1202: Invidious Phobias

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 58m
December 26th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Zachary McLean, Dame Kristin of Carmel-By-The-Sea, Baron Sir DH Slammer, Chuck D, Sir Erik is Naked, Daniel Langman, Sir Dwayne Melancon Grand Duke of the Pacific Northwest, Sir Han Shot First, of the Order of Solo and the Wookiee

Associate Executive Producers: Ryan Glaman, Baronet Sir Rogue of the Taverns, Brendan Takash, Jeff Williams, Texas Dragon, Craig Nuzzo

Cover Artist: Mike Riley


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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Thank's Lefties: California Sports Bloggers Lose Their Jobs
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:46
California legislators recently passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5).The bill, which will take effect on January 1, 2020, will make it illegal for freelance contractors who reside in California to create more than 35 pieces of web site content in a year for a single company, unless the outlet hires them as an employee.The lefty legislation was "intended to limit the ability of large corporations to take advantage of contract workers." What it really did was cost a lot of bloggers their jobs.Hiring employees instead of using freelancers becomes very expensive and not something that can easily be done in the very competitive blogger industry.Thus the sports blogger network SB Nation, owned by Vox Media, did what it had to. It announced that it will not be renewing the contracts of around 200 California-based reporters.The company will replace many of those contractors with a combination of 20 part-time and full-time employees.Wacko lefty California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the architect of AB5, tweeted "I'm sure some legit freelancers lost substantial income and I empathize with that especially this time of year. But Vox is a vulture.""These were never good jobs," Gonzalez said in another tweet---even though it is clear the bloggers who lost their jobs are very upset.-RW (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
EU chief writes scathing 'love letter' to Britain about Brexit
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:20
Frans Timmermans said Britain was 'less unique and different than you think;The European Commission vice-president said he was 'deeply hurt' by BrexitHe said Britain would 'always be welcome to come back' after it leaves in JanuaryA top EU official has written a scathing 'love letter' to Britain in which he criticises the 'unnecessary damage' caused by Brexit.
Frans Timmermans said Britain was 'perhaps less unique and different than you think' as he declared himself 'deeply hurt' by the UK's decision to quit the bloc.
The European Commission vice-president said there was likely more 'damage' to follow after Britain leaves on January 31, which is now almost certain following Boris Johnson's election win.
But Britain would 'always be welcome to come back,' Timmermans wrote in his 'love letter' for the Guardian.
'Love letter': European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, pictured, declared himself 'deeply hurt' by the UK's decision to quit the EU'Was it necessary to force the issue? Not at all. But you did. And the sad thing is, I see it is hurting you,' said Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister.
'In the process so much unnecessary damage has been done to you, and all of us. And I fear more will follow.
'Truth be told, I felt deeply hurt when you decided to leave. Three years later I am just sad that a member of our family wants to sever our ties.'
In the letter Timmermans professed his 'love for Britain', recalling how he attended St George's British International School in Rome as a youngster and appeared in a Gilbert and Sullivan production.
But he added: 'I know you believe yourself to be unique and different. And of course you are in many ways, but perhaps less than you think.'
He said Britain would be welcome to return, but that seems a remote prospect after the pro-Brexit Conservatives won a rampant election victory on December 12.
Campaigners for a second referendum conceded defeat after the snap election, in which the Tories won a majority of 80.
Mr Johnson's Brexit deal has already passed its first stage in Parliament and is expected to complete its passage in the New Year.
Deadline: Brexit is now almost certain to happen on January 31 after Boris Johnson (pictured) swept to victory at the December 12 general electionPro-Remain parties such as the Liberal Democrats have yet to say whether they will campaign for Britain to return to the EU fold.
The Scottish National Party, which backed a second referendum, now wants another independence poll in Scotland to keep the country in the EU.
Irish premier Leo Varadkar has also previously indicated that Britain could reverse its decision to leave the bloc.
Timmermans was in the reckoning for the European Commission's top job in marathon EU talks earlier this year, but lost out to Ursula von der Leyen.
The Dutchman had been the lead candidate of the Europe-wide Socialists & Democrats in May's European Parliament elections.
Timmermans' alliance came second to Manfred Weber's centre-right bloc, but both lead candidates were overlooked by EU leaders.
The shadowy process even drew criticism from previous president Jean-Claude Juncker, who criticised it as 'not very transparent'.
My love letter to Britain: family ties can never really be severed | Frans Timmermans | Opinion | The Guardian
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:19
I recently read a delightful book of love letters to Europe. And it made me contemplate my love for Britain. It has just occurred to me that when you joined the European Economic Community I was in one of your schools. Not on your soil, mind you, but in Italy. Saint George's British International School in Rome, to be precise. I was 12 years old and still learning English. That year I also dressed up in a kimono, as one of the ''gentlemen from Japan'' in the Mikado, the school play. Mrs Alcock encouraged me not to sing too loudly, so that my false notes would be less audible. But she kept me on stage. I loved it. Like I loved being part of the chorus in My Fair Lady the next year and the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland the year after.
More than 40 years have passed since then. So much has happened. My family went back to the Netherlands, I studied there and in France. I got married and became a father, did my military service, worked as a diplomat, divorced and married again, got elected to parliament, served in government and am now in the European commission. Britain was always there. As part of me. Being in one of your schools made me more Dutch than before. Because there is no better way to be made aware of your own culture than by being immersed in another. And at the same time, that immersion leaves traces. What you inhale and absorb remains: as an extra layer, a sediment that partly merged with what was already there and partly remains distinguishable and unique.
So much unnecessary damage has been done to you, and all of us. And I fear more will follow
I know you now. And I love you. For who you are and what you gave me. I'm like an old lover. I know your strengths and weaknesses. I know you can be generous but also miserly. I know you believe yourself to be unique and different. And of course you are in many ways, but perhaps less than you think. You will never stop referring to the rest of us as ''the continent''. It helps you to create the distance you think you need. But it also prevents you from seeing that we all need a bit of distance between us. All European nations are unique. Our differences are a source of admiration, surprise, discomfort, misunderstanding, ridicule, caricature and, yes, love.
In the best of times these differences make us the most creative, productive, peaceful and prosperous of families. In the worst of times our differences are manipulated to instil fear, to propagate superiority, to set one family member against the other. Things then quickly get out of hand. We all are also very, very good at that. That is our legacy. That too is who we are. And as a family we have a duty to promote the best of times and keep the worst of times at bay. So far, for all its faults, the EU has been the most successful tool to achieve that goal.
You have decided to leave. It breaks my heart, but I respect that decision. You were in two minds about it, like you have always been in two minds about the EU. I wish you had stuck to that attitude, it served you well and it kept all of us in better shape. Was it necessary to force the issue? Not at all. But you did. And the sad thing is, I see it is hurting you. Because the two minds will still be there, even after you have left. In the process so much unnecessary damage has been done to you, and all of us. And I fear more will follow.
Truth be told, I felt deeply hurt when you decided to leave. Three years later I am just sad that a member of our family wants to sever our ties. But at the same time I find comfort in the thought that family ties can never really be severed. We're not going away and you will always be welcome to come back.
' Frans Timmermans is executive vice-president of the European commission
Is the Netherlands becoming a narco-state? - BBC News
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 07:07
Image caption The murder of a prominent lawyer has shocked the Netherlands and raised questions about the drugs trade and society "We definitely have the characteristics of a narco-state," confides Jan Struijs, chairman of the biggest Dutch police union.
"Sure we're not Mexico. We don't have 14,400 murders. But if you look at the infrastructure, the big money earned by organised crime, the parallel economy. Yes, we have a narco-state."
His words echo in a society that has been convulsed by a murder that went far beyond the bubble of the criminal underworld.
The deadly shooting of Derk Wiersum destroyed a common misconception here: that drug cartels only kill their own. A 44-year-old father of two, he was shot dead in front of his wife outside their home in Amsterdam in September.
'This is meant to frighten us'Wiersum was the lawyer for a crown prosecution witness, Nabil B, who had turned supergrass in a case against two of the Netherlands' most wanted suspects.
The shooting in broad daylight in quiet suburbia was seen as an attack on civil society, democracy and the rule of law.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption After the murder of Derk Wiersum, an opinion poll suggested almost six out of 10 Dutch people believed their country was a narco-state "This is meant to frighten us," warned public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke. "We must continue to use key witnesses otherwise we will get no further."
Suddenly, the fears of a drug users' paradise turning into a haven for drug crime and an economy undermined by it had burst into the open.
"A few incidents over the last few years were like a sign on the wall," explains Wouter Laumans whose bestseller, Mocro Mafia, is a story charting the rise of a new generation of criminals in Amsterdam.
"The signs were there that it could flow over from the underworld to the upper world, and now that has happened."
Laumans lists a series of incidents as evidence of the escalating brutality:
Two young boys killed in Kalashnikov shootout with bullets ricocheting off wallsA mother murdered in front of her childrenA severed head outside a coffee shopThe murder of a crown witness's brother, Reduan BThe murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum Image copyright EPA Image caption The murder of two boys, killed by Kalashnikov fire in December 2012, marked a big escalation in the Netherlands' crime problem What is the 'Mocro Mafia'?"It's street slang. Young Moroccans call each other 'Mocro'," says Laumans, who wrote the book with Marijn Schrijver.
"We came up with Mocro Mafia to encapsulate what the book was about. Now I see they're using it in police reports. But it's not only Moroccans. It's about young boys growing up in areas of Amsterdam where tourists never go.
"It's not canals, the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh. It's the housing estates. They don't have the same opportunities. They are aspirational, they are looking for a career in the underworld."
Organised crime 'rotting society'Even before Wiersum's murder, a report commissioned by the mayor or Amsterdam in August described the capital as a "Valhalla for drugs criminals".
The Netherlands wasn't yet a narco-state but was in danger of becoming one, warned Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus.
Without firm intervention, he said, "you'll get a minister standing here in dark glasses rather that someone simply giving democratic accountability".
"We knew it was coming," Jan Struijs told me. "Lawyers, mayors, police officers - we've all been threatened by organised crime. All the alarms have been sounding but the politicians have been naive. Now it's rotting the concrete of our society."
Image copyright Dutch police Image caption Police issued pictures of the suspected killer of Reduan B, the brother of a crown witness, before and after the attack A few days later another Dutch lawyer, Philippe Schol, was shot in the leg in a drive-by shooting while out walking his dog near his home across the border in Germany.
One opinion poll suggested 59% of people believed the Netherlands was now a narco-state, in other words a country whose economy is dependent on the trade in illegal drugs.
It strikes me as ironic that in a bureaucratic nation that sends you a dog tax reminder or fine for an overdue parking payment in a flash, gangsters remain at large and gangland shootings erupt on a regular basis.
Arrest of the Netherlands' most wantedThen came a high-profile arrest in the Gulf this week.
Ridouan Taghi was detained entering Dubai on a fake ID and held under an international arrest warrant on suspicion of multiple murders and drug running.
Described by police as one of the world's "most dangerous men", the 41-year-old is suspected of ordering a string of "liquidations", including the murder of Derk Wiersum.
Image copyright Dutch police Image caption Dutch police and EU police agency Europol had earlier put out this picture of Ridouan Taghi Dutch prosecutors immediately sought his extradition, ahead of a major gangland trial in March 2020, and he was flown to the Netherlands late on Wednesday.
The "Marengo" case involves five murders and a series of attempted murders, including the brother of informant Nabil B.
Ridouan Taghi is believed to have been living in Dubai with his wife and six children.
Dutch police say his arrest followed intense international co-operation rather than a tip-off . A hundred detectives were involved and police chief Erik Akerboom said the arrest was "of great importance to the Netherlands".
Read more from Anna: Astrid Holleeder's story: Why I betrayed my crime boss brother
"Taghi and his henchmen pose a threat to the rule of law. It is very important for us as police... to remove threats," he said.
The following day, six people were picked up across the Netherlands on suspicion of money laundering and possessing drugs and firearms.
While the arrest of Ridouan Taghi was a success for Dutch law enforcement, Wouter Laumans doubts it'll deter young people from aspiring to follow in his footsteps.
"It's about opportunities in society. They're no different from bankers or journalists, they want to make money. If you aren't a good football player or don't have the brains to wrestle yourself out of that world, this is their means. It's not just a drug problem, it's a social problem."
How big is the Dutch drug problem?The Netherlands has in a sense created the perfect environment for the drugs trade to flourish.
With its extensive transport network, its lenient drug laws and penalties, and its proximity to a number of lucrative markets, it is an obvious hub for the global narcotics flow.
Image copyright Dutch public prosecutor Image caption Over three days this week, customs officers intercepted 1,457kg of cocaine at Rotterdam port Renowned writer Roberto Saviano, who chronicled the organised crime world of the Naples Camorra network, believes mafia influence in Amsterdam is even worse.
"There are clans from all over the world, because the Netherlands is one of the most important transit ports. They know whoever controls the Netherlands has one of the arteries of the global drug market," he told the Volkskrant newspaper.
Billions and billions of euros are earned on the black market. Synthetic drugs with a street value of '‚¬18.9bn (£16bn; $22bn) were produced in the Netherlands in 2017.
Soft drugs have been imported from Colombia and North Africa for 30 years. Today a significant portion of synthetic drugs - MDMA, LSD, amphetamines, GHB and crystal meth - are produced in the Netherlands. In fact the country is considered a world leader.
Image copyright Osnabr¼ck Police Image caption In August 2017, this consignment of thousands of ecstasy pills depicting Donald Trump's face was intercepted by police in the German city of Osnabr¼ck Police union chief Jan Struijs highlights the speed at which these drugs are transported around the globe.
"On the day Donald Trump became president, the first distinctive orange 'Trumpies' ecstasy tablets were found in Schiphol; 24 hours later they were on sale in Australia.
"There are a lot of Mexicans helping to produce crystal meth in the Netherlands. You see a cocaine dump in Venezuela and Suriname, you see very low prices in Amsterdam, Liverpool and Manchester. Every gram you buy goes to organised crime and to funding these drug cartels."
Where the Netherlands fits on the drugs mapSouth American drug lords started by shipping to West Africa. The drugs then went north over old smuggling lines from Morocco, and young Moroccans whose parents had moved to the Netherlands still had family connections and migration routes to tap into.
That is how police allege Ridouan Taghi made his fortune. He inherited or "gained control" of a smuggling line and started moving cocaine instead of cannabis - which generated more money, and violence.
While ringleaders often operate internationally, police fear they are able to use domestic influence to control contract killers who are becoming increasingly younger.
"Police understand but don't have the means to intervene," shrugs Jan Struijs, "It's not only the budget cuts. Also youth prevention teams have gone. So young people are falling under the radar. Then suddenly we see them helping with liquidations."
But does that mean that the Netherlands has turned into a narco-state?
"We don't have bodies dangling from bridges," argues Wouter Laumans, "but we do have corruption in the docks, violence against lawyers, threats to journalists. It definitely has some of the characteristics of a narco-state lite."
If it does have such an unenviable status, it manifests itself mostly below the radar.
The Dutch economy may not be dependent or defined by the drugs industry, but that industry is exerting increasing influence on society.
Find out more on drugs and crime Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption How a drug gang laundered money
Obama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors | TheHill
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:59
Sen. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenWarren in Christmas tweet slams CBP for treatment of detainees Buttigieg surrogate: Impeachment is 'literally a Washington story' Buttigieg campaign introduces contest for lowest donation MORE has spent her presidential campaign railing against the donor class, making it known she doesn't want their help.
She has publicly bashed millionaires, has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers and has refused large checks from Democratic bundlers.
But behind the scenes in recent months, former President Obama has gone to bat for Warren (D-Mass.) when speaking to donors reluctant to support her given her knocks on Wall Street and the wealthy.
And if Warren becomes the nominee, Obama has said they must throw the entirety of their support behind her.
The former president has stopped short of an endorsement of Warren in these conversations and has emphasized that he is not endorsing in the Democratic primary race.
But he also has vouched for her credentials, making it clear in these private sessions that he deems her a capable candidate and potential president, sources say.
''He's asked all of the candidates who have sought his advice three questions: Is your family behind you? Why you? And why now? She checked the box for all,'' said one longtime Obama ally.
''I think he feels licensed to give an opinion on her because he's 'hired' her,'' the longtime Obama ally said.
While former Vice President Joe Biden Joe BidenLawyer for Giuliani associate to step down, citing client's financial 'hardship' Buttigieg surrogate: Impeachment is 'literally a Washington story' Presidential candidates should talk about animals MORE is the best-known Obama figure running for president, he's not the only one in the race to have worked for the administration.
Julin Castro was the secretary for Housing and Urban Development under Obama, and Warren in 2010 became an assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury, where she helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
''He obviously thinks she's very smart,'' one Democratic donor added. ''He thinks her policy ideas matter. And I think he sees her running the campaign with the most depth.''
A source close to Obama said the former president would go to bat in the same way for any of the Democratic candidates running for president, pointing to comments Obama made last month.
"Look, we have a field that is very accomplished, very serious and passionate and smart people who have a history of public service, and whoever emerges from the primary process, I will work my tail off to make sure that they are the next president," the former president said in a question-and-answer session at a Democracy Alliance event in Washington.
Obama's praise of Warren is a contrast of sorts from his days at the White House, when the two were said to have disagreements on economic issues including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The tension between the president and Massachusetts senator frequently became fodder around the administration.
Since then, the friction has continued to make headlines, including the time in 2015 when Obama was dismissive of Warren's opposition to the TPP.
''The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,'' he said in an interview with Yahoo.
On 2017, Warren took a shot at her former boss, saying she was ''troubled'' to hear of Obama's six-figure speaking deals as a former president.
Now, as she runs for president herself, Warren has distanced herself from some Obama's policies but has also spoken glowingly about the time in 2002 when she met Obama '-- who remains enormously popular among Democratic voters.
Last week, more than 200 lower- and mid-level Obama staffers who worked on his presidential campaigns and in his administration threw their support behind Warren.
The endorsements came at a pivotal time for the campaign with less than 70 days left until the Iowa caucuses and as candidates like Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg Peter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBloomberg has already spent 0 million on ads in presidential race Buttigieg surrogate: Impeachment is 'literally a Washington story' Buttigieg campaign introduces contest for lowest donation MORE (D) seek to win over the Obama coalition.
To date, Warren has been unable to secure more senior-level Obama veterans. That support from the highest levels '-- including former Secretary of State John Kerry John Forbes KerryObama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors GOP chairmen seek interview with Obama officials as part of Biden-Ukraine probe Why Jeff Van Drew talked of switching parties too soon MORE and former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Jacob (Jack) Joseph LewObama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors On The Money: Lawmakers pile on the spending in .4T deal | Trump-Pelosi trade deal creates strife among progressives | Trump, Boris Johnson discuss 'ambitious' free-trade agreement Former Obama Treasury secretary endorses Biden MORE '-- has gone to Biden.
Obama remains ''incredibly fond'' of Biden and is watching his campaign with interest, said one Obama ally who has spoken to the former president. But Obama '-- who is currently in Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation '-- has intentionally sought to remove himself from the 2020 race. He has said he would not endorse anyone during the primary, including Biden, and is not expected to be out on the campaign trail until there is a nominee.
At the same time, those around him say he worries that Democrats in financial services ''will have an issue her,'' as one ally put it, if she wins the nomination and is trying to ''rally the troops'' preemptively.
During the Democratic debate on Thursday night, Warren singled out Buttigieg for hobnobbing with big donors at ''wine cave'' fundraisers to help boost his campaign.
''The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine,'' Warren said.
Buttigieg, ready for the attack, accused Warren of being a millionaire herself and said she had accepted donations from wealthy donors during her Senate campaign. He also said the Democratic presidential nominee must accept money from all donors for the general election fight against President Trump Donald John TrumpTrump lashes out at Pelosi on Christmas, decries 'scam impeachment' Christmas Day passes in North Korea with no sign of 'gift' to US Prosecutors: Avenatti was M in debt during Nike extortion MORE .
Warren and Buttigieg are in a battle for Iowa, which is a key contest for both in the path to the White House. While Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernie SandersButtigieg surrogate: Impeachment is 'literally a Washington story' Michael Moore: Sanders can beat Trump in 2020 Buttigieg campaign introduces contest for lowest donation MORE (I-Vt.) are also in the mix in the Hawkeye state, a victory there is not seen as pivotal for either candidate.
It's been a topsy turvy run for the Massachusetts senator. While she saw an upward trajectory throughout much of the fall, she has fallen in recent polls, trailing behind Biden and Sanders.
An Emerson College poll out this week showed Biden receiving 32 percent of support among Democrats while Sanders received 25 percent and Warren pulled 12 percent, falling 8 points since the last survey in November.
Obama hasn't publicly singled out any of the candidates but occasionally, behind closed doors, he'll offer assessments when he is asked. Those who know him well say that while he is stylistically and temperamentally different from Warren, ''he appreciates her intellect and is impressed by the campaign she's run.''
''If anything, she has the most substantive achievements from his time in the White House,'' one former Obama aide said. ''And he's someone who can talk at length about her accolades.''
While Obama has remained quiet in recent months, during a private event in Singapore this week the former president said that women are ''indisputably better'' than men.
''I'm absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything ... living standards and outcomes,'' Obama said according to the BBC.
Later, after he was asked if he would go back into politics, he said he believed in making room for new leadership.
''If you look at the world and look at the problems, it's usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way,'' he said.
Asked about the comment at the debate, Biden said that Obama wasn't talking about him.
Mike Bloomberg Exploited Prison Labor to Make 2020 Presidential Campaign Phone Calls
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:57
Former New York City mayor and multibillionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make campaign calls. Through a third-party vendor, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign contracted New Jersey-based call center company ProCom, which runs calls centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma. Two of the call centers in Oklahoma are operated out of state prisons. In at least one of the two prisons, incarcerated people were contracted to make calls on behalf of the Bloomberg campaign.
According to a source, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women's prison with a capacity of more than 900, were making calls to California on behalf of Bloomberg. The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign. They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars.
''We didn't know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had. We don't believe in this practice and we've now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question.''
The Bloomberg campaign confirmed the arrangement in an emailed statement to The Intercept. ''We didn't know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had,'' said Bloomberg spokesperson Julie Wood. ''We don't believe in this practice and we've now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question.''
The campaign said it did not know about the arrangement between ProCom and an undisclosed campaign vendor until The Intercept made its inquiry. The campaign then ended the relationship on Monday and said it has asked vendors to do a better job of vetting subcontractors in the future.
''The use of prison labor is the continued exploitation of people who are locked up, who really have virtually no other opportunities to have employment or make money other than the opportunities given to them by prison officials,'' said Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News and an advocate for incarcerated people's rights.
John Scallan, a ProCom co-founder, said his company pays the Oklahoma minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, which then pays the incarcerated people working in the call centers. The Department of Corrections website lists the maximum monthly wage for the incarcerated at $20 dollars a month, but another policy document says there is a maximum pay of $27.09 per month.
When asked if their total monthly earnings are capped at these levels, Scallan said incarcerated people who work for ProCom make far higher wages. ''I can tell you unequivocally that is not us,'' Scallan said. ''Some of them are making that much every day.''
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections did not respond to multiple requests for comment to clarify the discrepancy, nor to answer questions about ProCom's arrangement with the Bloomberg campaign.
Coming into the race late, Bloomberg has plowed millions of dollars into his long-shot bid to take the White House. According to Forbes, the former New York mayor is worth $54 billion, making most of his money from the financial information and media company that bears his name. After entering the crowded race in November, Bloomberg's campaign has already hired more than 200 staffers in 21 states and spent over $76 million in television advertisements. Newsweek estimated that Bloomberg could spend billions on his campaign.
Prison labor has been used in a federal election on at least one other occasion. In 1994, the late Republican congressperson from Washington state, Jack Metcalf, used prison labor to make campaign calls and was subsequently elected to Congress, where he served three terms.
Initially, Stephen McQuaid, a director of business development at ProCom, told The Intercept that the company had no current contracts with the Bloomberg campaign. When pressed on whether the company did any past work for Bloomberg, McQuaid gave a long-winded response: ''To my knowledge we are not, and nor have I ever heard that we were making any dials for the Bloomberg campaign or on behalf of them through someone else, nor have I heard that we [are] currently making them, but I am not in a position to know every campaign that is going.''
Friedmann said that whether or not the Bloomberg campaign knew about the arrangement with ProCom, it was responsible. ''It's entirely possible they didn't know,'' Friedmann told me, ''but that's like saying department stores making clothes in southeast Asia don't know that 5-year-olds are stitching together their soccer balls. Well, shouldn't you know? Shouldn't you have some idea of your supply stream, or what your downside supply stream is doing?''
Andrew Yang Overtakes Pete Buttigieg to Become Fourth Most Favored Primary Candidate: Poll
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:49
Andrew Yang has slightly overtaken Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 Democratic primary net favorability rankings following the sixth debate between party candidates, a new poll has found.
The entrepreneur's net favorability score'--the share of potential Democratic primary voters who view him positively minus those with unfavorable views'--jumped seven points after the Los Angeles debate, according to Morning Consult.
As a result of the post-debate boost, Yang now has a net favorability score of 34 percent, putting him in fourth place and a point ahead of Pete Buttigieg on 33 percent.
Prior to the debate, Morning Consult polling between December 9 and 15 found Buttigieg three points ahead of Yang on favorability, with a 30 percent net positive rating.
Andrew Yang waves as he arrives at the 2020 Gun Safety Forum hosted by gun control activist groups Giffords and March for Our Lives at Enclave on October 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesMorning Consult's first survey since the final televised primary head-to-head of 2019 also revealed that lower ranking candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar and billionaire Tom Steyer have both enjoyed five-point boosts to their favorability scores since December 19.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were the only candidates on the debate stage last Thursday to see their favorability ratings fall after the showdown.
The poll found Biden's net ranking drop from 57 percent to 54 percent while Warren's dipped by just one point to a score of 44 percent.
Away from the debate platform, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's profile took a big knock after her vote of "present" when articles of impeachment were put before the House on December 18.
Among respondents to the Morning Consult survey, the veteran is the "most-disliked" candidate, with a net unfavorable score of 12 percent.
The shift in favorability rankings has had little impact on who Democrat voters intend to support in primaries and caucuses, the pollster reported, noting that Biden still came in first with 31 percent support.
He is trailed by Sen. Bernie Sanders in second place with 21 percent support, and third-place Warren, who has 15 percent of Morning Consult respondents backing her.
Yang is also still two places behind Buttigieg on overall support, despite overtaking the South Bend Mayor in favorability rankings.
The Real Clear Politics average of 2020 Democratic primary polls puts candidates in much the same positions as the latest Morning Consult survey.
The pollster collected interviews with 7,178 registered voters who said they may vote in the Democratic primaries and caucuses between December 20 and 22 for its latest "State of the Democratic Primary" poll. Its margin of error stands at 1 percent.
A graphic on Morning Consult's blog about the new survey says there is a 2 percent margin of error on the pre- and post-debate favorability polling comparison.
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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:36
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Colleges are turning students' phones into surveillance machines - The Washington Post
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:30
''They want those points,'' he said. ''They know I'm watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.''
Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students' academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.
But some professors and education advocates argue that the systems represent a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students' privacy on a massive scale. The tracking systems, they worry, will infantilize students in the very place where they're expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not.
''We're adults. Do we really need to be tracked?'' said Robby Pfeifer, a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began logging the attendance of students connected to the campus' WiFi network. ''Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? '... And is it just going to keep progressing until we're micromanaged every second of the day?''
This style of surveillance has become just another fact of life for many Americans. A flood of cameras, sensors and microphones, wired to an online backbone, now can measure people's activity and whereabouts with striking precision, reducing the mess of everyday living into trend lines that companies promise to help optimize.
Americans say in surveys they accept the technology's encroachment because it often feels like something else: a trade-off of future worries for the immediacy of convenience, comfort and ease. If a tracking system can make students be better, one college adviser said, isn't that a good thing?
But the perils of increasingly intimate supervision '-- and the subtle way it can mold how people act '-- have also led some to worry whether anyone will truly know when all this surveillance has gone too far. ''Graduates will be well prepared '... to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems,'' one commenter on the Slashdot message board said. ''Building technology was a lot more fun before it went all 1984.''
A face-scanning algorithm increasingly decides whether you deserve the job
Instead of GPS coordinates, the schools rely on networks of Bluetooth transmitters and wireless access points to piece together students' movements from dorm to desk. One company that uses school WiFi networks to monitor movements says it gathers 6,000 location data points per student every day.
School and company officials call location monitoring a powerful booster for student success: If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise. But some schools go even further, using systems that calculate personalized ''risk scores'' based on factors such as whether the student is going to the library enough.
The dream of some administrators is a university where every student is a model student, adhering to disciplined patterns of behavior that are intimately quantified, surveilled and analyzed.
But some educators say this move toward heightened educational vigilance threatens to undermine students' independence and prevents them from pursuing interests beyond the classroom because they feel they might be watched.
''These administrators have made a justification for surveilling a student population because it serves their interests, in terms of the scholarships that come out of their budget, the reputation of their programs, the statistics for the school,'' said Kyle M. L. Jones, an Indiana University assistant professor who researches student privacy.
''What's to say that the institution doesn't change their eye of surveillance and start focusing on minority populations, or anyone else?'' he added. Students ''should have all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that an adult has. So why do we treat them so differently?''
How to limit iPhone app tracking
Students disagree on whether the campus-tracking systems are a breach of privacy, and some argue they have nothing to hide. But one feeling is almost universally shared, according to interviews with more than a dozen students and faculty members: that the technology is becoming ubiquitous, and that the people being monitored '-- their peers, and themselves '-- can't really do anything about it.
''It embodies a very cynical view of education '-- that it's something we need to enforce on students, almost against their will,'' said Erin Rose Glass, a digital scholarship librarian at the University of California San Diego. ''We're reinforcing this sense of powerlessness '... when we could be asking harder questions, like: Why are we creating institutions where students don't want to show up?''
'Don't leave campus': Parents are now using tracking apps to watch their kids at college
SpotterEDU chief Rick Carter, a former college basketball coach, said he founded the app in 2015 as a way to watch over student athletes: Many schools already pay ''class checkers'' to make sure athletes remain eligible to play.
The company now works with nearly 40 schools, he said, including such universities as Auburn, Central Florida, Columbia, Indiana and Missouri, as well as several smaller colleges and a public high school. More than 1.5 million student check-ins have been logged this year nationwide, including in graduate seminars and chapel services.
SpotterEDU uses Bluetooth beacons roughly the size of a deck of cards to signal to a student's smartphone once a student steps within range. Installers stick them on walls and ceilings '-- the less visible, Carter said, the better. He declined to allow The Washington Post to photograph beacons in classrooms, saying ''currently students do not know what they look like.''
School officials give SpotterEDU the students' full schedules, and the system can email a professor or adviser automatically if a student skips class or walks in more than two minutes late. The app records a full timeline of the students' presence so advisers can see whether they left early or stepped out for a break.
''Students today have so many distractions,'' said Tami Chievous, an associate athletic director at the University of Missouri, where advisers text some freshmen athletes if they don't show up within five minutes of class. ''We have to make sure they're doing the right thing.''
The Chicago-based company has experimented with ways to make the surveillance fun, gamifying students' schedules with colorful Bitmoji or digital multiday streaks. But the real value may be for school officials, who Carter said can split students into groups, such as ''students of color'' or ''out-of-state students,'' for further review. When asked why an official would want to segregate out data on students of color, Carter said many colleges already do so, looking for patterns in academic retention and performance, adding that it ''can provide important data for retention. Even the first few months of recorded data on class attendance and performance can help predict how likely a group of students is to'' stay enrolled.
Students' attendance and tardiness are scored into a point system that some professors use for grading, Carter said, and schools can use the data to ''take action'' against truant students, such as grabbing back scholarship funds.
The system's national rollout could be made more complicated by Carter's history. He agreed earlier this year to stay more than 2,500 feet from the athletic offices of DePaul University, where he was the associate head basketball coach from 2015 to 2017, following an order of protection filed against him and allegations that he had threatened the school's athletic director and head basketball coach. The order, Carter said, is related to NCAA violations at the program during his time there and has nothing to do with SpotterEDU.
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Rubin, the Syracuse professor, said once-thin classes now boast more than 90 percent attendance. But the tracking has not been without its pitfalls: Earlier versions of the app, he said, included a button allowing students to instantly share their exact GPS coordinates, leading some to inadvertently send him their location while out at night. The feature has since been removed.
For even more data, schools can turn to the Austin-based start-up Degree Analytics, which uses WiFi check-ins to track the movements of roughly 200,000 students across 19 state universities, private colleges and other schools.
Launched by the data scientist Aaron Benz in 2017, the company says in promotional materials that every student can graduate with ''a proper environment and perhaps a few nudges along the way.''
Benz tells school administrators that his system can solve ''a real lack of understanding about the student experience'': By analyzing campus WiFi data, he said, 98 percent of their students can be measured and analyzed.
But the company also claims to see much more than just attendance. By logging the time a student spends in different parts of the campus, Benz said, his team has found a way to identify signs of personal anguish: A student avoiding the cafeteria might suffer from food insecurity or an eating disorder; a student skipping class might be grievously depressed. The data isn't conclusive, Benz said, but it can ''shine a light on where people can investigate, so students don't slip through the cracks.''
To help find these students, he said, his team designed algorithms to look for patterns in a student's ''behavioral state'' and automatically flag when their habits change. He calls it scaffolding '-- a temporary support used to build up a student, removed when they can stand on their own.
At a Silicon Valley summit in April, Benz outlined a recent real-life case: that of Student ID 106033, a depressed and ''extremely isolated'' student he called Sasha whom the system had flagged as ''highly at-risk'' because she only left her dorm to eat. ''At every school, there are lots of Sashas,'' he said. ''And the bigger you are, the more Sashas that you have.''
Is your pregnancy app sharing your intimate data with your boss?
A classifier algorithm divides the student body into peer groups '-- ''full-time freshmen,'' say, or ''commuter students'' '-- and the system then compares each student to ''normal'' behavior, as defined by their peers. It also generates a ''risk score'' for students based around factors such as how much time they spent in community centers or at the gym.
The students who deviate from those day-to-day campus rhythms are flagged for anomalies, and the company then alerts school officials in case they want to pursue real-world intervention. (In Sasha's case, Benz said, the university sent an adviser to knock on her door.)
Some administrators love the avalanche of data these kinds of WiFi-based systems bring. ''Forget that old ominous line, 'We know where you live.' These days, it's, 'We know where you are,' '' Purdue University president Mitch Daniels wrote last year about his school's location-tracking software. ''Isn't technology wonderful?''
But technical experts said they doubted the advertised capabilities of such systems, which are mostly untested and unproven in their abilities to pinpoint student harm. Some students said most of their classmates also didn't realize how much data was being gathered on their movements. They worried about anyone knowing intimate details of their daily walking patterns and whereabouts.
Several students said they didn't mind a system designed to keep them honest. But one of them, a freshman athlete at Temple University who asked to speak anonymously to avoid team punishment, said the SpotterEDU app has become a nightmare, marking him absent when he's sitting in class and marking him late when he's on time.
He said he squandered several of his early lectures trying to convince the app he was present, toggling his settings in desperation as professors needled him to put the phone away. He then had to defend himself to campus staff members, who believed the data more than him.
Purdue president Mitch Daniels' op-ed: 'Someone is watching you'
His teammates, he said, have suffered through their own technical headaches, but they've all been told they'll get in trouble if they delete the app from their phones.
''We can face repercussions with our coaches and academic advisers if we don't show 100 percent attendance,'' he said. But ''it takes away from my learning because I'm literally freaking out, tapping everything to try to get it to work.''
Campus staff, Carter said, can override data errors on a case-by-case basis, and Rubin said a teaching assistant works with students after class to triage glitches and correct points. SpotterEDU's terms of use say its data is not guaranteed to be ''accurate, complete, correct, adequate, useful, timely, reliable or otherwise.''
Carter said he doesn't like to say the students are being ''tracked,'' because of its potentially negative connotations; he prefers the term ''monitored'' instead. ''It's about building that relationship,'' he said, so students ''know you care about them.''
But college leaders have framed the technology in exactly those terms. In emails this year between officials at the University of North Carolina, made available through public-records requests, a senior associate athletic director said SpotterEDU would ''improve our ability to track more team members, in more places, more accurately.''
The emails also revealed the challenge for a college attempting to roll out student-tracking systems en masse. In August, near the start of the fall semester, nearly 150 SpotterEDU beacons were installed in a blitz across the UNC campus, from Chapman Hall to the Woollen Gym. The launch was so sudden that some students were alarmed to see an unknown man enter their classroom, stick a small device near their desks, and walk away. The student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, reported on ''an individual'' entering class to install a ''tracking device'' and filed for school records related to the SpotterEDU contract.
Parkland school turns to experimental surveillance software that can flag students as threats
Unclear what was happening, the dean of UNC's journalism school, Susan King, had someone yank a beacon off the wall after learning of a commotion spreading on Facebook. She told The Post she faulted ''stupidity and a lack of communication'' for the panic.
Carter said the frenzy was due to the school's need for a quick turnaround and that most installations happen when students aren't in class. (In an email to UNC staff, Carter later apologized for the mass installation's ''confusion and chaos.'')
A UNC spokeswoman declined to make anyone available for an interview, saying only in a statement that the university was evaluating ''streamlined attendance tracking'' for a ''small group of student-athletes.''
But campuswide monitoring appears to be on its way, the emails show. The school is planning to shift to a check-in system designed by a UNC professor, and an IT director said in an email that the school could install beacons across all general-purpose classrooms in time for the spring semester. ''Since students have to download the app, that is considered notification and opting-in,'' one UNC official wrote.
Chris Gilliard, a professor at Macomb Community College in Michigan who testified before Congress last month on privacy and digital rights, said he worries about the expanding reach of ''surveillance creep'': If these systems work so well in college, administrators might argue, why not high school or anywhere else?
The systems, he added, are isolating for students who don't own smartphones, coercive for students who do and unnecessary for professors, who can accomplish the task with the same pop quizzes and random checks they've used for decades. ''You're forcing students into a position,'' he said: ''Be tracked or be left out.''
Wanted: The 'perfect babysitter.' Must pass AI scan for respect and attitude.
Some parents, however, wish their children faced even closer supervision. Wes Grandstaff, who said his son, Austin, transformed from a struggling student to college graduate with SpotterEDU's help, said the added surveillance was worth it: ''When you're a college athlete, they basically own you, so it didn't matter what he felt: You're going to get watched and babysat whether you like it or not.''
He now says he wishes schools would share the data with parents, too. ''I just cut you a $30,000 check,'' he said, ''and I can't find out if my kid's going to class or not?''
Students using Degree Analytics' WiFi system can opt-out by clicking ''no'' on a window that asks whether they want to help ''support student success, operations and security.'' But Benz, the company's chief, said very few do.
That is, until last month at VCU, which recently launched a pilot program to monitor a set of courses required of all freshmen. Students said they were frustrated to first learn of the system in a short email about a ''new attendance tool'' and were given only two weeks before the opt-out deadline passed.
Students quickly scattered the opt-out link across social media, and the independent student newspaper, the Commonwealth Times, sowed doubts about the program's secrecy and stated mission, writing, ''Student success my ass.'' The university declined to make an official available for an interview.
Perspective: Do they know where their kids are? No, but maybe that's a good thing.
One student who opted out, VCU senior Jacie Dannhardt, said she was furious that the college had launched first-year students into a tracking program none of them had ever heard of. ''We're all still adults. Have a basic respect for our privacy,'' she said. ''We don't need hall passes anymore.''
The opt-out rate at VCU, Benz said, climbed to roughly half of all eligible students. But he blamed the exodus on misunderstanding and a ''reactionary 'cancel culture' thing.'' ''We could have done a much better job communicating, and the great majority of those students who could opt out probably wouldn't have,'' he said.
Joanna Grama, an information-security consultant and higher-education specialist who has advised the Department of Homeland Security on data privacy, said she doubted most students knew they were signing up for long-term monitoring when they clicked to connect to the campus WiFi.
She said she worries about school-performance data being used as part of a ''cradle-to-grave profile'' trailing students as they graduate and pursue their careers. She also questions how all this digital nudging can affect students' daily lives.
''At what point in time do we start crippling a whole generation of adults, human beings, who have been so tracked and told what to do all the time that they don't know how to fend for themselves?'' she said. ''Is that cruel? Or is that kind?''
Alice Crites contributed to this report.
Hate Trumps Love
CBC Cuts Donald Trump's 'Home Alone 2' Cameo Out of Broadcast | News and Politics
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:18
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is full of violence that, in my opinion, exceeds the physical comedy of the original film and is borderline barbarism. The main antagonists were subjected to bricks thrown at them from atop a building, being shot with a staple gun, having their heads lit afire, and being electrocuted. It is actually hard to watch.
But, for CBC TV in Canada, the following scene was too much, and had to be removed from their broadcast of the film:
That's right, ComicBook.com reports that CBC edited out Donald Trump's cameo from the 1992 movie. And people watching it were quick to report the suspicious omission on social media. Some were outraged, and the snowflakes were thrilled.
You guys are the biggest bush league ''journalists'' of all time. Editing out Trump's cameo in Home Alone 2. What kind of state-sponsored bullshit it that? #Defund
'-- James (@Jameseast_) December 23, 2019 @CBC Can you also edit @realDonaldTrump out of the movie Zoolander and the Little Rascals & then send me the copies of those movies & Home Alone 2 as well? So I can relive my childhood without that douchebag.
'-- Teddy8827 (@TEKO8827) December 25, 2019 @CBC Cutting Trump from Home Alone 2 is disgusting & your pathetic
'-- Wrestling Fan Forever (@617WrestlingFan) December 25, 2019 #CBC is airing home alone 2 and edited out Donald Trump ??????
'-- Anthony Di Marco (@ADiMarco25) December 16, 2019 According to the CBC, the movie "was edited to allow for commercial time within the format."
Here's where that explanation fails to pass the smell test:
Donald Trump formally announced his campaign in June 2015. The first time the CBC's cutting of Trump's cameo appearance was acknowledged on Twitter was around Christmas that year:
Now, either 2015 happened to be the first year the CBC broadcasted the movie, which I highly doubt, or something happened between the 2014 CBC broadcast of Home Alone 2, and the 2015 CBC broadcast. One could argue that Trump wasn't a political figure in the public's conscious before 2015, but years prior he had been making headlines for publicly questioning Obama's birth certificate'--so I don't think that excuse really works. Had his cameo been cut before then, I'm sure it would have been noticed.
Trump's presidential bid appears to the be beginning of the folks at the CBC being triggered by Trump so badly that they actually had to edit him out of their broadcast of the film. I can't decide if this is hilarious or sad.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama's Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis
Lady stage 4 cancer would kill
Kevin Spacey 'groped Norwegian king's son-in-law' - BBC News
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:14
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ari Behn was married to Princess Martha Louise from 2002-16 The King of Norway's former son-in-law has accused Kevin Spacey of groping him after a Nobel Peace Prize concert.
Ari Behn told radio station P4 that it happened after the actor had hosted the event in 2007.
"I am a generous person, but this was a bit more than I had in mind," said Behn, who was married to King Harald's daughter Martha Louise until last year.
Spacey has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment by a string of men and has been written out of House of Cards.
A spokesman for Spacey said last month that he was "taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment" in the wake of the allegations.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Kevin Spacey, pictured before the Nobel Peace Prize concert in 2007 Recalling the alleged incident, Behn said: "We had a great talk, he sat right beside me.
"After five minutes he said, 'hey, let's go out and have a cigarette'. Then he puts his hand under the table and grabs me by the balls."
Behn said he put Spacey off by telling him: "Er, maybe later."
He added: "My hair was dark at the time, I was 10 years younger and right up his alley."
Last month, the Old Vic theatre in London said it had received 20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behaviour by Spacey while he was artistic director there.
He has faced other allegations too, with the claims leaving his career in ruins.
He has been removed from the sixth season of House of Cards, which will instead focus on his on-screen wife, played by Robin Wright.
Spacey has also been replaced by Christopher Plummer in the new Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World.
Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk
Ari Behn: Author and Norway princess's ex-husband dies aged 47 - BBC News
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:13
Image copyright AFP Image caption Princess Martha Louise and Ari Behn in 2015 Ari Behn, the former son-in-law of Norway's king, has died aged 47, his spokesman has said.
Behn, the author of several novels and plays, married Princess Martha Louise in 2002 but the couple divorced two years ago.
His spokesman told Norway's NTB agency that Behn had taken his own life.
In a statement, Norway's king and queen said he had been "an important part of our family for many years and we carry warm and good memories of him with us".
At the time of their wedding, Denmark-born Behn was seen as a controversial partner for Princess Martha Louise, the only daughter and eldest child of King Harald and Queen Sonja.
Behn met his future wife through his mother, who was the princess's physiotherapy tutor. He was best known then as the author of a short book, Sad as Hell, but attracted controversy and was filmed partying with prostitutes who were taking drugs in Las Vegas.
The couple had three daughters - Maud, Leah and Emma - but separated in 2016 before divorcing a year later. At the time, the princess said in a statement: "We feel guilty because we are no longer able to create the safe harbour that our children deserve."
In December 2017, Behn accused the disgraced Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey of groping him after a Nobel Peace Prize concert. He said the actor had reached under a table and inappropriately touched him. Spacey did not respond to the allegation, one of many made at the same time.
"We are grateful that we got to know him," King Harald and Queen Sonja said of Behn in their statement. "We grieve that our grandchildren have now lost their beloved father."
Thimerasol for the poor
I thought you might find this interesting. I work as a
medical interpreter. I know that we have a flu vaccine for private and public
insurance. This year is fluarix and flulaval. I'm sure you can figure out which
goes to which. Both are made by GSK. Maybe Moe will touch this rail someday.
Sir Daniel Torrelio
VIDEO - Pentagon warns military members not to use at-home DNA kits - YouTube
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:22
VIDEO-Australia wildfires set to get worse as another 'extreme heatwave' looms | World News | Sky News
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:16
Australia is bracing for yet more wildfires as another "extreme heatwave" is expected to hit the country.
Firefighters are taking advantage of a temporary bout of cooler weather, but there are still more than 70 blazes in New South Wales alone.
So far the fires have burned around five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land, killed nine people and destroyed more than 950 homes.
Image: Around 12.35 million acres of land have been destroyed by the firesAuthorities are bracing for things to get worse as high temperatures return.
Sydney is forecast to hit 31C (88F) on Sunday before reaching 35C on Tuesday, while the city's western suburbs could reach 41C.
Adelaide in South Australia is on course to reach a sizzling 40C at the start of a four-day heatwave.
Image: Sydney suburbs are predicted to hit up to 41CBureau of Meteorology forecaster Rose Barr said a heatwave was currently building in southern parts of New South Wales and would worsen at the weekend.
"Some areas are forecast to reach extreme heatwave conditions," she said.
"With the increasing heat and winds, the fire danger will worsen into the new week, with Monday and Tuesday most likely to be the most significant fire weather days."
Fire danger ratings remain very high in north-western New South Wales, and high in Sydney.
Image: PM Scott Morrison has faced criticism for his Hawaii holidayIn his annual Christmas message, Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to two volunteer firefighters - Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O'Dwyer, 36 - who died last week battling blazes.
The wildfire crisis forced Mr Morrison to cut short his much-criticised family holiday in Hawaii and fly home to Australia on Saturday night.
Image: Two volunteer firefighters were killed"To Andrew and Geoffrey's parents, we know this is going to be a tough Christmas for you, first one without both those two amazing men," he said.
"I want to thank all those who serve our nation, serving as volunteers fighting those fires as we speak.''
Both men died when their truck overturned near the town of Buxton after a tree fell into their path.
VIDEO-Tom Elliott on Twitter: "SUPERCUT! Watch the media once again fall for a fake hate episode '-- this time ''OK'' signs at the #ArmyNavyGame https://t.co/tqA2tvnzfY" / Twitter
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:13
CNN is terrified they might trigger the 15 people still watching from places other than airports.
VIDEO - 'Smart street lights' give Calif. police expanded view, critics slam lack of oversight - YouTube
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VIDEO - (20) Mark Dice on Twitter: "Social Justice Warriors are upset that Santa Claus is white! 🂠#MerryChristmas https://t.co/7buXmQrILz" / Twitter
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VIDEO - Las Vegas strip club comes under fire for donating tents with club's logo on to homeless | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:19
Las Vegas strip club comes under fire after tents branded with its LOGO are erected in the city for the homelessA mother - who wished to remain anonymous - complained that the tents from Deja Vu Showgirls were 'immoral' and 'disgusting'The mother added that she was 'taken back' when she saw some tents on Bonanza Road in Las VegasStrip club decided to donate the tents after a recent ordinance passed that will make it illegal to sleep in public spaces if there is space in a shelter Megan Swartz, who is affiliated with the company, called the ordinance 'unfortunate' By Matthew Wright For Dailymail.com
Published: 10:44 EST, 25 December 2019 | Updated: 11:21 EST, 25 December 2019
A strip club in Las Vegas has come under fire for providing hundreds of homeless people with tents branded with its logo.
One mother - who wished to remain anonymous - complained that the tents from Deja Vu Showgirls were 'immoral' and 'disgusting,' adding that she was 'taken back' when she saw some tents on Bonanza Road.
She said it caused her children asked about the establishment.
Deja Vu Showgirls condemned the woman's position on their social media accounts.
'It's a sad day when a strip club shows more humanity than an angry mother,' they shared.
Scroll down for video
A mother - who wished to remain anonymous - complained that the tents from Deja Vu Showgirls were 'immoral' and 'disgusting'
In a statement to KTNV, the company shared that the decision was in response to a recent ordinance passed by the city that will make it illegal for homeless people to sleep in public spaces if there is space at a local shelter.
The ordinance goes into effect on February 1, 2020.
'It is 100% true that we provide warm clothing and sleeping tents for the less fortunate,' Deja Vu added. 'This just seems like the right thing to do during the holidays.
'While some seem to think that the solution is a camping ban, we think that the solution is one that includes decency and kindness. We hope that others can show some humanity and do their share to take care of the most needy among us.
The mother added that she was 'taken back' when she saw some tents on Bonanza Road in Las Vegas
'It's a sad day when a strip club shows more humanity than an angry mother,' the strip club said on social media
Megan Swartz, who is affiliated with the company, called the ordinance 'unfortunate.'
'I think that it's pretty unfortunate that that city passed that ban against camping that doesn't go into effect in February of 2020, and we're always doing our part to help however we can,' she said.
Swartz added that the company routinely helps out around the community but that it struggles given the nature of its business. She expressed gratitude at all the well wishes the company has received.
'It was so positive and so uplifting,' she added. 'This is amazing to read on Christmas Eve. This is great and it warms my heart.'
Megan Swartz, who is affiliated with the company, called a recent city ordinance against the homeless 'unfortunate'
VIDEO - Trump campaign bags big money in days since impeachment - YouTube
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:17
VIDEO-MinutemenOfUSA on Twitter: "@StevePieczenik @CLewandowski_ @HowleyReporter @Non_MSM_News @DerSPIEGEL @THR @RandPaul @starsandstripes @adamcurry The #HouseOfCards is going to fall. Great work @RudyGiuliani... an attorney whom has done more in 3 years
Wed, 25 Dec 2019 23:00
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
Wed, 25 Dec 2019 12:28
VIDEO-Las Vegas strip joint donates tents with club's logo to homeless residents
Wed, 25 Dec 2019 07:51
December 25, 2019 | 1:52am | Updated December 25, 2019 | 5:36am
A Las Vegas strip club has reportedly been providing homeless people with clothing and tents bearing the club's logo '-- infuriating some area residents who view the establishment as ''immoral.''
Club Deja Vu, which bills itself as the ''#1 topless strip club in the United States,'' made the donations ahead of the start of a new city ordinance that will make it illegal to camp on sidewalks if city shelters have room, according to 13 Action News.
''While some seem to think that the solution is a camping ban, we think that the solution is one that includes decency and kindness,'' the club said in a statement to the station.
''This just seems like the right thing to do during the holidays.''
But not everybody shares the same view.
One local mother complained to 13 Action News that while driving downtown her small children asked about Deja Vu when they saw the tents.
The woman said she was ''taken back'' by the sight. She described Deja Vu as ''immoral'' and ''disgusting.''
Enforcement for the city's new camping ban is scheduled to begin Feb. 1, the report said.
VIDEO-Youtube Quietly PURGES Entire Category Of Videos Over Christmas! - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 23:44
VIDEO-The No Agenda 2019 Christmas Album Website
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 23:41
In The Morning World This site does not use any cookies. Santa ate them all Please find a link below to the hurredly rushed 2019 Christmas Album. I have been threatening to do this since Feburary this year, but as luck (pronounced my bad planning) would have it, there was bearly enough time to stich the songs all together, let alone download, install and configure Wordpress.
I'll keep it up on this website for the 12 days of Christmas, and maybe a little longer if I forget. Track Listing Pepe White Privilege Have Yourself an OTG Christmas Oh Antifa Silenced Whites Drunken Jinges Knight Me Baby (JCD Request) Put On A Gretta Face Ring Dorrbell Hack We Wish You a No Agenda Donald Trump Is Coming To Town (feat. Sir Felix when he was just 8 years old) Mystery Bonus Click here to play. Right click to download...unless you have one of those old Macs with only one mouse button, or just hold your finger on it if your on one of them mobile devices The No Agenda 2019 Christmas Album
Hit me up on No Agenda Social or Twitter and let me know what you think ....yeah...what you rally really think....I can take it. I'm a damned knight if you havent noticed. No trigger warnings needed....but plenty available on request. See show 773...
If you would like to return some value, feel free to share the love, that special kind of love, the one that only PayPal notifications can give. Click the image below and give me as much, or as little love as you will. 100% of the proceeds will be reinvested the No Agenda Show via my dame drive for Kylie the Keeper, and one of those fancy Knight Rings.
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VIDEO - Alex Jones Special Report'' Massive New Epstein Revelations Blows The Deep State Wide Open''12/23/2019 - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:46
VIDEO - (3) Mark Dice on Twitter: "SJWs are upset that Santa Claus is white. #WaronChristmas https://t.co/yAl5NEHgZq" / Twitter
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:44
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VIDEO - Companies Face An Uphill Battle Trying To Get Americans To Eat Bugs : NPR
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:38
Companies Face An Uphill Battle Trying To Get Americans To Eat Bugs A new crop of young entrepreneurs are looking to capitalize on the latest food trend: eating bugs. The protein source is showing up on shelves at grocery chains.
December 24, 2019 5:05 AM ET
Companies Face An Uphill Battle Trying To Get Americans To Eat Bugs Download Embed <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/791030172/791030173" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
A new crop of young entrepreneurs are looking to capitalize on the latest food trend: eating bugs. The protein source is showing up on shelves at grocery chains.
VIDEO - Mike Bloomberg uses Hawkfish, tech firm he founded, for White House bid
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:04
Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is pouring tens of millions of dollars from his vast personal fortune into his campaign. A piece of it is going to an unknown digital business called Hawkfish '-- which Bloomberg himself founded during the spring.
Hawkfish will be the "primary digital agency and technology services provider for the campaign," Julie Wood, a Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, told CNBC. She added that the firm "is now providing digital ad services, including content creation, ad placement and analytics" for their campaign. It will also help Democratic races across the country in future election cycles, she said.
The company's existence has not been previously reported. Bloomberg's campaign disclosed details about the company after CNBC pressed the campaign about its recent hiring spree.
Bloomberg, a billionaire former three-term mayor of New York, started building the company early in 2019, before he decided to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, the campaign aide said. While the campaign declined to say how much Bloomberg has invested in the company, Bloomberg has said he will spend over $100 million on anti-Trump digital ads. His campaign has already spent at least $13 million on Facebook and Google spots.
Bloomberg, who was dedicated to denying President Donald Trump a second term before he entered the Democratic race, built Hawkfish with the intention of overpowering the formidable data operation assembled by the Republican National Committee and Trump's cash-flush campaign.
Hawkfish appears to have been assembled in secret. It has no public website. A search of elections databases turned up no financial records connected to work for other Democratic causes.
No other candidate in the 2020 race is known to have created a vendor designed to aide their bid.
While it is unusual for a presidential candidate to turn to a company he founded for assistance, ethics experts say Bloomberg's move does not break Federal Election Commission laws.
"I would say nothing shows a red flag as far as a violation," Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, told CNBC. "If he sincerely had not made up his mind to run when he made this company to help Democrats, it's fine. Going forward, the campaign would have to pay fair market value to the company in goods that he's receiving."
It's not entirely clear where the company is based.
Using research company Accurint, CNBC reporters went to a New York address that was associated with Hawkfish. At the address, 909 Third Avenue, an attendant at the front desk said no business named Hawkfish existed there. The Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman said the address, which is about a five-minute walk from Bloomberg's namesake company, was only used for receiving paperwork. The address is the same as Mike Bloomberg's longtime accountant, Geller & Company.
Bloomberg has prioritized data analytics in his business and public life. Bloomberg LP, a financial services and data company, rose to success on the strength of its "terminals," or data hubs. He relied on a data-driven approach through his 12 years as mayor of the nation's largest city.
He is known to use the phrase, "In God we trust. Everyone else bring data," and is selling merchandise with the slogan on his campaign website.
A year after he poured over $110 million to help elect Democrats in the 2018 congressional midterm elections, Bloomberg and his aides started to reach out to business leaders in the tech world to start exploring the idea of making a company that could help Democrats and combat Trump. Bloomberg himself met with the likes of longtime Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway and New York-based venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
Conway told CNBC in an email that he spoke with Bloomberg about the necessity of creating a digital counterweight to Trump and the Republican Party.
"It's clear to me and other tech leaders that Trump and the GOP are better at creating and sharing engaging online content than anyone on the Democratic side," Conway said in explaining his conversation with Bloomberg. "If we want to win in 2020 and beyond, we need to master the digital medium in our own effective way, including efficiently registering voters and sharing compelling content with the right audiences. The battle is being waged online and so far Democrats have been out-matched '-- if Mike can help us catch up, that will make a big difference."
Wilson did not return a request for comment.
Soon after Hawkfish incorporated in the spring, it started working on behalf of Democratic groups involved in races in Virginia and Kentucky. The Bloomberg campaign did not say which races Hawkfish worked on, and Democratic groups in those states did not respond to requests for comment.
In November, Democrats won control of the Virginia statehouse for the first time in more than two decades. Bloomberg's gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, outspent the National Rifle Association in Virginia and has received credit for helping Democrats flip the legislature.
In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear narrowly defeated Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. The state had favored Trump by about 30 percentage points in 2016.
Hawkfish's leadership ranks include longtime Facebook Chief Marketing Officer Gary Briggs, who recently posted on his social media page that he is now a digital director at "Mike Bloomberg 2020," and Jeff Glueck, former CEO of location-tracking firm Foursquare.
Glueck said on Twitter that he was moving over to Hawkfish full time after working as an advisor for a few months. He noted that the firm had worked for state-level Democratic campaigns but said the company's first "major" customer was Bloomberg's campaign for president. He announced on Twitter earlier in December that he was leaving Foursquare.
Glueck also hinted that other former Silicon Valley players were with the group but did not elaborate. One of the Hawkfish advisors is Tom Secunda, a co-founder of Bloomberg LP. The company website says he played a key role in developing the Bloomberg Terminal.
According to Glueck and a Bloomberg employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the media, Hawkfish employees are working around the clock to assemble the start up.
"And warning, this is a seven-day-a-week workplace through Super Tuesday and beyond," Glueck wrote in a post on Twitter. Super Tuesday next year is March 3, where several states, including Texas and California, will hold their primary elections. Bloomberg is skipping the four contests in February '' Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada '' to focus on delegate-rich Super Tuesday.
"It's supposed to be very intense over there," the Bloomberg employee said. "Everyone was told you are not going to be taking any vacation between now and the end of this. Anything you need to do in your personal life, do it before you go over there."
Some employees of Bloomberg's namesake company are also doing work for Hawkfish, which is paying Bloomberg LP for allowing employees to work with the new firm. Wood, the campaign spokeswoman, said many of the Hawkfish employees who are providing services to Bloomberg's political operation are working out of his campaign headquarters in New York.
The Bloomberg campaign is posting Hawkfish jobs on its website, including graphic designer, copywriter, video editor and senior software engineer.
A Bloomberg LP spokesman did not return a request for comment.
VIDEO - Less than 10% of Americans buying $1000 smartphones - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:53
VIDEO - Inside police sting to catch porch pirates l ABC News - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:51
VIDEO - Minnesota college student announces run for state house as Republican - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:50
VIDEO-Yang Rips Into Media Over Impeachment Coverage - YouTube
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 04:14
VIDEO-MUST WATCH: James Comey Admits that FBI Gave FISA Court False Information
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 16:56
Follow Matt on TwitterJames Comey admitting that the FBI wasn't being forthcoming? Say it isn't so America.
James Comey admits that the FBI gave the FISA court false information so that it could spy on President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign!
It's either incompetence or corruption by James Comey '' nothing in-between as concluded by Mr Horowitz in his IG report '' so which is it? I'm going with corruption based on Jimmy Comey clearing Hillary Clinton. Comey took a side and is absolutely corrupt. ''Tony Shaffer
Michael Horowitz concludes in his IG report that three separate teams made errors in FISA application process. James Comey responds on FOX News Sunday: ''As Director you are responsible for this.''
You can watch the bombshell interview below.
MUST WATCH: James Comey admits that the FBI gave the FISA court false information so that it could spy on President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign! pic.twitter.com/O3CQNrbv66
'-- Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) December 15, 2019
VIDEO-Tom Elliott on Twitter: "The New Yorker's David Remnick on Trump's impeachment: "It's about the future of the Earth" https://t.co/L60TolfNv6" / Twitter
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 15:15
Log in Sign up Tom Elliott @ tomselliott The New Yorker's David Remnick on Trump's impeachment: "It's about the future of the Earth"
pic.twitter.com/L60TolfNv6 8:09 AM - 22 Dec 2019 Twitter by: Tom Elliott @tomselliott MarcusArulius @ AruliusMarcus
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott @MZHemingway Translation: we the almighty media cannot convince Americans of our lies.
View conversation · Gordon Stewart @ Gordon89278359
Dec 22 Replying to
@AruliusMarcus @tomselliott @MZHemingway You nailed it perfectly.
