for a company to kill its customers. Death renders consumers, medically speaking, unable to consume. PMI also stands to benefit from a product that allows people to consume tobacco less conspicuously and so, theoretically, in greater quantities. People could use it without stinking up everything they own, and without having to go outside in the middle of winter to stand alone. The devices extract nicotine from tobacco more efficiently than combustion does, meaning better profit margins. And they're not subject to the heavy taxes imposed on cigarettes in much of the world.
A world where no one smokes, then, may be in the company's interest. Though a world where everyone spends more living years consuming tobacco discreetly'--all day, every day'--is not everyone's ideal vision of a ''smoke-free world.''
The arrival of this tobacco-rich world'--at least in the U.S.'--is contingent on a decision by the FDA. The decision could come at any time. If the agency allows PMI to advertise the IQOS as safer than smoking, then experts predict that the floodgates will open and the product will become commonplace.
David Ashley, who spent seven years at the FDA regulating tobacco, considers this approval quite plausible. ''It appears that if a person who is a smoker switches completely to this product, their risk of diseases will be reduced,'' he says. Ashley is a professor at Georgia State School of Public Health, and he reviewed the data that PMI submitted to the FDA at length. He says he has no reason to doubt their accuracy. But he raises the crucial concern: How many people will switch completely?
The safety of anything that people put into their body is not determined by chemistry alone, but by how that chemistry fits into daily routines, cultures, and psychological proclivities. Smokers who purchase IQOS may be likely to continue to smoke, and will simply add the device into the gaps between stepping outside into the bleak winter air. In its FDA application, PMI provided only data from people who switched entirely from cigarettes to heated tobacco. More often, Ashley says, people become dual users'--which of course would benefit a seller of both cigarettes and heated tobacco.
Earlier this year, a study from the American Cancer Society offered some amount of reassurance. Researchers tracked cigarette sales by region in Japan from 2014 to 2018. They saw significant declines in sales that correlated with local IQOS launches. The cautious conclusion: ''The introduction of IQOS likely reduced cigarette sales in Japan. The net population health impact, however, cannot be assessed without resolving several key uncertainties related to the direct harms of IQOS.''
Such uncertainties would ideally be resolved before a national rollout of any product. And in an ideal model of reviewing new devices like this one, safety data would not depend on studies done by the company itself. Instead, researchers would study products and assess health effects, and would have no financial stake in any outcomes they might find. The National Academy of Sciences proposed something like this in 2012. In the process of laying out scientific standards for studying e-cigarettes, the group suggested a new third-party entity to oversee testing of new tobacco products. Since universities don't take grant money from tobacco companies, funding would come from fees and taxes on tobacco companies, or from money won in settlements.
When the FDA tried to move ahead with that plan, though, Ashley recalls, it ''ran into some heated criticism from tobacco-control folks who couldn't imagine that a system like that could actually work. It hasn't tried to do it again.'' Ashley still believes that the idea holds promise as a way to allow independent researchers to study products without industry interference. It would have to be paired with a comprehensive plan to make cigarettes obsolete. While heated-tobacco may be very harmful, there is no question about combustible cigarettes.
In 2017, the then-chairman of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, announced a plan that would reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes. It was a sort of halfway approach to a ban, aimed at undercutting demand for combustible cigarettes. The idea was to drive people toward quitting, ideally. Short of that, to drive people to replace combustibles with electronics. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that the policy would save 2.8 million lives by 2060.
Last month, however, the FDA announced that it was suspending the plan. The agency gave no reason. The move was considered a major victory for the tobacco industry.
If PMI wants the support of health advocates'--to create a device that can be tested and trusted by consumers, sold in fancy malls, and hypothetically even recommended by doctors as a safer alternative for smokers'--the industry may have to take steps to actually make good on its stated desire to end smoking. If it truly believes it has a product that can and should replace cigarettes, the company could at least stop lobbying against the clearest solution: banning them.
* After publication of this story, Philip Morris International reached out to us deny that "IQOS" is short for anything.
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James Hamblin, MD, is a staff writer at
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FDA permits sale of two new reduced nicotine cigarettes through premarket tobacco product application pathway | FDA
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:39
For Immediate Release: December 17, 2019The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it has authorized the marketing of two new tobacco products manufactured by 22nd Century Group Inc. '' Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol, which are combusted, filtered cigarettes that contain a reduced amount of nicotine compared to typical commercial cigarettes.
Following a rigorous science-based review of the premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) submitted by the company, the agency determined that authorizing these reduced nicotine products for sale in the U.S. is appropriate for the protection of the public health because of, among several key considerations, the potential to reduce nicotine dependence in addicted adult smokers, who may also benefit from decreasing nicotine exposure and cigarette consumption. The agency determined that non-smokers, including youth, are also unlikely to start using the products, and those who experiment are less likely to become addicted than people who experiment with conventional cigarettes.
While today's action permits the new tobacco products to be legally sold or distributed in the U.S., it does not mean these products are safe or ''FDA-approved.'' In its decision, the agency notes that the Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol cigarette products differ from conventional cigarettes in nicotine content only '' the products share similar adverse health risks as conventional cigarettes. There are no safe tobacco products and those who do not use tobacco products should not start.
''Conventional cigarettes are designed to create and sustain addiction to nicotine. In announcing the FDA's comprehensive plan to regulate tobacco and nicotine in July 2017, we noted our commitment to taking actions that will allow more addicted smokers to reduce their dependence and decrease the likelihood that future generations will become addicted to cigarettes,'' said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. ''Today's authorization represents the first product to successfully demonstrate the potential for these types of tobacco products to help reduce nicotine dependence among addicted smokers. Still, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the products authorized today actually deliver on that promise for consumers. We'll be closely monitoring how Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol are marketed and will take action as necessary if the company fails to comply with any applicable statutory or regulatory requirements or if there is a notable increase in the number of non-smokers, including youth, using these products.''
Under the PMTA pathway, manufacturers must demonstrate to the agency, among other things, that marketing of the new tobacco product would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. That standard requires the FDA to consider the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and non-users of tobacco products. Importantly, this includes youth. The agency's evaluation includes reviewing a tobacco product's components, ingredients, additives and health risks, as well as how the product is manufactured, packaged and labeled.
On average, conventional cigarettes made in the U.S. contain tobacco with a nicotine content of 10 to 14 milligrams (mg) per cigarette. Cigarettes with reduced nicotine content, which at the low end may range from 0.4 to 7.4 mg per cigarette, have existed for decades, primarily for research use. Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol have nicotine content between 0.2 to 0.7 mg per cigarette. As part of the FDA's scientific review, the agency considered whether smokers who switch to reduced nicotine cigarettes would either smoke more cigarettes or change the way they smoked, such as taking a bigger puff, in order to get the same level of nicotine they would have from smoking conventional cigarettes. Generally, the FDA determined that smokers of reduced nicotine cigarettes tend to actually decrease the number of cigarettes smoked per day and that they do not change the intensity of their puff or inhalation. In addition, though data is limited, the agency expects that non-smokers, including youth, are unlikely to start using the authorized products, and those that do experiment with the authorized products are unlikely to develop nicotine dependence.
Since Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol meet the definition of a cigarette under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the company must adhere to existing restrictions for cigarettes under FDA regulations, as well as other federal laws that, among other things, prohibit television and radio advertising. In addition, to further limit youth access to the products and exposure to their advertising and promotion, the FDA is placing stringent restrictions on how the products are marketed '' particularly via websites and through social media platforms '' by including restrictions that prevent advertising from being targeted to youth. The agency has previously issued a document providing its rationale for these types of postmarket requirements, which highlight important considerations for reviewing the company's applications.
With the authorization of these products, the FDA will evaluate new available data regarding real-world use of these products through postmarketing records and reports as required in the marketing order. The company is required to report regularly to the FDA with information regarding the products on the market, including, but not limited to, ongoing and completed consumer research studies, advertising, marketing plans, sales data, information on current and new users, manufacturing changes and adverse experiences. The FDA may withdraw this marketing order if, among other reasons, it determines that the continued marketing of a product is no longer appropriate for the protection of the public health, such as if there is an uptake of the product by youth.
Additionally, today's action is not a decision on the separate modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) applications that the company submitted to market these products with specific modified risk information. The FDA is continuing its substantive review of the company's MRTP applications, which includes, among other things, evaluating whether the modified risk advertising or labeling enables the public to comprehend the modified risk information and to understand its relative significance in the context of total health. The company would need to receive an MRTP order from the FDA before they could market a tobacco product with any implicit or explicit claims that, among other things, a product reduces exposure to a substance or that use of the product is less harmful or would reduce harm or the risk of disease associated with other commercially marketed tobacco products. If a company markets a tobacco product as an MRTP without authorization, the company would be in violation of the law and may face FDA advisory or enforcement actions.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
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Johnny Dollar says:Agree completely this is a very important point Senator Lankford is asking about.
Unfortunately, Senator Lanksford fails to make some very important connections.
First, the Dossier had to get out to the public before the election. And why? Because that is what Clinton paid Steele to have done. She needed the Dossier content to be headline news everywhere. In October. To bring Trump down.
Second, the only way to make those pre election headlines she was hoping for was to have the FBI formally accept and investigate the Dossier then leak that to the press. (Keep in mind this is exactly what happened after the election when Comey briefed Trump about the Dossier.)
Thirdly, at the October pre election meetings between State Department persons, Ohr and Steele and the FBI, the FBI refused to formally accept and initiate investigation of the Dossier. In effect, at that point in time, the FBI refused to allow Hillary Clinton the political benefits of a publicly revealed Steele Dossier. Why?
Because the FBI, having known about the Dossier long before that meeting, had already decided the Dossier was to be the predicate for the Mueller SC, i..e., the insurance policy. Had the Dossier made headlines in October, it would have been debunked, and the insurance policy would have gone up in smoke.
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VIDEO-RNC Research on Twitter: "Pelosi forced to silence impeachment cheers from self-proclaimed ''solemn'' and ''prayerful'' Democrats" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:03
Log in Sign up RNC Research @ RNCResearch Pelosi forced to silence impeachment cheers from self-proclaimed ''solemn'' and ''prayerful'' Democrats 5:45 PM - 18 Dec 2019 Twitter by: RNC Research @RNCResearch Lisa Rogers @ Stckysheets
3h Replying to
@RNCResearch @MAGAcovfefe2020 The impeachment is garbage. Watching the Merry Christmas Rally!'... View conversation · Kay Christian @ KayChristian68
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@RNCResearch She sounds drunk.
View conversation · Shazzer @ queensvrl
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@RNCResearch Someone needs to pour water on Nancy - I've seen the Wizard of Oz!
View conversation · Tyler Reed @ ReedTyler21
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@RNCResearch pelosi constantly has mush mouth it's amazing trying to listen to her speak
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VIDEO - Five reasons to trust 5G - Reuters
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:10
Paul Scanlan is a man on a mission. As the chief technical officer of Huawei's carrier business group, he wants to educate people on the facts about 5G technology. The operative word is facts.
Speaking at Huawei's first 'Trust in Tech' symposium in London in December, Scanlan gave the audience 'five reasons to trust 5G'.
Reason #1: 5G emits no harmful electromagnetic fieldsSome worry that 5G's high-frequency waves are harmful. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the level of waves from base stations and wireless networks is ''so low that they are insignificant and do not affect human health''. The WHO said TVs and radios emit more radiation than 5G smartphones.
Reason #2: 5G is more secure than 4GThe prior generation of mobile tech, 4G, has operated for almost 10 years without any major security issues '' so it's pretty good. But Scanlan told his audience 5G ''is fundamentally more secure than 4G'' because of the encryption it uses: a 256-bit security algorithm that vastly outperforms 4G's 128-bit standard. 5G will connect billions of devices in the Internet of Things, but personal security will not be compromised.
Paul Scanlan at the Trust in Tech symposiumReason #3: 5G will spur economic growthEconomic growth is weakening worldwide. The US-China trade war makes things worse by adding to the overall uncertainty. The OECD predicts the world economy will grow 2.9 percent this year and just three percent in 2020. Those are the weakest annual growth rates since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
But 5G will breathe new life into key industrial sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare. STL Partners, a consultancy, says 5G applications could add US $1.4 trillion to global GDP by 2030.
While many industries will benefit, two in particular stand out. In manufacturing, we expect to see industry growth of 4% (about US$740 billion) by 2039.
Healthcare, meanwhile, could realize savings of US $90 billion, while 5G could improve healthcare access for 1 billion new patients. New applications like connected ambulances will improve outcomes even further.
5G will connect more devices and capture more data. It will ensure reliable connections to avoid data loss, and reduce latency to under 10 milliseconds so data is captured in real-time. All of these things will serve to stimulate key industry sectors and the economy overall.
Paul Scanlan at the Trust in Tech symposiumReason #4: 5G will produce less carbon than 4GEven at their top speeds, 5G network will emit less carbon dioxide slower 4G networks. That's because compared with 4G, 5G networks are 10 times more energy efficient per bit of data sent. If we tried to handle the world's growing volume of data traffic using 4G, we would double the carbon footprint of the wireless technology industry. By contrast, a quick 5G roll-out could reduce global carbon emissions by half a billion tons by 2030.
Reason #5: 5G increases trust in digital systemsScanlan's fifth and final reason to feel good about 5G: once people see how well it works, how secure it is, how many new applications and services it enables, and how much economic growth results from its deployment, they will accept it '' and yes, they will trust it.
''5G technology is complicated,'' Scanlan said. ''To get it right, Huawei hires the best researchers and operates R&D centers in different regions, drawing on top talent from around the world. As a result, our 5G tech has been developed by people from Europe, Canada, and Asia. This ecosystem of global talent creates transparency '' and helps produce the best technology possible.''
Scanlan called for objective third-party voices to inform discussions about cyber security and privacy with reason and facts: ''To address a climate of fear and suspicion, we need a collective and constant engagement in questions of trust: of risk management and mitigation, standards, testing, and ethical implications of new technologies,'' he said.
In today's tech environment, that's the only approach that makes sense.
The Reuters editorial and news staff had no role in the production of this content. It was created by Reuters Plus, part of the commercial advertising group. To work with Reuters Plus, contact us here.
VIDEO - Craig Ward on Twitter: "@THErealDVORAK @adamcurry Best Farage Speech Ever" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:04
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VIDEO - George Clooney films a foul-mouthed rant at anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:00
George Clooney films a foul-mouthed rant at anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers calling them 'rampant dumbf****** idiots' on the Jimmy Kimmel showGeorge Clooney branded anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers 'dumbf******'On Jimmy Kimmel show, he said they were a threat to centuries of knowledgeMeasles cases have jumped to their highest level in US since it was eliminatedBy Luke Andrews For Mailonline
Published: 11:02 EST, 9 May 2019 | Updated: 00:56 EST, 10 May 2019
George Clooney has filmed a foul-mouthed rant at anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers and other groups calling them 'rampant dumbf******'.
Speaking on the Jimmy Kimmel show this Tuesday, the three-time golden globe winner said centuries of knowledge protecting healthcare, security and the planet is being chucked out the window by the groups.
Measles cases jumped to their highest level since the disease was eliminated nationwide this year, as too few people are taking the vaccine to prevent the disease.
Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel live on Tuesday, George Clooney branded anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers 'dumbf******'
In the sketch, the three-time golden globe winner showed a clip of Trump warning that the noise from windmills causes cancer after saying scientific discoveries are under threat from 'dumbf******'
Speaking on the show, George Clooney said: 'Science has given us unprecedented knowledge of the natural world from subatomic particles to the majesty of space.
'Science enables us to cure diseases, to communicate across great distances and even to fly.
'Tragically though the volumes of invaluable knowledge gathered over centuries are now threatened by an epidemic of 'dumbf****** idiots saying dumbf****** things.'
In the sketch, he also showed a clip of Donald Trump saying 'if you have a windmill anywhere near your house they say the noise causes cancer', before responding with the phrase 'wow'.
Mike Pompeo was also quoted by Jimmy Kimmel as saying the melting of sea ice would be very good for trade.
Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was forced into a hasty backtrack last week after his team said he supported 'some exceptions' to mandatory vaccines.
Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel live on Tuesday, George Clooney branded anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers 'dumbf******'
The Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said there could be 'personal or religious exemptions' allowing people to opt out of the injections.
The comments sparked alarm following a surge in measles cases and growing skepticism of vaccinations - fears which have no basis in science.
There have been 681 measles cases across 22 states in the first five months of this year, CNN reported, a rise on the number of cases since it was eliminated in 2000.
Beforehand, the highest number was 667 cases by the end of the year in 2014.
VIDEO - (21) CSPAN on Twitter: ".@RepMattGaetz (R-FL): "With no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, no agenda for America, this impeachment charade marches on, following no rules and adhering to no sense of honor." Full video:
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 16:49
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VIDEO -Media Unhinged By Trump Letter | SUPERcuts!
VIDEO - Chris Wallace Destroys Jim Comey's Lies About FBI
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:32
Jimmy Dore seems to be pushing a very clear narrative here. He's also using some of the Alex Jones/No Agenda pre-sheep-programming methodology. It's very interesting.
This is a perfect example:
Comey gives a pretty standard reply covering his ass with terms that don't legally bind him to anything. Anyone in that position would. Jimmy claims this is done so that Comey can later on claim he was 'overconfident' or something. Mind you, Jimmy has seen the video by now, this is not something he's covering live, he knows exactly what Comey has said.
Then the IG says there were 'significant inaccuracies and omissions' in the FISA requests. Fair enough. The IG doesn't say the word 'lie' at all, and in fact the report tagged the inaccuracies and omissions as mistakes but concluded that there was not enough evidence of bias or ill-intent.
But that's not enough for Jimmy! Jimmy needs to make this about LYING and CRIMES even though the IG conclusion is that neither of those things happened. Jimmy then plays the tape of Comey on Wallace (BTW, Wallace does what a real journalist does and repeats there actual wording: 'inaccuracies and omissions') and when Comey says he was overconfident he guffaws as if to tell 'see!? What did I tell you! This fucking guy!', even though he had already seen the tape.
Dore then goes on to blatantly misconstrue the rest of the IG report as if the IG was saying that Comey was a criminal. Again, Wallace - a real journalist - pushes hard on Comey but doesn't imply he's a criminal because he's not an idiot.
In short: Dore makes up a narrative about criminality when at best the report proved incompetence and maybe some malice. Not sure what Dore's angling for - maybe some of that sweet MAGAbot money - but he's gonna get his ass sued if he continues down that path. Look at where Alex is.
VIDEO - Tapper: Trump's Letter to Pelosi 'Almost Like a Letter Kim Jong-un Wrote'
VIDEO - The Dori Monson Show Podcast - December 16, 2019 - Hour 1 | Free Listening on Podbean App
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:09
More Episodes December 17, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-17 December 17, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-17 December 17, 2019 - Hour 1
2019-12-17 December 16, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-16 December 16, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-16 December 13, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-13 December 13, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-13 December 13, 2019 - Hour 1
2019-12-13 December 12, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-12 December 12, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-12 December 12, 2019 - Hour 1
2019-12-12 December 11, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-11 December 11, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-11 December 11, 2019 - Hour 1
2019-12-11 December 10, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-10 December 10, 2019 - Hour 2
2019-12-10 December 10, 2019 - Hour 1
2019-12-10 December 9, 2019 - Hour 3
2019-12-09 December 9, 2019 - Hour 2
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VIDEO-AR Guys VS AK Guys - YouTube
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 11:38
VIDEO - Ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page explains 'insurance policy' texts, defends Russia probe in TV interview | Fox News
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:43
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page spoke out Tuesday night, explaining her controversial texts with her lover, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and defending the Russia investigation into President Trump.
Appearing on "The Rachel Maddow Show," Page was asked about the "insurance policy" text Strzok had sent to her during the 2016 election that was released by the Justice Department in 2017, part of a string of texts that led to Strzok's removal from the Russia probe over concerns of potential bias.
"It's an analogy," Page began. "First of all, it's not my text, so I'm sort of interpreting what I believed he meant back three years ago, but we're using an analogy. We're talking about whether or not we should take certain investigative steps or not based on the likelihood that he's going to be president or not."
She continued, "You have to keep in mind... if President Trump doesn't become president, the national-security risk, if there is somebody in his campaign associated with Russia, plummets. You're not so worried about what Russia's doing vis- -vis a member of his campaign if he's not president because you're not going to have access to classified information, you're not going to have access to sources and methods in our national-security apparatus. So, the 'insurance policy' was an anology. It's like an insurance policy when you're 40. You don't expect to die when you're 40, yet you still have an insurance policy."
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow chimed in, "So, don't just hope that he's not going to be elected and therefore not press forward with the investigation hoping, but rather press forward with the investigation just in case he does get in there."
"Exactly," Page replied.
When asked about Strzok's text saying "we won't allow" Trump to get elected, Page insisted it was the "collective we" as in "like-minded, thoughtful, sensible people who were not going to vote this person into office."
Page blasted Trump's "vile, simulated sex act" of Strzok and her at his campaign rally, which prompted her to break her silence earlier this month.
"At least I have my voice out there. At least if you're going to respond, respond to me instead of this caricature that you've drawn up about me," Page said.
The former FBI lawyer also defended the foundation of the Russia investigation during the 2016 election.
"There is no one on this set of facts who has any experience in counterintelligence who would not have made the exact same decision," Page said. "This is a question about whether Russia is working with a United States person to interfere in our election. We were obligated to figure out whether that was true or not and to figure out who might be in a position to provide that assistance."
VIDEO - Fears over 5G: Merkel sounds warnings over Huawei spying claims - YouTube
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:24
VIDEO - China Clashes With Germany Over Huawei - YouTube
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:22
VIDEO - "It's Nuts" - The Fed Has Created A "Monstrous Beast Of Over-Inflated Valuation" | Zero Hedge
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:14
"Own risk assets...everywhere... everywhere" says Embark Group's CIO Peter Toogood, exclaiming that "this is nothing to do with fundamentals anymore, fill your boots, why not?"
After The Fed entirely flip-flopped from last year, the clearly frustrated manager notes the facts behind the so-called market, "flooding the repo market with $400, $500 billion from The Fed to stop it collapsing after it reversed course massively from last year..."
"..we'll just keep pumping... and we'll just keep pumping... and it's not QE they tell us, definitely not QE... and its worked for the last 8 years so we'll just keep pumping more..."
It's quit simple, Toogood notes, "all CTAs have gone long, most macro funds are long, the biggest engines in London are as long as they can be... and vol is on the floor..."
"Just keep going..." he chides sarcastically:
"...until you don't, until the music stops... I'm being incredibly flippant but for a very good reason... there is no logic to [buying risk assets like equities] other than to chase the gilded lily... it's nuts!"
The anchor attempted to get the conversation back on track, by mentioning earnings, to which Toogood scoffed -
"Earnings! Earnings? Are they relevant?"
As the chart below shows, no!
Source: Bloomberg
Everything has changed, "we've gone from tightening mode to loosening mode, extremely loose... The Fed says 'rates are on hold' but we'll just keep this 'little' repo thing going a little while longer..."
Source: Bloomberg
Toogood then took aim at the farcical "phase one" trade deal with China that "doesn't actually mean anything" and warned that the next year will be full of "phase two talks are going well" jawboning.
This is not reality, "the world was slowing down long before this trade deal became the biggest issue."
It's bonds that make more sense, he concludes, reflecting the massive total debt in the world and the consumer being loaded with personal debt as a tamper on overall economic growth.
"It's Insane... but it's gonna carry on because The Fed is absolutely in hock to what they created... which is a monstrous beast of over-inflated valuation."
We could not have said it better.
VIDEO - (8) Maxine Waters Admits She Has No Proof For Anti-Trump Claims - YouTube
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:00
VIDEO-The Daily Show on Twitter: "Have Trump supporters read the Ukraine call transcript? @jordanklepper finds out:" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 00:09
Allen @ Chub_B_1
15h Replying to
@TheDailyShow @jordanklepper In high school, a professor once told us, if I wanted to hide something from a student I would hide it in a book.
View conversation · Arquinsiel Teknogrot @ Teknogrot
14h Replying to
@Chub_B_1 @TheDailyShow @jordanklepper I saw someone repeating advice they were given about their doctorate thesis by their supervisor. Basically boiled down to sticking a $20 bill in the university library's copy so that if they were back in town ever they'd know where to get lunch money or a cab fare.
View conversation · Jenn Burrill @ JennBurrill
16h Replying to
@TheDailyShow @jordanklepper Democracy is premised on having an educated electorate.
View conversation · Daft Thing @ ThingDaft
15h Replying to
@JennBurrill @TheDailyShow @jordanklepper That ship has sailed. At least where deplorables are concerned.
View conversation · Daniel @ DanielCSays
15h Replying to
@TheDailyShow @jordanklepper The last guy has a truly legendary capacity to lie to himself.
View conversation · Kell McNally 🌎 @ McnallyKell
14h Replying to
@DanielCSays @TheDailyShow @jordanklepper I kept looking for some sign of sheepishness or awareness of the irony and there was none. Nada. Zilch.Incredible.
View conversation · Horace Schitt @ GrabmByThetrump
16h Replying to
@TheDailyShow @Hugh2D2 @jordanklepper Gotta keep it simple for the simpletons: View conversation · SunilR @ RSnl96
12h Replying to
@GrabmByThetrump @TheDailyShow and
2 others Yikes. That's more words than the transcript. I obviously don't have all day to read all that, so I'm gonna assume that your explanation is the made up version by the Democrats and go bury my head in the sandðŸðŸ
View conversation · ðŸ'Transitional Fossil ðŸ' @ nosferatu_sr
15h Replying to
@TheDailyShow @jordanklepper Show me a man being screwed by his third pyramid scheme and I'll show you a Trump supporter. These are not critical thinkers.
View conversation · Tina Blue @ tblue37
14h Replying to
@nosferatu_sr @TheDailyShow @jordanklepper They are the ones who get excited every time they get an email from another Nigerian prince.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Shattering cancer with resonant frequencies: Anthony Holland at TEDxSkidmoreCollege - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:49
VIDEO-Dogs Are People Too | Joey Drew - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:43
VIDEO - Former AG Michael Mukasey Outlines FBI Conspiracy, Explains Why Lisa Page is Suing DOJ and Why FBI Refuses to Unreadact Text Messages'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:19
Former AG Michael Mukasey appears on Fox News for an interview with Maria Bartiromo. As Mukasey walks through the purpose and intents behind the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages what he outlines is really the motive for Ms. Page to be suing the DOJ and the reason why current FBI Director Chris Wray is covering for them.
Additionally, Mukasey explains the unlawful activity behind HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff gaining the phone records of Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon. The only thing he didn't mention is that AT&T owns a primary impeachment stakeholder, CNN.
BIG PICTURE '' Lisa Page's lawsuit is not about a breech of privacy; that's the excuse. Lisa Page is working with her Lawfare allies to block the release of unredacted text messages between her and Peter Strzok. The totality of the communication outlines the context of the FBI conspiracy during the 2016 election. That *conspiracy* is what FBI Director Christopher Wray was put in place to hide.
DAG Rosenstein recommended Chris Wray for that exact purpose. Wray then hired David Bowditch as his deputy. Bowditch was/is compromised by his former role in the San Bernadino terrorist attack. Wray then hired Dana Boente as FBI legal counsel. Boente was/is compromised by his prior role in the DOJ-NSD FISA effort, and his role in the capture of Julian Assange to cover-up the false claim of the Russia DNC hack.
VIDEO - NEC Chairman Larry Kudlow Discusses USMCA and U.S-China ''Phase One'' Trade Deal'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:18
Lighthaiser. Who is he? Never heard of him before. Nice name. Where has this guy been until now? In a lonely light house? With a laser?
But I do remember Mr. Chertoff in a previous administration, whose name sounded like a man who had his shirt off. Really. No Schiff! (Some ladies find shirtless men attractive.) During that time Putin then posted photos of himself in the media with his shirt off, bare-chested, posed on a horse '' literally. Do you remember that?
Trump gives everyone a chance to prove themselves. Remember Scaramucci? How long did he last?Gone, goodbye. Good luck and farewell. ''You're FIRED''.His resume: ''I worked for Trump for a few days.''
Trump thinks like a highly effective CEO, and he IS one. The swamp thinks: We must rid ourselves of this guy, by any means, by hook or by crook! Who the hell does this guy think he IS!?! To spoil OUR party? OUR party? Which party is that? ðŸ‰
It would be so much easier to forget the impeachment, and just have a nice, old fashioned crucifixion. Crucify him! Crucify him!
Nah. That's too old fashioned. Besides, doing that might make Trump a martyr, and we won't be able to make a buck on him being a martyr. Especially if we couldn't kill him..
Easter / Passover is coming. Crucifixion time .Stay tuned to your local channel'... Make popcorn.
One Jesus was enough. Trump will survive.
Like Like
VIDEO - Rare Interview '' U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer Explains ''Phase One'' of U.S-China Trade Deal'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:18
USTR Robert Lighthizer made a rare appearance in the media to discuss the ''big picture'', and some specifics, around the U.S-China phase-one agreement.
Ambassador Lighthizer notes the principle challenge is generating an enforceable set of standards -within a written agreement- between a totally controlled communist economic system (China) and a free-market system (USA). No other nation has ever tried, and there is no preexisting trade agreement to facilitate a mapping. What Lighthizer is constructing will be what all nations will start to use going forward. This is historic stuff.
Arguably, next to President Trump, USTR Lighthizer is one of the most consequential members of the administration. What he is constructing, with the guidance of President Trump, is going to influence generations of Americans.
[Transcript] MARGARET BRENNAN: This week, the U.S. and China agreed on the first phase of a trade deal that would roll back some American tariffs. It's expected to be signed in early January. We're joined now by the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, the top negotiator in those talks with Chinese officials. Good to have you here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It's huge to have the two largest economies in the world cool off some of these tensions that have been rattling the global economy. But I want to get to some of the details here. China says still needs to be proofread, still needs to be translated. Is you being here today a sign this is done, this deal's not falling apart?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: So first of all, this is done. This is something that happens in every agreement. There's a translation period. There are some scrubs. This is totally done. Absolutely. But can I make one point? Because I think it's really important. Friday was probably the most momentous day in trade history ever. That day we submitted the USMCA, the Mexico-Canada Agreement with bipartisan support and support of business, labor, agriculture. We actually introduced that into the House and the Senate on this, which is about 1.4 trillion dollars worth of the economy- I mean of- of trade. And then in addition to this, which is about 600 billion, so that's literally about half of total trade were announced on the same day. It was extremely momentous and indicative of where we're going, what this president has accomplished.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that is significant and I do want to get to the USMCA. But because the China deal just happened''
MARGARET BRENNAN: ''and we know so little about it, I'd like to get some more detail from you. You said this is set.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You expect the signing in early January still.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What gives President Trump the confidence to say China's going to go out and buy $50 billion worth of agricultural goods because Beijing hasn't said that number?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: First of all- let me say first of all, I would say this. When we look at this agreement, we have to look at where we are. We have an American system, and we have a Chinese system. And we're trying to figure out a way to have these two become integrated. That's what's in our interest. A phase one deal does the following: one, it keeps in place three hundred and eighty billion dollars worth of tariffs to defend, protect U.S. technology. So that's one part of it. Another part of it is very important structural changes. This is not about just agricultural and other purchases, although I'll get to that in a second. It's very important. It has IP. It has- it has''
MARGARET BRENNAN: Intellectual property''
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: ''technology. It has- it has currency. It has financial services. There's a lot of very- the next thing is, it's- it's enforceable. There's an enforcement provision that lasts 90 days- it takes 90 days and you get real, real enforcement. The United States can then take an action if China doesn't keep its commitments''
MARGARET BRENNAN: Put the tariffs back on?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Well, you would take a proportionate reaction like we do in every other trade agreement. So that's what we expect. And finally, we'll- we'll find out whether this works or not. We have an enforcement mechanism. But ultimately, whether this whole agreement works is going to be determined by who's making the decisions in China, not in the United States. If the hardliners are making the decisions, we're going to get one outcome. If- if the reformers are making the decisions, which is what we hope, then we're going to get another outcome. This is a- the way to think about this deal, is this is a first step in trying to integrate two very different systems to the benefit of both of us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But that $50 billion number, is that in writing?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Absolutely. So- so here's what's in writing. We- we have a list that will go manufacturing, agriculture, services, energy and the like. There'll be a total for each one of those. Overall, it's a minimum of 200 billion dollars. Keep in mind, by the second year, we will just about double exports of goods to China, if this- if this agreement is in place. Double exports. We had about 128 billion dollars in 2017. We're going to go up at least by a hundred, probably a little over one hundred. And in terms of the agriculture numbers, what we have are specific breakdowns by products and we have a commitment for 40 to 50 billion dollars in sales. You could think of it as 80 to 100 billion dollars in new sales for agriculture over the course of the next two years. Just massive numbers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And that is important in no small part because also this is a key political constituency for President Trump going into the election, to take some pain off of American farmers who've been feeling it pretty strongly. I mean, the USDA projects that the soybean market won't recover, I think til 2026 because of the damage that has been done to it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that- how much of that, that political calculus, factored into the agreement to do this in phases? Because you didn't want to do it in phases.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Chinese did.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: It was always going to be in phases. The question was, how big was the first phase? Anyone who thinks you're going to take their system and our system that have- that have worked in a very unbalanced way for the United States and in- in one stroke of the pen change all of that is foolish. The president is not foolish. He's very smart. The question was, how big- how big was the first phase going to be? This is going to take years. We're not going to resolve these differences very quickly. On the agriculture point, that's a good point. Let me say this. If you look at American agriculture in between USMCA, which is Canada and Mexico, China, Japan, Korea, we have rewritten the rules in favor of American agriculture on more than half, 56 percent, of all of our exports from agriculture. This, over the course of the last year, what this president has accomplished in this area, is remarkable. And you're already- any one of these deals would have been monstrous. And the fact that we have all of them together''
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: ''is- is great for agriculture.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I just want to button up on China, though, because the promise here was to do the things that American businesses have been complaining about for years''
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Not just the intellectual property theft, but subsidizing corporations in China in an unfair way for Americans. Cybertheft. None of that's here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's phase two. When do you start negotiating that?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: So let me say first of all''
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a date?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Let's talk about what's here rather than what's not here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's huge.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Absolute rules on''
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's what President Trump said this whole trade war was starting on.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Look at tech- tech transfer is huge. That's what's in the 301 report. Look, we had a plan that- the president came up with a plan. We've been following it for two and a half years. We are right where we hope to be. Tech transfer, real commitments, IP, real specific commitments. I mean, this agreement is 86 pages long of detail. Agricultural barriers removed in many cases, financial services opening, currency. This is a real structural change. Is it going to solve all the problems? No. Did we expect it to? No. Absolutely not.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do- the president said those talks in to start immediately, though. Do you have a date?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: We don't have a date, no. What we have to do is get this- we have to get the- the final translations worked out, the formalities. We're going to sign this agreement. But I'll tell you this. The second Phase 2 is going to be determined also by how we implement phase one. Phase one is going to be implemented right to the- right down to every detail.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: It really is a remarkable agreement, but it's not going to solve all the problems.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we need to take a short break. We'll be back with US Trade Representative Lighthizer in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to Face the Nation and our conversation with US Trade representative Robert Lighthizer. Let's talk about the other agreement. The House is set, Democratic controlled House, is set to vote on the USMCA, the free trade deal with Mexico and Canada that's been rewritten. This is a win for the president to get this through, but Nanc- Speaker Pelosi and her caucus did have some last minute maneuvers here. Speaker Pelosi is quoted as saying we ate their lunch when it comes to the Trump administration.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you respond to that?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: We had a great''
MARGARET BRENNAN: You made some concessions to labor here. That was not insignificant and it did irk some Republicans.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: So- so- so let me- let me make a point about that. We had an election and the Democrats won the House, number one. Number two, it was always my plan and I was criticized for this, as you know, it was always my plan that this should be a Trump trade policy. And a Trump trade policy is going to get a lot of Democratic support. Remember, most of these working people voted for the president of the United States. These are- these are not his enemies. So what did we concede on? We conceded on biologics. Yes. That was a move away from what I wanted, for sure. But labor enforcement? There's nothing about being against labor enforcement that's Republican. The president wants Mexico to enforce its labor laws. He doesn't want American manufacturing workers to have to compete with people who are- who are operating in- in- in very difficult conditions. So there's''
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you don't think there's a political cost because Republican senators were annoyed to be cut out of this last phase?
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Look it there are- there are always process issues. This bill is better now with the exception of biologics, which is a big exception. With the exception of biologics, it's more enforceable and it's better for American workers and American manufacturers and agriculture workers than it was before. For sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Lighthizer, Thank you very much for joining us.
AMB. LIGHTHIZER: Thank you for having me.
[End Transcript]
VIDEO - (2) Bono Knows on Twitter: "@adamcurry impor'ant" / Twitter
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:14
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VIDEO - Is Fox News Anchor Clayton Morris a Fraud? | The Morris Invest Allegations - Landlords From Hell 2 - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:54
VIDEO - Canada Takeover 2 of 2 - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:52
VIDEO - Pachelbel's Canon as performed by train horns / Boing Boing
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:49
What happens when you get a mash a bunch of train horn recordings together to produce "Pachelbel's Canon"? MAGIC. Sweet, sweet magic, I tell ya! (Hang around long enough and you'll catch a glimpse of Thomas the Tank Engine.)