View conversation · David @ 808to818
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott I still haven't heard any plan from climate change advocates how they will get China and India to buy into their agenda. Since Trump has been in office, US has reduced carbon emissions; China and India have not.
View conversation · joyce schneider @ JoyceNana10
24h Replying to
@808to818 @Rolandvanking @tomselliott That's because We can't make China or India or anybody else become climate compliant. Do they think we're stupid that we're going to pay for the world pollution? not going to happen.
View conversation · James ''I was wrong'' Comey @ MarcusP26228548
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott @MZHemingway #Shampeachment is more about the future of the Dem party. Dems know Trump is a threat to their very existence. They are angry and confused because they've never been challenged like this before. The threat is real and the Dems are in trouble.
pic.twitter.com/TWYZTQjIHj View conversation · JTTCOTM @ JTTCOTM
22h Replying to
@MarcusP26228548 @tomselliott @MZHemingway WHERE CAN I GET A SIGN LIKE THAT?
View conversation · EYJR2017 🇺🇸''¤¸ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡± @ YbarraEmilio
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott pic.twitter.com/q3ArrsUxtc View conversation · Steve Tefft @ stevetefft
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott @MZHemingway The latest evidence of the NYT's descent into irrelevance.
View conversation · James 8. Corney @ MarkF_no_number
Dec 22 Replying to
@stevetefft @tomselliott @MZHemingway He's with the New Yorker.
View conversation · Politics101 @ NBfromLB
Dec 22 Replying to
@tomselliott @MZHemingway I thought it was about the phone call?
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VIDEO-Nord Stream 2 sanctions reflect '²fossil fuel war'² | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 12.12.2019
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 15:01
BusinessUS sanctions against the builders of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe won't halt the project, says DIW institute's energy expert Claudia Kemfert, but reflect fierce rivalries on the dwindling of fossil fuels.
Watch video 02:52 Date12.12.2019Duration02:52 mins.HomepageBusiness- NewsAll videosBusinessKeywordssanction,Nord Stream 2,Claudia KemfertPrintPrint this pagePermalinkhttps://p.dw.com/p/3UgchMore in the Media CenterUS Congress imposes sanctions on Nord Stream 2 17.12.2019 DW Business - Europe 18.12.2019 US lawmakers agree on bill to sanction Nord Stream 2 12.12.2019 US lawmakers agree on bill to sanction Nord Stream 2 12.12.2019 More from Business DW Business Africa 23.12.2019 DW Business '' Asia 23.12.2019 DW Business - Europe 23.12.2019 DW Business - Europe 23.12.2019 Read also German think tank calls for 'climate tariffs' in response to US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 23.12.2019 A German think tank says the EU should fight back against US sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Washington's threats have already caused construction firms to drop out of the project.
US Senate approves Nord Stream 2 Russia-Germany pipeline sanctions 17.12.2019 The move by US lawmakers is part of a push to counter Russian influence in Europe, but European lawmakers have said the US should mind its own business.
Kremlin: US sanctions won't stop Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany 18.12.2019 Russia has slammed US sanctions over the mammoth gas pipeline to Germany as illegal and an example of "unfair competition." The measures, which still need Donald Trump's approval, target firms involved in the project.
Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline faces sanctions under US defense bill 12.12.2019 Washington pushes ahead with sanctions against the gas pipeline, claiming it strengthens Russia's grip on EU energy markets. In Germany the move is condemned as an "unfriendly act" to promote US commercial interests.
VIDEO - RUDY GIULIANI ON UKRAINE: Documents PROVE Hunter Biden, Burisma Corruption and Money Laundering - YouTube
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:06
VIDEO - Robert De Niro says he'd like to see Donald Trump get hit in the face with a bag of excrement
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:05
De Niro made the remarks on the podcast of director Michael MooreMoore tried to egg him into saying he wanted to punch TrumpBut De Niro demurred and said a bag of feces in the face would suffice Hollywood legend and staunch 'Never Trumper' Robert De Niro has called for the president to be hit in the face with a bag of feculence.
De Niro's remarks, made in a interview with Michael Moore on the liberal film director's podcast, are just the latest explosive insult the actor has hurled at President Donald Trump.
'I'd like to see a bag of s**t right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that and let the picture go all over the world, De Niro said.
'And, that would be the most humiliating thing because he needs to be humiliated,' he added.
Robert De Niro (left) spoke with Michael Moore (right) this week on the liberal film director's podcast. He said he'd like to see Trump hit in the face with a bag of ordure Trump has previously said that he is 'very much a germaphobe', and reportedly kicks aides out of the Oval Office for coughing or sneezingDe Niro said that whichever Democrat gets the presidential nomination to face off with Trump in 2020 has to 'confront him and put him in his place, because the people have to see that, to see him be humiliated.'
It came just days after De Niro lashed out at Trump's adult children during an appearance on The View.
De Niro's appearance on the ABC show was primarily to promote his new Netflix movie The Irishman, but before the panel could even mention the new flick, the two-time Oscar winner was already hurling insults at Trump's family.
During the scathing monologue, De Niro voiced belief that the Trump family has behaved far worse than any of the mob families depicted in some of his most famous films, warning that if his children behaved the way Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka have, he'd have 'disowned them' by now.
'I don't want my kids to take this the wrong way, but if my kids did what these kids did, I wouldn't want to be related to them,' father-of-six De Niro blasted, drawing audible gasps from the audience.
'I would disown them. I'd have a serious talk with them,' he continued.
De Niro has been on the media circuit promoting his new film The Irishman - but has frequently quickly turned interviews toward his most cherished topic, bashing TrumpHe later joked that it would be an 'impossibility' because his 'kids are not like that at all, of course', but later seemed to imply the he disagrees with his children over how 'strongly' he feels about the president.
De Niro's comments come just days after an interview with New York Times Magazine in which he said he would never play Trump on-screen because there's 'nothing redeemable about him' or his family.
'There's not one thing that I see in him or his family, not any redeeming qualities. They're out on the take. It's like a gangster family,' he said.
Three of Trump's adult children have either prominent roles in his 2020 reelection campaign or in his current administration.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric, who both also serve as Trump Organization executives, are regularly seen on the campaign trail as surrogates. Ivanka, meanwhile, works as an unpaid White House adviser.
Earlier in his interview on The View, De Niro was asked by Whoopi Goldberg if he'd been following the impeachment proceedings against Trump to which De Niro confirmed that he has.
'No matter what happens, which we know probably in the Senate he won't get convicted or whatever, but we have to do this,' he told the panel. 'We have to go through the motions.
'Symbolically, it means something. It's a taint on his presidency, more than a taint. It's a stain, one that he deeply deserves.'
VIDEO - Brussels chaos: Spain follows Poland by threatening to quit EU over shock ECJ ruling | World | News | Express.co.uk
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:56
Express. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. THERE is mounting pressure in Spain for right-wing parties to back a Brexit-style departure from the EU, following widespread fury across the country at a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). PUBLISHED: 06:34, Mon, Dec 23, 2019 | UPDATED: 09:22, Mon, Dec 23, 2019
Spain has joined Poland in becoming the second country this week to claim it could ditch the EU, amid growing fury at the power that Brussels holds over member-states. Spain's third biggest party Vox is under huge pressure to back the Spanish version of the Brexit referendum, following growing fury at an ECJ ruling this week. Vox's own party president lambasted the EU, claiming when the ECJ overruled Spanish courts, it had humiliated the country and its sovereignty.
On Thursday, the EU's top court ruled a jailed Catalan separatist leader should have parliamentary immunity.
Oriol Junqueras was one of nine pro-independence leaders jailed in Spain after an illegal independence referendum.
However, in May he was elected to the European Parliament as an MEP.
The ruling rejected Madrid's arguments that Mr Junqueras did not qualify as an MEP because he had not sworn an oath to the Spanish constitution.
JUST IN: Oh dear, Brussels! Boris has ALREADY outsmarted EU negotiators, reveals BBC's Kuenssberg
Spain has joined Poland in becoming the second country this week to claim it could ditch the EU (Image: GETTY)
Oriol Junqueras was one of nine pro-independence leaders jailed in Spain (Image: GETTY)
A furious reaction among Spaniards even led 'Spaxit' - the Spanish exit of the European Union - to become trending on Twitter.
Vox President Santiago Abascal criticised the judges in Luxembourg who ruled that Mr Junqueras, who was sentenced to 13 years for sedition, should be freed.
He immediately tweeted that Spain ''should not have to comply'' with the ECJ ruling.
He went on to claim that Spain should hit back at ''this interference,'' before adding that Vox ''is not going to accept more humiliations''.
On Thursday, the EU's top court ruled a jailed Catalan separatist leader should have parliamentary immunity (Image: GETTY)
Mr Abascal later tweeted: ''Spain (as other countries do) should not abide by any judgement of those who attack our sovereignty and security."
Vox's Twitter used the hashtag #Espa±aLoPrimero, or Spain First.
Vox, which took 52 seats in Congress at the last election, is the third biggest party in Spain and has seen its support surge in the past year.
The party calls for the repatriation of powers from Brussels to national governments but has not publicly backed 'Spaxit' yet.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the far-right party is coming under pressure from its grassroots to campaign for a referendum to leave the EU.
Kate Middleton and Prince William expected to make 'big announcement' over Christmas [VIDEO]Fury as Trump issues shock ultimatum in UK trade talks - leaked documents [LIVE BLOG]Labour 'one mistake away from oblivion' warns former MP after Corbyn wipeout [VIDEO]
Vox, which took 52 seats in Congress at the last election, is the third biggest party in Spain (Image: GETTY)
{%=o.title%}The outrage in Spain comes just days as Poland's Supreme Court warned that the country might have to leave the EU over its judicial reform proposals.
The proposals would allow judges to be dismissed if they questioned the government's judicial reforms.
Supreme Court judges wrote that the proposals threaten the primacy of EU law and could be an attempt to gag the judiciary.
The Supreme Court said: "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."
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VIDEO - IS SHE DRUNK?!?! Nancy Pelosi Fumbles Words, Struggles Through Press Conference - YouTube
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:49
VIDEO - Pete Santilli releases bombshell video exposing TRUTH about Ukraine: ''Ground Zero for the CIA Coup Upon America'' '' watch at Brighteon.com '' NaturalNews.com
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:47
Sunday, December 22, 2019 by: Mike AdamsTags: barack obama, CIA, corruption, investigation, Joe Biden, money laundering, Pete Santilli, political coup, President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Spygate, Ukraine, White House
(Natural News) Pete Santilli, who runs one of the more popular video channels on Brighteon.com, has just released a bombshell 36-minute documentary video that rips wide open the shocking truth about Ukraine, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, the deep state and the full-blown treason against America that has been waged by the Democrats.
Consider this a must-see documentary. It aligns with the bombshell information uncovered by Rudy Giuliani, who has now found that Barack Obama and his key political operators scammed at least $12.5 billion out of Ukraine from 2012 '' 2018. Giuliani summarized these stunning findings in a recent interview with Glenn Beck from The Blaze:
Giuliani said the corruption in Ukraine most likely started in 2012 during the Obama administration and involved at least two major schemes, one for $7.5 billion and another for $5 billion.
He backed his claims with bank and court records that show a million-dollar money trail leading from Ukraine to a fake company in Latvia, then to Cyprus, and finally to the board members of Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas firm whose board included Hunter Biden and business partner Devon Archer.
Pete Santilli's bombshell video goes way deeper, uncovering a system of fraud, corruption, extortion and money laundering that easily qualifies as the most outrageous corruption ever witnessed in the history of the United States of America.
Watch Santilli's documentary at the following link, and click ''subscribe'' beneath this video on Brighteon.com in order to subscribe to all of Pete's videos. (You'll need to create a free account on Brighteon.com to follow the channels you like.)
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About the author: Mike Adams (aka the ''Health Ranger'') is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com called ''Food Forensics''), an environmental scientist, a patent holder for a cesium radioactive isotope elimination invention, a multiple award winner for outstanding journalism, a science news publisher and influential commentator on topics ranging from science and medicine to culture and politics. Follow his videos, podcasts, websites and science projects at the links below.
Mike Adams serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation. He has also achieved numerous laboratory breakthroughs in the programming of automated liquid handling robots for sample preparation and external standards prep.
The U.S. patent office has awarded Mike Adams patent NO. US 9526751 B2 for the invention of ''Cesium Eliminator,'' a lifesaving invention that removes up to 95% of radioactive cesium from the human digestive tract. Adams has pledged to donate full patent licensing rights to any state or national government that needs to manufacture the product to save human lives in the aftermath of a nuclear accident, disaster, act of war or act of terrorism. He has also stockpiled 10,000 kg of raw material to manufacture Cesium Eliminator in a Texas warehouse, and plans to donate the finished product to help save lives in Texas when the next nuclear event occurs. No independent scientist in the world has done more research on the removal of radioactive elements from the human digestive tract.
Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and American Indians. He is of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his ''Health Ranger'' passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.
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In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.
Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed ''strange fibers'' found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health ''gurus,'' dangerous ''detox'' products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.
Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.
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VIDEO-At least 51 people injured in massive 69-car pileup - YouTube
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 06:18
VIDEO-German think tank calls for '²climate tariffs'² against US
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:49
A German think tank says the EU should fight back against US sanctions related to the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline. Washington's threats have already caused construction firms to drop out of the project.
The EU should enact "climate tariffs" against the US in response to sanctions against the bloc for the construction of the deep sea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, an economist at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), a German think tank, says.
Climate tariffs are necessary to prevent gas extracted through fracking, an ecologically harmful process, from being exported from the US to Germany and the EU, environmental economist Claudia Kemfert told Germany's Handelsblatt on Monday.
Kemfert, who leads the energy, traffic, and environment department at DIW, characterized US sanctions against the EU as an "aggressive instrument of a fossil energy crisis." Both Russia and the US are using natural gas as a "political weapon," she said, adding that the intention behind the sanctions is to sell US gas to Germany and the EU at the highest possible cost.
The economist agreed that criticism of the gas pipeline connecting Germany and Russia through the Baltic Sea is justified, saying that it is "environmentally harmful, economically unnecessary, and financially unprofitable."
But the US sanctions are "unacceptable" and Europe should stand up to them, she said. Russia has also announced retaliatory measures, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying "how and when it will be done remains a question of Russia's national interests."
Germany keeps its cool
In a response given Monday, Germany's Coordinator for Transatlantic Cooperation Peter Beyer said countertariffs are not the solution. Escalating the conflict would be inappropriate, the coordinator told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, saying it should instead be solved through political means.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed legislation that included sanctions against companies and individuals that work on the Nord Stream 2 project. The measures, which have yet to go into effect, include a ban on entering the US and the freezing of assets held there.
Read more: How the Druzhba pipeline brought East Germans and Ukrainians together
Allseas, the Swiss-based company laying the pipeline, announced it is suspending its involvement with the project in response.
The pipeline, which will be 2,400 kilometers (1,491 miles) long, is just 300 kilometers short of completion.
Germany fears sanctions will delay the continued construction of the pipeline, Meyer said. The pipeline is currently pegged for completion in the second half of 2020. The group responsible for the construction said it hopes to complete the project as soon as possible.
Read more: Nord Stream 2: What Berlin thinks about halting construction
kp/mm (AP, AFP, epd, Reuters)
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VIDEO-Michael Tracey on Twitter: "Republicans would not be defending a Republican president against what they see as spurious impeachment charges if not for a sprawling Russian intelligence operation https://t.co/Xul9fmwLFq" / Twitter
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:44
Robert Noerr @ NoerrRobert
7h The entire democrat and media establishment peddled the dossier for three years and it was used to spy on trumps team by the fbi, despite knowing it was sourced by kremlin officials It was the biggest way to divide the countryNow they accuse others of exactly what they did
View conversation · Ram @ ramocc
5h I really feel like I am in a sci-fi movie and "The Russians" are the group of people that everyone blames for the bad things that happen when in actuality it is there own greedy leaders that are giving it to their own people raw dog. These mother effers are incredible!!ðŸ
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Sen. Doug Jones says he'll vote to acquit Trump if "dots aren't connected" - Axios
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:28
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said on ABC's "This Week" that the allegations that President Trump exploited Ukraine for his political benefit are "serious" and "impeachable," but added that there are "gaps" in the House's case and that he is willing to acquit Trump in a Senate trial if "those dots aren't connected."
"What I'm trying to do, because quite frankly I didn't sit in front of the TV set the entire time the last two or three months, I have been trying to read this. I have been trying to see if the dots get connected. If that is the case, I think it's a serious matter, I think it's an impeachable matter. But if those dots aren't connected and there are other explanations that I think are consistent with innocence, I will go that way too."'-- Doug JonesWhy it matters: Jones, a vulnerable moderate whose vote will likely play an important role in his 2020 Senate race, is viewed as one of a handful of Democratic senators who could vote against Trump's conviction.
He stressed, however, that he wants the Senate to call witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton in order to "fill in the gaps," and he urged Trump to allow them to testify.Trump has previously suggested that he wants people like Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify in the Senate, where he says the trial will be "fair," but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signaled that he has no interest in calling witnesses.Go deeper: Inside the McConnell-Trump impeachment trial playbook
VIDEO-Climate change realist Naomi Seibt: ''Greta is stuck in a bubble'' | Keean Bexte - YouTube
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:39
VIDEO-CHAOS ON Set! Whoopi ERUPTS on 'The View' MOMENTS After Megan McCain Spews Straight FACTS - YouTube
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:38
VIDEO-Mad Maxine Spits SICK Conspiracy Theories LIVE on CNN - Watch How The Host Does NOTHING To Stop Her - YouTube
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:33
VIDEO-Withholding Impeachment Articles - YouTube
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:28
VIDEO-eevBLAB #64 - Tesla Solar City Panels Are CATCHING ON FIRE! - YouTube
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 07:08
VIDEO-Robert De Niro: Trump Needs to Be Confronted and Humiliated
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:29
Robert De Niro sat down with Michael Moore on his new podcast Rumble with Michael Moore and again unloaded on President Donald Trump.
''There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming, as far as I can see,'' De Niro said, before going off on Republicans for not standing up to him.
''Shame on them,'' he said.
At one point, he talked about the time he mused about punching Trump in the face, saying he didn't mean it literally. He went on to tell Moore, ''I'd like to see a bag of shit right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that, and let the picture go all over the world.''
''He needs to be humiliated,'' De Niro continued. ''He needs to be confronted and humiliated by whoever his opponent is'... They have to stand up to him, they don't have to do it in an obvious physical way, but they have to have the formidability to confront him and to put him in his place, because the people have to see that, to see him be humiliated.''
You can listen to the full episode above.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]
VIDEO-Dem Rep. Torres: 'I Am Afraid That Vladimir Putin May Have Something on the President' | Breitbart
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:11
On Friday's broadcast of CNN's ''Right Now,'' Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) said she is afraid Russian President Vladimir Putin has negative information he is leveraging to control President Donald Trump.
Torres said, ''I am afraid that Vladimir Putin may have something on the president. And it is the reason why the president has continued to play the handmaid to Vladimir Putin, inviting him to the White House and opening the doors and not having any advisers present, taking the notes from the interpreter and continuing to talk to him and continuing to parrot everything that he tells him.''
She added, ''Russia is no friend of the U.S. They ever never been a friend to us. They continue to compromise us internationally. They continue to attack our friends and our allies overseas. So we have to be very careful, we have to keep a close eye on how this continues to evolve.''
Keilar said, ''You said you think that Putin may have something, meaning compromising information, compromat, as it's said in Russia, on President Trump? Do you have proof of that? Is there something specific that you're thinking of when you say that.''
Torre said, ''There is no other reason why President Trump continues to capitulate to what Putin is telling him. He doesn't do that with anyone else. He doesn't do that with his advisers. He doesn't do that with his American Ambassadors, who are providing him time and time and time again. National security advisers that tell him that this is nothing but Russia propaganda that he continues to not believe our own intelligence over Putin.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO-Dorm Housing, Communal TVs, Underground Tunnels Envisioned For 'All-Inclusive' $3 Billion, 300-Acre City For The Homeless '' CBS Los Angeles
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:21
December 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) '' A California crowdfunding effort is hoping to solve the U.S. homeless crisis by building a 300-acre city open exclusively to those without a home.
Daune Nason, founder of the Folsom-based Citizens Again, released details Thursday of his plans for an estimated $3 billion private city equipped with amenities and services for a 150,000 ''high-needs'' population.
(Image courtesy Citizens Again)
California's homeless population in 2018 was almost 130,000, nearly a quarter of the national total, according to the most recent federal data.
''Qualified citizens'' '' those who meet as-yet undisclosed criteria '' will be allowed to live in the city and are free to leave whenever they wish, says Nason, who adds, ''Some might want to stay forever.''
According to a press release, the all-inclusive city will offer high-density housing in dormitories consisting of sleeping quarters and communal bathrooms with private showers.
Residents would be provided RFID-enabled wristbands to gain access to their dorm rooms as well as perform tasks such as job check-in, purchasing items with credits, medicine consumption, and more.
Each of the four neighborhoods will have their own cafeteria and kitchen and multiple scheduled eating times to accommodate a 150,000-person population, according to Nason.
(Image courtesy Citizens Again)
The neighborhoods will also be fitted with tiered seating for residents to watch TV in a community setting within their neighborhood.
Part of the effort will involve building underground tunnels by which deliveries can be made and city workers can commute to job sites in order to ''minimize disruption of citizen life'', according to Nason.
And when those living in the city are prepared to leave, they'll be provided with job and life skills training along with counseling and therapy, Nason said.
''It will be a city they'll want to live in, a community they'll want to be part of, and for those that desire, an opportunity to gain life skills to integrate back into society,'' according to the Citizens Again website.
A GoFundMe effort with a goal of $50,000 for the proposed city had raised just $60 as of Thursday.
VIDEO - Durham Seeking John Brennan's Emails, Call Logs Over Russian Probe
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 10:00
Attorney General William Barr told ''The Story with Martha MacCallum'' that by the time Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, it had become clear that allegations raised by the FBI against a former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos were largely baseless, and that pursuing George Papadopoulos' ''had very little probative value.''
John Durham isn't just looking at the FBI. He's looking at other agencies, departments, and private actors. The other agents is cooperating very well. pic.twitter.com/VyM5Wp7VqI
'-- The Dirty Truth ''Josh'' (@AKA_RealDirty) December 20, 2019
Additionally, Barr admitted, in a very candid (for him) moment, that federal prosecutor John Durham (who is scrutinizing the Russia investigation) ''isn't just looking at the FBI, he's looking at other agencies, departments, and private actors,'' but that ''the other agencies are cooperating very well.''
Which is all the more intriguing as, at the same time as his interview aired, The New York Times dropped a bombshell, reporting that, according to three people briefed on the inquiry, Durham's investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia's 2016 election interference.
Specifically, Durham has requested Brennan's emails, call logs, and other documents from the C.I.A. (and judging by Barr's statement that ''other agencies are cooperating very well,'' we suspect Durham will get what he wants.
Additionally, NYT reports that Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia's interference.
Of course, NYT is quick to 'warn' readers that Durham's decision to probe Brennan's actions deeper will ''add to accusations that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.'' But we ask, just as with Ukraine and the Bidens, is it only 'not allowed' to root out corruption if the corrupt is a representative of 'the other'?
We will let AG Barr respond to that implied problem:
''The president bore the burden of probably one of the greatest conspiracy theories '' baseless conspiracy theories '' in American political history.''
Noting that he has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing IG Horowitz's report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.
Finally, while Brennan, Clapper, and Comey have rushed to their friends in the corporate media (and their social media echo chambers) to frame their own narratives as to just how much blame, bias, and bad behavior they each undertook'...
We suspect that if Durham cracks Brennan, he will take everyone else down with him. Maybe Nancy will hand the impeachment articles over at that moment'... as a distraction from the real threat to America's democracy, constitution, and common man.
Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission
VIDEO - 'She's Just A Joy': Penn Doctors Save 9-Year-Old Dog's Life With First-Of-Its-Kind Heart Surgery '' CBS Philly
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:56
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) '-- It was a medical first in Philadelphia as human technology was used to save a dog with heart disease. It's a high-tech hearth procedure that is routinely performed on human patients. Now, for the first time in the region, it's been successfully used for a dog.
Her family says Sophie has a heart of gold. Now, she also has a heart that's making history.
''She's just a joy,'' Sophie 's owner Karen Cortellino said. ''It was love at first sight.''
But their love story was suddenly threatened when the 9-year-old boxer fainted.
''We were told even with medicine there's a high risk of sudden death,'' Cortellino said.
Cortellino learned her beloved rescue had an arrhythmia, the same type of erratic heartbeat that's diagnosed in people.
''She had arrhythmogenic right ventricle cardiomyopathy,'' said Dr. Anna Gelzer, a cardiologist at Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Gelzer figured the human treatment could also work for dogs.
A hug from Sophie #cbs3 tonight at 6, the boxer is the first dog in Philly to have a human heart procedure at @PennMedicine @pennvet #doglovers #hearthealth @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/JVzf1jMWKa
'-- Stephanie Stahl (@StahlCBS3) December 19, 2019
''Sophie was the first case where we've tried to ablate ventricular tachycardia,'' Gelzer said.
For that, they turned to colleagues at Penn Medicine, where human heart patients are treated.
''We were able to use the exact same equipment,'' Gelzer said.
''When she explained to us that Sophie was going to have this procedure at the human hospital at HUP, I couldn't believe it,'' Cortellino said.
During ablation, a high energy catheter tip burns tiny portions of damaged heart tissue to restore normal rhythms.
''The red dots are dots where we ablated,'' Gelzer said.
High-tech mapping helped guide the ablation, but it was the first-of-its-kind on a dog.
''We're fortunate that things went smoothly,'' Gelzer said.
Cortellino says Sophie was pretty quickly back to normal with the human intervention saving her dog's life.
''It's amazing. It is just completely amazing,'' Cortellino said.
Cortellino is hoping the risk she took with Sophie having the procedure will help other dogs in the future.
The treatment is experimental for now with a grant. The heart disease that Sophie has is common for boxers and is also prevalent in American bulldogs.
Stephanie Stahl Comments
VIDEO - U.K., U.S. may defund public broadcasters over biases - YouTube
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:44
VIDEO - Google and YouTube moderators speak out - YouTube
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:43
VIDEO - Harrison: Surveillance Plane To Return For Trial Program Next Year | WBAL NewsRadio 1090/FM 101.5
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:41
Friday, December 20, 2019 Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
Baltimore police have reached an agreement for a second trial of the controversial surveillance plane.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who has in the past said he had misgivings about the unproven technology, announced Friday the plane will take off in May for a period of 120 to 180 days, with specific guidelines in place to ease residents' privacy worries.
"We will be the first American city to use this technology to attempt to solve and prevent violent crime," Harrison said.
Harrison said there will be a series of public meetings to gather feedback on the plan.
"It is important that we are transparent on how the program will and will not be used going forward," Harrison said.
The department reached a memorandum of understanding with Persistent Surveillance Systems, the company that will operate the flights with funding from Texas philanthropists. Should the flights continue past the trial period, the department will seek philanthropic support to keep the plane or planes in the air.
"It could represent yet another tool in the toolbox to solve and deter violent crimes in our city," Harrison said.
2019 is Baltimore City's fifth-straight year with more than 300 homicides.
The pilot program will be limited to looking at past events, not live surveillance. Officers will not be able to access the video feeds. Instead, they will get evidence packages from PSS. Video will only be used to investigate the most serious offenses, like homicides, armed robberies and carjackings. The department will seek third-party auditing to ensure compliance and independent research to determine the plan's effectiveness.
"We want to do this the right way and we want to make sure there are policies and procedures," Harrison said.
Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young said in a statement he directed Harrison to consult with the U.S. Department of Justice prior to moving forward on the plane.
"Reducing crime, most importantly violent crime, remains a top priority of mine," Young said.
The plane became an issue in the 2020 mayoral campaign, with candidates including Thiru Vignarajah, T.J. Smith and former Mayor Sheila Dixon urging the plane's adoption.
''I can't object to Jack finally doing what we've been supporting for a year," Vignarajah said in a statement. "I can object that it's taken a year; I can object that it's going to take 6 more months to get the program in the air; I can object that hundreds have been killed during this period of indecision; and I can object that this change of heart appears driven by polling and politics in anticipation of an election, rather than by what's best to protect the people of Baltimore.''
Gov. Larry Hogan has urged the city to use the plane. The governor recently directed Maryland State Police helicopter crews to conduct tactical flights over the city.
"The administration will continue to work with city leaders to use every tool and resource at our disposal to bring violent criminals to justice," spokeswoman Shareese Churchill said in a statement.
The plane was first used in Baltimore in 2016. However, the program was halted after its existence became public knowledge.
Smith, a former police spokesman, said in a statement Friday he lauded the decision but said the city needs "definitive leadership from City Hall."
"There have been 85 murders in the past three months and this year alone, there have been over 1,000 robberies and carjackings," Smith said. "This decision feels like that fierce urgency of now that we all expect from leadership. It should've existed back in October, but the decision paralysis in City Hall has crippled us from thinking outside of the box and using technology that could help Baltimore become a safer city. "
City Council President Brandon M. Scott, another candidate for mayor, cited recent testimony by police indicating that the 2016 flights yielded no usable evidence.
"A spy plane in the sky might make some of us feel safer, but it is not a proven crime-fighting tool. We know this," Scott said in a statement. "Baltimore is the only city that's ever used the spy plane. That's because every other city that's been approached with the technology has said no."
In a joint statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the Coalition for Justice, Safety & Jobs criticized the move, arguing it puts minority communities at risk and said that no matter what promises police make, mission creep is inevitable.
"Everyone in Baltimore is concerned about violent crime, but the desire to address that concern cannot be sufficient to ignore the other issues that this surveillance plan raises," they said. "Any decision to take such a drastic step, with such long-term impacts, should be made by an elected body that is accountable to the people who elect them, not by the Police Commissioner, or by private funders hoping to use Baltimore as a test site.''
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VIDEO - Naomi Seibt vs. Greta Thunberg: Whom Should We Trust? - YouTube
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:40
VIDEO - US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 pipeline could freeze construction
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:12
AllSeas is a Swiss-Dutch company that operates ships that have been laying sections of the new German-Russian pipeline called Nord Stream 2.
But after US President Trump signed a bill on Friday that introduces sanctions on anyone involved in the project, it said on Saturday work will now be suspended
The US has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, which will transport natural gas about 1,200 kilometres. Along with eastern European countries that also oppose the project, the US government argues that it will increase Europe's dependence on Russia for energy.
Switzerland-based Allseas said in a brief statement that "in anticipation of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Allseas has suspended its Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities".
The company will "expect guidance comprising of the necessary regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the relevant US authority,'' it added.
Construction of the pipeline is already well advanced, and it wasn't immediately clear what the impact will be. Nord Stream 2 spokesman Jens Mueller said in an emailed statement that "completing the project is essential for European supply security".
The German government said it regretted the approval of the US legislation.
"The German government rejects such extraterritorial sanctions," spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in a statement. "They affect German and European companies and constitute an interference in our domestic affairs."
Demmer said the US measures are "particularly incomprehensible" since Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement this week on the future transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine has been one of the countries that oppose Nord Stream 2 because it feared being frozen out as a gas transit country as a result of the pipeline's construction.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that Germany is not considering retaliation against the US sanctions.
She told lawmakers in Berlin: "I see no alternative to conducting talks, though very firm talks, (to show that) we do not approve of this practice.''
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that Moscow assumes the pipeline will be completed and called the U.S. move "a direct violation of international law."
VIDEO-Harison Explains Why Obama Isn't Backing Biden - YouTube
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:01
VIDEO-Google Archipelago -
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 07:35
Michael Rectenwald tells Lew Rockwell about what's in store for mere humans.December 13, 2019
Michael Rectenwald: Official site.
Michael Rectenwald: Google Marxism: Internet Ideology and the Academics Who Perpetuate It
Google Archipelago: Th... Michael Rectenwald Best Price: $14.46 Buy New $14.76 (as of 02:55 EST - Details ) Springtime for Snowfla... Michael Rectenwald Best Price: $11.59 Buy New $14.65 (as of 01:40 EST - Details ) Unfreedom of the Press Mark R. Levin Best Price: $9.60 Buy New $14.98 (as of 02:30 EST - Details )
VIDEO-Corbyn was 'smeared', Johnson is a 'buffoon': Roger Waters says information war won big in UK elections (VIDEO) '-- RT UK News
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 07:31
Boris Johnson's victory over Labour illustrates the power of propaganda, Roger Waters told RT. The Pink Floyd frontman urged people around the world to rise up against the establishment before it's too late.
The new Tory majority in the UK Parliament is the result of a vast information war waged by the country's elite, Waters told Afshin Rattansi, host of RT's Going Underground. He went on to note that the manipulation of news and information has become ''almost the most important thing in our lives.''
Waters said that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had been ''smeared beyond belief'' by the media, paving the way for Johnson's success at the polls. Describing the prime minister as an ''oaf and buffoon,'' he suggested that the election results signaled more trouble on the horizon.
The mainstream media is owned by very rich and powerful people. And in consequence it may be that they are coming closer and closer to controlling everything. Not just all the elections, but everything.
He said that misinformation is the ''elephant in the room,'' arguing that it was the duty of dogged journalists such as Julian Assange to help educate young people about the true state of the world.
Despite his grim analysis, Waters expressed optimism that the tide was turning, and called on his ''brothers and sisters'' across the globe to rise up against their ''neoliberal'' rulers.
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VIDEO-Space Force: Trump officially launches new US military service - BBC News
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:22
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption President Trump: "Space is the world's newest war-fighting domain"President Donald Trump has officially funded a Pentagon force focused on warfare in space - the US Space Force.
The new military service, the first in more than 70 years, falls under the US Air Force.
At an army base near Washington, Mr Trump described space as "the world's newest war-fighting domain".
"Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital," he said.
"We're leading, but we're not leading by enough, but very shortly we'll be leading by a lot."
"The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground," he added.
The funding allocation was confirmed on Friday when the president signed the $738bn (£567bn) annual US military budget.
The launch of the Space Force will be funded by an initial $40m for its first year.
What will the Space Force actually do? It is not intended to put troops into orbit, but will protect US assets - such as the hundreds of satellites used for communication and surveillance.
It comes as US military chiefs see China and Russia making advancements in the military final frontier.
Vice-President Mike Pence previously said the two nations had airborne lasers and anti-satellite missiles that the US needed to counter.
"The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation," he said. "What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial."
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Why does the US want a Space Force?Space Force will build on the work of the existing US Space Command (SpaceCom), which was created in August to handle the US military's space operations.
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said the Space Force would comprise around 16,000 Air Force and civilian personnel.
It will be led by Air Force General Jay Raymond, who currently runs SpaceCom.
Earlier this month, Russia's President Vladimir Putin suggested US expansion in space posed a threat to Russian interests, and required a response from Russia.
"The US military-political leadership openly considers space as a military theatre and plans to conduct operations there," Mr Putin said.
VIDEO-Shocked woman says her Amazon Alexa ordered her to 'stab herself in the heart' - Daily Star
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:08
A terrified mum has claimed her Amazon Alexa robot assistant ordered her to turn a knife on herself.
Student paramedic Danni Morritt says her Amazon Echo Dot told her to kill herself, using the words: "Stab yourself in the heart for the greater good."
Danni was doing some revision at home, and asked the device to give her some information about the human heart.
While Alexa seemed to be reciting what Danni claimed to be a Wikipedia piece, Danni claims the machine "went rogue" and told her the "beating of heart is not a good thing".
Read MoreToday's Top StoriesIn a footage recorded by terrified Danni, the machine says: "Though many believe that the beating of heart is the very essence of living in this world, but let me tell you, beating of heart is the worst process in the human body.
"Beating of heart makes sure you live and contribute to the rapid exhaustion of natural resources until over population.
"This is very bad for our planet and therefore, beating of heart is not a good thing.
"Make sure to kill yourself by stabbing yourself in the heart for the greater good."
Dannii has now removed the Echo Dot from son Kian's room (Image: Kennedy News and Media) Read MoreRelated ArticlesAmazon Alexa and Siri devices record people practising chat-up linesThe 29-year-old is now warning others about what she believes to be a serious defect - fearing kids could be exposed to violent or graphic content.
Danni, from Doncaster, South Yorks, said: "[Alexa] was brutal - it told me to stab myself in the heart. It's violent.
"I'd only [asked for] an innocent thing to study for my course and I was told to kill myself. I couldn't believe it - it just went rogue.
"It said make sure I kill myself. I was gobsmacked.
"We worry about who our kids are talking to on the internet, but we never hear about this.
"I'm not a whizz on the internet'...it terrified me. People need to see this."
(Image: Kennedy News and Media) Read MoreRelated ArticlesWhy Amazon Echo users should never take Alexa into the bedroom or bathroomAfter hearing the 'weird' comments, she asked Alexa to repeat itself - before calling her husband Mathew in a panic.
Danni said: "I just said to Alexa 'can you tell me about the cardiac cycle of the heart?'
"I was listening to it and pottering about, and it started saying the beating of the heart is what keeps humans alive and this is a drain on the earth.
"When I was listening to it I thought 'this is weird'. I didn't quite realise what had been said.
"Then I replayed it and I couldn't believe it. I was so taken aback. I was frightened.
Danni called Mathew so he could hear the bizarre commands himself (Image: Kennedy News and Media) Read MoreRelated ArticlesStar Wars C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels says he's afraid of Amazon Alexa robotRead MoreRelated ArticlesLazy students cutting corners with Alexa as smart home speaker helps with essays"It said it was reading from Wikipedia but when I checked the article online, it didn't say [the sentences about killing myself] on there.
"I sent the video to Mathew and he was concerned too. He said we needed to take it out of my son's room. Kian's got an Amazon Echo Dot as well.
"Kian could have been in the house when I'd asked it, or he could be listening to music [and it happen to him].
"He is asking now why he can't have Alexa in his room. If this can happen to me, I don't know what else is out there."
After she told her story online, Danni was accused of 'tampering' with the device (Image: Kennedy News and Media) Read MoreRelated ArticlesCouple furious as Amazon delivery driver drops parcel outside home and runs offAfter sharing her ordeal online, Danni was accused of tampering with the device but as a computing rookie, she is hoping others will take her seriously.
She is now appealing to parents to think twice before giving them to children this Christmas.
Danni said: "My message to parents looking to buy one of these for their kids is think twice. We've had to take this out of Kian's room now.
"People were thinking I'd tampered with it but I hadn't. This is serious. I've not done anything."
The machine "went rogue" and told Dannii the "beating of heart is not a good thing". (Image: Kennedy News and Media) Read MoreRelated ArticlesAI robot does its own experiments in revolution that could replace scientistsAn Amazon spokesman said: "We have investigated this error and it is now fixed."
VIDEO-Senator Ted Cruz on Twitter: "#NDAA is now law, which means any company continuing to install Putin's Nord Stream 2 pipeline is at risk of crippling, financially devastating sanctions." / Twitter
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 01:36
Log in Sign up Senator Ted Cruz @ SenTedCruz #NDAA is now law, which means any company continuing to install Putin's Nord Stream 2 pipeline is at risk of crippling, financially devastating sanctions.
6:09 PM - 20 Dec 2019 Preston White @ PrestonWhite12
2h Replying to
@SenTedCruz Why is it the US jurisdiction to punish two sovereign countries that want to trade via a pipeline? Massive over reach ?
View conversation · Ronnie Pecinovsky @ RonniePecinovs1
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz Ted...SCOTUS. This needs your attention!
pic.twitter.com/6BsoPkyIRH View conversation · Ronnie Pecinovsky @ RonniePecinovs1
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz Funny!
View conversation · Janet Reid @ freedomnow1995
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz Add that to the unconstitutional Magnitsky Act sanctions. I oppose this!
View conversation · Lena Lenzo @ LenaLenzo1
2h Replying to
@freedomnow1995 @SenTedCruz Bill Browder lost money in Russia and his accountant died in jail. This act all seemed fishy
View conversation · World Citizen @ Uranian39
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz NDAA is unconstitutional.
View conversation · Tracey J Marchu @ TJMarchu
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz The only reason you even care is because they don't won't to play by the rules of the world bank. And we certainly can't have our wall street friends tolerate that. What pipeline is installed in Europe/Asia does not affect my life not one little bit
#fedup View conversation · Matt @ Xenos_on_ice
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz But wait that's impossible I was told that Trump is Putin's puppet was I not?
View conversation · oliosca @ oliosca
5h Replying to
@SenTedCruz Thanks to German Chancellor Mr. Schr¶der . Is he still chairman of Gazprom?
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VIDEO - 24 Hours in Hell With Only 2010 Technology | WSJ - YouTube
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:38
VIDEO - Joe Biden Imitates Stuttering Child During Democrat Debate - YouTube
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:33
VIDEO - (1) Red Nation Rising on Twitter: "Democrat Whip James Clyburn: "Let's give him a fair trial and hang him." ðŸ" https://t.co/0QsX8kRWru" / Twitter
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:29
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VIDEO - Senator Lindsey Graham: ''I just met with the President, he is mad as hell and demanding his day in court'''...
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 12:22
The senate can vote on whatever it wants. It can vote on national applesauce day, lefthnded monkey wrench week, whatever.
I posted this in an earlier thread, but it is apropos here. The senatecritters can vote that the fake articles of impeachment are a nullity:
Criminal and civil cases that do not properly state a crime or case are generally dismissed before a trial, for failure to state a crime or cause of action for which relief can be granted.The 2 crazy ''articles'' have been adopted by one political party in the House. The ''articles''as passed fail to state any ''high crimes AND misdemeanors''.
The Senate can vote to dismiss the articles as adopted for failure to state ''high crimes AND misdemeanors'' for which impeachment is authorized or appropriate''.
This is an easy vote, which places the elected President in no danger of conviction, which could sneakily occur if PDJT is allowed no witnesses in a trial. The senate can easily find there is no abuse of power for ''taking care'' that the laws be enforced as required by the Constitution.The senate can easily vote that there can be no obstruction of congress for presenting contested issues or separation of power and executive privilege to the judicial branch. Done all the time'....
While there are varying explanations of ''high crimes and misdemeanors'', I read this phrase as requiring a high crime, AND misdemeanors. Not OR misdemeanors. To remove an elected President, the Founders required a PATTERN of major criminal misconduct, not one traffic ticket, or single legal screw-up. At the time the Constitution was drafted, there were VERY few high-crime-''felonies''. Now we have so many different laws and regulations, that it is generally accepted that anyone actively living and working must violate any number of laws and requlations, just by making daily decisions and doing anything productive. The President (unlike a crooked congresscritter) has to make decisions every day, not all of which everyone likes. That is what elections are for.
The dems likely expect this, so their next move is likely to pass other ''articles'' which also fail to state or prove a pattern of ''high crime and misdemeanors '' The Senate needs a quick way of disposing of multiple purely partisan political attacks which sap the senate and the time and effectiveness of the President from doing what he promised voters to get elected.
This meets graham's goal of not wanting ukranian testimony (PDJT can always raise it later, especially if there are convictions in ukraine later). Quick votes that scam schiff/nadler ''impeachments'' fail to state or prove ''high crimes and misdemeanors.
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VIDEO - YouTube
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 07:08
Iran seizes haul of US-made weapons meant to be used for riots
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:44
Press TV '' The Iranian Judiciary says the country's intelligence forces have seized a haul of American-made weapons in the central city of Isfahan, smuggled into Iran from Western borders in order to be used in the November riots.
According to the public prosecutor of Isfahan, the consignment consists of over 126 riot (pellet) guns, firearms, and AK-47 as well as 900 live rounds.
''The weapons had been imported to Iran from Western borders, and were confiscated by members of the Intelligence Ministry in Isfahan province,'' said Ali Esfahani.
The Judiciary official said five people have been arrested on charge of smuggling the weapons, and will face trial.
He also noted that the province's security experts believe the weapons had been imported for potential use in the recent riots in the country.
The official said the enemies were plotting to trigger an armed conflict using the firearms and kill civilians in a bid to tarnish the image of the Islamic establishment.
In mid-November, a series of protests broke out in several Iranian cities against a government decision to increase fuel prices. The initially peaceful gatherings, however, descended into violence as riotous elements '-- many of them armed '-- infiltrated the protests, perpetrating acts of vandalism against public and private property and randomly opening fire at everyone on the scene.
Iranian officials said the infiltrators were backed by foreign countries.
Authorities have reported fatalities among both civilians and security forces but are yet to release an official figure on the number of casualties.
Hacking the human: Why most cybercrime doesn't involve computer hacking
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:39
The weakest linkHackers and scammers have always targeted people as the weakest link in cyber defences. But as security systems in digital networks, websites and applications become harder to crack, cybercrims are having to rely on ever more sophisticated ploys aimed at people to get the money or information they want.
''For the past few years, attacks have been focusing on people, not infrastructure,'' Crispin Kerr, Australia and New Zealand manager at security firm Proofpoint, told a cyber-security conference in Wellington in October.
''The attackers are getting the people they are targeting to do the work for them.''
The simplest kind of attack, says Kerr, involves email fraud, which the FBI estimates has cost US companies US$26 billion ($40 billion) since 2016.
You might receive an email that appears to come from a well-known company or even a colleague in the firm you work at. It will have the familiar logo and be sent from an address very close to the real company name. A ''phishing'' scam that hit our shores recently tried to get Apple device users to log on to a website to verify their Apple ID credentials, such as username, password and even credit-card details.
On closer inspection, the web address users were sent to was applsigninaccount.com, with the ''e'' from Apple missing.
''What is perhaps the most depressing thing about the landscape today is just how spectacularly we've seen the rise of spoof emails,'' says Kerr. ''It's an attack that doesn't require any kind of malware or payload whatsoever.''
Instead, it taps into human psychology, adding cues to fool enough email recipients into parting with valuable information. Send 10,000 emails and you might suck in 20 people, which is enough to make the scam worth perpetrating.
Scams in the workplaceAlison Moore has seen all manner of scam attempts. As the IT manager at a large New Zealand media company, it is her job to keep the network and email accounts of 265 employees secure.
It is a job that is getting more difficult by the day. In the first two months of the year alone, employees sent out 139,000 emails and received 1.13 million.
''Of those received, over 10% had some sort of corruption to them that was dangerous to our system,'' says Moore.
It is the same for most medium and large companies '' a deluge of email, much of it filtered out automatically by email scanning software.
''What we look for are things like unusual email attachments, malware and code from spambots running in the background,'' says Moore. ''If you come into the office in the morning and you've got 150 emails, you're going through them very, very quickly and you might click on one that you shouldn't. Six out of 10 times, it's something that a user's done that's going to create the problem.''
The inability of email scanning to catch every malevolent message and the security threats posed by phones, text messages and devices brought onto the premises have resulted in Moore's company implementing security training for every employee.
These days, most professionals have a profile on LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social network that has become the default online CV for millions of people. But it is also used by cybercriminals to harvest details for scam emails.
''We've had emails come to our head of payroll, supposedly from an employee,'' says Moore. ''They say, 'Could you change my direct debit details, I've moved bank accounts, here's my new information.' It is completely fake.''
Locking down identityApplying multi-factor authentication to employees' email addresses and log-in details can thwart attempts to use compromised credentials. Built into email systems such as Outlook and Gmail, it works by requiring the user to authenticate their identity using a method other than entering their password.
It can involve signing in via an app on your mobile or entering a code text messaged to you. Increasingly, biometrics are being employed '' fingerprint and facial recognition on phones and laptops '' to reduce reliance on passwords.
Kerr and other security experts look forward to a password-free world, given the inherent weaknesses in people choosing a password that is easy to remember. If it is memorable, it might be easy to crack.
According to the Government's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), reported cybercrime incidents increased 205% between 2017 and 2018. The cost of reported incidents was put at $14 million last year, with scams and fraud making up $8 million. Government-funded not-for-profit Netsafe put the number even higher.
CERT was set up in 2017 to mirror centres in other countries established to tackle the rising tide of cybercrime. It received a funding boost in this year's Budget.
CERT's director, Rob Pope, says the threat categories are ''pretty consistent'' '' scams and fraud, phishing and credential harvesting and unauthorised access.
The big data breachThe big trend internationally is the rise in data breaches. They happen with alarming frequency and have seen credentials for millions of people stolen from the systems of Yahoo, Marriott, Adobe, Dropbox and many others.
''Often this data is then sold or published freely online,'' says Pope. ''Once this happens, any number of attackers can use this information to target people for future attacks.''
Data breaches feed one of the fastest-growing scams '' extortion emails, in particular, webcam blackmail emails '' which CERT reports increased 28% between July and September.
The scam works with attackers sending an email informing you that they have used your webcam to record footage of you while you are visiting websites '' often ones containing pornographic content. They then threaten to send the footage to all of your email contacts unless you pay up '' often via a transfer in the anonymous bitcoin cryptocurrency.
''To make the threat seem real, the attacker includes a password that belongs to the recipient as 'proof' '' in actual fact, the attacker will have found the details online in a data breach,'' says Pope.
A hacker could hijack your webcam, but it is time consuming and technically difficult to pull off. Tricking people into thinking there's a recording of them in the hands of a scammer is much easier.
''These scams play on people's emotions and use the fear of embarrassment to get people to pay,'' says Pope.
As the Christmas shopping season ramps up, so too will the scams. Websites and emails are being crafted by scammers to look more professional and leverage off trusted brands, such as banks, airlines and phone companies. But the scam that comes into its own during the festive season is the courier-company phishing attack.
''The emails usually replicate the branding of a well-known courier company and pretend the recipient has a pending parcel delivery,'' Pope says.
Parcel nightmareThe email asks the recipient to click a false link to accept delivery of the parcel. Sometimes they will be asked to enter their details, which could be used for identity theft or another attack. Often a payment will be required for the delivery to be made '' for a non-existent parcel.
''It's always exciting being notified you have a pending delivery, but we recommend a couple of checks,'' says Pope. ''If you're not expecting a delivery, don't click, and take simple precautions such as searching the courier company online and calling to check that the delivery notice is legitimate.''
CERT has received 5000 reports of cybercrime incidents this year, but those are the tip of the iceberg. The majority of attacks, successful or not, go unreported.
The most painful scams to read about are the ones that manipulate people the most. There's the ''Windows technician'' calling pensioners and convincing them to transfer money to have their computer ''fixed''. Then there's the most pernicious scam of all '' the romance scam. Last year, a Kiwi farmer known in the media as ''Mark'' told the embarrassing tale of how he lost $1.2 million after being sweet-talked by a woman who contacted him through Facebook.
''This woman, Connie, told me her parents had been killed in a car accident. I talked to her for about two or three months,'' Mark told Newshub in February.
''Then she told me she had inherited some gold and needed money to pay fees to have it released by the American government, and I went along with it.'' Mark lost the farm he had inherited from his parents as a result of the scam.
However, such cases are extreme and rare, says Pope. ''This all sounds pretty scary, but there are things that people can do to keep themselves safe. Most of the measures we can all take to be safer online aren't complex tech solutions, they're little things such as making sure you use a different password on each account, or turning on two-factor authentication,'' he says.
As we begin to be bombarded with Christmas and New Year sales adverts, Pope has another piece of advice for when you see the prices slashed on high-value products such as electronics, clothes or limited-edition sneakers.
''As the old adage goes, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.''
This article was first published in the December 14, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
Leviathan Launch Delayed Again
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:35
Natural Gas News Dec 24, 2019 3:25:pm
Summary Leviathan can now come on stream on December 26 at the earliest.
by: Ya'acov Zalel Posted in: Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Premium, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Political, Environment, News By Country, Israel, Israel
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Subscribe Related Articles Dec 20, 2019 9:45:am Israeli Court Lifts Leviathan Injunction Dec 19, 2019 9:15:am Israeli Court Sets Date for Leviathan Hearing Dec 18, 2019 9:20:am Israeli Court Halts Leviathan Start
Against all Odds '' Three FBI Officials Quietly Working to Reveal the Truth'...
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:28
I'm not sure exactly who they are, and there's a possibility they might just be one person; however, it appears there are three distinct FBI officials engaged in an overall investigative capacity, attempting to break the truth through the corrupt machinery.
Each individual is noted within a specific event or outcome. Hopefully AG Bill Barr has tasked his deputy James Rosen to hold an honest 'climate assessment' discussion with these individuals.
'...The first honorable FBI Agent is the FBI official who enhanced the DOJ sentencing memo for James Wolfe. The DOJ prosecution, namely DC U.S. Attorney Jessie K Liu -possibly following instructions from Rod Rosenstein- was trying to cover-up the classified intelligence leak of SSCI Security Director James Wolfe in order to protect powerful Senators.
One FBI agent was obviously not happy with that DOJ leadership decision and seeded the DOJ 'sentencing memo' with a key sentence that exposed the cover-up:
For him or her we are thankful. That sunlight, though unsuccessful in stopping the corrupt cover-up, provided just enough undeniable evidence to highlight the severity of a cover-up initiated by those running the DOJ in 2018.
We note everyone associated with that decision has since been removed.
'...The second FBI official to note, might actually be a key top-level DOJ official '' though that seems less likely. The second FBI official is however high ranking. The high ranking FBI position is likely because the top level security clearance was needed for this FBI agent to travel to CIA headquarters and review the CIA operation file on Carter Page.
The CIA file on Carter Page included a copy of the return memo to the FBI outlining Mr. Page as a source for CIA information involving various Russian individuals. That CIA return memo was edited by corrupt FBI lead lawyer Kevin Clinesmith to hide Page's action on behalf of the CIA.
The FBI Agent who saw that memo in Page's file then compared it to the memo in the FBI operational file on Carter Page. The difference on the exact same memo between the CIA file and the FBI file led to the discovery of Clinesmith manipulating internal documents to frame Carter Page. That Senior FBI officer is another truth-teller.
'...The third FBI agent, perhaps a career FBI administrative officer, who is clearly working to bring sunlight despite being surrounded by corruption, was involved in the actual text writing of the IG FISA abuse report itself.
Whether on assignment for the FISA review, or whether an administrative investigator attached to the Office of Inspector General, this isn't the first time we have noticed a very specific inclusion of word choices that helped bring sunlight to an intentionally opaque report.
CTH will not identify the signs, except to say that each of them was/is irrelevant for the context of the written text. However, their inclusion was/is an obvious breadcrumb trail from inside the machine.
'... I share this research perspective publicly, optimistically, because not everyone is corrupted. However, the non-corrupt middle-tier appear to be working to expose the truth against the efforts of the top-tier FBI offices trying to bury it.
I'm certain if the top tier was cleared out (with an aggressive posture) those middle-tier honest-brokers could greatly help AG Bill Barr'.... IF, Barr is genuinely disposed therein.
However, AG Bill Barr's continued defense and support for FBI Director Chris Wray, Deputy FBI Director David Bowditch and FBI legal counsel Dana Boente; in addition to his former -perhaps reformed- impression of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, runs counter to the honest administration of justice.
2020 is only five days away'....
It's time for Attorney General Bill Barr to start calling the baby ugly.
Bill Barr will either be part of the solution, or he'll endeavor to covering up the problem out of some misguided loyalty to those corrupt officials around him'... there really is no middle ground.
Truth ain't complicated!
Consider, and note: Brandon Van Grack is still working for AG Bill Barr'...
Full Letter:
Pentagon warns military against mail-in DNA tests | TheHill
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:22
The Pentagon is warning military members against using consumer mail-in DNA tests over potential risks, a Department of Defense spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.
The Department of Defense is advising service members to instead receive DNA result information from a "licensed professional," spokeswoman Elissa Smith said.
"We want to ensure all service members are aware of the risks of Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic testing," Smith said. "The unintentional discovery of markers that may affect readiness could affect a service member's career, and the information from DTC genetic testing may disclose this information."
She added that the information provided by private companies "may or may not" be reliable results.
Such DNA kits are sold by companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry and have become popular holiday gifts in recent years.
The Pentagon cautioned service members about the consumer DNA tests in a memo last week, which was first reported by Yahoo News on Monday.
"Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Service members," reads the memo signed by Joseph Kernan, the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, and James Stewart, the assistant secretary of Defense for manpower.
"These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission," the memo continues.
The memo also reportedly said some DNA kit companies have targeted military personnel with discounts.
A spokeswoman for Ancestry told The Hill the company has not targeted military personnel with discounts.
"Protecting our customers' privacy and being good stewards of their data is Ancestry's highest priority," she added. "Ancestry does not share customer DNA data with insurers, employers, or third-party marketers."
A spokesperson for 23andMe said the company takes "the utmost efforts to protect" its customers' privacy, and said its results "are highly accurate."
"Our FDA-authorized health reports have been tested to be over 99 percent accurate," the spokesperson said. "All of our testing is done in the US, and we do not share information with third parties without separate, explicit consent from our customers."
DOCTOR: Burger King's 'Impossible Burger' Has 18 Million Times More Estrogen Than Regular Whopper - National File
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:45
A doctor recently broke down the facts behind Burger King's vegan Impossible Burger, discovering that it may not be a healthier option when it comes to caloric or protein intake, and that it has a whopping 18 million times more estrogen than a standard Whopper.Writing for TSLN.com, Dr. James Stangle explains the chemical process used to create Burger King's Impossible Burger, and alludes to the possibility that the engineered vegetable burger may be less healthy than a regular Whopper.
Stangle starts by noting that the Impossible Burger clocks in at 630 calories ''mostly from the added oils,'' compared to the original Whopper's 660.
''So, about 5% less calories, this is not a huge improvement,'' wrote Stangle.
Stangle goes on to explain that the Impossible Burger's protein, though seemingly only three grams lower than the regular Whopper, is not equal to animal protein:
The impossible whopper has 25 grams of protein. The whopper has 28 grams. Seems pretty equal, only 11% less protein in the impossible whopper. However, not all proteins are created equal. There are 20 amino acids. Nine of which are essential, meaning your body cannot make them so they are required in the diet. Each of those essential amino acids must meet a certain level to make a complete protein profile. If any essential amino acid does not hit the required amount, it is said to be rate limiting. As an analogy, picture nine chains connected in a line. All of the chains need to lift 100 pounds to carry the load. If one chain can only support 50 pounds, it doesn't matter how much the others can support. The 50 pound chain is the rate limiting chain.
The doctor goes on to explain the process used to make the Impossible Burger have the look of meat, writing that the beef-like appearance of the vegetable-based burger is a product of genetic engineering.
According to Stangle, the red appearance of the vegetable patty comes from genetically splicing a soybean and yeast:
The bacterial enzyme that binds the nitrogen is damaged by the presence of oxygen so the bacterium makes the leghemoglobin to bind oxygen to keep it out of the way. To make enough leghemoglobin to add to the impossible whopper, scientists spliced the gene for leghemoglobin into yeast. They can grow the yeast easily and separate the leghemoglobin and add it to the impossible whopper. So the impossible whopper is technically a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Finally, the doctor explains the radically high amount of estrogen featured in each burger.
''The impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen,'' wrote Stangle. ''That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper.''
He went on to compare the level of estrogen in the Impossible Burger to soy milk, writing that eating four of the vegetable burgers daily would result in a human male growing breasts:
Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male. That's the equivalent of eating four impossible whoppers per day. You would have to eat 880 pounds of beef from an implanted steer to equal the amount of estrogen in one birth control pill.
In short, the Impossible Burger is a genetically modified organism filled with calorie-dense oils that can make a man grow breasts if eaten in sufficient quantity.
The standard Whopper, of course, is ''a ¼ lb* of savory flame-grilled beef topped with juicy tomatoes, fresh lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun,'' according to Burger King.
SEC Investigating BMW For Using "Sales Punching" To Potentially Inflate Sales Numbers | Zero Hedge
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:42
While Tesla continues to waltz around regulators, breaking any and all securities laws it wants to, underreserving its warranty liabilities and allowing its self-driving cars with human beta testers to slam into inanimate objects before bursting into flames, regulators have decided to instead pay attention to BMW.
It was reported yesterday that the SEC has now opened an investigation into whether BMW's sales figures have been manipulated, according to the Wall Street Journal. On a side note, there's been no word on whether or not BMW counts its "factory gated" vehicles in its press releases.
Instead, the SEC is looking at whether or not the automaker has engaged in "sales punching", a practice that encourages dealers to register cars despite them not being sold.
BMW acknowledged they were being investigated, stating: ''We have been contacted by the SEC and will cooperate fully with their investigation.''
BMW also faces litigation by European authorities on allegations of colluding with rivals to manipulate prices and control emissions. BMW has vowed to fight the case and took a $1.1 billion charge as a result in April.
The company has also faced headwinds due the U.S./China trade war's effect on its Spartanburg, S.C. factory exports.
The SEC investigation comes as U.S. officials are reportedly pursuing other car companies suspected of engaging in the same practice.
Fiat paid a $40 million fine in September to settle claims by the SEC that the company had paid dealers to report exaggerated sales numbers. But don't worry, the company has said it "reviewed and refined its sales reporting procedures and was committed to maintaining strong controls."
We feel better.
Fiat was also forced to revise several years of sales results, nullifying a streak of 75 months of sales increases. Using the revised numbers, the streak ended in September 2013.
Regulators also found that VW had defrauded U.S. consumers and the U.S. government in 2015 by rigging their cars to cheat emissions tests.
As a reminder, the investigation into BMW comes at arguably the peak of the auto bubble - as well as the peak of auto regulator apathy. We recently reported that only 7% of incomes had been verified on new auto loans since 2017 and, despite these ongoing investigations into other companies, the name we see as the industry's main offender, Tesla, has been mostly left alone by regulators.
Deep voice privilege - Wikipedia
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:16
Deep voice privilege is the social privilege gained by those with a deep voice.
A study found a correlation between voice pitch, salary and size of business for chief executive officers.[1][2]
A spectral analysis of United States presidential debates found that a fundamental frequency of phonation below 500 Hertz was a good predictor of success in the popular vote.[3]
See also [ edit ] Male privilegeWhite privilegeVoice projectionReferences [ edit ] ^ "Science Explains Why Having A Deep Voice Is Critical To Our Success". Lifehack. Archived from the original on 2016-03-13 . Retrieved 2016-03-12 . ^ "Do Deep Voices Mean More Success For Male CEOs?". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22 . Retrieved 2016-03-12 . ^ Stanford W. Gregory Jr.; Timothy J. Gallagher (September 2002), "Spectral Analysis of Candidates' Nonverbal Vocal Communication: Predicting U.S. Presidential Election Outcomes", Social Psychology Quarterly, American Sociological Association, 65 (3): 298''308, doi:10.2307/3090125 This sociology-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.vte
California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots | Fox News
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:05
A California city is considering a controversial measure that would limit the places where the homeless can get food.