Endless spiralling model-trainJames Risner constructed a bi-directional spiral of track and crammed it full of HO-scale model train cars and engines, so it goes around and around in a metaphor for _________.(via Geeks Are Sexy)
READ THE RESTLock down your cash, cards, and RFID tags with this wallet that's over 60% offTraditional wallets are slowly going the way of the VCR. Modern life has gotten a lot more portable, and the habit of carrying endless reams of business cards and receipts has gotten to be just that: A habit. And an unnecessary one. Even so, people still need a way to tote their cards and cash. ['...]
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READ THE RESTLock down a career in cloud security with the help of this trainingTo millions of end-users, the cloud means convenience. But one major security breach and that convenience isn't worth a thing. That makes cybersecurity professionals one of the most crucial positions in any IT team. Don't believe us? Just look at what the incomes are for those positions with major firms. Needless to say, there's a ['...]
VIDEO - Report: John Brennan hand-picked whistleblower for White House - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:48
VIDEO - John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!! - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:45
VIDEO - TED Talks: How Language Changes Over Time on Flipboard by The News Desk
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:44
The News Desk What makes a word "real?" What does our language habits reveal? Is texting killing language? These TED Talks examine these questions.
VIDEO - 'I can see you in bed. Wake up!' Woman says stranger hacked Ring camera
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:42
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. '-- A Brookhaven couple is sharing chilling video of the moment they say a stranger hacked into their Ring security camera.
"I was terrified. I literally could not move my body," the woman said.
The woman gave Seiden the video that has the man's voice yelling into the bedroom.
"Wake up!" the man yells at one point and starts clapping his hands.
"Hello! Hello! Come here, puppy," he says at another point on the video.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she and her boyfriend installed the camera, so they could keep a close eye on their dog Beau while they're at work.
"I was laying there and had just put him in his crate, and I hear a cough over the Ring camera," the woman said. "I see the blue light come on, so I text my boyfriend saying, 'Why are you watching?' We're laying down, and we're about to go to sleep, and he's like, 'What are you talking about?'"
"I can see you in the bed! C'mon! Wake the [expletive] up!"
Scared for their safety, the couple reported the incident to Ring.
"I just want people to be aware. We got this Ring camera thinking about one thing --- watching our puppy. Not somebody looking at us," the woman said.
Seiden contacted Ring for comment about this story. A spokesperson sent him a statement saying:
"Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring's security.
"Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords.
"Ring has investigated this incident and has taken appropriate actions to remove the bad actors from all affected accounts. All affected users have been contacted."
"Ring should already have the safety precautions already set in place where you never have to worry about it," the woman said.
The couple says when they went back and reviewed their history, they discovered that someone had hacked their account on four separate occasions.
Right now, it's unclear if it was the same person. They told Seiden they plan to file a police report.
(C) 2019 Cox Media Group
VIDEO - CNN's Toobin: "Donald Trump In A Way Has Already Won"; Hunter Biden a "Real Challenge For Us As Journalists" | Video | RealClearPolitics
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:40
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin lamented to CNN host Wolf Blitzer it will be a real challenge as "journalists" to cover Hunter Biden's indiscretions in relation to the impeachment of President Trump. Toobin acknowledged Biden is news but he is unsure "what our responsibility is as journalists" to cover the story."What struck me about this hearing was how Donald Trump in a way has already won," Toobin said Thursday. "How much did we hear about Hunter Biden? Over and over again about Hunter Biden. That's what the Republicans are talking about constantly. And, you know, there are questions about Hunter Biden's behavior. So this incredible shift of emphasis -- and you know it's going to be a real challenge for us as journalists to decide how much to follow along with this.""The idea that we are sitting here debating the country, the country, the House Judiciary Committee is debating the impeachment of the president of the United States, and over and over again we get how all these questions about the behavior of Hunter Biden, the president's perhaps most likely opponent, the son of [Joe Biden] and I just don't know what our responsibility is as journalists because it's not the point, but this is the news. And this is what's there," Toobin said.
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VIDEO - Iain Duncan Smith accuses Momentum of being a "cancer" that has "infected" modern politics - YouTube
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Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:10
VIDEO - Inside Santa Rosa's mile-long tent city amid plans to shelter its residents in FAIRGROUNDS | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:57
Officials in Santa Rosa are set to unveil emergency proposals to shelter people in fairgrounds as the city - and the state - struggles with a homeless emergency where more than 130,000 people are living on the streets across California.
In Santa Rosa, around 185 people have set up a mile-long camp along the Joe Rodota Trail, next to Highway 12.
The proposed plan, set to be unveiled on Tuesday, will allow some of those living in the camp and the rest of the 3,000 homeless people in Sonoma County to move into the fairgrounds, The Press Democrat reports.
Leaders in the city, struggling with the biggest homeless camp in its history, are said to have been inspired by how the fairgrounds were used during wildfires and flooding.
The proposals are part of plan to deal with a growing homeless emergency in the state. In downtown Los Angeles Skid Row has become a symbol of the national crisis, while in San Francisco nearly one person in every hundred lives on the streets.
And the problem has left fed-up residents taking extreme measures to keep the homeless out of their neighborhoods.
In San Francisco, residents set up two dozen large boulders along a half-block stretch of sidewalk on Clinton Park to prevent camps from being set up. They were removed about a week later due to safety concerns. And in Oakland, business owners placed 10-foot long logs along a commercial street to stop homeless encampments being set up outside their stores.
*Scroll down for video
A woman, who was only identified by her first name Lisa, is one of the 185 homeless people living in the mile-long encampent along Joe Rodota Trail
Reyvon Hill, encampment resident, takes cover from the rain under a wading pool as she stands along the trail
Camp resident Mike Westfall stands next to his tent and his bike. A plan to house the homeless, like Mike, in fairgrounds will be announced on Tuesday
Johnathan Rosario lives at the homeless encampment in Santa Rosa, along with his dog
Renee Urrutia next to her tent in the encampment in Santa Rosa. The proposal to house the homeless on fairgrounds will include safe camping spots, reaching out to families of those living on the streets and using multiple bedroom homes to keep communities formed on the streets together.
US Supreme Court leaves in place ruling barring prosecution of homelessThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by Boise to overturn a lower court's ruling that prohibited authorities in the Idaho city from prosecuting homeless people for staying outside if a bed at an emergency shelter is not available.
The justices left in place a ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that fining or jailing homeless people for sleeping in public or unauthorized places violates the U.S. Constitution's bar on cruel and unusual punishment, a decision the city said threatens public health and safety.
Reporting by Reuters
The proposal to house the homeless on fairgrounds in Santa Rosa will include safe camping spots, reaching out to families of those living on the streets and using multiple bedroom homes to keep communities formed on the streets together.
It will go before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Homeless advocate Scott Wagner told The Press Democrat: 'The rains beginning every year is the most significant time for homeless people. New homeless people are lost and they're going to screw up badly.
'Old homeless people are gonna get sick. They're all shoved into these weird places like this.'
There are thought to be around 185 people living along the Joe Rodota Trail, between Stony Point and Wright roads. It includes more than 100 tents and temporary shelters.
Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm said: 'From my perspective, any additional resources to help us address this current situation is a good thing.
'We're getting an earful from a lot of community residents, 'Why aren't you guys doing something?' And, well, we are but it just takes time, and I don't control the priorities of all the people involved.'
A plan to allow some of the 3,000 people living on the streets in Sonoma County to move into the makeshift shelters will be unveiled Tuesday, reports say. Picture courtesy of KPIX 5
Leaders in the city, struggling with the biggest homeless camp in its history, are said to have been inspired by how the fairgrounds were used during wildfires and flooding. ABC7 image
The mile-long camp in Santa Rosa is next to highway 12 between Stony Point and Wright roads
Supervisor Lynda Hopkins looks after the Joe Rodota Trail between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. She said: 'During the Kincade fire we were able to mobilize a massive response '-- we need that level of response to the homeless crisis.
'We need to wake up and treat it like the crisis is it.
'We declared an emergency a year and a half ago, but we didn't treat it like an emergency.'
The fairground shelter will have full time security, as well as medical help and mental health support. Those with access would receive water, sanitation and heat.
And there will be a zero tolerance for on-site drug use but those battling addictions will not be refused entry, according to the executive directer of the county Community Development Commission, Geoffrey Ross.
Ross insisted the plans were part of a number of proposals, adding: 'What we're trying to do is engage in a conversation with the board about options that are all centered on how do we address the homeless crises that are present on the trail at this moment.'
The homeless mile-long encampment set up along the Joe Rodota trail has at least 185 people living in it, with around 100 tents
Homeless advocate Scott Wagner told The Press Democrat: 'The rains beginning every year is the most significant time for homeless people. New homeless people are lost and they're going to screw up badly
Supervisor Lynda Hopkins looks after the Joe Rodota Trail between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol said that during the Kincade fire a massive response was mobilized - and that same level of response should apply to the homeless crisis we were able to mobilize a
Instead of living in the mile-long camp, the homeless living in the fairground shelter will have full time security, as well as medical help and mental health support. Those with access would receive water, sanitation and heat
Emergency measures in Santa Rosa will also propose safe camping spots, reaching out to families of those living on the streets and using multiple bedroom homes to keep communities formed on the streets together
The fairgrounds will be fenced off if the proposal goes ahead, with 24/7 security.
Supervisor Shirlee Zane added: 'By treating it as a crisis, we respond to it as a crisis. When we had fires and floods who stepped in - how is 200 people living on a park trail not an emergency in this horrible weather? It's an emergency.'
The growing state crisis has seen homelessness in Sacramento, the capital, shoot up by a shocking 19 per cent in the past two years.
California's growing homeless emergency. Figures as of August 2019
The Joe Rodota Trail has seen a growing number of people set up camp there
The fairground shelter will have full time security, as well as medical help and mental health support. Those with access would receive water, sanitation and heat
The Joe Rodota Trail, next to Highway 12, has seen an increasing number of people set up camp there. It is part of California's growing homeless emergency. The state has around 130,000 people without a roof over their heads
In June images from downtown LA showed trash piling up as workers struggle to keep the area sanitized. They were pictured wearing face masks among the dirt and grime.
A decision to not cap the total amount of property that homeless people can keep on Skid Row was announced earlier this year and it sparked fury among some officials who say it will 'only perpetuate the public health crisis that already exists' there.
Last week one city said it may place a ban on feeding the homeless in public places as homelessness continues to surge in the Golden State.
The controversial measure was proposed during a city council meeting as Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris defended the proposed legislation.
And in September San Francisco's homeless crisis prompted a group of residents to place nearly two dozen boulders along a sidewalk to keep people from camping outside their homes.
The boulder barrier sat along a half-block stretch of sidewalk on Clinton Park in the Mission Dolores neighborhood.
A week later, the city removed the boulder barrier over safety concerns.
Business owners also placed large logs along a commercial street in Oakland to stop homeless encampments being set up outside their stores.
The logs - some of which measure 10- feet in length - appeared December 2 on West Oakland's Poplar Street - a popular place for the homeless to park their RVs and dilapidated vehicles.
Sacramento, which has an estimated population of 1.5million, has a significantly smaller homeless population than Los Angeles, but the problem is growing
Sacramento's homeless population has risen 19 per cent in two years, with 5,570 people living on the streets. Pictured above is a man sleeping on the sidewalk in broad daylight
Brian Workman, originally from San Jose, lives beneath Interstate 80 in Sacramento
VIDEO - (19) Red Pills: New Generation Wakes People Up - YouTube
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:52
VIDEO - Allegations regarding sexual arousal experiments investigated at Iowa home for disabled |
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:50
GLENWOOD, Iowa -- Few details are being released about a federal investigation into allegations that sexual arousal experiments were done on residents of a state-run Iowa institution for developmentally disabled residents.
The U.S. Department of Justice notified Gov. Kim Reynolds in November that investigators will see if there are law violations at Glenwood Resource Center, an investigation first reported by the Des Moines Register.
The investigation is focusing on whether residents were subjected to harmful and uncontrolled human experiments and whether they had inadequate medical and nursing care.
Investigators also will look at whether there have been harmful restraint practices and needless injuries.
41.037907 -95.740238
VIDEO-Billy on Twitter: "@ChanelRion @reality_google @OANN @adamcurry have you seen this yet?" / Twitter
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 23:47
11 criminal Burisma cases closed.Ukrainian Parliament in Nov '19 presented official indictments showing clear trail between Burisma money laundering and Hunter Biden.Earlier, Shokin's office asked how much Biden recieved, US embassy said: "that's sensitive."
VIDEO-Giuliani Just Dropped Bombshells on the Biden Crime Family'... WOW | State Department Watch
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:36
(Gateway Pundit) '' Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani taunted the Deep State-Democrat-media complex Sunday morning and said he will be sharing evidence he ''has garnered through hundreds of hours of research.''
''Stay tuned,'' Rudy said building anticipation.
In my next thread of tweets I will be sharing some of the evidence I have garnered through hundreds of hours of research. Turn notifications on & stay tuned.
'-- Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 15, 2019
Rudy Giuliani traveled to Hungary and Ukraine a couple weeks ago and met with officials in Kiev in his ongoing efforts to expose corruption and pay-to-play schemes involving the Biden crime family and other Democrats.
Mr. Giuliani revealed last Monday morning on Steve Bannon's radio show ''The War Room: Impeachment'' that he was working to release a report on his findings from his latest trip to Europe to Attorney General Bill Barr and GOP lawmakers in Congress.
A few hours after his initial tweet on Sunday, Rudy began dropping bombshells one tweet at at time.
Rudy said Victor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor general investigating Burisma was not only fired after Biden threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine, but that he was poisoned and barely survived the poisoning.
''Shokin holds documents proving money laundering by Burisma & Biden's,'' Giuliani said. ''He was fired due to VP Joe Biden's threat not to release $1 billion in vital US aid.''
Giuliani then said, ''Shokin's medical records show he was poisoned, died twice, and was revived.''
''Lots of heads will roll in Ukraine if this opens up,'' he added.
''All of a sudden Shokin gets this communique from Latvia that shows a $16 million laundering transaction '-- classic laundering transaction,'' Giuliani said. ''It goes from Ukraine, to Latvia, it's disguised as a loan to another company to 'Wirelogic' I believe '-- it then goes to Cyprus, gets disguised as another loan '-- this is called ''Digitech'' then it's dispersed as payment as board fees,'' he added.
Giuliani added, ''Now you don't make two loans to make board fees unless you're laundering the money. $3 million gets to Hunter Biden in that way.''
''That is a straight out violation of a money laundering statute,'' he said.
Watch Giuliani's interview with OANN's Chanel Rion:
Witness Viktor Shokin:
Holds doc's proving money laundering by Burisma & Biden's.
Fired due to VP Biden's threat not to release $1B in vital US aid.
Shokin's med records show he was poisoned, died twice, and was revived.
Lots of heads will roll in Ukraine if this opens up.
'-- Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 15, 2019
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore ''
Steven Mnuchin explains why nearly $1.5 trillion worth of $100 bills reportedly disappeared
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:28
Almost $1.5 trillion of the world's cash, with U.S. $100 bills making up a great deal of it, is reportedly unaccounted for. So what happened to the money?
"Literally, a lot of these $100 bills are sitting in bank vaults all over the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX Business' Lou Dobbs during an interview on Tuesday.
Mnuchin pointed to the negative interest rates causing people to turn to American dollars as a solid investment.
"The dollar is the reserve currency of the world, and everybody wants to hold dollars," Mnuchin said on "Lou Dobbs Tonight." "And the reason why they want to hold dollars is because the U.S. is a safe place to have your money, to invest and to hold your assets."
Mnuchin said it's interesting that, in a increasingly digital world, "the demand for U.S. currency continues to go up."
"There's a lot of Benjamins all over the world," Mnuchin said.
There are more $100 bills '' also known as C-notes '' in circulation than $1 bills, according to data from the Federal Reserve, which found there are more $100s than any other denomination of U.S. currency. The number of outstanding bills featuring a picture of Benjamin Franklin has about doubled since the start of the recession.
In 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago illustrated a correlation between low interest rates and high currency demand, though it also noted outside factors could help explain swelling demand.
The bank estimates that 80 percent of all $100 bills last year were actually in circulation in foreign countries. It explained that residents in other countries, particularly those with unstable financial systems, often use the notes as a safe haven.
FOX Business' Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.
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Uprising: 90% of Virginia counties become gun 'sanctuaries,' expanding movement to nine states
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:13
| December 18, 2019 08:41 AM
Stirred awake by Democratic proposals to take, register, and possibly seize their legally obtained weapons, Virginia gun owners in just 43 days have pushed 90% of the state's counties to become gun ''sanctuaries,'' the latest three on Monday night.
Since the Nov. 5 election that gave Democrats control of Richmond, an ''organic,'' pro-gun movement has prompted the governments of 86 of Virginia's 95 counties, as well as 15 towns and cities, to adopt some type of sanctuary language, putting Gov. Ralph Northam and other liberals on notice that their gun control plans aren't welcome.
''I did not think it would be that high of a number,'' said sanctuary advocate and Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins.
Stafford County is now a sanctuary! That's the last for tonight and number 101!
'-- Phil Van Cleave VCDL (@VCDL_ORG) December 18, 2019 ''It's an organic thing that just took off after Election Day. Elections have consequences, and this is the result. This has truly rocked the conservative, libertarian group's core. It has really shook a lot of them awake. They are fully awake,'' he told Secrets.
Remarkably, the effort has not seen a big push from the National Rifle Association. Local groups, notably the Virginia Citizens Defense League, have led the campaign that has brought thousands of gun-rights advocates to county board meetings.
It has also become the national model for the movement that has now reached Illinois, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Tennessee. Illinois is credited with starting the movement.
Chairman of the Prince Edward board of supervisors says there are at least 550 people in attendance, and says supervisors have a ''pretty good idea'' of how the residents of the county feel.The county is limiting comments to 12 speakers on each side.
'-- Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) December 18, 2019 ''What's happening is Virginia is becoming a national story and model,'' said Cam Edwards, editor of Bearing Arms and a national authority on gun laws.
Late Monday, three counties in Virginia '-- Stafford, Prince Edward, and York '-- and the town of Vinton joined the effort.
The language adopted in the movement uses words such as ''Second Amendment Sanctuary'' and ''constitutional,'' and signals that police will not enforce anti-gun laws. Proposals before the Virginia legislature include gun bans, gun registration, expanded background checks, and limits on the size of magazines that hold cartridges.
Proponents warn, however, that the resolutions do not provide legal protection against gun control measures.
Thank you for your strength in this fight. Virginia Sheriff: 'I Will Deputize Thousands of Citizens To Protect Their Gun Rights'
'-- Scott Jenkins (@ScottHJenkins) December 17, 2019 Jenkins said that Richmond should instead enforce laws already on the books to target criminals, not those who use their weapons legally.
''It's all part of an agenda to further take away firearms, restrict and register weapons, and there is no need for it. There are enough laws already in place on weapon restrictions. We need no new laws. We need to focus on the ones we have,'' he said.
He and Edwards said that the movement is the latest evidence of the urban-rural divide.
''It's not the NRA, as everyone might expect,'' said Jenkins, who has proposed deputizing gun owners to protect their weapons from any gun grab.
Instead, he added, it is a movement of people who feel their culture and way of life are under attack.
''They are the ones you don't hear from. They're not going to speak out at the board meetings or polling places and write editorials. They're the everyday man who is focused on raising a family, going to work, and trying to live a good life and be a good citizen, and they see this as people who have no knowledge of what they're family means when it comes to protection or the bearing of arms, nor can they relate to their culture of hunting or sport shooting or anything about them, and yet they want to come from their urban areas '... and they drive to Richmond, where they want to implement these laws where the vast amount of Virginia is going to be affected by it even though they have not done anything wrong,'' he said.
Russian spy ship lurking off US coast conducting 'unsafe operation'
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:11
U.S. Northern Command and the Coast Guard have been tracking a Russian spy ship equipped with electronic surveillance gear that has been lurking off the East Coast of the United States.
On Monday, the Coast Guard sent out a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin warning boaters of reports of the Viktor Leonov operating in an ''unsafe manner'' off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard said the Russian ship was operating in USCG's Jacksonville, Florida, area of responsibility, which encompasses roughly 40,000 square miles of ocean and stretches nearly 190 miles of coast from King's Bay, Georgia to Port Malabar, Florida.
''This unsafe operation includes not energizing running lights while in reduced visibility conditions, not responding to hails by commercial vessels attempting to coordinate safe passage and other erratic movements,'' the Coast Guard posted on its bulletin.
''Vessels transiting these waters should maintain a sharp lookout and use extreme caution when navigating in proximity to this vessel. Mariners should make reports of any unsafe situations to the United States Coast Guard,'' the Coast Guard said in its safety message.
Adm. James Foggo III, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa, told reporters Wednesday that the Russian spy ship was operating a ''couple hundred'' miles off the East Coast.
North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command told Military Times that they were tracking the Russian ship.
''We are aware of Russia's naval activities, including the deployment of these intelligence collection ships in the region," Maj. Mark R. Lazane, a spokesman with NORTHCOM, told Military Times in an emailed statement.
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"While we won't discuss specific measures being taken, NORAD and NORTHCOM routinely conduct air and maritime operations to ensure the defense of the United States and Canada,'' Lazane said.
It's not the first time the Viktor Leonov has conducted intelligence operations of the East Coast of the U.S.
In 2017, the Pentagon announced the Leonov was being trailed by a Coast Guard vessel but was operating in international waters.
''This is not something where we have seen where they have entered territorial waters, and as such it is lawful and very similar to operations we do,'' then-Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said about the Leonov in February 2017.
The Russian surveillance ship has been spotted conducting operations on the U.S. submarine base in New London, Connecticut, and other Navy bases in Florida and Virginia as far back as 1998, the Pentagon previously said.
''They routinely deploy intelligence vessels worldwide to monitor the activities and particularly naval activities of other nations, but then again conducted lawfully in international waters and not unlike operations we conduct ourselves,'' Davis said in 2017 about the Leonov operating near the East Coast of the U.S.
Foggo said that the Coast Guard reported that the Russian ship was not responding to signals or ''bridge to bridge'' radio communications and was running without lights on at sea.
Those actions, Foggo said Wednesday, are risky.
''NORAD and USNORTHCOM closely track vessels of interest, including foreign military naval vessels such as the Russian ship VICTOR LEONOV, in our area of responsibility,'' Lazane said.
6 big questions ahead of Democrats' final debate of 2019
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 07:07
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Just seven Democrats will take the stage for the sixth and final round of presidential debates in 2019. That's down from 20 candidates six months ago.
Full Coverage: Election 2020The field may be winnowing, but the primary contest remains deeply unsettled. The tug-of-war between the progressive and moderate wings of the party is deadlocked. There are essentially four front-runners, each with his or her own glaring flaws. And suddenly, one of the strengths of the Democratic Party's 2020 class '-- its diversity '-- has disappeared. Those issues and more will play out Thursday night when the Democratic Party's top candidates face off in Los Angeles, 46 days before primary voting begins.
Six big questions heading into the debate, to be carried live on local PBS channels and simulcast on CNN:
Forgive us for asking this question first, but why are Democrats debating this week at all? It's just six days before Christmas, Congress is making history on multiple fronts in Washington and primary voters have shown decreasing interest in each of the first five rounds. That's not to mention that most of the candidates '-- those in the top tier, at least '-- would happily skip this end-of-year clash. While the three lower-tier candidates in the debate will be desperate to make a splash, much of the political world will be focused elsewhere. That makes the bar extraordinarily high for a narrative-changing moment.
What a road it's been for Joe Biden. He opened the year in a dominant position, struggled to perform like a front-runner, lost the confidence of his party's establishment and somehow appears to be on solid footing again. The former vice president's rise and fall and rise again may have more to do with the inability of those around him to take a big step forward. Regardless of the reason, Biden enters the night in as strong a position as he's been in all year. He needs to avoid any major gaffes to stay there.
It was a litmus issue for ambitious Democrats a year ago. But now, only one of the seven Democrats on the debate stage is promising to fight for Medicare for All immediately after taking office. That would be the bill's author, Bernie Sanders, who is nothing if not consistent. The other progressive firebrand onstage, Elizabeth Warren, has settled on a plan to transition to Medicare for All by the end of her first term, while none of the other candidates would go even that far. Most support a hybrid system that would give consumers the choice to join a government-run system or keep the private insurance they have. No issue has symbolized the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party in 2020 more than this one. And yet, for now, the centrists appear to be winning.
Speaking of health care, Warren's inability to maintain a consistent position on the issue is directly tied to her recent struggles. Lest anyone suggest debates don't matter, it was her awkward explanation for how she'd pay for Medicare for All in October's debate that sparked her slide. The Massachusetts senator tried to change the narrative in recent days by seizing on her more moderate rivals' connection to wealthy donors. But amid her evolving positions on health care, she's almost certain to face some tough questions of her own. We've noted that fewer people will likely be paying attention to this late-December affair, but it probably matters more for Warren than anyone else.
The man you hadn't heard of a year ago enters the night as a legitimate top-tier presidential contender. And as such, Pete Buttigieg is finally being forced to answer some of the tough questions he's sidestepped for much of the year as the political world focused on the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana, mayor's underdog story. There's a lot to dig into. Over just the last week, Buttigieg hosted wealthy donors at a California wine cave, disclosed consulting work for a big insurance company that preceded big layoffs and released a list of his bundlers that turned out to be incomplete. His challenges with black voters are well documented, but suddenly, Buttigieg's corporate connections are beginning to alienate the party's progressive activists. Danger.
Democrats are fighting to convince black and brown voters that they're not taking their vote for granted in 2020. That fight will no doubt get harder if those voters tune into Thursday night's debate, where just one nonwhite candidate will appear on stage. That's Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants who just barely met the polling threshold to qualify. Cory Booker, one of two African Americans still in the race, was not so lucky. Neither was Julin Castro, the only Latino running. Age could be a challenge as well: Three of the four top-tier candidates are in their 70s. This issue is not going away for Democrats, who need a young and racially diverse coalition to beat President Donald Trump, now 73, next November.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, ''Ground Game.''
Morrison government eyes new tech for household power savings
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 06:47
The Morrison government will invest $2.7 million to subsidise advanced smart meters for households, businesses and schools to monitor energy use, forecasting power bill savings for consumers.
The My Energy Marketplace program will be rolled out by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which needs the data to see where, when and how much energy is coming back into the grid through the huge growth in rooftop solar and could use the program to tap household batteries.
A government-backed energy program will help households cut power bills and improve the energy grid. Credit: Virginia Star
Around 5000 households and businesses and 250 schools nationally will be accepted into the program. The data collected will be shared with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which faces a challenge in integrating new power sources into the existing grid.
"Whether it's rooftop solar, battery storage, energy efficiency, controlling electricity loads and appliances remotely, or the uptake of electric vehicles, we need better data to effectively run the future grid consisting of more and more decentralised consumer energy assets," ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said.
ARENA is working on the My Energy Marketplace with private company Wattwatchers, which will stump up the remainder of the funding for the $8 million program.
Households can use the new smart meters to reduce their energy use by allowing retailers to tap into connected appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators to control the temperature during peak periods.
While purchase and installation costs will be subsidised, participants will have to contribute, with households set to pay between $200 and $400 over three years, depending on individual factors.
Wattwatchers chief executive Gavin Dietz said energy networks and market operators face a "mission critical challenge" to manage the transition to higher penetration of renewable energy into the national grid.
"With more and better data, consumers will be better informed to buy their energy. They can identify and take action on energy efficiency opportunities, both behavioural and appliance-driven, and use energy at times that suit them," Mr Dietz said.
Australia is a world leader in rooftop solar, with panels installed on 2.2 million homes. AEMO forecasts rooftop solar will generate 25 per cent of energy consumed by 2040.
Around one third of households in Queensland and South Australia have rooftop solar installed, and 15 per cent of Victorian and NSW homes have solar panels.
Mike is the climate and energy correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Chainlink Positioning Itself Deep Within the DeFi Ecosystem
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 06:22
It's becoming harder to ignore the reality that Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is steadily gaining in popularity and usage within the wider blockchain ecosystem. Just on Twitter alone, there's a plethora of discussion from both established accounts and new users regarding DeFi and the many emerging protocols within it. The growing sentiment doesn't seem to be solely deriving from excitement over the continual increases in price and network usage but from a genuine interest in the game theory, token economics, and actively participating in the underlying network protocols.
(The total number of USD locked in DeFi according to enthusiasm not really seen since the bull run of 2017, it's a good idea to go deeper into the importance of oracles within DeFi and how Chainlink is positioning itself both technically and strategically to be a foundational component within many DeFi tech stacks.
DeFi is a new sector of blockchain development that uses smart contracts to recreate common financial applications/instruments such as lending, derivatives, exchanges, reserve assets, and more. Instead of the financial system being dominated by private, centralized institutions, DeFi enables trustless end-to-end finance using self-running protocols that function based on the interplay between user interactions and decentralized backend infrastructure. This offers the following advantages not afforded by centralized finance:
Accessibility '-- Anybody around the world can interact with, build on, and monitor the activity of a DeFi protocol. Conversely, traditional finance often restricts access to users based on geography, political controls, sophisticated investor laws, etc.User-Run and Owned '-- Users in DeFi can participate on both sides of a financial transaction, as in using the service and providing the service. This comes in contrast to traditional finance where consumers purchase financial services offered by large institutions but often cannot participate in and/or earn profits by providing the service. In this regard, value is mostly captured by the institution, as opposed to spreading equity out through more user-driven participation.Transparency '-- The open-source code of DeFi protocols allows anyone to verify the security, rules of engagement, and actual network usage. On the other hand, traditional finance is done on privately owned servers where users cannot always verify how a transaction was processed nor control how their data is being handled. As a result, retail investors oftentimes fall victim to information asymmetry because large institutions, especially institutional derivatives players, have more holistic views regarding the health of markets due to greater access when it comes to private processes and recordkeeping.Censorship Resistant '-- Decentralized backend infrastructure means that financial transactions are computed and stored in immutable ledgers backed by a decentralized network of computers running the same open-source software that reaches constant consensus on the state of the network. However, traditional finance uses a centralized infrastructure that is subject to centralized control over if transactions get processed or not.Automation '-- DeFi instruments are automated markets governed by software protocols that react to data. Whereas, centralized finance has intermediaries and fallback procedures that get in-between the data, processes, and actions. This often leads to multi-day waiting periods from the time a trade is executed to the time a trade is fully settled whereas the user finally has full access to their funds outside of the exchange.(An example framework created in early 2019 by the bZx team for classifying DeFi lending protocols based on the amount of decentralization of several important features of the protocol.)Almost all DeFi applications are data-driven instruments, where the smart contract lays out the coded logic that defines the actions the protocol will take based on a certain input. While the contract, represented in code as boolean logic (if X happens, then execute Y action), can be written perfectly without gameable flaws, ultimately the quality of its actions comes down to the quality of the input it receives. It's the input that determines the output of the contract and as the famous saying goes, ''garbage in, garbage out.''
Each protocol requires knowledge of certain data points in order to run in the manner it's designed. For example, MakerDAO allows users to stake ETH as collateral for a loan. However, the loan comes with a liquidation price that liquidates the user's position and issues a 14% penalty fee automatically if ETH falls below a certain USD price. This auto-liquidation mechanism provides MakerDAO with needed security against downward price action, but only if it receives accurate data. Not only must the data reflect true market prices, but it must remain decentralized to avoid bribery and centralized influence. The entire protocol can fail and lose its immutable appeal if the data-driven automation driving it is easily manipulated and inaccurate.
MakerDAO isn't alone in this challenge. Synthetix is a very intriguing protocol that experienced first-hand the pitfalls of bad data due to a faulty oracle. Synthetix is a decentralized derivatives platform where users can stake SNX in a pool, which serves as collateral to back a contract that users trade against without slippage. The contract acts as a clearinghouse that allows users to take positions against it using synthetic assets that provide them exposure to assets without holding the underlying asset. These synthetic assets can come in the form of fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, etc., and are pegged to market data.
Synthetix needs accurate market data to price these synthetic assets when swapped, as well as for price-triggered liquidations as part of their future proposals. Without accurate data, the SNX-backed contract could trigger absurd swaps that have no basis in reality or become over-leveraged in the future. This puts the security of the entire system at risk, as demonstrated by a faulty oracle price feed in July 2019 that a trading bot unintentionally exploited for a gain of almost $1B. Fortunately, Synthetix was still in its early days of development and was able to roll back the network and negotiate a settlement with the user. The truth is that this can happen to any protocol and the incentive to exploit price feeds only rises as these networks gain value. As stated in their blog post after the incident, the Synthetix team has learned a lot about the best oracle practices for securing their data feeds and has since announced their switch to decentralized oracles via Chainlink. The first iteration of synthetic assets (7 FX and Commodity vs. USD pairs) secured by Chainlink's decentralized oracles are now live on Ethereum mainnet.
As stated by Kain Warwick, CEO of Synthetix, in a recent interview with Crypto Finder, ''The ''oracle problem is an existential threat to every DeFi protocol that uses them ('...) Without an oracle, DeFi is fairly limited.'' Not only do oracles need to provide accurate data, but they need to do so with a high amount of security to avoid tampering. What's the point of having a highly secure, high-value smart contract if the oracle triggering that contract is insecure?
One of the issues people fail to realize is that developing smart contracts is hard enough as it is, especially during these early days of development. There are no easy to use templates or extensive guides to developing on blockchain since it's a very new industry. As a result, developers must devote most of their attention to writing, maintaining, and upgrading the code that underpins their protocol, especially since it's securing millions of dollars with further ambitions of gaining more adoption.
Oracles are a whole separate blockchain problem with an entirely different set of game theory, market dynamics, and technical challenges. Just because a developer is great at blockchain development, doesn't mean they are an expert on oracle development. And that's perfectly fine because most App developers are not experts in every area of development for their applications. Ultimately, it doesn't make sense for Dapp developers to need to be experts on a completely new subset of the market, especially when they're already under pressure to pioneer a new industry of secure smart contracts. Kain echoed this sentiment, saying ''What Chainlink does is allow people to specialize in oracles, which is a really hard problem. Chainlink is a team of really creative and clever people and that's all they're focused on. This allows us to say, ok you guys focus on that and specialize in that and we'll focus on our own issues.''
That sentiment was also echoed by Brandon Iles, CTO of Ampleforth '-- a protocol for sound money built using smart contracts that adjust the supply based on market data, specifically the Consumer Price Index (CPI). When asked about the primary benefits of using Chainlink in a recent Reddit AMA in the Chainlink subreddit, Brandon responded saying ''Reduced engineering overhead is obviously nice as well, because it frees us up to work on other features, integrations, and projects that might be more directly interesting for users'... rather than us spending all our time on backend infrastructure.''
This specialization in development is very similar to App development today, whereas companies focus on their core application code and leverage external APIs that have mastered certain subset domains. Uber is a great example of an application that instead of developing its own GPS, Messaging, and Payment capabilities, it leverages trusted APIs for those functionalities such as Google Maps, Twilio, and Stripe. Not only does it offload complex technical development to proven experts, but it vastly accelerated the development of Uber. Uber can now focus on cultivating its network of users, while the APIs maintain some of their core services.
It is my belief that DeFi Dapps can both improve their security and expedite development by offloading their oracle functionalities to a trusted expert like Chainlink. Backed by an extremely experienced team with an unparalleled academic research arm and sole dedication to building an extensive oracle network that is fully customizable and decentralized, Chainlink makes for a great solution to solve the complex issues teams face in regards to creating secure and scalable oracles that are customized to fit their platforms.
According to Kain, ''It creates another advantage (for Synthetix), which is that we can then open up asset creation to the community. At the moment, if we need a new price, we need to bring the price feed in ourselves and we're responsible for it. With Chainlink, we will be able to have the Synthetix community go to the Chainlink community and say, ''Hey, we need a new price feed for this asset.'' The Chainlink community can then say ''We can provide it,'' and then put it together and put it on-chain. The two communities will use that to create a new asset. That will really open it up (asset creation) and make it a more permissionless process.''
When you look at many of the biggest tech companies today, they all have one thing in common, large network effects. The actual size of the network is what makes the platform valuable in and of itself. For example, Facebook is popular because all your friends also use it, and Amazon is the market leader in e-commerce because every retailer you might want access to is selling goods there. The question then becomes how does a decentralized oracle network like Chainlink, which becomes more valuable the denser its ecosystem grows, spark the initial growth in usage?
One of the initial observations of the Chainlink team is their clear strategy to educate new audiences, attract developers and integrate projects. As evident by their recent Asia blog post, they are not only traveling around the western world to educate new audiences about the power of connected smart contracts, but they are establishing a strong presence throughout Asia. They're also putting resources towards cultivating their developer communities by attending many hackathons and even hosting their own Virtual Hackathon backed by large bounties. Finally, they are accelerating the number of platforms integrated with Chainlink by building external adaptors for different data providers and blockchain platforms to make their services available to other networks.
One of the other apparent strategies employed by Chainlink is the freemium model (free + premium) through the offering of their price reference data oracle networks. The basic idea of the freemium model, which is done by some of the biggest tech companies in the world, especially open-source companies like Redhat, is to provide some basic services for free, while also offering premium services that users must pay for. In this regard, many new users are on-boarded to the platform to access basic services without commitment. As they become accustomed to the network, they build trust in the product offering and begin to purchase premium features, which are absolutely essential for building more robust and specialized product offerings. At the same time, the more projects that come on board and mature as protocols, the need for subsidies decreases until both ecosystems can support one another.
Chainlink seems to have recognized the current demand, yet untapped potential of DeFi, and therefore has decided to subsidize the cost of basic data feeds by providing the price reference oracle networks to the market. These reference contracts aggregate pricing data about a particular asset using a collection of independently verified nodes and then put that single, aggregated datapoint on-chain. DeFi Dapps only need to call the on-chain contract for the data, which can then be used to trigger their smart contracts. This decentralized data only requires one on-chain transaction to access, something that would usually take numerous on-chain transactions to aggregate on-chain.
What's great is that Dapps don't have to completely give up control of their oracle mechanism either if they don't feel comfortable. Instead, they can use Chainlink as an additional oracle client for data. In such a design, the Dapp can feed data into the contract themselves or through another third party oracle mechanism, which is then aggregated with an oracle feed from the Chainlink network (which is decentrally aggregated itself). Ampleforth is a recent example of doing so as seen in the diagram below.
(The basic architecture of the Ampleforth oracle mechanism)Chainlink initially launched the ETH/USD reference contract, which updates the price of ETH in USD every 5 minutes based on an aggregation of 21 independent and security reviewed nodes. While some may argue that these nodes are subject to bribery, given that their identity is known, it's arguably much more advantageous to build trust over time through maintenance of the initial quorum than having potentially random, insecure nodes. It's also substantially harder to infiltrate 11 nodes that have economic incentives to build a good long-term reputation, especially as some of the only security reviewed nodes, than it would be to penetrate one team managing the data feeds themselves.
(The public dashboard for the ETH/USD price reference oracle network)This quorum of 21 nodes that make up the reference contract is the most decentralized publicly verifiable oracle mechanism for the ETH price. This is important because ETH/USD is one of the most in-demand price feeds in the DeFi ecosystem. MakerDAO, Compound, and Synthetix, especially once ETH staking is allowed, are all examples of popular DeFi Dapps that require consistent access to the ETH/USD price to trigger important protocol actions. With ETH being the most popular collateral asset and most prices being denominated in USD, it's a vital price reference that Chainlink is providing to the DeFi ecosystem.
Chainlink has also recently launched its second price reference oracle network, BTC/USD, with the same secure quorum of 20 nodes. It's important to not understate this achievement for DeFi because up until this point there is no open-source, publically viewable and verifiably decentralized price reference oracle for BTC/USD. Most price oracles for BTC/USD are either centralized or aggregated using a proprietary system unavailable to the public. Whether people like it or not, Bitcoin is one of the foundational pillars of the crypto ecosystem and has major impacts on the space, specifically the price action of all crypto-assets. DeFi Dapps like Compound, Synthetix, and wBTC can now use this reference contract to bring greater trust to the security of their BTC/USD price feeds.
(The public dashboard for the BTC/USD price reference oracle network)Lastly, Chainlink is looking to launch more networks by making an adjustment to the update mechanism of their reference contracts. In their first iteration, the price feed was updated based on time intervals of 5 minutes. However, the time-interval updates look to have scaled down to every 10 minutes for the ''Heartbeat'' (ETH/USD and BTC/USD) requests. Additionally, Chainlink has recently added a price deviation model called the ''Flux Monitor,'' which updates the price every time there is a 1% change in the price. This brings two advantages: 1) It allows for DeFi Dapps to stay up to date during times of high market volatility, which is currently the biggest security concern; 2) It enables Chainlink to save on on-chain costs during times of low volatility, effectively allowing the expansion of more oracle networks for different assets using the Flux Monitor design. They already announced at Devcon 5 that reference contracts would be launched in addition to ETH and BTC for LINK, BAT, ZRX, REP, DAI, and USDC.
By providing the market with free access to high-quality market data for common price references, Chainlink is wedging itself deep into the foundation of DeFi. This multi-strategic approach brings substantial awareness, usage, and trust to the Chainlink ecosystem. While projects may enjoy free access to a subset of their data needs, the reality is that most DeFi projects have far greater data needs than what's provided by the reference contracts, along with customization requirements to sufficiently satisfy their unique oracle problems.
In a sense, Chainlink subsidizes some of their basic data needs, which in turn frees up capital for them to scale their business and pay for those customized data requirements. As Defi projects grow, their data-needs grow; and as their data-needs grow, the Chainlink network stands to grow, especially with it already being widely referenced to for data. It's a mutually beneficial feedback loop that helps both ecosystems mature and reach the network effects needed to ultimately sustain themselves through bi-directional value flow.
At the same time, supporting and growing with DeFi allows Chainlink the perfect environment to build up trust in their network, so that they can then approach enterprises with verifiable and time-tested proof of providing a functional network that's been successfully securing real value over an extended period of time. As stated in the last article, The Seven Requirements for a Viable Decentralized Oracle Network, ''It's from this carefully crafted trust dynamic that Chainlink is set up to succeed both in the current moment and long into the future.''
Follow me on Twitter: @Crypto___Oracle
Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me · Issue #87268 · microsoft/vscode · GitHub
Thu, 19 Dec 2019 05:59
The Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me, additionally xmas has cost millions of Jews their lives over the centuries, yet even if that was not the case, pushing religious symbols as part of a product update is completely unacceptable. Please remove it immediately and make it your top priority. To me this is almost equally offensive as a swastika.
Version: 1.42.0-insider (user setup)Commit: 26f5dfcDate: 2019-12-18T10:34:34.277ZElectron: 6.1.6Chrome: 76.0.3809.146Node.js: 12.4.0V8: 7.6.303.31-electron.0OS: Windows_NT x64 10.0.18363
Steps to Reproduce:
Install latest build of insiders.Does this issue occur when all extensions are disabled?: Yes
Additional reading on the issue that most certainly needs to be considered.
Fox Business reporter busted with crack pipe at NYC federal courthouse - New York Daily News
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:29
A member of the crack reporting team at Fox Business was busted last week at a Manhattan court house with a drug pipe in his sock, authorities and sources said Tuesday.
Lawrence Crook, a reporter for the news network, was ticketed and escorted out of Manhattan Federal Court Dec. 9 after security spotted what appeared to be a crack pipe tucked into his sock as he passed through a metal detector, authorities and sources said.
Crook faces a possession of drug paraphernalia charge. Sources said the paraphernalia was a crack pipe, though one courthouse insider insisted it was for meth.
''The individual was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia...and escorted out of the facility,'' said a spokesman for Federal Protective Service, which issued the ticket.
Crook, 36, was in the courthouse to cover an ongoing trial over a proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, sources said.
Fox News did not respond to an inquiry. Crook's attorney, who is representing him in a separate case over an alleged violation of an order of protection, said he knew nothing about the paraphernalia charge.
A decade in pictures: Iconic stories, photos and covers of the 2010s Fox Business crack meth federal court
Missouri church leader tried to pay for sex on Grindr with Arby's card
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:04
By Natalie O'Neill
December 18, 2019 | 11:57am
Barry Cole Poyner Truman State University
He tried to lure beefcakes with ''the meats.''
A Missouri church leader allegedly tried to pay for sex on the gay hookup app Grindr '-- with an Arby's card, according to a report.
Using the handle ''DILF,'' Barry Cole Poyner, 57, allegedly tried to bed hot college-age guys by offering to pay for gas, clothes and roast beef sandwiches, police told the Kirksville Daily Express.
The Church of Christ elder '-- who is also a professor at nearby Truman State University '-- was busted after a student reported him and a cop went undercover on the app, according to the paper.
Poyner allegedly sent the officer a message saying he ''would love to have a sugar daddy relationship'' '--then offered to fill up his gas tank in exchange for sexual favors on Dec. 3, according to the paper. If the younger guy was willing, Poyner said, he ''might throw in an Arby's card LOL.''
Instead, Poyner was greeted by officers at the gas station, where he tried to flee, according to the paper.
When he was pulled over a few blocks away, he allegedly told police he ''was not doing anything with a minor'' and was only ''trying to help'' by offering gifts to men on the app.
He was charged with patronizing prostitution and faces up to six months behind bars.
Truman State has since suspended Poyner. It wasn't immediately clear if he was still in his leadership role at the Church of Christ, which has made homophobic comments in the past.
Michael Malice on Twitter: "More than one source inside the White House says Trump is strongly considering offering not to run for reelection in exchange for stopping impeachment, allowing him to walk away with his head held high Question is how to get th
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:01
Log in Sign up Michael Malice @ michaelmalice More than one source inside the White House says Trump is strongly considering offering not to run for reelection in exchange for stopping impeachment, allowing him to walk away with his head held highQuestion is how to get this offer to Pelosi
5:50 PM - 18 Dec 2019 Brendan Alwell @ B_Alweezy
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@michaelmalice Sources created for twitter points. Sad.
View conversation · Michael Malice @ michaelmalice
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@B_Alweezy find another account to annoy
View conversation · TheCarston @ TheCarston
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@michaelmalice It's a good strategy. He could then run in 2024 and do two full terms then since he didn't finish this one.
View conversation · Anthony C. Sconzo @ TowTruckTony
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@TheCarston @michaelmalice He would still only be eligible to run for one more term.
View conversation · Kamila @ Splodge_Humbug
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@michaelmalice Wishful thinking by the swamp.
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@michaelmalice This raises the question, is Socks the cat still alive?
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@michaelmalice I love & hate your twitter at the same time
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@michaelmalice He could tweet it first then fax her the tweet
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@michaelmalice Verified journalism right there 🤟
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@WadeHollowell @michaelmalice ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
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Anglerfish jayapal
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:36
A whopping 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water, and if things keep going as they are, that number is only going to go up. Thing is, a significant part of that ocean remains largely unknown to us, as the extreme pressures at the ocean's deepest depths provide as many challenges as the lack of pressure out in space. Still, life perseveres, and in the case of the deep, deep sea, that life is weird as all hell. Check out 11 of the most bonkers deep sea creatures below.
AmphipodLook at this thing, would ya? Sure, it's basically just a shrimp with mittens on, but here's the thing you might not be able to gather from this specific photo: Amphipods can grow up to a foot in length! If you're a beachgoer and these things look familiar to you, it's probably because they're closely related to sand fleas, except these monsters can survive more than three miles beneath the surface of the waves.
AnglerfishWhen you're discussing crazy deep sea creatures, the anglerfish is a go-to. That's because they've got approximately 8million different nutso things about them. Among them are: Its massive jaw, the vicious fangs contained within, that terrifying underbite and, of course, the dangly lure that protrudes from its head, helping it catch its prey and giving the beast its name.
BarreleyeUnlike most fish, which have eyes on the sides of their heads, barreleyes sport peepers that look directly upward, making it easier for them to look for their lunch and attack from below. The craziest thing about these things isn't their eyes though '' it's the transparent dome that allows you to see the inner workings of their head, giving them the popular name, ''spook fish.''
BlobfishOnce you get significantly below sea level, the pressure of all that water makes life rather difficult, which is one of the reasons that many deep sea creatures have evolved into something so different than what we're used to seeing. The blobfish, for instance, deals with the pressure by being a floating, gelatinous mass that looks unnervingly like Ziggy.
ChimaeraIn Greek mythology, a Chimera was a fire-breathing monster that was part lion, part goat and part snake. So it's fitting that the chimaera fish look like they were assembled out of spare parts. Closely related to sharks, they used to be all over the place, but these days are restricted only to the extremely deep sea. Pictured above? That would be a chimaera of the ghost shark variety.
DragonfishLike the anglerfish, the dragonfish has a danglybob (technical term) that it uses to aide it in hunting. But the dragonfish takes it to another level, because its danglybob actually glows, providing the light necessary to maneuver around the deepest, darkest oceans. And as if that wasn't weird enough, the dragonfish's danglybob actually sprouts out from its lower jaw.
Frilled sharkLet's get the obvious right out of the way, shall we? The frilled shark looks like a penis. But that's not what makes it so crazy '' plenty of things out there look like penises. No, what makes the frilled shark so insane is how it hunts. It's basically just a big underwater snake, bending its body before shooting forward and proceeding to gulp its prey down whole.
Giant isopodOnce we've finished ruining the Earth, I'm fully confident that it's going to be between giant isopods and cockroaches to figure out who inhabits the world next. And, given the rate at which the oceans are rising, I'm probably going to give it to these things. While normal isopods only get up to about 2 inches, giant ones get up to almost 6 inches, and supergiant ones can be a whopping 20 inches.
Giant squidLike the giant isopod, what makes this beastie so wild isn't what it is, but how massive it gets. Both are examples of abyssal gigantism, which is when deep sea creatures grow far larger than their counterparts in shallower waters. The giant squid is insane because it seems less like a real thing and more like something out of a Jules Verne novel or an ancient map with krakens and sea monsters swimming around the edges.
Pacific blackdragonAs mentioned earlier, it's not unheard of for deep sea creatures to exhibit bioluminescence '' the ability to generate their own light. The Pacific blackdragon hunts a lot of those glowing fish, which leads to a problem: How do you continue to sneak up on things if you've got a belly full of bioluminescent material? This particular critter deals with it by having a stomach that prevents any of that light from escaping, allowing it to keep passing all those stealth checks.
StargazerThe stargazer gets its name because, like the barreleye, its crazy-looking eyeballs stare straight up. But wait, there's more! The eyes also share space on the top of the stargazer's head with the beast's mouth, allowing the fish to hide in the sand and dart upwards to attack anything unfortunate enough to swim above it. But the best thing about the stargazer? Some varieties can generate lethal shocks to take out their prey.
As crazy as deep sea life is, it was extremely difficult to limit this list to only 11 entries. Did your favorite insane sea creature make the list? If not, tell us what we missed down in the comments.
Aubrey Sitterson is the creator of SKALD, the ongoing sword & sorcery serial podcast, available on iTunes, Stitcher & Podomatic. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website for more information.
Police officer Amjad Ditta in group charged with sex offences - BBC News
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:11
Image caption Police officer Amjad Ditta is among 16 men charged with sex offences against children Sixteen men including a police officer have been charged with historical sex offences against children aged between 13 and 16.
West Yorkshire PC Amjad Ditta, also known as Amjad Hussain, 35, has been charged with sexual touching.
He and 15 other men are charged with offences against three girls in the Halifax area, dating from 2006 to 2009.
The allegations include several counts of rape, sexual assault, supplying drugs and trafficking.
Mr Ditta, who was attached to West Yorkshire Police's Protective Services Operations, was a serving officer at the time of the offence he has been accused of.
He has been suspended from duty, the force said.
The 16 men, all from Halifax, will appear at Bradford Magistrates' Court on 6 January 2020.
Those charged are:Vaqaas Abbas, 30, charged with three counts of rape and three offences of supplying a class C drugNadeem Adalat, 34, charged with four counts of rape and four counts of supplying a class C drugSajid Adalat, 43, charged with rapeVaseem Adalat, 33, charged with two counts of rape, trafficking and supplying a class C drugAmjad Ditta, also known as Amjad Hussain, 35, charged with sexual touchingChristopher Eastwood, 45, charged with two counts of rape and two counts of supplying a class C drugMetab Islam, 46, charged with six counts of rape, six counts of supplying a class C drug, two sexual assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justiceMohammed Rizwan Iqbal, 34, charged with rapeIshtiaq Latif, 32, charged with sexual activity with a childAsad Mahmood, 33, charged with two counts of rape and traffickingArfan Mir, also known as Khalifa Mughal, 36, charged with six counts of rape, three counts of supplying a class C drug, supply of a class A drug and conspiracy to pervert the course of justiceYounis Mohammed aka Younis Khan, 34, charged with rape and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consentNadeem Nassir, 39, charged with rape, supply of a class C drug and making threats to killShahzad Nawaz, 40, charged with rape, supply of a class C drug and making threats to killShazad Nazir, 44, charged with two counts of rape and two counts of supplying a class C drugSohail Zafar, 36, charged with rape and supplying a class C drug
2019: The Year Telecom Went Doolally About 5G | Light Reading
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:03
Earth continued its slide into mass lunacy in 2019. Jair Bolsonaro, a man who once said he fathered a daughter rather than a fifth son in "a moment of weakness," became president of Brazil. Returning to the D section of his English-language thesaurus, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un called Trump a "dotard" again, months after the two leaders briefly became pals. Britain's suicidal convulsions over exiting the European Union worsened. City dwellers bought more gas-guzzling vehicles designed for Scottish mountains as the Amazon burned (the rainforest, that is, not the tech giant).
People lost it completely over technology. Discourse on social media platforms became even more like a bar brawl between mentally incapacitated drunks. The smombie (smartphone zombie) pandemic spread into new towns. Trump lamented the US lag in 6G. Far-left politicians in the UK proposed nationalizing most of BT, the telecom incumbent, and running it with at least 55,000 employees on ‚£230 million ($303 million) a year.
Smombie in a Red Dress
A smartphone zombie photographed moments before a potential collision.
Above all, the telecom industry continued to polish the turd that is 5G. Rarely has a technology generated so much industry hype and met with such a blasƒ(C) response from the broader market. Watch your neighbor's eyes glaze over when you describe its higher speeds and lower latency. Note how he fails to share your excitement when you tell him it will provide extra capacity and reduce costs for service providers.
The industry, if not the consumer, seems to be living in 1999, another mad year for technology when IT nerds convinced company bosses that a millennium date change in computer systems would reset clocks, wipe out records and trigger the end of civilization. That year also marked the eve of 3G, which promised a mobile Internet revolution but couldn't work up the subsequent effort. Operators are now switching it off.
While 4G quietly cleaned up 3G's mess, with a helping hand from Apple and other gadget makers, 5G is neither fixing a consumer problem nor delivering a new experience. And therein lies a big issue. For all its failings, 3G sounded exciting back in the 1990s, when mobile phones were for only calls and texts and even fixed-line Internet services were young. To match that excitement, 5G would have to promise something just as revolutionary. To the average person, it doesn't.
It doesn't to some prospective business customers, either. Energy giant Shell says 4G will do for most applications, including the whizzy predictive maintenance systems it is now installing. Today, it announced the award of a major 4G contract to Tampnet, a specialist firm that operates communications networks for the energy sector. Tampnet will provide 4G services for all of Shell's oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico, including the "high-speed, low-latency" connectivity Shell needs for its drillships. "We are interested in 5G, but we will not be a driving force behind it," said Johan Krebbers, Shell's IT chief technology officer, at a recent industry event.
Despite all this, policymakers now sound as intoxicated as the telecom industry. Governments everywhere have bought into the story that 5G is the most important invention since a few ancient Greeks realized a circular object on an axle would be great for transport. Suddenly, there is a 5G "race" whose winners will inherit the planet -- shortly before some of it disappears under rising seas. 5G even figures in the trade war between China and the US: Trump's lieutenants are fighting Huawei -- a Chinese network equipment maker that is now the world's biggest -- because they claim its 5G products could be used to cripple Western infrastructure at China's behest.
Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading. As unexciting as it sounds, 5G will be ubiquitous a decade from now, with billions of users. Most urban consumers will be steered down the 5G path by service providers marketing low prices and attractive handsets as they switch off older network technologies. Most businesses will adopt it for similar reasons. In this environment, 5G will gradually replace 4G in machine-based connectivity, helping to make factories, mines and offshore oil rigs more productive and secure.
What 5G probably won't do is reinvigorate the telecom industry. In saturated and competitive countries such as the UK, 5G services are already priced at 4G levels. The machines (or "Internet of Things") sector is growing but offers little in revenues from pure connectivity. As for the equipment market, the outlook is for modest growth as operators pool resources, gradually introduce new 5G gear and take advantage of software upgrades whenever possible. Huawei prefers artificial intelligence as a growth story, while Finland's Nokia thinks flogging communications products outside the telecom sector is its best bet.
If a network technology exists for seven to ten years before its successor arrives, then 5G seems unlikely to power self-driving cars or allow surgeons to operate on patients from thousands of miles away. It probably won't be used to make holographic calls from the living room. It might get an outing in virtual and augmented reality, especially if there is no end to Generation Z's gaming addiction. For the wackier services, the world may have to wait for 6G.
Related posts:
Energy Giant Shell Is Not Sold on Private NetworksAttack of the Smombies, Dawn of the WombieLabour Expects Average British Broadband Worker to Live on $5K a YearEricsson Hurls NB-IoT & Cat-M Into Spotlight & Lets Them SweatFor Deutsche Telekom, Private Networks Offer Glimpse of 5G Growth '-- Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading
(3) |
Nuclear '' Devin Nunes Questions FISC Judge Lack of Candor '' Again Calls For Dismantling of FISA Court'...
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:45
During a stunning interview last Sunday Devin Nunes called for the FISA court to be deconstructed. In my opinion it was that statement, not the IG report, that spurred FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer to make a public order today.
Today, hours after Judge Collyer released her order, Devin Nunes responded to the review of the FISC by stating, accurately, Judge Collyer doth protest too much.
In this interview Devin Nunes outlines his February 2018 notification to the FISC about the specific fraud upon the court; and as a result of that (and a follow-up) notification, Nunes again takes the FISC to task for saying they were not aware. Collyer was aware because Nunes told her.
Accepting the totality of the FISC obfuscation, HPSCI ranking member Devin Nunes again calls for the dismantling of the FISA court process. WATCH:
Despite the media ignoring the scale of Nunes prior statements, this is not some just some arbitrary representatives' opinion. Nunes was Chairman of the HPSCI when he informed the court of the abuse; and he is currently the ranking member of the same committee.
It is not a signal flare from the ranking member of the HPSCI to call for a structural removal of FISC authority. This is a nuclear blast from the primary person who previously guided the FISA re-authorization that permits the court's existence.
Here's the February 2018 letter from Nunes to Judge Collyer:
It is arbitrary and capricious for FISC Presiding Judge Collyer to say today she has concerns about fraud upon the court after being notified two years ago about the issue.
'... In 2018 House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes held primary oversight authority over the aggregate Intelligence Community (IC). Chairman Nunes informed the court about flaws in the FISA application and requested the transcripts (if any) from the FISA Court during the DOJ/FBI Title-1 surveillance application over their target, U.S. person Carter Page.
'...In 2018 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte held primary oversight authority over the Department of Justice -including the FISA court- and requested the actual FISA Title-1 application as submitted by the DOJ/FBI for surveillance of Carter Page.
Judge Collyer responded to both legislative branch chairmen from the position of ''never previously receiving such requests.'' Here was her response in 2018 :
To Chairman Nunes (seeking transcript):.
To Chairman Goodlatte (seeking documents):.
Beyond authorized
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:44
"Greta Thunberg" is entirely an artificial media construction, and was designed to be a propaganda figure from the start.Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg is the subject of a forthcoming documentary film – made by a crew that has followed her since the early days of her school strike. Still believe her rise to fame was an accident?Thunberg, recently crowned Time magazine’s Person of the Year, can add documentary film subject to her burgeoning resumé. The film, tentatively titled ‘Greta,’ was announced by Deadline on Monday for a 2020 Hulu premiere. Director Nathan Grossman has followed the young climate prodigy to the ends of the Earth, from her school-striking on the sidewalk in front of the Swedish Parliament, to the high seas aboard the $4mn racing yacht Malizia II. Grossman’s only other IMDB credit to date is a Swedish film titled “Köttets lustar” (or “Lusts of the Meat”), which, while it sounds pornographic, purports to be the story of one man “looking over his life as a carnivore.”One might ask why, if Thunberg’s meteoric rise from her lonely sidewalk protests to hectoring the rulers of the world about her stolen future was as organic as it is presented, a documentary crew was already present to film her sitting alone on the pavement? It’s not like her parents have been trying to make her a celebrity since she was just 12 years old, only to have their exploitative TV show idea rejected by Swedish broadcaster SVT. Never mind, all that did happen.Much like Jordan Peterson's "rise", there is absolutely nothing organic or genuine about Thunberg's otherwise inexplicably inescapable media presence. She's a useful tool to the globalist Prometheans in their bid to heal the world by ruling it.Labels: globalism, media
Google to choke off 'less secure applications' '' Naked Security
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:43
If you're entering a username and password to give an app access to a G Suite account, beware: you won't be able to do it for much longer.
Google is changing the way that it grants third-party apps access to G Suite accounts as it tries to improve security. It is weeding out what it calls 'less secure apps' (LSAs) by denying them access to its services.
Google defines secure apps according to a rigid set of security standards. To be considered secure, a third-party app must let you see what level of account access you are giving it before you connect it to your Google account. The app must also let you access only the parts of your Google account that you want, such as your email or calendar, without giving it access to everything else. It must allow you to disconnect it from your Google account at any time, and it must let you connect it to your account without exposing your Google password.
Apps that don't meet these security criteria are considered less secure, and on 29 July 2019, the company announced it would begin limiting access to G Suite accounts from those apps beginning on 30 October. On that date, it began removing an option for G Suite administrators to 'enforce access to less secure apps for all users'. That meant admins could no longer just wave through less secure apps at the domain level. Instead, users would have to grant access to these apps themselves if admins let them.
That move was due to be complete by the end of this year. Now, the company is moving on to the next step: restricting access to account data for LSAs. Because these apps rely on insecure password technology to access sensitive Google account data, the company will be cutting off their ability to access G Suite account data altogether. It will happen in two stages. After 15 June 2020, users who try to connect the Google accounts to an LSA for the first time won't be allowed to, but those who have already connected to LSAs before that date will still be permitted.
That grace period won't last forever, though. After 15 February 2021, access to LSAs will cease for all G Suite accounts, even those that were already using them.
All this is bad news for apps that rely on password access to exchange data via protocols like CalDAV, CardCAV, IMAP, and Google Sync (in other words, legacy calendar, contact, and email apps). Apps that rely on passwords to gain access to Google accounts so that they can exchange data using these protocols will suffer. Instead, Google wants people to use OAuth.
OAuthOAuth is an authentication mechanism that lets a third party authority grant an application access to a service on the user's behalf. There are two versions: OAuth 2.0, which isn't compatible with OAuth 1.0, is the de-facto standard. It's what Google supports.
An OAuth 2.0 app will send a request to an authorisation server or AS (in this case, run by Google). The request includes information about the bits of the account that the app should have access to. The AS sends a consent dialogue to the user, telling them what the app will and won't be allowed to do. If the user agrees, the AS sends a token that the app can use to log into the user's G Suite account.
OAuth 2.0 satisfies Google's security criteria because it demands that the app request only allows access to specific things. It also makes it use a token rather than a password, and it allows that password to be easily revoked. That makes it better for security than entering a password into your app that you might have used elsewhere, or hard coding an API key into a web form somewhere and forgetting about it. When app developers implement it, it will also be more convenient for users.
[Q #3704] New: Title TBD
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:35
8chan & Anons
9-11 / Bin Laden
Antifa / Nazism
Big Pharma
Black Vote
Border Security / The Wall
Clowns in America (CIA)
DC Swamp / Deep State
DNC Servers / Seth Rich Leaks
Election Integrity / Rigging
Emailgate / Hillary's Servers
Epstein Island/Temple
European Union
Executive Order / Follow the Pen
False Flag
Fisagate / Memos
Five Eyes / FVEY
Foundations / Institutes
Gun Rights
HUMA / Muslim Brotherhood
Hawaii / DEFCON 1
Hollywood / Stars
Holy See / Vatican
Inspector General Report
Internet Bill of Rights
Israel / Mossad
Las Vegas
Loop Capital
Marines/National Guard
McLean, VA
Military Intelligence (MI) / US Military
Military Tribunals / Treason
Missiles / Nukes / World Wars
Mockingbird / Fake News
No Such Agency (NSA)
North Korea
Original Photos
Pakistan / Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
Parkland / School Shootings
Pedogate / Human Trafficking
Planned Parenthood / Abortion
Red Cross
Russia Hoax / Dossier / Spygate
Satanic Cult
Saudi Arabia
Scaramucci Model
Sealed Indictments
Secret Service
Shills / Fake MAGA
Social Media / Big Tech
Steel Industry
Strzok-Page Texts
UK / MI5/6/SIS / Royals
US Army Corps of Engineers
Uranium One
Weiner Laptop / Insurance File
Adam Schiff
Admiral Rogers
Al Gore
Alan Dershowitz
Alex Jones
Allison Mack
Alwaleed bin Talal
Amanda Renteria
Anderson Cooper
Andrew Kauders
Andrew McCabe
Angela Merkel
Anthony Weiner
Barack Hussein Obama
Bill Binney
Bill Clinton
Bill Maher
Bill Priestap
Bob Goodlatte
Brett Kavanaugh
Bruce Ohr
Christopher Wray
Chuck Grassley
Chuck Schumer
Dan Coats
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Devin Nunes
Dianne Feinstein
Ed O'Callahan
Edward Snowden
Elizabeth Warren
Elon Musk
Emmanuel Macron
Eric Holder
Eric Schmidt
Eric Schneiderman
Erik Prince
Ezra Cohen-Watnick
General Jim Mattis
George Soros
George W Bush
Gina Haspel
Hassan Rouhani
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Huma Abedin
Imran Awan
Jack Dorsey
James Baker
James Clapper
James Comey
Jared Kushner
Jeff Sessions
Jeffrey Epstein
Jerome Corsi
Joe Biden
John Bolton
John Brennan
John Durham
John F. Kelly
John Huber
John Kerry
John McCain
John P Carlin
John Podesta
John Ratcliffe
John Solomon
Julian Assange
Jussie Smollett
Kim Jong-un
Lindsey Graham
Lisa Barsoomian
Lisa Page
Loretta Lynch
Lynn de Rothschild
Maggie Haberman
Marina Abramović
Mark Zuckerberg
Matthew Whitaker
Maxine Waters
Michael Avenatti
Michael Flynn
Michael Horowitz
Michael Pompeo
Mika Brzezinski
Mike Pence
Mouaz Moustafa
Nancy Pelosi
Natalia Veselnitskaya
Nellie Ohr
Paul Manafort
Paul Nakasone
Paul Ryan
Peter Strzok
Pope Francis
Preet Bharara
President Trump
Rachel Chandler
Rex Tillerson
Richard Donoghue
Robert Hannigan
Robert Mueller
Robert Storch
Rod Rosenstein
Rudy Giuliani
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sally Yates
Samantha Power
Sara Carter
Scott Pruitt
Sean Hannity
Sergey Brin
Seth Rich
Sheila Jackson Lee
Susan Rice
Ted Cruz
Theresa May
Tony Podesta
Trey Gowdy
Valerie Jarrett
Vladimir Putin
William Barr
Alice & Wonderland
As the World Turns
Fantasy Land
Godfather III
Iron Eagle
Jason Bourne (2016)(Dream/CIA)
Snow White
Sum of All Fears
The Calm Before the Storm
The Great Awakening
The Hunt for Red October
The Shot Heard Around the World
Wizards & Warlocks
[Q #3706] No Errors - Corney Misspelling Was Intentional in OIG Report
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:34
8chan & Anons
9-11 / Bin Laden
Antifa / Nazism
Big Pharma
Black Vote
Border Security / The Wall
Clowns in America (CIA)
DC Swamp / Deep State
DNC Servers / Seth Rich Leaks
Election Integrity / Rigging
Emailgate / Hillary's Servers
Epstein Island/Temple
European Union
Executive Order / Follow the Pen
False Flag
Fisagate / Memos
Five Eyes / FVEY
Foundations / Institutes
Gun Rights
HUMA / Muslim Brotherhood
Hawaii / DEFCON 1
Hollywood / Stars
Holy See / Vatican
Inspector General Report
Internet Bill of Rights
Israel / Mossad
Las Vegas
Loop Capital
Marines/National Guard
McLean, VA
Military Intelligence (MI) / US Military
Military Tribunals / Treason
Missiles / Nukes / World Wars
Mockingbird / Fake News
No Such Agency (NSA)
North Korea
Original Photos
Pakistan / Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
Parkland / School Shootings
Pedogate / Human Trafficking
Planned Parenthood / Abortion
Red Cross
Russia Hoax / Dossier / Spygate
Satanic Cult
Saudi Arabia
Scaramucci Model
Sealed Indictments
Secret Service
Shills / Fake MAGA
Social Media / Big Tech
Steel Industry
Strzok-Page Texts
UK / MI5/6/SIS / Royals
US Army Corps of Engineers
Uranium One
Weiner Laptop / Insurance File
Adam Schiff
Admiral Rogers
Al Gore
Alan Dershowitz
Alex Jones
Allison Mack
Alwaleed bin Talal
Amanda Renteria
Anderson Cooper
Andrew Kauders
Andrew McCabe
Angela Merkel
Anthony Weiner
Barack Hussein Obama
Bill Binney
Bill Clinton
Bill Maher
Bill Priestap
Bob Goodlatte
Brett Kavanaugh
Bruce Ohr
Christopher Wray
Chuck Grassley
Chuck Schumer
Dan Coats
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Devin Nunes
Dianne Feinstein
Ed O'Callahan
Edward Snowden
Elizabeth Warren
Elon Musk
Emmanuel Macron
Eric Holder
Eric Schmidt
Eric Schneiderman
Erik Prince
Ezra Cohen-Watnick
General Jim Mattis
George Soros
George W Bush
Gina Haspel
Hassan Rouhani
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Huma Abedin
Imran Awan
Jack Dorsey
James Baker
James Clapper
James Comey
Jared Kushner
Jeff Sessions
Jeffrey Epstein
Jerome Corsi
Joe Biden
John Bolton
John Brennan
John Durham
John F. Kelly
John Huber
John Kerry
John McCain
John P Carlin
John Podesta
John Ratcliffe
John Solomon
Julian Assange
Jussie Smollett
Kim Jong-un
Lindsey Graham
Lisa Barsoomian
Lisa Page
Loretta Lynch
Lynn de Rothschild
Maggie Haberman
Marina Abramović
Mark Zuckerberg
Matthew Whitaker
Maxine Waters
Michael Avenatti
Michael Flynn
Michael Horowitz
Michael Pompeo
Mika Brzezinski
Mike Pence
Mouaz Moustafa
Nancy Pelosi
Natalia Veselnitskaya
Nellie Ohr
Paul Manafort
Paul Nakasone
Paul Ryan
Peter Strzok
Pope Francis
Preet Bharara
President Trump
Rachel Chandler
Rex Tillerson
Richard Donoghue
Robert Hannigan
Robert Mueller
Robert Storch
Rod Rosenstein
Rudy Giuliani
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sally Yates
Samantha Power
Sara Carter
Scott Pruitt
Sean Hannity
Sergey Brin
Seth Rich
Sheila Jackson Lee
Susan Rice
Ted Cruz
Theresa May
Tony Podesta
Trey Gowdy
Valerie Jarrett
Vladimir Putin
William Barr
Alice & Wonderland
As the World Turns
Fantasy Land
Godfather III
Iron Eagle
Jason Bourne (2016)(Dream/CIA)
Snow White
Sum of All Fears
The Calm Before the Storm
The Great Awakening
The Hunt for Red October
The Shot Heard Around the World
Wizards & Warlocks
Hundreds of 'pink slime' local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points - Columbia Journalism Review
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 12:21
By Priyanjana Bengani December 18, 2019 A n increasingly popular tactic challenges conventional wisdom on the spread of electoral disinformation: the creation of partisan outlets masquerading as local news organizations. An investigation by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School has discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media.
Titles like the East Michigan News , Hickory Sun, and Grand Canyon Times have appeared on the web ahead of the 2020 election. These networks of sites can be used in a variety of ways: as 'stage setting' for events, focusing attention on issues such as voter fraud and energy pricing, providing the appearance of neutrality for partisan issues, or to gather data from users that can then be used for political targeting.
On October 20, the Lansing State Journal first broke the story of the network's existence. About three dozen local news sites, owned by Metric Media , had appeared in Michigan. Further reporting by the Michigan Daily , the Guardian and the New York Times identified yet more sites. Ultimately, previous reporting has identified around 200 of these sites. Our analysis suggests that there are at least twice that number of publications across a number of related networks, of which Metric Media is just one component.
Over a two-week period starting November 26, we tapped into the RSS feeds of these 189 Metric Media sites, all of which were we found that were created this year, and found over fifteen thousand unique stories had been published (over fifty thousand when aggregated across the sites), but only about a hundred titles had the bylines of human reporters. The rest cited automated services or press releases.
Many of the stories attributed to automated services (Metric Media News Service, Local Labs News Service, etc.) relied on data releases from federal programs like the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, Congressional Research Service, the Federal Election Commission, and the Census Bureau. Another frequently used data sources in Metric Media's automated stories is GasBuddy, a Boston-based startup that monitors gas station prices in North America and Australia. Some of the pieces attributed to human writers also rely on public data, from a Tax Foundation study that established the cents per gallon each state collected in wine taxes, in one instance, or a builders association study that rated structural deficiencies in bridges in another.
Interspersed between stories about real estate prices and the best place to purchase premium gas based on zip code, newsier pieces appear, sometimes to quote a state senator about how the federal government should not play a role in education . Others quoted various exclusively Republican officials like US senators, chairpeople, or communications staff of the state GOP, about the impeachment process being a witch hunt or abuse of power .
The networks can be traced back to conservative businessman Brian Timpone. In 2012, Timpone's company Journatic, an outlet known for its low-cost automated story generation (which became known as ' pink slime journalism '), attracted national attention and outrage for faking bylines and quotes, and for plagiarism. Journatic rebranded as Locality Labs in 2013; Locality Labs is behind many of the publications we discovered that mimic the appearance and output of traditional news organizations. These sites do not bear much information about their political use or funding, but some of them have been funded by political candidates and lobbying campaigns. Metric Media , Locality Labs (or LocalLabs), Franklin Archer , the Record Inc. , and Local Government Information Services (LGIS) are the main organizations involved in operating these networks of publications, and Timpone is associated in one way or another with each of them. Michigan Daily has detailed the convoluted relationship between these organizations.
Some of these mysterious, partisan local news sites publish physical newspapers and many have minimal social media presence. At first, they do not appear to be owned by the same network or organization, but a number of clues suggest that they are intimately linked. Our analysis demonstrates the links between the networks by identifying shared markers, such as unique analytics tokens, server IP addresses, and even shared design templates and bylines on articles. Further, the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for many of these websites'--but not all'--suggest they are part of Locality Labs, LLC.