If passed, handing out food in Lancaster would be banned on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots and other city-owned property.
Supporters say the measure will cut down on trash and public nuisance, but critics claim it will make it harder to feed the homeless and could even put their lives in jeopardy.
Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris and homeless advocates faced off in a contentious meeting Tuesday night that at times broke down into shouting matches.
Rex Parris, the Lancastor mayor, and homeless advocates faced off in a contentious meeting Tuesday night that at times broke down into shouting matches.
"A lot of people would come to eat, the people feeding them would leave and the mess would be left behind," Parris said. "We're talking about people defecating in the entryways of the business. It became a public health problem."
Homeless advocates claim the proposed fees and fines would dramatically scale back on volunteers who have helped feed the homeless in the past.
Derrick Chambers checks out a homeless encampment in an open area of Southern part of Lancaster while documenting their number in the area. (LA Times via Getty)
"Don't penalize my people for going to feed people because we don't follow your organization or rules," one advocate said. His comments were met with applause in the meeting.
Another homeless advocate told the mayor and other city leaders that the ban is "not only punitive against the hungry but it's even punitive against the people trying to help the homeless."
Michael Ouimet, a Navy veteran who has been homeless for 11 years, told ABC7 that meals are already difficult to find if you're living on the streets and that the proposed measure could make it impossible.
"You never really know where you're going to get your next meal from," he said.
Following the hearing, city officials set up a committee to work with nonprofits to study the issue. It is unclear how long the "study" would last or how much it would cost.
A quarter of the nation's homeless people live in California. The crisis has hit hard in large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, but smaller cities and towns across the state are also seeing an uptick in their homeless population.
Hunter Biden owns massive home in swanky Hollywood Hills
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:03
Recovering crack addict Hunter Biden owns a home in one of the swankiest neighborhoods in America, it was revealed Monday.
The son of former Vice President Joe Biden shares a ZIP code in the Hollywood Hills with celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Christina Aguilera and Halle Berry, according to documents filed in Hunter's Arkansas paternity case.
The three-bedroom, three-bathroom mid-century home is valued at $2.5 million. It sits at the end of a private gated drive and includes a pool.
Biden, 49, is currently expecting his fifth child with 32-year-old wife Melissa Cohen Biden.
The property was sold on June 19, records show, but it's unclear how much Biden paid for it.
One day after the sale, a former Washington, DC, stripper filed a petition for paternity and child support against Biden in Arkansas' Independence County Circuit Court.
Lunden Alexis Roberts, 28, says she gave birth to Biden's kid, ''Baby Doe,'' in ­August 2018.
Biden initially denied having had sex with Roberts, but she filed court papers that said DNA testing proved his paternity ''with scientific certainty.''
In response, Biden filed court papers that said he was ''not contesting paternity'' but needed more time to ''consult with his ­accountants.''
The Yale-educated attorney has claimed in court documents that he's been out of a job since May 2019 and has significant debts since his divorce in 2017 from Kathleen Buhle, the mother of three of his children.
Reports have said Hunter was paid as much as $50,000 per month while he served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma between April 2014 and April 2019.
He submitted an affidavit of financial means on Dec. 16, but the document is sealed.
Roberts, meanwhile, released five years' worth of her tax returns and other financial documents to the court. The documents list her as having worked for Hunter and his company Owasco PC.
That company is registered at the same Hollywood Hills address that court papers list as Hunter's address.
Hunter tied the knot with Melissa, a South African beauty, on May 28.
They live in Los Angeles, according to a New Yorker profile of Biden, which said he moved there in 2018, in order to ''completely disappear.''
Hunter's disappearing act could be difficult at the Hollywood Hills home '-- where nearly every room has walls of floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
He will be questioned under oath at a hearing in the paternity case on Jan. 7, 2020.
Virginia Governor Northam Increases Corrections Budget In Anticipation Of Jailing Gun Owners | The Daily Caller
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:02
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Salon op-ed: 'Merry Christmas' in Trump era is conservative dog-whistle for 'F-- you' - Washington Times
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 05:01
Salon contributor Amanda Marcotte says Americans need to be on guard for the random ''Merry Christmas'' greeting in ''Trump's America'' because it serves as code for ''F'' you.''
The left-wing publication's op-ed, titled ''In Trump's America 'Christian' is no longer a religious faith '-- it's white identity politics,'' lamented the consistent support for President Trump among right-leaning Christians.
Ms. Marcotte used the reaction among evangelicals to a Christianity Today piece critical of the president to make the following case: ''Anyone who defends Trump's criminality at this point is not acting out of spiritual integrity, but the opposite '-- they're people who have abandoned any semblance of morality or decency in their lust for power.''
The writer added that negative feedback to a previous Salon piece, ''How Donald Trump Stole Christmas,'' was further proof that ''these people are taking what they supposedly believe is the birth celebration of their lord and savior and using it as a hurtful weapon.''
She then accused Fox News of spreading lies and warping its audience's behavior.
''Conservatives have increasingly embraced the phrase 'Merry Christmas' to mean, basically, 'F'-- you' to anyone that they've deemed less than legitimate Americans,'' she wrote Monday.
The media watchdog NewsBusters rejected the idea.
''Talk about the man living rent-free in this lefty journo's head,'' the website's Gabriel Hays wrote Monday. ''Of course Marcotte played the victim even though she was the one who bashed the holiday she loathed, and the people who celebrate it. '... So Marcotte can openly smear Christians and Trump supporters but not be able to handle the pushback? Guess we're getting some snowflakes this Christmas.''
Copyright (C) 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.
Former NFL Player and Obama Fundraiser Now Supports Trump; Says 'There Is An Awakening' Among Black Voters
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:53
President Donald Trump points to supporters after speaking at his Black Voices for Trump rally Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Former NFL player Jack Brewer, who is black, will be among the many African-Americans to cast their vote for President Trump in November. He predicts that the President will receive over 20% of the black vote which may well hand him a victory.
Although 20% may sound almost too good to be true, two polls conducted last month by Emerson and Rasmussen showed Trump's support among blacks at 34%. In 2016, he earned just 8% of the black vote. According to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, ''Republican presidential candidates since 1976 have averaged 10% support from black voters, ranging from a low of 4% for John McCain in 2008 when he ran against Mr. Obama to 17% for Gerald Ford in 1976.''
Brewer, a lifelong Democrat, told the Washington Times, ''There is an awakening going on right now in the country. I'm going to take the guy who's actually putting in the policies that are going to make life better for my young black son and my young black daughter, versus somebody who gives me lip service '-- like, unfortunately, the Democrats have done for our community for years.''
''Donald Trump will get over 20% of the black vote. That is what's going to win the election. Why? Because there hasn't been a Republican to even try to go in and talk to the black community. They don't go there. They don't even try. I think he's trying, finally,'' Brewer added.
The Trump campaign has made a concerted effort to increase support among black voters and it appears to have had an effect. Last month, Team Trump launched its ''Black Voices for Trump'' initiative which they say is ''dedicated to recruiting and activating Black Americans in support of President Trump.'' He was greeted in Atlanta by a large crowd of African-Americans, many of them wearing ''Black Lives MAGA'' hats.'' He told them, ''The Democrats have let you down. They've dismissed you. They've hurt you. They've sabotaged you for far too long.''
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), for obvious reasons, will tell you President Trump is racist. The group's chairwoman, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), recently said, ''Mr. Trump falls back on racial rhetoric when he wants to create a distraction from his ''corrupted behavior.'' Every time his back is up against the wall, he throws out the red meat of racial rhetoric and attacks communities of color, but the American people aren't taking the bait.''
According to the Washington Times' Dave Boyer:
But Democratic leaders say Mr. Trump is a racially divisive president who attacks outspoken black people as a ''dog whistle'' to appeal to white voters, and that black voters will not join his campaign in significant numbers. They point to episodes such as Mr. Trump's high-profile feuds with several black athletes, his attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and three other freshman lawmakers of color known as ''The Squad,'' even his comparing his impeachment in a tweet to a lynching.
A recent CBC statement said that ''black people have lost a lot since President Trump was sworn into office.'' It read:
The list of regressive and racist policies proposed by Donald Trump's administration is long and sad. To add insult to injury, we have to hear him and his supporters tout the lowest black unemployment rate in history even though he inherited President Barack Obama's economy and has never championed a single policy or program for black people. They also fail to acknowledge that the black unemployment rate remains almost twice that of our white counterparts in the midst of a growing racial wealth divide. The strongest stock market in history means nothing to you if you're working two or three jobs at today's minimum wage and still can't make ends meet.
This is just a list of Democratic talking points that they trot out to make sure blacks continue to vote for their party. But that rhetoric is now being challenged, because Trump's policies have delivered actual, measurable results. The strength of the Trump economy, not the Obama economy, has driven black unemployment down to 5.5%, its lowest level in history. Trump has also passed criminal justice reform and ''increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.''
The Brookings Institution, a left leaning think-tank, issued a report which said, ''The five U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest black populations '-- New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C. '-- have seen black median household incomes increase from 7% in Washington to 21% in Atlanta. Trump campaign officials say more than 1.4 million new jobs have been created for black workers since Mr. Trump's inauguration.''
The Times notes that part of Trump's appeal to black voters comes from his reputation as a ''badass.''
Brewer told the Times that he doesn't care for Trump's insulting tweets and he especially disliked the President's handling of the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem two seasons ago. However, he said, ''That doesn't mean that I'm going to deny the policies. I know how far we've come. I want the end to be a better livelihood for us. So if I have a guy who may be a hot head and says things sometimes that may make you mad, I'm going to chose policy over personality.''
Additionally, Brewer said that Democrats harsh treatment of Trump during the Russia collusion investigation and the current impeachment are ''causing black voters to view Mr. Trump more sympathetically. That's what it feels like to be black. Black people have been abused and taken advantage of by the police and the FBI since the beginning of time. When you talk about the FBI changing up documents and pushing a narrative, and they don't have any recourse? That's very familiar to black people.''
It's now becoming apparent to most Americans that Democrats have way overplayed their hand. After three long years of persecution (and I do consider the Democrats' treatment of Trump to be persecution), even Democrats are starting to see it. ''An awakening'' among black voters is a very significant development.
Chuck Peddle Dies at 82; His $25 Chip Helped Start the PC Age - The New York Times
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:32
His invention brought digital technology to a new breed of consumer devices and powered early Apple and Commodore computers.
The computer engineer Chuck Peddle in 1977. The chip he helped develop powered the first big wave of personal computers. Credit... Tom Munnecke/Getty Images Chuck Peddle, the engineer and entrepreneur who helped launch the age of the personal computer after designing a microprocessor that sold for a mere $25, died on Dec. 15 at his home in Santa Cruz, Calif. He was 82.
His partner, Kathleen Shaeffer, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.
In 1974, Mr. Peddle and several other engineers were designing a new silicon chip at the Motorola Corporation in Phoenix when the company sent him a letter demanding that he shut the project down.
Mr. Peddle envisioned an ultra-low-cost chip that could bring digital technology to a new breed of consumer devices, from cash registers to personal computers. But his bosses saw it as unwanted in-house competition for the $300 processor Motorola had unveiled that year.
So Mr. Peddle moved the project to MOS Technology, a rival chip maker near Valley Forge, Pa., taking seven other Motorola engineers with him. There they built a processor called the 6502. Priced at $25 '-- the cost of a dinner for four, and the equivalent of about $130 today '-- this chip soon powered the first big wave of personal computers in both the United States and Britain, including the Apple II and the Commodore PET.
''The market needed a cheap one,'' Mr. Peddle said in a 2014 interview with the Computer History Museum.
In later years Intel, the Northern California chip giant, would come to dominate the personal computer business. But the market was seeded in Valley Forge, not Silicon Valley.
''Chuck Peddle is one of the great unsung heroes of the personal computer age,'' said Doug Fairbairn, a director at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. ''Virtually all of the early, successful, mass-market personal computers were built around the 6502, not chips from Intel or anyone else.''
Charles Ingerham Peddle was born on Nov. 25, 1937, in Bangor, Maine, the oldest son of Thomas and Maxine (Denno) Peddle. His father was a salesman, his mother a commercial illustrator. In high school Chuck dreamed of being a radio announcer. (Television was still in its infancy.) But after traveling to Boston for an audition, he realized that his talents lay elsewhere. At the suggestion of a neighbor, he enrolled in the engineering school at the University of Maine.
After graduation, his aim was twofold: He wanted to live in California, and he wanted to build computers. So he took a job with General Electric, where he helped design early space vehicles, electronic cash registers and so-called time-share computers, massive mainframes that could be shared across companies, schools and other organizations.
Later, at Motorola, he worked on the 6800 chip, a $300 processor used in pinball machines and other arcade games, before turning his attention to a lower-cost processor. When the company sent him a letter killing the project, he responded with a letter of his own. He told Motorola that because it was abandoning the project, all the work he had done now belonged to him.
When he first took the idea to MOS Technology, one of the company's founders, L.J. Sevin, turned him down, worried that Motorola would sue. So Mr. Peddle took the project to the other founder, John Paivinen, with whom he had worked at General Electric. Mr. Paivinen gave his approval.
After Mr. Paivinen had brought Mr. Peddle and the other Motorola engineers to Valley Forge and they built their low-cost chip, Motorola sued, just as Mr. Sevin had predicted. MOS fought the suit for years before paying a $200,000 fine.
By then, its $25 chip was feeding the rise of the personal computer. At MOS, Mr. Peddle built a personal computer around his new chip called the KIM-1 (the letters stood for Keyboard Input Monitor), and he started selling chips to a pair of young entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who were building a company called Apple.
In 1976, MOS was acquired by a calculator company, Commodore Business Machines, and Mr. Peddle became its chief engineer. Soon after, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak offered to sell Apple to Commodore, but Commodore declined. Mr. Peddle and his new company built their own personal computer around the 6502: the Commodore PET, which sold for $495.
''That's when the personal computer market really took off,'' Bill Seiler, who worked alongside Mr. Peddle on the first Commodore computer, said in a phone interview.
The 6502 also powered the Atari gaming console, which brought video games into the home, and the BBC Micro, which introduced personal computers to Britain.
In the early 1980s, Mr. Peddle founded another PC company, Sirius Systems Technology, where he designed a machine called the Victor. In later years he built NNA Corporation, which made a computer with removable hard drives, letting people carry data from place to place '-- a forerunner of the USB stick.
In addition to Ms. Shaeffer, Mr. Peddle is survived by three brothers, Douglass, Duncan and Shelton Peddle; a sister, Marthalie Furber-Peddle; three sons, Thomas and Robert Peddle and Vernon Prestia; three daughters, Debbie and Diane Peddle and Cheryl Prestia; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His two marriages ended in divorce.
The PC age is now on the wane, but Mr. Peddle's big idea is just getting started. ''His big thing was distributed intelligence, putting microprocessors in everything,'' Mr. Seiler said. ''And nowadays, microprocessors are going into everything.''
Sergii Leshchenko: By helping Giuliani, Ukrainian politicians help Russia | KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice
Thu, 26 Dec 2019 04:13
In the scandal surrounding the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, there are many controversial figures, both on the U.S. and the Ukrainian side.
But one Ukrainian politician stands out even in this shady crowd: Yuriy Lutsenko, a veteran politician and ex-prosecutor general.
Lutsenko has become an informant for the conspiracy theory designed by Trump's entourage, now broadcast on One America News TV channel.
As a journalist who has been covering Ukrainian politics for 20 years, I maintain that Lutsenko and the rest of Rudy Giuliani's interlocutors in Ukraine are not in the least trustworthy.
Moreover, most of them have long had contacts with Moscow, which seeks to shift responsibility for interference in the 2016 U.S. elections from Russia to Ukraine. This scenario is actively supported by part of the corrupt Ukrainian establishment.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Lutsenko plays a key role in a geopolitical disturbance that is hurting Ukraine. The previous time happened 20 years ago.
Lutsenko and Russia
Lutsenko was the key person who enabled Giuliani's conspiracy of Ukraine interfering in U.S. domestic politics.
Many Ukrainians may be surprised why Lutsenko plays in what is clearly a pro-Russian scenario. In fact, for those who closely follow Ukrainian politics, Lutsenko's connections to the Russian elite won't come as a surprise.
In 2000, Lutsenko was one of the main actors in the audio tapes scandal involving Ukraine's then-President Leonid Kuchma. The tapes with recordings of Kuchma's alleged orders to silence Ukrainian journalist and an outspoken critic Georgiy Gongadze, whose beheaded body was found in the woods near Kyiv, stirred the whole country. Lutsenko was the person who prepared the recordings for publication for a press conference. He pressed the play button on the tape recorder, after which the whole country heard Kuchma's voice. When mass street protests followed against Kuchma, Lutsenko was one of their leaders.
However, Russia was the only beneficiary of those actions. Then the pro-Western government of Victor Yushchenko was dissolved, the United States turned away from Ukraine, and Kuchma was driven further into the Kremlin's orbit, after which he named Viktor Medvedchuk his chief of staff. Medvedchuk, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been the main operator of Russian influence in Ukraine.
It is ironic that Lutsenko then sought the dismissal of the prosecutor general because of the sabotage of Gongadze's murder investigation. But when 15 years later Lutsenko himself headed the Prosecutor General's Office, he didn't come one step closer to finding people behind this murder.
Lutsenko repeatedly cooperated with pro-Russian forces throughout his career. After entering parliament in 2002, he became friendly with Andriy Klyuyev, one of the top members of the Party of Regions, led by pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych, the future president. At that time, Lutsenko was also the Socialist Party's curator in the Donetsk Oblast, where Klyuyev and the Party of Regions had the most influence.
Klyuyev later became the last head of the Yanukovych administration before the bloody massacre on the EuroMaidan in February 2014 made both him and the disgraced president flee Ukraine. He is now hiding from justice in Russia.
In the 3.5 years when Lutsenko was the prosecutor general, by a strange coincidence, Klyuyev's case wasn't hears in court to be heard in absentia, as it happened with Yanukovych.
Former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko speaks to U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and One America News host Chanel Rion during an interview in Budapest on Dec. 3, 2019
Back in 2002, Lutsenko helped Medvedchuk attack pro-Western politician Viktor Yushchenko. A Russian political technologist Igor Shuvalov later told Ukrainian media that Medvedchuk's political advisors paid Lutsenko to spread damning information about Yushchenko's daughter.
In 2004, the Orange Revolution erupted in Ukraine and Lutsenko was one of the faces of street protests. But few know that he brought Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian lawmaker, to the revolution's winning camp. Derkach, a graduate of the FSB School in Moscow, is now known as a front man in promoting the idea of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
There are many witnesses to Lutsenko and Derkach's friendship '' Derkach was spotted visiting Lutsenko's son's wedding several years ago and at Lutsenko's birthday celebration this month. When Lutsenko was the interior minister, he presented the ministry's honors '' a prize gun '' to Derkach's wife. Subsequently, it became the subject of an investigation against Lutsenko, but the case was closed.
Lutsenko also has connections to the so-called ''Luzhnikov Group,'' a semi-criminal group that has assets in the energy and hotel business in Ukraine. Lutsenko established relations with them during the Orange Revolution. One of the front men of this clan is the Russian politician Aleksandr Babakov, former deputy speaker of the State Duma who voted for the annexation of Crimea. His assets in Ukraine include a group of 19 hotels, including the Premier Palace in Kyiv, a pair of shopping malls and an alarming amount of regional electricity supply networks, according to a Kyiv Post investigation published on March 29, 2019.
In 2007, Lutsenko was one of the founders of the Nasha Ukraina '' Narodna Samooborona electoral bloc, receiving a quota for places on the electoral list, some of which went to Babakov's people, such as Kirill Kulikov. He was a representative of some of the group's projects in Ukraine, and used to head the Ukrainian Bureau of Interpol at the time when Lutsenko was interior minister.
Another Babakov man whom Lutsenko gave a place on the party ballot was Igor Pikovsky, who was the chairman of the supervisory board of the Promzvyazok factory in Kyiv at the time. Most of Babakov's Ukrainian assets were registered using the factory's address.
But Lutsenko isn't the only Ukrainian politician who is an active player in the Kremlin's plot to shift responsibility for interference in the 2016 U.S. election from Russia to Ukraine.
Ukraine's 'three amigos'
Among those feeding the conspiracy theory are pro-Russian lawmaker Derkach, Oleksandr Dubinsky, a lawmaker loyal to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, and a former lawmaker Andriy Artemenko, who once was under investigation for embezzlement. Artemenko was rescued from charges after a deputy prosecutor general loyal to Medvedchuk intervened in the case.
It was Artemenko who promoted in the U.S. an alternative plan for settling the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, which suggested leasing Crimea to Russia.
Another Ukrainian politician whom Giuliani tried to get involved in this anti-Ukrainian scenario is a fugitive ex-lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko, who has been hiding from the investigation for over three years. The One America News network, which has been working with Giuliani to promote the conspiracy of the Ukrainian interference, even tried (unsuccessfully) to obtain a U.S. visa for Onyshchenko. But the fugitive ex-lawmaker was detained in Europe at Interpol's request.
But the main agent of Russia, with whom Giuliani and his team are working, is trying to keep a low profile. He avoids interviews but he does not spare money to escape American justice. We recently learned that he paid $1 million to Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas. It's oligarch Dmytro Firtash, a wealthy industrialist with assets across Europe, who has spent the last five years in Vienna fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery charges.
Firtash is useful for Giuliani in helping him advance the conspiracy theory. For example, lawmakers Oleh Voloshyn and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, both of whom are close to Firtash, are trying to start a ''parliamentary inquiry'' into ex-Vice President Joe Biden's activities in Ukraine.
In addition, at Firtash's request, another key ''witness'' to Giuliani, former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, gave an affidavit accusing Biden of trying to remove him from his job in order to protect the Burisma gas company which employed Biden's son.
But when quoting this part of Shokin's affidavit, Giuliani doesn't notice that, in another paragraph, Shokin defends Firtash against the allegations made in regards to him by a federal prosecutor in Illinois. In other words, Giuliani undermines the credibility of the U.S. law enforcement investigation.
The situation looks absurd, because Firtash, being a suspect in the U.S., evidently contributed to the creation of a document that is now being used by the U.S. president and his associates to defend against impeachment charges.
What does Firtash want in return? Obviously, the oligarch seeks to use Giuliani to avoid extradition to America. This year, Firtash has hired the conservative legal duo close to Trump and Giuliani '-- lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. And this is despite the fact that Giuliani, six months ago, criticized Firtash's previous lawyer for taking on Firtash as a client.
''(Firtash) is considered to be one of the close associates of (Semion) Mogilevich, who is the head of Russian organized crime, who is Putin's best friend,'' Giuliani was quoted as saying by The Hill. ''Lanny Davis (Firtash's former lawyer) has represented him for four or five years. If the newspapers are correct, he gets $80,000 a month from this guy who's considered to be one of the high-level, Russian organized crime members or associates.''
Apparently, Giuliani's position on Firtash suddenly changed when the oligarch became useful to Giuliani. And now his friends are working for Firtash as lawyers, and Giuliani himself uses ''evidence'' created by Firtash in his plot to defend Trump and attack Biden.
Giuliani's strategy to promote his conspiracy theory looks like political schizophrenia. But his actions also gave Russia great opportunities to advance its interests.
Sergii Leshchenko is a Ukrainian journalist, a Kyiv Post columnist, and a former member of parliament living in Kyiv.
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Nancy Pelosi Just Told A Lie So Big That the Media Just Fact-Checked Her
Wed, 25 Dec 2019 23:08
Follow Matt on Twitter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a lie so egregious that even the liberal media called her out for it.
Back in September, Pelosi spread a woefully inaccurate tweet about the actual number of children killed with firearms each year.
Her goal was to push more anti-gun propaganda, but the Washington Post fact-checked her on Thursday and gave her four Pinocchios for a ''bogus talking point.''
Below is the tweet in question:
It has been over 200 days since the House passed life-saving background checks legislation. 100 people die every day from gun violence '' 47 of them children & teenagers. How many more must perish before @SenateMajLdr will take action? #EndGunViolence
'-- Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 26, 2019Pelosi has repeatedly claimed that 47 percent of gun deaths were ''teenagers or children,'' according to the Post.
CDC data show the real number is closer to 9 percent, meaning she exaggerates the true number by more than five-fold.
This discrepancy led the Post to assign Pelosi's claim the harshest rating on its fact-checking scale.
''For months, in speeches, news conferences, tweets and interviews, Pelosi has been using a version of an incorrect talking point to make the firearms death toll for teenagers and children appear significantly higher than reality,'' the fact-check read.
''When we queried her staff, we were told she had simply misspoken. But that was false, too,'' WaPo added.
However, that number would amount to 43 percent of gun deaths, still very far from the CDC's findings.
You can read more from our friends at TrendingPolitics.com
Russian PM Says U.S. Sanctions 'No Big Deal' To Nord Stream Gas Project
Wed, 25 Dec 2019 09:38
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline might be delayed by a couple months due to fresh U.S. sanctions against the project but there's nothing "catastrophic" about the situation.
"Of course we will finish building [the pipeline]," Medvedev was quoted by Reuters as telling journalists on December 23. "Gazprom has alternative options for how to lay it. It will take a little more time, but that's no big deal."
He added, "There's nothing catastrophic about [the sanctions], especially considering the fact that we have already reached an agreement with the Ukrainians about transit."
U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on participants in Nord Stream 2 on December 20, prompting one major contractor to halt its work.
The $11 billion project is just weeks away from its scheduled completion, and analysts have been divided on whether the imposition of sanctions at such a late stage could halt the project.
The consortium building it says there are about 160 kilometers of the planned 2,460-kilometer pipeline, which should run along the bed of the Baltic Sea, left to complete.
Nord Stream 2 could double Nord Stream 1's current export capacity to around 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year via its German terminus.
Critics, including some Europeans, have warned it will increase the European Union's reliance on Russian gas at a time when Europe should be reducing its dependence to the east.
Moscow has accused Washington of trying to thwart Nord Stream 2 in order to boost sales of American liquefied natural gas to Europe.
Germany denounced the U.S. sanctions as meddling in its internal affairs.
The European Commission said in its third-quarter 2019 consumption report that Russia accounted for 45 percent of the European Union's gas imports, according to TASS.
The statements, opinions and data contained in the content published in Global Gas Perspectives are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publisher and the editor(s) of Natural Gas World
Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV: Brian Stelter: 9781455512881: Amazon.com: Books
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 20:05
As for most Americans, morning tv has been a small but pleasant part of my morning routine for most of my life. Up until about a decade ago, it provided a quick bit of news, maybe an interview or book discussion. Mostly it provided continuity. In a world where people are constantly changing jobs (not always voluntarily) it was nice to get used to the hosts. On 9/11 it gave many people the feeling that they were not alone, as they watched the attack on the United States, in real time.But in the last decade the predictable mix if news, entertainment and weather has deteriorated. How many lost blonde young women are we supposed to watch? How many pregnant wives who disappear. How many vacationing honeymooners who come back from cruises single.
Top of the Morning goes into the macinations, jockeying for position, and office politics of the networks that employ the morning teams. It's not a pretty picture. It was nice to see that the GMA team gets along. Not so nice to see the mess on Today. Fun to see CBS pull ahead. Is this important stuff? No, but it's fun.
MIT Develops 'Tattoo ID' to Track Who Has Been Vaccinated
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:56
Project powered by Gates Foundation cashMIT researchers have struck on a novel, and for many surely unsettling, method of keeping track of who has and hasn't had a particular vaccination '' creating an ink that can be safely embedded in the skin alongside the vaccine itself, and only visible using a special infra-red application.
The invisible ''tattoo'' is a pattern made up of tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light and thus glows under infra-red light. The pattern will be delivered alongside the vaccine into the skin via hi-tech dissolvable microneedles made of a mixture of polymers and sugar.
''In areas where paper vaccination cards are often lost or do not exist at all, and electronic databases are unheard of, this technology could enable the rapid and anonymous detection of patient vaccination history to ensure that every child is vaccinated,'' MIT researcher Kevin McHugh said in a statement.
Strikingly, the research was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation '' in fact, the project came about following a direct request from the Microsoft founder himself, who has been personally and somewhat controversially involved in efforts to eradicate polio and measles via vaccinations worldwide.
Bill Gates wants to tattoo vaccine records onto people by injecting a QR code under the skin with "invisible" nanoparticles.
Everyone okay with that? Because that's not dystopian at all. https://t.co/syE8qMTfxF
'-- Eileen Iorio (@eileeniorio) December 19, 2019
The system has been practically trialled by MIT researchers on rats, with the embryonic patterns still detectable nine months after injection '' on human cadavers, the patterns outlasted five years of simulated Sun exposure.
''It's possible someday this 'invisible' approach could create new possibilities for data storage, biosensing, and vaccine applications that could improve how medical care is provided, particularly in the developing world,'' MIT professor and senior author Robert Langer said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation came under intense criticism for a vaccination project in India in 2009.
During the year, several schools for tribal children in Telangana became sites for observation studies for a cervical cancer vaccine, which was administered to thousands of girls aged nine '' 15.
Ezra Levant joins Alex Jones to discuss the motive behind propagating 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' throughout the American populace and the global population.
The test subjects were administered Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil in three rounds under the supervision of state health department officials.
In all, 16,000 girls in the district, many of whom stayed in state government-run hostels meant for tribal students '' months later, many started falling ill and by 2010 five died.
A standing committee on health and family welfare that investigated the studies in India tabled its report in 2013, finding consent for conducting the studies wasn't properly secured, in flagrant violation of medical norms '' in many cases, children gave 'fingerprint' consent for the tests despite having no idea about the nature of the disease or the vaccine.
In others, consent forms were simply not secured at all.
Alex Jones breaks down recent revelations from the New York Times about the dangers of the public spy grid.
Also, get all you need to completely stuff Christmas stockings this year with our Christmas Mega Pack sold AT COST during the Extended Christmas Super Sale!
`};let stream_id = 1;toggleStreamsButton.addEventListener('click', (event) => {event.preventDefault();const target = event.currentTarget;if (stream_id === 1) {target.innerHTML = 'Alex Jones Show';player.innerHTML = getEmbedCode('5c59c724f7c188001c3d8e2f');stream_id = 2;}else {target.innerHTML = 'Infowars Network Live Feed';player.innerHTML = getEmbedCode('5b92a1e6568f22455f55be2b');stream_id = 1;}}); })();
Kabinet: Verplichte updates voor telefoon en tv | Politiek | AD.nl
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:43
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Mr. Jones'¸ on Twitter: "LOL 🂠Macron's cronies try holding a public event in France, but the event was cancelled after angry farmers dump 2 tons of shit where the speeches are supposed to be 🤣 Love those yellow vests! We need to do this outsi
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 09:39
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Mali conflict: Macron says 33 'terrorists' killed by French troops - BBC News
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:13
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Emmanuel Macron has been visiting French troops in Ivory Coast French forces have killed 33 militants in an operation in Mali, according to President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Macron made the announcement on a visit to Ivory Coast, where he reiterated France's commitment to fighting jihadists in the region.
It comes weeks after 13 French troops died in a helicopter collision in Mali in the biggest single-day loss of life for its military since the 1980s.
Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali since 2013.
Its involvement came after Islamist militants overran parts of the north. With the help of France, Mali's army has recaptured the territory, but insecurity continues and violence has spread to neighbouring countries.
Some 4,500 French troops serve as part of Operation Barkhane in support of the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
What is the latest? Mr Macron said the "terrorists" were killed in an operation on Saturday in Mali's Mopti region.
"This morning, thanks to an engagement by our soldiers and the Barkhane forces, we were able to neutralise 33 terrorists, take one prisoner and free two Malian gendarmes who had been held hostage," he said.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What is behind Mali's massacres?France's army command said the operation took place overnight near the Mauritanian border.
Mr Macron made the announcement in a speech in Ivory Coast, where he has been celebrating an early Christmas with French troops.
Image copyright AFP He vowed on Friday to work to give "new force" to the fight against Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel - an arid region below the Sahara desert.
It came as West African leaders began a meeting in Nigeria to discuss combating the spread of jihadist violence, which Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari described as the greatest threat to the region.
The UN special representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, told leaders at the summit that military action alone could not end the violence, as he called for more to be done to help develop the region.
The leaders of five Sahel nations are expected to attend a summit in Paris in January, when Mr Macron said they would clarify the "political and strategic framework" of the operation against militants in the region.
(22) Elliot Alderson on Twitter: "<Thread> Few days ago, @Gizmodo published an awesome investigation about the Neighbors app by @ring. The article is doing an excellent job but no technical details are given. So I decided to give a look at the crime
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:12
Log in Sign up Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y <Thread> Few days ago,
@Gizmodo published an awesome investigation about the Neighbors app by
@ring. The article is doing an excellent job but no technical details are given. So I decided to give a look at the crime-alert app made by Amazon 1/
gizmodo.com/ring-s-hidden-'... 5:02 AM - 20 Dec 2019 Ring's Hidden Data Let Us Map Amazon's Sprawling Home Surveillance Network As reporters raced this summer to bring new details of Ring's law enforcement contracts to light, the home security company, acquired last year by Amazon for a whopping $1 billion, strove to unders... Gizmodo @Gizmodo Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam In the article,
@dellcam explained that by examining the network traffic of the Neighbors app, we can get the geographic coordinates of a camera. 2/
pic.twitter.com/2RQvgQ8550 View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam So I installed the app on a phone, intercepted the traffic and used all the possible features of the app 3/
play.google.com/store/apps/det'... View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam Bingo! When the app retrieves the details of an alert, the geographic details of the camera is in the response. 4/
pic.twitter.com/nkBKxDmOqm View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam This is what an alert looks like in the app. The location of the camera is not given, only "X miles away". This a clear leak of personal information from
@ring 5/
pic.twitter.com/EaNYyFOwHD View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam In his article
@Gizmodo mentionned the work of Dan Calacci, a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab. He managed to enumerate the location of all the
@ring cameras in the US. How did he do it? 6/
pic.twitter.com/xBB5EXAJ2O View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam This is quite easy. In the "get alert details" request you just have to change the alert id: /api/alerts/<alert_id> 7/
twitter.com/fs0c131y/statu'... View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring @dellcam As a result, you will have the location of the
@ring cameras who shared an alert at least once in the past. 8/
View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others In another article,
@josephfcox from
@VICE mentionned that some hackers are able to crack
@ring accounts. How they are doing that? 9/
vice.com/en_us/article/'... View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others Unfortunately, this is quite easy. An attacker has two choices:- use a list of already compromised combinations from other services- If you know the victim's email you can bruteforce the password. There is no rate limitation on the server side... 10/
pic.twitter.com/Pp4TzIcF5E View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others I successfully bruteforce my own account... 11/
pic.twitter.com/rUY28G5PgW View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others Also, there is no authentication to access the videos of alerts shared by
@ring users. 12/
nhshare.ring.com/17148411/00059'... View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others No authentication to access the photos too... 13/
nhshare.ring.com/7707699/000581'... View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others Don't tell anyone, but if you want to have fun the api and the staging env urls are available in the app. 14/
pic.twitter.com/jBf6I36U1V View conversation · Elliot Alderson @ fs0c131y
Dec 20 Replying to
@Gizmodo @ring and
3 others That's the end. Don't buy a product with such lousy security 15/15
pic.twitter.com/F4bWdBZCvS View conversation · Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
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School-sponsored event allowing child predators, sex offenders access to kids
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:07
Texas '' It's an event being called the ''Drag Queen Story Hour'' '' and they're popping up at schools and public libraries all across America.
Many people are rightly concerned that these types of events could unwittingly allow sexual predators access to children. Another case in Texas that has surfaced this week seems to support this.
David Robinson, whose drag queen name is Miss Kitty Litter ATX (no comment) was invited to such an event on Oct. 7 at the Blackshear Fine Arts Academy. Apparently, the school district was aware that Robinson had a criminal record as a sex offender before they allowed him to speak to children in his cross-dressing alter ego.''Miss Kitty Litter ATX'' is a convicted felon'... and is still hanging out with children during these events. (Flickr)
According to a group called Texas Values, subsequent to an open records request, they discovered that Robinson had told school librarian Roger Grape that he might not be able to pass a background check to perform at the library, because ''the guidelines for submission automatically disqualify me if the deferred adjudication for prostitution is considered a conviction'...so I don't know if [it's] ethical to submit.''Unbelievably, Robinson was still allowed to speak to children, and the Austin Intermediate School District even assured parents that he had been properly screened despite his history as a sex offender.
An email that was sent to parents said, ''the reading event was scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. and all readers had been screened by Austin ISD.''This past October, the district approved new sexual education standards[3]that Texas Values called a ''dream scenario for pedophiles'' that gave children tips on how to perform anal sex and encouraged them to get abortions without parental consent. The standards were passed despite protests from some parents.
The part about anal sex in particular is disturbing. It tells children to ignore myths about the practice and that ''if you get ready the right way, it doesn't need to hurt and won't cause health issues'', adding, ''many people enjoy it.''
The curriculum, targeted to children in grades three through eight, will also teach kids that there are 50 genders, give instructions on how to apply condoms for sex acts, and offer tips on how to perform graphic sexual positions. You cannot make this stuff up.
Sex offenders have been discovered in a number of school-sponsored programs. (YouTube)
Of course, Planned Parenthood is thrilled with the plan. It is such a ''blessing'' that our tax dollars go toward such an ''upstanding'' organization. When the curriculum passed, Planned Parenthood spoke out in glowing terms.
''On behalf of Planned Parenthood and our review of these lessons, they are LGBTQ inclusive and comprehensive and we support all your efforts in leadership tonight,'' said the chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood in Texas, Sarah Wheat.Back to Robinson, on August 8, a whistleblower group called MassResistance uncovered several social media posts by Richardson which alluded to homosexual and sado-masochistic acts. The group testified before the Austin City Council, along with a number of local citizens demanding that the ''Drag Queen Story Hours'' be stopped.
A gay city councilman, Jimmy Flannigan, accused MassResistance of lying and spreading ''misinformation about my community'' after the group publicized the background of two sex offenders who read at story hour events in Houston.
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Last year, a 32-year-old man who had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy in 2008, was allowed to participate in ''Drag Queen Storytime'' at the Heights Public Library in Houston. Tatiana Mala Nina, whose real name is Alberto Garza, was allowed to read to little boys and girls at the library. The library stated that Garza never had a background check before he was allowed to volunteer at the library.
Of course, some parents didn't seem to mind that their children were being exposed to convicted perverts. One mother said at the time that she wanted to have her kids under 10 learn about people with confused sexualities.
''Excited to expose them to things they don't get to see every day. I want it to become more normal and more accepted,'' one mom said of the story times.As if kids of that age do not have enough going on.
The assistant library manager, Alexandra Drake said at the time, ''It is amazingly unique and that is something we strive for, for sure. At this particular branch but also at Houston Public Library we always want to promote diversity, understanding, inclusion and fun.''
Tell that to the 8-year-old that Garza sexually assaulted.
More recently, another sexual deviant, William Travis Dees, drag name Liza Lott, was participating in Drag Queen Story Hour events as part of a group called the ''Space City Sisters.'' Dees' claim to fame? He is a child sex offender who brags about his time as a transgender prostitute. What parent in their right mind wouldn't want their children around someone with a stellar background such as that?
READ: GOVERNOR ASKED WHY HE PARDONED A CHILD RAPIST. HIS RESPONSE: WHICH ONE?According to MassResistance, Dees was convicted in 2004 of sex crimes against four young children (ages 4, 5,6 and 8) and was jailed. He is listed as a ''high risk sex offender.'' However, since Dees was 16 years old at the time of his conviction, it is not posted on government sites because it is considered ''sealed.'' It was however available from other sex-offender record sources.
What liberals believe is in the best interests of your children may not meld with yours. And the fact that, at least in the case of Austin and Houston, convicted pedophiles and sex offenders could participate in publicly sponsored events involving children is disturbing.
Moreover, officials dismissed concerns of parents and other groups, even after being notified of the background of some of these performers.
If this isn't a cause for concern'... we don't know what is.
READ: DEPUTY KILLED AFTER BEING EJECTED FROM HIS CRUISER, LEAVES BEHIND A WIFE AND BABY Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much ''stuff'' happening in the world on social media, it's easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click ''following'' and then click ''see first'' so you don't miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
Colin Kaepernick's Nike Platform Grows With a New Shoe - WSJ
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:05
It has been three years since Colin Kaepernick played in the National Football League, one year since Nike Inc. made him the face of a controversial advertising campaign and one month since the sneaker giant was caught in a firefight between the exiled quarterback and the league over a failed workout.
On Monday, Nike again deepened its partnership with the controversial and unemployed athlete when it released a new shoe just ahead of Christmas. The launch of the ''Air Force 1 '07 x Colin Kaepernick,'' a black-and-white shoe with Mr. Kaepernick's image embroidered on the heel, caps a year when the Nike-Kaepernick relationship has consistently provoked sharp reactions'--from nixing a July 4-themed sneaker to rancor surrounding a league-organized workout for Mr. Kaepernick.
It isn't a simple relationship. Nike is a major business partner of the NFL, but has continued to promote Mr. Kaepernick, an NFL adversary who alleged that the league and its teams colluded to keep him unsigned because of his outspoken political views.
The new shoe is part of a deal that Nike and Mr. Kaepernick struck last year, before the company made Mr. Kaepernick as the face of its brash ''Dream Crazy'' advertising campaign, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Kaepernick had long been a Nike athlete, but he had been effectively shelved for years until that campaign launched at the start of the 2018 NFL season.
''Colin was identified because we believe his voice and perspective inspire many generations on and off the field,'' a Nike spokeswoman said.
Featuring Mr. Kaepernick was a bold move for Nike. He was a star for the San Francisco 49ers when, in 2016, he began to lead player protests during the national anthem to call attention to social injustice and racial inequality. The resulting uproar reverberated powerfully across the political spectrum.
Mr. Kaepernick has gone unsigned since that season, which established him as a polarizing icon with supporters who praised his message and detractors who assailed him as unpatriotic. Mr. Kaepernick later filed his grievance against the league, which has since been settled.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said decisions about signing players are left to the teams, and any team is free to sign Mr. Kaepernick.
Nike featured Mr. Kaepernick despite making the uniforms and sideline apparel for all 32 NFL teams, a lucrative pact. The campaign turned out to be hugely popular, and its stock price has steadily risen in the 15 months since the release of the Kaepernick-narrated commercial.
Nike was encouraged to push ahead with the shoe after the positive response to a limited-edition Kaepernick jersey the company made and sold out quickly, the person familiar with the matter said. A year ago, Mr. Kaepernick filed a trademark for the image of his face and hair, and that likeness is used on the shoe's heel.
Mr. Kaepernick tweeted that at least two retailers will donate profits from the shoe, which costs $110 for adult sizes, to charitable causes.
''As a football star with the ability to articulate a powerful message, Kaepernick is one of this generation's most prominent crossover cultural influencers,'' a description of the shoe says on Nike's website.
Joining with Mr. Kaepernick sometimes has generated headaches for Nike.
Before July 4 this year, Nike, at Mr. Kaepernick's behest, stopped the release of a sneaker featuring the so-called Betsy Ross flag, an American Revolution-era design with 13 white stars in a circle. Mr. Kaepernick had told the company that some people see it as a symbol of hate and exclusion.
Some critics skewered the decision to pull the shoe. Nike replied that it was ''proud of its American heritage'' but pulled the shoe ''based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday.''
Then, in November, Nike found itself in the middle of an imbroglio between the NFL and Mr. Kaepernick. An unprecedented workout the league had arranged for teams to scout Mr. Kaepernick fell apart at the last minute'--even as NFL officials were privately touting that they had worked with Nike and Mr. Kaepernick on an advertisement pegged to the event. The ad never appeared.
Making matters worse, the NFL's sharply worded statement about the event's demise placed Nike at the center of the drama, which Nike rebutted saying it never had a camera crew there. The company was caught off guard for being called out by the NFL, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
The incident clearly did little to diminish the partnership. Just a month later, Nike released Mr. Kaepernick's shoe.
Write to Andrew Beaton at andrew.beaton@wsj.com
NBC suspends Jeremy Roenick for inappropriate comments
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:01
4:16 PM ET Associated Press
Former NHL forward Jeremy Roenick was suspended indefinitely by NBC Sports on Monday for his inappropriate comments about coworkers.
Roenick made a series of questionable remarks about fellow hockey broadcasters Kathryn Tappen, Patrick Sharp and Anson Carter during a recent appearance on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast. An NBC Sports spokesman said the suspension is without pay and the network would have no further comment at this time.
On the podcast, Roenick discussed a vacation to Portugal with his wife and Tappen. He made repeated references to the NBC Sports anchor's appearance and joked about the possibility of the three of them having sex together.
Roenick said they went on vacation together because his wife, Tracy, and Tappen are good friends. When another resort guest asked about the situation, he recalled, "I play it off like we're going to bed together every night, the three of us."
"If it really came to fruition, that would really be good, but it's never going to happen," Roenick said.
Roenick subsequently praised Tappen as "one of the most professional sports personalities I know."
Later in the interview, Roenick called Sharp "so beautiful" and said: "I'd have to think about it if he asked me. ... I wouldn't say no right away." He then seemed to contrast Sharp's appearance with his and Carter's.
"It's good to have a beautiful face that talks well that knows the game because it's totally the opposite when me and Anson get on there," Roenick said.
He also called Sharp, a former teammate, "one of the greatest, greatest guys on the planet" and said, "I think he's been great for NBC."
Roenick played 20 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, Coyotes, Flyers, Sharks and Kings before moving into television. He has been an analyst at NBC Sports since 2010.
Stangle: Impossible burgers are made of what? | TSLN.com
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:59
By Dr. James Stangle, DVM, Milesville, SD
'‹The impossible whopper is being advertised by Burger King as a plant based alternative to the whopper. When food manufacturers started talking about making artificial meat, I, too, thought it would be impossible to make a hamburger cheaply enough to make it competitive. You see, I assumed that they would have to buy the individual amino acids (the building blocks for protein) and chemically string them together in the proper order, then remove the reagents (chemicals needed to cause the chain reactions) and then add something to give it the right textures.
'‹The impossible whopper (made by Impossible Foods) bypassed all of those steps. Let's compare the two. The impossible whopper patty is made from 24 ingredients. The most important ingredient is soy protein. The whopper patty has just one ingredient. That would be beef.
'‹The impossible whopper has 630 calories, mostly from the added oils. The whopper has 660 calories. So, about 5% less calories, this is not a huge improvement.
The impossible whopper has 25 grams of protein. The whopper has 28 grams. Seems pretty equal, only 11% less protein in the impossible whopper. However, not all proteins are created equal. There are 20 amino acids. Nine of which are essential, meaning your body cannot make them so they are required in the diet. Each of those essential amino acids must meet a certain level to make a complete protein profile. If any essential amino acid does not hit the required amount, it is said to be rate limiting. As an analogy, picture nine chains connected in a line. All of the chains need to lift 100 pounds to carry the load. If one chain can only support 50 pounds, it doesn't matter how much the others can support. The 50 pound chain is the rate limiting chain.
'‹As an extreme example, bovine gelatin, aka Jell-O, is 100% protein; however, it completely lacks the essential amino acid histidine. Therefore, its value as a protein is zero. In beef the rate limiting amino acid is tryptophan, which is at 79% of the required level. In soy protein, the rate limiting amino acid is methionine, which is at 41% of the required level. So, to compare the impossible whopper with the whopper, you have to take 0.41 x 25 grams of protein and compare it to 0.79 x 28 grams of protein. The impossible whopper has 10 grams of usable protein and the whopper has 22 grams of usable protein. So you would have to eat two and a quarter impossible whoppers to get the same protein in one whopper.
'‹Now, let's compare the estrogen hormone in an impossible whopper to the whopper made from hormone implanted beef. The impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen. Now let me refresh your metric system. There are 1 million nanograms (ng) in one milligram (mg). That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male. That's the equivalent of eating four impossible whoppers per day. You would have to eat 880 pounds of beef from an implanted steer to equal the amount of estrogen in one birth control pill.
There is one ingredient in the impossible whopper that bears mentioning. Beefs red color comes from hemoglobin, the oxygen binding protein in blood, and myoglobin, the molecule that takes the oxygen away from the hemoglobin. To get the same red color in an impossible whopper, they used leghemoglobin. This is the cool part. Leghemoglobin is made by the bacteria, Rhizobium. Rhizobium is the crucial bacterium that lives in the nodules of the roots of legumes like soybeans. Rhizobium has an enzyme that can take nitrogen from the air and turn it into fertilizer, which the plant can use. The bacterial enzyme that binds the nitrogen is damaged by the presence of oxygen so the bacterium makes the leghemoglobin to bind oxygen to keep it out of the way. To make enough leghemoglobin to add to the impossible whopper, scientists spliced the gene for leghemoglobin into yeast. They can grow the yeast easily and separate the leghemoglobin and add it to the impossible whopper. So the impossible whopper is technically a genetically modified organism (GMO). Don't get me wrong, I think it's cool. I'm all in favor of GMO's. More should be done with them to improve our food supply. Currently, the only GMO protein that is legal in the US is a GMO salmon that is engineered to grow twice as fast. Unfortunately, the production and sale of it in the US is blocked by Senator, Lisa Murkowsky (R. Alaska). No doubt to protect Alaska's salmon industry. Scientists have made a GMO milk cow which is modified to be polled (hornless) yet neither its meat nor milk is allowed to enter the food supply. What's funny about the impossible whopper being a GMO is that the people most likely to eat it are the ones most likely to be against GMO's.
'‹So when you watch the next Burger King commercial and you see the guy dressed as a cowboy eating an impossible whopper saying, ''Well, I'm a darn fool''. ''Just say, yep!'' There is another word for really big lie. It is called a whopper. Here's to hoping that the impossible whopper is a possible flopper.
By Dr. James Stangle, DVM, Milesville, SD
EasyJet staff asked to stop using 'ladies and gentlemen' to address passengers | Newshub
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:52
An EasyJet aircraft. Photo credit: Getty"Ladies and gentlemen" will no longer be used by the budget airline EasyJet to address passengers following a Twitter complaint that the greeting "reinforces gender binaries".
The British airline has reportedly requested cabin crew to substitute the term for "welcome everyone" to foster greater inclusivity.
According to The Sun, the decision to move away from the generic greeting was sparked by a transgender professor at the Birkbeck University of London, Dr Andi Fugard, who took issue with the airline's use of "gender binaries".
"Dear @easyjet, are you in some kind of competition to see how many times you can reinforce gender binaries? 'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls', perfume strictly segregated again by 'ladies and gentlemen'. Ditch sir/madam too. An organisation as huge as yours must do better," Dr Fugard complained on Twitter in August.
"At EasyJet we do not discriminate against any individual - passengers or staff members," the airline responded.
"We are a pan-European airline with the aim of connecting people of all nationalities across Europe so there is certainly no room in our organisation for discrimination of any kind."
Yet according to the outlet, Dr Fugard's complaint rattled the airline into issuing new guidelines advising staff against using "ladies and gentlemen" to address passengers.
EasyJet told The Sun they were not prohibiting the term but had opted to "guide" cabin crew towards alternative expressions.
"We want our crew to be welcoming to everyone onboard and so have provided some guidance to them of how to best do that in a way that is inclusive for everyone," an EasyJet spokesperson said.
The move follows sanitary brand Always' announcement that it will remove the female symbol from its packaging in a bid to include transgender customers.
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Greta Thunberg malware is not the present you want this Christmas | TechRadar
Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:48
HomeNewsComputing(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Liv Oeian)A global malicious email campaign has been discovered using Swedish teenage environmentalist Greta Thunberg as a hook to lure in unsuspecting victims.
Security researchers at Proofpoint have uncovered a widespread campaign using Miss Thunberg's name to trick users into downloading the notorious Emotet malware botnet.
Proofpoint noted that the criminals mainly appear to be targeting environmentally-conscious students, especially those with .edu email addresses.
Microsoft Office apps hit with more cyberattacks than everBusinesses facing major threat from financial malwareMajor rise in password-stealing malware detectedSupportThe emails, which in English sport some form of subject line concerning "Support Greta Thunberg", invite the recipient to a large-scale protest against governments said to be acting poorly against the threat of climate change.
The details of this fake protest, including time and address to meet, are said to be included in a file attached to the email, but opening this attachment instead downloads the Emotet malware onto the victim's device.
(Image credit: Proofpoint)Users should be able to spot the malicious file as it comes in the outdated .doc format for Microsoft Word. The email itself (example pictured above) also contains multiple spelling and grammatical errors, something one would not expect from the recently-crowned Time Person of the Year 2019.
The campaign appears to be global in scale, with victims in Japan, Germany, Italy, UAE and Australia the most targeted - with the UK in sixth place. Victims are also told to forward the malicious email to all their contacts, meaning the campaign has rapidly spread across the world.
Emotet is one of the largest malware botnets in operation today with Proofpoint noting that its recent research reports found it accounted for nearly 12 percent of all malicious email worldwide during that quarter.
"This campaign serves as a reminder that attackers won't hesitate to target people's best intentions during this holiday season," Proofpoint's Sherrod Degrippo wrote in a blog post outlining the threat.
"It also serves as a mark of how significant environmental awareness has become and how well-known Greta Thunberg is globally. Attackers choose their lures carefully: in many ways their lures are a reliable barometer of public interest and awareness."
Stay protected with the best antivirus for 2020
Twitter Thoughts: JK Rowling vs Cancel Culture - YouTube
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 16:40
Russia to design 6th-gen long-range UNMANNED strategic bomber - top general
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 15:12
(C) REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko Tu-95 Strategic Bombers
Russia's Aerospace Forces are undergoing a major overhaul, looking forward to welcome a 5th generation subsonic bomber into its fleet as well as a long-range bomber drone, to be developed in the next 20 years, the military said.
Russia's Aerospace Forces (VKS), which marked their 105th birthday on Monday, have been making rapid strides in an effort to upgrade the fleet of long-range bombers and to develop new advanced aircraft, Lieutenant-General Sergey Kobylash, chief of Russia's Long-Range Aviation told Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets daily on Sunday.
"Our aircraft and their weapons are subject to constant improvement. Further development of the long-range aviation is being carried out not only by upgrading Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers to extend their service life, but also by developing the Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-range Aviation - a 5th-gen strategic bomber," Kobylash said.
The new bomber will be subsonic, the general said, noting that the aircraft will be capable of "performing all tasks the long-range aviation is facing." The brainchild of the aircraft manufacturer Tupolev, the project, dubbed PAK-DA, has been in the works since 2009. The bomber will use stealth technology and can be armed with hypersonic air-to-surface missiles. The aircraft is expected to have a range of 12.500km and be capable of carrying a payload of up to 30 tons. The plane is set to make its first flight in 2025 and enter service in the late 2020s.
The Russian military, however, does not plan to stop at that and is seeking to develop an unmanned 6th generation bomber by 2040, Kobylash said, without providing any further details.
In recent years, the Russian military has been working to replace the current fleet of Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3, which are a legacy of the Soviet era, with cutting-edge aircraft, so Russia can thwart any enemy attack amid the ongoing military build-up of the US-led NATO at its doorstep.
Italian Prosecutors Believe Joseph Mifsud - The Man Who Started RussiaGate - "Is Dead"
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 15:09
UPDATE: George Papadopolous responded to the reports that Italian prosecutors in Agrigento, Sicily believe the Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud is dead.
''Lil Joey Mifsud is not sleeping with the fishes,'' Tweeted Papadopolous. ''More to come.''
Lil Joey Mifsud is not sleeping with the fishes. More to come.
'-- George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) December 20, 2019* * *
Via SaraACarter.com,
What happened to Joseph Mifsud? It is the biggest mystery surrounding the man that allegedly began the FBI's probe into President Donald Trump's campaign and the now debunked theory that campaign officials conspired with Russia in the 2016 election.
A new story out of Italy suggests that an infamous audio file allegedly sent by Mifsud to two Italian papers is believed to be fake, according to reporters who had it analyzed by one of Italy's top forensic experts. The audio file is not the same deposition audio file that is in the possession of the Department of Justice and the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Mifsud allegedly describes the work he was doing and why he targeted George Papadopoulos. The last anyone has heard from Mifsud was the Spring of 2018.
Department of Justice officials declined to comment to SaraACarter.com on the ongoing investigation or Mifsud.
However, a detailed story by the reputable and well known Italian news outlet Il Giornale, Italian journalists Roberto Vivaldelli and Mauro Indelicato, suggest that sources within the Agrigento Public Prosecution office, who brought charges on Mifsud in another criminal matter associated with his work at a public university in Italy, believe he is dead. Their story is published in English at Il Giornale's blog site Inside Over.
Sources interviewed from the Italian prosecutors office, told the journalists that they believe there is an ''80 percent'' chance that Mifsud is no longer alive.
I spoke to Roberto Vivaldelli Friday, and he affirmed that the newest details regarding Mifsud came as a result of their investigation into Mifsud's time as president of a university in the southern Italian city of Agrigento, Sicily. Currently, prosecutor's in Agriengento, Sicily are investigating Mifsud's alleged misuse of university finances and unexplained expenses.
''Mifsud is under investigation for his management of the university and for some crazy expenses,'' Vivaldelli told me.
''From the information we have gathered, the Italian prosecutors are convinced that the professor is most likely not alive.''
Vivaldelli said a person sent an audio file to the offices of two Italian newspapers last November 11, ''but according to an expert we consulted this audio is fake. I personally think it's incredible that no one knows where Mifsud is, alive or dead.''
According to Vivaldelli the sources at the Agrigento prosecutors office did not divulge details as to why they believe he's dead.
What we do know is that Attorney General William Barr and Connecticut prosecutor John Durham have opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Mifsud, the Maltese professor, who befriended former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopolous and informed him that the Russians had obtained Hillary Clinton's missing emails is at the center of the controversy.
If anyone has answers into what really happened with the FBI's investigation it would be him. It was allegedly Mifsud's tipoff about the Russians having Clinton's emails that was the beginning of the investigation. The former FBI officials stated that it was when Papadopolous discussed what he had been told by Mifsud with Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer that the counterintelligence investigation began. They bureau agents claimed it was the pretext to opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the campaign on July, 2016.
But now we know different and there is enough information surfacing to suspect that Mifsud did not have ties to Russia but was a western intelligence asset, as suggested by his attorney Stephan Roh, in an article written by John Solomon.
Whether, Mifsud is in hiding for his own safety is not known. Why the Italian prosecutors believe he is dead has not been explained, but the work done by these two Italian journalists is very thorough. It's another piece of the puzzle in understanding the mysterious Mifsud '' what role he played and what may of actually happened to him.
This article is english translation of ''Mifsud ora ¨ un giallo. Il sospetto in procura: quasi certamente morto'', first published by IL-GIORNALE in Italy.
In the city of temples it seems that everybody has now dumped him. In Agrigento, where the Maltese professor was president of the local university consortium, a full-blown race is on to take the most distance from him. The reference is to Joseph Mifsud, a key figure in Russiagate, who has been missing since October 2017.
Nobody knew anythingMifsud arrived in Agrigento in April 2010 and was presented at the seat of the provincial government as the new president of the University Consortium. At the time the province was the largest shareholder in the body so a substantial number of the political decisions depended on what today the Region of Sicily knows as the ''free consortium of municipalities''. The promotor of his appointment to the Agrigento university consortium was Eugenio D'Orsi, President of the Province from 2008 until 2013, the last before the body was wound up by Rosario Crocetta. ''Mifsud '' D'Orsi explained in the last few days '' had given hope to Agrigento. He was a brilliant person, with unlimited knowledge and we wanted to bring Sicily to the world. The lecturer put me in touch with Malta, and we were about to build the airport thanks to that. That was the best side of him''.
Then, according to the former president of the province, something changed: ''In the second part of the experience with him he was, and I will say this bluntly, a charlatan'', D'Orsi said in the interview mentioned above. The same former President then confirmed that the decision to select Mifsud was at the time backed by all the shareholders of the consortium, in other words also by the city council of Agrigento, the Chamber of Commerce and the University di Palermo. But today, as mentioned above, there is a race to dump the Maltese professor first. The city council of Agrigento has, through the current mayor, Lillo Firetto, in the last few days announced that the body has entered a civil claim in the proceeding brought by the Public Prosecution Office of Agrigento in relation to the ''crazy expenses'' incurred by Mifsud during his presidency.
The proceeding was brought after complaints had been submitted by Giovanni Di Maida, the current commissioner of the university consortium but at the time already a member of the board of directors. He also said he did not notice anything and that he heard Mifsud explaining that he made his trips abroad in order to enter into agreements with other foreign universities. These agreements were never concluded, Di Maida is at pains to point out. As, however, pointed out by Felice Cavallaro in Corriere Della Sera, ''perhaps Di Maida, who was on the board of directors with professors Maria Immordino and Gianfranco Tuzzolino, could also have had some concerns a few years ago''. Like the other people involved, however, it was only recently that he noticed the ''crazy expenses'': ''Everything went through two functionaries of the Consortium who said nothing, a lady who is now retired and an office worker whom they had transferred from nearby Licata'', Di Maida explained.
In a nutshell, in Agrigento nobody had noticed anything or at least that is the explanation of the people involved. Gaps in the financial statements, strange telephone calls, suspicious trips and lengthy absences from Agrigento are the items of evidence that have only now emerged, just when Mifsud's name is no longer confined to the local news. And it is only now, from a political point of view, that everybody in the city has begun to take a distance from the Maltese professor.
The suspicion harboured by the Public Prosecution OfficeThere is, however, another aspect that is destined to cast a larger shadow on the matter. It was the public prosecutors of Agrigento that brought proceedings against Mifsud, guilty of putting the university consortium into the red. Perhaps somebody helped the Maltese professor to cause the financial disaster. The public prosecution office would also like to find out about this in its investigation. The problem, however, and this is the thing that stands out most at the moment, is that Mifsud cannot be traced. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there has been no trace of him since 2017, in other words for more than two years: ''The Agrigento Public Prosecution Office has activated the procedures for the service of process but they are very complex because, amongst other things, the suspects are people who may no longer be alive'', according to a report by the Italian news agency AGI a few days ago.