Websites and networks can aid campaigns to manipulate public opinion by exploiting faith in local media. The demise of local journalism in many areas creates an information vacuum, and raises the chance of success for these influence campaigns. The strategy is further made possible by the low cost of automating news stories, repurposing press releases (including obituaries from funeral homes), and replicating design templates, as well as the relative ease with which political or single-issue campaigns can obscure their funding and provenance.
One in five newspapers has closed in the past decade , and many other outlets have significantly cut staff and reporting. This bleak landscape for local news creates space for this cottage industry of outlets that claim to produce journalism'--typically during election cycles'--and create and amplify material to support political outcomes, sometimes even physically mailing advertising materials that masquerade as newspapers but are not labeled political advertising. These publications cover certain candidates and topics, including limited government, tort reform, and labour unions, with a conservative bias.
It is not clear how effective the sites are, but their architecture and strategy is useful to understand the way they co-opt the language, design and structure of news organizations. Automation has been touted as a way to create stories where there are few reporting resources, and it can be used to build credibility. It can also make a news organization look far more prolific than it is. Potentially adding to the credibility of these sites is their Google search ranking: in the case of some of the websites set up in 2015-2016, we observed that once sites had gained ample authority, they appeared on the first page of Google Search results just below the official government and social media pages.
The Lansing State Journal 's story highlights Metric Media's intent to launch hundreds of such sites to ''fill the void in local communities.'' And, while Metric Media hasn't been embroiled in controversies like its sibling organizations, the Journal's story quotes Matt Grossmann, director of Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, who said, ''many [articles] on [Metric Media site The] Lansing Sun appeared to be right-leaning.''
Using multiple network analysis tools, we found at least 450 websites including the ones identified by previous reporting. There are dedicated networks with anywhere between five and forty sites per state in eleven states. Additionally, every state in the US (and Washington DC) has a dedicated ''business daily'' (e.g. Michigan Business Daily , Utah Business Daily ), and there are several international ''business daily'' websites (e.g. Toronto Business Daily, Mexico Business Daily, Manila Business Daily) as well . These are augmented by several single-subject sites (e.g. American Security News , Tobacco Newswire , Farm Insurance News ), and community sites that aggregate events, news, and business services information (e.g. Metro East Today , Wilton Review , Palmerton Guide ).
450 sites, 12 state networks, 5 corporate entities The 450 websites span twenty-one different networks operated by five distinct corporate entities. Below, we provide further detail about each of these organizations and how they're linked.
Figure 1: Breakdown of sites across networks, including the sites for multiple corporate entities or parent organizations (''Organizations'') such as LGIS, Franklin Archer, Metro Business Network, or Dan Proft's PAC Liberty Principles.
The overall distribution of sites across the networks is shown in Figure 1, with Franklin Archer's Local News Network the single largest network with almost 130 sites. In the case of Franklin Archer, we conflated nine standalone sites that bear all the heuristics of their local news sites, even though these sites were not explicitly listed on the organization's website. These include Surprise Journal , El Paso Review , and Lansing Reporter .
With the Local News Network sites added to the 51 sites in the Metro Business network, the overall number under the Franklin Archer banner stands at 179, a close second to Metric Media, which has 189 publications across ten states. Metric Media's North Carolina operation alone has 46 sites, making it the third biggest individual network in our dataset.
For clarity, we have also conflated 25 standalone sites'--sixteen topical sites, and nine international sites'--under ''LocalLabs: International'' and ''LocalLabs: Topical'' in Figure 1 . These sites have a Locality Labs , LLC privacy policy or shared analytics identifier, but no other associations. In some cases, the privacy policy is not even linked on the homepage. The Mexico Business Daily , for example, doesn't mention any affiliation in its ''About Us'' or ''Contact'' pages, and there is no privacy policy on its homepage. This link suggests it is a Locality Labs property. CISTRAN Finance follows the exact same pattern. In other cases, like the Toronto Business Daily or the Balkan News Wire , the privacy policy is linked to from the homepage, but no other affiliations are mentioned.
In our analysis so far, websites on the Metric Media state-centric networks only link to other sites from the same state, including stories from Franklin Archer's Metro Business network. There are, however, few indicators that the sites are operated by the same organization. On sites in both networks, the privacy policies and terms of service suggest they are operated by Locality Labs, LLC. Stories covering vastly different topics across the network share bylines, as well as similar'--often identical'--templates.
These anecdotal pieces of evidence can only be gleaned after identifying the scale of the operation. To measure the scale of the operation, we relied on website metadata and network forensics: the sites shared IP addresses and various analytics identifiers. Within the same network'--and even the same organization'--that is expected behavior. It is highly unusual for sites to share IP addresses and analytics identifiers if they are not connected, but that's exactly what we found in these networks, as can be seen below.
Shared IP addresses Each domain maps to an IP address, which identifies the server where the site is hosted. Across this greater network of networks, including the domains for the organizations, we found about twenty-five unique IP addresses. Some of these networks, including the biggest'--Franklin Archer: Local News Network'--don't share an IP address or server with any other network as can be seen in Figure 2. Some only share IP addresses with other sites that belong to the same parent organization. For example, some state-level Metric Media properties'--the publications in New Mexico, Arizona and Montana'--share a server.
But, Metric Media's Maryland properties (which includes North Baltimore Journal , Harford News , Montgomery News ) also sit on the same server as the LGIS sites, which is more unusual. Similarly, it is improbable for sites within Franklin Archer's Business Network to share an IP address with LocalLabs' international or topical sites, unless the two organizations share resources.
Some of the parent organization's websites live on the same server as some of the LocalLabs' topical properties, too. To wit: The Record (, Franklin Archer ( and Dan Proft's super PAC Liberty Principles ( are on the same server as Tobacco Newswire , FDA Reporter , and FDA Health News .
Figure 2: Network graph of shared IP addresses; each different edge colour represents a different IP address
Shared Google Analytics IDs Even though there were over twenty Google Analytics IDs, only five were used on more than one network. Of these, three identifiers were shared within Metric Media sites only, while another three were shared among Franklin Archer, LGIS, and the LocalLabs sites (Figure 3). It is highly unlikely for independent, supposedly unrelated organizations like LGIS and Franklin Archer to share analytics identifiers.
Figure 3: Network graph of shared Google Analytics IDs; each different edge colour represents a different Google Analytics ID
At the time of writing, the Franklin Archer organizational website (, publications belonging to LGIS, and topical websites like American Security News , Power Newswire, and Higher Education Tribune shared the same Google Analytics ID. International sites like Gulf News Journal and a handful of business dailies also had that same identifier.
A Single Shared NewRelic ID and Quantcast ID Perhaps no other identifier illustrates the convoluted nature of these networks as well as the NewRelic ID (Figure 4) and the Quantcast ID (Figure 5).
Most of Metric Media's properties didn't have a corresponding NewRelic ID, nor did the Florida network's. ther networks, though, shared the same identifier, including Metric Media's Maryland sites. Also, for the first time, we see the publications within the Record network, the first site of which was established in 2004, sharing an identifier with the greater network.
Figure 4: Network graph of the single shared NewRelic ID
Similarly, a single Quantcast identifier was used across LGIS, Record, and Metric Media sites. (Figure 5). Much like the NewRelic ID, this too shows the connected nature of the networks.
Figure 5: Networks connected by a single unique Quantcast ID. The Franklin Archer publications don't seem to be relying on Quantcast identifiers at all, but Metric Media does, as do the Record network and LGIS.
When we discovered the high volume of sites intricately linked across a convoluted network, we set about trying to identify the people behind these organizations, and their backgrounds. In reporting from the Lansing State Journal , Michigan Daily , and the Guardian , as well as our own analysis, one name appeared time and again: Brian Timpone.
The sites in our dataset go back to 2004 with the inception of the first publication'--the Madison-St. Clair Record'-- which is now part of the Record network. In the next section, we'll trace through the emergence of various publications, networks, and their impact.
The Record Network The Record Network is a system of eleven publications, the first of which'--the Madison-St. Clair Record '--went live in 2004. The network's publications cover the legal system in eight states; one of the outlets, Legal Newsline, is not bound to a single state.
Even before Journatic was set up in 2006, Timpone was the founding publisher of sites in the Record network, which have come under scrutiny for being run by advocacy groups disguised as media organizations. Timpone is currently listed as founding publisher of the Madison-St. Clair Record and the Louisiana Record identifies him as the publisher. According to the ''About Us'' page on a subset of Record network sites (including Legal Newsline, Madison-St. Clair Record and Florida Record ), they are owned by the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform , an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce'--an organization, according to OpenSecrets , that since 2008 has been one of the biggest ''dark money'' spenders in US elections. Fifteen years later, these sites are still very much active.
LocalLabs/Locality Labs LocalLabs, another Timpone company, was a rebranding of Journatic in the aftermath of a 2012 scandal over plagiarism, falsified quotes , and fake bylines .
For the last twenty months or so, the website for LocalLabs has simply said ''We're improving our site. Stay tuned for a new and improved'' Previously, the website detailed the services the organization provided, declaring that ''LocalLabs offers community news production, advertising and advertorial content, print special sections and web and mobile application management.''
We found over forty websites with the disclaimer ''a product of LocalLabs'' or a privacy policy/terms of service page suggesting the sites are operated by Locality Labs, LLC.
Fifteen of these sites, all registered in 2018 , belong to a single network in a single state: Florida. At the time of writing, we had not found a Metric Media operation in Florida.
The remaining publications are single-topic sites or international business sites. Examples of these sites include Manila Business Daily , Toronto Business Daily , and Mexico Business Daily . The single-topic sites are more US-centric, such as American Security News , American Pharmacy News, and Higher Education Tribune. While these don't say they are a product of LocalLabs, their privacy policies are attributed to Locality Labs.
Bylines on these sites are shared across other sites in other networks as well.
Newsinator and LGIS In 2015, Timpone incorporated another organization : Newsinator, a firm that, among other things, had a ''history of doing paid political work and offers marketing services to companies under the name Interactive Content Services,'' according to the Chicago Tribune .
In 2015-16, according to the Illinois State Board of Election Expenditure data , Newsinator was paid over $300,000 for ''Advertising '' newspaper'' by Liberty Principles , a conservative super PAC, run by Dan Proft, described as ''one of the state's most visible and controversial political figures.'' According to the data, this $300,000 was split between twenty different candidates' campaigns, most of whom were running for state office in Illinois in 2016.
The line between Locality Labs and Newsinator is blurry: Proft, in his own words , works with reporters at Locality Labs and ''suggests stories and discusses what reporters should cover.'' Newsinator, on the other hand, was responsible for mailing publications created by Proft's organization to voters, in the form of weekly eight-page print editions. Additionally, a since-dismissed Federal Election Commission complaint says Proft created Local Government Information Services (LGIS) in 2016, which ''took over production and distribution of newspapers.'' State records confirm that Proft was the President of LGIS, but the complaint also says that as of January 2019, the corporation's status was ''dissolved'' involuntarily. At the time of writing, LGIS has 33 Illinois-based sites, eleven of which have corresponding print publications.
The extent to which Locality Labs was involved in the business of LGIS and Newsinator is highlighted in an FEC lawsuit , filed for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by ''re-publishing campaign materials in a format designed to look like local community papers.'' The respondents included the obvious suspects: the campaign (Khouri for Congress), the PAC (Liberty Principles), and LGIS (the company publishing the material). In addition, it also included Locality Labs. These entities were charged with violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by ''re-publishing campaign materials in a format designed to look like local community papers.'' The details of the lawsuit further stipulate that LGIS ''contracts with various entities, including Locality Labs ['...], to prepare content for publications'' including providing ''local and state news in certain geographical areas in Illinois.'' LGIS, however, has full editorial control. The lawsuit was dismissed in July 2019.
Newsinator, LLC also held the copyright for each of the Record network's individual publication's apps on the iOS App Store.
Franklin Archer Two networks'--DirecTech (Local News Network) and Metro Business Daily '-- and almost 180 sites sail under the banner of Franklin Archer , a company established in 2018. Brian Timpone's brother , Michael Timpone, is CEO. On the Franklin Archer website, the company boasts that it is ''the largest producer of local news in the United States'' with over 200 active websites, over three million monthly page views, and 600 stories produced daily.
The 128 Local News Network sites we found promise communities a way to ''browse the latest news, investigate upcoming events, stay in the know'' by creating and maintaining ''the most comprehensive and easily searchable database of all local businesses by placing an emphasis on consumer needs.'' They are all ''a product of LocalLabs.'' (note: some of the sites mentioned under '' Our Publications '' lead to dead links; we also found nine websites that follow the exact same pattern, but are not explicitly mentioned on the Franklin Archer website.)
The Metro Business Network website also doesn't explicitly state its connection to either Franklin Archer or LocalLabs, but its sites are the same as those in Franklin Archer's ''Metro Business Daily'' network: one ''business daily'' per state and one for Washington DC. And, like the Metric Media websites, their privacy policy and terms of service indicate that they are Locality Labs properties.
Today, the Franklin Archer organizational website lives on the same server as Dan Proft's super PAC: Liberty Principles. A Franklin Archer worker, who asked not to be named, said the company's writers are paid by Newsinator. According to the Iowa corporate registry , Newsinator and Franklin Archer are both alternative business entity names for DirecTech, LLC.
Metric Media The Metric Media Foundation was created in 2019 by Bradley Cameron, whose link to Timpone (if any) remains unclear. However, his sites too sport Locality Labs' privacy policy and terms of service, and share servers and analytics identifiers with some of the other organizations.
Our analysis found Metric Media has 189 sites across ten states. According to their '' About Us '' page, the Metric Media Foundation ''funds more than 900 news sites that generate over 3 million monthly page views'' and its operation ''also produces over 600 stories daily, making it the largest producer of local news content in the nation.'' The names of these news sites are not listed on their website.
The numbers boasted by Metric Media are identical to the numbers boasted by Franklin Archer: the 3 million monthly page views and 600 stories produced daily. But the relationship between Franklin Archer and Metric Media is not articulated on either organization's website.
When we asked about the emergence, structure and scale of these networks as well as their business model, Timpone said, ''Locality Labs has used its proprietary technology to transform public records into news for major newspaper/media companies around the US, as well as digital start-ups like LGIS.'' Previously, Brian Timpone has said , ''I'm a biased guy. I'm a Republican.''
Despite the different organization and network names, it is evident these sites are connected. Other than simply sharing network metadata as described above, they also share bylines (including ''Metric Media News Service'' and ''Local Labs News Service'' for templated stories), servers, layouts, and templates.
Typically, creating entities that focus on communities, local news, and single issues important to the general public would be a worthwhile endeavour. But, the partisan material present on the more established networks along with the ideological leanings of some of the key personnel give us pause. The approach adopted by Dan Proft's LGIS network during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles provide a model for these relatively newer networks. The Lansing State Journal has highlighted stories about voter fraud using data from the Heritage Foundation on the Metric Media Michigan sites. Similar stories have also been published on the Arizona , Kentucky , North Carolina , and Iowa sites.
Over the course of the 2020 campaign the Tow Center will continue to monitor these networks and others like it to better understand how these types of activity affect the course of campaigns, how they work, what their effects are, and, crucially, what the overall impact might mean for both news consumers and audiences. We intend to augment our initial analysis with further qualitative research across all the networks we find as the campaign progresses. In due course, we intend to release our datasets for other journalists and researchers to examine.
If you are a local reporter and have examples of similar networks operating in your area, please get in touch with us here . If you have written a piece about the phenomenon in your local community, then please send us links. The phenomenon is often associated with right-leaning causes and personalities, but we believe the strategies could be adopted across the political spectrum.
How we established the scope of the network The majority of this research was conducted using a combination of tools and products available online. Below we provide a short introduction to these tools and outline our process for students/journalists wishing to conduct similar analyses. If you'd like further help or guidance for similar investigations, please get in touch.
To create a website, two basic steps need to be followed: the domain or web address needs to be registered, and a web host set up to house the actual content of the website. When the first step is taken, a WHOIS record is created, which may include the details of the registrar (private WHOIS entries, where the details of the registrant are hidden or redacted, are becoming increasingly common, especially due to recent regulation in Europe ).
And, when a website goes live, the content is pulled from a web host or server, which has a corresponding IP address (analogous to a phone number for a person). The IP address not only tells us where the content for the website is hosted, but it can also reveal what other websites reside on the same IP address.
The code that drives the website can contain metadata, which reveals other identifying traits, including analytics identifiers. Tracking identifiers allow websites to get aggregate user information and analytics, including demographic details, the amount of time spent on a specific page on the site, and how users' navigated the site. It is highly unlikely for unrelated websites to share tracking identifiers, because these analytics services provide business intelligence and insights that can result in competitive advantage.
Therefore, by finding domains registered by the same people, websites residing on the same server (i.e. websites pointing to the same IP address), and websites sharing the same analytics IDs, it is relatively straightforward to build out the network. There are various free, freemium, commercial, and open-source tools available that help extract information at this level.
To ensure thoroughness, manual analysis is necessary coupled with original reporting from outside sources and research tools that allow us to explore corporate (including non-profit) entities, look up campaign finance details, and see historical content of websites. And, to ensure no false positives (sites incorrectly identified to be part of the network) slip in, manual confirmation is necessary.
For our analysis, we used:
RiskIQ to identify websites that shared tracking identifiers (Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Quantcast, or NewRelic) SecurityTrails and Farsight DNSDB to determine which websites were housed on the same servers Whoxy to pull out WHOIS details ProPublica's Non-Profit Explorer to find key people associated with the organizations Illinois Sunshine and Open Secrets to look at campaign finance disclosures Lexis Nexis to research the corporate entities and key people Starting with one of the domains from the original Lansing State Journal story, we found that many of the stories were sourced from Michigan Business Daily . A quick look at the Michigan Business Daily website immediately informed us that similar business dailies existed in every state and Washington D.C.
We looked up one of these business dailies ( Rhode Island Business Daily ) on RiskIQ , a self-proclaimed ''cyberthreat intelligence tool,'' to find which other websites shared the same identifiers (Figure 6). One identifier type proved to be key: the NewRelic ID. RiskIQ found 138 sites shared the same NewRelic identifier. The sites included Chicago City Wire , Cook County Record , Legal Newsline , Florida Record, and Blockshopper.
Figure 6: Search by Tracking ID on RiskIQ.
The link to Blockshopper'--and the subsequent WHOIS lookup '--confirmed there was an overlap between sites registered by Brian Timpone and the sites identified by RiskIQ, including Chicago City Wire , Kane County Reporter , and SE Illinois News . Manually exploring some of these sites, it was evident that some of the underlying technologies and templates they were using were identical, and yet part of separate networks. Anecdotally, one more thing stood out: different stories across states, topics, and networks had many of the same bylines.
Using these 138 sites as our base set, we input each of the domains into SecurityTrails and Farsight DNSDB to find which other sites were on the same IP address. Farsight DNSDB and Security Trails are both passive DNS tools, which amongst other things can give users details about website infrastructure, including what is the IP address of the server the website lives on (Figure 7.1) and who its mail provider is. Further, given an IP address, passive DNS tools provide users with all websites that share the same IP address (Figure 7.2). Websites with the same IP address are not necessarily related though. Websites hosted by companies like Squarespace and Wix (and many others) are likely to share IP addresses (lookups on two websites'--one hosted by Squarespace and one by Wix'--showed more than five million domains for each of the two IP addresses). Similarly, ''parked'' domains'--domains that have been registered but not linked to any web-hosting'--are likely to share IP addresses, as the web registrar will simply assign an IP address to said domain.
Figure 7.1: Extracting the IP address from a domain in SecurityTrails Figure
Figure 7.2: IP address lookup on on Farsight DNSDB using DNSDB Scout
We used both tools, plugging in the IP addresses of the domains we had identified, to get all other websites that were hosted on the same server. It might seem redundant to use multiple services to do exactly the same thing. However, the algorithms and technologies that back each of these services are different, and the extent of their archival/historical data vary as well. Consolidating data across services increases the odds of getting a more complete dataset. (Note: you can use both tools to get both, the IP address of a website and the list of websites pointing to the same IP address; there are also quicker ways of doing this, but this is the easiest)
Once we extracted still more domains from passive DNS lookups, we cross-checked these domains on RiskIQ, and the cycle continued. Combining the outputs from these sources, we were able to map out the network.
We are grateful for the guidance and advice from Farsight Security and REN-ISAC (The Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center) .
Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today. Priyanjana Bengani is a senior research fellow at Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
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Wed, 18 Dec 2019 11:48
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More than 1,000 local school systems have hired Cenergistic, a green company that says it will reduce their power bill in exchange for a large cut of the savings. The company says it has saved local governments and schools $5.5 billion, but local officials have repeatedly questioned its numbers, saying it refuses to explain how they're calculated. Cenergistic is linked to Enron, has quietly put school officials on its payroll to help it get contracts, and is known for quickly ramming through large contracts with no competition. Fairfax County, Virginia's former schools auditor said that when a whistleblower brought her evidence that implicated Cenergistic as well as top school officials, both the whistleblower and the auditor were fired by those same officials. A major ''green'' firm called Cenergistic says it's saved more than 1,000 schools and local governments $5.5 billion in energy costs, taking portions of those savings as fees.
But a new lawsuit, a decade of government investigations, and news reports show that Cenergistic is an Enron-linked, for-profit company that has allegedly talked its way into no-bid contracts after secretly putting school officials on its payroll, and then billed districts for questionable savings whose basis it refuses to explain.
The contracts are typically awarded by school board members who want to make a statement about environmentalism, and are sometimes exempted from scrutiny on the basis that the money being paid is ''free.''
The company teaches ''employees how to save money on utility costs by monitoring and assessing usage, and making recommendations for energy conservation such as turning off computers when not in use; turning out the lights when rooms are vacant; reducing the plug load; and turning off vending machine lighting,'' the Alabama Advance-Local reported in 2013.
In a lawsuit filed Nov. 1, 2019, the former auditor for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia, Goli Trump, said she was fired by school board president Sandy Evans in retaliation for pursuing an investigation into Cenergistic that implicated superintendent Karen Garza as well as Evans herself.
As soon as FCPS created an independent auditor's office, an employee of FCPS '-- one of the largest school districts in the country '-- told her ''Cenergistic's purported energy savings were not true and were in fact costing FCPS considerable sums of money,'' the lawsuit said. The whistleblower, known as John Doe in the lawsuit, said he faced retaliation after reporting his concerns to supervisors.
''Moreover, John Doe pointed out that Cenergistic was supposed to receive payments in an amount equal to 50% of the realized energy savings by FCPS; although Cenergistic said it had saved FCPS $5 million, it had billed FCPS $4 million, and John Doe had been unable to find anyone who could explain this result,'' the lawsuit said.
He also said ''that the Cenergistic contract did not comply with public procurement requirements.'' (RELATED: Flint To Rescind Lead-Pipe Contract From Lowest Bidder And Award It To Politically Connected Firm)
Trump attempted to obtain a copy of the contract ''from the FCPS contract register, which is supposed to contain a copy of all contracts entered into by FCPS. She learned, however, that the contract with Cenergistic was not available through the contract register, nor could anyone in the procurement office explain why an important contract of this nature for millions of dollars would not be available,'' the suit said.
Trump informed the school board's lawyer, John Foster, about her concerns but requested confidentiality because the ongoing investigation could involve top managers. Foster immediately tipped off Garza, the lawsuit said.
Trump then informed the school board that she intended to audit the Cenergistic contract, but Garza, school board member Janie Strauss, and chief operating officer Susan Quinn told her not to, which she found ''suspicious,'' given that ''the Cenergistic contract presented all or many of the classic indicia of a contract at a high-risk of fraud, waste and abuse,'' according to the lawsuit.
On June 17, 2016, a second whistleblower who worked in FCPS' facilities department contacted Trump and made virtually identical allegations to the first whistleblower. He had no knowledge of the first whistleblower and also provided documents to support his claim, the suit said.
The second whistleblower said he had spent hundreds of hours trying to ascertain the basis for Cenergistic's bills, but that Cenergistic had refused to explain. ''He had no choice but to conclude that the bills and invoices submitted to FCPS by Cenergistic were, in fact, false,'' the suit said.
The whistleblower's supervisor, assistant superintendent for facilities Jeff Platenberg, ''harassed him and ordered him to approve payment to Cenergistic despite the fact that Cenergistic's invoices could not be reconciled or even understood,'' it added.
Trump then obtained access to school system emails which showed that ''it appeared that Platenberg had been paid to take numerous 'marketing trips' on behalf of Cenergistic.''
The emails also showed that ''only days after Garza began her employment in 2013, she had been in touch with Cenergistic to discuss hiring them at FCPS.''
Days after Trump obtained the emails, FCPS fired the second whistleblower, and Trump was called in by the human resources department, who told her that an anonymous complaint had been filed against her, according to the suit.
Evans then ordered her not to investigate Cenergistic without approval from superintendent Garza, the lawsuit alleged.
''In a phone call on Aug. 1, 2016, [Trump] informed Evans that she felt she could not do that because Garza was a subject of the investigation and to do that would compromise the integrity of the investigation,'' it said.
HR then attempted to physically remove confidential investigative material from the office of the auditor, which is supposed to be entirely independent from the school bureaucracy, the suit said.
''Plaintiff realized the situation was truly becoming critical and began contacting outside law enforcement agencies, including the Virginia State Police,'' the lawsuit stated.
Evans prevented Trump from speaking with other members of the school board '-- collectively Trump's immediate boss '-- and Garza told the board that Trump was being placed on leave, according to the suit.
An outside law firm then took over the Cenergistic investigation. ''That investigation ended on or about Sept. 19, 2016. Two days later, on Sept. 21, 2016, Garza suddenly resigned from FCPS only two weeks into the new school year and only three months after signing a new contract with FCPS that would last through 2020,'' the lawsuit said.
Even so, Trump was fired the next month, leading to the lawsuit filed against FCPS in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
FCPS spokesman John Torre declined to comment for this story, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation: ''This matter involves active litigation and is also related to a personnel matter so our policy is not to comment.''
Cenergistic spokeswoman Jan Smith did not respond to questions.
The company has become a major player in the green energy sector. Its website says it ''is the EPA's most active Service and Product Provider for ENERGY STAR building certifications.''
Cenergistic has handled purported billions of dollars in energy for local governments despite years of red flags about its numbers and its relationship-driven sales system that sometimes involves payments to school administrators. (RELATED: Democrats Push A Return To Busing, Despite Their Own Data Suggesting It Doesn't Help Poor Kids)
High school / Shutterstock
2005, TexasSpring Branch school district superintendent Yvonne Katz resigned after it emerged that she had taken payments from Cenergistic, which until 2012 was called Energy Education Inc. (EEI).
Katz was previously superintendent of the Beaverton, Oregon school district, which also hired the company. She entered a side deal to be personally paid $500 for every meeting she helped set up between Cenergistic and other school districts.
When she took the new job with Spring Branch in Texas, she steered it to hire Cenergistic within four months of her arrival. She did not disclose her relationship with the company to the school board. She received money from Cenergistic during her tenure at Spring Branch, but it wasn't for arranging that contract, she said, the Houston Chronicle reported.
2009, MassachusettsMassachusetts' state inspector general issued an 18-page warning to local governments about Cenergistic. It said that it essentially convinced school districts to let the company write its own requests for proposal (RFP) for the government, and that it wrote them so the only company who would meet the criteria was itself.
It said that Cenergistic required clients to purchase software called EnergyCAP Professional from a company called Good Steward Software LLC, which is run by Steve Heinz, a former vice president of Enron, the energy company at the center of one of the largest accounting frauds in history.
It said that Cenergistic's founder and owner, William Spears, created a company to purchase the software from Enron and assigned it to Good Steward.
When the Massachusetts inspector general's office attempted to determine how Cenergistic calculated the purported savings for government agencies, Cenergistic referred it to Good Steward, and Good Steward referred it to Cenergistic.
The watchdog wrote, ''Financially strapped school districts find the EEI program option appealing because it precludes capital investment in equipment, retrofits or upgrades,'' the inspector said. But ''contracts paid for through energy savings are not 'free' or 'no cost.'''
''Since many of EEI's 'proprietary measures' are also 'common sense' measures, a public entity should carefully evaluate the consequences of entering into a contract that restricts their option to employ an individual to direct common sense, cost saving and energy conservation measures,'' it said.
''Do not enter into a contract unless you: 1) understand how you will be charged for services; 2) will be able to verify these charges: 3) will be able to verify any vendor savings estimates; and 4) understand all contract related costs,'' it added.
2009, FloridaThe Polk County schools' assistant superintendent for facilities, Bob Williams, ''likely'' violated ethics rules by taking $70,000 in payments from Cenergistic for working as a ''marketing consultant,'' an internal investigation found. The company had a contract with the district. He was later sent to federal prison for taking bribes in unrelated incidents.
2012, CaliforniaThe Sacramento City Unified School District refused to pay $1.5 million to the company and sued it, claiming the purported savings calculations were flawed. The school board contended the contract never should have been valid because it did not follow proper contracting procedures.
2013, ConnecticutIn 2013, Connecticut's Region 13 school board voted to pay $178,200 to terminate the Cenergistric contract over ''concerns and frustrations with the company's performance and how the savings were being calculated,'' Citizen's News reported.
The company claims it saved the district $161,000 and took $154,000 as its cut, leaving the district with only $7,000.
Some of those savings were likely attributed to measures taken by the school district's facilities department, not the company, the school district said.
2015, IllinoisThe Kaneland school district in Illinois encountered problems after awarded a no-bid contract that was pushed on it by Jack Barshinger, a retired superintendent from a neighboring school district who was on the Cenergistic payroll.
2015, New HampshireWindham, New Hampshire school board chairman Jerome Rekart rammed through a $580,000 contract with Cenergestic in 48 hours. When Tom Murray, a facilities committee member, pressed for five minutes to discuss options for saving energy that wouldn't give away the savings to a for-profit company, the school board called the police, Area News Group reported.
After the meeting, the school system's business administrator, Adam Steel, acknowledged that the board had not even seen a copy of the contract when they voted on it, Granite Grok reported.
After Murray called attention to the company's history, it pulled out of the deal, the publication reported.
On Glassdoor, an employee said the company thrives on school boards who ''just want good PR and to save money without actually having to make any changes.''
Another employee complained about the company's insistence on getting contracts by building relationships with specific officials, saying the company ''would rather fill the air with green house emissions and fly on an airplane for an hour-long meeting vs. having a virtual meeting.''
The company responded that ''we have a relational sales process so direct meetings with prospects are vital.''
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Seattle-area homeless director resigns after transgender dancer strips, twerks and gives lap dances at annual conference | Fox News
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:44
Left Behind: America's Homeless CrisisFox News Digital embarked on an ambitious project to chronicle the toll progressive policies have had on the homeless crisis in four west coast cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. In each city, we saw a lack of safety, sanitation, and civility. Residents, the homeless and advocates say they've lost faith in their elected officials' ability to solve the issue. Most of the cities have thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at the problem only to watch it get worse. This is what we found.
The director of a Seattle-area public agency for homelessness has resigned after a scantily-clad transgender performer kissed, twerked and gave lap dances to attendees at a recent annual conference.
Kira Zylstra, the active director of All Home, King County's coordinating agency for homelessness, resigned over the weekend. A spokeswoman for the county's Department of Community and Human Services said when they were tipped off to the event, they began an investigation not only into the conference, but "the leadership of All Home," The Seattle Times reported.
"The investigation of the event and the leadership of All Home is currently underway," spokeswoman Sherry Hamilton told the newspaper.
At the Dec. 9 conference, the agency hired performer Beyonce Black St. James, a transgender dancer dressed in a sheer black bodysuit, who twerked and kissed attendees, who included government employees, nonprofit workers and members of the faith community.
Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett, director of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, said he was not "personally offended by it," but added that "it just seemed so wrong and out of place for what we were there for."
Hackett said he worried that critics of Seattle's homelessness program would see the video and weaponize it against Seattle's approach to end homelessness.
"I just knew it was going to hit social media and when it hit social media, this is kind of like what every opponent of the collective work would wish for," he told the newspaper.
It might not matter, though. The All Home agency could soon become obsolete.
Seattle, King County and suburban governments are setting up a new regional homelessness authority that will have more power over budgets and policymaking than All Home has ever had.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 5-1 in favor of taking part in a new regional homeless authority that aims to align the region's response to the homelessness crisis.
"We can now begin to stand up the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority, and transform how we help all people find a safe, secure place to call home," King County Executive Dow Constantine told KOMO News following the vote.
Ukrainian Oligarch Paid $700,000 To The Husband Of A House Judiciary Committee Democrat
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:42
Robert Powell, the husband of Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., reportedly took $700,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch named Igor Kolomoisky. Mucarsel-Powell sits on the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that drafted two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his alleged abuse of power with regards to Ukraine.
In 2018, the Daily Beast reported that a number of businesses linked to Kolomoisky hired Powell as an attorney. One of those firms paid Powell at least $700,000 over two years, according to public records.
The Miami Herald reported Powell was working for companies tied to Kolomoisky for 10 years. Powell made most of his money in the two years leading up to his wife's election in 2018.
Kolomoisky has been accused of contract killings and embezzlement in the past. Yet, in 2018 when Mucarsel-Powell was running for her seat, she did not see her husband's work as relevant to her campaign.
''Debbie Mucrasel-Powell is running for Congress, not her husband. To imply that Debbie has anything to do with her indirect shareholder of a parent company that once employed her husband is an enormous stretch,'' said Michael Hernandez, senior communications advisor for her campaign in 2018.
While Mucrasel-Powell may have convinced her constituents that her husband's work is unrelated, it is a clear conflict in the current impeachment of Trump. Mucarsel-Powell voted to impeach Trump.
Florida Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell just voted to impeach @realDonaldTrump.
What got ZERO attention: Her husband took $700K from firms tied to a Ukrainian oligarch under FBI investigation.
A total double standard! #FL26
'-- Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) December 13, 2019
The House has moved to impeach Trump over a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. When the House initiated impeachment hearings, they were arguing Trump asked for a quid pro quo or potentially bribed the Ukrainian president. No evidence to corroborate those charges has been found, so now the House is charging the president with abuse of power and obstructing Congress in relation to the Ukrainian phone call.
And yet, no Democrats see a problem with one of their own committee members' spouses doing business with a Ukrainian ogliarch. There has been no check on whether Mucrasel-Powell is benefitting from her husband's work with a foreign power that interfered in the 2016 election.
There is a double standard in Mucrasel-Powell's ability to impeach the President for his work in Ukraine, simultaneously, allowing her husband to earn money from Kolomoisky, a thug from the same foreign power.
Steam Curator: Deep State Games
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:16
The Climate Trail Dec 16, 2019
The Climate Trail is about climate refugees fleeing ever-worsening conditions after inaction on climate has rendered much of the USA (and the world) uninhabitable. The game combines the adventure and play of the journey north with visual novel elements.
2019: the year podcasting broke | TechCrunch
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 09:04
Like any burgeoning art form, podcasts have a complicated relationship with corporate America.
The form's appeal has long been its accessibility; for years, it's been open to anyone with an idea, a little free time and a computer. The results haven't always been stellar, but the medium's potential is seemingly limitless.
The exact beginnings of podcasting are difficult to pinpoint '-- that, naturally, has been the nature of plenty of IP lawsuits, as those involved early on lay claim to the rapidly expanding industry. For the sake of brevity, let's call 2004 the birth of podcasting, as that's when the term was coined, at the pre-iPhone apex of iPod popularity. Conveniently, that arbitrarily chosen date puts pegs the medium at about 15 years old.
It also affords us the opportunity to borrow a tongue-in-cheek title from ''1991: The Year Punk Broke,'' a documentary that arrived roughly 15 years after the broadly acknowledged birth of a once-subversive music genre which found then-Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore sneering about ''modern punk '-- as seen in Elle magazine.'' While it's true corporate America has long toyed with and circled podcasting, it seems likely that 2019 will be regarded as the year that podcasting had its ''modern punk'' moment, per Mr. Moore.
In other words, podcasting is an overnight success 15+ years in the making.
The numbers certainly bear it out. Spotify's spending is probably the most commonly-cited flashpoint '-- and understandably so. While the music streaming service hasn't given exact numbers, it announced plans to spend between $400 million and $500 million on the genre in hopes of catching up with Apple's decade-and-a-half long head start.
Man caught pooping in aisle of San Francisco Safeway | KRON4
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 08:59
WARNING: Some may find the images below disturbing
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) '' The city of San Francisco is taking action to clean up the streets but what about the grocery stores?
Shoppers at a Safeway in the Marina District got a disturbing surprise over the weekend.
Mike, a San Francisco resident, was at the Safeway when he spotted a man pooping in one of the aisles.
An opened package of toilet paper is seen in the photos sitting near the man.
Mike told KRON4 he saw the man go into a nearby Starbucks when he was finished.
KRON4 has reached out to Safeway for a statement, but have not yet heard back.
This story comes as San Francisco deals with a growing amount of human waste complains.
San Francisco even has a poop patrol, staff members who clean up human waste around the city.
Throughout the city, 311 has received more than 25,000 poop complaints this year alone, with the Tenderloin getting the highest number of calls.
Last month, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney called the city's poop problem a national embarrassment.
''This is a national embarrassment, it is also many communities a disgusting, public health crisis, no one should be able to walk about and see poop smeared all over the place, no one should live in these conditions. It is not funny,'' Haney said.
Since then, the city has increased frequency of power washing in trouble areas and has opened more public toilets.
But many believe more needs to be done.