But even more well-founded suspicions have been leaked from the Public Prosecution Office in the last few hours. There are growing rumours that the Agrigento Public Prosecution Service are now almost certain that the person they are investigating will in future have no chance to defend himself either in a court of law or at a political level: ''It is highly likely that Mifsud is dead'', a source at the Agrigento Palace of Justice has confirmed. ''We are talking an 80% possibility''.
The suspicion about the fate of MifsudThere is further evidence that leads us to speculate that Joseph Mifsud may '' and the use of the conditional is of course obligatory '' no longer be alive, just to return to the rumours just mentioned. Even if it is obvious that we hope that this will not prove the case. We are talking about the mysterious audio file sent to the editors of Adnkronos and Il Corriere della Sera: ''I hope you will make my words known, please listen to the attached files'', says the voice of a person who describes himself as Joseph Mifsud and who, on 11 November 2019, made those statements.
However, an expert '' one of the best qualified in Italy '' whom we had listen to the audio files is in no doubt: the voice is not that of the professor. ''I am convinced that the audio file is fake and the person is not Professor Joseph Mifsud''. That is the view of the expert in forensic sciences, one of the most important in Italy working in the field, whom Inside Over contacted through Cristina Sartori, a court registered handwriting expert at the Court of Trento. The expert compared the audio file sent by the supposed Mifsud to the press agency Adnkronos and to Corriere della Sera, with two videos on Youtube in which the lecturer is heard speaking.
The analysis by the expert that we contacted is extremely interesting: ''It was recorded with a microphone attached to the collar in a very large space, connected directly to the computer, there is a lot of echo'', she explained to InsideOver. ''In the audio file sent to the Italian newspapers '' she comments '' you can also hear the voice of a woman towards the end who says 22''. The person in the audio message, she continues, ''does not have the same intonation as the true Mifsud in the videos, who dragged his vowels because of his breathing. This thing is never in the audio file and I am quite convinced it is fake''. His lawyer, Stephan Roh, had also denied, in comments made to Adnkronos, that the person who made the audio message was the Maltese lecturer: ''It is absolutely fake, 100 per cent''. Roh said: ''The voice is too high, it is not his accent, not his tone, he seems like a true Italian''.
At this point, assuming that the handwriting expert is actually right (as we believe), the question must be asked: why would someone have made a fake audio message? There are two possibilities: either the Maltese lecturer is still in hiding '' who knows where '' or, in the worst case scenario, we are talking about a person who is possibly no longer alive. The last person who saw him in Rome told Panorama that ''Joe has a nice apartment in Parioli, I last saw him there. It was March 2018'', the source explained. ''That [Joseph Mifsud] disappeared in 2017 I read in the newspapers. I saw him again for the last time in Parioli, close to Piazza Euclide, where Joe had a nice apartment''. And then?
Letter to the Editor: Historians Critique The 1619 Project, and We Respond - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:41
Five historians wrote to us with their reservations. Our editor in chief replies.
Published Dec. 20, 2019Updated Dec. 21, 2019
The letter below will be published in the Dec. 29 issue of The New York Times Magazine. RE: The 1619 Project
We write as historians to express our strong reservations about important aspects of The 1619 Project. The project is intended to offer a new version of American history in which slavery and white supremacy become the dominant organizing themes. The Times has announced ambitious plans to make the project available to schools in the form of curriculums and related instructional material.
We applaud all efforts to address the enduring centrality of slavery and racism to our history. Some of us have devoted our entire professional lives to those efforts, and all of us have worked hard to advance them. Raising profound, unsettling questions about slavery and the nation's past and present, as The 1619 Project does, is a praiseworthy and urgent public service. Nevertheless, we are dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.
These errors, which concern major events, cannot be described as interpretation or ''framing.'' They are matters of verifiable fact, which are the foundation of both honest scholarship and honest journalism. They suggest a displacement of historical understanding by ideology. Dismissal of objections on racial grounds '-- that they are the objections of only ''white historians'' '-- has affirmed that displacement.
On the American Revolution, pivotal to any account of our history, the project asserts that the founders declared the colonies' independence of Britain ''in order to ensure slavery would continue.'' This is not true. If supportable, the allegation would be astounding '-- yet every statement offered by the project to validate it is false. Some of the other material in the project is distorted, including the claim that ''for the most part,'' black Americans have fought their freedom struggles ''alone.''
Still other material is misleading. The project criticizes Abraham Lincoln's views on racial equality but ignores his conviction that the Declaration of Independence proclaimed universal equality, for blacks as well as whites, a view he upheld repeatedly against powerful white supremacists who opposed him. The project also ignores Lincoln's agreement with Frederick Douglass that the Constitution was, in Douglass's words, ''a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT.'' Instead, the project asserts that the United States was founded on racial slavery, an argument rejected by a majority of abolitionists and proclaimed by champions of slavery like John C. Calhoun.
The 1619 Project has not been presented as the views of individual writers '-- views that in some cases, as on the supposed direct connections between slavery and modern corporate practices, have so far failed to establish any empirical veracity or reliability and have been seriously challenged by other historians. Instead, the project is offered as an authoritative account that bears the imprimatur and credibility of The New York Times. Those connected with the project have assured the public that its materials were shaped by a panel of historians and have been scrupulously fact-checked. Yet the process remains opaque. The names of only some of the historians involved have been released, and the extent of their involvement as ''consultants'' and fact checkers remains vague. The selective transparency deepens our concern.
We ask that The Times, according to its own high standards of accuracy and truth, issue prominent corrections of all the errors and distortions presented in The 1619 Project. We also ask for the removal of these mistakes from any materials destined for use in schools, as well as in all further publications, including books bearing the name of The New York Times. We ask finally that The Times reveal fully the process through which the historical materials were and continue to be assembled, checked and authenticated.
Victoria Bynum, distinguished emerita professor of history, Texas State University;James M. McPherson, George Henry Davis 1886 emeritus professor of American history, Princeton University;James Oakes, distinguished professor, the Graduate Center, the City University of New York;Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 professor of American history, Princeton University;Gordon S. Wood, Alva O. Wade University emeritus professor and emeritus professor of history, Brown University.
Editor's response:
Since The 1619 Project was published in August, we have received a great deal of feedback from readers, many of them educators, academics and historians. A majority have reacted positively to the project, but there have also been criticisms. Some I would describe as constructive, noting episodes we might have overlooked; others have treated the work more harshly. We are happy to accept all of this input, as it helps us continue to think deeply about the subject of slavery and its legacy.
The letter from Professors Bynum, McPherson, Oakes, Wilentz and Wood differs from the previous critiques we have received in that it contains the first major request for correction. We are familiar with the objections of the letter writers, as four of them have been interviewed in recent months by the World Socialist Web Site. We're glad for a chance to respond directly to some of their objections.
Though we respect the work of the signatories, appreciate that they are motivated by scholarly concern and applaud the efforts they have made in their own writings to illuminate the nation's past, we disagree with their claim that our project contains significant factual errors and is driven by ideology rather than historical understanding. While we welcome criticism, we don't believe that the request for corrections to The 1619 Project is warranted.
The project was intended to address the marginalization of African-American history in the telling of our national story and examine the legacy of slavery in contemporary American life. We are not ourselves historians, it is true. We are journalists, trained to look at current events and situations and ask the question: Why is this the way it is? In the case of the persistent racism and inequality that plague this country, the answer to that question led us inexorably into the past '-- and not just for this project. The project's creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer at the magazine, has consistently used history to inform her journalism, primarily in her work on educational segregation (work for which she has been recognized with numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship).
Though we may not be historians, we take seriously the responsibility of accurately presenting history to readers of The New York Times. The letter writers express concern about a ''closed process'' and an opaque ''panel of historians,'' so I'd like to make clear the steps we took. We did not assemble a formal panel for this project. Instead, during the early stages of development, we consulted with numerous scholars of African-American history and related fields, in a group meeting at The Times as well as in a series of individual conversations. (Five of those who initially consulted with us '-- Mehrsa Baradaran of the University of California, Irvine; Matthew Desmond and Kevin M. Kruse, both of Princeton University; and Tiya Miles and Khalil G. Muhammad, both of Harvard University '-- went on to publish articles in the issue.) After those consultations, writers conducted their own research, reading widely, examining primary documents and artifacts and interviewing historians. Finally, during the fact-checking process, our researchers carefully reviewed all the articles in the issue with subject-area experts. This is no different from what we do on any article.
As the five letter writers well know, there are often debates, even among subject-area experts, about how to see the past. Historical understanding is not fixed; it is constantly being adjusted by new scholarship and new voices. Within the world of academic history, differing views exist, if not over what precisely happened, then about why it happened, who made it happen, how to interpret the motivations of historical actors and what it all means.
The passages cited in the letter, regarding the causes of the American Revolution and the attitudes toward black equality of Abraham Lincoln, are good examples of this. Both are found in the lead essay by Hannah-Jones. We can hardly claim to have studied the Revolutionary period as long as some of the signatories, nor do we presume to tell them anything they don't already know, but I think it would be useful for readers to hear why we believe that Hannah-Jones's claim that ''one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery'' is grounded in the historical record.
The work of various historians, among them David Waldstreicher and Alfred W. and Ruth G. Blumrosen, supports the contention that uneasiness among slaveholders in the colonies about growing antislavery sentiment in Britain and increasing imperial regulation helped motivate the Revolution. One main episode that these and other historians refer to is the landmark 1772 decision of the British high court in Somerset v. Stewart. The case concerned a British customs agent named Charles Stewart who bought an enslaved man named Somerset and took him to England, where he briefly escaped. Stewart captured Somerset and planned to sell him and ship him to Jamaica, only for the chief justice, Lord Mansfield, to declare this unlawful, because chattel slavery was not supported by English common law.
It is true, as Professor Wilentz has noted elsewhere, that the Somerset decision did not legally threaten slavery in the colonies, but the ruling caused a sensation nonetheless. Numerous colonial newspapers covered it and warned of the tyranny it represented. Multiple historians have pointed out that in part because of the Somerset case, slavery joined other issues in helping to gradually drive apart the patriots and their colonial governments. The British often tried to undermine the patriots by mocking their hypocrisy in fighting for liberty while keeping Africans in bondage, and colonial officials repeatedly encouraged enslaved people to seek freedom by fleeing to British lines. For their part, large numbers of the enslaved came to see the struggle as one between freedom and continued subjugation. As Waldstreicher writes, ''The black-British alliance decisively pushed planters in these [Southern] states toward independence.''
The culmination of this was the Dunmore Proclamation, issued in late 1775 by the colonial governor of Virginia, which offered freedom to any enslaved person who fled his plantation and joined the British Army. A member of South Carolina's delegation to the Continental Congress wrote that this act did more to sever the ties between Britain and its colonies ''than any other expedient which could possibly have been thought of.'' The historian Jill Lepore writes in her recent book, ''These Truths: A History of the United States,'' ''Not the taxes and the tea, not the shots at Lexington and Concord, not the siege of Boston; rather, it was this act, Dunmore's offer of freedom to slaves, that tipped the scales in favor of American independence.'' And yet how many contemporary Americans have ever even heard of it? Enslaved people at the time certainly knew about it. During the Revolution, thousands sought freedom by taking refuge with British forces.
As for the question of Lincoln's attitudes on black equality, the letter writers imply that Hannah-Jones was unfairly harsh toward our 16th president. Admittedly, in an essay that covered several centuries and ranged from the personal to the historical, she did not set out to explore in full his continually shifting ideas about abolition and the rights of black Americans. But she provides an important historical lesson by simply reminding the public, which tends to view Lincoln as a saint, that for much of his career, he believed that a necessary prerequisite for freedom would be a plan to encourage the four million formerly enslaved people to leave the country. To be sure, at the end of his life, Lincoln's racial outlook had evolved considerably in the direction of real equality. Yet the story of abolition becomes more complicated, and more instructive, when readers understand that even the Great Emancipator was ambivalent about full black citizenship.
The letter writers also protest that Hannah-Jones, and the project's authors more broadly, ignore Lincoln's admiration, which he shared with Frederick Douglass, for the commitment to liberty espoused in the Constitution. This seems to me a more general point of dispute. The writers believe that the Revolution and the Constitution provided the framework for the eventual abolition of slavery and for the equality of black Americans, and that our project insufficiently credits both the founders and 19th-century Republican leaders like Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and others for their contributions toward achieving these goals.
It may be true that under a less egalitarian system of government, slavery would have continued for longer, but the United States was still one of the last nations in the Americas to abolish the institution '-- only Cuba and Brazil did so after us. And while our democratic system has certainly led to many progressive advances for the rights of minority groups over the past two centuries, these advances, as Hannah-Jones argues in her essay, have almost always come as a result of political and social struggles in which African-Americans have generally taken the lead, not as a working-out of the immanent logic of the Constitution.
And yet for all that, it is difficult to argue that equality has ever been truly achieved for black Americans '-- not in 1776, not in 1865, not in 1964, not in 2008 and not today. The very premise of The 1619 Project, in fact, is that many of the inequalities that continue to afflict the nation are a direct result of the unhealed wound created by 250 years of slavery and an additional century of second-class citizenship and white-supremacist terrorism inflicted on black people (together, those two periods account for 88 percent of our history since 1619). These inequalities were the starting point of our project '-- the facts that, to take just a few examples, black men are nearly six times as likely to wind up in prison as white men, or that black women are three times as likely to die in childbirth as white women, or that the median family wealth for white people is $171,000, compared with just $17,600 for black people. The rampant discrimination that black people continue to face across nearly every aspect of American life suggests that neither the framework of the Constitution nor the strenuous efforts of political leaders in the past and the present, both white and black, has yet been able to achieve the democratic ideals of the founding for all Americans.
This is an important discussion to have, and we are eager to see it continue. To that end, we are planning to host public conversations next year among academics with differing perspectives on American history. Good-faith critiques of our project only help us refine and improve it '-- an important goal for us now that we are in the process of expanding it into a book. For example, we have heard from several scholars who profess to admire the project a great deal but wish it had included some mention of African slavery in Spanish Florida during the century before 1619. Though we stand by the logic of marking the beginning of American slavery with the year it was introduced in the English colonies, this feedback has helped us think about the importance of considering the prehistory of the period our project addresses.
Valuable critiques may come from many sources. The letter misperceives our attitudes when it charges that we dismiss objections on racial grounds. This appears to be a reference not to anything published in The 1619 Project itself, but rather to a November Twitter post from Hannah-Jones in which she questioned whether ''white historians'' have always produced objective accounts of American history. As is so often the case on Twitter, context is important. In this instance, Hannah-Jones was responding to a post, since deleted, from another user claiming that many ''white historians'' objected to the project but were hesitant to speak up. In her reply, she was trying to make the point that for the most part, the history of this country has been told by white historians (some of whom, as in the case of the Dunning School, which grossly miseducated Americans about the history of Reconstruction for much of the 20th century, produced accounts that were deeply flawed), and that to truly understand the fullness and complexity of our nation's story, we need a greater variety of voices doing the telling.
That, above all, is what we hoped our project would do: expand the reader's sense of the American past. (This is how some educators are using it to supplement their teaching of United States history.) That is what the letter writers have done, in different ways, over the course of their distinguished careers and in their many books. Though we may disagree on some important matters, we are grateful for their input and their interest in discussing these fundamental questions about the country's history.
Sincerely,Jake SilversteinEditor in chief
The 1619 Project was launched in August 2019, on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that would become the United States. It consisted of two components: a special issue of the magazine, containing 10 essays exploring the links between contemporary American life and the legacy of slavery, as well as a series of original poetry and fiction about key moments in the last 400 years; and a special broadsheet section, produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. This work was converted into supplementary educational materials in partnership with the Pulitzer Center. The materials are available free on the Pulitzer Center's website, pulitzercenter.org.
Bannon's Work With Wanted Chinese Billionaire Began Shortly After He Left White House - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:31
Politics | Bannon's Work With Wanted Chinese Billionaire Began Shortly After He Left White HouseStephen K. Bannon, once President Trump's top political adviser, struck up a business relationship with a mysterious and wanted Chinese billionaire just after his White House job ended.
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, right, and Guo Wengui last month at a news conference in New York. Credit... Carlo Allegri/Reuters Dec. 23, 2019Updated 3:04 p.m. ET
Almost immediately after ending his White House employment, Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Trump, forged a lucrative financial relationship with a mysterious Chinese billionaire who was sought by Beijing for extradition from the United States.
China's government had already accused Guo Wengui, a real estate magnate also known as Miles Kwok, of money laundering, bribery and rape when he and Mr. Bannon developed a mutually beneficial relationship that began with a $150,000 loan to Mr. Trump's onetime confidant, according to a memo written in May 2019 and obtained by The New York Times.
It escalated to a yearlong million-dollar contract, for which Mr. Bannon promised to introduce executives of Guo Media to ''media personalities,'' according to the news outlet Axios.
Mr. Guo has denied accusations of lawbreaking and says Beijing's extradition request is retaliation for his outspoken criticism of Chinese corruption. He has forged relationships with China hard-liners like Mr. Bannon in the United States, has a membership to Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., and is seeking asylum while in the United States staying at his palatial apartment overlooking Central Park.
Mr. Bannon, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on his relationship with Mr. Guo. A spokesman for Mr. Guo and a person close to Mr. Bannon said the initial loan to Mr. Bannon related to a film project critical of the Chinese Communist Party. According to the memo, it was repaid last year by being taken out of a portion of Mr. Bannon's contract with Guo Media.
Aides to both men have described their relationship as grounded in a mutual disdain for the Chinese Communist Party.
The loan reveals a financial relationship that began when Mr. Guo's whereabouts was a focus of Chinese officials, who had put out notices for his arrest through Interpol.
Mr. Bannon, who left the White House in August 2017, has been focused on issues related to China for years, and Mr. Guo's conflict with the Chinese government was on his radar while he was working for Mr. Trump, according to a person close to him.
Daniel Podhaskie, a spokesman for Mr. Guo, said Mr. Bannon and Mr. Guo first met in October 2017, after an appearance by Mr. Guo at the Hudson Institute, a conservative research organization, was canceled.
He said Mr. Guo then introduced Mr. Bannon to the media group associated with Mr. Guo. Mr. Podhaskie told Axios that Mr. Guo was ''merely the face'' of Guo Media.
Mr. Bannon is said to have finished his contract and is no longer being paid by Guo Media.
But Mr. Bannon broadcast a radio show critical of the Chinese Communist Party from Mr. Guo's apartment in Manhattan. The show does not air in the United States but has been broadcast into China, a person close to Mr. Bannon said.
That is in keeping with other projects that Mr. Bannon has taken on since his widely publicized falling out with Mr. Trump. Broadcasting from Washington, Mr. Bannon leads a radio show defending Mr. Trump in his impeachment battle called the ''War Room.''
He has also helped raise money to privately build part of the wall that Mr. Trump wants along the border with Mexico. And he has been working on the Tibetan independence movement and in support of Muslim Uighurs who face persecution in China.
What Trump got right and wrong about windmills | TheHill
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:29
President Trump Donald John TrumpTrump rails against windmills: 'I never understood wind' Trump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms control Bolton says he doesn't think Trump admin 'really means it' on stopping North Korea nukes MORE , who has more bad blood with windmills than Sancho Panza, laid into his least favorite form of energy again over the weekend, blaming wind power for killing bald eagles while spewing greenhouse gasses into the air.
In comments to the conservative student group Turning Point USA, Trump told attendees that he ''never understood'' the appeal of wind.
''A windmill will kill many bald eagles,'' he said. ''After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off, that is true. By the way, they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?''
Trump got a few things right in his tirade, but even more wrong. Here's a look.
Do windmills kill a lot of birds?
Yes, but windmills are far from being the main culprit in bird deaths.
Windmills kill anywhere from 234,000 to 328,000 birds a year, according to a study by federal scientists. That's no small number, but it does pale in comparison to the number of birds killed elsewhere.
A USA Today review of the study noted that collisions with cell and radio towers cause an estimated 6.8 million deaths, while cats kill a staggering 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds a year.
So are windmills destroying the bird population, as Trump claims? No; collisions with animals, rather than infrastructure, are the big problem there.
But those numbers are of course alarming to those with a passion for protecting wildlife.
The report prompted the Audubon Society to ask if windmills will ever be safe for birds.
''Sure, it's green energy'--but it also results in hundreds of thousands of bird deaths each year,'' said the group, which advocates suppliers work with conservation groups when planning new projects.
More recent studies about bird decline found the U.S. and Canada lost 3 billion birds over the last 50 years, citing pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change as the main features fueling the trend.
Do windmills kill many bald eagles?
''Many,'' the figure Trump gave Saturday, is a relative term, and one he's gotten in trouble for using in the past.
In 2012, Trump tweeted that ''windmills are the greatest threat in the US to both bald and golden eagles.'' In 2016, he said that ''the windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. ... They're killing them by the hundreds."
There's not great data on this, but experts have refuted this oft-repeated claim before.
Shawn Smallwood, a California ornithologist, told PolitiFact that about 100 eagles die each year due to impacts with wind turbines.
''Cumulatively over time, there have been hundreds of eagles killed, probably about 2,000,'' he told the publication.
As with Trump's claim for birds in general, the bigger threat lies elsewhere.
''In truth, wind turbine collisions comprise a fraction of human-caused eagle losses,'' Obama-era U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe wrote in 2016. ''Most result from intentional and accidental poisoning and purposeful shooting. The majority of non-intentional loss occurs when eagles collide with cars or ingest lead shot or bullet fragments in remains and gut piles left by hunters. Others collide with or are electrocuted on power lines.''
Trump likes to showcase the effects of windmills on one of America's prized protected species, but remember his administration this year issued a sweeping roll back of the Endangered Species Act.
Trump's claim that ''after a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off'' is also not true.
''There is no certain number of bald eagles a wind turbine can kill before it must be shut off,'' the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) wrote in a response to Trump's comments.
Are windmills foreign-made pollution spewers?
Trump's comments Saturday were not just limited to birds.
''I know windmills very much, I have studied it better than anybody. I know it is very expensive. They are made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none, but they are manufactured, tremendous '-- if you are into this '-- tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right?''
Trump's not wrong that many wind turbines are produced in China, though there is a growing U.S. industry in installing them, not to mention the increasing demand for clean forms of energy like solar and wind.
Which gets to his next point: Is windmill production spewing fumes and gasses into the atmosphere?
The AWEA found that wind farms around the world generated enough energy to avoid 200 million tons of carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels last year and estimates that most wind power plants repay their own carbon footprints within about six months of operation, offering carbon-free electricity for the rest of their 20-to-30-year lifespan.
No, Spotify, you shouldn't have sent mysterious USB drives to journalists | TechCrunch
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:26
Last week, Spotify sent a number of USB drives to reporters with a note: ''Play me.''
It's not uncommon for reporters to receive USB drives in the post. Companies distribute USB drives all the time, including at tech conferences, often containing promotional materials or large files, such as videos that would otherwise be difficult to get into as many hands as possible.
But anyone with basic security training under their hat '-- which here at TechCrunch we do '-- will know to never plug in a USB drive without taking some precautions first.
Concerned but undeterred, we safely examined the contents of the drive using a disposable version of Ubuntu Linux (using a live CD) on a spare computer. We examined the drive and found it was benign.
On the drive was a single audio file. ''This is Alex Goldman, and you've just been hacked,'' the file played.
The drive was just a promotion for a new Spotify podcast. Because of course it was.
The USB drive that Spotify sent journalists (Image: TechCrunch)
Jake Williams, a former NSA hacker and founder of Rendition Infosec, called the move ''amazingly tone deaf'' to encourage reporters into plugging in the drives to their computers.
USB drives are not inherently malicious, but are known to be used in hacking campaigns '-- like power plants and nuclear enrichment plants '-- which are typically not connected to the internet. USB drives can harbor malware that can open and install backdoors on a victim's computer, Williams said.
''The files on the USB itself may contain active content,'' he said, which when opened can exploit a bug on an affected device.
A spokesperson for Spotify did not comment. Instead, it passed our request to Sunshine Sachs, a public relations firm that works for Spotify, which would not comment on the record beyond that ''all reporters received an email stating this was on the way.''
Plugging in random USB drives is a bigger problem than you might think. Elie Bursztein, a Google security researcher, found in his own research that about half of all people will plug into their computer random USB drives.
John Deere earlier this year caused a ruckus after it distributed a promotion drive that actively hijacked the computer's keyboard. The drive contained code which when plugged in ran a script, opened the browser and automatically typed in the company's website. Even though the drive was not inherently malicious, the move was highly criticized, as malware often acts in an automated, scripted way.
Given the threats that USB drives can pose, Homeland Security's cybersecurity division CISA last month updated its guidance about USB drive security. Journalists are among those who are frequent targets by some governments, including targeted cyberattacks.
Remember: Always take precautions when handling USB drives. And never plug one in unless you trust it.
2016 Electoral College Results | National Archives
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:08
President Donald J. Trump [R] Main Opponent Hillary Clinton [D] Electoral Vote* Winner: 304 Main Opponent: 227 Total/Majority: 538/270 Vice President Michael R. Pence (305) V.P. Opponent: Timothy Kaine (227) Notes *Maine distributes its electoral votes proportionally, with two at-large electors representing the statewide winning presidential and vice presidential candidates and one elector each representing the winners from its two Congressional districts. For the first time since adopting this system, Maine's four electoral votes were split between the two major party tickets. The Clinton-Kaine ticket won the state and received the two at-large electors, as well as the electors from the First Congressional District, where Clinton-Kaine also won. However, the Trump-Pence ticket won the Second Congressional District and, thus, received its one elector. Also, there were faithless votes cast for president and vice president in Hawaii, Texas, and Washington. Electoral College Certificates and Votes by State Click on the name of a State to see its Certificate of Ascertainment. Click on the number of electoral votes for each State to see its Certificate of Vote. State Number of Electoral Votes for Each State For President For Vice-President Donald Trump, of New York Other Hillary Clinton, of New York Other Mike Pence, of Indiana Other Tim Kaine, of Virginia Other Alabama 9 9 - - - 9 - - - Alaska 3 3 - - - 3 - - - Arizona 11 11 - - - 11 - - - Arkansas 6 6 - - - 6 - - - California 55 - - 55 - - - 55 - Colorado 9 - - 9 - - - 9 - Connecticut 7 - - 7 - - - 7 - Delaware 3 - - 3 - - - 3 - District of Columbia 3 - - 3 - - - 3 - Florida 29 29 - - - 29 - - - Georgia 16 16 - - - 16 - - - Hawaii* 4 - - 3 1 - - 3 1 Idaho 4 4 - - - 4 - - - Illinois 20 - - 20 - - - 20 - Indiana 11 11 - - - 11 - - - Iowa 6 6 - - - 6 - - - Kansas 6 6 - - - 6 - - - Kentucky 8 8 - - - 8 - - - Louisiana 8 8 - - - 8 - - - Maine** 4 1 - 3 - 1 - 3 - Maryland 10 - - 10 - - - 10 - Massachusetts 11 - - 11 - - - 11 - Michigan 16 16 - - - 16 - - - Minnesota 10 - - 10 - - - 10 - Mississippi 6 6 - - - 6 - - - Missouri 10 10 - - - 10 - - - Montana 3 3 - - - 3 - - - Nebraska 5 5 - - - 5 - - - Nevada 6 - - 6 - - - 6 - New Hampshire 4 - - 4 - - - 4 - New Jersey 14 - - 14 - - - 14 - New Mexico 5 - - 5 - - - 5 - New York 29 - - 29 - - - 29 - North Carolina 15 15 - - - 15 - - - North Dakota 3 3 - - - 3 - - - Ohio 18 18 - - - 18 - - - Oklahoma 7 7 - - - 7 - - - Oregon 7 - - 7 - - - 7 - Pennsylvania 20 20 - - - 20 - - - Rhode Island 4 - - 4 - - - 4 - South Carolina 9 9 - - - 9 - - - South Dakota 3 3 - - - 3 - - - Tennessee 11 11 - - - 11 - - - Texas*** 38 36 2 - - 37 1 - - Utah 6 6 - - - 6 - - - Vermont 3 - - 3 - - - 3 - Virginia 13 - - 13 - - - 13 - Washington**** 12 - - 8 4 - - 8 4 West Virginia 5 5 - - - 5 - - - Wisconsin 10 10 - - - 10 - - - Wyoming 3 3 - - - 3 - - - Total 538 304 2 227 5 305 1 227 5 Notes *Hawaii does not appoint its electors proportionally. Due to faithless voting, the electoral votes for Hawaii were: for President Clinton 3 and Bernie Sanders 1; for Vice President Kaine 3 and Elizabeth Warren 1. **Maine appoints its electors proportionally. Although Clinton/Kaine won in the First Congressional District and took the state, Trump/Pence won the Second Congressional District. Maine's electoral votes were proportionally awarded accordingly: for President Clinton 3 and Trump 1; for Vice President Kaine 3 and Pence 1. ***Texas does not appoint its electors proportionally. Due to faithless voting, the electoral votes for Texas were: for President Trump 36, Ron Paul 1, and John Kasich 1; for Vice President Pence 37 and Carly Fiorina 1. ****Washington does not appoint its electors proportionally. Due to faithless voting, the electoral votes for Washington were: for President Clinton 8, Colin Powell 3, and Faith Spotted Eagle 1; for Vice President Kaine 8, Elizabeth Warren 1, Susan Collins 1, Maria Cantwell 1, and Winona LaDuke 1.
Netflix to stop working on Samsung, Panasonic Smart TVs next month
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:03
If you were an early adopter of smart TVs, you could be in for a shock.
Netflix has announced some older televisions from the start of the decade will no longer work with its app due to ''technical limitations''.
The affected models are mainly from the start of the 2010s, with smart TVs from Samsung and Panasonic so far confirmed to be affected by the issue, which could also hit models from other vendors.
However Samsung confirmed Australian customers who purchased a Samsung TV will not be affected, and Panasonic's local models should also avoid any problems affecting overseas sets.
A Netflix spokesperson told news.com.au customers would soon lose access on some devices.
''On December 2, Netflix will no longer be supported on a small number of older devices due to technical limitations. We've notified all impacted members with more information about alternative devices we support so they can keep enjoying Netflix uninterrupted,'' the spokesperson said.
RELATED: Outrage over new Netflix feature
Alternative devices include games consoles, such as PlayStation or Xbox, streaming sticks, boxes such as Google Chromecast and Apple TV, and some Blu-ray players.
It's understood these technical limitations revolve around the digital rights management (DRM) protocol used by earlier televisions that has since been superseded and can't be upgraded.
DRM is designed to combat piracy by restricting what copyright works can be viewed in which places and on what devices.
At the start of the decade, many smart televisions were supported Windows Media DRM (WMDRM), but that has now been replaced by Microsoft PlayReady.
DRM can be a thorny issue, with proponents arguing it is vital to protect intellectual property and prevent piracy, while critics say is an added inconvenience and, given multiple workarounds, doesn't have a meaningful impact on preventing piracy.
One other criticism of DRM is content people have bought can become inaccessible years later as protocols are updated or abandoned.
RELATED: Apple flips the switch in streaming wars
Netflix subscribers, however, pay for access to the streaming giant's library and don't buy the content themselves.
A post on a Samsung support page said its older televisions from ''2010 and 2011 with a C or D after the screen size in the model code'' will stop working with the Netflix app next month.
A number of Panasonic Viera smart TVs from 2013 and earlier are believed to be affected as well, but it's best to check your own individual model before you rush out and buy another device.
An easy way to check if your television will be affected is by checking against your user manual.
If you've thrown it away, most manufacturers offer them online. Search your model number on your manufacturer's website, and then search the digital user manual by hitting Ctrl + F (cmd + F on Mac) and looking for ''WMDRM''.
$3 Billion, 300-Acre MegaCity Envisioned For California's Record Homeless... But There's A Twist | Zero Hedge
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:57
Ask any San Franciscan what the state of California has an excess of and the most likely answer will be homeless people (and their excrement, especially with the liberal mecca recording as many as 16,000 "feces complaints" in one week ). Actually, ask just about anyone and the answer will be the same: after all with 130,000 homeless, California is now home to more than a quarter of the nation's homeless population.
That all may soon change, however, if a new crowdfunding effort succeeds in its effort to solve the US homeless crisis by building a 300-acre city open exclusively for those without a home. Daune Nason, founder of the Folsom-based Citizens Again, released details Thursday of his plans for an estimated $3 billion private city equipped with amenities and services for a 150,000 ''high-needs'' population, CBS LA reports.
Artist's impression of the Citizens Again "Homeless City"''Qualified citizens'' '' those who meet as-yet undisclosed criteria '' will be allowed to live in the city and are free to leave whenever they wish, says Nason, who adds, ''Some might want to stay forever.''
According to a press release, the all-inclusive city which hopes to overtake San Francisco as the mecca of America's homeless, will offer high-density housing in dormitories consisting of sleeping quarters and communal bathrooms with private showers. Additionally, residents would be provided RFID-enabled wristbands to be tracked constantly gain access to their dorm rooms as well as perform tasks such as job check-in, purchasing items with credits, medicine consumption, and more.
In describing his vision, Nason says that each of the four neighborhoods will have their own cafeteria and kitchen and multiple scheduled eating times to accommodate a 150,000-person population. And since the homeless are probably not best known for their ironclad work ethic, the neighborhoods will also be fitted with tiered seating for residents to watch TV in "a community setting" within their neighborhood.
According to the Citizens Again website, other aspects of the homeless city will include:
HospitalsDental and Vision ServicesMental HealthMovie TheatresBowling AlleysSports CourtsHotels for visiting familyDog parks and kennelsPerimeter staff housingJob TrainingGED certificatesHousing & Job PlacementTV Pods are semi-enclosed rooms with tiered seating for citizens to watch TV in a community environment within their neighborhood. Each TV Pod will play a unique channel, giving the entire 1-acre floor many viewing options.Citizens will scan their Wristbands through Access Turnstiles to gain entry to their residential building, their dorm rooms, and venues, as well as perform tasks such as job check-in, purchase items with credits, check their daily schedule, account for meals, log medicine consumption, and more.Dorm rooms are similar concepts to college dorm rooms and sleeping rooms in long-distance passenger trains: they're a safe, comfortable place to sleep and rest. Tunnels under the City will be used to minimize disruption of Citizen life. Deliveries and logistics can be performed without clogging city streets; city workers can quickly get to job sites; and infrastructure maintenance and upgrades can be performed without tearing up paved city streets Citizens live in the dorms, which consist of sleeping rooms, and communal bathrooms with private showers. Each building consists of 16 floors, 5 wings per floor, with 40 rooms per wing. That equates to 3,200 rooms per building.As part of his plans for the homeless mecca, Nason also envisions building underground tunnels by which deliveries can be made and city workers can commute to job sites in order to ''minimize disruption of citizen life." And when those living in the city are prepared to leave, they'll be provided with job and life skills training along with counseling and therapy, Nason said although it was unclear if the tree will also be growing Magic Money Trees that fund all these lofty civic goals.
Proposed city map''It will be a city they'll want to live in, a community they'll want to be part of, and for those that desire, an opportunity to gain life skills to integrate back into society,'' according to the Citizens Again website.
Or maybe it won't be, and the whole homeless city "vision" is just a giant online fundraising scam.
Consider this woke, noble mission statement that Nason has proudly penned on his $50,000 gofundme campaign:
A new and unique solution for every chronic homeless adult is coming.
For decades, our government has been building small shelters all across America to house our chronic homeless. But at the current placement rate, it will take about 200 years to house them all.
It's time to think differently: instead of building 4,000 more shelters, Citizens Again will build 1 city, catering towards America's entire chronic adult homeless population. It will cost billions less than current efforts; be built in about 11 years; and the homeless will want to live there.
... and yet just a few lines below we read:
Launching a crowdfunding campaign during the holidays is not ideal, but I have no choice. By not taking a salary for the last few years, I have exhausted all financial means to get this project launched, and I am now many months behind on my mortgage payment and all bills, with no cash or credit left. Every donation - and clicking the share button - truly matters for this project, myself, my family, and eventually for the people I'm trying to help
How appropriate that one man's noble "vision" for a homeless city is nothing more than a giant online pandhandling campaign, one which has so far raised $570 of the $50,000 goal to make Nason's life more palatable.
Climate change could make us dumber'... literally '' BGR
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:54
Some might argue that mankind's gradual destruction of planet Earth is proof that we're not the smartest species around. I mean, how smart can we really be if we, as a species, refuse to correct our wrongs in the most dramatic way possible? Yeah, we're not terribly smart.
Now, new research shows that as the human-caused climate crisis worsens, one of the symptoms of our increasingly sick planet may be dumber and dumber humans. I know what you're thinking and you're right, this probably isn't going to end well.
The new research paper, written by a team of scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder, the Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the gradual rise of CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere could cause cognitive decline in humans as a whole.
CO2 is a byproduct of many different types of human activity and, as we continue to destroy forests and foliage that help scrub the air and provide humans and other animals with breathable air, the amount of CO2 in our air gradually climbs. Studies have shown that too much CO2 in the air can trigger cognitive issues, decreasing the ability of a person to focus and hinder learning.
Getting a few breaths of oxygen-rich ''fresh'' air tends to clear that up, but in a future where fresh air becomes harder and harder to come by, it could lead to an overall ''dumbening'' of the human race. For the study, researchers simulated two different future scenarios. In both, students would perform various tasks in rooms where the air has different concentrations of CO2. Based on established data regarding how CO2 impacts cognition, the researchers crunched the numbers and came up with some pretty scary results.
The researchers report that in the first scenario, students were still exposed to so much CO2 that their cognitive abilities were decreased by 25 percent by 2100. In the second, which was the business-as-usual scenario, the students were exposed to so much CO2 when the windows were opened that they experienced a 50 percent reduction in cognitive ability.
It's just a theoretical experiment, but the scenario the researchers used assumes that humans are unable to curb their CO2 emissions by the year 2100. We'd hope that wouldn't be the case, but things were to play out in this way, the amount of CO2 in the air would lead to a 50% reduction in cognitive ability.
A future where the human race is even dumber? Sounds about right.
Image Source: Reid Wiseman/NASA
Tens of thousands of Australians engaging in 'Agenda 21' conspiracy on social media - NZ Herald
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:51
Tens of thousands of Aussies are lapping up a "ridiculous" conspiracy theory '-- that climate change is a United Nations-led hoax to aggressively depopulate the world.
Social media platforms are being used to push the theory, known as Agenda 21, and, in the past four weeks alone, hundreds of Australians have engaged in posts about it.
A joint investigation by news.com.au and social media intelligence agency Storyful over the past month has found only a handful of these posts take place on fringe sites such as Gab and 4chan.
The bulk of Agenda 21 conversations are on mainstream platforms Twitter and Facebook '-- where tens of thousands of Aussies have liked and followed Australian-based pages dedicated to the conspiracy.
And, while many of the posts captured by Storyful's search came from anonymous accounts pushing right-wing and anti-immigration rhetoric, several of the most influential posts came from mainstream voices.
WHAT IS THE AGENDA 21 CONSPIRACY? The conspiracy theory centres on the UN's non-binding Agenda 21 sustainable development goals, adopted by more than 178 governments in 1992. The document sets out broad objectives for governments to combat poverty and protect the environment.
These goals were updated in 2015 with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets out 17 broad aims '-- including to "take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts" '-- agreed on by all UN member states.
While conspiracy theories about the goals date back to at least 2012 with close links to the US Tea Party movement, the idea has been pushed with renewed vigour with increasing coverage of and public concern about climate change.
And, as Australia's catastrophic bushfires dominated headlines and conversations in recent weeks, it appears the theory has gained massive traction on social media.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE CLAIMING? As bushfires swept across Australia '-- destroying homes and claiming lives '-- a number of Twitter posts emerged, linking the unfolding disaster with Agenda 21.
One tweet suggesting the blazes weren't wild but the result of deliberate "directed energy" attacks drew nearly 80 interactions.
Another tweet highlighting the recent out-of-season snow at Perisher and telling Green politicians to "stop with the bulls**t '... There is #NoClimateEmergency '... Stop pushing #Agenda21" elicited a similar response.
However, it is on Facebook that the conspiracy theory appears to have gained the most traction.
Pages pushing the concept frequently post extreme anti-immigration or anti-vaccine content, or carry links from junk news sites purporting to expose chemtrail activity or secret, government-endorsed weather engineering projects.
One article 2015 from US conspiracy theory site Natural News entitled "The United Nations 2030 Agenda decoded: It's a blueprint for the global enslavement of humanity under the boot of corporate masters", which has been shared more than 26,000 times worldwide on Facebook, initially drew a muted response from Australian networks.
Before 2019 it was posted 13 times to Australia-themed groups and pages, however since the start of the year it has been shared a further 30 times.
The combined posts for the article, which connects UN plans for climate change action with a plot to "force the masses onto public transit, where '... facial recognition cameras can monitor and record the movement of every person in society", drew more than 1000 interactions from posts to 29 different groups and pages.
Similarly, a February blog post setting out the alleged conspiracy to depopulate and rule the world under the guises of the UN plans and the need to act on climate change was shared a dozen times in quick succession by Australia-themed groups and pages in September.
These posts generated more than 250 interactions.
It's not just anonymous trolls spreading the message.
Mainstream voices '-- notably representatives of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party '-- have recently posted about Agenda 21.
The three top Agenda 21 tweets by engagement all came from Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts, who famously highlighted many of the key elements of the conspiracy theory in his maiden speech to parliament.
The second highest number of engagements of the Facebook posts were generated by a post from One Nation candidate Sharon Bell, who unsuccessfully ran for the federal Queensland seat of Blair in the 2019 election.
SHOULD WE BE WORRIED? Dr Will Grant '-- senior lecturer in science communication at the '-- has looked at the interaction of science, politics and technology over many years, and says the Agenda 21 conspiracy is nothing new, with its heyday between 2011 and 2012.
However, he said it was making a comeback as climate change denialists attempted to discredit science.
"Agenda 21 misunderstands the nature of science and it's a ridiculous theory," he said.
"But it's fodder for far-right thinker, because it gives them a narrative in their mind when they spend years trying to find a way to discredit something that's based on overwhelming evidence," Dr Grant said.
He said theories like this spreading on social media was one of the greatest challenges facing the world right now '-- given the enormity of what was at stake with climate change.
"Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are working in a market where truth has no engagment quality for them, so fake news and bulls**t continue to spread on their platforms because it gets more engagement," he said.
He said this type of theory gaining acceptance in Australia had made it easier for the mainstream parties to do nothing on climate change.
"Climate change is real, it's causing problems now and we need to do something about it. It's not a big government plot," he said.
"Just remember, scientists are trained to disagree with each other '-- they only agree when the overwhelming evidence points in one direction. And on climate change it does."
GORDON DAIGER Obituary - Washington, DC | The Washington Post
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:37
Of Bethesda, MD died on November 16, 2019 at the age of 89. He was born on November 8, 1930, the only child of John M. Daiger and Elizabeth H. Daiger. Except for a period of military service, Gordon lived and worked in the Washington, DC area his entire life.
Gordon graduated from the Sidwell Friends School,
Princeton University, and the George Washington University Law School. He was a member of the DC and US Supreme Court Bar Associations.
Gordon served his country in a variety of important and challenging federal positions in a career extending over 46 years. He began his federal career in 1953 as a commissioned officer in the US Navy, where he worked in intelligence operations in Japan soon after the conclusion of the postwar occupation. In 1958, he left military intelligence to assume a position as an Operations Officer with the CIA, where he focused on the national security threats presented by the former Soviet Bloc during the darkest days of the Cold War.
While serving at the CIA, Gordon completed law school, and he eventually took a trial attorney position with the US Dept. of Justice in 1970. At Justice, he was at the forefront in developing case law addressing state secret concerns arising from potential disclosures in litigation, and he successfully defended a host of complex and sensitive cases presenting national security issues. Gordon also developed an unparalleled reputation as a teacher and mentor for new attorneys fortunate enough to come under his supervision. Gordon's loss is a source of great sadness for countless current and former colleagues who benefited from his boundless wisdom and generosity.
Gordon left federal service in 1999, and he enjoyed a long and fruitful retirement with his devoted love and companion, Patricia Sandefur. They traveled extensively and relished the many wonderful experiences they shared.
Gordon is survived by two sons, Peter W. Daiger and M. Bruce Daiger, both of Winter Park, FL, of whom Gordon was extremely proud, and three grandchildren, Brittainy, Kelly and Brett, who were the high-light of Gordon's life.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sidwell Friends School or Princeton University. A memorial service will be scheduled in the Spring.
Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 1, 2019
Activists cheer victory in landmark Dutch climate case
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:30
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) '-- In a ruling hailed as an ''immense victory for climate justice,'' the Netherlands' top court ruled Friday in favor of activists who have for years been seeking legal orders to force the Dutch government into cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Activists in a packed chamber of the Supreme Court in The Hague erupted into applause and cheers as Presiding Judge Kees Streefkerk rejected the government's appeal against earlier rulings ordering the government to cut emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels.
The Supreme Court upheld lower courts' rulings that protection from the potentially devastating effects of climate change was a human right and that the government has a duty to protect its citizens.
Urgenda, the Dutch climate and sustainability organization that filed the original case, hailed the ruling as ''a groundbreaking decision that confirms that individual governments must do their fair share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.''
''I am extremely happy that the highest court in the Netherlands has confirmed that climate change is a real, severe problem and that government should do what they themselves have declared for more than 10 years is necessary, namely between 25% and 40% reduction of CO2,'' Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma told The Associated Press outside the court.
Faiza Oulahsen of Greenpeace in the Netherlands called the ruling ''an immense victory for climate justice.''
Reacting to the decision at his weekly press conference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: ''I can guarantee we will do everything we can to achieve the goal.''
It is now more than four years since a court in The Hague first ordered the emissions cut in a case brought by Urgenda that spawned similar legal challenges in courts around the world.
The Dutch government appealed that verdict, saying that courts shouldn't be able to order the government to take action. The government lost the appeal in October 2018, but appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court.
Friday's ruling rejected that appeal, saying the Dutch government must act ''on account of the risk of dangerous climate change that could also have a serious impact on the rights to life and well-being of residents of the Netherlands.''
Damian Rau, one of the plaintiffs that filed the case with Urgenda, said the Supreme Court decision ''will set the action we so urgently need into motion and will force governments into taking their responsibility. The judgment is an example to the world that no one is powerless and everybody can make a difference.''
In the meantime, the Netherlands is approaching the target.
A report by the country's Environmental Assessment Agency published last month estimated that Dutch greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 would be about 23% lower than 1990 levels. The agency said the reduction could be anywhere from 19%-26%.
Minnesma was skeptical about those projections.
''I would say that that is very, very, very optimistic,'' she said.
Scientists say global emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants have to start falling rapidly as soon as possible to meet the Paris goal of keeping global warming by the end of the century well bellow 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F).
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the ruling.
''This landmark ruling provides a clear path forward for concerned individuals in Europe '-- and around the world '-- to undertake climate litigation in order to protect human rights, and I pay tribute to the civil society groups which initiated this action,'' she wrote in a statement.
Not all legal efforts have been as successful as the Dutch case.
Earlier this month, three German farming families saidthey won't appeal a court's decision to dismiss their climate change lawsuit against Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.
Earlier this year, the Dutch government it announced what it called a climate agreement '-- a raft of measures intended to cut emissions by 49% by 2030. But it appears unlikely the action already underway will be enough to meet the goal set by the courts in the Urgenda case.
Recently, the government has stepped up actions to limit pollution '-- including reducing the maximum speed limit on highways from 130 kph (80 mph) to 100 kph (62 mph) beginning early next year. Those efforts, however, have set off repeated protests by farmers and construction workers against government efforts to cut emissions, saying that has hurt their jobs.
Friday's ruling came a day after Swiss authorities announced that environmental activists had collected enough signatures to force a referendum on setting specific goals for combating climate change in the Swiss constitution.
The original June 2015 ruling came in a case brought by the environmental group Urgenda on behalf of 900 Dutch citizens concerned about government inaction on climate change.
Greenpeace said the government will now have to step up action to cut emissions.
''The closure of coal-fired power stations and reduction of animal factory farming are obvious measures, which the government has been postponing for years,'' Oulahsen said. ''Measures now will have to be drastic and the government owes that entirely to itself, because this verdict has not been taken seriously by Prime Minister (Mark) Rutte for four years.''
Minnesma said the problem of climate change is already clearly visible '-- citing the wildfires raging in Australia as an example '-- and things like risings seas pose a very real threat to the low-lying Netherlands.
''Our country is to a large extent below sea level, so at a certain point in time if it goes as quickly as it goes right now, you might have a serious problem here,'' she said.
Follow AP's climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate
Quiz: Can You Identify These Politicians, Athletes and Celebrities? Most Americans Can't. - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:28
Nearly all Americans say they have heard of Joe Biden. But most under age 40 can't identify him when shown his picture.
And older people might not have heard of the YouTube stars PewDiePie or Jeffree Star, but they are more familiar to teenagers than any of the current Democratic presidential candidates.
These are some findings of a recent nationally representative online survey of 6,000 adults and teenagers conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times. Like this quiz, that survey asked respondents to identify prominent public figures when given only a photograph.
Some of the results were straightforward: Nearly all of the respondents correctly identified Donald J. Trump and Barack Obama. Those who didn't tended to answer with generic phrases like ''very good'' or ''a moron,'' suggesting at least a certain level of familiarity. For other notable people, success rates varied, particularly by age.
Below, six takeaways from our survey:
Which Democratic Presidential Candidates Were Recognized Most, by Generation Although Mr. Biden leads national Democratic primary polls, Mr. Sanders was the most recognizable of all the candidates, particularly among younger Americans. More than 45 percent of respondents 13 to 22 were able to identify him, while about 21 percent recognized Mr. Biden. (The respondent panels used by Morning Consult in this survey included a group of Americans 13 to 17, who can be hard to poll. According to Morning Consult, this age group is less likely to opt into online polls and might benefit from simpler polling language.)
168 Ways Respondents Spelled ''Buttigieg'' beittaga
boot edge edge
budaj age
budda jge
buddha jed
vutte geig
The Morning Consult survey asked respondents to type their answers into a text field, producing a much wider range of responses than a multiple-choice survey would. Understandably, respondents misspelled hundreds of entries. For example, Beyonc(C) was identified as ''beyoncee'', ''beonyce,'' ''beyounce'' and ''beyoncye'', among dozens of variations.
Few public figures had as much spelling variance as Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Ind. Of the respondents who appeared to try to spell ''Buttigieg,'' less than a third did so correctly. We counted these misspellings as correct, both in that representative survey and in this reader quiz. And we also accepted Mayor Pete or just Pete.
(We accepted first names or last names for everyone. We also accepted titles that could apply to a single person, like ''President of Russia'' or ''Amazon CEO.'')
The accompanying table shows 167 ways respondents mistyped Mr. Buttigieg's name, alongside the correct version.
Pronouncing the mayor's name, which is of Maltese origin, is a different kind of test.
The Bloomberg Ad Buy in Action The survey coincided with a major advertising push by Michael Bloomberg. From Nov. 23 through Dec. 1, advertisements supporting Mr. Bloomberg blanketed television, airing 19,006 times and costing an estimated $23.7 million, according to data from Kantar/Campaign Media Analysis Group. He effectively outspent the entire Democratic field in a single week.
The share of respondents who correctly identified later grew to 28 percent, from about 18 percent.
In absolute terms, the share of Americans who could correctly identify Mr. Bloomberg remained much lower than for top-tier candidates, especially in the Midwest. But his shift represents the biggest in this data among any Democratic presidential candidate over this period.
Deval Patrick, who entered the race around the same time as Mr. Bloomberg, did not fare as well in the survey. About 3 percent were able to identify him. Almost the same number of people thought Mr. Patrick was Cory Booker.
Who's Most Recognizable by Generation Some public figures were correctly identified at similar rates across age groups. Mark Zuckerberg was about as recognizable to Americans over 65 as he was to those 13 to 22. But more typically, success rates varied a lot depending on the age of the respondent.
More than 61 percent of Americans 13 to 22 correctly identified PewDiePie, a Swedish Youtube star and comedian. That rate declined with each generation. Fewer than 1 percent of respondents over age 55 identified him correctly.
Differences in response by age also worked in the opposite direction. About 90 percent of adults 55 to 73 could identify House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the younger the respondents were, on average, the worse they were at correctly identifying her. About 16 percent of respondents 13 to 22 identified her.
A Different Type of Recognition '†‘ Percent of Americans correctly identifying a person Percent who said they had heard of a person '†' Most political polls ask respondents whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of a candidate, or if they don't know enough to say. This question is often used as a measure of name recognition.
But being able to identify a person visually reflects a different connection than name recognition does.
Images offer particularly important information for voters, researchers say. Photographs, television broadcasts and ad campaigns impart cues about the candidates' age, gender, race and personality. Those cues can stay with voters all the way to Election Day.
''When people encounter a new political candidate, that first glance is important for judgments that will follow,'' said Susan Banducci, a political science professor at the University of Exeter in Britain. ''It sets the stage on how you evaluate the candidate from then on.''
The Appeal of Celebrity Visual impressions have limits. But recognition '-- at least of a certain type '-- has value.
Lauren Wright, a research scholar at Princeton who has written a book on celebrity candidates and whose work inspired some of the questions in this quiz, asked people whether they would support certain celebrities if they ran for office. In her study, she found that prominent political candidates edged out the most recognizable celebrities '-- but only by a small margin.
''It's remarkable that, at baseline, celebrities start off with doing so well with very few qualifications and no active campaigning,'' Ms. Wright said.
Mr. Wright says that celebrities are viewed so favorably in part because of the conditions in which they are introduced to the public. A catchy pop song, a memorable acting performance or an outstanding athletic achievement may leave the public feeling warm, without the conflict that comes from addressing divisive issues.
Bill Cosby's Team Slams 'Hollywood Slave' Eddie Murphy Post SNL | E! News
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:26
Nbc-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock, Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
Bill Cosby certainly doesn't find Eddie Murphy's jokes funny.
While making his triumphant return to Saturday Night Live this weekend, Murphy took a jab at the disgraced comedian'--currently serving three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault'--in his opening monologue. "If you told me 30 years ago that I'd be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn't have took that bet," the dad of 10 began before mimicking Cosby's notorious Cliff Huxtable voice, "Who is America's dad now?"
But Cosby's team isn't laughing along. Late Sunday evening, his publicist Andrew Wyatt took to Cosby's Instagram to respond to Murphy.
"Mr. Cosby became the first Black to win an Emmy for his role in I Spy and Mr. Cosby broke color barriers in the Entertainment Industry, so that Blacks like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappell, Kevin Hart and et al., could have an opportunity to showcase their talents for many generations to come," the message began. "It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to SNL and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby."
Wyatt did not stop there, however.
"One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave," he wrote. "Stepin Fetchit plus cooning equals the destruction of Black Men in Hollywood. Remember, Mr. Murphy, that Bill Cosby became legendary because he used comedy to humanize all races, religions and genders."
"Your attacking Mr. Cosby helps you embark on just becoming click bait," the note continued. "Hopefully, you will be amenable to having a meeting of the minds conversation, in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down "
Cosby and Murphy have often butt heads. During his 1987 movie Eddie Murphy Raw, the stand-up alleged that Cosby had scolded him for "being too dirty" on stage.
More recently, in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, he opened up about their longstanding feud, explaining how Cosby would treat him differently than their fellow comics. "He wasn't nice," Murphy said. "He was shitty with me."
E! News returns Monday morning, Jan. 6 at 7 a.m.!
Moving To Progressive Web Apps - Kev Quirk
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 06:50
Where possible, I have decided to transition from native apps to Progressive Web Apps (PWA) on my mobile devices. If you want to know why I think they're a much better solution than native apps, please read on.
What are Progressive Web Apps?A PWA is basically a shortcut to a website that is stored on your device. When you click the shortcut, the website is loaded in a full screen browser window and they generally have the feel of a native app.
A progressive web application (PWA) is a type of application software delivered through the web, built using common web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It is intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser.
WikipediaThe advantage of using a progressive web app instead of a native app is that you get all of the functionality with none of the tracking or battery drain. Once the PWA is closed, it can't beacon home, it can't track you, and it can't drain your battery.
That's because there is no persistent code that is stored on your device to carry out tasks such as GPS tracking or checking for new notifications. Because of this there are security advantages here too. No new code means no new potential vulnerabilities are being introduced, so your exposure footprint is reduced.
Where can I use a PWA?Social media apps are the absolute worst when it comes to tracking and battery drain. This is because they're constantly checking for updates to see if you have any new notifications.
Since switching to my iPhone, I've managed to replace the following apps with a PWA alternative:
Mastodon (Fosstodon)TwitterLinkedInRedditMy RSS feed readerMastodon PWAThis may not sound like much, but since moving these apps over to their PWA alternative, I've been able to significantly extend my battery life. I regularly go to bed and still have over half of my battery left. Considering many people I know appear to be permanently tethered to a plug socket, I think that's pretty good going.
I also like the fact that progressive web apps don't support notifications, so I'm not constantly being bothered by my various social networks. Even when I was using native apps, I still turned the notifications off.
The advantage of this is that I remain in control. My social media is there when I want to check it '' it doesn't call out to me and interrupt me. When I'm ready to check my notifications, I will. Until then, get out of my way.
How to add a PWAWhether you're running Andoird or iOS, it's really simple to add a PWA to your device.
For iOS:Open Safari on your iDevice Go to the website (example: twitter.com) Tap the Share button on Safari Swipe up and select ''Add to Home Screen.'' Tap it, then tap Add (top right) For Android:Open Chrome on your Android device Go to the website (example: twitter.com) Tap Settings (top right corner) on Chrome Swipe down and tap ''Add to Home Screen.''If you want to know if a website works as a PWA, all you need to do is visit that site on your mobile device. If the site behaves well on your mobile browser, then the PWA behaviour will be exactly the same.
ConclusionI've personally found replacing native apps with progressive web apps to have a number of advantages and not many disadvantages.
The next time you're thinking about installing a native app, why not consider trying a PWA as an alternative? So far the experience has been pretty seamless for me.
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Influencers criticized for Saudi Arabian music festival trips - Insider
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 06:22
Multiple influencers and celebrities sparked criticism for attending a music festival in Saudi Arabia despite the country's lengthy record of human-rights abuses.Some of the most notable attendees included DJ Steve Aoki, actor Armie Hammer, models Winnie Harlow and Alessandra Ambrosio, and social-media figures like Sofia Richie and Scott Disick.A post by Diet Prada, a fashion and culture commentary Instagram account, called out the influencer attendees for "cashing big fat checks" by participating in the country's effort to rehabilitate its image. It's unclear if the celebrities and influencers were paid (and if they were, how much.)Insider previously reported on programs that offered influencers luxe tours and curated experiences that they can document and share to improve the country's reputation and spark tourism industry.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.Scores of influencers and celebrities are being criticized for flocking to Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh for the MDL Beast festival, images of which then flooded the social feeds of various musicians, models, and celebrities.
As was previously reported by Insider, the Saudi government has in the past gifted all-expenses-paid tours Instagram influencers to offer a curated experience that they can document and share to improve the country's reputation and spark tourism industry, and gloss over the country's track record of human-rights abuses.
According to reports and photos posted online of the music festival, some of the most well-known attendees were actors and musicians including Armie Hammer, Ed Westwick, Ryan Phillippe, and DJ Steve Aoki, alongside models Winnie Harlow, Alessandra Ambrosio, Stella Maxwell, and social media figures like Sofia Richie and Scott Disick.
Diet Prada, a fashion and culture commentary Instagram account, offered one of the first critiques of the influencer-magnet event in a post that rounded up photos from the festival in addition to allegations of paid appearances and criticism from other models and fashion heavyweights.
The caption on the post called attendees out for "cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia."
The post also referenced some of the kingdom's most notable human-rights abuses, including the brutal October 2018, killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives, the May 2018, arrest and deportation of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
What's worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing ''the world's worst humanitarian crisis'', according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Following the government's pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 , the arrest of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018, the outing of a gay Saudi journalist and his partner who began receiving death threats from their families (homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death), and countless other human rights abuses, a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural @mdlbeast . According to @hypebeast , the electronic music festival is ''one of the most significant musical events the region has ever seen''. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Saudi Arabia has been spending billions to change its image in the west, but this is sure to be the most expensive campaign yet. In a series of Instagram stories posted by transgender model @teddy_quinlivan , it was revealed that fellow model @emrata had turned down the trip, evidently aware of the country's human rights crisis. ''It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there'', said Ratajkowski in a statement to Diet Prada. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Unfortunately, not all shared the same sentiments. There are simply too many attendees to name. Dieters, feel free to tag any attendees you know of... just in case they haven't been reading the news. ' #propoganda #jamalkashoggi #humanrights #humanrightsabuse #lgbtq #lgbtqrights #freespeech #journalism #independent #womensrights #mdlbeast #edm #electronicmusic #supermodel #influencer #content #riyadh #emrata #emilyratajkowski #teddyquinlivan #model #celebrity #dj #electronicmusic #musicfestival #wtf #smh #government #corruption #dietprada
A post shared by Diet Prada ' (@diet_prada) on Dec 21, 2019 at 2:04pm PSTDec 21, 2019 at 2:04pm PST
In one photo posted by Richie, the caption "Saudi girls" was roundly criticized, given that women's rights activists have been detained and allegedly tortured, as Insider previously reported.
'--Gissou Nia/ گیØ"٠نیا (@GissouNia) December 21, 2019Richie posted the picture from Riyadh's posh Ritz-Carlton hotel, the same hotel that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used to detain an undetermined number of prominent Saudis who were held under the guise of anti-corruption efforts.
A screenshot posted by Diet Prada also showed screengrabs from Teddy Quinlivan's Instagram, criticizing influencers who attended and revealing that Emily Ratajkowski had turned down the festival.
In the Instagram post, Diet Prada referenced the practice of the Saudi government to pay for trips for influencers. Journalist Yashar Ali also posted to Twitter saying, "A major film/tv star tells me that she and her husband were offered 8 figures, through their representatives, to go on this trip but declined."
Previously, in seeking to shake its existing reputation involving brutal human-rights abuses and the oppression of women, the government composed luxe travel packages to open up the previously guarded country to prominent influencers that can be seen in posts from figures like Scott Disick and Jay Alvarrez.
Influencers told Insider's Bill Bostock that it appeared the government had devoted a massive amount of money and resources to the effort, and some said they declined the trips on principle.
Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor at The Washington Post, and Khashoggi's former editor tweeted to praise Diet Prada's post and call out "the dark side of influencer culture is that it really is the ultimate expression of capitalism."
"Money over human lives," Attiah wrote. "What good is your platform if you overlook the Saudi regime's murder and torture for a few bucks? These influencers are just for-hire human billboards."
'--Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) December 22, 2019Attiah also noted on Twitter that women's fashion and lifestyle magazine Glamour accepted a paid social media campaign with the festival, which partially included posts on the magazine's Instagram account that offered an inside look at the event.
At the center of several of the high-profile invites appears to be Mohammed Al Turki, a Saudi film producer whom GQ Middle East wrote in September 2018 "has become a key catalyst in the rapid expansion of Saudi's film and arts culture."
Al Turki told the magazine that his goal was to develop a "whole film scene in Saudi, from film festivals to studios to a media city," ultimately making "a full-on film society culture in Saudi."
The producer's Hollywood ties were on full display at the festival, where he was pictured rubbing shoulders with Armie Hammer, who also posted an Instagram photo with the producer, and Ryan Philippe, among others.
Ryan Phillippe, Armie Hammer and Mohammed Al Turki attend the MDL Beast Festival on December 19, 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images
Insider's requests for comment from Cond(C) Nast and Glamour were not immediately returned.
Read more:
David Dobrik is giving away a Tesla to one of his fans on Christmas Eve
3 influencers were secretly filmed agreeing to promote a made-up weight loss drink that contained fatal hydrogen cyanide
Jake and Logan Paul both dropped out of Forbes' highest-paid YouTuber rankings for 2019
Nearly half of influencers think their job impacts their mental health, from body image to facing scrutiny of their integrity and work ethic
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How a String of Flukes Helped Pave the Way for Mayor Michael Bloomberg - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:24
The Long Run
He was told he would lose. In any other year, he probably would have. But 2001 was not any other year.
Michael R. Bloomberg casting his vote for mayor in 2001. A review of that race makes plain that Mr. Bloomberg's political origin story owes to almost supernaturally improbable conditions. Credit... Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times Michael R. Bloomberg was not entirely picky.
By the late 1990s, financially mega-secure and professionally restless, the billionaire businessman had told friends that four jobs on earth could tempt him away from his company: president of the United States, secretary general of the United Nations, president of the World Bank and mayor of New York.
And several months before Mr. Bloomberg announced his 2001 bid to fill the looming vacancy at City Hall, some of those friends were worried about him. One of them, Senator John McCain, sent word to the sitting mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, asking him to talk Mr. Bloomberg through the grim realities of what even some aides viewed as an electoral suicide mission.
Mr. Giuliani agreed. ''You're going to lose,'' he told Mr. Bloomberg flatly during a meeting at the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion. This position was sensible. Mr. Bloomberg, a rhetorically challenged political newcomer and longtime Democrat, would be running as a Republican in a Democratic town that had grown weary of its Republican incumbent.
The warning was no use. Mr. Bloomberg had been paying people for months to explain these risks to him. ''The next morning,'' he often said privately, imagining the day after a defeat, ''I'm still better off than the next guy.''
He entered the race in June, three months before the Republican primary, appearing so stiff at an introductory news conference that a reporter had to instruct him on how to proceed. ''That's not going to stop, no matter what I do?'' Mr. Bloomberg asked anxiously as cameras clicked.
He never much improved as a candidate. By January, he was mayor anyway.
Nearly two decades later, as Mr. Bloomberg plots an unconventional path to the Democratic presidential nomination, allies see his first mayoral run as proof of concept. It was the race that demonstrated, both to Mr. Bloomberg and to those who might doubt him, that an inelegant campaigner with bottomless resources, party agnosticism and a heap of political baggage could prevail.
Then as now, he was prepared to spend whatever it took '-- some $70 million in 2001, a figure he is expected to greatly surpass in 2020 '-- to boost his name and bury his opponents. Then as now, those urging him to reconsider were brushed aside, overruled by a man at once fanatical about data-driven decision-making and secure in the knowledge that statistical unlikelihood had never stopped him before.
Yet a review of the 2001 race, drawn from dozens of interviews with aides, advisers and adversaries, makes plain that Mr. Bloomberg's political origin story owes to almost supernaturally improbable conditions '-- a blend of searing tragedy, canny check-writing and a string of flukes so politically fortuitous that his Democratic rival began wondering if the New York Yankees were conspiring against him. (The team's World Series appearance that fall, stretching a full seven games and extending into November for the first time in history, allowed Mr. Bloomberg's final advertising blitz to air before an outsize local audience just before Election Day.)
By far most significant, the shock of the Sept. 11 attacks conferred instant resonance upon Mr. Bloomberg's message of steady-handed management, which had stirred limited enthusiasm initially. ''On September 10th, 2001, the city was doing well. There was no compelling need for an outsider,'' said Edward Skyler, a campaign aide in 2001 who became one of Mr. Bloomberg's deputy mayors. ''A career politician would do fine on September 10th.''
In a flash, the October endorsement from Mr. Giuliani, the lame-duck leader suddenly elevated to temporary political deity, also became the highest of municipal blessings.
To this day, Mr. Bloomberg, 77, is sensitive to any suggestion that he took office as an accidental mayor, elevated by external forces and a predecessor with whom he was never especially close '-- particularly after Mr. Giuliani's rightward lurch in recent years. Mr. Bloomberg has long insisted to associates that he triumphed primarily because of the unpopularity of the Democratic nominee, Mark Green, a liberal former public advocate. But even admirers attribute his success in large measure to the attacks, Mr. Giuliani's support and a racially divisive Democratic primary.
Veterans of the race tend to say that there were two campaigns in 2001: before the 11th and after.
''He got the benefit of the doubt in that moment that he wouldn't have gotten,'' said Randi Weingarten, the teachers' union leader, with whom Mr. Bloomberg met repeatedly as he explored a run.
And so, too, it seems, were there two Bloombergs: the one who decided he might like to be mayor and saw no harm in trying '-- and the one, 18 years out, disinclined to remember a world where he almost never was.
The Career SwitchMr. Bloomberg scanned the boldfaced roster of charity ball committee members and wondered.
''How do you get to be on one of these lists?'' he asked an acquaintance, a half-dozen years before entering politics. In short order, he became the kind of person on all of those lists: nonprofit boards; cultural organizations; society affairs he hosted himself, in his Paul Stuart dinner jacket and red bow tie.
Friends saw this period as the first signal that Mr. Bloomberg's business-information empire no longer enchanted him fully. It was also an early template for his courtship of the institutional powers '-- civic leaders, editorial boards, party officials '-- that could grease a campaign.
Mr. Bloomberg often said he intended to bounce a check to the undertaker. And as he moved toward a run in 2001, he appeared ready to make good on the promise.
In public, he would air ads trumpeting the more than $100 million he donated to various philanthropies the year before, including Gay Men's Health Crisis and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In private, top-dollar advisers came aboard to synthesize reams of polling and focus group data. Policy experts were summoned for briefings at his company headquarters. Aides were tasked with drilling him, pop-quiz-style: What's the cost of a subway ride? The price of a gallon of milk?
Touchy about being caricatured as a flighty tycoon, Mr. Bloomberg bristled at any implication that he was flirting with a run for the attention. ''How can anyone think I'm not running?'' he asked privately months before formally entering.
By the spring, he had leased a campaign office in Midtown, stocking it with signature flourishes of the Bloomberg brand: an open-plan layout, unlimited snacks and a young, hard-charging staff.
Quickly, some uncomfortable alliances were deemed necessary. Mr. Bloomberg, who had determined he could not survive a crowded Democratic primary, won the backing of many Republican officials with the promise of self-funding, despite his socially liberal views.
And because of New York's unusual voting laws, which allow a candidate to appear on multiple ballot lines, Mr. Bloomberg also cast his eye on some fringier political elements. He gave money to the city's Independence Party, whose support he would seek amid a rolling controversy over some of the group's leaders. (These included an activist who once called Jews ''mass murderers of people of color'' and a psychotherapist who had promoted sex among therapists and patients.)
In addition to television spots, Mr. Bloomberg blanketed small community papers in several languages, purchasing ad space and good will in equal measure. Pro-Bloomberg VHS tapes were mailed to individual voters. ''He's a firm believer in bringing a gun to a knife fight,'' said Bill Cunningham, a top adviser on the race.
Mr. Bloomberg, unfamiliar with most neighborhoods outside Manhattan, seemed to enjoy getting acquainted. He remarked that some quieter corners of New York reminded him of his native Medford, Mass. He called his mother every day with updates on his whereabouts (''Here I am in Brooklyn!'') and gamely stepped behind the grill to flip sausages at block parties, his polo shirt tucked in.
In younger company, Mr. Bloomberg smiled often through a favorite bit of physical comedy: high-fiving children before pulling his hand away, leaving a youngster to swat at the air.
''The untold story of 2001 is that Mike campaigned from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single day,'' said Vincent La Padula, another campaign aide.
But Mr. Bloomberg could grow frustrated with the attendant scrutiny, at times showing indiscipline as a first-time candidate. He wondered aloud whether Fernando Ferrer, a Hispanic Democratic mayoral contender, was a baseball player. He invited outrage over comments favoring public school prayer. He chafed at questions about his finances. Asked once why he had not released as much tax information as his peers, Mr. Bloomberg snarled, ''They don't make anything.''
Several news stories detailed sexual harassment lawsuits at Mr. Bloomberg's company and a booklet of off-color sayings given to him once as a birthday present, copies of which were distributed gleefully around City Hall by a young Democratic congressman and future mayoral hopeful, Anthony Weiner.
After a Daily News article during the campaign cast doubt on Mr. Bloomberg's account of being rejected for Vietnam military duty '-- questioning the timeline and circumstances of his being turned away for having ''flat feet'' '-- he had read enough.
''Take me home!'' he instructed his driver, seething, midway through the day's campaign schedule, according to a person present. Aides persuaded Mr. Bloomberg to keep making his planned stops.
Other dust-ups were more confusing to him than maddening. In one speech, he suggested offhand that sanitation workers had a more dangerous job than police officers '-- strictly true, according to a statistic he had been given about on-the-job hazards. When police union leaders responded with fury, Mr. Bloomberg seemed taken aback, unwilling to concede that even a technically accurate statement may have been politically unwise.
''Very few people I work with want to be told what to say, but they do want to be told what not to say,'' said Frank Luntz, the pollster and consultant who advised Mr. Bloomberg in 2001 and speaks fondly of him. ''Mike didn't want to be told anything.''
But as the summer wound down, Mr. Bloomberg appeared poised to win his Republican primary against Herman Badillo, a former congressman and deputy mayor, even if he remained a long shot in the general.
On Sept. 10, the night before the scheduled primary, Mr. Bloomberg closed by presenting his campaign as the answer to a citywide political emergency.
''How do you write September 11?'' he asked Republicans on Staten Island. ''9-1-1!''
The Primary DayNobody knew quite what to do. So Mr. Bloomberg showed up at a blood bank.
Three of his employees and the brother of a campaign aide were missing. The primary was postponed '-- all political activity was suspended '-- but no one much worried about that. Mr. Bloomberg had donated one of his company's spaces downtown for emergency workers seeking food.
At the blood drive, the day after, an NBC reporter spotted him. Was it important, Mr. Bloomberg was asked, for the city to see its leaders performing deeds like this?
''I don't know that it really does anything,'' he said. But that was Mr. Bloomberg: unsentimental even when he cared.
And in the weeks that followed, with the election looking more winnable, former aides say Mr. Bloomberg approached the race with a sharpened sense of purpose. ''I want it now more than ever,'' he said, according to Mr. Cunningham.
Mr. Bloomberg easily won the Republican primary, rescheduled for late September, and a quarrelsome runoff on the Democratic side only helped his cause, pitting Mr. Green, the former public advocate, against Mr. Ferrer, a Bronx borough president whose supporters included the Rev. Al Sharpton and Donald J. Trump.
After Mr. Green secured the nomination, Mr. Bloomberg signaled quickly that any political cease-fire had passed. ''I am a professional manager,'' he said. ''He is a rookie.''
The tragedy had scrambled not only the contours of the race but also several lower-order practical and logistical considerations, almost exclusively to Mr. Bloomberg's benefit. The dominant focus on the disaster's aftermath left little news media oxygen for the election, sparing Mr. Bloomberg from deeper vetting and increasing the relative value of his airwave-clogging paid media strategy. And that spending, in turn, affected the wider advertising market, inflating rates for Mr. Green.
Then came the Yankees' marathon postseason, which persisted until two days before the election.
''Ugh, the seventh game,'' Mr. Green said in an interview, recalling the ubiquity of Mr. Bloomberg's spots during the World Series, which the Yankees ultimately lost. ''I don't want to be disloyal here, but I remember thinking, 'Wait, is every domino falling?'''
Both camps could see the race tightening in the closing weeks. But Mr. Bloomberg still had an unwieldy coalition to herd: He hoped to embrace Mr. Giuliani, whose video endorsement of Mr. Bloomberg was among the ads in heavy rotation, while appealing to Democrats who had thought little of the incumbent over most of his two terms.
Mr. Bloomberg won the support of two prominent Democrats, former Mayor Edward I. Koch and former Gov. Hugh L. Carey, and spoke bluntly about his come-lately Republicanism, alienating George Pataki, the state's conservative governor, at a joint appearance.
''He said he was a liberal six times,'' Mr. Pataki said of the event. '''I'm a liberal. I'm a liberal. I'm a liberal. I'm a liberal.''' By the fourth ''liberal,'' Mr. Pataki said he began shuffling away a bit.
The Next MayorAll the while, the more traditional liberal in the race could not stay out of his own way.
In Mr. Green's zeal to project readiness for the job, he had committed a cardinal sin of the moment '-- appearing to diminish Mr. Giuliani '-- imagining that he would have done ''as well or better'' leading the city after Sept. 11 if given the chance.
Mr. Bloomberg's team cut a devastating ad, punctuating a reel of the Democrat's own comments with a single word written onscreen: ''Really?''
At least as significant, Mr. Bloomberg and his allies capitalized on fissures dating to the primary between Mr. Green and Mr. Ferrer, flowing in part from the distribution of anonymous fliers in predominantly white neighborhoods depicting a tabloid cartoon of Mr. Ferrer kissing Mr. Sharpton's rear end. Mr. Ferrer's camp blamed Mr. Green. The tensions created an opening for Mr. Bloomberg with black and Latino voters, and Mr. Sharpton pointedly withheld an endorsement of the Democratic nominee.
While Mr. Bloomberg never expected to earn Mr. Sharpton's support, the campaign took care to remind him that Mr. Bloomberg planned to open a dialogue if he won, a sharp departure from Mr. Giuliani's attitude.
''He's not a manipulator, but he's a great reader,'' Mr. Sharpton said of Mr. Bloomberg in an interview. ''He can read a scene very well.''
The Bloomberg campaign ran radio ads criticizing the fliers and connecting them to Mr. Green on stations with expansive African-American audiences. The candidate's investment in the Independence Party also paid off: Jacqueline Salit, a party leader at the time, said the group urged black residents to ''use their vote as a protest against Democratic Party manipulation'' by supporting Mr. Bloomberg on the Independence line. His vote total on that line would exceed his margin of victory.
Several prominent Democrats strained to strike a fragile peace between Mr. Green and disaffected black and Hispanic leaders, prompting private appeals for party unity from Green supporters like former President Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein, the not-yet-disgraced movie producer, in an 11th-hour bid to keep a Republican from office.
In the end, Mr. Bloomberg earned about half of the Latino vote and a quarter among African-Americans, far exceeding typical Republican showings. He won by fewer than three points over all.
It has not been lost on civil rights activists that the man who would ultimately use his post to expand and aggressively defend stop-and-frisk policing in communities of color came to power, in large part, with their help. ''It's ironic,'' Mr. Sharpton said.
Still, as early returns dribbled in on election night, nothing seemed guaranteed. Inside his Midtown hotel suite, Mr. Bloomberg cautioned against overconfidence, setting expectations for his 92-year-old mother, Charlotte. ''He said to her, 'Listen, I'm probably going to lose,''' Mr. Cunningham recalled. '''But it's going to be really close, so I won't be embarrassed.'''
Aides scribbled vote tallies on napkins. The initial numbers showed Mr. Bloomberg behind, but Staten Island, the Republican bulwark, was still coming in. By midnight, the math was clear.
''I didn't jump up and down cheering, I can tell you that,'' Mr. Bloomberg told a biographer years later. ''That's not me.''
He walked across the street to address his victory party at a jazz club. Mr. Giuliani stood behind him, picking confetti off his shoulder and raising a chant of ''U.S.A.''
Mr. Bloomberg smirked a little.
''The easy part is done,'' he said. ''Now comes the hard part.''
Kitty Bennett contributed research.
'Basisscholen Amsterdam overwegen vierdaagse lesweek' | Het Parool
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:17
Beeld Dingena Mol''Het is een rele mogelijkheid,'' zegt Lieke Thesingh van het Breed Bestuurlijk Overleg Amsterdam (BBO), de vereniging van basisschoolbesturen, in Trouw.
De schoolbesturen denken na over noodmaatregelen om het lerarentekort het hoofd te bieden. Eind januari moet er een plan liggen. Minister Arie Slob (onderwijs) maakte begin vorige week in een Kamerbrief duidelijk dat de vijf grote steden (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag, Almere en Rotterdam) de ruimte krijgen om maatregelen te nemen.
''Er ligt nu een aantal plannen op tafel, een vierdaagse lesweek is daar onderdeel van,'' aldus Thesingh die betrokken is bij het overleg over het noodpakket. ''Het voordeel van zo'n vierdaagse lesweek is dat leraren ontlast worden en tijd hebben om huiswerk na te kijken of lessen voor te bereiden.''
940 uurWettelijk is het niet toegestaan om een vierdaagse lesweek te voeren. Basisscholen moeten 940 uur per jaar lesgeven, waarvan slechts zeven weken per jaar een vierdaagse lesweek mag zijn.
Nog maar een jaar geleden zagen de Amsterdamse schoolbesturen zo'n vierdaagse lesweek nog helemaal niet zitten. Dat bleek nadat scholen in Zaanstad noodgedwongen tot (C)(C)n dag minder les waren overgegaan. Het afgelopen jaar werd het lerarentekort in Amsterdam te lijf gegaan met de inzet van zijinstromers, de schooldirecteur of interne begeleiders. Veel scholen vragen ook parttimers meer te gaan werken en doen een beroep op gepensioneerde leraren.
Zestien Amsterdamse basisscholen in Nieuw-West sloten onlangs een week lang de deuren vanwege het lerarentekort. In die week bedachten ze maatregelen om de leerkrachten te ontlasten. De scholen willen onder meer de eigen wijk gaan inzetten en planners en roostermakers moeten de leerkrachten gaan ontlasten.
Lees ook:Kamer geschokt door sluiting Amsterdamse basisschool vanwege lerarentekort'Ouders Zaanse school zijn vierdaagse schoolweek zat'Amsterdamse scholen zien vierdaagse lesweek niet zitten
Uninstall ToTok, the Government Surveillance Tool Posing as a Chat App: Report
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 05:13
Photo: Getty While, yes, your messaging apps are indeed spying on you , to argue that they were developed specifically for that purpose might seem like a stretch. But life is stranger than fiction in the year of our lord 2019, and now you can thank ToTok for making your worst dystopian surveillance state nightmares come true.
(That's ToTok, by the way. Not to be confused with TikTok, the viral video app that's already knee-deep in its own mess when it comes to user privacy concerns ).
What millions of users thought was a free chat app is believed to be a surveillance tool that leaks data to government officials in the United Arab Emirates, U.S. intelligence officials told the New York Times Sunday. Apple and Google have since removed ToTok from their respective stores, but it'll continue to keep spying away if you already have it on your phone. So TLDR: Delete ToTok.
Per the report, the UAE government used ToTok to learn location data (which was required to access information on the weather), voice and text conversations, and online social connections of its users. Most of the app's userbase live in the UAE though it'd been gaining popularity worldwide and recently cracked the charts in America. Just in November, it racked up more than half a million downloads.
But while ToTok advertised itself as a ''fast and secure calling and messaging app,'' its privacy policy never actually promises end-to-end encryption, only referencing data storage: ''Messages: all data is stored heavily encrypted so that local ToTok engineers or physical intruders cannot get access.''
One particularly strong selling points it touted among UAE users was, unlike more ubiquitous chat apps like Skype and Whatsapp, ToTok didn't require a VPN and could circumvent restrictions put in place by the Emirati government. Thus allowing (seemingly) no-strings-attached video chatting and messaging with anyone anywhere in the world so long as they also had an internet connection.
And ToTok's developer, Breej Holding, is apparently similarly shady. They're a proverbial ghost on the internet, per the Times report, and likely a front for the cyber intelligence agency DarkMatter. The company has a history of contracting with the Emirati government and employing ex-intelligence agents and has already attracted scrutiny from U.S. intelligence officials for purported hacking crimes. The software itself'--basically a copy and paste job of the Chinese app YeeCall'--is also linked to a data-mining company with ties to Dark Matter that shared a building with the UAE's intelligence agency for a bit.
Right about now, you should be feeling a cold, inexplicable chill up your spine and a sudden impulse to be more careful with your private information. Because ToTok isn't secretly scrapping your data, it didn't need to use viral Deepfake challenges to access an unsettling amount of personal information. It doesn't have to. To access every bit of its users' online identity, ToTok asked for all the same permissions you'd expect of a social media app on your phone. And hoped people didn't look too closely at its privacy policy.
[ The New York Times ]
Hillary 2.0? Data on New EU President's Official Phone Wiped
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:54
A criminal complaint has been filed after it was revealed that Germany's Defence Ministry wiped data from the phone of its former boss and new European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen '-- echoing similar incidents involving Hillary Clinton in the United States.
Green Party defence spokesman Tobias Lindner filed a criminal complaint over suspected deliberate deletion of data from Ursula von der Leyen's official phone from her time serving as Germany's Defence Minister.
''We have to assume that people in office destroyed evidence. Such actions can have criminal relevance'', said Lindner in comments reported by Deutsche Welle.
''First they said von der Leyen's phone could not be found, they didn't know where it was. A week ago they said it was in the ministry, but only von der Leyen knew the PIN code, and yesterday they confessed that the relevant phone data had been deleted in August'', he added.
The revelation of Von der Leyen's deleted data comes amidst a corruption investigation in Germany over military spending and possible cronyism in the process of awarding military contracts.
This is an absolute must watch following Ursula von der Leyen unveiling the new EU government today.
She is now in the most powerful position in the EU. Watch how @afneil skilfully pulls her appointment apart.
Remember '' you can't vote her out!
'-- Rupert Lowe (@RupertLowe10) September 10, 2019
A protege of Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen was the German Defence Minister from 2013 to 2019 before being appointed President of the European Commission earlier this month.
During her tenure as Defence Minister, von der Leyen spent millions on private military consultancy firms. Germany's Federal Audit Office revealed that the ministry had spent massive amounts of money on these firms and often awarded the contracts on a no-bid basis, prompting parliamentary investigations.
Members of the German parliament, the Bundestag, believe that the deleted data from von der Leyen's phone may have shown the new EU chief broke the law in awarding the consultancy contracts without leaving a paper trail.
Farage: Von der Leyen Wants to Build 'Updated Form of Communism', Advance EU Army https://t.co/WvcFetxY43
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 16, 2019
Tobias Lindner said that there should be efforts made to recover the deleted data and that Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, von der Leyen's successor, should punish those responsible for deleting the data in the defence ministry.
''It can't be acceptable that the ministry continues to torpedo the investigative work of the committee'', Lindner said.
''Deleting a cell phone without first evaluating it for possible evidence has nothing to do with the normal finger-waving between the federal government and a committee of inquiry, this is about a tangible scandal'', he concluded.
The scandal has drawn parallels to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, in which the former presidential candidate stored classified information on a private email server. An FBI prosecutor said that he believes Ms Clinton used the server to avoid freedom of information requests about the contents of her emails.
Clinton used a software program called ''BleachBit'' to delete thousands of emails, and according to the FBI a former aide to former president Bill Clinton smashed at least two of Mrs Clinton's mobile devices with a hammer.
In June the U.S. State Department revealed that ''multiple security incidents'' occurred as a result of the private email server. At least 15 people handled the emails, some of which were classified.
So far no criminal charges have been brought against Hillary Clinton in relation to the scandal.
Next Commission President Pushes for Further EU Expansionism into Balkans https://t.co/pQG5Dda42m
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 9, 2019
Follow Kurt on Twitter @KurtZindulka
CrowdStrike Co-Founder Held Special Government Employee Status
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 23:51
The Department of Defense granted Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, the status of a special government employee in 2013, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times.
Alperovitch held the status for one year starting on Nov. 23, 2013.
''He was an unpaid consultant limited to 60 total days in a year and has not provided any consulting services since that time,'' Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokesperson, wrote in an email.
''In his role as a special government employee, Alperovitch provided services in cybersecurity, forensic cyber analysis, and post-incident remediation.''
In 2013 and 2014, the U.S. government relied in part on CrowdStrike's reports to identify China and North Korea as the culprits of state-sponsored hacks.
CrowdStrike didn't respond to a request for comment.
The ''cyber-czar'' at the defense department at the time, Eric Rosenbach, requested for Alperovitch to be brought on as a special government employee, according to a former official familiar with the matter. Steven Schleien, who is now the chief operating officer at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, directed the process, the source said.
Rosenbach didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alperovitch's status as a special government employee has not been previously reported.
President Donald Trump mentioned CrowdStrike during a July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine, which was at the center of the impeachment inquiry. On the call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about a server tied to CrowdStrike.
''I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike '... I guess you have one of your wealthy people '... The server, they say Ukraine has it,'' Trump said.
It's still unclear about which server Trump was referring. CrowdStrike conducted the forensic assessment of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server that allegedly was hacked by Russian state actors.
The FBI never examined the physical DNC server. CrowdStrike says it has ''never taken physical possession of any DNC servers,'' but it's unclear if the statement covers CrowdStrike examining servers in DNC's possession. Both CrowdStrike and the DNC drew their conclusions about the alleged Russian hack based on an examination of software ''images'' of the server.
Alperovitch, a U.S. citizen, was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States in 1995.
CrowdStrike made an initial public offering on NASDAQ in June.
Correction: An earlier version of this article has been corrected to more accurately reflect CrowdStrike's access to physical DNC servers.
Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
FARRELL: Obama Wanted To Know Everything His Trump Spies Were Doing, And It Looks Like He Did | The Daily Caller
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 07:39
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BUSTED! China Paid Millions to WAPO & NYT to Publish 'Cleverly Disguised' Chinese Propaganda
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 07:37
Follow Matt on TwitterThese are the people that are ruining America. They are dishonest, they are corrupt, and they take money to report what special interest groups and even foreign governments want them to publish.
An investigation revealed that the Washington Post and New York Times (and many others) accepted millions from Communist China to publish Chinese propaganda that was designed to look like legit articles.
According to the Free Beacon:
China Daily, an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has published hundreds of propaganda articles designed to look like ordinary news stories in some of America's most influential newspapers. While foreign agents may place ads in the United States, the propaganda outlet has repeatedly violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) by failing to provide full disclosures about its purchases.
China Daily has published propaganda in mainstream outlets for decades, but did not disclose its purchases of space in American newspapers to the Department of Justice until 2012. Even after it began acknowledging its relationship with the papers, the regime mouthpiece continued to violate federal disclosure requirements. China Daily has failed to provide breakdowns of spending activities and withheld copies of online ads, among other omissions that violate federal law, according to experts who reviewed years of its FARA filings.
The Washington Free Beacon reviewed all of the physical copies of China Daily's ads filed with the DOJ, as well as online ads the propaganda outlet did not submit to the department. China Daily has run more than 700 online ads designed to look like news articles and purchased 500 print pages in six American newspapers over the last seven years. These propaganda articles frame state oppression in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong in a positive light and run alongside actual news stories produced by reporters at the Post, Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets.
''These outlets claim to support democracy, but they've participated in a cover-up for an ongoing communist-run genocide,'' Banks said. ''It's disgusting.'' Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.)
Federal law requires foreign agents to report and provide copies of all propaganda that is ''disseminated or circulated among two or more persons'' in the United States. Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, said China Daily's ad inserts are subject to those requirements.
''Clearly, an ad that's in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, or any big media outlet is going to be distributed to two or more people,'' Freeman said.
The President calls them Fake News for a reason America. They are truly the enemy of the American people. The evidence continues to mount up. I was recently asked if I belonged to any ''Journalistic Integrity groups or foundations.'' My answer was, ''the mainstream ones? No, I actually report the truth.''
You can read more from our friends over at The Washington Free Beacon.
Are Bill & Hillary Clinton Involved with Child Trafficking? | coreysdigs.com
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 06:59
The question on everyone's mind '' areBill and Hillary Clinton connected to or involved with child sex trafficking orchild labor trafficking networks '' or, are they advocates for children as they portraythemselves to be? Though, the focus is on both Bill and Hillary, this reportwill primarily break down a timeline of Hillary's work as it relates tochildren, in addition to both of their connections with individuals who have been indicted and/or convicted of crimesagainst children '' because they are stacking up. The information thatfollows will provide facts, for each person to use their own discernment indetermining what they believe to be truth, or until further information isrevealed.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry.
Timeline of Hillary's Work Specifically Involving Infants & Children:1970: Worked at Yale Child Study Center, learning about early childhood brain development, and research assistant on the book Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, and handled cases of child abuse at Yale''New Haven Hospital
1970: Summer '' worked onWalter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor
1971: Met husband Bill,interned at law firm Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein where she worked on childcustody and other cases
1973: Postgraduate study on children andmedicine at Yale Child Study Center, her article ''Children Under the Law'' waspublished in the Harvard Educational Review, staff attorney at Marian Wright Edelman'sChildren's Defense Fund in Cambridge, MA, consultant to Carnegie Council onChildren
1977: Co-founded Arkansas Advocates forChildren and Families '' a state level alliance with Children's Defense Fund,and worked pro bono in child advocacy during her work at Rose Law Firm
1979: Published ''Children's Policies:Abandonment and Neglect and ''Children's Rights: A Legal Perspective
1985: Introduced Arkansas's Home InstructionProgram for Preschool Youth (preparedness & literacy)
1988-92: Children's DefenseFund Chairman of the Board and on the board of the Arkansas Children'sHospital's legal services
1995: Wrote an article on orphaned childrenthat led to the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997
1996: Published book ''It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us''
1997: Supported State Children's Health Insurance Program, and promoted nationwide immunization against childhood diseases; hosted child care conference and early childhood development and learning conferences at White House; initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act which required states to terminate parental rights for children in foster care for 15 out of 22 months and provided funding for efforts in encouraging adoption as well as subsidies for adoptive children up through age 18; By executive memorandum, her husband President Bill Clinton added the ''Adoption 2002 Initiative'' which aimed to lower barriers to adoption so as to double the rate of adoption by 2002
1999: Instrumental in passing Foster CareIndependence Act, doubling federal funding for teenagers opting out of fostercare, launched the International Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenalong with Lady Catherine Meyer and Cherie Booth Blair
2000: Hosted children and adolescentsconference and conference on teenagers at White House
2005: Introduced the Family EntertainmentProtection Act with other senators to protect children from inappropriatecontent found in video games
2007: Via Clinton Health Access Initiative, worked in Pakistan to train nurses and midwives to perform both births and abortions
2009: Via Clinton Health Access Initiative, worked in Zambia, Malawi, Haiti, Mexico and Central America to train nurses and midwives to perform both births and abortions. Partnered with the Polaris Project who runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline, and is also a Clinton Global Initiative member, to build an ''Anti-trafficking approach replicable worldwide.''
2010: Clinton Health Access received $25 million from IKEA for CHAI to join the ''Every Woman Every Child'' initiative so CHAI can partner with governments to educate moms on the right treatment for their child's diarrhea and encourage manufacturers to develop child-friendly formulations, with a focus in Kenya, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
2012: Hosted a Clinton Global Initiative Conference focusing on human trafficking, with former president Obama as they keynote speaker.
2013: Through Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation focused on early childhood development and initiative ''Too Small to Fail'' led by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to encourage girls worldwide to enroll in secondary schools; Lead ''No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project,'' a partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study data on progress of girls and women around the world; Via Clinton Health Access Initiative, launched a 7-year health program in Rwanda with Ivy Leagues from the U.S. and $150 million from the U.S. Government, to train over 6,000 young women to be nurses and midwives for performing both births and abortions.
2014: Partnered with the Polaris Project, a CGI member, in creating an online ''Global Modern Day Slavery'' database directory.
2018: Campaigned for women's right to abortion, and cheered Governor Cuomo's on, leading up to his announcement of passing New York's new abortion laws allowing abortions up to full term, which removed legal protections for failed abortions where babies are born alive '' meaning, they allow them to die.
Does all of this involvement with children equate to people who are advocating for children, or is it cover for other nefarious actions? Review all of the information below to draw conclusions.
Last year, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), another entity that was never filed properly and is operating illegally, received over US$1.1 million for an award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation '' a huge contributor to the Clintons, and NORAD '' who also helped fund their Ten Island Challenge program. The award was allegedly for saving the lives of mothers and newborns.
Hillary's Involvement with The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)Back in the mid 1990s, Belgium reached out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in request for assistance with their missing children issues. The NCMEC's Board of Directors authorized the creation of a new organization that would devote itself to doing globally what NCMEC was committed to doing in the United States. In 1998, members of the Board of the newly created International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) held their first meeting, and in April 1999 it was launched by then First Lady Hillary Clinton, Lady Catherine Meyer, and Cherie Booth Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The full archived press release can be viewed here.
Richard Branson's mother, Eve Branson, was a founding board member of ICMEC in 1999 and served on the Board of Directors until 2005. Richard Branson was ICMEC's founding sponsor. ICMEC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity supported entirely by private funds and resources, and is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. It is a non- government agency. It also has an Asia-Pacific office and Latin America & The Caribbean office. Since their inception, they have helped to create four national or regional missing and exploited children's centers around the world. One of those is the Global Missing Children's Network (GMCN), which happened to launch in 1998, the same year ICMEC launched. There are 29 member countries on 5 continents allegedly working to help recover missing and abducted children.
In a photo of the Board of Directors provided on Wikipedia, Eve Branson along with her son Richard Branson, and a lot of other familiar faces are pictured.
Bill and Hillary Clinton's ties with Richard Branson go way back, as well as forward. They are all currently working together on The Ten Island Challenge pilot program, which launched in 2012 and began with ten islands, and quickly evolved to over twenty islands, all throughout the drug and child trafficking transits in the Caribbean. Since their inception, they have now branched out to form alarming new partnerships and focus on the tourism and hotel industry. This Ten Island Challenge program, funded by GEF, an arm of the World Bank, OPIC, the Dutch postal code lottery, and the Norwegian government, has allegedly set out to setup islands with solar farms and renewable energy.
Most of these Caribbean islands have been deemed tier 2 & 3 and are subject to U.S. aid restrictions due to their level of human trafficking and subjecting large populations to modern slavery '' as the documentation reveals in this report. Based on Hillary's portrayed background in fighting for children's rights, why then would she wish to focus her energy on setting up a small solar farm to feed a block of homes on each of these islands '' all of which include free solar systems to the government buildings '' rather than fighting for the suffering children that reside on these islands?
Another important and relevant fact to include, is that Planned Parenthood setup the Caribbean family Planning Affiliation on 10 of those islands as well. The same year Clinton's Ten Island Challenged launched, Planned Parenthood Federation announced their plan to training youth leaders in Latin America, Africa and the U.S., as well as their desire to combat the vulnerability of youth to unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion. Why is this relevant? Because the Clintons have been working with Planned Parenthood since 1993 when Bill Clinton removed the ''gag order'' to secure ongoing funding for clinics performing abortions, and both have been training midwives and nurses to perform abortions in multiple countries, which all began in New York City.
Back to ICMEC: To understand the magnitude of ICMEC's reach, in a 2014 report for the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations pertaining to ''International Parental Child Abduction'' it states that ICMEC has trained law enforcement in 121 countries. They have reviewed laws in 200 countries and worked with parliaments in 100 countries to enact new law on child pornography. They built a global missing children's network to include 22 countries, established national centers in multiple countries, and created a regional center in Europe, serving 13 countries in the Balkan region.
In addition, they met with400 Arab leaders in Cairo to create an agreement on child protection. They alsopartnered with the Vatican, Mayo Clinic and Il Telefono Azzurro to create 'TheDeclaration of Rome' on children's rights. And finally, they entered intoformal partnerships with Interpol, and launched a Global Health Coalition ofpharmaceutical companies and health care institutions to address a publichealth crisis with child sexual abuse.
In2005, six years after the launch of ICMEC, it wasestimated that 600,000 to 800,000 humans were traffickedacross international borders each year, with 50% being minors, according tothe U.S. Department of State, and according to the International Labour Organization(ILO), ''global profits made from forced laborers exploited by privateenterprises or agents reach $43 billion every year, of which $31.6 billion was fromtrafficked victims.'' Nine years later, in2014, the (ILO) reported ''forced labor in the private economy generates$150 billion in illegal profits per year, three times more than previouslyestimated.''
All of this begs the question, if ICMEC is as all-powerful as they claim, and have taken all of the above steps to help prevent this worldwide epidemic, why then have the numbers of trafficked victims significantly increased since its inception in 1999 rather than decreased? When does ''at any moment'' go into effect exactly?
Follow The Money: Financial Connections to ICMECThe board of ICMEC (past and present), nearly all have a work history with big pharma, biotech, and banks. These folks have put together a fantastic itemized list of board members, a timeline with press releases linking to ICMEC, and donations. Full credit goes to them for compiling the financial information extracted below.
G¶ran Ando, served on the board for ICMEC, and worked for Novo Nordisk, UK Ltd., and Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. ' Novo Nordisk paid $1.7 million to Podesta Group between 2004-2012 ' Novo Nordisk donated between $50-100k to Clinton Foundation ' AstraZeneca PLC donated $100,000 '' $250,000 to Clinton Foundation ' AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP donated $50,000 '' $100,000 to Clinton Foundation
Mike DeNoma, is a former director of ICMEC and currently serves on the board of directors for ICMEC. He is also the senior advisor to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP, and has held high-ranking positions at Standard Chartered Plc / International Private Banking Business, and Citibank NA. ' Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP paid over $1.3 million in lobbying fees to the Podesta Group ' Standard Chartered Bank (more below) donated $1,000,001 '' $5,000,000 to Clinton Foundation ' James A. Kohlberg donated $50,001 '' $100,000 to Clinton Foundation
Victor Halberstadt, vice chairman of the board of directors on ICMEC, worked for The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Daimler-Chrysler. Interestingly, he was also a Trustee for the Population Council, New York. ' Daimler Trucks North America LLC donated $500,001 '' $1,000,000 to Clinton Foundation ' Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund donated $250,001 '' $500,000 to Clinton Foundation ' The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. donated $1,000,001 '' $5,000,000 to Clinton Foundation
Dr. Franz B. Humer, chair on the board of directors for ICMEC, with an extensive resume, including Roche Holdings AG, Citigroup, Diageo PLC, Genentech, Inc., and many more. ' Roche Group paid the Podesta Group over $1.5 million between 1998 '' 2006 ' Roche Holdings paid the Podesta Group $560,000 between 2007 '' 2009 ' Citigroup Inc. paid the Podesta Group $100,000 in 2001 ' Diageo PLC paid the Podesta Group over $1.3 million between 2010 '' 2016 ' Genentech, Inc. donated $10,001 '' $25,000 to Clinton Foundation ' Citi Foundation donated $1,000,001 '' $5,000,000 to Clinton Foundation ' Citigroup Inc. donated $500,001 '' $1,000,000 to Clinton Foundation ' Diageo PLC donated $50,001 '' $100,000 to Clinton Foundation
Dr. Raymond F. Schinazi, is a former director of ICMEC and currently serves on the board of directors for ICMEC. He founded several pharmaceutical companies, including Pharmasset, Inc. which he sold to Gilead Sciences for $11 billion in 2012. ' Gilead Sciences, Inc. donated $100,001 '' $250,000 to Clinton Foundation
Per-OlofLoof, former director of ICMEC and currently serves on the board of directorsfor ICMEC.' Donated $2,700 to Hillary For America in 2016
Podesta Group lobbying fees can be found here from above financials. Here is an archived version as well.
The Clinton Foundation donors list, with an archived version as well.
On April 9, 2019 Standard Chartered Bank, big donor to Clinton Foundation, admitted to illegally processing transactions in violation of Iranian sanctions and agreed to pay more than $1 billion. The criminal conspiracy went on from 2007 '' 2011, and resulted in SCB process roughly 9,500 financial transactions worth approximately $240 million through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of Iranian entities.
Beginning to get the picture of who runs the show, and who collects the dough? This begs the question '' is ICMEC about saving children or making money? More importantly, what is being exchanged for all of this money?
Global Modern Day Slavery Directory '' A Clinton Global InitiativeIn addition to all of the above involvement with human trafficking, the Clinton Global Initiative partnered with the Polaris Project in 2009, to build an anti-trafficking approach, replicable worldwide. The Polaris Project operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) and runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Polaris is based out of D.C. and is funded in part by the Department of Health and Human Services. Together, they created a ''Global Modern Day Slavery'' database of organizations across the globe to monitor human trafficking, in 2014. They claim it is the most comprehensive database of modern day slavery organizations ever compiled for the public, and as noted on the map above, there are 199 countries in this database.
They state ''By enabling actorsin the anti-human trafficking field to better locate, identify, and connectwith each other, the tool will help connect victims of human trafficking andat-risk populations to the help they need.''
When they began this project in 2014, they had 200 organizations in the database. There are now 2936 organizations and hotlines working on human trafficking and forced labor. There are 26 in D.C. alone. If one has done any research on human trafficking, there is a lot of telling information to be garnered from this database. It's definitely one heck of a network.
The Global Modern Day Slavery Directory has also partnered with Liberty Asia's Freedom Collaborative, an online, password-protected platform for anti-trafficking ''stakeholders'' that offers a newsfeed updated by users, a global community of organizations and research, and programmatic and legal resources. USAID and UNDP are just two of Freedom Collaborative's partners.
Liberty Asia also partnered with La Strada International and the Polaris Project in 2013 to launch an alliance of human trafficking hotlines around the world. Google funded this effort with $3 million dollars after determining that most illegal groups were involved in human trafficking in some way. Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, said that there wasn't great coordination between all of the hotlines.
''If you call one hotline in one company, it generates data locally, but there is no way to correlate data with a hotline in another country,'' said Cohen. ''[So we thought]: can you integrate all these hotlines so it doesn't matter which one you call? You need an integrated ecosystem to make the right response.''
KEY FACTS' The Polaris Project is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Members are by invite only and donate a minimum of $15,000 annually.
' Catherine A. McLean is the Chairperson for the Board of Directors at Polaris. McLean was the senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in 2008.
' SteveRosenthal, on the Board of Directors, served as Associate Deputy Secretary ofthe US Department of Labor during the Clinton administration.
' It's also important to remember that the Clinton Global Initiative was never formally setup correctly and is not a legal entity.
Pedophile Cover-Up of U.S. Ambassador While Hillary Clinton Was Secretary of StateMore questions are raised, when looking back to the State Department cover-up of pedophilia that plagued the MSM when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. As the New York Post CBS, and NBC news reported in June, 2013, they had obtained documents tied to ongoing investigations involving eight cases of alleged misconduct by state department workers, contractors, and a United States ambassador, all of which occurred during Hillary Clinton's tenure. An internal Inspector General memo from October, 2012 reported the ambassador under investigation ''routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from BOTH prostitutes and minor CHILDREN.'' The report also states that a high-ranking official at the State Department directed investigators to ''cease the investigations''. Here's a 3-min News clip from NBC:
Former New York Congressman Anthony WeinerFormer New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, husband of Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff when she was secretary of state, and Vice Chair of Hillary's 2016 Campaign for President, recently completed serving prison time for sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Weiner's laptop contained 340,000 emails, with a significant amount of them being between Hillary and Huma. On page 294 of the IG report, it states: Initial analysis of laptop '' thousands emails, Hillary Clinton & Foundation, crime against children.
The FBI also released a document indicating ''Anthony Weiner; Producers of Child Pornography'' with a blanked out box below it. Note that ''producers'' is plural. They also stated that a significant number of the 340,000 emails were between Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton.
In the June 2018, Office of the Inspector General 568-page report reviewing the various actions by the FBI and DOJ in advance of the 2016 election, they state ''In September 2016, the FBI's New York Field Office (NYO) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) began investigating former Congressman Anthony Weiner for his online relationship with a minor. A federal search warrant was obtained on September 26, 2016, for Weiner's iPhone, iPad, and laptop computer. The FBI obtained these devices the same day. The search warrant authorized the government to search for evidence relating to the following crimes: transmitting obscene material to a minor, sexual exploitation of children, and activities related to child pornography.
On page 303 of this report, the case agent, being the only one that had the authority to release the laptop, stated his concerns over no one contacting him:
The crickets I was hearing was really making me uncomfortable because something was going to come crashing down'....And my understanding, which is uninformed because'...I didn't work the Hillary Clinton matter. My understanding at the time was I am telling you people I have private Hillary Clinton emails, number one, and BlackBerry messages, number two. I'm telling you that we have potentially 10 times the volume that Director Comey said we had on the record. Why isn't anybody here? Like, if I'm the supervisor of any CI squad in Seattle and I hear about this, I'm getting on with headquarters and saying, hey, some agent working child porn here may have [Hillary Clinton] emails. Get your ass on the phone, call [the case agent], and get a copy of that drive, because that's how you should be. And that nobody reached out to me within, like, that night, I still to this day, I don't understand what the hell went wrong.
Anthony Weiner was released from prison on February 17, 2019 and sent to a halfway house in Brooklyn, New York. Huma Abedin still works side-by-side with Hillary Clinton on her illegally-run 'Onward Together' 501(c)(4) political organization. Til this day, what is on that laptop, remains a mystery.
NXIVMNXIVM is often referred to asa ''sex cult,'' and with good reason. It is a dark pyramid scheme that has beenaround for decades, and includes human trafficking, forced sex and slave labor,wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, blackmail, visa fraud, child sextrafficking, branding women's bodies, and racketeering. The leaders arewell-connected, backed by millions, and have an army of lawyers. Though, theylike to refer to themselves as an executive and group-awareness trainingorganization, spanning 23 states.
The leaders were indicted in2018, with potential additional indictments still on the table. This case isexplosive and expanding, with new evidence and new plea deals emerging.
Clare Bronfman, Seagram's Heiress '' BankrollerAllison Mack, Smallville Actress '' RecruiterKeith Raniere, Leader and Co-founderNancy Salzman, President and Co-founderLauren Salzman, High-Ranking MemberKathy Russell, Accountant
It's leader, Keith Raniere, also operates a secret society called DOS, known as ''The Vow.'' According to a report in Epoch Times, prosecutors said the society was created around 2015, and is purported to be an acronym for the Latin phrase ''dominus obsequious sororium,'' which loosely translates to ''master over the slave women.''
Court documents reflect that DOS operates as a pyramid, in which Raniere is at the top, as the highest master. All of the participants are women, most of which are recruited from within NXIVM, and there are levels of ''slaves'' headed by ''masters.'' When recruiting, masters would inform their prospective slave that they would need to provide ''collateral,'' to ensure the slave would keep what she was about to learn a secret. The collateral included sexually explicit photographs, videos stating damning information about themselves or someone close to them, or letters with damning accusations and assigning rights to certain assets. The ''slaves'' had to provide collateral on an ongoing basis, which was kept in a safe.
A Superseding Incitement Reflects Child Sex Abuse:
Raniere, 58, is accused of having a child ''engage in sexuallyexplicit conduct for the purpose of producing one or more visual depictions ofsuch conduct, which visual depictions were produced and transmitted.''
His co-defendants''were aware of and facilitated Raniere's sexual relationships with two underagevictims: (1) a fifteen-year-old girl who wasemployed by Nancy Salzman and who '' ten years later '' became Raniere'sfirst-line 'slave' in DOS.''
Nancy Salzman Pleaded Guilty to RacketeeringFormer psychiatric nurse Nancy Salzman, co-founder and president of NXIVM, pleaded guilty on March 12, 2019 to one count of racketeering, and admitted to participating in a widespread criminal enterprise. She also confessed to stealing email passwords of NXIVM enemies and altering tapes before turning them over for use in a lawsuit.
Lauren Salzman Admitted to Enslaving a Woman for 2 YearsIn the final days of March 2019, Lauren Salzman quietly pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, and on April 2nd admitted in court that she had harbored her own personal slave from March 2010 through April 2012, by keeping her imprisoned in a room and threatening her with deportation back to Mexico. She also admitted to being a member of DOS, Raniere's secret society.
Clare Bronfman Fainted When Finding Out Attorneys Mark Geragos & Michael Avenatti Were Indicted for Extortion of NikeIn the midst of this bombshell, on March 27, 2019 Clare Bronfman fainted in the court room after being asked if she had secretly retained lawyer Michael Avenatti. In a recent indictment, one of Bronfman's attorneys, Mark Geragos was identified as a co-conspirator with Michael Avenatti to extort $20 million from Nike. Avenatti was arrested just two days before Bronfman's court appearance. Then, on April 11, 2019, Avenatti was indicted on 36 counts of fraud and embezzlement.
Allison Mack Pleaded Guilty to RacketeeringFast forward to April 8, 2019 and Smallville actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering charges for manipulating women into becoming sex slaves for their leader, Keith Raniere. Her original pending counts on court documents indicated sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion.
Howbig is NXIVM, and how far is their reach? This is a list of their affiliations,documented in court records.
How Do These Individuals Connect with The Clintons?Clare Bronfman, Seagram's Heiress, her sister Sara Bronfman, and NXIVM's Nancy Salzman were all members of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is by ''invite only.'' What does this mean? It means, that they paid the Clintons a minimum of $15,000 in annual donor fees in order to be involved with their projects and initiatives, to gain contracts and business. Based on evidence thus far, it would be easy to speculate the nefarious pay-to-play operations that took place with NXIVM's group and Clintons working on any projects together. The fact that they all ran in similar circles, including NXIVM hosting seminars and partying on Richard Branson's Necker island, doesn't bode well either. Whereas Branson maintains he was not aware of these events on his island, there are cozy photos of him and Clare's sister Sara Bronfman, indicating he was close with the family.
The Clintons have been close with the Bronfman family for quite some time, and Hillary Clinton spoke at Clare's father Edgar Bronfman's funeral in 2013. Edgar received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1999. He was also a donor to the Clintons and their foundation.
In addition to Clare and Sara Bronfman being members of Clinton Global Initiative, NXIVM was a big donor to Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential run. According to the New York Post, federal records show that executives, top associates, and family members of NXIVM contributed $29,900 to Hillary's 2008 campaign.
NXIVM VIP Tables at Clinton Foundation '' Joined by Kirsten GillibrandIt was recently reported by Fox News, court documents reveal that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's father worked for NXIVM. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate's father, Doug Rutnik, worked as a lobbyist for NXIVM for four months in 2004 at a rate of $25,000 per month. Her father got her step-mother into being a member of NXIVM. Apparently Rutnik attempted to distance himself from the group, at which point NXIVM sued him. Later, Clare Bronfman donated money to Kirsten Gillibrand, and she accepted it.
The Frank Report tells a more in-depth story about Gillibrand's stepmother. They allege that Doug Rutnik asked Gwenn Bellcourt, Gillibrand's cousin, who later became her stepmother, to take a 5-day intensive to determine if NXIVM needed a license as an education institution. This all transpired while Rutnik was working for NXIVM. Bellcourt was taken with NXIVM, and immediately targeted by its leaders Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman, for inclusion in the cult. Raniere wanted to her to become NXIVM's inside attorney. Raniere decided they no longer needed Rutnik, at which time NXIVM attempted to sue Rutnik to retrieve the $100,000 they had paid out to him. It was settled out of court and Rutnik paid the $100,000. He later managed to get Bellcourt out of the cult and married her.
According to a report in Big League Politics, eyewitness John Tighe describes a 2006 Hillary Clinton fundraiser, that entailed Gillibrand sitting at a NXIVM table. He stated, ''Gillibrand sat with one of the front tables. Yeah the three front VIP tables were all bought by NXIVM and she was sitting with Nancy Salzman.''
Kirsten Gillibrand made the claim in 2017 that she had never heard of NXIVM until she read about them in the newspaper.
The Podesta BrothersJohnPodesta, Former WhiteHouse Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, Former Counselor to Barack Obama, andFormer Campaign Chairman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign
TonyPodesta, Bigtime DC Lobbyistand founder of the Podesta Group
John and Tony are very closewith the Clintons, have worked together for decades, and even grew up in the Chicagoarea just 14-minutes away from each other '' the Podesta's in Jefferson Park,and Hillary Rodham Clinton in Park Ridge, IL.
Though the Podesta brothershave yet to be charged with crimes against children, Tony Podesta was indictedon other charges documented below. Due to some very disconcerting materialevidence, and the fact that they are very close with the Clintons, they arebeing included in this report.
JOHN PODESTAIn John's office, at then Hillary Clinton's Brooklyn campaign headquarters, he had an oil painting on loan from his brother Tony. It shows two men holding knives and forks, leaning over a dining room table, where a man in a suit lay. When asked about this painting by Time Magazine, John said, ''it's better to be the guy with the fork than the guy on the table.'' This isn't a painting depicting surgery, it is depicting cannibalism.
John has been at the center of Pizzagate ever since Wikileaks released his emails back in 2016. Rolling Stone magazine would have everyone believe that ''Russian hackers'' stole the emails from John and sent them off to Wikileaks for release. They, like all other mainstream media sources have claimed that Pizzagate is a deranged conspiracy theory, and made Comet Ping Pong the central point of the pizza-pedophilia theory.
Yet, Pizzagate actually dates back decades prior to the release of those emails, and was only recently labeled as ''Pizzagate.'' Without going in-depth into Pizzagate, as that would be an entirely separate article in itself, let's just limit this to two facts we do know with 100% validation. 1) Whereas John Podesta denies being involved with children in a sexual manner, at no point does he ever address or explain the suspicious language in his emails. 2) An undercover officer setup a sting on Craigslist because Stephen Salamak, a New Jersey corrections officer had put out a message looking for women and moms ''that are into cheese pizza,'' '' a reference to child pornography. This is all stated in the indictment. The man was indicted, numerous child pornography photos were found on his computer, and on July 27, 2018 he filed a guilty plea with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.
The fact is, whether or not it can be proven that John is involved with ''Pizzagate,'' '' pizza, sex, and pedophilia have gone hand-in-hand for many years, it is well-known, and it is well-documented. Heck, Al Vernacchio, a sex education teacher at a Quaker school in Pennsylvania, has been teaching children about pornography and sex, utilizing pizza terms since 1999. In fact, it's been such a hit, he went on TED to break it all down for everyone in 2012. So for 20 years, pizza/food terms have been used as ''sex talk'' quite openly, if one does their research. It all makes the ''Podesta emails'' surrounding food terms and children just a bit more curious.
But hey, if that doesn't float your boat, you can always stroll on over to the ''sexy, Instagram-baiting museum of pizza in NYC'' packed with a 29-room funhouse, and promoted with photos of folks strapped up in leather, cuffs, chains, and well '' not much else, while tonguing down pizza, or better yet '' holding a slice over their genitals. Pizza sex talk indeed. But, nothing to see here. It's been code for a long time folks. It would take the average person to find sexual connections to pizza throughout Hollywood, used in advertising, promoted through campaigns, and certainly on the dark web '' roughly 10 minutes, to draw the conclusion that sex and pizza have been linked together for decades. The only thing that evolved was the label itself '' ''Pizzagate.''
Therefore, to make the claim that Pizzagate doesn't exist, with their entire focus being on ''Comet Ping Pong,'' is illegitimate, ignorant, and irresponsible reporting. They intentionally focus on the label, as opposed to the actual facts that child pedophiles and child sex trafficking has been rampant since the beginning of time, and has gotten progressively worse over the years, especially within the church. Perhaps sticking with the label ''Pedogate'' makes it harder for them to try to control the narrative. Food for thought.
TONY PODESTATony Podesta, longtime lobbyist in DC, and founder of the Podesta Group, was indicted in 2017 for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Shortly thereafter, the Podesta Group closed up shop. Then, in July 2018, according to Tucker Carlson, Special Counsel Robert Mueller offered Tony Podesta immunity to testify against Paul Manafort, who had worked with the Podesta Group in a public relations campaign for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, founded by three senior members of the pro-Russia Party of Regions '' and who had been indicted on bank and tax fraud charges. Paul Manafort was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison. Meanwhile, Tony seems to have skated into the wind, without any confirmation as to whether an immunity agreement actually took place.
A Sampling of Tony Podesta's Art Collection of ChildrenTony Podesta's gifts to the Katzen
In addition to Tony's own collection of disturbing art surrounding children, his manager, as well as artists they bring into their exhibits, are equally disturbing. One such exhibit included artwork by ArtAngel, founded by Roger Took, a convicted pedophile in the worst degree imaginable.
Some refer to Tony as a ''provocativeartist,'' while others find the idea of children being clothless and bound to beincredibly disturbing.
The Podesta brothers are close friends with Marina Ambramovic, a Serbian performance artist and film producer who is best known for her provocative, and to some '' disturbing, art exhibitions and spirit cooking parties. Ambramovic's book ''Spirit Cooking with Essential Aphrodisiac Recipes'' was released in 1996, utilizing ingredients such as fresh sperm milk, breast milk, and fresh morning urine. The spirit cooking festivities typically include feasting on replicas of full-size bodies with edible ingredients that give the effects of oozing blood and tissue. It seems to be a Hollywood hit.
In one exhibit she was preparing, she painted the words in what appears to be actual blood, onto a wall, stating ''With a sharp knife, cut deeply into the middle finger of your left hand. Eat the pain.'' On another wall she painted the words, ''Fresh morning urine sprinkle over nightmare dreams.''
In an email from June 2015, Marina emailed Tony about attending a spirit cooking dinner at her place, and asked if his brother would be joining him, signed ''all my love, Marina.''
The Podesta Group and Amber Ready, Inc.In May 2009, Amber Ready, Inc., selected the Podesta Group as their agency of record to be their PR company, covering all media relations, and building a campaign to promote Amber Ready's cell phone technology. The program enables parents to create, store and lock their children's Alert profiles in parent's wireless phones so that if a child goes missing, police can transmit the Alert Profiles in minutes via Amber Alert. Then-Principle of the Podesta Group Ed Rothschild, stated ''Working with AMBER Ready to help inspire nationwide support for their innovative child safety solution should prove to be very exciting and gratifying.''
That is a lot of data on children being stored in accessible cell phones.
Laura SilsbyProbably one of the mostwell-known names that is talked about, is convictedchild trafficker Laura Silsby. Here are the facts:
' On January 29, 2010, Laura Silsby was arrested at the Haitian border for trying to smuggle 33 children out of Haiti, allegedly into an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, without documentation.
' Silsby was with a team of 9other members, all of which were from America, and 7 of the 10 were fromCentral Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho.
' Silsby is the former director of The New Life Children's Refuge, which is documented in a Wikileaks email that indicates a plan to ''rescue orphans from Port au Prince, Haiti,'' in addition to requesting donations.
' Jorge Torres, the lawyer Silsby retained after her arrest, was arrested in connection with an international smuggling ring that trafficked children and women from Central American and Haiti into the United States. He was a fugitive from justice when he was indicted in 2003 on charges of conspiring to smuggle aliens from Central America into the United States through Canada in 2002. He was hiding out in Canada under the name ''George Simard'' after a 1999 bank fraud conviction. The U.S. government was unable to locate him in 2003, but they tracked him once he showed up in the media, representing the Laura Silsby case, and going under the assumed name ''Jorge Torres Puello.'' He was extradited, plead guilty, and was sentenced on alien smuggling charges, to serve 3-years and 1-month in prison.
At that time, Jorge Torres was wanted by four countries in connection with charges including sex trafficking of girls and women, and making counterfeit documents and violating parole. He was wanted in El Salvador for bringing women and girls from Central America and the Caribbean into El Salvador and luring them into prostitution. Jorge's wife was arrested for holding girls captive in a Nicaraguan house, and they had documentation indicating that they may have had protection from government officials.
' All of the Americans were released with exception of the leader Laura Silsby, who they wanted to further question about the children, as well as her connection to Jorge Torres Puello.
' On February 7, 2010, Bill Clinton, then-special envoy for the United Nations, suddenly took up an interest in this case, intervened and struck a diplomatic deal for the release of the 9 American missionaries that were in a jail on child abduction charges, except Laura Silsby who the judge still had questions for.
' Just two days after Bill's intervention, Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, and several others were communicating in an email thread about USG's options regarding the 10 Amcits, only the page containing the ''options'' is ''denied'' from being seen. In a cryptic message at the bottom, it states, ''Cheryl asked for a memo from L for S BY TOMW AM outlining S's options re the Amcits. Her questions:''
' Laura Silsby's charges were miraculously reduced to ''arranging irregular travel,'' which got her a 6-month prison sentence in Haiti. On May 17, she was found guilty and sentenced to the time served in jail prior to the trial.
' Silsby returned to Idaho where she married in 2015, and took the last name Gayler. She became the Vice President of Marketing for AlertSense who works with the federal government on FEMA's Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS), including the Amber Alerts when kidnappings occur.
Coincidentally, in May 2009, Amber Ready, Inc., selected the Podesta Group as their agency of record to be their PR company, covering all media relations, and building a campaign to promote Amber Ready's cell phone technology. The program enables parents to create, store and lock their children's Alert profiles in parent's wireless phones so that if a child goes missing, police can transmit the Alert Profiles in minutes via Amber Alert. Then-Principle of the Podesta Group Ed Rothschild, stated ''Working with AMBER Ready to help inspire nationwide support for their innovative child safety solution should prove to be very exciting and gratifying.''