A KRON4 reporter is working on getting more information on this incident. Check back for updates this story
Photos provided to KRON4 from San Francisco resident MikeCOMMUNITY IN CRISIS:
Psychology lecturer Dr Sonja Falck wants nerd and smarty-pants to be considered hate crime | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 08:46
Psychology lecturer and psychotherapist Dr Sonja Falck is calling for the insults 'braniac', 'know-it-all', smart-a***', 'dweeb' and 'brain box' to be covered by hate crime legislation
Branding someone a 'nerd' or 'smarty-pants' should be made a hate crime, an academic has claimed.
Psychology lecturer and psychotherapist Dr Sonja Falck says 'divisive and humiliating' anti-IQ insults can have negative effects that last a lifetime.
She wants people with the highest IQs in the country, who make up two per cent of the population, to be protected by the same hate crime laws as ethnic, religious and sexual minority groups.
The University of East London lecturer and Harley Street psychotherapist is also calling for the insults 'braniac', 'know-it-all', smart-a***', 'dweeb' and 'brain box' to be covered by hate crime legislation.
Her views are based on eight years of research, which was spent speaking to dozens of high-ability children, parents, and adults about their own experiences.
She clams victims of anti-IQ slurs often experience the same level of distress and isolation as other minority groups at the receiving end of verbal abuse.
Extending legislation to include these words would, she claims, help stamp out the 'archaic' victimisation of more than one million Britons with a 'gifted' IQ score of 132 or over, she added.
Dr Falck has just launched a new book called 'Extreme Intelligence', a study of discrimination against those with especially high IQs.
Speaking at her book launch, she said the next Government must take legislative action to encourage societal change.
Dr Falck is herself a member of high-IQ society Mensa, and has given presentations for the organisation as well as the US-based institution SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted).
She said: 'The N-word was common parlance in the UK until at least the 1960s.
'Other insulting slurs about age, disability, religion and gender identity remained in widespread use until relatively recently.
'Society at the time turned a blind eye to their impact by passing them off as harmless banter.
Dr Falck says 'divisive and humiliating' anti-IQ insults can have negative effects that last a lifetime. File image used
'It is only with the benefit of hindsight and academic research that we realise how wrong we were.
'The same can be said about anti-IQ words like 'nerd', 'brainbox', 'geek', 'egg-head', 'dweeb' and 'smarty-pants',' she added.
'Slurs such as these will continue to be used unabated at the expense of the brightest members of society unless and until legislative action is taken..'
In England and Wales, any communication that is threatening or abusive and directed towards a person on account of their race, colour, disability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is classed as hate crime.
It is covered by a variety of statutes including the Public Order Act 1986.
This has been revised over the years to include language that is deemed to incite racial, religious and sexual orientated hatred. Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, or both.
But Dr Falck, who also runs a Harley Street psychotherapy practice, says the legislation must be widened to include anti-IQ slurs, which she describes as hate crime's 'last taboo'.
Those with extreme intelligence should receive the same respect, acceptance and legal protection as the LGBT community and other minority groups.
'The government says it is committed to creating an outward-looking, inclusive society yet continues to tolerate divisive, discriminatory language,' she said.
'In the short space of time since racial, homophobic and religious hate speech was banned, it is now seen by most as morally abhorrent.
'It would be progress for British society to come to feel the same way about hate-filled, prejudicial slurs against our high-IQ community.'
A ban on discriminating against those with very high IQ is also supported by Mensa, the international high IQ society, and by Potential Plus UK, the national association for young people with high learning potential.
John Stevenage, chief executive of Mensa, said: 'Very high-IQ individuals often experience isolation or bullying from people around them because they are perceived as being different from the majority.
'Mensa as an organisation gives people with very high IQ a community which is non-judgemental and inclusive of difference. Put simply, everybody is different, so no-one is.'
Burgemeesters Assen en Emmen merken gevolgen van politietekort - RTV Drenthe
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 08:41
zaterdag 7 december 2019, 10:04Burgemeesters Marco Out van Assen en Eric van Oosterhout van Emmen uiten hun zorgen over de tekorten bij de politie. In het Algemeen Dagblad zegt Out: "We zijn de onderkant aan het bereiken van wat acceptabel is."
Uit onderzoek van het AD bij veertig grote gemeenten en de tien regionale politiekorpsen blijkt dat de tekorten bij de politie op steeds meer plekken merkbaar zijn. Bureaus sluiten de deuren, er is minder politie in uitgaansgebieden en zaken blijven langer liggen. Nederlandse burgemeesters kaarten dit aan bij justitieminister Fred Grapperhaus.
Volgens burgemeester Out gaat de personeelskrapte bij de politie in Assen vooral ten koste van de inzet bij de basispolitie en de wijkagenten. Volgens hem beperkt de politie in Noord-Nederland zich steeds meer tot de kerntaken. "Nooddiensten moeten natuurlijk gedraaid blijven worden. Dat gaat ten koste van de tijd die een wijkagent in een buurt kan zijn."
De burgemeester van Assen is verder bezorgd over het aantal agenten dat de komende jaren met pensioen gaat. "Kunnen die aantallen wel gecompenseerd worden met wat er komt vanuit de politieacademie? Dit maakt de werkdruk voor de agenten groter en de organisatie extra kwetsbaar", aldus Marco Out.
Burgemeester Eric van Oosterhout Emmen ziet het tekort bij de politie vooral terug bij de inzet bij evenementen. "We hebben hier 300 evenementen per jaar. We noemen onszelf wel pretpark Emmen. Daar zit een grens aan, want de politie kan niet overal meer bij zijn. Volgens het AD is het aantal agenten in Zuidoost-Drenthe de afgelopen vijf jaar afgenomen van 180 naar 150.
'Gaten in het rooster'Ook Gery Veldhuis, chef van de politie-eenheid Noord-Nederland voelt de druk toenemen zegt hij in de krant. Tegelijk blijkt uit cijfers dat de situatie in het land elders nijpender is. "Zodra wij twee dagen een peloton kwijt zijn aan Noord-Brabant, vallen er gaten in de roosters", zegt Veldhuis.
Toch heeft Noord-Nederland meer agenten dan de formatiecijfers van de Nationale Politie toestaan. Het zouden er rond de 4000 moeten zijn. Maar Noord-Nederland heeft zo'n 250 agenten extra. Volgens Veldhuis wordt dit binnen het team van Noord-Nederland niet zo gevoeld, omdat de mensen het er enorm druk hebben. Wel beseft hij dat in andere eenheden de situatie nog nijpender is: "Daar zijn de grenzen gepasseerd van wat nog acceptabel is."
Read Trump's Letter to Pelosi Protesting Impeachment - The New York Times
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 01:15
published a story headlined, ''The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun.'' Less than three months after my inauguration, Representative Maxine Waters stated, ''I'm going to fight every day until he's impeached.'' House Democrats introduced the first impeachment resolution against me within months of my inauguration, for what will be regarded as one of our country's best decisions, the firing of James Comey (see Inspector General Reports) '-- who the world now knows is one of the dirtiest cops our Nation has ever seen. A ranting and raving Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, declared just hours after she was sworn into office, ''We're gonna go in there and we're gonna impeach the motherf****r." Representative Al Green said in May, ''I'm concerned that if we don't impeach this president, he will get re-elected.'' Again, you and your allies said, and did, all of these things long before you ever heard of President Zelensky or anything related to Ukraine. As you know very well, this impeachment drive has nothing to do with Ukraine, or the totally appropriate conversation I had with its new president. It only has to do with your attempt to undo the election of 2016 and steal the election of 2020!
Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me.10 His shameless lies and deceptions, dating all the way back to the Russia Hoax, is one of the main reasons we are here today.
You and your party are desperate to distract from America's extraordinary economy, incredible jobs boom, record stock market, soaring confidence, and flourishing citizens. Your party simply cannot compete with our record: 7 million new jobs11; the lowest-ever unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans; a rebuilt military; a completely reformed VA with Choice and Accountability for our great veterans; more than 170 new federal judges and two Supreme Court Justices; historic tax and regulation cuts; the elimination of the individual mandate; the first decline in prescription drug prices in half a century; the first new branch of the United States Military since 1947, the Space Force; strong protection of the Second Amendment; criminal justice reform; a defeated ISIS caliphate and the killing of the world's number one terrorist leader, al-Baghdadi; the replacement of the disastrous NAFTA trade deal with the wonderful USMCA (Mexico and Canada); a breakthrough Phase One trade deal with China; massive new trade deals with Japan and South Korea; withdrawal from the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal; cancellation of the unfair and costly Paris Climate Accord; becoming the world's top energy producer; recognition of Israel's capital, opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; a colossal reduction in illegal border crossings,12 the ending of Catch-and-Release, and the building of the Southern Border Wall '-- and that is just the beginning, there is so much more. You cannot defend your extreme policies '-- open borders, mass migration, high crime, crippling taxes, socialized healthcare, destruction of American energy, late-term taxpayer-funded abortion, elimination of the Second Amendment, radical far-left theories of law and justice, and constant partisan obstruction of both common sense and common good.
There is nothing I would rather do than stop referring to your party as the Do-Nothing Democrats. Unfortunately, I don't know that you will ever give me a chance to do so.
Wild Bill Kelso on Twitter: "@GettingCooked @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK Have you ever noticed people adding a t sound? Examples being pronouncing Clinton Clint ton. Important being pronounced import tang." / Twitter
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:44
Have you ever noticed people adding a t sound? Examples being pronouncing Clinton Clint ton. Important being pronounced import tang.
Self-Driving Mercedes Will Be Programmed To Sacrifice Pedestrians To S
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:38
When they crash, self-driving Mercedes will be programmed to save the driver, and not the person or people they hit. That's the design decision behind the Mercedes Benz's future Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous cars, according to the company's manager of driverless car safety, Christoph von Hugo. Instead of worrying about troublesome details like ethics, Mercedes will just program its cars to save the driver and the car's occupants, in every situation.
One of the biggest debates about driverless cars concerns the moral choices made when programming a car's algorithms. Say the car is spinning out of control, and on course to hit a crowd queuing at a bus stop. It can correct its course, but in doing so, it'll kill a cyclist for sure. What does it do? Mercedes's answer to this take on the classic Trolley Problem is to hit whichever one is least likely to hurt the people inside its cars. If that means taking out a crowd of kids waiting for the bus, then so be it.
That's a callous example, but it shows how we think, as opposed to how cars think, and by extension, how engineers think. ''If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car,'' von Hugo told Car and Driver in an interview. ''If all you know for sure is that one death can be prevented, then that's your first priority.''
So far, the highest-profile death in a self-driving car was when a Tesla crashed on May 7, 2016, while in Autopilot mode. The car didn't see a semi truck pull out across the road ahead, and drove under it, killing the driver, Joshua Brown. That was a straight-up error, but future crashes will involve the car choosing to point itself at humans, and in all likelihood killing them.
The moral confusion is deepened when we consider that autonomous cars may save millions of lives that would otherwise have been snuffed out by careless human drivers. That's no consolation if a Mercedes chooses to use you as an airbag to save its owner, but maybe you'd already have been killed a few years before if a particular human driver hadn't been replaced by a driverless car.
Mercedes's von Hugo, then, thinks that the ethical problems will be outweighed by the fact that cars will be better drivers overall. ''There are situations that today's driver can't handle, that . . . we can't prevent today and automated vehicles can't prevent, either. The self-driving car will just be far better than the average human driver,'' he told Car and Driver.
He also points out that, even if the car were to sacrifice its occupants, it may not help anyway. The car may end up hitting the crowd of school kids regardless. ''You could sacrifice the car. You could, but then the people you've saved initially, you don't know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save.''
As we dig deeper, it seems that the problems faced by driverless cars and by human drivers are much the same. We try to avoid crashes and collisions, and we have to make split-second decisions when we can't. Those decisions are governed by our programming and experience. The differences are that computers can think a lot faster, but they can also avoid many crashes that a human driver wouldn't have. These differences pull in different directions, but they don't cancel each other out.
In the meantime, you should probably buy a Mercedes, but avoid crossing the road if you see one coming.
Have something to say about this article? You can email us and let us know. If it's interesting and thoughtful, we may publish your response.
[All Images: via Mercedes Benz]
Pulitzer discerns podcasting's immersion in society
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:45
In case you hadn't noticed, 2019 was a really big year in podcasting. As the year draws to a close, podcasting's move into the mainstream has gotten some notable attention that promises to make 2020 an even better year for the exploding medium.
For evidence that the medium did in fact explode, Cincinnati-based podcaster Daniel J. Lewis used a page on his website to track the podcast industry's growth. According to a news release from Lewis, more than 800,000 valid podcasts are available to download in Apple Podcasts. The release says that podcasting was invented in 2004 by Dave Winer and Adam Curry, and Apple's iTunes store started supporting them June 28, 2005.
People who give out awards have noticed the explosion, including the Pulitzer Prize Board.
"The renaissance of audio journalism in recent years has given rise to an extraordinary array of nonfiction storytelling. To recognize the best of that work, the Pulitzer Board is launching an experimental category to honor it," Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy said.
According to a statement on, the contest for Audio Reporting and all other journalism categories opened on Monday and the deadline for all submissions is Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. EST. Audio entries must be submitted without preroll advertising.
"News organizations currently eligible to compete for the Pulitzer Prize '-- 'U.S. newspapers, magazines, wire services and online news sites that publish regularly' '-- will be permitted to enter audio stories in this new category, as will independent American producers and U.S. radio broadcast outlets. Non-U.S. outlets are ineligible. Eligibility rules for the other 14 journalism categories will remain intact.
"All entries must adhere to the highest journalistic principles, including a commitment to honesty with both audiences and subjects. Rigorous and transparent sourcing will be an important factor in the judging."
What's more, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced last week that it, too, is adding a podcast category for its 2020 Edwin R. Murrow Awards. "RTDNA has been proud to present the most prestigious awards in broadcasting and digital news since 1971, and we look forward to continuing to honor the best-of-the-best as news formats evolve," Executive Director Dan Shelley said in a news release. The entry period opened Thursday and lasts until Feb. 14. For rules and more information, visit
TV TAKES NOTICEApple opened the door for podcasting, so it makes sense that its new Apple TV+ service would have the first television series about a true-crime podcast.
Streaming now is Truth Be Told, starring Octavia Spencer as Poppy Parnell, a journalist with a podcast that re-examines a murder case in which a teenager was convicted but new evidence comes to light years later. Turns out, Parnell's stories had helped incriminate the teen, so she starts a podcast to take another look at the case.
According to a report by, the drama might remind folks of ­real podcasts, but it's actually based on a novel, Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber.
"There's a kind of wild, wild west danger to that kind of journalism, where there are no checks and balances, and there are no bosses," show creator Nichelle Tramble Spellman told the website.
Check out the show's trailer here:
MOVIE MAVENTV Guide has jumped into the podcast pool with an offering from host Julia Lechner that publishes every Tuesday and Thursday. "Pour yourself a hot cup of cocoa, throw a Yule log on the fire, and enjoy this holly jolly podcast," suggest the episode notes of this seasonal podcast from what was once the go-to publication for all things television.
It was tough, but I managed to stomach about 5 minutes and 22 seconds of it before hitting pause, but those caught up in the Christmas movie craze will eat it up. Episode 14 had Lechner and Entertainment Tonight host and producer Katie Karause talking about Lifetime's Merry Liddle Christmas, starring former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland.
Katie265, a reviewer on Apple Podcasts, sums it up best: "The constant giggling is distracting and annoying. Otherwise, a fairly innocuous and enjoyable podcast." Listen to the trailer here:
STOCKING's weekly feature "This Week in Comedy Podcasts" recommends listening to The Complete Christmas, a campy fiction podcast in which actress and comedian Amanda Lund stars. It's the fourth installment of a six-part series that began with The Complete Woman, and it's a silly and fun little story that could easily become annoying. Lund plays Marabel May, "best-smelling author and 1960s self-help guru."
Lund, along with Maria Blasucci, formed the first all-women's podcast network, Earios, which publishes content for and about women. In this episode, Marabel May is under crushing holiday stress, decides to cancel Christmas and is swept away on a Christmas Eve trip orchestrated by her talking kitchen appliances.
Maybe the toaster will tell May that her bit seems a bit cheesy so I won't have to. Form your opinion from the trailer:
Send podcasts recommendations or questions about podcasting to
Style on 12/17/2019
House sets vote on $1.4 trillion federal spending bill
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:41
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The U.S. Capitol in Washington is shrouded in mist, Friday night, Dec. 13, 2019. This coming week's virtually certain House impeachment of President Donald Trump will underscore how Democrats and Republicans have morphed into fiercely divided camps since lawmakers impeached President Bill Clinton.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- The Democratic-controlled House is voting Tuesday on a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package with an unusually large load of unrelated provisions on the must-do legislation.
The package, some 2,313 pages long, was unveiled Monday as lawmakers prepared to wrap up reams of unfinished work against a backdrop of Wednesday's vote on impeaching President Donald Trump.
The spending legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give Trump steady funding for his U.S.-Mexico border fence. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that caps a difficult, months-long battle over spending priorities.
The mammoth measure made public Monday takes a split-the-differences approach that's a product of divided power in Washington, offering lawmakers of all stripes plenty to vote for '-- and against. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was a driving force, along with administration pragmatists such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who negotiated the summertime budget deal that it implements.
The White House said Tuesday that Trump will sign the measure.
''The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open,'' said top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Retired coal miners and business and labor union opponents of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans came away with big wins in weekend negotiations by top congressional leaders and the Trump White House. The bill would also increase the age nationwide for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, and offers business-friendly provisions on export financing, flood insurance and immigrant workers.
The roster of add-ons grew over the weekend to include permanent repeal of a tax on high-cost ''Cadillac'' health insurance benefits and a hard-won provision to finance health care and pension benefits for about 100,000 retired union coal miners threatened by the insolvency of their pension fund. A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would also be repealed permanently.
The deficit tab for the package grew as well '-- almost $400 billion over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ''Obamacare'' taxes alone '-- with a companion package to extend several business-friendly tax breaks still under negotiation. The Obama-era taxes have previously been suspended on a piecemeal basis.
The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump's border wall. Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.
Late Monday, negotiators unveiled a scaled-back package of additional business tax breaks, renewing tax breaks for craft brewers and distillers. The so-called tax extenders are a creature of Washington, a heavily lobbied menu of arcane tax breaks that are typically tailored to narrow, often parochial interests like renewable energy, capital depreciation rules, and race horse ownership. But a bigger effort to trade refundable tax credits for the working poor for fixes to the 2017 GOP tax bill didn't pan out.
The sweeping legislation, introduced as two packages for political and tactical purposes, is part of a major final burst of legislation that's passing Congress this week despite bitter partisan divisions and Wednesday's likely impeachment of Trump. Thursday promises a vote on a major rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement, while the Senate is about to send Trump the annual defense policy bill for the 59th year in a row.
The core of the spending bill is formed by the 12 annual agency appropriations bills passed by Congress each year. It fills in the details of a bipartisan framework from July that delivered about $100 billion in agency spending increases over the coming two years instead of automatic spending cuts that would have sharply slashed the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
The increase in the tobacco purchasing age to 21 also applies to e-cigarettes and vaping devices and gained momentum after McConnell signed on.
Other add-ons include a variety of provisions sought by business and labor interests and their lobbyists in Washington.
For business, there's a seven-year extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance transactions benefiting U.S. exporters, as well as a renewal of the government's terrorism risk insurance program. The financially troubled government flood insurance program would be extended through September, as would several visa programs for both skilled and seasonal workers.
Labor won repeal of the so-called Cadillac tax, a 40% tax on high-cost employer health plans, which was originally intended to curb rapidly growing health care spending. But it disproportionately affected high-end plans won under union contracts, and Democratic labor allies had previously succeeded in temporary repeals.
Democrats controlling the House won increased funding for early childhood education and a variety of other domestic programs. They also won higher Medicaid funding for the cash-poor government of Puerto Rico, which is struggling to recover from hurricane devastation and a resulting economic downturn.
While Republicans touted defense hikes and Democrats reeled off numerous increases for domestic programs, most of the provisions of the spending bill enjoy bipartisan support, including increases for medical research, combating the opioid epidemic, and Head Start and childcare grants to states.
Democrats also secured $425 million for states to upgrade their election systems, and they boosted the U.S. Census budget $1.4 billion above Trump's request. They won smaller increases for the Environmental Protection Agency, renewable energy programs and affordable housing.
''We are scaling up funding for priorities that will make our country safer and stronger and help hardworking families get ahead,'' said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
The outcome in the latest chapter in the longstanding battle over Trump's border wall awards Trump with $1.4 billion for new barriers '-- equal to last year's appropriation '-- while preserving Trump's ability to use his budget powers to tap other accounts for several times that amount. That's a blow for liberal opponents of the wall but an acceptable trade-off for pragmatic-minded Democrats who wanted to gain $27 billion in increases for domestic programs and avert the threat of simply funding the government on autopilot.
"Many members of the CHC will vote against it," said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. ''It's true that there are a lot of good things and Democratic victories in the spending agreement. I think everybody appreciates those. What members of the Hispanic Caucus are concerned with is the wall money, the high level of detention beds, and most of all with the ability of the president to transfer money both to wall and to detention beds in the future.''
Because dozens of Democrats might vote against the border wall, Pelosi is pairing money for the Department of Homeland Security with the almost $700 billion Pentagon budget, which is guaranteed to win GOP votes to offset Democratic defections.
The coal miners' pension provision, opposed by House GOP conservatives like Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had the backing of Trump and powerful Senate GOP Leader McConnell and Trump. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was a dogged force behind the scenes and said the other leaders rolled the House GOP leader, who also lost a behind-the-scenes battle with Pelosi on parochial California issues.
Families Don't Use Landlines Anymore - The Atlantic
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:21
The shared phone was a space of spontaneous connection for the entire household.
Julia Cho December 12, 2019 Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock / The AtlanticMy tween will never know the sound of me calling her name from another room after the phone rings. She'll never sit on our kitchen floor, refrigerator humming in the background, twisting a cord around her finger while talking to her best friend. I'll get it, He's not here right now, and It's for you are all phrases that are on their way out of the modern domestic vernacular. According to the federal government, the majority of American homes now use cellphones exclusively. ''We don't even have a landline anymore,'' people began to say proudly as the new millennium progressed. But this came with a quieter, secondary loss'--the loss of the shared social space of the family landline.
''The shared family phone served as an anchor for home,'' says Luke Fernandez, a visiting computer-science professor at Weber State University and a co-author of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Feelings About Technology, From the Telegraph to Twitter. ''Home is where you could be reached, and where you needed to go to pick up your messages.'' With smartphones, Fernandez says, ''we have gained mobility and privacy. But the value of the home has been diminished, as has its capacity to guide and monitor family behavior and perhaps bind families more closely together.''
The home telephone was a communal invention from the outset. ''When the telephone rang, friends and family gathered 'round, as mesmerized by its magic flow of electrons as they would later be by the radio,'' according to Once Upon a Telephone, a lighthearted 1994 social history of the technology. After the advent of the telephone, in the late 19th century, and through the mid-20th century, callers relied on switchboard operators who knew their customers' voices, party lines were shared by neighbors (who would often eavesdrop on one another's conversations), and phone books functioned as a sort of map of a community.
Read: Phones are changing the texture of family life
The early telephone's bulky size and fixed location in the home made a phone call an occasion'--often referred to in early advertisements as a ''visit'' by the person initiating the call. (One woman quoted in Once Upon a Telephone recalls the phone as having the ''stature of a Shinto shrine'' in her childhood home.) There was phone furniture'--wooden vanities that housed phones in hallways of homes, and benches built for the speaker to sit on so they could give their full attention to the call. Even as people were defying time and space by speaking with someone miles away, they were firmly grounded in the space of the home, where the phone was attached to the wall.
Over the course of the 20th century, phones grew smaller, easier to use, and therefore less mystical and remarkable in their household presence. And with the spread of cordless phones in the 1980s, calls became more private. But even then, when making a call to another household's landline, you never knew who would pick up. For those of us who grew up with a shared family phone, calling friends usually meant first speaking with their parents, and answering calls meant speaking with any number of our parents' acquaintances on a regular basis. With practice, I was capable of addressing everyone from a telemarketer to my mother's boss to my older brother's friend'--not to mention any relative who happened to call. Beyond developing conversational skills, the family phone asked its users to be patient and participate in one another's lives.
Cellphones, which came on the market in the '80s and gained popularity in the '90s, rendered all of this obsolete as they displaced landlines. When kids today call ''home,'' they may actually be calling one parent and bypassing the other; friends and bosses and telemarketers (if they get through) usually reach exactly the person they are hoping to speak with. Who will be on the other end of the line is no longer a mystery.
What's more, the calls, texts, and emails that pass through cellphones (and computers and tablets) can now be kept private from family members. ''It keeps everybody separate in their own little techno-cocoons,'' says Larry Rosen, a retired psychology professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills and a co-author of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World. Whereas early landlines united family members gathered in a single room, cellphones now silo them.
Cheryl Muller, a 59-year-old artist living in Brooklyn, raised her two sons, now 30 and 27, during the transition from landline to cellphone. ''I do remember the shift from calling out 'It's for you,' and being aware of their friends calling, and then asking them what the call was about, to pretty much '... silence,'' she says. Caroline Coleman, 54, a writer in New York City whose children grew up during the same transition, recalls how at age 10 her son got a call from a man with a deep voice. ''I was horrified. I asked who it was'--and it was his first classmate whose voice had changed,'' she said. ''When you get cells, you lose that connection.''
These days, this dynamic is also often reversed. A shared family phone meant that kids overheard some of their parents' conversations, providing a window into their relationships, but today, children frequently see a parent silently staring at a screen, fingers tapping, occasionally furrowing a brow or chuckling. ''Sometimes there are people that I've never even heard of that you're texting,'' my 11-year old once told me. Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT and the author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, has described this as ''the new silences of family life.''
Central to the smartphone's pull is the fact that it is not just a phone. The original telephone was designed exclusively for the back-and-forth rhythm of speaking and listening, while today's phones perform that function and so many others. ''When it was just a phone, you could only have one conversation at a time,'' says Mary Ellen Love, a teacher in New Jersey who raised two sons'--22 and 24'--during the landline era, and is now raising an 11-year-old daughter named Grace. ''Now Grace can look at [her phone] and be involved in five conversations in a second.''
''Nobody had separation-anxiety issues when they walked out of the house without their [landline] phone,'' says Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and a co-author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. ''Nobody used to say that their princess phone was their life. It's not your phone'--it's the news, it's YouTube, it's your bank account, it's shopping '... You can engage in every aspect of your life, and some of that is wonderful.''
Meanwhile, the physical medium of communication has shifted from telephone poles, visually linking individual homes, to the elusive air. The environment of each call has shifted from a living room or a kitchen to anywhere, and as a result, callers spend time placing each other: In the early days of the phone, they often asked, ''Are you there?,'' but now they have graduated to ''Where are you?'' When people look up after whiling away time in their virtual homes'--their homepages, their home screens'--they must adjust back to their physical surroundings. ''You don't lose yourself in the same way when you're talking on the phone on the wall,'' says Steiner-Adair. ''You don't lose your sense of where you are in time and space.''
Plenty of people don't lament the passing of the family phone. Michael Muller, the 27-year-old son of Cheryl, the artist in Brooklyn, says he enjoys the constant proximity of a cellphone and prefers texting over calling, which he says people only use when they want to ''extract an answer.'' ''Text is so much easier to take as much time as you want to think about it,'' he told me. If he has kids, he's not sure he'll get a landline for his family to share.
Even in its infancy, the telephone wasn't always celebrated. Its rise prompted a London editor in the late 19th century to ask, ''What will become of the privacy of life? What will become of the sanctity of the domestic hearth?'' Some viewed the phone as supernatural (they struggled to understand how sound could travel through wire) or impractical (aboveground phone lines in the early days were often highly obtrusive). When people first shouted into phones, they felt awkward, as though they were performing.
Read: I won't buy my teenagers smartphones
Even as the family phone recedes into history a century and a half later, we can preserve the togetherness it promoted in other ways. Rosen, the psychology professor, says that ''creating special family time is really critical,'' and Turkle writes of the importance of device-free ''sacred'' spaces in the home. The family phone was hardly a necessary ingredient for family bonding.
And perhaps the spirit of the family phone can live on. Margaret Klein, an educational researcher living in New Jersey and a mother of three girls, ages 6, 9, and 11, has tried to ease into giving her daughters their own phones. Her girls share a stripped-down cellphone with no internet access, and call it ''the family phone.'' When her oldest went to a ballet program in Manhattan this summer, she brought it. Klein's 9-year-old has used it a few times to text her camp friends. But ''it always goes back and lives in its place at the end of the day,'' she tells me'--right next to their landline in the living room.
Indeed, even as smartphones have taken over, some people stand by their landlines. ''I mainly want to keep it because it works when there is no power,'' says Peter Eavis, a New York City''based journalist in his 50s and a father of two. ''And as a veteran of 9/11, an actual NYC blackout, Hurricane Irene, and Superstorm Sandy, it gives me comfort.''
But Eavis's landline is on its way to being an anomaly, and a generation of children who never had one are coming of age. Eventually, for those who enjoyed'--or at least grew accustomed to'--the sound of a communal phone ringing in their homes, a moment of silence will be in order.
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Julia Cho is a writer based in New Jersey.
The CIA's Former Chief of Disguise Drops Her Mask - WSJ
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:52
One morning during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Jonna Mendez, then the CIA's chief of disguise, entered the White House wearing a mask. She had originally disguised herself as an African-American man but decided that mask wouldn't work, not least because her voice would give her away. Instead, she borrowed the face of a female colleague. ''It was a little nerve-racking,'' she recalls. ''I hadn't really worn it anywhere.'' She sat outside the Oval Office, chewing her pencil through the mask, until the president was ready for his morning intelligence briefing.
Entering the Oval with Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, and Robert Gates, the CIA director, Ms. Mendez delivered the briefing without raising the slightest suspicion. ''Then I said, I'm going to show you what we're doing now, the latest technology. I'm going to take it off.'' President Bush, himself a former CIA director, told her not to; he wanted to figure it out himself. Mr. Bush stood up from his desk and circled her but couldn't spot anything amiss.
''So I just took it off,'' laughs Ms. Mendez. ''I did the Tom Cruise peel before Tom Cruise did. I think they should call it the Jonna Mendez peel.'' Several of the masks she created are now at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (She sits on the museum's board of directors and was involved with its design and planning.)
Ms. Mendez, 74, likes a good camera concealed as a lipstick (''In the hands of someone who had access, this was lethal,'' she winks). Her favorite disguise was as an African-American woman in red stilettos (''Boy, I was amazing''). But in ''true face'''--CIA-speak for undisguised'--she doesn't look glamorous or flashy. At the Spy Museum in a floral blazer, Starbucks coffee in hand, she might easily be mistaken for a tourist or a grandmotherly neighbor.
In fact, she operated in some of the most contested locales of the Cold War, serving tours in Europe, Asia, the Indian subcontinent and at CIA headquarters. After 27 years of undercover service, she knows how deceptive appearances can be'--and how to spot the illusions of others. ''Don't ever walk by me wearing a toupee,'' she says.
Ms. Mendez started out in 1966 as a secretary for the agency. She was living in Germany with her first husband, who revealed three days before their wedding that he worked for the CIA. ''I think I recruited myself,'' she explains. She quickly hit a ceiling with secretarial work. ''There was nowhere to go, no ladder up.''
Recognizing her interest in photography, her boss sent her to ''the Farm'''--the CIA's 9,000-acre training facility in Virginia'--to take a course in espionage photography. She learned how to read license plates from a bouncy plane and to develop reconnaissance film sent in by agents abroad.
Some of the men hazed her. The darkroom was decorated with photos of nude women, she recalled. ''That was just part of the deal,'' she says. ''You ignore it, and you work harder than they do.''
The Office of Technical Services, where Ms. Mendez spent her CIA career, is staffed with engineers, chemists, physicists, makeup artists, counterfeiters and ink specialists. Ms. Mendez likens them to the ''Q'' branch in the James Bond films, except that unlike the often lab-bound Q, the CIA's technical officers regularly went into the field. On two occasions, Ms. Mendez thought she might not escape a mission alive. One was on the Indian subcontinent, during a meeting with a terrorist who claimed to have intelligence on a planned attack; the other was in Bogot, during the height of Colombia's drug wars.
''A lot of this stuff came out of our office,'' she says, gesturing to the Spy Museum's displays of gadgetry. There is a fake brick that functions as a concealment device for dead-drops (a clandestine method of passing information by dropping and collecting it at an agreed location). There is also a microdot camera that reduces a photo to the size of a period so that it can be concealed in the text of a magazine. And there are pen cameras and cigarette-lighter cameras, bugging devices and batteries. ''We had a huge need for smaller, more powerful batteries,'' she says. (Once you bugged a KGB conference table, you were unlikely to get a chance to change the batteries.) ''Everything you have in that cellphone,'' she says, pointing to an iPhone, ''is what we were working on for our whole careers.''
One key CIA challenge was figuring out how to operate in Moscow, where the KGB worked ruthlessly to keep foreign agents from collecting intelligence. At one point, the CIA estimates that the KGB had 50,000 officers in Moscow alone. ''We called it the belly of the beast,'' says Ms. Mendez. ''You couldn't turn around.''
That is where disguises came in. Ms. Mendez and Tony Mendez, who would later become her second husband, went to Los Angeles to study the techniques of Hollywood's best makeup artists and magicians. ''How you build deception and illusion became really interesting to us,'' she says. They created disguises that allowed CIA agents to disappear on the streets of Moscow'--wigs, prosthetic noses, false teeth and masks. They could make twins, tricking the KGB into following the wrong person. They could turn women into men and men into women'--although mostly, she adds, the male agents wouldn't let themselves be disguised as females.
Ms. Mendez passes quickly by the museum's exhibit on her career, which notes that she received the CIA's Intelligence Commendation Medal on her retirement in 1993, but she stops when she reaches the exhibit dedicated to Mr. Mendez, who died in January. ''He is something of a legend at the CIA,'' she says. Mr. Mendez came to world-wide recognition with the 2012 film ''Argo,'' which depicts the operation he ran in 1980 to exfiltrate six American diplomats from Iran during the hostage crisis. (Ben Affleck starred as Mr. Mendez; the movie won the Oscar for best picture.) But the ''Argo'' caper was just one moment in Mr. Mendez's long career, she notes. After he retired to paint'--he put on art shows with Ms. Mendez, who continues to display her photography'--the CIA recognized him as one of the 50 ''trailblazers'' in the agency's history.
She leads the way into a room that the Spy Museum has decked out like a drab East Berlin hotel, which stirs memories of all of the bugged hotels where she stayed across the Soviet bloc. ''The Stasi were formidable,'' she says of the East German secret police. ''Everything in here would have a bug in it'--the lamp, the book bindings, the lids of the liquor bottle, the plant pots.'' After a pause, she adds, ''I don't know where Donald Trump stayed in Moscow, but I know without a doubt that his room was bugged. If he did anything he shouldn't have, there will be tapes.''
Ms. Mendez worries about partisan politics interfering with the CIA's work, which ''should never be political.'' Yet she is confident that the CIA's division chiefs won't stand for inappropriately politicized guidance, even if it comes from the very top. ''Say that somebody said, 'Let's ease off the Russians.' I don't think they would,'' she says. ''They don't know how to ease off the Russians. They only know one speed and one direction, and that's ahead.''
Write to Elizabeth Winkler at
Corrections & Amplifications Several masks created by former CIA disguise chief Jonna Mendez are now at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the mask she wore in an Oval Office briefing of President George H.W. Bush was on display at the museum (Dec. 12, 2019).
Thousands Of Misleading Facebook Ads Help Conservatives To 'Crushing' U.K. Election Victory
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:36
The Conservative Party spent millions on Facebook ads during the UK general election. (Photo by BEN ... [+] STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty ImagesAt the end of October, Twitter announced that it was banning political advertisements. The announcement came after its bigger rival Facebook ruled out the possibility of banning political ads on its own social network. But not only did Facebook refuse to ban political ads, it also refused to subject such ads to fact-checking, something which critics said was necessary in view of the often deceptive nature of posts from political sources.
Well, this controversial policy appears to have had the desired effect, as the incumbent Conservative government celebrated a "crushing" victory in Thursday's U.K. general election. It gained 365 seats in Parliament compared to the Labour Party's 203, and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that the result gave his administration a "stonking mandate" for Brexit, the victory may not simply have been a result of the electorate's desire for a swift exit from the EU.
According to research from fact-checking non-profit First Draft, 88% of the Facebook ads the Conservatives posted in the first four days of December were deemed misleading by Full Fact, one of the U.K.'s biggest fact-checking organisations. By contrast, First Draft said that it couldn't identify any specific Labour Facebook ads as misleading or false, although the party paid for fewer posts than its rivals.
In particular, First Draft noted that 5,000 of the 6,749 ads paid for by the Conservatives contained references to the construction of 40 new hospitals. This figure was disputed by Full Fact, given that it had not been costed and given that the Conservatives' spending plans for the next Parliament had allocated funding only for six hospitals to be upgraded by 2025.
Not only that, but false claims about the cost of Labour's spending plans to the average tax payer made an appearance in more than 4,000 Facebook ads paid for by the Conservatives, while 500 promoted the widely refuted claim that the Tories will create jobs for 50,000 more nurses, even though the promise actually includes simply retaining 18,500 nurses already on the job.