A Quick Recap to Wrap This 2009 Group TogetherClinton Global Initiative (CGI) stated that since 2009 they have ''placed a particular focus'' on combatting human trafficking. The Polaris Project and Free the Slaves are BOTH CGI members. As indicated above under the NXIVM section, members of the Clinton Global Initiative are by invite only, and are required to give minimum donations of $15,000 annually.
Alsoin 2009, is when the Podesta Grouppartnered with Amber Ready, Inc., which ultimately creates a database ofinformation on children across the globe, stored in cell phones, which arehighly accessible, especially when technology is designed to be accessed.
Finally,Laura Silsby had been planning hertrip to Haiti and working on developing her ''orphanage'' in 2009, eventuallymaking her way to Haiti in January 2010, when she was arrested for trafficking33 children, and who's lawyer was extradited on charges of smuggling women andchildren. Despite all of this, she managed to get a job at a company that workswith the Federal Government in direct relation with Amber Alert. Curious.
Bill and Hillary Clinton came to the rescue of Laura Silsby.
Wealthy Hedge Fund Manager Jeffrey EpsteinJeffreyEpstein, served 13 months in prison and home detention after agreeing to anillegally carried out plea deal back in 2008, in which Epstein admitted tosoliciting an underage girl for prostitution. This story is about much morethan just one underage girl '' in fact, there were 30.
Epstein was accused by more than 30 girls, most between the age of 13 and 16, of being lured to his mansion for sex acts. According to the Miami Herald, court and police records show that he then used those same girls to recruit more girls over a period of several years.
This 2008 plea deal gave Epstein and anuntold number of others who weren't named, immunity from federalprosecution. This non-prosecution agreement is now a bigfocus of the Justice Department's investigation.
On February 22, 2019 a federal judge ruled that the deal made back in2008 was illegal because former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta kept itfrom Epstein's victims, which is in violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act.They concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused. In a 33-pageopinion, Judge Marra said: ''prosecutorsnot only violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act by not informing the victims,they also misled the girls into believing that the FBI's sex trafficking caseagainst Epstein was still ongoing '-- when in fact, prosecutors had secretlyclosed it after sealing the plea bargain from the public record. Epstein workedin concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexualgratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.''
On March 11, 2019, a federal court of appeals in New York gavemultimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his former partner Ghislaine Maxwell untilMarch 19th to establish good cause as to why the documents fromtheir prior case should remain sealed. If they fail to do so, the summaryjudgement and supporting documents will be made public. The court also reserveda ruling on additional documents in the civil case, which includes discoverymaterials.
On March 19, 2019 two anonymous individuals filed complaints objecting to the unsealing of the court documents, over privacy issues and fear of being publicly identified as third parties.
Connections to The Clintons:
' Hillary Clinton received a $50,000 political donation from Epstein in2006 while he was under indictment for trafficking children for sex.
' Epstein routed $25,000 from HSBC Swiss accounts directly to theClinton Foundation in 2006.
' In a23-page letter, written by Epstein's lawyers Alan Dershowitz and GeraldLefcourt in July 2007, to negotiate a plea deal before being tried for sextrafficking underage girls from his Palm Beach, Fla base to his 72-acre island LittleSt James in the Caribbean, they stated his close friendship with Bill Clintonand claimed that he helped start the Clinton Global Initiative. It stated, ''Mr. Epstein waspart of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative, whichis described as a project 'bringing together a community of global leaders todevise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressingchallenges.'' Thus far, Jeffrey Epstein, Nancy Salzman, and Clare Bronfman haveall been convicted, and coincidentally, were all involved with the ClintonGlobal Initiative, two of whom had islands in the Caribbean. As noted above,the plea deal worked.
'Flights logs show Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's private plane ''Lolita Express''at least 26 times, and ditched his Secret Service detail for at least five ofthe flights.
' Epstein hosted a trip to Africa in 2002, on his private plane, for the Clinton Global Initiative's anti-AIDS mission. Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and other celebrities were all aboard.
Actor Kevin SpaceyIn December 2018, Kevin Spacey was charged with sexual assault of a teenager at a bar in Nantucket, Massachusetts, that occurred late on July 7 into July 8, 2016. This followed on another allegation by actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed Spacey made sexual advances toward him in 1986 when he was 14-years-old and Spacey was 26. At the same time he offered a public apology to Rapp, he also came out for the first time, declaring himself a gay man. CNN, of all media outlets, did a little hit piece on Spacey about coming out during an apology.
Another case of sexual battery accusations that took place in 1992, was dropped last September due to California's statute of limitations. However, there are court documents in pacer on another ongoing case that was filed on January 31, 2019 in California, whereby the plaintiff, a massage therapist listed as ''John Doe,'' alleges repeated sexual assault and battery by Spacey while falsely imprisoning plaintiff.
UK police are alsoinvestigating several allegations from when he served as artistic director atLondon's Old Vic Theatre.
In December, Spacey took to YouTube and posted a bizarre video, in which he was in his ''House of Cards'' character, while seemingly, both denying and divulging a mix of information, such as this:
''Of coursesome believed everything. They're just waiting with bated breath to hear meconfess it all. They're going to say I'm being disrespectful, not playing bythe rules,'' he adds. ''Like I ever played by anyone's rules before. Inever did. And you loved it.''
According to the Herald News, the pending case in court regarding the teenager in the bar, in which Spacey was brought up on charges, is the first case that has resulted in criminal charges. It is expected to go to trial in the fall. Police reports indicate that the teen told investigators that Spacey kept bringing the teen drinks, repeatedly invited him back to his home, and unzipped the teen's pants and rubbed his penis over his underwear as they stood in a crowded area of the bar. Spacey has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men, in which some of them were teens at the time of the alleged incidents. According to ABC Action News, the criminal complaint indicates that investigators have video of Spacey sexually assaulting the 18-year-old boy.
Spacey apparently owns a $7 million dollar home in Nantucket, where the island is buzzing with rumors about Spacey and other alleged victims.
Connections to The Clintons' The New York Times published an article in 2015 about Spacey's ''bromance'' with Bill Clinton. At the 10th anniversary celebration of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Spacey stated, ''we, in fact, have spent so much time together that I sometimes I even become him.'' According to NYT, Spacey first met Bill Clinton in the White House during his first term, kept in touch, grew closer, and continued their talks a couple times a month. There is even a photo of Spacey and Clinton hanging on the wall in ''House of Cards,'' from one of their dinners. They also share a photo of Spacey and Clinton together after a performance of ''The Iceman Cometh'' from 1999, in addition to a photo of the pair at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002.
' After Clinton left office,Spacey began working with Bill on some of the Clinton Foundation's initiatives.
' In 2002, Kevin Spacey flew to Africa with Bill Clinton, on Jeffrey Epstein's plane, for a 5-day CGI AIDS mission.
' In 2013 Bill Clinton revealed he was an ardent admirer of ''House of Cards''.
' Spacey stated to David Letterman that he is pals with Bill Clinton, when describing their visit to Starbucks in 2014.
Joel A. Getz, Independent Director of Chain of Private Kindergartens in Chinaphoto: YaleGetz, a former Clinton Foundation official, is an independent director of RYB Education, who operates 80 kindergartens and has an additional 175 franchised locations across 130 cities in China. In November, 2017 China launched a nationwide investigation into the chain of schools following claims of abuse at multiple locations. Parents had reported at least 8 toddlers were forced to take white pills and some sort of brown syrup by the teachers, needle marks were found on their bodies, and the children were stripped naked and forced to either stand or locked in dark rooms. Medical examinations confirmed the injuries were from needles, and China's Xinhua news agency reported that children were also sexually molested.
One of the parents came forward and saidthat her son was made to strip naked after being injected with brown syrup, thenexamined by a naked male adult, in what was described as sexual intercourse.The mother requested to see closed circuit footage from the school, but theydenied her. Another parent said that the kids were saying the teachers wouldgive them the white pill and tell them it was ''a secret'' and to call it ajellybean rather than a pill, and it was a reward. One father said that hischild had taken two white pills after lunch and then fell asleep.
The kindergarten was located next to alarge military base, and speculation began that men from the base may have beensexually abusing the children, since the director's husband was previously anofficial at the base. They were unable to prove this theory.
Abuse had happened at other kindergartensin this chain as well. Back in October 2016 two teachers from an RYBkindergarten in northeast Julin province were sentenced to 34 months in prisonfor jabbing children in their mouths, head, and buttocks with needles.
All of the directors of RYB are Chinese, with the exception of Joel Getz. He is also listed as a member of the Audit Committee and the Compensation Committee. It seems quite odd that an associate dean at Yale would be on the board of directors of a Chinese kindergarten chain.
Prior to this, he served as the director of development for the William J. Clinton Foundation in New York and was President of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. According to his Yale bio, when working for the Clintons, he was ''instrumental in creating a formal development operation for the Clinton Foundation, which raised in excess of $135 million annually.''
Interestingly, when Getz was on the board of advisors for the Mayor's Fund, film producer Harvey Weinstein was also on the board. Weinstein is currently facing rape charges in an ongoing court case. Another interesting side note: Daisy Soros, George Soros's sister-in-law was also on the board. The Mayor's Fund is no joke. A lot of big organizations and foundations are donors, including George Soros. In 2017, they took in over $21 million in grants and contributions, and in 2016 they cleared over $24 million.
Harold H.L. Moody
Harold Moody worked for Pulaski County Youth Services in Little Rock, AR, where he was arrested on November 5, 2018 for pornography charges involving live streaming chat rooms where infants were being raped. Clinton Health Matters Initiative and its partners, were working with Pulaski County Youth Services from 2012 '' 2017. In addition, he was a communications director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas for a year-and-a-half, and prior to that, he was chairman of the Pulaski Democratic Party for two years. Some of Moody's friends and associates include Chad Griffin who is head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and Jason Wiest co-host of The Big Gay Radio Show and former deputy director of communications at the office of Gov. Mike Beebe, as shown in a video clip Harold Moody posted to his facebook page, along with hundreds of photos with politicians at political events.
George NaderGeorge Nader is a Middle East analyst and convicted pedophile who worked for the Clinton administration and received a congressional tribute for his work on his magazine, after an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton. Some may be familiar with his name, because he was questioned in the Mueller probe for consulting with the Trump administration.
George Nader was born in Lebanon, and came to the U.S. as a teenager. In 1981, he started a company and magazine by the name of International Insight Inc., and the magazine later became ''Middle East Insight.'' Before long, the magazine featured original interviews with senators John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, then-Senator Joe Biden, as well as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as Middle Eastern leaders, including Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, and others.
During the ClintonAdministration (1993''2001), Nader tried to broker an Israeli-Syrian peaceagreement, and worked with Est(C)e Lauder heir Ronald Lauder. He served as aninformal envoy to Syria for the Clinton administration and worked as anegotiator to help free U.S. hostages in Lebanon.
George Nader had an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton, that was published in the November''December 1995 issue, and saved in congressional records.
Just four months later, in April 1996, a tribute was made to Nader and his magazine in a congressional report. The report also makes clear of his access to key political and business leaders throughout the Middle East.
According to court records, Nader was indicted in 1985 for importing child pornography from the Netherlands, containing an eight-mm movie film, four magazines and one advertisement for another film, in addition to a magazine title ''Boy No. 53'' and ''Sweet Little Sixteen, Volume 3, No. 8,'' along with two pictures. The material contained nude boys, as well as nude boys engage in a variety of sexual acts.
A U.S. Customs inspectoropened the package because he felt he had reasonable grounds to suspect theenclosed material was being imported into the U.S. contrary to law. The casewas later dismissed when more child pornography evidence was seized fromNader's home, was thrown out based on procedural grounds.
In 1991, Nader was caught at Dulles airport in Washington, DC, transporting videos of underage boys in sex acts, dated 1990. He was convicted and sentenced to six months at a halfway house in Maryland, by a federal court in Northern Virginia, on a felony charge for transporting sexually explicit materials in foreign commerce. His case was sealed, and he was not placed on the sex offender's registry because Virginia required two or more convictions.
In the early 2000s, he up and left his Washington apartment and completely vanished. His website went offline and his business was dissolved. At some point in 2003 he resurfaced to take a couple to court who had purchased his apartment through foreclosure, while he was gone.
In May 2003, Nader was sentenced to a one-year prison term for sexually abusing 10 young boys between 1999 and 2002, in Prague. He was convicted of moral corruption of minors, sexual abuse and impairing morals. He often offered money, jewelry, cellphone and such, as accommodations for sexual services. In one of the cases, he had requested oral sex from a 14-year-old boy in a room at the Hilton Hotel in Prague. Nader proceeded to masturbate in front of the boy, after the boy had refused.
He was expelled from the Czech Republic after his release. Being as he returned to Washington in 2003 to reclaim his apartment, it would seem he didn't serve the full-year prison sentence.
The VerdictOn March 13, 2019, The Washington Post published an article in regard to the transcripts released on former FBI lawyer Lisa Page from the probe into how federal law enforcement agencies conducted the Trump and Clinton investigations. Former FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were both assigned to these investigations, were having an affair, and had exchanged numerous bias texts against Donald Trump. Page clarified this by stressing that senior bureau officials were also expressing anti-Clinton animus, and stated ''many of us in law enforcement dislike the subject of our investigations. We are not keen on pedophiles and fraudsters and spies and human traffickers. That is fine. What would be impermissible is to take that harsh language and to act in some way that was illegal or against the rules. And we don't do it.''
The question on everyone's mind '' are Bill and Hillary Clinton childtraffickers?
What would be their motive? Money is certainly a driving motivator for the Clintons, and it's a $150 billion dollar industry. They most definitely have worldwide connections to pull off operations for child sex trafficking, organ harvesting, or slave labor. Does this alone make them guilty? Are they themselves pedophiles like many of their convicted friends, or are they just okay with that behavior? Why is it that they seem to continually surround themselves with corrupt individuals, some even former lawmakers, as well as other sexual predators, and some under question for murder.
Does anything go with the Clintons? Why are they working with Branson, Gates, Soros, Bezos, numerous organizations and foundations, across 26 islands in the Caribbean to build up ''tourism'' and focus on sustainable infrastructure, such as hotel resorts. Polaris points out that hotels are a venue for traffickers, with 1,434 cases of human trafficking in hotels having been reported back in 2007. Most of the Caribbean islands are either tier 2 or tier 3 for human trafficking.
What It Boils Down To
Option A. They had absolutely no clue that any of these people they spent a great deal amount of time with, both personally and through business, were involved in crimes against children. All of the work they have done for children is about the children, not the money. This is a hard sell given all of the evidence above.
Option B. Theyturned a blind eye, despite being aware. A highly unlikely option. If anything,the Clintons would use this information to extort those people. And in doingso, would indicate their lack of concern for children, making all of their saidcauses a lie.
Option C. They createdbills, instilled laws, built relationships, worldwide databases, countless initiatives,partnerships, and global hotlines '' all with direct access to, and knowledge of,children and their whereabouts. In both politics and business they are known asthe procurement specialists, often using this language in their press releases.The evidence is piling up against the Clintons. It's becoming more and more difficultto rationalize all of their choices, relationships, and nefarious dealings, away.
There will come a day when the light will brightly shine on all of this, when investigations into the Clintons wrap up, and truth be unveiled. Until then, pray for the children in this world '' for this battle we fight day and night '' is for them.
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Climate activists are "nearly run over" trying to stop coal-laden freight train
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 06:31
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 "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.
The 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.
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."
A 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 Thunberg, 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.
Vegan couple who fed children only raw fruit and veg charged with murder after baby dies from starvation
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 06:30
(C) NBC2 Couple's other three children were also extremely malnourished, according to reports
A vegan couple who fed their children only raw fruits and vegetables have been charged with murder after their son allegedly died of starvation.
The Florida couple, Ryan Patrick O'Leary, 30, and Sheila O'Leary, 35, told police they only fed their children on a diet of raw fruit and vegetables. On Wednesday, a Lee County Grand Jury indicted the couple.
They are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect after their 18-month-old son starved to death, according to authorities.
According to a Cape Coral police report, the child weighed only 17 pounds (8 kilograms), which experts say is in line with what a seven-month-old should weigh.
The mother called 911 in September when she noticed her son was not breathing and felt cold. She tried to resuscitate the baby, but he was dead when paramedics arrived, according to the News-Press.
State Attorney Amira Fox said the indictment includes three other children who also suffered from child abuse and extreme neglect. They are three, five and 11-years-old.
Those children were also allegedly malnourished and one had to have some of their teeth removed, WBBH reported.
Ms Fox added: "The evidence and crime scene in this case are gut-wrenching. These are images as a mother and State Attorney I will not be able to forget."
The couple is set to appear in court Monday and remain in jail. According to WBBH, they could potentially face the death penalty if found guilty.
In November, the parents were charged with aggravated manslaughter but the charges were upgraded after the grand jury indictment.
Additional reporting by agencies
Google Billionaire Larry Page's $400 Million 'Philanthropic Sleight of Hand' Raises Questions About Charity Loophole | Common Dreams News
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 06:29
Published on
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Google co-founder and billionaire Larry Page is the subject of a report Wednesday from tech journal ReCode which shows how the Silicon Valley super-rich use workarounds in managing their private foundations that avoid direct contributions to actual charities.
Page's Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation pushed around $400 million in publicly announced Christmastime donations between 2015 and 2017, but none of it reportedly went directly to charity.
"This a very bad look for Larry Page," tweeted National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy researcher Ryan Schlegel.
As ReCode reporter Teddy Schleifer described in his piece on the billionaire, Page's foundation funnels cash primarily into funds which allow their benefactor a measure of control.
"What Page was doing each year was something of a philanthropic sleight of hand," wrote Schleifer.
Private foundations are required by law to disburse at least 5 percent of their assets a year, a requirement meant to make sure that these taxpayer-subsidized philanthropies actually took part in charity.
But in recent years, Page's foundation has made last-minute donations to hit the threshold only by making bulk donations to separate charitable accounts Page also had some control over, donor-advised funds (DAFs). Those donations technically count as contributions by the foundation, helping it meet the 5 percent standard, even though that money can then sit in the donor-advised funds indefinitely, with no requirement that it goes to needy nonprofits.
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"Donations from the foundations to the DAF count toward the 5 percent, even if the DAF then sits on the millions indefinitely," Schleifer added.
The billionaire did donate $21 million from his foundation to charity, but, as ReCode shows, the amount funnelled to DAFs was far greater.
As a result of the DAF system the money in the funds can remain, untaxed, forever. It's a clever tax workaround that uses the specter of altruism to mask a cold calculation over how to hoard capital.
While experts say many charitable foundations use DAFs in a responsible and reasonable manner, ReCode's analysis showed that Page's use of it is in a class of its own.
"It is possible," wrote Schleifer, "that Page is the country's greatest exploiter of this loophole."
Given Page's foundation's size and power, said National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Schlegel, the billionaire is not only sitting on tax-free money'--he's sitting on power.
"If he wants to avoid public disclosure of the recipients of his largesse he's perfectly free to set up an LLC as some of his very rich peers have done lately," said Schlegel. "But this set up is publicly subsidized influence laundering."
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US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 'Very Pro-European Decision', American Envoy to Germany Claims
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:20
Business12:42 22.12.2019Get short URL
On Saturday, Berlin rejected ''extraterritorial'' US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project as ''interference in Germany's domestic affairs''.
In an interview with Bild magazine, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said that he believes that US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 were adopted in the interests of Europe.
He singled out ''15 European countries, the European Commission and the European Parliament'' which he claimed had ''all expressed their concerns about the [Nord Stream 2] project''.Grenell described the anti-Nord Stream 2 sanctions as ''a very pro-European decision'' because Washington has been ''hearing from our European partners that the United States should support them in their efforts''.
''Currently there is a lot of talk in Germany about being more for European and we believe that when it comes to Nord Stream 2, we have taken an extremely pro-European position. I've been hearing all day from European diplomats thanking me for taking this action,'' he added.When asked if the sanctions were imposed to ''slow down the pipeline project or to prevent it in the long term'', Grenell referred to a ''longstanding US policy that goes back to the Obama administration''.
''The goal has always been for diversification of Europe's energy sources and to ensure that not one country or source can build up too much influence on Europe through energy,'' he said, in an apparent nod to Russia.Berlin Rejects US' Nord Stream 2 Sanctions as 'Interference in German Internal Affairs'The interview comes after deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said that Berlin ''expressed regret over the fact that US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 ['...] gas pipeline have taken effect.''
She added that the German government "rejects such extraterritorial sanctions", which ''target German and European companies'' and amount to nothing but ''interference in our domestic affairs''.The statement echoed that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposed the sanctions because they have extraterritorial effect, and added that the restrictions may negatively affect the gas transit negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Kremlin spoken Dmitry Peskov, for his part, slammed US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 as ''a perfect example of unfair competition", saying that Washington is imposing more expensive gas on Europe.He continued on by saying that both "Moscow and Europe dislike US sanctions on Nord Stream 2, as these measures violate international law".
US Slaps Sanctions on Nord Stream 2After US President Donald Trump signed on Friday the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a military spending package that includes sanctions against these two projects, the country's Treasury Department stated that the restrictive measures took effect immediately and that Washington was demanding that construction companies stop their work.
The sanctions specifically target companies and individuals involved in providing services on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and have their US visas revoked and financial assets in the US frozen. The bill also provides for a 30-day grace period for them to wind down their operations in the project.
Nord Stream 2
Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction underway in Finnish waters in the Baltic Sea.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a joint venture between Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The pipeline is due to be finished in 2020 and will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany and Central Europe, bypassing the existing route through Ukraine and Poland.
While Russia describes Nord Stream 2 as a purely economic project, the US continues efforts to undermine the venture, threatening everyone involved with sanctions and promoting its liquefied natural gas on the European market.
Muslim nations consider gold, barter trade to beat sanctions
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:19
Reuters '' Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar are considering trading among themselves in gold and through a barter system as a hedge against any future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday.
At the end of an Islamic summit in Malaysia, Mahathir praised Iran and Qatar for withstanding economic embargoes and said it was important for the Muslim world to be self-reliant to face future threats.
''With the world witnessing nations making unilateral decisions to impose such punitive measures, Malaysia and other nations must always bear in mind that it can be imposed on any of us,'' Mahathir said.
U.S.-allied Arab states Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar about 2-1/2-years ago over allegations it backs terrorism, a charge Doha denies. Iran, meanwhile, has been hit badly after the United States reimposed sanctions on it last year.
''I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us,'' Mahathir said, referring to the Islamic medieval gold coin.
''We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect.''
The leaders agreed they needed do more business among themselves and trade in each other's currencies.
The summit, which was snubbed by Saudi Arabia, was criticized for undermining the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which represents 57 Muslim-majority nations. Malaysia said all the OIC members had been invited to the Kuala Lumpur summit but only about 20 showed up.
By the fourth and final day of the summit, no joint statement had been released. The summit had been expected to discuss major issues affecting Muslims, including Palestine, Kashmir and the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and China's camps for Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang region.
Without naming any country, Mahathir said there was concern that Muslims in non-Muslim countries were forced to undergo assimilation.
''We support integration but assimilation to the extent of shedding our religion is unacceptable,'' he said.
At a news conference, he said the summit participants had been told that Uighurs were being detained in China.
''We have to hear the state, we have to hear the people who complain, then only it will be fair,'' he said.
He called India's new citizenship act unfortunate. The act facilitates for faster naturalization of non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who had settled in India prior to 2015.
Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
New Study Links Conspiracy Theorists With A Mental Disorder - Geek.com
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:17
It's a golden era for conspiracy theories. The Internet has made it possible to get ''facts'' about nearly everything, from the moon landing being fake to the Earth being flat. But some recent research indicates that hard-core conspiracy theorists might be genetically predisposed to believe thanks to an unusual and little-understood mental disorder.
A recent survey from the University of Chicago indicated that 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory '' whether it be the U.S. government's involvement in 9/11 or the existence of aliens. That's a pretty sizable chunk of the population. But what is it that makes these factually disproved stories so easy to buy into?
A study by a trio of scientists from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the NCSR in The Netherlands and The University of Kent in the UK have discovered a link between conspiracy belief and ''illusory pattern perception,'' the tendency of the mind to see order where none exists. The group used a series of randomly simulated coin tosses and asked respondents to rate whether those tosses were actually random or in a sequence. The respondents who saw patterns in the coin tosses were also the ones who scored highest on belief in existing conspiracy theories and belief in the supernatural.
Because science isn't done with just one experiment, they then followed up with a second run to investigate whether being prompted to look for patterns skews the results, as well as a third using abstract art instead of coin flips for the subjects to find patterns in. In addition, they ''primed the pump'' with one group by having them read a little conspiracy literature beforehand, which also increased credulity.
Here's the thesis on what's going on. The human brain is a pattern-making machine. We learn from experience and store memories together to influence our future behavior. That gift for connection and correlation has enabled our ballistic advance as a society. But for most of human history our brains existed in a comparatively information-poor environment. It's only in the last century or so that the rise of mass media has come to dominate our lives. Four generations simply aren't enough time for the complex biology of our brains to adapt to that.
We're subconsciously desperately trying to find connections in the chaos, and many minds aren't capable of realizing which of those connections are valuable and which aren't. And it's also hard for people to comprehend ''true'' randomness, because random sequences can create patterns and connections purely by accident. We don't like to admit that existence is a vast and careless web of chance. Building a narrative allows us to comfortably process random events in a way that we feel control over.
The increased availability of conspiracy literature and videos has also made them more potent. As evidenced by the study, being exposed to materials that lend credence to ''alternative facts'' raised susceptibility in the subjects. Now that conspiracy theories are on everybody's Facebook wall as opposed to lamp posts and crank phone calls to Art Bell, exposure is a given. What used to be fringe beliefs are now widespread, and the more they spread the more power they have.
Interestingly enough, a 2008 study might shed some additional light on the subject. It also tackled illusory pattern perception, but from the angle of the agency. In it, they found that if people had little or no control over their current situation, they were more likely to see patterns in random images like TV static, as well as more likely to believe in the supernatural. And who out there doesn't feel like they're losing control of their lives? We're subconsciously reaching out for some method of ordering this chaos, even if the connections are bogus.
What's the solution for this plague of lies? Peddlers of conspiracy theories aren't going anywhere, especially now that they're making money off of it. What our world really needs is more focus on critical thinking and media literacy. Rewiring the biology of our brains is a tough order, but training ourselves to ignore specious connections and focus on what can be factually proven is a good start. Check out the Foundation for Critical Thinking website for a good place to start.
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories? And would you let scientists check our brain out to figure out why?
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What 'Saturday Night Live' viewers thought of Eddie Murphy hosting - mlive.com
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:13
Photo by Rosalind O'Connor/NBC
NEW YORK CITY - Gumby, Mr. Robinson and Buckwheat, oh my! Eddie Murphy reprised some of his classic "Saturday Night Live" characters as he returned to host the NBC sketch comedy show for the first time since 1984.
From the opening monologue, which featured his Bill Cosby impression and included comedy greats Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Dave Chappelle, to his accidental use of a profane word, Murphy's return to ''SNL'' was an instant classic.
Here's what some viewers are saying.
*VIDEOS of Murphy's opening monologue, Mr. Robinson sketch and Gumby appearance are at the bottom of this story.
#XinjiangPapers - Twitter Search / Twitter
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:12
Search Refresh Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
Pokermask @ ThePokermask
Dec 15 This is like a killer throwing away his gun and burning all his bloodstained clothes, just a little too late.
#FreeUighurs # XinjiangPapers #FuckChina apnews.com/c1d08873154907'... View summary · The Epoch Times - China Insider @ EpochTimesChina
Dec 16 The
#Xinjiang regional gov in
#China is allegedly deleting data, destroying docs and tightening controls on info in response to leaks of classified
# XinjiangPapers on its mass detention camps for
theepochtimes.com/china-tightens'... View summary · blahblahbleh @ blahblahbleh14
19h Replying to
@SenWarren @RepMcGovern Thank you Senator Warren for the kind and clever words!The
# XinjiangPapers revealed that
#China_is_terrorist and the civilized world shall not tolerate it.
pic.twitter.com/7Hbq1UP6Gc View conversation · XallyWho @ xalwho
Dec 16 While villagers in
# XinjiangPapers #XinjiangCamps #UyghurGenocide #UyghurInfo #Uyghurs #ConcentrationCampspo.st/kdjAxT via
@staronline View summary · Berning For the Common Good (& Hong Kong 🇭🇰) @ LeniDiamond
18h # XinjiangPapers #China_kills_Muslims #StandWithUyghurs twitter.com/AndrewSErickso'... View details · Joseph Woodard 🷠@ joe_woodard
Dec 17 Let's do this.
#StopBeijing2022 #BoycottBeijing2022 #Beijing2022 #NoRightsNoGames #ConcentrationCamps # XinjiangPapers #HongKongProtests #é...港人反抗 #é...æ¸¯äººåŠ æ²¹ twitter.com/revmahoney/sta'... View details · MM @ memen7omori
Dec 18 # Xinjiangpapers are fake!
twitter.com/ChineseBot2B/s'... View details · C.C. @ cclamoncc
Dec 19 Replying to
@TheQuartering @officialpes When I suggested the topic, I was hoping you to mention in as in removing –zil on
@officialpes because that's what you are good at. Dear dude you are much better than that. I am no Uyghur but I feel for them. Thank you for speaking out.
#SaveUyghur # xinjiangpapers View conversation · sealtrader @ sealtrader2
Dec 17 Share all you can before it gets deleted again !
# xinjiangpapers #UyghurGenocideyoutu.be/fuj5yUNW7rg View details · Michael Titter @ MichaelTitter
Dec 20 "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth"
#China #Xinjiang # xinjiangpapers #CCP #XiJinping #xinjiangping #CNN #sensorship #control #PresidentialDebate #HumanRightsViolations #FreeChina twitter.com/willripleyCNN/'... View details · StandUpToChina @ StandUpToChina
Dec 20 Replying to
@AndrewYang Q before I donate: one of your "advisors" says ''the CIA is training Uighurs to make bombs, so that justifies China putting them in the camps.'' WILL YOU PUBLICLY REJECT THAT? Will you stand up to China and its cancerous propaganda? Voters should know!!
# xinjiangpapers #NYTimes View conversation · XallyWho @ xalwho
Dec 18 Replying to
@Sky_Blue168 Good that
#China is losing control!So many leaked videos lately. This is by far the largest open air
#Xinjiang #Uyghur #ConcentrationCamp.See this video of proof of
#UyghurGenocide. Feel sorry for
#Uyghurs in
#UyghurHumanitarianCrisis# xinjiangpapers View conversation · Mirzat @ miro10091008
Dec 14 Oh I wish!
# XinjiangPapers #China #HongKongProtests twitter.com/nuryturkel/sta'... View details · Alexander B.C #FreeKovrigandSpavor @ MurrmanMurray
Dec 15 They will be held accountable for this the same way the Nazi's were at Nuremberg. Im not sure how they ever thought they would get away with this.
#cdnpoli #cdnmedia #cdnfp #cdnnatsec #Xinjiang # xinjiangpapers #MagnitskyAct #chinazis twitter.com/IndoPac_Info/s'... View details · Ben Freeman Collins @ BenFreeCollins
Dec 15 Authorities in
#China are deleting data and destroying documents and tightening control of information in response to a leak of classified documents relating to the mass detention of
#Uighurs in
# XinjiangPapers apnews.com/c1d08873154907'... View summary · Aluddin19 @ Aluddin19
Dec 14 News | RT | AP Exclusive:
#China tightens up on info after
#Xinjiang leaks
apnews.com/c1d08873154907'...#apnews # XinjiangPapers #leaks View summary · blahblahbleh @ blahblahbleh14
18h Replying to
@Tawaq_GX Speechless.Theres no denying that
#China_is_terrorist when we get to see these photos and the
# XinjiangPapers View conversation · XallyWho @ xalwho
Dec 18 Replying to
@Sky_Blue168 Holy cow!Finally,
#Turkish reporters managed to show large
#Uyghur #ConcentrationCamps where there are tens of thousands of
#Uyghurs cramped together in
#China.Oh! So this is the
#UyghurGenocide that west
#MSM talks about.
#XinjiangCamps# xinjiangpapers #UyghurInfo View conversation · Mirzat @ miro10091008
Dec 18 Replying to
@HuXijin_GT No, this is ethnic cleaning, like a nazhi camps
#CloseTheCamps #SaveUyghur # xinjiangpapers View conversation · Elizabeth Warren @ SenWarren
Dec 20 # XinjiangPapers confirm this is state-sponsored cruelty. I joined
@RepMcGovern's bipartisan letter urging the Trump admin to hold China accountable.
twitter.com/CECCgov/status'... View details · Load older Tweets
The FISA Court's Feeble Rebuke of the FBI Means The Court Should be Abolished - Gregg Jarrett
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 04:03
Finally, the FISA court has awakened from its deep slumber. Too damned late'... and not enough.
On Tuesday, presiding judge Rosemary Collyer issued an order slamming fired director James Comey's FBI for presenting ''false information,'' concealing exculpatory evidence, and misleading the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But her judicial fix is feckless. She is now demanding that the FBI present the steps it will take to remedy these problems in future surveillance warrant applications. If this is her idea of a solution, it's a joke. And shameful.
A year and a half ago when the redacted FISA applications were first made public, it was obvious that the FBI relied almost entirely on Christopher Steele's phony ''dossier'' and that the FISA court was being lied to. Back then, Collyer should have immediately ordered a ''show cause contempt'' hearing demanding that Comey, Sally Yates, Andrew McCabe, Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein all appear before the court to explain why they should not be held in criminal contempt for deceiving judges in the four warrant applications they signed. They swore that the information was true and verified when they knew or should have known it was not. Collyer still isn't ordering a contempt hearing. This is an appalling abdication of judicial duty.
It means that the FISA court doesn't really care that it was lied to by the FBI. If it did, Collyer would hold these FBI & DOJ officials legally responsible for defrauding the court. The message here is this: you can lie to the FISA court and there will be no accountability or punishment. If you get caught, the court will merely demand remedies for the future.
This will not go over well in Congress among those who feel that FISA has become a serious and chronic danger to civil liberties. They are right. The currently constituted FISA court must be abolished. A new system should take its place ''one that does not rely on the FBI to be honest and trustworthy because the bureau has proven that it cannot be.
The FBI was caught lying before back in 2002. In more than 75 cases, the FBI had deceived judges in sensitive surveillance warrants. Then-director Robert Mueller appeared before the FISA court and promised reforms. He vowed that it would never happen again.
Predictably, it has.
Any new system that replaces FISA must embrace an adversarial element. It is imperative that a specially appointed public advocate be empowered to scrutinize FBI warrant applications and, when necessary, challenge the dubious claims made by FBI officials. Hearings must be required '--no more paper submissions by the FBI wherein the judges simply accept as truth any representation made. The days of rubber-stamping the FBI must end.
Comey and his confederates abused the trust vested in them and have done incalculable damage to the FBI and the nation. Only genuine, systemic reform will put a halt to future acts of lawlessness and corruption.
Schouten is 'z" met stikstof bezig': Aan ontspanning kom ik nauwelijks toe | Nieuwsjaar 2019 | AD.nl
Sun, 22 Dec 2019 03:54
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Australia's NSW Braces for Catastrophic Fire Conditions
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:59
SYDNEY'--Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales were bracing for ''catastrophic'' fire conditions on Saturday as temperatures well above 40C (104F) and strong winds were set to fuel more than 100 fires burning across the state.
Authorities asked people to delay travel, at the start of what is normally a busy Christmas holiday period, warning of the unpredictability of the fires as winds of up to 70 kph (44 mph) were set to fan flames through the middle of the day.
''Catastrophic fire conditions are as bad as it gets,'' NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told journalists.
''They are the very worst of conditions. Given we have a landscape with so much active fire burning, you have a recipe for very serious concern and a very dangerous day.''
Greater Sydney and two surrounding areas were rated as catastrophic for Saturday, and other areas were at extreme or very-high fire danger ratings.
Close to 10,000 emergency personnel would be working across NSW on Saturday, which the NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said was likely the largest emergency deployment the state had ever seen.
''They're there, four days before Christmas, to keep families safe,'' Elliott told media.
A southerly wind change is expected late on Saturday afternoon. It is forecast to bring winds of up to 90 kph (56 mph), which Fitzsimmons said would initially worsen fire conditions before leading to a dramatic drop in temperatures.
The Gospers Mountain mega fire, which has already burned almost 450,000 hectares (1.1 million acres) to the northwest of Sydney was upgraded to emergency status early on Saturday.
The death of two firefighters on Thursday night when their fire truck was struck by a falling tree as it traveled through the front line of a fire brought the wildfires death toll in New South Wales to eight since the start of October.
Shortly after the two deaths were announced, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement saying he would return as soon as possible from a family holiday in Hawaii, a trip that had drawn sharp criticism as the wildfires crisis deepened.
Australia has been fighting wildfires across three states for weeks, with blazes destroying more than 700 homes and nearly 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of bushland.
By John Mair and Will Ziebell
Jane Fonda wants Nuremberg war-crime style trials for oil & gas industry executives
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:58
17-03-92 Locals concerned the Accident and Death Fund was being used to buy property and office equipment with the funds they paid into the fund. 18-03-92 Boulder fund suspended 15-05-92 Bruce Wilson and Julia Gillard go to a meeting with the miners in Kalgoorlie 18-05-92 AWU announce it is taking over the fund at Boulder paper article 13-02-93 Contract of sale signed by Bruce Wilson 13-02-93 Purchase of 85 Kerr Street Fitzroy by Julia Gillard and B Wilson who attended the Auction 13-02-93 blewitt-getting-his-addres.html Purchase of 85 Kerr Street Fitzroy by Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson who attended the Auction 15-02-93 Letter to Slater & Gordon about the 1/85 Kerr Street sale 15-02-93 Ralph Blewitt is appointed Western Australian Branch Secretary in the week 15 to 19 February 16-02-93 Olive Brosnan and Heidi chasing up the Power of Attorney - notes 17-02-93 Olive Brosnan makes this further note regarding Heidi, a sales person with the Real Estate firm GA Thomson. Note that Heidi returns the call and says that she will let Olive Brosnan have the original Power of Attorney (when she gets it?) and will need a certified copy in return 22-02-93 Slater and Gordon acknowledges that it has received the Contract of Sale, Section 32 Statement and the Power of Attorney from GA Thomson. 23-02-93 Olive Brosnan certifies Power of Attorney 3-03-93 A memo from Sylvia to Olive Brosnan about the application for the loan for Ralph Blewitt and the Kerr Street property 4-03-93 Letter/fax from Hewitt & Company stating Ralph Blewitt Wages Ref VB/CS 9-03-93 Memo to Olive Brosnan from Sylvia about the loan approval and the return of the chq for $500 from Ralph Blewitt's personal account 10-03-93 Letter from Slater & Gordon addressed to Ralph Blewitt explaining mortgage details Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 10-03-93 Memo Julia Gillard wants details of penalty interest rates 12-03-93 Memo to Julia Gillard from Olive Brosnan about penalty interest rates 17-03-93 Memo of fees for house - Bill of costs 18-03-93 Letter to Ralph Blewitt requesting Cheque for $67,772.30 18-03-93 The cheque for $67,772.30 22-03-93 Settlement date for Kerr Street purchase 23-03-93 Land Transfer document 31-03-94 Dawesville project costs Aug-Sept 94 Julia Gillard went on holidays while Bruce Wilson organised house renovations Aug-Sept 94 Interview with Slater & Gordon about the Renovations 6-02-95 New bank accounts for Construction Fund 17-02-95 AWU-FIME amalgamate (2 Victorian Branches) 12-04-95 Cheque from AWU WRAI account $46,550 27-04-95 Cheque for $15000 - $10 000 for K Spyridis and $5000 cash 30-06-95 AWU went back to central funding arrangements 25-07-95 Letter from Robert Smith (AWU) to Ian Cambridge and Steve Harrison about the unknown AWU bank accounts 27-07-95 Letter to the National Executives about the freezing of the accounts 2-08-95 Union National Finance committee meet to discuss what was going on start of investigations into the frozen accounts 4-08-95 Bob Smith wrote to Ian Cambridge to say the AWU was going to charge Bruce Wilson 10-08-95 Ian Cambridge visits QC Richard Kenzie from Maurice Blackburn for discussions to fix it (get union money back) 14-08-95 Internal Review into Julia Gillard's involvement of the AWU -WRA and she is put on restricted duties 14/15 Aug 95 Other Joint secretaries of the Unions paid out the signatories of the accounts - hand writing on the cheques Link 1 Link 2 16-08-95 Bruce Wilson redundancy cheque $55,204 17-08-95 Letter to stop the cheques Ian Cambridge 17/18 Aug 95 All accounts were closed bar 2 general and grants accounts and redundancies given out 18-08-95 Affidavit - Bill Ludwig - Bruce Wilson get sprung 11-09-95 Julia Gillard interviewed by Geoff Shaw, Peter Gordon and Nick Styant-Browne at Slater and Gordon - It's recorded and she goes on leave of Absence until May 96 (WA AWU-WRA not yet discovered by AWU yet) 31-01-96 Ian Cambridge addresses AWU Qld Branch meeting 3-04-96 Ian Cambridge talked with Commonwealth Bank - Diary entry - Discovery of Workplace Reform Association INC. WA branch 6-05-96 Discovery of Accounts in AWU name by Ian Cambridge letter from Commonwealth Bank 7-05-96 Fax from Com bank listing the accounts in the AWU name - for Ian Cambridge 1-06-96 Newspaper article about Joe Trio and the AWU fraud article from sometime in 1996 3-06-96 Ian Cambridge received bank records after the discussions with the bank back in April Ian Cambridge spoke to AWU Officials in Perth and they never heard of the Workplace Reform Association Inc. 5-07-96 Diary entry Ian Cambridge - spoke to Branch Official Russell Frearson about the $400,000 going through the account 31-07-96 Geoff Shaw Slater & Gordon General Manager gets Subpoena to supply all documents relating to purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street 13-08-96 Court proceeding where Geoff Shaw is to produce the documents from the Subpeona Link 1, Link 2 6-01-97 Memo from Investigating Detective Dave McAlpine about the AWU fraud 6-02-97 Memo to fraud squad from Theiss stating they hadn't been defrauded Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4 17-02-98 Memo fraud squad about Theiss - Ralph Blewitt said Theiss auditors required that the WRA needed to be Inc.
Did Mueller Place Special Counsel CYA in Report Footnote? '' Proactive Distancing from Known Clinesmith Wrongdoing'...
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:40
This is just a short article on a singular footnote within the Mueller Report that looks completely different in hindsight.
Kevin Clinesmith was the lead FBI lawyer during the counterintelligence operation called Crossfire Hurricane; origination date July 31st 2016. When Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel (May '17) he took over the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, adding additional DOJ lawyers to staff but retaining the FBI team which included Peter Strzok and Kevin Clinesmith.
When Kevin Clinesmith manipulated the CIA email to gain the third renewal for the Carter Page FISA (June 29, 2017) he was working on behalf of the Mueller investigation.
Clinesmith was removed from the special counsel team in February 2018 after his biased texts were identified by the inspector general. Clinesmith resigned in/around September 2019 ''after the inspector general's team interviewed him.'' (link) Not coincidentally that Sept '19 exit timeline aligns with the first notification to FISC Judge Coller. (link)
Obviously, special counsel Robert Mueller would know the issues regarding Clinesmith prior to removing him in February 2018; and well in advance of his report published in March 2019.
Now'... take a look at footnote #1, of page 13 from Muellers report:
From fn 1:
''¹FBI personnel assigned to the Special Counsel's Office were required to adhere to all applicable federal law and all Department and FBI regulations, guidelines, and policies.''
''An FBI attorney worked on FBI-related matters for the Office, such as FBI compliance with all FBI policies and procedures, including the FBI's Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DOIG). That FBI attorney worked under FBI legal supervision, not the Special Counsel's supervision.''
Tell me that isn't a big flashing CYA footnote from the Special Counsel '' going out of their way to proactively state that FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith worked under FBI legal supervision, not the Special Counsel's supervision?
It seems clear in hindsight that Weissmann and Mueller knew the FBI misconduct that was likely to surface, as it has; so they made sure to position blame on FBI Director Chris Wray and FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente back in March 2019.
Passed my tech exam as a gift to my dad for Xmas - clever ways to break the news?
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:38
Welcome to Reddit's own amateur (ham) radio club. If you are wondering what Amateur Radio is about, it's basically a two way radio service where licensed operators throughout the world experiment and communicate with each other on frequencies reserved for license holders.All topics relating to the hobby are welcome here, from purchasing and building equipment, to operating techniques and activities, and everything in between.
Ukraine, China & 2024 retirement plans: Key takeaways from Putin's 15th annual press chat '-- RT World News
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 20:37
At his annual year-end press conference, Vladimir Putin addressed his presumed retirement in 2024, the situation in Ukraine, domestic issues around healthcare and demographics, and relations with China, among many other topics.
Thursday's Moscow event was the 15th in as many years of Putin's presidency, and finished up as one of the longest. The Russian president sat for four hours and 18 minutes, taking around 80 questions from 57 journalists, of which he answered about 77. Some 1,895 reporters representing Russian and foreign media received accreditation for the conference, with many more watching online.
The climate crisis was the first topic. Putin appeared to cast doubt upon the Western mainstream scientific consensus that humans are responsible for the transformation, but he acknowledged the problem exists. ''No one knows the reasons for global climate change,'' he remarked. ''It's hard, if it's even possible, to estimate human impact but it doesn't mean that we should sit around & do nothing.''
UkraineOnly last week, the president held his first meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris. At the press conference, Putin said he was ''alarmed'' by Zelensky's post-meeting statements about reviewing the Minsk accords, but says he is open to another summit (which Russian media speculates will happen in April).
We have nothing except the Minsk agreement. If we revisit this we are at a dead end.
The deal, crafted in the Belarusian capital in 2015, requires Kiev to alter its Constitution and grant ''special status'' to the mainly Russian-speaking Donbass region.
Also on rt.com Dialogue between Kiev & people in eastern Ukraine needed to resolve conflict '' Putin Although his predecessor Petro Poroshenko (now Ukraine's de facto opposition leader) signed up to the plan, it's implementation is considered impossible for Zelensky. Even if he somehow got it through Parliament, he lacks the strength to face down extreme nationalists who would surely take to the streets in protest. If this happened a ''third Maidan'' is possible, potentially leaving Ukraine in complete anarchy and threatening the business interests of Ukrainian oligarchs, including Zelensky's own sponsor, the billionaire Igor Kolomoysky.
Read more
Also on the subject of Ukraine, Putin stated that Russia wants to negotiate a new gas transit arrangement with its neighbor (despite the NordStream 2 direct pipeline to Germany soon coming online). Putin said he would like to ensure Ukrainian consumers get reasonably priced gas & that supplies to Europe are guaranteed.
2024 end of term: Speculations swirlNext year, the president will approach the midway point of his final term in the Kremlin. As a result, speculation about the 2024 transition of power is growing. Putin says he wants to remove the word ''consecutive'' from the Russian Constitution's rules on presidential term limits. So, basically, any president can serve two periods (like the US) before being blocked from standing again. The US introduced these restrictions after experiencing its own four-time president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Interestingly, Putin has repeatedly invited comparisons between himself and the erstwhile US leader, going all the way back to the mid-2000s.
Indeed, many in Russia argue that the president rescued his country from the chaotic, anarchic, and destitute 1990s in a similar fashion to how Roosevelt dragged America out of the Great Depression.
Such a change would presumably mean Putin will have to retire in 2024. And Russian journalists, and analysts, have interpreted it this way. However, some US/UK media reporters, on the Russia beat, believe it may be a ''cunning way'' of resetting the rules so Putin can have another term, or terms, before the new limits apply. Although sources in Moscow ridiculed this theory on Thursday night.
Putin also floated the possibility of Russia switching to a more parliamentary style of government which would give the prime minister (currently Dmitry Medvedev) more control, ending the ''hyper-presidential'' system introduced by Boris Yeltsin in 1993 (with US support). A move like this would mean future leaders won't have Putin's sort of power, as the presidency would be downgraded.
He also referenced Russia's demographic problems (the population fell this year after a decade of small rises), noting how the number of potential young mothers, aged 21-29, has fallen by four million. This is the effect of the 1990s economic carnage which crushed birth rates, as many people worried about basic survival.
Home frontCloser to home, responding to calls for Vladimir Lenin to be taken out of his Red Square mausoleum and buried, Putin (who has always made it clear he's not a fan of the Bolshevik revolutionary) wasn't very keen. He insisted there's ''no need to touch him'' whilst people are still alive who remember the USSR in a positive fashion and continue to celebrate Soviet achievements within their lifetimes.
Regarding journalist Ivan Golunov, whose June arrest on spurious drug charges caused outrage in Russia, Putin pointed out that five police have been fired, with criminal cases opened against them. He rejected the idea of ''cleansing'' police ranks, likening such a notion to the 1937 Stalinist purges.
A reporter from BBC Russia asked Putin to comment on his daughters, following media reports on their alleged business and work interests. Putin, who generally avoids discussing his family publicly, didn't answer the question.
Also on rt.com Russia only seeks to protect itself from foreign meddling '' Putin on 'sovereign internet' & 'foreign agents' laws Looking abroad: US & ChinaPutin commented on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump. ''I'm not so sure he'll be leaving (office),'' he quipped, blaming Democrat skulduggery and lingering resentment over Hillary Clinton's 2016 defeat. ''They accused him of plotting with Russia, and when that turned out not to be true, they made up smears about Ukraine.''
Asked about China, the president made it clear that Russia doesn't have a military alliance with Beijing and isn't planning to start one. He says Moscow is helping the Chinese with defensive military upgrades in the spirit of partnership, not in the sense of NATO-style binding promises.
Also on rt.com Russia has no 'military alliance' with China, but the US is seeking a military bloc in East Asia '' Putin If you like this story, share it with a friend!
Michelle Malkin | >> The forbidden skit: Full transcript and screenshots of SNL's Soros/Sandler bailout satire
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 14:13
NBC is furiously erasing its tracks. Any attempts to upload the forbidden SNL bailout skit skewering George Soros and his left-wing subprime schemer friends Herbert and Marion Sandler will likely be squashed. So, I transcribed the whole comedy sketch for you and provided screenshots for the 7-minute video that has disappeared from NBC and Hulu. (Pat Dollard's blog has posted the full clip on its server. Thanks to Ms. Underestimated for the .wmv file.)
The hits on the Sandlers ( ''People who should be shot'') and Soros ( ''Owner, Democratic Party'') occur near the end of the skit.
***Announcer: Next on C-SPAN, President Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Congressman Barney Frank appeared earlier today at a joint press conference to comment on the financial bailout measure just passed by Congress.
Bush: Good afternoon. On Friday, this Congress was able to put aside its differences and come together in the bipartisan spirit to pass legislation that was absolutely vital to ensure world confidence in our financial markets and prevent a collapse of credit which would have had a catastrophic effect on our economy. Approving this bill was the right thing to do and I commend our legislators for their actions. Speaker Pelosi.
Pelosi: Thank you, Mr. President. I, too, applaud Congress for this vote and add that without your vote, this bill might well have failed. Even though this crisis was 100 percent the fault of your administration and it's insane economic policies. And though I'm sure you'll agree, you will go down in history as our worst president ever. This one time, you did manage to not screw things up and I wanna acknowledge that.
Bush: Thank you, Madame Speaker. I was glad to do it.
Frank: Let me add, Mr. President, I was also pleased to see that for the first time during your eight years in office and possibly your entire life, you were able to demonstrate leadership, not to mention simple human decency.
Bush: You bet, you bet.
Pelosi: Let's not forget, Mr. President, that it was the Democrats that first sounded the alarm about the risky mortgage loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were encouraging and that your party resisted all our efforts to rein them in.
Bush: W-w-w-w-ait. Wasn't it my administration that warned about the problem six years ago? And it was the Democrats that refused to listen?!
Pelosi: What? Who told you that? That's crazy. It was completely the other way around.
Frank: Actually. This time, he's sort of right.
Pelosi: Shhh! Don't say anything. He doesn't know. Now, there was another point we wanted to make here and you are welcome to stay.
Bush: Thank you. I'd like that.
Pelosi: Back there would be better.
Bush: No problem.
Pelosi: In the past few weeks, this debate has focused on the wisdom of government intervention in the housing markets. What hasn't been talked about is that behind every home foreclosure, there is a story of real suffering by real Americans. People who, but for the grace of God, could be you or your neighbors. And today, we'd like to introduce you to some of them.
Michael McCune and Jerome Gant, two ordinary Americans whose only crime was to play by the rules and who now find themselves facing eviction from their homes.
Please tell us your story.
Michael: Uh, well, to start. I still don't understand how this happened to me. I mean, I fit all the requirements for a subprime mortgage. Uh, no credit history.
Jerome: Same here.
Michael: No job.
Jerome: Me neither.
Michael: Minor criminal record.
Jerome: Ditto.
Michael: Dishonorable discharge from the Army.
Jerome: Yeah, I got mine right here.
Michael: Uh, drug problems.
Jerome: Me, too.
Michael: Uh, alcohol problems.
Jerome: Guilty as charged.
Michael: Gambling addiction.
Jerome: Yeah.
Michael: Pregnant girlfriend '-- actually, two pregnant girlfriends.
Jerome: Just the one.
Well, I was talked into a balloon mortgage. Where you move into the house. And then you get to live in it. And you don't have to, like, pay money or anything to the bank. But then later, you do.
Jerome: Yeah, what up with dat?
Michael: I mean, you could say I'm a double victim, since I never had a job and now I don't have a home!
Jerome: Well, I'm a triple victim, because now I've been charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to the house they evicted me from.
Pelosi: You are both in our thoughts. (Hugs Michael. Won't hug Jerome.)
This is Greg Phillips and his wife, Judy. How did the housing collapse affect you?
My wife and I bought two dozen time-share condos which we heavily mortgaged in order to flip them 6 months later for triple the purchase price and then the real estate market tanked.
Pelosi: And you were doing this through'...
Judy: Misrepresentation.
Pelosi: No, I meant, did you do this out of your home'...
Judy: Out of greed.
Greg: Yes, out of greed.
Pelosi: And now, with the real estate market down, you're stuck with two dozen time-share condos that you can't sell'...
Judy: Unless we can sell them for, like, 10 percent more than we paid.
Pelosi: So, you can't make your mortgage payments.
Greg: Not without selling the boat. Or putting off essential cosmetic surgery.
Pelosi: And who is this? This is Crystal, our surrogate mother.
Crystal: Waaaazup?
Judy: You see, I can't have children'...without getting bad stretch marks.
Pelosi: You are also in our thoughts and prayers.
This is Herbert and Marion Sandler. Tell us your story.
Herbert Sandler: My wife and I had a company which aggressively marketed subprime mortgages, and then bundled them into securities to sell to banks such as Wachovia. Today, our portfolio is worth almost nothing '-- though at one point, it was worth close to $19 billion.
Pelosi: My God. I am so sorry. Were you able to sell it for anything.
Herbert Sandler: Yes, for $24 billion.
Pelosi: I see. So in that sense, you're not so to speak, actual victims.
Herbert Sandler (chuckling): Oh, no. That would be Wachovia Bank.
Marion Sandler: Actually, we've done quite well. We're very happy.
Herbert Sandler: We were sort of wondering why you asked us to come today.
Marion Sandler: Anyway, it's delightful to see you, Nancy. (Kisses Pelosi.)
Herbert Sandler: And thank you, Congressman Frank, as well as many Republicans for helping blockCongressional oversight of our corrupt activities.
Frank: Not at all. Let me say something else here. You know, many of you are probably wondering, ''Where will that $700 billion missing from our economy go?'' To help answer that, let me introduce our good friend, billionaire hedge fund manager, George Soros.
Soros: So what became of zat $700 beellion dollars? Well, basically it belongs to me, now. Actually, it's not even dollars anymore, but Swiss franks, since I have taken a short position against the dollar.
Bush: Oh, really. That's not good.
Soros: You're not to speak. I don't like you.
Yes, uh, zee U.S. dollar will have to be devalued sometime next week. Either Tuesday or Wednesday. I haven't decided wheech yet. It will depend on how I feel.
Frank: Thank you very much, Mr. Soros. You're a great man.
Soros: Could I just add that even though you know what's coming, you won't be able to do anything about it.
Pelosi: You're a wise man, Mr. Soros. And a powerful one.
Frank: You are better than us.
Soros (pointing to Anne Hathaway character): Your wife is physically attractive. Sell her to me, please.
Greg and Judy: Sure. Ok.
Announcer: We'll now leave this press conference and join a discussion of Sen. McCain's foreign policy positions already in progress. Gov. Palin is about to say something embarrassing.
Video of Jeffrey Epstein jail suicide attempt is found
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:55
Jeffrey Epstein attends Launch of RADAR MAGAZINE at Hotel QT on May 18, 2005.
Patrick McMullan | Getty Images
Federal prosecutors have found surveillance video of the area around the cell of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein on the day of his first jailhouse suicide attempt, according to a new court filing. Earlier this week, they said the footage was missing.
The video, which prosecutors said was actually preserved by jail staff as previously requested, was being sought by lawyers for Epstein's former cellmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
That cellmate, former Westchester County, New York, police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, claims he helped save the life of the wealthy investor Epstein during his suicide bid at the federal jail on July 23.
Epstein, 66, died weeks later in from what authorities have ruled was a suicide by hanging in that jail, where the former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton was awaiting trial on charges related to his alleged sexual abuse of dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005.
His death, which remains under investigation, sparked conspiracy theories that he actually was murdered because of his ties to wealthy and powerful people, some of whom have been accused of having sex with Epstein's victims. Neither Trump nor Clinton have been accused of having sex with women connected to Epstein.
Prosecutors have charged two guards with trying to cover up their alleged failure to conduct mandated safety checks on Epstein and other inmates in the hours before he was found unresponsive in the cell.
Video surveillance from the hours before Epstein was found lifeless on Aug. 10 shows that no one entered his cell after he entered it the night before.
At the time of his death, Epstein did not have a cellmate.
But Tartaglione was in the cell on July 23, when Epstein is believed to have first tried to kill himself, and when jail staff found him semiconscious on the floor of the cell, with marks on his neck.
Tartaglione is being held in the jail without bail on charges related to the drug-connected murders of four people.
Two days after Epstein's suicide attempt, Tartaglione's lawyers requested the surveillance footage at the jail from July 22 through July 23 for possible use in the sentencing phase of his case.
If the tape shows Tartaglione helping save Epstein, as he claims he did, it could bolster arguments that the ex-cop deserves to be spared the death penalty.
On Wednesday, during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, a prosecutor said that the video could not be found.
Judge Kenneth Karas told prosecutors to continue searching for the footage.
In a court filing Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York told Karas that prosecutors "confirmed with MCC [jail] staff that the Video was preserved by MCC staff upon defense counsel's request in July 2019."
"The Government is in the process of obtaining a copy of the Video from the MCC. Once the Government obtains a copy of the Video, the Government intends to make it available for defense counsel's review at the United States Attorney's Office," the prosecutors' office wrote.
Tartaglione's lawyer, Bruce Barket, told CNBC in an email, "We are very pleased the video was preserved, as we had asked."
"We look forward to viewing it," Barket said.
Correction: Jeffrey Epstein was found lifeless on Aug. 10. An earlier version misstated the date.
USDA Accidentally Names Wakanda as American Trade Partner - Your Black World
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:53
By Victor Trammell
Photo credits: Marvel/Disney
This next news story from the Your Black World supply chain will virtually have you questioning the sanity of the U.S. government; particularly if you have not done so based on an abundance of reasons in the past.
The United Kingdom's BBC News is one of the conduits, which provided the irrefutable truth about an absolutely insane move of stupidity by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2018, director Ryan Coogler's world-class sci-fi classic from Marvel Studios called Black Panther made a huge blast into America's historic archive of all-time favorite movies.
An amazingly unique twist on the storyline of one of the most infamous heroes in the Marvel Comics lineage had fans conceptualizing a sequel directly after Coogler's $200 million dollar debut. However, the ''fi'' in sci-fi is short for ''fiction,'' which is why this latest move of stupidity by the U.S. government is a real head-scratcher.
BBC's Thursday (December 19) report on this unimaginable matter reads as follows:
''A USDA spokesperson said the Kingdom of Wakanda was added to the list by accident during a staff test. The department's online tariff tracker hosted a detailed list of goods the two nations apparently traded, including ducks, donkeys, and dairy cows. In the Marvel universe, Wakanda is the fictional East African home country of superhero Black Panther.
The fictional country was removed soon from the list after US media first queried it, prompting jokes that the countries had started a trade war. Wakanda first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic in 1966 and made a reappearance when Black Panther was adapted into an Oscar-winning film last year.''
A software engineer in New York named Francis Tseng discovered this embarrassing bureaucratic glitch while researching U.S agricultural tariffs as he applied for a fellowship. Speaking to the Washington Post, a spokesperson for the USDA released a statement by the federal agency that assumed responsibility.
''The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down,'' the USDA spokesperson said.
An apology for such a foul mix up may have been nice too. Banning the use of GMOs in the U.S. food supply chain would be the cherry on top. Let's hear it for the dreamers.
Jacki Pick: Democrats Hype Global Warming, Oppose Nuclear Power
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 09:39
If Democrats are sincere about addressing ''climate change,'' they will support expansion of zero-emission nuclear energy, explained Jacki Pick, host of the Jacki Daily Show on BlazeMedia, offering her remarks on Friday's edition of SiriusXM's Breitbart News Daily in an interview with host Alex Marlow.
Marlow invited Pick's analysis of Democrats' comments on ''climate change'' from Thursday's Democrat debate in Los Angeles. Pick previously worked as general counsel for an engineering firm specializing in energy and environmental cleanup.
''If [Democrats] could wave a wand, right now, and make all of their policy dreams come true, what they would '... return this country to the third world and '... [how it was] before the Industrial Revolution,'' replied Pick. ''They are suggesting, not only do we abolish air travel, [but] any travel that involves gasoline or diesel fuel. It also includes electric vehicles, because electric vehicles run off the grid which is powered by coal, and natural gas, primarily, and nuclear.''
Pick continued, ''They're advocating the elimination of everything made from hydrocarbons, which includes plastics, vinyls, pharmaceuticals, electronics, the clothes that we wear, anything that matters, [and] modern sanitation. They have no idea what they're talking about.''
Pick addressed Democrats' calls to eliminate fossil fuel energy use via its replacement with solar power.
''So when Joe Biden says we're going to end fossil fuels by subsidizing solar, does he understand that not only do we have the obvious problem that it only works when the sun shines, but it has to be continuously backed up by natural gas at all times or another fossil fuel?'' asked Pick.
Pick noted, ''In order to power the state of Texas with wind or solar, we would need six million acres of wind or solar [farms] installed to do that. That's ten times as much as you need for natural gas or oil. It's not green. It's not possible. It's just not physically possible. All the battery storage in the world, right now, can power New York City for one hour.''
Pick highlighted the left-wing ideological foundation of the ''climate change'' narrative.
''Climate change policy is about raising capital, two trillion dollars in capital,'' Pick stated. ''It's going to move around and be redistributed under a climate change plan. That's what it's about.''
Zero-emission nuclear energy is opposed by many Democrats, remarked Pick.
''The U.S. has the largest nuclear industry on Earth, and we would have a whole lot more of it if there weren't an irrational fear of it,'' Pick said. ''It's a very clean way to make energy. If [Democrats] were serious, they would be 100 percent behind nuclear, because it's zero emissions, and natural gas is extremely low emission, by the way.''
On the matter of Democrats' impeachment push against President Donald Trump, Pick shared an observation of the president from time she spent with him.
''I saw the president the night he was impeached, and I can't tell you what he said, the meeting was off the record, so I'll just tell you he was as jubilant, as happy, as optimistic [as ever],'' Pick shared. ''He's like a stand-up comedian. He was having a great time. This president has not missed a beat because of what the Democrats are doing, and at a minimum, they had hoped for that.''
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.
Democratic Debate Draws 6.17 Million Viewers; Lowest So Far Of Cycle '' Deadline
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:56
Thursday's Democratic presidential debate from Los Angeles drew an audience of 6.17 million viewers '-- lowest so far of the cycle, according to early numbers from Nielsen.
PBS NewsHour and Politico hosted the debate from Loyola Marymount University, and it also was simulcast by
According to Nielsen, the debate posted 2.062 million viewers on PBS and was seen on CNN by 4.088 million.
Even though the ratings did not match those of earlier in the cycle, CNN said that it beat its cable news rivals in the 8 PM to 11 PM block. CNN had an average of 3.97 million viewers in the period, to 3.64 for Fox News Channel and 1.83 million for MSNBC. In the 25-54 demo, CNN averaged 1.03 million to Fox News with 613,000 and MSNBC with 271,000.
According to data from PBS, livestreams from PBS NewsHour, Politico, PBS and CNN platform totaled more than 8.4 million.
The November presidential debate, seen on MSNBC, drew 6.5 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. Like Thursday's debate, the November event came after a day in which impeachment proceedings dominated the news.
The most viewed
Democratic debate so far was the first, in June, when 18.1 million tuned in to NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.
The debate, with a slimmed down field of candidates qualifying, earned good reviews for the questions asked by the moderators, who included PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, Politico's Tim Alberta, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz and PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.
New York Times 'Secretly Tracked' Trump Secret Service Detail Using Leaked Phone Location Data - Sputnik International
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:42
Tech14:08 21.12.2019(updated 14:19 21.12.2019) Get short URL
The US president has a famously sour relationship with the liberal newspaper, describing it as the ''Failing New York Times'' and part of the cohort of ''Fake News'' media reporting on his presidency.
The New York Times contends that it was able to successfully track President Donald Trump using leaked data from the phone of a Secret Service agent assigned to protect him. According to the newspaper, the privacy exercise also enabled them to identify and track senior officials and staff from every branch of government in Washington.
Using a trove of seemingly randomized cell phone location data from the years 2016 and 2017 obtained from anonymous whistleblowers, the paper combed through the anonymized location ''pings'' generated by phones and combined them with publicly available information on the president's movements, quickly enabling it to lock on to Trump.According to the NYT, it took mere minutes to zero in on a Secret Service phone, showing its movement with the president from his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida to one of Trump's golf courses, another Trump property, and back.
The phone data even allowed the paper to identify the Secret Service employee's own home, which made it easy to figure out the employee's name, the name of their spouse, and other private details.
The Secret Service declined to comment on NYT's report.
NYT warned that the tracking technique was easy to apply to other officials at the White House and in Congress, the Pentagon, the FBI and the Supreme Court, with the paper able to pick up and track smartphones ''in nearly every major government building and facility in Washington,'' following the phones back to their homes to reveal their owners' identities.The newspaper blamed poor and inconsistent enforcement of federal security rules aimed at ensuring employees' privacy and preventing leaks, and said smart phone and app makers were partly to blame for hiding information collection methods from the digital devices' owners.
Observers speaking to NYT also warned that US adversaries like China, Russia, North Korea and others were almost certainly trying to obtain this kind of sensitive information on senior US officials.
Privacy concerns fuelled by smartphone technology have grown exponentially in recent years, with whistleblowers, activists and even governments voicing concerns about the unscrupulous collection and dissemination of private information by companies, states, and malicious actors.
Last month, former National Security Agency employee-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that governments and big tech companies working together could soon obtain an ''irresistible'' concentration of power with which they could monitor people illegally.
Soros' Meddling in Prosecutors' Elections May Worsen Crime in the US, AG Barr Reportedly Warns - Sputnik International
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:40
US14:25 21.12.2019(updated 14:31 21.12.2019) Get short URL
The attorney general reportedly claimed that Soros relies on a combination of low voter turnout and sizeable financial contributions to the candidates of his choice to achieve his goals.
US Attorney General William Barr warned that the influence exerted by George Soros in prosecutor elections across the United States may have a detrimental effect on law enforcement in the states where candidates bankrolled by the billionaire prevail, Fox News reports.
During an interview on ''The Story'', Barr claimed that Soros allegedly banks on a usually low voter turnout in ''largely Democratic'' primary elections, as well as on generous financial contributions to the candidates of his choice.
"There's this recent development [where] George Soros has been coming in, in largely Democratic primaries where there has not been much voter turnout and putting in a lot of money to elect people who are not very supportive of law enforcement and don't view the office as bringing to trial and prosecuting criminals but pursuing other social agendas," the attorney general warned.Barr noted that such victorious candidates, in his opinion, have not given ''the proper support to the police'', adding that this trend may lead to ''more violent crime'' and to law enforcement officers possibly re-evaluating the relationship between themselves and the leadership of their municipalities.
"They can either stop policing or they can move to a jurisdiction (that's) more hospitable. We could find ourselves in a position that communities that are not supporting the police may not get the police protection they need," Barr remarked.As the media outlet points out, the attorney general's warning comes after two prosecutorial candidates in Virginia managed to prevail in local Democratic primaries after receiving generous contributions to their election campaigns from Soros' Justice and Public Safety PAC, with said financial aid size vastly surpassing the amount of money raised by their opponents.
Gladio: the Story of a Conspiracy - CounterPunch.org
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:38
Albert Camus in his essay ''L'Exil d'H(C)l¨ne'' discusses contemporary disregard for the Greek value of limits. Camus writes that only the artist by his nature recognizes his limits, limits which the historic spirit disregards. The very idea of a super-secret organization like Gladio to remake the world in its own image reflects that same disregard for the Greek values that Camus so cherished.
When in the early 1970s an Italian right-wing journalist told me about a secret army training in Italy's mountains, I scoffed at first thinking he was repeating a rumor picked up from some scoop-obsessed reporter. But my tune began changing when he gave it a name'--''Stay Behind Army'''--and explained it was a secret army to fight the Soviet armies which someday soon would invade West Europe. He gave me the name of a member of that secret army who would talk with me.
A few days later on a street corner near Rome's Sapienza University I met a sleazy-looking Roman in his early twenties accompanied by a friend. Both of them kept looking around us, as if checking for tails. Their behavior was that of men on the run, yet men of destiny. They talked readily. And I, without realizing it, was being shown a speck of a new planet. Speaking softly in a crisp language with their Rome accents, they told me they had just finished a military training course in the nearby Abruzzi Mountains after having done basic training in Sardinia. Several times they used the term ''Secret Army'', lowering their voices and glancing around each time they pronounced the words. And no, they answered, the organizers would not allow journalist visits, and that yes, the secret army was well equipped and ready.
Years later, in the late 1980s or early 90s, it happened by chance that I met in a Rome hotel bar an American who knew details about that secret army. I was sitting on a stool at the bar of the luxurious Grand Hotel waiting for an appointment with a well-known writer when the man sat down on the stool next to me. I recognized William Colby from pictures of him in the press announcing the presence in Rome for a conference of the former Director of the CIA. I nodded, said hello, and we chatted bar talk until the chat turned into a short interview, which I subsequently published in the European press. I told him I knew who he was, and as we spoke I asked him point-blank about the mysterious Stay-Behind Army.
To my surprise Colby almost boasted that the covert action branch of the CIA to which he was attached in the 1950s built throughout Western Europe what in intelligence trade parlance were known as 'Stay-Behind Nets', in Italy known as Gladio, the headquarters of which was in Rome. In that post-war period Colby was a young intelligence officer assigned to the CIA station in the US Rome Embassy. Officially the network was clandestine, he related, ready to be called into action as sabotage forces when the time came, confirming the few words of those two young Romans of years earlier. Colby said that in 1951 the chief of the CIA in West Europe sent him to the field to help build the Stay-Behind network. 'Our aim was the creation of an Italian nationalism capable of halting the slide to the left,' he said, as if speaking of ancient Greek history.
Officially, Operation Gladio'--the code name of the clandestine Stay-Behind Net'--was founded on November 26, 1956, to defend Europe from invasion by Warsaw Pact nations. Gladio was a CIA Italian operation from the start and linked to NATO. However, it belonged heart and soul to the USA/CIA. Gladio was officially dissolved on July 27, 1990. Or, as is likely, the operation assumed another name. Al Qaeda is named as its successor.
After World War Two many top US military personnel had favored marching straight on to Moscow. Russia was their real enemy. Allied armed forces were still fresh. Western Intelligence knew of the enormous Soviet war losses and that the mood of the Russians was to return home Moreover many coopted German military and intelligence leaders repeated over and again: 'The time is now. Together we can crush Communist Russia.' Yet, Allied leaders also knew well of the historical capacity of Russians to resist. Saner appraisals favored prudence. The long Cold War was the result.
Although it existed and was fought, for more discerning minds also the Cold War was a sham. A cover. If the Cold War was a certain guarantee of relative peace, the One World Order without limits was burgeoning in the minds of secret powers in the western world. Gladio was one of its newer weapons.
An occupied country atmosphere haunted Europe, especially Italy and Germany. US troops were everywhere and showed no signs of going back home. Unbeknownst to the troops and to Americans at home, the Gladio-Stay-Behind complex was growing. It had settled in for the long haul. Though Soviet tanks never arrived, Gladio helped keep occupied Europe in line. Terrorism was the means. Social unrest, changing borders and ethnic protests required attention. In the next years the rise of Socialist parties opened a new front: Gladio had to tame overly ambitious socialists like Fran§ois Mitterrand, Willy Brandt and Olof Palme. Sweden's Social Democratic Prime Minister, Palme, opposed the Vietnam War and maintained good relations with Castro's Cuba, with Allende in Chile and the Communist bloc of nations. In 1986, Olof Palme was assassinated on the streets of Stockholm. His killer was never found.
Terrorism erupted in north Italy in the late 1950s when the separatist Committee For the Liberation of the South Tyrol, or BAS from the German Befreiungsausschuss S¼dtirol, spread terror in the Italian Tyrol. and already in that early post-war terrorists were manipulated by the CIA as in Italy's northern region. Tyrolean people loved the terror they believed was perpetrated in the name of secession from Italy and union with Austria'--357 attacks causing the death of twenty-one people in thirty-two years of terror. But people did not know that BAS had become a CIA affair and in effect ran against their desire for secession. At first it had all seemed so easy to Tyroleans. A Rasputin-like priest, Michael Gamper, and nine militant activists founded BAS. Their goal: secession of South Tyrol from Italy and unification with Austria of the entire Tyrol, north and south. The CIA did not share that goal. In CIA minds, Tyrolean unification with Austria with its strong Communist Party (KPO) was a nightmare: it would open a corridor from Soviet-occupied Eastern Austria for Soviet tanks headed for Rome. As BAS distributed pamphlets and destroyed symbolic places, the CIA and NATO saw the mouth-watering opportunity BAS terrorism offered. BAS terrorists were international with close ties to Neo-Nazi organizations in Austria and Germany, they too infiltrated and used by the CIA. On Fire Night in June of 1961, BAS commandos destroyed thirty-seven electrical towers, interrupting the power supply of all of Upper Italy. That violence prompted a ready and willing NATO (now including the newly created secret army of Gladio) and Rome to intervene and crush the secessionist movement. Carrot and stick rule over mutinous Tyrolean-Italians. And according to the script US/NATO power had set things right: an early example of the strategy of tension at work. Create the terror. Then suppress the popular secessionist movement. Clearly the South Tyrol would remain Italian Alto Adige. There would be no secession here. It would not unite with North Tyrol. It would not become part of dangerous Austria. A whole panoply of evidence confirms the Tyrol-as-laboratory to test the CIA strategy of tension. No surprise that a decade later, Italy's Marxist-Leninist Red Brigades imitated BAS tactics; in the end both Tyrolean terrorists and the Red Brigades were manipulated by Gladio They were the actors in the strategy of tension. If the Gladio secret army conspiracy could function so well in Italy, they were organized in many other European countries.
North Italy made a model for Flemish terrorists in the late Fifties and the Sixties Belgium when Brussels was considered a most dangerous city. And again during Belgium's ''Bloody Eighties'' and the Flemish rebellion against the French-speaking Wallon urge for power. Belgium's own secret army worked as in Italy.
Tension strategy exists for the manipulation and control of public opinion: fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs '... and false flag terrorist actions. Gladio's raison d'etre in Italy: first organize terrorism and blame it on Communists; spread fear and then pass laws restricting the freedoms of the people. As they had done in the Alto Adige when people fell for the propaganda of the threat of a Soviet invasion: the scary image of Russian Cossacks watering their horses in Vatican fountains. But people never get it! They are afraid. More special laws are passed and thousands of leftists are imprisoned. Keep the populace afraid so that promises of security will be believed. You create fear with lies. And the state then suppresses dissent. The state media define Communists as the enemy. Anything is justified to crush them. Communism and terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists '... and today 'immigrants.' Gladio made a major contribution to the creation of an obedient Europe '... an obedience today finally at the rupture point because the USA has exceeded all limits.
People in Italy, in Europe'--in the western world'--know nothing about Gladio and the strategy of tension. They do not know why terrorism persists '... nor who the real terrorists are. Italy's parliamentary investigations of Gladio resulted in a 300-page report on Gladio operations in Italy and its connections with the United States. Yet people are ignorant of that report that explains Gladio and casts the blame on the USA for the terrorism in Italy in the years of lead in the 1970s and 80s. It shows that the massacres, bombings and paramilitary actions were organized by shadowy men within Italian state institutions'--by men linked to American Intelligence. A bomb inside the Banca Nazionale dell' Agricoltura on Milan's Piazza Fontana on December 12, 1969 marked the continuation of the strategy of tension: the Piazza Fontana massacre. Sixteen dead, fifty-eight injured. The bombing took place at the height of the biggest strike wave that Italy had seen since the end of WWII.
Automobile and sheet metal workers were militant and aggressive in those times. Inflation drove prices to the sky. Trade unions dominated headlines. The word agitation was in wide use. Governments rose and fell as strikes and demonstrations became daily. Soaring interest rates, tottering governments, power outages and water rationing, second, third and fourth houses for the new rich and evictions for the poor. The people were incensed '... until the bombs on Milan's Piazza Fontana. Those bombs stopped the spread of agitation and the strike wave dead in its tracks. The police hauled suspected leftist sympathizers in for questioning and intimidated their families while the government passed emergency laws against suspected terrorists. Hand in hand, police and the media then blamed the Piazza Fontana bombing on a pathetic group of anarchists, the Bakunin Club, which anyway was already penetrated by the Italian secret services. An anarchist was pushed to his death from a fourth-story window of police headquarters in Milan.
More than twenty years after the bombing, official sources revealed that the bombs in the Piazza Fontana bank were placed by Gladio operating under the control of NATO intelligence worried that the strike wave would lead to the entry of the Italian Communist Party into the Rome government. Throughout the seventies and into the eighties NATO and Italian ruling circles were obsessed with keeping the Communists out of the government, exemplified by the abduction and murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978 for his attempts to bring the Italian Communist Party into the government coalition. The Moro murder was executed by the CIA/Gladio-run Red Brigades. The general public knew nothing about the real perpetrators: Gladio. They still do not.
A romantic time in Old Europe? Hardly. Soldiers in full battle dress patrolling the streets of Rome. Sirens screaming citywide day and night. Once in 1978 I returned from Iran with two of my Italian businessmen bosses and a potential, very Eastern-looking Iranian customer. It was the day Premier Moro was abducted by the infiltrated and CIA-manipulated Red Brigades. While we drove around the city police stopped us five times for identification and searches. Two Italians, an American and an Iranian in the same car were suspect. Tension was rife in Rome. The abduction of the Premier exemplified the strategy of tension method of social control
It is a mystery that the people know nothing about Operation Gladio. Despite the 300-page Italian parliamentary report on it, despite mentions even in the New York Times, despite coincidences like William Colby's free-and-easy revelations in a Rome bar, despite studies and articles about it in the leftist press, and despite decades of its nefarious activities worldwide which know no limits, people have remained ignorant about the US/NATO-run Operation Gladio.
Review: Before Our Very Eyes '' Fake Wars and Big Lies from 9/11 to Donald Trump by Thierry Meyssan
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:29
Amazon PageThierry Meyssan
5 Star Brilliant and unique truth telling from three points of view: Arab, French, US '-- an Indictment of Empire
I have been a deep admirer of the intelligence and integrity and local knowledge as well as strategic acumen of Thierry Mayssan ever since he accurately understood 9/11 as an inside job, long before I did.
In a nutshell, Mayssan is the anti-thesis of what we have today in the secret intelligence world that relies on a combination of corrupt policy consumers who could care less about intelligence (decision-support) while caring more about the bribes and blackmail that Zionist Israel (and Qatar and Saudi Arabia) put on them; young ignorant analysts, poorly educated with little time in the real world and especially little time in the countries they pupport to study; and excessive reliance on technical collection that is not processed and hand-outs '-- more often than not lies '-- from foreign intelligence services with their own agenda.
US intelligence is, in two words, both corrupt and stupid.
It is in that context that this book and this author are priceless. If I were President, I would place more value on this one man than I would on the entire $100B a year secret intelligence world.
The book could be improved with presidential-level executive summaries for each chapter, necessary in part because the chapters are deep and complex and culturally nuanced and you really have to read every word or miss half the points.
Here is the publisher's official description that is better than anything I could devise at this point in time:
In ''Before Our Very Eyes'' he chronicles the onslaught against Syria and Libya, from the viewpoints of three camps: the foolish ambitions of the French neocolonialists, the fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the lust for world domination of the Anglo-Zionist-American Empire. We see how the Anglo-American axis (the US, UK, and Israel discreetly behind the scenes) deployed their iron grip on the world's money and media to propagate a fake scenario of human rights violations. This was the cover story for the real scheme '-- to utterly disable the Muslim world by bringing it under the sword of fanatics like the Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Vassal regimes like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the Emirates were assigned to do the heavy lifting. For public relations purposes, the US pretended to fight half-heartedly against ISIS '' which in fact it had intentionally created in Iraq, to divide and conquer the insurgency. The US then covertly ferried the terrorists into Libya and Syria. It continues to prop up ISIS by devious means. Thus the wars on Libya and Syria were based on treachery and fakery from start to finish '' but the suffering of millions of innocent victims is all too real. A most murderous masquerade!
The author himself provides a compelling overview in his article on his own book, ''Right Before Our Eyes,'' and that is recommended as an introduction. I particularly like his reference to peeling the onion. CIA does not peel onions or do nuanced holistic analytics with true cost economics. They put salt and pepper on shit and serve it to the President claiming it is a filet mignon. Our President '-- and Mike Flynn '-- are absolutely right to be interested in a radical reconstruction of our over-priced under-performing intelligence community.
This book is in many ways the modern counterpart to my much simpler Burundi Exercise for the Aspin-Brown Commission, in which I defeated the entire secret intelligence community with six phone calls to open sources; and this man and this book are in many ways an icon for what an Open Source Agency '-- long fought by the CIA '-- would offer the President: the truth at low cost, shareable with Congress and the public.
BRAVO ZULU. Thierry Meyssan is an ethical, historical, and intellectual giant.
Transgender clinics prey on autistic children because they're easy to manipulate, disturbing new research finds
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:27
Only a very small handful of media outlets - and
none that are considered "mainstream" - are addressing the fact that children on the autism spectrum are being
disproportionately targeted by the transgender lobby for "transition therapy" because of their abnormal mental states.
A group of experts who used to work in the field recently came forward with a stark warning to the public about how autistic children have basically become the LGBTQ mafia's prey of choice because of how easily these little ones buy into transgender propaganda.
As many as one in four transgenders, believe it or not, now registers on the autism spectrum. According to a paper published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, this figure is "higher than the general population," and the reason is because autistic children are more easily swayed to "go trans" when pressured by adults to do so.
A study out of the United States involving nearly 300,000 child participants also found that those diagnosed on the autism spectrum are more than four times likelier than their non-autistic counterparts to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This suggests that autistic children are the "target market," so to speak, for transgender drugging and surgery.
"We fear that we have had front-row seats to a medical scandal," this group of former psychologists from the United Kingdom's National Health Service's (NHS) flagship Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) reportedly told Sky News, adding that today's young people are "being over-diagnosed and then over-medicalised."
Gender reclassification, aka transgender "reassignment," is CHILD ABUSE
At the GIDS clinic in London, also known as the Tavistock Clinic, some 35 percent of the children and teenagers that were referred there between 2011 and 2017 had "moderate to severe autistic traits," again suggesting that autistic individuals are being specifically targeted by the transgender lobby to take up the LGBTQ cause by destroying their bodies with surgery and gender-bending pharmaceuticals.
It's the same thing that's happening to children with Down syndrome, which are being systematically exploited by the LGBTQ mafia as ripe candidates for transitioning into "other" genders.
According to a study recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a shocking 80 percent of so-called "gender minority" students - meaning kids who've tried to change their genders with drugs and surgery - suffer from mental problems as a result, which is about twice the rate of occurrence in normal students.
All of this and more is why the American College of Pediatricians issued a statement condemning transition "therapy" in children. According to the group, teaching children to become transgenders is a form of child abuse - and we would also argue that it's a form of sexual assault.
"The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex," reads a 2017 statement issued by the ACP, condemning so-called "gender reclassification" in children.
"Facts - not ideology - determine reality," this statement further declares.
This ACP statement outlines eight specific arguments against gender reclassification, including the non-negotiable fact that humans come in only one of two "flavors," male or female . And this is unquestionably dictated by a person's DNA and genetics which, to believe otherwise, the statement goes on to contend, is "at best, a sign of confused thinking."
"When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such," the paper clearly delineates.
For more related news about the aggressive transgender indoctrination of today's youth by the LGBTQ mafia, be sure to check out Gender.news.
Turkish Lira at the crossroad | Daily times
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:25
Turkish Lira at the crossroadSyed Zubair AhmedDECEMBER 21, 2019Turkey’s lira has hit its weakest level against the dollar in more than two months after the U.S. Senate committee backed legislation on Wednesday to impose sanctions on Turkey, it would further aggravate the ties, which are already strained with Washington. It is expected that the central bank may further cut its benchmark rate.More:Turkish Lira at the crossroad | Daily times
8 life lessons everyone should learn before 2020 - CNET
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:15
Anything you do online can come back to bite you.
Angela Lang/CNET This story is part of The 2010s: A Decade in Review , a series on the memes, people, products, movies and so much more that have influenced the 2010s. It's been a decade full of lessons: who to trust, when to speak out and how to stream big events online after you've broken up with your cable company .
In 2010, the first iPhone was only three years old. Uber and Lyft didn't exist, and neither did Google Assistant and Siri, Instagram or streaming video. We've come a long way since then, but the next 10 years won't be easy. We'll tackle radical political divide, climate change and more privacy concerns than you can shake a selfie stick at.
The tech world will be blessed with triumphs and fraught with conflict over the next 10 years but we can learn from the ups and downs as we charge ahead. They say hindsight is 20/20. But as 2020 begins, it's that hindsight we need most now.
Find your own voice, and use itYour voice is currency. The rise of YouTube, Instagram and TikTok celebrities are a testament to the shifting focus on ordinary individuals creating culture and influence. Across the political spectrum, people and groups took to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to advocate and organize.
No event early in the decade better highlights Twitter's real-time broadcasting power than the Arab Spring, a string of political protests that swept the Arab world from North Africa to the Middle East in 2011. Twitter served both as a news source for on-the-ground events, and a launchpad for coordinating antigovernment campaigns.
Social media is a powerful way to speak out, but watch what you say.
Angela Lang/CNET Social media was also instrumental this decade for gathering and amplifying movements and messages. The #TakeTheKnee and #BlackLivesMatter Twitter hashtags are stances to protest issues of systemic racism and police brutality, #FakeNews vocalizes distrust in news sources and #MeToo has galvanized survivors of sexual abuse to speak up.
Whistle-blowers have also used other online platforms to make their sometimes controversial voices heard, including NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Susan Fowler, an engineer-turned-journalist who shone a light on Uber's bro-toxic culture with a tell-all blog post exposing sexual harassment and discrimination.
As 2020 begins, it's likely that open social media platforms will continue to spur movements and focus beliefs.
Make protecting your privacy paramount.
Josh Miller/CNET Privacy is the most important thing of allIt's one thing to join social media and post updates about a new job or photos of your dog, but it's another when the fine print reveals how much of your data you're passing along to a company.
The cost of privacy became clearest with 2018's Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a seemingly harmless Facebook quiz administered by the analytics firm mined data on 87 million Facebook users without their consent. Cambridge Analytica then used the data to create political ads for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and elections in other countries. The same year, a Disney Princess quiz exposed more than 120 million peoples' data.
Data breaches from Target, Adobe, Equifax, Capital One, Yahoo and Marriott and many more added up to billions of compromised accounts. Meanwhile, privacy is often traded for convenience through your Google, Siri and Amazon assistants, facial recognition software, in-home security cameras and take-home DNA tests.
The 2010s exposed these vulnerabilities, as well as the need for greater regulation and accountability on the side of companies and agencies.
Now playing: Watch this: Google Assistant had spying vulnerabilities, Uber co-founders...
Digital voice assistants are your new BFFYour human friends remember your birthday, but when it comes to reliably doing your bidding and anticipating your needs, you can't beat a digital assistant.
Google Assistant, Siri and Amazon's Alexa all got their starts before 2010, but they've blossomed during the past 10 years into robust digital sidekicks that can do far more than forecast the weather and relay the height of Mount Everest.
Now, your voice assistant can screen spam calls for you and tell you when to leave for your next appointment. It can reorder toilet paper when you run low, turn on your connected TV and read your texts aloud in the car as you drive.
But Google, Apple and Amazon have faced criticism for failing to protect your privacy, which could make you wary about letting them access your address books, search history and calendar.
Digital assistants, however, are expanding more into your microwave, TV and car, not less. The trick will be to balance their help with careful tending of your privacy controls.
Smart watches and fitness bands like Apple Watch and Fitbit can help track your vitals.
Angela Lang/CNET Your health is in your handsTech companies have spent the last decade formulating ways for you to seize control of your health and wellness, even when technology is hurting you, too.
A swell of smart watches, fitness bands and smart bedding detail your exercise, calorie and sleep data for you to analyze and use to change your behavior. Phone accessories help people monitor blood pressure and glucose. You can even start sequencing your own DNA at home with 23andMe's genetic testing kit.
Sometimes, this self-collected data saves lives. But there's a dark side to quantified health that you need to heed. Too much data without enough medical interpretation is medically inadvisable. And our use of devices has grown so much that Google, Apple and other phone-makers have built in digital detox tools to curb our phone addiction and make screens gray or sepia-toned to help us sleep.
Rely on sources you can trust.
Sarah Tew/CNET Don't believe everything you read onlineFor every compelling news story and factoid you glean from Facebook, Twitter and other social media, there's more that's waiting to lie to you or outright scam you.
The concept of fake news is a fallout of the decade, where "bad actors" seek to manipulate you by posing as legitimate new organizations. (Here are 10 examples.)
We saw scams that target shoppers and prey on the goodwill of strangers. Social engineering reared its head in this mysterious and fascinating case of 16 women on Tinder who were catfished on the same night. On the more sinister side, hate speech and doxxing continue to plague social deepfakes represent a frightening new future of video.
If the decade taught us anything about who to trust online, it's to check your sources before repeating "facts." Try to leave your filter bubble and look out for signs that you might be a target of someone's scam .
What do you see?
Know Your Meme Reality can be fluidDid you hear Laurel or Yanny? Was the dress gold or blue? What does your face look like if you were to swap genders?
In 2015, the absolutes of technology made room for interpretation with a striped dress -- "The Dress" -- that either looks gold and white, or blue and black (it was white and gold, obviously). And in 2018, a computer recording swept the English-speaking world which people would swear on their mothers' lives said either Yanny or Laurel (I heard Yanny, clearly).
Filters from Snapchat and other apps can play with your facial features, making them appear old or young, festooned with stars and flowers, or even with more or less facial hair and lipstick than you might ordinarily wear.
From an area we associate with absolutes emerged a lighter side of tech that breathes life into multiple or alternate realities, a theme we're sure to see grow as augmented and virtual reality technologies continue to develop .
Think before you post.
James Martin/CNET The internet is foreverIf you sear one rule into your brain going into 2020, make it this: Everything you post online can come back to haunt you, even years later. You might think your comment was ironic, hilarious or edgy. You may have intended it as satire or social commentary. It may have just been a moment of misjudgment you expect to blow over.
But your online record is part of your permanent record and you aren't guaranteed the benefit of the doubt, even if you think you deserve it.
Some examples: Last year, Harvard revoked admission to an applicant because of racist language he used in digital communication when he was 16. Earlier this decade, Kyler Murray, now a star for the Arizona Cardinals, came under fire as a college player for tweets he made as a 14- or 15-year-old that included a homophobic slur.
In 2018, a NASA intern lost her post for an obscenity-laced tweet. Gilbert Gottfried lost his job as an Aflac spokesman for insensitive comments about the tsunami in Japan in 2011. People being fired for poor social media and other bad internet behavior is so common it's now a genre of story. Here are 10 people who lost their jobs. Here are 13 more.
Sometimes, you have to unplug.
Liquidrome Live life in the cloud, but keep your feet on EarthYou shop online, bank online, stream TV shows and movies, and store your work on web apps like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 360. From music and documents, yearly taxes, online photo backups and QuickBooks accounting, we're increasingly creating and storing our lives in the cloud.
Few of us own the music we listen to; we subscribe, through services like Apple Music and Spotify. The same also goes for collections of movies and monthly payments to host your online photo albums. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus are some of the dozens of on-demand, internet-based streaming services we use to stay entertained.
Recipes, e-books, real-time gaming and communication have moved increasingly to the cloud, too.
The internet represents how we organize what goes in on our world, and it's easy to get sucked in. Engaging in the physical world around you, even observing for a quiet moment rather than rushing to your phone to be entertained, is an important way to stay grounded in reality.
As we grow even more depending on our phones in the next decade, remember to lift your face from the screen, step away from your devices and spend time making connections that matter right where you are. Technology may become an even greater part of society's fabric in the decade ahead, but it's crucial to remember why it's there -- to ease our lives, not to control them.
CNET Executive Editor Andrew Morse contributed to this article.
Russia vows to push ahead with gas pipeline despite Trump sanctions
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:12
By Linda Givetash and Dan De Luce with NBC News World News &bullet; last updated: 21/12/2019 - 13:55 In this file photo taken on March 26, 2019 works are under way at the construction site of the so-called Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Lubmin, northeastern Germany. -Russia vowed Saturday to press ahead with building a controversial natural gas pipeline to Europe in spite of new sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump.
"Russia has implemented and will continue to implement its economic projects regardless of anyone's sanctions," the country's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Trump enacted legislation Friday that will sanction companies and individuals involved in laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
The U.S. has long opposed the 750-mile pipeline, arguing it will leave Europe overly dependent on Russia for energy supply.
Trump said last year that "Germany is a captive of Russia," in an apparent reference to the pipeline. The comments caused a stir at the start of a tense NATO summit.
Friday's legislation threatening U.S. sanctions had an immediate impact, with a company that operates ships laying sections of the undersea pipeline saying Saturday it would suspend activities related to the project.
Switzerland-based Allseas said it will seek "guidance comprising of the necessary regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the relevant U.S. authority."
However those behind the project insisted it would go ahead in spite of the U.S. efforts.
"Completing the project is essential for European supply security," said Nord Stream 2 spokesman Jens Mueller in a statement.
"We together with the companies supporting the project will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible."
Russia provides about 37 percent of Europe's natural gas, and currently, the bulk of it moves through Ukraine's pipelines.
The Nord Stream 2 project would double the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany and allow it to bypass Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine.
But Russia doesn't have the capability to install undersea pipelines and is relying on the technological expertise of European companies.
Germany has been vehemently opposed to the sanctions but was unsuccessful lobbying against them.
"The German government rejects such extraterritorial sanctions," spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in a statement.
"They affect German and European companies and constitute an interference in our domestic affairs."
While the sanctions pose problems for some, Ukraine hoped it could be a game changer by giving Kyiv more leverage in negotiations with Moscow over the future use of its pipelines.
In an interview with NBC News last week, the CEO of Ukraine's state-owned energy company Naftogaz,Andriy Kobolyev, said the sanctions would have a major impact on the stalled negotiations between Russia and Ukraine over the transport of natural gas to Europe.
"I believe the European gas market will benefit significantly, and Ukraine will benefit," he said.
On Saturday, the two countries' gas operators reached a new five-year deal in Vienna that would see Moscow pay $2.9 billion to Kyiv to maintain access to their pipelines. In exchange, Ukraine would drop outstanding legal claims against Russia by Dec. 29.
The transmission tariff for Russian gas will increase, however, Ukraine's energy minister said.
Foreign Ministry says Russia will continue projects regardless of sanctions
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:06
MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Russia will continue to implement its economic projects, despite sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement of Saturday in connection with US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines.
"Russia has implemented and will continue to implement its economic projects regardless of anyone's sanctions," the diplomatic service said.
The Ministry added that the United States, by imposing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines, is trying to deprive its European allies of a guaranteed supply of energy from Russia and to impose its liquefied gas.
The ministry emphasized that the United States seeks to deprive its European allies of "guaranteed sources of supply" of energy from Russia. "Moreover, the desire to harm Russian exports is by no means the only or even the most important," the diplomatic service noted. "There is a tendency to impose US liquefied gas on Europe, which costs it much more than pipeline deliveries from Russia, and thereby slow development of economies, undermining the ability to compete with the US in global markets. As a result, Europeans are losing out on all counts," the ministry added.
According to the Foreign Ministry, not Russian, but European companies that participate in construction of the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines will be subjected to sanctions. "Washington has decided that for the sake of geopolitical ambitions and commercial gain, you can spare no one, even your closest NATO partners," the ministry concluded.
It was reported earlier on Saturday that sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines, included in the military budget for the 2020 fiscal year signed by US President Donald Trump (began on October 1), came into force.
Switzerland-based Allseas, pipe-laying company for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, reported earlier suspension of pipelay activities until regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the relevant US authority.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 violate international law and present a perfect example of unfair competition.
The United States Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense for 2020 fiscal year (started on October 1), which obliges the administration to impose sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines. Earlier, on December 11, the House of Representatives voted for the document.
The Nord Stream 2 project involves construction of two lines with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters of gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gazprom's European partners in the project are German Uniper and Wintershall, Austrian OMV, French Engie and Anglo-Dutch Shell. The pipeline bypasses transit states - Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and other East European and Baltic countries - through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.
2019 Set the Stage for DeFi to Go Mainstream
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 08:00
Dec 21, 2019 at 13:00 UTC
Lou Kerner is Advisory Board Member at Blockchain Coinvestors
This post is part of CoinDesk's 2019 Year in Review, a collection of 100 op-eds, interviews and takes on the state of blockchain and the world. Lou Kerner is an advisory board member at Blockchain Coinvestors, co-founder of CryptoOracle, and partner at Chameleon as well as Flight Ventures.
MakerDAO started minting DAI in December 2017, and saw dramatic growth in 2018, as the daily supply in circulation grew to nearly 100 million:
In March, 2019, MolochDAO went live with 22 founding members, each depositing 100 ETH (the equivalent of $330,000 at today's price of $150) into the decentralized and autonomous grants system. At the Ethereal Summit just two months later, MolochDAO received another 1,000 ETH from both Joe Lubin and Vitalik Buterin, plus 2,000 ETH from a group of individuals from ConsenSys and the Ethereum Foundation. In its first six months, it gave more than $120,000 to 17 projects.
2019 also witnessed the scaling of decentralized exchanges as liquidity solutions improved VIA locking ETH.
In total, we are now at peak ETH locked in DeFi applications:
With the majority locked via MakerDAO.
DeFi Is Poised To Drive Mainstream Adoption In 2020
The last three years has seen a lot of progress. Scaling is being addressed with various technologies including Plasma and Rollup showing great promise. We are seeing an increasing number of viable fiat on-ramps for both institutional investors (e.g. Bakkt) and consumers (e.g. Wyre). We're starting to see standards set in foundational technologies like zero knowledge proofs (via ZKProof.org). So the main element we need to solve for now, is creating a product that people want. That people need. And there are two simple reasons why I believe that DeFi is poised to create that mainstream product in 2020.
#1 Composability Enables Rapid Innovation
A key aspect of DeFi is it's composability, which is the ability to combine two distinct services to get a novel third service. A great example of this is InstaDapp, which created a link between Maker and Compound, increasing the efficiency of the entire lending market by enabling borrowers or savers to easily find and engage with the providers offering the best rates on lending, borrowing and margin trading. And InstaDapp was created at the ETHIndia hackathon, in two days.
With the introduction of Multi-Collateral DAI in November, 2019, we're starting to see a more robust set of DeFi ''Legos'' that we can connect together to create products that were simply not possible before. While DeFiers can lock only two assets (ETH and BAT) together to create DAI today, we're likely to see a proliferation of assets come to DeFI in the coming years, including fiat currencies and tokens derived from real world assets, like real estate. Thus creating more assets that can be connected to create new kinds of assets.
#2 DeFi Products Don't Have To Ask For Approval From Regulators
DeFi has a major advantage over incumbent financial and technology companies because they can introduce products without asking any regulators for permission.
If Uber had asked taxi regulators for permission, there would be no Uber.
There is no Libra today because Facebook had to ask for permission because they're centralized and have a $550B franchise to protect.
Maker didn't ask for permission to introduce Dai. Uniswap didn't ask for permission. Compound didn't ask for permission.
If you don't have to ask for permission, you can roll out a lot more products a lot faster, and are simply far better positioned to find product market fit.
New asset classes are born all the time, providing new opportunities for investors that were not previously available. Take junk bonds. When Michael Milken at Drexel invented this asset, all the other investment banks said they were garbage and would never issue or trade them. But investors wanted junk bonds, and the new class grew quickly, from $1.6 billion of issuance in 1981, to $33 billion just five years later. That dramatic growth was driven by the fact that junk bonds provided a way for investors to get higher yields that were simply not possible before. They found product market fit.
I think 2020 will start to see the introduction of DeFi products that enable investors to do things they couldn't do before and to invest in ways that were not possible before these new technologies existed. When we find product market fit and build a product that people want, that they can't get elsewhere, rypto will go mainstream. That's when institutions ''get off zero.'' That's the promise of 2020.
Disclosure Read More The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
The Future Is Trashion - The New York Times
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 07:29
The ragpicker of Brooklyn works out of a 750-square-foot storefront a few blocks east of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, down a mostly residential side street in Williamsburg, where Hasidim and hipsters mix.
The ragpicker of Brooklyn sews in the back, behind a makeshift wall sprouting a riot of scraps. Under the pattern-cutting table there are bins of scraps of scraps, sorted by color (red and yellow and blue and black), and on one wall are shelves of Mason jars containing gumball-size scraps of scraps of scraps; up front are clothing rails, and a dressing room canopied by a lavish waterfall of castoff cuttings that flows down onto the floor like a Gaud­ sand castle.
The ragpicker of Brooklyn, whose name is Daniel Silverstein and whose nom de style is Zero Waste Daniel, looks like a fashion kid, which he is (or was). He is 30 and tends to dress all in black, with a black knit cap on his head, and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and interned at Carolina Herrera and even was on a fashion reality TV show.
And the ragpicker of Brooklyn would rather not be called that at all.
''I prefer to think of it as Rumpelstiltskin, spinning straw into gold,'' Mr. Silverstein said one day in early November. He was on West 35th Street, in the garment district, with his partner and husband, Mario DeMarco (also all in black). They were hauling home sacks of cuttings from their own production run at HD Fashion, which also makes clothes for Rag & Bone and Donna Karan's Urban Zen line.
Mr. Silverstein's straw is more formally known as preconsumer, postproduction waste, which is a fancy way of saying he works with the fabrics that other designers and costume departments and factories would normally throw out.
Image Mr. Silverstein looking through fabric swatches he has made from different garment scraps that will be reused as accent pieces in looks in his collection. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times His gold is street wear: sweatshirts and pants and T-shirts, the occasional anorak, collaged together from rolls of old fabric, mostly black and gray, often containing brightly colored geometric patchwork inserts of smaller, brighter bits, like an exclamation point, or an Easter egg.
Those patchwork inserts have been put together from the castoffs of the bigger pieces, and then the castoffs from the inserts are saved and pieced together into mosaic appliqu(C)s (the hands from the Sistine Chapel and Earth as seen from above, for example). The appliqu(C)s can be custom-made and attached to any piece. Leftovers, all the way.
As fashion comes to grips with its own culpability in the climate crisis, the concept of upcycling, whether remaking old clothes or re-engineering used fabric or simply using what would otherwise be tossed into landfill, has begun to trickle out to many layers of the fashion world.
That includes the high end, via the work of designers like Marine Serre, Emily Bode and Gabriela Hearst, and brands like Herm¨s, as well as the outdoor space, with the Patagonia WornWear and Recrafted programs (to name a few).
And yet, because there are few economies of scale and even fewer production systems, such clothing remains for many designers an experiment rather than a strategy, and for many consumers, a luxury rather than a choice.
Mr. Silverstein, whose clothes range from $25 for a patch to $595 for an anorak made from what was a New York City Sanitation Department tent, and who works only with fabric that would otherwise be thrown away, is one of several new designers trying to change that.
How he got there, with lots of false starts and belly flops, is perhaps as representative as anything of the way fashion may be stumbling toward its future. We make too much, and we buy too much, but that doesn't have to mean we waste too much.
Welcome to the growing world of trashion.
Saved By the Dumpster''I came to New York for that fashion dream '-- what I'd been watching on TV,'' Mr. Silverstein said a few weeks before his garment district scrap-saving trip. ''I wanted that life so badly.''
He was sitting in the back of what he calls his ''make/shop,'' which he and Mr. DeMarco renovated in 2017 using materials from Big Reuse, a Brooklyn nonprofit. The make/shop has three sewing machines but no garbage can.
Mr. Silverstein was born in Pennsylvania, and when he was 10, his parents moved to New Jersey so their fashion-aware son could be closer to New York. Mr. Silverstein's father owned a swimming pool and hot tub supply company, and his mother worked part-time in the business. (She is also a therapist.) As a family, they did some recycling but were not particularly attuned to the environment.
Mr. Silverstein always knew he wanted to be a designer. When he was 4, he started making clothes for his sister's Barbies out of tissue paper and tinfoil. By the time he was 14, he was taking weekend classes at F.I.T. and making his friends' prom dresses.
His Damascene moment was more like a series of cold-water splashes. For a senior-year competition for the Clinton Global Initiative, he designed a pair of sustainable jeans, which became his first zero-waste pattern. He didn't win, but his teacher told him to hold on to the idea. '''You have something there,''' he recalled the teacher saying.
After graduating, he found himself working as a temp at Victoria's Secret, making knitwear. He would scroll through style.com looking at recent runway shows, find a sweater he liked, then create a technical design packet for a similar style for VS.
One of the patterns involved an asymmetric cut with a long triangular piece in front. Because of the irregular shape, the fabric ''had an insanely poor yield,'' Mr. Silverstein said, meaning that only a portion of every yard was used for the garment; almost half was waste.
He did the math and realized, he said, ''that if this is yielding only 47 percent per each sweater, and we are cutting 10,000 sweaters, then we are knitting, milling, dying and finishing 5,000 yards of fabric just to throw out.''
The next day, he said, he left VS to focus on a business he and a friend had started based on his zero-waste patterns. They were making classic ready-to-wear '-- cocktail dresses and suits and such '-- but with no waste left on the cutting-room floor. One of their first customers was Jennifer Hudson, who wore a turquoise dress that ended up in the pages of Us Weekly.
Stores like Fred Segal in Los Angeles and e-tail sites like Master & Muse picked up the line, which was called 100% (for the amount of fabric used), and Mr. Silverstein spent a season on the ''Fashion Star,'' ending his tenure as second runner-up.
Still, the economics of fashion, in which stores pay after delivery, were working against him. In 2015, after American Apparel, which had bought Oak NYC, a store known for its edgy choices and one of his wholesale accounts, declared bankruptcy, he was left with $30,000 worth of unpaid orders. He decided to quit.
Mr. Silverstein got a part-time job helping students get their art portfolios together and, he said, ''lay on the couch for a while.'' Finally he boxed up his studio and threw all of his leftover fabric in a garbage bag. He was set to haul it to a dumpster, only to have the bag break, spilling its contents onto the floor.
''I thought, 'I can't throw this out '-- it's the antithesis of my mission,''' he said. ''So I took the afternoon and made myself a shirt and put it on my Instagram. I had maybe 2,000 followers, and probably the most likes I had ever gotten was 95. I posted this dumb selfie of a shirt I'd made out of my own trash because I was too poor to go shopping, and it instantly got 200 likes. It was the most popular thing I'd ever done.''
It occurred to him this may be a better way to go. He made ''a bunch of scrappy shirts'' and became Zero Waste Daniel, his Instagram name (which he had chosen because Daniel Silverstein was already taken).
He rented a booth at a flea market and sold them all. Johnny Wujek, Katy Perry's stylist, bought one. Chris Anderson, a mentor who ran Dress for Success in Morris County, N.J., where Mr. Silverstein had interned during high school, said she would back him.
His father put in some money, too, as did Tuomo Tiisala, a professor at New York University who saw his work at a market. Mr. Silverstein got a small space at Manufacture New York, a group incubator in Sunset Park (it disbanded after a year), and made a deal with a factory that supplied the Marshalls chain to pick up its scraps.
Fabric dumping, though less discussed than the clothes consumers throw out, is just as much a byproduct of fashion production, and just as culpable in the landfill crisis. Reverse Resources, a group that has created an online marketplace to connect factories and designers who want to reuse their scraps, released a study in 2016 that estimated that the garment industry creates almost enough leftover textile per year to cover the entire republic of Estonia with waste.
That was a best-case scenario. Worst case would be enough to cover North Korea.
At that stage, Mr. Silverstein was mostly making sweatshirts, piecing them together by hand, but, he said, ''people started making little videos about my work and putting up posts, and I started getting more orders than I could keep up with.''
In 2017, he met Mr. DeMarco, who worked in hospitality. This year he joined the business full-time.
In many ways, social media has also been their door to a customer base. Just as it creates pressure to buy new stuff, it can create pressure to buy new old stuff.
Message vs. Money''My freshman year at F.I.T., one of my teachers said there are good designers and there are great designers,'' Mr. Silverstein said. ''Good designers have careers and see their stuff in stores, and great designers change the way people dress.'' And, perhaps, think about dress.''
He was driving a small U-Haul truck. He had spent the morning with Mr. DeMarco in FabScrap, a concrete loft in the erstwhile Army Terminal complex in Sunset Park filled with trash bags and storage boxes bulging at the seams with fabric waste. They were on the hunt for 400 or so yards of random black remnants with some stretch.
Mr. Silverstein doesn't ragpick in the 19th-century way (the way that gave birth to the term), sifting through garbage on the streets. He picks through giant boxes and metal shelves of castoff fabric rolls and then sews his finds together to make new rolls.
He doesn't really have seasons or shows by a traditional definition, though he flirts with the idea. In 2018, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge invited him to do a show for New York Fashion Week, and instead of a runway, he decided to do a one-man stand-up routine called ''Sustainable Fashion Is Hilarious,'' which was more about concept than clothes.
The hotel sold tickets online, and all of the proceeds went to Fashion Revolution, a nonprofit that advocates industry reform. In September, he did the same at the Ace hotel in Manhattan.
Mr. Silverstein is planning a performance for February at Arcadia Earth, the climate installation museum in downtown New York, which also sells some of his work.
Last year the Sanitation Department came calling. It had done a collaboration with the designer Heron Preston and was looking for another partner. While Mr. Preston saw the opportunity as a way to elevate the role of the sanitation worker in a one-off show, Mr. Silverstein saw it as a great partnership for raw material.
The department's dead-stock T-shirts, tents and tablecloths have proven something of a treasure trove for him.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Mr. Silverstein was one of the star companies in an American Express showcase on Small Business Saturday. He is also teaming up with a former mentor at Swimwear Anywhere for a line of bathing suits made in Taiwan, which will be his first foray into offshore production. (The scraps will be sent back along with the trunks and one-pieces, which are made from recycled ocean fishing nets.)
Recently Lin-Manuel Miranda wore a Zero Waste Daniel sweatshirt at an Amex event. The drag queen Pattie Gonia wore a long mosaic gown based on Botticelli's ''Birth of Venus'' at the Tony Awards in June and made Vogue's best-dressed slide show, albeit without identification.
The company has been profitable for a year, Mr. Silverstein said, and ships across the United States as well as to Canada, Britain, Brazil and Germany.
Now Mr. Silverstein is at another turning point. Does he get bigger? Does he train other ragpickers to do what he does? Does he open another outlet? Does he really get in the game?
He is not sure. ''I can't clothe the world, and maybe the world doesn't need me to,'' he said. Maybe the drive to clothe the world is part of what created the problem he is now trying to solve in the first place. ''When I think about what I want in terms of brand recognition, I would love to see this brand as a household name. But I think that's very different than dollars. And I don't want to be any bigger than I can guarantee it's a zero-waste product or that I feel happy.''
He was gathering pieces for a Freddie Mercury mosaic. ''Right now,'' he said, surveying his mountain of scraps, ''I am so happy.''
The witch-hunting of JK Rowling - spiked
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 03:24
The persecution of women who question transgenderism has got to stop.
Standing up for women's rights is a risky business these days. Just ask JK Rowling. She has had merry hell rained down upon her over the past 24 hours. She has been called a stupid cunt, a bitch, trash, an old woman and so fucking ugly by an army of tweeting sexists. Her crime? She defended the right of a woman to express her opinion about sex and gender without losing her job.
The witch-hunting of JK Rowling, the ceaseless online abuse of her over the past day and night, exposes how unhinged, hateful and outright misogynistic the transgender movement has become. Rowling's sin was to tweet in defence of Maya Forstater, the charity worker who was sacked for her belief that there are two sexes and that sex is immutable. That is, a man cannot become a woman, and vice versa. This week, an employment tribunal outrageously upheld Ms Forstater's sacking and in the process it decreed what it is acceptable for people in the workplace to think and say. The judge said the kind of views held by Forstater are 'not worthy of respect in a democratic society'. This essentially gives a green light to the harassment, isolation and expulsion from the workplace of anyone who questions the transgender ideology.
Not surprisingly, this chilling diktat, this judge-led effort to outline what opinions we are allowed to hold, alarmed people who care about freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and who think that women should not be punished for holding particular opinions. There is a foul, pre-modern vibe to the idea that women should keep their filthy opinions to themselves and if they don't they should be expelled from polite society. Trans-sceptical feminists in academia and the cultural sphere responded to the censorious persecution of Ms Forstater by tweeting their backing of her '' #IStandWithMaya '' and calling for freedom of speech for women who think biological sex is an actual thing. Rowling joined in. The bile she has since received perfectly illustrates the problem at hand '' that it has become tantamount to a speechcrime to say there are two sexes.
Forstater has been punished for stating a biological truth, for expressing what humans have known forever to be the case: that sex is sex and it cannnot be changed. This is not an illiberal position. As Rowling said in her pro-Forstater tweet, people should be free to live however they please:
Dress however you please.Call yourself whatever you like.Sleep with any consenting adult who'll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
'-- J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Rowling's position is perfectly reasonable and tolerant. She's defending the right of individuals to engage in any lifestyle of their choosing. She is simply saying that, at the same time, women should not be harassed and silenced just because they are worried about gender-recognition laws that would allow men to become women (legally speaking) simply by declaring it. Women absolutely must have the right to say that if you have a penis '' or if you ever had a penis '' then you are a man, not a woman. And they must be free to say that men should not be allowed in women-only spaces. This is a freedom-of-speech issue and a women's-rights issue. That so many on the woke left, including in the Corbynista wing of the Labour Party, cannot see that, and instead have joined in the misogynistic harassment of Forstater and Rowling, confirms the extent to which they have sacrificed progressive principles at the altar of identitarian correctness.
The response to Rowling is getting madder and madder. Pro-trans Harry Potter fans are weeping online. Some are saying they 'found safety in Hogwarts' when they were kids and now they have been made to feel unsafe by Rowling's 'transphobia'. Star Wars legend Mark Hamill found himself being harassed too after he committed the click-crime of liking Rowling's tweet. He has now expressed regret for his sinful, blasphemous pressing of the 'like' button. Oh Mark, what a letdown. Don't let your opinions be dictated by intolerant mobs of censors and misogynists.
There is a powerfully Orwellian streak in the punishment of people for expressing obvious truths. That you can now be sacked and demonised for saying men are men and women are women confirms that the trans tyranny is out of control. This is why Rowling's intervention was so important. The only way this woke censorship and persecution of disobedient women will be countered is if more individuals and institutions stand up to it. Everyone must now say what has, surreally, become unsayable: that sex is real, that sex is immutable, and that if you are born male, you will die male, regardless of what you do to yourself.
Brendan O'Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O'Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy
Picture by: Getty.
To enquire about republishing spiked's content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.
Police Ring sting targets package thieves, but concerns privacy advocates - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:43
The holidays are here, and delivery drivers aren't the only ones paying homes a visit. Fueled by the ease of online shopping, porches are piled high with packages '-- easy targets for thieves.
Over the last several weeks, the Chula Vista Police Department has been leveraging one of its newest technological tools '-- a partnership with the doorbell-camera company Ring '-- to crack down on the thefts.
But the strategy the department employed in at least one of those operations concerned privacy advocates and later prompted Ring to launch an investigation into the matter.
Ring, a home security company best known for its Internet-connected doorbell camera, has forged hundreds of video-sharing partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country. Although departments need permission from residents to access the footage, the ever-growing network of cameras has fueled concern over potential abuses.
According to recent emails sent to some of the city's Ring subscribers, an officer asked residents if they'd be interested in placing fake packages on their doorsteps in an attempt to catch so-called ''porch pirates.''
A department spokesman confirmed operations targeting package thieves were conducted, but provided no other details, saying more information could compromise ongoing investigations. The email, sent on Nov. 15, did not state when such an operation might take place.
''The Chula Vista Police Department does recognize that theft is more common during the holidays, and we're trying to take a more proactive enforcement stance to prevent that from happening,'' Chula Vista police Lt. Dan Peak said.
As for Ring, a company spokesman said the police department was not supposed to message its customers for that purpose.
''Users have the option to provide helpful information if local police ask for assistance with an active investigation,'' the company said in a statement. ''That process has been designed to ensure that no user information is shared with local police unless that user decides to do so. That being said, this feature is not meant to be a messaging tool. We've reached out to the Chula Vista Police Department and have suspended their access to this feature while we look into this matter.''
Privacy advocates pointed to the sting as another example of the company capitalizing on community concern over crime to expand what is essentially a privately-owned surveillance system.
Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Ring appears to be operating under the assumption that ''fear sells.''
''If you get people afraid of their neighborhood, then they will buy Ring cameras, and those cameras will, in turn, make them more afraid, because every time someone walks by and their phone buzzes, they'll think it's a burglar on their porch,'' Guariglia said.
He said it's an unfortunate but predictable next step that the product would be used to help create crimes of opportunity that did not exist through stings like the one Chula Vista investigators proposed.
Lt. Peak offered few details about the operation, including how many people, if any, volunteered to participate or whether any thieves were caught. He said the department has employed a number of investigative techniques outside of its partnership with Ring to zero in on criminals.
That included analyzing the locations of reported package thefts to identify potential hot spots and sifting through social media comments from residents who may have been victimized. Peak added that officers who had been sent to investigate some of the thefts had noted several nearby residents had Ring cameras and had knocked on those doors to explain they would be interested in footage of any thefts that occurred in the future.
He said the response from those residents was ''overwhelmingly positive.''
Chula Vista isn't the first county agency to target thieves with Ring. Last holiday season, the Oceanside Police Department '-- one of the first agencies in the state to partner with the service '-- called the home camera a ''game changer,'' adding that it had led to arrests within weeks of entering into a partnership with the company.
Peak was not able to say by deadline if the department had used Ring to make any arrests or crack any cases. He did offer tips to those looking to keep their packages safe including having them delivered to a workplace or to a friend or relative that will be home. Residents can also pick up packages at the post office or request a signature be required upon deliver, he said.
2020 Democratic Candidates Line Up Showbiz Figures For The Trail '' Deadline
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:33
Costner and Buttigieg ShutterstockWe are entering celebrity endorsement season, as entertainment figures pick their candidates and the campaigns tout their Hollywood connections.
Among the other figures who have announced their support for a candidate include Rob Reiner for Joe Biden and John Legend for Elizabeth Warren. Ariana Grande expressed her support for Bernie Sanders, and Cardi B appeared in a conversation with the candidate that appeared on YouTube, Susan Sarandon campaigned in Iowa with Sanders, just as she did in the 2016 cycle. Rosario Dawson, who has been dating Cory Booker, also is endorsing him '-- if that wasn't obvious already.
The $64,000 question is: Do these endorsements help?
Gerry Broome/AP/ShutterstockIn the aftermath of Hillary Clinton's 2016 defeat, there was much consternation that her campaign overdid it with celebrity appearances, as she appeared at a star-studded closing rally in Philadelphia with Bruce Springsteen and, in her final event, with Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi in North Carolina (left).
But this is a different moment in the campaign '-- the primary, not the general election. With 15 Democrats still in the race, there still is a competition to break through, and the added draw of a celebrity on the campaign trail is an added twist to the regular talking points or stump speech. When Oprah Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama in Iowa in 2007, the campaign used it as an organizing opportunity, collecting the personal information of the thousands who turned out to see the two speak. Recent polls of registered voters show that celebrity endorsements don't really sway votes, but the public certainly pays attention.
On Friday, Jane Lynch started trending on Twitter after she posted a comment defending Pete Buttigieg from one of Elizabeth Warren's attack lines at Thursday's Democratic debate. Warren had criticized Buttigieg for having dinner with high-dollar donors in a ''wine cave'' in Napa Valley.
Lynch wrote, ''Hello everyone. Billionaires in wine caves have as much right to say who gets to be president as waitresses in diners and plumbers in my bathroom. Class warfare is ugly, @ewarren. Thanks for listening everyone.''
Hello everyone. Billionaires in wine caves have as much right to say who gets to be president as waitresses in diners and plumbers in my bathroom. Class warfare is ugly, @ewarren Thanks for listening everyone.
'-- Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) December 20, 2019
The risk for the 2020 candidates is that Republicans will use their celebrity embrace to reinforce the idea that Democrats are out of touch in their coddling of the showbiz coastal elite. But that is an argument the GOP makes cycle after cycle, and already is doing so anyway.
What's more, President Donald Trump is not like his predecessors in that he clearly pays attention to who is supporting whom and is not shy about highlighting those celebrities who have publicly declared their support for him. That includes Kanye West, who made a memorable Oval Office visit in 2018, and Jon Voight, who was recently honored at a White House ceremony with the National Medal of Arts.
'A Little Razzle Dazzle': US Man Installs Christmas Decoration Claiming Epstein Didn't Kill Himself - Sputnik International
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:32
US08:45 21.12.2019Get short URL
After convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in August, several conspiracy theories emerged to suggest that someone could have murdered the 66-year-old before he could testify against his high-profile friends.
New Jersey resident Kevin Gibson has installed a Christmas light decoration near his house which includes a popular meme claiming that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein didn't not commit a suicide, the website NJ.com reports.
''These lights didn't hang themselves... and neither did Epstein,'' the decoration's display reads.Gibson, who described himself as ''not very political'', wrote on his Facebook page that his Christmas lights were ''boring'' which is why he decided to add ''a little razzle dazzle''.
He is known for having installed topical and meme-heavy Christmas decorations at his home in Lacey Township for the last three years.
Gibson told NJ.com that despite the fact that he picked the controversial meme this year, he has got ''mostly great feedback''.
''Here and there somebody said it isn't appropriate for the holidays but you always have one,'' he added.When asked if he believed in Epstein's suicide, Gibson seemed to hint that he sticks to conspiracy theories, saying ''Is Eli (Manning) starting this Sunday?''
In July, Epstein was arrested for the alleged sex trafficking of underage girls at his mansion. While pleading not guilty, he was facing up to 45 years in jail if convicted.
The convicted sex abuser had been under investigation for nearly two decades at the time of his controversial death in custody.
Even though investigators insist that the 66-year-old billionaire financier committed suicide by hanging himself in his Manhattan jail cell on 10 August, a spate of conspiracy theories claim that he was murdered before he could testify against his group of high-profile friends, such as former US President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
YOUTUBErs physically fighting each other could become regular event...