In other words, the Conservatives' social media election strategy involved subjecting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters to false ad after false ad. Perhaps voters were swayed more by the desire to progress with Brexit when casting their votes, but the simple fact that the Conservatives paid for these ''post-truth'' ads indicates that the party believed they would have a tangible effect. If not, then why pay for them?
Yet putting aside the question of the ethics of the Conservative Party's conduct here, much of the scrutiny must reside with Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg is on record defending his company's political ads policy, having argued in recent weeks that "People should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying." Likewise, a Facebook spokesperson told me, "We don't believe a private company like Facebook should censor politicians. Our approach is instead to introduce unprecedented levels of transparency so anyone can see every political advert and who it's from. This means that voters, journalists and fact-checkers can scrutinise the claims being made by politicians and hold them to account."
At best this is a naive take on the issue, while at worst it's downright cynical and dangerous. It's wrong to assume or believe that the general public will simply look at misleading or false ads and quickly realise that they and the people who wrote them are lying.
Because once again, the fact that certain political parties pay for thousands of untruthful ads indicates that such parties truly believe that much of the public will believe the lies said ads peddle. They do not think, "Let's allow people to see what misleading statements and lies we're propagating." No, they think, "Let's lie to the public and hope our lies convince the public to vote for us."
Studies support the notion that Facebook ads are persuasive. A 2018 paper published by researchers at the University of Warwick found that, in the context of the 2016 presidential election, Facebook ads "had a significant effect in persuading undecided voters to support Mr Trump, and in persuading Republican supporters to turn out on polling day." More specifically, it found that "neutral voters who access Facebook on a daily basis are up to twice more likely to support the Republican candidates than neutral voters who do not have a Facebook account."
So, not only were the vast majority of the Conservative Party ads misleading, but they were also likely persuasive, as indicated by yet more research from 2018 which concluded that Facebook ads increased the number of Trump voters in 2016 by 10%.
If Mark Zuckerberg is an intelligent person (and there's no reason to think he isn't), he will be well aware of all this. And the fact that he doesn't change Facebook's policy to prevent political misinformation suggests that he's happy with his social network being used''on an industrial scale''to disseminate such misinformation.
As the First Draft report indicates, it's a right-wing party that has spread much more misinformation than its centrist and left-wing rivals. And in general, similar reports and studies reinforce the suspicion that right-wing parties are more likely to use social media to deceive and manipulate public opinion.
Looking at the 2018 Brazilian presidential election, for instance, investigations from a number of national journals revealed that various companies supportive of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro spent millions of dollars on WhatsApp posts and ads, many of which were false. In the EU elections in May, researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that 12% of tweets using hashtags promoted by far-right EU parties came from bots, compared to only 6% for tweets associated with all parties. And in the good ol' United States, a 2018 analysis by the University of Oxford's Internet Institute found that "ultra-rightwing conservatives" shared more false stories on Facebook than all other political groups put together in the quarter leading up to President Trump's State of the Union address.
It's arguable that the right-wing's greater attraction to falsity is a trend Zuckerberg is happy to profit from and facilitate. That's because it's left-wing parties, candidates and intellectuals that are threatening to regulate Facebook, tax it, break it up, or even nationalize it. Indeed, secret recordings leaked in October reveal that, in response to Elizabeth Warren's threats to regulate and break up Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is gearing up for a ''fight'' with any organization or government that might attempt to restrict its cancerous growth.
"But look, at the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and fight," he said, in a speech to Facebook employees that also saw him indicate that he'd be prepared to sue the U.S. government, should it attempt to follow through with any policies such as Warren's.
It gets worse, because (also in October) Politico revealed that the Facebook CEO had been holding meetings with conservative journalists, commentators and even a Republican lawmaker. These meetings related to issues of ''free speech,'' and appeared to be an attempt by Zuckerberg to woo elements of the right, and to assure the right that Facebook would support its efforts to the use the social network to communicate with the public.
"The White House is looking for meaningful steps from Facebook on a number of fronts,'' a senior Trump administration official told Politico, clarifying that these fronts included ''competition, free speech for everybody including conservatives, and privacy.''
This is potentially ominous, because in conjunction with Zuckerberg's apparent opposition to attempts to regulate or tame Facebook, they appear to indicate that the social network's political allegiances are shifting to the right, at a time when far-right governments are in the ascendence internationally.
But regardless of how true this is, the fact that Facebook refuses to fact-check political ads does not reflect well on the social network, particularly in combination with the fact that the Conservative Party has just used thousands of misleading Facebook ads to help it win another U.K. election. It reveals that in strictly functional terms, and with specific regards to its ads policy, Facebook is indistinguishable from a social network that is avowedly and openly in favor of right-wing governments and politics.
The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.
Hallmark says it's 'truly sorry' after pulling ads of same-sex couples
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:20
Zola ad of same-sex marriage.
Courtesy of Zola
Hallmark has reversed course on its decision to pull ads depicting same-sex couples from wedding website Zola.
The company had removed the commercials from the Hallmark Channel after One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association that defines its mission as the "fight against indecency," urged the network to not air advertisements featuring brides kissing.
A Hallmark spokesperson said the lesbian couple's public display of affection violated its policies, while the company reportedly told Zola it can't accept controversial ads. But while Hallmark cut the ads with same-sex weddings, the network continued to air two other Zola ads, including one of a heterosexual couple kissing at the altar.
In a statement Sunday, Hallmark Cards president and CEO Mike Perry apologized for the decision.
"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused," he said. "Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that distracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
The company said it will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community in its brands.
In response to Hallmark's statement, GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement that the organization exists to hold companies like Hallmark accountable.
"The Hallmark Channel's decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine," she said. "LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change."
In Hallmark's statement, the company said it plans to reach out to Zola to reestablish its partnership and reinstate the ads.
"We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed," Zola chief marketing officer Mike Chi said in a statement. "We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day."
Disclosure: Both NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Zola.
Army's Secret Flights Over Washington Now an 'Enduring' Mission - Bloomberg
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:14
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Amazon Rekognition '' Video and Image - AWS
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:09
Amazon Rekognition makes it easy to add image and video analysis to your applications using proven, highly scalable, deep learning technology that requires no machine learning expertise to use. With Amazon Rekognition, you can identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities in images and videos, as well as detect any inappropriate content. Amazon Rekognition also provides highly accurate facial analysis and facial search capabilities that you can use to detect, analyze, and compare faces for a wide variety of user verification, people counting, and public safety use cases.
With Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels, you can identify the objects and scenes in images that are specific to your business needs. For example, you can build a model to classify specific machine parts on your assembly line or to detect unhealthy plants. Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels takes care of the heavy lifting of model development for you, so no machine learning experience is required. You simply need to supply images of objects or scenes you want to identify, and the service handles the rest.
Colin Kaepernick Nike Air Force 1 Release Info |
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 08:01
Making a name for himself in controversy, Colin Kaepernick's Nike backing has seen him right on the billboards of NYC streets to small facets of your daily media consumption. And while his career playing in the NFL is still largely up in the air, the athlete has since begun holding workouts right in Atlanta for upper echelon talent to show off their skills to many a franchise scout. Just prior to getting on the field in a set of cleats, Kaepernick made the grass his own tunnel runway with a quick tease of his upcoming Air Force 1 collaboration. Finer details are still up to speculation as a neutral palette and minimal touch-up only raises more and more questions; hits of black dye much of the upper's smooth leather construction, acting apart from inline offerings with its gradient-accented swoosh and the inclusion of his logo right on the tongue. Grab a look at the pair right here, and with them yet to be confirmed whether or not these will see an official release, keep it locked for updates as we learn more.
Colin Kaepernick x Nike Air Force 1Release Date: December 2019Style Code: CQ0493-001
Photos: jim_frd
Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death in high treason case - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:45
Updated December 17, 2019 21:56:02
Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani court on charges of high treason and subverting the constitution.
Key points:A Pakistani court handed the sentence down after a trial that began in 2014The death penalty relates to Musharraf's declaration a state of emergency in 2007Musharraf has been living outside Pakistan, reportedly in self exile in DubaiPakistan's anti-terrorism court handed the sentence down on Tuesday, a senior government official said.
"Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of Article 6 for violation of the constitution of Pakistan," government law officer Salman Nadeem said.
A Pakistani court first indicted the former military ruler for treason in 2014 on charges relating to his 2007 imposition of emergency rule.
Musharraf first seized power after ousting prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 coup, and declared a state of emergency in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, on November 3, 2007.
The Supreme Court had been about to rule on the legality of his re-election as president a month earlier.
Musharraf arrested and sacked the country's top judges, including the chief justice, who challenged his decision.
Under the emergency, all civil liberties, human rights and democratic processes were suspended, from November 2007 to February 2008.
The final years of his rule were marked by struggles with the judiciary stemming from his wish to remain head of the army while also being president.
In an infamous purge in 2007, Musharraf placed several key judges under house arrest, which sparked protests across the country, forcing him to resign in 2008 to avoid impeachment.
A spokesman for former prime minister Mr Sharif, Ahsan Iqbal, praised Tuesday's ruling, saying Musharraf deserved the death sentence because he had ousted an elected government.
"We welcome this court ruling," Mr Iqbal said, adding that the judges had done justice to a former dictator.
Living in exileMusharraf has been living outside of Pakistan in Dubai, with media reports claiming the 76-year-old has been on self-imposed exile.
While Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates do not have an extradition treaty and it is said Emirati authorities are unlikely to arrest him, if he were to return to Pakistan he would have the right to challenge his conviction in court.
The ruling by a three-judge panel was not unanimous, as one of the judges had opposed the death sentence, according to Akhtar Sheikh, one of Musharraf's lawyers.
After the sentence was announced, Pakistan's Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters that Prime Minister Imran Khan's Government would "review in detail" the verdict before commenting on it.
Many of Musharraf's supporters took to Twitter to express their discomfort over the sentence.
Musharraf's declining healthEarlier this month, through a video statement from his hospital bed, Musharraf described the case against him as "baseless" and said he was ready to record his statement about the treason case but was unable to travel to Pakistan.
"I served the nation and made decisions for the betterment of the country," he said in the video clip.
Musharraf had only appeared at the hearings twice due to his ill health.
In 2014, he was rushed to hospital in Dubai after suffering a "heart problem" on his way to court.
At the time, his legal team said the allegations against him were politically motivated and challenged the authority of the three-judge tribunal.
Musharraf, who is said to still be very ill and unlikely to travel home to face the sentence, has always maintained his innocence.
First posted December 17, 2019 19:02:24
Chinese gangs are spreading African swine fever to profit - Business Insider
Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:29
A report by state media says some offenders are leaving infected feed in sties and are even using drones to spread contamination.Pork prices have spiked as a result of the disease, and gangs can profit by getting around controls to smuggle meat across provincial boundaries.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Chinese criminals have been exploiting the country's African swine fever crisis by intentionally spreading the disease to force farmers to sell their pigs for a low price before smuggling the meat and selling it on as healthy stock, state media has reported.
Sometimes the gangs spread rumours about the virus, which is fatal to pigs, but in more extreme cases they are using drones to drop infected items into farms, according to an investigation by the magazine China Comment, which is affiliated to state news agency Xinhua.
The disease has reduced the country's pig herds by over 40% due to mass culls designed to stop it spreading further. The resulting shortages have seen pork prices more than double, providing opportunities for the criminals to exploit.
The magazine's report said that the gangs tried to spread panic among farmers to force them to sell their livestock at a discount rate.
Sometimes they spread rumours about the disease spreading in the locality and may even leave dead pigs on the side of a road to make farmers believe the infection is spreading. In some extreme cases, the gangs even placed infected feed inside local pigsties, the report said.
"One of our branches once spotted drones air dropping unknown objects into our piggery, and later inspection found [the] virus in those things," a farmer manager told the reporters.
Once they have bought the pigs, the gangs then smuggle the animals or their meat to other areas where prices are higher, despite a ban on transporting pork or livestock between provinces to control the spread of the disease.
The profit margin can be as much as 1,000 yuan (US$143) per pig, so dealers have been stockpiling funds for bulk purchases.
"However many pigs you have, we are taking them all," the story quoted a dealer as saying.
In the southwestern province of Yunnan alone, the authorities have already intercepted 10,000 live pigs, some infected with the virus, that were destined for other provinces.
The report said police believed that one gang had smuggled 4,000 pigs from the province in one day. It said that smugglers had been bribing inspectors and faking quarantine certificates to smuggle the animals across provincial borders.
In one such case in Lichuan, a city in the central province of Hubei, the disease spread through the area after a vet forged certificates for infected animals.
The smugglers are trying to profit from a spike in prices that has seen the cost of meat rise from about 20 yuan per kilogram to a high of 52.30 yuan last month.
Between now and the Lunar New Year holiday in late January, when demand is expected to peak, prices could rise to between 65 and 75 yuan per kilo, according to Nomura.
Read the original article on South China Morning Post. Copyright 2019. Follow South China Morning Post on Twitter.
Rickey Smiley - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 14:48
Broderick "Rickey" Smiley (born August 10, 1968) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, actor, and radio personality, known for his prank phone calls. The calls feature Smiley disguising his voice and carrying on a conversation with the recipient of the call. He is the host of the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show based in Atlanta from its flagship affiliate WHTA "Hot 107.9". Smiley has starred in sitcom The Rickey Smiley Show, which aired on TV One. He is also a featured columnist on the Fox-produced tabloid nationally-syndicated show Dish Nation. In 2015, Smiley started appearing on Rickey Smiley For Real, a reality television series about his life.
Smiley became a member of Omega Psi Phi through the Psi Rho graduate chapter.[1]
Career [ edit ] Smiley appeared as the host of the 2000 season of BET's "ComicView" program. He has also appeared on "Showtime at the Apollo", HBO's "Def Comedy Jam", HBO's "Snaps", "The Nashville Network", "Uptown Comedy Club", and "Comic Escape". His original comedy routines often feature the role-play of fictional characters such as "Bernice Jenkins" (AKA Granny Swims, Ms. Johnson or Mrs. Francis), "Lil' Daryl", "Rusty Dale" and "Beauford". Bernice Jenkins has a grandson named Rufus, who's a stereotype of the modern day "Gangsta". He is referenced in "Two Of My Toes Fell Off" and another prank phone call where Smiley calls a pharmacy.
Smiley became the morning show personality for radio station KBFB in Dallas, Texas in April 2004. The show features the trademark prank calls, as well as news, information and the latest hip hop music. In 2008, Smiley signed a deal with Syndication One (a syndicated radio division of Radio One) to take the show nationwide, and The Rickey Smiley Morning Show is now heard on a number of mainstream urban radio stations. Syndication One merged into Reach Media in 2013.[2]
He has also released several humorous songs based on his bits, such as "Roll Tide" featuring his redneck character Buford, and "We Miss Robert", based on a routine of his in which a friend of a deceased drug dealer performs a rap song called "We Miss Robert" at the funeral, which is actually a song about a woman, performed in hopes of landing a record deal.
Smiley had a starring role in Ice Cube's Friday After Next.
He also appeared in All About the Benjamins as an informant of Ice Cube's character, Snitch Mitch. His appearance can be viewed in a deleted scene in the special features of the DVD.
Prank calls [ edit ] Some of Smiley's most notable calls include:
"Buried Alive" - Smiley plays a narcoleptic who works at a funeral home and "fell asleep in one of these caskets" who calls a cemetery claiming that "they done buried me alive" and insists he is calling from inside a casket on his cell phone. He then requests that someone come and "dig all these graves open"."Come Over" - in a bit of a reverse prank (similar to the ones the Jerky Boys innovated), a hapless caller known as "K.D." calls a Smiley character named "Gina", a woman who initially entices him with statements like "I'm just 'bout to go crazy over here" and "I want you to come over and hurt me" before revealing she is a hermaphrodite ("that means I got both genitals"). K.D. assures Gina he is "still comin'", which prompts her to up the stakes by announcing that "my grandmama over here too...she a real freak." K.D. then speaks to the grandmother who demands "I want you to scrub my head to the white meat" and wants to know "what kind of draws you got on.""Uncle Melvin" - Smiley prank calls his uncle, as a man who believes his girlfriend has left him, and who punctuates every remark with the word "dawg" ("Is my girl over there dawg...tell her I love her, dawg")."Churches" - Smiley plays two characters in this call, both of whom call Church's Chicken. One is an elderly lady who mistakes Church's for a "church" (e.g. wants to know "what time do y'all start service" and asks "who is y'all's pastor", and "well when d y'all have Sunday school?"); when informed that she has called a restaurant, asks "Don't the chicken belong to the church?" The other caller is "Willie", who claims to be a heavyset man with a thyroid problem ("I can't get out the house no more"), and who asks for a rundown of the menu ("Is y'all okra fried, or is it all slimy in the pot, like grandmama used to make") and who constantly requests delivery of food to his house."Pray For Me" - Using his "Granny" voice again, Smiley calls "Miss Ola Mae Benton Carter Jackson Glenn", and asks her to pray for a member of her church, who had been:stabbedinvolved in an ambulance crashhit by a trainhad a leg cut off by the Jaws of Lifeshot "in the right eye"Smiley then gets the woman to lead her in several verses of "Walk With Me, Lord", each verse increasing in silliness."She P-E-E-D" - Smiley prank calls an elderly woman using his "Granny" voice; the aftermath of the call causes the woman to laugh so hard that she ends up urinating on herself."Is My Daddy Over There" - Smiley plays Lil' Daryl and his brother Brandon as they call a lady claiming their father was supposed to return home with milk for their cereal. The brothers ask the lady what she has cooked for dinner over there as she ultimately hangs up on them in frustration."Whose Funeral is Today?" - Smiley uses his "Granny" voice and calls a funeral home, asking for her deceased neighbor named Wilbert Smith. She learns that he was cremated and she was oblivious to his death, screaming out in agony when the funeral director repeats that he was cremated. The lady then asks who they are burying this week and offers to go to that funeral to make up for missing Wilbert's. The man tells her that the person they are burying is Hattie Mae Barkley, as she screams out again in agony as it is another person she knows.Filmography [ edit ] Sweet Hideaway 2003FratHouse 2013BET's Comic View (1992)Def Comedy Jam: All Stars Vol. 11 (1999)BET Comedy Awards (2004)Super Secret Movie Rules: Sports Underdogs (2004)All about the Benjamins (2002)Friday After Next (2002)Airline (2004''05)Comedy Central Presents (2006)First Sunday (2007)Rickey Smiley: Live From Atlanta (2011)Dish Nation (2012''present)The Rickey Smiley Show (2012''14)Baggage Claim (2013)Rickey Smiley For Real (2015''present)Discography [ edit ] To date, Smiley has released six albums of his prank calls:
The Best of Comedian Rickey Smiley Vol. IRickey Smiley: Prank Calls Vol. IIRickey Smiley: Vol. IIIRickey Smiley "Off The Hook Volume 4"Rickey Smiley: Vol. VRickey Smiley: Vol. 6See also [ edit ] Tube Bar prank callsReferences [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Official SiteOfficial Morning Show SiteKBFB Radio, home of Rickey's weekday morning show Smiley on IMDb
Tiger Woods - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 14:26
American golfer
Tiger WoodsPersonal informationFull nameEldrick Tont WoodsNicknameTigerBorn ( 1975-12-30 ) December 30, 1975 (age 43) Cypress, CaliforniaHeight6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[1]Weight185 lb (84 kg)[1]Nationality United StatesResidenceJupiter Island, FloridaSpouseChildren2CareerCollegeStanford University(two years)Turned professional1996Current tour(s)PGA Tour (joined 1996)Professional wins109[2]Highest ranking1 (June 15, 1997)[3](683 weeks)Number of wins by tourPGA Tour82 (T-1st all time)European Tour41 (3rd all time)[notes 1][4]Japan Golf Tour3Asian Tour1PGA Tour of Australasia1Other16Best results in major championships(wins: 15)Masters TournamentWon: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019PGA ChampionshipWon: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007U.S. OpenWon: 2000, 2002, 2008The Open ChampionshipWon: 2000, 2005, 2006Achievements and awardsPGA TourRookie of the Year1996PGA Player of the Year1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013PGA TourPlayer of the Year1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013PGA Tourleading money winner1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013Vardon Trophy1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013Byron Nelson Award1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009FedEx Cup Champion2007, 2009Presidential Medal of Freedom2019(For a full list of awards, see here)Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer. He is tied for first in PGA Tour wins and ranks second in men's major championships and also holds numerous golf records.[5] Woods is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers, and one of the most famous athletes of all time.
Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur golf career, Woods turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20. By the end of April 1997, he had won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance. He reached number one in the world rankings for the first time in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks). During this time, he won 13 of golf's major championships.
The next decade of Woods' career was marked by comebacks from personal problems and injuries. He took a self-imposed hiatus from professional golf from December 2009 to early April 2010 in an attempt to resolve marital issues with his then-wife, Elin. Extramarital affairs with Woods had been alleged by several women, and the couple eventually divorced.[6] Woods fell to number 58 in the world rankings in November 2011 before ascending again to the No.1 ranking between March 2013 and May 2014.[7][8] However, injuries led him to undergo four back surgeries between 2014 and 2017.[9] Woods competed in only one tournament between August 2015 and January 2018, and he dropped off the list of the world's top 1,000 golfers.[10][11] On his return to regular competition, Woods made steady progress to the top of the game, winning his first tournament in five years at the Tour Championship in September 2018 and his first major in 11 years at the 2019 Masters.
Woods has held numerous golf records. He has been the number one player in the world for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer in history. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record 11 times[12] and has won the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times. Woods has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 15 professional major golf championships (trailing only Jack Nicklaus, who leads with 18) and 82 PGA Tour events (tied for first all time with Sam Snead).[13] Woods leads all active golfers in career major wins and career PGA Tour wins. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the second golfer (after Nicklaus) to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships. In May 2019, Woods was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the fourth golfer to receive the honor.[14]
Background and family Woods was born in 1975 in Cypress, California,[15] to Earl[16] and Kultida "Tida" Woods.[17] He is their only child and has two half-brothers, Earl Jr. and Kevin, as well as a half-sister named Royce from his father's first marriage.[18]
Kultida (n(C)e Punsawad) is originally from Thailand, where Earl had met her when he was on a tour of duty there in 1968. She is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry.[19] Earl was a retired lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran who reported African American, Chinese, and Native American descent.[20] Earl's mother Maude Carter was light skinned.[21] Tiger describes his ethnic make-up as "Cablinasian " (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian).[22]
Woods' first name, Eldrick, was coined by his mother because it began with "E" (for Earl) and ended with "K" (for Kultida). His middle name Tont is a traditional Thai name. He was nicknamed Tiger in honor of his father's friend Col. Vuong Dang Phong, who had also been known as Tiger.[23]
Woods has a niece, Cheyenne Woods, who played for the Wake Forest University golf team and turned professional in 2012 when she made her pro debut in the LPGA Championship.[24]
Early life and amateur golf career Woods grew up in Orange County, California. He was a child prodigy who was introduced to golf before the age of two by his athletic father, Earl Woods. Earl was a single-digit handicap amateur golfer who also was one of the earliest African-American college baseball players at Kansas State University.[25] Tiger's father was a member of the military and had playing privileges at the Navy golf course beside the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, which allowed Tiger to play there. Tiger also played at the par 3 Heartwell golf course in Long Beach, as well as some of the municipals in Long Beach.[26]
In 1978, Tiger putted against comedian Bob Hope in a television appearance on The Mike Douglas Show. At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes at the Navy course. At age five, he appeared in Golf Digest and on ABC's That's Incredible![27] Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.[28] In 1984 at the age of eight, he won the 9''10 boys' event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.[29] He first broke 80 at age eight.[30] He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times, including four consecutive wins from 1988 to 1991.[31][32][33][34][35]
Woods' father Earl wrote that Tiger first defeated him at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on.[36] Woods first broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12.[37]
When Woods was 13 years old, he played in the 1989 Big I, which was his first major national junior tournament. In the final round, he was paired with pro John Daly, who was then relatively unknown. The event's format placed a professional with each group of juniors who had qualified. Daly birdied three of the last four holes to beat Woods by only one stroke.[38] As a young teenager, Woods first met Jack Nicklaus in Los Angeles at the Bel-Air Country Club, when Nicklaus was performing a clinic for the club's members. Woods was part of the show, and he impressed Nicklaus and the crowd with his skills and potential.[39] Earl Woods had researched in detail the career accomplishments of Nicklaus and had set his young son the goals of breaking those records.[37]
Woods was 15 years old and a student at Western High School in Anaheim when he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion; this was a record that stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010.[40] He was named 1991's Southern California Amateur Player of the Year (for the second consecutive year) and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year. In 1992, he defended his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the tournament's first two-time winner. He also competed in his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open (he missed the 36-hole cut), and was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year.[41][42]
The following year, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event's only three-time winner.[43] In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee.[44] He was a member of the American team at the 1994 Eisenhower Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships (winning), and the 1995 Walker Cup (losing).[45][46]
Woods graduated from Western High School at age 18 in 1994 and was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" among the graduating class. He had starred for the high school's golf team under coach Don Crosby.[47]
Woods overcame difficulties with stuttering as a boy.[48] This was not known until he wrote a letter to a boy who contemplated suicide. Woods wrote, "I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep. I also took a class for two years to help me, and I finally learned to stop."[49]
College golf career Woods was heavily recruited by college golf powers. He chose Stanford University, the 1994 NCAA champions. He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship and won his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September.[50] He selected a major in economics and was nicknamed "Urkel" by college teammate Notah Begay III.[51] In 1995, he successfully defended his U.S. Amateur title at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island[44] and was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford's Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports).[52][53]
At age 19, Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut; two years later, he would win the tournament by 12 strokes. At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles[54] and won the NCAA individual golf championship.[55] In winning the silver medal as leading amateur at The Open Championship, he tied the record for an amateur aggregate score of 281.[56] He left college after two years in order to turn professional in the golf industry. In 1996, Woods moved out of California, stating in 2013 that it was due to the state's high tax rate.[57]
Professional career Woods turned pro at age 20 in August 1996 and immediately signed advertising deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time.[58][59] Woods was named Sports Illustrated ' s 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.[60] On April 13, 1997, he won his first major, the Masters, in record-breaking fashion and became the tournament's youngest winner at age 21.[61] Two months later, he set the record for the fastest ascent to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.[62] After a lackluster 1998, Woods finished the 1999 season with eight wins, including the PGA Championship, a feat not achieved since Johnny Miller did it in 1974.[63][64]
Woods was severely myopic; his eyesight had a rating of 11 diopters. In order to correct this problem, he underwent successful laser eye surgery in 1999,[65] and he immediately resumed winning tour events. (He received money from TLC Laser Eye Centers to endorse them,[66] In 2007, his vision again began to deteriorate, and he underwent laser eye surgery a second time.[67])
In 2000, Woods won six consecutive events on the PGA Tour, which was the longest winning streak since Ben Hogan did it in 1948. One of these was the U.S. Open, where he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called "the greatest performance in golf history", in which Woods won the tournament by a record 15-stroke margin and earned a check for $800,000.[68] At age 24, he became the youngest golfer to achieve the Career Grand Slam.[69] At the end of 2000, Woods had won nine of the twenty PGA Tour events he entered and had broken the record for lowest scoring average in tour history. He was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, the only athlete to be honored twice, and was ranked by Golf Digest magazine as the twelfth-best golfer of all time.[70]
When Woods won the 2001 Masters, he became the only player to win four consecutive major professional golf titles, although not in the same calendar year. This achievement came to be known as the "Tiger Slam."[71] Following a stellar 2001 and 2002 in which he continued to dominate the tour, Woods' career hit a slump.[63][72] He did not win a major in 2003 or 2004. In September 2004, Vijay Singh overtook Woods in the Official World Golf Rankings, ending Woods' record streak of 264 weeks at No. 1.[73]
Woods rebounded in 2005, winning six PGA Tour events and reclaiming the top spot in July after swapping it back and forth with Singh over the first half of the year.[74]
Woods began dominantly in 2006, winning his first two PGA tournaments but failing to capture his fifth Masters championship in April.[75] Following the death of his father in May, Woods took some time off from the tour and appeared rusty upon his return at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he missed the cut.[76] However, he quickly returned to form and ended the year by winning six consecutive tour events. At the season's close, Woods had 54 total wins that included 12 majors; he had broken the tour records for both total wins and total majors wins over eleven seasons.[77]
Woods continued to excel in 2007 and the first part of 2008. In April 2008, he underwent knee surgery and missed the next two months on the tour.[78] Woods returned for the 2008 U.S. Open, where he struggled the first day but ultimately claimed a dramatic sudden death victory over Rocco Mediate that followed an 18-hole playoff, after which Mediate said, "This guy does things that are just not normal by any stretch of the imagination," and Kenny Perry added, "He beat everybody on one leg."[79] Two days later, Woods announced that he would miss the remainder of the season due to additional knee surgery, and that his knee was more severely damaged than previously revealed, prompting even greater praise for his U.S. Open performance. Woods called it "my greatest ever championship."[80] In Woods' absence, TV ratings for the remainder of the season suffered a huge decline from 2007.[81]
Woods competing at the third annual Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am (July 1, 2009)
Woods had a much anticipated return to golf in 2009, when he performed well. His comeback included a spectacular performance at the 2009 Presidents Cup, but he failed to win a major, the first year since 2004 that he had not done so.[82] After his marital infidelities came to light and received massive media coverage at the end of 2009 (see further details below), Woods announced in December that he would be taking an indefinite break from competitive golf.[6] In February 2010, he delivered a televised apology for his behavior, saying "I was wrong and I was foolish."[83] During this period, several companies ended their endorsement deals with Woods.[84]
Woods returned to competition in April at the 2010 Masters, where he finished tied for fourth place.[85] He followed the Masters with poor showings at the Quail Hollow Championship and the Players Championship, where he withdrew in the fourth round, citing injury.[86] Shortly afterward, Hank Haney, Woods' coach since 2003, resigned the position. In August, Woods hired Sean Foley as Haney's replacement. The rest of the season went badly for Woods, who failed to win a single event for the first time since turning professional, while nevertheless finishing the season ranked No. 2 in the world.
In 2011, Woods' performance continued to suffer; this took its toll on his ranking. After falling to No. 7 in March, he rebounded to No. 5 with a strong showing at the 2011 Masters, where he tied for fourth place.[87] Due to leg injuries incurred at the Masters, he missed several summer stops on the PGA Tour. In July, he fired his longtime caddy Steve Williams (who was shocked by the dismissal), and replaced him on an interim basis with friend Bryon Bell until he hired Joe LaCava.[88] After returning to tournament play in August, Woods continued to falter, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of #58.[8] He rose to No. 50 in mid-November after a third-place finish at the Emirates Australian Open, and broke his winless streak with a victory at December's Chevron World Challenge.[8][89]
Woods began his 2012 season with two tournaments (the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) where he started off well but struggled on the final rounds. Following the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he was knocked out in the second round by missing a 5-foot putt,[90] Woods revised his putting technique and tied for second at the Honda Classic, with the lowest final round score in his PGA Tour career. After a short time off due to another leg injury, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first win on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009. Following several dismal performances, Woods notched his 73rd PGA Tour win at the Memorial Tournament in June, tying Jack Nicklaus in second place for most PGA Tour victories;[91] a month later, Woods surpassed Nicklaus with a win at the AT&T National, to trail only Sam Snead, who accumulated 82 PGA tour wins.[92]
The year 2013 would bring a return of Woods' dominating play. In January, he won the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots for his 75th PGA Tour win. It was the seventh time he had won the event.[93] In March, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship, also for the seventh time, giving him his 17th WGC title and first since 2009.[94] Two weeks later, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a record-tying 8th time. The win moved him back to the top of the world rankings.[95] To commemorate that achievement, Nike was quick to launch an ad with the tagline "winning takes care of everything".[96]
During the 2013 Masters, Woods faced disqualification after unwittingly admitting in a post-round interview with ESPN that he had taken an illegal drop on the par-5 15th hole when his third shot had bounced off the pin and into the water. After further review of television footage, Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the drop but was not disqualified.[97] He finished tied for fourth in the event. Woods won The Players Championship in May 2013, his second career win at the event, notching his fourth win of the 2013 season. It was the quickest he had gotten to four wins in any season in his professional career.
Woods had a poor showing at the 2013 U.S. Open as a result of an elbow injury that he sustained at The Players Championship. In finishing at 13-over-par, he recorded his worst score as a professional and finished 12 strokes behind winner Justin Rose. After a prolonged break because of the injury, during which he missed the Greenbrier Classic and his own AT&T National, he returned at the Open Championship at Muirfield. Despite being in contention all week and beginning the final round only two strokes behind Lee Westwood, he struggled with the speed of the greens and could only manage a 3-over-par 74 that left him tied for 6th place, five strokes behind eventual winner Phil Mickelson. Two weeks later, Woods returned to form at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, recording his 5th win of the season and 8th win at the event in its 15-year history. His second round 61 matched his record score on the PGA Tour and could easily have been a 59 were it not for some short missed birdie putts on the closing holes. This gave him a seven-stroke lead that he held onto for the rest of the tournament. Woods would never contend at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club and would come short of winning a major for the 5th full season, only contending in two of the four majors in 2013.
After a slow start to 2014, Woods sustained an injury during the final round of the Honda Classic and was unable to finish the tournament. He withdrew after the 13th hole, citing back pain.[98] He subsequently competed in the WGC-Cadillac Championship but was visibly in pain during much of the last round. He was forced to skip the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the end of March 2014,[99] and after undergoing back surgery, he announced on April 1 that he would miss the Masters for the first time since 1994.[100] Woods returned at the Quicken Loans National in June, however he stated that his expectations for the week were low. He would struggle with nearly every aspect of his game and miss the cut. He next played at The Open Championship, contested at Hoylake, where Woods had won eight years prior. Woods fired a brilliant 69 in the first round to put himself in contention, but shot 77 on Friday and would eventually finish 69th. Despite his back pain, he played at the 2014 PGA Championship where he failed to make the cut. On August 25, 2014, Woods and his swing coach Sean Foley parted ways. In the four years under Foley, he won eight times but no majors. He had previously won eight majors with Harmon and six with Haney. Woods said there is currently no timetable to find a replacement swing coach.[101]
On February 5, 2015, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after another back injury.[102] Woods stated on his website that it was unrelated to his previous surgery and he would take a break from golf until his back healed.[103] He returned for the Masters, finishing in a tie for 17th. In the final round, Woods injured his wrist after his club hit a tree root. He later stated that a bone popped out of his wrist, but he adjusted it back into place and finished the round.[104] Woods then missed the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open and Open Championship, the first time Woods missed the cut at consecutive majors, finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard both times.[105] He finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National on August 2.[106] In late August 2015, Woods played quite well at the Wyndham Championship finishing the tournament at 13-under, only four strokes behind the winner, and tied for 10th place.[107] Woods offered only a brief comment on the speculation that he was still recovering from back surgery, saying it was "just my hip" but offering no specifics.[108]
Woods had back surgery on September 16, 2015. In late March 2016, he announced that he would miss the Masters while he recovered from the surgery;[109] he had also missed the 2014 Masters due to a back problem.[110] "I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come," he explained in a statement. "But I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf."[111] However, he did attend the Masters Champions Dinner on April 5, 2016.[112] For the first time in his career, he missed all four majors in one year due to problems with his back. In October 2016, he told Charlie Rose on PBS that he still wanted to break Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles.[113] Woods underwent back surgery in December 2016 and spent the next 15 months off the Tour. He made his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge.[114]
Woods' back problems continued to hinder him in 2017. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January and pulled out of a European Tour event in Dubai on February 3. On March 31, Woods announced on his website that he would not be playing in the 2017 Masters Tournament despite being cleared to play by his doctors. Woods said that although he was happy with his rehabilitation, he did not feel "tournament ready."[115][116] Woods subsequently told friends, ''I'm done''.[117] On April 20, Woods announced that he had undergone his fourth back surgery since 2014 to alleviate back and leg pain. Recovery time required up to six months, meaning that Woods would spend the rest of the year without playing any professional golf.[118] Woods returned to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He shot rounds of 69-68-75-68 and finished tied for 9th place. His world ranking went from 1,199th to 668th, which was the biggest jump in the world rankings in his career.
On March 11, 2018, he finished one-shot back and tied for second at the Valspar Championship in Florida, his first top-five finish on the PGA Tour since 2013.[119] He then tied for sixth with a score of five under par at the 2018 Open Championship.[120] At the last major of the year Woods finished second at the 2018 PGA Championship, two shots behind the winner Brooks Koepka. It was his best result in a major since 2009 (second at the 2009 PGA Championship) and moved up to 26th in the world rankings. His final round of 64 was his best ever final round in a major.[121][11]
Woods returned to the winner's circle for the 80th time in his PGA Tour career on September 23, 2018, when he won the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club for the second time and that tournament for the third time. He shot rounds of 65-68-65-71 to win by two strokes over Billy Horschel.[122]
On April 14, 2019, Woods won the Masters, which was his first major championship win in eleven years and his 15th major overall. He finished 13 under par to win by one stroke over Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.[123] At age 43, he became the second oldest golfer ever to win the Masters, after Jack Nicklaus who was 46 when he triumphed in 1986.[124] In August 2019, Woods announced via social media that he underwent a knee surgery to repair minor cartilage damage and that he had an arthroscopic procedure during the Tour Championship. In his statement, Woods also confirmed that he was walking and intends on traveling and playing in Japan in October.[125]
Woods played in his first 2020 PGA Tour event at the Zozo Championship in October 2019, which was the first-ever PGA Tour event played in Japan. Woods, who played a highly publicized skins game earlier in the week at the same course as the Championship, held at least a share of the lead after every round of the rain-delayed tournament, giving him a three stroke victory over Hideki Matsuyama.[126] The win was Woods's 82nd on Tour, tying him with Sam Snead for the most victories all time on the PGA Tour.[127][128]
Honors Woods checking his drive in 2007
On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver announced that Woods would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. He was inducted December 5, 2007 at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.[129]
In December 2009, Woods was named "Athlete of the Decade" by the Associated Press.[130] He was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year[131] a record-tying four times, and is one of only two people to be named Sports Illustrated ' s Sportsman of the Year more than once.