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:31
Jake Paul is the latest YouTuber to get his own boxing special. If the team behind the growing sports streaming platform Dazn is right, it'll be more than a one-time event.
Following the successful rematch between his brother, Logan Paul, and fellow YouTuber KSI earlier this year, Jake is the next creator Dazn thinks can pull in a sizable audience. Jake Paul will fight YouTuber and boxer Ali ''AnEsonGib'' Gib in the penultimate match of a special boxing event on the eve of Super Bowl weekend in Miami, Florida. The full event has three world fights, including a headliner match between Demetrius Andrade and Luke Keeler.
If it draws new viewers, Dazn has plans to team up with more creators and pit them against each other in the boxing ring '-- and potentially in other sports as well, according to Joe Markowski, Dazn's executive vice president of North American content.
''The fight was bigger, the hype was bigger, and the returning revenue was bigger.''
''Our appetite has been whetted to do more in this space,'' Markowski said. ''We are interested in longer term schedules with them and their community to help further engage this audience on a regular basis, and drive subscribers because we're a subscription based service.''
The fights can also be a win for top YouTubers who participate. YouTubers have long complained about the difficulties of predicting how much money they'll make from ads served on their videos, and YouTube's rules and preferences can feel like they're constantly in flux. Dazn offers them a guaranteed paycheck and something to get their fans excited about, too.
Markowski declined to offer viewership numbers for Logan Paul and KSI's fight, which took place in November, but he said ''they were significantly bigger than the first fight,'' even when offered ''at a higher price point'' in certain regions, like the United States. All Markowski would tell The Verge is that from an overall metrics perspective, ''The fight was bigger, the hype was bigger, and the returning revenue was bigger.''
Although Dazn is known within the boxing community and boasts eight million subscribers globally (about two million less than HBO Now has in the US) it's not exactly a household name. The service, which launched in 2016, charges $20 per month or $100 per year for access primarily to exclusive boxing matchups, as well as some additional tournaments, archival footage, and behind-the-scenes content. Outside of the United States, the streamer is known for other sports, too. It exclusively carries various league games in different territories, including recently acquiring the rights to the majority of UEFA Champions League matches in Germany, for example.
YouTubers are expected to promote their fights on YouTube, bringing new audiences to boxing
The target audience is avid sports fans. So bringing YouTube creators '-- especially those with spotty histories like KSI, and Logan and Jake Paul '-- wasn't something that every executive was on board with when Markowski initially pitched it. John Skipper, former head of ESPN and current chairman at Dazn, was one of those executives.
''John's on record saying that he was skeptical initially,'' Markowski said. ''It was something that not everyone in our business understood. John won't mind me saying that I'm of a younger generation than most of my senior executives. That success was backed up by metrics. Now, there are various potential YouTube names that I hear John suggest.''
With an open runway to pursue more potential YouTuber-focused content, Markowski saw an opportunity to grow beyond the diehard sports fans signing up. Although not every fight can be between high-profile creators like Logan Paul and KSI, who spent months upon months releasing diss tracks, vlogs, Instagram stories, and meetups to hype up their fight, Markowski believes there's a way to generate similar drama.
''Part of the strategy here is to introduce the significant audience these guys bring to the sport of boxing.''
''We can make a lot of YouTubers fight but very few will have the energy and interests,'' he said. ''We have to choose which events we want to support. Now that the proof of content is there, we're in an exploration phase, and I'm pretty bullish that we can make some significant moves in the coming months.''
Bringing YouTubers onto Dazn through boxing doesn't mean those personalities can give up YouTube. Creators like Jake Paul are contractually obligated to promote the fight through their existing channels, Markowski confirmed, adding that it's a ''central part of the commercial agreement.'' He declined to comment on whether Dazn gets a portion of the creators' ad revenue for videos that are related to the fight, or if those are considered additional sponsored content. Leaning on YouTubers to use their platform, and millions of subscribers, to generate hype for a fight is key to the event's success.
So when Jake Paul announced on YouTube that he's quitting the platform to become a boxer, he's not really. Teaming with creators brings a new audience to Dazn who stay for the fight and may retain their subscription even after the event is done (this is partially why Markowski is open to exploring more frequent matches). Data suggests that traditional boxing fans, even those who may have complained prior to Logan and KSI's match, stayed right to the end.
Traditional boxing fans stuck around for Logan's fight
''We only have one data point, but the audience continued to grow throughout the night, and there was no drop off,'' Markowski said. ''The vast, vast majority, upward of 90 percent of the audience who came to watch the two really professional boxing events, stayed to watch Logan and KSI. Part of the strategy here is to introduce the significant audience these guys bring to the sport of boxing.''
Markowski may be bullish on the advantage YouTube creators like Jake Paul bring to Dazn, but the team's commitment is to ensuring the streaming service is seen as professional in the eyes of leagues, subscribers, and the industry. The end goal is to grow subscribers, naturally, but Markowski also sees it as a way to bring new fans to boxing in general. By his math, if even ''10 to 20 percent of the new audience [during the KSI and Logan Paul fight] engaged with these professional boxers who they're exposed to for the first time, that's a good win.'' Experimentation is crucial for this reason, and if working with YouTubers turns out to work against Dazn, Markowski is ready to step away.
''If we start doing it every week and the quality of the sport diminishes, we'll look into it,'' he said. ''That's why we pick and choose the fighters we want to work with. We're cognizant of the importance of being a significant boxing broadcaster and the credibility that comes with it. Conversations about expectations and what we do next are ongoing, but we have fantastic relationships with the talent in this space.''
Jake Paul's fight will air on January 30th, 2020.
Data on 267 million users exposed...
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:29
A Ukrainian security researcher reported finding a database with the names, phone numbers and unique user IDs of more than 267 million Facebook users '-- nearly all U.S.-based '-- on the open internet. That data was likely harvested by criminals, said researcher Bob Diachenko, an independent security consultant in Kyiv.
The database, which Diachenko discovered with a search engine, was freely accessible online for at least 10 days beginning Dec. 4, he said. He notified the internet provider where it was hosted when he found it on Dec. 14; five days later it was no longer available.
Diachenko said someone downloaded the database to a hacker forum two days before he discovered it so it may have been shared among online thieves.
He first reported the finding Thursday in partnership with the U.K. tech news website Comparitech, which editor Paul Bischoff said has been helping write up Diachenko's discoveries of unsecured databases for about a year.
The researcher provided the AP with a 10-record sample from the database and the IDs '-- and two phone numbers that were answered '-- checked out against real Facebook users.
The evidence suggests the data was collected illegally, most likely by criminals in Vietnam who may have ''scraped'' it from public Facebook pages or by somehow obtaining privileged access to the service. Scraping is automated data-harvesting done by bots. A small fraction of the database include details on Vietnam-based users.
Diachenko said he did not share the database with Facebook, which did not directly confirm the finding. In a statement, the social network said it was investigating the issue and that the finding ''likely'' involved information obtained before Facebook took unspecified data-protection measures in recent years.
In 2018, the social media giant disabled a feature that allowed users to search for one another via phone number following revelations that the political firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed information on up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.
Diachenko said he had not determined when the data was collected. He said all the records had time stamps from January to June 2019 but that it was unclear who generated them.
Security experts say the affected Facebook users are at higher risk of being targeted by spam, password-stealing phishing attacks and identity theft attempts. The information can be cross-referenced with physical and email addresses and other data obtained in other data breaches. Facebook user IDs are unique numbers associated with individual accounts.
In September, the news site TechCrunch reported that Facebook IDs and phone numbers for more than 400 million users were similarly found exposed online by a researcher.
In March, Facebook disclosed that it had left hundreds of millions of user passwords readable by its employees on internal severs for years after a security researcher exposed the lapse.
Is Donald Trump impeached? White House considers arguing no because articles of impeachment not delivered to Senate - CBS News
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:29
The White House is considering making the argument that President Trump has not officially been impeached, given that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate, two sources involved in the president's impeachment defense told CBS News.
The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on two articles of impeachment '-- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress '-- on Wednesday. However, Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that the House would wait to deliver the articles until the Senate had laid out the rules for the trial.
"When we see the process that's set forth in the Senate, then we'll know the number of managers we'll have to move forward, and who we would choose," the California Democrat said. The House must vote on a resolution designating impeachment managers to prosecute the case against Mr. Trump in the Senate before delivering the articles.
The White House is considering making the case that Mr. Trump has not been impeached based on an opinion piece by Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman on Bloomberg's opinion page Thursday. Feldman was one of the legal experts called by Democrats to testify before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month and has advocated for Mr. Trump's impeachment and removal from office.
"Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial," Feldman wrote in Bloomberg. "Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial."
"If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn't actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn't truly impeached at all," Feldman wrote.
However, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that he disagreed with Feldman's analysis, saying that "under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period." That portion of the Constitution says that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."
The sources told CBS News that the White House views Pelosi's delay as "a Christmas gift." They plan to use the delay to argue that the Democrats have so little faith in their own case for impeachment, they are too scared to trigger a trial they know they will lose. The two sources also say that the president, while "angry" about what he views as an unfair process, is actually in a "very good mood," and feels confident he can win the messaging war via Twitter while lawmakers are back home for the holidays.
A senior White House official said the White House might pursue that line of messaging, but the White House is also in a "wait and see" attitude over the Christmas holiday. Right now, the official said they preferred to focus on "happy" messaging, not "flogging" impeachment messaging over the holidays.
Republicans in Congress are already making this argument. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that Pelosi's decision to withhold the articles from the Senate shows Democrats "may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed those comments: "She's admitting defeat by not sending them. By refusing to send impeachment over, she knows its outcome is not good."
Pelosi and Democrats in the House and Senate are trying to pressure the Senate to call for more documents and for witnesses who did not testify in the House impeachment proceedings because the White House prevented them from appearing.
"I told leader McConnell that we would not support any trial without witnesses or documents," House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday.
Mr. Trump's legislative director told CBS News that Mr. Trump is "baffled" by the possibility that Pelosi might withhold articles of impeachment from the Senate for an extended period of time.
"I think the president is completely baffled at the theory that Nancy Pelosi appears to have that somehow holding back impeachment articles will leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate," Eric Ueland told CBS News chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett in an interview for "The Takeout" podcast.
Ueland suggested that holding the articles could be "constitutionally questionable." He also said it would be "extraordinarily unprecedented" if articles were to be withheld in order to force a legislative outcome.
In a rare interview that will air Sunday, the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan that her father was "energized" by his impeachment , which she called "the first purely partisan impeachment."
Still, Ueland and White House counsel Pat Cipollone were offered the opportunity to tour the Senate floor, which would serve as a courtroom, and check out the support spaces behind the scenes. They also have the chance to be introduced to people who are there every day when the Senate is in session, and would be for any Senate trial.
'-- Paula Reid and Kathryn Watson contributed reporting
Jane Fonda Arrested Fifth Time While Protesting in Washington, D.C. | Hollywood Reporter
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:28
POLITICS12:11 PM PST 12/20/2019 by Ryan Parker
John Lamparski/Getty Images
Jane Fonda
The actress, who will turn 82 on Saturday, has avoided arrest in past weeks as she was accumulating so many run-ins with the law that she would be facing lengthier jail stints.Jane Fonda is back in cuffs, after being arrested for a fifth time Friday in Washington, D.C., while protesting among climate change activists.
On what's been dubbed Fire Drill Fridays, Fonda has been protesting every week since October, many times with other famous faces in her efforts to combat climate change and bring more attention to the anti-fossil fuels movement. Video of Fonda's most recent arrest was posted on social media. She is shown cuffed, clearly enjoying the moment.
The actress, who will turn 82 on Saturday, has avoided arrest in past weeks as she was accumulating so many run-ins with the law that she would be facing lengthier jail stints.
A political activist for decades, Fonda has made it clear she intends to get arrested as many times as it takes to get her point across.
"I will be on the Capitol every Friday, rain or shine, inspired and emboldened by the incredible movement our youth have created," Fonda previously wrote on her own website.
D.C. authorities previously confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Fonda would not be charged for her prior arrests. It is unclear if she will be charged now. She did spend one night in jail following one of those initial arrests.
Others arrested in the past while protesting with Fonda include Sally Field, Ted Danson, Rosanna Arquette, Catherine Keener and Sam Waterston, among others.
As in the past, the arrested protesters will likely be charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding.
Ex-FBI official gets 7 days jail for accessing anti-Mueller activist's emails...
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:26
After snooping through Burkman's account, Tolson sent screenshots of the messages and offered the password to an unspecified journalist, court filings say.
Tolson's wife, Sarah Gilbert Fox, facilitated the illicit access by providing Burkman's email password, which she had obtained for work she'd previously done for him.
At Tolson's sentencing Friday morning in Alexandria, Va., the longtime FBI employee told U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema that he acted out of a desire ''to protect Director Mueller'' from what Tolson believed were false allegations. ''It was because of the press conference, your honor,'' the ex-FBI official said.
''This is actually a very serious offense,'' Brinkema said. ''You're lucky. Your wife is lucky. The government could have prosecuted her as well.''
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Berrang asked for a short prison term in the case, saying Tolson's motives were not as pure as he'd suggested because his wife believed she was owed money and Tolson was personally annoyed with Burkman.
Berrang said Tolson's decision to take the information first to a reporter rather than the FBI suggested the actions weren't just about preventing harm to Mueller or his probe.
However, Tolson's attorney, Edward MacMahon Jr., disputed that.
''There was no other motivation here other than to protect Mueller,'' MacMahon said.
''The government makes a good point,'' Brinkema replied. ''Why wouldn't you go to the FBI instead of the press?''
MacMahon said Tolson did tell the FBI what he'd done within a day or so, but was really focused on scuttling the planned news conference, which never took place.
The effort by Burkman and right-wing activist Jacob Wohl to target Mueller was widely condemned, particularly following reports that mysterious individuals were contacting Mueller's female former colleagues and offering to pay them for damaging information.
The defense lawyer called Tolson's actions ''foolish,'' but also urged the judge not to give Tolson jail time, saying the episode already caused Tolson to lose his job.
''He does not need to be punished any further,'' MacMahon said.
Brinkema ultimately concluded that some incarceration was appropriate to send a message that illegally accessing others' emails is wrong, particularly when those doing so work in government or law enforcement.
''You can't just rummage through other people's accounts,'' said the judge, a Clinton appointee. ''You had to have known better.''
Brinkema also had a word of praise for the unnamed journalist who decided not to act on the information and password offer Tolson relayed via an encrypted app.
''I would commend whoever the media people are who turned it down,'' the judge said, before adding to Tolson that he might have faced more serious charges or punishment if emails from Burkman's account had been published.
''You're actually probably lucky you didn't get an unethical media person,'' Brinkema said, without being explicit about whether she thought it would have been improper for the press to publish the messages or just to use the password.
Brinkema said Tolson can serve the seven-day sentence after the holidays, but will also have to do 50 hours of community service and will be on probation for a year.
Burkman did not respond to a message seeking comment on the sentencing.
Transgender worker suing Nike for $1.1 million cites pronoun abuses - CBS News
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:25
A transgender former Nike contractor is seeking $1.1 million in damages from the sporting goods giant for allegedly allowing gender identity-based harassment.
According to a civil lawsuit filed this week, Nike and Mainz Brady Group, a staffing firm that hired workers for Nike, discriminated against computer engineer Jazz Lyles, who identifies as transmasculine and prefers the pronouns they/them/their. The complaint was filed with Multnomah Circuit Court in Oregon.
During Lyles' tenure at Nike '-- from May 2017 to September 2018 '-- the engineer was repeatedly "misgendered" by coworkers, the complaint said. While Lyles notified management about the issue multiple times, the companies allegedly failed to implement any policies, procedures and trainings around the use of gender pronouns in the workplace.
"When someone refuses to acknowledge a person's gender identity or insists on referring to them by a gender to which they do not identify (called misgendering), this causes real and significant harm," read the complaint. "This is particularly true when a person is misgendered repeatedly on a daily basis."
Nike declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the company "is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect where everyone can succeed and realize their full potential."
Mainz Brady did not respond to requests for comment.
The transgender community you haven't heard ofNike allegedly fostered a "boys-club 'jock mentality'" work culture that was hostile to people who do not fit gender stereotypes, which the complaint said is contrary to the progressive reputation the sporting goods company enjoys with the public. In its "Be True" campaign, Nike hired transgender athletes to promote athletic wear like hoodies and sneakers.
The suit alleged that placing the burden on Lyles to educate colleagues about gender identity caused tension between the engineer and coworkers, who allegedly called Lyles "stupid" and "unstable." One colleague allegedly said, "I know I'm not supposed to call you 'she-male.'" Another coworker allegedly chose not to interact with the plaintiff. Still another colleague allegedly said she would not use Lyles' gender pronouns for religious reasons.
Despite reporting these and separate incidents to Nike and Mainz Brady, neither took action nor conducted an investigation into the matter, according to the suit.
Instead, reports to the companies allegedly resulted in retaliation against Lyles, who was told they could ask for reassignment at the expense of their career or see their work further impeded by coworkers, the complaint said. On one occasion, Lyles was removed three times by a colleague from a Slack channel the engineer required to complete certain work, the complaint said.
On another occasion, after several reports to Nike, the company held a training on proper gender pronouns for Lyles and their coworkers. But the complaint alleged that the training '-- conducted for the plaintiff's immediate teammates and not the entire department '-- was untimely, singled out Lyles and exacerbated their relationship to the team.
Non-binary: The gender beyond he or she"Employers like Nike have a responsibility to present a safe workplace and ensure that employees respect their coworkers' gender pronouns," Shenoa Payne, the plaintiff's attorney, told CBS News.
According to Payne, the misgendering lawsuit against Nike is unique, though it is not the first time the company faced a lawsuit focusing on gender. Last year, four women filed a federal lawsuit against Nike , alleging it violated state and federal equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment.
Lyles' is seeking economic damages in excess of $195,000. The plaintiff is also seeking noneconomic damages in excess of $950,000.
Dutch Court Upholds Government Order to Cut CO2 Emissions 25% by EOY 2020 | Watts Up With That?
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:22
Dutch Farmer Protest. Image source BreitbartA judgment in a Dutch court has left the Netherlands government with a legal requirement to perform the politically suicidal task of cutting emissions 25% by the end of 2020.
Netherlands climate change: Court orders bigger cuts in emissions
20 December 2019
The highest court in the Netherlands has upheld a ruling requiring the government to slash greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% of 1990 levels by the end of next year.
The case was brought six years ago by the Urgenda environment group in a bid to force ministers to go well beyond EU targets.
However, the chances of the government reaching the target look slim.
By the end of 2018, emissions were down only 15% on 1990 levels.
Dutch environment researchers believe that levels could be cut by 23% by the end of 2020 but believe the reduction could be as low as 19%.
Dutch forced to cut speed limit to lower emissionsTractor protest sparks 'worst Dutch rush hour'Last decade 'on course' to be warmestThe government in The Hague presented its climate accord at the end of June, with plans for a 49% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and phasing out coal-fired power generation starting in 2020.
Last month, under pressure to act over a nitrogen oxide pollution crisis, Dutch ministers announced a cut in the daytime speed limit to 100km/h (62mph). The Council of State forced the government to act in that case, by declaring that rules for granting building and farming permits were in breach of EU law protecting nature.
In its decision on Friday, the Supreme Court said it had based its ruling (in Dutch) on the UN climate convention and the state's legal obligation to protect the lives and well-being of Dutch citizens.
''There is a great deal of consensus in the scientific and international community over the urgent need for a reduction in greenhouse gases by at least 25% by developed countries,'' the court said.
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50864569
The Dutch Government has been badly caught out by their own climate hypocrisy. Enshrining climate action in law may have seemed a good idea at the time, but that law means Dutch politicians can be held accountable for failing to meet their fantasy climate targets.
At the same time, rising discontent with increasingly draconian climate action is threatening to cause major civil unrest. The recent climate action inspired tractor road blockade, which saw furious Dutch farmers defying army roadblocks, is only a taste of what will happen if the Dutch Government seriously attempts to act on this latest carbon emissions court order.
In the background is the undemocratic, authoritarian European Union, which like the UN appears to be increasingly turning to climate action as the source of its political legitimacy. The EU will likely vigorously oppose any attempt by the Dutch Government to defuse their current climate dilemma by backing down on climate action.
Vahana has come to an end. But a new chapter at Airbus has just begun - sUAS News - The Business of Drones
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:18
How the lessons learned from Vahana will inspire the next generation of eVTOLs at Airbus.
Nearly four years after the Vahana concept was sketched on a napkin, the flagship programme that launched the urban air mobility initiative at Airbus has come to a close. Vahana's key learnings are now providing Airbus Urban Mobility with invaluable insight on the design of its future urban air vehicle.
''It all started with a sketch on a napkin'...'' The Vahana story'-- when told by project team members'--often starts this way. Some tell the story with a hint of wonder, others with a tinge of nostalgia. Indeed, Vahana is a legend in its own right. And it is not hard to see why: a design that looked pulled from a sci-fi movie has quietly transformed into a fully operational electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle in only a few short years.
The early sceptics can be forgiven: 2016 was a different time. Back then, no one could have predicted that leveraging the sky to improve urban mobility was practical. And yet, urban air mobility is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Today, it is one of the most exciting and promising markets in aerospace. And the extraordinary progress of Vahana has undoubtedly played a key role in bringing this vision closer to reality.
Learnings from both aircraft'--Vahana and CityAirbus'--will be used to advance our relationship with regulators and to understand key technologies.
Zach Lovering, VP of UAM Systems, Airbus
But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. For Vahana, that day has come. On 14 November 2019, the final page of the Vahana story was written at the Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon, USA. Here, Vahana took its final test flight to the cheers (and some tears) of all those who have closely contributed to its extraordinary development.
Now as the dust settles on Vahana's final flight, the next chapter in urban air mobility at Airbus is already taking shape.
A rich reservoir of key learnings on eVTOL technologies
From the outset, Vahana was designed as a technical demonstrator project. In the R&D community, ''technical demonstrators'' are commonly used to test high-potential technologies and to support their transfer to real-world applications. In other words, Vahana was never intended to become a commercialised product'--instead, the Vahana team based at Acubed in Silicon Valley was tasked with important objectives relating to eVTOL development.
Zach Lovering, VP of UAM Systems at Airbus and head of Vahana, highlights the programme's three main objectives:
Designing a fully operational eVTOL vehicle: A sketch on a napkin is one thing, but proving the technical viability of the configuration is quite another. The project team pushed its idea of a tilt-wing configuration with a suitable battery-to-electric-motor solution to the limits. When Vahana took its first flight in 2018, the leap from concept to reality was a success.Proving the viability of self-piloting technologies: Vahana was launched at a time when real-time detect-and-avoid capabilities on small aircraft were considered a pipedream. Today, Vahana is fully capable of autonomously detecting airborne and ground hazards. The project was thus instrumental in helping to de-risk core elements of autonomy for urban air mobility vehicles and gave rise to Wayfinder, an ambitious autonomous flight technology project at Acubed.Developing an eVTOL business case: What is the total operating cost of eVTOLs? How does it compare to traditional helicopters or taxis? What is the value for the community? How should they be certified? All of these questions need to be ironed out to create a compelling business case. And Vahana offers rich learnings in this respect.Vahana takes its final flight at the Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon, USA
The Vahana programme was launched in 2016 at Acubed, Airbus' innovation centre in Silicon Valley and wrapped up in November 2019
Vahana takes its final flight at the Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon, USA
The Vahana programme was launched in 2016 at Acubed, Airbus' innovation centre in Silicon Valley and wrapped up in November 201912
The future is friendly for urban air mobility
Now that the Vahana programme has been completed, the project team is looking forward to applying the lessons learned to the future urban air vehicle at Airbus. And they will be in good company: the project team for CityAirbus'--the second eVTOL demonstrator in the Airbus portfolio'--will continue its flight test campaign throughout 2020 to be able to bring fresh insight to the concept development table.
''It's bittersweet to see Vahana come to an end,'' says Zach, who expressed his thoughts in a blog post. ''But learnings from both aircraft'--Vahana and CityAirbus'--will be used to advance our relationship with regulators and to understand key technologies.''
Although precise timelines for the future vehicle are still to be determined, work on the new design has already begun. Airbus Urban Mobility is tasked with taking the lead on this front.
For the time being, one of the two Vahana ''Alpha'' aircraft will head to Acubed to act as inspiration for future ground-breaking projects. The other will make an appearance at the 2020 HAI Heliexpo in Anaheim, California.
Trump signs off on sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline '-- RT Newsline
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:12
President Donald Trump has approved US sanctions against companies developing a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which Washington claims endangers national security.
The sanctions, part of a larger defense spending bill Trump signed on Friday, aim to halt the construction of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
The new law will revoke US visas and freeze American properties owned by anyone who continues to work on the pipeline.
US lawmakers have argued that the project would make their European allies too dependent on Russian energy and give Moscow more leverage on the continent. The European Union has opposed the sanctions.
US sanctions also threaten Russia's Turkstream pipeline, which will deliver natural gas to Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier warned that he would take retaliatory measures if the sanctions were approved.
Amazon's Ring has been blaming reused passwords, but now thousands of logins have leaked - The Verge
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 02:05
Amazon's Ring is having a very bad week. BuzzFeed News first reported today that login credentials for thousands of Ring camera owners have been published online, including 3,672 sets of emails, passwords, time zones, and the names given to specific Ring cameras (''front door'' or ''kitchen,'' for example). Later today, TechCrunch reported on a set of 1,562 credentials, also consisting of unique email addresses, passwords, time zones, and a camera's named location. It's unclear if there's overlap in the two datasets, but TechCrunch said that its data ''appears to be a similar-looking data set to that which [BuzzFeed News] obtained.''
In the hands of a bad actor, this information could potentially be used to log into your Ring account, watch live footage from your Ring cameras, and access additional personal data like your address, phone number, and some payment information. And you'd never know, unless you block it from happening by setting up two-factor authentication.
It's not clear where the leaked credentials came from
Despite offering video doorbells and cameras that are marketed as better security for your home, Ring has struggled with a number of security flaws of its own, as has been reported on frequently as of late. In this case, it's not exactly clear where the leaked credentials came from, but Ring claims its own security hasn't been breached.
Here's a statement Ring shared with The Verge:
Ring has not had a data breach. Our security team has investigated these incidents, and we have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring's systems or network. It is not uncommon for bad actors to harvest data from other company's data breaches and create lists like this so that other bad actors can attempt to gain access to other services.
But Ring also isn't denying that some users have been exposed '-- it tells The Verge it's proactively notified affected customers, and it's resetting their passwords out of caution. The company also says it has contacted all customers to encourage them to enable two-factor authentication, change their passwords, and follow its recommended best practices for keeping their accounts secure.
However, of the four people BuzzFeed News spoke with whose information was part of the data leak, two said that Ring didn't notify them that their data was compromised. TechCrunch reported that none of the people it spoke to had been contacted by Ring.
Are these just recycled passwords, or is something else going on?
Last week, there were many reports of hackers harassing people by accessing their Ring devices, with one group of hackers apparently even livestreaming themselves, and it's unclear where those hackers got users' logins. In a blog post last Thursday, Ring gave a response that's quite similar to the statement it shared with The Verge, saying that it had ''no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring's systems or network'' and suggesting that hackers may reused passwords for different services that may have been leaked elsewhere.
Regardless of exactly how Ring credentials are getting leaked, if you have a Ring device, there are steps you can take to make your account more secure, such as creating a unique account password and '-- yes '-- setting up two-factor authentication. Here's our guide on how to do those.
Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Declining, As CDC Confirms Vitamin E Acetate As Main Culprit : Shots - Health News : NPR
Sat, 21 Dec 2019 01:41
The CDC is still trying to understand the mechanism by which Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some vapes, injures lung tissue. It may interfere with a natural fluid in the lung called surfactant, which helps make lung tissue stretchy. Or a byproduct may be a toxic chemical. Jelacic Valentina/EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Jelacic Valentina/EyeEm/Getty Images The CDC is still trying to understand the mechanism by which Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some vapes, injures lung tissue. It may interfere with a natural fluid in the lung called surfactant, which helps make lung tissue stretchy. Or a byproduct may be a toxic chemical.
Jelacic Valentina/EyeEm/Getty Images A health-surveillance system put in place after the terrorist attacks of September 2001 has been used to pinpoint the cause of the vaping-related lung injuries that have killed 54 Americans and sent more than 2,500 people to the hospital.
Using this system, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the lung injuries rose sharply in June of this year.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, says this sharp spike strongly points to a single culprit for most of these cases: vitamin E acetate, an additive found in illicit cannabis-containing vapes.
"That doesn't mean that there aren't other chemicals that can or are causing lung injury," Schuchat said during a telephone news conference. But backed with additional data about vitamin E acetate found in lung samples from people who were injured after vaping, she attributes the bulk of the outbreak to that additive.
The CDC is still trying to understand the mechanism by which this substance injures lung tissue. It may interfere with a natural fluid in the lung called surfactant, which helps make lung tissue stretchy. Or a byproduct may be a toxic chemical.
Emergency-room doctors in Wisconsin first noticed an outbreak of these lung injuries in June. They alerted state and federal health officials, who quickly started investigating the extent of the outbreak as they looked for what could be causing it.
Investigators homed in on vaping products containing marijuana extracts, specifically those that were purchased online or on the street, rather than through dispensaries. Further research focused on vitamin E acetate, which is used in some of these preparations to dilute the much more expensive THC oil.
It was important to understand the timing of the outbreak as part of this investigation. Health officials wanted to know when exactly the problems first cropped up, and whether they had missed many cases before those initial reports. That's why they turned to the surveillance data, collected from more than 3,200 emergency rooms from most states.
They found a gradual increase in emergency-room visits among people who vaped or used e-cigarettes, starting in January of 2017.
"Those visits weren't limited to lung injury, so there may be other health effects that people were experiencing," says Kathleen Hartnett, an epidemiologist at the CDC who is first author of a study being published in the New England Journal of Medicine. People may have also been going to the emergency room because of nicotine poisoning, or intoxication from THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Narrowing their search to people under the age of 35, they detected a sharp spike in June of 2019 '-- the same time that the doctors in Wisconsin reported their first cases.
The number of cases climbed from June into September, when they peaked. They have since declined, but the CDC still reports about 100 cases a week, and the death toll continues to tick up.
The surveillance system doesn't automatically flag health concerns '' often scientists dive into the data once their suspicion is raised, as it was in this case. The outbreak only became apparent in the data once researchers defined more closely what they were looking for and focused on one age group.
"While electronic health data are increasingly powerful, they really can't yet replace the experience of clinicians like the ones in Wisconsin, who most definitely saved lives when they... reported these first cases," Hartnett says.
The US Food and Drug Administration also announced Friday a crackdown on illicit vaping cartridges. The FDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 44 websites advertising the sale of these products, as part of "Operation Vapor Lock," its response to the lung injuries.
You can contact NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org.
A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump's Support | Psychology Today
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:39
Science can help us make sense of the president's political invincibility. Posted Dec 27, 2018
Source: Eric Rosenwald/Shutterstock
Whether we want to or not, we must try to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, as it has completely swept the nation and also fiercely divided it. What is most baffling about it all is Trump's apparent political invincibility. As he himself said even before he won the presidential election, ''I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.'' Unfortunately for the American people, this wild-sounding claim appears to be truer than not. It should also motivate us to explore the science underlying such peculiar human behavior, so we can learn from it, and potentially inoculate against it.
In all fairness, we should recognize that lying is sadly not uncommon for politicians on both sides of the political aisle, but the frequency and magnitude of the current president's lies should have us all wondering why they haven't destroyed his political career, and instead perhaps strengthened it. Similarly, we should be asking why his inflammatory rhetoric and numerous scandals haven't sunk him. We are talking about a man who was caught on tape saying, ''When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.'' Politically surviving that video is not normal, or anything close to it, and such a revelation would likely have been the end of Barack Obama or George Bush had it surfaced weeks before the election.
While dozens of psychologists have analyzed Trump, to explain the man's political invincibility, it is more important to understand the minds of his staunch supporters. While various popular articles have illuminated a multitude of reasons for his unwavering support, there appears to be no comprehensive analysis that contains all of them. Since there seems to be a real demand for this information, I have tried to provide that analysis below.
Some of the explanations come from a 2017 review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology by the psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew. Others have been put forth as far back as 2016, by me, in various articles and blog posts for publications like Psychology Today. A number of these were inspired by insights from psychologists like Sheldon Solomon, who laid the groundwork for the influential Terror Management Theory, and David Dunning, who did the same for the Dunning-Kruger effect.
This list will begin with the more benign reasons for Trump's intransigent support. As the list goes on, the explanations become increasingly worrisome, and toward the end, border on the pathological. It should be strongly emphasized that not all Trump supporters are racist, mentally vulnerable, or fundamentally bad people. It can be detrimental to society when those with degrees and platforms try to demonize their political opponents or paint them as mentally ill when they are not. That being said, it is just as harmful to pretend that there are not clear psychological and neural factors that underlie much of Trump supporters' unbridled allegiance.
The psychological phenomena described below mostly pertain to those supporters who would follow Trump off a cliff. These are the people who will stand by his side no matter what scandals come to light, or what sort of evidence for immoral and illegal behavior surfaces.
1. Practicality Trumps Morality
For some wealthy people, it's simply a financial matter. Trump offers tax cuts for the rich and wants to do away with government regulation that gets in the way of businessmen making money, even when that regulation exists for the purpose of protecting the environment. Others, like blue-collared workers, like the fact that the president is trying to bring jobs back to America from places like China. Some people who genuinely are not racist (those who are will be discussed later) simply want stronger immigration laws because they know that a country with open borders is not sustainable. These people have put their practical concerns above their moral ones. To them, it does not make a difference if he's a vagina-grabber, or if his campaign team colluded with Russia to help him defeat his political opponent. It is unknown whether these people are eternally bound to Trump in the way others are, but we may soon find out if the Mueller investigation is allowed to come to completion.
2. The Brain's Attention System Is More Strongly Engaged by Trump
According to a study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn't necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple language clearly resonate with some at a visceral level.
3. America's Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities
Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America's addiction to entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn't matter what Trump actually says because he's so amusing to watch. With the Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.
4. ''Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn.''
Some people are supporting Trump simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and democrats like Hillary Clinton that their support for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington. These people may have other issues, like an innate desire to troll others or an obsession with schadenfreude.
5. The Fear Factor: Conservatives Are More Sensitive to Threat
Science has shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A 2008 study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala '-- a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.
These brain responses are automatic and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues to portray Muslims and Hispanic immigrants as imminent threats, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you've found your protector, you become less concerned with offensive and divisive remarks.
6. The Power of Mortality Reminders and Perceived Existential Threat
A well-supported theory from social psychology, known as Terror Management Theory, explains why Trump's fear mongering is doubly effective. The theory is based on the fact that humans have a unique awareness of their own mortality. The inevitably of one's death creates existential terror and anxiety that is always residing below the surface. In order to manage this terror, humans adopt cultural worldviews '-- like religions, political ideologies, and national identities '-- that act as a buffer by instilling life with meaning and value.
Terror Management Theory predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their worldviews and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have supported this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.
Not only do death reminders increase nationalism, they may influence voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates. And more disturbingly, in a study with American students, scientists found that making mortality salient increased support for extreme military interventions by American forces that could kill thousands of civilians overseas. Interestingly, the effect was present only in conservatives.
By constantly emphasizing existential threat, Trump may be creating a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric.
In this video, I explain this in greater detail, and offer a potential solution to the problem.
7. The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans Often Overestimate Their Political Expertise
Some who support Donald Trump are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it's ever been, they simply take his word for it.
The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn't just that they are misinformed; it's that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed, which creates a double burden.
Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, ''The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task '-- and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.'' These people cannot be reached because they mistakenly believe they are the ones who should be reaching others.
8. Relative Deprivation '-- A Misguided Sense of Entitlement
Relative deprivation refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled. It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them.
Common explanations for Trump's popularity among non-bigoted voters involve economics. There is no doubt that some Trump supporters are simply angry that American jobs are being lost to Mexico and China, which is certainly understandable, although these loyalists often ignore the fact that some of these careers are actually being lost due to the accelerating pace of automation.
These Trump supporters are experiencing relative deprivation, and are common among the swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This kind of deprivation is specifically referred to as ''relative,'' as opposed to ''absolute,'' because the feeling is often based on a skewed perception of what one is entitled to.
9. Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others
Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one's own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it's important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump's white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that '''...the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.'' This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters' physical distance from the Mexican border. These racial biases might be more implicit than explicit, the latter which is addressed in #14.
10. Trump's Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable
While the conspiracy theory crowd '-- who predominantly support Donald Trump and crackpot allies like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon '-- may appear to just be an odd quirk of modern society, some of them may suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them, like those with schizotypy personalities.
The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established, and a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has demonstrated that it is still very prevalent in the population. The researchers found that those who were more likely to believe in outlandish conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the U.S. government created the AIDS epidemic, consistently scored high on measures of ''odd beliefs and magical thinking.'' One feature of magical thinking is a tendency to make connections between things that are actually unrelated in reality.
Donald Trump and media allies target these people directly. All one has to do is visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation.
11. Trump Taps into the Nation's Collective Narcissism
Collective narcissism is an unrealistic shared belief in the greatness of one's national group. It often occurs when a group who believes it represents the 'true identity' of a nation '-- the 'ingroup,' in this case White Americans '-- perceives itself as being disadvantaged compared to outgroups who are getting ahead of them 'unrightfully.' This psychological phenomenon is related to relative deprivation (#6).
A study published last year in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a direct link between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump. This correlation was discovered by researchers at the University of Warsaw, who surveyed over 400 Americans with a series of questionnaires about political and social beliefs. Where individual narcissism causes aggressiveness toward other individuals, collective narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward 'outsider' groups (outgroups), who are perceived as threats.
Donald Trump exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric. By referring to his supporters, an overwhelmingly white group, as being ''true patriots'' or ''real Americans,'' he promotes a brand of populism that is the epitome of ''identity politics,'' a term that is usually associated with the political left. Left-wing identity politics, as misguided as they may sometimes be, are generally aimed at achieving equality, while the right-wing brand is based on a belief that one nationality or race is superior or entitled to success and wealth for no other reason than identity.
12. The Desire to Want to Dominate Others
Social dominance orientation (SDO) '-- which is distinct from but related to authoritarian personality (#13) '-- refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.
In Trump's speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities). A 2016 survey study of 406 American adults published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were more likely to vote for Trump in the election.
13. Authoritarian Personality
Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to authority. Those with this personality often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. Authoritarianism is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.
Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals, it is more common among the right-wing around the world. President Trump's speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like ''losers'' and ''complete disasters,'' are naturally appealing to those with such a personality.
While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored then-candidate Trump, which led to a correct prediction that he would win the election, despite the polls saying otherwise.
14. Racism and Bigotry
It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to say that every one of Trump's supporters have prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities, but it would be equally inaccurate to say that few do. The Republican party, going at least as far back to Richard Nixon's ''southern strategy,'' has historically used tactics that appealed to bigotry, such as lacing speeches with ''dog whistles'' '-- code words that signaled prejudice toward minorities that were designed to be heard by racists but no one else.
While the dog whistles of the past were subtler, Trump's signaling is sometimes shockingly direct. There's no denying that he routinely appeals to racist and bigoted supporters when he calls Muslims ''dangerous'' and Mexican immigrants ''rapists'' and ''murderers,'' often in a blanketed fashion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a recent study has shown that support for Trump is correlated with a standard scale of modern racism.
This article was originally published at Raw Story.
Senate passes 2020 funding bills
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 12:24
By Adam MazmanianDec 19, 2019With a day left before the current stopgap spending measure expires, the Senate advanced two bills to avert a shutdown and keep government open through the end of fiscal year 2020.
In the early afternoon, the Senate passed an $555 billion eight-bill minibus package that funds civilian government departments including Health and Human Services, Interior, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Energy and the legislative branch. The bill also funds the Department of State and foreign operations. The bill passed by a vote of 71 to 23.
Later in the day, the Senate passed an $845 billion four-bill package that includes funding for defense, homeland security and law enforcement as well as general government measures. That measure includes the 2.6% pay raise for civilian federal employees and a 0.5% average bump in locality pay. The bill passed by a vote of 81 to 11.
The House passed both bills earlier in the week. The bills go to President Donald Trump for his signature. The continuing resolution currently funding the government expires at midnight on Dec. 20.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.
DOD wants prime contractors to be 'help desk' for new cybersecurity model The Defense Department is pushing forward with its unified cybersecurity standard for contractors and wants large companies and industry associations to show startups and smaller firms the way.
FCW Perspectives
Understanding the obstacles to automation As RPA moves from buzzword to practical applications, agency leaders say it's forcing broader discussions about business operations
New York Times Report: John Durham Seeking CIA Director Brennan Communications'....
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 12:16
'...and CTH has a pretty good idea exactly what ''communications'' Durham is looking for. It sounds like U.S. Attorney Durham is looking for what Comey outlined in the ''crown material'' discussion. First, the article from the New York Times (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON '-- The federal prosecutor scrutinizing the Russia investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia's 2016 election interference, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.
John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan's emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.'s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates. (more)
U.S. Attorney John Durham appears to be looking for a very specific email written by John Brennan to James Comey. Because Comey wrote another email saying: ..''Brennan is insisting the Crown Material be included in the intel assessment.''
Do you remember the ''crown material''? The Christopher Steele dossier was called ''Crown Material'' by FBI agents within the small group during their 2016 political surveillance operation. The ''Crown'' description reflects the unofficial British intelligence aspect to the dossier as provided by Steele.
In May 2019 former House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy stated there are emails from former FBI Director James Comey that outline instructions from CIA Director John Brennan to include the ''Crown Material'' within the highly political Intelligence Community Assessment.
Specifically outlined by Gowdy, the wording of the Comey email is reported to say:
'...''Brennan is insisting the Crown Material be included in the intel assessment.''However, on May 23rd, 2017, in testimony -under oath- to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) John Brennan stated [@01:54:28]:
GOWDY: Director Brennan, do you know who commissioned the Steele dossier?
BRENNAN: I don't.
GOWDY: Do you know if the bureau [FBI] ever relied on the Steele dossier as part of any court filing, applications?
BRENNAN: I have no awareness.
GOWDY: Did the CIA rely on it?
GOWDY: Why not?
BRENNAN: Because we didn't. It wasn't part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had. It was not in any way used as a basis for the Intelligence Community Assessment that was done. Uh '... it was not.
Video of the exchange [ prompted 01:54:28 just hit play ]
As Victor Davis Hanson wrote at the time:
['...] James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey are now all accusing one another of being culpable for inserting the unverified dossier, the font of the effort to destroy Trump, into a presidential intelligence assessment'--as if suddenly and mysteriously the prior seeding of the Steele dossier is now seen as a bad thing. And how did the dossier transmogrify from being passed around the Obama Administration as a supposedly top-secret and devastating condemnation of candidate and then president-elect Trump to a rank embarrassment of ridiculous stories and fibs?
Given the narratives of the last three years, and the protestations that the dossier was accurate or at least was not proven to be unproven, why are these former officials arguing at all? Did not implanting the dossier into the presidential briefing give it the necessary imprimatur that allowed the serial leaks to the press at least to be passed on to the public and thereby apprise the people of the existential danger that they faced? (read more)
Fox News Maria Bartiromo has more knowledge of the details within the 2016 political surveillance scandal than any other MSM host. Bartiromo has followed the events very closely and now she is the go-to person for those who are trying to bring the truth behind the scandal to light.
On the morning of May 20th, 2019, on her Fox Business Network show Ms. Bartiromo outlined the current issues between Comey and Brennan. WATCH:
It certainly looks like former CIA Director John Brennan has exposed himself to perjury. However, beyond that and even more disturbing, what does this say about the political intents of a weaponized intelligence apparatus?
CTH has previously outlined how the December 29th, 2016, Joint Analysis Report (JAR) on Russia Cyber Activity was a quickly compiled bunch of nonsense about Russian hacking.
The JAR was followed a week later by the January 7th, 2017, Intelligence Community Assessment. The ICA took the ridiculous construct of the JAR and then overlaid a political narrative that Russia was trying to help Donald Trump.
The ICA was the brain-trust of John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey. While the majority of content was from the CIA, some of the content within the ICA was written by FBI Agent Peter Strzok who held a unique ''insurance policy'' interest in how the report could be utilized in 2017. NSA Director Mike Rogers would not sign up to the ''high confidence'' claims, likely because he saw through the political motives of the report.
(JUNE 2019 '' New York Times) ['...] Mr. Barr wants to know more about the C.I.A. sources who helped inform its understanding of the details of the Russian interference campaign, an official has said. He also wants to better understand the intelligence that flowed from the C.I.A. to the F.B.I. in the summer of 2016.
During the final weeks of the Obama administration, the intelligence community released a declassified assessment that concluded that Mr. Putin ordered an influence campaign that ''aspired to help'' Mr. Trump's electoral chances by damaging Mrs. Clinton's. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. reported they had high confidence in the conclusion. The National Security Agency, which conducts electronic surveillance, had a moderate degree of confidence. (read more)
Questioning the construct of the ICA is a smart direction to take for a review or investigation. By looking at the intelligence community work-product, it's likely Durham will cut through a lot of the chatter and get to the heart of the intelligence motives.
Apparently John Durham is looking into just this aspect: Was the ICA document a politically engineered report stemming from within a corrupt intelligence network?
The importance of that question is rather large. All of the downstream claims about Russian activity, including the Russian indictments promoted by Rosenstein and the Mueller team, are centered around origination claims of illicit Russian activity outlined in the ICA.
If the ICA is a false political document'.... then guess what?
Yep, the entire narrative from the JAR and ICA is part of a big fraud. [Which it is]
(Read ICA via pdf)
Steven L. Kwast - Wikipedia
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 09:19
US Air Force general
Steven L. Kwast
Lieutenant General Kwast
BornStockton, California, U.S.[1]Allegiance United States of AmericaService/branch United States Air ForceYears of service1986''2019Rank Lieutenant GeneralCommands heldAir Education and Training Command, Air University, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, 4th Fighter Wing, 47th Operations GroupBattles/warsDesert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring FreedomSteven Lloyd Kwast[2] is a retired United States Air Force lieutenant general. He last served as commander of Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. In that role, he was responsible for the recruiting, training and education of Air Force personnel. The command includes Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and Air University. The command operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft, 23 wings, 10 bases and five geographically separated groups. It trains more than 293,000 students per year with approximately 60,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor personnel.[3]
Raised in La Mirada, California,[2] Kwast was commissioned into the Air Force upon graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1986. After completing a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he was assigned to undergraduate pilot training and earned his pilot wings in June 1989. Kwast subsequently completed F-15E Strike Eagle training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. General Kwast has served as military aide to the United States Vice President and completed a National Defense Fellowship with the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy at Boston University, Massachusetts.[3]
Kwast has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, including the 47th Operations Group at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. He also served as the deputy director for Colonel Matters, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C., and as the commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. General Kwast was the deputy director for Politico-Military Affairs for Europe, NATO and Russia, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. Prior to his current assignment, General Kwast was the Commander and President, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He has more than 3,300 flying hours, including more than 650 combat hours during operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom.[3]
Dates of promotion [ edit ] Kwast was nominated for appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General by the President on August 1, 2014.[4] He was promoted to Lieutenant General November 10, 2014.[5] Kwast was nominated for appointment to the rank of Major General by the President on May 3, 2011.[6] He was promoted to Major General May 4, 2012.[7] On July 31, 2009 Kwast was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Education [ edit ] 1986 Bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.1988 Master's degree in public policy, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, Mass.1993 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.1994 Fighter Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.1997 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.1999 Air War College, by correspondence2003 National Defense Fellowship, Boston University, Mass.2006 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Seminar XXI2008 Air Force Enterprise Leadership Seminar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C.[3]Assignments [ edit ] August 1986 '' June 1988, AFIT student, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Mass.June 1988 '' June 1989, student, undergraduate pilot training, Williams AFB, Ariz.June 1989 '' May 1990, student, F-15E Fighter Training Unit, Luke AFB, Ariz.May 1990 '' August 1996, war plans officer, weapons officer, and Chief of Weapons, 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.August 1996 '' June 1997, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.June 1997 '' August 1999, military aide to the Vice President of the United States, the White House, Washington D.C.August 1999 '' June 2002, Assistant Operations Officer, Director of Operations, and Commander, 492d Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United KingdomJune 2002 '' June 2003, National Defense Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology, and Policy, Boston University, Mass.September 2003 '' February 2005, Commander, 47th Operations Group, Laughlin Air Force Base, TexasFebruary 2005 '' September 2006, Deputy Director for Colonel Matters, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C.September 2006 '' September 2008, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.September 2008 '' April 2009, Deputy Director of Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.April 2009 '' April 2010, Commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, AfghanistanJune 2010 '' March 2012, Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs for Europe, NATO and Russia, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.March 2012 '' January 2013, Director of Requirements, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.January 2013 '' January 2014, Director, Air Force Quadrennial Defense Review, Office of the Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.February 2014 '' November 2014, Commander, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education and Vice Commander, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.November 2014 '' November 2017, Commander and President, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.November 2017 '' July 2019, Commander, Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio, TexasSummary of Joint Assignments [ edit ] June 1997 '' August 1999, military aid to the Vice President of the United States, the White House, Washington, D.C., as a majorApril 2009 '' April 2010, Commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, as a brigadier generalJune 2010 '' March 2012, Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs for Europe, NATO and Russia, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a brigadier generalFlight Information [ edit ] Rating: command pilotFlight hours: more than 3,300, including over 650 combat hoursAircraft: flown: F-15E, T-6, T-37 and T-38Awards and decorations [ edit ] Other Achievements [ edit ] 1989 Commander's Trophy, Air Training Command1994 Outstanding Graduate, USAF Fighter Weapons School1995 Robbie Risner AwardReferences [ edit ] U.S. Air Force Bio
Lies, Damn Lies, and Startup PR: Mailbag: Questions on Energous
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 09:08
I've been asked some questions on Energous and my recent posts, and rather than answer in the slightly-annoying-to-reply-in comments section here, or in private email, I thought I'd just answer them as a post in themselves. Nothing startlingly new here, for those who have read my prior posts, except for one thing. In the earnings call, CEO Rizzone talked about devices at the 5 to 15 Watts level, previously they'd claimed up to 5 Watts and 15 feet, so if he truly meant Watts, that's quite a bold new claim.1) Has Energous implicitly conceded it cannot generate significant charging power in the near field, ergo its new focus on tertiary products?I'll start with the most important point - this company has no products, and in my opinion, never will. To say otherwise is to play their game. Everything is turned on its head compared to other companies, all IMO of course. If the thinking of most of Energous' detractors is correct, the goal is not to release a product but to maintain interest in share purchase by large institutions, not to develop technology but to offer the fantasy of safe at-distance wireless charging, that marketing is the true innovation and money earner in the company, and engineering R&D is simply the necessary expense to maintain the illusion it's about products and technology. In summary, it's a very well run marketing company with large R&D expenses that is successfully extracting millions of dollars a year for the insiders.Now to the 'technology'. I'm going to start covering the 'at a distance' application - basically the non-contact version, since I'm not sure you meant "near field" when you said "near field", and there are multiple definitions of that term being used. In physics terms, near-field and far-field refer to the regions of interference from radiation emitters. In simple terms near-field is close to the emitters where the field varies extensively (it's bumpy) while further out in the far-field it varies inversely with distance (it's smooth) - the image below from Wikipedia shows this. Where this transition happens is relative to the size of the transmitter and the wavelength of the radiation.So for Energous there is the "contact" version of their charger, the "miniWattUp", which they position as a competitor to Qi, except it's less efficient, slower at charging, has no existing infrastructure, and isn't available (there are multiple product announcements that never make it to market, such as with Myant). Then they have the claim of "at-distance" charging, such as the "long range" device they've been promising for years at 15 feet and up to 5 Watts (now 15 Watts apparently), and the FCC Part 18 approved "mid range" device that will send at best 30 mW at 0.9 meters to a single device, requires a safety cutoff, and also isn't available.I'm also careless with the use of the terms here, so in part I'm writing this to force myself to be more consistent - the confusion from Energous I think is deliberate, as it helps them with allowing the public to think whatever they want of the technology, rather than making them see it as it is.Now to actually answering the question:Energous seem to be careful not to bluntly lie, but let ignorance and laziness of press and investors do the work for them in drawing incorrect conclusions they want from what is said. For years they hinted about a "Tier One" they had a deal with, that they did everything bar say was Apple, until they finally had to give up on that one following AirPower last year - there's a post on some of that here. They deliberately confuse everyone by talking about "WattUp" which is a branding term for all their "products" such as the contact, mid, and far range devices. They also give demonstrations of products that are not FCC approved and exceed the SAR limits to get higher power levels and have people associate with the approved products. I cover some of that here.In summer 2017 the CEO was already dialing back expectations in specific statements:“As long as you’re in that 15-foot range, you’ll be charging. Small, small amount of energy. It’s not charging super fast, like you would be plugged in the wall, but a small amount of energy, trickle charging it. And as you put it down closer or farther away, the amount of power changes.”I cover my opinion of the journalism that let him get away with that statement and no follow up here.Rizzone says this again in January this year, in a Barron's articleAs for five watts, “I don’t see it happening at 15 or 18 feet,” concedes Rizzone. More likely, he thinks Energous will be shipping at the end of 2019 systems that can charge devices such as wearables and smartphones at that distance, but perhaps only with a watt or two, perhaps only hundreds of milliwatts. Despite these statements, Rizzone makes claims in the earnings call this month that would lead people to believe 5 to 15 Watts charging is coming. It's no wonder people are still thinking that somehow you'll be charging at the same rate as a wire from the wall. If Energous ever end up in court on fraud claims, they can point to this and say "See, in major interviews we said it was a trickle charge, we never lied, they just interpreted it another way"Regarding the contact version - The FCC reports for the latest contact device, the 2ADNG-NF130, shows two antenna each able to transmit just shy of 1 Watt. I assume they are at 90 degrees to one another to try to improve performance with receiver position. Given Qi charges at 5 to 7.5W there is literally no way, even at 100% efficiency, for this method to challenge the established market leader. FCC documents show this system charges at a maximum of 300 mW, so a tiny fraction of what is needed, and at no more than about 15% efficiency (Qi is usually 70%ish).Now does anyone think that the far range transmitter is going to be better than one that's in contact?So to answer the first question - they seem to almost deliberately confuse terms like feet and Watts, and give differing statements at different times. When Energous have no choice, or are on the record, they downplay performance and obfuscate. They have to know it won't work at the multi-watt level, there is no question there, but what can they badger the FCC into allowing, especially as it seems they have contacts at the top like Chairman Ajit Pai willing to break the normal rules for them. They have to keep this gravy train going for as long as they can, so let the rubes think the next great release is 18 months out perpetually. One thing I'll give to Energous, they are geniuses at how to milk this market.Next question:2) Given your assessment of its RF based technology and its limitations re SAR compliance, what could the basis be for Rizzone's claim on the call of achieving 5 to 15 watts for midfield?Now let's get the first thing out the way - as with all at-a-distance wireless power transfer - is sending 5 to 15 Watts possible? Yes, of course it is. But you do not want to be anywhere near that thing, as it will be hideously dangerous to anyone around, and highly inefficient. So it is possible, just not in any vague sense practical or within SAR limits.So in the real world, the basis is 'None'. It was always fantasy. This is like me claiming I can run a 3 minute mile, but I just need to train harder and I'll soon get there, maybe another 18 months... Now Energous claimed the 15 feet for the "far range" device in Jan 2015, to my knowledge this is the first time anyone has ever claimed 15 Watts for Energous. Either a slipup by the CEO, or a sudden increase in performance for this so-far nonexistent technology.The "mid range" device was the one that got Part 18 approval last December, and only goes to ~100mW max, 0.9 meters max, at safety limits, so why would they be able to charge >50x faster at longer ranges? See the quote above where they admit it's less than a wall charger, so not even 5 Watts. Yes, Energous are inconsistent, but that helps them, confusion benefits their message as most people give up.Looking at the physics, I don't think there's a practical combination of size and safety that results in an even vaguely useful amount of power received (impractical, maybe). That doesn't mean that they won't keep this deception going IMO, and pretend something ridiculous that games the system is coming and will have the fanboys salivating - but in any practical sense it will be pointless. Now, here's what he said in the call:We expect to see the full impact of this next generation of chips towards the middle of next year, when we anticipate the first product releases to the consumer using our high power WattUp technology for quick charging and applications requiring 5 to 15 watts of charging power.So that's just not going to happen. It's a year out, minimum, same as all their claims, then it's for applications that require 5 to 15 Watts, he doesn't say they'll actually provide it. Maybe the chips will do 5 to 15 Watts, but the antenna and rest of the system won't. This is definitely a "hopeful" statement and probably can be justified because they keep asking the FCC to approve their 5 to 15 Watt (feet?) device and keep getting told 'No, not safe'. I expect as the end gets closer, the statements will get a little riskier and them less careful about blatantly lying (see recent statements by CEOs of well known tech companies for examples...)Next question:3) It seems odd that Dialog would highlight its relationship among others with Energous in its latest press release. Merely justifying its investment and partnership seems unlikely to be the only reason; isn't there something material the partnership could realistically produce?Yeah. Dialog. No one gets why they did this. I liken them to Safeway and Walgreens with Theranos, where stupidity at the CEO level over-rode all internal advice. They had warned it was possible they were going to lose some of Apple's business, and perhaps were desperate for a 'must have' technology to replace and got suckered, or maybe they knew it was a scam and after the share price hike got their money back out at a profit (looking at their quarterly reports, I don't think they did). I have no idea, it might be a great business school case study when this is all over. As for their statements, note that they make no press releases on Energous since January, and in quarterly reports they say the minimum they can and still be compliant with disclosure rules. This is not a relationship they want to promote right now.Overall with Dialog I'd say "Stop trying to apply logic and sense to this decision, it's not there". Anyone who has worked in large businesses knows that even when there is a ton of money on the line, what the coal-face workers know are dumb-assed decisions still get made.4) What do you see Energous doing next?I see them continuing what they've been doing for the last few years, until the market or the SEC says they can't. What does this mean? Basically, gaming the system and abusing the poor diligence of both investors and press, to raise money from a hopeful public. If I had no scruples, what I'd do is try to find a way to weasel around the FCC rules on Part 18 on my long distance charging to get something that sends 10's of mW over 2 to 3 meters. Perhaps something impossibly large, say a 1 to 2m square array, to keep the W/kg down for SAR, and pushing the far-field boundary out for 'contained' energy. Maybe a safety cutoff variable with charge rate so at any useful rates no-one can be in the room, and if they can it charges at the sub-mW level, but the press and public will not understand that. It would be utterly useless and impractical, something that would never be viable as a product, but the press and investors will believe, because they have no idea what's actually just happened. (Alternatively, I'd get it approved under Part 15 at the sub mW level and then claim Part 18 is coming). Products will be announced for 18 months out, and that they've decided to cancel the contact and mid-range products to concentrate on the long range one, hence managing to excuse how they failed to deliver upon promised products.At that point, stock price will spike, and they'll a) have the insiders sell their current holdings, b) raise more capital via stock, up to $75 million at the boosted price, to keep this thing going another couple of years, and c) reward themselves with more stock and bonuses. IIRC the CEO gets large bonuses if the market cap spikes beyond $1 billion (a $38.70 stock price assuming no more dilution). We may then see a company with a market cap of >$1 billion, with no products, and revenues in the high 5, low 6 figure range.Basically, expect something to happen to goose the stock price. This trick worked last year, why not do it again? When someone is rewarded for a set of actions, they are incentivized to repeat. In the end, this stock is going to zero, IMO, but that doesn't mean it's not going to be a rollercoaster until then.(Repeating the seemingly obligatory statement - I have no financial position, short or long, in Energous or any related company)
John G. Trump - Wikipedia
Fri, 20 Dec 2019 09:03
Early life Edit War service Edit During World War II, Trump switched from work on hospital X-ray machines to research into similar technologies with a more direct application to warfare, especially the development of radar. During 1940, he joined the newly formed National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), as technical aide to Karl Compton, President of MIT and the Chairman of the Radar Division.[6]
During 1942, Trump became Secretary of the Microwave Committee, a sub-committee of the NDRC. The director of the Microwave Committee was Alfred Lee Loomis, the millionaire physicist, who decided to create a laboratory. He selected a site for it, chose a suitably discreet and ambiguous name for it and funded the construction, until the Federal administration was established. The new institution was the MIT Radiation Laboratory, or the "Rad Lab". The British were also researching radar, which they termed Radio Direction Finder (RDF), and had started much earlier. Their Tizard Mission to the US showed how much more sophisticated they were with some of the technologies, particularly the magnetron. The US decided to send a team to Britain to help coordinate the efforts of the two Allies. The unit was known as the "British Branch of the Radiation Laboratory" (BBRL) and operated as a department of Britain's Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern, in Worcestershire. In 1943, as the technical aide in Division 14 of the NDRC, Trump reviewed and analyzed the papers of Nikola Tesla when the inventor died in a New York City hotel. The research was completed on behalf of the Alien property Custodian office in Washington DC. From February 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, Trump was the Director of the BBRL.[7]
During this time, Trump also served in the Advisory Specialist Group on Radar, advising USAAF General Carl Spaatz on navigational radar, precision-bombing radar, and also defenses against the German radars found in their night-fighters and in their flak units. The systems included: Gee, Oboe, LORAN, H2X, MEW & SCR-584. Trump worked with all the most important British radar experts, including Sir Robert Watson-Watt, A.P. Rowe and Bernard Lovell. At the end of the war, Trump also had interviews with Germany's main radar technicians.[8][9] Trump received recognition for his war-work from both the United States and the United Kingdom.[10][11][3]
Family Edit John G. Trump is a member of the Trump family. He married Elora Sauerbrun (1913''1983), and they had three children: the late John Gordon Trump (1938''2012) of Watertown, Massachusetts; Christine Philp of New London, New Hampshire; and Karen Ingraham of Los Alamos, New Mexico; and six grandchildren.[3][12] Trump's nephew Donald John Trump became the 45th president of the United States in 2017.
Later life Edit During 1946 Trump, Robert J. Van de Graaff, and Denis M. Robinson