Since his record-breaking win at the 1997 Masters, Woods has been the biggest name in golf and his presence in tournaments has drawn a huge fan following. Some sources have credited him for dramatically increasing prize money in golf, generating interest in new PGA tournament audiences, and for drawing the largest TV ratings in golf history.[60][132]
In May 2019, following his 2019 Masters Tournament win, Woods was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump.[133]
Endorsements During the first decade of his professional career, Woods was the world's most marketable athlete.[134] Shortly after his 21st birthday in 1996, he signed endorsement deals with numerous companies, including General Motors, Titleist, General Mills, American Express, Accenture, and Nike, Inc. In 2000, he signed a 5-year, $105 million contract extension with Nike, which was the largest endorsement package signed by a professional athlete at that time.[135] Woods' endorsement has been credited with playing a significant role in taking the Nike Golf brand from a "start-up" golf company earlier in the previous decade to becoming the leading golf apparel company in the world and a major player in the equipment and golf ball market.[134][136] Nike Golf is one of the fastest growing brands in the sport, with an estimated $600 million in sales.[137] Woods has been described as the "ultimate endorser" for Nike Golf,[137] frequently seen wearing Nike gear during tournaments, and even in advertisements for other products.[135] Woods receives a percentage from the sales of Nike Golf apparel, footwear, golf equipment, golf balls,[134] and has a building named after him at Nike's headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.[138]
In 2002, Woods was involved in every aspect of the launch of Buick's Rendezvous SUV. A company spokesman stated that Buick was happy with the value of Woods' endorsement, pointing out that more than 130,000 Rendezvous vehicles were sold in 2002 and 2003. "That exceeded our forecasts," he was quoted as saying, "It has to be in recognition of Tiger." In February 2004, Buick renewed Woods' endorsement contract for another five years, in a deal reportedly worth $40 million.[135]
Woods collaborated closely with TAG Heuer to develop the world's first professional golf watch, which was released in April 2005.[139] The lightweight, titanium-construction watch, designed to be worn while playing the game, incorporates numerous innovative design features to accommodate golf play. It is capable of absorbing up to 5,000 Gs of shock, far in excess of the forces generated by a normal golf swing.[139] In 2006, the TAG Heuer Professional Golf Watch won the prestigious iF product design award in the Leisure/Lifestyle category.[140]
Woods preparing for a photo shoot in 2006
Woods also endorsed the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games; he has done so since 1999.[141] In 2006, he signed a six-year contract with Electronic Arts, the series' publisher.[142]
In February 2007, Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry became ambassadors for the "Gillette Champions" marketing campaign. Gillette did not disclose financial terms, though an expert estimated the deal could total between $10 million and $20 million.[143]
In October 2007, Gatorade announced that Woods would have his own brand of sports drink starting in March 2008. "Gatorade Tiger" was his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement. Although no figures were officially disclosed, Golfweek magazine reported that it was for five years and could pay him as much as $100 million.[144] The company decided in early fall 2009 to discontinue the drink due to weak sales.[145]
In October 2012, it was announced that Woods had signed an exclusive endorsement deal with Fuse Science, Inc, a sports nutrition firm.[146]
In 1997, Woods and fellow golfer Arnold Palmer initiated a civil case against Bruce Matthews (the owner of Gotta Have It Golf, Inc.) and others in the effort to stop the unauthorized sale of their images and alleged signatures in the memorabilia market. Matthews and associated parties counterclaimed that Woods and his company, ETW Corporation, committed several acts including breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith, and violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.[147] Palmer also was named in the counter-suit, accused of violating the same licensing agreement in conjunction with his company Arnold Palmer Enterprises.
On March 12, 2014, a Florida jury ruled in favor of Gotta Have It on its breach of contract and other related claims, rejected ETW's counterclaims, and awarded Gotta Have It $668,346 in damages.[148] The award may end up exceeding $1 million once interest has been factored in, though the ruling may be appealed.
In August 2016, Woods announced that he would be seeking a new golf equipment partner[149] after the news of Nike's exit from the equipment industry.[150] It was announced on January 25, 2017, that he would be signing a new club deal with TaylorMade.[151] He added the 2016 M2 driver along with the 2017 M1 fairway woods, with irons to be custom made at a later date. He also added his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS, a club he used to win 13 of his 15 majors.[152] Also, in late 2016, he would add Monster Energy as his primary bag sponsor, replacing MusclePharm.[153]
Accumulated wealth Woods has appeared on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes.[154][155] According to Golf Digest, Woods made $769,440,709 from 1996 to 2007,[156] and the magazine predicted that Woods would pass a billion dollars in earnings by 2010.[157] In 2009, Forbes confirmed that Woods was indeed the world's first professional athlete to earn over a billion dollars in his career, after accounting for the $10 million bonus Woods received for the FedEx Cup title.[158] The same year, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $600 million, making him the second richest person of color in the United States, behind only Oprah Winfrey.[159] In 2015, Woods ranked ninth in Forbes' list of world's highest-paid athletes, being the top among Asian Americans or the fourth among African Americans.[160] As of 2017, Woods was considered to be the highest-paid golfer in the world.[161]
Tiger-proofing Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not).[162] At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.
A related effect was measured by University of California economist Jennifer Brown, who found that other golfers scored higher when competing against Woods than when he was not in the tournament. The scores of highly skilled golfers are nearly one stroke better when playing against Woods. This effect was larger when he was on winning streaks and disappeared during his well-publicized slump in 2003''04. Brown explains the results by noting that competitors of similar skill can hope to win by increasing their level of effort, but that, when facing a "superstar" competitor, extra exertion does not significantly raise one's level of winning while increasing risk of injury or exhaustion, leading to reduced effort.[163]
Many courses in the PGA Tour rotation (including major championship sites like Augusta National) have added yardage to their tees in an effort to reduce the advantage of long hitters like Woods; this is a strategy that became known as "Tiger-Proofing". Woods said he welcomed the change, in that adding yardage to courses did not affect his ability to win.[164]
Career achievements Woods has won 82 official PGA Tour events, including 15 majors. He is 14''1 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead. Multiple golf experts have heralded Woods as "the greatest closer in history".[165] He owns the lowest career scoring average and the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history.
Woods' victory at the 2013 Players Championship also marked a win in his 300th PGA Tour start.[166] He also won golf tournaments in his 100th (in 2000) and 200th (in 2006) tour starts.[167]
Woods has spent the most consecutive and cumulative weeks atop the world rankings. He is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus) to have won all four major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.[168] Woods is the only player to have won all four major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000''2001 seasons.
PGA Tour wins (82)European Tour wins (41)Japan Golf Tour wins (3)Asian Tour wins (1)PGA Tour of Australasia wins (1)Other professional wins (16) Amateur wins (21)Major championships Wins (15) 1Defeated May in three-hole playoff by 1 stroke: Woods (3-4-5=12), May (4-4-5=13) 2Defeated DiMarco in a sudden-death playoff: Woods (3) and DiMarco (4).3Defeated Mediate with a par on 1st sudden death hole after 18-hole playoff was tied at even par. This was the final time an 18-hole playoff was used in competition.
Results timeline Win
Top 10
Did not play
LA = Low amateurCUT = missed the half-way cutWD = withdrew"T" indicates a tie for a place
Summary Most consecutive cuts made '' 39 (1996 U.S. Open '' 2006 Masters)Longest streak of top-10s '' 8 (1999 U.S. Open '' 2001 Masters)World Golf Championships Wins (18) 1 Won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff2 Won on the seventh hole of a sudden-death playoff3 Won on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff4 Won on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoffResults timeline Win
Top 10
Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match playWD = withdrewNT = No tournament1 Canceled following the September 11 attacks."T" = tiedNote that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.PGA Tour career summary SeasonStartsCutsmadeWins (majors)2nd3rdTop10Top25Earnings($)Moneylist rank19921000000''''19933000000''''19943000000''''19954300000''''1996111020258790,59424199721204 (1)119142,066,83312008201912213171,841,1174199921218 (1)1216186,616,5851200020209 (3)4117209,188,3211200119195 (1)019185,687,7771200218185 (2)2213166,912,62512003181852012166,673,41322004191913314185,365,4724200521196 (2)42131710,628,0241200615148 (2)1111139,941,5631200716167 (1)30121510,867,05212008664 (1)10665,775,000220091716630141610,508,163120101211000271,294,7656820119700023660,238128201219173129136,133,1582201316165108108,553,439120147500001108,275201201511600013448,598162201600000000n/a201710000000n/a201818161207125,443,841720191291 (1)00473,199,615242020*11100111,755,0003Career*35932682 (15)3119198269120,459,4681[169]*As of October 28, 2019 (2020 season)
Playing style When Woods first joined the PGA Tour in 1996, his long drives had a large impact on the world of golf,[170] but he did not upgrade his equipment in the following years. He insisted upon the use of True Temper Dynamic Gold steel-shafted clubs and smaller steel clubheads that promoted accuracy over distance.[171] Many opponents caught up to him, and Phil Mickelson even made a joke in 2003 about Woods using "inferior equipment", which did not sit well with Nike, Titleist or Woods.[172] During 2004, Woods finally upgraded his driver technology to a larger clubhead and graphite shaft, which, coupled with his clubhead speed, again made him one of the tour's longest players off the tee.
Despite his power advantage, Woods has always focused on developing an excellent all-around game. Although in recent years[when? ] he has typically been near the bottom of the Tour rankings in driving accuracy, his iron play is generally accurate, his recovery and bunker play is very strong, and his putting (especially under pressure) is possibly his greatest asset. He is largely responsible for a shift to higher standards of athleticism amongst professional golfers, and is known for utilizing more hours of practice than most.[173][174][175]
From mid-1993 (while he was still an amateur) until 2004, Woods worked almost exclusively with leading swing coach Butch Harmon. From mid-1997, Harmon and Woods fashioned a major redevelopment of Woods' full swing, achieving greater consistency, better distance control, and better kinesiology. The changes began to pay off in 1999.[176] Woods and Harmon eventually parted ways. From March 2004 to 2010, Woods was coached by Hank Haney, who worked on flattening his swing plane. Woods continued to win tournaments with Haney, but his driving accuracy dropped significantly. Haney resigned under questionable circumstances in May 2010[177] and was replaced by Sean Foley.[178]
Fluff Cowan served as Woods' caddie from the start of his professional career until Woods dismissed him in March 1999.[179] He was replaced by Steve Williams, who became a close friend of Woods and is often credited with helping him with key shots and putts.[180] In June 2011, Woods dismissed Williams after he caddied for Adam Scott in the U.S. Open[181] and replaced him with friend Bryon Bell on an interim basis. Joe LaCava, a former caddie of both Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson, was hired by Woods shortly after[182] and has remained Woods' caddie since then.
Equipment As of 2019[update] WGC Dell Technologies Match Play:[183]
Driver: TaylorMade M5 (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ White Board 73TX shaft), 9 degreesFairway woods: TaylorMade M5 13 & M3 19 Degree (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ White Board 83TX shaft)Irons: TaylorMade TW Phase1 Prototype (3-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (56 and 60 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts)Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS with Ping Blackout PP58 GripBall: Bridgestone Tour B XS (with "Tiger" imprint)Golf glove: Nike Dri-FIT Tour gloveGolf shoes: Nike TW '17[184]Driver club cover: Frank, a plush tiger head club cover created by his mother. Frank has appeared in several commercials (voiced by actor Paul Giamatti)[185][186]Wood covers: Stitch Brand with TGR Logo.Putter cover: Nike Putter Cover.[187]Other ventures TGR Foundation The TGR Foundation was established in 1996 by Woods and his father Earl as the Tiger Woods Foundation, with the primary goal of promoting golf among inner-city children.[188] The foundation has conducted junior golf clinics across the country, and sponsors the Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team in the Junior World Golf Championships.[189][190] As of December 2010, TWF employed approximately 55 people.[191][192]
The foundation operates the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a $50-million, 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) facility in Anaheim, California, providing college-access programs for underserved youth.[189][191][193] The TWLC opened in 2006 and features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area.[189] The center has since expanded to four additional campuses: two in Washington, D.C.; one in Philadelphia; and one in Stuart, Florida.[193]
The foundation benefits from the annual Chevron World Challenge and AT&T National golf tournaments hosted by Woods.[191] In October 2011, the foundation hosted the first Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach.[194] Other annual fundraisers have included the concert events Block Party, last held in 2009 in Anaheim, and Tiger Jam, last held in 2011 in Las Vegas after a one-year hiatus.[191][195]
Tiger Woods Design In November 2006, Woods announced his intention to begin designing golf courses around the world through a new company, Tiger Woods Design.[196] A month later, he announced that the company's first course would be in Dubai as part of a 25.3-million-square-foot development, The Tiger Woods Dubai.[197] The Al Ruwaya Golf Course was initially expected to finish construction in 2009.[197] As of February 2010, only seven holes had been completed; in April 2011, The New York Times reported that the project had been shelved permanently.[198][199] In 2013, the partnership between Tiger Woods Design and Dubai Holding was dissolved.[200]
Tiger Woods Design has taken on two other courses, neither of which has materialized. In August 2007, Woods announced The Cliffs at High Carolina, a private course in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina.[201] After a groundbreaking in November 2008, the project suffered cash flow problems and suspended construction.[199] A third course, in Punta Brava, Mexico, was announced in October 2008, but incurred delays due to issues with permits and an environmental impact study.[199][202] Construction on the Punta Brava course has not yet begun.[199]
These projects have encountered problems that have been attributed to factors that include overly optimistic estimates of their value, declines throughout the global economy (particularly the U.S. crash in home prices), and the decreased appeal and marketability of Woods following his 2009 infidelity scandal.[199]
Writings Woods wrote a golf instruction column for Golf Digest magazine from 1997 to February 2011.[203] In 2001 he wrote a best-selling golf instruction book, How I Play Golf, which had the largest print run of any golf book for its first edition, 1.5 million copies.[204] In March 2017, he published a memoir, The 1997 Masters: My Story, co-authored by Lorne Rubenstein, which focuses on his first Masters win.[205]
Personal life Woods after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. From left to right: girlfriend Erica Herman, mother Kultida Woods, daughter Sam Woods, son Charlie Woods and Tiger Woods
Marriage and children In November 2003, Woods became engaged to Elin Nordegren, a Swedish former model and daughter of former minister of migration Barbro Holmberg and radio journalist Thomas Nordegren.[206] They were introduced during The Open Championship in 2001 by Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who had employed her as an au pair. They married on October 5, 2004, at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, and lived at Isleworth, a community in Windermere, a suburb of Orlando, Florida.[207][208] In 2006, they purchased a $39-million estate in Jupiter Island, Florida, and began constructing a 10,000-square-foot home; Woods moved there in 2010 following the couple's divorce.[154][208]
Woods and Nordegren's first child was a girl born in 2007, whom they named Sam Alexis Woods. Woods chose the name because his own father had always called him Sam.[209] Their son, Charlie Axel Woods, was born in 2009.[210]
Infidelity scandal and fallout In November 2009, the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Woods had had an extramarital affair with New York City nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel, who denied the claim.[211] Two days later, around 2:30 a.m. on November 27, Woods was driving from his Florida mansion in his Cadillac Escalade SUV when he collided with a fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedges near his home.[212] He was treated for minor facial lacerations and received a ticket for careless driving.[212][213] Following intense media speculation about the cause of the accident, Woods released a statement on his website and took sole responsibility for the accident, calling it a "private matter" and crediting his wife for helping him from the car.[214] On November 30, Woods announced that he would not be appearing at his own charity golf tournament (the Chevron World Challenge) or any other tournaments in 2009 due to his injuries.[215]
On December 2, following Us Weekly ' s previous day reporting of a purported mistress and subsequent release of a voicemail message allegedly left by Woods for the woman,[216] Woods released a further statement. He admitted transgressions and apologized to "all of those who have supported [him] over the years", while reiterating his and his family's right to privacy.[211][217] Over the next few days, more than a dozen women claimed in various media outlets to have had affairs with Woods.[6] On December 11, he released a third statement admitting to infidelity and he apologized again. He also announced that he would be taking "an indefinite break from professional golf."[6]
In the days and months following Woods' admission of multiple infidelities, several companies re-evaluated their relationships with him. Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors completely ended their sponsorship deals, while Gillette suspended advertising featuring Woods.[84][218] TAG Heuer dropped Woods from advertising in December 2009 and officially ended their deal when his contract expired in August 2011.[84] Golf Digest suspended Woods's monthly column beginning with the February 2010 issue.[219] In contrast, Nike continued to support Woods, as did Electronic Arts, which was working with Woods on the game Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.[220] A December 2009 study estimated the shareholder loss caused by Woods's affairs to be between $5 billion and $12 billion.[221]
On February 19, 2010, Woods gave a televised statement in which he said he had undertaken a 45-day therapy program that began at the end of December. He again apologized for his actions. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to," he said. "I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish." He said he did not know yet when he would be returning to golf.[83][222] On March 16, he announced that he would play in the 2010 Masters.[223]
After seven years of marriage, Woods and Elin divorced on August 23, 2010.[224]
2017 arrest On May 29, 2017, Woods was arrested near his Jupiter Island, Florida, home by the Jupiter Police Department at about 3:00 am. EDT for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was asleep in his car, which was stationary in a traffic lane with its engine running. He later stated that he had taken prescription drugs and did not realize how they might interact together.[225] On July 3, 2017, Woods tweeted that he had completed an out-of-state intensive program to tackle an unspecified issue.[226] At his August 9, 2017 arraignment, Woods had his attorney Douglas Duncan submit a not guilty plea for him and agreed to take part in a first-time DUI offender program and attend another arraignment on October 25.[227][228]
At a hearing on October 27, 2017, Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving. He received a year of probation, was fined $250, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests. He was not allowed to drink alcohol during the probation, and if he violated the probation he would be sentenced to 90 days in jail with an additional $500 fine.[229]
Other pursuits Woods fires a handgun at a shooting range outside San Diego.
Woods was raised as a Buddhist, and he actively practiced his faith from childhood until well into his adult, professional golf career.[230] In a 2000 article, Woods was quoted as saying that he "believes in Buddhism... not every aspect, but most of it."[231] He has attributed his deviations and infidelity to his losing track of Buddhism. He said, "Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."[232]
Woods is registered as an independent voter.[233] In January 2009, Woods delivered a speech commemorating the military at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.[234] In April 2009, Woods visited the White House while promoting the golf tournament he hosts, the AT&T National.[235] In December 2016 and again in November 2017, Woods played golf with President Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.[236]
On March 18, 2013, Woods announced that he and Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn were dating.[237] They split up in May 2015.[238] From November 2016 to August 2017, Woods was in a relationship with stylist Kristin Smith.[239][240] Woods announced in November 2017 that he was in a relationship with restaurant manager Erica Herman, following speculation about their relationship that began the month prior.[240]
See also Career Grand Slam ChampionsList of golfers with most European Tour winsList of golfers with most PGA Tour winsList of golfers with most wins in one PGA Tour eventList of longest PGA Tour win streaksList of men's major championships winning golfersList of World Number One male golfersMost PGA Tour wins in a yearNotes ^ These are the 15 majors, 18 WGC events, and his eight tour wins. References ^ a b "Tiger Woods '' Profile". PGA Tour . Retrieved June 7, 2015 . ^ This is calculated by adding Woods' 81 PGA Tour victories, 8 regular European Tour titles, 2 Japan Tour wins, 1 Asian Tour crown, and the 16 other wins in his career. ^ "Week 24 1997 Ending 15 Jun 1997" (pdf) . OWGR . Retrieved December 20, 2018 . ^ 2009 European Tour Official Guide Section 4 Page 577 PDF 21. European Tour. Retrieved April 21, 2009. Archived January 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine ^ "Who is the greatest golfer ever: Tiger or Jack?". For The Win. April 13, 2018 . Retrieved July 19, 2018 . Diaz, Jaime. 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The Tiger Woods Way: An Analysis of Tiger Woods' Power-Swing Technique. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80139-2. OCLC 55124056. Clary, Jack (1997). Tiger Woods. Twickenham, England: Tiger Books International. ISBN 978-1-85501-954-6. OCLC 40859379. Feinstein, John (1999). The Majors: In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-27971-0. OCLC 40602886. Londino, Lawrence J. (2006). Tiger Woods: A Biography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-33121-3. OCLC 61109403. Rosaforte, Tim (2000). Raising the Bar: The Championship Years of Tiger Woods. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-0-312-27212-8. OCLC 45248211. Woods, Tiger (2001). How I Play Golf. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-52931-0. OCLC 46992172. Woods, Earl; McDaniel, Pete (1997). Training a Tiger: A Father's Guide to Raising a Winner in Both Golf and Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-270178-7. OCLC 35925055. External links Official website Tiger Woods at the PGA Tour official siteTiger Woods at the European Tour official siteTiger Woods at the Japan Golf Tour official siteTiger Woods at the Official World Golf Ranking official siteTiger Woods FoundationTiger Woods Learning CenterTiger Woods on IMDbTiger Woods' Videos on mReplayTiger Woods Video on ESPN Video ArchiveTiger Woods Video on FoxSports Video Archive
Luther Campbell - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 14:14
"Luke Skyywalker" redirects here. For the Star Wars character, see
Luke Skywalker.
American rapper, promoter, record executive, and actor
Luther Roderick Campbell (born December 22, 1960), also known as Luke Skyywalker, Uncle Luke and simply Luke, is an American rapper, promoter, record executive, and actor. He is best known for being the former leader of rap group 2 Live Crew, and star of his own short-lived show on VH1, Luke's Parental Advisory. As a result of one of the group's songs, which used a parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman", Campbell was party to Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., which was argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the Miami New Times described Campbell as "the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech".[1]
Early life [ edit ] Luther Campbell was born on December 22, 1960 in Miami, Florida. His mother was a beautician with Bahamian ancestry, his father a custodian with Jamaican ancestry.[2] The youngest of five sons, he was named after Martin Luther King Jr..
After graduating high school, he was asked by his mom to leave the house every weekday at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., regardless of employment.[3]
Career [ edit ] Early 1980s: Early career and discovering The 2 Live Crew [ edit ] While working as a cook at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Campbell was a concert promoter in Miami, bringing all the hot rap groups of the early 1980s to the city. In 1983, he enrolled in an eight-week study course at public radio station WDNA, learning basic audio editing and production techniques.
In 1984, he took notice of a single coming from California named ''Revelation'' by 2 Live Crew, which consisted of two rappers (Fresh Kid Ice and Amazing V) and a DJ (Mr. Mixx). The single was a smash hit on the South Florida club circuit, so he brought them from California to Miami for a performance. He took a special interest in the group and began managing them.
1986: Starting a music label, joining The 2 Live Crew, and groups breakthrough [ edit ] The group eventually fully relocated in Florida without Amazing Vee and in 1986, 2 Live Crew recorded Throw the D with Ghetto Bass on the B-side, they went into a joint venture with Campbell to start Luke Skyyywalker Records, which was also his first MC name.
Shortly after he joined 2 Live Crew. In April of that year Brother Marquis joined the group in Miami. Campbell gave The 2 Live Crew a record deal and officially joined the group. They exploded on the local scene with their Gold-selling debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are (1986). This made Luke Skyyywalker and his bandmates rap superstars in that area.[4]
1988''1991: Best selling albums and controversy [ edit ] In 1988, the group released their second album, Move Somethin' It was certified Gold and featured the singles "Move Somethin'" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". The album improved on the charts from the previous album, making in to #68 on the Billboard 200 and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.
Campbell decided to sell a separate clean version in addition to the explicit version of the album, Move Somethin' (1988), produced by Mr. Mixx. A record store clerk in Alexander City, Alabama, was cited for selling a copy to an undercover police officer in 1988. It was the first time in the United States that a record store owner was held liable for obscenity over music. The charges were dropped after a jury found the record store not guilty. Their following album Move Somethin' (1988) also went gold.[5]
Their third album As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989) became the group's largest seller, being certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In 1990, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that the album was legally obscene;[6] this ruling was later overturned by the Eleventh Circuit.[7] It is the first album in history to be deemed legally obscene.[8] An obscenity trial followed, in which Henry Louis Gates, Jr., addressed the court on behalf of the defendants, all of whom were eventually acquitted.
Campbell was also infamous in the late 1980s''early 1990s for his association with the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. Campbell was alleged to have been behind what was referred to as a "pay-for-play" system, which involved cash rewards for acts such as scoring touchdowns and big hits,[9] although Campbell has never actually donated to the University of Miami or its athletics department. In 1993, he also threatened to go public with various violations by University of Miami's athletic department, specifically their football program, if Ryan Collins, a black player, wasn't named their starting quarterback for that season.[10]
1990, saw the release of Banned in the U.S.A. (1990), originally credited as Luke's solo album featuring 2 Live Crew and in later editions credited as a 2 Live Crew album. The album included the hits "Do the Bart" and the title track. It was also the very first release to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker.[11] It peaked at number 20 on the Hot 100.[12]
The eponymous title single is a reference to the decision in a court case that its album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was obscene (the decision would later be overturned on appeal). Bruce Springsteen granted the group permission to interpolate his song "Born in the U.S.A." for it.
Displeased over the decision of Florida Governor Bob Martinez who, on being asked to examine the album, decided it was obscene and recommended local law enforcement take action against it and over the subsequent action of Broward County, Florida, sheriff Nick Navarro, who arrested local record-store owners on obscenity charges for selling the group's albums and the subsequent arrest of members of the group on obscenity charges, the group included the song "Fuck Martinez", which also includes multiple repetitions of the phrase "fuck Navarro". The group found two other men with the same names, and had them sign releases, as they thought that this action would make it impossible for Martinez or Navarro to sue them.
That same year they released Live in Concert is the first and only live album by American rap group 2 Live Crew and their fifth record overall. It was released under the Effect subsidiary label of Luke Records, a move that was deemed necessary for the company to be able to release additional 2 Live Crew material outside of their distribution deal with Atlantic Records. The album peaked at number 46 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[13]
Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 (1991). is the sixth album overall and fifth studio album by the 2 Live Crew (released in 1991) and the sequel of As Nasty As They Wanna Be. A clean version was released later that same year titled Sports Weekend: As Clean As They Wanna Be Part II and was the sequel of As Clean As They Wanna Be. This would be the last studio album by all original members of the 2 Live Crew.[14]
1992''2006: Subsequent success and solo projects [ edit ] In 1992, I Got Shit on My Mind was released. It was his first official solo album without The 2 Live Crew. It peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200 chart and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was the album that spawned the hit single "I Wanna Rock" (better known more prominently as "Doo-Doo Brown"), which became Luke's signature song. Upon its initial release in 1992, the song did not garner much attention until the following year, when it became a runaway hit, and charted at 73 on the Hot 100.[15]
Also that year, he produced The Chinaman was the first solo album by Fresh Kid Ice. It was released by Effect Records, a division of Luke Records. Singles that were released to promote the album were "Dick 'Em Down," "I'll Be There," and "Freak 'Em Down" (the clean version of "Dick 'Em Down," which wasn't featured in the album). "Freak 'Em Down" was turned into a video clip. The album is noted for being the first hip hop album embracing having an Asian heritage. With songs like "Long Dick Chinese," he inverted stereotypes into prideful declarations of self-identity. He showed there was a way for Asians to exist in hip-hop.,[16] The Chinaman sold over 200,000 with very limited promotion.[17] On the Billboard charts it peaked at #38 and stayed two weeks on the Heatseekers Albums Chart, and was on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart for ten weeks, peaking at #56.[18][19]
June 8, 1993 saw the release of his third solo In the Nude it was another success, reaching #54 on the Billboard 200 and #8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[20]
In 1994, he reunited with Fresh Kid Ice, and a local rapper named Verb made an album under the banner The New 2 Live Crew. It is the last 2 Live Crew related project to feature him. The album became a moderate hit, peaking at #52 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as well as producing two charting singles, "Hell, Yeah" and "You Go Girl" who were both made into music videos.[21][22]
Freak for Life is Campbell's fourth album. It was released on July 12, 1994 through Luke Records. Freak for Life peaked at #174 on the Billboard 200 and #24 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, making it his lowest charting album at the time. One single found mild success, "It's Your Birthday" peaked at #33 on the Hot Rap Singles and #91 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
Also in 1994, Campbell co-founded Liberty City Optimists, an inner city youth sports program. One of his notable apprentices is Devonta Freeman, who went on to play college football for Florida State Seminoles, rival of the Hurricanes.[23]
Luther Campbell and his label, Luke Records, Inc. went bankrupt in 1995 and sold their catalogs to Joseph Weinberger and Lil' Joe Records, Inc. in 1996.
Uncle Luke was released on May 14, 1996, on Luther Campbell Music and was mainly produced by Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick, and Rod XL, with additional production by Frankie Cutlass, Ice Cube and Doug E. Fresh. Uncle Luke was a success, peaking at #51 on the Billboard 200 and #8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spawned a single, "Scarred", which made it to #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the Hot Rap Singles, the song was also turned into a Video.
Changin' the Game is the sixth album released by Luke. It was released on November 11, 1997 on the Island Black Music label in collaboration with Luke Records and featured production from Campbell, Rod XL, Lil' Jon and Louis "Ugly" Howard. Though the album was met with some positive reviews, the album was flop and remains Luke's lowest charting album, only making it to #49 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. However, the single "Raise the Roof" found great success peaking at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Singles.[24] The song helped to popularize the arm gesture by the same name which involved repeatedly extending ones arms upwards with the palms of the hands also facing upwards. The song is also featured in the compilation album Jock Jams volume 4.
In 1998 he played a supporting role in the movie Ride a comedy film written and directed by Millicent Shelton. It stars Malik Yoba, Fredro Starr, and Melissa De Sousa. Also that year he played a supporting role in Ice Cube' The Players Club. The comedy/drama film stars Bernie Mac, Monica Calhoun, Jamie Foxx, John Amos, A. J. Johnson, Alex Thomas, Charlie Murphy, Terrence Howard, Faizon Love and LisaRaye.
Somethin' Nasty is the seventh album released by Campbell. It was released on March 13, 2001 on Luke Records through Koch Records' short-lived independent label distribution unit, KELA (Koch Entertainment Label Alliance) and featured production by Luke's former 2 Live Crew bandmate, Mr. Mixx, Daz Dillinger, Gorilla Tek, and Luke himself. The album found minor success, peaking at #149 on the Billboard 200, #36 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and #6 on the Top Independent Albums.
Luke's last release, My Life & Freaky Times, was released in March 2006, and peaked at 32 at the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[25] The first singles serviced to radio were "Holla at Cha Homeboy", featuring Pitbull & Petey Pablo, and the reggaeton-leaning "Pop That" by Plan B and Rey Chester Secretweapon.[26]
That same year, Campbell appear in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories as DJ Luke for the hip-hop station Fresh 105 FM. Campbell hosts a sports talk show on Miami's 790 The Ticket with former football player Terry Kirby on Saturdays.
2007''present: Later work [ edit ] Luke has previously entered the adult film industry and cites on his MySpace page the need to clean up the "sometimes amateurish new courtship of Hip-Hop and Adult Entertainment".[27] He produced the Adult Entertainment movie Luke's Bachelor Party in 2007.
In December 2007, Campbell launched The Luke Entertainment Group and took the company public trading under the symbol LKEN on Pink Sheets. As of September 3, 2008, its current price is $0.01 per share.[28] With this launching of Luke Entertainment Campbell had bought an oil company with the stock trading symbol of FPPL. Luther Campbell was also a legendary DJ member of The Ghetto Style DJ's.
In 2008, he starred in his own short-lived show on VH1, Luke's Parental Advisory.
Campbell was interviewed about his involvement with the Miami Hurricanes for the documentary The U, which premiered December 12, 2009 as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series.
In 2010, he briefly reunited with Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis, and Mr. Mixx as the 2 Live Crew were honorees winners at the 2010 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: The Dirty South Edition.[29]
On February 2, 2011, Campbell announced his intention to run for mayor of Miami-Dade County on a platform that includes making housing projects safer, transparency in local government, and taxing strippers.[30] He came in fourth in a field of 11 candidates, winning 11% of the vote.[31] Campbell is a registered Democrat.[32]
By thanksgiving 2014, Campbell reunited with 2 Live Crew (Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis) for a series of shows until 2015.[33][34]
Style of rap [ edit ] Campbell's work as a performer can be characterized as Southern rap; most of it is part of the Miami bass subgenre. The sexual content of his group's lyrics caused controversy and led to legal cases. Usually, Campbell does not rap but rather shouts or chants'--very often in a call and response manner, with him calling and the crowd responding.
Personal life [ edit ] He has six children from five previous relationships.[citation needed ] On July 19, 2008, he married law school graduate Kristin Thompson in Dallas, Texas. She is the mother of his seventh child.[citation needed ] Luther was brought up in Liberty City, Miami.
On February 18, 2009, Campbell was arrested for falling behind on child support payments.[35] He became a columnist for the Miami New Times[36] in February 2010. His column, Luke's Gospel,[37] provides "a forum for his crazy-ass views on current events," which include politics, sports and entertainment. He is quoted on the web site as saying: "It's the perfect place for me. I am a free-speech guy. It's just a match made in Heaven. Can you believe it? Me turned loose on the world in New Times. Wow."[38]
In 2014, Campbell tweeted that he would be defensive coordinator for Miami Norland Senior High School in 2014.
Discography [ edit ] Studio albums [ edit ] Compilation albums [ edit ] 1996: Greatest Hits2000: Luke's Freak Fest 20002002: Scandalous: The All Star CompilationSingles [ edit ] This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. ( July 2018 )References [ edit ] ^ Luther Campbell (January 11, 2011). "Column, "Luke for Miami Mayor!" January 11, 2011" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ Jamaican Ancestry ^ Bishop, Greg (November 5, 2012). "Luther Campbell Has a New Gig, and a New Rap for His Players". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 26, 2019 . ^ "Gold & Platinum '' RIAA". RIAA . Retrieved October 24, 2017 . ^ "Gold & Platinum '' RIAA". RIAA . Retrieved October 24, 2017 . ^ Skyywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F.Supp. 578 (S.D. Fla. 1990). ^ Luke Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992). ^ Deflem, Mathieu. 2019. "Popular Culture and Social Control: The Moral Panic on Music Labeling." American Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 44 (First published online July 24, 2019). ^ "Cash Bounties Reported at Miami". May 21, 1994 . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "Rapper's Threats on Behalf of Collins Trouble Qb's Dad". Sun Sentinel . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ Schonfeld, Zach. "Does the Parental Advisory Label Still Matter?". Newsweek . Retrieved July 24, 2016 . ^ "Luke Banned In The U.S.A. Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved March 1, 2019 . ^ "The 2 Live Crew Live In Concert Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved April 3, 2018 . ^ Wong Won, Christopher 'Fresh Kid Ice" (July 20, 2015). "My Rise 2 Fame": The Tell All Autobiography of a Hip Hop Legend. Iconic Three Media Group, LLC. ^ "Luke I Wanna Rock Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved March 1, 2019 . ^ Schwartz, Zachary (2015). "A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASIANS IN HIP-HOP, FROM 2 LIVE CREW TO "IT G MA " ". Playboy . Retrieved November 20, 2015 . ^ Wong Won, Christopher "Fresh Kid Ice" (July 20, 2015). "My Rise 2 Fame": The Tell All Autobiography of a Hip Hop Legend. Iconic Three Media Group, LLC. ^ "Heatseekers Albums Fresh Kid Ice Is The Chinaman". Billboard. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Fresh Kid Ice The Chinaman". Billboard. ^ "Luke In The Nude Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved March 1, 2019 . ^ "The New 2 Live Crew Back At Your Ass For The Nine-4 Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved February 26, 2019 . ^ "The New 2 Live Crew Back At Your Ass For The Nine-4 Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved February 26, 2019 . ^ "Devonta Freeman has unlikely, but inspiring mentor". YouTube . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "Luke Raise The Roof Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved March 1, 2019 . ^ "Uncle Luke My Life & Freaky Times Chart History". Billboard . Retrieved March 1, 2019 . ^ Clark, Carlos (February 1, 2006). "2 Live Crew Member Tells All". CMJ. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006 . Retrieved March 12, 2006 . ^ Luther Canpbell, Myspace. ^ "LUKE ENTERTAINMENT (LKEN.PK)". Yahoo! Finance . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "Live from VH1 2010 Hip Hop Honors: The Dirty South". Essence . Retrieved February 27, 2019 . ^ "It's Official: Luther Campbell To Run For Mayor CBS Miami" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "Dade '' Election Results" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "Luther Rodrick Campbell Voting Record" Archived April 14, 2013, at, FindTheData. ^ "2 Live Crew Reunion at LIV". New Miami Times. November 27, 2014. ^ "2 Live Crew & Uncle Luke at LIV". World Red Eye. August 31, 2015. ^ Castillo, Arielle (February 20, 2009). "Luther Campbell Speaks on Going to Jail". Miami New Times . Retrieved September 1, 2016 . ^ S. Pajot (November 25, 2014). "Miami New Times website" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ "List of Campbell's columns on the Miami New Times website" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . ^ Luther Campbell (February 23, 2010). " " Fire Heat coach Erik Spoelstra," February 25, 2010" . Retrieved November 26, 2014 . External links [ edit ] Uncle Luke's Gospel '' His Personal BlogLuther Campbell on IMDbLuther Campbell InterviewLuke Entertainment GroupAppearances on C-SPAN
A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts - The Atlantic
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 13:57
When President Obama leaves office there will almost certainly be efforts to ascertain the impact of our first black president on the black community. Defenders of the president's record will likely point to Obamacare as the kind of program that expanded the safety net for everyone but specifically for those in need -- a class in which African Americans are overly represented.
I have, of late, been anxious to add an asterisk to this accolade. As I've noted before, black people are also disproportionately represented in many of the states which are refusing the Medicaid expansion. Thus the idea that Obama has aided poor black people through a broad race-blind expansion of the social safety net deserves some scrutiny.
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times...The 26 states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion are home to about half of the country's population, but about 68 percent of poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers. About 60 percent of the country's uninsured working poor are in those states. Among those excluded are about 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks and 253,000 nurses' aides.
Blacks are disproportionately affected, largely because more of them are poor and living in Southern states. In all, 6 out of 10 blacks live in the states not expanding Medicaid. In Mississippi, 56 percent of all poor and uninsured adults are black, though they account for just 38 percent of the population.
Dr. Aaron Shirley, a physician who has worked for better health care for blacks in Mississippi, said that the history of segregation and violence against blacks still informs the way people see one another, particularly in the South, making some whites reluctant to support programs that they believe benefit blacks....
Dr. Shirley said: "If you look at the history of Mississippi, politicians have used race to oppose minimum wage, Head Start, all these social programs. It's a tactic that appeals to people who would rather suffer themselves than see a black person benefit."
Indeed. Liberals who believe they can fool racists by changing the subject from racism to class underestimate the intelligence of their audience. "All that it would take to sink a new WPA program would be some skillfully packaged footage of black men leaning on shovels smoking cigarettes," writes sociologist Douglass Massey. "Papering over the issue of race makes for bad social theory, bad research and bad public policy."
To say nothing of morality. Because we live in a segregated country, the people who must bear the burden of the uninsured black poor will ultimately be other black people. This is not just a matter of individual black people not having insurance. It is a shock to the entire system, the entire network of black people who -- because of white supremacy -- live segregated lives, and must bear this on their own.
More later. If you've been reading me the past few months, you know that I am wholly unsurprised.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for
The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of
The Beautiful Struggle,
Between the World and Me, and
We Were Eight Years in Power.
The Grio - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 13:46
theGrioType of site
News websiteAvailable inEnglishOwnerEntertainment StudiosCreated byDavid A. Wilson, Daniel Woolsey, Barion L. GrantWebsite CommercialYesTheGrio is an American website with news, opinion, entertainment and video content geared toward African Americans.[1] Originally launched in June 2009 as a division of NBC News,[2][3] it became a division of MSNBC in 2013. It was founded by the team who created the documentary film Meeting David Wilson. In 2014, it was sold to its founders.[4] In June, 2016, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios acquired the site.[5]
History [ edit ] TheGrio's editorial mandate is to "focus on news and events that have a unique interest and/or pronounced impact within the national African Americans audience,"[6] offering what co-founder, and Executive Editor David Wilson feels "are underrepresented in existing national news outlets".
The website's name is derived from the word griot, the term for a West African oral historian and storyteller.[7]
Personnel [ edit ] Founders [ edit ] David A. Wilson (Co-founder, Executive Editor)[8]Daniel Woolsey (Co-founder, Director of Operations)[8]Barion L. Grant (Co-founder, Former Director of Sales)[8]Editors [ edit ] Wendy L. Wilson (Managing Editor)[8]Natasha S. Alford (Deputy Editor)[8][9]References [ edit ] ^ Kee, Tameka (June 10, 2009). "Can NBCU's Succeed Where Failed?". CBS News . Retrieved March 27, 2013 . ^ "The Grio Web Site". C-SPAN Video Library, August 20, 2012. ^ "TheGrio reveals annual Top 100 list". Today, February 4, 2013. ^ Jordan Chariton (August 14, 2014). "NBC News Selling". TVNewser . Retrieved August 22, 2014 . ^ Debbie Emery (June 14, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires TheGrio". TheWrap . Retrieved August 22, 2014 . ^ Ham, Jon (August 10, 2009). "NBC's needs diversity training". Carolina Journal Online. ^ Mayes, Julia (October 3, 2011). "Positively Black: NBC Launches The Grio". 4 NBC New York. ^ a b c d e "theGrio team". theGrio. Retrieved March 14, 2013. ^ External links [ edit ] Official website '' NBC Universal Media VillageMeeting David Wilson. NBC News.
Benjamin Crump - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 13:32
Benjamin Lloyd Crump (born October 10, 1969) is an American civil rights attorney and founder of the Tallahassee, Florida-based law firm Ben Crump Law. He is known for his association with the 2012/2013 George Zimmerman case, and for representing the family of Michael Brown, an 17-year-old African-American male shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.[1][2]
Early life and education [ edit ] Benjamin Lloyd Crump was born in Lumberton, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, where his biological father served in the United States Army.[3] The oldest of nine siblings and step-siblings, Crump grew up in an extended family and was raised by his grandmother Mittie.[4] His mother Helen, worked as a hotel maid and in a local Converse shoe factory.[5] His mother sent him to attend South Plantation High school in Plantation, Florida where he lived with her second husband, a math teacher, whom Crump identifies as his father.[5][6]
He attended Florida State University and received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1992. Crump received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University in 1995.[7] A classmate of Crump's at Florida State University College of Law was journalist Shannon Bream.[8] He is a life member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.[9]
Career [ edit ] Crump is known for taking on cases that garner widespread media attention and civil rights implications. An example was the shooting of Trayvon Martin, who on February 26, 2012 was killed by George Zimmerman. Crump represents Martin's family.[10]
Crump also represented the family of Alesia Thomas, a 35-year-old single African-American mother who died while in police custody in August 2012.[11] Journalist Chuck Philips reported that during the arrest by female Officer Mary O'Callaghan, Thomas was "slammed to the ground, handcuffed behind her back, kicked in the groin, hog-tied and stuffed into the back seat of a patrol car, where she died."[12] Crump demanded that dashboard video of the incident be released, threatening legal action and encouraging Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a federal probe.[12][13] In October 2013, one of the arresting officers was charged with felony assault of Thomas, pleading not guilty.[14] Judge Shelly Torrealba signed off on a request by the district attorney's office to only release the video to prosecutors and defense attorneys. This was to prevent the tainting of potential jury candidates O'Callaghan's attorney Robert Rico said.[15]
On August 11, 2014, the family of Michael Brown announced that they would be hiring Crump to represent their case, especially as the death had been widely compared to the Trayvon Martin case.[16][17][18]
Other past clients include the family of Martin Lee Anderson, an African-American teenager who died after a beating in 2006 by guards in a Florida youth detention center; the family of Genie McMeans, Jr., an African-American driver who died after being shot by a white state Trooper; the family of Ronald Weekley Jr., a 20-year-old African American skateboarder beaten by police in Venice, California;[12][19][20][21] the family of Tamir Rice, an African-American youth who was killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio while holding an air gun (a replica of a real gun);[22] and the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was killed by three policeman in Pasco, Washington while throwing rocks.[23] He previously represented the family of Kendrick Johnson, an African-American high school student who was found dead at his school in Valdosta, Georgia under mysterious circumstances, but stepped down from their legal team in late 2015.[24][25] Crump is representing the family of Corey Jones, who was killed by a plainclothes officer while waiting for a tow truck in South Florida.[26]
Crump currently represents Terrence Crutcher's family, an unarmed black man shot and killed by a Tulsa Police officer[27] as well as Zeke Upshaw, an NBA G League player who collapsed midgame in 2018 and was delayed assistance by the NBA's paramedics.
In April 2017, Crump appeared as an attorney on the American reality prime time court show You the Jury, canceled after two episodes. Later, in December 2017, Crump investigated the murder of Tupac Shakur in the television documentary series Who Killed Tupac? The show narrates an investigation led by Crump who works with Tupac's brother, Mopreme Shakur.[28] In 2018, Crump hosted a documentary television series on TV One called Evidence of Innocence.[29] The show focused on people who served at least a decade behind bars for being wrongfully convicted of a crime. Crump hoped to "impact the larger society about these larger matters so they can be aware when they go into the courtroom as jurors".[30]
In 2017 Crump announced the opening of a new law firm, Ben Crump law, PLLC.[31] In 2018 he became a Board Member for the National Black Justice Coalition.
Bibliography [ edit ] Crump, Benjamin L. "Ben Crump '-- the Man Who Represented the Families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice '-- Will Not Stop Fighting for Justice." NowThis.[32] 2018.[1]Crump, Benjamin L. ''Every Black Person Has Had A 'Starbucks Moment'.[33]'' HuffPost, HuffPost, 21 Apr. 2018.Crump, Benjamin L. ''After Stephon Clark's Death, Chock and Mourning in Communities across the Nation.[34]'' USA Today, USA Today, 29 Mar. 2018.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Stand Your Ground Is a License to Kill. Repeal It.[35]'' Miami Herald, Miami Herald, 5 Feb. 2018.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Libyan Slave Trade Perpetuates The Commodification of Black Bodies.[36]'' HuffPost, HuffPost, 5 Jan. 2018.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Civil Rights Resolutions for a Better America in 2018.[37]'' CNN, CNN, 2 Jan. 2018.Crump, Benjamin L. ''The Unsolved Murder of Tupac Shakur Speaks To The Black Male's Experience Nationwide.[38]'' HuffPost, HuffPost, 12 Dec. 2017.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Trump's Response To Charlottesville Was Far Too Little And Way Too Late.[39]'' HuffPost, HuffPost, 15 Aug. 2017.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Only A Just America Will Be A Truly Great America.[40]'' HuffPost, The HuffPost, 15 Jan. 2017.Crump, Benjamin L. ''Benjamin Crump: Seven Deaths Cannot Be In Vain.[41]'' TIME, TIME, 8 July 2016.Crump, Benjamin (April 20, 2015). "Will America now challenge the standard police narrative?". United States. Crime. Time (South Pacific ed.). 185 (14): 22. References [ edit ] ^ Hicks, Johnathan P. (April 18, 2012). "Trayvon Family's Lawyer, a Career Steeped in Civil Rights Cases". BET. ^ "Oklahoma Tulsa Police Shooting". CNN. September 20, 2016. ^ The Grio (March 30, 2012). "Benjamin Crump: Martin family lawyer known for civil rights cases". ^ "Trayvon Martin Family Lawyer Is Versed In Civil Rights Cases". March 30, 2012. ^ a b Barbara Ash; Florida State University Law Review (2006). "BEN CRUMP Seeking Justice for All: BEATING THE ODDS Ben Crump Winning the 'No-Win' Cases" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-12. ^ Mark Schneider; Associated Press (March 30, 2012). "Martin family lawyer known for civil rights cases When Benjamin Crump got his first call from Trayvon Martin's father last month, the attorney counseled patience". ^ "Benjamin L. Crump '' Parks and Crump Attorneys at Law". 2014-06-20 . Retrieved 2014-08-15 . ^ "Twitter / ShannonBream: Still surprises me whenever". . Retrieved 2014-08-15 . ^ "Ben Crump '' Ben Crump" . Retrieved 2019-11-19 . ^ "Trayvon Martin Family's Lawyer Benjamin Crump Known For Civil Rights Cases". Huffington Post. March 30, 2012 . Retrieved April 8, 2012 . ^ Romero, Dennis (August 30, 2012). "Alesia Thomas: Woman Dies in LAPD Custody Amid 'Questionable Tactics,' Police Say". LA Weekly. ^ a b c Philips, Chuck (October 15, 2012). "What Happened to Alesia Thomas". Chuck Philips Post . Retrieved 22 October 2013 . ^ Romero, Dennis Romero (October 15, 2012). "LAPD's Alesia Thomas Beating Video Demanded By Attorney Benjamin Crump". LA Weekly . Retrieved 24 October 2013 . ^ Botelho, Greg (October 10, 2013). "LAPD officer charged with assaulting arrested woman, who later died". CNN . Retrieved 22 October 2013 . ^ Abdollah, Tami (15 October 2013). "Mary O'Callaghan Pleads Not Guilty To Felony Assault". The Huffington Post. ^ Swaine, Jon (12 August 2014). "Michael Brown shooting: police use teargas to crack down on protesters". The Guardian . Retrieved 18 August 2014 . ^ Blackburn, Doug (August 15, 2014). "Friends of Brown family called on civil-rights lawyer". USA Today . Retrieved August 19, 2014 . ^ Cadet, Danielle (August 11, 2014). "Benjamin Crump Representing Michael Brown's Family After Teen's Fatal Shooting". Huffington Post . Retrieved August 19, 2014 . ^ "Benjamin Crump '' Bay county camp, martin anderson case". Orlando Sentinel . Retrieved April 8, 2012 . ^ "How lawyer got nation talking about Trayvon Martin". NPR . Retrieved April 8, 2012 . ^ Schneider, Mike (March 30, 2012). "Martin Family lawyer known for civil rights cases". The Grio. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012 . Retrieved April 8, 2012 . ^ Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Tamir Rice's family hires attorney who represented families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin" By Patrick Cooley December 08, 2014 ^ New York Daily News: "Family of unarmed Mexican man killed by police in Pasco, Wash., hires civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump" BY Rachelle Blidner February 24, 2015 ^ "Kendrick Johnson Update: "It's a real-life murder mystery," atty Benjamin Crump says of Ga. teen's gym mat death". . Retrieved 2016-02-06 . ^ "Kendrick Johnson probe: Attorney exits mark shift -". CNN . Retrieved 2016-02-06 . ^ Robles, Frances; Hauser, Christine (22 October 2015). "Lawyers Provide Details in Police Shooting of Corey Jones in Florida". The New York Times . Retrieved 16 November 2015 . ^ CNN ^ Clarkson, Brett. "Who killed Tupac Shakur? Florida attorney investigates in A&E series". . Retrieved 2018-06-25 . ^ ^ "Civil-rights attorney Ben Crump hosts new television series 'Evidence of Innocence' tonight". Tallahassee Democrat . Retrieved 2018-06-25 . ^ Digital Journal ^ "NowThis". . Retrieved 2018-07-12 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (April 21, 2018). "Every Black Person Has Had A 'Starbucks Moment ' ". HuffPost . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (March 29, 2018). "After Stephon Clark's death, shock and mourning in communities across the nation". USA Today. ^ Crump, Benjamin (February 5, 2018). "Stand Your Ground is a license to Kill. Repeal it". Miami Herald . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (January 5, 2018). "Libyan Slave Trade Perpetuates The Commodification of Black Bodies". HuffPost . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (January 2, 2018). "Civil rights resolutions for a better America in 2018" . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (December 17, 2017). "The Unsolved Murder Of Tupac Shakur Speaks To The Black Male's Experience Nationwide". HuffPost . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (August 15, 2017). "Trump's Response To Charlottesville was Fra Too Little And Way Too Late". HuffPost . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (January 15, 2017). "Only A Just America Will Be A Truly Great America". HuffPost . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . ^ Crump, Benjamin (July 8, 2016). "Benjamin Crump: Seven Deaths Cannot Be In Vain". TIME . Retrieved June 25, 2018 . External links [ edit ] Benjamin Crump on IMDbAppearances on C-SPAN
Steve Cokely - Wikipedia
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 13:26
Steve Cokely (June 17, 1952 '' April 11, 2012) was an American political researcher and lecturer who lectured nationally on political and economic issues relating especially to the African American community.
Overview [ edit ] Steve Cokely was also a futurologist who commented extensively on water conservation, organic farming, and communal living. Cokely gave over 5,000 lectures on the topic of global warming and corporate conspiracies, the Trilateral Commission, The Bilderberg Group, Rothchilds, Rockefellers, Boule, etc.
Cokely's research delved into the history of Marcus Garvey, the Black Panthers and other areas of African-American history.
Cokely lectured at many college campuses nationally and was also known for exposing, with its own literature, a Black Male elite organization known as the Sigma Pi Phi[1] and the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr by the hands of Rev.Jesse Jackson and the C.I.A.[2] Despite being presented to by Cokely with unimpeachable data, many who oppose Cokely have pejoratively labelled his lectures as conspiracy theories, a phrase that was weaponized by the CIA in CIA Document 1035-960 in response to penetrating criticism of the Warren Commission's findings, or the lack thereof.
Chicago and Anti-Semitism charges [ edit ] Cokely was assistant to the special committee on rules under Mayor Harold Washington. He gained notoriety when he served as special assistant to the former mayor of Chicago, Eugene Sawyer.
Cokely was criticized for teaching that Jewish doctors were using the AIDS virus in an attempted genocide against Africans. His comments created a nationally publicized controversy in 1988 and he was dismissed from his position as aide to Sawyer.[3]
When in 1990 Illinois Governor James Thompson signed an agreement to open an Israeli Aircraft Industries plant in Rockford, Cokely was an outspoken opponent. He argued that Black leaders in Illinois should oppose Israeli war industries because of their military support for the Apartheid system in South Africa.[4]
"Our Roots Run Deep" appearance [ edit ] Cokely gained the national spotlight again in 1996 after he was scheduled to speak at "Our Roots Run Deep", a Black History Month lecture series in New York City hosted by the Warner Music Group. Also scheduled were Al Sharpton, Conrad Muhammad, Jimmy Castor, Hannibal Lokumbe and Dick Gregory. The Jewish Defense Organization objected, organizing a call-in campaign to Warner Brothers and threatening a boycott. The Anti-Defamation League and the New York Post also objected to Cokely (as well as Sharpton and Muhammad) speaking at the event. Warner removed Cokely and Muhammad without issuing a press release.[5][6]
References [ edit ] ^ Kimbrough, Walter M. (2003). Black Greek 101: the culture, customs, and challenges of Black fraternities and sororities. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8386-3977-1. ^ "Theorists believe city responsible for death of Dr. King". Tri-State Defender. August 13, 2003. ^ Dirk Johnson, "Racial Politics: Chicago's Raw Nerve", New York Times, 19 February 1989; accessed via ProQuest, 28 May 2013. ^ Billy Montgomery, "Activist links Illinois-Israeli plane project to South Africa", Michigan Citizen, 17 March 1990; accessed via ProQuest, 28 May 2013. "An agreement signed by Illinois Governor James Thompson to bring an Israeli aircraft plant to Rockford, is an insult to Blacks and the South African movement, according to a Chicago activist. 'The problem with this deal is that the Israeli Aircraft Industry has an alliance with the South African military,' declarles Steve Cokely, who has mounted a campaign to alert the Black community to the potential dangers of the move." ^ Wilbert A. Tatum, "JDO, ADL, N.Y. Post force Time Warner to alter Black History Month program", New York Amsterdam News, 10 February 1996; accessed via ProQuest, 28 May 2013. ^ Matthew Fleischer, "Snipped 'Roots'", The Village Voice, 13 February 1996; accessed via ProQuest, 28 May 2013. External links [ edit ] Cokely's official siteAn Anti-Defamation League press release regarding Cokely
Bank of America Says Market Primed for 'Melt-Up' in 1Q - Bloomberg
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 11:01
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Deluge Of New Leaks Further Shreds The Establishment Syria Narrative
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 23:54
It's been a bad last 24 hours for the war propagandists.
WikiLeaks has published multiple documents providing further details on the coverup within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of its own investigators' findings which contradicted the official story we were all given about an alleged chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria last year. The alleged chemical weapons incident was blamed on the Syrian government by the US and its allies, who launched airstrikes against Syria several days later. Subsequent evidence indicating that there was insufficient reason to conclude the chlorine gas attack ever happened was repressed by the OPCW, reportedly at the urging of US government officials.
The new publications by WikiLeaks add new detail to this still-unfolding scandal, providing more evidence to further invalidate attempts by establishment Syria narrative managers to spin it all as an empty conspiracy theory. The OPCW has no business hiding any information from the public which casts doubt on the official narrative about an incident which was used to justify an act of war on a sovereign nation.
The following are hyperlinks to the individual OPCW documents WikiLeaks published, with some highlights found therein:
A first draft of the OPCW's July 2018 Interim Report on the team's findings in Douma.
Contains crucial information that was not included in either the final draft of the July 2018 Interim Report or the March 2019 Final Report, including (emphasis mine):
1. The symptoms of the alleged victims of the supposed chemical incident were inconsistent with chlorine gas poisoning.
''Some of the signs and symptoms described by witnesses and noted in photos and video recordings taken by witnesses, of the alleged victims are not consistent with exposure to chlorine-containing choking or blood agents such as chlorine gas, phosgene or cyanogen chloride,'' we learn in the unredacted first draft. ''Specifically, the rapid onset of heavy buccal and nasal frothing in many victims, as well as the colour of the secretions, is not indicative of intoxication from such chemicals.''
''The large number of decedents in the one location (allegedly 40 to 45), most of whom were seen in videos and photos strewn on the floor of the apartments away from open windows, and within a few meters of an escape to un-poisoned or less toxic air, is at odds with intoxication by chlorine-based choking or blood agents, even at high concentrations,'' the unredacted draft says.
This important information was omitted from the Interim Report and completely contradicted by the Final Report, which said that the investigation had found ''reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.''
2. OPCW inspectors couldn't find any explanation for why the gas cylinders supposedly dropped from Syrian aircraft were so undamaged by the fall.
''The FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] team is unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the relatively moderate damage to the cylinders allegedly dropped from an unknown height, compared to the destruction caused to the rebar-reinforced concrete roofs,'' reads the leaked first draft. ''In the case of Location 4, how the cylinder ended up on the bed, given the point at which it allegedly penetrated the room, remains unclear. The team considers that further studies by specialists in metallurgy and structural engineering or mechanics are required to provide an authoritative assessment of the team's observations.''
We now know that a specialist was subsequently recruited to find an answer to this mystery. A leaked document dated February 2019 and published by the Working Group On Syria, Propaganda and Media in May 2019 was signed by a longtime OPCW inspector named Ian Henderson. Henderson, a South African ballistics expert, ran some experiments and determined that ''The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder being delivered from an aircraft,'' writing instead that the cylinders being ''manually placed'' (i.e. staged) in the locations where investigators found them is ''the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.''
More on Ian Henderson in a moment.
3. The team concluded that either the victims were poisoned with some unknown gas which wasn't chlorine, or there was no chemical weapon at all.
''The inconsistency between the presence of a putative chlorine-containing toxic chocking or blood agent on the one hand and the testimonies of alleged witnesses and symptoms observed from video footage and photographs, on the other, cannot be rationalised,'' the unredacted first draft reads. ''The team considered two possible explanations for the incongruity: a. The victims were exposed to another highly toxic chemical agent that gave rise to the symptoms observed and has so far gone undetected. b. The fatalities resulted from a non-chemical-related incident.''
Again, none of this information made it into any of the OPCW's public reports on the Douma incident. The difference between the information we were given (that a chlorine gas attack took place and the strong suggestion that it was dropped by Syrian aircraft) and the report the inspectors were initially trying to put together (literally the exact opposite) is staggering. For more insider information on the deliberation between OPCW inspectors who wanted their actual findings to be reported and the organisation officials who conspired to omit those findings, read this November report by journalist Jonathan Steele.
A memo from a member of the OPCW's Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Douma to the OPCW Director General Fernando Arais.
It's worth noting that this memo is dated two weeks after the OPCW published its Final Report on the Douma incident in March 2019, because it further invalidates the bogus argument made by narrative management firms like Bellingcat claiming that the grievances of the dissenting OPCW inspectors had been satisfactorily addressed by the time the Final Report was published.
Clearly the concerns were not addressed, because the memo consists entirely of complaints, and according to its author ''there are about 20 inspectors who have expressed their concern over the current situation.''
The memo's author complains that the FFM report was made almost exclusively by team members who never even went to Douma, doing their research instead solely in ''Country X'', which WikiLeaks speculates may be Turkey.
''The FFM report does not reflect the views of all the teams that deployed to Douma,'' the memo says. ''Only one team member (a paramedic) of the so-called 'FFM core team' was in Douma. The FFM report was written by this core team, thus by people who had only operated in Country X.''
''After the exclusion of all team members other than a small cadre of members who had deployed (and deployed again in October 2018) to Country X, the conclusion seems to have turned completely in the opposite direction. The FFM team members find this confusing, and are concerned to know how this occurred.''
The memo's author is unnamed in the WikiLeaks document, but claims to have been ''assigned the task of analysis and assessment of the ballistics of the two cylinders,'' indicating that it was likely the aforementioned Ian Henderson. A concurrent publication by Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail appears to confirm this. Hitchens reports that when Henderson lodged his Engineering Assessment in the OPCW's secure registry after failing to get traction for his report, which the memo's author also reports to have done, an unpopular unnamed OPCW official nicknamed ''Voldemort'' ordered that every trace of the report be removed.
''Mr Henderson tried to get his research included in the final report, but when it became clear it would be excluded, he lodged a copy in a secure registry, known as the Documents Registry Archive (DRA),'' Hitchens reported. ''This is normal practice for such confidential material, but when 'Voldemort' heard about it, he sent an email to subordinates saying: 'Please get this document out of DRA '... And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA'.''
So to recap, the OPCW enlisted a longtime ballistics expert with an extensive history of work with the organisation to run some experiments and produce an Engineering Assessment to explain how the alleged chlorine cylinders could have been found in the condition they were found in, and when he came to conclusions which were exculpatory for the Syrian government, his boss ordered every sign of it purged from the registry.
Again, not a whisper of any of this was breathed in the OPCW's public reports on the Douma incident, despite somewhere around 20 inspectors having objections. The OPCW had no business hiding this from the public.
An internal email from May 2019 voicing further concerns.
This interesting email, sent to the OPCW's Office of Strategy and Planning Director Veronika Stromsikova, defended Ian Henderson and objected to the mistreatment of a principled and respected team member.
''A member of the FFM team has been suspended from his post and escorted from the OPCW building in a less than dignified manner,'' the email's author complains. ''After more than 12 years, I believe, serving the OPCW with dedication and professionalism, Ian Henderson's personal and professional integrity have taken a knock in the most public of fora, the internet. A falsehood issued by the OPCW, that Ian did not take part in the Douma FFM team, has been pivotal in discrediting him and his work.''
Indeed, as soon as Henderson's Engineering Assessment was leaked this past May, Syria narrative managers like Idrees Ahmad, Brian Whitaker, and Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins immediately set to work trying to spin him as merely a lone ''disgruntled employee'' who was ''not a part of the Fact-Finding Mission''.
''The denial is patently untrue,'' the email's author writes. ''Ian Henderson WAS part of the FFM and there is an abundance of official documentation, as well as other supporting proof, that testifies to that.''
But I don't suppose we can expect to see any apologies or corrections from the usual suspects in light of this new information.
''We are not insisting on being right in our assertions, but we are demanding to be heard,'' the email's author writes. ''We have desperately tried to limit expression of concerns to within the Organisation and will continue to do so. However, we have been stonewalled throughout by obfuscation, exclusion, and even thuggish and bullying behavior.''
The author wraps things up by explaining why they're pushing so hard to be heard with a quote from Edmund Burke: ''All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.''
Email communications between FFM members and their team leader Sami Barrek.
This July 2018 correspondence is significant mainly because it brings in hard evidence for the exchange described by the OPCW whistleblower ''Alex'' in the aforementioned Jonathan Steele report, which was described as follows:
''This request was rejected but Sami Barrek, the team leader, was put in charge of replacing the doctored version with what turned out to be a toned-down but still misleading report. During the editing four of the Douma inspectors, including Ian Henderson, the engineering expert, had managed to get Barrek to agree that the low levels of COCs [Chlorinated Organic Chemicals] should be mentioned. On the day before the new publication date, July 6, they found that the levels were again being omitted.''
The back-and-forth exchanges feature one or more anonymous team members arguing with Barrek that more information needs to be included in the Interim Report so that people won't jump to conclusions that the team had found evidence it hadn't. And sure enough, Moon of Alabama documented multiple mass media headlines which falsely claimed the Interim Report had asserted chlorine gas was used (that invalid claim wasn't made until the Final Report in March 2019).
Here's a sample exchange where one inspector tries to persuade Barrek to change the language in the report so readers will understand that the information they had about chlorinated organic chemical concentrations at the time hadn't reached any ''damning conclusion'', with Barrek throwing up inertia and saying he can unilaterally overrule them if he wants to:
Again, none of the findings which were inconsistent with the US narrative were included in either the final draft of the Interim Report or in the Final Report. Nothing about the low levels of chlorinated organic chemicals, nothing about the inconsistencies in symptoms with chlorine gas poisoning, nothing about the lack of damage to the cylinders, nothing about Ian Henderson's findings. Nothing. The OPCW had no business withholding that information.
These new leaks take care of the latest spin jobs by establishment narrative managers, who were just the other day beginning to argue that the fact that there hadn't been any more OPCW leaks in a while indicated that the whole OPCW scandal was bogus. Sorry to disappoint you, fellas.
The WikiLeaks documents and Hitchens' Daily Mail article came out the same day as ex-Newsweek reporter Tareq Haddad shared emails sent to him by his editors forbidding him to publish information on the OPCW scandal, an important slice of information on the way mass media outlets stifle commentary on important stories that are inconvenient for US imperialism.
Newsweek's foreign affairs editor Dimi Reider (who Haddad notes has Council on Foreign Relations ties) shot down Haddad's pitch for a story about the OPCW scandal last month by falsely claiming that Bellingcat had ''published a thorough refutation'' of the story Haddad wanted to report on. In fact, as I documented at the time, Bellingcat had published an unbelievably pathetic spin job in which it tried to paint the whole OPCW scandal as a big misunderstanding.
Bellingcat argued that the concerns voiced in the leaked email published by WikiLeaks last month about the developing Interim Report in July 2018 had been fully addressed by the time the Final Report was published in March 2019, citing as evidence the fact that some slight adjustments had been made in the wording, like changing ''likely'' to ''possible'' and changing ''reactive chlorine containing chemical'' to ''chemical containing reactive chlorine.'' In focusing on this ridiculous, pedantic nonsense, Bellingcat tries to weave the narrative that because the whistleblower's concerns were addressed with this pedantry, there was therefore no OPCW coverup. Never mind the fact that the multiple OPCW whistleblowers were still plainly so incensed by the organisation's publishing that they felt the need to leak internal documents. Never mind that Bellingcat made no attempt whatsoever to address the aforementioned actual grievances by the OPCW whistleblowers like the low levels of chlorinated organic chemicals on the scene, the inconsistencies in symptoms and testimony with chlorine poisoning, or the Ian Henderson report.
But that's what happens when mass media outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian publish swooning puff piece after swooning puff piece about Bellingcat; they grant a US government-funded narrative management firm so much unearned legitimacy that even a transparently bogus argument like the one they made about the OPCW scandal gets passed around newsrooms by credulous editors assuring each other that it's a ''thorough refutation'' of facts and reality. Mass media outlets help puff up Bellingcat's legitimacy, and in turn Bellingcat rewards them with an excuse to not have to ever challenge establishment narratives.
Reider also argued that Haddad's report on the OPCW couldn't be published because ''not a single respected media outlet '-- many of whom boast far greater regional expertise, resources on the ground and in newsroom than Newsweek does '-- have taken the leak remotely seriously.''
That's a great self-reinforcing system, isn't it? MSM outlets validate US government-funded narrative managers like Bellingcat so they can tell them with authority why an unauthorised story shouldn't be published, and each outlet sees the absence of other outlets reporting on it as evidence that it shouldn't be reported on. And we wonder why no one's reporting on the OPCW scandal.
And Newsweek's Digital Director Laura Davis gave Haddad the same answer, regurgitating the absolutely bogus Bellingcat line that the leaked email wasn't newsworthy because ''it predates the final report'' and because no one else has written about it. It's a system fully locked down against any oppositional reporting, and we can surmise that this is the norm for newsrooms throughout the English-speaking world.
Haddad also published a similar email he'd received from International Business Times then-editor-in-chief Julian Kossoff, who rejected a pitch he'd made for an opinion piece he'd written about the Khan Sheikhun incident in April 2017.
''Thanks for the suggested opinion piece,'' Kossoff wrote. ''However, I do not think we will be able to use it. Its narrative is highly controversial and likely to offend and only a writer or expert of repute (e.g Noam Chomsky) could get away with such an incendiary thesis.''
And what was this ''incendiary thesis''? Well, Haddad published it with CounterPunch, so you can see for yourself. He simply argued what in my opinion should be a completely uncontroversial position: that there wasn't yet enough evidence to be certain Assad was behind the attacks, and the US has a known history of entering into military entanglements based on lies, so the warmongers demanding Assad's overthrow shouldn't be listened to.
This insight into the dynamics behind the mass media's lies by omission are very valuable, and they help us paint a better picture about the reason we're not seeing more discussion of these OPCW leaks.
Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.
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Larry Sanger slams Jack Dorsey for his ''mishandling of social media''
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 23:53
Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia and a strong proponent of decentralized web systems, is highly skeptical of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's plans to develop a decentralized standard for social media.
In a blog post, Sanger questioned Dorsey's sincerity and said he simply doesn't believe that Dorsey will follow through with the plans.
''My reaction to this announcement is similar to my reaction to Mark Zuckerberg giving a speech in favor of free speech: to laugh,'' Sanger wrote.
Sanger added that he started to discuss open standards for a new system of decentralized social media with Dorsey in March. While Sanger started out being ''cautiously optimistic'' about Dorsey's plans, he no longer believes that Dorsey was being sincere.
Everipedia '' a decentralized encyclopedia that Larry Sanger worked on this yearSanger cites several reasons for his loss of faith in Dorsey's plans with two of the main reasons being a breakdown in communication between the two and Twitter's subsequent throttling of Sanger.
Sanger says that the breakdown in communication occurred in April when he and Dorsey were planning to have another discussion about decentralized social media standards. This discussion never happened.
Then in June, Twitter suppressed Sanger's social media boycott campaign '' a campaign that drew attention to his Declaration of Digital Independence which calls for a decentralized internet.
These reasons combined with Twitter's history of abandoning its early commitments to free speech and open standards have led to Sanger being doubtful of Dorsey's recent plans:
''Twitter used an open standard in its early days'--then abandoned it. Twitter said they were the ''free speech wing of the free speech party,'' then started banning and throttling people for political speech.''
Sanger also wrote about how he has continued to work on decentralized internet standards since the social media strike, first through Everipedia, a decentralized encyclopedia, and then through his work on the Encyclosphere '' a project dedicated to defining open standards for encyclopedia articles. He suggests that much of this work is in response to Dorsey's ''mishandling'' of Twitter:
''A lot of people are working on decentralizing content in reaction to your mishandling of social media.''
The Encyclosphere '' a project Larry Sanger is currently working on which defines open standards for encyclopedia articlesSanger concludes with a strong message for Dorsey: ''We don't need Mark Zuckerberg's ''help'' to support free speech, and we don't need your ''help'' to make content decentralized.''
Mississauga business Third Millennium can put edible cricket farm in your hands |
Sun, 15 Dec 2019 23:35
Kubo Dzamba is not a farmer.
He is an architect that operates and maintains Mississauga's smallest farm, a pioneer in urban agriculture.
By the 2050, the world's population will hit 9.7 billion.
According to the UN, the world's food production rate will need to double to sustain that many people.
Pair that rate with the future catastrophe of climate change, increased rate of carbon emissions and the decrease of arable lands, it's inevitable that humankind will soon be facing a food crisis.
Dzamba's answer to that crisis is Third Millennium Farming (3MF), a 3,000 sq. foot facility wedged behind an adult entertainment lounge and an autobody shop on the outskirts of Pearson International Airport.
3MF specializes in designing, manufacturing and selling equipment for cricket farming.
Dzamba and his small team have spent years tinkering with the success rate of farming crickets, from ideal temperatures to placement of food and water sources.
''Our technology is designed to be accessible to anybody,'' he said.
Unlike the major players in insect farming, who operate on what Dzamba calls a ''mega-farm model,'' he believes the future of the industry lays in the hands of everyday people.
By providing the equipment and literature on how to successfully farm crickets, it becomes that much easier for the public to one, experiment with edible insects and two, make a viable profit.
One such piece of equipment is the Chirpbox, a 40-foot turnkey cricket farm housed in a shipping container.
Fairly easy to use, it's designed to hook into heat and electricity outlets and can be left alone for three weeks (besides filling water and feed) for the crickets to be harvested, 3MF supplies the eggs.
According to Dzamba, one Chirpbox can yield approximately $6,000 in profit, depending on what the crickets are used for.
''We're trying to make everything as cheap as possible, we're finding ways of sharing profits with our customers, so, they have to be successful before we get anything in return.''
Crickets are a multi-purpose product.
They can be used for animal feed or turned into powder to add to food products (or just eaten whole) and their byproduct is a natural pesticide and bloom stimulant.
One of Dzamba's first Chirpbox sells was to a bakery in Alberta, who use crickets in their baked goods.
A 2013 UN report touted the benefits of increased insect consumption for Western society.
Not only are crickets more sustainable to farm (it takes 100 gallons of water to make 6 grams of beef or 240 grams of crickets), they are an alternative form of protein.
Crickets are 69 per cent protein, compared to beef at 29 per cent and they emit considerably lower greenhouse gas emissions than most livestock.
Although the public perception of edible insects is still largely negative, Dzamba has seen a change in attitude in the past years and hopes to see it continue.
''I've been really pleasantly surprised at progress it's made so far. Like 10 or 12 years ago years ago when I started this, it was almost like violent, the reaction was really not happy.''

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